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Part I. Ancient Colonies




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(1) Hellenic City-States

COLONIES AND PLANTATIONS. — The terms "Colony" and "Plantation" were originally applied to English settlements abroad, or small communities of English subjects established in foreign parts, principally for the purpose of raising produce. They were never extended to English dominions in Europe, such as Dunkirk, Toulon, and Calais, whilst those places belonged to the kingdom, nor were they, nor are they at the present time used in reference to Jersey or Guernsey, or other islands in the English Channel. For some years the terms colony and plantation were used indiscriminately. In the reign of Charles II. "Colony" came into general use, to denote the relation of dependence in which American Plantations stood to the Crown. A colony then came to mean a plantation which had a Governor and civil establishment subordinate to the mother country. In the statute 7 and 8 William III. c. 22, declaring void Colonial Laws repugnant to English Law applicable to the colonies, and in the Navigation Acts afterwards passed, the two names are used without distinction. — Petersdorff's Abridgment, vol. V., p. 540.

In connection with a new instrument of Government which marks the transition from the colonial system planted in Australia over one hundred years ago to a new order of things, a higher and more complex political organization, a larger measure of self-government, and a more matured social development, it will be fitting to draw attention to the origin and growth of British colonies, and to some of their leading characteristics and achievements, and to compare them with the colonies of antiquity with which they in some respects agree, but from which they in more respects differ. They agree in having, like the older types, sprung from a parent stock, but they differ materially in the circumstances and motives which led to their establishment, in their primary structure, and in their relations with the mother country, as well as in their career and progress.

GREEK COLONIES. — Various tribes and divisions, of which the ancient Hellenic race was composed, participated in the settlements known as Greek colonies. The causes which led to these migrations were the pressure of population on the means of subsistence within the narrow limits of crowded cities; internal dissensions consequent


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on class domination and party faction; and a love for maritime exploration and discovery.

Among the first recorded of these settlements were the Ionian colonies. After the death of Codrus (B.C., 1100, according to the early legends of Greek history), Ionian adventurers sailing eastward and northward from Attica, established themselves in that part of Asia Minor along the shores of the Aegean sea from Phocaea to Miletus. Twelve cities were built, the principal of which were Ephesus and Miletus. They were severally independent of the States from which their founders had emigrated, but they formed a mutual association for common purposes known as the Ionic Confederacy. From this new centre expeditions went forth and planted commercial emporiums on the shores of the Black Sea, including one from Miletus which established Sinope, the greatest and most important of the colonial stations fronting the Euxine. Trebezus (Trebizond) was afterwards settled from Sinope.

Whilst the Ionians were thus engaged, another body of Greeks, Aeolians, proceeding from Thessaly and Boeotia, founded Aeolian colonies on the northern islands of the Aegean sea, and on the northern part of the western coast of Asia Minor. They also were united in a confederacy of twelve cities, called the Aeolian Confederacy, the chief of which were Lesbos and Tenedos.

In like manner the Dorians, another Hellenic tribe, settled in the southern islands and in the southern part of the western coast of Asia Minor. Six of these cities formed themselves into the Dorian Confederacy. In 658 B.C., Greek emigrants from Megara established a colony at Byzantium, commanding an entrance to the Euxine, which grew into an important centre, and in after ages became Constantinople. The Dorians and other Greeks sailing along the Mediterranean westward and southward from their central home reached Sicily, Italy, Gaul (South France), and even Africa; planting in Sicily, Syracuse and Agrigentum, two of the most splendid cities of the ancient world; in the forked peninsula of Italy, cities such as Tarentum, Sybaris, Croton, Metapontum, Rhegium, Cumae, and Neapolis (Naples), in which Greek civilization became so advanced and the colonists so numerous that Lower Italy was known as Graecia Magna or Great Greece; in the south of Gall, Massilia (Marseilles), which for centuries was one of the most important commercial centres of the Mediterranean; and on the northern shore of Africa, between the Nile and Carthage, Cyrene, occupying a fine maritime situation which developed into a city rivalling the Phoenician capital in wealth and splendour.

The very name "Apoikia," by which these primitive communities were known, indicated their true character and origin. A Greek colony was not a mere plantation retaining its connection with the parent state from which its pioneers had emigrated; it was literally a going-away-from-home, a parting, a complete separation. These colonial groups went away from their old city-states, like swarms from old hives, to cluster in new hives, to cultivate new lands, to


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found new cities, to establish new centres of trade and commerce. Following, in their tiny ships, the ebbs and flows of the great tidal sea, they, for the most part, clung to its coastal regions. They explored what was to them a new world of strange waters, and here and there on the narrow fringes of the seaboard they made camps which grew into towns and bustling cities, pulsating with new life and new energy. The situations selected afforded convenient sites within communication, by sea, with their ancient seats, and at the same time they were accessible to an avenue of retreat from the invasions of barbarous hordes, should they emerge from the interior.

Greek colonization was not promoted by state-aid or state-patronage. It was in some instances prosecuted in spite of the opposition of Greek cities, from which the migrating swarms went forth. From small beginnings these insignificant groups, whilst preserving the laws, customs, and institutions of their mother-cities, which they regarded with respect and reverence, grew in power, influence, and importance, and became autonomous political communities. With one or two exceptions each of them enjoyed the unfettered right of self-government. Until they became subject to local despots, or were crushed by foreign conquest, the people of each colony exercised perfect freedom in the management of their own affairs; they appointed their own leaders and magistrates, and, even in their foreign relations, they were independent of their mother-city; they could declare war and make peace with her public enemies. In every respect, therefore, these small Greek societies were free and sovereign commonwealths, having the obligation to maintain that freedom and sovereignty against external attacks, by their own prowess and with their own resources. They owed no allegiance to any distant hereditary king, nor were they under subjection to any political state except their own. The mother-cities from which they had migrated regarded them as emancipated children over whom they exercised no direct authority or jurisdiction; guaranteed them favours and assistance in times of difficulty and danger, and expected nothing in return except filial respect and gratitude.

In the course of time some of these Greek colonies equalled if they did not surpass the mother-cities in wealth, population, art, philosophy and poetry, and in all the achievements of culture and civilized life. The only ties tending to draw them together in sympathy were those of common language, common religion and common blood; vital forces which seldom fail to yield tremendous results in the history of mankind. This community of sentiment led in some instances to something like a federal union between the original states and their colonial offshoots; such as the defensive league between Imperial Athens and the powerful Ionian cities of the Aegean sea and Asian shore, known as the Confederation of Delos. — Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, pp. 249, 252, 454. Conversations Lexicon, vol. VI., p. 768.

"The Greek colonist, citizen of a city, planted a city. Severed from his native city, severed perhaps by such a world of waters as that which parts Euboia from Sicily or by such a wider world of waters as parts Phokaia from Gaul, he could no longer remain a citizen of his own city; he could no longer discharge the duties of citizenship on a distant spot; he could no longer join in the debates


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of the old agoré; he could no longer join in the worship of the old temple; but he must still have some agoré and some temple; he must still have a city to dwell in, a city in which still to dwell the life of a free Greek, when he could no longer live that life in the city of his birth. So he planted a city, a free city, a city that knew no lord, that knew no ruling city, a city furnished from the first with all that was needed for the life of a Greek commonwealth, a city free and independent from its birth. And he dwelled in the new city as he once dwelled in the old; he gave himself to make the new worthy of the old, the daughter worthy of the mother. But did he thereby deem that he had ceased to be a Greek? Did he deem that he had severed himself from Greece? Did he even deem that he had broken off from all duty and fellowship towards the city from whence he had set forth? No; dwell where he might, the Greek remained a Greek; wherever he went he carried Hellas with him; in Asia, in Libya, in Sicily, in Italy, in Gaul, far away by the pillars that guarded the mouth of Ocean, far away in the inmost recesses of the Inhospitable Sea, wherever he trod, a new Hellas, if we will, a Greater Hellas, sprang into being; on those new shores of Hellas he kept his old Hellenic heart, his old Hellenic fellowship; he still kept the tongue and customs of his folk; he gave to the gods of his folk; he could go to the old land and consult their oracles, he could claim his place in their sacred games, as freely as if he still dwelled by the banks of the Spartan Eurotas or under the shadow of the holy rock of Athens. And how fared he towards the city of his birth, the metropolis, the mother-city of his new home, the birthplace and cradle of himself and his fellow-citizens of his new city? Political tie none remained; no such tie could remain among a system of cities. Parent and child were on the political side necessarily parted; the colonist could exercise no political rights in the mother-city, nor did the mother-city put forward any claim to be lady and mistress of her distant daughter. Still the love, the reverence, due to a parent was never lacking. The tie of memory, the tie of kindred, the tie of religion, were themselves so strong that no tie of political allegiance was needed to make them stronger. The sacred fire on the hearth of the new city was kindled from the hearth of its mother; the parent was honoured with fitting honours, her gods were honoured with fitting offerings; her citizens were welcomed as elder brethren when they visited the younger city. And when the child itself became a parent, when the new city itself sent forth its colonies, the mother-city of all was prayed to share in the work and to send forth elder brethren of her own stock to be leaders in the enterprise of her children." — Freeman's Greater Greece and Greater Britain, pp. 26–29.

(2) Roman Colonae

ROMAN COLONIES. — The Roman system of colonization differed materially from the autonomous settlements of the Greeks. "Colony," as its derivation from the Latin "Colonia" denotes, was originally a plantation of coloni, or farmers, under the protection of the central government it was not an apoikia or a separate state.


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Roman colonies were established by the Roman government as a matter of national policy, and for political and military considerations. In the early history of the Republic, as the Romans gradually subjugated the various Italian races with whom they came into contact, lands of the conquered people were divided among Roman citizens, who were distributed in groups under military protection. When the Etruscans were finally vanquished, numerous military garrisons, which developed into colonies, were founded in various parts of Etruria. The national character of the surviving Etruscans was in that way gradually destroyed, and they were ultimately Romanised. Florentia, one of the towns of Etruria, thus became a leading Roman colony; its greatness under the name of Florence dates from the Middle Ages. So when the Samnites were finally conquered Samnium was laid waste and most of the inhabitants were sold into slavery; their places were supplied by Roman citizens clamouring for land. After the conquest of Cis-Alpine Gaul, Venetia became a Roman dominion; military stations were formed, and the land was divided among the victors, as in the case of Etruria and Samnium. When Trans-Alpine Gaul was brought under the Roman yoke it was divided into four provinces, in each of which was established a military colony. The name and identity of one of them, Lugolunum, situated at the confluence of the Rhone and Saone, still survives in the name of Lyons. Similarly the name and identity of another, Colonia Agrippina, on the Rhine, settled by the Emperor Claudian, is preserved in the modern city of Cologne.

For over three hundred years Britain, like Gaul, was subjected to the dominion of the Roman Empire. At the maturity of Roman occupation (304 A.D.) there were five divisions or provinces. Each of these provinces had a separate local ruler, subject to the Governor-General of Britain, who was appointed by the Emperor under the title of Prefect. This Prefect exercised all but sovereign authority, having supreme military and judicial power. Under the Prefect was a Procurator or Quaestor, who levied taxes and administered the revenue. The chief military and civil power of the Roman Government was centralised in about one hundred cities; the principal being London, Colchester, Bath, Gloucester, Chester, Lincoln, and Chesterfield. Most of these were built on lands which the Emperor had granted to the veterans of the conquering legions. The descendants of these warriors formed the greater part of the population of the cities. The ten largest cities enjoyed a special privilege, called the Jus Latii, an incomplete citizenship, which conferred on them the right to elect their own magistrates. The inferior ones, called Stipendiaries, were governed by officers under the Prefect's authority, and paid tribute to the Emperor — Cassell's History of England, Vol. I, p. 19.

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