Page:Historical characteristics of the Celtic race.djvu/24

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Singulari militum nostrorum virtuti consilia cujusque modi Gallorum occurrebant, ut est summæ genus sollertiæ atque ad omnia imitanda et efficienda quæ ab qttoque tradantur aptissimum. (B.G. vii. 22.) Further, the Bituriges who gave him trouble at a siege by their countermines have learned that art as workers in metal mines. This interesting tribe seems to have borne a rather high-sounding name, as if conscious of their cleverness; the word is believed to mean "Kings of Creation" [Bith (existence) and righ (King)].

Another important fact mentioned quite incidentally by Cæsar is that regarding the Yeneti, in what we now know as Brittany. He mentions that they had ships moored, not by hempen cables, but by iron chains (ferreis catenis), an invention only recently introduced in the British marine. Evidently the art of metallurgy was well practised, and a certain Gaul bears the name of Gobannitio, which can be no other than "Gow" in some form, i.e., a son of Vulcan, or blacksmith.

But the Gauls, with all their skill and bravery, have to succumb. Immediately thereafter, however, we hear of Cæsar himself, who knew the quality of the material, enlisting them in his armies, and the Gallic legions at Pharsalia find a melancholy revenge over one-half at least of their Roman oppressors. This utilising of the Gaul reminds one of the enlisting of the Highland clans by Chatham in the generation subsequent to Culloden, when that statesman found a field for their energies abroad as the mainstay of the infantry in the British army.

With Julius Cæsar, therefore, and his conquest, the Continental portion of the Celtic race ceases to occupy an independent position. It becomes absorbed in the Roman Empire, and follows its fortunes. The insular Celts, however, are only partially absorbed; for while the ancient Britons, in what is now England, become for a time Romanised, the Gaels of Ireland and the Caledonians of Scotland never came under the Roman eagle. The former were never invaded by the Romans; the latter were invaded, but were eventually left alone, and remained unsubdued. Even in those times the native dignity of the Celtic race is discernible; and, whatever may be its authenticity, the speech of Galgacus at the battle of Mons Grampius is ideally, if not literally, true, as the indignant outburst of Cale-