Darwin-L Message Log 7:34 (March 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

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<7:34>From rjohara@rjohara.uncg.edu  Sat Mar 12 21:24:33 1994

Date: Sat, 12 Mar 1994 22:24:30 -0500
From: "Robert J. O'Hara"  <rjohara@rjohara.uncg.edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: March 12 -- Today in the Historical Sciences


1626: JOHN AUBREY is born at Easton Pierse, Wiltshire, England.  Following
study at Trinity College, Oxford, where his interest in antiquities will be
kindled, Aubrey will inherit a considerable fortune from his father, but he
will manage his affairs poorly and live extravagantly, and will be reduced
to poverty within a few years.  His cheerful disposition will win him many
patrons, however, and his continuing and ever expanding interest in British
antiquities will earn him a patent from the Crown giving him the right to make
antiquarian surveys anywhere in Britain.  His careful studies of the ancient
monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury will serve as exemplars for future
antiquarian investigators, and although he will formally publish almost
nothing during his lifetime, he will leave behind a great quantity of
influential manuscript material, including _Monumenta Britannica_, _Remains
of Gentilism and Judaism_, and also the _Essay Towards the Description of
the North Division of Wiltshire_ (1659): "Let us imagine then what kind of
countrie this was in the time of the ancient Britons.  By the nature of the
soil, which is a sour woodsere land, very natural for the production of oakes
especially, one may conclude that this North Division was a shady dismal wood:
and the inhabitants almost as savage as the beasts whose skins were their only
rayment.  The language British, which for the honour of it was in those dayes
spoken from the Orcades to Italie and Spain.  The boats on the Avon (which
signifies River) were basketts of twigges covered with an oxe skin: which the
poore people in Wales use to this day.  They call them _curricles_.  Within
this shire I believe that there were several _Reguli_ which often made war
upon another: and the great ditches which run on in the plaines and elsewhere
so many miles (not unlikely) their boundaries: and withall served for defence
against the incursions of their enemies, as the Pict's wall, Offa's ditch: and
that in China, to compare things small to great.  Their religion is at large
described by Caesar.  Their priests were druids.  Some of their temples
I pretend to have restored, as Avebury, Stonehenge, ∧c., as also British
sepulchres.  Their waie of fighting is lively sett down by Caesar.  Their
camps with their way of meeting their antagonists I have sett down in another
place.  They knew the use of iron.  They were two or three degrees, I suppose,
less savage than the Americans."

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