Tuesday, 12 July 2016

The Dark Ages


We are still suffering from the effects of the Roman Empire propaganda machine, 2000 years after they vacated the islands.

The divide and rule tactics of the early invaders portrayed the British tribes as savages to each other, and their first meeting with us on the Southern beaches set the tone. Personally, I cannot think of a better way to scare the shit out of someone than to paint my naked body blue and stand in front of them screaming, but I would not do this every day when at home and not under attack. My family would only laugh at me. This trick only works with strangers, and it only works once.

A recent arial survey using laser technology (presumably more sophisticated than the display board of 'I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue') has discovered a massive farm in a part of Sussex which is now wooded over.

This prehistoric farm was comparable in size to a large modern one, and proves that we were highly capable of organised communal activity long before the Romans turned up and slagged us off. 'Prehistoric' only means 'Pre-Roman', but  - thanks to them - is now a term which suggests a load of  dirty people wandering around in uncured skins, scratching up roots with bits of flint and hitting each other over the head with clubs.

Only about 100,000 years or so before then, Britain was connected to Europe, and people could freely walk over here. When the unifying effect of the Roman occupation finished, we entered the 'Dark Ages', when Britain was divided into small warring kingdoms which had very little trade with the other tribes of Europe, and which viewed Scotland with extreme hostility.

Far-flung Cornwall, which had enjoyed a thriving economy by trading with the Romans on an equal basis, was suddenly thrown into a protracted period of grinding poverty as the tin market dried up.

It was 300 years after the collapse of Rome before the last of the Roman citizens either left, or became integrated with the British.

Hmm. It all sounds horribly familiar.

14 comments:

  1. And I thought it only happened in small town America.

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    1. Only after the War of Independence...

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  2. How true it is that if you want to know the future you should look to the past
    ps Spencer Tunick wanted naked blue people in Hull recently....would you have considered that?

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    1. Not after seeing the video of the event, no. I would have felt better if they were screaming and shaking spears in their hands, rather than huddled on a moving bridge in a chilly, British Summer.

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  3. Not a very cheering post in the light of the current political situation Tom but I refuse to be discourages and shall look on the bright side.
    As to that 'moving bridge' - wish I had known about it, i would have been sorely tempted to go down and take part. When I mentioned it to the farmer he visibly paled.

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  4. "Prehistoric only means Pre-Roman".
    Sometimes when somebody puts something you knew in a different way it sparks fresh questions.Off to get a book from the shelf.
    Incidentally I know you liked my post on a battered sausage,well I'm banging on about cake now,for what its worth.

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    1. Yes, I just read it. You know how to get an old man excited in the morning, don't you?

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  5. Love the history lesson as I don't know that much about the ancients in Britain. I have heard of the Picts.

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    1. Weren't the Picts Scots? The invasion of Gaul by Tacitus gives a good insight into pre-Roman Britain. Latin translates so well into modern English.

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  6. I once heard of a Farm in Sussex (not far from where we lived) where the ploughman had unearthed a load of mosaic pieces. He told his boss, who told him to say nothing and keep ploughing. He simply didn't want hundreds of wretched archaeologists digging the place up for years.

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    1. There have been hundreds of similar acts of vandalism like that over the years.

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    2. We used to do that if we saw a rare bird, we didnt want millions of twitchers.

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    3. That's much more understandable. Keep the rare birds to yourself has always been my motto.

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