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Originally appearing in Volume V04, Page 588 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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NORTH GATE GATE forum, yieded some interesting inscriptions, which relate to a gild (collegium) and incidentally confirm the name Calleva. 3. Christian Church.—Close outside the south-east angle of the forum was a small edifice, 42 ft. by 27 ft., consisting of a nave and two aisles which ended at the east in a porch as wide as the building, and at the west in an apse and two flanking chambers. The nave and porch were floored with plain red tesserae: in the apse was a simple mosaic panel in red, black and white. Round the building A was a yard, fenced with wooden palings; in it were a well near the apse, and a small structure of tile with a pit near the east end. No direct proof of date or use was discovered. But the ground plan is that of an early Christian church of the " basilican " type: This type comprised nave and aisles, ending at one end in an apse and two chambers resembling rudimentary transepts, and at the other end in a porch (narthex). Previous to about A.D. 420 the porch was often at the east end and the apse at the west, and the altar, often movable, stood in the apse—as at Silchester, perhaps, on the mosaic panel. A court enclosed the whole; near the porch was a laver for the ablutions of intending worshippers. Many such churches have been found in other countries, especially in Roman Africa; no other satisfactory instance is known in Britain. 4. Town Baths.—A suite of public baths stood a little east of the forum. At the entrance were a peristyle court for loungers and a latrine: hence the bather passed into the Apodyterium (dressing-room), the Frigidarium (cold room) fitted with a cold bath for use at the end of the bathing ceremony, and a series of hot rooms—the whole resembling many;modern Turkish baths. In their first form the baths of Silchester were about 16o ft. by 8o ft., but they were later considerably extended. g. Private Houses.—The private houses of Silchester are of two types. They consist either of a row of rooms, with a corridor along them, and perhaps one or two additional rooms at one or both ends, or of three such corridors and rows of rooms, forming three sides of a large square open yard. They are detached houses, standing each in its own garden, and not forming terraces or rows. The country houses of Roman Britain have long been recognized as embodying these (or allied) types; now it becomes plain that they were the normal types throughout Britain. They differ widely from the town houses of Rome and Pompeii : ; they are less unlike some of the country houses of Italy and Roman, Africa; but their real, parallels occur in Gaul, and they may be Celtic types modified to Roman use—like Indian bungalows. Their internal fittings--, hypocausts, frescoes, mosaics—are everywhere Roman; those at Silchester are average specimens, and, except for one mosaic, not individually striking. The largest Silchester house, with a special annexe for baths, is usually taken to be a guest-house or inn for travellers between London and the west (fig. 6). Altogether, the town probably did not contain more than seventy or eighty houses of any size, and large spaces were not built over at all. This fact and the peculiar character of the houses must have given to Silchester rather the appearance of a village with scattered cottages, each in its own plot facing its own way, than a town with regular and continuous streets. 6. Industries.—Shops are conjectured in the forum and elsewhere, but were not numerous. , Many dyers' furnaces; a little sillier refinery, and, perhaps a bakery have also been noticed. 7. Streets; Roads, &c.-The streets were paved with gravel: they varied in width up to 282 ft. They intersect regularly at right angles, dividing the town into square blocks, like modern Mannheim or Turin, according to a Roman system usual in both Italy and the provinces: plainly they were laid out all at once, possibly by Agricola (Tac. Agr. 21) and most probably about his time. There were four chief gates, not quite symmetrically placed. The town-walls are built of flint and concrete bonded with ironstone, and are backed with earth. In the plans, though not in the reports, of the excavations, they are shown as built later than the streets. No traces of meat-market, theatre or aqueduct have come to Ight; water was got from wells lined with wooden tubs, and must have been scanty in dry summers. Smaller objects abound—coins, pottery, window and bottle and cup glass, bronze ornaments, iron tools, &c.—and many belong to the beginnings of Calleva, but few pieces are individually notable. Traces of late Celtic art are singularly absent; Roman fashions rule supreme, and inscriptions show that even the lower classes here spoke and wrote Latin. Outside the walls were the cemeteries, not yet explored. Of suburbs we have as yet no hint. Nor indeed is the neighbourhood of Calleva at all rich in Roman remains. In fact, as well as in Celtic etymology, it was " the town in the forest." A similar absence of remains may be noticed outside other Romano-British towns, and is significant of their economic position. Such doubtless were most of the towns of Roman Britain—thoroughly Romanized, peopled with Roman-speaking citizens, furnished with Roman appurtenances, living in Roman ways, but not very large, not very rich, a humble witness to the assimilating power of the Roman civilization in Britain. The country, as opposed to the towns, of Roman Britain seems to have been divided into estates, commonly (though perhaps incorrectly) known as " villas." Many examples survive, some of them large and luxurious country-houses, some mere farms, constructed usually on one of the two patterns described in the account of Silchester above. The inhabitants were plainly as various—a few of them great nobles and wealthy landowners, others small farmers or possibly bailiffs. Some of these estates were worked on the true " villa " system, by which the lord occupied the " great house," and cultivated the land close round it by slaves, while he let the rest to half-free coloni. But other systems may have prevailed as well. Among the most important country-houses are those of Signor in west Sussex, and Woodchester and Chedworth in Gloucestershire. The wealth of the country was principally agrarian. Wheat and wool were exported in the ath century, when, as we have said, Britain was especially prosperous. But the details of the trade are unrecorded. More is known of the Iead and iron mines which, at least in the first two centuries, were worked in many STREET
End of Article: NORTH

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