The Official Journal of the Ensign Trust, London

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THE ENSIGN MESSAGE

CULTURE AND SKILLS OF ANCIENT BRITONS

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Strange as it may  seem, it was  the  enemies of ancient  Britain who wrote at length with candour the most faithful description of the early Britons, showing that they possessed an admirable culture, a religion, and an epochal history that extended far beyond  that of  Rome. Modern writers also confirm their testimony.

E.O. Gordon, in Prehistoric London, states that the city of London  (Llandn.) was founded two hundred and seventy years before Rome, in 1020 B.C.

The famed British archaeologist, Sir Flinders Petrie, discovered, at Old Gaza gold ornaments and enamel ware of Celtic origin, dated 1500 B.C., and in reverse found Egyptian beads at Stonehenge.

The art of enamelling is early identified with Britain as is the production of tin. The ancient Briton was the inventor of enamelling. He was so perfect in this craft that relics reposing in the British Museum, and the Glastonbury Museum, such  as the famous Glastonbury bowl (over a thousand years old), and the beautiful Desborough mirror are as perfect as the day they were made. They are magnificent examples of ‘La Tene’ art, as the Celtices named, their  geometric beauty  and excellence being  beyond the   abililty of modern craftsmen to duplicate.

In Early Britain, by Jacquetta. Hawkes, .. we read: “These Yorkshire Celts, beyond all other groups, seem to have been responsible for establishing  the tradition of La Tene art…. Nearly all the finest pieces are luxuries reflecting the taste of warriors who  enjoyed  personal magnificence and the trapping out of their wives and horses.  Brooches to fasten the Celtic cloak, bracelets, necklaces, pins, hand mirrors, harness fittings, bits and horse armour,  helmets,  sword  scabbards and shields were among the chief vehicles of La Tene art. They show on the one  hand strong plastic modelling,  and on the other decorative design incise, in low relief, or picked out in coloured  enamel. Both plastically and in the flat the  Celtic work  shows  an  extraordinary assurance, often a kind of wild delicacy, far surpassing its Greek prototypes. In  these the  finest  artists achieved a marvellous control of balanced symmetry in the design and equally in its related spaces.”

S.E. Winbold, in Britain B.C.: writes: “The Celtic curvilinear art, circa 300 B.C. and of which the famous Glastonbury bowl is a good example, reached its zenith development in Britain.”

Roman testimony states  that captive Britons taught the Romans the craft of enamelling.

Herodotus, father of profane history circa 450 B.C., wrote  of the British Isles and  its people, under the name of Cassiterides, remarking on their talent in the metal industry.

Julius Caesar, following his campaign in Britain, 55 B.C., wrote with admiration of their culture, their sterling character, ingenuity and craftsmanship.

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