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  #11  
Old 03-19-2018, 09:00 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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People might enjoy Mike Absalom's "Saga of the Ancient Briton", in which Boudicca appears. "He was a Roman in the gloaming"!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVma2nDjO8o

Cheers,
John
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  #12  
Old 03-19-2018, 09:00 AM
Kevin Greene Kevin Greene is offline
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The real story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h263hYl050

Part 1.
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  #13  
Old 03-28-2018, 09:14 AM
Leo Silver Leo Silver is offline
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If the proud British only knew that they were once ruled by what today they would call an Arab.
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  #14  
Old 04-04-2018, 09:10 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is online now
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Now, under Emperor Domitian, Agricola is going to subdue Britain as far north as the Scottish Highlands. Here's the historian Tacitus' description of Britannia:

The geography and inhabitants of Britain, already described by many writers, I will speak of, not that my research and ability may be compared with theirs, but because the country was then for the first time thoroughly subdued. And so matters, which as being still not accurately known my predecessors embellished with their eloquence, shall now be related on the evidence of facts.

Britain, the largest of the islands which Roman geography includes, is so situated that it faces Germany on the east, Spain on the west; on the south it is even within sight of Gaul; its northern extremities, which have no shores opposite to them, are beaten by the waves of a vast open sea. The form of the entire country has been compared by Livy and Fabius Rusticus, the most graphic among ancient and modern historians, to an oblong shield or battle-axe. And this no doubt is its shape without Caledonia, so that it has become the popular description of the whole island. There is, however, a large and irregular tract of land which juts out from its furthest shores, tapering off in a wedge-like form. Round these coasts of remotest ocean the Roman fleet then for the first time sailed, ascertained that Britain is an island, and simultaneously discovered and conquered what are called the Orcades, islands hitherto unknown. Thule too was descried in the distance, which as yet had been hidden by the snows of winter. Those waters, they say, are sluggish, and yield with difficulty to the oar, and are not even raised by the wind as other seas. The reason, I suppose, is that lands and mountains, which are the cause and origin of storms, are here comparatively rare, and also that the vast depths of that unbroken expanse are more slowly set in motion. But to investigate the nature of the ocean and the tides is no part of the present work, and many writers have discussed the subject. I would simply add, that nowhere has the sea a wider dominion, that it has many currents running in every direction, that it does not merely flow and ebb within the limits of the shore, but penetrates and winds far inland, and finds a home among hills and mountains as though in its own domain.
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Old 04-04-2018, 10:12 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Aaron,

Nice passage. Not sure how Britain faces Spain on the West...

Cheers,
John
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  #16  
Old 04-05-2018, 01:04 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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Nor were they, then. They were too busy making wildernesses and calling them "peace".

Mind you, in the Chronicles of Scotland (Translation of Boece's Latin into metrical Scots by the Makar, William Stewart) Agricola is referred to as "The good Julius".

I treated myself to a battered three-volume copy of that work when I was minded to defend Tacitus against the dismissive scholarship of Barry Cunliffe and was hoping to propose Dunsinane Hill as the possible location of Mons Graupius, resulting in the (supposed - or rather, proposed by me) folk memory that becomes the MacGuffin in Macbeth (Macobey in the Chronicles).

I also had a whim to present A's eventual withdrawal and redeployment to Germany (at least T got the location of that roughly right) as the first Tay Bridge Disaster. He built it on his way up and demolished it on his way down...

(...shut up, Annie)
.

Last edited by Ann Drysdale; 04-05-2018 at 01:22 AM.
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  #17  
Old 04-09-2018, 02:59 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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I apologise for being a bit dismissive of John's remark on the location of Spain in Roman times. However, I think perhaps we're looking at the map the wrong way. And perhaps at the original Latin.

If we look at Britain (without Scotland) as the double-headed axe that Tacitus mentions, and then look at other translations (Townshend, for instance) which speak of Germany and Spain not "to" but "opposite", it's much more interesting. If we take the Easternmost point (Lowestoft or thereabouts) and draw a line to the country opposite - we get within hailing distance of (modern) Germany and if we stand at the tip of the Lizard peninula and set off to the "opposite" shore we arrive at ... (Well, there's no ferry from the Lizard but there is from Plymouth - to...) Santander.

Of course when we consider his assertion that (Ultima) Thule (Shetland) is, by linguistic implication, the edge of the world. we have to smile at his limitation, but that's easy from where we stand now in relation to it.

But I am far more intrigued by the seas that stretch far up into the mountains. Well, of course they do if we ignore the undeniable downliness of the progress of water. But when we've done smiling at his silliness, let's consider the matter from the point of view of men in boats, seeking to infiltrate this new and exciting territory, fascinated by how penetrable it is if you see the waterways (especially the great tidal rivers) as arteries rather than veins in relation to the mysterious heart of the ocean.

The Tay, for example. is tidal for its first forty miles upstream, and Agricola made good use it.
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  #18  
Old 04-09-2018, 04:47 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Ann,

You are of course welcome to be dismissive any time you like.
Here's the Tacitus in English: "so situated that it faces Germany on the east, Spain on the west; on the south it is even within sight of Gaul."
OK, draw a line from Lowestoft to Germany. Your line will be horizontal. Your line from Plymouth to Spain will be vertical, and rather long. Fine by me, but your line from the south, which he specifies, to Gaul, will be horizontal again. The footwork here looks a bit fancy to me, though as you say, perhaps things were different in Roman times.
The Latin is this: "Britannia, insularum quas Romana notitia complectitur maxima, spatio ac caelo in orientem Germaniae, in occidentem Hispaniae obtenditur, Gallis in meridiem etiam inspicitur." But it's a long time since I was a Latin scholar. I do OTOH have McGonagall's complete works on my shelves, and am rightly fond of the "Tay Bridge Disaster."

Cheers,
John

Update: I should I guess specify that by vertical I mean the NS axis, and by horizontal the EW one.

Last edited by John Isbell; 04-09-2018 at 05:32 AM.
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  #19  
Old 04-09-2018, 07:06 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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(I hear you - northy-southy=uppy-downy. Precisely. Or precisely enough for a psychogeographer.)

I have stood on the south coast of England and peered across to the coast of Gaul. A tiny sight-line, no more than a hyphen. That's what he implies by "inspicitur". You just look across and, by golly - there it is!

All Europe curls round these islands in a conspiratorial parenthesis. Then as now. The impending political divorce makes me weep.

Tacitus is no less informed about the geography of the world as he "knew" it than Matthew Arnold, whose "Dover Beach" irritates me because there is no appreciable tide in the Aegean, making bollocks of his supposed solidarity with Sophocles.

Perhaps my own shaky solidarity with Tacitus does not stand up to scholarly scrutiny, but I have long enjoyed his company.
.

Last edited by Ann Drysdale; 04-09-2018 at 07:29 AM.
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  #20  
Old 04-09-2018, 07:37 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Ann,

I enjoyed your remark about "Dover Beach"!
I went to school in Thanet in the early seventies, and one winter evening when I was about eleven we all saw the lights of France across the way. Which seems odd, since google claims it's thirty miles. Anyway.
Yup, I'm fond of Tacitus as well. :-)

Cheers,
John
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