|The Antiquity of LONDON. ||6
of the Trinobants. For that Cæsar, in his Commentaries, useth the Word Civitas
only for a People living under one and the self-same Prince and Law. But certain it is,
that the Cities of the Britains were in those Days neither artificially builded with
Houses, nor strongly walled with Stone, but were only thick and cumbersome Woods,
plashed within, and trenched about. And the like in effect do other the Roman and
Greek Authors directly affirm; as Strabo, Pomponius Mela, and Dion, a Senator at
Rome, (Writers that flourished in the several Reigns of the Roman Emperors, Tiberius,
Claudius, Domitian and Severus); to wit, that before the Arrival of the Romans, the
Britains had no Towns, but called that a Town which had a thick intangled Wood,
defended, as I said, with a Ditch and Bank; the like whereof, the Irishmen, our next
Neighbours, do at this Day call Fastness. *
after that these Hither Parts of Britain
were reduced into the Form of a Province by the Romans, who sowed the Seeds of
Civility over all Europe, this our City, whatsoever it was before, began to be
renowned, and of Fame.
Cities of the Britains not Artificially builded
with Houses, nor walled with Stone.
*In Stow's first Edition, they are called
For Tacitus, who first of all Authors nameth it LONDINIUM, saith, that (in the 62d
Year after Christ) it was, albeit, no Colony of the Romans; yet most famous for the
great Multitude of Merchants, Provision and Intercourse. At which Time, in that
notable Revolt of the Britains from Nero, in which Seventy thousand Romans and their
Confederates were slain; this City, with Verulam near St. Albans and Maldon, then all
famous, were ransacked and spoiled.
Testimonies of Roman Authors concerning London,
*Leager Fellows in the first Edition.
For Suetonius Paulinus, then Lieutenant for the Romans in this Isle, abandoned it, as
not then fortified, and left it to the Spoil.
Shortly after, Julius Agricola, the Roman Lieutenant in the Time of Domitian, was the
first that by exhorting the Britains publickly, and helping them privately, won them to
build Houses for themselves, Temples for the Gods, and Courts for Justice, to bring up
the Noblemens Children in good Letters and Humanity, and to apparel themselves
Roman-like. Whereas before (for the most
they went naked, painting their
Bodies, &c. as all the Roman Writers have observed.
The Britains had no Houses but Cottages; no
Temples, no Courts of Justice.
The Britains went naked. The Towns first walled
under the Romans.
True it is, I confess, that afterward, many Cities and Towns in Britain under the
Government of the Romans, were walled with Stone and baked Bricks or Tiles; as
Richborough, or Rickborough-Ryptacester in the Isle of Thanet, till the Channel altered
his Course, besides Sandwich in Kent, Verulamium besides St. Albans in
Hertfordshire, Cilcester in Hampshire, Wroxcester in Shropshire, Kencester in
Herefordshire, Three Miles from Hereford Town; Ribchester, Seven Miles above
Preston, on the Water of Rible; Aldeburg, a Mile from Boroughbridge, on Watheling-
street, on Ure River, and others. And no
but this our City of London was also
walled with Stone in the Time of the Roman Government here; but yet very latewardly:
For it seemeth not to have been walled in the Year of our Lord CCXCVI. Because in
that Year, when Alectus the Tyrant was slain in the Field, the Franks easily entred
London, and had sacked the same, had not God of his great Favour at that very Instant
brought along the River of Thames certain Bands of Roman Soldiers, who slew those
Franks in every Street of the City.
London walled with Stone.
Nothing was wanting to this City's Glory now, but the Name of a Free City, and
Colony: But indeed that was not with the Interest of the Romans; and therefore they
made her a Prefecture. And such were those Cities where Parts were kept, and Justice
administred. And for their Magistrates, they were annually sent them from the Senate at
Rome; for the Execution of their Laws, the Administration of Justice, the Collecting of
their Tributes and Taxes, &c. ]
London not a Municipium under the Romans.
It is a Question among Learned Men, in what State and Reputation London was in the
Times of the Romans? Camden writes, that it was of the Nature of a Prefecture, and
not of a Colony. But Stillingfleet, the late most Learned Bishop of Worcester, was not
of his Judgment; but that it was a Colony, consisting both of Romans and Natives. He
sheweth in his Tract of the Antiquity of London, that there were several Sorts of
Colonies. First, Civil Colonies; that is, such as consisted only of Roman Citizens.
Secondly, Military Colonies; when the Veteran Soldiers were settled together by way of
a Colony. Such a Colony of Veterans was at Camalodunum, and at York, at Chester,
at Caerleon, &c. Thirdly, There were mixt Colonies, where Roman Citizens and
Natives joined together. And altho' they had not the Name, yet the Privileges of a
Colony. Of this Sort he concluded LONDON to have been; which was Nobile
Emporium in Tacitus his Time; a Place of mighty Advantage for its Situation for Trade:
And therefore apt to draw both Romans and Natives together. Where it had all the
Encouragement which the Roman Governor's Residence could give it; which would
soon make the City in so small a Time grow so great, that altho' it was first built in
Claudius his Time, yet in Nero's it might be too large for Suetonius Paulinus to hazard
his Army to defend it. For wheresoever there was a new Province made, there was
great Occasion for such an Emporium, or Place of Trading to be set up. For the
Citizens of Rome made mighty Improvements of their Estates, by sending their Monies
into New Provinces.
London a mixt Roman Colony. Still Antiq. of
London, p. 533.
Mr. Owen, a learned Welshman, hath lately proved (in a Writing of his which I have
seen) against the abovesaid learned Bishop Stillingfleet, that LONDON was a great City
before the Romans came hither; and vindicates therein our British History, which
speaks of Cassivelane's besieging London, when the Trinobantes invited Cæsar
over; and that his Landing had obliged him to raise the Siege. He takes Notice for this
Purpose of the Account that Tacitus giveth of this Place, Cognomento quidem
Coloniæ non insigne, i.e.
"That it was not dignified indeed with the Name of a
COLONY, but most famous for abundance of Merchants and Provisions."
that Author observes. 1. That London was at this Time, about the Fifth of Nero,
renowned for all manner of Provisions and Necessaries for the supplying of an Army;
and that it seemed, by Tacitus's Words, to have been the great Treasury of the Riches
of the Kingdom, as it is now. 2. That considering it abounded with Merchants, it
seems to have been then what it is now, the chief Trading City of the Island. That
Cæsar spake of British Merchants in Gaul: Whether they were Gauls trading to
Britain, or Britains trading into Gaul, it comes to one. For Trades cannot be managed
without Correspondencies and Factories. That the Britains traded for Tin and Lead
with the Phenicians and Greeks. They refined and transported it by the Isle of Wight
into Gaul, and thence by Land on Horseback in Thirty Days, or thereabouts, to
Marseilles. This Trade flourished here
before the Romans knew this Island.
Therefore if Cities have risen by Merchandize, London must be much more ancient than
Cæsar's Time; and its Situation being advantageous for Trade, being the Centre of
British Merchandize, we may conclude it was the ancient Emporium of the British Trade with
the Gauls, Phenicians, and Greeks.
London, a great City before Cæsar cam into
Britain. Vindiciæ Britannic.
Annal. Lib. 14.
Diodor. Sicul. v. 8.
That learned Bishop writes, that it grew into a City by the Romans trading into this
Country: And why not as well by the Trade of the Greeks and Phenicians hither, who
had a vast Traffick in this Island.