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5.56. Coellus.


Compare 1587 edition: 1 [figure appears here on page 88] COellus,Coell [...] Earle of Colcheſter, began hys dominion ouer the Brytons in the yeare of our Lord .262.262. [...]. This Coellus or Coell ruled the lande for a certayne tyme, ſo as the Bry|tons were well conten|tented with his gouer|nement, and lyued the longer in reſt from inuaſion of the Romains, bi|cauſe they were occupied in other places: but fi|nally they findyng tyme for their purpoſe, apoin|ted one Conſtantius to paſſe ouer into this Iſle with an armie, the which Conſtantius put Coe|lus in ſuche dread, that immediatly vpon his ar|riuall Coellus ſent to him an ambaſſade and cõ|cluded a peace with him, couenãting to pay ye ac|cuſtomed tribute,Ca [...] Galfrid. and gaue to Conſtantius his daughter in mariage called Helene, a noble Lady and a lerned. Shortly after king Coell dyed, af|ter he had reigned (as ſome write) .27. yeares, [...]. Ca [...]. or as other haue, but 13. yeares. Of the regiment of thys Prince, Harriſon maketh no mention in his Chronologie.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 But verily if I ſhall ſpeake what I thinke, I will not denye but aſſuredly ſuche a Prince there was: howbeit that he had a daughter named He|lene, whome hee maried vnto Conſtantius the Romain lieutenant that was after Emperour, I leaue that to be decided of the learned: For if the whole courſe of the lyues, as well of the fa|ther and ſonne, Conſtantius and Conſtantine, as lykewyſe of the mother Helena, bee conſide|rately marked from tyme to tyme, and yeare to yeare, as out of authors both Greeke and latine, ye ſame may be gathered, I feare leaſt ſuch doubt may ryſe in this matter, that it wil be harder to proue Helene a Britayne, than Conſtantine to be borne in Bithynia (as Nicephorus auon|cheth) but for ſomuche as I meane not to ſteppe from the courſe of oure countreye writers in ſuche poynts, Lib. 7. cap. 1. where the receyued opinion maye ſeeme to warrant the credite of the hiſtorie, I [...] with other admit bothe the mother and ſonne to be Britons in the whole diſcourſe of the hiſtorie following, as thoughe I hadde forgot what i [...] this place I haue ſayd.

5.57. Conſtantius.

EEBO page image 89


Compare 1587 edition: 1 Conſtã| [...]ius. [figure appears here on page 89] COnſtanti+us, a Se|natoure of Rome begã to reigne ouer the Britons,Mat. VVest. [...]th. 302. in ye yeare of oure Lorde .289.289. as oure Hiſtories report [...]. Thys Cõſtanus, as before ye haue hearde, hadde to wyfe Helene the daughter of the foreſayd king Coyll, of whome he begat a ſon named Conſtantinus, which a [...]|warde was Emperour, and for his worthy do|ings ſurnamed Conſtantine the great. S. Am|broſe folowing the common report, writeth, that this Helene was a mayde in an Inne: [...]rofius. [...]eda. and ſome agayne write, that ſhe was concubine to Con|ſtantius, and not his wyfe. But whatſoeuer ſhe was, it appeareth by the writers of the Romain hiſtories, that Conſtantius being the daughters ſonne of one Criſpus, [...]ſpiniã. that was brother to the Emperour Claudius, came into Britayne, and quieted the troubles that were rayſed by the Bri|tons, [...]abian. and there (as ſome write) maryed the for|ſayd Helen being a woman of an excellent beau|tie, whom yet (after) he was conſtrayned to for|ſake, & to marrie Theodora, the daughter in law of Herculeus Maximianus, by whom he hadde ſixe ſons, & finally was treated Emperor togi|ther with ye ſaid Galerius Maximianus, at what tyme Diocletianus and his fellowe Herculeus Maximianus renounced the rule of the empire, and committed the ſame vnto them. The Em|pire was then deuided betwixte them, ſo that to Conſtantius the regiõs of Italy, Affrik, France, Spayne and Britayne were aſſigned, and to Galerius, Illyrium, Grecia, and all the Eaſte partes. But Conſtantine being a man voyde of ambition, was contented to leaue Italy and Affrike, ſuppoſing his charge to be great inough to haue the gouernment in his hands of France, Spayn, and Britayn (as Eutropius hath.)

Compare 1587 edition: 1 But as touching his reigne ouer the Britons wee haue not to ſaye further than as we fynde in our owne writers recorded: but for his gouern|ment in the empire: it is to be conſidered, that firſt he was admitted to rule as an aſſiſtãt to Maxi|mian vnder ye title of Ceſar: & ſo from that time if you ſhall accompt his reigne, it may compre|hend xj.xij. or .xiij. yeares, yea more or leſſe, ac|cording to the diuerſitie founde in writers.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 But if we ſhal recken his reign from the time onely that Diocletian and Maximian reſigned their title to the Empire,VVil. Hariſ. we ſhall fynde that he reigned not fully .iij. yeares. For where as be|tweene the ſlaughter of Alectus, and the com|ming of Conſtantius, are accompted .8. yeeres and odde monethes, not only thoſe .8. yeeres, but alſo ſome ſpace of tyme before maye be aſended vnto Conſtantius: for although before his com|ming ouer into Britayn now this laſt tyme (for he had bin here afore, as it well appeareth) Aſcle|p [...]odetus gouerned as Legate, albeit vnder Con|ſtantius, who had a greate portion of the weſt part [...]es of the empire vnder his regiment, by the title, as I haue ſayd of Ceſar, although he was not ſayde to reigne abſolutelye, till Diocletian and Maximian reſigned, wherof it is not amiſſe to giue this briefe aduertiſement, accordyng as in William Harriſons Chronologie is ſuffici|ently proued. But now to cõclude with the do|ings of Conſtãtius, at lẽgth he fel ſick at Yorke, and there dyed about the yeare of our Lord .306.306.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 This is not to be forgotten, that whyleſt hee lay on his death bed, ſomewhat before he depar|ted this life, hearing that his ſonne Conſtantine was come, & eſcaped from the emperours Dio|cletian & Maximianus, with whome he remai|ned as a pledge, as after ſhall be partly touched he receyued him with all ioye, and raiſing him|ſelfe vp in his bed, in preſence of his other ſonnes and counſellours, with a greate number of other people and ſtrangers that wer come to viſit him, he ſit the crowne vpon his ſonnes head, and ad|orned him with other imperiall roabes and gar|mentes, executing as it were himſelfe,Niceph. the older of an heralde, and withall ſpake theſe wordes vnto his ſayd ſonne, and to his counſellors there about him.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 2 Nowe is my death to me more welcome,Tripartit. hiſtoria. and my departure hence more pleaſant. I haue heere a large epitaphe and monumente of buriall, to witte, myne owne ſonne, and one whome in earth I leaue to be Emperor in my place, which by Gods good helpe ſhall wipe awaye the teares of the Chriſtians, and reuenge the crueltie exer|ciſed by tyrants. This I recken to chaunce vn|to me in ſtede of moſte felicitie. After this, tur|ning himſelfe to the multitude, he commaunded them all to be of good comforte, meaning thoſe that had not forſaken true vertue & godlineſſe in Chriſte, which Chriſt he vndertooke ſhould con|tinue with his ſonne Conſtantine in al enterpri|ſes, which in warres or otherwyſe he ſhuld take in hande.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 2 That deuiſe alſo is worthie to be had in me|morie, which he put in practiſe in his lyfe time, to vnderſtand what true & ſincere Chriſtians were remayning in his courſe: for where as he hadde bin firſte a perſecuter, and after was conuerted, it was a matter eaſy to perſuade the world, that he was no earneſte Chriſtian: and ſo the policie whiche hee thoughte to worke, was the ſooner EEBO page image 90 brought to paſſe, whiche was this: He called to|gether al his officers and ſeruants, feyning him|ſelfe to chooſe out ſuche as would doe ſacrifice to deuils, and that thoſe only ſhould remayne with hym, and keepe their office, and the reſte that re|fuſed ſo to doe, ſhoulde be thruſt out, and bani|ſhed the courte.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 Herevpon all the Courtyers deuided themſel|ues into companies: and when ſome offred wil|lingly to do ſacrifice, & other ſome boldly refuſed: the Emperoure marking their dealings, ſharp|ly rebuked thoſe which were ſo ready to diſhonor the liuing God, accompting them as traytors to his diuine maieſtie, and not worthy to remayne within the Court gates: but thoſe that conſtant|ly ſtood in the profeſſion of the chriſtian fayth, he greatly commended, as men worthie to be about a prince: and withall declared, that from thence|foorth they ſhould be as chiefe counſellours and defendors both of his perſon and kingdom, eſtee|ming more of them than of al the treaſure he had in his coffers.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 To conclude, hee was a prince graue, ſober, vpright, courteous and liberall, as he which kept his mynde euer free from couetous deſire of great riches: inſomuch that when he ſhould make any great feaſt to his frendes, he was not aſhamed to borow plate and ſyluer veſſell to ſerue his turne, and to furniſhe his cupborde for the tyme,Pomponius Latus. beyng contented for himſelfe to be ſerued in cruſes and earthen veſſell. He was wonte to haue this ſay|ing in his mouth, that better it was that the ſub|iectes ſhould haue ſtore of money and riches, thã the Prince to keepe it cloſe in his treaſorie, where it ſerued to no vſe. By ſuche curteous dealyng the prouinces whiche were in his charge flouri|ſhed in greate wealth and quietneſſe. He was a right wiſe and politike Prince in the ordering of all weightie matters,He dyed in the yere. 306 as Math. VVeſt. hath noted, and reigned ouer the Britaynes. but .11. yeares as Galf. hath. & verie ſkilfull in the prac|tiſe of warres ſo that he ſtoode the Romane em|pire in great ſtead, and was therfore highly belo|ued of the Souldiours, in ſo muche that imme|diatly after his deceaſe, they proclaymed his ſon Conſtantine Emperour.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 That the Chriſtian faithe was imbraced of the Britons in this ſeaſon, it may appeare, in that Hillarius biſhop of Poictiers writeth to his brethren in Britayne, and Conſtantine in an Epiſtle, as Theodoretus hath in his firſte boke and tenth chapiter maketh mencion of the chur|ches in Britayne: Which alſo Sozomenus doth affirme. For the Britons after they had recey|ued the faithe, defended the ſame euen with the ſheading of their bloud, as Amphibalus who in this Conſtantius days being apprehended, ſuffe|red at Redburne nere to Werlamcheſter, about xv. yeares after the martirdome of his hoſte S. Albane.

5.58. Conſtantine.


[figure appears here on page 90]

Compare 1587 edition: 1 COnſtantine beyng the ſonne of the forena|med Conſtantius,Conſtã|tine. begot of his firſte wyfe Helene, the daughter (as ſome affirme) of Coell late king of the Britons, beganne his reigne in the yeare of our Lord .306.306. This worthie prince begot of a britiſhe woman, and borne of hir in Britayne (as our writers doe affirme,) and crea|ted certainely Emperour in Britayne,Conſtanti [...] created, Emp [...]|ror in Britay [...] doubtleſſe made his natiue countrey partaker of his hygh glorie and renoume, which by his great prowes, politike wiſedome, worthie gouernemente, and other his Princely qualities moſte abundantlye planted in his noble perſon, he purchaſed and got through the circuit of the whole earth, inſomuch that for the highe enterpriſes and noble actes by him happily broughte to paſſe and atchieued, he was ſurnamed (as before is ſayd) the great Cõ|ſtantine.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 Whileſt this Cõſtantine remained at Rome in manner as he had bin a pledge with Galerius in his fathers life time, he beeing then but yong; fledde from thence, and with all poſt haſte retur|ned to his father into Britain, killing or howgh|ing by the way all ſuch horſſes as were appoin|ted to ſtande at Innes readie for ſuche as ſhould ryde in poſte, leaſt being purſued,Ent [...]p [...] Sextus A [...]+relius [...] he ſhould haue bene ouertaken, and broughte backe agayne by ſuche as myght be ſent to purſue him.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 At his comming into Britayne, he found his father fore vexed with ſickneſſe, whereof ſhortly after hee dyed, and then was he by helpe of ſuch as were aboute him, encouraged to take vppon him as Emperour: And namely one Erocus,Erocus king of the Al+mains. king of the Almaynes whiche had accompanied his father thither, aſſiſted him therto, ſo that be|ing proclaymed Emperor,Maxentius the tyrant. he toke vpon him the rule of thoſe countreys whiche his father had in gouernement, that is to ſay, Fraunce, Spayne, the Alpes, and Britayne, with other prouinces here in the weſt: and ruling the ſame with great equitie and wyſedome, hee greately wanne the fauour of the people, inſomuch that the fame of his politike gouernemente and curteous dealing being ſpread abroade, when Maxentius the ti|raunt that occupied the rule of the Empire at Rome, and in Italy by wrongful vſurping and EEBO page image 93 abuſing the fame, was growne into the hatred of the Romans and other Italians, Conſtantine was earneſtly by them requeſted to come into Italy, and to helpe to ſubdue Maxentius, that he might reforme the ſtate of things there.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 2 Maxentius was ſonne to Herculeus Maximi|nianus, Conſtantine had marryed Fauſta the daughter of the ſayde Maximinianus. Nowe ſo it was, that Maximinianus immediatly af|ter that his ſonne Maxentius hadde taken the rule vpon hym, ſought meanes to haue depoſed hym, & to haue reſumed and taken eftſoones into his owne handes the gouernement of the empire. But ſolliciting Diocletian to do the like, he was much reproued of him for his vnreſonable & am|bicious purpoſe: ſo yt when he perceiued that nei|ther Diocletian woulde be therto agreeable, nor induce the ſouldiours to admit him, they hauing already eſtabliſhed his ſonne, he began to deuyſe wayes howe to aſſure the ſtate more ſtrongly to his ſayde ſonne: and hearyng that his ſonne in law Conſtantine was mynded to come into I|taly againſt him, he purpoſed to practiſe Con|ſtantines deſtruction, in ſomuch that it was iud|ged by this which folowed, [...]iſsimulation. yt Herculeus Maxi|minus did but for a colour ſeme to miſlyke with that whiche his ſon Maxentius had done, to the ende he might the ſooner accompliſhe his entente for the diſpatching of Conſtantine oute of the waye. Herevpon (as it were) fleing out of Ita|ly, [...]anulphus [...]eſtrenſis. he came to Conſtantine, who as then hauing appointed lieutenants vnder him in Britayn, re|mayned in France, and with all ioy and honor that mighte bee, receiued his father in lawe: the which being earneſtly bent to compaſſe his pur|poſe,Fauſta the dau|ghter of Maxi+minus & vvife to Conſtantine. made his daughter Fauſta priuie therto: whiche ladie, either for feare leaſt the concealyng therof might turne hir to diſpleſure, either elſe for the entier loue whiche ſhe bare to hir huſbande) reueled hir fathers wicked purpoſe. Wherevpon whileſt Conſtantine goeth about to be reuenged of ſuche a trayterous practiſe, Herculeus fleeth to Merſiles,Marſiles. purpoſing there to take the ſea, and ſo to retire to his ſonne Maxentius into Italye. But ere he coulde get away from thence, he was ſtangled by commaundemente of his ſonne in lawe Conſtantine,Maximinus ſlayne. An. Chri. 311. and ſo ended his lyfe, whiche he had ſpotted with many cruell actes, as well in perſecutyng the profeſſour [...] the Chriſtian name, as others.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 In this mean time had Maximinus adopted one Licinius to aſſiſte hym in gouernaunce of the empire,Licinius choſen fellovv vvith Maximianus in the empire. proclayming hym Ceſar. So that nowe at one ſelfe tyme Conſtantine gouerned Fraunce and the weaſt partes of the Empire, Maxentius helde Italy, Affrike, and Egypte: And Maximinus whydhe lykewyſe had but e|lected Ceſar, ruled the Eaſte partes, and Lici|nius Illyrium and Grecia.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 2 3 But ſhortly after, the Emperoure Conſtan|tine ioyned in league with Licinius, and gaue to him his ſiſter in marriage, named Conſtantia, for more ſuretie of faithfull friendſhip to endure betwixt them. He ſent him alſo againſt Maxi|minus, who gouerning in the Eaſt parte of the Empire, purpoſed the deſtruction of Conſtan|tine and all his partakers: but being vanquiſhed by Licinius at Tarſus, he ſhortly after dyed, be|ing eaten with lice. Conſtantine after this, was called into Italy to deliuer the Romaynes and Italians from the tyrannie of Maxentius, whi|che occaſion ſo offered, Conſtantine gladly ac|cepting, paſſed into Italy, and after certaine vic|tories gote againſte Maxentius, at length ſlewe him. And after this, when Maximinus was dead, whiche prepared to make warre againſte Licinius, that hadde married Conſtantia, the ſiſter of Conſtantine, hee finally made warre a|gainſt his brother in lawe the ſayde Licinius, by reaſon of ſuche quarrels as fell out betwixt thẽ: In the whiche warre, Licinius was putte to the worſe, and at length comming into the handes of Conſtantine, was put to deathe, ſo that Con|ſtantine by this meanes gote the whole Empire vnder his rule and ſubiection. Hee was a greate fauorer of the Chriſtian Religion, in ſomuche that to aduance the ſame, hee tooke order for the conuerting of the Temples dedicated in the ho|nors of Idols, vnto the ſeruice of the true and Almightie God. Hee commaunded alſo,Chriſtians ho|noured & che|rished. that none ſhould be admitted to ſerue as a Souldiour in the warres, excepte hee were a Chriſtian, nor yet to haue rule of any countrey or armie. Hee alſo ordeyned, the weeke before Eaſter, and that whiche folowed, to be kept as holy, and no per|ſon to doe any bodily workes during the ſame. He was muche counſailed by that noble & moſt vertuous ladie his mother, the Empreſſe Helene, Polydore. The prayſe of the Empreſſe Helenae. the whiche being a godly and deuoute woman, did what in hir laye, to moue him to the ſetting foorth of Gods honour and encreaſe of the chri|ſtian faith, wherein as yet he was not fully in|ſtructed. Some writers alledge, that ſhe beeing at Ieruſalem,320. made diligent ſearche to finde out the place of the Sepulchre of our Lorde, and at length founde it, thoughe with muche adoe: for the infidels had ſtopped it vp and couered it with a heape of filthie earth, and buylded alofte vpon the place, a chappell dedicated to Venus, where yong women vſed to ſing ſonges in honoure of that vnchaſte Goddeſſe. Helene cauſed the ſame to be ouerthrowne, and the earth to be remoued, and the place clenſed, ſo that at length the ſepul|chre appeared, and faſt by were founde there bu|ried in the earth .iij. croſſes and the nailes, but the croſſe wherevppon our Sauiour was crucifyed, EEBO page image 92 was known by the title written vpon it,The Croſſe founde. though almoſt worne out, in letters of Hebrew, greke, and Latine: the inſcription was this: Ieſus Na|zarenus rex Iudaeorum. It was alſo perceyued which was that Croſſe by a miracle, (as it is re|ported, but how truly I can not tell), that ſhuld be wrought thereby: For being layde to a ſicke woman, only with the touching therof, ſhe was healed. It was alſo ſayde, that a dead man was rayſed from death to lyfe, his bodie onely being touched therwith. Whervpon Conſtantine mo|ued with theſe things, forbade that from thence|forth any ſhould be put to death on the Croſſe, to the ende that the thing which afore tyme was accompted infamous and reprochefull, myghte nowe be had in honour and reuerence.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 The Empreſſe Helen hauing thus found the Croſſe, buylded a temple there, and taking wyth hir the nayles, returned with the ſame to hir ſon Conſtantine, who ſet one of them in the creſt of his helmet,Polidorus. an other in the brydell of his horſſe, and the thirde he caſtinto the ſea, to aſſuage and pacifie the furious tempeſtes and rage thereof. She alſo brought with hir a parcell of that holy Croſſe,Polidorus: and gaue it to hir ſonne the ſayd Con|ſtantine, the whiche he cauſed to be cloſed with|in an Image that repreſented his perſon, ſtan|ding vppon a piller in the market place of Con|ſtantine, (or as ſome late writers haue) he cau|ſed it to be encloſed in a coffer of golde, adorned with ryche ſtones and Pearles, placing it in a Churche called Seſſoriana, the which church he endued with many great giftes and precious or|namentes.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 Many workes of greate zeale and vertue are remembred by writers to haue bin done by thys Conſtantine and his mother Helene, to the ſet|ting foorth of Gods glorie, and the aduauncing of the faith of Chriſte.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 The commen|dation of Con|ſtantine.But to be briefe, he was a manne in whome many excellent vertues and good qualities bothe of mynde and bodie manifeſtly appeared, chiefly he was a prince of great knowledge and experi|ence in warre, and therewith verie fortunate, an earneſt louer of iuſtice, and to conclude, borne to all honour.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 But nowe to ſpeake ſomewhat of the ſtate of Britayne in his tyme, ye ſhall vnderſtande, that as beefore is recorded, at his going ouer into into Fraunce, after that he was proclaimed em|perour, he lefte beehynde hym in Britayne cer|tayne gouernours to rule the land, and amongſt other one Maximinus a right valiãt captayne. He tooke with him a great part of the youth of Britayn, & diuers of the chiefe men amongſt the Nobilitie, in whoſe approued manhode, loyaltie and conſtancie, he conceyued a great hope to goe through with al his enterpriſes, as with yt which being accompanied and compaſſed about, he paſ|ſed ouer into Gallia, entred into Italye, and in euery place ouercame his enimies.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 Ther be that write how that Conſtantin thus conueying ouer the ſea with him a great armye of Britons,

VVi [...] Malmſ.

Britayne [...]+uing in the vvarres vnder Con|ſtantine.

by whoſe induſtrie obteyning victo|rie as he wiſhed, hee placed a greate number of ſuche as were diſcharged out of wages, and li|cenced to giue ouer the warre, in a parte of Gal|lia towardes the Weaſt ſea coaſt, where theyr poſteritie remayn vnto this daye, meruailouſly encreaſed afterwardes, and ſomewhat differyng from our Britons, the Welchmen, in manners and language.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 Amongſt thoſe noble men which he took with him when he departed out of this lande (as oure writers do teſtifie,Galfridus. Mat. VV [...] were .iii. vncles of his mother Helene, that is to witte, Ho [...]lmus, Traherus, & Marius, whom he made Senators of Rome.

Compare 1587 edition: 1 In the meane tyme that Conſtantine had ob|teyned and ruled the whole empire, Britain as it were hauing recouered libertie, in that one of hir children being her king, had got the gouernment of the whole earthe, remayned in better quiete than afore time ſhe had done: but yet in the mean ſeaſon, if we ſhall credite the Britiſhe Chronicle and Geffrey of Monmouth the interpreter there|of, There was a Britiſh lord,Octa [...]ius. named Octauius or Octauian,Caxton. as the olde Engliſhe Chronicle nameth hym, that was Duke of the Gewiſſes,

Gevviſſes in|habited the countrey whi|che the VVe [...] Saxons are helde.

The name Ge|vviſſes came in vvith the Saxons of G [...]y &.

and appoynted by Conſtantine to be ruler of the lande in his abſence, the whiche Octauius (after that Conſtantine had recouered Rome, and I|taly, and was ſo buſied in the affaires of the em|pire in thoſe parts, that as was thought, he could not returne backe into Britayn,) ſeyſed into his handes the whole dominion of Britayne, and held himſelfe for king.

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