Saturday, June 9, 2012

England's First Inhabitants After the Flood

Who inhabited this Island before the comming of Brute: of Noah & his three sonnes, among whom the whole earth was diuided: and to which of their portions this Ile of Britaine befell.

What manner of people did first inhabite this our country, which hath most generallie and of longest continuance béene knowne among all nations by the name of Britaine as yet is not certeinly knowne; neither can it be decided frō whence the first inhabitants there of came, by reason of such diuersitie in iudgements as haue risen amongst the learned in this .behalfe. But sith the originall in maner of all nations is doubtfull, and euen the same for the more part fabulous (that alwaies excepted which we find in the holie scriptures) I wish not any man to leane to that which shall be here set downe as to an infallible truth, sith I doo but onlie shew other mens conjectures, grounded neuerthelesse vpon likelie reasons, concerning that matter whereof there is now left but little other certeintie, or rather none at all..
To fetch therefore the matter from the farthest, and so to stretch it forward, it séemeth by the report of Dominicus Marius Niger that in the beginning, when God framed the world, and diuided the waters apart from the earth, this Ile was then a parcell of the continent, and ioined without any separation of sea to the maine land. But this opinion (as all other the like vncerteinties) I leaue to be discussed of by the learned: howbeit for the first inhabitation of this Ile with people, I haue thought good to set downe in part, what may be gathered out of such writers as haue touched that matter, and may séeme to giue some light vnto the knowledge thereof.
. 1.First therefore Iohn Bale our countrieman, who in his time greatlie trauelled in the search of such antiquities, dooth probablie coniecture, that this land was inhabited and replenished with people long before the floud, at that time in the which the generation of mankind (as Moses writeth) began to multiplie vpon the vniuersall face of the earth: and therfore it followeth, that as well this land was inhabited with people long before the daies of Noah, as any the other countries and parts of the world beside. But when they had once forsaken the ordinances appointed them by God, and betaken them to new waies inuented of themselues, such loosenesse of life ensued euerie where, as brought vpon them the great deluge and vniuersall floud, in the which perished as well the inhabitants of these quarters, as the residue of the race of mankind, generallie dispersed in euerie other part of the whole world, onelie Noah & his familie excepted, who by the prouidence and pleasure of almightie God was preserued from the rage of those waters, to recontinue and repaire the new generation of man of vpon earth.
.After the flood (as Annius de Viterbo recordeth) and reason also[] enforceth, Noah was the onlie monarch of all the world, and as the same Annius gathereth by the account of Moses in the 100. yeare after the flood, Noah diuided the earth among his thrée sonnes; assigning to the possession of his eldest sonne all that portion of land which now is knowne by the name of Asia; to his second sonne Cham, he appointed all that part of the world which now is called Affrica: and to his third sonne Iaphet was allotted all Europa, with all the Iles therto belonging, wherin among other was conteined this our Ile of Britaine, with the other Iles thereto perteining.
Iaphet the third son of Noah, of some called Iapetus, and of others, Atlas Maurus (because he departed this life in Mauritania) was the first (as Bodinus affirmeth by the authoritie and consent of the Hebrue, Gréeke & Latine writers) that peopled the countries of Europe, which afterward he diuided among his sonnes: of whom Tuball (as Tarapha affirmeth) obteined the kingdome of Spaine. Gomer had dominion ouer the Italians, and (as Berosus and diuers other authors agrée) Samothes was the founder of Celtica, which conteined in it (as Bale witnesseth) a great part of Europe, but speciallie those countries which now are called by the names of Gallia and Britannia.
.Thus was this Iland inhabited and peopled within 200 yéeres after the floud by the children of Iaphet the sonne of Noah: & this is not onlie prooued by Annius, writing vpon Berosus, but also confirmed by Moses in the scripture, where he writeth, that of the offspring of Iaphet, the Iles of the Gentiles (wherof Britain is one) were sorted into regions in the time of Phaleg the sonne of Hiber, who was borne at the time of the diuision of languages. Herevpon Theophilus hath these words: "Cùm priscis temporibus pauci forent homines in Arabia & Chaldæa, post linguarum diuisionem aucti & multiplicati paulatim sunt: hinc quidam abierunt versus orientem, quidam concessere ad partes maioris continentis, alij porrò profecti sunt ad septentrionem sedes quæsituri, nec priùs desierunt terram vbiq; occupare, quàm etiam Britannos in Arctois climatibus accesserint, &c." That is; "When at the first there were not manie men in Arabia and Chaldæa, it came to passe, that after the diuision of toongs, they began somewhat better to increase and multiplie, by which occasion some of them went toward the east, and some toward the parts of the great maine land: diuers of them went also northwards to seeke them dwelling places, neither staid they to replenish the earth as they went, till they came vnto the Iles of Britaine, lieng vnder the north pole." Thus far Theophilus.
These things considered, Gildas the Britaine had great reason to thinke, that this countrie had bene inhabited from the beginning. And Polydor Virgil was with no lesse consideration hereby induced to confesse, that the Ile of Britaine had receiued inhabitants foorthwith after the floud.