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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces an article in the
Classical Review
Vol. 26 (1912), p70

The text is in the public domain:
T. Rice Holmes died in 1933.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though, please let me know!


p70 An Explanation
To the Editors of the Classical Review.

As I value Professor Haverfield's criticism not less than his approval, I am sorry that he partly misunderstood the article on Portus Itius in my new edition. My opinion does not differ very much from his. He remarks (Classical Review, December, 1911, p257) that I now take the view that Caesar's 'first starting-point was Boulogne, his second Wissant.' But in regard to the second I wrote (p103, n1): 'The balance of probability is greatly in favour of Boulogne'; again (p437), 'My only aim has been to show that the case for Boulogne cannot be regarded as absolutely proved, because, if there is only one real objection, that objection may not safely be ignored. But if there were not one gap in our knowledge, it would perhaps disappear'; and finally (p438), 'unless the question is settled by excavating for traces of the Roman camps, an element of doubt, however slight, will remain.'

The article in this review (May, 1909) to which Professor Haverfield refers was vitiated by a mistaken inference from an answer which an expert had given to a question. With one exception, the critics who had studied the problem (I am speaking of signed reviews) had accepted the article on the same subject in Ancient Britain as conclusive: Mr. Stuart Jones accepted the reasons (pp581‑3) for identifying Caesar's point of departure in 55 B.C. with Boulogne, but in the case of Portus Itius the result seemed to him 'to lack certainty.' As I had already come to the same conclusion myself, I deemed it my duty to say so; but I ought to have waited until I had thought the matter out, in connexion with the detail on which I consulted the expert, as thoroughly as I did in revising Caesar's Conquest of Gaul. I called attention to the flaw and corrected it in the new edition (p436, n1); and in reprinting the essential parts of the article I made (as I pointed out) certain alterations which the correction involved. Any one who has read bothº the article in the C. R. and the new edition will have observed these alterations. The correction weakened the one serious objection which, as I said in the C. R., could be brought against Boulogne, but did not remove it. That is why I believe that 'unless the question is settled by excavating . . . an element of doubt, however slight, will remain.'

T. Rice Holmes.

11, Douro Place, Kensington, W.

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