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BORCOVICIUM

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Originally appearing in Volume V04, Page 587 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BORCOVICIUM (HOUSESTEAOS) enclosures of 50 or 6o acres, surrounded by strong walls of which traces can still be seen in the lower courses of the north and east town-walls of Chester, in the abbey gardens at York, and on the south side of Caerleon. The auxiliary castella were hardly a tenth of the size, varying generally from three to six acres according to the size of the regiment and the need for stabling. Of these upwards of 70 are known in England and some 20 more in Scotland. Of the English examples a few have been carefully excavated, notably Gellygaer between Cardiff and Brecon, one of the most perfect specimens to be found anywhere in the Roman empire of a Roman fort dating from the -end of the 1st century A.D.; Hardknott, on a Cumberland moor over-hanging Upper Eskdale; and Housesteads on Hadrian's wall. In Scotland excavation has been more active, in particular at the forts of Birrens, Newstead near Melrose, Lyne near Peebles,. Ardoch between Stirling and Perth, and Castle Cary, Rough Castle and Bar Hill on the wall of Pius. The internal arrangements of all these forts follow one general plan. But in some • of them the internal buildings are all of stone, while in and substantially built storehouses with buttresses and dry basements (viii.). These filled the middle third of the fort. At the two ends were barracks for the soldiers (i.-vi., xiii.-xviii.). No space was allotted to private religion or domestic life. The shrines which voluntary worshippers might visit, the public bath-house, and the cottages of the soldiers' wives, camp followers, &c., lay outside the walls. Such were nearly all the Roman forts in Britain. They differ somewhat from Roman forts in Germany or other provinces, though most of the differences arise from the different usage of wood and of stone in various places. Forts of this kind were dotted all along the military roads of the Welsh and northern hill-districts. In Wales a road ran from Chester past a fort at Caer-hyn (near Conway) to a fort at Carnarvon (Segontium). A similar road ran along the south coast from Caerleon-on-Usk past a fort at Cardiff and perhaps others, to Carmarthen. A third, roughly parallel to the shore of Cardigan Bay, with forts at Llanio and Tommen-y-mur (near Irestiniog), connected the northern and southern roads, while the interior was held by a system of roads and forts not yet well understood but discernible at such points as Caer-gai on Bala Lake, Castle Collen near Llandrindod Wells, the Gaer near Brecon, Merthyr and Gellygaer. In the north of Britain we find three principal roads. One led due north from York past forts at Catterick Bridge, Piers Bridge, Binchester, Lanchester, Ebchester to the wall and to Scotland, while branches through Chester-le-Street reached the Tyne Bridge (Pons Aelius) at Newcastle and the Tyne mouth at South Shields. A second road, turning north-west from Catterick Bridge, mounted the Pennine Chain by way of forts at Rokeby, Bowes and Brough-under-Stainmoor, descended into the Eden valley, reached Hadrian's wall near Carlisle (Luguvallium), and passed on to Birrens. The third route, starting from Chester and passing up the western coast, is more complex, and exists in duplicate, the result perhaps of two different schemes of road-making. Forts in plenty can be detected along it, notably Manchester (Mancunium or Mamucium), Ribchester (Bremetennacum), Brougham Castle (Brocavum), Old Penrith (Voreda), and on a western branch, Watercrook near Kendal, Waterhead near the hotel of that name on Ambleside, Hardknott above Eskdale, Maryport (Uxellodunum), and Old Carlisle (possibly Petriana). In addition, two or three cross roads, not yet sufficiently explored, maintained communication between the troops in Yorkshire and those in Cheshire and Lancashire. This road system bears plain marks of having been made at different times, and with different objectives, but we have no evidence that any one part was abandoned when any other was built. There are signs, however, that various forts were dismantled as the country grew quieter. Thus, Gellygaer in South Wales and Hardknott in Cumberland have yielded nothing later than the opening of the 2nd century. Besides these detached forts and their connecting roads, the north of Britain was defended by Hadrian's wall (figs. 2 and 3). The history of this wall has been given above. The actual works are threefold. First, there is that which to-day forms the most striking feature in the whole, the wall of stone 6–8 ft. thick, and originally perhaps 14 ft. high, with a deep ditch in front, and forts and " mile castles " and turrets and a connecting road behind it. On the high moors between Chollerford andGilsland its traces are still plain, as it climbs from hill to hill and winds along perilous precipices. Secondly, there is the so-called " Valium," in reality no vallum at all, but a broad flat-bottomed ditch out of which the earth has been cast up on either side into regular and continuous mounds that resemble ramparts. Thirdly, nowhere very clear on the surface and as yet detected only at a few points, there are the remains of the " turf wall," constructed of sods laid in regular courses, with a ditch in front. This turf wall is certainly older than the stone wall, and, as our ancient writers mention two wall-builders, Hadrian and Septimius $everus, the natural inference is that Hadrian built his wall of turf and Severus reconstructed it in stone. The reconstruction probably followed in general the line of Hadrian's wall in order to utilize the existing ditch, and this explains why the turf wall itself survives only at special points. In general it was destroyed to make way for the new wall in stone. Occasionally (as at Birdoswald) there was a deviation, and the older work survived. 600FFI MO,+O NORM MOO.O OF V ALLUM Of VALLVN souni This conversion of earthwork into stone in the age of Severus can be paralleled from other parts of the Roman empire. The meaning of the vallum is much more doubtful. John Hodgson and Bruce, the local authorities of the 19th century, supposed that it was erected to defend the wall from southern insurgents. Others have ascribed it to Agricola, or have thought it to be the wall of Hadrian, or even assigned it to pre-Roman natives. The two facts that are clear about it are, that it is a Roman work, no older than Hadrian (if so old), and that it was not intended, like the wall, for military defence. Probably it is contemporaneous with either the turf wall or the stone wall, and marked some limit of the civil province of Britain. Beyond this we cannot at present go. formidable garrisons, sheltered from barbarians and in easy con- tact with the Roman empire, stretched the lowlands of southern and eastern Britain. Here a civilized life grew up, and Roman culture spread. This part of Britain became Romanized. In the lands looking on to the Thames estuary (Kent, Essex, Middle- sex) the process had perhaps begun before the Roman conquest. It was continued after that event, and in two ways. To some extent it was definitely encouraged by the Roman government, which here, as elsewhere, founded towns peopled with Roman citizens—generally discharged legionaries—and endowed them with franchise and constitution like those of the Italian munici- palities. It developed still more by its own automatic growth. The coherent civilization of the Romans was accepted by the Britons, as it was by the Gauls, with something like enthusiasm. Encouraged perhaps by sympathetic Romans, spurred on still more by their own instincts, and led no doubt by their nobles; they began to speak Latin, to use the material resources of Roman civilized life, and in time to consider themselves not the unwilling subjects of a foreign empire, but the British members of the Roman state. The steps by which these results were reached can to some extent be dated. Within a few years of the Claudian invasion a colonia, or muni- cipality of time-expired soldiers, had been planted in the old native capital of Colchester (Camulodunum), and though it served at first mainly as a fortress and thus provoked British hatred, it came soon to exercise a civilizing in- fluence. At the same time the British town of Verulamium (St Albans) was thought sufficiently Romanized to deserve the municipal status of a munici plum, which at this period differed little from that of a colonia. Romanized Britons must now have begun to be numerous. In the great revolt of Boadicea (6o) the nationalist party seem to have mas- sacred many thousands of them along with actual Romans. Fifteen or twenty years later, the movement increases. Towns spring up, such as Silchester, laid out in Roman fashion, furnished with public buildings of Roman type, and filled with houses which are Roman in fittings if not in plan. The baths of Bath (Aquae Sulis) are exploited. Another colonia is planted at Lincoln (Lindum), and a third at Gloucester (Glevum) in 96. A new " chief judge " is appointed for increasing civil business. The tax-gatherer and recruit- ing officer begin to make their way into the hills. During the 2nd century progress was perhaps slower, hindered doubt- less by the repeated risings in the north. It was not till the 3rd century that country houses and farms became common in most parts of the civilized area. In the beginning of the STALL uFGDASncN FPT ON DtTON NORTH geemeni.. (Rncheserr) ,'gH.biinncirm From Social England, by permission of Cassell & Co., Ltd. 4th century the skilled artisans and builders, and the cloth and corn of Britain were equally famous on the continent. This probably was the age when the prosperity and Romanization of the province reached its height. By this time the town populations and the educated among the country-folk spoke Latin, and Britain regarded itself as a Roman land, inhabited by Romans and distinct from outer barbarians. The civilization which had thus spread over half the island was genuinely Roman, identical in kind with that of the other western provinces of the empire, and in particular with that of northern Gaul. But it was defective in quantity. The elements which compose it are marked by smaller size, less wealth and less splendour than the same elements elsewhere. It was also uneven in its distribution. Large tracts, in particular Warwickshire and the adjoining midlands, were very thinly inhabited. Even densely peopled areas like north Kent, the Sussex coast, west Gloucestershire and east Somerset, immediately adjoin areas like the Weald of Kent and Sussex where Romano-British remains hardly occur. The administration of the civilized part of the province, while subject to the governor of all Britain, was practically entrusted to local authorities. Each Roman municipality ruled itself and a territory perhaps as large as a small county which belonged to it. Some districts belonged to the Imperial Domains, and were administered by agents of the emperor. The rest, by far the larger part of the country, was divided up among the old native tribes or cantons, some ten or twelve in number, each grouped round some country town where its council (ordo) met for cantonal business. This cantonal system closely resembles that which we find in Gaul. It is an old native element recast in Roman form, and well illustrates the Roman principle of local government w[ST by devolution. GATE In the general framework of Romano-British life the two chief features were the town, and the villa. The towns of the province, as we have already implied, fall into two classes. Five modern cities, Colchester, Lincoln, York, Gloucester and St Albans, stand on the sites, and in some fragmentary fashion bear the names of five Roman municipalities, founded by the Roman government with special charters and constitutions. All of these reached a considerable measure of prosperity. None of them rivals the greater municipalities of other provinces. Besides them we trace a larger number of country towns, varying much in size, but all possessing in some degree the characteristics of a town. The chief of these seem to be cantonal capitals, probably developed out of the market centres or capitals of the Celtic tribes before the Roman conquest. Such are Isurium Brigantum, capital of the Brigantes, 12 M. north-west of York and the most northerly Romano-British town; Ratae, now Leicester, capital of the Coritani; Viroconium, now Wroxeter, near Shrewsbury, capital of the Cornovii; Venta Silurum, now Caerwent, near Chepstow; Corinium, now Cirencester, capital of the Dobuni; Isca Dumnoniorum, now Exeter, the most westerly of these towns; Durnovaria, now Dorchester, in Dorset, capital of the Durotriges; Venta Belgarum, now Winchester; Calleva Atrebatum, now Silchester, lo m. south of Reading; Durovernum Cantiacorum, now Canter-bury; and Venta Icenorum, now Caistor-by-Norwich. Besides these country towns, Londinium (London) was a rich and important trading town, centre of the road system, and the seat of the finance officials of the province, as the remarkable objects discovered in it abundantly prove, while Aquae Sulis (Bath) was a spa provided with splendid baths, and a richly adorned temple of the native patron deity, Sul or Sulis, whom the Romans called Minerva. Many smaller places, too, for example, Magna or Kenchester near Hereford, Durobrivae or Rochester in Kent, another Durobrivae near Peterborough, a site of uncertain name near Cambridge, another of uncertain name near Chesterford, exhibited some measure of town life. As a specimen we may take Silchester, remarkable as the one tewn in the whole Roman empire which has been completelyand systematically uncovered. As we see it to-day, it is an open space of Too acres, set on a hill with a wide prospect east and south and west, in shape an irregular hexagon, Snchester. enclosed in a circuit of a mile and a half by the massive ruins of a city wall which still stands here and there some 20 ft. high (fig. 4). Outside, on the north-east, is the grassy hollow of a tiny amphitheatre; on the west a line of earthworks runs in wider circuit than the walls. The area within the walls is a vast expanse of cultivated land, unbroken by any vestige of antiquity; yet the soil is thick with tile and potsherd, and in hot summers the unevenly growing corn reveals the remains of streets beneath the surface. Casual excavations were made here in 1744 and 1833 ; more systematic ones intermittently between 1864 and 1884 by the Rev. J. G. Joyce and others; finally, in May 189c, the complete uncovering of the whole site was begun by Mr G. E. Fox and others. The work was carried on with splendid perseverance, and the uncovering of the interior was completed in 1908. The chief results concern the buildings. Though these have vanished wholly from the surface, the foundations and lowest courses of their walls survive fairly perfect below ground: thus the plan of GATE the town can be minutely recovered, and both the character of the buildings which make up a place like Calleva, and the character of Romano-British buildings generally, become plainer. Of the buildings the chief are: I. Forum.—Near the middle of the town was a rectangular block covering two acres. It comprised a central open court, 132 ft. by 140 ft. in size, surrounded on three sides by a corridor or cloister, with rooms opening on the cloister (fig. 5). On the fourth side was a great hall, with rooms opening into it from behind. This hall was 270 ft. long and 58 ft. wide; two rows of Corinthian columns ran down the middle, and the clerestory roof may have stood 50 ft. above the floor; the walls were frescoed or lined with marble, and for ornament there were probably statues. Finally, a corridor ran round outside the whole block. Here the local authorities had their offices, justice was administered, traders trafficked, citizens and idlers gathered. Though we cannot apportion the rooms to their precise uses, the great hall was plainly the basilica, for meetings and business; the rooms behind it were perhaps law courts, and some of the rooms on the other three sides of the quadrangle may have been shops. Similar municipal buildings existed in most towns of the western Empire, whether they were full municipalities or (as probably Calleva was) of lower rank. The Callevan Forum seems in general simpler than others, but its basilica is remarkably large. Probably the British climate compelled more indoor life than the sunnier south. 2. Temples.—Two small square temples, of a common western-provincial type, were in the east of the town; the cella of the larger measured 42 ft. sq., and was lined with Purbeck marble. A third, circular temple stood between the forum and the south gate. A fourth. a smaller square shrine found in torn a little east of +he pi n ERN
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