Catullus used the Britanni as examples of remote, hairy barbarians (Poem II). In the late fourth century AD, Ausonius published amongst his epigrams the anti-British sentiment: ‘How can a Briton be called “Bonus” (“Good”)? “Matus” (“Drunk”) would be a more suitable name’. Even later, in 417 AD, Rutilius Namatianus thought it suitable to use stock epithets of wildness in referring to the Britons, who live at the edge of the known world. Britain was no longer part of the Roman Empire, and Rutilius was perhaps as entitled to keep alive the ancient commonplace of British wildness, as Catullus had been nearly five hundred years earlier. Britain’s fierce northern tribes and its historic propensity to generate untimely local emperors (Constantine III would be a recent example), did not convey a convincing impression of civility. In spite of centuries of Roman influence and in spite of the blending of Italic and other foreign military elements into the population, Britain was reverting to native Celtic type. Nor was it any more free than other parts of the European empire from the attacks of uncivilised Germanic tribes which even the firmly grafted Mediterranean component of Britain’s population was hardly able to withstand. The Saxons and their associates made a harsh condition of life no more amenable. Their attacks promoted a recrudescence of Celtic tribalism, with its chiefs and warlords who seemed to be needed to resist them effectively. From this time on, Germanic names would appear in company with Celtic personal names in the dramatis personae of British history. The Romanised element would fade into the past.
Much of the history of pre-Roman Britain is based on the evidence of local coinage, imitating models from the Classical oikoumenē and given a stamp of native style. This was a prime