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coasts were swept by the pirate seamen of the north. Yielding, however, by degrees to the craving of their auditors for distinct narratives of valour and endurance, the annalists, as the lapse of time was making the affair ever more obscure and indistinct, were peopling the haze with real persons, who at last come forth in extreme prominence and distinctness. So we have the narratives to be afterwards dealt with, in which such persons as Arthur and Vortigern on the one side, are pitted against Hengist and Horsa on the other. There is just one contemporary writer who gives a name to the enemies with whom the Romanised Britons had to contend. This is Ammianus Marcellinus. He was a practical man, both as a statesman and a soldier, and his History contains internal evidence that he was in public life from the middle to very near the end of the fourth century. He tells us how the Emperor Julian, who had just acceded to the purple, being in Paris in the winter of 360, and perplexed by an accumulation of anxieties, heard, among other sinister rumours, how a host of the savage tribes of the Scots and Picts had wasted the portion of the province nearest to their own frontiers, and spread terror through other districts, already wearied by previous contests. It was determined to send over a special force for the protection of the province, to be generalled by Lupicinius, described as a good and experienced soldier, but otherwise as a supercilious coxcomb, frantic about theatricals, and renowned for his greed and credulity. He sailed from Boulogne, and, landing on the coast of Kent, marched to London. But it was among the perplexities of the imperial government that any servant sent with a sufficient force to conquer such invaders would use it for his own purposes, and set up an independent empire. It seems to have been in jealousy lest he should imitate the projects of Carausius and several others, that Lupicinius was recalled before he had accomplished anything of moment.

1 Am. Mar., xx, chap. i.

Four years afterwards, the same author has to tell us, with emphatic brevity, that the Picts and Saxons, the Scots and the Attacots, vexed the Britons with continued harassings. Again coming across the topic -on which he promises to enlarge in a part of his History which has not been preserved—he notes in passing that the Picts were divided into two nations,—the Dicaledons and Vecturions; that the Attacotti were a warlike people, and the Scots were great wanderers, peopling the earth. From his frequent reference to the Saxons in the context, it is clear that Ammianus does not bring in their name vaguely, and in any supposition that they, like the others in his list, inhabited any of the unannexed districts of the British Isles. The word was used to mean people from the continent of Europe, belonging to those northern Teutonic races by which England and Lowland Scotland were peopled. As we shall afterwards see, they had begun that system of forcible settlement by which they gradually filled the country. It would appear as if Carausius, Allectus, and others, who, in the service of the empire, set up independent rule in England, cultivated the wild strangers who flocked into the province, as men whose

1“ Picti Saxonesque et Scoti et Attacotti, Britannos ærumnis vexavere continuis" (xxvi. 4). “Illud tamen sufficiet dici, quod eo tempore, Picti in duas gentes divisi, Dicalidonas et Vecturiones, itidemque Attacotti, bellicosa hominum natio, et Scotti per diversa vagantes multa populabuntur” (xxvii. 8).

warlike prowess might be made available for their purposes. We hear of them, on the defeat of Allectus, endeavouring to plunder London.

They thus knew their way to a desirable scene of plunder. London was now a long-established, affluent city; and there, at the time referred to by Ammianus, we find the mixed hordes, named, perhaps without exact discrimination, as Picts, Scots, and Saxons, with their hands full. They had slain two distinguished Roman officers, and done many other flagrant deeds of violence, when it was resolved to take strong steps for the security of the province. Theodosius, called the Elder—the father of the Emperor Theodosius-was sent over to Britain at the head of a large force.

He fell on the marauders in London, where they had not only piled up a heap of movable booty for removal to their own wilds, but had taken captive a number of Roman British, whom they would have taken with them as slaves had not succour arrived. Theodosius fought battle after battle, until he had driven the marauders out of the Roman province, and then began, as we are told, to rebuild the cities and forts which had been destroyed, or had decayed. He concluded his expedition by restoring the province between the two walls, and it had the distinction of receiving as a triumphal memorial the name of Valentia, after that of the Emperor Valens.

So the Roman empire in Britain appeared to be restored to its old boundary of the Forth and the Clyde. The restoration, we may be sure, was a very brief one. We hear no more of the province from the old historians, who keep up, in a monotonous repetition of the

Ibid., xxviii. ch. 2 and 3.

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same general terms, the story of the ceaseless sufferings of the Roman Britons from their fierce neighbours. Yet there were at that time events in Britain which, in an age of less universal stir, might have been worthy of history. Then it was that another adventurer, Maximus, acquired by his local influence so much power that he carried a large army from Britain to Italy, and all but succeeded in making himself Cæsar. This removal of the army left the province more helpless than ever; and, in deference to the wailing supplication carried by British ambassadors or messengers to the imperial throne, the great Stilicho sent one legion to help them.

This manifestly insufficient force must have increased, since the army was again strong enough to make local emperors, and successively set up Marcus, Gratian, and Constantine. This last is said to have been a man of humble condition, but to have been selected because he bore the name of the Great Constantine. However it was done, he made for himself a solid local power; and had his ambition been moderate, he might have changed the face of history by founding a separate British monarchy. He grasped at universal empire, however, and, like the others, took his troops across the Channel for foreign conquest, leaving the province again undefended. This occurred about the year 407. . Thenceforward the Imperial Government had little to do with any part of Britain, and nothing with Scotland; and it was in 410 that Honorius wrote his celebrated letter to the cities of Britain, telling them that in future they must look to themselves for protection.


The Roman Period.




SINCE the written annals of the sojourn of the Romans in Scotland are so brief and fragmentary, let us try what testimony of their actions and social condition may be afforded by any remains of their labours and possessions unconsciously left by them. Though these vestiges are scanty in comparison with the rich collections made nearer to the seat of empire, they have been pretty carefully treasured. With one flagrant exception, the people of Scotland, high and low, have treated the known relics of the empire with a kind of reverential enthusiasm.

Every peasant knows “the Roman camp” or “the Roman road” that distinguishes his district. Some relics more easily destructible have been preserved for a length of time,

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