HISTORY of BRITAIN FROM THE FLOOD TO A.D. 700
Compiled from the various ancient records
BY RICHARD WILLIAMS MORGAN
THE MARSHALL PRESS, LTD. MILFORD LANE STRAND W.C.2 1933
Printed in Great Britain by The Marshall Press, Ltd., London.
THE history of the great Gomeric or Kimbric race constitutes the grandest drama of old or modern times. It is the primogenital family of mankind; and as such we find its various divisions established under the same or very slightly modified names in different countries in the earliest dawn of tradition and letters. Around the shores of the Black Sea, they were known as Cimmerioi; in Caucasus, Armenia and Bactria, as Gomarai; in the Baltic, Chersonese, and Scandinavia, as Cimbri; in Italy, as Chumbri or Umbri; in Britain, as the Kymry. From them have sprung the nations which have led and still lead the destinies of civilization—the Persian and Parthian in ancient Asia—the Roman in Italy—the Norman of the medieval—the Briton elf the present era. Of this family, the Keltic race of France, Spain, and Ireland, are the junior branches. “The Kelts are acknowledged,” states Diodorus Siculus, “to be a very ancient people—they are nevertheless but, the children of the Kimbri.” To write the annals of the whole Gomeric family of nations, would far exceed the powers of one life. Touching only when the subject imperatively demanded it on the history of the other branches, this little volume gives merely the leading incidents in that of the oldest—the Kymry of our island.
Each era has been examined, and an estimate of its character formed by the light of its own facts, independent of the opinions, pro or con, of any preceding historian. The result is what may be termed a British view of British history. Due weight has been allowed to all sober-minded objections of the sceptic school, with reference to the more remote periods; but common sense points out that in writing history, no stricter evidence than each several era and its circumstances supply can be summoned, or indeed admitted, into court. The application of one indiscriminating standard of evidence to times and states of widely different conditions is an absurdity which can only end in destroying all history whatever—sacred no less than profane; process worthy of a savage or a Goth, but to which every lover of truth and civilization must oppose a front of indignant resistance. Differences in petty details are often the most unimpeachable of all evidences; each author, as in the case of the evangelists, describing his impressions of the main fact from his own point of observation. The captious and cavilling system of the sceptic school would, on the contrary, leave every nation without a history, or only such as on the face of it carried proof of collusion and dishonest agreement in its composition.
Of the historical views expressed in these pages, most are as old as the eras to which they refer, others are perhaps set in a new light and framing—some are original. From a period long anterior to the Roman invasion, a pure indigenous British literature has been perpetuated among the Kymry. Cambria, bounded on three sides by the sea, on the fourth, by a deep impetuous river, forms with its mountain masses—its defiles and gorges—its innumerable springs and rivulets—its hanging forests—its abundant pasturage, the most picturesque as the most impregnable natural fortress in Europe. Every hill, every glen, is a military position. Within its bounds—a camp in war, a Bardic hall in peace—the harp has never been silent—the spirit of the poet has never been quenched—the heart of the nation has never ceased to pour forth its emotions in the same tongue the Kymry of Asia first brought from the Crimea and the Caucasus. Every successive foreign invader of Britain has given his own version of conquest or defeat. The philosophic student may well exclaim, “Here in the most beautiful part of the island are the original race of Britain, whom all these invasions have failed to dispossess of their patrimony, or deprive of their language—what is their version of these transactions, of British history in general?” It is given in these “Outlines,” leaving the reader whenever such version comes into collision with the hostile or foreign one—as British and Continental accounts of the same action always have and always will conflict-,to decide between them.
The notion so sedulously inculcated, first by Pagan, then by Papal Rome, that all nations except the two occupying the little Peninsulas of Greece and Italy were barbarians, may be now classed amongst the obsolete impositions on medieval credulity. Modern literature in resenting it appears inclined to rush into the opposite extreme, and to deny early Greece or Rome any authentic annals at all. We may ridicule the old Greek and Roman vanity, as we do that of the Chinese, for classing the formidable Briton amongst “ the outer barbarians,” and for ignoring all other civilization but their own deeply corrupt and immoral one. It must at the same time be conceded, that the Roman polity did not commence with the first Latin authors, whose date is barely a century before Julius Cesar, and that the refinement of the pre-historic age, which could produce an Iliad, was something very wide indeed from a myth. The nineteenth century might congratulate itself if it could turn out a “myth” of the same immortal stamp.
The Trojan descent of the Britons has been assigned the place to which it is substantially entitled in this history. It solves the numerous and very peculiar agreements in the social and military systems of pre-historic Britain and Asia which would otherwise remain inexplicable. It has always been consistently maintained by native authorities, and by extending the circle of researches, it is found – to receive ample and unexpected confirmations from the earliest documents of Italy, Gaul, Bretagne, Spain, and even Iceland.
On equally solid grounds of evidence, the social state of Britain has been described as from its first settlement by Hu the Mighty, that of a civilized and polished community. Had no other monument of Kymric antiquity but the Code of British Laws of Molmutius (B.C. 600), which still forms the basis of our common or unwritten law, descended to us, we could not doubt that we were handling the index of civilization of a very high order. In such a code we possess not only the most splendid relic of pre-Roman Europe, but the key to all our British, as contra-distinguished from – Continental institutions. After perusing it, we stand amazed at the blindness which wanders groping for the origin of British rights and liberties in the swamps of the motherland of feudal serfdom-Germany. We need not go so far as to affirm, with a learned author, that “barbarism and slavish institutions first entered Britain with the German Saxon”; but we may safely contend that no part of the Continent could supply Britain with what it never possessed itself. British spirit and freedom are wholly of native British origin, and out of Britain they are imitations or fallacies, not realities. The Continent is an aggregate of nations ruled on the despotic principle. The Anglo-Saxon of America returns out of Britain to just what the Anglo-Saxon of Germany and England was—a seller and driver of slaves.
A similar examination of the literary remains of the court of Arthur—of the vast vestiges of his palaces—of the narrative of his foreign campaigns which encounter us in the records of the conquered countries themselves—the groups of churches founded by and retaining the names of his knights, afford proofs above suspicion that the traditional European view of this monarch as the great Christian conqueror of the Pagan hordes who overthrew the Roman empire and not a petty heroic prince, the Achilles of his age, is also the true historical one. So far have the Norman minstrels been from exaggerating the glories of his career, that the author is convinced, from the evidences he has collected, they have fallen short of them. They have dwelt too much on the martial—too little on the moral splendour of his reign. No king has received so much justice at the hands of the people and of nations, and so much injustice at the hands of closet historians as this truly British sovereign—no visionary ideal of that union of heroism, gentleness, and religion, which is conveyed by the word chivalry.
The Roman Catholic Church has no pretensions to being the primitive or apostolic church of Britain. It came in so late as a century a half after the Saxon, and four centuries after the national establishment of the native British church. The historical data connected with the foundation and progress of the latter will be found in the respective eras.
The author cannot flatter himself with the expectation that all his readers will approve of the views submitted to them; but, with whatever eye the history of the Kymry of Britain is read, there must be much in it to rivet the attention of the statesman, the philosopher, and the poet. There must be something worth studying in the constitution and spirit of a race whom forty centuries have failed to destroy or demoralize—who have seen empires and literatures pass away like summer clouds—who have fought for ages foot to foot, not with feeble Asiatics, but with the most warlike nations of Europe and the North—Roman, Saxon, Dane, and Norman—whose Principality is the dust of patriots—whose exhaustless vitality still supplies Pictons, Combermeres, Notts, to support the honour of Britain—amongst whom the Bardic gatherings are still popular institutions, and whose peasantry are now as distinguished for their freedom from crime, as they were in past ages for their unbought patriotism and valour.
R. W. M.
August 7th, 1857.
AUTHORITIES CONSULTED IN THE FOLLOWING OUTLINES
Histories Britannica (Record Commission.)—Historic Triads of Britain.—Laws of Dyfnwal Moelmud.—Remains of Druidic Philosophy.—Iolo M.S.S.—Tyssilio’s History.—Sagae of Scandinavia, Denmark, and Iceland.—Ancient Records of Gaul. Chronicles of Friezeland.—Cato de Originibus.—Sempronius. —Servius in Virgilium—Cesar.—Plutarch.—Diodorns Siculus. Dion Halicarnassensis.—Autores Augustini. Ammianus Marcellinus. — Tacitus. Zosimus. — The Ecclesiastical Historians of the Middle Ages.—Bede.—Gildas.—Saxon Chronicle. — Sheringham de Origine Anglian Gentis. — Bochart.—Bunsen’s Christianity and Mankind.—Prichard’s Etymological Works.—Remains of the Arthurian Era.—Toland’s Druids.—History of Ireland from the Gaelic, (Irish Record Commission.)—Poste’s Britannic Researches.—Poste’s Coins of Cymbeline.—Llwyd’s Breviary of Britain.—Zeuss on the Kymric and Gaelic Languages.—Lyson’s “ Britannia Romana.“—Herbert’s “Cyclops.“—Boxhornius’ Gallia.—Tower Records.—Records of Carnarvon.—Rymer’s Foedera.—Higgin’s Celtic Druids.—Hindoo Mythology.—Archbishop Usher, Archbishop Parker, Alford.—Baronius.—Greek Menologies.-Cressy.—Neuistria Sacra.—Monumens Celtiques.—King’s “ Monuments Antiqua.“—&c., &c.
HISTORY OF BRITAIN
THE FIRST, OR GOMERIC ERA.
THE Mountain Ridge of the Caucasus, between the Black and Caspian Seas, forms the back-bone of the Old World. Its extension Southward and South-Westward constitutes the Highland Plateau of Armenia, the centre of which is occupied by Mount Ararat. This Plateau is now universally admitted to be the Cradle of Mankind. On Ararat the Ark rested,—round its roots Noah, his sons, and their families settled. No position on the surface of the globe commands such facilities for peopling its various quarters: in every direction seas and vast water-courses opened up natural channels of exploration to the Progenitors of the Human Family.
The Sons of Noah were three,—Japhet the eldest, Shem the second, and Ham the youngest. The descendants of Ham, following the sea-coast of Palestine, entered the valley of the Nile, founded the Egyptian Empire, and overspread the still mysterious continent of Africa. They form the Ammonitic race. The descendants of Shem, guiding themselves by the double streams of the Tigris and Euphrates, took possession of the fertile plains of Mesopotamia, and thence colonized all Asia. These form the Semitic race. The North and West remained the patrimony of Japhet the eldest born, and in right of such Primogeniture the Heir of the World. He had seven sons, each of whom became the Protal Father of one of the seven Nations that make up the great Japhetic race,—viz., Chomr or Gomer the eldest, the Father of the Kymry, or Cimbri; Magog, the Father of the Magogidæ, or Scythians; Madai, the Father of the Medes; Javan, the Father of the Ionians or Hellenes, (afterwards called Greeks); Tubal, the Father of the Iberians, now called Spaniards; Meshech, or Mosoch, the Father of the Moscovites, now more generally known as Russians; and Tiras, the Father of the Thracians. These seven nations, being derived from Japhet, occupied in process of time the whole North and West from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea, and from the Uralian Mountains to the Atlantic Coast.
The present little work confines itself to an Out-line of the History of the Eldest of these Races—the Children of Gomer.
The Mosaic Record is the only authentic Eastern document, History possesses on the subject of the primitive colonization of the World by the Noachidæ, or children of Noah. Modern researches have done little more than confirm and illustrate its statements. Clear and convincing in itself, the Scripture narrative solves also — what no other account attempts to do—the phenomenon of the radical Unity of all the Languages and Nations of Europe. Originally one Family and one Tongue, the differences now found amongst them were slowly and imperceptibly produced by differences in climate, diet, religion, customs, education, and government. All mankind are of one blood—all come originally from one spot, Armenia in Asia; but in this Unity it has pleased God there should be varieties of constitutions and temperaments, pre-adapting them for the various climates which he had before appointed to be the bounds of their habitations (Acts xvii. 26.) These varieties constitute so many distinct Nationalities with so many distinct characteristics. Such Nationalities are great and living ordinances of God. Europe is still divided among them much the same as their Patriarchs were commanded by the Almighty to partition it among themselves and their children. “ By these,” viz., the seven sons of Japhet, “were the Isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after their tongue, after their families, in their nations.” (Gen. x. 5.) Each of these nations had its own land assigned it, therein to cultivate the earth, and worship the Lord God, the Maker of all things visible and invisible. For any of these Nations to attempt to take its patrimony from another, was, it is evident, a great and unjustifiable wrong,—striking directly against the primitive ordinance of God. History, however, principally consists of such attempts—hence its pages are written in blood. The only just wars, on the other hand, are those waged by a people in defence of the land of their forefathers and of their indefeasible right to govern themselves therein.
Of the present divisions of Europe, Muscovy, or Russia, remains mainly peopled by its original race—the children of Meshech; so also do Gaul, or France, by the Kelts, a younger branch of the Kymry; Spain by the Celto-lberi—a fusion of the Kelts with the descendants of Tubal; Germany, or Almaen, by the descendants of Togarmah, second son of Gomer, largely mingled with the Magogidæ, or Scythians ; Italy by the Kymry, or Umbri, from whom derived the Romans of ancient and the Cisalpine Italians of modern times. But all these nations have by successive conquests been deprived again and again of their lands and rights—the foreign Conquerors in each forming the aristocracy and governing class. The Kymry of Cambria alone, through the vicissitudes of nearly forty centuries, are the only people in Europe or so far as history informs us, in the world—who have preserved their original language unchanged, and their original patrimony still in possession of their own race and nationality!
It is to be observed, that with the exception of the Hebrew Scriptures, we possess absolutely next to nothing of the literary productions of the great civilizations of ancient Asia and Africa. Persia has bequeathed to posterity but one solitary Hymn of Zoroaster. Chaldea, a few mutilated pages of her history, preserved for us in the pages of Josephus and Eusebius. Egypt has transmitted us two brief extracts from Manethe. Phoenicia, nothing. Carthage, an abridgement of one of Hanno’s voyages. All these fragments—the sole literary relics surviving the fall of Empires which once dominated mankind and revelled in social splendour and refinement—may be included in a dozen leaves of letter-press. With these trivial exceptions, the history of these Nations must be constructed from such material monuments as have survived the ravages of time, or it must be sought for in the notices of strangers.
The Jewish Scriptures stand by themselves, not only in the diversity and sublimity of their composition, but in their historical value ; they are also the only work the East has ever produced, before which the Japhetic mind has bowed down. All other Semitic writings have fallen dead upon it—they alone have struck the chord of man’s inner life and satisfied the universal craving of his soul; for this reason they will never cease to be the great Classic of every free people—they were intended by their Divine Author to be so. It is impossible for a Bible-reading nation to be a nation of slaves; for this reason the enemies of mental and spiritual Liberty have always been hostile to its free circulation.
Of the Nations of Ancient Europe, Scandinavia, Germania, Hispania, Sarmatia, have not left a single line of Poetry or History anterior to the Christian era. Yet we can safely collect from the evidences of Cesar and other classic writers, that Gaul and Spain were in political organization and military science little, if at all, inferior to Rome. By Plutarch’s account, two millions of Gauls fell in the ten campaigns carried on in defence of their country against Cesar. The campaigns of Napoleon Bonaparte during twenty years -cost the same Gallia, in the nineteenth century, five millions of lives. The population and resources of the country must therefore, in the time of Cesar, have fallen not so far short of what they were half a century since as is generally sup-posed. The Cities were strongly fortified, many being celebrated for their architectural beauty; the country was well cultivated, large supplies of corn being everywhere obtainable for the Roman commissariat ; the mines were worked with skill and advantage; the science of ship-building as
developed in the navy of the Veneti, had attained a practical excellence, far in advance of what either the Romans or Greeks could boast. The commerce with Britain was conducted on a great scale, and reinforcements were constantly conveyed from its ports to its allies in the continent. Yet, with all these undoubted proofs of long established civilization, Prae-Roman Gaul is a literary blank,—not a stanza of her Martial Lyrics nor a sentence of her Philosophy having floated down to us as stray waifs on the current of time. Such being the case with Gaul, we have less reason to be surprised that Germania, Scandinavia, and Hispania, should not have left on record a single distich in written characters.
With Ancient Britain it was otherwise. It was the seat of the Great Japhetic or pure Gentile Religion ; that is, the Religion of Noah and his sons. Its Hierarchy united the important functions of the Magistrate, the Priest, the Philosopher, and the public Instructor. When it first came into con-tact with Rome, we see by Cesar’s account, that it was regarded as the Sacred Island of the West,—that although thousands of the Gauls were familiar with its coasts, roads, harbours, and institutions, he found it impossible, immediately the hostile character of his preparations against it were known, to elicit the slightest information on these points. He states, that all the Gallic Nobility were educated at the Druidic Colleges in Britain—that the matriculation in some cases lasted twenty years—that the course of Education embraced the profoundest subjects in Physical and Metaphysical Philosophy, and that the cultivation of the memory was carried to such perfection that many of the students could recite twenty thousand verses at pleasure. Such a description would prepare us for finding in connection with Britain a very different state of Letters, to the complete vacuum of all historic intelligence which prevailed in all the other countries of Western Europe. And investigation immediately justifies the anticipation: We discover that a pure British Literature has been perpetuated in this Island from the faintest dawn of History to the present time; and on comparing its earliest statements with those of the earliest Record of the East—the Jewish Scriptures, we are struck by their agreement and by the singular corroboration which, as wholly independent documents, they afford each other. This British Literature consists of “the Historic Triads of the Island of Britain,” of three hundred of which, one hundred and sixty only are extant,—of Bardic Poems, and of various fragments of Druidic Philosophy. We possess thus -four sources of information as to the Primitive Colonization and subsequent Annals of Britain,—the Scriptures—British Remains, in the British tongue—the Writers of Greece and Rome—Lithic or material evidence, such as camps, cromlechs, circles, temples, &c.
We have seen the Mosaic account of the manner in which the Isles of the Gentiles “ were peopled by the seven sons of Japhet”: We now give the Kymric tradition of the original colonization of this—more especially—the Great Gentile Island, by our forefathers, collected from the Triads and Druidic remains.
“Long before the Kymry came into Britain, the Llyn Llion, or Great Deep (literally the abyss of waters), broke up and inundated the whole earth.
The Island afterwards known as Britain shared the general catastrophe. One vessel floated over the waters,—this was the ship of Nevydd Nav Neivion. In it were two individuals preserved—Dwy Van (the Man of God), and Dwy Vach (the Woman of God). By the posterity of these two, the earth was gradually repeopled.
The ship of Nevydd Nav Neivion was built in Britain, and was one of its three Mighty Works.
For a long time after the subsiding of the Deluge, the Kymry dwelt in the Sumer Land, between the Sea of Afiz and Deffrobani’ The land being exposed to sea floods, they resolved under the guidance of Hu Gadarn, to seek again the White Island of the West, where their father, Dwy Van, had built the ship of Nevydd Nav Neivion (literally the work of the Creator Creators). They journeyed Westward towards the setting sun, being many in number and men of great heart and strength—(Cedeirn, mighty ones, giants). They came in sight of the Alps, and then part of their migration diverged Southward — these are the Kymry (Umbri) of Italy. The others, consisting of the three tribes of the Kymry, the Brython and the Lloegrwys, crossed the Alps. Along either side of the Alps, near the sea, part of the Lloegrwys settled ; these are the Ligurians of Italy and Gaul. Pursuing their (course still further they crossed the River of Eddies, the Slow River, the Rough River, the Bright River (the Rhone, the Arar, the Garonne, the Loire), till they reached Gwasgwyn, (Gascony, the Vine land). Thence they turned Northward, and part of the Brython settled in a land they named Lyldaw ar y Môr Ucha (the Land or expansion on the Upper Sea, Armorica).
The Kymry still held onward until they saw the cliffs of the White Island. Then they built ships, and in them passed over the Hazy Ocean (Môr Tawch), and took possession of the Island. And they found no living creature in it but bisons, elks, bears, beavers, and water-monsters. And they took possession of it not by war, nor by conquest, nor by oppression, but by the right of man over nature. And they sent to the Brythons in Llydaw, and to the Lloegrwys on the Continent, and to as many as came they gave the East and the North of the Island. And the Kymry dwelt in the West. These three Tribes were of one race, origin, and speech. These are the three Pacific Tribes of the Isle of Britain, because they came in mutual good-will, peace, and love; and over them reigned Hu the Mighty, the one rightful Sovereign of the Island. And they called the Island the White Island (Ynys Wen), and the Island of the mighty ones. Its name, Britain, or Prydain, was not yet known.”
This account is a very striking one: It’s date pre-cedes, by many centuries, the earliest Traditions of Greece and Rome. Its statements are in entire accordance with the results of the most recent investigations into the origin of Languages and Nations.
If the Kymry are not the Race of Gomer, then the eldest son of Japhet would be the only one of them who left neither name nor posterity. This could not have been, for Moses expressly records the sons of Gomer, and the promise of God was, that “Japhet should be enlarged.” (Gen. ix. 27.)
‘‘All the most ancient writers of Greece and Rome concur in stating that the Kymry, or Gomeridæ,
Iô HISTORY OF BRITAIN.
were under appellations slightly varied, the Primo-genital or oldest Family in the world. Along their first habitation, the shores of the Euxine and the Sea of Azov, they were known as Kimri or Kimmerioi ; the Peninsula which formed part of their dominions retains their name Kimria, corrupted into Crimea. South of the Caucasian Range they were called Gomrai. This section allying themselves with the children of Madai, became the Medes of history. Another portion separating themselves from the main body, called themselves “ Parthwys “ (from the Kymric verb parthu, to separate). These in process of time rose to be the formidable Empire of the Parthians, or later Persians. Another great division on the route of the nation Westward, moved along the chain of the Appennines and be-came the Chymbri, or, dropping the guttural, the Umbri, or Humbri of Italy. These became the main stock from which sprung the Latins, Samnites, Sabines, Marsi, and other nations, which after-wards formed the Roman Confederacy. The Umbrian was the first Great Empire of Italy. It attained its acme 1,200 years before the Christian era, and its duration was celebrated as the Saturnian or Golden Age. Its Regal and Priestly Patriarchs became the Gods of the Roman Mythology. Their names are significant, defining their characters and offices, in the Kymric tongue ; but are wholly with-out meaning in any other language. The base of the population of ancient Italy being Kymric, the base of its language was, of course, Kymric also—hence the close affinity in vocabulary and construction between the Latin and the Kymric ; thousands of words being the same—the termination excepted, in each. We know the Latin to be based on the Kymric, not the Kymric on the Latin, because the words common to both are for the most part to be traced to their roots and primitive meanings in the Kymric only. So also the names of the oldest Latin families are of Kymric significance—such as Claudius, Catullus, Ilia, Cato, Pompeius, Lucullus, Camillus, Marcus, &c.
To the Umbrian Kings are to be ascribed the gigantic works, such as the Sewers of Umbrian Rome, the Cyclopean fortresses and temples, &c., constructed in the pre-historic ages of Italy their religion was the Patriarchal, or Druidic. Their empire gave way to the Tuscan or Etrurian ; three hundred of their cities, according to Cato, Pliny, and Solinus, falling into the hands of the conquerors. The Etrurian again gave way in Northern Italy about 600 B.C., to the Empire of the British Kymry under Belinus and Brennus.
The Locrians of Ancient Greece were also a sister-tribe of the Kymry—their name and dialect being the same as those of the Ligurians, Locrians, Lloegrians, of the lower Alps (Piedmont), and of Southern Britain.
Many of the most important positions in Armenia and around the Caucasus, retain their primitive Kymric names—Gumri (the Chief Fortress and Headquarters of the Russian Forces), Van (the Peak), Erivan (on the Peak, which Erivan is), Kars (the Stone-Fort), Trebizond (Trapezuntum) the Lower Town, &c.
So also the great natural features of Europe retain the names assigned them by the Kymri when they first penetrated its uninhabited forests and silent plains. Alp, in Kymric is the Rocky Mount; Apennini, “The White Heads”; “Cevennes, the Backs or Ridges; Pyrenees, the Spires; Don, the Wave; Tagus, the Stream; Loire, the Bright River; Pwyl or Hwyl, the Marsh; Rhên or Rhine, the Flooding River; Arar, the Slow, &c., &c.
Recent events have enabled us to compare the present aspects of the Caucasian Cambria, or Crimea, with that handed down in the Old British tradition. It is still what the latter describes it as being 3,500 years ago; the East of it covered by salt-lagoons; a large portion occupied by the Sivash or Putrid Sea ; the rest composed of spits, reefs, and sand banks. The Southern part, which they called the Summer Land (Gwlad yr Hâv), is now known to richly merit the title. It is the Naples of the Russian Empire. “The weather,” — writes the Times’ correspondent, from the Crimea, June 16th, 1855, — “is hot on the low-grounds, desperately hot, and even in the heights, the thermometer within doors ranges above 90 degrees in the daytime: mine stood near 8o, at to o’clock last night; but almost every day there are some hours of cool breeze that sets in at 9 o’clock and holds on till 3 or 4. You descend amid waving grasses, giant thistles, and regaled by the fragrance of a thousand flowers. Diverge an instant from the path, and you trample upon vetches and lupines, convolvulus and poppies, geraniums and wild flowers, with innumerable other blossoms of the rank and file.”
In the battles of the Alma, Inkerman, and in the assaults on Sebastopol, more than 3,000 British Kymry in different regiments were engaged. It is a fact unparalled in History, that the descendants of a Race which emigrated thirty three centuries since, should thus return to fight, in the sacred cause of justice and civilization, to the cradle of their ancestors in the remote East,—preserving the same language, the same freshness of life, the same indomitable spirit and endurance, the same innate attachment to liberty. Such an extraordinary instance of vitality in a nation appears to justify the faith of the Kymry in their popular proverb, “Tra môr, tra Brython,“—“As long as there is sea, so long will there be Britons.”
Armorica was settled about the same time as Britain, by the Brython or third Sister-Tribe. Until A.D. 900, it was always considered rather of Britain than of the Continent, the relations between the three tribes being of the most intimate description.
Geology enables us to determine that at the period of the Crimean Colonization of Britain, not more than half of it was inhabitable. The Eastern parts, the lands adjoining the great estuaries of the Thames, Severn, Mersey, Humber, Trent, the Fen countries, were either submerged or mud-swamps. Many centuries elapsed before they became fit to support human life. The districts first settled were consequently the mountainous regions of the West, and the elevated plateaus of the North and the South. Hence, in Devonshire, Cornwall, Wales, Cumberland, and the East of Scotland, are found the earliest works of man’s hands in Britain—the Temples, Cemeteries, Tumuli, and Caerau, of the three Pacific Tribes.
The Patrimony or Inheritance of the Elder Tribe, or Kymry, lay between the Severn and the Sea—that of the Lloegrians extended from Kent to Cornwall—that of the Brythons stretched from the Humber Northwards. The Kymry, gradually enlarging their bounds, colonized the North-West of the Isle, and the East of Albyn, or Scotland. These latter became known to the Romans as the Picts. All the names of the Pict Kings, as of the rivers, mountains, &c., in Pictland, are Kymric.
The monarchic and military supremacy was vested in the Kymry. Strictly speaking, there appear to have been no Laws, but the three Tribes regulating their affairs by certain usages, which afterwards were called the usages of Britain, and formed the foundations of its subsequent Codes of Law.
The whole Island was considered to be under one Crown—the crown itself subject to the “Voice of the Country”; hence the maxim, “the Country is higher than the King,” which runs through the Ancient British Laws, and was directly opposed to the Feudal system in which the country itself was dealt with as the property of the King.
As all Asia was gradually peopled from the Highlands of Armenia, so was all Europe from the various Highlands on its surface,—Italy from the Appennines; Spain from the Pyrenees; France from Auvergne, Piedmont, and Bretagne, &c. The children or posterity of the original Kymry thus settled, were called Kelts (Gael, Galatai, Galli). The Kymry do not recognise the name Kelts as applied to themselves. The Greek and Roman writers also draw a broad distinction between them, calling the latter simply “Kelts or Galatai“—the former the “Old Kelts, the old Gauls, the Ancient Kelts, precisely as the Kymry still designate themselves “Hên Gymry,” the “Ancient Kymry.”
The Kymric Language prevailed in different dialects over the whole of Europe and a large part of Asia. It is the substructure of all the Keltic tongues and the Archaic element in the Greek, the Latin, the Sans-script, and the hieroglyphic Egyptian. (Bunsen’s Christianity and Mankind, vol. iv, p. 158.) It is the key to the affinity between the languages of the East and the West. All other languages can be traced to an alien source —this alone cannot. It is certain it was brought by the Kymry into Britain, as it was spoken by their forefathers in Armenia, B.C. 1700; and that its purity and integrity have been guarded by them in all ages with jealous care. It is the witness, alike above suspicion and corruption, to the extreme antiquity of their nationality and civilization.
The three Pacific Tribes remained undisturbed in the enjoyment of their several patrimonies in Britain for five centuries. A second colonization then took place on the breaking up of the Trojan Empire in the East. The Empire of Troy was Japhetic; that is, its kings and people were of the same race and language as the Umbri of Italy and Britain. Hence on its dissolution, part of the survivors directed their course to the former, part to the latter country. The rest of Asia Minor was Semitic. Troy was regarded as the Sacred City of the race of Japhet in the East.
THE SECOND, OR TROJAN ERA.
THE descent of the British People from Troy and the Trojans was never disputed for fifteen hundred years. The “Island of Brutus” was the common name of the Island in old times. The word tan is the old British or Japhetic term for land,—Brutannia (pronounced Britannia, the British u being sounded as ë) is Brut’s or Brutus’ Land. The term is also of very ancient use in Asia, as Laristan, Feristan, Affghanistan. The only two national names acknowledged by the Ancient Britons are Kymry, and Y Lin Troia, the race of Troy. The Trojan descent solves all the peculiarities in the British Laws and Usages which would otherwise be wholly inexplicable.
The Trojan War is the Cardinal Point in Ancient History, from which we can trace events upwards for about four centuries, and downwards for about one hundred and forty years—in Greece, to Codrus and Neleus ; but in Britain—for one thousand years, down to the era of Caswallon, and the Roman invasion under Julius Cesar. The Genealogies of all the British Kings and Princes trace up through Beli the Great, to OEneas, Dardanus, and Gomer.
The Trojan Colonization of Britain took place as follows:-
After the Deluge 68o years, and B.C. 1637, Iau and Dardan reigned over the Umbrian Empire in Italy. Dardanus having in rencontre slain his brother Iau or jasius, emigrated first to Crete, then to Samo—Thrace —- lastly to Phrygia, where at the foot of the mountain which, after the mountain in Crete, he called Ida, he built Dardania. The King of Phrygia then reigning was Athus. He had two sons, Lud and Tyrrhi (Lydus and Tyrrhenus). Dardanus having exchanged his rights in Italy with Athus, for a part of Phrygia, Tyrrhi sailed with a large body of his father’s subjects and took possession of that portion of Umbria in Italy which belonged to Dardanus. From Tyrrhi, it was from that time called Tyrrhenia. Dardanus married Batea, daughter of Teucer King of Llydaw (Lydia), and was succeeded by Eric, the wealthiest Monarch of the East—Eric by Tros, who removed the Capital of the Empire from Dardania to Troy. Tros had three sons, Ili, Assarac, and Gwyn the Beautiful (Ganymedi). Gwyn was waylaid by Tantallon, King of Lydia, and sent for safeguard to Jove King of Crete. Tros made war on Tantallon and his son Pelops, expelled them from Asia, and added Lydia to his Empire. Pelops settled in that part of Greece called after him Peloponesus—from him descended the royal families at Argos and Sparta, represented when the Trojan War broke out by Memnon and Maen (Agamemnon and Menelaus). Tros was succeeded by Ili, Ili by Laomedon. Tros reigned sixty years. To commemorate the splendor of his career, the Kymri of Italy, who had followed Dardanus, took the name of Trojans. His second son, Assarac begat Anchises, who wedded Gwen (Venus) the daughter of Jove, King of Crete. Their son was OEneas or Aedd,—the head of the royal Tribe of the Dardanida, and patriarch of the Trojan lines of Rome and Britain. In the reign of Laomedon the citadel and walls of Troy were re-built by Belin and Nêv, architects of Crete, after the model of the Cretan Labyrinth, which was also an exact representation of the Stella Universe. Laomedon was succeeded by his eldest son, Tithon, who, marrying Ida, or Aurora, abdicated in favour of his youngest brother, Priam. The son of Tithon and Ida was Memnon, King, of India. In the reign of Priam the Trojan was’ broke out: the cause of it was this, ——
Jason, nephew of Pelias, King of Thessaly, organized an expedition against Colchos in Asia, which was part of the Mother Country of the Kymri. The principal Chiefs under him were Hercwlf (Hercules) and Telamon. These anchored, on their way to join Jason, off Troy, but were peremptorily forbidden to set foot on Trojan ground by Laomedon. On their return from the Conquest of Colchos, Hercwlf, Telamon, and the other Greek Chiefs surprized and slew Laomedon and five of his sons, by a sudden attack on the City, carrying off also Hesione his daughter, who was afterwards wedded to Telamon, to whom she bore Ajax the Great. Priam on his accession to the throne immediately despatched an embassy to Greece, demanding the restoration of Hesione, and satisfaction for the outrage perpetrated by Hercwlf. The two most powerful Monarchs of Greece at the time were Memnon and Maen, the descendants of the Pelops who was expelled from Asia by the Kymry under Tros. Instigated by them, the States of Greece unanimously refused redress; upon which Priam appointed his son Paris to the command of a fleet, ordering him at all hazards to effect the liberation of Hesione ; instead of which, he bore down at once towards Sparta, the capital of the territories of Menelaus, and seizing his wife, Helen —the loveliest woman of the age, carried her off, first to Egypt and then home to Troy—Menelaus being at the time absent in Crete. All Greece, on hearing of this act of just retribution, flew to arms. A confederate Armada of 1,394 ships, under forty-eight Princes, was collected under Memnon, or Agamemnon, King of Argos, as Commander-in-Chief. The history of the war which ensued, the most celebrated of any in ancient or modern times, is given in its poetic form by Homer and Virgil, and in its historic, by Dares of Phrygia, and Dictys of Crete, contemporary authors who served throughout it, and afterwards accompanied Brutus into Britain. It lasted for ten years, during which time eighteen pitched battles were fought, and the flower of the Trojan and Greek chivalry perished for the most part in single combats. The heroes who distinguished themselves most on the Greek side were Achilles, Uliex (Ulysses), Ajax, Pedrocles, Meirion, Nestor, and Agamemnon—on the Trojan or Kymric, Hector, Troil, Paris, Memnon, AEneas, and Sarph (Sarpedon). On the night of 21st June, 1184, B.C., in the tenth year of the siege, the Faction of Antenor and Helenus, which had always been averse to the war, threw open the Scoean gate, surmounted by a statue of the white horse of the sun, to the Confederate Army. For forty-eight hours a battle of the most desperate description raged within the walls. The brave old King with most of his sons fell, fighting round the altar in his palace; the command then fell on OEneas, who, giving orders to fire the City in every quarter, to prevent its capture by the enemy, cut his way at the head of the Dardanidæ, through sword and flame, to the Forest of Mount Ida. There, being joined by other Trojans to the number of 88,000, he prepared to return to his ancestors, the Kymry of Italy. Accordingly, after various adventures, he landed at the mouth of the Albula or Tiber, was cordially received by the reigning sovereign, Latinus, and presented with Llawen (Joy), or Lavinia, his daughter, in marriage.
Antenor, sailing with six thousand Trojans up the Adriatic, founded Padua and the Kingdom of Gwynedd, or Venetia, in Italy.
Helenus, with a large body, settled in Albyn, or Albania, in Greece, where he was afterwards joined by Brutus.
OEneas, by his first wife Creusa, a daughter of Priam, had Julius Ascanius. From the second son of Ascanius Julius, descended the family of Julius Cesar, and the Emperors of Rome. The eldest son of Ascanius was Sylvius Ascanius. He married Edra, niece of Lavinia, who bore him Brutus, the founder of the Trojan Dynasty of Britain.
The issue of the second marriage of OEneas, and Lavinia was Silvius OEneas, from whom descended Romulus, the founder of Rome.
In his fifteenth year, Brutus accidentally slew his Father, in the chase. He was ordered by his Grand-father, in consequence of this deplorable event, to quit Italy. Assembling three thousand of the bravest youths of Umbria, he put himself at their head, and sailed to his countrymen in Albania, afterwards called Epirus.
There in conjunction with Assaracus, another Trojan Prince, he raised the standard of Independence against Pandrasus, who had succeeded Agamemnon in the Sovereignty of Greece. A series of victories on the Trojan side resulted in a peace; Pandrasus giving his daughter, Imogene, in marriage to Brutus. The coasts of the Mediterranean were at this time studded by settlements founded by the Greek leaders at the siege of Troy; for Greece had been completely exhausted and disorganized by her enormous efforts during the ten years’ war, and for more than two centuries a state of anarchy succeeded that of the old heroic civilization. Brutus aware that a Trojan Kingdom could not be established in Albania, except at the cost of incessant hostilities, resolved on emigrating with all his people to the Northern seat of the main stock of his race—the White Island. The resolution was unanimously approved of. A Navy of three hundred and thirty-two vessels was constructed—arms and provisions supplied—the Pedestal of the Trojan Palladium consigned to the care of Geryon the Augur, and the whole population embarked on board. The Crimean colonization took place by land, across the Continent of Europe—the Trojan was conducted by sea.
Coasting the Southern shore of the Mediterranean, Brutus arrived the third day at Melita, then called Legetta. Finding on it a Temple of Diana, or Karidwen, he consulted her Oracle on the future destinies of his family and nation. The verses were afterwards engraved in Archaic Greek on the altar of Diana in New Troy, or London, and translated into Latin in the third century by Nennius a British Prince attached to the court of Claudius Gothicus, the Emperor, Uncle of Constantius. They have thus been rendered by Pope. With the exception of the predictions of Balaam, recorded by Moses in the Book of Numbers, the Prophecy is the oldest in the Gentile world, and is still in course of fulfilment.
Goddess of Woods! tremendous in the chase
To mountain boars and all the savage race;
Wide o’er the ethereal walks extends thy sway
And o’er the infernal regions void of day—
Look upon us on earth! unfold our fate,
And say what region is our destined spat?
When shall we next thy lasting temples raise,
And choirs of Virgins celebrate thy praise?
Brutus! there lies beyond the Gallic bounds
An Island, which the Western Sea surrounds,
By Ancient Giants held—now few remain
To bar thy entrance or obstruct thy reign;
To reach that happy shore thy sails employ,
There fate decrees to raise a second Troy,
And found an Empire in thy royal line
Which time shall ne’er destroy nor bounds confine.
The bounds of the Empire founded by Brutus are now measured only by the circumference of the world, and his lineal descendants still sway its sceptre and occupy its throne.
On the ninth day they passed the Philistoean Altars, and thence sailed on to Mount Azara. They gave the Coast the name of Moritania (the land along the sea), which it yet retains. They then steered through the Straits of the Libyan Hercules, now those of Gibraltar, into the Atlantic, then called the Tyrrhenian Ocean. On the South coast of Spain they came upon four other Trojan Colonies, under Troenius. These were readily persuaded to join them. The combined emigrations sailing Northward were again joined by a body of Greeks, part of a Cretan Colony, that under Teucer had settled in Calabria. They then anchored off the mouth of the Loire. The Great Plain between the Alps and the Atlantic had by this time been thickly peopled by the descendants of the Alpine and Auvernian Kymry; these called themselves Kelts or Gael, and the country Gaul, or Gallia. The meaning of Gael is “a Woodlander,—a man of a forest land.” The lowlands being then everywhere covered with dense timber, the highlands alone were cleared and dry. The King of the Gael was Goffar. His Ambassador being killed in a rencontre with Troenius, Goffar made war on Brutus. In the first battle Goffar was defeated, and Subard his General slain. Brutus advancing through Gascony threw up his camp in the centre of Goffar’s own domains. A second engagement was fought, in which Brutus lost his nephew Tyrrhi. In honor of him, he built an immense tumulus, where now stands the city called after Tyrrhi, Tours. Goffar, being a third time routed, submitted to the terms imposed upon him by the conquerors. The fleet, repaired and revictualled, sailed next year round the Horn of Armorica, and finally anchored off Talnus, in Tor-bay. The disembarcation occupied three weeks; the first to place foot on the “Isle of the Mighty Ones,” being the Trojan Hero himself, on the rock still pointed out at Totness, as “the Stone of Brutus.” The three Pacific Tribes received their countrymen from the East as brethren. Brutus introduced the Constitution and Laws of Troy. Before his time the Primitive Tribes regulated their lives and intercourse by a few simple patriarchal usages, the law of natural kindness being their chief guide. Brutus, at a National Convention of the whole Island, with its dependencies, was elected Sovereign Paramount. The throne and crown of Hu Gadarn thus devolved upon him, both by descent and suffrage. His three sons, born after his arrival in Britain, he named after the three Pacific Tribes, Locrinus, Camber, and Alban. Brutus is also celebrated in the Triads as one of the three King Revolutionists of Britain; the Trojan system under him being incorporated with the Patriarchal. The most memorable of his laws is that of the Royal Primogeniture, by which the succession to the Throne of Britain was vested in the eldest son of the King. This was known as pre-eminently “the Trojan law,” and has in all ages regulated the succession to the British Crown among the British Dynasties. It was eventually adopted by the Normans, and became the Law of England. It is the only safe basis on which Monarchy can rest. Elective Monarchies have always fallen by internal disunion or foreign partition. Another fundamental ordinance established by Brutus was, that the Sovereigns of Cambria and Alban should be so far subordinate to the Sovereign of Lloegria, that they should pay him annually forty pounds weight of gold, for the military and naval defence of the Island. The whole Island was never to be regarded otherwise than one Kingdom and one Crown. This Crown was called “the Crown of Britain,” and the Sovereignty over the whole Island vested in it,—the Crownship of Britain, Un Bennaeth Brydain. The Military Leadership remained in the Eldest Tribe, the Kvmry, and from it the Pendragon or Military Dictator, with absolute power for the time being, was in the case of foreign invasion or national danger, to be elected. This Leadership was the same as Sparta exercised in Greece and Rome in Italy. Every subject was as free as the King. There were no other Laws in force than those which were known as Cyfreithiau, or “Common Rights.” There were no slaves; the first slaves in aftertimes were the Caethion, or captives taken in war.
The Usages of Britain could not be altered by any act or edict of the Crown or National Convention. They were considered the inalienable rights to which every Briton was born and of which no human legislation could deprive him. Many of these usages are remarkable for their humane and lofty spirit: for instance, “There are three things belonging to a man, from which no law can separate him—his wife, his children, and the instruments of his calling; for no law can unman a man, or uncall a calling.”
The most learned Jurists refer the original Institutes of our Island to the Trojan Law brought by Brutus. Lord Chief Justice Coke (Preface to Vol. iii. of Reports), affirms, “the Original Laws of this land were composed of such elements as Brutus first selected from the Ancient Greek and Trojan Institutions.”
It is to these native Laws, and not as has been absurdly alleged, to any foreign or Continental source—German, Saxon, or Norman, Britons have in all ages been indebted for the superior liberties they have enjoyed as contrasted with other nations. Lord Chancellor Fortescue, in his work “on the Laws of England,” justly observes, —” concerning the different powers which Kings claim over their subjects, I am firmly of opinion that it arises solely from the different nature of the original institutions. So the Kingdom of Britain had its original from Brutus and the Trojans who attended him from Italy and Greece, and were a mixed Government compounded of the regal and democratic.”
Another British or Trojan Law remains in full force,—that the Sceptre of the Island might be swayed by a Queen as well as a King. In the Pict Kingdom the succession went wholly by the female side. Amongst the continental nations no woman was permitted to reign. The Saxon considered it a disgrace for a King to be seen seated on a throne with a Queen.
The names of the Leading Greek and Trojan families remained among their Cymric descendants till a very recent period. Some are still in use. All ought, as a matter of national honor, to be revived.
Homer is one of the mutative forms of the word Gomer—the g being under certain laws dropped. The Epic Poem of the Iliad, or Fall of Troy, assigned to Homer, is a collection of the Heroic Ballads of the Bards of the Gomeridæ or Kymry, on the great catastrophe of their race in the East. It was originally composed in the Kymric or Bardic characters. These were afterwards changed by the Greeks into the Phenician, and in so doing, they were compelled to drop the Cymric radical “Gw.” Hence the metrical mutilation in the present Greek form of the Iliad. The “gw” is the letter attempted to be restored by modern scholars under the name of the OEolic Digamma.
The OEneid is similarly the Epic of the British Kymry of Italy on the same subject—Virgil being a descendant of the Kymric conquerors of Italy under Brennus, and, as his writings everywhere evince, an initiated Bard. Neither of these immortal poems have any connection, strictly speaking, with the historic races of Greece and Rome. They are the Epics of the heroic race, or race of Gomer.
The chariot-system of warfare, and the system of military castrametation, were introduced into Britain by Brutus. Cesar describes both as having attained in his time the highest perfection. The British castrametation was in some important respects superior to the Roman.
In the third year of his reign, Brutus founded Caer Troiau, afterwards called Caer Lludd, now London (Lud-din, Lud’s city), on a spot known as Bryn gwyn, or the White Mount, on the North side of the æstuary of the Thames. The White Mount is now occupied by the Tower. In the court of the Temple of Diana he placed the sacred stone which had formed the pedestal of the Palladium of the mother city of Troy. On it the British Kings were sworn to observe the Usages of Britain. It is now known as ‘London Stone,’ and is imbedded in another on the South side of St. Saviour’s Church, Cannon Street. The belief in old times was, that as long as it remained, New Troy, or London, would continue to increase in wealth and power; with its disappearance, they would decrease and finally disappear. Faiths of this description were moral forces on the minds of our ancestors, impelling them sometimes to the wildest, sometimes to the sublimest achievements. The faith that the British Troy, or London, was destined to sway a wider Empire than either the Asiatic or Italian Troy (Rome), had swayed, is one of the most ancient Traditions of the Kymry.
Brutus died after a memorable reign of twenty-four years, and was interred by the side of Imogene, at the White Mount. His career was one of gigantic event of the Founder of a mighty Empire in the West, which after various mutations of fortune and absorptions of races, still reposes on his name and institutions.
The portion of Britain assigned to Troenius was the Western Keryn or promontory, extending from Torbay to the Land’s End, part of which is now known as Cornwall. From the Keryn, Troenius changed his name into Keryn or Corineus. The Dukedom of Cornwall, thus founded, was a Dukedom Royal; that is, the Duke within it exercised the same prerogatives as the Kings of Lloegria, Cambria, and Albyn, did within their territories. Next to these crowns, it is the oldest title in Britain. Cornwall and Bretagne were in old times regarded as appanages of the same race and dynasty. Both have given Lines of Kings to each other and to Britain.
Brutus was succeeded in Lloegria by his eldest son, Locrinus; in Albyn, by his second son, Alban ; in Cambria, by his youngest son, Camber, or Cumbyr. Before the demise of Brutus, Gwendolene, sole daughter and heiress of Corineus, had been betrothed to Locrinus. In the second year of the reign of Locrinus occurred the first invasion of Britain on record by the Northren nations. The vast countries extending from the Lake Districts of Upper Russia across Scandinavia and the Lower Baltic to Germany may, from B.C. I000 to A.D. 1000, be regarded as the Piratic Lands of the Præ-Roman, Roman, and Dark Ages. Periodically they produced a surplus population, which unable to procure the means of subsistence in these dreary and frost-bound regions, threw themselves some-times by land, sometimes by sea, on the cultivated countries of the West and South. The names they assumed or were known by, varied in different eras, Scythians, Scots, Goths, Vandali, Sace, Saxons, Llychlinians, Norsemen. Their physical characteristics were—large but soft limbs, red or flaxen hair, blonde complexions, grey or blue eyes, broad and flat feet. Natives of Arctic climates, they carried everywhere with them strong animal appetites, and a passion for indulgence in intoxicating liquors. Their religion was for the most part either Material-ism of the grossest kind, or consisted in the practice of the most cruel superstition ; it must however be remembered, that our accounts on these points, being derived from their bitterest enemies, are to be received with extreme caution. The invasion which landed in the North of Britain consisted of a confederacy headed by Humber, King of the Scythians. Marching Southward, Humber encountered Alban, at the present site of Nottingham castle. Alban, disdaining to wait for the arrival of his brothers, was defeated and slain in the battle which ensued. Humber then fell back, before the advance of Locrinus and Camber, on the banks of the great Eastern aestuary. The British fleet entering the mouth, prevented the escape of the Scythian armada. Humber, compelled to an engagement, was totally defeated, and plunging in his flight into the waters of the estuary, was therein drowned; since which event, it has borne his name, the Humber. Locrinus after the victory divided the spoils amongst his army, reserving for himself such gold and silver as was contained in the King’s own ship, together with three virgins of surpassing beauty, found on board, whom Humber had forcibly abducted from their own countries.
One of these was a daughter of a King of Almaen (Germany): her name, Susa, or Estrildis. Struck with her extraordinary charms of mind and person, Locrinus declared his intention to marry her. Corineus on hearing of this intention was so incensed that it required the utmost efforts of their mutual friends to prevent the breaking out of a civil war. Eventually Locrinus found himself under the necessity of observing his engagement with Gwendolene. But retaining his passion for Estrildis, he secretly built a palace for her at Caersws, near the banks of the river which divides Lleegria from Cambria. Here, with the connivance of his brother Camber, he indulged his affection for his beautiful captive without restraint. In this manner he concealed her for seven years. Estrildis gave birth to a daughter, Sabra, surpassing even the mother in loveliness, and rivalling in grace her ancestress, Venus, the mother of OEneas, whom the Greeks and Romans had idolized into the goddess of beauty. Gwendolene also gave birth to a son, Madoc, or Mador, who was consigned to the guardianship of Corineus. But Corineus in process of time dying, and relieving Locrinus from his former apprehensions, the latter immediately divorced Gwendolene, and proclaiming Estrildis his wife, advanced her to the throne. Infuriated at the discovery of the intrigue and the additional dishonor of her deposition, Gwendolene retired to Cornwall, and levying all the forces of her father’s dukedom, declared war against her husband. The two armies met on the river Stour, and in the battle Locrinus fell dead from the shot of an arrow. Gwendolene, hastening after the victory to the Cambrian frontier, seized Estrildis and Sabra. The former she ordered to immediate execution, but in despite of the recollection of her wrongs and the natural vindictiveness of her temper, was so moved by the supernatural loveliness of Sabra, that many days elapsed before she could be persuaded to condemn her to death. She was then taken by her Guards to a meadow (Dôl-forwyn, the maiden’s meadow), and cast into the river, which from that time has been called Sabra, or Sabrina (the Severn), after her name.
Gwendolene, during the minority of Madoc, conducted the government with great vigor and ability. On her decease at Tintagel castle, Madoc, whose favorite recreation was the chase, left the affairs of the kingdom entirely in the hands of his uncle, Camber. Madoc founded Caer Madoc, or Doncaster.
Membricius, son and heir of Madoc, transferred the College erected by Dares Phrygius from Cirencester to the present site of Oxford. The original name of Oxford is Caer Mymbyr. He inherited his father’s attachment to the chase. His death was a singular one: pursuing a horde of wolves after nightfall, he was attacked by them and torn to pieces at Pontbleiddan, or Wolverston, near Oxford. Evroc the Great, his son and successor, was the first British Sovereign who turned his attention to continental acquisitions. His victorious arms overran France and Central Europe. The family alliances which had formerly existed between the Kymry of Italy and Britain were renewed by the intermarriages of twenty-one of his daughters with the Umbrian Houses of the Alban Kingdom in Italy. His son, Assaracus, led the Kymry to the frontiers of Pwyl, or Poland. Evroc founded Caer Evroc, or York; Caer Edin, or Edinburgh; Dumbarton, and Caer dolur, Bain-borough castle. His reign, which lasted sixty years, is one of the most illustrious in our early annals.
He was succeeded by his son Brutus Darian Lâs (of the Blue Shield). Brutus was succeeded by Leil, the founder of Carlisle and Chester. Leif, by Rhun of the Strong Shaft (paladr brds), who founded Shaftesbury (Caer paladr),—Winchester (Caer wynt),—Canterbury (Caer taint). He built also many Druidic circles and temples.
In the reign of Rhun, B.C. 892 (the era when Zachariah prophesied in Judea), the first of the three Confederate Expeditions commemorated in the Triads went forth from Britain. Urb, grandson of Assaracus, the son of Evroc the Great, being driven from his territories in Scandinavia, or Lochlyn, landed at Caer Troia, with but one attendant, Mathatta Vawr. Presenting himself before Rhun and the national council, he implored them to pledge their solemn oath that they would grant him his petition. Moved by this appeal of the royal exile, they inadvertently consented to his request. Urb asked, that from every capital fortress in the kingdom he might take as many armed men as he entered it with. Rhun, bound by the oath of the council, was obliged to give the required permission; but immediately foreseeing the consequences, issued an edict, that no Britain should on pain of death enter any fortress with Urb. Neither threats nor persuasion, however, could shake the fidelity of the Prince’s gigantic Squire, and in defiance of all preventive measures, Urb entered the first fortress with Mathatta Vawr by his side. From this he took two,—from the second, four,—from the third, eight,—and so on, till the fighting force of the Island was found insufficient to supply the demand exceeding 120,000 men made on the seventeenth city. Urb accordingly set sail with the 60,000 already levied, for Scandinavia. By their assistance he soon recovered his throne. Part of this armament settled in the country called after them the Cimbric or Kymric Chersonese, now Denmark. From these descended, first, the terrible Cimbri, who, in alliance with the Teutones, overthrew and destroyed so many armies of Rome ; and secondly, in after ages, the Norman race who conquered Normandy, Saxon England, and other lands. The facility with which the Normans fused and intermarried with the Kymry and Bretons, identifying themselves with their History and Traditions explains itself by this community of descent. The other moiety of the host of Urb followed up their career of conquest across Europe to the lands of Galas and Avena (Galatia and Ionia), in Asia Minor. These are the Kymry to whom the Greek and Latin authors assign the subjugation of the East prior to the foundation of the Persian Empire by Cyrus. No individual of the Con-federate Host of Urb ever returned, state the Triads, to Britain. They settled in the conquered countries. The three Confederate are also termed the three Silver Hosts of Britain. They were all picked men and their arms were of the three metals—gold, silver, and steel. This account is in harmony with the astonishment expressed by the Classic writers at the splendid character of the equipments of both infantry and cavalry in the Kymric armies. The three Confederate are known too as the Three Inconsiderate Hosts, because they laid the Island open to the three Capital Invasions—those of the Coranidæ, the Romans, and the Saxons.
The drain caused by this expedition on the military resources of the Island enabled the Coranidæ, a marine tribe from the Lowlands of the Continent facing the Eastern side of Britain, to establish themselves between the Humber and the Wash. This was the earliest Teutonic or German settlement: they are the Coritani of the Roman writers. They acknowledged allegiance and paid tribute to the British Crown at Caer Troia, but were invariably false, in critical emergencies such as a foreign invasion, to the National cause.
Rhun was succeeded by Bleddyn, or Bladud, who built Caer Badon, or Bath, and constructed therein a magnificent circular temple. He was succeeded by Lear (Llyr), the founder of Caer Llyr (Leicester) ; the closing scenes of whose long and peaceful reign in connection with the unnatural ingratitude of his two elder, and the affecting devotion of his youngest daughter, Cordelia, has been made familiar to the European world by the dramatic pen of Shakespeare. The succession then descended through Cordelia, Kynedda, Rivallo, Gorust, Cecil (Sitsyllt), Iago, Cymac, to Gorvod. The two sons of Gorvod, Fer and Por, perished—one in civil war, the other by the machinations of a vindictive mother. In them ended the elder male line of the Britannidae, or dynasty of Brutus.
After an interregnum of some years, occupied by the contests of various claimants to the throne, Dyvnwal Moelmud, hereditary Duke of Cornwall, and the representative by both paternal and maternal descent, of the younger line of the Britannidæ, was by general consent recognized Sovereign Paramount. His first act was to reduce to a Code the civil and international usages which the late commotions had disturbed. The Laws, thus systematized, are eminently distinguished for their clearness, brevity, justice, and humanity. They have come down to us in the Druidic form of Triads. We give a few examples.
“There are three tests of Civil Liberty,—equality of rights—equality of taxation—freedom to come and go.
There are three causes which ruin a State,—inordinate privileges—corruption of justice—national apathy.
There are three things which cannot be considered solid longer than their foundations are solid,—peace, property, and law.
Three things are indispensable to a true union of Nations, —sameness of laws, rights, and language.
There are three things free to all Britons,—the forest, the unworked mine, the right of hunting wild creatures.
There are three things which are private and sacred property in every man, Briton or foreigner,—his wife, his children, his domestic chattels.
There are three things belonging to a man which no law of men can touch, fine, or transfer,—his wife, his children, and the instruments of his calling; for no law can unman a man, or uncall a calling.
There are three persons in a family exempted from all manual or menial work—the little child, the old man or woman, and the family instructor.
There are three orders against whom no weapon can be bared—the herald, the bard, the head of a clan.
There are three of private rank, against whom no weapon can be bared,—a woman, a child under fifteen, and an unarmed man.
There are three things that require the unanimous vote of the nation to effect,—deposition of the sovereign—introduction of novelties in religion—suspension of law.
There are three civil birthrights of every Briton,—the right to go wherever he pleases—the right, wherever he is, to protection from his land and sovereign—the right of equal privileges and equal restrictions.
There are three property birthrights of every Briton,—five (British) acres of land for a home—the right of armorial bearings—the right of suffrage in the enacting of the laws, the male at twenty-one, the female on her marriage.
There are three guarantees of society,—security for life and limb—security for property—security of the rights of nature.
There are three sons of captives who free themselves,—a bard, a scholar, a mechanic.
There are three things the safety of which depends on that of the others,—the sovereignty—national courage—just administration of the laws.
There are three things which every Briton may legally be compelled to attend,—the worship of God—military service—and the courts of law.
For three things a Briton is pronounced a traitor, and forfeits his rights, emigration—collusion with an enemy —surrendering himself, and living under an enemy.
There are three things free to every man, Britain or foreigner, the refusal of which no law will justify,—water from spring, river, or well—firing from a decayed tree—a block of stone not in use.
There are three orders who are exempt from bearing arms,—the bard—the judge—the graduate in law or religion. These represent God and his peace, and no weapon must ever be found in their hand.
There are three kinds of sonship,—a son by marriage with a native Briton—an illegitimate son acknowledged on oath by his father—a son adopted out of the clan.
There are three whose power is kingly in law,—the sovereign paramount of Britain over all Britain and its isles —the princes palatine in their princedoms—the heads of the clans in their clans.
There are three thieves who shall not suffer punishment,—a woman compelled by her husband—a child—a necessitous person who has gone through three towns and to nine houses in each town without being able to obtain charity though he asked for it.
There are three ends of law,—prevention of wrong—punishment for wrong inflicted—insurance of just retribution.
There are three lawful castigations,—of a son by a father —of a kinsman by the head of a clan—of a soldier by his officer. The chief of a clan when marshalling his men may strike his man three ways—with his baton—with the flat of his sword—with his open hand. Each of these is a correction, not an insult.
There are three sacred things by which the conscience binds itself to truth,—the name of God—the rod of him who offers up prayers to God—the joined right hand.
There are three persons who have a right to public maintenance—the old—the babe—the foreigner who cannot speak the British tongue.”
These and other Primitive Laws of Britain, not only rise far superior in manly sense and high principle to the Laws of Ancient Greece and Rome, but put to shame the enactments of nations calling themselves Christians at the present day. They contain the essence of law, religion, and chivalry. A nation ruling itself by their spirit could not be otherwise than great, civilized, and free. One of their strongest recommendations is, that they are so lucid as to be intelligible to all degrees of men and minds.
In addition to being one of the founders of British Legislation, Dyvnwal designed and partly made the Royal British Military Roads through the Island. These were nine in number,—
1. The Sarn Gwyddelin (corrupted into Watling street), or Irish Road, in two branches, from Dover to Mona and Penvro.
2. The Sam Iken (Iknield street), the road from Caer Troia, Northward through the Eastern districts.
3. Sam Ucha (Iknield street), from the mouth of the Tyne to the present St. David’s.
4. Sam Ermyn, from Anderida (Pevensey) to Caer Edin (Edinburgh).
5. Sam Achmaen, from Caer Troia to Menevia (St. David’s).
6. Sam Halen, from the Salt Mines of Cheshire to the mouth of the Humber.
7 Sam Hàlen, from the Salt Mines to Llongborth (Portsmouth).
8. The Second Sam Ermyn, from Torbay to Dunbreton on the Clyde.
9. The Sam ar y Môr, or military road following the coast around the Island.
These roads were pitched and paved, and ran sometimes in a straight, sometimes a sinuous line, at a moderate elevation above the ground, forming a network of communication between the Cities of Britain. Being completed by Belinus, they are known as the Belinian roads of Britain. The Romans followed these lines in their first and second invasions, and subsequently laid down in great measure their own military roads upon them. Hence the Belinian and Roman roads are found constantly running in and out of each other.
The reign of Dyvnwal was marked with signal prosperity. The trade in tin, copper, iron, lead, horses, carried on with Tyre and the East through the medium of the Phoenicians, attained dimensions hitherto unexampled. The manufactures of swords (hardened by some process now lost, to a temper superior to that of steel), statues, ornaments, doors, gates of bronze—into the composition of which tin largely enters—were carried on to such an extent that Asia appears to have been deluged with them. No tin mines but those of Britain existed then, nor are any to be found now but those of Malacca, of comparatively very recent discovery. Wherever, therefore, bronze is mentioned by the sacred or classic authors, there is evidence of the trade and manufactures of Trojan Britain. From Phoenicia and the East in return poured a steady stream of the precious metals. British merchants frequented the mart at Tyre ; and Ezekiel is literally correct in describing the city which rose “ very glorious and of great beauty, in the midst of the sea,” as the merchant of the people of the Isles afar off. The wealth accruing from the commerce thus conducted affords an easy explanation of the profuse expenditure of gold and silver lavished by the Kymry on their arms and steeds.
After a memorable reign of forty years, Dyvnwal Moelmud died, and was interred at the White Tower, in Caer Troia. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Belinus; the younger, Brennus, receiving Alban for his government.
Brennus (Bran), a young man of stern temperament and unbounded ambition, distinguished by a courage which no difficulties could daunt, and a generosity towards his friends no funds, however princely, could supply, soon involved himself with his sovereign and brother. Instigated by the usual incentives which interested courtiers and diplomatists know so well to apply to the bosom of kings, he prepared to strike at the Crown Para-mount. To strengthen himself for this unnatural enterprize, he sailed to Norway, and there won and married Anaor, daughter of Elsing, king of Llochlyn. Anaor had previously been betrothed to Guthlac, king of the Cimbric Chersonese, who, on hearing of the indignity thus practised upon him, fitted out a fleet to intercept Brennus on his return. Intelligence of the conspiracy being also in Britain conveyed to Belinus, he immediately marched Northwards and possessed himself of all the fortified cities in his brother’s dominions. Guthlac and Brennus meeting with their fleets, the engagement was broken off by a furious tempest ; the ship in which Anaor was embarked happening in the con-fusion to be captured by Guthlac. The storm raged for five days, at the end of which Guthlac and Anaor were wrecked off Bamborough, where Belinus was encamped, prepared to repel the invasion of his brother. They were immediately conducted to him, and honorably received. A few days after Brennus, having weathered the storm, arrived with the remnant of his armada in Albania. News soon reached him of the capture of his wife, first by Guthlac, and then by Belinus. Maddened by the intelligence, he pressed forward towards Bamborough, giving out he would destroy the whole Island with fire and sword, if his bride and kingdom were not restored to him. Belinus absolutely refusing to comply with these demands, a battle took place at Calater. The Norsemen were defeated with the loss of fifteen thousand slain, and Brennus compelled to save himself by flight into Gaul. Guthlac, on signing a treaty by which the Cimbric Chersonese (Dacia, afterwards Denmark), became part of the British Empire, was dismissed with Anaor to his own kingdom. The next seven years were devoted by Belinus to the completion of the roads begun by his father. A law was made throwing them open to all, natives and foreigners, and placing them on the same footing of religious security as the river and the sanctuary. “There are three things free to a country and its borders,—the rivers, the road, and the place of worship. These are under the protection of God and His peace: whoever on or within them draws weapon against any one, is a capital criminal.” In this law originated the expression—“the King’s Highway” ; these highways, on which it was a capital offence to stop or commit an outrage on a traveller, being the nine Belinian roads thus placed under the protection of God and the nation.
Meanwhile Brennus, having in vain solicited aid from the kings of Celtica, betook himself to Seguin, prince of the Ligurians in Gaul. He was entertained as became his birth and the relationship which existed between the Ligurians of the Alps and Britain. His services in the field secured him the respect of the nation at large, whilst his personal qualities won him the affection of Rhonilla, the only child of the prince. They were married: Seguin promising his son-in-law his assistance to recover his government in Britain, and at the same time nominating him his successor to the throne of Liguria. At the end of the year Seguin died. Brennus on ascending the throne, immediately divided the treasures which the old king had hoarded, among the most influential chiefs in his new domains, thus securing their consent and co-operation to the intended Invasion of Britain. A treaty was concluded with the Kelts for a free passage through Gaul; forces collected from all quarters, and eventually embarked on board a fleet which had been constructed for the purpose by the Veneti (Gwynedd, Venedotia, La Vendee) of Armorica. A landing was effected at Anderida,—the same spot where in after ages Vespasian, Ella the Saxon, and William the Norman, found ingress into Britain. Belinus, marching from Caer Troia, drew up his forces opposite to those of his brother, and the same ground which afterwards reeked with the best blood of Saxondom under Harold, would have now streamed with that of Trojan Britain, but for the intervention of Corwenna, the aged mother of the two contending sovereigns. Reaching with trembling steps the tribunal from which Brennus was haranguing his army, she threw her arms around his neck, as he descended to receive her, and kissed him in transports of affection. She then adjured him by every appeal a mother could address to a son, to save her from the horrible spectacle of seeing the children of her womb engaged in impious hostilities against God, the Laws of nature, their country, and themselves. Pointing out the injustice of his cause, and the ease with which far nobler conquests than that over a brother might be achieved, if two such armies, instead of destroying, would unite with each other, she entreated him to be reconciled to his rightful sovereign. Moved by these representations, Brennus deposited his helmet and arms on the tribunal, and bareheaded went with her, amidst the profound silence of both armies, to his brother. Seeing him approach, Belinus dismounted from his chariot, threw down his lance, and meeting him half way, folded him in his embraces. The cheers of the two armies on witnessing the scene rent the skies. In a few minutes all order was dissolved; Briton and Ligurian were no longer to be distinguished; the banners were bound together; the seamen of the fleet, informed of the event, poured on shore, and a day which threatened to be one of the most shameful and disastrous in British annals ended in a general jubilee of joy and festivities. Happy would it be for mankind if every mother of Kings were a Corwenna—if every contending monarch listened to the remonstrances of nature and humanity with the like readiness as Belinus and Brennus.
After long consultation, Belinus decided on attempting, with the confederate forces, the con-quest of Europe. The nation enjoyed tranquility at home—the sceptre was swayed by one powerful hand—a vast host with whose aspirations it was dangerous to tamper, panted for employment—the means of transport were in the Thames ; Gaul was torn with petty factions and the Umbrian population of Northern Italy, oppressed by the Etrurian domination, waited but the display of the great standard of their race—the Red Dragon—on the crest of the Alps, to rise and vindicate their ancient liberties. The Armament accordingly landed to the number of 300,000 men at the mouth of the Seine. One battle on the plains of Tours decided the fate of Gaul. City after city wearied of intestine struggles which led to no result, gladly accepted a conquest that promised to bring in its train a blessing to which they had long been strangers—security for life and property. The banditti which under the name of soldiers swarmed in Gaul were either exterminated or incorporated in the regular forces. Two years sufficed to reduce all Celtica to order under the British law and administration. The Cymro-Celtic army then moved under the Brothers towards Italy. The Ligurians joined them, and the first military passage of the Alps was in the face of apparent impossibilities accomplished. The glory which has hitherto attached to the two names of Hannibal and Napoleon belongs in justice to those of the two British leaders, Belinus and Brennus. They were the first that ventured—the first that succeeded in overcoming the snowy barriers which nature has built as if purposely to shield the sunny climes of Italy from the sword of the North. Of the nature of the forces which were about to re-establish the Kymric Empire in Italy, we have vivid accounts transmitted us by the classic authors. “The greater and more warlike Cimbri,” states Plutarch,” live in the Northern ocean, in the very ends of the earth. They are called Cimbri—not from their manners, it is the name of their race. As to their courage, spirit, force, and vivacity, we can compare them only to a devouring flame. All that came before them were trodden down, or driven onwards like herds of cattle.” Justin records an anecdote illustrative of the contempt with which they regarded the character and military science of the Greeks. After subduing the Triballi and Getæ (Goths), the Cymro-Celts offered their alliance, in earnest of their pacific disposition towards him, to Antigonus, King of Macedonia. Antigonus treated the offer as if it proceeded from fear or policy. “What are these Greeks ?” asked the Kymry of their ambassadors, on their return, “they are remarkable for two things,” replied the ambassadors, “they call positions which have neither moats nor ramparts, camps, and they think if they have plenty of gold, they have no need of steel.” Over the plains of Northern Italy, the Kymric army swept in three divisions. The Etrurians made a gallant but ineffectual stand in defence of their Empire. Defeated in five engagements, they with-drew their cognate population southward, consigning each city, as they abandoned it, to the flames. The old Umbrian nationality was restored, the liberated and the liberators forming from this period one Federation with equal rights and laws. The following cities are enumerated by Justin and Pliny, as being founded by Brennus on the expulsion of the Tuscans,—Milan, Como, Brescia, Verona, Burgamo, Mantua, Trent, and Vicentia. It is to be observed, that the conquests of the Kymry were those of civilization, not destruction. Wherever they settled, they proclaimed equality of laws, they erected temples, made roads, built cities, and cultivated literature, especially poetry. The conquests, on the other hand, of the German and the Northern nations in the dark ages, were those of barbarism over civilization—of the principle of destruction over that of conservatism and consolidation. From the Cymro-Celts of Cisalpine Gaul sprung many of the first writers of the Roman Empire—Livy, Pliny, Catullus, Vigil, &c., &c.
Rome at this time is represented by her own writers as an independent metropolis, exercising considerable influence in the Italian Peninsula. The British writers on the contrary state she was a dependent or tributary of Etruria, and that the Porsena or King of Etruria was in right of such title, Consul also or Chief Magistrate of Rome. This account is confirmed by the Greek Historians, and by the searching analysis which this particular part of the early Traditions of Rome has recently undergone. The way in which the Kymry came into conflict with the city which had always been the sacred city of their Race in Italy, and afterwards ruled the world, was as follows, —-
Belinus after the conquest of Cisalpine Keltica had with one half of his forces marched Northwards and was engaged in subjugating the various tribes which in after ages became known in the aggregate as the German or Teutonic people. The Romans introduced great confusion in History by giving nations not their generic name, or the name by which they called themselves, but some appellation fastened upon them from some peculiar habit or characteristic. German means in the Teutonic language, the same as Belgæ in the Kymric—war-men, warriors. The Belgæ of the Continent were Kymry, not Kelts. They were the descendants of the Kymry who conquered the country under Brennus, and in Cesar’s time occupied one third of Gaul. Eastward of them lay the Teutons (Tudeschi, Deutch). These were now subdued by Belinus, and the most fertile part of their territory around the Hercynian forest divided among the Kymro-Celtic army. The Kymro-Celts in Cesar’s time were known as the Volcæ, and retained their old superiority in arms and civilization over the surrounding Teutons. Brennus taking tip his headquarters at Mediolanum (Meifod, Milan) gradually extended his arms South-ward. Among other cities, he besieged Clusium, a city of Lower Etruria. The inhabitants sent to Rome for aid. Three brothers of the Fabian Cenedl or Clan, accompanied the deputation back as Ambassadors. An interview being requested and granted, Brennus was asked, what injury he had received from the Clusians? He replied, “these Etrurians have twice as much land as they can cultivate—we are powerful, numerous, and in want of land, yet they refuse to part with an acre of their useless territory.” But by what right do you advance such a claim? Again asked the Ambassadors. “By the oldest of all rights,” answered Brennus, with a stern smile,—“the law which pervades all nature, and to which all animals are subject—the right of the strong over the weak. It is by this law these Etrurians, and you Romans, originally obtained your possessions. Either restore these possessions to their former owners, or abide by the law against yourselves.”
The next day, Quintus Ambustus Fabius headed a sortie of the Clusians against the besiegers. He slew a Keltic officer, and whilst stripping him of his arms, was recognized as one of the Roman ambassadors. Amongst the Kymrv, an ambassador was always a sacred character, and as we have seen, prohibited from carrying any weapon himself; and it constituted a grave offence even to unsheath a weapon before him. Their indignation, therefore, at this double violation of the laws of nations, as recognized among themselves, was extreme. Striking his camp, Brennus despatched an embassy to Rome, demanding that Quintus Fabius should be given up to him. The Feciales, or college of heralds, at Rome, advised the senate to comply, pointing out the grossness of an act which reflected dishonor on the whole nation. The people (Plebs), however, not only overruled the motion, but creating the three brothers military tribunes, appointed them to the command of the army. Brennus at once gave the word “for Rome.” “His forces,” states Plutarch, “injured no man’s property; they neither pillaged the fields, nor insulted the towns.” On the 6th June, A.U. 363, B.C. 490, the two armies met at the confluence of the little river Allia with the Tiber. The Romans were routed with great slaughter; and Rome itself, with the exception of the capitol, fell three days afterwards into the hands of the conqueror. The anniversary of the battle of Allia was noted as “the black day” in the Roman calendar. No business was transacted in Roman calendar. No business was transacted in it, and every citizen who appeared in public, did so in mourning vestments. The capitol stood a siege of six months. During it Fabius Dorso, proceeding in his pontificial robes to the Quirinal hill, offered up there the sacrifice usual on the clan-day (dies gentilitia), of his family. The Roman writers express surprize that he was permitted to do this, and return in safety. But the Kymry would as soon have thought of striking their sovereign as of unsheathing a weapon against both a priest and the head of a clan. In making way for him and escorting him back to the capitol, they only observed the usages of Britain. An attempt made by the Porsena of Etruria to raise the siege being defeated by a second victory on the part of Brennus, the Romans agreed to ransom the citadel for one thousand pounds weight in gold. When the gold was being weighed in the presence of the different commanders, Brennus, taking off his belt and sword, threw them into the opposite scale: “What means that act?” asked the Roman consul. “It means,” replied Brennus, “gwae gwaethedigion” (voe victis), — woe to the vanquished.” The Romans endured the taunt in silence. The gold was transferred to Narbonne in Gaul. Brennus withdrew his troops, and shortly afterwards concluded an offensive and defensive alliance with Dionysius of Sicily.
The once accepted account of the recovery of the gold and the defeat of Brennus by Camillus, is now abandoned by all scholars as a fiction of Roman vanity. Rome indeed only comes into the province of History after her capture by the Kymry.
Virgil, whose archological accuracy cannot be too highly spoken of, describes the uniform and arms of the conquerors of Rome :—their vest was a mass of gold-lace (aurea vestis), they wore the gold torque round their necks, a sword by their side, two javelins with heavy steel heads were their principal missiles; oblong shields, borne on their shoulders during a march, covered their whole bodies in action. In Kymric, ysgwydd means the shoulder —hence “scutum,” the shoulder-piece shield. It is one of the most striking proofs of the subserviency and littleness of modern scholarship that it should have permitted itself to be Romanized into the idea that an army thus described was not far in advance of the Romans themselves in every element of civilization.
Brennus reigned thirty years in Northern Italy. The Cymro-Keltic kingdom thus established was henceforth known as Cisalpine Gaul. Its subsequent history is connected with the Roman. Its people were the first nation admitted to the full rights of Roman citizenship.
Belinus, after the conquest of Germany, founded Aquileia, where he was afterwards worshipped as a god. Returning through Gaul, he divided its territories amongst his five younger sons, retaining the government of Britain alone in his own hands. He employed the latter years of his long and glorious reign in peaceful legislation and the construction of public works. Belin’s castle (Billing’s gate), and the stupendous embankment of the Thames, were begun and completed under this monarch. He built also Caer lean (originally Caer usc), and repaired the Druidic temples of Côr gawr (Stonehenge), and Ambri. He died in the 80th year of his age. His body was burnt, and the ashes deposited in a golden urn on the top of the highest tower of his palace on the Thames.
He was succeeded by Gwrgant the Peaceful, the chief incident in whose reign was the reduction of Dacia (Denmark), which had attempted to separate itself, to its former state of annexation. Returning to Britain, he met an Iberian or Hispanian fleet, seeking a country to colonize. Their leader was Partholyn. Gwrgant assigned them the South of Erin, or Ierne (Ireland). From them descended the Milesian Kings and clans of the sister island.
Gwrgant was buried at Caerlleon.
From this date to about fifty years preceding the Julian Invasion, Britain enjoyed a long era of peace and prosperity.
The sceptre was swayed by the following Kings: Gorvonian the Just—Artegal—Elidyr the Pious—Vigen — Peredur — March— Morgan— Einion — Rhûn — Geraint — Cadell —Coel —Por—Corineus — Fulgen Eldad — Androgeus — Urien — Eliud—Cledor—Cleton—Geraint—Merion—Bleddyn—Cap — Owen —Cecil—Blegàbred-.Arthmail—EIdo1 — Redion — Rhydderch Sawl — Pir — Cap 11 — Manogan, to whom succeeded his son, Beli Mawr. The Kymric Genealogies are generally headed with his initials—B.M. The succession upward from him to Brutus, the founder of the Trojan Dynasty, is readily found by reference to any of the ancient royal pedigrees. Beli reigned forty years. He had three sons, Lud, Caswallon (Cassibellanus), and Nennius. Lud succeeded him. He rebuilt the walls of Caer Troia, with seven principal towers and gates. One of these, Ludgate, retains his name. He issued an edict, commanding the city to be henceforth called Llud-din (Londinium, Caer Lludd), instead of Caer Troia. The people, headed by Nennius, threatened to rise and depose Lud, if the edict were not rescinded. He was compelled to give way. After the death of Nennius, a second attempt, supported by Androgeus, was more successful. The name Londinium gradually superseded the old heroic one of Troy. Lud was buried in the vault under his tower at Ludgate. He left two sons of tender age, Anndrogeus and Tenuantius. The Irish having invaded Mona, and the Roman arms under Cesar threatening at this time the total subjugation of Gaul and Bretagne, Caswallon was during their minority appointed Regent of the kingdom. He immediately marched upon Mona, and defeated the Irish at Manuba, with such slaughter that a pestilence arose from the number of the dead bodies exposed to the heat of the summer. The bones were afterwards collected into pyramids on the nearest point to Ireland, Caer gybi, Holy-head. On his return to London, embassies from Gaul requesting aid against Cesar, waited upon him.
Before we proceed to the third, or Roman era, it may be well to give a succinct account of the great Gentile, or Druidic Religion, under which Britain had during these many centuries been ruled, and of which she was the Japhetic centre and head in Europe.
THE DRUIDIC RELIGION OF BRITAIN
THE Druidic Religion was brought into Britain by the Gomeridæ, from the Mountains of Noah, or the Caucasus, at the first emigration under Hu Gadarn. Its leading principles were the following.
“God is an Infinite Spirit, whose nature is wholly a mystery to man in his present state. He is self-existence; from him all creation emanated and into him it is always resolving and will always continue to resolve itself back. To the human mind, but not in himself, he necessarily presents a triple aspect in relation to the past, the present, and the future—the Creator as to the past, the Saviour or Preserver as to the present, the Re-creator as to the future. In the Re-creator, the idea of the Destroyer was also involved. The Druidic names for God were Duw, Deon, Dovydd, Celi, Ior, Perydd, Rhun, Ner.
Matter is the creation of God. Without God it cannot exist. Nature is the action of God through the medium of matter.
The universe is matter as ordered and systematized by the intelligence of God. It was created by God’s pronouncing his own name—at the sound of which, light and the heavens sprung into existence. The name of God is in itself a creative power. What in itself that name is, is known to God only. All music or natural melody is a faint and broken echo of the creative name.
The Druidic symbol of it is three pencils of light. Of these three lines, in various conjunctions, was framed the first or Bardic Alphabet. Knowledge and religion cannot be separated.
The universe is in substance eternal and imperishable, but subject to successive cycles of dissolution and renovation.
The soul is a particle of the Deity possessing in embryo all his capabilities. Its action is defined and regulated by the nature of the physical organization it animates.
The lowest point of sentient existence is that in which evil is unmitigated by any particle of good. From this point existence ascends by cycles of genera, until it attains its acme by being blended with that of the Deity. The human cycle is the middle one in which good and evil are equipoised. Every human being is a free agent—the soul according to its choice being liable to fall back into the lower cycles, or capable of rising into the higher. Probation ceases with the human cycle. Above it good becomes the dominant, evil the helpless principle. Continually thus ascending, the soul becomes at last united to and part of God, and in God again pervades the universe.
A soul which has passed the probationary state has the power of returning to it and resuming for the good of mankind the morphosis of humanity. The re-incarnation of such is felt in its action and effects through the whole race whose nature is thus taken by the superior being.
The soul which prefers evil to good retrogrades to a cycle of animal existence the baseness of which is on a par with the turpitude of its human life. The process of brutalization commences at the moment when evil is voluntarily preferred to good. To whatever cycle the soul falls, the means of re-attaining humanity are always open to it. Every soul, however frequent its relapses, will ultimately attain the proper end of its existence—union with God.
The creation of animals commenced with that of water molecules. Terrestrial animals are of a higher order than the aquatic, and rise through distinct gradations up to man. Animals approach the human cycle in proportion to their utility and gentleness—every animal may be killed by man in by the sacrifice of life in lieu of life.”
Prior to the creation of man, night-light alone prevailed. Man was created with the first rising sun.
Death or the dissolution of the present material organization is a simultaneous art with life, or the assumption of a new existence. The soul passes through an indefinite number of these migrations till it attains Deity.
A finite being cannot support eternity as a sameness or monotony of existence. The eternity of the soul until it merges in the Deity, is a succession of states of new sensations, the soul in each unfolding new capabilities of enjoyment.
In creation there is no evil which is not a greater good than an evil. The things called rewards and punishments are so secured by eternal ordinances that they are not consequences but properties of our acts and habits. Except for crimes against society, the measure of punishment should be that which nature itself deals to the delinquent. Perfect penitence. is entitled to pardon. That penitence is perfect which makes the utmost compensation in its power for wrong inflicted, and willingly submits to the penalty prescribed. The atonement of penitents who voluntarily submit themselves to death in expiation of guilt incurred, is perfect. The souls of all such pass on to the higher cycles of existence.
“The justice of God cannot be satisfied except by the sacrifice of life in lieu of life.”
Cesar’s words are very remarkable, defining the doctrine of vicarious atonement with theological precision.—“The Druids hold that by no other way than the ransoming of man’s life by the life of man is reconciliation with the Divine Justice of the immortal God’s possible.“—Cesar’s Commentaries, Book III.
Such are a few of the principal Doctrines of a religion which was at one time professed from the shores of the Baltic to the straits of Gibraltar. In France, its central University was at Dreux. In Britain, it numbered thirty-one chief seats of education—each seat was a Cyfiaith, or city, the capital of a tribe. Their names were as follows:
Seats of the Three Arch-Druids of Britain.
Caer Troia Caer Lud London
Caer Evroc York
Caer Lleon Caerleon
Seats of the Chief Druids of Britain
Caer Caint Canterbury Caer Meivod Meivod
Caer Wyn Winchester Caer Odor Bristol
Caer Municip St. Albans Caer Llear Leicester
Caer Sallwg Old Sarum Caer Urnach Uroxeter
(Salisbury) Caer Lleyn Lincoln
Caer Leil Carlisle Caer Glou Glocester
Caer Grawnt Cambridge Caer Cei Chichester
(Granta) Caer Ceri Cirencester
Caer Meini Manchester Caer Dwr Dorchester
Caer Gwrthegion Palmcaster Caer Merddin Carmarthen
Caer Coel Colchester Caer Seiont Carnarvon
Caer Gorangon Worcester (Segontium)
Caerleon ar Dwy Chester Caer Wysc Exeter
Caer Peris Porchester Caer Segont Silchester
Caer Don Doncaster Caer Baddon Bath
Caer Guoric Warwick
The revolution of two thousand years has effected but slight change in the original names of these cities.
The students at these colleges numbered at times 60,000 souls, amongst whom were included the young nobility of Britain and Gaul. The authority and privileges of the Druidic Order were very great. They sat as magistrates, deciding all questions of law and equity. They regulated and presided over the rites and ceremonies of religion. The power of excommunication, lodged in their hands, put the party against whom it was issued out of the pale of the law. They were exempt from military duties, taxes, and imposts. A tenth of the land was appropriated for their support. None but a Druid could offer sacrifice, nor was any candidate admissible to the order who could not prove his genealogy from free parents for nine generations back. The consent of the head of the clan, or of twelve fathers of families in the clan, was necessary to the public admission of a candidate into the order. The examinations preparatory to full initiation into the two higher grades of the Bard and the Druid, were of great severity. An Ovydd (or Vates) might claim his grade by proving himself, in public examination before the head of the clan and twelve Druids, master of the special art or science he professed to teach or exercise. None but the initiated were taught the Esoteric doctrines of the order—hence the profound reserve maintained on certain points of their teaching by Taliesin and other Christo-Druidic Bards.
The sacred animal of their religion was the milk-white bull—the sacred bird, the wren—the sacred tree, the oak—the sacred plant, the missletoe —- the sacred herbs, the trefoil and the vervain—the sacred form, that of the three divine letters or rays, in the shape of a cross, symbolizing the triple aspect of God. The sacred herbs and plant, with another plant—hyssop, the emblem of fortitude in adversity —were gathered on the sixth day of the moon.
The vast monumental remains of the Druidic establishment extend over Britain, from Cornwall to the Hebrides. In South Britain, or Lloegria, the central temples were those of Amber and Belin (Stonehenge). In Albyn, Perth and its vicinity—in Cambria, Mona, were the chief districts for the obelisc churches and the splendid national ceremonies therein performed. Each of these temples was a Planetarium, or representation of the system of the heavens. The principles on which they are constructed are strictly astronomical; and the accuracy with which the ponderous monoliths which compose them are adjusted demonstrates a very high state of mechanical science.
The Druidic principles allowed no monolith to be profaned by the touch of steel or other metal, neither could any other than massive single stones, solid throughout, be used in their temples. These architectural remains of the old Britannic religion lie for the most part on the elevated ridges or in the mountain solitudes of the Island, indicating their construction to have commenced at that remote date when the lowlands were still partially sub-merged. In Greece and Italy these Japhetic ruins are known as the Cyclopean or Titanic. “The Druids of Britain,” observes Doctor Stukeley, in his work on Stonehenge, “advanced their inquiries to such heights as should make the moderns ashamed of themselves; and we may with reason conclude there was somewhat very extraordinary in those principles which prompted them to such a noble spirit as produced these works which, for grandeur and simplicity, exceed any of the European wonders.”
In strictness, none of the Druidic Circles can be termed Temples, for the Druids taught there were but two inhabitations of the Deity—the soul the invisible, and the universe the visible temple. The monolithic structures were types only of the latter.
The great festivals of Druidism were three —- the solstitial festivals of the rise and fall of the year, and the winter festival. At the spring festival, the bâltân, or sacred fire, was brought down by means of a burning lens from the sun. No hearth in the Island was held sacred until the fire on it had been re-lit from the bâltân. The bâltân became the Easter festival of Christianity—as the mid-winter festival, in which the missletoe was cut with the golden crescent from the sacred oak, became Christmas. The misletoe with its three berries was the symbol of the Deity in his triple aspect—its growth on the oak, of the incarnation of the Deity of man.
The hypaethral altar in the Druidic circle was called the Cromlech, or stone of adoration, (literally the stone of bowing). On it the hostia, or victim to be immolated, was laid; and in order that the blood might run off more easily, its position was inclined. Near it another stone received in an excavation the aqua pura, or holy water—that is, rain water direct from heaven. Druidism itself was ordinarily known as “Y Mien “—the stone.
The canonicals of the Arch-Druid were extremely gorgeous. On his head he wore a tiara of gold,—in his girdle the gem of augury,—on his breast the ior morain, or breast-plate of judgment, below it, the glan neidr, or draconic egg,—on the fore-finger of the right hand, the signet ring of the order,—on the forefinger of the left, the gem ring of inspiration. Before him were borne the coelbren, or volume of esoteric mysteries, and the golden crosier with which the misletoe was gathered. His robe was of white linen, with a broad purple border—the symbolic cross being wrought in gold down the length of the back.
When Druidism merged into Christianity, these rites, festivals, and canonicals, became those of the Christian Church. Little variation exists between the. modern ceremonials of religion, as witnessed in a Roman Catholic cathedral, and those of Druidic Britain two thousand years since. Their derivation from Druidism is not more evident than the striking contrast they present to the simple and unadorned ritual of Primitive Christianity. Some of these observances are common to Judaism and Druidism—others are to be found in Druidism alone.
No Druidic service could be celebrated or rite observed except between sunrise and sunset. Every official act was to be discharged “in the eye of the light and face of the sun.” The seat of the presiding Druid was termed Gorsedd; to remove it was a capital offence. The great Gorseddau, or convocations, were held at the solstices and equinoxes—the minor at the new and full moon.
The vestments of the Bard were blue; of the Druid, white; of the Ovate, green. The Druids taught viva voce. No part of their teaching was allowed to be committed to writing. In public transactions they used the Bardic characters—in transactions with foreigners, the Bardic or Greek, as occasion required. From the importance they attached to the sublime study of Astronomy, they were termed by the Greeks, Saronidæ, (serenyddion, from the Kvmric seren, a star) Astronomers. Their system of education appears to have embraced a wide range of arts and sciences.
The Druidic religion was pre-eminently patriotic—hence it was the only Gentile Religion systematic-ally misrepresented and marked out for extirpation by the Roman government; all others being received indifferently to its protection. The spirit it infused into the people contributed no less than the military science displayed by a series of able and intrepid commanders, to render the tardy progress of the Roman arms in Britain a solitary exception to the rapidity of their conquests in other parts of the world.
Diodorus Maximus quotes a Druidic Triad as well known to the Greeks,—“Worship the Gods—do no man wrong—be valiant for your country.”
Valerius Maximus mentions a curious fact, illustrative of the sincerity of their faith in the doctrines they held :—“The Druids have so firm a conviction of the immortality of the soul, that they advance sums of money to their friends on the understanding that such money, or its equivalent, is to be repaid when they meet after death.” (Lib. II. c. 6.) “It is certain,” states Lucan, “the Druidic nations have no fear of death. Their religion rather impels them to seek it. Their souls are its masters, and they think it contemptible to spare a life the return of which is so sure.”
The Druidic religion, in its corrupted Asiatic or Semitic form of Budhism, is still the religion of nearly one half of mankind. We have noticed its leading features, therefore, at greater length than the compass of this little volume would have warranted us in doing those of any obsolete or defunct faith, such as the mythologies of Greece and Rome.
THE THIRD, OR ROMAN ERA.
CESAR, in justification of his invasion of Britain, alleges that the Britons were the first aggressors. This statement is in some degree borne out by the “Historic Triads.” Prior to the campaigns in the North of Gaul, the “second silver host,” recorded in these writings, quitted Britain under the command of Gwenwynwyn and Gwanar, nephews of Caswallon, accompanied by Caswallon in per-son. They landed to the number of 50,000 men at Brest, B.C. 57. Marching Southward, they effected a junction with the Aquitani. Flûr, or Flora, daughter of Mygnach Gôr (the Dwarf,) who had been engaged in marriage to ‘Caswallon, had been forcibly carried off by Morchau, a Regulus of Aquitania. The Triads affirm Cesar to have been the instigator of the act; and the reckless immorality of his private life in Gaul, as depicted by Suetonius, gives color to the statement. The castle of Morchau was stormed by Caswallon, and Flora brought in safety to Caer Troia. Lucius Valerius Proeconinus, the Roman lieutenant, taking the field against Caswallon, was routed at Tolosa, with the loss of six thousand men. Lucius Marsilius, the pro-consul, attempting to retrieve the disaster of his predecessor, met with a more ignominous fate, being compelled to fly with the loss of all his baggage and commissariat stores. Cesar, on receiving intelligence of these reverses, and finding in all his engagements British troops in the Gallic armies arrayed against him, decided on turning his arms against Britain itself. The Veneti of Armorica, who were then the great mercantile people of Gaul, and carried on a flourishing trade with Britain, took immediate measures for preventing his passage. As long as the Venetine fleet remained mistress of the narrow seas, no expedition to which it was hostile could quit the ports of Gaul. The destruction of this fleet became, therefore, Cesar’s first object. His description of it shows that the Veneti had attained a very high state of proficiency in naval architecture. The ships were constructed of solid oak, to resist the violence of the Atlantic storms and waves. The benches for the rowers were rivetted with iron pins, an inch each in diameter. Iron cables secured the ponderous anchors. Instead of canvas, sheets of dressed leather were used for sails. On the sides of these vessels, the hulls of which towered above the Roman masts, the brazen beaks of the latter force could make no impression; nor could their decks be swept by engines or archery. (Cesar, lib. III.) Whenever a city or fortress on the coast was besieged and hard pressed, the Venetine navy ran in and embarked the population for some other locality. Cesar seized at last the opportunity of a dead calm, which nullified its manoeuvring superiority, to attack it. The Venetines, after a battle which lasted from morning to night, succumbed to the tactics and courage of the Roman commander. The victory was stained by an act of the most revolting cruelty. The whole of the Venetine senate was massacred, and every prisoner of war sold into slavery. The news soon reached Britain, and the whole Island rang with execrations on the perpetrator. Caswallon immediately returned from Aquitaine into Britain—leaving the Kymric army, under his nephews, in permanent occupation of the land between the Lower Loire and the Gironde,—a tract as full of Druidic remains as Wales or Bretagne. Cesar, advancing by slow marches along the coast, arrived at Portus Iccius, near Calais.
“Prior to Cesar,” observe the classic authors, “no foreign conqueror had ever ventured to assail the shores of Britain.” A brief account of this extraordinary man may not, therefore, be out of place in these outlines of British History.
Caius Julius Cesar, the son of Caius Julius, was born B.C. 108 years. In his 16th year he lost his father; in his 17th, he was appointed Flamen Dialis, or priest of Jupiter—the highest ecclesiastical office in Rome. In his 18th year he married Julia, daughter of Cinna, one of the great leaders of the Roman Democrat y against Oligarchy. She bore him a daughter, named Julia. Cesar’s aunt, Julia, was married to Caius Marius, the military leader of the democracy. In his oration at her funeral, Cesar thus speaks of his family descent:-
“My aunt Julia derived her descent, by the mother, from a race of Kings; and by her father, from the immortal Gods. For the Marcian kings, her mother’s family, deduce their pedigree from Ancus Martius and the Julii, her father’s from Venus—of which stock we are a branch. We unite therefore in our descent the sacred majesty of Kings, the chiefest among men, and the divine majesty of Gods, to whom Kings themselves are subject.”
Sylla, the leader of the oligarchy, after the death of Marius, insisted on Cesar divorcing Julia ; and on his declining, deprived him of his office, and confiscated his own and his wife’s estates. He wandered for many months in extreme danger and penury amongst the fastnesses of the Apennines. Sylla’s most influential supporters interceded strongly with him on Cesar’s behalf. He consented, but most reluctantly, to recall shim, using these prophetic words:—“Take him to you—but know that in this young man are many Marii—he will be the destruction of the aristocracy of Rome.” He was soon acknowledged as the leader of the people. His career ill appointed to the command of the legions in Gaul must be sought for in the history of Rome. The account of his campaigns in Gaul, which has come down to us from his own pen, is perhaps the most cold-blooded narrative ever composed by a great mind. It is difficult to point out in it a single chivalrous sentiment or a spark of generous sympathy with the heroes, the patriots, or the antagonists opposed to him in defence of their native lands. The quantity of human blood shed by him can on the other hand scarcely be estimated; the computation of five millions of lives destroyed in his various wars in Gaul, Britain, Italy, Spain, Africa, Greece, and Asia, falls probably short of the truth. In Gaul alone eight hundred towns were sacked by him, —- oftener, states his biographer, for the sake of the spoil than for any ill they had done. In some of them—Avaricum, for instance, not a single person was left alive. The Eburones, a Kymro-Teutonic tribe, rising after the campaigns in Britain, under Ambiorix, their youthful king, defeated and cut to pieces the legions of Cotta and Sabinus. Cesar, instead of proceeding according to the law of nations, proclaimed them outlaws to the human race, leagued the Keltic clans in alliance with Rome against them, and ordered every Eburon, wherever found, to be put to death without mercy. The gallant tribe, resisting to the last, was exterminated to a man, and the forest of Ardennes gradually closed upon the district once studded with their populous villages. This utter callousness to the first sentiments of humanity forms the principal feature in the character of Cesar, as indeed of many other conquerors. Yet, brutally as it was developed on a great scale, the Latin court writers under ‘his successors, do not blush to attribute to him the virtue of clemency, because he spared the lives of a few of his countrymen, opposed to his views at Rome.
In the magnitude of his wars—in military genius, sagacity, fertility of invention, rapidity and thoroughness of execution, there are but four commanders who can be considered his equals—Alexander, ‘Hannibal, Constantine the Great, and Napoleon. He possessed in the ‘highest degree the art of winning the devotion of his soldiers. After a victory, he allowed them unbounded relaxation. In his orations, he always addressed them as “fellow soldiers.” He took care that their arms and accoutrements should be both splendid and effective. His attachment to them was, or pretended to be, so strong that on hearing of the defeat of one of his generals, Titurius, he neither shaved nor cut his hair until he had avenged it upon the enemy. None of his soldiers in either his foreign or civil wars ever deserted him. Many who were taken prisoners and offered their lives on condition of serving against him, refused. In actual service, the discipline he maintained was of extreme severity. To such a pitch of endurance had he trained his legions that Pompey, when beseiged by them, and knowing that they had nothing to support themselves on but bread made of herbs, observed, “He had to do with wild beasts, not men.” A single cohort of the ninth legion held, on one occasion, a fort against four legions of Pompey. Every man was wounded, and within the ramparts were subsequently counted 138,000 arrows, which had been discharged against them. In the use of arms, Cesar was himself perfect. No amount of labour affected his iron constitution. He rose with the sun. On a march, he took his position at the head of his favourite legion, the l0th—sometimes on foot, more generally on horse back, with his head bare in all kinds of weather. In a light carriage, without luggage, he often travelled one hundred miles a day. If the rivers were flooded, he would swim, or float on inflated hides across with the current to the other side; being thus the herald of his own arrival on the scene of action. His daring and caution were alike conspicuous. At the .end of a long march or in the midst of the most violent storm, he would attack the enemy. The earth-works, camps, and lines of circumvallation thrown up by his army, still excite the wonder and envy of modern engineers. If the issue of a battle threatened to be dubious, he sent away all the horses, his own first. If his men gave way at any spot, he charged there at the head of his body guard in person. On one of these occasions a standard-bearer, whom he arrested in his retreat, left the standard in his hand. He lost two swords in single combats, one to Nennius, the brother of Caswallon, at the battle of Caer caint, or Canterbury; the other at the siege of Gergovia, in Auvergne. When shown the latter, years afterwards by the townsmen, he sternly bid them take it out of his sight. The former was preserved at the Bryn gwyn, till removed by Constantine to Constantinople.
The Commentaries of Cesar, containing his Gallic and British campaigns, are to be received as the bulletins of an enemy—much as we should read the bulletins of Napoleon on the late Peninsular war, or those of the Russian Government on the actions in the Crimea. His own party admitted them to be composed with little regard to facts; but as giving us the first foreign impressions of our Island, they are, despite the credulity they exhibit, and the grave suppressions of truth in which they abound, very valuable contributions to our knowledge of Ancient Europe.
Cesar does not give the number of ships of war employed on his first invasion. The transports for the infantry were about eighty; for the cavalry, eighteen. The army consisted of two legions, amounting with their auxiliaries, to between twenty-four and thirty thousand men. It is evident the Roman commander egregiously under-rated the extent of the British power, and the ability of the King by whom it was wielded : nor does he explain how his statements that British auxiliaries abounded in the Gallic armies, and that all the young nobility of Gaul were educated in the Druidic colleges of Britain, can be reconciled with another statement of his, that all his efforts at a general congress of the Gallic merchants failed to elicit any information with regard to the constitution, laws, and, military resources of the Island. There can be little doubt that such ignorance was affected and that the knowledge possessed by thousands on these points was, under the tremendous seal of silence imposed by the Druidic hierarchy, designedly withheld. Comius of Arras, who had been dispatched by him into Britain was arrested and thrown into prison. Caius Volusenus, whom he had sent to survey the coast, returned on the fifth day with information that the whole of the sea line opposite Gaul was occupied at regular intervals by British troops. The reply of the British Pendragon to the Roman demands was delivered to Cesar by Comius of Arras, who was liberated and provided with a vessel for this purpose. It was to the following effect. —-
Caswallon, Pendragon of Britain, to Caius Julius Cesar, Consul.
We have received your letters demanding tribute and submission on the part of this Island of Britain, to the Senate of Rome. The ambition of the Roman people we know to be insatiable; Europe it too little for them—they covet the riches of the nation whom the ocean itself divides from the rest of the world. But our possessions alone will not content them—we must cease to be free, we must become their slaves. The Britons and Romans derive their descent from the same Trojan origin—such consanguinity should be the firmest guarantee of peace and equality between them. Our alliance we freely tend Rome; but as for subjection, we have never hitherto known the thing, even by name. If the Gods themselves invaded our liberties, we would to the utmost of our power defend them—much more are we prepared to do so against the Romans, who are like ourselves but men.”
On the 5th August, B.C. 55, the Roman fleet crossed the channel in two divisions. The first land it made was the cliffs of Dover. These bristled with the battalia of the British Dictator. Deterred by their appearance, and the unfavourable nature of the spot, Cesar lay at anchor for five hours. During this time he convened a council of war on board his own ship, delivered his instructions to his lieutenants, and pointed out the necessity for the promptest obedience in executing his orders. The current in the straits of Dover sets in a North-easterly direction. Finding it favorable, he dropped down with it seven miles and prepared to force a disembarcation on the open beach between Walmer castle and Sandwich.
Meantime Caswallon had with his chariots and light infantry followed by land the movements of the fleet. The great tonnage of some of Cesar’s vessels compelled them to keep in deep water at a distance from the shore. The lighter vessels could alone approach the beach. Into these the troops were draughted, and thence formed into their respective companies., It was a point of honor with the Ancient Britons to meet an invading enemy in the water—” where the ninth wave broke.” Many of the graves of their heroes were for this reason erected at high water mark. The British infantry on this occasion advanced into the sea to meet the Legions. Behind them the chariot-force was drawn up, presenting an impenetrable phalanx. Caswallon took his station. in the centre. The Roman legions in attempting to form, were charged and driven back upon the ships. Cesar then brought the broadsides of his vessels of war to bear upon the British ranks, clearing the immediate neighbourhood of the transports by means of his engines. Dismayed, however, by the novelty of the system of warfare they were called upon to face, the veterans who had subdued the continent, hesitated to do their duty. The thunder of the chariots and the shouts of defiance from the British infantry added momentarily to the con-fusion. One man averted the impending defeat. The standard-bearer of the loth legion made the last appeal that could be made to Roman honour. Waving the standard in view of the whole fleet, he leapt from the deck of the vessel into the waves, exclaiming—” He that will not betray the Roman Eagle, follow me! “ The effect was electrical—for to lose the Eagle of a legion was the last degree of infamy. The legionaries, plunging from every ship after their leader, formed a second time under cover of the hail of missiles discharged from the vessels of war, and advanced on the British columns.
The real conflict now commenced. The race of Brennus, which had stormed Rome, were now in their turn called upon to defend their soil against their brethren of Italy. An incident, recorded by Plutarch, illustrates the severity of the conflict: a soldier named Publius, seeing his officers defending themselves desperately, on a rock washed by the tide, against the Britons, swam to it, and drawing upon himself the attacks of the assailants, gave time for the officers to retreat. His shield in affecting his own escape was torn from his shoulder, and his arms cut to pieces. Partly by swimming, partly by wading, he reached the ship on the deck of which Cesar was surveying the fluctuations of the engagement. Bursting into tears, Publius fell on his knees, imploring his General’s pardon for the loss of his shield. Cesar promoted him on the spot to the rank of centurion. The battle raged along the whole length of the beach with the same fury. The Romans at last again gave way, unable to sustain the repeated charges of the British cavalry which, by Cesar’s account, were trained to fight in water as well as on land. The reserves on board the men-of-war were as a last resort embarked in the long boats and light sloops. The combat was a third time renewed at all points under Cesar in person. The legionaries eventually won their way through the sea, wave by wave, and drew up their lines at night-fall on the long-contested beach. A camp was quickly formed, and the light vessels of the fleet sent out in all directions to expedite the arrival of the cavalry.
On August 8th, the eighteen transports, with the cavalry on board, hove in sight. Communications were at the same time opened through the medium of Comius of Arras, with Avarwy and his faction. Avarwy, or Androgeus, was the son of the last sovereign, Lud, and regarded by a powerful party as the rightful heir to the throne. Caswallon, after his election, first to the sovereignty, and secondly to the Pendragonate, or military dictatorship of the whole Island, appears to have treated him as his own son. He gave him Kent, with the whole territory between the Thames and the Wash, for his Princedom. He appointed him also governor of London. To his brother Tenuantius, he assigned the Dukedom of Cornwall. Cesar, though attempting to brand Caswallon as an usurper, admits that his election to the Pendragonate was the unanimous act of the nation. The unpopularity of Avarwy with the mass of the people was marked by the stigmatic name commonly applied to him, Dubrâdwr, Mandubrad—the black traitor, perpetuated in the form of Mandubratius in Cesar’s commentaries. With this man—consigned to eternal infamy in the Triads of his country, as the first of the three capital traitors of the Isle of Britain—a secret treaty was entered into by which, in return for Cesar’s support, Avarwy engaged on the deposition of Caswallon, to hold the kingdom as a tributary of Rome. Avarwy undertook also, if Cesar could hold his ground, to join him with all his forces, and on his advance to throw open by means of his partizans, the gates of London (Caer Troia) to the combined army. This black treason was not destined as yet to succeed. Whilst Avarwy was levying his troops among the Corandae, one of the channel gales, for which the narrow seas between Gaul and Britain have in all ages been disastrously famed, came on. Part of the Roman fleet was riding at anchor, part was hauled up by way of a marine rampart on the beach. The former ran before the storm or drifted in masses of wreck to and fro on the current. The same night happened to be full moon. The spring tide, augmented by the fury of the storm, swept over the rampart, shattering to pieces the vessels of which it was composed. The next morning displayed the full extent of the ruin inflicted, and the critical position in which the invading force was thereby placed. No other Roman fleet could be found nearer than the Tagus. The quantity of grain in camp sufficed for only a few weeks’ consumption. The only hold on the soil yet gained was the ground under their feet. Around was a warlike nation, whose territory was for the first time desecrated by a foreigner in arms. Succours from the continent could neither be expected nor transported. With the exception of one locality, the harvest in Kent had by orders of Caswallon been reaped and conveyed into the interior. Caswallon himself was encamped at Canterbury, watching every movement of the enemy.
An inferior mind would have been prostrated under such calamities, Cesar’s rose to the emergency. Twelve of the damaged transports were broken up and their materials applied to the repair of the rest. A few Gallic horsemen were mounted as scouts, and placed under the command of Comius. The camp was restored, by the incessant labor of the legionaries, to its former state. .A new supply of grain was the next requisite demanding attention. To obtain it, the seventh legion was dispatched to the spot where the scouts reported the harvest still unreaped. Clouds of dust ascending in that direction, with distant sounds readily recognized by the practised ear of the veteran soldier, soon announced that the legion had fallen in with a hostile force. The corn had been intentionally left by Caswallon, the legion thus falling into an ambuscade prepared for it. Cesar leaving two cohorts only in guard of the camp, forthwith marched with his other troops to the scene of action. On arriving, he for the first time saw the chariot system of Troy, familiar to him hitherto only in the descriptions of Homer, in actual operation. The heroic and historic modes of warfare were pitted against each other.
The admiration expressed in his commentaries, by the Roman General, of the efficiency of the chariot, as distinguished from the cavalry system, appears to be based on sound grounds. No one was more competent to form an opinion on the subject; and he states that the force as organized by Caswallon embodied the two essentials which
82 HISTORY OF BRITAIN.
military science seeks to combine in a perfect branch of service, the rapidity of cavalry and the stability of infantry. The chariots were built of light well-seasoned wood, many of them richly blazoned and adorned with the precious metals. They generally held two, sometimes four combatants. They were drawn by two horses abreast, so thoroughly broken in to their work, that Cesar declares in descending a hill full speed they would on a motion of the charioteer, wheel round and retrace their course, scarcely slackening their pace. The charioteers themselves frequently leapt from the chariot upon the pole, re-arranged the harness and returned to their place. They drove standing. From the axle-trees of the chariots, keen falchions of great breadth projected; inflicting the most ghastly wounds, and rendering it a matter of no small peril to attempt to attach the chariot on the flank. They drew up in divisions, each under its own commander, and all of them under the Pendragon. One of the divisions commenced the action by bearing down on some given point on the enemy’s line. The 1 spectacle of the charge itself, the cheers of the combatants, the rush of the horses, and the roar of so many wheels mingling with the clang of arms rarely failed, states Cesar, before a blow was exchanged to disorder the ranks of the best disciplined troops opposed to them. A passage being forced, the combatants as circumstances pointed out, either quitted their chariots and formed in a body in the centre of the enemy, or broke out at some other point, discharging as they swept on,their heavy javelins, and re-uniting for a second onset under cover of their infantry. The open legionary formation was not able to cope with such
THE ROMAN ERA. 83
a system directed by the hand of a master. The seventh legion was in the act of giving way when Cesars’ arrival changed for a time the aspect of the engagement. But the repulse was of short duration. The British cavalry under Nennius attacked the tenth legion commanded by Cesar in person—their infantry at the same time bore down and completed the success of the charge. The outmost efforts of the Roman General failed to remedy the confusion which ensued. In vain he threw himself into the melee. The disorder and mingling of the troops were irretrievable. His voice was lost in the tumult and din of the field. The Eagle itself was borne down, and Cesar in covering it with his body was assailed by Nennius. The sword of the great Roman buried itself in the shield of the British Prince, and before he could extricate it, the tide of battle separated the combatants, leaving the weapon a trophy to be long aferwards exhibited to the inhabitants of Caer Troia. The oligarchic party at Rome exaggerated the incident so far as to give out, that Cesar betrayed on this occasion unequivocal proofs of poltroonery—that he positively turned his back and fled before the British Prince to the camp.
(Territa quoesitis ostendit terga Britannis)
Cesar performed all that an able general or intrepid soldier could do to recover the honour of the day. But fortune and superior skill were both against him. All that he could succeed in effecting was, to prevent the British army entering the camp with the routed remains of his own legions. The night found Caswallon master of the field. He threw up his camp within a few furlongs of the Roman.
The next morning, the Pendragon offered battle—drawing up his forces between the two camps. Cesar declined it, confining himself to strengthening his fortifications. On the second day the Roman camp was assaulted and attempted to be carried on three sides by the Britons. The attack was repelled with a loss on the British side proportionate to the obstinacy with which it had been conducted. Taking advantage of the interval of quiet thus secured, Cesar made the necessary arrangements, and before the assault could be renewed, secretly embarked his shattered forces and took his departure from Britain on the mid-night preceding the autumnal equinox. He landed at Boulogne, September 23rd, B.C. 55. His first campaign lasted thus fifty-five days, during which he had failed to advance beyond seven miles from the spot of disembarkation—had lost one pitched battle, and had his own camp (a thing which had never before occurred in his career) attacked by the victorious enemy.
The failure of the expedition could not be concealed. The invincibility of Cesar, established by thirty victories on the Continent, received a rude shock. His clear judgment saw that a second invasion was imposed upon him by the necessity of his position, and with that unwearied energy to which Cicero ascribes the secret of his successes, he proceeded to organize it on a scale more commensurate than the first with the resources of the power to be attacked. During the winter, six hundred additional transports and twenty-eight ships of war were constructed. The chiefs of all the Gallic states in alliance with, or subject to Rome, were commanded to rendezvous at Boulogne, in order to accompany Cesar in person. Dumnorix, prince of the Œdui—the great Druidic state of Celtica, refusing from religious scruples to do so, was summarily put to death. ‘Assurances were on the other hand lavished on the democracies by the Roman commander, that on his return he would restore their liberties, emancipate the slaves, and remove the confiscations from the estates of the refugees and proscribed. Emissaries meanwhile maintained communication with Avarwy and his faction. The levies of Avarwy were made chiefly among the Coranidae (Coritani), who applied for and were received under the Protectorate of Rome. This Protectorate extended to some petty anti-national faction was invariably made the pretext by the Romans for interference in the internal affairs of other States, and ultimately for their annexation. The elder tribe, the Kymry, treated all who accepted or acknowledged It, as traitors. The machinations of Avarwy were conducted with such secrecy as to escape not only detection but even all suspicion on the part of his sovereign.
The preparations being completed, the invading armament, consisting of above one thousand trans-ports with fifty thousand infantry and two thousand cavalry on board—the army which terminated its career by the conquest of Rome itself on the plains of Pharsalia—set sail from Whitsand (Portus Iccius), four miles West of Calais, May loth, B.C. 55. Dion Cassius states that the Britons did not believe that after the rough handling he had received in the first, Cesar would with any amount of force venture on a second invasion. The intelligence of the sharp measures adopted by the Roman general for preserving tranquility in Gaul, the death of Dumnorix, and the compulsory service of the greater part of the Gallic nobility as hostages, in the forthcoming campaign, undeceived them. The Gorsedd (high court) of the nation was convened by Caswallon in London. Avarwy and his faction attended in great numbers. The decision arrived at is known in the Triads as the first of the “three fatal counsels” of the Isle of Britain. Caswallon, who had already posted detachments of troops along the coast, urged the policy of opposing so formidable an invader, as before, on the beach itself, and thus prevent a single hostile camp from being thrown up on British soil. Avarwy, on the contrary, maintained that it was derogatory to the honour of the nation to adopt any other plan of action than would at once bring Romans and Britons face to face on an equal field with each other—that every facility for landing ought to be afforded Cesar—that the great lesson to be taught the continent was, that Britain relied for the maintenance of her liberties, not on her inaccessibility as an Island, but on the native courage of her own children. The insidious advice prevailed. The council resolved—“that it was beneath the dignity of the nation of the Britons to defend their country otherwise than by the might of manhood, and that the landing of the Cesaridæ (Romans) be unopposed.” Imprudent, doubtlessly, as this resolution, admitting a foreign enemy within the kingdom, must be considered, it is impossible not to admire the stern, yet simple heroism, which dictated such a challenge to the first general of the first army of the greatest military Empire of the age. Intelligence of the result of the council reached Cesar in time to enable him to direct the course of his fleet toward the Isle of Thanet, where Avarwy commanded. Prisoners who afterwards fell into his hands, informed him that from their stations on the cliffs they had counted more than 800 ships of the Roman flotilla in sight at one time. The following night part of the fleet proceeded up the mouth of the Thames. At the cove of Min-y-glâs (the lip of the blue water), in the Isle of Thanet, Cesar landed with his cavalry, and held the clandestine conference with Avarwy termed in the Triads, “the first of the three treasonous conferences of the Isle of Britain.” Avarwy delivered his son, (called by the Roman writers Scoeva, and who afterwards signally distinguished himself by his personal prowess in the wars against Pompey,) as a hostage to the Roman. His partizans prepared also to throw London open to the Invader. The British army under Caswallon, including the Coranidæ commanded by Avarwy, held the Gwyddelian road, on the eastern side of the Stour, between Fordwich and Sturry. Cesar leaving 4,000 men to defend the camp off Thanet, came in view of it after a night march of twelve miles. Finding he could not force the passage of the Stour without an engagement, he made his dispositions accordingly. During the action, as had been previously concerted, the Coranidæ, with Avarwy at their head, passed over in a body to the Romans. Caswallon was defeated with heavy loss, and fell back with his broken forces on a position above Caer caint, the natural strength of which, states Cesar, art had converted into a formidable fortress. Into it, to cover his retreat, Caswallon threw a strong body of troops. After a desperate defence, it was carried by a testudo, formed of the whole of the seventh legion; but sufficient time was thus given the British Pentagon to bring up fresh forces, and to obviate as far as possible the effects of the “black treason,” to which he and his whole army had well nigh fallen victims.
“The fortune,” to which Cesar himself was wont to point, as evidence that his career was inspired and pre-ordained of Heaven, appears to have deserted him on other occasions than in the field in Britain. Scarcely had the fort of Caer caint fallen, when news arrived from the camp that a storm of equal severity with that which had caused such destruction the previous autumn had burst upon the fleet in the Thames. Forty of the largest vessels were sunk or driven on shore. Retracing his march, Cesar, after examining the scene of the catastrophe, commenced the construction of a double circumvallation—the interior for the garrison, the exterior for the flotilla, all the ships of which he hauled up and enclosed within it. On this enormous work the whole army was employed unremittingly for ten days. Subsequent events proved that the labour was well applied. Orders were dispatched to Labienus, the lieutenant at Bologne, to build a second flotilla with the utmost speed. The double camp being finished, Cesar, leaving in it the same garrison as before, augmented by the seamen of the fleet, advanced again into the interior. Caswallon with his chariots and cavalry kept up an incessant skirmishing on the Roman flanks, the Romans falling, according to the statement of the Greek historian Dion Cassius, thickly along the whole march. At night Cesar threw up his camp, and prepared for the battle his spies had informed him would be offered him by the Pentagon next morning.
To guard the camp, Cesar stationed 10,000 men with the two first cohorts of the seventh and ninth legions. The rest of his army, consisting of thirty-five thousand legionaries, three thousand cavalry, and twenty thousand Coranidæ under Avarwy, he drew up in three divisions on a declivity called in the Triads “the green spot.” The British army occupied the open ground opposite, its left wing under Nennius resting on a marsh.
It was the custom of the Roman generals, previous to an engagement, to mount a tribunal built of turf or sods of grass, in front of the line, and thence address an inspiriting harangue to their troops. The most illiterate, such as Marius, rarely omitted doing so. Cesar, the most accomplished military character whom Rome produced, has given us the substance of several such orations delivered by him in the Gallic wars. On the present occasion the few words he spoke have been handed down to us from some unacknowledged authority by Henry of Huntingdon: they were as follows, —-
“Fellow-soldiers,—Think not I imagine any words on my part can add to that disciplined valor before which the fiery Kelt and the stubborn German of the continent have both succumbed—a valor which the issues of so many battles have proved can neither be unduly elated by the most brilliant victories, nor depressed by the gloomiest reverses. I remember how often, when friends despaired and allies deserted us, the consciousness of being equal to any emergency has borne you onward and trampled down all obstacles to success—how often undismayed by disasters you have risen braver than the bravest of the races it has yet been our destiny to encounter. Courage like this refuses to acknowledge anything impossible. We have passed out of the old into a new world—we have braved the perils of an unknown ocean—behold a new and unexampled opportunity for displaying the matchless superiority of our arms. For myself, as a Roman soldier, I have never thought on the battle field but of two alternatives—either to conquer with the glory of a hero, or to fall as becomes a man. There is a third option for cowards—flight. There are none such in our ranks. Our British enemies shall learn to-day that a Roman army is but recruited by losses and inspired by difficulties.”
The engagement was one of great severity. Cesar alleges that his legionaries could not surmount the terror they felt of the British chariot charges. His cavalry also proved inoperative, the warriors of the chariot force, immediately the horse-men attempted to follow them, dismounting and charging them on foot, their retreat being at the same time cut off by other chariots, relays of which could be seen at regular intervals as far as the eye could reach. The cavalry being thus dispersed or reduced to inaction, the chariots charged the centre of the Roman infantry, rode it down, and wheeling round, broke through it a second time from the rear, before its disposition could be altered or its lines restored. Quintus Laberius Drusus in rallying the legionaries fell. Wherever the chariots were repulsed, pursuit, states Cesar, owing to the celerity of their movements, and the weight of armour carried by the legionaries, was out of the question. On the left, the battle raged between Nennius and the Coranidæ with equal fury. The Romans were towards evening driven back upon their camp, but the success of the day was dearly purchased by the death of Nennius, who fell in the last onset on the retreating enemy.
The genius evinced by Caswallon throughout thus sanguinary engagement, fought under the shadow of the Roman lines of defence, entitles him to a high rank amongst military commanders. The able manner in which he nullified the peculiar and striking excellencies of the legionary formation opposed to him merits especial commendation.
The next battle was fought at Key Col (Caii Collis), near Newington; and here the star of Cesar recovered its ascendancy. Dion Cassius states the victory was not decisive and attended with heavy loss; but of the virtual defeat of the Pentagon there can be no doubt, for we find Cesar after this date steadily advancing towards London, along the Gwyddelian road, on the South side of the Thames. London under the influence of the faction of Avarwy now declared openly for the invader. The districts which formed the territory of the “Black Traitor” promised ample supplies of provisions. With the capital and the Eastern part of the kingdom in revolt or collusion with the enemy, the position of Caswallon became exceedingly critical. He proved himself worthy of the confidence reposed in his patriotism and abilities by the nation at large. The bridge between Belin’s tower and the Southern bank of the Thames was broken down—the only ford within many miles of the metropolis now known as Coway Stakes, at Chertsey, in Surrey, was attempted to be made impassable by driving into the bed of the river lines of chevaux de frise, formed of ponderous stakes of the hardest wood embedded in lead. (They remained till Bede’s time in the eighth century). Caswallon held the North side with his chariots and infantry. His cavalry meanwhile laid waste the lands of the Coritani with fire and sword. On arriving at Chertsey, Cesar, according to Polyaenus, forced the passage of the Thames by a stratagem. In the conquest of Southern Gaul, elephants had been found by the Romans of material service against cavalry. Horses require to be trained to face these animals in action—their odor from some cause or other being almost insupportable to them. Cesar had embarked one of these huge animals on board his fleet. Covered with steel-scales, and bearing the usual appendage of a tower, manned with archers, the elephant moved into the river, sounding with the natural sagacity of these creatures, its way as it proceeded. The summer was one of extraordinary dryness; the depth of the channel immediately above the ford and the chevaux de frise was found to be not more than five feet. The legions, with Cesar at their head, bearing their swords, shields, and javelins aloft, and wading up to their chins in the stream, followed in the wake of the elephant. The chariot horses of the British force became totally unmanageable as the animal, roaring and trumpeting in the war fashion of those days, approached the margin on which they were drawn. In the con-fusion thus created the legionaries succeeded in establishing a firm footing within the British entrenchments. Caswallon fell back on the Ermyn road towards Verulam.
The description given us by Cesar of the tactics of the British Pendragon, with London on his left flank in open revolt, and the Roman army in front, supplies us with a vivid picture of the guerilla or defensive system of war-fare, conducted with singular skill and unsparing patriotism. “Cassivelaunus, abandoning from this time all intention of a pitched battle, dismissed the greater part of his forces, reserving under his own command four thousand chariots, with which he watched our movements; taking his station a little out of our line of march in positions protected by woods or otherwise difficult of access, we found him always in advance of us, sweeping the whole country of men, cattle, and provisions. Our cavalry were thus obliged to forage at a greater distance than prudence warranted—whenever they were left unsupported, Cassivelaunus, who was well acquainted with and complete master of the roads and bye-roads, charged them with his charioteers. These engagements were attended with great danger, and Cesar was compelled to restrict his cavalry movements within sight of his main body. He could consequently no further ravage the lands or burn the buildings of the enemy than they lay within the march and reach of his infantry.”
Three months had now elapsed since the disembarkation of the invading force at Thanet. During these ninety days, despite the consummate genius and dogged energy of their leader, the Romans had not succeeded in cutting their way beyond seventy miles into the interior. The cattle and provisions cleared from the country by Caswallon, were collected at a strong Caer or Fort, near where now stands St. Alban’s. Towards this depôt, Cesar directed his march unconscious of the signal peril which menaced him in Kent. The British Pentagon had placed a large portion of his infantry under the command of two of his lieutenants, Kynedda and Carvil, ordering them by a rapid detour in the rear of Cesar, to march into Kent and attempt to carry the Roman camp by storm whilst he threw out the lure of the depôt at St. Alban’s to entice the invader yet further from his fleet and solitary base of support. This masterly movement was nearly crowned with success. The attack was made, and though Quintus Atius, the General in command, after an obstinate struggle in which Kynedda was slain, repelled the assault, a second and more successful one might at any time be attempted. Cesar received intelligence of the attack, at the moment when St. Alban’s, by a double escalade, fell into his power. The magnitude of the peril escaped opened his eyes to the necessity of making the best arrangements in his power for terminating the war. Had the camp and fleet at Thanet been captured, the Roman army must in the course of the ensuing winter have surrendered at discretion. Little of the summer remained, and that little, he states, might have easily been spun out without an engagement by Caswallon. If Cesar was not in a condition to continue hostilities, very grave reasons on the other hand existed why the Pendragon should be willing to listen to any overtures, the acceptance of which delivered the Island from so formidable an enemy. The exact conditions on which peace was concluded are not specified in either the Triads or Commentaries. Hostages and a tribute are mentioned by Cesar, as having been insisted upon by him, and assented to by the Britons; but neither the number of the one or the amount of the other are stated. It is certain from numerous passages in the Roman authors of the Augustan age, that not a single Briton of any eminence quitted the Island a prisoner or hostage. Avarwy and many of his partizans deemed it prudent to take refuge from the storm of national execration, on board the Roman fleet. Avarwy died prior to the assassination of Cesar at Rome.
On the conclusion of the treaty, Cesar moved from Verulam to London. He was entertained with chivalrous magnificence by Caswallon, at the Bryn Gwyn, or White Mount, for seven days. The part of the castle in which he was lodged was henceforth and is still called after his name. The bridge across the Thames being restored, he moved his forces to the Southern side, and thence followed the Gwyddelian road to the camp opposite Thanet. The transmission of all his forces to the continent was effected in the presence of Caswallon and most of the British nobility, in two embarcations. Cesar himself sailed with the second embarcation at to at night, and arrived at Portus Iccius (Vitsand), by day-break the next morning, September 26th, B.C. 54.
The consequences attending the second Julian invasion, skillfully glossed over and coloured as they are in the Commentaries of the Roman general, demonstrates that both at Rome and the continent it was regarded as a more serious failure than the first. The measure taken by Cesar of carrying with him the chiefs of the various Gallic states into Britain enabled each of them to study the art of defensive warfare, as conducted by a general little if at all inferior in the highest qualities of military genius to the Roman. The invasion of Britain cost Cesar very nearly the loss of all his continental acquisitions. Before he could dispose of his troops in winter quarters, the Treviri, Eburones, Senones, and Sicambri, rose in arms.
In the spring, the Arverni—the state most intimately connected by ties of consanguinity with Britain, claiming the same Trojan traditions and descent, placed themselves at the head of a league for the emancipation of Gaul from Roman domination. The work of conquest, which Cesar had believed complete, had to be re-enacted and new fields to be again deluged with blood. These events belong however to Continental and not to British history.
To estimate aright the military abilities of the British Pendragon and the resources of the British people, at this period, it must be remembered that they were engaged against a general and an army to whose arms either before or after the date of the invasion, France, Spain, the Western part of Germany, Africa, Egypt, Western Asia, and finally Italy itself, successively yielded—an army that reduced Africa, Asia, and Europe, into that state of subjugation to a central throne at Rome occupied by the Julian imperial family and its successors in which they remained for several centuries. Contrasted with the overwhelming and permanent success of the Norman invasion, effected by a comparatively barbarian conqueror and forces, the double defeat of the Julian invasions may even at this remote period be dwelt upon with honorable pride by the descendants of the gallant ancestors who achieved it.
For ninety-seven years no Roman again ventured to plant a hostile foot on our Island. And when the Roman eagle under Claudius once more expanded its wings to the stormy winds of Britain, it was when no other enemy unconquered met its eye from the Euphrates to Gibraltar, and the Empire it symbolized had leisure to turn the whole of its vast forces against the sole free people of the West.
Caswallon, after the Julian invasion, reigned for seven years over Britain and its dependencies. Augustus Cesar succeeded Julius at Rome, B.C. 30. The long succession of civil wars from the time of Marius to the defeat of Marcus Antonius at the battle of Actium had used up nearly the whole of the fighting power of Italy. The native Umbrian element which had constituted the military strength of the republic, the only one able to bear the rigor of its discipline or that was animated by a lofty principle of patriotism, was now scattered and diluted over the wide expanse of the empire. Little that could be drawn upon remained in its stern unyielding purity amongst the hills and valleys of the Apennines. Henceforth Rome must be considered rather the aggregate of the continent, in action under a series of able Despots wielding the central power, than as representing the race and mind of Primitive Italy. Many years elapsed before the resources of the empire sufficiently recovered themselves to enable Augustus to turn his attention to Britain. Ambassadors were then sent, demanding that the three Reguli of the Coraniaid, Dumno, Bellaunus, and Jernian, who had appealed to the Protectorate of Rome, to which their state had in the time of Julius been admitted, for the redress of certain alleged grievances, should be restored to their confiscated possessions. Cynvelin (Cymbeline,) the son of Tenuantius, and grand-nephew of Caswallon, had succeeded his father on the British throne. Tenuantius, a monarch distinguished for the justice of his administration and ,the moderation of his views, had lived on terms of amity with Rome. His son Cymbeline had been educated by Augustus in his own palace, and had subsequently served in the German campaigns under Cesar Germanicus. He received the ambassadors with due courtesy, but peremptorily rejected the interference of a foreign Potentate in the affairs of Britain. Augustus immediately ordered one half of the disposable force of the empire to be moved to the Gallic harbors on the channel. Of these he designed to take the command in person. The other half were sent under .AElius Gallus against the Parthians, the only independent nation in the East, as the Britons were in the West. The subjugation of these two would render the whole of the old world a Roman Provincia or conquered land; entitling Augustus, in the Opinion of the literary flatterers who crowded his court, to be considered even before his death and apotheosis a “present god on earth.” (Horace Lib. III. v. 5). The Parthians accepted the Roman terms, and surrendered the standards captured some years before on the field of Charræ or Haran, where Crassus had fallen. The invasion of Britain was a more serious enterprise. Cymbeline had concentrated his forces at Dover—the Southern coast to the Land’s end was guarded by his brother Llyr (Lear). The British fleet, as we learn from the oration of Boadicea, in Dion Cassius, swept the channel. The preparations of Augustus tardily urged indicated that prudential considerations had already superseded the suggestions of pride. His campaigns had never been conducted in person, and where the genius of Julius had been baffled, inferior skill was little likely to incur aught but disgrace. A reverse, as Horace had the courage to warn him (Lib. 1. Ode 35), would be followed by a rising of the Oligarchic faction at home. Cymbeline was not slow to take advantage of this reluctancy. An interview with the imperial friend and host of his youth was solicited. The result was the triumph of British diplomacy—a much rarer species of success in all eras of our history than that of British arms. Not only was the claim of a Protectorate over the Coraniaid and with it the demand of a tribute from that wealthy tribe abandoned, but the heavy duties previously leviable on the introduction of British goods to the continent were reduced to a very light tariff (Strabo Lib. Iv. c. 5). Friendly relations were restored. British nobles again took up their residence at Rome, and were to be seen dedicating their offerings at the shrines of the capitol. The glory of seeing the “unconquered Briton” descend the Sacra Via in chains, (Hor. Lib. III.) was deferred for another generation.
Cymbeline, after a brilliant reign of thirty-five years, was succeeded by his eldest son Guiderius (Gwyddyr) ; his younger, Arviragus, receiving the dukedom of Cornwall. Caradoc, the son of Brân, son of Llyr, brother of Cymbeline, succeeded at the same time by the resignation of his father to the princedom of Cambria. His residence was on the site of the present Dunraven Castle, in the centre of his maternal estates in Siluria. The holy nativity of our blessed Lord and Saviour took place at Bethlehem in the 13th year of the reign of Cymbeline—the crucifixion in the 11th of Guiderius and 17th of Tiberius Cesar, who succeeded Augustus, A.D. 14. Tiberius reigned twenty-three years. In the 19th year of his reign occurred the first persecution of the Church of Christ, by Paul of Tarsus—a young man whom a combination of extraordinary qualifications pointed out to the Jewish Sanhedrim as the champion of their cause against the religion of the Crucified. It raged with great fury, and for a time completely scattered the whole church—the Apostles alone excepted—from the mother-city of Jerusalem. A great propagation of the Gospel had taken place after the day of Pentecost—“devout men of every nation under he designed to take the command in person. The other half were sent under AElius Gallus against the Parthians, the only independent nation in the East, as the Britons were in the West. The subjugation of these two would render the whole of the old world a Roman Provincia or conquered land; entitling Augustus, in the Opinion of the literary flatterers who crowded his court, to be considered even before his death and apotheosis a “present god on earth.” (Horace Lib. III. v. 5). The Parthians accepted the Roman terms, and surrendered the standards captured some years before on the field of Charræ or Haran, where Crassus had fallen. The invasion of Britain was a more serious enterprise. Cymbeline had concentrated his forces at Dover—the Southern coast to the Land’s end was guarded by his brother Llyr (Lear). The British fleet, as we learn from the oration of Boadicea, in Dion Cassius, swept the channel. The preparations of Augustus tardily urged indicated that prudential considerations had already superseded the suggestions of pride. His campaigns had never been conducted in person, and where the genius of Julius had been baffled, inferior skill was little likely to incur aught but disgrace. A reverse, as Horace had the courage to warn him (Lib. 1. Ode 35), would be followed by a rising of the Oligarchic faction at home. Cymbeline was not slow to take advantage of this reluctancy. An interview with the imperial friend and host of his youth was solicited. The result was the triumph of British diplomacy—a much rarer species of success in all eras of our history than that of British arms. Not only was the claim of a Protectorate over the Coraniaid and with it the demand of a tribute from that wealthy tribe abandoned, but the heavy duties previously leviable on the introduction of British goods to the continent were reduced to a very light tariff (Strabo Lib. Iv. c. 5). Friendly relations were restored. British nobles again took up their residence at Rome, and were to be seen dedicating their offerings at the shrines of the capitol. The glory of seeing the “ unconquered Briton “ descend the Sacra Via in chains, (Hor. Lib. III.) was deferred for another generation.
Cymbeline, after a brilliant reign of thirty-five years, was succeeded by his eldest son Guiderius (Gwyddyr) ; his younger, Arviragus, receiving the dukedom of Cornwall. Caradoc, the son of Brân, son of Llyr, brother of Cymbeline, succeeded at the same time by the resignation of his father to the princedom of Cambria. His residence was on the site of the present Dunraven Castle, in the centre of his maternal estates in Siluria. The holy nativity of our blessed Lord and Saviour took place at Bethlehem in the 13th year of the reign of Cymbeline—the crucifixion in the 11th of Guiderius and 17th of Tiberius Cesar, who succeeded Augustus, A.D. 14. Tiberius reigned twenty-three years. In the 19th year of his reign occurred the first persecution of the Church of Christ, by Paul of Tarsus—a young man whom a combination of extraordinary qualifications pointed out to the Jewish Sanhedrim as the champion of their cause against the religion of the Crucified. It raged with great fury, and for a time completely scattered the whole church—the Apostles alone excepted—from the mother-city of Jerusalem. A great propagation of the Gospel had taken place after the day of Pentecost—“devout men of every nation under heaven” carrying intelligence of the miraculous descent of the Holy Spirit, and of the preaching of the new faith, known then simply as “the way—the way of God,” to their respective countries. The Pauline persecution, by dispersing the Judean Christians, caused a second great propagation. Amongst others who were thus driven to foreign lands was Joseph of Arimathea. He, with Mary Magdelene, Lazarus against whom the Jews cherished an inextinguishable hatred, Mary, and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, with their hand-maiden Mersilla, were carried out to sea and con-signed, in a vessel without oars or sails, to the mercy of the elements. After dreadful sufferings they were cast ashore near Massilia (Marseilles), in the South of France. From this city Joseph found means to communicate with his family and friends in Palestine. Forty of them, eleven being his own relatives, joined him; Philip the apostle coming with them. After preaching the Gospel twelve months in Gaul, Joseph and his fraternity were invited by some eminent British Druids who had been amongst his hearers, to Britain. They were well received by Arviragus and placed under the protection of one of the three great Druidic Côrau (Circles) of the kingdom, in Ynys Avallon. Here they laid the foundation of the, first Christian church on record, sixty feet in length and twenty-six in breadth, building it in the Gallic fashion of timber pillars, connected by double tissues of strong wicker-work. This church became the nucleus of a succession of magnificent edifices erected over its unaspiring roof. It passed for some generations by no other name than “the home of God—the house of God—the secret of God.” Subsequently it was known as the “mother of Churches—the glory of Britain—the resting place of Apostles.” The island on which it was built either from the clearness of the springs in which it abounded or because Joseph was said to have brought with him the chrystal vessel in which St. John and himself received the blood and water which at the piercing of the Centurion’s, Longinus spear had flowed on the cross from The heart of our Blessed Saviour, was called Ynys Wydrin, (the chrystal Isle), translated by the Saxons in aftertimes to Glas-ton and Glastonbury. It is satisfactory to add that the course of this the mother church of Britain as church, college, and abbacy, as it was the longest, so also was it the most beneficent of all those of the great ecclesiastical establishments of Christendom. Its estates, held in trusteeship for and ever devoted to the sustentation and employment of the poor and the encouragement of learning, were confiscated in the time of Henry viii, amidst the general regret and indignation of the kingdom. They now yield rentals exceeding 300,000 per annum. The gentle unobtrusive character of the “high-born Decurio” as Joseph is termed in the British records was admirably adapted by conciliating the esteem of Arviragus and the war-like population of his Western dominions, to prepare the way for the future extension of Christianity in the island. Amongst his converts were Gladys, sister of Arviragus and Guiderius, subsequently under her Roman designation of Pomponia Graecina married to Aulus Plautius, the Roman commander, and Eigra sister of Caractacus and wife of Salog, Lord of Caer Salog (Salisbury), the first female saint in Britain. Amongst the missionaries of the gospel educated and sent forth by Joseph at Avallon, were St. Beatus (Gwynfyd), and St. Mansuetus (Mwyngu). Beatus born of noble parentage in Britain passed over to the continent and founded the Helvetian (Switzerland) church. He began his mission by disposing of all his property for the redemption of Helvetian prisoners of war. He fixed his habitation at Underseven, near the lake of Thun, where his church and cell remain objects of profound veneration. He died A.D. 96.
Mansuetus, born in Ireland, converted in Britain, preached the gospel with St. Clement in Gaul. He founded the church of Lorraine. From this province he extended his evangelical labours to Illyria, and finally suffered martrydom at Toul, A.D. 110. Thus before an acre of British soil was incorporated with the empire of Pagan Rome, Britain had not only received the gospel, hut had been the blessed instrument of its propagation to nations on the continent.
In A.D. 37, Tiberius was succeeded by Caius Caligula. The year was marked by the births of Nero, Josephus the historian, and Julius Agricola—the last destined to enact an important part in the future wars of Britain.
The tranquility pervading the Roman Empire induced Caligula to renew the attempts at a con-quest which the first and second Cesars had either failed to achieve or wisely bequeathed to their successors. The character however of this emperor, compounded of mania and vice, left a memorable stamp of ridicule upon the whole expedition. The armies of Gaul and the Rhine rendezvoused at Boulogne; a Roman flotilla collected from Spain was moored, ostensibly prepared to embark the troops, in the Seine, The appearance however, of a British fleet under Arviragus disconcerted and put an abrupt end to the enterprize, if indeed it was ever seriously meditated. Caligula, who felt a morbid delight in burlesquing the most momentous measures of state and scandalizing the world by the maddest acts of imperial caprice, held a grand review of his splendid expeditionary force on the sands at Boulogne. At its termination, mounting the tribunal, he expatiated on the glory already encircling his brow, as one who had led his troops like Bacchus, Hercules, and Sesostris, to the confines ,of the earth-surrounding ocean—he asked if such renown ought to be jeopardized by an armed exploration of an island which nature itself had removed beyond the power and jurisdiction of the gods of Rome, and which the campaigns of the deified Cesar himself had only succeeded in pointing out to the wonder of the continental world. “ Let us, my fellow-soldiers,” he concluded, adopting the well-known phrase of the Great Julius, “ leave these Britons unmolested, —to war beyond the bounds of nature is not courage, but impiety ; let us rather load ourselves with the bloodless spoils of the Atlantic ocean, which the same beneficent goddess of nature presents on these sands so lavishly at our feet. Follow the example of your emperor—behold, he added, suiting the action to his words, I wreathe for laurel this garland of green seaweed around my immortal brow, and for spolia opima I fill my helm with these smooth and brilliant shells. Decorated with these, we will return to Rome, and instead of a British King, Neptune the god of ocean himself shall follow a captive to the capitol behind our triumphal car. To each of you, my fellow-soldiers in this arduous enterprize, I promise the gratuity of a year’s extra pay, in just acknowledgment of your services and fidelity to your emperor.”
This singular harangue, which it is difficult to regard in any other light than the practical sarcasm of an absolute despot, whose gloomy insanity, like that of Paul’s of Russia, was occasionally illuminated by disordered flashes of wit, on the scarcely less insane ambition and egotism of the whole of conquerors, was received with thunders of acclamation. The projected expedition had been from the first viewed with extreme distaste by the soldiers in general, and despite the stern indignation openly manifested and expressed by their officers, they did not hesitate to give full vent to their satisfaction, and with military jests and peals of laughter, imitate the example of their imperial master. Of all trials to the faith of a christian in the super-intending providence of God, the spectacle so constantly meeting our view in History of the welfare of nations being placed at the mercy of idiots and of the vilest characters in “ high places,” is the most trying; it is also perhaps the surest moral evidence we possess of the certainty of a future state of compensation and retribution. The British fleet gazed with astonishment on the bronzed and mail-clad veterans of the empire disporting them-selves with the hilarity of children in the childish amusement of gathering shells on the sea-shore. The explanation of so curious an illustration of the workings of despotism was scarcely less perplexing, but supplied, when comprehended, an inexhaustible topic of social merriment and Bardic satire to the whole island. The camp was broken up, and Caligula entered Rome in triumphal procession with his army, on his birthday, August 31St, A.D. 40. He was assassinated next year, in the 29th year of his age (January 24th), and succeeded by Claudius, then in his 50th year.
The year A.D. 42 was distinguished by the incorporation of the whole of Northern Africa with the Roman empire by the arms of Suetonius Paulinus and Cneius Ovidius Geta.
In July, a British embassy arrived from Guiderius at Rome, complaining of the encouragement given by the Roman court to the intrigues of Beric and Adminius, two princes of the Brigantes and Coritani, who had been banished Britain for treasonable practices, being detected in a correspondence with Caligula during the late menaced invasion. The embassy returned not only re infectâ, but announcing the determination of Claudius to attempt at all hazard the subjugation of Britain.
Whatever estimate we may form of the political capabilities of Claudius himself, it is certain at no time were the great offices of state filled by men of higher administrative powers. Policy also required that the vast military forces of the empire should be found foreign employment, no danger being so reasonably to be dreaded by a despotism as an idle and therefore licentious soldiery. The safety of the throne of the Cesars rested on the allegiance—the allegiance on the discipline—the discipline on the honorable employment of the legions against the enemies of Rome. These vital considerations formed and dictated the foreign policy of the imperial court. Colorable pretexts were never wanting for carrying out such policy against independent states. War, in the usual form of the Roman college of heralds (Feoiales)—casting a spear towards Britain and calling upon the gods to withdraw their presence and protection from her, was declared. All communication between the two kingdoms was suspended. A powerful force under Aulus Plautus, one of the ablest and most unscrupulous of the iron-hearted generals of the empire, was concentrated at the usual rendezvous of Boulogne. The fleet collected for their transportation was too numerous and well-equipped for the British naval force to cope with. It returned therefore at the orders of Guiderius to Torbay. This obstacle was no sooner removed than another from a wholly different but not unexpected quarter presented itself. The army of invasion on discovering their destination to be Britain, broke out into mutiny. Appeals to their sacraments or military oaths of obedience and loyalty failed to move them. The lapse of three generations had not extinguished the memory of the Julian campaigns in the imperial armies—tales of them, of the terrible chariot-charges, of the obstinate and sanguinary engagements on the Walmer beach, in the pitched fields and within the camps themselves, handed down as embellished in the vivid narratives of tradition, were related in every tent. The various cohorts, to the impassioned addresses of their general, returned a sullen and determined refusal to embark. Hanging up their arms they exclaimed, “We will march anywhere within the Roman world, but not out of it.” The crisis was pregnant with more than one kind of danger. Narcissus, an eunuch, the freedman and favorite minister of Claudius was immediately dispatched from the court to the scene of disaffection. Convening the soldiers, Narcissus whose defects were not those of moral or physical cowardice, mounted the general’s tribunal and began an oration to them. It was the first time an eunuch had ventured to address a Roman army. Stupefaction for a time kept the legions dumb, but when he exclaimed, “He would himself be their leader into Britain,” tears of shame burst down their cheeks, and a universal shout of indignation rose from the camp—- “than an eunuch should dare offer to lead men.” The re-action was complete. Surrounding the tent of Plautus, “they implored him to lead them to Britain or wherever he would.” The general took instant advantage of this change of temper, and embarking them in three divisions, landed two days afterwards between Thanet and Richborough.
The Claudian invasion which commences here, A.D. 43, and terminated after a war of forty-three years’ duration waged with fluctuating success, in the expulsion of the Romans from Britain, A.D. 86, is remarkable for the succession of able commanders produced by it on both sides. Britain during this period, served the same purpose for Rome as Hindostan has, during the last century, for Britain—it was the nursery for raising generals and maintaining the efficiency of her troops. With the exception of the campaigns of Corbulo, in Germany (A.D. 47), and Armenia (A.D. 58), and of the conquest of Dacia effected in one campaign, (A.D. 86), no other foreign hostilities engaged the attention of the Roman arms. The emperors were at liberty to direct the whole force of the empire against this island alone—a fact as it has been carefully ignored by the Roman historians, so it excites no surprise that it should not have been observed by the modern writers who can see nothing British in these heroic old times except through the hostile and distorting medium of Roman eyes.
The line of advance taken by Plautus was the same as that upon which Julius Cesar had, after the action at Caii Collis, moved towards the metropolis—the Gwyddelian road. The British army under Guiderius and his cousin Caradoc (Caractacus), was drawn up on the flat between the Kentish hills and the Thames, on the spot where now stands the town of Deptford. The battle which ensued terminated in the retreat of Guiderius along the south bank of the river, where, near Richmond, a second battle was fought, in which the British sovereign was slain. He was succeeded by Arviragus; but the national emergency requiring that unity of action which could only be secured by unity of command, Caradoc was by the unanimous voice of the national council nominated to the Pendragonate—Arviragus himself giving the first vote in his favor, and consenting to act under him. Caradoc withdrew his forces across the Thames at Chertsey—Plautus in pursuit, attempting to force the passage, was thrice repulsed with loss. The fourth attempt was successful. The Roman army being divided into three battalions under Plautus, Flavius Vespasian the future emperor, and his brother, entered the river at so many different points, whilst a strong body of German cavalry which had swum it lower down took the British position in flank. The engagement on the north side after the passage had been effected lasted, according to Dion Cassius the Greek historian, who drew his materials from the imperial or state records at Rome, for two days; the Pen-dragon being at last defeated by a most daring maneuver made on his flank and rear by Cneius Geta, the recent conqueror of Mauritania. So highly was this exploit appreciated that Geta was rewarded with a triumph—an almost unprecedented honor under the circumstances, for he had not yet attained the consular dignity. Caradoc, Winstead of retiring into the interior, led his forces round London into the Essex fens. Plautus and Vespasian in following him were so roughly handled that messengers were dispatched to Rome for reinforcements and instructions. The emperor himself immediately quitted Rome, and passing through Gaul, landed at Richborough with the second and fourteenth legions, their auxiliaries, and a cohors of elephants; he effected a junction with Plautus at Verulam. The army thus strengthened moved against Caer-Col or Colchester, the Coritani under Adminius joining its ranks and raising the standard of rebellion in the rear of the Pendragon. Dion Cassius calls Caer-Col the Basileion or royal city of Cymbeline, the father of Arviragus. In its defence Caradoc was persuaded against his own judgment to hazard another pitched field. His defeat was decisive; the cohors of elephants brought over by Claudius with this especial view, rendering nugatory all the efforts of the charioteers to urge their steeds as heretofore on the Roman lines. After a brief resistance Colchester surrendered. Claudius satisfied with this success concluded a treaty with the two states of the Coranida and Iceni, by which it was stipulated that on the payment of a certain amount of tribute they should under the Roman Protectorate be guaranteed the retention of their lands, laws, and native government. Claudius taking his departure and leaving the further prosecution of the war to Plautus, Vespasian, and Geta, celebrated his triumph at Rome with signal magnificence—the more impressive from the humility displayed by himself in ascending the steps of the capitol on his knees, supported on either side by his sons-in-law. To Rubrius Pollio his prefect the senate decreed a statue,—to Plautus a public triumph. Undismayed by his reverses, or by the presence of the three ablest generals of Rome in the field against him, Caradoc having wasted the territories of the Coraniaid with fire and sword, transferred the scene of warfare from the champaign countries to the hilly districts of the South-West. Vespasian was dispatched with the Roman fleet to effect a landing at Torbay, whilst Plautus marched upon the Pendragon by land; Geta being left in command at Colchester, with orders to commence the construction of a line of fortresses from the head of the fens, now forming the isle of Ely, to Glocester. This immense work, the object of which was, by inclosing Caradoc between the forces of Vespasian and the rising circumvallation in his rear, to compel him either to precipitate abandonment of the southern portion of the Island, or to a surrender, was carried on with the usual indefatigable energy of the Roman legionaries. Tower after tower rose, each as it was completed being occupied by its appropriate garrison. Vespasian mean-while attended by his son Titus, subsequently the conqueror of Judea and Jerusalem, and his successor in the empire, after being repulsed by Arviragus in an attack made by them on Dover castle, a position of great strength, directed their course to Torbay where they landed in the fourth year of the war, June 3rd, A.D. 47. Devonshire, Dorsetshire, and the south of Somersetshire were then included under the general name of Dyvnoedd, (Damnonia, Devonia,) the deep-vales. The campaigns which followed would require a volume to do them justice. They absorbed during the time they were carried on the undivided attention of the Roman world. Since the days of Mithridates no opponent of the pretensions of Rome to universal dominion had appeared worthy to be compared in martial qualities and steadiness of purpose with the British Pendragon. The camps, Roman and British, pitched at almost regular intervals in hostile frontage of each other, over the whole surface of Devonia, remain insuppressible evidences of the desperate nature of the conflict which raged for three years within its confines. According to Suetonius, thirty—according to Eutropius, thirty-two battles were fought between Vespasian and Caradoc in this brief period. Their mere number proves that in none of them could either side boast of any very decisive advantage. The head quarters of Vespasian and Titus were fixed at the great camp on Hampden hill, near Ilchested, the area of which is able to accommodate I00,000 men. On ground now forming a farm called Conquest-Farm, Bishop’s Lydiard, near a smaller camp of twenty acres, Arviragus in the absence of Caradoc sustained a total defeat. Vespasian after his victory proceeded to invest Caer-Usc (Exeter). On the eighth day of the siege he was surprised in his entrenchments by Caradoc and Arviragus, and routed with great slaughter. Titus had on this occasion the glory of saving his father’s life; the British attack was so sudden and overwhelming that Vespasian was on the point of being slain in his tent, when Titus at the head of the first cohort of the 14th legion, divining his father’s danger, charged his captors, and after a sanguinary conflict, rescued him from their hands.
The fluctuations in the fortunes of the war which ensued till the recall of Aulus Plautus and the appointment of Ostorius Scapula to the chief military command of the armies of invasion, are tersely but graphically summed up by Tacitus the Roman oligarchic historian in his description of the career of Caradoc— “the Silures reposed unbounded confidence in Caractacus, enumerating the many drawn battle he had fought with the Romans, the many victories he had obtained over them.” The disingenuousness of the Roman historians is in nothing more conspicuous than in the determined silence they observe as to the names, localities, and details of these British victories—every British reverse being on the other hand carefully and circumstantially chronicled. The memory of the incorruptible and high-souled Patriot who led the Britons in so many fields against a succession of the most skilful generals Rome could command was long cherished with ardent affection by the Kymry. Three have been, declare their Triads, our Hero-Kings—Cynvelin—Caradoc, son of Brân—Arthur. These so conquered their enemies that except by treachery they could not be overthrown. “Three have been the Chief-Battle-Kings of the Isle of Britain—Caswallon, son of Beli—Arviragus, son of Cynvelin—and Caradoc, son of Brân. The popularity of Caradoc alluded to by Tacitus is testified to in another of their ancient records, which mentions him as one of the three Kings whom every Briton from the sovereign to the peasant followed in their country’s need to battle. Nor are the literary claims of “the patriotic harasser of Rome” to be passed by without notice. Like most of the distinguished characters in Kymric annals he resembled David of Israel in uniting the prowess of the soldier with the inspiration of the Bard. The spirit of personal adventure formed also a striking trait in his character. During the truce which ensued on the recall of Plautus, he proceeded with him, in order to grace the approaching marriage of his cousin Pomponia with his presence, to Rome. Here presenting himself before the senate he
addressed them to the effect, that understanding it had been given out by the Roman generals that the forest defiles of Devon and Siluria were the chief cause of the non-success of their arms, he had given orders to burn down every tree from the Sea to the Severn on his own patrimony in the latter country: “not a sprig was left for the foot of a bird to rest upon,” the houses which were generally built, as in many parts of the Principality they still are, of timber frames filled up with stones or bricks, being reconstructed of stone alone. Being shewn by his new connections the capitol and other magnificent public and private edifices, he observed with the usual contempt of great minds for externals, “It is singular a people possessing such splendid piles of marble at home should envy me a soldier’s tent in Britain.” On the expiration of the truce and the return of Caradoc to his command, Ostorius Scapula with the Plautian line of fortresses for his base of operations, proceeded to carry the war to the West of the Severn. Our summary will not enable us to do more than state that at the end of the third campaign, A.D. 52, Caradoc was defeated and his forces dispersed at Caer Caradoc, on the Venedotian frontiers : his wife and daughter Gladys or Claudia, with his two brothers, falling into
the hands of the conqueror. He himself took refuge at her repeated solicitations, with Cartismandua, queen of the Brigantes, was arrested when asleep in his chamber by a body of armed men, loaded with chains, and delivered up to the Romans. This infamous proceeding on the part of the granddaughter of the arch-traitor, Avarwy, inheriting his detestable spirit of falsehood and treachery, is known in the Triads as the “first of the three secret betrayals of the Isle of Britain.” Sent to Rome under a strong guard, the arrival of the illustrious captive excited the attention of all classes. The populace thronged the roads leading to the city to obtain a view of the man whose name as the redoubted antagonist and often times victor of Rome in the great Isle of the West, had for nine years been familiar to their ears. The senate was convened, addresses comparing the event to the most glorious [incidents, such as the fall of Hannibal, Mithridates, and Jugurtha, in the times of the republic, were delivered, and triumphal honors decreed to Ostorius. The trial and speech of Caradoc before the throne of the Emperor in the presence of the senate are subjects too trite to be dilated upon. As free in chains as on his native hills, his calm and dignified demeanor commanded the admiration of the assembly. “Had my policy,” he said, “ in prosperous times been framed solely with a view to the preservation of my hereditary domains, or the aggrandizement of my own family, I might long since have entered this city a friend rather than a prisoner of war—nor would you have disdained as an ally a King descended from illustrious ancestors and the Pendragon of many nations. My present condition, striped of its former majesty as it is to me, is proportionately a triumph to you. I was lord of men, horses, arms, wealth —what wonder if I refused at your dictation to resign them? You aspire to universal dominion, does it follow that every nation should accept the vassalage you would impose? I am now in your power, betrayed, not conquered. Had I like others yielded without resistance where would have been the name of Caradoc, where your glory? Oblivion would have buried both in the same tomb. Bid me live, I shall survive for ever in history one example at least of Roman clemency.”
The custom at those most revolting exhibitions of Roman pride and blood-thirstiness called “Triumphs” was, that at a certain spot on the Sacra Via the captive Kings and Generals who followed barefooted, bareheaded, and in fetters, the triumphal car of their conqueror, should be removed from the procession, cast into the Tarpeian dungeons and there strangled, decapitated, or left to perish of hunger. The mass of common prisoners were condemned to slay each other in single combats at the next gladiatorial games, for the amusement of the most degraded rabble that perhaps were ever collected within the walls of a great city. The preservation of Caradoc forms a solitary exception in the long catalogue of victims to this cowardly and atrocious policy. He was permitted to reside for seven years in free custody at Rome; his aged father Brân, and the whole of the royal family of Siluria, being detained as hostages for him. His residence was in the palace on the declivity of the Mons Sacer, converted by his grand-daughter, Pudentiana, into the first Christian Church at Rome, known first as the “Titulus” and now as “St. Pudentiana.” Here his daughter Gladys, or Claudia, was married to Rufus Pudens, a Roman Patrician who had filled high civil and military positions in Britain, and whose estates lay in the Umbrian Apennines. Four children were the issue of this marriage, St. Timotheus, St. Novatus, St. Pudentiana, St. Praxedes. Two of the brothers of Claudia were St. Cyllinus, who ended his days in Britain, and Linus (Lleyn), who afterwards was ordained first Bishop of the Gentile Church of Rome, by St. Paul—as St. Clement was of the Hebrew Church. Rufus Pudens was converted to Christianity probably by his wife, herself a convert of the Arimathean mission, certainly before the first arrival of St. Paul at Rome—for in his Epistle to the Romans written prior to such arrival, Rufus is mentioned as already “chosen in the Lord.” In A.D. 56, St. Paul came to Rome. In A.D. 57, Brân, Caradoc, and the other members of the royal family of Siluria were converted and baptized by him.
From this date the “Titulus” became the home of St. Paul and of the other apostles whenever they visited Rome. The children of Claudia, mentioned above, were brought up literally upon their knees. Hermas, called “Pastor,” from a work of his so entitled, was ordained the first Minister to the Christians assembling for praise and prayer in this house. In A.D. 59, Aristobulus, brother of St. Barnabas, and father-in-law of St. Peter, was ordained by St. Paul first Bishop of the Britons, and left Rome with Brân, Caradoc, and the royal family for Siluria. Two other missionaries, Iltyd and Cyndav, “men of Israel,” as they are termed in the Kymric genealogies of the primitive saints, accompanied shim. Brân himself is on account of this the second phase in the introduction of Christianity into Britain, known as one of the King-benefactors of the island, and the epithet Bendigedig (Benedictus, Blessed), generally attached to his name. The following year St. Paul himself visited his royal converts in Britain, and returned after a stay of some months with Claudia, Pudens, and Linus, to the continent. In A.D. 67, after his second imprisonment at Rome, and on the evening preceding his execution, he wrote from the house of Claudius his farewell epistle to Timothy of Crete. The only salutations in it are those of the family of the great British patriot—Pudens, Linus, Eubulus, and Claudia, who were thus, by the unsearchable ways of the Almighty exalted, through the fiery ordeal of national disasters and family humiliation, to administer to the departing hours of the Apostle and founder in Christ of the Gentile Church. No lovelier character than that of the high-born British matron thus tending Paul the aged during the interval between “the offering up of his body” and “his reception of the crown of glory prepared for him” is presented to our admiration in the pages of history; nor any instance more striking of the manner in which God, who bringeth good out of evil, over-rules temporal calamities into agencies of eternal salvation. The introduction of the Gospel into Britain from direct Apostolic sources and under the highest secular auspices in the kingdom is traceable to a catastrophe which at the moment appeared not only irretrievable but to militate against the justice of Heaven in the government of nations.
In A.D. 53, Nero on the death of Claudius succeeded Sept. 28th, to the throne. He remained for some time under the influence of Seneca, a Stoic philosopher in profession, but in practice a grinding usurer. The capital of this man amounted to nearly fifteen millions of modern money. Two millions of this he advanced on the security of their public buildings, to the Iceni of Britain, being the first instance of a national loan on record. The King of the Iceni was Prasutagus—his Queen, Victoria (Vuddig, Boeddig, Boadicea). The wealth of Prasutagus was notorious at Rome.
Arviragus meanwhile had been elected successor to Caradoc in the Pendragonate. Ostorius was defeated by him at Caer Belin, near Caerleon. Worn out in mind and body by the increasing difficulties of his position, Ostorius shortly afterwards resigned the command to Didius Gallus—Gallus to Veranius, but neither proved equal to the task of coping with the British sovereign. The Roman armies were driven behind the Plautian lines. Veranius was superseded by Suetonius Paulinus—a commander of very different stamp, having, among other able subordinates under him, Julius Agricola.
In A.D. 57, Pomponia Grecina being publicly charged with the crime of Christianity, which under the Roman law was dealt with as treason, was proceeded against by order of Nero the emperor, “according to ancient institution“—that is, before a court of her relatives, presided over by her husband. She was acquitted of all imputations affecting her life or honor.
In A.D. 6o, the Boadicean war in the East of Britain was added to that which raged in the West under Arviragus. The cause of it was as follows:—Seneca, the capitalist had, without due notice given, demanded immediate repayment of his loan to the Iceni, with interest charged at an exorbitant rate. On the Iceni senate demurring to the rate of interest, and requesting time to realize the necessary funds to discharge the principal, orders at the instigation of Seneca were sent by Nero to the Roman prefect to take possession of all the public temples, castles, and palaces, belonging to the state. The order was rigorously executed—a Roman force was marched upon Castor, near Norwich, and garrisons placed in the inferior fortresses. A few months subsequent to these peremptory measures, and whilst the Iceni were yet smarting under the sense of degradation, Prasutagus the king died, leaving by will Nero co-heir with his two daughters to his accumulated treasures. On the pretext that the whole of this royal hoard came under the denomination of public property, Caius Decius proceeded to take possession of it. Resistance being made, the legionaries stormed the palace, perpetrated the most brutal outrages on the persons of Queen Boadicea (Victoria) and her two daughters, and carried off the treasures to the castle. Not con-tent with the commission of these atrocities, Decius issued an edict confiscating, in direct violation of the Claudian treaty, the estates of many of the Icenic nobility. At the same time that orders had been dispatched to Decius, Suetonius Paulinus, stationed then at St. Alban’s, received instructions to extirpate Druidism at all hazards with the sword; and with this view, to invade Mona (Anglesey), its chief seat in Cambria. The spirit of unbending patriotism which has in all ages and against all invaders so nobly distinguished the Bardic Order of Britain, was an unpardonable crime in the eyes of an empire whose unsatiable lust for territorial aggrandizement calumniated where it could not conquer, and only spared where it could safely despise. The instructions were executed with the ruthless thoroughness characteristic of the Roman service. By a succession of forced marches, Suetonius reached the Straits of the Menai. Here on either side extended the cemeteries of the ancient religion. Here reposed, between the soaring ram-parts of Snowdon and the blue waves of an unexplored and boundless sea, on the furthest verge of the old world, Chiefs whose ashes for fifteen hundred years had never been desecrated by the tramp above them of a foreign foe ; Archdruids, the depositaries of the unwritten wisdom of the East,—Kings, Cimbric names had carried terror to Southern and far distant lands. Through these sanctuaries of so many and such ancient memories, the regulated march of the mailed legions of Rome now resounded. But behind them a nation was rising in arms. Whilst Druidic Priest and Priestess were being butchered on their own altars by the Roman sword, and the waters of the Menai were illuminated night and day by the glare of the conflagrations of the) sacred groves, tens of thousands of Roman citizens were expiating with their lives the nefarious massacre. No sooner had the first intimation of the real nature of the expedition of Paulinus been made known than the war became a religious crusade. The Iceni and Coranidæ had so entirely forfeited the name of Britons that their oppression alone would have been regarded in the light of a just retribution; but the massacre of the Menai merged this feeling in one of universal indignation and horror. Offers of support poured in from all quarters, and Victoria soon found herself at the head of 120,000 men. The Roman accounts impress us vividly with the deep gloom in which the Roman forces were plunged by a series of portents, the more interesting as they are recorded in full faith by the pen of the philosophic historian, Tacitus, who in the preceding page reproaches the Druidic religion as a sanguinary superstition. At Colchester, the statue of victory, like that of Dagon at Joppa, fell backward and was broken into fragments. A Pythoness agitated as Cassandra on the eve of the fall of Troy, with the irrepressible spirit of divination, caused the streets to re-echo with her involuntary cry—“Death is at hand! In the Roman senate-house the British war-cry, uttered by invisible tongues, terrified and dispersed the councillors—the theatres resounded with the groans and wailings of a field of battle—in the waters of the Thames appeared the mirage of a Roman colony subverted and in ruins—the channel between Dover and Calais ran at high tide with blood; on the bide receding, the sands revealed in long lines the impressions of files of bodies as if laid out for burial. The Menai massacre had in fact no less terrified the consciences of its perpetrators than it had roused beyond control the religious fury of the British population. The Deity, states Dion Cassius, predicted by these and other omens the magnitude of the impending disasters. The war was marked indeed by all the atrocities on both sides which have ever been the characteristics of religious crusades. The British army assembled at Caer Llyr (Leicester), under Venusius, was harangued in person by Victoria. The description of the person of the outraged Queen, by Dion, is exceedingly interesting:—” Boadicea mounted the general’s tribunal—her stature was of the largest —her appearance terrible—her aspect calm and collected—her voice deep and stern. Her hair fell as low as the hips, in long golden tresses, collected round her forehead by a golden coronet. She wore a Tartan dress, fitting closely to the bosom, but below the waist opening in loose folds as a gown. Over it was a chlamys, or military cloak. This was her usual attire—on this occasion she carried also a spear.” Her prayer to Andraste, the British goddes of victory, will give a fair idea of the spirit and tenor of her address. ——
“I thank thee,—I worship thee, I appeal to thee, a woman to a woman, O Andraste! I rule not like Nitocris over beasts of burden, as are the effeminate nations of the East, nor like Semiramis over mere tradesmen and traffickers like the Egyptians, nor like the man-woman Nero, over slaves and eunuchs,—such is the precious literature these Romans would introduce amongst us; but I rule over Britons little skilled indeed in craft and policy, but born and trained to the game of war—men who in the cause of liberty stake down their own lives, the lives of their wives and children, their lands and property. Queen of such a race, I implore thine aid for freedom—for victory over enemies infamous for the wantonness of the wrongs they inflict, for their per-version of justice, for their contempt of religion, for their insatiable greed; but a people also that revel in unmanly pleasures, that cannot live without luxurious dishes, or sleep except on beds of down—whose affections are more to be dreaded and abhorred than their wars. Never let a foreigner bear rule over me or these my countrymen! Never let slavery reign in this Isle—its proper home is Rome. Be thou alone for ever, O goddess of manhood and of victory, sovereign and queen in Britain!”
Colchester was carried on the first assault by the British army. The temple garrison by the veterans held out for two days, and then shared the same fate. Petilius Cerealis, the Roman lieutenant, was defeated with the loss of the whole of the 9th legion, at Cogges hall (Cocci Collis). Cerealis himself with a few horsemen escaped into camp. The municipal town of Verulam was in the same manner stormed, gutted, and burnt. London during the protracted absence of Arviragus in the West had once again failed in its allegiance, and received a Roman garrison, under the name of a colony, within its walls. Its commerce at this period was so extensive that the Roman citizens alone resident in it were estimated at 50,000. If we calculate these at so high as a sixth part of its whole population, we have a strong though undersigned confirmation of the extreme antiquity assigned by the British historians to the foundation and splendor of the British capital. Against it the British army, now swelled to 230,000 men, directed its vengeance. Such of the inhabitants as possessed the means fled at its approach; the rest, including the Roman citizens and foreign merchants, took refuge with the garrison, in the ramparts extending from the temple of Diana to the White Mount. The ramparts were escaladed —the city fired in four different quarters—public buildings and private residences reduced alike to ashes. “No quarter or ransom,” states Tacitus, “was given or taken on either side in this war.” It is difficult to conjecture how many lives were sacrificed in this act of national justice. Tacitus implies that before the engagement with Paulinus, more than 70,000 Romans had fallen either in garrison or in the field. It is worthy of remark, that the only time London has been rifled and destroyed, has been, not by a foreign enemy, but by a British Queen and a British army, visiting it with condign punishment for its collusion with a foreign invader. The lesson appears never to have been forgotten, for its citizens have ever since seen the first to repel the open attacks or insidious influences of foreign powers. Leaving this terrible example of a metropolis smouldering in ashes quenched with the blood of its inhabitants behind, Victoria swept westward with her forces. Tacitus records but two, Dion many engagements between her and the Roman general. Her epithet in the British chronicles, (Vuddig, Victoria,) implies that in not a few of these success attended her arms. Tacitus fixes the last battle on the edge of Epping Forest—the Greek historian and the British traditions, on the Gwyddelian road, near Newmarket, in Flintshire. The various names on this latter site express so correctly the incidents of the battle that we may almost imagine Dion Cassius examined the ground prior to writing his description. Here are “Cop Paulinus“—the “Hill of Arrows“—the “Hill of the Carnage“—the “Hollow of Woe“—the “Knoll of the Melee“—the “Hollow of Execution“—the “Field of the Tribunal“—the “Hollow of No-Quarter.” Half a mile distant is the memorial stone termed the “stone of lamentation”; and on the road to Caerwys was formerly, now removed to Downing, the “stone of the Grave of Buddig,” (Victoria’s tomb). Turning to the pages of Dion, we find the conflict to have been just what these names suggest and perpetuate—a deadly melee of heavy armed legionaries, auxiliaries, archers, cavalry, and charioteers, mingled together and swaying to and fro in all the heady currents of a desperate fight over the whole extent of the ground.
The fortune of the day towards sunset inclined to the Romans. The Britons were driven back within their entrenchments, leaving a large number dead on the field or prisoners in the hands of the enemy. The rest retired in good order, and pre-pared shortly afterwards to renew the conflict. In the interim, however, Victoria died; according to Tacitus, by poison—according to Dion, in the course of nature. She was buried with profuse magnificence.
The death of Victoria, or as she is generally designated, Boadicea, affected little the resources or spirit of the Kymry of the West. Under Arviragus, Venusius, and Galgacus ap Lleenog, Prince of the Strath-Clyde Britons, the war was continued with unabated vigor. The name of Arviragus had attained at Rome a celebrity equal to that of this cousin Caradoc, nor could Juvenal suggest any news which would have been hailed with more intense satisfaction than that of the fall of this indomitable Pendragon.
“——— Has our great enemy
Arviragus, the car-borne British King,
Dropped from his battle-throne?”
“Ferox Provincia,” an “untameable province,” is the name applied by the Latin historians to our Island at this period the Silurians especially, states Tacitus, “could neither be coerced by any measures, however sanguinary, nor bribed by any promises, however brilliant, to acknowledge the dominion of Rome.” Harassed by the same anxieties that had under-mined the constitution of Ostorius Scapula, Paulinus at the expiration of A.D. 60, resigned in favor of Petronius Turpilianus. The whole of the Roman empire elsewhere enjoyed tranquillity; Syria alone excepted,—the disturbances in which were pacified the same year by Corbulo. It is to be noted that whatever emperor occupied the throne, the empire itself was never deficient in statesmen and generals of the highest order of ability. The genius of the world, from the Euphrates to Gibraltar, and from Calais to the Zahara, was at its command, ready to be employed with unswerving purpose for the incorporation of Britain.
In A.D. 64, the extinction of Druidism in the territories south of the Thames, and in those of Coritani and Iceni, was completed by Turpilianus. The first persecution of the Christians by Nero took place the same year.
In A.D. 65, Turpilianus was succeeded by Trebellius Maximus. Under his command the Roman frontiers receded to the district between Devon and Dover. Maximus was re-called and Vectius Bolanus appointed, but with no better success.
In A.D. 66, Linus, the second son of Caractacus was consecrated by St. Paul, Bishop of Rome.
In A.D. 67, St. Paul and St. Peter suffered martyrdom at Rome; St. Paul was buried in the Ostian way. The four children of Claudia were in after years buried by his side.
In June, A.D. 68, Nero was succeeded by Galba.
“The year of Revolutions” (A.D. 69,) was long remembered for the rapid changes in the occupation of the imperial throne. Galba being succeeded by Otho— Otho by Vitellius — Vitellius by Vespasian.
Titus, in A.D. 70, captured and razed Jerusalem to the ground; 1, I00,000 Jews being slain in the siege or having perished from famine. An armistice was concluded with Arviragus by Petilius Cerealis, apparently with no other view than to enable Vespasian to boast that during his reign the temple of Janus was shut for the sixth time since the foundation of Rome, B.C. 753,—a mournful comment on the history of man and his empires!
Cerealis and his successor Julius Frontinus, re-advanced the Roman banners as far as the Humber, thus preparing the way for the successes of the ablest of the many able generals who had now for twenty-seven years been conducting the war in Britain—Julius Agricola. For the campaigns of Agricola, we must refer to the pages of his son-in-law and panegyrist, Caius Cornelius Tacitus. Here a brief summary of them must suffice.
His first campaign occupied the autumn of A.D. 78, and was signalized by a decisive victory near Bwlch Agricola, in the Vale of Clwyd, over the Ordovices of Venedotia, or North Wales. Linus this year suffered martrydom at Rome, and was succeeded in the Bishopric by Cletus, or Anacletus. The reader must bear carefully in mind that the primitive church of Rome bore very little resemblance to the system which was established on its corruption in the seventh century, now known as the Papacy. Primitive Rome claimed no exclusiveness or supremacy. For three hundred years it was sup- I ported by voluntary offerings, principally from the Royal House of Britain. Its early Bishops were men of unfeigned charity and fortitude, but not remarkable for superior intellect. Papal Rome was this church in great measure lapsed and re-paganized after the removal of the seat of empire by Constantine to Constantinople on the political principle of the old heathen empire—the chief distinction being that a celibate priesthood instead of a celibate army was made the instrument of spreading and consolidating its empire. Papal Rome has never been recognized by the British Church properly so termed.
Agricola’s second campaign occupied A.D. 79, and was conducted against the Brigantes, the state between the Humber and the Tyne. The fortresses of the Brigantes were celebrated for their solidity and beauty.
The third campaign carried his arms, A.D. 80, to the Firth of Tay.
In the fourth, A.D. 81, a line of forts connected by a strong vallum was drawn from Caer Edin (Edinburgh) to Dunbriton.
In the fifth, A.D. 82, he overran the West of Albyn from the Clyde to Inverness.
In the sixth, A.D. 83, an indecisive battle was fought with Galgacus (Gallog ap Lleenoc), on whom the command in the North had been devolved by Arviragus, now incapacitated by advancing years from active service. Galgacus the next year retreated into the territories of the Kymric Picts, the strong-hold of Druidism in the North ; their fine territories round Perth being sown with massive obelisks and temples. Galgacus is commemorated in the Triads as one of the three Battle-Marshals of Britain, and this dispositions in the next engagement, described by Tacitus, appear to justify the praise. It was fought on a moor which retains the name of Galgachan Rhôs, in Strathern, at the foot of the Grampian Hills. The British loss is given at 10,000 men left dead on the field. This defeat, like many others before it, failed to demoralize the nation, for though Agricola pressed his advantage with his usual celerity, and his fleet circumnavigated Scotland, the cessation of hostilities was of short duration.
In A.D. 85, Agricola was re-called by the suspicious tyrant, Domitian—Sallustius Lucullus, the inventor of certain improvements in the Roman Javelin, replacing him. The confederacy re-organized by Arviragus embracing the Kymry, the Kymric Picts, the Caledonii of Western Albyn, and the Brigantiaid, took the field anew on his departure. “Britain,” declares Tacitus, “which was considered at last effectually conquered was lost in an instant.” It was found impossible, state the authors of the Augustine histories,” to keep the Britons under the Roman dominion.” All the conquests of Agricola purchased at such heavy cost of blood, policy, and treasure, were lost to the empire. Lucullus defeated on the West and North, could offer no steady opposition to the progress of the victorious but aged Pendragon. The Plautian fortresses behind which he retreated were carried by storm, the Thames crossed, and London re-occupied.
In A.D. 86, after a war of thirty-three years, and above sixty pitched battles, the Romans were expelled from their last holds in Kent. The Claudian invasion thus ended, failed as signally as the Julian in its object of the territorial con-quest of Britain. A triumphant peace terminated the heroic struggle which had been waged against incalculable odds by the British people led by a succession of patriotic commanders, than whom none more worthy of eternal laurels have been crowned by the muse of history.
Neratius Marcellus is the only Roman name which occurs for the next thirty years in connection with the Island. All the Roman monuments and inscriptions were by order of Arviragus so completely destroyed and erased that we search in vain for any vestiges of them anterior to the year A.D. 120, thirty-eight years after this recovery of Britain. The Chichester inscription of Cogidunus is attributable to Pudens, as the husband of Claudia, rather than as a functionary of Rome. “For forty years,” in the language of Scripture, “the land had rest from all its enemies round about.”
In A.D. 89, Arviragus, unquestionably the first general of his age, and with whom in all the disinterested virtues of a patriot soldier, Washington alone can be compared, expired amidst the regrets of the people whose liberties he had so largely contributed to preserve. He was succeeded by his son Marius.
In A.D. 90, died Joseph of Arimathea in his peaceful sanctuary of the House of God, in Avallon. Tradition commemorated with holy affection the simple epitaph inscribed upon his tomb—“I came to the Britons after I had buried Jesus Christ; I taught them, and rested.”
The reign of Marius was marked by few events of moment. Rhodri, a king of Scandinavia, invading Albyn, was defeated by him at Carlisle. The numerous Scandinavian prisoners were settled by Marius in Caithness (the captive’s promontory), where their descendants exhibit much of their dialect and physical characteristics.
In A.D. 114, Marius concluded the treaty with Trajan, by which Britain at last consented on certain conditions to become part integral of the Roman empire. The chief of these conditions were that the Britons should continue under their own laws and native Kings. That the Roman law should he confined to such cities as choose to become municipia or colonies. That no Briton should be disturbed in his hereditary estates; and that the three Roman legions to be stationed at Caerion, Chester, and York, should be recruited wholly from British volunteers, and never ordered on foreign service. In return, Britain engaged to tax itself in the annual sum of three thousand pounds’ weight of silver, as its contribution to the general system of the empire, and to place its own forces under officers appointed by the Emperor. With reference to this important treaty, Lord Chief Justice Fortescue observes,—” In the time of all the different nations and kings who have governed Britain, it has always been governed by the same customs as form the base of its laws at present. If these ancient British customs had not been most excellent—reason, justice, and the love of their country, would have induced some of the kings to change or alter them, especially the Romans, who ruled all the rest of the world by the Roman laws. And Sir Winstone Churchill, the father of the celebrated Duke of Marlborough, points attention in his “Divi Brittanici” to the same distinction between Britain and the rest of the Roman empire: “the Britons whether by compact, compromise, or other means stood, it is evident, in the matter of the enjoyment of their own laws and liberties, in a different position towards the Roman government to any other province in the empire. They certainly made such conditions as to keep their own kings and their own laws.”
In A.D. 120, Hadrian constructed his rampart from the Tyne to Solway Frith. From this date to A.D. 406, Britain must be considered a department, governed by its own laws and kings, of the Roman empire; and perhaps during no other period of similar duration has it enjoyed more solid peace and prosperity. Intervals of twenty, thirty, and forty years occur of profound tranquility,—the imperial Notitiæ recording nothing beyond the names of the high officials who succeeded each other in the civil and military ministrations. Christianity meanwhile on the Continent and Druidism in Britain continued to be proscribed by the Roman government with the same relentless animosity. Hence arose between them the sympathy of common suffering. The gradual expulsion of the-latter by a combination of causes beyond the Forth, left a free field for the evangelists of Christ; and the national will in Britain soon decreed a reformation in religion more complete and unselfish than that of the sixteenth century. Coelus, or Coel, the son of St. Cyllinus, the eldest son of Caractacus, succeeded his uncle Marius, and dying left one son, Lluryg, or Lucius, who ascended the throne in his 18th year, A.D. 125. He had been educated at Rome, by his uncle St. Timotheus, the son of Claudia, and grandson of Caractacus. In A.D. 155, finding the British people prepared to support him, at a national council at Winchester, he established Christianity as the national religion instead of Druidism. He and such of his nobility as had not previously taken upon them the vows of Christian responsibility were publicly baptized by Timotheus. The Christian ministry were thus inducted into all the rights of the Druidic hierarchy. The Gorseddau, or high Druidic courts in each tribe or county, became so many episcopal sees. The Goneddau of the Arch-druids at London, York, and Caerleon, originated a new dignity in the Church—that of Arch-bishoprics.
In commemoration of this eventful change, Lucius endowed four churches from the royal estates—those of Winchester, now the cathedral—of Llandaff, also now the Cathedral—of St. Peter’s, Cornhill—and St. Martin’s, at Canterbury, assigned by Bertha, the queen of Ethelbert, king of Kent, four hundred and fifty Fears afterwards to Augustine and the Saxon mission on their first landing. To the British Church must be conceded the pre-eminence over all others in the priority of its foundation—in its abhorrence of persecution —in its rejection of all other standards of Divine truth than the Bible—in its spirit of patriotism and resistance of slavery in all forms, and lastly, in its uncompromising hostility to the pretensions of Rome, after Rome ceased to be Primitive and became Papal. It retained its national independence from A.D. 155 to A.D. 1203, when, in defiance of the repeated protests of its clergy, it was incorporated with the Roman Catholic Church introduced into Saxondom (as England was then called) by Augustine, A.D. J96. From the fact that the “nursing fathers and nursing mothers” of the British Church were the heads or members of the reigning dynasty,—Brân, Caradoc, Eigra, Claudia, St. Cyllinus, Lucius,—it was wont to be distinguished from other churches as “Regia Domus—the royal temple. The glory of Britain, remarks Genebrard, consists not only in this, that she was the first country which, in a national capacity, publicy professed herself Christian, but that she made this confession when the Roman empire itself was yet pagan and a cruel persecutor of Christianity.”
The usages of Britain required the consent of the whole nation to any innovation in religion. In effecting this first reformation, therefore, Lucius must have represented the opinions of the majority at least of his subjects. It was followed by an enactment as politic as it was bold and generous, by which every one who made public confession of Christianity became entitled to all the rights of a native Briton. Multitudes of the persecuted faithful on the Continent found thus not merely a temporary refuge, but a free home in Britain.
Pius, Bishop of Rome, thus announces the martyrdom of St. Timotheus, not long after his return from Britain.—“The holy Timotheus and Marcus, presbyters, who were educated by the Apostles, and who have survived to our time, have given up their lives in the good war. They rest in peace in their beds.” Pastor, or Hermas, the minister of the Titulus, was crucified at the same time. Timotheus bequeathed his palace, grounds, and baths, to the Church at Rome. The next year, Pius was admitted to the same crown of glory; and nine years afterwards, Polycarp, another contemporary of the Apostles.
The Monasteries of the British Church were on a scale of grandeur never since rivalled. “There are three perpetual Choirs,” states the Triads, “of the Isle of Britain, viz., Great Bangor in the forest of Maelor, Caer-Salog, and the Chrystal Isle in Avallon. In each of these are two thousand four hundred servants of Christ, singing night and day without intermission, a hundred every hour in rotation ; so that the praises of God are sung with-out ceasing from year’s end to year’s end.” The foundation of Bangor preceded that of any other Monastery in Europe or Asia, by above a century. “I take,” writes Sir Winstone Churchill, “Bangor, endowed by King Lucius, to be as the first, so the greatest Monastery that ever was; I say not in this island, but in any part of the world, whose foundations were laid so deep that none of the Roman emperors in the following centuries, though for the most part violent persecutors, could undermine it—the religious continuing safe in the peaceful exercise of their religion till the entrance of those accursed pagans, the Saxons.” The heads of Bangor were generally men of the highest rank in the state. At one time I0,000 teachers and students were connected with it. Every graduate was obliged to master some profession, art, or business. It was the national University for Agriculture, Theology, Science, and Literature. Its destruction by the Saxons A.D. 607, forms one of the gloomiest pages in our insular annals. Its colleges, churches, &c., covered a square of five miles from gate to gate.
Henceforth to the fall of the Roman Empire, a few only of the most striking events demand notice.
In A.D. 178, Lucius sent Elvan and Medwin, bishops of London and Llandaff, to Eleutherius, bishop of Rome, to obtain authentic copies of the Roman code of laws. Eleutherius with great wisdom urged him as the sole vicar of God over his people, to have nothing to do with such code, but to make the New Testament the secular, as he had already made it the ecclesiastical basis of British legislation. This sound counsel was followed; and since that time Christianity has been, as it still is, not only the religion but the law of Britain. Lucius died A.D. 190, and was succeeded by Cadvan, prince of Venedotia.
In A.D. 181, the Antonine rampart between the Friths of Clyde and Forth was stormed by the Picts and Caledonians, the Roman commander slain, and the country ravaged as far as York. They were defeated by Ulpius Marcellus, and their territory between the Forth and Tay reduced to ashes. Marcellus was succeeded by Perennis—Perennis by Pertinax—Pertinax by Clodius Albinus.
In A.D. 194, the British legions elected Albinus emperor. He crossed the Straits against his rival Severus, received the submission of the greater part of Gaul, and held his court for some time in Paris. The next year, April 21, he encountered Severus on the plains of Lyons. The victory, states Herodian, appeared at noon to be decided in favor of the British—the centre of the enemy being routed, and Severus himself having fled in disguise from the field. But fresh forces came up, and attacking the Britons in the disorder of pursuit, retrieved the day. Albinus was beheaded, and the British legions conducted back to Britain by a lieutenant of the conqueror—Virius Lupus. The Picts taking advantage of the disaffection which ensued, invaded the province. Lupus bought them off with a heavy payment—the first instance of the suicidal policy which afterwards became rather the rule than the exception with the Roman Empire towards its barbarian assailants. Severus was not however of a spirit to sanction such a disgraceful act. He immediately came with his two sons to Britain, repaired Dover and the rest of the southern fortresses; advanced to Albyn, now becoming better known as Caledonia, and in three campaigns carried his arms to the very extremity of the Island. The expedition cost him 50,000 soldiers, but the strength of the Picts and Caledonii was for forty years effectually broken. On the line of Hadrian’s ram-part, he built the “wall of Severus,” the northern boundary of the empire. It extended, with fortresses at fixed intervals, across the Island, from Wall’s End to the Irish sea—a stupendous work equal to what would be the circumvallation of London and its suburbs with their present population of 2,800,000 inhabitants. Severus died July 4th, the following year, A.D. 211, at York.
In A.D. 228, Cadvan was succeeded in the sovereignty by Coel, or Coelus, his son-in-law, whose favorite residence was Colchester. In A.D. 224, his daughter Helen, afterwards empress, and mother of Constantine, was born in that city. A.D. 260, Constantius nephew of Claudius Gothicus the emperor, a young man of 25 years of age, but who had already attained high military rank in Spain, was commissioned to arbitrate in certain differences between Coel and Asclepiodotus, Duke of Cornwall. Coel refusing to submit the question to arbitration, Colchester was besieged by Constantius. Matters were however arranged, and the siege terminated by the marriage, A.D. 264, of Helen with Constantius, who thus, on the abdication of their claims by her brothers, became in her right heir to the throne of Britain. Constantine the Great was born next year, A.D. 265. It was the custom of the Roman emperors to nominate their successors, under the title of Cesars. Diocletian the reigning emperor nominated (A.D. 287,) Constantius, Cesar. Britain at this period was thus governed. The viceroy of the emperor resided at York. Under him the administration was con-ducted by three consulars and two presidents. The military organization was under three generals—the first, Dux Britanniæ (Duke of Britain) had the command from the Humber northwards—the second, Comes Britanniæ (Count of Britain) was answerable for the state of the garrisons and fortresses in the interior. The third was entrusted with the defence of the coast, from the Humber southward to the Land’s End. All this coast from being opposite to the great Saxon confederation in Germany was known as “the Saxon coast,” and this officer was therefore entitled Count of the Saxon shore. As imperial admiral he had the chief command of all the naval forces of Britain. This important position was now filled by Caros (Carausius), a Venedotian, born at Min-y-don, on the banks of the Menai. Being disappointed in his hopes of the Cesariate, and resenting the elevation of Canstantius, he threw off his allegiance, and proclaimed the independence of Britain. The northern and channel fleets, and then the legions, declared in his favour. The Saxons enrolled themselves his subjects, receiving from him in return that naval discipline and training which subsequently made them the terror of the western coasts of Europe. To Caros must be attributed the glory of having first seen and realized the true policy of Britain—he first made her queen of the ocean. He reigned seven years over the united kingdoms of Britain and Continental Saxondom. His fleets ruled the seas from Gibraltar to the Hebrides. The number of coins struck in his mint, which has come down to us, exceed those of any other emperor. Maximian, the colleague of Diocletian, was defeated by him in his attempt to invade Britain; but three years afterwards this truly British sovereign was assassinated by his minister, Allectus, at York. The Island on this death invited Constantius Cesar to take possession of the throne. Allectus was slain near London. Constantius never again quitted Britain. His favorite seat was Caer Seiont, Carnarvon. He died at York, A.D. 306. In his will he ordered his body to be interred at Carnarvon. His tomb was removed within the church in the time of Edward 1.
None of the first nine persecutions of the Christians extended to Britain. The tenth under Diocletian, which raged for eighteen years over the rest of the empire was put an end to in Britain in less than a year, at the risk of civil war with his cofleagues, by Constantius. Amongst its victims were Amphibalus, Bishop of Llandaff, Alban of Verulam, Aaron and Julius, Presbyters of Caerleon ; Socrates, Arch-bishop of York ; Stephen, Arch-bishop of London ; Augulius, (his successor) Arch-bishop of London, Nicholas, Bishop of Penrhyn (Glasgow), Melior, Bishop of Caer Leil, and between ten and fifteen thousand communicants in different classes of society.
No sooner was the death of Constantius known than the British legionaries elevated his son Constantine, then in his 31st year, on their shields and proclaimed him Emperor. His career may be read at large in “Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” Educated by his mother in the Christian faith, he had early formed the resolution of putting Christianity over the whole extent of the empire on the same foundation as it had long occupied in Britain. The scheme was carried out with unerring sagacity and unflinching perseverance through the arduous campaigns of twenty years. His Pagan competitors, Maximian, Maxentius, Maximus, and Licinius succumbed in succession to his victorious arms. His legionaries chiefly selected in Britain from his hereditary domains as being Christians of the British church supported him throughout with admirable loyalty. The example of his father was his guide through life. His mother Helena he always treated with the utmost respect and affection. He well explains the great objects of his life in one of his public edicts. “We call God to witness, the Saviour of all men, that in assuming the reins of government we have never been influenced by other than these two considerations-the uniting all our dominions in one faith, and restoring peace to a world torn to pieces by the madness of religious persecution.” He expired, after being eighteen years sole disposer of the Roman world, at his palace near Nicopolis, A.D. 337. Next to Arthur Constantine he may be regarded as the greatest of the British emperors. He was the founder of secular Christendom. British Bishops attended the synods of Arles and Nice, held A.D. 314, and A.D. 325, during his reign. The Catholic creed of Nice, adopted in a Synod of all Christendom, with a native British emperor presiding, is the only creed, besides the Apostles’, of the old British church.
In A.D. 369, an invasion of the Picts and Scots was repelled by Theodosius. Scotia, before the ninth century, means Ireland, and the Scots, the Irish. After the conquest of Western Caledonia in the seventh century by the Irish Scots, the country gradually became known by their name.
In A.D. 383, Maximus, grand-nephew of Constantine the Great assumed the purple in Britain and appointed his son Owen Finddu, Cesar. Under Maximus and Helen daughter of Eudav, Prince of Cambria, his wife, the last of the “Three Silver Hosts” quitted Britain for the conquest of the Continent. Conan of Powys Meriadoc, the cousin of Helen was created by Maximus, King of Armorica. From him descended the dynasty of the Breton Sovereigns and Dukes, terminating in the 15th century in Anne of Brittany, twice Queen of France. Gaul and Northern Italy were subdued by Maximus. He fell at last near Aquileia, in Italy, against Theodosius, 26th July, A.D. 388. The remains of his army settled amongst their countrymen under Conan in Bretagne.
In A.D. 406, Britain finally separated itself from the Roman empire, electing Constantine, grand-son of Conan of Armorica, for its Sovereign ; and thus as it was the last to yield, was the first also to re-assert its ancient independence and nationality. The Roman government of Britain lasted 286 years. The Kymry, or leading tribe, were never entirely reconciled to it, but it does not appear in any material degree to have interfered with their military precedence—two of the three legions being constituted of Kymric levies, and stationed in their northern and southern capitals, Chester and Caerleon.
THE ARTHURIAN ERA
THE Roman Empire, West of the Alps, fell Dec. 31, A.D. 406, before that “movement of the nations” termed in the Triads, “the Black Invasion.” These nations were the Huns, Goths, Vandals, Burgundians, Franks, and Alani. The Huns proceeded from Eastern Tartary; the Goths, or Get e, from Southern Russia; the Vandals, Burgundians, and Alani from Central Germany; the Franks from Western Germany. Southern Germany and Northern Italy were conquered by the Ostro-Goth (Oestricht, Austria),—France by the Franks,—Spain by the Suevi, Vandals, and Visigoths,—Northern Africa by the Vandals,—Hungary by the Huns. The Goths, Franks, and Vandals had, prior to A.D. 400, enrolled themselves stipendiaries of the empire, stipulating in return for large blocks of territory to defend its frontiers against all invaders. The armies of the empire had been in fact barbarianized—that is, recruited almost wholly from non-Roman sources long before the dissolution of its Civil Constitution, and some of its most responsible offices were discharged by barbarian statesmen. Thus, Stilicho, its most sagacious politician and commander, was a Vandal.
A.D. 398, Alaric, the Goth, of the race of Balti, applied in his capacity of chief of the Gothic army of defence, for the master-generalship of the whole empire. The dignity being conferred by the emperor Honorius on Stilicho, Alaric, abjuring his allegiance, invaded Italy, but was with the aid of the British legions defeated by Stilicho, with immense slaughter, at Pollentia in Lombardy.
Alaric, after a second defeat at Verona, withdrew his forces, reduced to one third their number, to the wilds of Germany. A.D. 406, a new inundation under Rhadagisus passing the Alps, the Po and the Apennines besieged Florence, but were over-thrown on the Hills of Fæsulæ by the Vandal generalissimo, with the loss of their leader and 140,000 men. The rest, computed at 250,000 consisting of Suevi, Vandals, Alani, and Burgundians, effected the passage of the Alps, routed the Franks—to whom the defence of the German frontier had been committed—with the loss of 20,000 men, and crossed the Rhine, 31st Dec. A.D. 406. Mentz was destroyed; Strasburg, Spires, Rheims, Tournay, Arras, Amiens, plundered and burnt. The seven-teen provinces of Gaul to the foot of the Pyrenees succumbed without a second engagement to their arms.
The numbers which for the next century and a half continued to be disgorged by the wide regions of Northern Asia and Europe upon the South and West almost exceed belief. As an instance of the gigantic scale on which military operations during this period were conducted, at the battle of Lyons, A.D. 448, between OEtius and Attila the Hun, the forces engaged exceeded 800,000 men, of whom between 200,000 and 300,000 are computed to have fallen on the field. The most sanguinary engagements of modern ages appear in comparison to be mere skirmishes.
A few examples will illustrate the characters and institutions of some of the nations of “the Black Invasion.”
“The Huns, says Jornandez, the Gothic historian, put to flight by the terror inspired by their countenance those whom their bravery could never have subdued. The livid color of their face had some-thing frightful in it; it was not a face, but a formless mass of flesh in which two black and sinister spots filled the place of eyes. Their aspects were not those of men, but of beasts, standing on their hind legs as if it were in mockery of our species.” An ordinary tax imposed by these brutal savages on the countries they overran was a certain number of young women, with a view to mitigate if possible the hideousness of the race.
The Thuringian Germans, states Gibbon, “massacred their hostages as well as their captives. Two hundred young maidens were tortured with exquisite cruelty—their bodies torn asunder by wild horses, or their bones crushed under the weight of rolling waggons, and their unburied limbs abandoned in the public roads as a prey to dogs and vultures.”
“The Kings of the German Tribes, writes Sismondi, were only conspicuous by their crimes and vices. They were above the law, and it would be difficult to find in any class of men, even among those whom public justice has consigned to the hulks and galleys, so many examples of atrocious crimes, assassinations, poisonings, and above all, fratricides, as these royal families afforded during the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries. The German nations whom they ruled were accustomed to consider their kings as a race apart, distinguished from themselves by their long hair—a race not subject to the same laws nor moved by the same feelings. These kings keeping themselves aloof from all other men were singular in having family names and in intermarrying with each other; and we owe to them the introduction of relationship between crowned heads, which was before unknown in the world.”
“From Clovis to Charles Martel, the grand-father of Charlemagne, states Eyre Crow, the last English historian of France, there existed not a personage worthy of the reader’s attention. There is not recorded an event or anecdote which would excite any feeling but disgust.” This observation will apply with nearly equal force to all the Saxon kings before Alfred. These and the rest of the invading nations continued pagans long after they had quartered amongst them the conquered provinces. The old Celto-Roman population was reduced to serfdom. The heads of the barbarian clans became kings by as it was afterwards impiously termed “divine right;” the inferior chiefs became barons, or owners of the land and its serfs. The Roman civil law by which the Continent had been ruled was abolished, and the feudal system was at first rudely but afterwards systematically imposed. The feudal system regarded the people as an inferior species of mankind to those chiefs who traced their descent to Balti or Odin, the pagan gods or idols; and who in right of it claimed exemption from all human laws and responsibility. To this system of mingled heathenism, brute force, and servility, the Briton of these Islands never ceased to present a front of scorn and hostility —- hence the deadly and protracted nature of the wars which ensued between him and the German or serf-nations with whom it originated.
Of all the nations, however, whom the carcass of the Great Empire allured from their lagoons and forests, over towering the rest as a species by him-self, stood forth the Saxon of the Seas. His name among the non-marine populations of the Continent inspired inexpressible terror. Of fabulous attachment to the wave and the storm, rioting in the undisputed possession of the ocean, their very religion, combat and havoc, the Saxons had established a prestige above Goth, Vandal, or Hun, for cruelty and insensibility to danger. Of apparent ubiquity, formidable alike from their innate solidity, their effective arms, their habit of closing in dense columns with their enemies, their invasion might have shaken the framework of the Roman Empire in its zenith. The Saxon confederation, extending from the mouths of the Rhine to the Lower Baltic, consisted of various tribes of Gothic extraction, the principal of which were the Saxons (Sacæ), Jutes Getæ), and Angles, occupying the territory south and south-west of the Cimbric Chersonese (Denmark). The Chersonese itself were peopled by the descend-ants of the ancient Kimbri, between whom and the Saxons a mortal antagonism prevailed. Uniting with the Scandinavian tribes of Llochlyn (Norway), these became the Danes and Normans of the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries, carrying with them wherever they went their old hatred of their Saxon neighbors. The Saxon confederation diverged into two branches—one, striking inward, extended its acquisitions so far that Eginhard, the secretary of Charlemagne, states that A.D. 800, they constituted more than one half of Germany. This was Continental Saxondom. It was subdued and added to the Franco-German empire by Charlemagne—its Saxon population being nearly exterminated. The other threw itself in a succession of invasions from A.D. 420 to A.D. 58o, on the British Island—wrestled 220 years after its first landing (i.e., in the sixth generation) the Pendragonate or military supremacy from the Kymry, and fusing with the British Lloegrians and Coraniaid, became the mainstock of the modern English. Their sovereignty gave way A.D. 1014 temporarily to the Danish, and permanently to the Norman, A.D. I066, as the Norman gave way in turn to the native British, restored A.D. 1485.
To explain the origin of the Saxons, the most absurd fictions have been invented. No mention of them occurs in History until A.D. 140. Tacitus, A.D. 8o, does not even name them in his “Germania.” From A.D. 141 to A.D. 260, no one again mentions them. A.D. 280, they were taken into service by Carausius, the British emperor; trained by British officers to naval manoeuvres and incorporated with the British empire. A.D. 347, they were again in league with Magnentius, another British emperor. From this period their power steadily increased — new tribes, the Chauci, Chamavi, Fusii, Batavi, Toxandri, Morini, joining the confederacy, which A.D. 400, embraced all Northern Germany, from the Rhine to Lithuania and the Baltic. A.D. 368, in conjunction with the Picts, they invaded Kent, slew Nectarides and Fullofaudes, the Roman Counts, and made an attempt on London, but were defeated by Theodosius. A.D. 369, they were again defeated by the British fleets under Theodosius in three naval engagements off the Humber, in the Forth, and at the Orkneys. On intelligence of these disasters reaching the confederation, it poured its forces against the Roman legions on the Rhine. The Roman general fell back till reinforced, when an armistice was concluded—the Saxons giving up 10,000 of their ablest young men to recruit the imperial armies. The rest were to retire unmolested, but on their retreat were treacherously ambuscaded, and after a brave resistance, slaughtered by the Roman troops. A.D. 396, they were again defeated by Stilicho. A.D. 410, they formed a league with the Bretons of Armorica against Euric the Goth, and ravaged France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Germany. A.D. 425, in league with the Picts, they were defeated by St. Germanus, on the Halleluia Field, near Mold. A.D. 449, they connect them-selves permanently with British History, by the landing of Hengist and Horsa, at the invitation of Vortigern, on the Kentish island of Thanet.
We now resume the thread of British history, at the election of Constantine, prince of Armorica, to the throne, A.D. 406.
The news of the fall of Gaul reached Britain early in the spring of the following year. The restoration of British independency had been effected with little or no hostile feeling towards the Old Empire. A considerable Roman element pervaded the population—many of the leading nobility were of Brito-Roman blood, and could not without emotion survey the ruin spread over the fairest portion of the Continent by the Heathen Hordes. Constantine was called upon to lead the British army to the deliverance of Gaul. He landed at Boulogne, June A.D. 407—defeated the Suevi at Amiens, advanced to Paris, and there received the submission of all Gaul north of the Loire. In the south two reverses were experienced —- one of his generals, Estyn, falling by treachery, another Nevigastes in the field. A.D. 408, Aug. 23, Stilicho, with the exception of OEtius and Belisarius, the last great champion of Rome, was assassinated by Sarus, at the instigation of the base emperor Honorius. He had shortly before ‘earnestly advised the senate to secure for the empire the services of Alaric, the Goth, at an annual payment of 4,000 pounds’ weight of gold. The advice was taken, and Alaric was ordered to march against Constantine, now proclaimed emperor of the West; instead of which, on hearing of the death of Stilicho, he moved upon Rome. He was bought off by an enormous ransom, and retired at the head of 100,000 men and 40,000 liberated slaves to Lombardy. Sarus meanwhile having been defeated by Constantine at Vienne, Spain and the Honorian cohorts declared in favor of the British king, who thus reigned with-out a rival from the Hebrides to Gibraltar, over not only the old Roman populations, but over the recent barbarian conquerors themselves. Honorius now recognized him as Augustus—divided the Western empire with him, and requested his aid to repel Alaric’s second meditated attack upon Rome. Constantine crossed the Alps; at his approach the Goth withdrew into Germany. The two emperors held a conference at Milan, after which Constantine returned to Gaul. One branch of the ancient British Dynasty—the family of Constantine the Great—had now for a century governed the Eastern empire; nor did it pass from the sway of their posterity for another thousand years, till A.D. 1465. Another branch, had Constantine used his fortune with moderation, might have handed down the throne of the West to their remote descendants, dividing thus the old Roman world between them. A.D. 410, Constantine was so ill-advised as to supersede his able general, Geraint, Duke of Cornwall, whom he had appointed Regent of Spain, by his son Constans—Alaric about the same time capturing Rome (Aug. 24), and abandoning it for three days to the fury of his barbarians. Geraint rebelling crossed the Pyrenees, met Constantine and Constantius, the general of Honorius, at Arles, and being defeated, put an end to his own existence. The flower of the British legions perished in this battle. A fresh rupture ensuing with Honorius, Constantine was defeated by Constantius and Ulphilas, and secretly put to death with Julian his eldest son, Nov. I Ith, 411. Of the British army, part returned to Britain, part settled in Armorica.
Constantine was the third British sovereign that within a century had crossed the channel and reigned at Paris, as absolute masters of the whole West, as Wellington and the British army of occupation were of France, from A.D. 1815-21.
Constantine was succeeded A.D. 412, by his second son, Constans. Vortigern his relative, possessed of large estates in most parts of the kingdom, caused him to be assassinated by his Pictish Guards, A.D. 420; the two youngest sons of Constantine, Ambrosius and Uthyr, being saved from a similar fate by a rapid flight into Bretagne. Vortigern, in a public convention, placed the crown, like Richard III and Napoleon in later times, on his own head. The character of Vortigern, the second of the arch-traitors of the Isle of Britain, is depicted in the blackest colors by the British historians; and even now his name is rarely mentioned without some epithet of hatred and execration. He seems indeed to approach very nearly to the character generally considered fabulous—a monster whose vices were unredeemed by a single virtue.
A.D. 430, the Saxons, Picts, and Irish broke through the Wall of Severus, at Thirlwall, ravaged the country, and besieged Chester. St. Germanus, brother-in-law of the British king of Armorica, being engaged at the time in suppressing the Pelagian heresy, first broached by Morgan, or Morein, president of Bangor, led the British army against them, and gave them a total defeat at Maes Garmon, on the Alun, near Mold. A.D. 435, Vortigern was publicly excommunicated by the same intrepid prelate at a synod of the British Church at St. Albans, for incestuous commerce with his own daughter. From this date, the traitor meditated the calling in of the Saxon confederation into the affairs of Britain. In early life he had served in the armies of Valentinian with two of the most distinguished Saxon king-chiefs of the sacred race of Odin—two brothers, Hengist and Horsa. With them secret communications were opened. The policy of engaging the barbarian mercenaries of one nation to garrison the frontiers against the incursions of another had, we have seen, been long established in the Roman empire; but this was the first precedent of the kind in Britain. An irruption of the Picts, encouraged by Vortigern, supplied the pretext desired. Hengist and Horsa landed at Thanet (Ruthin Isle), between which and the mainland ran, so late as Bede’s time, the Want-sum, three stadia broad and fordable only in two places. Another armament landed at the mouth of the Nen, near Peterborough. Uniting, they defeated the Picts at Stamford, near Lincoln.
Alice, the daughter of Hengist, called Ronwen, (the white breast, Rowena, Ronixa,) at the festivities given in celebration of the victory at Chilham castle, Kent, excited a deep passion in the heart of the infatuated Vortigern. To secure her hand, he bestowed Kent on his father-in-law, Hengist. Gorangon, the disinherited prince, appealed for redress to the national Gorsedd. In despite of the powerful influence of the court, or Vortigern faction, the Saxons were ordered to quit Britain—Vortigern solemnly deposed, and Vortimer, his eldest son, raised to the throne and Pendragonate. Hengist allying himself with the red Irish (Scots), and Picts, took the field at Aylesford, in Kent, A.D. 455, when he was attacked by the British army under Vortimer and his brother Kyndeirn. Horsa and Kyndeirn fell in single combat, and Hengist was defeated. Three more Saxon defeats at Cray-ford, Stone, and Thanet (A.D. 457—62), resulted in their capitulation at the latter place on condition of being permitted to return with their wives and children to the Continent.
A.D. 463, Vortimer died, poisoned by Ronwen. At his dying request his tomb was raised on the spot in Thanet whence he had taken the last view of the departing sails of the invaders. At the Gorsedd in London, Vortigern was restored to the throne—the second of “the three fatal counsels of the Isle of Britain.” Hengist was re-invited conditionally that he came with no larger retinue than five hundred men. Ebusa, a brother of Hengist, with his son Octa, landed however in the Firth of Forth, with an armament of three hundred vessels. The British nation flew to arms. A conference was proposed by Hengist and accepted by Vortigern. It was held at Stonehenge (Hengist’s stones), and attended by most of the nobility of Britain. On the sixth day, at the high feast, when the sun was declining, was perpetuated the “Massacre of the Long Knives“—the blackest crime, with the exception of that of St. Bartholomew, in the annals of any nation. The signal for the Saxons to prepare to plunge their knives, concealed in their boots and under their military cloaks, into the breast of their gallant and unsuspicious conquerors, was “Let us now speak of friendship and love.” The signal for action were the words, “Nemet your Saxas,” i.e., “Out with their knives,” and the raising of the banner of Hengist—a white horse on a red field—over the head of Vortigern. Four hundred and eighty of the Christian chivalry of Britain fell before sunset by the hand of the pagan assassins—three only of name, Eidol Count of Glocester, and the princes of Venedotia and Cambria escaping, the first by almost superhuman strength and presence of mind. Priests, Ambassadors, Bards, and the boyish scions of many noble families, were piled together in one appalling spectacle on the site of the banquet, (Moel (Ewe, the Mound of Carnage), about three hundred yards north of the great Druidic temple. The horror produced by this act of unexampled perfidy was never effaced from the British mind. “Death to the man that trusts the stranger” became henceforth the watchword for hostilities, that so far as the eldest tribe of the Kymry were concerned, may be said to have lasted with transient interruptions till the ascension of the Tudors to the throne. Ambrosius and Uthyr were summoned from Armorica. The nation flocked to their standard. Vortigern who had secreted himself from the storm of national odium behind the defiles of Snowden was besieged, and with Ronwen and his principal adherents, consumed by fire, near Nevin, in Carnarvonshire. Hengist himself was taken prisoner at the battle of Maesbeli, tried and executed as an assassin, at Coningsburgh, in Yorkshire—so called (King’sburg) from the mound raised over him. Octa and Ebusa, who had escaped to York, shortly afterwards surrendered themselves with chains in their hands and sand on their heads, declaring “their gods were vanquished by the god of the Britons.” They were settled as a barrier against the Picts on the Firth of Forth. From them descend the Scotch of the Lothians.
The Saxon Chronicle, the work on which the Anglo-Saxon story of the Teutonic settlement of England has hitherto rested, is rejected by the most recent Anglo-Saxon historians as a spurious production of the Augustine Monks of Canterbury. “The more I examine the question,” states Kemble, (History of the Anglo-Saxons, p. 16) “ the more completely I am convinced that the received accounts of the Saxon emigrations, subsequent fortunes, and ultimate settlement, are devoid of historical truth in every detail.” This repudiation, by the Anglo Saxon historians of their own authorities is a very curious and perplexing circumstance, leaving us either no foundation at all, or one purely British for this portion of our history. It is certain, as Kemble elsewhere admits, that Saxon England, as the Saxon Church, was essentially the child of Papal Rome—that her clergy were the emissaries of Rome, and that what we term the Saxon Histories, are nothing else than the writings of Monks of the Roman Church, animated by a spirit of intense hatred and mendacity towards the British Church and Nationality. The Saxons themselves brought no alphabet with them into Britain—they adopted the British ; most of the terms of agricultural, domestic, and civil life, supposed to be Saxon, are pure Lloegrian British, unchanged since the days of Cesar. The Augustine Monks introduced the Roman alphabet. Of their very limited knowledge of Latin itself, the first clause in the Saxon Chronicle may be cited in evidence. Mistaking “hyberna” for Hibernia, they send Cesar after his first campaign in Britain, into Ireland instead of into winter quarters. As late as A.D. 878, Alfred could not find six priests in all Saxondom competent to write and read Latin, and was obliged to have recourse to the British Church for a lawgiver and teacher (Asser, Bishop of St. David’s), for his rude subjects. Leaving, however, these questions to be settled by the Anglo-Saxon Historians themselves, we shall here before we proceed with the British, give the Anglo-Saxon or Augustine version hitherto received of the progress of the Saxon arms, abbreviated from their National Chronicle.
“A.D. 449, Hengist and Horsa land in Britain; they invite the Angles—they describe the luxury of the Britons, the richness of the land. Then came the three powers of Germany —Angles, Jutes, Saxons. A.D. 455, Hengist and Horsa fought the Britons at Aylesford. Horsa is slain. A.D. 457, Hengist and his son Esc fought the Britons at Wippensfleet, and slew 12 generals, all Walsch. Wipped the Thane was slain. A.D. 473, Hengist and Œsc fought with the Welsh (Britons). A.D. 477, Ella came to Britain and fought with the Welsh at Cymershore. A.D. 485, Ella fought with the Welsh at Mercredslum. A.D. 490, Ella and Cissa took the city of Andred (Pevensey,) and did not leave one Briton alive in it. A.D. 495, Cerdic and Cynric landed at Cerdics-ora and fought the Welsh the same day. A.D. 501, Porta, Beda, and Mela landed at Portsmouth and fought with the Welsh and killed a young Briton of high rank. A.D. 5o8, Cerdic and Cvnric slew the British King, Nathan Leod, and five thousand men with him. A.D. 510, Stuff and Wightgar landed at Cerdicsora and fought with the Welsh. A.D. 519, Cerdic and Cynric fought with the Britons at Cerdicsley.”
Here—being the period occupied by the reign and Pendragonate of Arthur, follows a blank of thirty-three years, — sarcastically termed by Gibbon, the “discreet silence” of the Saxon Historians.
“A.D. 552, Cynric fought with the Britons at Sarum. A.D. 556, Ceaulin and Cynric fought with the Britons at Banbury. A.D. 571, Cuthulf fought with the Britons at Bedford. A.D. 577, Ceaulin fought with the Britons at Dereham. A.D. 584, Ceaulin and Cutha fought with the Britons at Frethern. A.D. 591, a great battle was fought at Wanborough, and Ceaulin was driven by the Britons out of his kingdom. A.D. 597, Ceolwulf began to reign, and constantly fought with the Welsh. This year came Augustin and his, companions to England. A.D. 607, Ethelfrith, king of Northumbria, led his army to Chester, where he slew an innumerable host of the Walsch, and so was fulfilled the prophecy of Augustin, If the Welch will not have peace with us, they shall perish at the hands of the Saxons.’ There were slain 1200 priests, who came hither to pray for the army of the Welsh (the Bangor massacre.) A.D. 614, Cynegils and Cwichelm fought against the Welsh at Bampton. A.D. 633, this year Edwin king of Northumberland was slain by Cadwallo the Briton and Penda, on the 14th of October. Osfrid his son was slain with him. Cadwallo and Penda destroyed all the lands north of Humber. A.D. 642, Oswald king of the Northumbrians was slain at Maserfield (Oswestry). His body was buried at Bardsey. A.D. 645, king Kenwal was expelled A.D. 651, king Oswin was slain. A.D. 652, king Anna was slain. A.D. 655, king Penda and thirty princes with him were slain at Wingfield. The Mercians became Christians. A.D. 661, the men of the Isle of Wight were made Christians. A.D. 664, this year began the Great Plague in Britain. A.D. 685, Cadwalla began to contend for the kingdom. A.D. 686, Cadwalla (the Cadwaladr Sanctus of the British Chronicles) desolated Kent. A.D. 688, Cadwalla went to Rome and was baptized by Pope Sergius, and died there,, and was buried in his baptismal garments in the church of St. Peter; to him succeeded Ina (the Ivor of the British Chronicles), and reigned 33 years. He built Glastonbury for a monastery, and then went to Rome and died there. A.D. 743, Ethelbald of Mercia and Cuthred of the West Saxons fought with the Walsh. A.D. 755, Cynwulf fought many hard battles with the Walsch. A.D. 787, this year came the first fleet of the Northmen (Danes) into Britain. A.D. 833, this year king Egbert fought with the Northern Pirates at Charmouth; a great slaughter was made, and the Danish men remained master of the field.”
We shall dismiss the Saxon Chronicle with a few remarks. 1st, If authentic and genuine, it appears that for a hundred years (A.D. 449—552) after their landing under Hengist and Horsa, not a single battle—that in which Nathan Leod (Llew) fell, excepted—was fought by the Saxons in the interior or elsewhere than on the spot of their disembarkation and under the protection of their marine camps; and that in all these the Britons were the assailents, the Saxons acting merely on the defensive. The character of these pacific disembarkation as here represented must have been sadly misconceived by our ancestors ; but in truth the Saxons were no gentle colonizers—they were a race of pagan warriors, equally ferocious and fear-less, and one inference can alone be drawn from such confessions as the above—that instead of finding, as they anticipated, an easy prey, such as the Franks had found in France, and Visigoths in Spain, the Ostrogoths in Italy, the Vandals in Africa,—they were encountered by a race to whose arms these nations themselves had recently yielded on the Continent. Instead of such emperors as Honorius, or such mercenary generals as Stilicho, they were met by a succession of native heroes —Vortimer, Ambrosius, Uthyr, Arthur, Urien, Ivor, Cadwallo—and curbed with an arm of iron within their naval stalls on the margin of the sea, until the fifth generation, when they had long ceased to be foreigners and had become British, not German Saxons. 2nd, The kingdom of the West Saxons is-admitted to have been overthrown by the Britons after the great battle of Wan-borough. 3rd. With the exception of a petty predatory—excursion on the Isle of Wight, no expedition of the Saxon arms is recorded during the reign of Arthur—thus confirming the complete reduction of the Teutonic invaders universally assigned among his other exploits by history and European tradition to this king. 4th, The massacre of Bangor is gloried in as the fulfilment of the menaces of Augustin against the Church and Nation which had peremptorily rejected the pretensions of the Papacy. 5th, The career of Cadwallo and his re-conquest of the North of Britain are admitted. 6th, His son Cadwaladr Sanctus is claimed under the name of Cadwalla—a novelty in Saxon nomenclature as a Saxon king, his mother being a sister of Penda, king of Mercia. Ivor is similarly converted into Ina—the West Saxons being unable to pronounce the British v. 7th, Three hundred and forty years after the landing of Hengist, and one hundred and fifty years after the Llcegrians had Saxonized, whilst the war still raged with unabated keenness between the elder-tribe, the Kymry, and the Teuto-Britons in the West—the Kymry, or Cimbri of the Baltic enter the arena under the name of Norsemen, Daciaid, Daniaid, Danes, and strike in their own right for the crown and heritance of the island. With these statements of the Anglo-Saxon authorities themselves before us, it appears an historical absurdity to speak of an Anglo-Saxon conquest of England in any other light than a Monkish fiction for interested purposes of the Roman Catholic church. We resume the British narrative.
Gotta the son of Vortigern and Rowena succeeded in renewing the league between the Red Irish and the Saxon confederation. He landed at the Menai, where he and Guilloman his ally were met, defeated, and slain, by Uthyr. Aurelius Ambrosius was the same year poisoned by a Saxon, Eopa, instigated to the foul act by Gotta. He was buried at Ambresbury, in Wiltshire.
The British church during this era continued to extend itself on every side. It held full communion with the primitive Gallic church. St. Germanus (Garmon) and St. Lupus (Bleiddan) the suppressors of the Pelagian heresy were Armoricans of the royal family of Conan, Constantine, and Arthur. St. Patrick, the apostle of Ireland, was born at Rhos, in Pembrokeshire. His first name was Maelwyn. He was baptized Patricius or Patrick, ordained priest A.D. 425, by St. Germanus, and afterwards bishop to the Scots (Irish), by Amandus, archbishop of Bourdeaux. In the course of sixty years he converted all Ireland to the faith. He died in his 121St year, and was buried by St. David at Glastonbury. His father was Calpurnius, his mother Consuessa, sister of St. Martin, archbishop of Tours and apostle of southern Gaul. Another sister of St. Martin married Gorthol, prince of the Strathclyde Britons, to whom she bore St. Ninian, the apostle of the southern Picts. He founded the cathedral of Whithern (Candida Casa) A.D. 440. The Roman emperor Anthemius requesting aid from Uthyr against Euric, king of the Visigoths, Uthyr landed at Havre, at the head of 12,000 men, (A.D. 470). An engagement took place, but the Roman proconsul failing to effect a junction, Uthyr was obliged to yield the field and retire into Burgundy. Advantage was taken of his absence by Octa and Ebusa, to raise the standard of rebellion. On his return Uthyr was discomfited by them at York, but afterwards defeated and took them prisoners at Dumbarton castle. Confined in the Tower of London, they escaped by bribing the guards, to Germany, collected fresh forces from the con-federation, disembarked at Yarmouth, and marching to Verulam, were there routed and slain by the Pendragon. Uthyr Postumus, Pendragon, died at London, in his 90th year, A.D. 500. He was succeeded by his son Arthur, then in his twentieth year.
The life and career of this monarch, the most popular and widely-renowned of all the heroes of ancient and modern times, belongs rather to the history of chivalry and civilization than to any one land or race. As the founder of European chivalry and the champion of Christendom against the pagan hordes of the North, he created a new era, new characters, and a new code in the military annals of mankind. His exploits and those of his marshals, more or less exaggerated, form part of the literature of almost every language in Europe and Asia. Around him and his court revolved from the sixth to the sixteenth century innumerable cycles of epics, martial lyrics, lays, traditionary narratives and brilliant romanzas, such as have never graced any other theme with the sole exception of that of the ancestral city of his race—“the fall of Troy divine.” “ Arthur is known, writes an author of the middle ages, in Asia as in Britain ; our pilgrims returning from the East and West talk of him; Egypt and the Bosphorus are not silent; Rome, the mistress of cities, sings his actions; Antioch, Armenia, Palestine, celebrate his deeds. Not only our own countries but the Spaniards, Italians, Gauls, and Swedes beyond the Baltic record to this day in their books the illustrious actions of this most noble king.”
Our space will only permit us to epitomize the principal events of his reign, A.D. 500-542. Arthur was born at Tintagel castle, Cornwall. His mother was Eigra, of the Cuneddine dynasty of Venedotia, He was educated by St. David at Caerleon, crowned by St. Dubricius, and within a month afterwards took the field against a fresh league of the Teutonic tribes which had been formed on the news of Uthyr’s demise. The war which ensued and which was terminated by the decisive battle of Mont Badon, (A.D. 522), was conducted on both the Christian and Pagan sides with extraordinary vigor and determination. The Angles, Jutes, and Saxons, the leading tribes, appear to have literally drawn their last man from the Continent—for Bede declares that their old countries were in his time (A.D. 700) and had long been deserts without a single human inhabitant. The possession of Odin blood was, we have observed, with the Anglo-Saxon and other Gothic tribes, the indispensable condition of kingship—the greater part of the Odin lineage threw itself into this pagan crusade against Britain, carrying with them the whole physical and fanatic force of the warlike nations over whom they swayed a species of divine sceptre. The Odin pedigree of these chiefs was regarded by their followers as the guarantee for success and a certain pass to every Saxon who fell under their banner to the future joys of Valhalla. To meet this formidable heathen fraternity, Arthur organized the Order of Christian Chivalry, commonly known as that of the Round Table. Its companions were selected from all Christians without distinction of race, climate, or language — they bound themselves to oppose the progress of paganism, to be loyal to the British throne, to protect the defenceless, to show mercy to the fallen, upon a foe in the battle field. The Odin chiefs of greatest eminence were Colgrin, Baldulph, Cheldric, Cerdic, Osca, Otho, Urcwin, Oslac, Elesa, Egbricht, Alred—all these fell in the war. The twelve celebrated victories of the young Pendragon were as follows. 1st, at Gloster; 2nd, at Wigan (the Combats), 10 miles from Mersey. The battle lasted through the night. In A.D. 1780, on cutting through the tumuli, three cart loads of horse-shoes were found and removed. 3rd, at Blackrode. 4th, at Penrith, between the Loder and Elimot, on the spot still called King Arthur’s castle. 5th, on the Douglas, in Douglas vale. 6th, at Lincoln. 7th, on the edge of the Forest of Celidon, (Ettrick Forest) at Melrose. 8th, at Caer Gwynion. 9th, between Edinburgh and Leith. loth, at Dumbarton. 11th, at Brixham, Torbay. 12th, at Mont Badon, above Bath.
This last defeat, A.D. 520, was so crushing that it destroyed ‘the Saxon confederation itself, nor did any foreigner attempt to set hostile foot on the Island till Ida landed A.D. 550, in Northumbria, eight years after Arthur’s death. From A.D. 520, to this latter date, such of the Saxons as were not expelled or exterminated remained in peaceful allegiance to the British throne, many of them serving in and contributing to its foreign conquests.
The only portion of France unsubdued by Clovis and his Franks was Bretagne, now ruled over by Hoe!, the cousin and subject of Arthur. Reviving, as the Henries and Edwards were wont to do to liter ages, the claims of his predecessors to the Gallic dominions, Arthur in five years (A.D. 521-6) achieved the conquest of Gaul—Chlodomir, the successor of Clovis, falling in the great battle on the plain of Langres. Arthur was crowned at Paris the same year that Justinian succeeded to the Eastern empire. The conquests of the mother-countries of the pagan nations themselves followed from A.D. 527—35,—Old Saxony, Denmark, Frisia, North Germany, and the whole of Scandinavia as far as Lapland, being subdued in succession. Johannes Magnus, archbishop of Upsal, the historian of ancient Denmark, charges Arthur with having ruled these Northern conquests (lib. viii. c. 31,) with excessive rigor. From A.D. 535 to 541, the Arthurian empire extending from Russia to the Pyrenees, enjoyed undisturbed repose. Milan two years before had been taken by the Goths, and three hundred thousand citizens—every male adult, put to the sword by the brutal captors. In order to liberate Italy and add it to the Christian empire of Britain, Arthur conducted his forces again to the Continent, leaving his insular dominions under the Regency of Modred, the eldest son of his sister Anna or Morgana, and Llew Cynvarch (Lotho), king of Scotland. The name of Modred stands out in unenviable prominence as that of the “third arch-traitor of the Isle of Britain.” Arthur had advanced as far as the Alps when intelligence reached him that Modred had rebelled, and aided by pagan levies, seized the throne. Retracing his march Arthur defeated the traitor in two engagements at Dover and Winchester. The third and last known as “the ‘three black days of Camlan,” was fought at Camerford, within a few miles of Tintagel castle. It lasted three days, no less than 100,000 of the chivalry of Britain falling on the fatal field. Arthur himself sorely wounded was conveyed by Taliesin, Morgana, and others of his court, to Avallon. His farewell words to his knights—” I go hence in God’s time, and in God’s time I shall return,” created an invincible belief that ,God had removed him, like Enoch and Elijah, to Paradise without passing through the gate of death ; and that he would at a certain period return, re-ascend the British throne, and subdue the whole world to Christ. The effects of this persuasion were as extraordinary as the persuasion itself, sustaining his countrymen under all reverses, and ultimately enabling them to realize its spirit by placing their own line of Tudors on the throne. As late as A.D. 1492, it pervaded both England and Wales. “ Of the death of Arthur, men yet have doubt,” writes Wynkyn de Worde, in his chronicle, “ and shall have for evermore, for as men say none wot whether he be alive or dead.” The aphanismus or disappearance of Arthur is a cardinal event in British history. The pretended discovery of his body and that of his queen Ginevra, at Glastonbury, was justly ridiculed by the Kymry as a Norman invention. ‘Arthur has left his name to above six hundred localities in Britain. His court at Caerleon was the resort of all the genius and erudition of the age ; amongst its distinguished ornaments may be mentioned St. David, St. Cadog, Merlin Ambrosius, Llywarch, Taliesin, Aneurin, Golyddan, St. Kentigern, St. lltyd, &c. The genuine works of Aneurin—his “ British History,” and “ Life of Arthur,” are lost; the work of Gildas, which at one time passed for the former, is a forgery of Aldhelm, the Roman catholic Monk of Malmesbury. Some of the poetical compositions of Llywarch, Merlin, Taliesin, Aneurin, and Golyddan, have come down to our times.
Arthur was succeeded (A.D. 543,) by Constantine, Duke of Cornwall—Constantine by Aurelius Conan (A.D. 547,)—Conan by Malgwyn Gwynedd, Prince of Venedotia (A.D. 55o,) celebrated for his strength and beauty of person. Ida the Angle landed (A.D. 547,) with sixty ships at Bamborough—many and great battles, writes Henry of Huntingdon, were fought between him and the Britons. The battle of Gododin, in which the Britons were defeated with the loss of three hundred and sixty Torquati (nobles entitled to wear the torq), and Aneurin taken prisoner, was fought A.D. 556, at Cattrick. Hostilities were for a time suspended by the marriage of Ida with Bina, daughter of Culvinod, Duke of Deifr (Deira, Durham), but they soon re-commenced, and Ida fell by the hand of Owain ap Urien, Prince of Cambria. The progress of the Angles in the North, observes Sharon Turner, is slow and involved in obscurity. Northumbria—the east of England, between the Forth and the Humber, was reduced the next century to a wilderness by Cadwallo, Lin revenge of the Bangor massacre by its king Edelfrith. William of Malmesbury states, it was covered even in his time with ruins of the noble cities and temples of the Roman era. When Egbert took possession of it, A.D. 840, about 4,000 families constituted the whole population. It was subsequently conquered and peopled by the Danes, and called Daneland —- hence the marked difference between the populations of northern and southern England.
Malgwyn was succeeded by his son Rhun, (A.D. 56o,) —- Rhun by Beli, (A.D. 586,) Beli by Iago, (A.D. 592,) —Iago by Cadvan, (A.D. 603). During all these reigns the wars between the Kymry and the various hordes who landed or attempted to land from the Continent and northern Europe continued with little or no intermission. Columba, or Columkil, (the dove of the church) a Presbyter of the Hiberno-British church evangelized the Western Picts and Scots (A.D. 565), and founded the celebrated monastery of Iona or I-colm-kil. His disciple, St. Aidan, in the next century converted the Northumbrian Angles. Aidan King of Cumbria suffered a signal defeat A.D. 603, from Edelfrith, grandson of Ida, though Edelfrith’s brother, Adel-red, and all his vanguard fell in the earlier part of the day.
The Anglo-Saxons, as late as A.D. 1080, were in the habit of selling their own children as slaves to the southern nations. The principal slave-market was Bristol. Some of the children thus sold attracted in the slave-market at Rome the attention of Pope Gregory, and induced him to send a mission, consisting of Augustin and forty monks, to convert the British Saxons to Christianity. They were well received by Bertha, the Christian wife of Ethelbert, the pagan regulus of Kent, and the old British church of St. Martin at Canterbury made over to them ; but Augustin soon shewed that the real object of the mission was rather to induce the British church itself to recognize Rome as the Papacy or the “ mother and mistress of all churches” than to evangelize the uncultivated serfs of the heathen chief. He requested an interview with the Bishops of the British church. The arch-bishop of Caerleon, or St. David’s, deputed Dunawd, abbot of Bangor, and the Bishops of Hereford, Worcester, Bangor, St. Asaph, Llandaff, Llanbadarn, and Margam, to meet him. Two conferences were held under the protection of Brochwel, prince of Powys, on the confines of Herefordshire or Ferrex, at Augustin’s Oak, (Austcliffe on the Severn). The second lasted seven days; Dunawd and the British Bishops disputed, states Leland, with great learning and gravity against the authority of Augustin—maintained the jurisdiction of the Archbishopric of St. David’s, and affirmed that the Ancient Britons would never acknowledge either Roman pretensions or Saxon usurpation. The conferences closed by the British Bishops delivering on behalf of the British church and people, the following rejection of the Papal claims—the oldest as also the most dignified national protest on record —-
“Be it known and declared to you, that we all, individually and collectively, are in all humility prepared to defer to the Church of God, and to the Pope of Rome, and to every sincere and godly Christian, so far as to love every one according to his degree, in perfect charity, and to assist them all by word and deed in becoming the children of God. But as for further obedience, we know of none that he whom you term the Pope, or Bishop of Bishops, can claim or demand. The deference which we have mentioned we are ever ready to pay to him as to every other Christian; but in all other respects our obedience is due to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Caerleon, who is alone under God our ruler to keep us right in the way of salvation.”
“The British Church,” remarks Sir Henry Spell-man, “acknowledged no superior to its arch-bishop of Caerleon, or St. David’s, but God alone; it knew nothing of the jurisdiction of any foreign power or potentate.” Augustin on the breaking up of the conference threatened the Kymry that as they would not accept peace from their brethren, they should have war from their enemies—if they would not preach life to the Saxons, they should receive death at their hands. The insolence of this menace from a friar of a petty mission and one chapel, amongst the barbarian pagans of Kent, to a church counting in Britain and on the Continent four arch-bishoprics and thirty bishops amongst its officers, and such universities as Bangor and Llaniltyd amongst its establishments, is only equalled by the falsehoods implied in it—that the British Church had never preached the gospel to the pagan invaders. All Scotland, Ireland, and North Britain, had on the contrary either been or were then in the course of being evangelized by missionaries of the British Church, many of them men of high birth and attainments—Patrick, Ninian, Paulinus, Columba, Aidan, Kentigern, and others. The Isle of Wight and other parts within easy access of the Canterbury mission were not on the contrary converted till fifty years after the conference. Augustin found means however to execute his threat. At his persuasions Ethelbert instigated Edelfrid, the pagan king of Northumbria, to invade the territories of Brochwel, Prince of Powys, who had supported Dunawd and the Bishops in their rejection of the Papal claims. Powys then embraced Cheshire and Shropshire—its capitols being Pengwern (Shrewsbury) and Chester. Edelfrid with an army of fifty thousand men poured into the Vale Royal, and was encountered by Brochwell at Chester. On an eminence near the field of battle were 1,200 British Priests of the university of Bangor, in their white canonicals, totally unarmed, assembled to offer up their prayers for the success of the Christian arms. Whilst the engagement was raging, Edelfrid observing them, asked who the soldiers in white were, and why instead of joining in the battle, they remained on their knees? On being informed that they were Priests of Bangor, engaged in prayer to the Christians’ God : “if they are praying against us to their God,” exclaimed the ferocious heathen, “ they are fighting against us as much as if they attacked us with arms in their hands.” Directing his forces in person against them, he massacred them to a man. He then advanced to the university itself, put as many priests and students as had not fled at his approach, to the sword, and consigned its numerous halls, colleges, and churches, to the flames. Thus was fulfilled, exclaims the pious Bede, the prediction of the blessed Augustin—the prophet being in truth the perpetrator. Attempting to force the passage of the Dee, Edelfrid was repulsed by Brochwel, and a few days afterwards routed with the loss of 10,000 of his men, by Cadvan ; he himself escaping wounded and with great difficulty to Litchfield. Cadvan pursued his victory by overrunning the country to the estuary of the Humber, and-besieging Edelfrid in York. Peace was concluded by Edelfrid’s acknowledging the sovereignty of the Pendragon over the whole Island, and surrendering among others his youthful relative, Edwin king of Deira, as a hostage to the conqueror. The British army in returning halted on the scene of the devastation at Bangor; the ashes of the noble monastery were still smoking—its libraries, the collection of ages, were consumed—half ruined walls, gates, and smouldering rubbish were all that remained of its magnificent edifices, and these were everywhere crimsoned with the blood and interspersed with the bodies of priests, students, and choristers. The scene left a quenchless desire for further vengeance on the minds of the Kymric soldiery.
Colfwulf, the West Saxon king, penetrating into Siluria (A.D. 610,) was defeated by Teudric the hermit-king, then in this 100th year, on the banks of the Wye. Teudric expired in the moment of victory, supported by his officers on horseback, his dying gaze fixed on the Saxons in flight. He was buried at the old palace, at Matherne.
Kent and Essex relapsed (A.D. 616,) on the deaths of Ethelbald and Sebert into paganism. Edwin, king of Deira, had meanwhile been educated by Cadvan with his own son Cadwallo, at Carnarvon. A.D. 617, by the aid of Redwald of Essex, Edwin defeated and slew his uncle Edelfrid, on the east bank of the Idel, in Nottingham-shire. In A.D. 626, he was attempted to be assassinated with a poisoned dagger by Eomer, an emissary of Cuichelm of Wessex. His life was saved by his minister Lilla springing before him and receiving the dagger in his own bosom.
Cadvan was succeeded by Cadwallo, A.D. 628. Edwin on hearing of his accession, and trusting to their early friendship, sent an embassy to Chester, requesting permission to wear a royal crown instead of the usual coronet of the sub-kings. Cadwallon peremptorily refused, stating that the usages of Britain had never permitted but one “Diadema Britannia, or crown of Britain, to be worn in the Island.” Incensed by the refusal, Edwin threw off his allegiance, and on Cadwallo’s invading Northumbria, defeated him in a great battle at Widdrington, eight miles north of Morpeth. Cadwallo after an exile of five years in Ireland and Armorica landed at Torquay. Penda Strenuus, king of Mercia, and ally of Edwin, was then (A.D. 634) besieging Exeter. The siege was raised, and Penda routed and taken prisoner by Cadwallo. On being liberated by the intercession of his sister at the feet of Cadwallo, he swore allegiance to the Pendragon—an oath he observed with religious fidelity during his life. Cadwallo struck with the charms of Elditha, the sister, married her. The issue of the marriage was Cadwaladr Sanctus, the last Pendragon and sole monarch of Britain of the British dynasty; in his father’s right heir of Cambria, and in his mother’s of Mercia and Wessex. The career of Cadwallo from this date was so merciless that his name for generations after-wards continued a word of terror amongst the Anglo-Saxons. He bound himself by a vow, as sanguinary as that of Hannibal towards the Romans, that he would not leave an Angle alive between the Humber and the Forth, and he well nigh kept it. Sixteen victories of his are recorded in various parts of the kingdom by contemporary authors. Edwin and the flower of the Anglo-Saxon nobility fell before him at the battle of Hat-field Chase (Meigen), in Yorkshire, (A.D. 633)—long the theme of mournful song and dirge to the Saxon Scalds. Osric, Eanfrid, and with the exception of Oswald, the whole Odin or Ida family of Northumbria were extirpated by him, and the country reduced by sword and fire to ashes and a wilderness. The year of these calamities (A.D. 634) was, states Bede, obliterated like the anniversary of the Allia in the Roman, from the Saxon calendar. It is singular that the only two instances recorded of thus discalendaring times of national disaster should have been caused by the victories of the same Kymric race over two of the most warlike nations of ancient and modern times—the Roman and the Saxon. Oswald collecting the relics of his kingdom led them (A.D. 635,) against the remorseless Briton and his general Penda, at Heavenfield (Dennisbourne), near Durham. Elevating the cross on an earthen mound, he and his army knelt around it and offered up a simple but fervent prayer, “that the God of battles would deliver them from the proud tyrant that had sworn the destruction of their race.” The appeal was not in vain. Cadwallo and Penda were defeated with heavy loss. Success was not however of long continuance, Oswald was defeated, slain, and his dead body crucified by Cadwallo at Maserfield, since then called Oswald’s-tree, (Oswestry). His body was interred at Bardsey, but his arms were deposited in silver shrines at Durham and Lindisfarne, and miracles attributed to them. This victory placed all Saxondom at the foot of the victor. Neither rival nor rebel disturbed the remainder of his reign, the security of which was further confirmed by a brief but sanguinary war which broke out between the two leading Saxon reguli, Penda and Oswy, and in which Penda with his principal officers, thirty in number, fell by their fool-hardy contempt of their opponents. The last years of Cadwallo’s reign were spent in London. He died in his 74th year, Nov. 15th, 664. His body was embalmed and entombed in a sarcophagus in the front of St. Martin’s church, surmounted by a group cast in brass, of himself, his armor-bearer, and steed. They remained till destroyed by the Danes, A.D. 1018.
Cadwaladr Sanctus, the last Kymric monarch of Britain till Harry Tudor, succeeded A.D. 664. He is the Cadwalla of Bede and the Saxon Chronicle. Kent rebelling and killing his brother Moel, (the Mull of the Saxon chronicle,) he punished it with great severity. Finding it impossible to unite under one sceptre, his father’s subjects—the Kymry, and his mother’s—the Geuissae, or West-Saxons and Mercians, he appears at an early period to have meditated retiring from the cares of royalty to a religious life. This determination was hastened by one of those visitations of the Almighty which more than all human revolutions or devices have so often changed the destinies of nations; the Black Plague, called by the British writers the Vengeance of God, (Dial Duw,) broke out A.D. 670, and raged for twelve years. Famine as usual accompanied its progress; the mortality was such that whole counties were left without an inhabitant, such of the population as were spared by the epidemic falling victims to the famine or despair. Companies of men and women, states Henry of Huntingdon, fifty and sixty in number, crawled to the cliffs and there joining hands, precipitated themselves in a body into the sea. The birds also perished in countless numbers. All distinction between Briton and Saxon was lost in this appal-ling state of things. Cadwallo abdicated the throne, and retiring to Rome died there, and was interred at St. Peter’s, 18th May, 689.
From this date to A.D. 720, follows a period of confusion and impenetrable obscurity. In the North the Britons of Strathclyde (A.D. 684) had annihilated the army of Egfrid, king of Northumbria, at Drumnechtar, in Forfarshire—Egfrid himself, Beort his general, and fifty thousand Angles falling on the field. No attempt, states Bede, writing A.D. 729, has since been made on “the liberties of the Britons—the Picts have recovered all their territories, and the power of the Angles has continued to retrograde.” The three kingdoms of the Strathclyde Britons, the British Picts, and the Scots of Ireland, finally united and became the kingdom of Scotland. The highlands remained as before occupied by the primitive British clans of Albyn, and were not incorporated under one government with the rest of the Island till A.D. 1745.
In the South, Idwal Iwrch, the son of Cadwaladr, with Ivor, second son of Alan II of Bretagne, and Ynyr his nephew, landed on the cessation of the pestilence to recover his hereditary dominions. ldwal was crowned Prince of Cambria, at Carnarvon—Ivor was received by Kernyw (Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall), and in the course of six years established himself firmly on the West-Saxon throne—Idwal abdicating his claim in right of his grandmother, the sister of Penda, in his favor. Ivor’s marriage with Ethelburga, cousin of Kentwyn, consolidated his power. On Kentwyn’s demise, he added Kent and Mercia to his dominions. The Saxons rebelling under Cynwulf, the Etheling, were again subdued A.D. 721. Ealdbert Etheling of South Saxony was slain by him, and South Saxony annexed A.D. 725.