The Holinshed Project

Holinshed Project Home

The Texts

Previous | Next

3.17. The state of Britaine when Caesar offe|red to conquer it, and the maner of their gouernement, as diuerse authors report the same in their bookes: where the con|trarietie of their opinions is to be obserued. The xvij. Chapter.

The state of Britaine when Caesar offe|red to conquer it, and the maner of their gouernement, as diuerse authors report the same in their bookes: where the con|trarietie of their opinions is to be obserued. The xvij. Chapter.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 _AFter that Iulius Cesar had thus made the Britains tributaries to the Romans, and was returned into Gal|lia, Cassibellane reigned 7 yeares, and was vanquished in the ninth or tenth yeare after he began first to reigne so that he reigned in the whole about 15 or as some haue 17 yeares, and then died,Fabian. leauing no issue be|hind him. There hath bin an old chronicle (as Fabian recordeth) which he saw and followeth much in his booke, wherein is conteined, that this Cassibellane was not brother to Lud, but eldest sonne to him: for otherwise as may be thought (saith he) Cesar hauing the vpper hand, would haue displaced him from the gouernement, and set vp Androgeus the right heire to the crowne, as sonne to the said Lud. But whatso|euer our chronicles or the British histories report of this matter, it should appere by that which Cesar wri|teth (as partlie ye haue heard) that Britaine in those daies was not gouerned by one sole prince,Caesar. but by diuers, and that diuers cities were estates of them|selues, so that the land was diuided into sundrie go|uernements, much after the forme and maner as Germanie and Italie are in our time, where some ci|ties are gouerned by one onelie prince, some by the nobilitie, and some by the people. And whereas diuers of the rulers in those daies here in this land were cal|led kings, those had more large seigniories than the other,Cassibellane a king. as Cassibellane, who was therefore called a king.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 And though we doo admit this to be true, yet may it be, that in the beginning, after Brute entered the land, there was ordeined by him a monarchie, as be|fore is mentioned, which might continue in his poste|ritie manie yeares after, and yet at length before the comming of Cesar, through ciuill dissention, might happilie be broken, and diuided into parts, and so re|mained not onelie in the time of this Cassibellane, but also long after, whilest they liued as tributaries to the Romans, till finallie they were subdued by the Saxons. In which meane time, through the discord, negligence, or rather vnaduised rashnes of writers, hard it is to iudge what may be affirmed and recei|ued in their writings for a truth; namelie, concer|ning the succession of the kings that are said to haue reigned betwixt the daies of Cassibellane, and the comming of the Saxons. The Roman writers (and namelie Tacitus) report, that the Britains in times past were vnder the rule of kings,Cor. Tacit. in vit. Iu. Agr. and after being made tributaries, were drawne so by princes into sundrie factions, that to defend and kéepe off a com|mon ieopardie, scarselie would two or thrée cities a|grée togther, and take weapon in hand with one ac|cord, so that while they fought by parts, the whole was ouercome. And after this sort they say that Britaine was brought into the forme of a prouince by the Romans, from whom gouernors vnder the name of legats and procurators were sent that had the rule of it.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 But yet the same authors make mention of cer|teine kings (as hereafter shall appeare) who while EEBO page image 32 the Romane emperors had the most part of the earth in subiection, reigned in Britaine. The same wit|nesseth Gildas, Gildas in epist. saieng: Britaine hath kings, but they are tyrants: iudges it hath, but the same are wic|ked, oftentimes spoiling and tormenting the inno|cent people. And Cesar (as ye haue heard) speaketh of foure kings that ruled in Kent, and thereabouts. Cornelius Tacitus maketh mention of Prasutagus, and Cogidunus,Some take Prasutagus and Aruira|gus to be one man. that were kings in Britaine: and Iuuenal speaketh of Aruiragus: and all the late wri|ters, of Lucius. Hereby it appeareth, that whether one or mo, yet kings there were in Britain, bearing rule vnder the Romane emperors.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 On the other part, the common opinion of our chronicle-writers is,Gal. Mon. that the chiefe gouernment re|mained euer with the Britains, & that the Romane senat receiuing a yearelie tribute, sent at certeine times (Ex officio) their emperors and lieutenants into this Ile, to represse the rebellious tumults therein begun, or to beat backe the inuasion of the enimies that went about to inuade it. And thus would these writers inferre, that the Britains euer obeied their king, till at length they were put beside the gouerne|ment by the Saxons. But whereas in the common historie of England, the succession of kings ought to be kept, so oft as it chanceth in the same that there is not anie to fill the place, then one while the Romane emperors are placed in their steads, and another while their lieutenants, and are said to be created kings of the Britains, as though the emperors were inferiors vnto the kings of Britaine, and that the Romane lieutenants at their appointments, and not by prescript of the senat or emperours, admini|stred the prouince.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 This may suffice here to aduertise you of the con|trarietie in writers. Now we will go foorth in follo|wing our historie, as we haue doone heretofore, sa|uing that where the Romane histories write of things done here by emperors, or their lieutenants, it shall be shewed as reason requireth, sith there is a great appearance of truth oftentimes in the same, as those that be authorised and allowed in the opinion of the learned.

3.18. Of Theomantius, the tearme of yeares that he reigned, and where he was inter|red; of Kymbeline, within the time of whose gouernment Christ Iesus our sauiour was borne, all nations content to obeie the Romane em|perors and consequentlie Britaine, the customes that the Britaines paie the Romans as Strabo reporteth. The xviij. Chapter.

Of Theomantius, the tearme of yeares that he reigned, and where he was inter|red; of Kymbeline, within the time of whose gouernment Christ Iesus our sauiour was borne, all nations content to obeie the Romane em|perors and consequentlie Britaine, the customes that the Britaines paie the Romans as Strabo reporteth. The xviij. Chapter.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 _AFter the death of Cassi|bellane,Theomã|tius. Theomantius or Te|nantius the yoongest sonne of Lud was made king of Bri|taine in the yéere of the world 3921, after the building of Rome 706, & before the com|ming of Christ 45. He is na|med also in one of the English chronicles Tormace:Fabian. in the same chronicle it is conteined, that not he, but his brother Androgeus was king, where Geffrey of Monmouth & others testifie,Gal. Mon. that Androgeus aban|doned the land clerelie, & continued still at Rome, be|cause he knew the Britains hated him for treason he had committed in aiding Iulius Cesar against Cassibellane. Theomantius ruled the land in good quiet, and paid the tribute to the Romans which Cas|sibellane had granted, and finallie departed this life after he had reigned 22 yeares, and was buried at London.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 KYmbeline or Cimbeline the sonne of Theo|mantius was of the Britains made king after the deceasse of his father,Kymbe|line. in the yeare of the world 3944, after the building of Rome 728,Fabian [...]ut [...] Guido de Co|lumna. and before the birth of out Sauiour 33. This man (as some write) was brought vp at Rome, and there made knight by Augustus Cesar, vnder whome he serued in the warres, and was in such fauour with him, that he was at libertie to pay his tribute or not. Little o|ther mention is made of his dooings, except that du|ring his reigne,Christ our sa|uiour borne. the Sauiour of the world our Lord Iesus Christ the onelie sonne of God was borne of a virgine, about the 23 yeare of the reigne of this Kymbeline, & in the 42 yeare of the emperour Octa|uius Augustus, that is to wit, in the yeare of the world 3966,3966 in the second yeare of the 194 Olympi|ad, after the building of the citie of Rome 750 nigh at an end, after the vniuersall floud 2311, from the birth of Abraham 2019, after the departure of the Israelits out of Egypt 1513, after the captiuitie of Babylon 535, from the building of the temple by Salomon 1034, & from the arriuall of Brute 1116, complet. Touching the continuance of the yeares of Kymbelines reigne, some writers doo varie, but the best approoued affirme, that he reigned 35 years and then died, & was buried at London, leauing be|hind him two sonnes, Guiderius and Aruiragus.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 ¶But here is to be noted, that although our histo|ries doo affirme, that as well this Kymbeline, as al|so his father Theomantius liued in quiet with the Romans, and continuallie to them paied the tri|butes which the Britains had couenanted with Iu|lius Cesar to pay, yet we find in the Romane wri|ters, that after Iulius Cesars death, when Augu|stus had taken vpon him the rule of the empire, the Britains refused to paie that tribute: whereat as Cornelius Tacitus reporteth,Cor Tacitus. in vita Iu. Agr. Augustus (being other|wise occupied) was contented to winke; howbeit, through earnest calling vpon to recouer his right by such as were desirous to sée the vttermost of the Bri|tish kingdome; at length, to wit, in the tenth yeare after the death of Iulius Cesar, which was about the thirtéenth yeare of the said Theomantius, Au|gustus made prouision to passe with an armie ouer into Britaine, & was come forward vpon his iour|nie into Gallia Celtica: or as we maie saie,Dion Cassius. into these hither parts of France.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 But here receiuing aduertisements that the Pan|nonians, which inhabited the countrie now called Hungarie, and the Dalmatians whome now we call Slauons had rebelled, he thought it best first to sub|due those rebells neere home, rather than to séeke new countries, and leaue such in hazard whereof he had present possession, and so turning his power a|gainst the Pannonians and Dalmatians, he left off for a time the warres of Britaine, whereby the land remained without feare of anie inuasion to be made by the Romans, till the yeare after the building of the citie of Rome 725, and about the 19 yeare of king Theomantius reigne, that Augustus with an armie departed once againe from Rome to passe o|uer into Britaine, there to make warre. But after his comming into Gallia, when the Britains sent to him certeine ambassadours to treat with him of peace, he staied there to settle the state of things a|mong the Galles, for that they were not in verie good order. And hauing finished there, he went into Spaine, and so his iournie into Britaine was put off till the next yeare, that is, the 726 after the buil|ding of Rome, which fell before the birth of our sa|uiour 25, about which time Augustus eftsoons meant the third time to haue made a voiage into Britaine, EEBO page image 33 because they could not agrée vpon couenants. But as the Pannonians and Dalmatians had afore|time staied him,He kept not promise with the Romans. when (as before is said) he meant to haue gone against the Britans: so euen now the Sa|lassians (a people inhabiting about Italie and Swit|serland) the Cantabrians and Asturians by such re|bellious sturrs as they raised,Those of Ca|lice and Bis|kate. withdrew him from his purposed iournie. But whether this controuer|sie which appeareth to fall forth betwixt the Britans and Augustus, was occasioned by Kymbeline, or some other prince of the Britains, I haue not to a|uouch: for that by our writers it is reported, that Kymbeline being brought vp in Rome, & knighted in the court of Augustus, euer shewed himselfe a friend to the Romans, & chieflie was loth to breake with them, because the youth of the Britaine nation should not be depriued of the benefit to be trained and brought vp among the Romans, whereby they might learne both to behaue themselues like ciuill men, and to atteine to the knowledge of feats of warre.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 But whether for this respect, or for that it pleased the almightie God so to dispose the minds of men at that present, not onlie the Britains, but in manner all other nations were contented to be obedient to the Romane empire. That this was true in the Bri|tains, it is euident enough by Strabos words,Strab. Geog. which are in effect as followeth.

At this present (saith he) certeine princes of Britaine, procuring by ambassa|dors and dutifull demeanors the amitie of the empe|rour Augustus, haue offered in the capitoll vnto the gods presents or gifts, and haue ordeined the whole Ile in a manner to be appertinent, proper, and fami|liar to the Romans. They are burdened with sore customs which they paie for wares, either to be sent foorth into Gallia, or brought from thence, which are commonlie yuorie vessels, shéeres, ouches, or eare|rings, and other conceits made of amber & glasses, and such like manner of merchandize: so that now there is no néed of anie armie or garrison of men of warre to kéepe the Ile, for there néedeth not past one legion of footmen, or some wing of horssemen, to gather vp and receiue the tribute: for the charges are rated according to the quantitie of the tributes: for otherwise it should be néedfull to abate the customs, if the tributes were also raised: and if anie violence should be vsed, it were dangerous least they might be prouoked to rebellion.
Thus farre Strabo.

3.19. Of Guiderius, who denied to paie tri|bute to the Romans, preparation for war on both sides, of the ridiculous voiage of the Emperour Caligula against the Britains, his vanitie and delight in mischiefe: Aulus Plautius a Romane senator accompanied with souldiers arriue on the British coasts without resistance, the Britains take flight and hide themselues. The xix. Chapter.

Of Guiderius, who denied to paie tri|bute to the Romans, preparation for war on both sides, of the ridiculous voiage of the Emperour Caligula against the Britains, his vanitie and delight in mischiefe: Aulus Plautius a Romane senator accompanied with souldiers arriue on the British coasts without resistance, the Britains take flight and hide themselues. The xix. Chapter.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 _GUiderius the first sonne of Kymbeline (of whom Harison saieth nothing) began his reigne in the seuententh yeere after th'incarnation of Christ. This Guiderius being a man of stout courage,Guideri|us. gaue occasi|on of breach of peace betwixt the Britains and Romans, denieng to paie them tri|bute, and procuring the people to new insurrections, which by one meane or other made open rebellion, as Gyldas saith.Caligula. Wherevpon the emperour Caligula (as some thinke) tooke occasion to leauie a power, and as one vtterlie misliking the negligence (as he called it) of Augustus and Tiberius his predeces|sors, he ment not onlie to reduce the Iland vnto the former subiection, but also to search out the vttermost bounds thereof, to the behoofe of himselfe, and of the Romane monarchie.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Great prouision therefore was made by the said Caligula to performe that noble enterprise, and this was in the fourth yeere of his reigne. The like prepa|ration was made on the other side by Guiderius, to resist the forren enimies, so that hauing all things in a readinesse, he ceassed not dailie to looke for the com|ming of the emperour, whome he ment to receiue with hard enterteinment if he durst aduenture to set toward Britaine.Dion Cassius lib. 59. But see the sequele: the maine armie being thus in a readinesse, departed from Rome in the 79 yeere after the building of the citie, and marching foorth, at length came vnto the Bel|gike shore, from whence they might looke ouer, and behold the cliffes and coast of Britaine, which Cali|gula and his men stood gazing vpon with great ad|miration and woonder.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Furthermore he caused them to stand in battell arraie vpon the coast, where be heard how the Bri|tains were in a redinesse to withstand his entrance. But entring into his gallie, as nothing discoura|ged with these newes, he rowed a flight shot or two from the shore, and forthwith returned, and then go|ing vp into an high place like a pulpit, framed and set vp there for the nonce, he gaue the token to fight vnto his souldiers by sound of trumpet, and there|with was ech man charged to gather cockle shells vpon the shore, which he called the spoile of the Oce|an, and caused them to be laid vp vntill a time con|uenient.The spoile of the Ocean. With the atchiuing of this exploit (as ha|uing none other wherewith to beautifie his triumph) he séemed greatlie exalted, thinking that now he had subdued the whole Ocean, and therefore highlie re|warded his souldiers for their paines susteined in that collection of cockle shells, as if they had doone him some notable péece of seruice. He also caried of the same shells with him to Rome, to the end he might there boast of his voyage, and brag how well he had sped: and required therefore verie earnestlie of haue a triumph decreed vnto him for the accom|plishment of this enterprise.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 But when he saw the senat grudge at the free & li|berall granting of a grace in that behalfe, and per|ceiued how they refused to attribute diuine honors vnto him, in recompense of so foolish an enterprise, it wanted little that he had not slaine them euerie one. From thence therefore he went vp into a throne or royall seate, and calling therewith the common people about him, he told them a long tale what ad|uentures had chanced to him in his conquest of the Ocean. And when he had perceiued them to shout and crie, as if they had consented that he should haue béene a god for this his great trauell and valiant prowesse, he to increase their clamour, caused great quantities of gold & siluer to be scattered amongst them, in the gathering whereof, manie were pres|sed to death, and diuers also slaine with the inueno|med caltrops of iron, which he did cast out with the same monie, of purpose to doo mischiefe, the same caltrops being in forme small & sharp, so that by rea|son of the prease of people, much hurt was doone by them yer they were perceiued. And this was the end of the ridiculous voiage of Caligula attempted against the Britains.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 But after the death of this Caligula,Suetonius. the empe|rour Claudius (as Suetonius saith) moued warre against the Britains, because of a sturre and rebel|lion raised in that land, for that such fugitiues as EEBO page image 34 were fled from thence, were not againe restored when request was made for the same.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Dion Cassius writeth,Dion Cassius. that one Bericus, being expelled out of Britaine, persuaded the emperour Claudius to take the warre in hand at this time a|gainst the Britains, so that one Aulus Plautius a senatour, and as then pretor, was appointed to take the armie that soiourned in France then called Gal|lia, and to passe ouer with the same into Britaine. The souldiers hearing of this voiage, were loth to go with him, as men not willing to make warre in another world: and therefore delaied time, till at length one Narcissus was sent from Claudius, as it were to appease the souldiers, & procure them to set forward. But when this Narcissus went vp into the tribunall throne of Plautius, to declare the cause of his comming, the souldiers taking great indignation therewith cried, O Saturnalia, as if they should haue celebrated their feast daie so called.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 When the seruants apparelled in their maisters robes, represented the roome of their maisters, and were serued by them, as if they had béene their ser|uants, and thus at length constreined, through verie shame, they agréed to follow Plautius. Herevpon being embarked, he diuided his nauie into thrée parts, to the end that if they were kept off from ar|riuing in one place, yet they might take land in ano|ther. The ships suffered some impeachment in their passage by a contrarie wind that droue them backe againe: but yet the marriners and men of warre taking good courage vnto them, the rather because there was séene a fierie leame to shoot out of the east towards the west, which way their course lay, made forwards againe with their ships, and landed without finding anie resistance. For the Bri|tains looked not for their comming: wherefore, when they heard how their enimies were on land, they got them into the woods and marishes, trusting that by lingering of time the Romans would be constrei|ned to depart, as it had chanced in time past to Iu|lius Cesar aforesaid.

The end of the third booke.

Previous | Next