The Limes Britannicus is a modern collective name sometimes used for those fortifications and defensive ramparts that were built to protect the north, the coasts, major transport routes of Roman Britain. These defences existed from the 1st to the 5th centuries AD and ran through the territory of present-day England and Wales. Britain was one of the most troubled regions in the European part of the Roman Empire and could only be secured by the Roman Army at considerable effort. Despite a rapid victory over the tribes in the south, which Claudius' field commander, Aulus Plautius, achieved in 43 AD for Rome, the resistance of the British was not broken for a long time afterwards; the Romans succeeded in further consolidating their rule in the period that followed, although the troops stationed there were overburdened by having to defend Britain on three fronts. The incursions of barbarians from the north of the island caused serious problems. To the west and south, the Britannic provinces had to be defended against Hibernian and Germanic attacks.
Against all odds, Britain was held for three centuries by the Roman Empire. In retrospect, the Roman domination of Britain is considered to be positive. For a long time there was prosperity on the island. Behind the protection of Hadrian's Wall and that formed by the natural coastal boundaries to the east and west, the region we now know as England was influenced by the achievements of Roman civilization. Hadrian's Wall and the castra on the Saxon Shore are still the most prominent symbols of Roman rule over Britain; the conquest of Britain was ordered in 43 AD by Emperor Claudius. Claudius had a low reputation among his troops and was forced - according to the tradition of emperors - to acquire glory on the battlefield in order to secure his rule permanently. Britannia had large deposits of precious metals, fertile soil and vast forests, which made it economically attractive to the Romans. Most of Great Britain was conquered in the first year of the invasion. However, this campaign sparked a long-running resistance by the native Britons against their occupiers that lasted for decades.
Following the Boudica Uprising, they succeeded in expelling the Roman Army from the island. It may have been that Claudius planned to occupy only the lowland regions of Britain. In the 1st century, the Romans had no clear idea. Roman influence was therefore continually extended as the borders of their conquered territory shifted several times. Time and again fighting broke out with the indigenous Celtic tribes in the border zones of the new province, compelling Roman troops to move into new areas in the west and north, in order to ensure the permanence of Roman rule and to secure their borders. In 80 AD, the army of Agricola penetrated well into Caledonian territory after his victory in the Battle of Mons Graupius. After attempts to permanently occupy the Highlands failed, the Romans fell back in 120 AD to the Stanegate line; the majority of troops in Britain had to continue to be stationed in the north. As protection against raids by pirates from Ireland, a powerful protection force was needed on the west coast.
In particular, the regions of Cumbria and Lancashire suffered time and again from the plundering of the Irish. During the reign of Hadrian, Britain was still not an peaceful province. Coin missions dating to this time indicate that Britain was in a "permanent state of defence" and pre-Roman tribal societies continued to occupy the outer regions of the island; the greatest danger was always posed by the Picts from who lived on the far side of the Scottish rivers, the Forth and the Clyde. Moreover, in the lands between these rivers and Hadrian’s Wall, the Central Lowlands, there were still four other Celtic tribes - the Votadini, Selgovae and Novantae - which Rome sought to incorporate in order to be able to neutralise their fighting power and make use of their farmland. To that end, road forts were built to protect Rome’s territorial claims. From 122, the northern border was secured by Hadrian's Wall; the fortifications on the coast of Cumbria, which were erected were intended to prevent the Wall being circumvented in the West.
Under Hadrian, the three legion camps were rebuilt in stone. In 140 AD, Roman troops advanced again against the Caledonians and built the Antonine Wall further to the north but, by 160, it had been abandoned. In the period 155-158 AD there was a revolt in Britain which led to heavy losses being inflicted on the local legions; these losses had to be made up by reinforcements from the Germanic Rhine provinces. At the end of the 2nd century seafaring Germanic peoples – the Angles and Franks - began to threaten the Gallic and British coasts with the first raids from the continent. During the course of the civil war that followed the election of Septimius Severus as emperor, his rival, Clodius Albinus, set forth for the continent in 197 with the Britannic army, but suffered a crushing defeat against Severus’ troops in the Battle of Lugdunum. In the 3rd century, Roman Britain underwent profound changes. With the return of soldiers to the island, their first task was to drive back the Picts, who had taken advantage of the absence of Roman troops to raid and plunder extensively.
As a result, Septimius Severus ordered a large-scale punitive expedition against the tribes north of Hadrian's Wall and reoccupied the Antonine Wall for a short time. Unlike the other provinces, Britain appeared stable and calm; the short-term separation of the island from the rest of the Empire under the usurper Carausius showed that this was an illusion and that the power of Ro
Fall of the Western Roman Empire
The Fall of the Western Roman Empire was the process of decline in the Western Roman Empire in which the Empire failed to enforce its rule, its vast territory was divided into several successor polities. The Roman Empire lost the strengths that had allowed it to exercise effective control over its Western provinces. Increasing pressure from invading barbarians outside Roman culture contributed to the collapse; the reasons for the collapse are major subjects of the historiography of the ancient world and they inform much modern discourse on state failure. Relevant dates include 117 CE, when the Empire was at its greatest territorial extent, the accession of Diocletian in 284. Irreversible major territorial loss, began in 376 with a large-scale irruption of Goths and others. In 395, after winning two destructive civil wars, Theodosius I died, leaving a collapsing field army and the Empire, still plagued by Goths, divided between the warring ministers of his two incapable sons. Further barbarian groups crossed the Rhine and other frontiers, like the Goths were not exterminated, expelled or subjugated.
The armed forces of the Western Empire became few and ineffective, despite brief recoveries under able leaders, central rule was never consolidated. By 476 when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustulus, the Western Roman Emperor wielded negligible military, political, or financial power and had no effective control over the scattered Western domains that could still be described as Roman. Barbarian kingdoms had established their own power in much of the area of the Western Empire. While its legitimacy lasted for centuries longer and its cultural influence remains today, the Western Empire never had the strength to rise again; the Eastern Empire survived, though lessened in strength remained for centuries an effective power of the Eastern Mediterranean. While the loss of political unity and military control is universally acknowledged, the Fall is not the only unifying concept for these events. Since 1776, when Edward Gibbon published the first volume of his The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and Fall has been the theme around which much of the history of the Roman Empire has been structured.
"From the eighteenth century onward," historian Glen Bowersock wrote, "we have been obsessed with the fall: it has been valued as an archetype for every perceived decline, hence, as a symbol for our own fears." The Fall is not the only unifying concept for these events. The Fall of the Western Roman Empire was the process; the loss of centralized political control over the West, the lessened power of the East, are universally agreed, but the theme of decline has been taken to cover a much wider time span than the hundred years from 376. For Cassius Dio, the accession of the emperor Commodus in 180 CE marked the descent "from a kingdom of gold to one of rust and iron", while Gibbon began his narrative of decline from the reign of Commodus, after a number of introductory chapters. Arnold J. Toynbee and James Burke argue that the entire Imperial era was one of steady decay of institutions founded in republican times, while Theodor Mommsen excluded the imperial period from his Nobel Prize-winning History of Rome.
As one convenient marker for the end, 476 has been used since Gibbon, but other key dates for the fall of the Roman Empire in the West include the Crisis of the Third Century, the Crossing of the Rhine in 406, the sack of Rome in 410, the death of Julius Nepos in 480. Gibbon gave a classic formulation of reasons, he began an ongoing controversy by attributing a significant role to Christianity in the Western Roman Empire's fall, no longer accepted by modern Roman historians. However, he did give great weight to other causes of internal decline as well and to the attacks from outside the Empire; the story of its ruin is obvious. The victorious legions, who, in distant wars, acquired the vices of strangers and mercenaries, first oppressed the freedom of the republic, afterwards violated the majesty of the purple; the emperors, anxious for their personal safety and the public peace, were reduced to the base expedient of corrupting the discipline which rendered them alike formidable to their sovereign and to the enemy.
Alexander Demandt enumerated 210 different theories on why Rome fell, new ideas have emerged since. Historians still try to analyze the reasons for loss of political control over a vast territory. Comparison has been made with China after the end of the Han dynasty, which re-established unity under the Sui dynasty while the Mediterranean world remained politically disunited. From at least the time of Henri Pirenne scholars have described a continuity of Roman culture and political legitimacy long aft
The Limes Germanicus was a line of frontier fortifications that bounded the ancient Roman provinces of Germania Inferior, Germania Superior and Raetia, dividing the Roman Empire and the unsubdued Germanic tribes from the years 83 to about 260 AD. At its height, the limes stretched from the North Sea outlet of the Rhine to near Regensburg on the Danube; those two major rivers afforded natural protection from mass incursions into imperial territory, with the exception of a gap stretching from Mogontiacum on the Rhine to Castra Regina. The Limes Germanicus was divided into: The Lower Germanic Limes, which extended from the North Sea at Katwijk in the Netherlands along the main Lower Rhine branches The Upper Germanic Limes started from the Rhine at Rheinbrohl across the Taunus mountains to the river Main along the Main to Miltenberg, from Osterburken south to Lorch in a nearly perfect straight line of more than 70 km; the total length was 568 km. It included 900 watchtowers; the weakest, hence most guarded, part of the Limes was the aforementioned gap between the westward bend of the Rhine at modern-day Mainz and the main flow of the Danube at Regensburg.
This 300-km wide land corridor between the two great rivers permitted movement of large groups of people without the need for water transport, hence the heavy concentration of forts and towers there, arranged in depth and in multiple layers along waterways, fords and hilltops. Roman border defences have become much better known through systematic excavations financed by Germany and through other research connected to them. In 2005, the remnants of the Upper Germanic & Rhaetian Limes were inscribed on the List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as Frontiers of the Roman Empire, with lower Limes being placed on the tentative list in 2011, aiming to extend the world heritage site to the whole limes; the Saalburg is a reconstructed museum of the Limes near Frankfurt. The first emperor who began to build fortifications along the border was Augustus, shortly after the devastating Roman defeat at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD. There were numerous Limes walls, which were connected to form the Upper Germanic Limes along the Rhine and the Rhaetian Limes along the Danube.
These two walls were linked to form a common borderline. From the death of Augustus until after 70 AD, Rome accepted as her Germanic frontier the water-boundary of the Rhine and upper Danube. Beyond these rivers she held only the fertile plain of Frankfurt, opposite the Roman border fortress of Moguntiacum, the southernmost slopes of the Black Forest and a few scattered bridge-heads; the northern section of this frontier, where the Rhine is deep and broad, remained the Roman boundary until the empire fell. The southern part was different; the upper Rhine and upper Danube are crossed. The frontier which they form is inconveniently long, enclosing an acute-angled wedge of foreign territory between the modern Baden and Württemberg; the Germanic populations of these lands seem in Roman times to have been scanty, Roman subjects from the modern Alsace-Lorraine had drifted across the river eastwards. The motives alike of geographical convenience and of the advantages to be gained by recognising these movements of Roman subjects combined to urge a forward policy at Rome, when the vigorous Vespasian had succeeded Nero, a series of advances began which closed up the acute angle, or at least rendered it obtuse.
The first advance came about 74 AD, when what is now Baden was invaded and annexed and a road carried from the Roman base on the upper Rhine, Straßburg, to the Danube just above Ulm. The point of the angle was broken off; the second advance was made by Domitian about 83 AD. He pushed out from Moguntiacum, extended the Roman territory east of it and enclosed the whole within a systematically delimited and defended frontier with numerous blockhouses along it and larger forts in the rear. Among the blockhouses was one which by various enlargements and refoundations grew into the well-known Saalburg fort on the Taunus near Bad Homburg; this advance necessitated a third movement, the construction of a frontier connecting the annexations of AD 74 and AD 83. We know the line of this frontier which ran from the Main across the upland Odenwald to the upper waters of the Neckar and was defended by a chain of forts. We do not, know its date, save that, if not Domitian's work, it was carried out soon after his death, the whole frontier thus constituted was reorganised by Hadrian, with a continuous wooden palisade reaching from Rhine to Danube.
The angle between the rivers was now full. But there remained further fortification. Either Hadrian or, more his successor Antoninus Pius pushed out from the Odenwald and the Danube, marked out a new frontier parallel to, but in advance of these two lines, though sometimes, as on the Taunus, coinciding with the older line; this is the frontier, now visible and visited by the curious. It consists, as we see it today, of two distinct frontier works, known as the Pfahlgraben, is a palisade of stakes with a ditch and earthen mound behind it, best seen in the neighbourhood of the Saalburg but once extending from the Rhine southwards into southern Germany; the other, which begins where the earthwork stops, is a wall, though not a formidable wall, of stone, the Teufelsmauer.
Hadrian's Wall called the Roman Wall, Picts' Wall, or Vallum Hadriani in Latin, was a defensive fortification in the Roman province of Britannia, begun in AD 122 in the reign of the emperor Hadrian. It ran from the banks of the River Tyne near the North Sea to the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea, was the northern limit of the Roman Empire north of which were the lands of the northern Ancient Britons, including the Picts, it had a stone wall. There were milecastles with two turrets in between. There was a fort about every five Roman miles. From north to south, the wall comprised a ditch, military way and vallum, another ditch with adjoining mounds, it is thought the milecastles were staffed with static garrisons, whereas the forts had fighting garrisons of infantry and cavalry. In addition to the wall's defensive military role, its gates may have been customs posts. A significant portion of the wall still stands and can be followed on foot along the adjoining Hadrian's Wall Path; the largest Roman archaeological feature anywhere, it runs a total of 73 miles in northern England.
Regarded as a British cultural icon, Hadrian's Wall is one of Britain's major ancient tourist attractions. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. In comparison, the Antonine wall, thought by some to be based on Hadrian's wall, was not declared a World Heritage site until 2008, it is a common misconception that Hadrian's Wall marks the boundary between Scotland. In fact Hadrian's Wall lies within England and has never formed the Anglo-Scottish border. While it is less than 0.6 mi south of the border with Scotland in the west at Bowness-on-Solway, in the east at Wallsend it is as much as 68 miles away. Hadrian's Wall was 117.5 km long. East of the River Irthing, the wall was made from squared stone and measured 3 metres wide and 5 to 6 metres high, while west of the river the wall was made from turf and measured 6 metres wide and 3.5 metres high. These dimensions do not include the wall's ditches and forts; the central section measured eight Roman feet wide on a 3 m base. Some parts of this section of the wall survive to a height of 3 m.
South of the wall, a large ditch was dug, with adjoining parallel mounds, one on either side. This is known today as the Vallum though the word vallum in Latin is the origin of the English word wall, does not refer to a ditch. In many places – for example Limestone Corner – the Vallum is better preserved than the wall, robbed of much of its stone. Hadrian's Wall extended west from Segedunum at Wallsend on the River Tyne, via Carlisle and Kirkandrews-on-Eden, to the shore of the Solway Firth, ending a short but unknown distance west of the village of Bowness-on-Solway; the A69 and B6318 roads follow the course of the wall from Newcastle upon Tyne to Carlisle along the northern coast of Cumbria. Although the curtain wall ends near Bowness-on-Solway, this does not mark the end of the line of defensive structures; the system of milecastles and turrets is known to have continued along the Cumbria coast as far as Risehow, south of Maryport. For classification purposes, the milecastles west of Bowness-on-Solway are referred to as Milefortlets.
Hadrian's Wall was planned before Hadrian's visit to Britain in 122. According to restored sandstone fragments found in Jarrow which date from 118 or 119, it was Hadrian's wish to keep "intact the empire", imposed on him via "divine instruction". Although Hadrian's biographer wrote " was the first to build a wall 80 miles long to separate the Romans from the barbarians", reasons for the construction of the wall vary, no recording of an exact explanation survives. Theories have been presented by historians of an expression of Roman power and Hadrian's policy of defence before expansion. On his accession to the throne in 117, there was unrest and rebellion in Roman Britain and from the peoples of various conquered lands across the Empire, including Egypt, Judea and Mauritania; these troubles may have influenced Hadrian's plan to construct the wall as well as his construction of limites in other areas of the Empire, but to what extent is unknown. Scholars disagree over how much of a threat the inhabitants of northern Britain presented and whether there was any economic advantage in defending and garrisoning a fixed line of defences like the Wall, rather than conquering and annexing what has become the Scottish Lowlands and defending the territory with a loose arrangement of forts.
The limites of Rome were never expected to stop tribes from migrating or armies from invading, while a frontier protected by a palisade or stone wall would help curb cattle-raiders and the incursions of other small groups, the economic viability of constructing and keeping guarded a wall 72 miles long along a sparsely populated border to stop small-scale raiding is dubious. Another possible explanation for the wall is the degree of control it would have provided over immigration and customs. Limites did not mark the boundaries of the empire: Roman power and influence extended beyond the walls. People within and beyond the limites travelled through it each day when conducting business, organised check-points like those offered by Hadrian's Wall provided good opportunities for taxation. With watch towers only a short distance from gateways in the limites, patrolling legionaries could have kept track of
Infantry is the branch of an army that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry and tank forces. Known as foot soldiers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may use mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress; the first military forces in history were infantry. In antiquity, infantry were armed with an early melee weapon such as a spear, axe or sword, or an early ranged weapon like a javelin, sling, or bow, with a few infantrymen having both a melee and a ranged weapon. With the development of gunpowder, infantry began converting to firearms. By the time of Napoleonic warfare, infantry and artillery formed a basic triad of ground forces, though infantry remained the most numerous. With armoured warfare, armoured fighting vehicles have replaced the horses of cavalry, airpower has added a new dimension to ground combat, but infantry remains pivotal to all modern combined arms operations.
Infantry have much greater local situational awareness than other military forces, due to their inherent intimate contact with the battlefield. Infantry can more recognise and respond to local conditions and changing enemy weapons or tactics, they can operate in a wide range of terrain inaccessible to military vehicles, can operate with a lower logistical burden. Infantry are the most delivered forces to ground combat areas, by simple and reliable marching, or by trucks, sea or air transport, they can be augmented with a variety of crew-served weapons, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles. In English, use of the term infantry began about the 1570s, describing soldiers who march and fight on foot; the word derives from Middle French infanterie, from older Italian infanteria, from Latin īnfāns, from which English gets infant. The individual-soldier term infantryman was not coined until 1837. In modern usage, foot soldiers of any era are now considered infantrymen. From the mid-18th century until 1881 the British Army named its infantry as numbered regiments "of Foot" to distinguish them from cavalry and dragoon regiments.
Infantry equipped with special weapons were named after that weapon, such as grenadiers for their grenades, or fusiliers for their fusils. These names can persist long after the weapon speciality. More in modern times, infantry with special tactics are named for their roles, such as commandos, snipers and militia. Dragoons were created. However, if light cavalry was lacking in an army, any available dragoons might be assigned their duties. Conversely, starting about the mid-19th century, regular cavalry have been forced to spend more of their time dismounted in combat due to the ever-increasing effectiveness of enemy infantry firearms, thus most cavalry transitioned to mounted infantry. As with grenadiers, the dragoon and cavalry designations can be retained long after their horses, such as in the Royal Dragoon Guards, Royal Lancers, King's Royal Hussars. Motorised infantry have trucks and other unarmed vehicles for non-combat movement, but are still infantry since they leave their vehicles for any combat.
Most modern infantry have vehicle transport, to the point where infantry being motorised is assumed, the few exceptions might be identified as modern light infantry, or "leg infantry" colloquially. Mechanised infantry go beyond motorised, having transport vehicles with combat abilities, armoured personnel carriers, providing at least some options for combat without leaving their vehicles. In modern infantry, some APCs have evolved to be infantry fighting vehicles, which are transport vehicles with more substantial combat abilities, approaching those of light tanks; some well-equipped mechanised infantry can be designated as armoured infantry. Given that infantry forces also have some tanks, given that most armoured forces have more mechanised infantry units than tank units in their organisation, the distinction between mechanised infantry and armour forces has blurred; the terms "infantry", "armour", "cavalry" used in the official names for military units like divisions, brigades, or regiments might be better understood as a description of their expected balance of defensive and mobility roles, rather than just use of vehicles.
Some modern mechanised infantry units are termed cavalry or armoured cavalry though they never had horses, to e
William Camden was an English antiquarian, historian and herald, best known as author of Britannia, the first chorographical survey of the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, the Annales, the first detailed historical account of the reign of Elizabeth I of England. Camden was born in London, his father Sampson Camden was a member of The Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers. He attended Christ's Hospital and St Paul's School, in 1566 entered Oxford. At Christ Church, he became acquainted with Philip Sidney, who encouraged Camden's antiquarian interests, he returned to London in 1571 without a degree. In 1575, he became Usher of Westminster School, a position that gave him the freedom to travel and pursue his antiquarian researches during school vacations. In 1577, with the encouragement of Abraham Ortelius, Camden began his great work Britannia, a topographical and historical survey of all of Great Britain and Ireland, his stated intention was to "restore antiquity to Britaine, Britain to his antiquity".
The first edition, written in Latin, was published in 1586. It proved popular, ran through five further editions, of 1587, 1590, 1594, 1600 and 1607, each enlarged from its predecessor in both textual content and illustrations; the 1607 edition included for the first time a full set of English county maps, based on the surveys of Christopher Saxton and John Norden, engraved by William Kip and William Hole. The first English language edition, translated by Philemon Holland, appeared in 1610, again with some additional content supplied by Camden. Britannia is a county-by-county description of Great Ireland, it is a work of chorography: a study that relates landscape, geography and history. Rather than write a history, Camden wanted to describe in detail the Great Britain of the present, to show how the traces of the past could be discerned in the existing landscape. By this method, he produced the first coherent picture of Roman Britain, he continued to revise and expand Britannia throughout his life.
He drew on the published and unpublished work of John Leland and William Lambarde, among others, received the assistance of a large network of correspondents with similar interests. He travelled throughout Great Britain to view documents and artefacts for himself: he is known to have visited East Anglia in 1578, Yorkshire and Lancashire in 1582, Devon in 1589, Wales in 1590, Salisbury and Oxford in 1596, Carlisle and Hadrian's Wall in 1599, his fieldwork and firsthand research set new standards for the time. He learned Welsh and Old English for the task: his tutor in Old English was Laurence Nowell. In 1593 Camden became headmaster of Westminster School, he left when he was appointed Clarenceux King of Arms. By this time because of the Britannia's reputation, he was a well-known and revered figure, the appointment was meant to free him from the labour of teaching and to facilitate his research; the College of Arms at that time was not only a centre of genealogical and heraldic study, but a centre of antiquarian study.
The appointment, roused the jealousy of Ralph Brooke, York Herald, who, in retaliation, published an attack on Britannia, charging Camden with inaccuracy and plagiarism. Camden defended himself against the charges in subsequent editions of the work. Britannia was recognised as an important work of Renaissance scholarship, not only in England, but across the European "Republic of Letters". Camden considered having the 1586 Britannia printed in the Low Countries, although that did not happen, the third edition of 1590, in addition to its London printing, was published the same year in Frankfurt, reprinted there in 1616. In 1612 parts were condemned by the Spanish Inquisition. An abridgement was published in Amsterdam in 1617 and reprinted in 1639. In 1597, William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley suggested that Camden write a history of Queen Elizabeth's reign; the degree of Burghley's subsequent influence on the work is unclear: Camden only mentions John Fortescue of Salden, Elizabeth's last Chancellor of the Exchequer, Henry Cuffe, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex's secretary, as sources.
Camden began his work in 1607. The first part of the Annales rerum Anglicarum et Hibernicarum regnante Elizabetha, ad annum salutis M. D. LXXXIX, covering the reign up to 1588, appeared in 1615; the second part was completed in 1617, but was not published until 1625, 1627, following Camden's death. The first translation into English of books 1 -- 3 appeared in 1625, done by Abraham Darcy. Book 4 was translated into English by Thomas Browne, canon of Windsor, in 1629; the Annales were not written in a continuous narrative, but in the style of earlier annals, giving the events of each year in a separate entry. Sometimes criticised as being too favourably disposed towards Elizabeth and James I, the Annales are one of the great works of English historiography and had a great impact on the image of the Elizabethan age. Hugh Trevor-Roper said about them: "It is thanks to Camden that we ascribe to Queen Elizabeth a consistent policy of via media rather than an inconsequent series of unresolved conflicts and paralysed indecisions."
Camden's Remaines of a Greater Worke, Concerning Britaine was a collection of themed historical essays, conceiv
An antiquarian or antiquary is an aficionado or student of antiquities or things of the past. More the term is used for those who study history with particular attention to ancient artifacts and historic sites, or historic archives and manuscripts; the essence of antiquarianism is a focus on the empirical evidence of the past, is best encapsulated in the motto adopted by the 18th-century antiquary Sir Richard Colt Hoare, "We speak from facts, not theory." Today the term is used in a pejorative sense, to refer to an excessively narrow focus on factual historical trivia, to the exclusion of a sense of historical context or process. During the Song Dynasty, the scholar Ouyang Xiu analyzed alleged ancient artifacts bearing archaic inscriptions in bronze and stone, which he preserved in a collection of some 400 rubbings. Patricia Ebrey writes; the Kaogutu or "Illustrated Catalogue of Examined Antiquity" compiled by Lü Dalin is one of the oldest known catalogues to systematically describe and classify ancient artifacts which were unearthed.
Another catalogue was the Chong xiu Xuanhe bogutu or "Revised Illustrated Catalogue of Xuanhe Profoundly Learned Antiquity", commissioned by Emperor Huizong of Song, featured illustrations of some 840 vessels and rubbings. Interests in antiquarian studies of ancient inscriptions and artifacts waned after the Song Dynasty, but were revived by early Qing Dynasty scholars such as Gu Yanwu and Yan Ruoju. In ancient Rome, a strong sense of traditionalism motivated an interest in studying and recording the "monuments" of the past. Books on antiquarian topics covered such subjects as the origin of customs, religious rituals, political institutions. Annals and histories might include sections pertaining to these subjects, but annals are chronological in structure, Roman histories, such as those of Livy and Tacitus, are both chronological and offer an overarching narrative and interpretation of events. By contrast, antiquarian works as a literary form are organized by topic, any narrative is short and illustrative, in the form of anecdotes.
Major antiquarian Latin writers with surviving works include Varro, Pliny the Elder, Aulus Gellius, Macrobius. The Roman emperor Claudius published antiquarian works, none of, extant; some of Cicero's treatises his work on divination, show strong antiquarian interests, but their primary purpose is the exploration of philosophical questions. Roman-era Greek writers dealt with antiquarian material, such as Plutarch in his Roman Questions and the Deipnosophistae of Athenaeus; the aim of Latin antiquarian works is to collect a great number of possible explanations, with less emphasis on arriving at a truth than in compiling the evidence. The antiquarians are used as sources by the ancient historians, many antiquarian writers are known only through these citations. Despite the importance of antiquarian writing in the literature of ancient Rome, some scholars view antiquarianism as emerging only in the Middle Ages. Medieval antiquarians sometimes made collections of inscriptions or records of monuments, but the Varro-inspired concept of antiquitates among the Romans as the "systematic collections of all the relics of the past" faded.
Antiquarianism's wider flowering is more associated with the Renaissance, with the critical assessment and questioning of classical texts undertaken in that period by humanist scholars. Textual criticism soon broadened into an awareness of the supplementary perspectives on the past which could be offered by the study of coins and other archaeological remains, as well as documents from medieval periods. Antiquaries formed collections of these and other objects; the importance placed on lineage in early modern Europe meant that antiquarianism was closely associated with genealogy, a number of prominent antiquaries held office as professional heralds. The development of genealogy as a "scientific" discipline went hand-in-hand with the development of antiquarianism. Genealogical antiquaries recognised the evidential value for their researches of non-textual sources, including seals and church monuments. Many early modern antiquaries were chorographers:, to say, they recorded landscapes and monuments within regional or national descriptions.
In England, some of the most important of these took the form of county histories. In the context of the 17th-century scientific revolution, more that of the "Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns" in England and France, the antiquaries were on the side of the "Moderns", they argued that empirical primary evidence could be used to refine and challenge the received interpretations of history handed down from literary authorities. By the end of the 19th century, antiquarianism had diverged into a number of more specialized academic disciplines including archaeology, art history, sigillography, literary studies and diplomatics. Antiquaries had al