WHEN Virtue and Fortune had conspir’d, or rather Providence had decreed, that Rome should be Mistress of the world; Caius Julius Cæsar,Julius Cæsar. having conquer’d all Gaule, cast his eye towards the Ocean, as if the Roman world was not large enough: that, having subdu’d all, both by sea and land, he might by Conquests joyn Countries, which Nature had sever’d. And in thePomponius Sabinus, out of Seneca. 54th year before Christ, he made an Expedition into Britain; either provoked by the supplies which had been sent into Gaul during the course of that war, or because they had receiv’d the Bellovaci who retreated hither, or else (as Suetonius writes) excited by the hopes of British Pearls, the weight and bigness whereof he was wont to poise and try in his hand; but rather than all these, for the sake of Glory, since he rejected the offers of the British Embassadors, who, having notice of his design, came to him, and promis’d to give hostages and to be subject to the Roman Empire.
Take the history of his Entrance into the Island, abridg’d, but in his own words. The places, ports, and havens of Britain being not sufficiently known to Cæsar, he sent C. Volusenus before with a Galley; who, having made what discovery he could, return’d to him in five days. The Britains having intelligence of Cæsar’s intended expedition by the merchants, several Cities sent Embassadors into Gaul to offer hostages, and to promise obedience to the Romans. After he had exhorted them to continue firm in that resolution, he dismissed them; together with Comius Atrebatensis, who had great Authority in those parts (for the Atrebates had before left Gaul, and seated themselves there,) and who was to persuade them to continue true and faithful to the Romans. But he, upon his first landing, was imprison’d by the Britains. In the mean time, Cæsar having drawn together about eighty Vessels to bring over two legions, and about eighteen more for the horse, set sail from the country of the Morini, at three in the morning, and about four on the day following arrived in Britain, at a place inconvenient for landing; for the sea was narrow, and so pent in by the Hills, that they could throw their darts from thence upon the shore beneath. Having therefore got wind and tide both favourable, he set sail again, and went about eight miles farther, and there, in a plain and open shore, rid at anchor. The Britains, perceiving his design, dispatch’d away their horses and chariots, to keep the Romans from landing. Here the Romans had one great difficulty: for those large ships could not ride close enough to the shore in that shallow sea; so that the soldiers were forced to leap down from those high Ships in places unknown and under heavy armor, and fight at the same time with the waves and with the enemy. On the other side, the Britains, who knew the place, were free and uncumber’d; and fought either on dry ground, or but a very little way in the water. So that the Romans were daunted, and fought not with the same heart and spirit that they us’d to do. But Cæsar commanded the transport-ships to be remov’d, and the galleys to be row’d up * * Ad apertum latus.just over-against the Britains, and the slings, engines, and arrows to be thence employ’d against them. The Britains, terrify’d with the form of the ships, and the rowing, and the strangeness of the Engines, gave ground. At the same time, an Ensign of the tenth Legion, beseeching the Gods that his design might be for the honour of the Legion (My fellow-soldiers, says he, leap down, unless you will see the Eagle taken by the Enemy; for my own part, I am resolv’d to do my duty to my Country and my General) immediately jump’d out, and advanced with his Eagle towards the enemy; and thereupon all follow’d. (But, if we believe Julian, it was Cæsar himself who first leap’d out.) Now began a resolute fight on both sides; but the Romans, being cumber’d with arms, toss’d with the waves, and wanting footing, and withal confus’d; were in strange disorder, till Cæsarcaesar made the Pinnaces and Boats ply about with recruits to succour them. As-soon as the Romans got sure footing on dry ground, they charg’d the Britains, and quickly put them to flight; but could not pursue them, their horse being not yet arriv’d. The Britains upon this defeat, presently sent Embassadors (and with them Comius Atrebatensis, whom they had imprison’d) to desire peace; laying the fault upon the rabble, and their own imprudence. Cæsar, upon this, easily pardon’d them, commanding hostages to be given; which he receiv’d in part, with a promise to deliver the rest. This peace was concluded the fourth day after his landing in Britain.
At the same time, those eighteen ships wherein the horse were transported, as they came in sight of Britain, were suddenly driven to the westward by stress of weather, and had enough to do to recover the Continent of Gaul. The same night, the moon then at full, the galleys which were drawn to shore, were filled by the tide, and the transport-ships which lay at anchor were so shaken by the storm, that they were altogether unfit for service. This being known to the British Princes (that the Romans wanted horse, ships, and provision,) they revolted, and resolved to hinder them from forraging. But Cæsar, foreseeing all this, took care to bring in Provisions daily, and to repair his fleet with the timber of those twelve which were most shatter’d. While Affairs stood in this posture, the seventh Legion which was sent out to forage, being at their work, was suddenly set upon by the Britains, and encompass’d by their horse and Chariots. Their way of fighting in ChariotsFighting in Chariots. (as I have already observ’d) is this: First, they drive up and down, and fling their darts, and disorder the ranks of the enemy with the terror and noise of their horses and Chariots; and if they once get within the ranks of the horse, they light from their Chariots and fight on foot. The Charioteers draw off a little in the mean time, and place their Chariots so, that in case their masters are over-power’d by the numbers of the enemy, they may readily retreat thither. Thus, they answer at once the speed of the horse, and the steadiness of the foot; and are so expert by daily use and exercise, that on the side of a steep hill they can take up and turn, run along upon the beam, stand upon the yoke, and from thence whip into their Chariots again. But Cæsar coming luckily to their relief, the Romans took heart again, and the Britains stood their ground; who in hopes of freeing themselves for ever (by reason of the small number of the Romans, and the scarcity of provisions among them) got together a great Body, and march’d to the Roman Camp; where Cæsar engag’d them, put them to flight, slew many of them, and burnt all their houses for a great way together. The very same day, the British Embassadors address themselves for peace to Cæsar; and he grants it, doubling their hostages, and commanding them to be sent into Gaul. Soon after, * * Proxima æquinoctii die.the ÆquinoxAequinox equinox being within a day, he set sail from Britain, and arriv’d safe with his whole fleet on the Continent: whither only two Cities of Britain sent their hostages; the rest neglected it. Upon Cæsar’s letters, and his account to the Senate of what he had done, a † † Supplicatio.
Dio. lib.39.procession of twenty days was decreed him; though he had gain’d nothing of consequence, either to himself or Rome, but only the glory of making the Expedition.
The next year, having prepar’d a great fleet (for, including * * Annotinis.transport-ships and private vessels built by particular persons for their own use, it consisted of above 800 sail) with five legions and two thousand horse he set sail from Portus Itius, and landed his army in the same part of the Island where he had landed the foregoing summer. But there was not an enemy to be seen now; for though the Britains had been there in great numbers, yet, terrify’d by this fleet, they had retir’d into the upland country. Here Cæsar encamp’d his army in a convenient Place; leaving ten cohorts, and three hundred horse, to guard the ships. And in the night, marching himself twelve miles into the Country, he found out the Britains, who retreated as far as the river, but gave him battle there; and being repulsed by the Roman cavalry, betook themselves to certain woods, which were fortified by art and nature. But the Romans † † Testudine facta.locking their shields together like a roof close overhead, and raising a mount, took the place, and drove them from the woods; however, they pursu’d them no farther, having a Camp to fortify that night.
The day after, Cæsar sent his army in three bodies to pursue the Britains; but soon recall’d them, upon the news that his fleet was the night before wreckt, torn, and cast upon the shore, by a great storm. So, returning to the ships, he drew them to land in ten days time, and entrench’d them within the circuit of his camp, and then went back to the wood from whence he came. Here the Britains had posted themselves with great reinforcements, under the conduct of Cassivellaun or CassibelinCassibelin., who, by common consent, was made their Prince and General. Their horse and Chariots encounter’d the Romans in their march, with much loss on both sides. After some pause, as the Romans were taken up in fortifying their camp, the Britains fell upon the guards with great fierceness, and charg’d back again through two Cohorts, which, with the flower of two Legions, Cæsar had sent to intercept them; and so made a safe retreat. The day following, the Britains appear’d very thin here and there upon the hills; but at noon, Cæsar having sent out three legions and all his horse, to forage, the Britains fell upon them; but were repulsed with great slaughter. And now those Aids which they had got together, went off and left them; so that the Britains never after encounter’d the Romans with their full strength. From hence, Cæsar marched with his army to the River ThamesThe River Thames., into the territories of Cassivellaun; where, on the other side of the river, he found a great army of the Britains drawn up; having fasten’d sharp stakes in the bottom of the river. However, the Romans wading up to the neck, went over so resolutely, that the Britains quitted their post and fled; but not for fear of tower-back’d Elephants, as PoliænusPoliaenus has it.
Cassivellaun, despairing now of any success by fighting, retains with him only four thousand Charioteers, and resolves to watch the motion of the Romans, sallying out upon their horse, as oft as they happen’d to separate and straggle in foraging; and so he kept them from ranging in the Country. In the mean time the TrinobantesThe Trinobantes. surrender themselves to Cæsar, desiring he would protect MandubratiusMandubratius, also call’d Androgeus. (call’d by Eutropuis and Bede, out of some lost pieces of Suetonius, Androgorius, and by our Britains Androgeus) against Cassivellaun, and send him to be their Governour. Cæsarcaesar sends him, and demands forty hostages, and provision for his army. After their example, the Cenimagni, Segontiaci, Ancalites, Bibroci, and the Cassii, surrender themselves; from whom Cæsar having learnt that Cassivellaun’s town was not far off, fortified with woods and fens; he goes and assaults it in two places. The Britains fly out at another side; yet many of them are taken in the flight, and cut off.
In the mean time, at the command of Cassivellaun, four petty Kings of Kent, Cingetorix, Carvilius, Taximagulus, and Segonax, fell upon the Camp in which the Romans had intrench’d their Shipping; but the Romans issu’d out, and beat them off, taking Cingetorix Prisoner. Cassivellaun, after so many defeats (but mov’d more particularly by the revolt of those Cities) sent Embassadors, with Comius Atrebatensis, to Cæsar, to treat of surrendring. Cæsar, having resolv’d to winter on the continent, demands hostages, and appoints a yearly tribute to be paid from Britain to the Romans, ordering Cassivellaun to do nothing prejudicial to Mandubratius, or the Trinobantes; and so transports his whole army, with a great number of captives, at two embarkments. Thus much from Cæsar, of his own War in Britain.
Eutropius, from some pieces of Suetonius which are now lost, adds farther:
Scævascaeva one of Cæsar’s soldiers, and four more with him, came over before in a little ship to a rock near the Island, and were there left by the tide. The Britains in great numbers fell upon these few Romans; yet his companions got back again. Scæva continues undaunted, overcharg’d with weapons on all sides; first, resisting them with his spear, and after with his sword, single against a multitude. And when he was at length weary and wounded, and had lost both helmet and buckler, he swam off with two * * Loricis.coats of mail to Cæsar’s Camp; where he begg’d pardon for his rashness, and had the honour to be made a Centurion.
WhenAthenæus. Cæsar first came into this Island, he was so moderate, and so far from the pomp and state of the present age, that Cotas (who was the greatest Officer in his camp but one) tells us in his Greek Commentary concerning the Commonwealth of Rome, that all his retinue was but three servants. When he was in Britain, says Seneca, and could not endure that his greatness should be confin’d within the Ocean, he had the news of his daughter’s death, and † † Publica secum fata ducentum.
Pliny.the publick calamities like to follow thereupon; yet he soon overcame his grief, as he did every thing else. Returning Conqueror from Britain, he offer’d to Venus Genetrix in her Temple, a Corslet of British Pearls.Servius Honoratus. Some of his British Captives he appointed for the Theater, with certain tapestry-hangings wherein he had represented his British Victories. These were often taken away by the Britains, being the People represented in them; and hence that of Virgil;
Purpurea intexti tollant aulæa Britanni.
And how the tap’stry where themselves are wrought,
The British slaves pull down.——
AndIn the Gardens of Cardinal de Carpento. the Britains were not only appointed to serve the Theater, but also (to note this by the by) the Emperor’s Sedan; as appears by an old Inscription of that age, which makes mention of a Decurio over the British * * Lecticariorum.Sedan-men. Of this Conquest of Cæsar’s, an ancient Poet writes thus,
Vis invicta viri reparata classe Britannos
Vicit, & hostiles Rheni compescuit undas.
Unconquer’d force! his fleet new rigg’d o’recame
The British Troops, and Rhine’s rebellious Stream.
Hither, also may be referr’d that of Claudian, concerning the Roman valour:
Nec stetit oceano, remisque ingressa profundum,
Vincendos alio quæsivit in orbe Britannos.
Nor stop’d he here, but urg’d the boundless flood,
And sought new British Worlds to be subdu’d.
Moreover, Cicero in a Poem now lost, intitl’d QuadrigæQuadrigae, extols Cæsar for his exploits in Britain, to the very skies, and as it were in a poetical chariot: and this we have upon the authority of Ferrerius Pedemontanus. For thus he writes, I will draw Britain in your colours, but with my own pencil. However, others are of opinion, that he only frighted the Britains by one successful battle; or, as Lucan says, who indeed had no kindness for Cæsar’s Family,
Territa quæsitis ostendit terga Britannis.
Fled from the Britains whom his arms had fought.
And Tacitus, a grave and solid Author writes, that he did not conquer Britain, but only shew’d it to the Romans. Horace hints, as if he scarce touch’d it; when, flattering Augustus, he says, the Britains remained untouch’d,
Intactus aut Britannus ut descenderet
Sacra catenatus via.
Or Britains yet untouch’d, in chains shou’d come,
To grace thy triumph, through the streets of Rome.
Te manet invictus Romano Marte Britannus.
Britain, that scorn’d the yoak of our command,
Expects her fate from your victorious hand.
So far is that of the Court-historian Velleius Paterculus from being true; Cæsar pass’d twice through Britain; since it was hardly enter’d by him. For, many years after this expedition of Cæsar, the IslandDio. was subject to its own Kings, and govern’d by its own Laws.
AugustusAugustus. seems industriously to have neglected this Island; for he reckon’d it a kind of † † Concilium.Decree, as Tacitus says (and perhaps he thought it the wisest way) That the Roman Empire should be bounded, i.e. that the Ocean, the Istre, and the Euphrates, were the limits which nature had set it: To the end it might be an adamantine Empire (for so AugustusIn the Cæsars. expresses it in Julian) and not, like a ship which is too big, prove unweildy, and sink under its own weight; as it has usually happen’d to other great States. Or else, as Strabo thinks, he contemn’d it, as if its enmity was not worth the fearing, nor any thing in it worth the having; and it was thought, that no small damage might be done them by those other Countreys about it. But, whatever might be the cause, this is certain, that after Julius had been here, and the Civil Wars of the Empire broke out, Britain for a long while was not regarded by the Romans, even in peaceful times. Yet at last, Augustus was on his Journey from Rome to invade Britain. Whereupon, Horace at that time addresses himself to the Goddess Fortune at Antium;
Serves iturum Cæsarem in ultimos
Preserve great Cæsarcaesar, while his arms he bends
To seek new foes in Britains farthest lands.
But, after he had got as far as Gaul, the Britains sent their addresses for peace; and some petty Princes, having obtained his favour by EmbassiesStrabo. and by good offices, made oblations in the Capitol, and rendred almost the whole Island intimate and familiar to the Romans; so that they paid all imposts very contentedly, as they do at this day, for such commodities as were convey’d, to and fro, beween Gaul and Britain. These were, ivory, bridles, * * Torques.Chains, amber, and glass Vessels, and such common sort of ware. And therefore there needed no garrison in the Island. For it would require at least one Legion and some horse, if Tribute was to be rais’d; and that would hardly defray the charge of the Forces; for the imposts must necessarily be lessen’d, if a tribute was impos’d; and when violent courses are once taken, danger is never far off. The next year likewise, he intended a descent upon Britain, for breach of treaty; but he was diverted by an insurrection of the Cantabri and others in Spain. And therefore there is no reason to believe Landinus Servius, or Philargyrus, who would conclude that Augustus triumph’d over the Britains, from those verses of Virgil:
Et duo rapta manu diverso ex hoste trophæa
Bisque triumphatas utroque à littore gentes.
Gain’d from two foes two trophies in his hands,
Two nations conquer’d on the neighbouring strands.
To that Submission of the Britains, without question, this of Horace relates:
Cælo tonantem credidimus Jovem
Regnare; præsens divus habebitur
Augustus, adjectis Britannis
Imperio, gravibusque Persis.
When thundring Jove we heard before,
Trembling we own’d his heavenly power.
To Cæsar now we’ll humbly bow,
Cæsar’s a greater god below.
When conquer’d Britain sheaths her sword,
And haughty Persia calls him Lord.
TiberiusTiberius. (no way ambitious to extend the bounds of the Empire,) seems to have follow’d the policy of Augustus; for he produc’d a book written with Augustus’s own hand, containing the Revenue of the Empire; how many citizens and allies were in arms, and the number of fleets, kingdoms, provinces, tributes, or imposts belonging to the State; with his advice at last, of keeping the Empire within bounds. Which, as Tacitus says, pleas’d him so well, that he made no attempt upon Britain, nor kept any Forces there. For where Tacitus reckons up the Legions, and in what countreys they were garrison’d at that time, he makes no mention of Britain. Yet the Britains seem to have continued in amity with the Romans; For Germanicus being on a voyage at that time, and some of his men driven by stress of weather upon this Island, the petty Princes sent them home again.
It is evident enough, that Caius CæsarC. Caligula. design’d to invade this Island; but his own fickle and unsteady temper, and the ill success of his great armies in Germany, prevented it. ForSuetonius in Caligula. to the end he might terrifie Britain and Germany (both which he threaten’d to invade) with the fame of some prodigious work, he made a bridge between the BaiæBaiae and the Piles of Puteoli, three thousand six hundred paces in length. But he did nothing more in this expedition, than receive AdminiusAdminius. the son of Cunobellin, a King of the Britains, who was banish’d by his father, and had fled with a small number of men, and surrender’d himself to the Emperor. Upon that, as if the whole Island had been also surrender’d, he wrote boasting letters to Rome, often charging the Express that was sent, to drive up * * Ad forum atque Curiam.into the very Forum and Senate-House, and not to deliver them but in Mars’s Temple and in a full Senate, to the Consuls. AfterwardDio., marching forward to the Ocean (as if he design’d a descent upon Britain) he drew up his army on the shore; and then † † Triremi conscensâ.taking ship and launching out a little, returned, and being seated in a high pulpit, gave the signal for battle, commanding an alarm to be sounded; and on a sudden ordered the soldiers to gather shells. With these spoils (for he wanted those of the enemy wherewith to triumph) he pleased himself as if he had conquered the very Ocean; and so having rewarded his soldiers, he brought the shells to Rome, that his booty might be seen and admir’d there. And in memory of his victory, he built a very high tower;Pharus. from which, as from a watch-tower, there might be lights kept for the direction of sailors in the night. The ruins of it are sometimes seen on the coast of Holland at low water; and it is called by the people thereabouts Britenhuis; where they often find stones with Inscriptions, one of which was C.C.P.F. and is interpreted by them, I know not how truly, Caius Caligula Pharum Fecit. But more of this, in the British Islands.
From hence-forwardClaudius., the inner parts of Britain (defeated by civil factions of their own rather than by the power of the Romans, and after much slaughter on both sides,) fell by little and little under the subjection of the Empire. For, while they fought singly one by one, all were conquer’d in the end; being so bent upon their own destruction, that till they were all subdued, they were not sensible that what any part lost, was a loss to the whole. Nay, such was the power of ambition among some of them, that it corrupted and drew them over to the enemy’s side, making them zealous for the Roman interest to the destruction of their own country. The chief of these was BericusBericus., who perswaded Claudius to invade Britain (which no one had attempted since J. Cæsar,) being then embroiled by faction and civil wars; upon pretence of their protecting certain fugitives. Claudius therefore orders Aulus Plautius the PrætorAulus Plautius.Praetor, to lead an army into Britain, who had much difficulty to get the soldiers out of France; for they took it ill,Dio. that they were to carry on a war in another world; and drew out the time with delays. But when Narcissus, who was sent to them by Claudius, mounted the Tribunal of Plautius, and began to speak to them; the soldiers were so offended at it, that they fell into the common Cry, Jo Saturnalia (for it is a custom, during the Saturnalia, for the slaves to celebrate that feast in the habit of their masters,) and forthwith followed Plautius chearfully. Having divided his army into three bodies, lest, all arriving in one place, they might possibly be hindred from landing; they were driven back by contrary winds, and so found some difficulty, in Transporting. Yet taking heart again (by reason a meteor run from east to west, whither they were sailing,) they arrived at the Island without any disturbance. For the Britains, upon the news of what I have already mentioned, imagining they would not come, had neglected to muster; and therefore, without uniting, withdrew into their fens and woods, hoping to frustrate the enemy’s design, and wear them out with delays, as they had serv’d CæsarCaesar. Plautius therefore was at much trouble to find them out. After he had found them (they were not then free, but subject to several Kings) he first overcame Cataratacus, and after him Togodumnus, the sons of Cynobelline who was then dead. These flying before him, part of the Bodunni surrender’d, who at that time were subject to the Catuellani. Leaving a garrison there, he went on to a certain river; and the barbarians thinking it impassable by the Romans without a bridge, lay careless and negligent in their Camp on the other side. Plautius therefore sends the Germans over, being accustomed to swim through the strongest current in their arms. These falling upon the enemy by surprise, struck not at the men, but altogether at the horses in their chariots; which being once disorder’d, the men were not able to sit them. Next to them, he made Flavius Vespasianus who was afterwards Emperor, and his brother Sabinus a Lieutenant, march over; who by surprise pass’d the river, and cut off many of the Britains. However, the rest did not fly, but engaged them so resolutely next day, that it continued a doubt which way the victory inclin’d; till C. Sidius Geta, after he had been well-nigh taken by the enemy, gave them such a Defeat, that the honour of a Triumph was granted him at Rome for this great service, though he had never been Consul. From hence, the Barbarians drew back towards the mouth of the Thames, where it stagnates by the flowing of the tide; and being acquainted with the nature of the places (which were firm and fordable, and which not,) passed it easily; whereas the Romans in pursuing them, ran great hazards. However, the Germans swimming, and the others getting over by a bridge above, they set upon the Barbarians, and killed great numbers of them; but in the heat of the pursuit, they fell among bogs and lost many of their own men. Upon this indifferent success, and because the Britains were so far from being daunted at the death of Togodumnus, that they made preparations, with greater fury, to revenge it, Plautius went no farther; but fearing the worst, took care to secure what he had already got, and sent to Rome for Claudius; being commanded so to do, if affairs were in a dangerous condition. For this expedition, among much equipage and preparations of other kinds. ElephantsElephants. were also provided. Claudius, upon receiving this news, commits the government of affairs Civil and Military to Vitellius his fellow-Consul (for he had put him in that office with himself, for six months:) And now he sails from the City to Ostia, and from thence to Marseilles, and so on, the rest of his journey, partly by land, and partly by sea, till he came to the Ocean: then he sail’d over into Britain; where he went directly to his forces that were expecting him at the Thames. Having taken upon himself the command of the army, he pass’d the river, and upon a set battle with the enemy, who were posted there to receive him, obtained the victory, took Camalodunum, the Royal seat of Cunobellin, and a great number therein, prisoners; many by force, and others by surrender. Upon this, he was several times greeted Emperor; a thing, contrary to the Roman practice: for it was not lawful for a General to assume that title above once in one war. To conclude, Claudius having disarmed the Britains, leaves Plautius to govern them, and to subdue the rest; and returns himself to Rome, having sent Pompeius and Silanus, his sons-in-law, before him, with the news of his victory. Thus Dio. But Suetonius says, that he had part of the Island surrender’d to him, without the hazard of a battle or the expence of blood. His stay in Britain was about sixteen days; and in that time he remitted to the British Nobility the Confiscation of their goods; for which favour they frequented his temple, and adored him as a God. And now, after six months absence, he returns to Rome. It was esteemed so great an Action to conquer but a small part of Britain, that anniversary games, triumphal arches both at Rome and at Bullogne in Gaul, and lastly, a glorious triumph, were decreed by the Senate, in honour of Claudius: at which, the Governours of the Provinces, and also some outlaws, were permitted to come into the City, and be present. Upon the top of the Emperor’s Palace, was fixed a naval crown, to imply his conquest and sovereignty of the British sea. The Provinces contributed golden crowns; Gallia Comata one of nine pound weight, and the hither-Spain one of seven. His entry into the Capitol was by steps, and upon his knees, supported by his sons-in-law on each side; and he enter’d the Adriatick sea, triumphant, in a great house, rather than in a ship. The first seat was allowed to his consort Messalina; and it was farther decreed by the Senate, that she should be carried in a * * Carpento.Chariot. After this, he made triumphal games, taking the Consulship upon him for that end. These were shewn at once in two Theatres; and many times upon his going out, they were committed to the charge of others. He promis’d as many Horse-races as could be run that day; yet they were in all but ten matches; for between every course there was bear-baiting, wrestling, and pyrrhick dancing by boys sent out of Asia on purpose. He also bestow’d triumphal † † Ornamenta.honours upon Valerius Asiaticus, Julius Silanus, Sidius Geta, and others, for this victory. Licinius Crassus Frugi was allowed to ride next after him, his horse in trappings, and himself in * * Veste palmatâ.a robe of date-tree-work. Upon Posidius Spado he bestow’d † † Hastam puram.a Spear without an head; to C. Gavius he gave chains, bracelets, horse-trappings, and a crown of gold; as may be seen in an antient marble at * * Taurini.Turin.
In the mean time, Aulus Plautius carry’d on the war with such success, that Claudius decreed him an Ovation, and went to receive him at his entry into the City; giving him the right-hand, both as he rid to the Capitol, and return’d from it. And now VespasianVespasian. began to appear in the world; who being by Claudius made an Officer in the Wars of Britain, partly under Claudius himself, and partly under Plautius, fought the enemy thirty times, subdu’d two of their most potent Nations, took above twenty towns, and conquer’d the Isle of Wight.Sueton. in Vespasian. c.4. Upon this account, he was honour’d with triumphal Ornaments, and twice with the Priesthood in a short time: and also with the Consulship, which he enjoy’d the two last months of the year. Here also Titus serv’d as Tribune under his father, with the reputation of a laborious and valiant soldier (for he set his father at liberty, when besieg’d by the enemy;) and he was no less famous for his character of Modesty;Sueton. Titus. c.4. as appears by the number of his ¦ ¦ Imaginum.Statues, and the Inscriptions of them, throughout Germany and Britain. What was transacted afterwards in Britain, till the latter end of Domitian’s reign, Tacitus (who is best able) shall inform you. P. Ostorius, ProprætorPropraetorP. Ostorius, Proprætor. in Britain, found affairs in great disorder, by reason of the many inroads into the territories of our Allies; and those the more outragious, because they did not expect that a General but newly made, and unacquainted with the army, would take the field to oppose them in the beginning of winter. But Ostorius, sensible how much first Events would either sink or raise his reputation, set out against them with such Troops as were at hand; put those who resisted him to the sword, and pursu’d the rest who were dispersed and routed, that they might not rally and unite again. And because a treacherous and slight peace would be no security to the General or his Army, he prepared to disarm the suspicious, and to post his forces upon the rivers Antona and Sabrina, to check them upon all occasions. But first, the IceniIceni. could not brook this, a potent nation, and not yet shaken by the wars; having before sought the friendship of the Romans. By their example, the bordering nations rise likewise; encamping in a convenient place fenc’d with an earthen rampier, and accessible by a narrow passage only, to prevent the entrance of the horse. The Roman General, though without his Legions, drew up his Auxiliary troops to force the Camp; and, having posted his Foot to the best advantage, brought up the Horse likewise for the same service. The signal being given, they forc’d the rampart, and disorder’d the Enemy pent up and hinder’d by their own * * Claustris.entrenchments. However, they defended themselves with great valour, being conscious of their own baseness in revolting, and sensible that their escape was impossible. M. Ostorius, the Lieutenant’s son, had the honour of saving a citizen in this battle.
By this defeat of the Iceni, other States that were then wavering, were confirm’d and settled; and so he march’d with his army among the CangiCangi., wasting the fields, and ravaging the Country. Nor durst the enemy engage us; but, if by ambuscade they happen’d to fall upon our rear, they suffer’d for their treachery. And now he was advanc’d * * Quod hyberniam Insulam aspectat.as far almost as the Irish Sea, when a sedition among the BrigantesBrigantes. recall’d him; resolving to make no new conquests, till he had secur’d the old. The Brigantes were soon quieted; a few who had taken up arms being put to death, and the rest pardoned. But the Silures were not to be reclaim’d by severity or mercy; and therefore a Legion was encamp’d there, to awe and restrain them. To further this, CamalodunumThe Colony of Camalodunum., a Roman Colony, with a strong body of Veterans, was planted in the new conquests; as an Aid in readiness upon any revolt, and a means to inure their Allies to law and order. Some cities were given to King Cogidunus; according to an ancient custom of the Romans, that Kings themselves might be their tools to enslave others.
From hence they marched into the country of the Silures; who, besides their own natural fierceness, rely’d much upon the valour of CaractacusCaractacus., eminent above all the Commanders in Britain, by his long experience in affairs both doubtful and prosperous. He, knowing the Country better than the Enemy, and being at the head of a weaker army, removes the war into the territories of the OrdovicesOrdovices., drawing to his assistance all such as were averse to Peace; and there he resolves to try his last fortune, posting himself so, that the passes, retreats, and all other things were on his side, and the disadvantages all on ours. No access, but by steep mountains; and where they were passable, block’d up with stones as with a rampier, and a river before him, the fords whereof were difficult and uncertain, and these guarded by his † † Majorum, in the Margin Nationum.best troops. Besides, their several commanders went up and down, confirming and encouraging the soldiers, with the great hopes of victory, and the little reason to doubt of success, and such like motives. Caractacus, riding up and down, put them in mind, that this was the Day, and this the Engagement, that would either begin their liberty or their bondage for ever; reciting the names of their ancestors, who had driven CæsarCaesar the Dictator out of Britain; whose Valour hitherto had preserv’d Them from slavery and taxes, and the Bodies of their wives and children from dishonour. The soldiers, inflam’d with these speeches, bound themselves by mutual vows, after their respective Rites, that neither weapons nor wounds should ever make them yield. This Courage and Resolution amaz’d the Roman General: a river to cross, a rampier on the other side, steep mountains in the way; every thing terrible, and strongly guarded; all this quite daunted him. However, his army clamour’d to be led on, crying, that nothing was impregnable to Valour; which zeal was the more encreas’d by the outcry of the * * Præfecti as Tribuni.Officers to the same purpose. Ostorius, observing what passes might be won, and what not, leads them on in this fury, and passes the river without any great difficulty. Being advanc’d to the rampier, while the darts play’d on both sides, we lost more men, and had more wounded. But the Romans, † † Facta testudine.closing their ranks and their targets over-head, threw down that loose and irregular pile of stones, and engaging them hand to hand, forced them to the tops of the mountains, whither they were pursued by the Soldiers, ¦ ¦ Ferentarius, gravisque miles.of heavy as well as light Armour: the light gall’d them with darts, the other, pressing up thick and close, put them into disorder; having neither head-piece nor coat of mail to defend them. If they made a stand against the Auxiliaries, they fell under the sword and * * Pilis.Javelins of the Legionaries; if they faced about to the Legionaries, they were cut off † † Spatis & hastis.by the swords and pikes of the Auxiliaries. This was an entire victory: Caractacus’s wife and daughter were taken; and his Brothers surrender’d themselves. He (as one mischief ever falls upon the neck of another) craving the protection of Cartismandua Queen of the Brigantes, was seiz’d by her, and delivered to the Conqueror, in the ninth year of the British war. Upon this, his renown spread in the Island, and in the provinces adjoyning; so that his name grew famous in Italy; where they long’d to see who he was, that for so many years had defy’d the mighty power of the Empire. Nay, the name of Caractacus was not inglorious at Rome itself: And Cæsar, by extolling his own victory, made the Captive more eminent. For the people were called together, as to somewhat great and wonderful. The Emperor’s guards were drawn up in the plain before their Camp. Then came the King’s vassals and retinue, his trappings, chains, and other trophies, acquir’d in foreign wars; next, his brothers, his wife, and daughter; and last of all, himself. The address of others was base and mean, through fear; but Caractacus, not dejected either in Looks, or Words, spoke to this purpose, as he stood at Cæsar’s Tribunal.
If the moderation of my mind in prosperity, had been answerable to my Quality and Fortune, I might have come a friend rather than a captive, into this city; and you, without dishonour, might have been Confederates to one, royally descended, and then at the head of many nations. As to my present condition; to me it is disgraceful, to you it is glorious. I had horses, men, arms, riches; why is it strange that I should be unwilling to part with them? But since your power and Empire must be universal, we of course, as well as all others, must be subject. If I had forth-with yielded, neither my fortune, nor your glory, had been so eminent in the world. My grave would have buried the memory of it, as well as me. Whereas, if you suffer me to live now, I shall stand an everlasting monument of your Clemency.
Upon this speech, Cæsar pardon’d not only him, but his wife and brothers; and being all unbound, they made their addresses to Agrippina (with the like commendation and reverence as they had done to Cæsar;) she sitting in another high Chair at no great distance. A thing strange and unknown to our Fore-fathers, that a woman should sit commanding at the head of the Roman troops. But she carried her self like a partner and associate in the Empire, as gotten by the valour of her Ancestors. After this, the Senators being called together, made many glorious speeches concerning their Prisoner Caractacus; asserting it to be no less great, than when P. Scipio shewed Siphaces; or L. Paulus, Perses; or whoever else shew’d captive Kings to the People. To Ostorius they decreed the honour of a Triumph.
These Victories in Britain are related by Writers, as the most famous monuments of the Roman Bravery. Hence Seneca. Claudius was the first who could glory in conquering the Britains; for Julius Cæsarcaesar did no more than shew them to the Romans. In another place also,
Jussit, & ipsum
’Twas he, whose all-commanding yoke,
The farthest Britains gladly took ;
Him the Brigantes in blue arms ador’d,
When subject waves confess’d his power,
Restrain’d with laws they scorn’d before,
And trembling Neptune serv’d a Roman Lord.
And thus Seneca the Tragedian concerning Claudius, in his Octavia,
Terga dedere, ducibus nostris
Ante ignoti, jurisque sui.
The haughty Britains he brought down,
The Britains to our arms unknown,
Before, and masters of their own.
In the same place likewise, upon his passing the Thames.
En qui oræ Tamisis primus posuit jugum.
Ignota tantis classibus texit freta,
Interque gentes barbaras tutus fuit,
Et sæva maria, conjugis scelere occidit.
See! he whom first Thames stubborn stream obey’d,
Who unknown seas with spreading navies hid,
Secure thro’ waves, thro’ barb’rous foes is come,
Heavens! to be murder’d by his wife at home.
Thus ÆgesippusAEgesippus also, concerning Claudius. Of this, Britain is an instance; which, lying out of the world, is by the power of the Roman Empire reduced into the world. What was unknown to former ages, is discovered by the Roman victories; and they are now made slaves, who being born to freedom, knew not what servitude meant; who were the whole breadth of the Ocean beyond the reach of any Superior power, and knew not what fear was, because they knew none to be afraid of. So that to make a descent upon Britain, was a greater action than to subdue it. In another place. He added Britain (till that time lying hid in the Ocean) to the Roman Empire, by his conquests; which enrich’d Rome, and gave Claudius the reputation of a politick Prince, and Nero of a fortunate one. And again, which is the most remarkable: The Elements themselves are fallen under the Name and Empire of the Romans, who are Soveraigns of the whole globe, which is but the bound and limit of their Dominions: and to conclude, it is call’d by many, The Roman world. For if we state the matter right, the Earth it self is not of great extent as the Roman Empire; the Roman Valour has pass’d the sea (the bounds of it) in search of another world, and has found in Britain a new seat, beyond the limits of the earth. So that, in short, when we would deprive men, not only of the priviledges of Rome, but in a manner of the conversation of mankind, we send them thither, and banish them out of the world. The sea is no longer a Bound; the Romans know all its corners and recesses. Josephus also, in the person of Titus, to the Jews. What stronger wall and bulwark can there be, than the Ocean? And yet this cannot guard the Britains against the apprehensions of the Roman arms.
Moreover, we have some verses upon this subject, written by an excellent but unknown Poet, and retriev’d by the famous Joseph Scaliger, in his Catalecta; which, being not easy to be met with, I will here insert: for the verses are truly valuable. That the Epigrams are distinct, and therefore to be sever’d, J. Obsopæus,Obsopaeus a very learned young Gentleman in Germany, * * So said, ann. 1607.lately inform’d me from some old manuscripts.
Antonius Delrio reads otherwise in some places; for which reason I have set down the various lections.Ausoniis nunquam tellus violata triumphis,
Icta tuo, Cæsar, fulmine procubuit.
Oceanusque tuas ultra se * * Prospicit.respicit aras,
Qui finis mundo est, † † Nunc erit.non erit imperio.
Victa prius nulli, jamjam spectata triumpho,
Illibata tuos gens jacet in titulos.
Fabula visa diu, medioque recondita ponto
Libera victori jam modò colla dedit.
Euphrates Ortus, Rhenus * * Recluserat.incluserit arctos,
Oceanus medium venit in imperium.
Libera non hostem, non passa Britannia Regem,
Æternùm nostro quæ procul orbe jacet,
Fœlix adversis, & sorte oppressa secunda,
Communis nobis, & tibi, Cæsar, erit.
Ultima cingebat Tibris tua, Romule, regna:
Hic tibi finis erat, religiose Numa.
Et tua, Dive, tuum sacrata potentia cœlo
Extremum citra constitit Oceanum.
At nunc oceanus geminos interluit orbes.
Pars est imperii, terminus antè fuit.
Mars pater, & nostræ gentis tutela Quirine,
Et magno positus Cæsar uterque polo.
Cernitis ignotos Latiâ sub lege Britannos,
Sol citra nostrum flectitur imperium.
Ultima cesserunt adoperto claustra profundo.
Et jam Romano † † Cingitur.cingimur Oceano.
Opponis frustra rapidum Germania Rhenum,
Euphrates prodest nil tibi, Parthe fugax.
Oceanus jam terga dedit, nec pervius ulli,
Cæsareos fasces, imperiumque tulit.
Illa procul nostro semota, exclusaque cœlo,
Alluitur nostra victa Britannis aqua,
* * Semoto. Semota, & vasto disjuncta Britannia ponto,
Cinctaque inaccessis horrida littoribus:
Quam pater invictis Nereus vallaverit undis,
Quam fallax æstu circuit Oceanus.
Brumalem sortita † † Polum.plagam: quà frigida semper
Præfulget stellis Arctos in occiduis.
Conspectúque tuo devicta Britannia, Cæsar,
Subdidit insueto colla premenda jugo.
Aspice, confundit populos impervia tellus,
Conjunctum est, quod adhuc orbis, & orbis erat.
Nations, that never fear’d triumphant Rome,
Struck with thy thunder, Cæsarcaesar, are o'recome.
The subject Ocean does with wonder see
Beyond his limits, altars rais’d to thee.
And the last borders of the farthest land,
Shall ne’er contract the bounds of thy command.
A land now conquer’d, and untouch’d till now,
Crowns with new lawrels thy triumphant brow.
Nations unseen, and scarce believ’d as yet,
To thy victorious yoke their neck submit.
Euphrates th’ East, Rhine clos’d the North before,
The Ocean now’s the middle of thy power.
Unus’d to serve, unknowing to obey,
The farthest Britains, who in silence lay,
Now, to their better fortune overcome,
Encrease the same of Cæsar, and of Rome.
Thy lands did Tiber, Romulus, inclose,
And pious Numa was content with those.
But you, great Cæsar, made your heavenly power
Reach to the Ocean from the farthest shore.
The Ocean too, now sees new worlds beyond,
And that’s the middle, which was once the end.
Mars and Quirinus, whose peculiar care
Victorious Rome, and all her fortunes are,
And you, great Cæsar’s, each a glorious star;
Our laws, you see, the farthest Britains own,
Our realm’s not bounded with the setting Sun.
The world’s great limits to our arms give way,
And the vast Ocean’s but the Roman Sea.
In vain you Germans pass the rapid Rhine,
You Parthians trust Euphrates streams in vain:
When th’ Ocean trembles at the Roman sword,
And, with due reverence, owns its conquering Lord.
Britain, excluded from our warmer clime,
Is now surrounded with a Roman stream;
Whose horrid cliffs, unfathom’d seas inclose,
And craggy rocks contemn invading foes.
By Neptune’s watry arms, with walls supplied,
And ever wet with the insulting tide.
Where frozen fields eternal winter mourn,
And Stars once risen, never can return.
By thee, great Cæsar, with a look ’tis won,
And bears thy yoke, a burden yet unknown.
Thus friends in lands impassable we find,
Thus the two worlds are in one Empire joyn’d.
To go on in the words of Tacitus. Thus far Ostorius went on successfully; but now his fortune began to turn; either because the war began to be carried on less vigorously, as if it was now at an end upon Caractacus’s removal; or else because the enemy, in compassion to so great a Prince, were animated with revenge. They surrounded the Camp-masters, and the Legionary Cohorts, who were left behind to build forts in the country of the Silures; and, if they had not been timely rescued by succours from the castles and villages adjoining, they had been entirely cut off. However, the Camp-master, with eight captains, and the most eager and forward among the common soldiers, were slain. A while after, they put our foragers to flight, and also a body of horse that was sent to their assistance. Upon this, Ostorius sent out some light Companies; which yet could not have stop’d their flight, if the Legions had not advanced, and received the enemy. By this supply, the battle was equal on both sides; and at length we had the better: The enemy got off with small loss, for it was now towards night. After this, they had several skirmishes; generally in woods and marshes, upon the incursions of the one or the other, by accident or by design; sometimes to rob and pillage, sometimes to revenge; sometimes by their Officer’s command, and sometimes without. But the chief Cause, was the implacable obstinacy of the Silures, who were exasperated at a saying of the Roman General, that as the Sugambri were destroyed and transported into Gaul, so the name of the Silures should be utterly extinguish’d. In this heat, two companies of our auxiliaries, sent out rashly by some greedy officers to pillage, were intercepted by them; and they, by distributing the spoil and the prisoners, drew the other nations also to revolt. In this posture of affairs Ostorius dies, being quite spent with fatigue and trouble: The enemy rejoyc’d at his death, as a General no way contemptible; and the rather, because though he did not fall in battle, he expir’d under the burthen of that war.
Propraetor Cæsar, having advice of the death of his Lieutenant; lest the Province should be destitute of a Governour, sent A. DidiusDidius Avitus Gallus Proprætor. to succeed. His voyage thither was quick, but he found not things in the condition he desir’d. Manlius Valens with his Legion had fought the enemy with great loss; and they magnified their victory, to daunt the new General: He himself likewise magnified it; that he might gain the more reputation if he quieted the present troubles; and might more easily be pardon’d, if he did not. The Silures took their advantage now, and made large Incursions; till at last they were driven back by Didius.
About this time, died Claudius; and NeroNero., who was not at all of a warlike temper, succeeding him, thought to draw his forces out of Britain; and if it had not been for the shame of seeming to detract from Claudius’s glory, he had certainly recall’d them. Caractacus being taken prisoner, VenutiusVenutius., who was born in the City of the * * Forte Brigantium, in the margin.Jugantes (the most experienc’d soldier of the Britains, who had been long protected by the Romans, and been faithful to them, during his marriage with Queen Cartismandua) revolts from us, upon a misunderstanding with her; which Revolt grew at last into open war. At first, the quarrel was between themselves only; and Venutius’s brother and relations were cut off by the contrivance of Cartismandua: This action incens’d her Enemies, and, out of indignation at the thoughts of being govern’d by a Woman, they invaded her kingdom with a strong body of arm’d and choice Youth. We, foreseeing this, sent some forces thither to assist her; who came to a sharp fight, which at first was doubtful, but at last prosperous on our side. A legion also commanded by Cesius Nasica came off with the like good success. For Didius, being very old, and much honour’d for his bravery and conduct, thought it sufficient to manage the war by his Officers. What had been conquer’d by his predecessors, he took care to keep; enlarging the extent of his frontier-garrisons a little, that he might be said to have made some addition to the old Conquests. Though these things were transacted under two Proprætors, Ostorius and Didius, in many years; yet I have given this joint account of them, lest the stories should be worse apprehended by being divided.
Didius Avitus was succeeded by VeranniusVerannius
Proprætor., who after some small Incursions into the Country of the Silures, was hinder’d by death from carrying the war further. He had the character of a severe General in his life-time, but shew’d himself Vain and Ambitious by the last words of his Will. For after much flattery to Nero, he added, that if he had liv’d two years longer, he would have conquer’d the Provinces.
Paulinus SuetoniusPaulinus Suetonius Proprætor. was the next Proprætor of Britain. Propraetor For his conduct, and reputation among the People (who are ever making comparisons) he was equal to Corbulo, and ambitious to come up to his honour in reducing Armenia, by defeating the Rebels here. He prepared therefore to invade the Isle of Mona,The Island of Mona. which was well peopled, and had been a constant harbour for fugitives. For this end, he built flat bottom’d vessels, because that Sea is shallow, and, towards the shore, dangerous. Thus the foot pass’d over; the horse follow’d by the ford, or by swimming where the water was deep: The Enemy stood arm’d on the shore to receive them, very thick and numerous; the women running up and down like furies, in a mourning dress, with their hair hanging loose, and firebrands in their hands; and the DruidsDruids. round them, holding up their hands towards heaven, with dreadful curses and imprecations. This strange sight amaz’d the soldiers, who stood still, as if they had lost the use of their limbs, and like men who were only to receive the wounds of the enemy. But, encouraged by their General, and exhorting one another not to fear a rout of Women and frantick people; they display’d their Colours and march’d on, defeating all that oppos’d them, and beating them down, and rowling them in their own fires. After this, they garrison’d * * Vicis al. victis.the towns of the Island, and cut down the Groves, consecrated to their superstitious and cruel Rites. For they thought it lawful to offer the blood of Captives upon their Altars; and to consult their Gods by the † † Fibris.Entrails of men.
During this action, news was brought Suetonius of the revolt of the Province. Prasutagus,Prasutagus. King of the Iceni, famous for his great treasures, had made Cæsarcaesar and his two Daughters his heirs; thinking by this respect and complement, to save his Kingdom and Family from Insults. Which happen’d quite otherwise; for his Kingdom was made a prey by the Captains, and his house pillaged by the slaves.boadicea boudicaBoodicia, called also Boudicea, and Voadica. His wife Boodicia, to begin the Tragedy, was whipp’d, and his daughters ravished. And, as if the whole was now become lawful booty, the chief of the Iceni were deprived of their paternal estates; and those of the Blood-royal treated as the meanest slaves. Upon this insult, and to prevent worse, since they were now reduced into a Province; the people began to murmur-at and resent the treatment, and to compare one another’s misfortunes, and to aggravate every thing by the worst constructions: That their patience would only signifie thus much; their bearing one injury, would bring on another. That heretofore every State had its own King; but now they were subjected to two, the Lieutenant and the Procurator; the first prey’d upon their blood, the second upon their estates. That the enmity and the friendship of the Governours, proved equally pernicious; the one oppress’d them with soldiers and Officers, the other with extortion and affronts. That they could be sure of nothing, which either lust or covetousness might recommend to the Romans. That in war, he had the spoil who had the most courage and bravery to take it; but that they were pillaged by cowards and weaklings. That these were the men that bereft them of their children, and press’d them at their pleasure for foreign service; as if the Britains could fight for any country but their own. What vast numbers of soldiers would they appear to have transported, should the Britains take an account of their present strength? Thus Germany had freed it self, which has only a River to defend it, and not an Ocean: That they had their Country, their wives, and parents to fight for and inspirit them; while the other had only luxury and avarice. That these would retreat as Julius Cæsar did, if they would but follow the bravery of their Ancestors: That they ought not to be dismay’d at the success of one or two battles: That fierceness and resolution were the natural effects of misery: That Heaven now seemed to compassionate their distress, in removing the Roman General and keeping the Legate employ’d in another Island: That the most dangerous part of the design, was what they were upon, the debating; and that it would be of worse consequence to be discovered in the plot, than to attempt the execution.
Having animated one another with these and the like motives, they forth-with took arms, under the conduct of Boodicia, a Lady of the Blood-royal, (for the Britains make no distinction of sex, in point of Government;) drawing over the Trinobantes to revolt with them, and such others as were not yet thorowly inur’d to slavery: Who secretly conspired to free themselves, with the utmost spight and hatred against the Veterans. For they, being newly planted in the colony CamalodunumColony of Camalodunum., had thrust the Inhabitants from their houses, and dispossessed them of their lands, calling them Slaves and Captives; and were encouraged in this outrage by the younger soldiers, who by the same calling were in hopes to be entitled to the same degrees of licentiousness. Moreover, the Temple built in honour of Divus Claudius seemed to them the foundation of a perpetual Tyranny, and was a great eye-sore; and the Priests, chosen under a shew of religion to officiate there, ran away with their whole Estates. Besides, there could be no great difficulty in overthrowing a Colony, which had no forts nor castles; for our Commanders had been so improvident, as to consult pleasure and delight, rather than use and service. While things were in this ferment, the image of the Goddess VictoriaSee Xiphilin in Nero. at Camalodunum, without any visible cause, drop’d down, and in the fall turn’d backward, as if yielding to the enemy. Several * * In furore turbatæ.Enthusiastick women foretold our approaching destruction. Strange noises were heard in the Court, and a perfect howling in the theatre; and an Apparition * * Perhaps the Thames.in the Æstuaryaestuary estuary, plainly signified the subversion of that colony. Moreover, the sea look’d bloody; and in the ebb, the effigies of dead-mens bodies were left upon the shore. All this gave great hopes to the Britains, but despair to the Veterans; who applied themselves to their Procurator Catus Decianus, because Suetonius was at a great distance. He sent them a supply but of two hundred men at most, and those ill-armed; whereas the soldiers that were in the Colony before, were but few, and rely’d wholly upon the protection of the Temple. Some of those who were privy to the Conspiracy, had so much blinded the Colony, that they had neither made trench nor ditch to defend themselves, nor so much as sent away the old men, and the women, reserving the youth only: Thus, living supinely, as in a profound Peace, they were surprised by the barbarous multitude. As for other things, they were presently overthrown, or consumed with fire; the Temple, whither the soldiers had fled, was besieged, and on the second day taken. The Britains being thus Conquerors, and meeting Petilius Cerealis,Petilius Cerealis. Lieutenant of the ninth Legion, which came to their assistance, routed the Legion, and put all the foot to the sword. Cerealis got off with the horse, and retreated to his camp, where he defended himself by the help of the Fortifications. Catus the Procurator was so daunted at this overthrow and the general odium of the Province (which was thus embroiled by his avarice) that he pass’d over into Gaul.
Suetonius however, with prodigious courage and resolution, marched through the midst of the Enemy to London; which was not honoured with the name of a Colony, but very famous for the concourse of merchants, and for † † Et commeatu, alias commeatuum.provisions. Being come thither, he could not presently resolve, whether to make that the Seat of the war, or not; but, considering his want of soldiers, and how much Petilius had suffered for his rashness, he determined at last to sacrifice this one town to the safety of the rest. And not relenting at the sighs and tears of the Inhabitants, who enreated his aid and protection, he gave orders to march, receiving such as followed him, into his army. Those, who by weakness of sex or age were stay’d behind, or tempted by their affection to the place, to remain there, were destroyed by the enemy. The town of Verulam was overthrown likewise; for the barbarians passing by the forts * * Præsidiisque militarium, aliàs militaribus.and castles, pillaged the richest and weakest places; † † Et deferentes in tutum, aliàs & defendentibus in tutum.being intent upon the spoil, and regardless of the rest. It appear’d, that seventy thousand citizens and allies were slain up and down in these places. They would not give quarter, nor sell captives, nor practise according to the Laws of war; but did kill, hang, burn, crucifie, by way of retaliation upon their enemies; and all in such haste, as if they foresaw they must speedily smart for it.
Suetonius, having with him the fourteenth Legion, with the Standard-bearers of the twentieth, and some supplies from the places there-abouts almost to the number of ten thousand fighting men, resolved without more ado to engage them; and to this purpose encamp’d in a place accessible by a narrow lane only, being fenced in the rear by a wood; as sensible, he should then have no Enemy but on the front, and that the plain was open, so that there would be no danger of Ambuscades. He drew up the Legion close in the middle, with the light soldiers on both sides, and the horse as * * Pro cornibus.the two wings. The Britains in great triumph went shouting up and down in such vast numbers as were never seen; so fierce and revengeful, that their Wives were brought along with them, and placed in carts in the utmost part of the plain, to see the Victory. Boodicia, boadiceawith her Daughters by her in a chariot, went about to the several Nations (for it was not unusual among the Britains to go to war under the conduct of Women) assuring them, that she went not as one royally descended, to fight for Empire or Riches, but as one of the common people for lost liberty; to revenge the stripes they had given her, and the dishonour they had done her daughters. That now the Roman lust was grown so exorbitant and unruly, that they left none, neither old nor young, unravished. That God’s just Vengeance would ever tread upon the heels of wickedness. That the Legion which had dared to fight them, was already cut off; that the rest had either kept themselves in their camp, or fled for their lives. That they could not endure the very huzza’s and clamour of so many thousands; much less could they stand against them. If they did but consider both armies, and the cause of war on both sides, they would resolve either to conquer or to dye in that Battle. That for her part, who was but a woman, this was her resolution; the Men, if they pleas’d, might live and be slaves.
Nor could Suetonius be silent in the midst of so great danger; for though he relied much upon the valour of his men, he chose to animate and encourage them by Arguments and Entreaties; That the † † Sonoras, aliàs Sonores.clamour and threatnings of the Barbarians were contemptible; that there were more women than youth among them; that being unwarlike and ill armed, they would no sooner feel the Roman swords which had so often conquer’d them, but they would presently fly; that out of an Army of many Legions, a few would gain the victory, and that their glory would be so much the greater, if so few did the work of a whole Army; that his advice was, that they should fight close, and after they had discharged their darts, they should follow the blow with their pikes and swords, and not heed the booty; which would of course be the consequence of their victory. The Soldiers were so forward and couragious upon this speech, and the veterans betook themselves so readily to their darts, that Suetonius, with great assurance of victory, gave the signal. And first, the Legion did not stir, but kept within the strait, till the Enemy had spent their darts; and then it sallied out in * * Cuneis.a Wedge upon them. The Auxiliaries made the like Onset; and the Horse with their spears breaking in upon the Enemy, routed all that made head against them. The rest got away, but with great difficulty; for the passes quite round were blocked up by the wagons. The Soldiers gave no quarter, not so much as to the women; which, with the horses that were slain, encreas’d the heaps of carcasses. This Victory was very noble, and the glory of it not inferior to those of ancient times: for by the report of some, there were slain little less than fourscore thousand Britains; whereas we lost but about four hundred, and had not many more wounded. Boodicia poisoned her self: And PœniusPoenius Posthumus, Camp-master of the Second Legion, upon the news of the Success and victory of the fourteenth and twentieth Legions (having deprived his Legion of a share in that glory, and contrary to discipline and order disobey’d the commands of his General) stab’d himself.
After a general muster and review of his army, Suetonius took the field again, to put an end to this war. And Cæsarcaesar reinforc’d him with a supply of two thousand Legionaries from Germany, eight auxiliary cohorts, and a thousand horse; by which the ninth Legion was compleated. These cohorts and some others were sent into fresh winter-quarters; and the Countries that were either Enemies or Neutrals, were wasted with fire and sword. But nothing was a sharper affliction to the Britains at this time, than famine; for during this uproar, they had neglected to till the ground, and giving up themselves wholly to prosecute the war, had depended upon our provisions. Those nations which were yet unconquer’d, were the more averse to a treaty, upon the news of a difference between Suetonius and the new Procurator Julius ClassicianusJ. Classicianus. (sent to succeed Catus;) which was very prejudicial to the publick interest. He had spread a report, that a new Lieutenant was to be expected, who, without the rancour of an enemy, or the haughtiness of a conqueror, would treat such as yeilded themselves, with favour and clemency. He wrote to Rome likewise, that there was no end to be expected of that war, till Suetonius was recall’d; imputing all miscarriages to his perverse conduct, but what-ever was prosperous and lucky, all that he attributed to the good fortune of the Common-wealth.
Upon this account, PolycletusPolycletus., one of the Emperor’s Liberti, was sent into Britain, to see the state of affairs there; Nero hoping that by his Authority, the difference might be composed between the Lieutenant and the Procurator, and the rebellious Barbarians won over to a peace. Polycletus took care to shew his state and grandeur to Italy and Gaul, by a great train and retinue; and likewise to appear formidable to the armies here, upon his arrival. This made him ridiculous to the enemy, who being then in the full enjoyment of their liberty, knew not what this Power of a * * Liberti.Freeman meant; and thought it strange, that a General and his army, after such great exploits, should be subject to a Servant. However, every thing was related as fair as could be, to the Emperour. And Suetonius, who was then employ’d in dispatching the publick affairs, having lost some few gallies on the shore, and the men in them, was commanded (as though the war continued) to deliver up his Commission to Petronius TurpilianusPetronius Turpilianus., who had just before been Consul, as a person of a more gentle temper, and more like to quiet the Enemy in the way of Forgiveness and Tenderness. He neither troubled the enemy, nor was troubled by them; calling this lazy and unactive course by the honourable name of Peace. And thus having quieted the former broils, without enlarging the conquests, he deliver’d the Province to Trebellius Maximus.Trebellius Maximus. Proprætor.
He was of an unactive temper, and unexperienc’d in military affairs; and so govern’d the Province after as gentle a manner as he could. Now the barbarous Britains began to be tainted, and to yeild to the charms of vice; and the civil wars of the Empire were a fair excuse for the remisness of the Lieutenant: but the soldiers grew mutinous; for, being formerly inured to labour and discipline, the present peace and idleness made them wanton and haughty. Trebellius also grew odious and contemptible to the army, by his baseness and avarice. And their indignation was the more enflam’d by Roscius CæliusCaelius, Lieutenant of the twentieth Legion, who was formerly at variance with him; and now, by reason of the civil wars, more than Caelius ever. Trebellius charg’d Cælius with all the mutinies, and neglect of discipline in the Army; and Cælius charg’d him with the ruin and beggary of the Legions. And, by these quarrels and contentions, all sense of duty and respect was lost in the Army. At last, the disorder was so great, that Trebellius, being deserted by the wings of his Army, and by the cohorts, who went over to Cælius, and being reviled and affronted by the Auxiliaries, was forced to fly to Vitellius. Notwithstanding the absence and removal of the Consular Lieutenant, the Province continued quiet and peaceable; being govern’d by the Lieutenants of the particular Legions, all of equal authority; though Cælius’s boldness gain’d him greater power than the rest.
During the civil war between Galba, Otho, and Vitellius; Vectius BolanusVectius Bolanus, Propætor. was sent by Vitellius to succeed him. He made no reformation of discipline, and was as little troublesome to the enemy as his predecessor, and as careless of the licentiousness of his army: only this difference there was, that Bolanus was innocent and free from crimes which made the other odious; so that instead of authority, he had the love of the army. And although Vitellius sent for supplies out of Britain, yet Bolanus deferred it, on pretence that Britain was far from being quiet. But soon after, the great esteem which the Province had for Vespasian, induc’d Britain to declare for him; for he had commanded the second Legion here under Claudius, and was eminent for his bravery and conduct. Yet this revolt was not without opposition from the other Legions; in which, many Captains and soldiers who had been advanc’d by Vitellius, were very loth to change a Prince who was so well known among them. The soldiers of the fourteenth Legion, call’d the Conquerors of Britain (being remov’d from hence to the Caspian war by Nero, and after, while they sided with Otho, defeated) were sent into Britain again by Vitellius, but recall’d by a Letter from Mutianus.
During this civil war, there were no mutinies in the British army. And indeed, in all the civil wars of the Empire, the troops here were more peaceable and quiet than in any other province: perhaps their distance and separation from the rest of the world by the ocean, might cause it; or possibly by the many expeditions they had made, they had learn’d rather to hate the name of an Enemy. However, encourag’d by these dissentions, and the frequent news of a civil war, the Britains, upon Venusius’s instigation, began to take heart: for besides a fierce heady temper that was natural to him, and a hatred of the Romans, he was spurr’d on in this attempt by a peculiar spight to his Queen Cartismandua.Cartismandua. Cartismandua govern’d the Brigantes; being nobly descended, and more powerful than ever, since she had treacherously taken King Caractacus, and given Claudius CæsarCaesar a Triumph by presenting him to that Emperor; for that famous shew of Caractacus to the people, was a sort of Triumph. From hence grew riches, and from thence luxury; so that, despising her husband Venusius, and having cut off his relations, she made Vellocatus, her husband’s armour-bearer, partner of her bed and throne: The Royal Dignity was soon shaken with this wickedness; the city adhering to the husband, and the Queen’s lust and cruelty to the adulterer. Venusius therefore, having drawn-in all the assistance he could, and join’d the Brigantes (who themselves had revolted to him) reduc’d her to the last extremity. She applied herself to the Romans for relief, and our forces rescu’d her from many dangers: However, the Kingdom fell to Venusius, and the War to us.
While Mutianus govern’d the City under VespasianVespasian the Emperor., Julius Agricola. Legio xx.Julius Agricola, who had declar’d for Vespasian, and was a person of great integrity and valour, was made Commander of the twentieth legion in Britain, which had declin’d the Oath for a long time; and there he heard, that his predecessor had carried himself seditiously. For that legion had run a-head, and was become formidable even to the Consular Legats. The PrætorianPraetorian Legat was not able to rule them; but whether through his own ill dispositions, or those of the soldiers, is uncertain. Thus, being appointed to succeed him, and to punish them, he took this admirable mean, to seem rather to have found them dutiful; than to have made them so. And though Vectius Bolanus was then Lieutenant in Britain, and govern’d more mildly than was fit in so fierce a Province; yet Agricola laid a restraint upon himself, and smother’d the heat of his own temper, that it might not encrease and grow visible; knowing the necessity of complaisance, and of considering as well what was fit, as what was right.
But when Vespasian, with the rest of the world had gain’d Britain also; he sent over excellent Generals, and brave Armies, and the Enemy’s hopes were abated. Petilius CerealisPetilius Cerealis Proprætor. exceedingly allarm’d and terrify’d them; and attempted the City of the Brigantes, the most populous in all this Province; to whom he gave many, and some of them very bloody Battles; and either spoil’d or conquer’d the greatest part of their country. Thus, Cerealis seem’d to have superseded the Care, and eclipsed the Glory of any that could come after him; when Julius FrontinusJulius Frontinus Proprætor., a great man, and as eminent as could be after such a predecessor, succeeded to the same charge. He subdued the strong and warlike nation of the Silures: where he had not only a stout enemy, but a very difficult situation, to cope with. In this state was Britain, and in this posture was the war, when Agricola was sent over in the middle of summer. Our soldiers minds and hopes were bent upon rest and a conclusion of the war; and the enemy long’d for an opportunity to begin it. The Ordovices, a little before the arrival of Agricola, had almost entirely routed a wing of our’s that was quartered in the frontiers of their country; and by this means the whole Province was ready to rise; all approving the example, either as desirous of war, or to try the temper of the new Lieutenant.
Agricola, though the summer was almost over, and though his forces lay dispers’d up and down the Province expecting no further trouble for that year, (all which retarded and cross’d his expedition;) and though some thought it more advisable to secure such places as were suspicious: yet he resolv’d to forestall these dangers; and having drawn together the Ensigns of the Legions, and a pretty good body of Auxiliaries, and finding that the Ordovices durst not come down into the plains, he drew up his men, and put himself at the head of them; that by exposing his person alike, he might make them alike couragious. Having almost cut off this whole nation, and knowing the necessity of pursuing his blow, and that every thing hereafter would fall out answerable to the event of his first actions: he determin’d to make himself master of the Isle of MonaThe Island Mona.; which, as I have already said, would have been conquer’d by Paulinus, if a general revolt of the Province had not prevented him. This design being not laid before, they wanted ships for the expedition; but the contrivance and resolution of the General supply’d their place. He commanded a choice body of auxiliaries (who were well acquainted with those Fords, and, by the custom of their native country, were able in swimming to govern themselves, their horses, and their arms at the same time) to throw aside their baggage, and march over on a sudden. Which was so effectually done, that the enemy, who expected a fleet, and were thinking of ships, and a sea to be pass’d; were surprised, and suppos’d nothing could be invincible to men, that began a war with that kind of resolution. Thus, a peace was desir’d, and the Island surrender’d, and Agricola became great and famous; as having upon his first entrance (a time usually spent in ostentation and ceremony) carry’d on an Attempt of so much labour and danger.
However, Agricola was so far from growing vain upon this success, that he would not allow it to be a Victory or Expedition, which was only to keep those in order who were formerly subdued: he would not so much as suffer it to be rewarded with laurel. But by thus concealing his glory, he encreas’d it, every one thinking, what noble Exploits he must have in his mind, who could diminish so great an action. Now, knowing the disposition and temper of his Province, and being taught by the sad experience of others, that affairs would never be settled by fighting, while wrongs and injuries were permitted; he resolv’d in the next place to cut off the cause of war: and, to begin with himself first, he made a reformation of his own family; a thing no less difficult to some, than to govern a Province. He committed no publick business to the management of his servants or his freemen; He would never * * Milites ascire.advance soldiers upon private and particular views, nor upon the recommendation and intercession of the Captains; but would still raise the best; taking it for granted that such would be most faithful. He had an eye upon every thing, but would not rigorously exact duty. As for small faults, he would pardon them; but would severely correct the more heinous. However, punishment was not always inflicted; oft-times, the repentance of the offender was accepted by him; chusing rather not to prefer such as were like to offend, than to have them condemn’d and punish’d for it. He made the payment of corn and tribute which was imposed, more easie and tolerable, by laying it equally, and cutting off the exactions, which were a greater grievance than the tribute it self. For the people were compell’d, before, to wait the opening of the publick Granaries, and both to buy and sell their own corn after the rate that was set them. The Purveyors also would command them to carry it about, and into very distant places; so that the Country should sometimes carry from the nearest Camps to those which were far off and out of the way; till, to the particular gain of these men, every place compounded for liberty to carry as it might most conveniently. By a redress of these grievances in the first year of his Lieutenancy, he brought Peace into some credit; which, by the neglect or connivance of his predecessors, was little less terrible to the Britains, than War.
Vespasian dy’d about this time; who, upon those victories, and his own personal valour under Claudius, is thus address’d by Valerius Flaccus;
——Tuque ô Pelagi qui major aperti
Fama, Caledonius postquam tua carbasa vexit
Oceanus, Phrygios prius indignatus Iulos.
——O you, whose glorious reign
Can boast new triumphs o’er the conquer’d main,
Since your bold navy pass’d the British Sea,
That scorn’d the Cæsars, and the Roman sway.
When TitusTitus Emperor. (the Delight of the world,) succeeded his Father; Agricola, as soon as the Summer came on, drew his Army together. Those who in their march behaved themselves modestly, he commended; those who march’d loose and straggling, he reprimanded. He always chose the place of Encampment himself, and would try the friths and thickets first, in person; and, that his own territories might not be pillaged by the Enemy, he would never let them be quiet from Excursions; and, when he thought he had sufficiently allarm’d them, he would give over, that they might again taste the happiness of peace. By this means, many Cities, which liv’d upon equal terms till that time, gave hostages, and submitted themselves; receiving our garrisons, and permitting us to build castles among them; which he did with that care and prudence, that these were the only new forts in Britain which were never afterwards attempted.
The following winter was spent in a very wise project. For whereas the Britains liv’d after a rude straggling manner, and were therefore ready to break out into open war upon every occasion; that he might by pleasures induce them to be quiet, he exhorted them privately, and also assisted them, to build Temples, and places of publick resort, and fine houses: those who were forward, he commended; those who were slow and backward, he reproved. And thus the honour of being his favourite, imposed a kind of necessity upon them. Moreover, he took care to have the sons of their Nobility brought up in the liberal arts; preferring the Wit and Parts of the Britains before those of the Gauls; so that they, who but lately despised the Roman language, did now affect and study the graces of it. From that time also our modes and dresses became in request among them, and the * * Toga.Gown was commonly worn. By degrees, they came to those incitements to debauchery, Portico’s, Baths, and Banquets; which went by the name of Genteelness among the ignorant, when they were indeed but badges of Slavery.
In the third year of his wars here, he discovered a new Country, wasting all as he marched to the very Taus;Æstuarie of Taus. for that is the name of the Æstuary. Which so terrified the enemy, that, though our army was sadly harrassed by reason of ill weather, yet they durst not give in battle; besides, he had leisure also to build forts and Castles. It has been observed by the best Masters of War, that no Captain ever chose Places to better advantage: No castle of his raising, was ever taken by force, or surrender’d upon terms, or quitted as uncapable of defence. Their sallies were frequent, and they were always prepar’d with a year’s provision against long sieges. Thus we winter’d there without fear, each Castle being able to defend it self; which disappointed the enemy, and made them despair. For, formerly they would regain in winter what they lost in summer, but they were now worsted alike in both seasons. In all these actions, Agricola never rob’d another of the honour that was due to him; but let him be Captain, or any other Officer, he would faithfully attest the bravery of the Action. Some have accounted him too sharp and bitter in his reproofs; and it must be granted, that as he was affable and courteous to the good, so he was morose to the bad. But then, his anger never outliv’d the reprehension. If he pass’d a thing by without notice, there was no fear of malice in the heart; for he thought it more excusable, even to commit the offence, than to hate the offender.
The fourth summer was spent in setling what he had already gain’d; and if the valour of his armies, and the glory of the Roman Empire, could have permitted it, they needed not have fought another Boundary in Britain. Glota and Bodotria (two arms of two opposite seas, shooting a great way into the Country) are parted by a narrow slip of land, which was then secured by our garrisons: so that the Romans were masters of all on this side, having pent up the enemy, as it were within another Island.
In the fifth year of this war, Agricola took shiping, and sail’d over to nations never known before; which, after many successful Encounters, he subdued, and then planted forces in those parts of Britain which lie towards Ireland; more out of hope, than out of fear. For Ireland, being situated betweenIreland. Spain and Britain, and lying convenient for the French Sea, would with many other advantages have united those mighty members of the Empire. In bigness, it is less than Britain; but larger than the Islands of our sea. The soil, the temperature of the air, and the nature and manners of the people are not much different from the British. The ports and havens are better known, by reason of greater trade and commerce. Agricola had formerly received a Prince of that country, who was driven out by civil wars; and under pretence of friendship, had kept him for a fair occasion. I have often heard him say, that with one legion and some few auxiliaries, Ireland might be conquer’d and kept in Obedience; and that it would be of great consequence to our interest in Britain, if the Roman forces were planted on all sides of it, and liberty banish’d out of sight.
About this time dy’d Titus; who for these exploits of Agricola, was saluted Emperor fifteen times, as Xiphilin tells us, and as is manifest from an ancient Coin. Under Domitian, Agricola, in the sixth Summer of his Lieutenancy, being apprehensive of a general insurrection * * Ampla Civitas, al. Amplas civitates.in those large cities and remote countries beyond Bodotria, and that his march would be made very troublesome by the enemy; sent out a fleet to try the creeks and havens. Thus, Agricola was the first that supported his land-army by a fleet; and, to our great honour and advantage, carry’d on the war both by sea and land. Oft-times it happen’d, that the troopers, the foot-soldiers, and the seamen, would meet and make merry together; each magnifying his own feats and adventures, and making their vaunts and comparisons, soldier-like, the one of the woods and high mountains, the other of the dangers of the waves and tempests. The one valuing himself upon the land and the enemy, the other upon the sea it self, subdued by him. The Britains (as we understood by the prisoners) were amaz’d and daunted at the sight of this fleet; considering that if once their sea was discover’d, and navigable, all retreat and refuge would be cut off. Whereupon the Caledonians, with great preparation, but (as it usually is in things unknown,) not so great as reported, broke out into open war, and assaulted our castles; that, by being the aggressors, they might dishearten us: so that some poor spirits on our side, under a shew of prudence, advis’d Agricola to retire to this side Bodotria, and rather to make a voluntary retreat, than a forc’d one. In the mean time, we had advice that the enemy’s design was to divide, and attack us in many places at once. Whereupon, lest he should be surrounded by the numbers of the enemy and their knowledge of the country, he likewise divided his army, and march’d in three bodies. They, having intelligence of this, forth-with took another course, and in one entire body fell upon our ninth legion, as the weakest; and in the night between sleep and fear, cut off our centinels, and broke in among them. Thus, the battle began in the very camp; when Agricola having discover’d the Enemy’s march by his scouts, trac’d them, and sent the lightest of his horse and foot to attack their rear; which were seconded with the huzza’s of the whole army, and the appearance of their colours towards break of day. This danger on all sides terrify’d the Britains; and the Romans taking heart, instead of fighting for their lives, fought now for honour. They chose to make a sally, and after a sharp dispute at the very gates, put them to the rout; while both our armies were contending, the one to come up timely with assistance, the other not to seem to need it. If the fens and woods had not protected the enemy in this flight, they had been entirely conquered. Upon this Brave Action, and the fame of the victory, the whole army grew so resolute, that they thought nothing invincible to them; they clamour’d to be led into Caledonia, and to fight their way to the utmost Bounds of Britain. The very men who were but just before advising a wary conduct, were forward and blustering, now the danger was over. And this is always an unequitable rule in war; every one claims a share in successes, but misfortunes are always imputed to one. However, the Britains attributing all this to good luck and the conduct of the General, and not to Valour; were not at all dejected, but went on to arm their youth, to convey their wives and children, into safe places, and by Assemblies and Religious rites to establish a confederacy among the Cities. And thus both armies left the field with minds full of hostility.
This summer, a Cohort of Usipians rais’d in Germany and sent over into Britain, undertook a very strange and memorable Adventure. Having kill’d their Captain and some Soldiers who were dispers’d among them to teach them to Exercise; they fled, and embark’d in three vessels, compelling the masters to carry them off; but only one of them doing his duty, the other two were slain upon suspicion: and this strange kind of voyage (the fact being not yet known) was accounted miraculous. Afterward, being toss’d up and down, and falling upon some Britains who oppos’d them in their own defence, often conquerors, and sometimes conquer’d, they came to such want of provision at last, that they eat one another; first the weakest, and after that by lot.Britain sail’d round. Thus, having floated round Britain, and lost their ship, in conclusion, for want of skill to guide it, they were taken first by the Suevians, and then by the Frisians, for pirates. Some of them, being bought by the merchants, and by change of masters brought to our coast, grew famous upon the account they gave of this adventure.
In the beginning of tbe summer, a great misfortune befel Agricola in his own family; for he lost his son, who was about a year old. His carriage under this affliction was neither vain-glorious (like that of some great men in such cases,) nor on the other hand soft and effeminate. Among other consolations, he made War one. Having therefore sent his fleet before (which by making a descent here and there, might render the consternation great and uncertain) himself made a quick march, at the head of the Army; to which he had added some of the stoutest Britains (whom, after the test of a long peace, he had found faithful) and came to the hill Grampius, where the Enemy had posted themselves. For the Britains, not at all dismay’d at the loss of the last battle, and thinking of nothing now but revenge or slavery, by leagues and treaties had united the whole strength of their Cities; being at last sensible, that a common danger must be diverted by confederacy and union. Above thirty thousand arm’d men were now in the field, besides a great number of youth, and lusty old men who had been formerly famous in the Wars, and still retain’d the scars and badges of their bravery. GalgacusGalgacus., by birth and merit the chief commander, while the multitude was eager to be engaged, is said to have address’d them in this manner:
When I consider the cause of this war, and our present necessity, I have great reason to presume, that this day, with this unanimous resolution, will give a happy beginning to the freedom of the whole Island. We have liv’d thus long in the full enjoyment of our liberty: and now there is no other Country beyond this, nor indeed sea, to secure us, while the Roman navy hovers upon our coasts. So that, as honour will recommend Arms to men of valour, so will self-preservation to the most cowardly. The battles which with various success have been fought against the Romans, have ever had a refuge in our Bravery, and expected a turn from it. For we are the very flower of the Britains, and therefore seated in the inmost parts of the Country; we are out of the sight of those Nations who are enslav’d by the enemy, and our eyes are yet unpolluted, and free from the contagion of foreign tyranny. There is no country farther on this side, nor liberty on that; this corner, which has been hitherto unknown to fame, hath hitherto preserv’d us. Now, the remotest part of Britain lyes open to them; and people think every thing great and magnificent, that is strange and unknown. Beyond us there is no country, nothing but waves and rocks; * * Interiores Romani, al. Infestiores vel inter ea.the land inward, is all under the Roman Vassalage already. It is vain to curry favour with them by address and submission; their pride and haughtiness is not to be so laid, who ransack the universe, and when they have plunder’d the land, are now plundering the sea. Where the enemy is rich, there the prize is wealth; where poor, it is ambition: neither the East nor the West have sufficed them: these, and these only, gape after the wealth and poverty of the whole World, with equal appetite and pleasure. Spoil, murder, pillage, pass with them under the name of Government: and where they make solitude, there they think they make peace. Children and relations are by nature tender and dear to every one; yet they bereave us of them, to make them slaves in foreign Countries. Our wives and sisters, if they escape ravishing in a hostile manner, yet under the name of Guests and Friends are certainly debauch’d. Our goods and fortunes become their’s by the name of tribute, and our corn by that of provision. Our bodies and hands are put to the drudgery of paving bogs and woods; with a thousand stripes and indignities to boot. Those who are naturally born slaves, are but once sold, and then maintain’d at the owner’s cost: but Britain daily purchases, daily feeds and maintains, its own bondage, at its own charge. And, as in a private family, the last comer is ever the jest of his fellow-servants; so in this ancient Family, the World, we (who shall be the last and the vilest slaves) are now to be destroyed, if they can do it. For we have no fields to cultivate, neither mines nor havens to employ us; and therefore to what purpose should they let us live? Besides, the courage and resolution of the Conquer’d, is ever ungrateful to the Conquerour. And even this distance and privacy, as it makes us safe, so will it make us the more suspected. Seeing then we have no mercy to relie on, let us put on resolution; all who tender their safety, all who value their honour. The TrinobantesTrinobantes., under the conduct of a woman, extirpated a Colony, and forced their Castles; and, if success had not slacken’d their diligence, they might have entirely freed themselves from the Roman yoke.
We are as yet whole and untouch’d: we were born free; † † Unde ostendemus, al. abunde.let us shew them at the first onset the bravery of the men they'll meet with in Caledonia. Do you imagin the courage of the Romans, in war, to be as great as their debauchery in peace? Their glory is all owing to our dissentions; the folly of their enemies have rais’d the reputation of their arms. As nothing but success could have kept that medley army, pick’d up out of so many several nations, together; so upon any miscarriage you will see them dissolve; unless we can suppose, that the Gauls and Germans, nay, to our shame be it spoken, many of our own Countrymen, lending their lives to establish a foreign power (who have yet been much longer enemies, than slaves to them,) can go on with true zeal and affection in this quarrel. No, this is nothing but the effect of fear and terrour, which are weak motives of endearment; these removed, their hatred will break out, as their fear abates. We have all the motives that excite to Bravery, on our side. The Romans have no Wives to encourage them to stand, no parents to upbraid them if they run away; they have, many of 'em, either no country at all, or at least not this. Their number is so small, as they stand full of fear, gazing at the heaven, the sea, the woods, and every thing strange about them; that they seem pent up, and deliver’d into our hands by Providence. Let us not be daunted by the show they make, by the shining of their gold and silver; which will neither defend them, nor hurt us. We shall find Friends in the very body of the enemy. The Britains know it is their own Cause: the Gauls are still mindful of their lost liberty; and the Germans will desert them, as the Usipians lately did. Coloniae There is nothing besides, that we have to fear; the Castles are empty, the * * Senum Coloniæ, aliàs Colonia.Colonies consist of old men, and the Cities are in discontent and faction, while they unwillingly obey those who unjustly govern. You see the Roman General, the Roman army, here before you. There are the tributes, mines, and all the plagues and punishments that attend slavery: it is to be tried by this day’s engagement, whether we are to endure them for ever, or to be immediately reveng’d. Therefore, fall on, and remember what your Ancestors were, and what your Posterity are to be.
This speech was cheerfully received by the army; who, after their barbarous fashion, seconded it with songs, acclamations, and the like confus’d clamours. And now the Troops began to close, and a great glittering to appear; some of the bolder advanced, and the army was drawing up; when Agricola, though he found his men full of courage, and was hardly able to keep them in, made a speech to them, to this effect.
This is now the eighth year, Fellow-soldiers, that by the valour and fortune of the Roman Empire, seconded by your loyalty and service, we have carryed on the Conquest of Britain with success; and that by many expeditions and many encounters, wherein, as the circumstances required, we have shewed valour against the enemy, or labour and patience against nature itself. In all these, I have had a faithful Army, you have had a faithful General. We have both exceeded: I have extended this Conquest further than any other Lieutenant, you have done more than any former army. We are not possess’d of the bounds of Britain by fame or rumour, but by Camps, and Weapons. Britain is now found, and subdu’d. In our marches over boggs, hills, and rivers, when we have been spent and weary, how often have I heard the valiant among us, asking, when this enemy would face them, when they would give them battle? We have now unkennel’d them; we have them here before us. We have our wishes, and a brave occasion to shew our valour. If we win this victory, every thing will be plain and easie; if we lose it, every thing will go backward. For, as this tedious march, those woods and estuaries we have passed, are glorious and honourable to us while we advance against the Enemy; so if we run away, the greatest advantages now, will then be most fatal and dangerous. We are not so well acquainted with the country as they; not so well furnished with provisions; but we have as many hands, and as good arms, and thereby may have every thing else. For my own part, I am long since convinc’d, that there is no safety for General or Army in flight. To dye in the bed of honour, is better than to live in disgrace; and a man’s safety and his honour are inseparable. Nor will it be inglorious, to dye in the utmost bounds of Earth and Nature. If a new nation, or an unknown enemy, were now to encounter you, I would exhort you by the examples of other armies; but now reflect upon your former actions, and put the question to your own eyes. These are the very men, that last year fell upon one Legion in the night, and were routed by meer noise. These are the arrantest cowards of the whole Island, otherwise they had not been so long alive. For, as it is in woods and forests, the strongest game is not to be started but by force and violence, while the timorous and fearful are scar’d and scoure off upon the first noise; so the best and stoutest of the Britains we have already met with, and dispatch’d; what remains, is nothing but a herd of cowardly Renegadoes. We have at last an opportunity to engage them: not because they give it us, but we have overtaken them, as they stand in the height of confusion like stocks before us, ready to present us with a noble and memorable victory. Let us then put an end to this war; let us make this day the happy conclusion of fifty years labour: and let your country see, that their army can neither be charged with prolonging the war, nor slipping opportunities to compleat the conquest.
Agricola was going on, when the soldiers show’d great signs of resolution and eagerness; and with the utmost chearfulness immediately ran to their weapons. Seeing them sufficiently animated, he drew them up in this order. The auxiliary foot, in all 8000, he placed in the middle, and wing’d them with 3000 horse: behind them, he drew up the legions before the camp, that the victory might be the more glorious without the loss of Roman blood, and that in case of necessity they might be ready to assist. The British army was drawn up upon the hill, both for shew and terror; the first battalion on even ground, the rest higher and higher, as the hill ascended. The field, between, rung with the noise of horses and chariots, ranging up and down. Agricola, perceiving the enemy to be too numerous for him, and fearing lest he should be over-wing’d, and so flank’d by them, stretch’d out his front, though somewhat too thin; insomuch that many advis’d him to bring up the Legions: but being naturally inclin’d to hope the best and to bear up against the worst, he alighted from his horse, and put himself at the head of his foot.
The fight began at some distance; wherein the Britains shew’d great courage and conduct: for with their broad swords and short bucklers, they would strike aside or bear off the darts of the Enemy; and then return great vollies of their own. Agricola thereupon † † Cohortatus.commanded three Cohorts of the Batavians and two of the Tungrians to advance, and make up to them with sword in hand. They were very expert and able at it; whereas the enemy by reason of their little targets and unweildy swords, lay under great disadvantages: for the swords of the Britains, being without points, were unserviceable * * Complexum Armorum, & in aperto.
in close fight, or at a distance. Now, as the Batavians began to lay about them, to strike at them with the bosses of their bucklers, to push them in the very faces, to dispatch those that stood lowest, and to fight their way up the very mountain; the other cohorts spurr’d on with emulation, fell on likewise, and beat down all before them; so fast, that many half dead or wholly untouch’d were left behind, thro’ hast to conquer the whole. In the mean time, the horse began to fly, and the charioteers mix’d themselves among the foot; and though we were under some apprehensions from them in particular, yet by reason of the closeness of their ranks, and the unevenness of the ground, they prov’d of no advantage. This was not like an engagement of Horse, but close and fix’d; over-bearing one another with the force and weight of the horses. Many times the chariots, as they ran up and down at rovers, and the frighted horses that had lost their riders and scour’d about as their fears guided them, would over-run those that met them or cross’d their way. And now, they on the hill, who had not been yet engaged, perceiving the small number of our army, began to advance, and wheel in upon their back: but Agricola having foreseen that danger, easily repell’d them by four wings which he had kept as a reserve; and these made them retreat as fast as they had advanc’d. So now, this project of the Britains was turn’d upon themselves: for the wings were immediately order’d to divide from the front, and wheel about upon the backs of the enemy. Upon this the scene began to be very tragical along the plain; one pursuing, another wounding, a third taking, and killing that prisoner as soon as he could take another. Now whole regiments of the enemy, according to their several dispositions, though arm’d and more numerous, turn’d their backs; whilst others of them, disarm’d, ran desperately upon the swords of their enemy. The whole field was nothing but a mixt heap of arms, carcasses, mangled limbs, and blood; and sometimes a mixture of rage and valour in the conquer’d: As soon as the enemy drew near the woods, they began to rally, and enclos’d the most forward of our men, that had follow’d rashly, and were unacquainted with the country. So that if Agricola, who was every where at hand, had not sent out some of the best and lightest of his forces to scoure the country, and commanded the horsemen to light where the woods were thick, and to range them on horseback where thin; we might have suffer’d considerably by this rashness. But, when they saw us united, and in an orderly pursuit, they fled again, not in troops as before, and with an eye upon one another, but dispers’d and straggling into remote and by-places. At last, night and weariness put an end to the chase. Of the enemy there fell 10000, of us 340, among whom was Aulus Atticus Commander of a Cohort; carried on too far by the heat of youth, and the eagerness of his horse. The victory and the spoil made the night pleasant to the Conquerors. But the Britains, wandering up and down the field, which sounded with the mix’d Cries of men and women, spent the night in carrying off the wounded; in calling to those who had escap’d; in forsaking and burning their own houses out of rage and fury; and in shifting from one hole to another. Sometimes, in consult with one another, and taking heart; then again, affected with compassion, and oftner with madness, at the sight of the dear Pledges of their love. And it is certain, that some of them laid violent hands upon their own Wives and Children, as the best office they could do them. The day following shew’d the greatness of this victory more fully. Every where silence and desolation: no stir upon the mountains, the houses burning afar off, and not a soul to be met with by our scouts; who were sent into all parts of the Country, but found that the flight was uncertain, and that the enemy were scatter’d and dispers’d. Hereupon Agricola (the summer being far spent, so that he could not entirely finish the war) marched his army into the Country of the Horesti. Having received hostages from them, he commanded his Admiral to sail round Britain, furnishing him with all things necessary; and, having sent the terror of the Roman name before him, he himself marched slowly with the horse and foot, that by this delay he might awe his new conquests; and then he put his army into winter-quarters. About the same time, the fleet, with a fair wind, and a reputation no less fair, put in at the * * B. Rhenanus reads it Rhamensis.Trutulensian Port, the same from which it set out; and, coasting along the nearest † † Latere, al. Litore.side of Britain, arrived again there. * * Britain first certainly discovered to be an Island. And having doubled the point of the utmost land, they first discovered Britain to be an Island: and at the same time found out the Isles of OrkneyIsles of Orkney., and subdu’d them; which had been only heard of till then. Orosius, and others after him, falsly ascribe this to Claudius.
Agricola having sent a plain account of these transactions, without either gloss or addition, by letter, to Domitian; the Emperor receiv’d it (as his manner was) with a show of great joy; though really with great trouble and concern. He was conscious to himself, that his late triumph in Germany was groundless and ridiculous, having bought certain people of that country, and drest them up in cloaths and hair, like captives; whereas now a victory great and real, wherein so many thousands of the enemy were slain, was universally applauded. It was dangerous, he thought, that the honour of a private man should eclipse the glory of a Prince: That he had suppress’d the study of Oratory and other Liberal Arts to no purpose, if another could thus out-do him in the arts of war: That, for other matters, they might be born with; but none ought to be a great General but a Prince. Being tormented with these thoughts, and (what was ever a sign of mischief) very much alone in his closet, he concluded, it would be best to conceal his resentments, till the noise of this victory, and the love and respect he had gained in the army, was abated: for as yet Agricola was in Britain. And therefore he took care that triumphal honours, a noble statue, and every thing usual upon such a solemnity, should be decreed him (and that in very honourable terms) by the Senate; and withal, caused a report to be spread, that the Province of Syria (then vacant by the death of Atilius Rufus, Lieutenant, and reserv’d for some person of quality) was designed for him. It was also commonly thought, that he sent a Freeman, one of his Cabinet-Council, to Agricola, with a Commission for Syria; and instructions, that if he were in Britain, it should be delivered; and that the messenger, meeting Agricola upon the sea, spoke not one word to him, but return’d to Domitian: Yet, whether this be true, or a bare surmise (as agreeable enough to the carriage of that Prince) is uncertain. However, Agricola had surrendered his Province peaceable and quiet to his Successor. And now, lest his entry into Rome should be too splendid by the great numbers of Attendants, he declin’d the Compliments of his Friends, and came (as he was order’d) by night into the city; and at night was admitted into the Palace: where the Emperor receiv’d him with a dry kiss, and spoke not one word to him; and so he drew off among the rest of the Attendants.
Agricola’s successor, according to some, was Cn. Trebellius; but in my opinion, Salustius LucullusSalustius Lucullus, Lieutenant of Britain., who was soon put to death by Domitian, for suffering a new sort of spears to be called Lameæ LuculleæLameae Luculleae. At which time † Arviragus the Britain.† Stillingfleet’s Orig. Brit. p.35.Arviragus flourish’d in this Island, and not in the days of Claudius, as Geoffry of Monmouth romances. For that of Juvenal is to be understood of Domitian,
Omen habes, inquit, magni clarique triumphi:
Regem aliquem capies, aut de temone Britanno
Excidet * * Call’d Arbela in an old Scholiast of Juvenal.Arviragus.——
—— The mighty omen see,
He cries, of some illustrious victory.
Some captive King thee his new Lord shall own,
Or from his British chariot headlong thrown,
The proud Arviragus comes tumbling down.
Then also flourished at Rome, Claudia Rufina, a British Lady, eminent for her extraordinary beauty and learning, and commended by Martial in these verses,
Claudia cæruleis cum sit Rufina Britannis
Edita, cur Latiæ pectora plebis habet?
Quale decus formæ Romanam credere matres
Italides possunt, Atthides esse suam.
Among the painted Britains, Claudia, born,
By what strange arts did you to Roman turn?
What shapes! what heavenly charms! enough to raise
A noble strife in Italy and Greece.
This is she whom St. Paul mentions in his second Epistle to Timothy, according to J. Bale, and Matthew Parker Archbishop of Canterbury: nor is it amiss in point of Chronology; though others differ from that opinion.
And thus,Britain a Province. in Domitian’s time, the further part of this Island was left to the Barbarians, as neither pleasant nor fruitful; but this hither part was reduc’d to a compleat Province; not govern’d by Consular or Proconsular Deputies, but accounted PræsidialPraesidial Britain a Præsidial Province., and appropriated to the Emperors, as being annex’d to the Empire after the division of Provinces by Augustus, and having ProprætorsPropraetors of it’s own. Afterwards, when Constantine the Great had new-model’d the Empire, this Province was govern’d by a Deputy under the PrætorianPraetorian Lieutenant of Gaul; with whom were joyn’d, in times of war, the Count of Britain, the Count of the Saxon shore throughout Britain, and the Duke of Britain; besides Presidents, Receivers, &c. But farther; of the 29 Legions which were the constant and standing guard of the Roman Empire,What Legions were in Britain, Dio, 55. three were garrison’d here; namely, the Legio secunda Augusta, the Legio sexta victrix, and the vicesima victrix. But this is to be understood of Severus’s time; for before that, we find, here were other Legions, and also more.
And although Strabo writes, that one * * Ordo militum.Legion was sufficient to awe and secure Britain, yet under Claudius the Legio secunda Augusta, the Legio 9. of Spain, and the 14th Legion call’d Gemina Martia victrix, were garrison’d here: nay, even about Vespasian’s time, Josephus tells us here were four Legions garrison’d in this Island. The words are, Britain is encompassed with the sea, and is not much less than our world. The inhabitants are reduc’d to the obedience of the Romans, who keep that populous Island in subjection with four Legions. And, doubtless, these stations and garrisonsOrigin of Cities. of the Legions, and Roman soldiers, (a) prov’d very often the foundations of Towns and Cities, not only in other Provinces, but in Britain too. Thus, the yokeThe Roman yoke. was first laid upon the Britains by troops and garrisons (which were constantly kept here, to the great terror of the Inhabitants;) and then by tribute and imposts: upon which account, they had their Publicans, that is, Cormorants and Leeches, who suck’d their blood, confiscated their goods, and exacted tribute * * Mortuorum nomine.in the name of the dead. They were not permitted to enjoy the laws of their own country, but had such Magistrates as the Romans sent with their rods and axes to do Justice. For the ProvincesRowardus in his Protribunalia. had their Propætors, Legats, Presidents, Prætors, and Proconsuls, and each particular City its peculiar Magistrates. The Prætor held a kind of Assize once every year, and then decided all causes of more than ordinary consequence; sitting in great state upon a high Tribunal, with his Lictors round him, bearing rods for the backs, and axes for the necks, of the People; and they were every year to have a different Lord of that kind. But that was not all neither; they fomented discord and faction among the people, giving great countenance to such as they could make their tools to enslave others.
(a) Upon this account it is, that so many of our famous Towns end in Chester, which is nothing but the remains of the old Roman Castra.
Yet, however grievous this yoke was, it prov’d very beneficial to us in the event. For, together with it, came in the blessed Doctrine of Jesus Christ (of which more hereafter;) and, upon the light of his glorious Empire, barbarism soon vanish’d from among the Britains, as it had done in all other places where the Gospel was planted. For Rome, as Rutilius says,
——Legiferis mundum complexa triumphis,
Fœdere communi vivere cuncta facit.
——Triumphant all the world commands,
And with new laws unites the conquer’d lands.
And in another place very elegantly, and very truly, to the same Rome;
Fecisti patrium diversis gentibus unam.
Profuit injustis te dominante capi.
Dumque offers victis proprii consortia juris,
Urbem fecisti quod prius orbis erat.
All countries now in one vast nation joyn,
And happily subdu’d their Rites resign.
Thy juster laws are every where obey’d,
And a great City of the world is made.
For, not to mention the other Provinces; the Romans (by planting their Colonies here, and reducing the natives under the Rules of Civil Government; by instructing them in the liberal Arts, and sending them into Gaul to learn the laws of the Roman Empire; whence that of Juvenal,
Gallia caussidicos docuit facunda Britannos,
Gaul’s eloquence taught British Lawyers art;)
did at last so reform and civilize them by introducing their laws and customs, that for the modes of their dress and living, they were not inferiour to the other Provinces.The Roman works in Britain. Their buildings and other works were so very magnificent, that we view the remains of them at this day with the greatest admiration: and the common people will have these Roman fabricks to be the works of Gyants, whom in the North they call * * Ethnicus.Eatons, for Heathens if I mistake not. They are, without question, very wonderful and stately, particularly the Picts wallThe Vallum, or Picts wall., of which in its proper place, and the High-waysThe Roman military ways. in all parts of the Kingdom, which run in some places through drained fens, in others through low valleys, rais’d and pav’d; and withal are so broad, that two carts may easily pass each other. This account of them we have in Galen.Galen, l.9. c.8. methodi. Trajan repair’d the ways, paving such as were wet and dirty, or else raising them: such as were rough and over-grown with thorns, he clear’d; and where rivers were not fordable, he made bridges. If a way lay too far about he made it more direct and short; if it lay over a difficult or steep mountain, he drew it through places more plain and easie: if a road was annoy’d by wild beasts, or was desolate, he had it turn’d through such parts of the country as were better inhabited; and if the way was rugged, he took care to smooth and level it. Yet those of Britain are so pared away in some places, by the country people’s digging sand out of them, that they are hardly to be known; though otherwise, where they run through by-grounds and pastures, they appear in a plain ridge.
These were call’d by the Romans, ViæViae Consulares, RegiæRegiae , PrætoriæPraetoriae, Militares, PublicæPublicae , Cursus publici, and Actus, as we find by Ulpian and Julius Frontinus. Ammianus Marcellinus calls them Aggeres Itinerarii and Publici: Sidonius Apollinaris, Aggeres, and tellures inaggeratæinaggeratae: Bede and modern Authors, StratæStratae . Our Historians (who in that are without all question in an error,) will have only four ways of this sort; the first Watlingstreat, so called from I know not what Vitellianus, to whose charge this way was committed, (and, indeed, the Britains call’d Vitellianus, in their language, Guetalin,) named also Werlaemstraet, as lying through Verulam; and in some places High-dike, High-ridge, Forty-foot-way, and Ridge-way, by the several Inhabitants. The second, they call’d Ikenild-streat, which began in the country of the Iceni: the third, the Fosse, because (as some think) it was ditch’d on both sides: the fourth, Erminstreat, a German word, deriv’d from Mercury (as I am inform’d by the learned J. ObsopæusObsopaeus ,) who was worship’d among our forefathers the Germans, by the name of Irmunsul, i.e. Mercury’s Pillar. And that Mercury presided over the high-ways, his Greek name does sufficiently intimate; and besides, his square statues (formerly called HermæHermae ) were every where erected on the high-ways. Yet some imagine, that these ways were made by one Mulmutius, God knows who, many ages before the birth of Christ: but this is so far from finding credit with me, that I positively affirm, they were made from time to time by the Romans. When Agricola was Lieutenant here, Tacitus tells us, that the people were commanded to carry their corn about, and into the most distant countries; not to the nearest Camps, but to those that were far off and out of the way. And the Britains (as the same Author has it) complain’d, that the Romans put their hands and bodies to the drudgery of clearing Woods and paving Fens, with stripes and indignities to boot. And we find in old Records; In the days of Honorius and Arcadius, there were made in Britain certain High-ways from sea to sea. That they were the work of the Romans, Bede himself tells us. The Romans liv’d within that wall (which, as I have already observ’d, Severus drew cross the Island) to the Southward; as the Cities, Temples, Bridges, and High-ways made there, do plainly testify at this day. In making such ways, the Romans were wont to employ the Soldiers and the people, that they might not grow factious by too much ease. High-ways (says Isidorus) were made almost all the world over by the Romans, to shorten the Roads, and to employ the people. And the Sentence pass’d upon Criminals, was, many times, to work at them; as may be gather’d from Suetonius, in the life of Caius. And moreover,Cap. 27. we find the Via Salamantica, or Silver-way, in Spain, and in France certain military ways, made by the Romans; not to mention the Via Appia, Pompeia, Valeria, and others in Italy.
Along these High-ways,Sueton. in Octavius. Augustus at first had young men plac’d at some small distance from one another, but after that, † † Vehicula.post-wagons instead of them, that he might have quick and speedy intelligence from all parts of the Empire. And upon these roads were the cities built; as also InnsMansions. for the accommodation of travellers; and mutationsMutations, or changing-places. (for so those places were then call’d, where travellers could change their post-horses, draught-beasts, or wagons.) And therefore, whoever seeks the places mention’d in Antoninus’s Itinerary any where but upon these ways, must certainly wander, and run into mistakes.
And perhaps it may deserve notice, that at the end of every mile along these roads, Pillars were erected by the Emperors, with figures cut in them to signifie the number of miles. Hence Sidonius Apollinaris,
Antiquus tibi nec teratur agger,
Cujus per spatium satis vetustis
Nomen Cæsareum viret columnis.
Nor let the ancient causey be defac’d,
Where in old pillars Cæsar’sCaesar name’s express’d.
By the sides of themVarro, lib. De lingua lat., were also the graves and monuments of famous men; to put the traveller in mind of his own mortality. For the repairing of these ways, there were standing laws; as we see in the Theodosian Code under the Title De Itinere muniendo, to excite every one to further this business with the utmost zeal and readiness. There where also Overseers appointed for them. And, in our ancient LawsLaws of S. Edward., there is mention made De pace quatuor Cheminorum; that is, of the peace of the four principal roads.
During the time of NervaNerva., Authors make no mention of this Island. Under TrajanTrajan., the Britains seem to have revolted; and, that they were subdued again, appears by Spartian.Propraetor In Adrian’sAdrian Emp. reign, Julius SeverusJ. Severus, Proprætor. was Lieutenant here; but he being recall’d upon an insurrection of the Jews, the Britains had certainly freed themselves from the Roman yoke, if Adrian himself had not come hither in person: and he in his third Consulship (or the year of Christ 124) seems to have subdu’d them by mere force. For in a Coin of his, we see a General with three soldiers (which, I suppose, represents the three legions of Britain) with this Inscription, EXER. BRITANNICUS: and another with this, RESTITUTOR BRITANNIÆ. This Emperor reform’d many things in the Island, and first drew a Wall (fourscore miles long) to separate the BarbariansSpartian. from the Romans; making it of great † † Stipitibus.timber-planks fixt in the ground, and joined one to another, not unlike * * Muralis Sepis.a hedge. For which expedition the Poet Florus plays thus upon him:
Ego nolo Cæsar esse,
Ambulare per Britannos,
Scythicas pati pruinas.
Cæsarcaesar may reign secure for me,
I won’t be Cæsar, no not I:
To stalk about the British shore,
Be wet with Scythian snow all o’re.
To which Adrian reply’d;
Ego nolo Florus esse,
Ambulare per tabernas,
Latitare per popinas,
Culices pati rotundos.
Florus may rake secure for me,
I won’t be Florus, no not I;
The streets and idle shops to scower,
Or in by-taverns lewdly roar,
With potent rummers wet all o’er.
At this time, M. F.Cl. Priscus Licinius, Proprætor of Britain. Cl. Priscus Licinius was ProprætorPropraetor of Britain; who was with Hadrian in his expedition against the Jews, as appears by this old Inscription on a broken marble:
M. F. CL. PRISCO.
ICINIO. ITALICO. LEGATO.
PR. PR. PROV. CAPPADOCIÆ
PR. PR. PROV. BRITANNIÆ LEG. AUG.
LEG. IIII GALLICIÆ. PRÆF. COH. IIII
LINGONUM. VEXILLO. MIL. ORNATO. A. DIVO. HADRIANO. IN EXPEDITIONE IVDAIC.
Q. CASSIUS. DOMITIUS. PALUMBUS.
Propraetor In the reign of Antoninus PiusAntoninus Pius Emp. (who made a Constitution that all who were within the bounds of the Roman Empire, should be citizens of Rome) the war in Britain broke out again; but was so effectually ended by Lollius UrbicusLollius Urbicus Proprætor the Lieutenant, upon his driving back the barbarians, and making another wall of earth, that he was sirnam’d Britannicus;Capitolinus. and was also highly commended for taking from the Brigantes some part of their country, because they had made incursions into Genounia, a neighbouring Province under the protection of the Romans. And at this time, as may be gather’d from Jabolenus, Seius SaturniusPausanias in his Arcadica. Digest. l.36. was ArchigubernusArchigubernus. of the fleet in Britain. But whether it be meant, that he was Admiral, or Chief-Pilot, or the Master of a Ship; the Civilians must determin.
The Britains, making one War a pretence to enter upon another, began to revolt again in the time of Antoninus the Philosopher. Antoninus the Philosopher. To quiet this commotion, Calphurnius AgricolaCalphurnius Agricola Proprætor. was sent over, and seems to have succeeded. Eumenius Capitolinus.The glory of putting an end to this war, Fronto (who was not only not inferior to any in Eloquence, but the greatest master of it) attributes to the Emperor Antoninus. For, though he remained at his Palace here in the city, and committed the care of it to another, yet in his opinion (like the Pilot sitting at the helm of a long ship) he deserv’d the glory of the whole expedition and voyage. At that time, Helvius Pertinax was a soldier in Britain; sent thither from the Parthian Wars, and there kept.
In the reign of CommodusCommodus Emp., there was nothing but war and sedition throughout Britain. For the barbarous Britains, having pass’d the wall, made great waste in the country, and cut off the Roman General and his army. Ulpius MarcellusUlpius Marcellus Proprætor. was sent against them; who succeeded so well in this expedition, that by reason of his great bravery he began to be envied, and was recall’d. Xiphilin out of Dio.This General was vigilant above all others; and to the end that those about him might be as watchful, he wrote every evening twelve Tables, such as commonly are made of † † Tilia.Linden-wood, and commanded one of his attendants to carry the same to several soldiers at several hours of the night. From whence they might think their General was ever awake, and themselves might sleep the less. Concerning his Temperance, he adds; Though he was made by nature to live without much sleep, yet that he might do it the better, he was very spare in his diet. For to the end he might not eat his fill even of bread, he had it brought from Rome; that, by reason of it’s age and staleness, he might eat no more than was barely necessary. Upon his being recall’d, the army grew heady, and military discipline was relax’d; so far, that they deny’d submission to Commodus as Emperor, though sirnam’d Britannicus by his flatterers. Moreover, they sent fifteen hundred of their fellow-soldiers out of Britain into Italy, against Perennis (who had not only a show of favour, but a real sway and interest in the Emperor;) accusing him of displacing Senators to prefer † † Equestris loci viros.Gentlemen to their Offices, and of a plot and design against the Emperor’s Life. Commodus gave credit to it, and deliver’d him into their hands, who scourg’d him severely, beheaded him, and declared him an enemy to his country. These broils were at last quieted by Helvius PertinaxHelvius Pertinax Proprætor., but not without great danger, being himself well-nigh slain (it is certain he was left as such among the dead) in appeasing them.
Thus, Britain was delivered in peace by Commodus, to Clodius AlbinusClodius Albinus Proprætor., sirnamed afterwards, for his great achievements in Britain, CæsareusCaesareus Capitolinus.: but he was soon obliged to resign to Junius SeverusJunius Severus Proprætor., on account of a speech wherein he had inveigh’d, with too much liberty, against the administration of the Emperors.
At this timeThe Christian Religion in Britain., the clouds of superstition and ignorance being dispers’d (not while M. Aurelius and L. Verus were Emperors, as Bede writes, but in the reign of Commodus, when Elutherus was Bishop of Rome) the light of the Christian Religion by the means of KingKing Lucius. (a) Lucius began to shine in this Island. Who (as it is said in the Old Martyrologies, which were wont to be read in Churches) admiring the integrity and holiness of the Christians, sent Eluanus and Meduanus, two Britains, to Pope Eleutherus; intreating him that he and his subjects might be instructed in the Christian Religion. Upon this, the Pope immediately dispatched certain holy men hither, namely Fugatius and Donatianus, with letters which are yet extant, and are commonly suppos’d to be genuine, dated in the second Consulship of L. Aurelius Commodus, which he held together with Vespronius; and by these two Persons, the King and others were taught the mysteries of the Christian Faith. Whence that of Ninnius upon this King; King Lucius is sirnam’d Leuer-Maur, that is, of great glory, upon the account of Religion planted here in this time. (b) As for those who call the story of King Lucius into question (as many do at this day) as if there was no such King at that time in Britain, which they suppose was reduc’d long before into a complete Province; I would have them remember, That the Romans, by an old custom, had Kings as † † Servitutis instrumenta. their Tools of servitude in the Provinces; that the Britains at that time deny’d submission to Commodus; that all that part of the Island beyond the Wall was fully enjoy’d by them; and that there they had their Kings. MoreoverCapitolinus., that Antoninus Pius, some years before, having ended the war, left the Kingdoms to be rul’d by their own Kings, and the Provinces to be govern’d by their own Counts. So that nothing hinders, but that Lucius might be a King in those parts of the Island which were never subject to the Romans. For certainly that passageAgainst the Jews, c.7. of Tertullian (who wrote about that time) refers to this conversion of the Britains to the Christian Religion; and that very aptly, if we consider the words, and the time. Some Countries of the Britains, that proved impregnable to the Romans, are yet subjected to Christ. And a little after, Britain lies surrounded by the Ocean. The Mauri and the barbarous Getulians are block’d up by the Romans, for fear they should extend the limits of their Countries. And what shall we say of the Romans themselves, who secure their Empire only by the power of their armies? neither are they able, with all their force, to extend that Empire beyond these Nations: Whereas, the Kingdom of Christ, and his Name, reaches much farther. He is every where believ’d in, and worshipp’d, by all the nations above mention’d, &c.
(a) When he lived, in what part of Britain he reign’d, how far he was concern’d in bringing-in the Christian Religion, and all other circumstances belonging to that history, are handled at large by Dr. Stillingfl. Orig. Britan. p.67.
(b) See also the history of Lucius at large in Bishop Usher’s Antiquities of the British Churches, p.19, 20, &c.
But that Britain, before this, even in the infancy of the Church, receiv’d the Christian Religion, our Ecclesiastical writersBale.M. Parker.J. Fox. (who have spent much time and pains in this search) endeavour to convince us from ancient Authors: Namely, that Joseph of ArimathæaArimathaea , an eminent Decurio, sail’d out of Gaul into Britain; and (c) that Claudia Rufina, the wife of Aulus Pudens (thought to be the same, whom St. Paul mentions in his second Epistle to Timothy, and Martial the Poet so much commends) was a British Lady. Further, they cite Dorotheus, who passes under the name of Bishop of Tyre, and in his Synopsis relates, that Simon Zelotes, after he had travell’d Mauritania, was at last kill’d and buried in Britain; and also that Aristobulus (mention’d by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans) was made Bishop of Britain (to which also Nicephorus agrees;) but he speaks of † † The Brutii in Italy.Britiana, and not of Britain. Moreover, upon the authority of Symeon Metaphrastes and the Greek Kalendar, they tell us, that St. Peter was in this Island, and display’d the light of the Gospel here; and also from Sophronius and Theodoret, that St. Paul, after his second imprisonment at Rome, came hither. Hence Venantius Fortunatus (if we may credit a Poet) speaks thus, either of him or his Doctrine:
Transit Oceanum, & qua facit Insula portum,
Quasque Britannus habet terras, quasque ultima Thule.
The Ocean pass’d, and ventur’d bravely o’re
To British realms and Thule’s farthest shore.
But there is nothing more considerable in this matter, than that passage just now quoted from Tertullian; and what Origen4. Upon Ezechiel. says, namely, that the Britains had received the Faith, and were prepar’d for it by their Druids, who had always taught them to believe, there was but one God. ⌈And the argument is yet stronger, if we take Origen’sStillingfl. Orig. p.57. words in a contrary sense (which indeed seems to be the right) that whereas Britain, before, had worship’d many Gods; since they became Christians they worship’d but one God. When (says he) did Britain, before the coming of Christ, consent in the worship of one God? which implies, that the Britains were then known to be Christians; and by being so, were brought off from the worship of their Gods, Taranis, Hesus, Teutates, Belenus, Andate, &c.⌉ boadicea And that of Gildas is in my opinion of great weight, who, after a short hint of Boadicia’s rebellion, and an account how the same was reveng’dUnder Nero., says, In the mean time, Christ, the true Sun, displaying his glorious rays upon the whole world (not like the sun from his temporal firmament, but from the most exalted throne of heaven, which is eternal and endless) in the latter end of Tiberius CæsarCaesar (as we are assured) did first vouchsafe his Rays to this cold frozen Island, situated at so vast a distance from the visible sun. And, by the by, thus also St. Chrysostom, of the Christian Religion in this Island. The British Isles situate beyond our sea, and lying in the very Ocean, have felt the power of the Word (for Churches and Altars are erected even there) of that Word, I say, which was naturally planted in the hearts of all men, and is now in their lips also. The same Author:In his Sermon upon Pentecost. How often in Britain have men eat the flesh of their own kind? Now they refresh their souls with fastings. S. Jerom likewise:Epitaph of Marcella, a Widow. The Britains, who live out of our world, if they go in pilgrimage, will leave the western sun, and seek Jerusalem, known to them only by fame and by the Holy Scriptures.
(c) Usher’s Antiquit. Britannicarum Ecclesiarum, p.6.
⌈Many have been the Opinions concerning the first Plantation of Christianity in Britain, and great the Differences of Learned men concerning them. The latter end of Tiberius CæsarStillingfl. Orig. p.2., i.e. about 37 years after the Nativity of Christ, is the time which several of our Writers have pitch’d on, upon the authority of the foremention’d passage of Gildas; who was a Britain, and therefore to be credited in British affairs. But, not to observe that this disagrees with the account which Scripture gives us of the propagation of the Christian Faith, viz. that after the Martyrdom of St. Stephen, the Disciples for some time preach’d the word to the Jews only, and that Cornelius (six years after) is said to be the first-fruits of the Gentile: (before which time, according to that supposition, there would be Gentile-Converts in Britain;) not to observe this, I say, that passage of Gildas has been evidently misunderstood and misapply’d. For he speaks of a double shining of the Gospel; one more general to the world, in the latter end of Tiberius Cæsarcaesar; the other more particular, to this Island, at the time he is there speaking of, about the middle of Nero’s reign. So that what he affirms concerning the first preaching of the Gospel, has been unduly apply’d to the particular preaching of it in the Island of Britain.
Arimathaea The story of† Stillingfleet’s Orig. p.4. Joseph of Arimathæa is condemn’d by the like repugnancy to Scripture, as to the time and manner of the first preaching to the Gentiles; and is moreover so ill-grounded, and accompany’d with so many absurdities, that all sober and judicious Authors account it a Monkish forgery, however zealously asserted and maintain’d by some Writers of the Church of Rome. Neither Gildas, nor Bede, nor Asserius, nor Marianus Scotus, nor any of the ancient Annals take the least notice of such a Tradition; nor are the Advocates for it, able to produce any better Authority, than Geffrey of Monmouth and the Legends of Glassenbury. The Charter of St. Patrick (so much magnify’d by the Popish Writers)Monast. Vol.1. p.11. is a plain forgery. It begins with the date according to the year of our Lord; whereas it is well known that that way of Computation did not come-in till a hundred years after: and it speaks of Indulgences obtain’d from Pope Eleutherus; which name was not used for the Relaxation of Penance, till the eleventh Century.
The CharterMonast. Angl. Vol.1. p.13. of King Ina, which makes the Church at Glassenbury the first in the Kingdom of Britain, and so seems to favour the tradition of Joseph of Arimathæa; is of little better Authority than that of St. Patrick. It speaks of K. Ina’s calling together the Kings of Britain, and the Archbishops, Bishops, Dukes, and Abbots, to pass this Charter; when it is well known, that he had no authority, but over the West-Saxons, and had but three Bishops, without any Archbishop, in his Dominions. One of the witnesses to this Charter is King Boldred; whereas none of our Histories mention any King of that name, till almost a hundred years after. Add to this, that it refers to other ancient Charters of that Church, as to the Exemption of the Monastery; which favours of the known forgeries of the Benedictine Monks, in England, and other Countries; and these (it is clear) must be forgeries, since the most diligent Enquirers have not been able to find any foot-steps of Charters us’d among the Britains, till very near that time.
And it is very considerable in this matter, that neither these Charters, nor others of the Saxon times, however speaking of Glassenbury as the fountain of Religion in Britain, say any thing of Joseph of Arimathæa; who therefore must have been pitch’d upon by the Monks afterwards, for their Founder, on account of the esteem he had, for the respect shew’d by him to our Saviour’s body, and the reverence that his Name would gain and secure to the Place. To all which we may further add; that the Glassenbury Legend makes the twelve hydes of Land to be given, among others, by Arviragus a British King; but it appears not, that there was then any King in Britain of that name: And that, with the Church, a Church-yard was also consecrated; whereas the custom of compassing Churches with Church-yards, is of later date.
But altho’ the Tradition of Joseph of Arimathæa cannot (as we have seen)Stillingfl. Orig. Brit. p.35. be maintain’d with any degree of probability; it is affirm’d, upon very good evidence, that a Christian Church was planted in Britain, during the times of the Apostles.
To this purpose, it is alledg’d, that EusebiusDemon. Evang. l.3. c.7. expresly says, that some of the Apostles pass’d over the Ocean Ser. 9. T.4. , to those which are call’d the British Islands: That Theodoret as expressly names the Britains, among the Nations converted by the Apostles;Tom. 1. in Ps.116. and saith elsewhere that St. Paul brought Salvation to the Islands that lie in the Ocean: That Clemens Romanus saith,Ep. ad Cor. that St. Paul preach’d righteousness through the whole world, and in so doing, went , to the utmost bounds of the West; which Britain was at that time understood to be, and is therefore call’d by Catullus Ultimam Occidentis Insulam;In Ps.147. as by Arnobius it is made the bounds of the Gospel to the West.
From these Authorities (especially that of Clemens Romanus) it follows, not only that the Gospel was preached in Britain in the times of the Apostles, but that St. Paul himself was the Preacher of it. This is further confirm’d, by observing, That from the time of his being set at liberty in the 5th year of Nero, to his Return to Rome, were eight years; which, the ancient Writers of the Church generally agree, were spent in the Western Parts: That, having taken his solemn Leave of the Eastern Parts, and assur’d them that they should see his face no more, it cannot be suppos’d that he return’d thither, but that he employ’d his time in planting the Gospel elsewhere: That Gildas saith, The Gospel was here received before the fatal defeat of the Britains by Suetonius Paulinus, which was the seventh or eighth of Nero, i.e. the third or fourth of those eight years, which ancient Writers say St. Paul spent in the Western Parts: That the Traditions about S. James, Simon Zelotes, and Philip, as preaching the Gospel here, are all destitute both of ancient Testimony and Probability: That, as to St. Peter, that point depends only upon the Authority of Simeon Metaphrastes and other Legendary Writers, and (what is more) seems to contradict the Authority of Scripture, which expresly says, that the Gospel of the Circumcision was committed to Peter, as the Gospel of the Uncircumcision was committed to Paul.
To this accountStillingfl. Orig. Brit. p.67. there is one obvious Exception, viz. the story of King Lucius, which (whether in the time of Aurelius and Verus, or of † † So say Archb. Usher, and Bp. Stillingfleet.Commodus) supposes that the Christian Religion was planted in Britain a long time after. But, in the first place, that story is not only an Argument against St. Paul’s converting the Britains, but against the Conversion it self and the preaching of Christianity in Britain, before that time; which yet is attested (as we have shown) by Writers of far greater Antiquity and Authority, than any that can be alledg’d in favour of that story of King Lucius. And (not to mention the ancient Fathers already cited) it is observable of our own Writers, That the Authority of that more early Conversion rests upon Gildas, a Britain and a proper judge of the British affairs; but the Conversion under King Lucius, only upon Bede, a Saxon, and in most of his accounts unfriendly to the Britains. So that, if we must either reject the Accounts of that more early Plantatioa, or the story of Lucius, there can be no doubt, but the first is to be retain’d as true, and the second given up, as fabulous.
That there was such a King in Britain as Lucius, is prov’d by so many Authors, that no dispute can be rais’d about it: And a learned WriterUsser. Primord. p.39. tells us, that he had seen two Coins, with the image of a Christian King on them (as he conjectur’d by the Crosses) and the Letters LVC which probably denote the same Lucius.
But then the Legendary Writers make him King of the whole Island, and pen a Letter for him (as sent to Rome in form) with evident marks of Imposture, and make him frame a new Constitution of a Christian Church in the place of Flamins and Archiflamins, which, with many forgeries of the like nature, being rejected, as they undoubtedly ought; it is no way inconsistent with a former Conversion, to suppose, that Lucius, consider’d as a petty Prince of some small part of the Island, might send a message to Rome (where was a Christian-Church of so great fame, and a Bishop, the twelfth from the Apostles) to receive from thence a more full and authentick account of Christianity, than he had yet had. For his message to Rome, and his desire to become a Christian, do suppose that he had been inform’d before, what Christianity was; and he could not so likely receive such Information from any, as from the two Messengers, who are believ’d by Leland and others to have been two of the old British Christians.⌉ But now let us pass from the Church to the Empire.
CommodusPertinax Emp. being slain, Pertinax was made Emperor, who immediately dispatch’d away Albinus for Britain. But Pertinax, after a reign of eight hundred and two days, being put to death, Didius Julianus (who quickly had the same fate) set up his pretensions at Rome, Pescenius Niger in Syria, Clodius Albinus in Britain, and Septimius Severus in Pannonia; all these, at the same juncture, set up their pretentions to the Empire. SeverusSeverus Emp. (who was nearest to Italy) got first to Rome, and being made Emperor by consent of the soldiers and the Senate, that he might not leave an enemy behind him, immediately with great cunning pretended to make AlbinusAlbinus Emp., who then commanded the army of Gaul and Britain, CæsarCaesar; and, by stamping his image upon the coins, and erecting statues to him, and conferring the Consulship upon him, he politickly sooth’d him for the present. After this, he march’d into the east against Niger, and in a set battle defeated and slew him. Then he laid siege to Byzantium, and after three years took it; and reduc’d the Adiabeni, Arabians, and other nations. Thus, exalted with success, he grew impatient of a partner and rival, and employ’d Assassins to murder Albinus; but the event not answering his design, he openly declar’d him an enemy, and, with all the dispatch he could, march’d into Gaul against him: where Albinus with the flower of the British army had posted himself to receive him. The Albinians fought so stoutly, that Severus threw off his purple, and fled with his whole army. But, while the Britains pursu’d the enemy in some disorder (as if the victory was already their’s;) LætusLaetus who was one of Severus’s Captains, and stood expecting the issue of the Battle with his men fresh and untouch’d (hearing that Severus was cut off, and thinking that himself might now set up for Emperor) fell upon them, and put them to flight. Upon this, Severus, having rallied his men, and re-assum’d his purple, pursued them likewise with great eagerness, and so in the end came off very successfully, having, among many others, slain Albinus himself. And now Severus, sole Emperor of the world, first sent HeraclianusHeraclianus Proprætor., and then Virius Lupus ProprætorPropraetor and Legate (call’d by Ulpian the Lawyer, President of Britain)D. l.28. to take possession of Britain. This Virius LupusTit. 6. Virius Lupus Proprætor., as we shall observe in its proper place, repaired many Castles here. However, he was at last forced to purchase a peace of the MæatæMaeatae at a great rate (having first made some of them prisoners) because the Caledonii, who had promised to check the incursions of the Mæatæ, had not perform’d that Article. And finding himself unable to curb their sudden inroads, by all the severity he could use, he was forc’d to send to Severus to come in person to his assistance. Severus embraced the occasion very joyfully, both that he might wean his sons, who grew very debauch’d, from the pleasures of the City, and also add the name of Britannicus to his other titles; and, though now above sixty years old, and withal gouty, he resolv’d upon this expedition, with his sons, Bassianus, whom he call’d Antoninus and Augustus, and Geta Cæsar, together with the Legions. The Britains sent Embassadors immediately, to desire peace; whom (after he had designedly stay’d them a considerable time, till all things were prepar’d and ready for the war) he dismiss’d, without coming to any conclusion; and having left his son Geta, whom at his first arrival in Britain he made Augustus, in the hither part of the Island which was in subjection to the Romans, to administer justice, and the government, among them; himself with Antoninus march’d into the remote parts of the country, where, without coming to any battle, he employ’d the time in cutting down woods, building bridges, and draining the fens: and yet, by ambuscades and sickness, he lost fifty thousand of his men. Thus Dio. But Herodian makes him have several successful skirmishes; the Barbarians, from the fens and thick woods, where they had posted themselves, having the opportunity to sally out upon him. At last, he forc’d them to a League; upon condition, that they should give up into his hands a considerable share of their country. And, which was the most glorious action of his reign, he built a wall from sea to sea, quite cross the Island. Upon these victories, he stamp’d his coins with this Inscription, VICTORIA BRITANNICA, and assum’d the title of Britannicus Maximus. His son Geta had also the title of Britannicus, as appears by his coins. Yet, without regard to this league, the Britains began afterwards to revolt; which gall’d him to that degree, that, in an Oration to his soldiers, he recommended the utter Extirpation of them, in those Verses of Homer:
Nemo manus fugiat vestras cædemque cruentam,
Non fætus gravida mater quem gestat in alvo
Horrendam effugiat cædem.
—Let none your mercy share,
Let none escape the fury of the war:
Children unborn shall die. —
Having in some sort quieted these Rebels, he dy’d at York, not so much of any infirmity of body, as of grief and concern at the wickedness of his son Antoninus, who with his own hands had made two several attempts upon his Father’s life. He dy’d with these words in his mouth, I receiv’d the Common-wealth disorder’d in all its parts; I leave it in peace even among the Britains. His Body, after the military way, was carried out by the soldiers, and put in the fire, and the day was solemniz’d with races by the soldiers and his sons. Perhaps it would look like Levity, if I should relate the prodigies that happen’d before his death; namely, the blackness of the sacrifices, and the cypress crown offer’d him by a buffoon in these words, You have been every thing; now be a God. But the method of Canonization (since it may divert the reader) I will here subjoyn.
The Apotheosis, or Deification of the Emperor. It is a custom among the Romans to Deify those Emperors, who die, leaving either sons or successors behind them. And they who are thus honour’d, are understood to be rank’d among theHerodian. Divi. The city is to be all in mourning, with some allay of festival solemnity. They bury his dead body as they do those of others, in great state: But they make an Image of the deceased, as like as they can, and lay the same in the entry to the Palace, upon an ivory bed very large and high, with a cloth of gold spread over it. And this Image lies there, pale, to resemble the deceased. The bed is attended, the greatest part of the day, on both sides; on the left side, are all the Senators in black; on the right, the Matrons, honourable by descent or by marriage. Of these, none are to wear gold, or jewels, but to be dress’d in a thin white garment, like mourners. This solemnity continues seven days, Physicians coming in daily to the bed-side; and, as if the body were a real Patient, still declaring they have less and less hopes. At length, when the party * * Visus obiisse.is declared Dead, the youth of best quality among the Knights and Senators, take the bed upon their shoulders, and carry it along the Via sacra into the old Forum, where the magistrates of Rome us’d to lay down their offices. On both sides the Forum, are certain steps like stairs: upon these, on one side stand the young sons of the senators and most eminent men in the city; on the other, the principal Ladies; singing hymns, after a melancholy and mournful manner, in praise of the deceas’d. When this is done, they take up the bed again and carry it without the City, into Mars’s Field: in the broadest part whereof, is erected a square Rostrum, eaven on all sides, and built of nothing but great timber, like a Tabernacle. The inside of it is stuff’d with combustible matter; the outside is adorn’d with hangings, richly embroider’d with gold and * * Eboreis signis.work of ivory, and beautified with a variety of pictures. Below this, stands another much less, but of the same make, and with the same furniture; and with wide gates and doors: and so likewise a third, and then a fourth, the lower still proportionably less than the higher, to the very lowest, which is least of all. The shape and form of it may be compar’d to those towers, which are built near Harbours, for the burning of fires in the night, to direct sea-men; commonly called Phari, i.e. light-houses or watch-towers. The bed being lifted into the second Tabernacle, spices and perfumes of all with fruit, herbs, and sweet juices, are provided and thrown upon it. For there is no country or city, no person of degree or quality, but who in honour of the dead Prince will chearfully contribute Presents of that kind. When these spices are heaped up to a considerable quantity, and the place filled, they ride round the Pile, and the whole Equestrian Order frame themselves into a circular motion in the Pyrrhichian way. The Coaches likewise are driven round it by the * * Purpuratis Rectoribus.Senators; who personate the Roman Generals, and their famous Heroes. When this solemnity is over, the succeeding Emperor takes a torch, and puts it to the Tabernacle; then all the rest put fire to it, and the pile is presently in a terrible flame, by reason of the combusible matter and dry spices that are in it. About the same time, an Eagle is let fly from the uppermost and least Tabernacle, as from the top of it; which is supposed to carry the Prince’s soul into heaven: and henceforth the Emperor is worship’d among the other Deities. This by way of digression; now we will return.
Severus’s son, Antoninus CaracallaAntoninus Caracalla., continued for some little time to prosecute the remains of the war, by his Captains; but after that, he made a Peace, and surrender’d the forts and territories to the Enemy. Notwithstanding which, he assum’d the title of Britannicus; nay, he was so foolishly ambitious, as to call himself Britannicus Maximus. The name of Britannicus was likewise us’d by his brother Geta. For thus some Coins of his, which I have seen, are inscrib’d; IMP. CÆS. P. SEPT. GETA PIVS. AVG. BRIT. PONTIF. TRI. P. III. COS. II. PP.
From hence-forward, Writers for a long time together, omit the affairs of Britain: for Alexander Severus was not slain in Sicilia, a town of Britain (as some would have it,) but in Gaul. Thus much only appears from an old Inscription, that Nonius PhilippusNonius Philippus Proprætor., under Gordianus Junior, was ProprætorPropraetor here.
GallienusGallienus Emp. growing extreamly luxurious, the Roman Empire (either for want of care and conduct, or else because the Fates would have it so)Panegyrick spoken to Constantius. fell to pieces; and among the rest, this Province also revolted. For at that time, the thirty TyrantsThirty Tyrants. became competitors for the Empire, in the several parts of it; of whom, Lollianus, Victorinus, Posthumus, Tetrici, and Marius, were governors in this Island, as I suppose; for their Coins are daily found here in great plenty. Under Aurelian, BonosusBonosus., a famous drunkard, and by birth a Britain, together with Proculus, endeavour’d to make himself Emperor; claiming all Britain, Spain, and that part of Gaul called Braccata (which had been govern’d for two months by Florianus :) But, being at last defeated by Probus, after a very long and sharp engagement, he hang’d himself: and it was said of him, There hangs a † † Amphora.Butt, and not a man.
However, ProbusProbus Emp. found other troubles to exercise him in Britain. Zosimus.For one whom Probus himself (induc’d by the recommendation of his familiar friend Victorinus Maurus) had promoted here, was raising a revolt; and therefore he expostulated with Victorinus upon it. Victorinus having obtained leave to go to him, went as one making his escape from the Emperor; and being kindly received by the Tyrant, kill’d him by night, and return’d to Probus, and restor’d the Province to its former quiet. Laelianus Who this Tyrant was, we are not inform’d by any Author; he seems to be that Cl. Corn. LælianusLælianus Emp., whose Coins are found in this Island and in no other Country. Probus also transplanted the BurgundiansBurgundians and Vandals in Britain. and the Vandals (whom he had reduced,) and settled them here: and they afterwards prov’d very serviceable to the Romans upon any commotion. But whereas Vopiscus writes, that Probus permitted the Britains to have Vines; a very learned man is of opinion, that this passage might slip from him unawares, as if the Country were unfit for Vines; whereas we not only have vines now, but for certain had great store in former days. The many rival-Tyrants in Britain at that time, occasion’d that exclamation of Porphyry who liv’d in the same age;Jerom. Britain a Province fruitful in Tyrants!
After this, Carus AugustusCarus and Carinus Emp. gave Britain to his Son Carinus, with Gaul, Spain, and Illyricum. That he carried on a war here, some infer from those verses of Nemesianus; but to me the Authority seems but weak:
—Nec taceam quæ nuper bella sub arcto
Fœlici, Carine, manu confeceris, ipso
Pene prior genitore Deo.
Nor, great Carinus, e’er shall latest fame
Forget our noble actions in the North,
When round the Pole you spread your awful name,
And match’d the God your Sire’s immortal worth.
In Dioclesian’sDioclesian and Maximian Emp. time, Carausius, a Menapian born (of mean extraction, but of good conduct and courage, and eminent for his bravery at Sea) was made Governour of Bononia in Gaul, to secure that sea against the Saxon and French Pirates who infested it. Having from time to time taken many of the Barbarians Prisoners, and neither brought all the prizes to the Emperor’s Exchequer, nor restor’d them to the * * Provincialibus.right owners in his Province; and afterwards taking very few of them, it began to be suspected that he let them pass on purpose, in hopes of intercepting them with the booty they had taken, whereby he might enrich himself. Upon this, he was to have been slain by order of Maximian the Emperor. ButCarausius Emp. having intelligence of it, he took possession of Britain under the character of Emperor: thither he brought the Fleet which he had with him to defend Gaul; there he built more ships after the Roman model, was joyn’d by the Roman Legion, kept out foreign Troops, press’d the French merchants to his service, garrison’d Bononia, and converted the revenues of Britain and Batavia to his own use. Moreover, by the hopes of booty in the Provinces, he drew abundance of the Barbarians to be his Allies (particularly the Franks, whom he had train’d to sea-service,) and infested all the neighbouring sea-coast. Maximian, with a brave army († † The Theban Legion.some of them suffer’d Martyrdom gloriously in this expedition) march’d against him; but when he was advanc’d to the sea-coast (wanting seamen, and being daunted at the roughness and danger of the British Ocean,) he made a halt, and there began a feign’d treaty, whereby it was concluded that Carausius should enjoy the Government of Britain, as the more proper person, by reason of his great interest here, to defend the Country against all Invasions. This is the reason, that in all Carausius’s silver Coins, we find two Emperors shaking hands, with this Inscription round it, CONCORDIA * * Augustorum.AUGG. Maximian march’d with his army against the Franks, who then inhabited Batavia, and had assisted Carausius; and they being surpriz’d by him, forthwith submitted. In the mean time, Carausius govern’d in Britain, with great authority, and in perfect peace; he repair’d the wall between the mouth of the Clud and Carun, to keep out the Barbarians (as Ninnius, Eluodugus’s Scholar, tells us,) and fortified the same with seven castles; and moreover built a round house of hewen stone upon the bank of the river Carun, so called from his own name; with a triumphal Arch in memory of his Victory. But Buchanan thinks, it was the Temple of Terminus; as we shall observe in Scotland.
When Dioclesian and Maximian had made Constantius Chlorus and Maximianus Galerius † † Cæsares.caesarestheir partners in the Empire; to the end they might keep what they had got, and recover what they had lost, Constantius, having raised an Army, march’d with incredible speed to Bononia in Gaul, otherwise called Gessoriacum (which Carausius had strongly garrison’d) and invested the place: He block’d up the haven with huge beams driven into the ground at the entrance, and heaps of great stones, like a rampart; which, notwithstanding the violence of the tides, continued firm for many days. But, as soon as the Town was surrender’d, it was so shaken by the very first tide, that the whole work was disjointed, and broken to pieces. Eumenius the Panegyrist.And while his Fleet was preparing for the British expedition, in this and other places; he cleared Batavia of the Franks who were then possessed of it, and transplanted many of them to cultivate the barren parts of the Empire.
In this juncture, Carausius was treacherously slain byC. Allectus Emp. Allectus, his bosom friend and prime Minister; who thereupon usurp’d the Government. Upon this news, Constantius mann’d out several distinct Fleets; so that Allectus, knowing neither what course to take, nor where to expect him, grew sensible that the Ocean was not so much his Refuge, as his Prison. The Fleet setting out in tempestuous weather, did, by the help of a Fog, escape the British Navy, which lay off of the Isle of Wight, on purpose to observe and attend them: and as soon as he was arrived and had put his army a-shore, he set fire to his whole fleet, that there might be no hopes of safety but in victory. Allectus, when he saw Constantius’s fleet upon the coast, quitted the shore where he had posted himself, and in his flight was accidentally met and encountred by Asclepiodotus † † Præfectum Prætorio.Praefectum PraetorioCaptain of the Life-guard; but his confusion was such, that, like a madman, he ran on desperately to his own ruin: for he neither drew up his army, nor put his cavalry in order, but with his barbarous mercenaries (having first put off his Robes that they might not discover him) he rush’d upon the enemy, and in that tumultuary kind of fight was kill’d, without any note of distinction about him. So that they had much ado to find him among the bodies of the Barbarians, which lay about the field and on the hills. Upon this, the Franks and other surviving Barbarians, determined to plunder London, and go off with the booty: but a party of ours, that were separated from the army in foggy weather, coming luckily to London at the same time, fell upon them with great slaughter in all parts of the City; not only to the rescue and safety, but to the great joy and pleasure, of the Citizens. By this victory the Province was recovered, after it had been about seven years govern’d by Carausius, and three more by Allectus. Upon that occasion, Eumenius writes thus to Constantius. O important victory! worthy of many triumphs; by this, Britain is restored, by this the Franks are utterly defeated, and other nations in that rebellious confederacy reduc’d to Obedience. To conclude, the sea it self is scour’d, to establish our quiet in those parts. You, great CæsarCaesar , for your part, may with justice triumph in this discovery of another world; and, by restoring the Naval glory of Rome, may boast that you have added to the Empire a larger Element, than all their former Dominions. And a little after, to the same Constantius; Britain is so perfectly reduced, that all the neighbouring nations are under absolute subjection.
Towards the end of Dioclesian’s and Maximian’s reign, when thatPersecution in Britain. long and bloody Persecution in the Eastern Church broke into the Western Church with great violence, many Christians suffered martyrdom in Britain. The chief among them, were, St. Alban.Albanus Verolamiensis, Julius, and Aaron a citizen of * * Isca Legionum.Exeter, &c. of whom in their proper places. For the Church surviv’d it with great triumph and happiness; and could not be destroy’d by a continu’d persecution of ten years.
Constantius Chlorus Emp. Dioclesian and Maximian having abdicated the Empire, Constantius Chlorus, who till that time governed under the title of Cæsar, was made Emperor. To his share, fell Italy, Africa, Spain, Gaul and Britain. Italy and Africa he surrender’d to Galerius, and contented himself with the rest. While he was a Soldier in Britain under Aurelian, he marry’d Helena, the daughter of CœlusCoelus Coelius or Cœlius a petty Prince here, and by her had Constantine the Great, in Britain. For in this all writers agree with the great BaroniusBaronius, Hist. Eccles., (a) except one or two modern Greeks (who are inconsiderable, and vary from one another) and a certain learned person, who grounds his dissent upon a faulty passage of J. Firmicus. Chlorus was compell’d by Maximian to divorce this wife, and marry his daughter Theodora. This HelenaHelena. is the same, who in old Inscriptions is call’d Venerabilis & Piissima Augusta, and is so highly celebrated by Ecclesiastical Writers, for her Christian piety, her suppressing of Idols at Jerusalem, and erecting a Church in the place where Christ suffered, and for finding the Cross of Christ. Yet the Jews and Gentiles call her, in reproach, Stabularia, because the Manger where Christ lay, was sought out by this pious Princess, and a Church built in the place where * * Stabulum.the stable stood. Hence, St. Ambrose:Of the death Theodosius. They tell us, this Lady was first an Inn-keeper, &c. This good Inn-keeper Helena hasten’d to Jerusalem, and there found out the place of our Lord’s Passion, and diligently sought the manger where her Lord lay. This good Inn-keeper was not ignorant of him, who cur’d the traveller that the robbers had wounded. This good Inn-keeper did not care ¦ ¦ Stercoraria.how base and vile she was thought, so she could but gain Christ. Constantius her husband is no less commended for his piety and wisdom.Eusebius. A man, who rejecting the superstition and impiety of many Gods, has frankly own’d the being of one only God, the Governour of all things. Whereupon, to discover the Faith of his own Courtiers, he gave them free liberty, either to sacrifice to their Gods and stay with him, or to refuse and be gone. But those who chose to go, rather than leave the worship of the true God, he kept; and those who gave up the worship of the true God, he cashier’d; concluding, that such could not be true to him, who were treacherous to their God. This excellent Emperor dy’d in his last expeditionSee Suidas, why he was called Poor. in Britain against the Caledonians and other Picts, at York; and was succeeded by his Son Constantine, who had been declared Cæsar before.caesar
(a) See the learned Lipsius’s opinion of this matter, in his Letter to Mr. Camden, publish’d among his Epistles pag.64. See also Usher’s Antiquitates Britannicarum Ecclesiarum, pag.93. fol. cap.8.
Constantine the Great Emp. Some few days before the death of Constantius, his Son Constantine went post from Rome to York; (and, that none might follow, he took care to lame all the horses belonging to the State for those services, except such as himself us’d;) and there he received his Father’s last breath. Hence, this Address of an antient Orator: You enter’d the sacred Palace, not as ambitious of the Empire, but ordain’d and appointed to it; and forthwith your father’s House had the happiness to see you its lawful Governour. For there was no doubt but he had the right and title, who was the first son that Providence bestow’d upon the Emperor. However, he seem’d to be forc’d upon this high station by the soldiers, and particularly by the importunity of Erocus, King of the Almans, who came along with him, as an Assistant.A Panegyrick spoken to Constantine the Great. The Soldiers, with regard to the publick, and not out of private interest, cast the royal robes upon him; he wept, and spurr’d away his horse, that he might avoid the importunity of the army, &c. but his modesty at last yeilded to the good and happiness of the Common-wealth. Hence, the Panegyrist exclaims, O fortunate Britain, and happy above all Nations, in first seeing Constantine, Emperor.
Cæsar, at his setting out, prosecuted those wars which his father had begun against the Caledonians and other Picts; and fell upon the remoter parts of Britain, and those Islanders, who, as a certain Author words it, are witnesses of the sun’s setting.Gelacius Cizicenus, l.1. Act. Conc. Nicen. c.3. Some of them he subdu’d by force, others (for he had Rome, and greater things, in his eye at that time) he drew to his alliance by money: some who were his enemies he reconcil’d to be his friends; others, who were inveterate against him, he drew over to be his intimates. After that, he made such a glorious Conquest of the Franks in Batavia, that golden coins (one of which I have seen) were stamp’d with the image of a woman sitting under a trophy, and resting one hand upon a Cross-bow, with this Inscription under it, FRANCIA; and GAUDIUM ROMANORUM round it. So, having defeated the other Barbarians in Germany, and made the Germans and Gauls his Friends, he drew his soldiers out of Britain, Gaul, and Germany, amounting to the number of 90000 foot and 80000 horse, and set forward for Italy. Maxentius (who, at Rome, laid claim to the Empire) was likewise overcome by him: and thus, having defeated the Tyrant and reduc’d Italy, he restor’d the world to the blessings of peace and liberty. And as it is in an old Inscription;
INSTINCTU DIVINITATIS, MENTIS MAGNITUDINE, CUM EXERCITU SUO, TAM DE TYRANNO, QUAM DE OMNI EJUS FACTIONE, UNO TEMPORE JUSTIS REMPUBLICAM ULTUS EST ARMIS. i.e. By divine impulse, and the greatness of his own soul, he so manag’d his Army, as to triumph over the Tyrant and all his adherents; and so at once, by a just war, did revenge the quarrel of the Republick.
That he return’d to Britain, is hinted by Eusebius in these words; At last, Constantine sailed over to Britain, which is surrounded by the sea: and having overcome them, he began to think of other parts of the World; that he might relieve those who needed his assistance. Likewise, in another place, After he had instill’d into his Army the principles of Humanity, modesty, and piety; he invaded Britain, a country enclosed by the sea, which, as it were, terminates the Sun’s setting with its coasts.
Also, those Verses of Optatianus Porphyrius to Constantine, are to be understood of Britain.
Omnis ad Arctois plaga finibus horrida Cauro
Pacis amat cana & comperta perennia jura,
Et tibi fida tuis semper bene militat armis,
Resque gerit virtute tuas, populosque feroces
Propellit, ceditque lubens tibi debita rata,
Et tua victores sors accipit hanc tibi fortes,
Teque duce invictæ attollant signa cohortes.
The Northern nation vex’d with Western storms,
To your commands and peaceful laws conforms:
Serves in your arms, and to your colours true,
Subdu’d herself, helps others to subdue.
Her easie tribute uncompell’d she pays,
While your brave troops your conqu’ring Eagles raise,
And heaven rewards you with deserv’d success.
Pacatianus vicegerent of Britain in the 13th year of Constantine the Great. About this time (as is manifest from the Theodosian Code) Pacatianus was Vicegerent in Britain; for then, here was no such thing as a Proprætor and Legate, but in lieu thereof a Vicarius.
This Emperor was highly commended; and he highly deserv’d it. For he did not only set the Roman Empire at liberty; but, dispelling the clouds of superstition, he introduced the pure light of the Gospel, opened Temples for the worship of the true God, and shut up those that were dedicated to the false. For as soon as the storm of that Persecution was over, the faithful servants of Christ, who had withdrawn in those dangerous times, and absconded in woods, deserts, and caves; began to appear in publick. They rebuilt the Churches that were thrown down, they begun, carry’d on, and finish’d † † Basilicas.Temples in honour of the holy martyrs; and, displaying as it were their victorious Banners, they celebrated festivals, and with pure hearts and hands performed their holy Solemnities. And therefore he is honoured with these Titles,
IMPERATOR FORTISSIMUS AC BEATISSIMUS. PIISSIMUS. FOELIX. URBIS LIBERATOR. QUIETIS FUNDATOR. REIPUBLICÆ INSTAURATOR. PUBLICÆ LIBERTATIS AUCTOR. RESTITUTOR URBIS ROMÆ ATQUE ORBIS. MAGNUS. MAXIMUS. INVICTUS. INVICTISSIMUS. PERPETUUS. SEMPER AUGUSTUS. RERUM HUMANARUM OPTIMUS PRINCEPS. VIRTUTE FORTISSIMUS, ET PIETATE CLEMENTISSIMUS. And in the Laws: QUI VENERANDA CHRISTIANORUM FIDE ROMANUM MUNIVIT IMPERIVM. DIVUS. DIVÆ MEMORIÆ. DIVINÆ MEMORIÆ, &c.
An Emperor most valiant, most blessed, most pious, happy, Redeemer of the City, Founder of Peace, Establisher of the Common-wealth, Author of the publick Liberty, Restorer of the City of Rome and the World: Great, Greatest, Invincible, Most Invincible, Perpetual Augustus, Best Prince and Governour, Most Valiant, Most Merciful. And in the Laws, He who fortified the Roman Empire with the venerable Faith of Christ, Sacred, Of blessed memory, Of divine memory, &c.
And he is the first Emperor, that I can find, who in Coins and publick Monuments was ever stil’d Dominus noster; yet at the same time I am not ignorant, that Dioclesian was the first after Caligula, who would allow the title of Dominus to be publickly given him.
However, it seems to have been a great over-sight in this mighty Emperor, that he open’d a passage for the Barbarians, into Britain, Germany, and Gaul. For, when he had reduc’d the northern nations to such a degree that they were not able to annoy him, and had newly built the city of Constantinople, to suppress the mighty growth of the Persians, who threaten’d the Roman empire Eastward; he drew away the legions out of the frontier garrisons, partly into the east (building forts and castles to supply the want of them) and partly to the cities remote from the Frontiers. So that presently after his death, the Barbarians forc’d the towns and castles, and broke into the Provinces. For this reason, Zosimus speaks so dishonourably of him, as the first and greatest subverter of that flourishing Empire.
Government in Britain under the later Emperors.Praefecti Praetorio But, seeing Constantine did new-model the Empire; it will not be improper to observe, in short, how Britain was govern’d under him and the succeeding Emperors. He appointed four * * Præfecti Prætorio.Chief Præfects for the East, Illyricum, Italy, and Gaul; and ¦ ¦ Militum Magistri.two Masters of the soldiery, one over the Horse, the other over the Foot, for the West; who were call’d PræsentalesPraesentales.
As for Civil Affairs, they were administer’d in Britain by the Præfectus Prætorio of Gaul, who exercis’d that Office here by a deputy, honour’d with the title of Spectabilis. UnderVicegerent of Britain. him were two Consular Deputies, answerable to the number of the Provinces; and three Præsidents, who were to determine all Causes, Criminal and Civil.
As for military matters, they were under the rule and management of the Master of the Foot in the West: and to him were subject, the Count of Britain, the Count of the Saxon shore throughout Britain, and the Dux Britanniarum; who had each the title of Spectabilis.
Count of Britain. The Count of Britain seems to have presided over the inner parts of the Island; and had the command of seven † † Numeros.companies of foot, and nine * * Vexillationes.Troops of Horse.
Count of the Saxon shore. The Count of the Saxon shore (who was to defend the sea-coast against the Saxons, and by Ammianus is call’d Comes Tractus Maritimi) had under him seven † † Numeros.companies of foot, two * Vexillationes.troops of horse, the second legion, and a Cohort.
The Duke of Britain, who was to defend the Marches against the Barbarians, had the command of 38 garrisons, consisting in all of 14000 foot and 900 horse: so that, in this age, if Pancirollus hath cast up his account right, the ordinary Forces in Britain were 19200 foot and 1700 horse, or thereabouts.
Count of the Imperial Largesses. There were besides these, the Comes Sacrarum Largitionum, who had the care of all the Emperor’s gifts and largesses. He had under him in Britain, a Rationalis Summarum BritanniæBritanniae, or Receiver-General; PræpositusPraepositus Thesaurorum Augustensium in Britannia, or Lord-Treasurer; and a Procurator Gynegii in Britannia, or an Overseer of the Gynegium in Britain, the place where the Cloaths of the Emperor and army were woven. Also, the Comes rerum privatarum (or Keeper of the Privy-Purse) had here in Britain his Rationalis rei privatæprivatae or private Auditor: not to mention the Procurator Ludi Gladiatorii, or Master of the Fencing-School in Britain (mention’d in an old inscription;) with others of an inferior rank.
⌈In the time of this Emperor, the British Church seems to have been, not only in a calm and quiet, but in a settled Condition; inasmuch as we find three British Bishops (Eborius, Restitutus, and Adelfius) in the year 314, subscribing in form to the Council of Arles.⌉
Constantine Emp. Upon the death of Constantine, Britain fell to the share of his son Constantine; who, being spurr’d on by ambition to invade the Dominions of others, was slain by his brother Constans. Constans Emp. Constans, exalted with this victory, possess’d himself of Britain, and the other Provinces, and came hither with his brother Constantius. Hence, that address of Julius Firmicus, (not the Pagan Astrologer, but the Christian,) to these two. In the winter, a thing which never was, nor ever will be done, you have triumph’d over the boisterous and swelling waves of the British Ocean. A sea almost unknown to us, hath trembled, and the Britains are surpris’d at the unexpected coming of their Emperor. What further would you atchieve? The elements themselves submit to your Valour. This Constans conven’d a Council at Sardis against the Arrians, which consisted of 300 Bishops; and among these were the Bishops of Britain, who having condemn’d the hereticks, and confirm’d the NicæneNicaene Creed, gave their Voices for the Innocence of Athanasius. Athanasius in Apol. 2. But the young Prince, without farther application to state-affairs, grew dissolute and voluptuous: this made him burthensome to the Provinces, and, unacceptable to his army;Magnentius, called also Taporus. so that Magnentius, Count of the Jovii and Herculei, set upon him * * In vico Helenæ.in the village of Helena as he was hunting, and Helenae there slew him; fulfilling the prophesie, that he should end his life in his Grandmother’s lap; from whom that Village had the name. This Magnentius was born amongst the LætiLaeti in Gaul, but his Father was a Britain: and now, upon the murder of Constans, he assumed the Imperial robes in Gaul, and drew-over Britain to side with him; but for three years together was so warmly encounter’d by Constantius, that at last he laid violent hands upon himself. He was the most fortunate of Princes, for favourable weather, plentiful harvests, and peace with the Barbarians; things, which mightily raise the reputation of Princes among the vulgar. But, for what reason this Magnentius, in an old Inscription long since dug-up at Rome, is call’d Taporus, I leave others to enquire. For thus it is read there;Angelus Rocha. speaking of the Obelisk, erected in the Circus,
Interea Taporo Romam vastante tyranno,
Augusti jacuit donum studiumque locandi.
Under vile Taporu’s tyrannick sway,
The royal present unregarded lay.
Praefuit Gratianus Funarius. At this time, Gratian, sirnamed Funarius, was † † Præfuit rei castrensi.A. Marcellinus.General in Britain; who was father of Valentinian the Emperor. He was called Funarius, from a Rope, which in his youth he carry’d about to sell; and though five soldiers attempted to take it from him, they could not with all their force do it. Upon his return home, and the loss of his Commission, his goods were confiscated to the Emperor; because he was reported to have entertained Magnentius.
Constantius. Magnentius being murder’d, Britain submitted to Constantius;Paulus Catena. and forthwith one Paul, a Notary, born in Spain, was sent hither, who, under the mask of friendship and kindness, would carry on the ruin of others, with great dexterity. That he might punish some soldiers who had conspired with Magnentius (when they were not able to make resistance, and he had outragiously like a torrent broke in upon them;) he seized many of their Estates.Ammian. Marcellin. l.14. And thus he went on with great slaughter and ruin, condemning many of the freemen to Irons, and some to bonds and fetters, by arraigning them of faults that were no way chargeable upon them. Hereupon, so foul a crime was committed, as must brand the Reign of Constantius with eternal infamy.Martin, Vicegerent of Britain. There was one Martin, that governed these Provinces, as Deputy; who, out of compassion to the calamities of these innocent people, had often applied himself to Paul, that the guiltless might be spar’d. When he found his intercession was to no purpose, he threatened to leave the Province; hoping that that would awe and stop the proceedings of a malicious persecutor of these harmless and quiet people. Paul, thinking this would spoil his trade, and having a most dextrous head at laying contrivances (from which very faculty he was called Catena,) took care to hook the Deputy, who defended others, into the like dangers. And he went very near to bring him bound, with the Tribunes, and many others, before the Emperor’s * * Comitatus Imperatoris.Privy Council. This imminent danger so inraged Martin against Paul, that he drew his sword and made a pass at him; but being not home enough to dispatch him, he stabb’d himself in the side with it. And this was the unhappy fate of that just man, who had the courage to protect so many others from injury and oppression. After this villany, Paul, all in blood, returned to the † † Principis castra. head quarters, bringing several with him ready to sink under their chains, and reduced to great misery; upon whose coming, the * * Equulei.burning-horses were set up, and hooks and other Instruments of Torture prepar’d by the Executioner; some were outlaw’d, some banished, and others put to death. At last, the Vengeance of God fell upon him, and himself receiv’d the just reward of his cruelty; being burnt alive in the reign of Julian.
Afterwards (these are the words of Ammianus Marcellinus) when, by the inroads of those barbarous nations the Scots and Picts, the peace of Britain was disturbed, the frontiers wasted, and the Provinces tir’d-out and grown heartless with the many slaughters that had been made; Julian (who by Constantius was declared CæsarCaesar and Partner in the Empire) being then in his winter-quarters at Paris, was in such distracted circumstances, that he durst not venture to relieve them (as we have told you Constantius before him had done) lest he should leave Gaul without government: considering also, that the Almans were forming an insurrection at that time. He took care therefore to sendLupicinus. Lupicinus to settle matters in these parts, who was * * Magister Armorum.Master of the Armory, a warlike man, and † † Castrensis rei peritus.an expert Soldier, but very proud and haughty; of whom it was doubted, which was his greater fault, Covetousness or Cruelty. He therefore, with a supply of light soldiers, Herulians, Batavians, and several Companies of the Mæsians, marched in the midst of winter to Bologn.MaesiansRhutupiae Having got ships, and embarked his men, he took the advantage of a fair wind, and arrived atRhutupiæ.
London. Rhutupiæ, a place just opposite, and from thence marched to London; that there he might take measures according to the state of affairs, and proceed immediately to give them battle.
Under this Constantius, who was a great favourer of the Arians, the Arian heresie crept into Britain; where, from the beginning of Constantine the Great, a sweet harmony between Christ the head and his members, had continu’d; till that deadly heresie of Arius, like a serpent spitting her venom upon us from beyond sea, made even brothers inveterate against one another. And thus, a passage being made over the Ocean, and all other cruel savages spouting out of their mouths the deadly poison of their heresies, wounded their own Country; to which novelty is ever grateful, and which is never firm in any principle.Sulpitius Serus. In favour of these Arians, Constantius conven’d a Council of four hundred western Bishops at Ariminum; allowing all of them the necessary provisions. But that was deemed by the Aquitanes, Gauls, and Britains, very unbecoming; and therefore, refusing that maintenance from the Emperor, they chose rather to live at their own charges. † † Hilary in his Epistle to the Bishops, calls those, Bishops of the Provinces of Britain.Three only out of Britain, who were not able to maintain themselves, were maintained by * * Publico. the State, having refused contributions from the rest; as thinking it more honourable to be a burthen to the publick, than to particular persons.
Julian Emperor.Praefect After this, upon the death of Constantius, Julian the Apostate (who had set up for Emperor in competition with Constantius)Am. Marcellin. banish’d Palladius, * * Primum ex magistro Officiorum. one of his great Officers, into Britain; and sent away Alipius, who was Præfect in this Island, to Jerusalem, to rebuild it; where such strange flashes of fire broke out near the foundations, as deterr’d them from that attempt; and many thousand Jews, who were forward in advancing the work in opposition to the decrees of Providence, were kill’d in the ruins. This dissolute Emperor, and pretended Philosopher, durst not (as is already observed) come to the relief of the oppressed Britains; though at the same time he exacted every year great quantities of corn for the support of his German Armies.
Valentinian Emp. In the reign of Valentinian the Emperor, when the whole world was at war, Britain was continually infested by the Picts, the Saxons, the Scots, and the Attacotti. Upon this, Fraomarius, King of the Almans, was sent hither, and made Tribune of a body of Almans (who at that time were very considerable for strength and numbers) to check the Barbarians in their Incursions.
Am. Marcellinus, l.27 & 28. However, by confederacies among these barbarous People, Britain was reduced to extreme misery; Nectaridus, Count of the sea-coast was slain, and Bulchobaudes the General was cut off by treachery. This news was received at Court with great consternation, and the Emperor sent Severus, at that time * * Domesticorum Comitem.Steward of his Houshold, to punish these insolencies; if fortune should put it in his power. But he was soon after recalled, and succeeded by Jovinus, who sent back Proventusides† Possibly a place corrupted. with all speed, to intimate the necessity there was of greater supplies, in the present state of affairs. At last, upon the very great distress the Island was reported to be in,Theodosius. Theodosius, eminent for his exploits and good fortune, was dispatch’d hither with all speed. Having selected a strong body out of the Legions and Cohorts, he began his expedition very hopefully. Picts.. The Picts were at that time divided into two nations, the DicalidonæDicalidonae and the Vecturiones; and likewise theAttacots.. Attacotti, a warlike people, and theScots. Scots, rang’d the country for spoil and booty. As for Gaul, the Franks and Saxons (who border upon it) were perpetually making inroads by sea and land; and by the spoil they took, the towns they burnt, and the men they kill’d, were very troublesome neighbours. If fortune would have favoured; this brave Captain, now bound for the remotest part of the world, was resolv’d to curb them. When he came to the Coast of Bologn (which is sever’d from the opposite Country by a narrow sea, ebbing and flowing, apt to swell and rage at certain seasons, and again to fall into a plain level surface, at which time it is navigable without danger,) he set sail, and with a gentle course arriv’d at Rhutupiæ,Rhutupiae a safe harbour over-against it. The Batavians, Herulians, the Jovii and Victores (brave bold men who followed him,) being also landed, he set forward for London, an ancient town called in after-ages Augusta. London called Augusta. Having divided his army into several bodies, he fell upon the enemy; who were roving up and down the country for prey, and laden with spoil and booty. They were soon routed, and forced to leave their booty behind; which was, cattle and prisoners, that they had taken from the miserable Tributaries. After he had made restitution of the booty to the respective owners, saving only some small part to refresh his army; he entered the City in great state, which (though in the utmost affliction and misery till that time) soon revived upon it, in hopes of recovery, and protection for the future. This success spurr’d him on to greater designs; yet, to proceed warily, he consider’d, upon the intelligence he had got from fugitives and captive, that so great a multitude as the Enemy (composed of several nations, and those of a fierce heady temper) were not to be routed, but by stratagem and surprise. Having publish’d an Act of Indemnity, he order’d all deserters and others dispers’d up and down the country for provision, to repair to him. This brought-in many; upon which reinforcement, he thought to take the field, but deferr’d it upon several accounts, till he could have Civilis.Civilis sent to be Deputy-Governour in Britain; (a man somewhat passionate, but very just and upright;) and also Dulcitius.Dulcitius, a gallant Captain and of great experience in War. Afterwards, taking heart, he went from Augusta, which the Ancients call’d Londinum, with a good army (which he had raised with diligence) and proved a great support to the sinking state of the poor Britains. He took in all such places as might favour him in cutting off the enemy by ambuscade, and imposed nothing upon the common soldiers, but what himself would lead the way to. Thus, he discharged the office of a stout Soldier, as well as of a brave General; and, having defeated several nations, who, presuming upon the security they were under, had the insolence to invade the Roman Empire; he laid the foundation of a lasting peace: rebuilding and repairing the Cities and Castles, which had been exceedingly damag’d. In this juncture, there happen’d a terrible attempt, which might have been of dangerous consequence, if it had not been timely prevented. Valentine raises a disturbance in Britain. One Valentinus, of Valeria Pannonia, a proud haughty man, and † † Conjugis frater.brother-in-law to Maximinus (that insupportable Deputy, and afterwards Lieutenant,) was banish’d for a heinous crime, into this Island; where, like a savage of a restless temper, he put all things in disorder by plots and insurrections against Theodosius; and that purely from a desperate spirit, and out of pride and envy; he being the only man that could cope with him. However, that he might proceed with conduct and security in these ambitious pursuits, he endeavour’d to draw-in all exiles and soldiers, with the encouragement and prospect of booty. But these designs taking air, and coming to the General’s ear before they were ripe for execution, he took care like a wise man to be before-hand with the conspirators: Valentinus himself, with some of the chief of his cabal, he committed to Dulcitius to see them executed; but, upon laying things together (for he was the wisest and most experienced soldier of his time,) he would suffer no further enquiry after the other Conspirators, lest the general terror it would raise, might again imbroil the Province, which was now in peace and quietness. From this, he turn’d his thoughts upon some necessary Reformations; which he could attempt without danger, now it appear’d that fortune was so favourable to all his designs; and so he applied himself to the repairing of Cities and Garrisons (as we have said,) and to the strengthening the Frontiers with watches, and intrenchments. Having recovered the Province which was possessed by the enemy, he restored it so compleatly to its former state, that † † Eodem referente.at his motion, it had a * * Rector legitimus.lawful Governor set over it, and was afterwards by the Prince’s order call’dValentia. Valentia. The Areans, an Order of men instituted by the ancients, were displaced by him as degenerated into several vices, and plainly convicted of giving intelligence to the Barbarians for reward. For their proper business was to run to and fro between our Captains, with the news of any mischief they found brewing in the neighbouring Countries. After these and other regulations, made by him with great wisdom, he was sent-for to Court, leaving the Provinces in such a joyful and flourishing condition, that he was no less eminent for his many and important victories, than Furius Camillus, or Cursor Papirius. And so, being attended with the acclamations of all to the sea-side, he sailed over with a gentle gale, and arrived at the Prince’s camp, where he was received with great joy and commendation. For these famous exploits, a statue on horse-back was erected in honour of him, as Symmachus, addressing himself to his son Theodosius the Emperor, informs us. The founder of your stock and family, one that was General both in Africa and Britain, was honour’d by the Senate with Statues on horse-back among the ancient Heroes. Thus Claudian likewise, in his Commendation,
Ille Caledoniis posuit qui castra pruinis,
Qui medio Libyæ sub casside pertulit æstus,
Terribilis Mauro, debellatorque Britanni
Littoris, ac pariter Boreæ vastator & Austri.
Quid rigor æternus? Cœli quid sydera prosunt?
Ignotumque fretum? maduerunt Saxone fuso
Orcades, incaluit Pictorum sanguine Thule,
Scotorum cumulos flevit glacialis Hiberne.
Brave he, that quell’d the Caledonian foe,
And pitch’d his frozen tents in constant snow.
That on his faithful crest undaunted bore
The furious Beams on Lybia’s parched shore.
How vain’s eternal frost, and angry stars,
And seas untried by fearful Mariners?
The wasted Orkneys Saxon gore o’erflow’d,
And Thule now grew hot with reeking blood:
Cold Ireland mourn’d her slaughter’d sons in vain,
And heaps of Scots that cover’d all the plain.
And in another place, concerning the same person:
—Quem littus adustæ
Horrescit Lybiæ, ratibusque impervia Thule,
Ille leves Mauros, nec falso nomine Pictos
Edomuit, Scotumque vago mucrone sequutus
Fregit Hyperboreas remis audacibus undas;
Et geminis fulgens utroque sub axe trophæis,
Tethyos alternæ refluas calcavit arenas.
Scorch’d Lybia’s borders tremble at his power,
And Thule’s cliffs that scorn the labouring oar.
He the light Moors in happy war o’ercame,
And Picts that vary nothing from their name.
With wandring arms the timorous Scots pursu’d,
And plough’d with ventrous keels the Northern flood.
Spurn’d the bold tide, as on the sand it rowls,
And fix’d his trophies under both the Poles.
Thus, Pacatus Drepanus also concerning him. What need I mention the Scot, confin’d to his boggs, or the Saxon, ruin’d by sea-fights? After him, Gratian Emperor.Gratian succeeded in the Empire, who also declared Theodosius (son of the Theodosius before-mentioned) Augustus. Which was so ill taken by MaximusMaximus the Tyrant. his rivalZosimus. (born in Spain, descended from Constantine the Great, and then commander of the Army in Britain) that he set up for Emperor himself; or, as OrosiusOrosius. says, was against his will greeted Emperor by the soldiers. A man valiant and just, and worthy of that honour, if he had not come to it by usurpation, and against his allegiance. First,Prosper Tyro. he routed the Picts and Scots, as they made their inroads; and then embarking the flower of the Britains, and arriving at the mouth of the Rhine, he won-over all the German forces to his party, fixed his Court at Triers (whence he was call’d, Imperator TrevericusGregorius Turonensis.,) and thence, as Gildas has it, stretching out his wings, one to Spain, and the other to Italy, he levied taxes and tribute upon the most barbarous nations in Germany, by the meer terror of his name. Gratian at last took the field against him, but after several skirmishes for five days together, was deserted by his army, and put to flight. Upon that, he sent St. Ambrose, his Embassador, to treat of peace; which was concluded, but with great treachery. For MaximusCedrenus. dispatched away Andragathius in a close chariot; spreading a report, that it was Gratian’s wife arriv’d from Britain. Upon this news, Gratian went affectionately to meet her; but as soon as he open’d the chariot, Andragathius leap’d out with his gang, and murther’d him. Ambrosius was sent again to beg the Body; but was not so much as admitted, because he had refused to communicate with those Bishops that had sided with Maximus; who, exalted with this success, had his son VictorZosimus. declar’d CæsarCaesar, punished the Captains that adher’d to Gratian, and settled his affairs in Gaul. He was also acknowledg’d Emperor, at the request or rather demand of his Embassadors, by Theodosius Augustus, who then governed in the East; by whom also his Statue was publickly shown to the Alexandrians. And now, having made every man’s Estate his prey, his Covetousness wrought a general Poverty among the People. His pretence for tyranny, was, to defend the Catholick Religion. Priscillianistae Priscillian,Priscillianistæ.Sulpitius Severus. and some of his sect, being convicted of heresie at the Council of Bourdeaux, and having appeal’d to the Emperor, were by him condemn’d to death; notwithstanding that Martin, the Holy Bishop of Tours, humbly besought the Emperor to abstain from the blood of those unfortunate People; alledging, that the sentence of Excommunication would be a sufficient punishment, and that it was a thing new, and unheard of, that a secular Judge should give sentence in an Ecclesiastical matter. These were the first, who (to the ill example of after-ages) were put to death by the Civil power, for Heresie. After this, he enter’d Italy in such a formidable manner, that Valentinian fled with his mother to Theodosius, and the Cities of Italy opened their gates to him, and did him all the honours imaginable; particularly, Bononia, where this Inscription still remains:
DD. NN. MAG. C. MAXIMO, ET FL. VICTORI, PIIS, FELICIBVS, SEMPER AVGVSTIS * * Bono Reipub.B. R. NATIS.
In this Juncture, the FranksSulpitius Alexander. made inroads into Gaul; but Nannius and Quintinus, † † Militares magistri.two great Captains (to whom Maximus had committed the education of his son, and the government of Gaul,) repell’d them with great slaughter, forc’d them to give hostages, and to deliver up the authors of the Insurrection. Valentinian address’d himself to Theodosius to relieve him, being thrust out of his throne by an Usurper; but he had for some time no more answer than this,Zonaras. That it was no way strange to see a seditious servant superior to that master, who had himself rejected his true Lord: For Valentinian was tainted with Arianism. Yet at last, after much importunity, he set out with an army against Maximus, who was then, without the least apprehension, at Aquileia; for he had guarded all the passes through the mountains, and secured the sea-coast with his fleet; and did, with great resolution and bravery welcome TheodosiusZosimus. with a battle at Siscia in Pannonia; and again with another under the conduct of his brother Marcellus: but both with such ill success, that he was oblig’d to retreat to Aquileia, and was there taken by his own soldiers (as he was distributing money among them,) and strip’d of his royal robes, and led to Theodosius. By whose order he was immediately put to death, after he had reign’d five years. Hence, that of Ausonius, in praise of Aquileia:
Non erat iste locus: meritò tamen aucta recenti,
Nona inter claras Aquileia cieberis urbes
Itala ad Illyricos objecta colonia montes,
Mœnibus & portu celeberrima: sed magis illud
Eminet, extremo quòd te sub tempore legit,
Solverat exacto cui justa piacula lustro
Maximus, armigeri quondam sub nomine lixæ:
Fœlix qui tanti spectatrix læta triumphi,
Punisti Ausonio Rutupinum Marte latronem.
And thou, since new deserts have rais’d thy name,
Fair Aquileia shall’t be ninth in fame.
Against Illyrian hills thy cliffs are shown:
Thy walls and harbour gain thee vast renown:
But this new praise shall make thee ever proud,
That here the Tyrant chose his last abode,
And pay’d the vengeance he so long had ow’d:
That thou vile Maximus did’st last receive,
Rais’d to a Monarch from a Knapsack-slave.
Blest town! that all that noble triumph view’d,
And saw Rhutupium’s thief by Roman arms subdu’d!
Andragathius finding his condition desperate, threw himself over-board into the Sea. Victor, Maximus’s son, who was in Gaul, was like-wise routed, taken, and put to death. The Britains who sided with Maximus (as some writers say) invaded Armorica and seated themselves there. Theodosius, soon after his victory, enter’d Rome with his son Honorius, in triumph, and made an Edict, That no person should challenge any honour conferr’d by the Tyrant; but should be reduced to his former state, and not presume to claim more. Valentinian likewise: All Edicts of Maximus, the worst of tyrants, we repeal. Ambrosius, at the funeral of Theodosius, had this saying; Maximus and Eugenius are wretched instances now in hell, how † † Durum.dangerous it is to rebel against a lawful Prince. In a word, this victory was thought so great and memorable,Procopius. that the Romans from thence-forward made that day a yearly festival. Honorius Emp. Theodosius was succeeded in the west by his son Honorius, a boy of ten years old; who was committed to the tuition of Flavius Stilico, a person of great eminence: He had accompanied Theodosius in all his wars and victories; and was by him gradually rais’d to the greatest Offices in the army, and permitted to marry into the Imperial family: yet, cloy’d with this success, and falling into ambitious attempts, he made a miserable end. For some years, he attended the affairs of the Empire with great diligence, and secur’d Britain against the Picts, Scots, and Saxons. Hence that of Claudian, making Britain say,
Me quoque vicinis pereuntem gentibus, inquit,
Munivit Stilico, totam quum Scotus Hybernem
Movit, & infesto spumavit remige Thetis.
Illius effectum curis, ne bella timerem
Scotica, nec Pictum tremerem, nec littore toto
Prospicerem dubiis venientem Saxona ventis.
And I shall ever own his happy care,
Who sav’d me sinking in unequal war.
When Scots came thundring from the Irish shores,
And th’ Ocean trembled, struck with hostile oars.
Secur’d by him, nor Scottish rage I mourn,
Nor fear again the barbarous Picts return.
No more their vessels, with the dubious tide,
To my safe ports the Saxon pirates guide.
At that time Britain seems to have been safe from all Enemies; for in another place of the same Poet, it is said,
—domito quod Saxona Thetis
Mitior, aut fracto secura Britannia Picto.
That seas are free, secur’d from Saxon power,
And Picts once conquer’d, Britain fears no more.
And when Alaric, King of the Goths, threaten’d Rome, the Legion which was garrison’d in the frontiers against the Barbarians, was drawn from hence; as Claudian in his account of the supplies sent-for from all quarters, seems to intimate:
Venit & extremis legio prætenta Britannis,
Quæ Scoto dat fræna truci, ferroque notatas
Perlegit exanimes Picto moriente figuras.
Here met the Legion, which in Britain laid,
That curb’d the fiery Scot, and oft survey’d
Pale ir’n-burnt figures on the dying Picts.
About this time, flourish’dFastidius. FastidiusGenadius., Bishop of the Britains, who wrote several Books in Divinity, very learned and worthy so high a subject: as alsoChrysanthus. Chrysanthus, son of Niceph.Martin the Bishop; who, having been under Theodosius a * * Consularis Italiæ.Consular Deputy in Italy, was made Vicegerent in Britain; where he was so much and so deservedly extoll’d and admir’d for his administration, that against his will he was made Bishop of the Novations at Constantinople. These people began a schism in the Church, and were called † † i.e. Pure. Cathari, and had their peculiar Bishops, and were themselves a distinct sect; obstinately, but impiously, denying,The Tripartite History. That any one relapsing into sin after baptism, could be restor’d to a state of Salvation. This is that Bishop, who (as we read) was wont to take no more of the Church-revenues for his own use, than two loaves every Sunday.
As the Roman interest began to decline in the west, and the barbarous nations on all hands to break into the Provinces on the continent; the British army, to prevent their being involv’d in the like broils, and considering the necessity there was of a brave Emperor for repelling the Barbarians, proceeded to the Choice. Marcus Emp. First, They chose Marcus, and obey’d him as Emperor of those parts. He, not answering their humour and expectation, was put to death; and then they set upGratian Emp. Gratian, a † † Municipem.country-man of their own; and, having put the royal robes and crown upon him, attended him as their Prince; but falling into a dislike of him too, they dethroned him after a reign of four months, and put him to death. Constantine Emp. Next, they chose Constantine, one of the common soldiers, solely on the account of his name, as attended with a good omen. For, from the very name of Constantine, they had conceiv’d most certain hopes, that he would rule with courage and success, and defeat the Barbarians; as Constantine the Great had done, who was also made Emperor in Britain. This Constantine setting sail from hence, arrived at Bologn in Gaul, and easily drew in the whole Roman army as far as the Alps, to side with him. He defended Valentia in Gaul with great bravery, against the forces of the Emperor Honorius; and fortify’d the Rhine, which had for a long time been neglected, with garrisons. He also built Forts to command the passes of the Cottian, Pennine, and Maritime Alps. In Spain, by the conduct of his son Constans (who of a Monk, was now made Augustus) affairs were likewise carry’d on with success: and, upon his excusing himself by letter to Honorius for suffering the Soldiers to cast the Purple upon him, Honorius presented him with an Imperial Robe. This exalted him so much, that having passed the Alps, he thought of marching to Rome; but upon the news, that Alarick the Goth was dead (who was a great promoter of his interest) he went back to Arles; where he fix’d the seat of the Empire, commanding it to be called the City Constantina, and causing a Convention of seven Provinces to be held therein. His son Constans was sent for out of Spain, that they might concert their common affairs. Constans, leaving his Princess and the * * Instrumentum aulæ.furniture of his Court at Sarragosa, and committing Spain to the care of Gerontius, went streight to his father. When they had been together many days, and no danger was apprehended from Italy; Constantine, giving himself up wholly to luxury, commanded his son to return to Spain. But the Son having sent away his Attendants before, while he staid behind with his father; news was brought from Spain by Gerontius, that Maximus, (one of his servants) was made Emperor, and that he was preparing to advance against him at the head of the Barbarians. Upon this ill news, Constans, with Decimius Rusticus, (who from * * Officiorum Magister.Master of the Offices was now preferred to be a Prefect) having sent Edobeccus before to the German nations, march’d towards Gaul with the Franks and Almans, and the other forces, intending speedily to return to Constantine. But Constans was intercepted and put to death at Vienne in Gaul by Gerontius, who also besieged Constantine himself in Arles. Honorius sending one Constantius to his relief, put Gerontius in such a consternation, that he ran way; which so enraged his soldiers, that they invested his house, and reduc’d him to such straits, that first he beheaded his faithful friend Alanus, and then Nunnichia his wife (upon her request to die with him;) and last of all, laid violent hands upon himself. Nicephor. Callistus. Constantine, upon the closeness of the siege and the unhappy Engagement of Edobeccus, began to despair; and, after he had held out four months, and reigned four years, threw off the Imperial robes, and the burthen that attended them: Then he took upon him the Order of Presbyter, surrender’d Arles, was carried into Italy, and beheaded, together with his son Julian (to whom he had given the title of Nobilissimus,) and his brother Sebastian. From that time, Britain returned to the Government of Honorius; and was happy for a while under the wise and gallant conduct ofVictorinus Governour in Britain. Victorinus, who then governed the Province, and put a stop to the inroads of the Picts and Scots. In commendation of him, Rutilius Claudius has these verses, very worthy of their author:
Conscius Oceanus virtutum, conscia Thule,
Et quæcunque ferox arva Britannus arat.
Quà præfectorum vicibus frænata potestas
Perpetuum magni fœnus amoris habet.
Extremum pars illa quidem discessit in orbem,
Sed tanquam medio rector in orbe fuit.
Plus palmæ est illos inter voluisse placere,
Inter quos minor est displicuisse pudor.
Him Thule, him the vanquish’d Ocean knows,
And those vast fields the fiery Britain ploughs.
T’abuse their power where yearly Præfects fear
A blest increase of love rewards his care.
Tho’ that great part another world had shown,
Yet he both worlds as easie rul’d as one.
’Tis nobler gentle methods there to use,
Where roughest means would merit just excuse.
Alarick having taken Rome, Honorius recall’d Victorinus with the army; upon which the Britains took up arms, and seeing all at stake, rescued their cities, and repell’d the Barbarians. Zosimus. All the country of Armorica, and the other Provinces of Gaul, follow’d their example, and resum’d their freedom; casting out the Roman Governours, and forming themselves into distinct Common-wealths, according to such models, as each thought best. This rebellion of Britain and the Celtick Nations, happen’d at the same time that Constantine usurp’d the Empire; when by his neglect and supineness, the Barbarians were encourag’d to insult the Provinces. Yet, a little while after, the cities of Britain apply’d themselves earnestly to Honorius for aid; in answer to which, he sent them no supplies, but only a Letter, exhorting them to take heart and defend themselves. The Britains, animated by this letter of Honorius, took up arms accordingly to defend their cities; but being over-power’d by the Barbarians (who from all quarters came in upon them) they sent their earnest request to Honorius the second time, to spare them one Legion. Historia Miscella. This, he granted them, and, upon their arrival, they routed a great body of the enemy, drove the rest out of the Province, and cast up an earthen wall between the Frith of Edenburgh and the Cluid; which yet prov’d of very little use. For, no sooner was the Legion recall’d to defend Gaul, but the Barbarians return’d, and easily broke through this frontier, and with great outrage plunder’d and destroy’d all before them. Again, they sent their Embassadors, with cloaths rent and sand upon their bare heads (observe the manner,) to beg assistance of the Romans. Upon this, three † † Militares manus.companies under the conduct of GallioGallio Ravennas. of Ravenna were sent by Valentinian; and these likewise routed the Barbarians, and in some measure rescu’d the Province from its present Calamity.Gildas. They also made a wall, not like the other, but of stone, at the publick and private charge, with the labour of the poor natives; built after the usual manner,Between the Mouth of Tyne and Eden. and running quite cross the country from the one sea to the other, by those cities that were casually built there against the enemy: They exhorted them to be couragious, and left them patterns to * * Instituendorum Armorum.make their weapons by. Upon the South-coast of Britain, where their ships lay (because a descent of the Barbarians was also apprehended from that quarter) they built turrets at some distance from one another, which look’d a long way into the sea; and so the Romans, intending to return no more, took their last farewell.
Now was the state of affairs, on all hands, miserable and desperate: The Empire (like a Body lame and decrepit) sinking under the weight of old Age; and the Church grievously pester’d with Hereticks, whose poysons spread most successfully in times of war. One of these, was Pelagius, a Britain born, who derogating from the Grace of God, taught this Island, That perfect righteousness was to be attain’d by works. Sigib. Pembl. an.428. Another, was Timotheus; who blasphemously disputed against the Divinity and Incarnation of our Saviour.
Chronicon Anglo-Saxon. Now did the Roman Empire in Britain expire, in the four hundred seventy sixth year from Cæsar’scaesar coming over. In the reign of Valentinian III. the Roman Forces were embark’d by Gallio (whom we mention’d before) for the defence of Gaul; and, having buried their treasures, and bereft Britain of her youth by frequent musters, they left her incapable of defending herself, and a prey to the barbarous Picts and Scots. So that Prosper Aquitanus truly says, At this time, through the Roman weakness, the strength and vigour of Britain was totally exhausted. And our Malmsbury-Historian: When the Tyrants had left none but half-foreigners in our fields, none but gluttons and debauchees in our cities; Britain, robb’d of the support of her vigorous youth, and the benefit of the liberal Arts, became a prey to her neighbours, who had long mark’d her out for destruction. For immediately after, multitudes lost their lives by the incursions of the Picts and Scots, villages were burnt, cities demolish’d, and all things laid waste by fire and sword. The Inhabitants of the Island were greatly perplex’d, and thought it better to trust to any thing, than a battle: some of them fled to the mountains; others having buried their treasures (many of which have been dug-up in our age) betook themselves to Rome for assistance. But as Nicephorus truly states the matter, Valentinian the Third, not only could not recover Britain, Spain, and Gaul, which were rent from his Empire; but he lost Africa too. It was not without reason therefore, that Gildas cried out at that time: Britain is rob’d of her military forces, of her Rulers (barbarous as they were,) and of her numerous youth. For, besides those whom Maximilian the Usurper and the last Constantine, drew off; it is plain, from ancient Inscriptions and the Notitia, that the following forces were in the service of the Romans; dispers’d through the Provinces, and continually recruited from Britain:
No wonder then, that Britain was expos’d to the Barbarians, when so many and such considerable forces were daily drawn away into foreign parts: which confirms that remarkable truth in Tacitus, That there was no strength in the Roman armies, but what came from abroad.
Whilst I treat of the Roman Empire in Britain (which lasted, as I said, about 476 years,) it comes into my mind how many Colonies of Romans must have been transplanted hither in so long a time; what numbers of soldiers were continually sent from Rome, for Garrisons; how many Persons were dispatch’d hither, to negotiate affairs, publick or private; and that these, inter-marrying with the Britains, seated themselves here, and multiplied into Families: For where-ever (says Seneca) the Roman conquers, he inhabits.How the Britains are deriv’d from the Trojans. So that I have oft-times concluded, that the Britains might derive themselves from the Trojans by these Romans (who doubtless descended from the Trojans,) with greater probability, than either the Arverni, who from Trojan Blood stiled themselves brethren to the Romans, or the Mamertini, Hedui, and others, who upon fabulous grounds grafted themselves into the Trojan stock. For Rome, that common Mother (as one calls her) challenges all such as citizens
Quos domuit, nexuque pio longinqua revinxit.
Whom conquer’d she in sacred bonds hath tied.
And it is easie to believe, that the Britains and Romans, by a mutual engrafting for so many ages, have incorporated into one Nation; since the Ubii in Germany, but twenty eight years after their Colony was planted, made this answer with respect to the Romans there:Tacitus lib.4. hist. This is the proper country of those who were transplanted hither; those who have married among us, and the issue of those marriages. Nor can we think you so wicked or unjust, that you would have us murder our own Parents, Brethren, and Children. If the Ubii and the Romans, in so short a space, were come to the relation of Parents, Brethren, and Children; what shall we think of the Britains and Romans, who associated for so great a number of years? What may we say of ⌈the Britains, compared with⌉ the Burgundians, who, from a tincture of their blood (during a short abode in the Roman Provinces) call’d themselves the offspring of the Romans?Amm. Marcel. lib.28. Not to repeat what I have already said, that this Island was call’d Romania, and the Roman Island.
Thus much (all fictions a-part) I have summarily observ’d out of the ancient monuments of Antiquity, touching the Roman Government in Britain, their Lieutenants, ProprætorsPropraetors , Presidents, Vicegerents, and Rectors. But I could have done it more fully and accurately, had Ausonius kept his promise, to enumerate all, who
Aut Italum populos, Aquilonigenasque Britannos
Præfecturarum titulo tenuere secundo.
In Italy or Britain’s Northern shore,
The Præfect’sPraefect honour with success have bore.
Since it is agreed among the learned, that ancient Coins do very much contribute to the understanding of ancient Histories; I thought it not amiss to present the Reader with some Pieces (as well of the Britains, who first stoop’d to the Roman Yoke, as of some Roman Emperors who had more immediate relation to Britain) out of the Collection of the famous Sir Robert Cotton of Connington; who with great diligence made that Collection, and with his wonted kindness and humanity did communicate them to me.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52