The Holinshed Project

Holinshed Project Home

The Texts

Previous | Next

3.13. The maner of the Britains fighting in charets, the Romans giue a fresh sallie to the Britains and put them to flight, they sue to Caesar for peace; what kings and their powers were assistants to Cassibellane in the battell against Caesar, and the maner of both peoples encounters by the report of diuers Chronologers. The xiij. Chapter.

The maner of the Britains fighting in charets, the Romans giue a fresh sallie to the Britains and put them to flight, they sue to Caesar for peace; what kings and their powers were assistants to Cassibellane in the battell against Caesar, and the maner of both peoples encounters by the report of diuers Chronologers. The xiij. Chapter.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 _WHilest these things were a dooing, it chanced that as one of the Romane legions na|med the seuenth, was sent to fetch in corne out of the coun|trie adioining (as their cu|stome was) no warre at that time being suspected, or once looked for, when part of the people remained abroad in the field, and part repaired to the campe: those that warded before the campe, informed Cesar, that there appeared a dust greater than was accustomed from that quarter, into the which the legion was gone to fetch in corne. Cesar iudging therof what the matter might meane, commanded those bands that warded to go with him that way foorth, and appointed other two bands to come into their roomes, and the residue of his people to get them to armor, and to follow quicklie after him.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 He was not gone anie great way from the campe, when he might sée where his people were ouermat|ched by the enimies, and had much a doo to beare out the brunt: for the legion being thronged together, the Britains pelted them fore with arrowes and darts on ech side: for sithens there was no forrage left in anie part of the countrie about, but onelie in this place, the Britains iudged that the Romans would come thither for it: therefore hauing lodged them|selues within the woods in ambushes the night be|fore; on the morrowe after when they saw the Ro|mans dispersed here & there, and busie to cut downe the corne, they set vpon them on a sudden, and slea|ing some few of them, brought the residue out of or|der, compassing them about with their horssemen and charets, so that they were in great distresse.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 The maner of fight with these charets was such, that in the beginning of a battell they would ride a|bout the sides and skirts of the enimies host, and be|stow their darts as they sate in those charets, so that oftentimes with the braieng of the horsses, and cra|king noise of the charet whéeles they disordered their enimies, and after that they had woond themselues in amongst the troops of horssemen, they would leape out of the charets and fight on foot. In the meane time those that guided the charets would withdraw them selues out of the battell, placing themselues so, that if their people were ouermatched with the multitude of enimies, they might easilie withdraw to their cha|rets, and mount vpon the same againe, by meanes wherof they were as readie to remooue as the horsse|men, and as stedfast to stand in the battell as the foot|men, and so to supplie both duties in one. And those charetmen by exercise and custome were so cunning in their feat, that although their horsses were put to run and gallop, yet could they stay them and hold them backe at their pleasures, and turne and wind them to and fro in a moment, notwithstanding that the place were verie stéepe and dangerous: and a|gaine they would run vp and downe verie nimblie vpon the cops, and stand vpon the beame, and conuey themselues quicklie againe into the charet.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 Cesar thus finding his people in great distresse and readie to be destroied, came in good time, and de|liuered them out of that danger: for the Britains vpon his approch with new succors, gaue ouer to as|saile their enimies any further, & the Romans were deliuered out of the feare wherein they stood before his comming. Furthermore, Cesar considering the time serued not to assaile his enimies, kept his ground, and shortlie after brought backe his legi|ons into the campe.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 While these things were thus a dooing, & all the Ro|mans occupied, the rest that were abroad in the fields got them away. After this there followed a sore sea|son of raine and fowle weather, which kept the Ro|mans with in their campe, and staid the Britains from offering battell. But in the meane time they sent messengers abroad into all parts of the coun|trie, to giue knowledge of the small number of the Romans, and what hope there was both of great spoile to be gotten, and occasion to deliuer them|selues from further danger for euer, if they might once expell the Romans out of their campe. Here|vpon a great multitude both of horssemen and foot|men of the Britains were spéedilie got togither, and approched the Romane campe.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 3 Cesar although he saw that the same would come to passe which had chanced before, that if the enimies were put to the repulse, they would easilie escape the danger with swiftnesse of foot; yet hauing now with him thirtie horssemen (which Comius of Arras had brought ouer with him, when he was sent from Ce|sar as an ambassador vnto the Britains) he placed his legions in order of battell before his campe, and so comming to ioine with the Britains, they were not able to susteine the violent impression of the ar|med men, and so fled. The Romans pursued them so farre as they were able to ouertake anie of them, and so slaieng manie of them, & burning vp all their EEBO page image 27 houses all about, came backe againe to their campe. Immediatlie wherevpon, euen the same day, they sent ambassadors to Cesar to sue for peace, who glad|lie accepting their offer, commanded them to send ouer into Gallia, after he should be returned thither, hostages in number duble to those that were agréed vpon at the first. After that these things were thus ordered, Cesar because the moneth of September was well-neare halfe spent, and that winter hasted on (as season not méet for his weake and bruised ships to brooke the seas) determined not to staie anie lon|ger, but hauing wind and weather for his purpose, got himselfe aboord with his people, and returned in|to Gallia.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 3 ¶Thus writeth Cesar touching his first iournie made into Britaine.Caesar de bello Gallieo lib. 4. But the British historie (which Polydor calleth the new historie) declareth that Ce|sar in a pitcht field was vanquished at the firt en|counter, and so withdrew backe into France. Beda also writeth, that Cesar comming into the countrie of Gallia, where the people then called Morini inha|bited (which are at this day the same that inhabit the diocesse of Terwine) from whence lieth the shortest passage ouer into Britaine, now called England, got togither 80 saile of great ships and row gal|lies, wherewith he passed ouer into Britaine, & there at the first being wearied with sharpe and sore fight, and after taken with a grieuous tempest, he lost the greater part of his nauie, with no small number of his souldiers, and almost all his horssemen: and ther|with being returned into Gallia, placed his souldi|ors in stéeds to soiourne there for the winter season. Thus saith Bede. The British historie moreouer ma|keth mention of thrée vnder-kings that aided Cassi|bellane in this first battell fought with Cesar, as Cridiorus alias Ederus, king of Albania, now cal|led Scotland: Guitethus king of Uenedocia, that is Northwales: and Britaell king of Demetia, at this day called Southwales.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 The same historie also maketh mention of one Be|linus that was generall of Cassibellanes armie, and likewise of Nenius brother to Cassibellane, who in fight happened to get Cesars swoord fastened in his shield by a blow which Cesar stroke at him. Andro|geus also and Tenancius were at the battell in aid iof Cassibellane. But Nenius died within 15 daies after the battell of the hurt receiued at Cesars hand, although after he was so hurt, he slue Labienus one of the Romane tribunes: all which may well be true, sith Cesar either maketh the best of things for his owne honour, or else coueting to write but com|mentaries, maketh no account to declare the néede|les circumstances, or anie more of the matter, than the chiefe points of his dealing.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 Againe,Hector Boet. the Scotish historiographers write, that when it was first knowne to the Britains, that Ce|sar would inuade them, there came from Cassibel|lane king of Britaine an ambassador vnto Ederus king of Scots, who in the name of king Cassibellane required aid against the common enimies the Ro|mains, which request was granted, and 10 thousand Scots sent to the aid of Cassibellane. At their com|ming to London, they were most ioifullie receiued of Cassibellane, who at the same time had know|ledge that the Romans were come on land, and had beaten such Britains backe as were appointed to re|sist their landing. Wherevpon Cassibellane with all his whole puissance mightilie augmented, not onlie with the succours of the Scots, but also of the Picts (which in that common cause had sent also of their people to aid the Britains) set forward towards the place where he vnderstood the enimies to be.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 At their first approch togither, Cassibellane sent foorth his horssemen and charets called Esseda, by the which he thought to disorder the araie of the enimies. Twice they incountred togither with doubtfull vic|torie. At length they ioined puissance against puis|sance, and fought a verie sore and cruell battell, till fi|nally at the sudden comming of the Welshmen and Cornishmen, so huge a noise was raised by the sound of bels hanging at their trappers and charets, that the Romans astonied therewith, were more easilie put to flight. The Britains, Scots, and Picts fol|lowing the chase without order or araie, so that by reason the Romans kept themselues close togi|ther, the Britains, Scots, & Picts did scarse so much harme to the enimies as they themselues receiued. But yet they followed on still vpon the Romans till it was darke night.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 3 Cesar after he had perceiued them once with|drawne, did what he could to assemble his compa|nies togither, minding the next morning to séeke his reuenge of the former daies disaduantage. But for|somuch as knowledge was giuen him that his ships (by reason of a sore tempest) were so beaten and rent, that manie of them were past seruice, he doubted least such newes would incourage his enimies, and bring his people into despaire. Wherfore he determi|ned not to fight till time more conuenient, sending all his wounded folks vnto the ships, which he com|manded to be newlie rigged and trimmed. After this, kéeping his armie for a time within the place where he was incamped without issuing foorth, he shortlie drew to the sea side, where his ships laie at anchor, and there within a strong place fortified for the purpose he lodged his host, and finallie without hope to atchieue anie other exploit auaileable for that time, he tooke the sea with such ships as were apt for sailing, and so repassed into Gallia, leauing be|hind him all the spoile and baggage for want of ves|sels and leisure to conueie it ouer. ¶Thus haue the Scots in their chronicles framed the matter, more to the conformitie of the Romane histories, than ac|cording to the report of our British and English writers: and therefore we haue thought good to shew it héere, that the diuersitie of writers and their affec|tions may the better appéere.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Of this sudden departing also, or rather fléeing of Iulius Cesar out of Britaine, Lucanus the poet maketh mention, reciting the saieng of Pompeius in an oration made by him vnto this souldiers, wher|in he reprochfullie and disdainfullie reprooued the doo|ings of Cesar in Britaine, saieng:

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Territa quaesitis ostendit terga Britannis.

Previous | Next