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tions of divine power, to which each country thought itself moft obliged; according to the attributes of the Numen to which each houfe or family was dedicated; that neither Greeks nor Romans knew how to define them, or what to call them.'


Whatever, or whofoever thefe Trina Numina were, to whom, at their feasts, they made the three libations, Mercury, that is the deity whom the Romans called Mercury, was always one. Plutarch and Macrobius both agree, that this Mercury was the fame as the fun; that Oris was the fun; that Bacchus or Liber were the fame. And in the ancient Greek coins, efpecially in thofe of the Rhodians, we fee there the fun reprefented by a caput pinnatum, and crowned with the ferpentine diadem exactly as we fee here, in the ornament of this crystal cup, Mercury reprefented. Again; Mercury, who is faid in the Roman Fafti to be the father of the Lares, is always found with thefe Gemelli, and with them forms the Trina Numina, which are the Dii Penates, vel Præftites.

"Lares, Geniumque ducis, qui tradidit illos,
Urbs habet: et vici Numina trina colunt."

Mercury, according to these various and indecifive ideas of him, was called by a multitude of names. * yadov is' ümwvopias wonnas xe, as Aristophanes, in his Plutus, fays of Mercury and Mercury, under fome of these names, was always as one of the Dii Penates, as a rès puxiès, one of the objects to whom the ceremony of the libations was performed,'

After reciting the cuftom of drinking obferved by the Greeks and Romans, Mr. Pownall proceeds to defcribe the cup which is the object of attention. We are informed that, according to an exact inveftigation, it contans 5657 grains, Troy weight. It has a kind of spout, fo formed as a lip, that the liquor, when poured out, ran between this lip and the circumference of the edge of the cup, in a manner fuited to the performing a libation, but not to the act of drinking out of it. This lip is described as a caput pinnatum, crowned with a ferpentine diadem; having a young, unbearded countenance, of an open and chearful, but firm and steady afpect; circumflances which are urged as a proof that the figure was fymbolical of Mercury. From the above mentioned and other obfervations, Mr. Pownall draws the following conclufion :

That this fort of cup was one of the ancient pocula appropriated to the ceremony of the libation, and particularly confecrated to that made to Mercury, and the two Lares, as the Trina Numina; to the Dii Penates: that, therefore, this cryftal cup, if antique, is one of the most curious and most valuable pieces of antiquity that is at this time exifting in Europe.'

Art. XXII. Account of Antiquities difcovered in the neighbourhood of Bagfhot, in July 1783. Art.


Art. XXIII. Defcription of a Roman Hypocauit, difcowered near Brecknock. By Mr. Charles Hay.

Art. XXIV. Obfervations on the Chariots of the ancient Britons. By the Rev. Mr. Pegge.-These Obfervations being short, and on a fubject interesting to curiofity, we fhall infert the whole.

Befides the common mistake of the annalifts and hiftorians in regard to this paffage in Juvenal,

Regem aliquem capies, aut de temone Britanno Excidet Arviragus" Juvenal iv. 126. By taking Arviragus for the proper name of a perfon, and not of an officer; the words of the fatirift are memorable in another refpect, as ferving to inform us, by the word temone, of a fingular mode of fighting amongst the Britons; as if by leaving his carriage, and running upon the pole, the combatant from thence, or from the yoke, engaged the enemy, as long as he thought prudent and convenient, and then retreated back into the body of the vehicle. And this indeed appears to be the fact, this inethod of engaging being exprefsly defcribed in Cæfar's Commentaries, lib. iv. c. 29. where the words are, ac tantum ufo quotidiano et exercitatione efficiunt, ut in de clivi ac præcipiti loco incitatos equos fuftinere, et brevi mode, rari ac flectere, et per temonem percurre, et in jugo infiftere, et inde fe in currus citiffimè recipere confueverint," The two paffages of the poet and the hiftorian very remarkably illuftrate one another.



It appears then from this ftate of things, that the effeda of the Britons and Gauls must have been formed very low in the fore part, and not at all like what the bodies of the chariots of the ancients are reprefented to have been. Mr. Pownall fays,

the front of the body was made breaft high, and rounded like a fhield, fo as to answer to the driver the purpose of that defence, and was for that reason called dowidlown, or the field part. The fides of the chariot floped away backwards almost to the bottom, or floor of the body, but differently, and by various lines in different bodies." Now it is impoffible this fhould be the figure of the body of the British effseda, and therefore, with all due deference to the gentleman's opinion, a dif tinction fhould be made between the military chariots used at Troy, or in Greece, or elsewhere, and thofe employed by our Britons, which must of neceffity have been of a very different figure.

In regard to the warrior's running on the pole, it is no objection with me that the body of the carriage in the East was low, even as low as Mr. Pownall reprefents it, because the conftruction here in Britain might be materially different in that refpect from that ufed anciently there; and 2dly, that though this inland abounded in those times with horfes, fo that they were an article of commerce and exportation in the opinion of T 4


Dr. Mufgrave, yet there is all the reafon in the world to believe, they were then but of a diminutive fize, the breed being afterwards greatly improved by our intercourfe with the continent. I am fully perfuaded, for these reasons, that with a fmall elevation in the vehicle, and with hories of a low measurement, a combatant might traverfe the pole of his carriage, forwards and backwards, almoft upon a level.'

Art. XXV. Remarks on fome ancient Mufical Inftruments mentioned in Le Roman de la Rofe. By the Rev. John Bowle.

Art. XXVI. Some Account of the Burial-places of the ancient Tartars. By the Rev. William Tooke, Chaplain to the English Factory at St. Petersburg,-Of these fepulchres, which are feen in the fouthern parts of Ruffia and Siberia, fome are perfect tumuli, raised to an enormous height; while others are almost level with the ground. Some of them are encompaffed with a fquare wall of large quarry ftones placed in an erect pofition. Others are covered only with a small heap of flones; or they are in the form of tumuli adorned with ftones at top. Some are lined with brick, and vaulted over; others are only pits or common graves. In fome the earth is excavated feveral fathoms deep; others, especially thofe which are topped by a lofty tumulus, are only dug of a depth fufficient for covering the body.

It is not a little furprising, that though some of these fepulchres are erected with large quarry-ftones, there is not, in all the neighbouring country, fo much as a rock to be seen. Mr. Tooke, therefore, obferves, that the ftones must have been tranfported thither from immenfe diftances, by the most aftonifhing efforts of labour, as the inhabitants of those parts have no idea of a machine in any degree adequate to the purpofe.

Skeletons of horfes are often found in thofe abodes of the dead; a circumftance from which Mr. Tocke juftly infers, that the fame fuperftitious opinions which prevail among fome nations of the Eaft, were likewife held by this ancient people.

Some of the fepulchres are rich, especially thofe on the banks of the Volga, the Tobol, the Irtifh, and the Gb; but in others nothing of value is to be found.

Art. XXVII. Defcription of an ancient Caftle at Rouen in Normandy, called Le Château du Vieux Palais, built by Henry V. king of England. By Edmund Turner, Jun. Efq.

Art. XXVIII. An Account of certain remarkable Pits or Caverns in the Earth, in the County of Berks. By the Hon. Daines Barrington. Thefe pits are fituated about half a mile weft from Little Coxwell, and are known by the name of


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Cole's Pits. Mr. Barrington, after producing ftrong arguments to preclude any iuppofition that thefe pits had been dug fr the purpose of obtaining coal, brick, ftone, marle, or any other materials, prefents us with the following conjecture.


I conceive then, fays he, this area to have been a confiderable city of the Britons in the time of the earliest inhabitants of this ifland, which at an average of five fouls (to be accommodated in each pit) would amount to nearly 400.

A more proper fpot for the refidence of uncivilized people could not have been pitched upon, as the pits confist entirely of the driest fand, and are fituated in the rich vale of Whitehorse..

Perhaps many may ftart at this idea, which I must admit to be rather new and uncommon; but we shall find that the neceffity of nearly the fame habitations hath been experienced by the early inhabitants of moft countries, and ftill continues in fome, where no refinements of life have been introduced:

The Romans, ambitious as they were of extenfive empire, never penetrated into parts fo entirely barbarous; for Great Britain, at the time of Cæfar's invafion, was by no means in this ftate; and if I am required to fix the era of the fuppofed British town, which I have been defcribing, I can only do it negatively, by dating it prior to the ftupendous ftructure of Stonehenge.

Within the limits of the Roman empire, however, Strabo ftates, that in the island of Ægina, to-fave the trouble of making bricks, the inhabitants ufed to live in hollows, which they dug under ground; and this caftom till prevails in fome parts of Poland, where dwellings of that fort are termed lim-finks.

Where the country is rocky indeed, caves are sometimes ufed by barbarians for habitations; and many of these are to be found both in Malta and Minorca.


Virgil again, taking it probably from fome Greek writer who lived not far diftant from the Palus Mæotis, thus expreffes himfelf with regard to the manner in which the inhabitants fpent their winter;

Ipfi in defoffis fpecubus, fecura sub altâ
Otia agunt terrâ."

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Georgic. iii. 376.

But to come nearer home

Leland, in his Itinerary, gives us the following account of what he had obferved in that range of hills in Carmarthenfhire, which are generally termed the Black Mountains.

"There be a great number of pitts made with hande, large like a bowle, and narrow at the bottom, overgrowne in the fwarte with fine graffe, and be fcattered here and there about the quarter where the head of Kenner River rifeth, that cummeth by Carie Kennen, and fumme of thefe will receive a hunderith menne."

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I cannot but conceive that these pits, thus defcribed by Leland, were dug by the aborigines of this ifland for the pure pofe of habitations, as it is believed that there are no mines at prefent of any kind in this part of the Black Mountain, much lefs could they have been excavated for this purpose before the time of Leland.


Fortunately, however, for the conjecture I have made upon this occafion, though not fo for their own comforts, there are now inhabitants of Kamfkatka, who are as little civilized as our aboriginal ancestors, and who make ufe of the fame excavations for the fame purpose.'

The ingenious author, after fupporting his conjecture by fimilar examples, proceeds to folve the question, that if these pits really formed a British town, why do not we find more of them in different parts of the island ?

To this I anfwer, fays he, that thofe which I have given an account of to the Society, probably were confidered as the London of those rude times, for it is fairly to be inferred from more than fourteen acres having been thus excavated, that upwards of thirteen hundred inhabitants lived in this ancient metropolis.

All barbarous and uncultivated countries are most thinly peopled; and thirteen hundred fouls, living contiguoufly within fuch a fpace, are for fuch times perhaps a greater number for the then capital of this ifland, than eight hundred thousand are for the prefent.

• In other inftances, four or five dens were fufficient to conftitute a village, which when they happen to be stumbled upon from having not been filled up for the purposes of cultivation, are commonly attributed to the digging for stone, clay, or other foffile material.

The truth, however, is, that few think about the cause of what they moft commonly meet with; nor is this large mass of pits (covering fourteen acres of ground) noticed by any one in the neighbourhood, but for its fometimes harbouring rabbits.

That there are others very fimilar in the Black Mountains of Carmarthenshire, appears by what I have already cited from Leland's Itinerary; and I am informed that there are more which lie in Somerfetfhire, between Meere and Wincanton, being called the Pen-Pitts. I have little doubt, therefore, but if this my conjecture fhould be confidered as well founded, many other fuch excavations will be heard of, especially if the extent of ground covered with them is large, because the expence of filling them up would amount to fo much, that it never could answer for cultivation.

Ifhall conclude what I have to offer to the Society on this head by obferving, that the Coxwell pits are precifely in the fituation which must have been convenient for fuch a fubterra


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