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Early Britain--Roman Britain by Edward Conybeare

Part 2 out of 5

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history depends. For its commencement marks the furthest point reached
in his career of conquest by the man without whom Roman history must
needs have come to a shameful and disastrous end--Julius Caesar.

A. 2.--The old Roman constitution and the old Roman character had
alike proved wholly unequal to meet the strain thrown upon them by the
acquisition of the world-wide empire which they had gained for their
city. Under the stress of the long feud between its Patrician and
Plebeian elements that constitution had developed into an instrument
for the regulation of public affairs, admirably adapted for a
City-state, where each magistrate performs his office under his
neighbour's eye and over his own constituents; constantly amenable
both to public opinion and to the checks provided by law. But it
never contemplated Pro-consuls bearing sway over the unenfranchised
populations of distant Provinces, whence news filtered through to Rome
but slowly, and where such legal checks as a man had to reckon with
were in the hands of a Court far more ready to sympathize with the
oppression of non-voters than to resent it.

A. 3.--And these officials had deteriorated from the old Roman
rectitude, as the Spartan harmosts deteriorated under conditions
exactly similar in the days of the Lacedaemonian supremacy over
Hellas. And, in both cases, the whole national character was dragged
down by the degradation of what we may call the Colonial executive.
Like the Spartan, the Roman of "the brave days of old" was often
stern, and even brutal, towards his enemies. But he was a devoted
patriot, he was true to his plighted faith, and above all he was free
from all taint of pecuniary corruption. The earlier history of both
nations is full of legends illustrating these points, which, whether
individually true or not, bear abundant testimony to the national
ideal. But with irresponsible power, Roman and Spartan alike, while
remaining as brutally indifferent as ever to the sufferings of others,
lost all that was best in his own ethical equipment. Instead of
patriotism we find unblushing self-interest as the motive of every
action; in place of good faith, the most shameless dishonesty; and,
for the old contempt of ill-gotten gains, a corruption so fathomless
and all-pervading as fairly to stagger us. The tale of the doings of
Verres in a district so near Rome as Sicily shows us a depth of mire
and degeneration to which no constitution could sink and live.

A. 4.--Nor could the Roman constitution survive it. From the Provinces
the taint spread with fatal rapidity to the City itself. The thirst
for lucre became the leading force in the State; for its sake the
Classes more and more trampled down the Masses; and entrance to the
Classes was a matter no longer of birth, but of money alone. And all
history testifies that the State which becomes a plutocracy is doomed
indeed. Of all possible forms of government--autocracy, oligarchy,
democracy--that is the lowest, that most surely bears within itself
the seeds of its own inevitable ruin.

A. 5.--So it was with the Roman Republic. As soon as this stage was
reached it began to "stew in its own juice" with appalling rapidity.
Reformers, like the Gracchi, were crushed; and the commonwealth went
to pieces under the shocks and counter-shocks of demagogues like
Clodius, conspirators like Catiline, and military adventurers such
as Marius and Sulla--for whose statue the Senate could find no more
constitutional title than "The Lucky General" [_Sullae Imperatori
Felici_] Well-meaning individuals, such as Cicero and Pompey, were
still to be found, and even came to the front, but they all alike
proved unequal to the crisis; which, in fact, threw up one man, and
one only, of force to become a real maker of history--Caius Julius
Caesar, the first Roman invader of Britain.

A. 6.--Caesar was at the time of this invasion (55 B.C.) some
forty-five years old; but he had not long become a real power in the
political arena. Sprung from the bluest blood of Rome--the Julian
House tracing their origin to the mythical Iulus, son of Aeneas, and
thus claiming descent from the Goddess Venus--we might have expected
to find him enrolled amongst the aristocratic conservatives, the
champions of the _regime_ of Sulla. But though a mere boy at the date
of the strife between the partisans of Sulla and Marius (B.C. 88-78),
Caesar was already clear-sighted enough to perceive that in the
"Classes" of that day there was no help for the tempest-tossed
commonwealth. Accordingly he threw in his lot with the revolutionary
Marian movement, broke off a wealthy matrimonial engagement arranged
for him by his parents to become the son-in-law of Cinna, and in the
very thick of the Sullan proscriptions, braved the Dictator by openly
glorying in his connection with the defeated reformers. How he escaped
with his life, even at the intercession, if it was indeed made, of the
Vestals, is a mystery; for Sulla (who had little regard for religious,
or any other, scruples) was deliberately extirpating every soul whom
he thought dangerous to the plutocracy, and is said to have pronounced
"that boy" as "more to be dreaded than many a Marius." He did,
however, escape; but till the vanquished party recovered in some
degree from this ruthless massacre of their leaders, he could take no
prominent part in politics. The minor offices of Quaestor, Aedile,
and Praetor he filled with credit, and meanwhile seemed to be giving
himself up to shine in Society, which was not, in Rome, then at its
best; and his reputation for intrigue, his skill at the gaming-table,
and his fashionable swagger were the envy of all the young bloods of
the day.

A. 7.--The Catiline conspiracy (B.C. 63), and the irregular executions
that followed its suppression, at length gave him his opportunity.
While the Senate was hailing Cicero as "the Father of his country" for
the stern promptitude which enabled him, as Consul, to say "_Vixere_"
["They _have_ lived"] in answer to the question as to the doom of the
conspirators, Caesar had electrified the assembly by his denunciation
of the view that, in whatsoever extremity, the blood of Roman citizens
might be shed by a Roman Consul, secretly and without legal warrant.
Henceforward he took his place as the special leader on whom popular
feeling at Rome more and more pinned its hopes. As Pontifex Maximus he
gained (B.C. 63) a shadowy but far from unreal religious influence;
as Pro-praetor he solidified the Roman dominion in Spain (where he
had already been Quaestor); and on his return (B.C. 60) reconciled
Crassus, the head of the moneyed interest, with Pompey, the darling
of the Army, and by their united influence was raised next year to the

A. 8.--A Roman Consul invariably, after the expiration of his year of
office, was sent as Pro-consul to take charge of one of the Provinces,
practically having a good deal of personal say as to which should be
assigned to him. Caesar thus chose for his proconsular government the
district of Gaul then under Roman dominion, _i.e._ the valley of the
Po, and that of the Rhone. In making this choice Caesar was actuated
by the fact that in Gaul he was more likely than anywhere else to come
in for active service. Unquiet neighbours on the frontier, Germans and
Helvetians, were threatening invasion, and would have to be repelled.
And this would give the Pro-consul the chance of doing what Caesar
specially desired, of raising and training an army which he might make
as devoted to himself as were Pompey's veterans to their brilliant
chieftain--the hero "as beautiful as he was brave, as good as he was
beautiful." Without such a force Caesar foresaw that all his efforts
to redress the abuses of the State would be in vain. As Consul he had
carried certain small instalments of reform; but they had made him
more hated than ever by the classes at whose corruption they were
aimed, and might any day be overthrown. And neither Pompey nor Crassus
were in any way to be depended upon for his plans in this direction.

A. 9.--Events proved kinder to him than he could have hoped. His
ill-wishers at Rome actually aided his preparations for war; for
Caesar had not yet gained any special military reputation, while
the barbarians whom he was to meet had a very high one, and might
reasonably be expected to destroy him. And the Helvetian peril proved
of such magnitude that he had every excuse for making a much larger
levy than there was any previous prospect of his securing. On the
surpassing genius with which he manipulated the weapon thus put into
his hand there is no need to dwell. Suffice it to say that in spite
of overwhelming superiority in numbers, courage yet more signal, a
stronger individual physique, and arms as effective, his foes one
after another vanished before him. Helvetians, Germans, Belgians,
were not merely conquered, but literally annihilated, as often as they
ventured to meet him, and in less than three years the whole of Gaul
was at his feet.


Sea-fight with Veneti and Britons--Pretexts for invading
Britain--British dominion of Divitiacus--Gallic tribes in

B. 1.--One of the last tribes to be subdued (in B.C. 56) was that
which, as the chief seafaring race of Gaul, had the most intimate
relations with Britain, the Veneti, or men of Vannes, who dwelt in
what is now Brittany.[68] These enterprising mariners had developed a
form of vessel fitted to cope with the stormy Chops of the Channel on
lines exactly opposite to those of the British "curraghs."[69] Instead
of being so light as to rise to every lift of the waves, and with
frames so flexible as to bend rather than break under their every
stress, the Venetian ships were of the most massive construction,
built wholly of the stoutest oak planking, and with timbers upwards of
a foot in thickness. All were bolted together with iron pins "as thick
as a man's thumb." Forecastle and poop were alike lofty, with a lower
waist for the use of sweeps if needful. But this was only exceptional,
sails being the usual motive power. And these were constructed chiefly
with a view to strength. Instead of canvas, they were formed of
untanned hides. And instead of hempen cables the Veneti were so far
ahead of their time as to use iron chains with their anchors; an
invention which perished with them, not to come in again till the 19th
century. Their broad beam and shallow keel enabled these ships to
lie more conveniently in the tidal inlets on either side of the

B. 2.--Thus equipped, the Veneti had tapped the tin trade at its
source, and established emporia at Falmouth, Plymouth, and Exmouth;
on the sites of which ancient ingots, Gallic coins of gold, and
other relics of their period have lately been discovered. Thence they
conveyed their freight to the Seine, the Loire, and even the Garonne.
The great Damnonian clan, which held the whole of Devon and Cornwall,
were in close alliance with them, and sent auxiliaries to aid in their
final struggle against Caesar. Indeed they may possibly have drawn
allies from a yet wider area, if, as Mr. Elton conjectures, the
prehistoric boats which have at various times been found in the silt
at Glasgow may be connected with their influence.[71]

B. 3.--Caesar describes his struggle with the Veneti and their British
allies as one of the most arduous in his Gallic campaigns. The Roman
war galleys depended largely upon ramming in their sea-fights, but the
Venetian ships were so solidly built as to defy this method of attack.
At the same time their lofty prows and sterns enabled them to deliver
a plunging fire of missiles on the Roman decks, and even to command
the wooden turrets which Caesar had added to his bulwarks. They
invariably fought under sail, and manoeuvred so skilfully that
boarding was impossible. In the end, after several unsuccessful
skirmishes, Caesar armed his marines with long billhooks, instructing
them to strike at the halyards of the Gallic vessels as they swept
past. (These must have been fastened outboard.) The device succeeded.
One after another, in a great battle off Quiberon, of which the Roman
land force were spectators, the huge leathern mainsails dropped on
to the decks, doubtless "covering the ship as with a pall," as in the
like misfortune to the Elizabethan _Revenge_ in her heroic defence
against the Spanish fleet, and hopelessly crippling the vessel,
whether for sailing or rowing. The Romans were at last able to board,
and the whole Venetian fleet fell into their hands. The strongholds
on the coast were now stormed, and the entire population either
slaughtered or sold into slavery, as an object lesson to the rest of
the confederacy of the fate in store for those who dared to stand out
against the Genius of Rome.

B. 4.--Caesar had now got a very pretty excuse for extending his
operations to Britain, and, as his object was to pose at Rome as "a
Maker of Empire," he eagerly grasped at the chance. Something of a
handle, moreover, was afforded him by yet another connection between
the two sides of the Channel. Many people were still alive who
remembered the days when Divitiacus, King of the Suessiones (at
Soissons), had been the great potentate of Northern Gaul. In Caesar's
time this glory was of the past, and the Suessiones had sunk to
a minor position amongst the Gallic clans. But within the last
half-century the sway of their monarch had been acknowledged not only
over great part of Gaul, but in Britain also. Caesar's words, indeed,
would almost seem to point to the island as a whole having been in
some sense under him: _Etiam Britanniae imperium obtinuit_.[72]

B. 5.--And traces of his rule still existed in the occupation of
British districts by colonists from two tribes, which, as his nearest
neighbours, must certainly have formed part of any North Gallic
confederacy under him--the Atrebates and the Parisii. The former had
their continental seat in Picardy; the latter, as their name tells us,
on the Seine. Their insular settlements were along the southern bank
of the Thames and the northern bank of the Humber respectively. How
far the two sets of Parisians held together politically does not
appear; but the Atrebates, whether in Britain or Gaul, acknowledged
the claim of a single magnate, named Commius, to be their paramount
Chieftain.[73] In this capacity he had led his followers against
Caesar in the great Belgic confederacy of B.C. 58, and on its
collapse, instead of holding out to the last like the Nervii, had
made a timely submission. If convenient, this submission might be
represented as including that of his British dominions; especially
as we gather that a contingent from over-sea may have actually fought
under his banner against the Roman eagles. Nay, it is possible that
the old claims of the ruler of Soissons over Britain may have been
revived, now that that ruler was Julius Caesar. It is even conceivable
that his complaint of British assistance having been given to the
enemy "in all our Gallic wars" may point to his having heard some form
of the legend, whose echoes we meet with in Welsh Triads, that the
Gauls who sacked Rome three centuries earlier numbered Britons amongst
their ranks.


Defeat of Germans--Bridge over Rhine--Caesar's army--Dread
of ocean--Fleet at Boulogne--Commius sent to Britain--Channel
crossed--Attempt on Dover--Landing at Deal--Legionary
sentiment--British army dispersed.

C. 1.--For making use of these pretexts, however, Caesar had to wait
a while. It was needful to bring home to both supporters and opponents
his brilliant success by showing himself in Rome, during the idle
season when his men were in winter quarters. And when he got back to
his Province with the spring of A.D. 55, his first attention had to be
given to the Rhine frontier, whence a formidable German invasion
was threatening. With his usual skill and war-craft--which, on
this occasion, in the eyes of his Roman ill-wishers, seemed
indistinguishable from treachery--he annihilated the Teutonic
horde which had dared to cross the river; and then, by a miracle of
engineering skill, bridged the broad and rapid stream, and made such a
demonstration in Germany itself as to check the national trek westward
for half a millennium.

C. 2.--By this time, as this wonderful feat shows, the Army of Gaul
had become one of those perfect instruments into which only truly
great commanders can weld their forces. Like the Army of the
Peninsula, in the words of Wellington, "it could go anywhere and do
anything." The men who, when first enlisted, had trembled before
the Gauls, and absolutely shed tears at the prospect of encountering
Germans, now, under the magic of Caesar's genius, had learnt to dread
nothing. Often surprised, always outnumbered, sometimes contending
against tenfold odds, the legionaries never faltered. Each individual
soldier seems to have learnt to do instinctively the right thing in
every emergency, and every man worshipped his general. For every man
could see that it was Caesar and Caesar alone to whom every victory
was due. The very training of the engineers, the very devices, such as
that of the Rhine bridge, by which such mighty results were achieved,
were all due to him. Never before had any Roman leader, not even
Pompey "the Great," awakened such devotion amongst his followers.

C. 3.--Caesar therefore experienced no such difficulty as we shall
find besetting the Roman commanders of the next century, in persuading
his men to follow him "beyond the world,"[74] and to dare the venture,
hitherto unheard of in the annals of Rome, of crossing the ocean
itself. We must remember that this crossing was looked upon by the
Romans as something very different from the transits hither and
thither upon the Mediterranean Sea with which they were familiar. The
Ocean to them was an object of mysterious horror. Untold possibilities
of destruction might lurk in its tides and billows. Whence those tides
came and how far those billows rolled was known to no man. To dare
its passage might well be to court Heaven knew what of supernatural

C. 4.--But Caesar's men were ready to brave all things while he led
them. So, after having despatched his German business, he determined
to employ the short remainder of the summer in a _reconnaissance
en force_ across the Channel, with a view to subsequent invasion
of Britain. He had already made inquiries of all whom he could find
connected with the Britanno-Gallic trade as to the size and military
resources of the island. But they proved unwilling witnesses, and
he could not even get out of them what they must perfectly well have
known, the position of the best harbours on the southern shores.

C. 5.--His first act, therefore, was to send out a galley under
Volusenus "to pry along the coast," and meanwhile to order the fleet
which he had built against the Veneti to rendezvous at Boulogne.
Besides these war-galleys (_naves longae_) he got together eighty
transports, enough for two legions, besides eighteen more for the
cavalry.[75] These last were detained by a contrary wind at "a further
harbour," eight miles distant--probably Ambleteuse at the mouth of the

C. 6.--All these preparations, though they seem to have been carried
out with extreme celerity, lasted long enough to alarm the Britons.
Several clans sent over envoys, to promise submission if only Caesar
would refrain from invading the country. This, however, did not
suit Caesar's purpose. Such diplomatic advantages would be far less
impressive in the eyes of the Roman "gallery" to which he was playing
than his actual presence in Britain. So he merely told the envoys that
it would be all the better for them if he found them in so excellent
and submissive a frame of mind on his arrival at their shores, and
sent them back, along with Commius, who was to bring in his own clan,
the Atrebates, and as many more as he could influence. And the Britons
on their part, though ready to make a nominal submission to "the
mighty name of Rome," were resolved not to tolerate an actual invasion
without a fight for it. In every clan the war party came to the front,
all negotiations were abruptly broken off, Commius was thrown into
chains, and a hastily-summoned levy lined the coast about Dover, where
the enemy were expected to make their first attempt to land.

C. 7.--Dover, in fact, was the port that Caesar made for. It was, at
this date, the obvious harbour for such a fleet as his. All along
the coast of Kent the sea has, for many centuries, been constantly
retreating. Partly by the silting-up of river-mouths, partly by
the great drift of shingle from west to east which is so striking a
feature of our whole southern shore, fresh land has everywhere been
forming. Places like Rye and Winchelsea, which were well-known havens
of the Cinque Ports even to late mediaeval times, are now far inland.
And though Dover is still our great south-eastern harbour, this is
due entirely to the artificial extensions which have replaced the
naturally enclosed tidal area for which Caesar made. There is abundant
evidence that in his day the site of the present town was the bed
of an estuary winding for a mile or more inland between steep chalk
cliffs,[77] not yet denuded into slopes, whence the beach on either
side was absolutely commanded.

C. 8.--Caesar saw at a glance that a landing here was impossible to
such a force as he had with him. He had sailed from Boulogne "in the
third watch"--with the earliest dawn, that is to say--and by 10
a.m. his leading vessels, with himself on board, were close under
Shakespeare's Cliff. There he saw the British army in position
waiting for him, crowning the heights above the estuary, and ready
to overwhelm his landing-parties with a plunging fire of missiles. He
anchored for a space till the rest of his fleet came up, and meanwhile
called a council of war of his leading officers to deliberate on the
best way of proceeding in the difficulty. It was decided to make for
the open shore to the northwards (perhaps for Richborough,[78] the
next secure roadstead of those days), and at three in the afternoon
the trumpet sounded, the anchors were weighed, and the fleet coasted
onwards with the flowing tide.[79]

C. 9.--The British army also struck camp, and kept pace by land with
the invaders' progress. First came the cavalry and chariot-men, the
mounted infantry of the day; then followed the main body, who in the
British as in every army, ancient or modern, fought on foot. We can
picture the scene, the bright harvest afternoon--(according to
the calculations of Napoleon, in his 'Life of Caesar,' it was St.
Bartholomew's Day)--the calm sea, the long Roman galleys with their
rows of sweeps, the heavier and broader transports with their great
mainsails rounding out to the gentle breeze, and on cliff and beach
the British ranks in their waving tartans--each clan, probably,
distinguished by its own pattern--the bright armour of the chieftains,
the thick array of weapons, and in front the mounted contingent
hurrying onwards to give the foe a warm greeting ere he could set foot
on shore.

C. 10.--Thus did invaders and defenders move on, for some seven miles,
passing, as Dio Cassius notes, beneath the lofty cliffs of the South
Foreland,[80] till these died down into the flat shore and open beach
of Deal. By this time it must have been nearly five o'clock, and if
Caesar was to land at all that day it must be done at once. Anchor was
again cast; but so flat was the shore that the transports, which drew
at least four feet of water, could not come within some distance
of it. Between the legionaries and the land stretched yards of
sea, shoulder-deep to begin with, and concealing who could say what
treacherous holes and quicksands beneath its surface. And their wading
had to be done under heavy fire; for the British cavalry and chariots
had already come up, and occupied every yard of the beach, greeting
with a shower of missiles every motion of the Romans to disembark.
This was more than even Caesar's soldiers were quite prepared to face.
The men, small shame to them, hesitated, and did not spring overboard
with the desired alacrity. Caesar's galleys, however, were of lighter
draught, and with them he made a demonstration on the right flank (the
_latus apertum_ of ancient warfare, the shield being on every man's
_left_ arm) of the British; who, under a severe fire of slings,
arrows, and catapults, drew back, though only a little, to take up a
new formation, and their fire, in turn, was for the moment silenced.
And that moment was seized for a gallant feat of arms which shows how
every rank of Caesar's army was animated by Caesar's spirit.

C. 11.--The ensign of every Roman legion was the Roman Eagle, perched
upon the head of the standard-pole, and regarded with all, and
more than all, the feeling which our own regiments have for their
regimental colours. As with them, the staff which bore the Eagle
of the Legion also bore inscriptions commemorating the honours and
victories the legion had won, and to lose it to the foe was an even
greater disgrace than with us. For a Roman legion was a much larger
unit than a modern regiment, and corresponded rather to a Division;
indeed, in the completeness of its separate organization, it might
almost be called an Army Corps. Six thousand was its normal force in
infantry, and it had its own squadrons of cavalry attached, its
own engineer corps, its own baggage train, and its own artillery of
catapults and balistae.[81] There was thus even more legionary feeling
in the Roman army than there is regimental feeling in our own.

C. 12.--At this time, however, this feeling, so potent in its effects
subsequently, was a new development. Caesar himself would seem to have
been the first to see how great an incentive such divisional sentiment
might prove, and to have done all he could to encourage it. He had
singled out one particular legion, the Tenth, as his own special
favourite, and made its soldiers feel themselves the objects of his
special regard. And this it was which now saved the day for him. The
colour-sergeant of that legion, seeing the momentary opening given by
the flanking movement of the galleys, after a solemn prayer that this
might be well for his legion, plunged into the sea, ensign in hand.
"Over with you, comrades," he cried, "if you would not see your Eagle
taken by the enemy." With a universal shout of "Never, never" the
legion followed; the example spread from ship to ship, and the whole
Roman army was splashing and struggling towards the shore of Britain.

C. 13.--At the same time this was no easy task. As every bather
knows, it is not an absolutely straightforward matter for even an
unencumbered man to effect a landing upon a shingle beach, if ever so
little swell is on. And the Roman soldier had to keep his footing, and
use his arms moreover for fighting, with some half-hundredweight
of accoutrements about him. To form rank was, of course, out of
the question. The men forced their way onward, singly and in little
groups, often having to stand back to back in rallying-squares, as
soon as they came within hand-stroke of the enemy.[82] And this was
before they reached dry land. For the British cavalry and chariots
dashed into the water to meet them, making full use of the advantage
which horsemen have under such circumstances, able to ply the full
swing of their arms unembarrassed by the waves, not lifted off their
feet or rolled over by the swell, and delivering their blows from
above on foes already in difficulties. And on their side, they copied
the flanking movement of the Romans, and wheeled round a detachment
to fire upon the _latus apertum_ of such invaders as succeeded in
reaching shallower water.

C. 14.--Thus the fight, in Caesar's words, was an exceedingly sharp
one. It was not decided till he sent in the boats of his galleys, and
any other light craft he had, to mingle with the combatants. These
could doubtless get right alongside the British chariots; and now the
advantage of position came to be the other way. A troop of irregular
horsemen up to their girths in water is no match for a boat's crew of
disciplined infantry. Moreover the tide was flowing,[83] and driving
the Britons back moment by moment. For a while they yet resisted
bravely, but discipline had the last word. Yard by yard the Romans won
their way, till at length they set foot ashore, formed up on the beach
in that open order[84] which made the unique strength of the Legions,
and delivered their irresistible charge. The Britons did not wait for
the shock. Their infantry was, probably, already in retreat, covered
by the cavalry and chariots, who now in their turn gave rein to their
ponies and retired at a gallop.

C. 15.--Caesar saw them go, and bitterly felt that his luck had failed
him. Had he but cavalry, this retreat might have been turned into
a rout. But his eighteen transports had failed to arrive, and his
drenched and exhausted infantry were in no case for effective pursuit
of a foe so superior in mobility. Moreover the sun must have been now
fast sinking, and all speed had to be made to get the camp fortified
before nightfall. But the Roman soldier was an adept at entrenching
himself. A rampart was hastily thrown up, the galleys beached at the
top of the tide and run up high and dry beyond the reach of the surf,
the transports swung to their anchors where the ebb would not leave
them grounded, the quarters of the various cohorts assigned them, the
sentries and patrols duly set; and under the summer moon, these first
of the Roman invaders lay down for their first night on British soil.


Wreck of fleet--Fresh British levy--Fight in corn-field--British
chariots--Attack on camp--Romans driven into sea.

D. 1.--Meanwhile the defeated Britons had made off, probably to their
camp above Dover, where their leaders' first act, on rallying, was to
send their prisoner, Commius, under a flag of truce to Caesar, with
a promise of unconditional submission. That his landing had been
opposed, was, they declared, no fault of theirs; it was all the
witlessness of their ignorant followers, who had insisted on fighting.
Would he overlook it? Yes; Caesar was ready to show this clemency;
but, after conduct so very like treachery, considering their embassy
to him in Gaul, he must insist on hostages, and plenty of them. A few
were accordingly sent in, and the rest promised in a few days,
being the quota due from more distant clans. The British forces were
disbanded; indeed, as it was harvest time, they could scarcely have
been kept embodied anyhow; and a great gathering of chieftains was
held at which it was resolved that all alike should acknowledge the
suzerainty of Rome.

D. 2.--This assembly seems to have been held on the morrow of the
battle or the day after, so that it can only have been attended by the
local Kentish chiefs, unless we are to suppose (as may well have been
the case), that the Army of Dover comprised levies and captains from
other parts of Britain. But whatever it was, before the resolution
could be carried into effect an unlooked-for accident changed the
whole situation.

D. 3.--On the fourth day after the Roman landing, the south-westerly
wind which had carried Caesar across shifted a few points to the
southward. The eighteen cavalry transports were thus enabled to leave
Ambleteuse harbour, and were seen approaching before a gentle breeze.
The wind, however, continued to back against the sun, and, as usual,
to freshen in doing so. Thus, before they could make the land, it was
blowing hard from the eastward, and there was nothing for them but to
bear up. Some succeeded in getting back to the shelter of the Gallic
shore, others scudded before the gale and got carried far to the
west, probably rounding-to under the lee of Beachy Head, where they
anchored. For this, however, there was far too much sea running.
Wave after wave dashed over the bows, they were in imminent danger of
swamping, and, when the tide turned at nightfall, they got under weigh
and shaped the best course they could to the southern shore of the

D. 4.--And this same tide that thus carried away his reinforcements
all but wrecked Caesar's whole fleet at Deal. His mariners had
strangely forgotten that with the full moon the spring tides would
come on; a phenomenon which had been long ago remarked by Pytheas,[85]
and with which they themselves must have been perfectly familiar on
the Gallic coast. And this tide was not only a spring, but was driven
by a gale blowing straight on shore. Thus the sleeping soldiers were
aroused by the spray dashing over them, and awoke to find the breakers
pounding into their galleys on the beach; while, of the transports,
some dragged their anchors and were driven on shore to become total
wrecks, some cut their cables, and beat, as best they might, out to
sea, and all, when the tide and wind alike went down, were found next
morning in wretched plight. Not an anchor or cable, says Caesar, was
left amongst them, so that it was impossible for them to keep their
station off the shore by the camp.

D. 5.--The army, not unnaturally, was in dismay. They were merely on
a reconnaissance, without any supply of provisions, without even their
usual baggage; perhaps without tents, certainly without any means of
repairing the damage to the fleet. Get back to Gaul for the winter
they must under pain of starvation, and where were the ships to take

D. 6.--The Britons, on the other hand, felt that their foes were
now delivered into their hands. Instead of the submission they were
arranging, the Council of the Chiefs resolved to make the most of the
opportunity, and teach the world by a great example that Britain was
not a safe place to invade. Nor need this cost many British lives.
They had only to refuse the Romans food; what little could be got by
foraging would soon be exhausted; then would come the winter, and the
starving invaders would fall an easy prey. The annihilation of the
entire expedition would damp Roman ambitions against Britain for many
a long day. A solemn oath bound one and all to this plan, and every
chief secretly began to levy his clansmen afresh.

D. 7.--Naturally, hostages ceased to be sent in; but it did not need
this symptom to show Caesar in how tight a place he now was. His only
chance was to strain every nerve to get his ships refitted; and by
breaking up those most damaged, and ordering what materials were
available from the Continent, he did in a week or two succeed in
rendering some sixty out of his eighty vessels just seaworthy.

D. 8.--And while this work was in progress, another event showed how
imperative was his need and how precarious his situation. He had, in
fact, been guilty of a serious military blunder in going with a mere
flying column into Britain as he had gone into Germany. The Channel
was not the Rhine, and ships were exposed to risks from which his
bridge had been entirely exempt. Nothing but a crushing defeat would
cut him off from retiring by that; but the Ocean was not to be so

D. 9.--It was, as we have said, the season of harvest, and the corn
was not yet cut, though the men of Kent were busily at work in the
fields. With regard to the crops nearest the camp, the legionaries
spared them the trouble of reaping, by commandeering the corn
themselves, the area of their operations having, of course, to be
continually extended. Harvesters numbered by the thousand make quick
work; and in a day or two the whole district was cleared, either by
Roman or Briton. Caesar's scouts could only bring him word of one
unreaped field, bordered by thick woodland, a mile or two from the
camp, and hidden from it by a low swell of the ground. Mr. Vine, in
his able monograph 'Caesar in Kent,' thinks that the spot may still be
identified, on the way between Deal and Dover, where, by this time, a
considerable British force was once more gathered. So entirely was
the whole country on the patriot side, that no suspicion of all this
reached the Romans, and still less did they dream that the unreaped
corn-field was an elaborate trap, and that the woodlands beside it
were filled, or ready for filling, by masses of the enemy. The Seventh
legion, which was that day on duty, sent out a strong fatigue party
to seize the prize; who, on reaching the field, grounded shields and
spears, took off, probably, their helmets and tunics, and set to work
at cutting down the corn, presumably with their swords.

D. 10.--Not long afterwards the camp guard reported to Caesar that
a strange cloud of dust was rising beyond the ridge over which the
legion had disappeared. Seeing at once that something was amiss, he
hastily bade the two cohorts (about a thousand men) of the guard to
set off with him instantly, while the other legion, the Tenth, was to
relieve them, and follow with all the rest of their force as speedily
as possible. Pushing on with all celerity, he soon could tell by the
shouts of his soldiers and the yells of the enemy that his men were
hard pressed; and, on crowning the ridge, saw the remnant of the
legion huddled together in a half-armed mass, with the British
chariots sweeping round them, each chariot-crew[86] as it came up
springing down to deliver a destructive volley of missiles, then on
board and away to replenish their magazine and charge in once more.

D. 11.--Even at this moment Caesar found time to note and admire the
supreme skill which the enemy showed in this, to him, novel mode of
fighting. Their driving was like that of the best field artillery of
our day; no ground could stop them; up and down slopes, between and
over obstacles, they kept their horses absolutely in hand; and, out of
sheer bravado, would now and again exhibit such feats of trick-driving
as to run along the pole, and stand on the yoke, while at full speed.
Such skill, as he truly observed, could not have been acquired without
constant drill, both of men and horses; and his military genius
grasped at once the immense advantages given by these tactics,
combining "the mobility of cavalry with the stability of infantry."

D. 12.--We may notice that Caesar says not a word of the scythe-blades
with which popular imagination pictures the wheels of the British
chariots to have been armed. Such devices were in use amongst the
Persians, and figure at Cunaxa and Arbela. But there the chariots were
themselves projectiles, as it were, to break the hostile ranks; and
even for this purpose the scythes proved quite ineffective, while they
must have made the whole equipment exceedingly unhandy. In the 'De Re
Militari' (an illustrated treatise of the 5th century A.D. annexed to
the 'Notitia') scythed chariots are shown. But the scythes always
have chains attached, to pull them up out of the way in ordinary
manoeuvres. The Britons of this date, whose chariots were only to
bring their crews up to the foe and carry them off again, had, we may
be sure, no such cumbrous and awkward arrangement.[87]

D. 13.--On this scene of wild onset Caesar arrived in the nick of time
[_tempore opportunissimo_]. The Seventh, surprised and demoralized,
were on the point of breaking, when his appearance on the ridge caused
the assailants to draw back. The Tenth came up and formed; their
comrades, possibly regaining some of their arms, rallied behind them,
and the Britons did not venture to press their advantage home. But
neither did Caesar feel in any case to retaliate the attack [_alienum
esse tempus arbitratus_], and led his troops back with all convenient
speed. The Britons, we may well believe, represented the affair as a
glorious victory for the patriot arms.[88] They employed several days
of bad weather which followed in spreading the tidings, and calling
on all lovers of freedom or of spoil to join in one great effort for
crushing the presumptuous invader.

D. 14.--The news spread like wild-fire, and the Romans found
themselves threatened in their very camp (whence they had taken care
not to stir since their check) by a mighty host both of horse and
footmen. Caesar was compelled to fight, the legions were drawn up with
their backs to the rampart, that the hostile cavalry might not take
them in rear, and, after a long hand-to-hand struggle, the Roman
charge once more proved irresistible. The Britons turned their backs
and fled; this time cut up, in their retreat, by a small body of
thirty Gallic horsemen whom Commius had brought over as his escort,
and who had shared his captivity and release. So weak a force could,
of course, inflict no serious loss upon the enemy, but, before
returning to the camp, they made a destructive raid through the
neighbouring farms and villages, "wasting all with fire and sword far
and wide."

D. 15.--That same day came fresh envoys to treat for peace. They were
now required to furnish twice as many hostages as before; but Caesar
could not wait to receive them. They must be sent after him to the
Continent. His position had become utterly untenable; the equinoctial
gales might any day begin; and he was only too glad to find wind and
weather serve that very night for his re-embarkation. Under cover
of the darkness he huddled his troops on board; and next morning the
triumphant Britons beheld the invaders' fleet far on their flight
across the Narrow Seas.


Caesar worsted--New fleet built--Caesar at Rome--Cicero--Expedition
of 54 B.C.--Unopposed Landing--Pro-Roman Britons--Trinobantes
--Mandubratius--British army surprised--"Old England's Hole."

E. 1.--Caesar too had, on his side, gained what he wanted, though at a
risk quite disproportionate to the advantage. So much prestige had
he lost that on his disembarkation his force was set upon by the very
Gauls whom he had so signally beaten two years before. Their attack
was crushed with little difficulty and great slaughter; but that
it should have been made at all shows that he was supposed to be
returning as a beaten man. However, he now knew enough about Britain
and the Britons to estimate what force would be needful for a real
invasion, and energetically set to work to prepare it. To make such
an invasion, and to succeed in it, had now become absolutely necessary
for his whole future. At any cost the events of the year 55 must be
"wiped off the slate;" the more so as, out of all the British clans,
two only sent in their promised hostages. Caesar's dispatches home, we
may be sure, were admirably written, and so represented matters as to
gain him a _supplicatio_, or solemn thanksgiving, of twenty days from
the Senate. But the unpleasant truth was sure to leak out unless it
was overlaid by something better. It did indeed so far leak out
that Lucan[89] was able to write: _Territa quaesitis ostendit terga

["He sought the Britons; then, in panic dread,
Turned his brave back, and from his victory fled."]

E. 2.--Before setting off, therefore, for his usual winter visit to
Rome, he set all his legionaries to work in their winter quarters, at
building ships ready to carry out his plans next spring. He himself
furnished the drawings, after a design of his own, like our own
Alfred a thousand years later.[90] They were to be of somewhat lower
free-board than was customary, and of broader beam, for Caesar had
noted that the choppy waves of the Channel had not the long run of
Mediterranean or Atlantic rollers. All, moreover, were to be provided
with sweeps; for he did not intend again to be at the mercy of the
wind. And with such zeal and skill did the soldiers carry out his
instructions, by aid of the material which he ordered from the
dockyards of Spain, that before the winter was over they had
constructed no fewer than six hundred of these new vessels, besides
eighty fresh war-galleys.

E. 3.--Caesar meanwhile was also at his winter's work amid the turmoil
of Roman politics. His "westward ho!" movement was causing all the
stir he hoped for. We can see in Cicero's correspondence with Atticus,
with Trebatius, and with his own brother Quintus (who was attached
in some capacity to Caesar's second expedition), how full Rome was of
gossip and surmise as to the outcome of this daring adventure. "Take
care," he says to Trebatius, "you who are always preaching caution;
mind you don't get caught by the British chariot-men."[91] "You will
find, I hear, absolutely nothing in Britain--no gold, no silver. I
advise you to capture a chariot and drive straight home. Anyhow get
yourself into Caesar's good books."[92]

E. 4.--To be in Caesar's good books was, in fact, Cicero's own great
ambition at this time. Despite his constitutional zeal, he felt "the
Dynasts," as he called the Triumvirate, the only really strong force
in politics, and was ready to go to considerable lengths in courting
their favour--Caesar's in particular. He not only withdrew all
opposition to the additional five years of command in Gaul which the
subservient Senate had unconstitutionally decreed to the "dynast,"
but induced his brother Quintus to volunteer for service in the coming
invasion of Britain. Through Quintus he invited Caesar's criticisms
on his own very poor verses, and wrote a letter, obviously meant to be
shown, expressing boundless gratification at a favourable notice: "If
_he_ thinks well of my poetry, I shall know it is no mere one-horse
concern, but a real four-in-hand." "Caesar tells me he never read
better Greek. But why does he write [Greek: rhathumotera] ['rather
careless'] against one passage? He really does. Do find out why."

E. 5.--This gentle criticism seems to have somewhat damped Cicero's
ardour for Caesar and his British glories. His every subsequent
mention of the expedition is to belittle it. In the spring he had
written to Trebatius: "So our dear Caesar really thinks well of you as
a counsel. You will be glad indeed to have gone with him to Britain.
There at least you will never meet your match."[93] But in the summer
it is: "I certainly don't blame you for showing yourself so little
of a sight-seer [_non nimis_ [Greek: philotheoron]] in this British
matter."[94] "I am truly glad you never went there. You have missed
the trouble, and I the bore of listening to your tales about it
all."[95] To Atticus he writes: "We are all awaiting the issue of
this British war. We hear the approaches [_aditus_] of the island are
fortified with stupendous ramparts [_mirificis molibus_]. Anyhow we
know that not one scruple [_scrupulum_] of money exists there, nor
any other plunder except slaves--and none of them either literary or
artistic."[96] "I heard (on Oct. 24) from Caesar and from my brother
Quintus that all is over in Britain. No booty.... They wrote on
September 26, just embarking."

E. 6.--Both Caesar and Quintus seem to have been excellent
correspondents, and between them let Cicero hear from Britain almost
every week during their stay in the island, the letters taking on
an average about a month to reach him. He speaks of receiving on
September 27 one written by Caesar on September 1; and on September 13
one from Quintus ("your fourth")[97] written August 10. And apparently
they were very good letters, for which Cicero was duly grateful. "What
pleasant letters," he says to Quintus, "you do write.... I see you
have an extraordinary turn for writing [[Greek: hypothesin] _scribendi
egregiam_]. Tell me all about it, the places, the people, the customs,
the clans, the fighting. What are they all like? And what is your
general like?"[98] "Give me Britain, that I may paint it in your
colours with my own brush [_penicillo_]."[99] This last sentence
refers to a heroic poem on "The Glories of Caesar," which Cicero
seems to have meditated but never brought into being. Nor do we know
anything of the contents of his British correspondence, except that it
contains some speculations about our tide-ways; for, in his 'De Natura
Deorum,'[100] Cicero pooh-poohs the idea that such natural phenomena
argue the existence of a God: "Quid? Aestus maritimi ... Britannici
... sine Deo fieri nonne possunt?"

E. 7.--Neither can we say what he meant by the "stupendous ramparts"
against Caesar's access to our island. The Dover cliffs have been
suggested, and the Goodwin Sands; but it seems much more probable
that the Britons were believed to have artificially fortified the most
accessible landing-places. Perhaps they may have actually done so, but
if they did it was to no purpose; for this time Caesar disembarked
his army quite unopposed. On his return from Rome he had bidden his
newly-built fleet, along with what was left of the old one,
rendezvous at Boulogne; whence, after long delay through a continuous
north-westerly breeze [_Corus_], he was at length enabled to set sail
with no fewer than eight hundred vessels. Never throughout history has
so large a navy threatened our shores. The most numerous of the
Danish expeditions contained less than four hundred ships, William the
Conqueror's less than seven hundred;[101] the Spanish Armada not two

E. 8.--Caesar was resolved this time to be in sufficient strength, and
no longer despised his enemies. He brought with him five out of
his eight legions, some thirty thousand infantry, that is, and two
thousand horse. The rest remained under his most trusted lieutenant,
Labienus, to police Gaul and keep open his communications with Rome.
According to Polyaenus[102] (A.D. 180), he even brought over with him
a fighting elephant, to terrify the natives and their horses. There
is nothing impossible about the story; though it is not likely Caesar
would have forgotten to mention so striking a feature of his campaign.
One particular animal we may be sure he had with him, his own famous
charger with the cloven hoof, which had been bred in his own stud, and
would suffer on its back none but himself. On it, as the rumour went,
it had been prophesied by the family seer that he should ever ride to

E. 9.--It was, as the Emperor Napoleon has calculated, on July
21 that, at sun-set this mighty armament put out before a gentle
south-west air, which died away at midnight, leaving them becalmed
on a waveless sea. When morning dawned Britain lay on their left, and
they were drifting up the straits with the tide. By and by it turned,
oars were got out, and every vessel made for the spot which the events
of the previous year had shown to be the best landing-place.[103]
Thanks to Caesar's foresight the transports as well as the galleys
could now be thus propelled, and such was the ardour of the soldiers
that both classes of ships kept pace with one another, in spite of
their different build. The transports, of course, contained men enough
to take turns at the sweeps, while the galley oarsmen could not be
relieved. By noon they reached Britain, and found not a soul to resist
their landing. There had been, as Caesar learnt from "prisoners," a
large force gathered for that purpose, but the terrific multitude of
his ships had proved quite too demoralizing, and the patriot army had
retired to "higher ground," to which the prisoners were able to direct
the invader.

E. 10.--There is obviously something strange about this tale. There
was no fighting, the shore was deserted, yet somehow prisoners were
taken, and prisoners singularly well informed as to the defenders'
strategy. The story reads very much as if these useful individuals
were really deserters, or, as the Britons would call it, traitors. We
know that in one British tribe, at least, there was a pro-Roman party.
Not long before this there had fled to Caesar in Gaul, Mandubratius,
the fugitive prince of the Trinobantes, who dwelt in Essex. His
father Immanuentius had been slain in battle by Cassivellaunus,
or Caswallon[104] (the king of their westward neighbours the
Cateuchlani), now the most powerful chieftain in Britain, and he
himself driven into exile.

E. 11.--This episode seems to have formed part of a general native
rising against the over-sea suzerainty of Divitiacus, which had
brought Caswallon to the front as the national champion. It was
Caswallon who was now in command against Caesar, and if, as is very
probable, there was any Trinobantian contingent in his army, they
may well have furnished these "prisoners." For Caesar had brought
Mandubratius with him for the express purpose of influencing the
Trinobantes, who were in fact thus induced in a few weeks to set an
example of submission to Rome, as soon as their fear of Caswallon
was removed. And meanwhile nothing is more likely than that a certain
number of ardent loyalists should leave the usurper's ranks and hasten
to greet their hereditary sovereign, so soon as ever he landed.
The later British accounts develop the transaction into an act of
wholesale treachery; Mandubratius (whose name they discover to mean
_The Black Traitor_) deserting, in the thick of a fight, to Caesar,
at the head of twenty thousand clansmen,--an absurd exaggeration which
may yet have the above-mentioned kernel of truth.

E. 12.--But whoever these "prisoners" were, their information was so
important, and in Caesar's view so trustworthy, that he proceeded to
act upon it that very night. Before even entrenching his camp, leaving
only ten cohorts and three hundred horse to guard the vessels, most of
which were at anchor on the smooth sea, he set off at the head of his
army "in the third watch," and after a forced march of twelve miles,
probably along the British trackway afterwards called Watling Street,
found himself at daybreak in touch with the enemy. The British forces
were stationed on a ridge of rising ground, at the foot of which
flowed a small stream. Napoleon considers this stream to have been the
Lesser Stour (now a paltry rivulet, dry in summer, but anciently much
larger), and the hill to have been Barham Down, the camping-ground of
so many armies throughout British history.

E. 13.--The battle began with a down-hill charge of the British
cavalry and chariots against the Roman horse who were sent forward
to seize the passage of the stream. Beaten back they retreated to its
banks, which were now, doubtless, lined by their infantry. And here
the real struggle took place. The unhappy Britons, however, were
hopelessly outclassed, and very probably outnumbered, by Caesar's
twenty-four thousand legionaries and seventeen hundred horsemen. They
gave way, some dispersing in confusion, but the best of their troops
retiring in good order to a stronghold in the neighbouring woods,
"well fortified both by nature and art," which was a legacy from some
local quarrel. Now they had strengthened it with an abattis of felled
trees, which was resolutely defended, while skirmishers in open
order harassed the assailants from the neighbouring forest [_rari
propugnabant e silvis_]. It was necessary for the Seventh legion
to throw up trenches, and finally to form a "tortoise" with their
shields, as in the assault on a regularly fortified town, before the
position could be carried. Then, at last, the Britons were driven from
the wood, and cut up in their flight over the open down beyond.
The spot where they made this last stand is still, in local legend,
associated with the vague memory of some patriot defeat, and known by
the name of "Old England's Hole." Traces of the rampart, and of the
assailants' trenches, are yet visible.[105]


Fleet again wrecked--Britons rally under Caswallon--Battle of Barham
Down--Britons fly to London--Origin of London--Patriot army dispersed.

F. 1.--It was Caesar's intention to give the broken enemy no chance
of rallying. In spite of the dire fatigue of his men (who had now been
without sleep for two nights, and spent the two succeeding days in
hard rowing and hard fighting), he sent forward the least exhausted to
press the pursuit. But before the columns thus detailed had got out of
sight a message from the camp at Richborough changed his purpose. The
mishap of the previous year had been repeated. Once more the gentle
breeze had changed to a gale, and the fleet which he had left so
smoothly riding at anchor was lying battered and broken on the beach.
His own presence was urgently needed on the scene of the misfortune,
and it would have been madness to let the campaign go on without
him. So the pursuers, horse and foot, were hastily recalled, and,
doubtless, were glad enough to encamp, like their comrades, on the
ground so lately won, where they took their well-earned repose.

F. 2.--But for Caesar there could be no rest. Without the loss of a
moment he rode back to the landing-place, where he found the state
of things fully as bad as had been reported to him. Forty ships were
hopelessly shattered; but by dint of strenuous efforts he succeeded
in saving the rest. All were now drawn on shore, and tinkered up by
artificers from the legions, while instructions were sent over to
Labienus for the building of a fresh fleet in Gaul. The naval station,
too, was this time thoroughly fortified.

F. 3.--Ten days sufficed for the work; but meanwhile much of the
fruit of the previous victory had been lost. The Britons, finding the
pursuit checked, and learning the reason, had rallied their scattered
force; and when Caesar returned to his camp at Barham Down he found
before it a larger patriot army than ever, with Caswallon (who is
now named for the first time) at its head. This hero, who, as we
have said, may have been brought to the front through the series of
inter-tribal wars which had ruined the foreign supremacy of Divitiacus
in Britain, was by this time acclaimed his successor in a dignity
corresponding in some degree to the mythical Pendragonship of Welsh
legend.[106] His own immediate dominions included at least the future
districts of South Anglia and Essex, and his banner was followed by
something very like a national levy from the whole of Britain south
of the Forth. When we read of the extraordinary solidarity which
animated, over a much larger area, the equally separate clans of Gaul
in their rising against the Roman yoke a year later, there is nothing
incredible, or even improbable, in the Britons having developed
something of a like solidarity in their resistance to its being laid
upon their necks. Burmann's 'Anthology' contains an epigram which
bears witness to the existence amongst us even at that date of the
sentiment, "Britons never shall be slaves." Our island is described as
"_Libera non hostem non passa Britannia regem_."[107]

F. 4.--Even on his march from the new naval camp to Barham Down Caesar
was harassed by incessant attacks from flying parties of Caswallon's
chariots and horsemen, who would sweep up, deliver their blow, and
retire, only to take grim advantage of the slightest imprudence on
the part of the Roman cavalry in pursuit. And when, with a perceptible
number of casualties, the Down was reached, a stronger attack was
delivered on the outposts set to guard the working parties who were
entrenching the position, and the fighting became very sharp
indeed. The outposts were driven in, even though reinforced by two
cohorts--each the First of its Legion, and thus consisting of picked
men, like the old Grenadier companies of our own regiments. Though
these twelve hundred regulars, the very flower of the Roman army,
awaited the attack in such a formation that the front cohort was
closely supported by the rear, the Britons pushed their assault home,
and had "the extreme audacity" to charge clean through the ranks of
both, re-form behind, and charge back again, with great loss to
the Romans (whose leader, Quintus Labienus Durus, the Tribune, or
Divisional General in command of one of the legions, was slain),
and but little to themselves. Not till several more cohorts were
dispatched to the rescue did they at length retire.

F. 5.--This brilliant little affair speaks well both for the
discipline and the spirit of the patriot army; and Caesar ungrudgingly
recognizes both. He points out how far superior the British warriors
were to his own men, both in individual and tactical mobility. The
legionaries dare not break their ranks to pursue, under pain of being
cut off by their nimble enemies before they could re-form; and even
the cavalry found it no safe matter to press British chariots too far
or too closely. At any moment the crews might spring to earth, and the
pursuing horsemen find themselves confronted, or even surrounded, by
infantry in position. Moreover, the morale of the British army was so
good that it could fight in quite small units, each of which, by the
skilful dispositions of Caswallon, was within easy reach of one of his
series of "stations" (_i.e._ block-houses) disposed along the line of
march, where it could rest while the garrison turned out to take its
turn in the combat.

F. 6.--Against such an enemy it was obviously Caesar's interest to
bring on, as speedily as possible, a general action, in which he
might deliver a crushing blow. And, happily for him, their success had
rendered the Britons over-confident, so that they were even deluded
enough to imagine that they could face the full Roman force in open
field. Both sides, therefore, were eager to bring about the same
result. Next morning the small British squads which were hovering
around showed ostentatious reluctance to come to close quarters, so as
to draw the Romans out of their lines. Caesar gladly met their views,
and sent forward all his cavalry and three legions, who, on their
part, ostentatiously broke rank and began to forage. This was the
opportunity the Britons wanted--and Caesar wanted also. From every
side, in front, flank, and rear, the former "flew upon" their enemies,
so suddenly and so vigorously that ere the legions, prepared as they
were for the onset, could form, the very standards were all but taken.

F. 7.--But this time it was with legions and not with cohorts that
the enemy had to do. Their first desperate charge spent itself
before doing any serious damage to the masses of disciplined valour
confronting them, and the Romans, once in formation, were able to
deliver a counter-charge which proved quite irresistible. On every
side the Britons broke and fled; the main stream of fugitives unwisely
keeping together, so that the pursuers, cavalry and infantry alike,
were able to press the pursuit vigorously. No chance was given for a
rally; amid the confusion the chariot-crews could not even spring to
earth as usual; and the slaughter was such as to daunt the stoutest
patriot. The spell of Caswallon's luck was broken, and his auxiliaries
from other clans with one accord deserted him and dispersed homewards.
Never again throughout all history did the Britons gather a national
levy against Rome.

F. 8.--This break-up of the patriot confederacy seems, however, to
have been not merely the spontaneous disintegration of a routed army,
but a deliberately adopted resolution of the chiefs. Caesar speaks of
"their counsel." And this brings us to an interesting consideration.
Where did they take this counsel, and why did the fleeing hosts follow
one line of flight? And how was the line of the Roman advance so
accurately calculated upon by Caswallon that he was able to place
his "stations" along it beforehand? The answer is that there was an
obvious objective for which the Romans would be sure to make; indeed
there was almost certainly an obvious track along which they would be
sure to march. There is every reason to believe that most of the later
Roman roads were originally British trackways, broad green ribands of
turf winding through the land (such as the Icknield Way is still in
many parts of its course), and following the lines most convenient for

F. 9.--But, if this is so, then that convergence of these lines on
London, which is as marked a feature of the map of Roman Britain as it
is of our railway maps now, must have already been noticeable. And the
only possible reason for this must be found in the fact that already
London was a noted passage over the Thames. That an island in
mid-stream was the original _raison d'etre_ of London Bridge is
apparent from the mass of buildings which is shown in every ancient
picture of that structure clustering between the two central spans.
This island must have been a very striking feature in primaeval days,
coming, as it did, miles below any other eyot on the river, and
must always have suggested and furnished a comparatively easy
crossing-place. Possibly even a bridge of some sort may have existed
in 54 B.C.; anyhow this crossing would have been alike the objective
of the invading, and the _point d'appui_ of the defending army. And
the line both of the Roman advance and of the British retreat would
be along the track afterwards known as the Kentish Watling Street. For
here again the late British legends which tell us of councils of war
held in London against Caesar, and fatal resolutions adopted there,
with every detail of proposer and discussion, are probably founded,
with gross exaggeration, upon a real kernel of historic truth. It was
actually on London that the Britons retired, and from London that the
gathering of the clans broke up, each to its own.


Passage of Thames--Submission of clans--Storm of Verulam--Last patriot
effort in Kent--Submission of Caswallon--Romans leave Britain--"Caesar

G. 1.--Caswallon, however, and his immediate realm still remained to
be dealt with. His first act, on resolving upon continued resistance,
would of course be to make the passage of the London tide-way
impossible for the Roman army; and Caesar, like William the Conqueror
after him, had to search up-stream for a crossing-place. He did not,
however, like William, have to make his way so far as Wallingford
before finding one. Deserters told him of a ford, though a difficult
one, practicable for infantry, not many miles distant. The traditional
spot, near Walton-on-Thames, anciently called Coway Stakes, may
very probably be the real place. Both name and stakes, however, have
probably, in spite of the guesses of antiquaries, no connection with
Caesar and his passage, but more prosaically indicate that here was a
passage for cattle (Coway = Cow Way) marked out by crossing stakes.

G. 2.--The forces of Caswallon were accompanying the Roman march on
the northern bank of the stream, and when Caesar came to the ford he
found them already in position [_instructas_] to dispute his passage
behind a _chevaux de frise_ of sharpened stakes, more of which, he
was told, were concealed by the water. If the Britons had shown
their wonted resolution this position must have been impregnable. But
Caswallon's men were disheartened and shaken by the slaughter on
the Kentish Downs and the desertion of their allies. Caesar
rightly calculated that a bold demonstration would complete their
demoralization. So it proved. The sight of the Roman cavalry plunging
into the steam, and the legionaries eagerly pressing on neck-deep in
water, proved altogether too much for their nerves. With one accord,
and without a blow, they broke and fled.[108]

G. 3.--Nor did Caswallon think it wise again to gather them. He had no
further hope of facing Caesar in pitched battle, and contented
himself with keeping in touch with the enemy with a flying column of
chariot-men some two thousand strong. His practice was to keep his men
a little off the road--there was still, be it noted, a _road_ along
which the Romans were marching--and drive off the flocks and herds
into the woods before the Roman advance. He made no attempt to attack
the legions, but if any foragers were bold enough to follow up the
booty thus reft from them, he was upon them in a moment. Such serious
loss was thus inflicted that Caesar had to forbid any such excursions,
and to content himself with laying waste the fields and farms in
immediate proximity to his route.

G. 4.--He was now in Caswallon's own country, and his presence there
encouraged the Trinobantian loyalists openly to throw off allegiance
to their conqueror and raise Mandubratius to his father's throne under
the protection of Rome; sending to Caesar at the same time provisions
for his men, and forty hostages whom he demanded of them. Caesar
in return gave strict orders to his soldiers against plundering or
raiding in their territory. This mingled firmness and clemency made
so favourable an impression that the submission of the Trinobantes was
followed by that of various adjoining clans, small and great, from the
Iceni of East Anglia to the little riverside septs of the Bibroci and
Ancalites, whose names may or may not be echoed in the modern Bray and
Henley. The Cassi (of Cassiobury) not only submitted, but guided the
Romans to Caswallon's own neighbouring stronghold in the forests near
St. Alban's. It was found to be a position of considerable natural
strength (probably on the site of the later Verulam), and well
fortified; but all the heart was out of the Cateuchlanians. When the
assailing columns approached to storm the place on two sides at once,
they hesitated, broke, and flung themselves over the ramparts on the
other sides in headlong flight. Caesar, however, was able to head
them, and his troops killed and captured large numbers, besides
getting possession of all the flocks and herds, which, as usual, had
been gathered for refuge within the stockade.

G. 5.--Caswallon himself, however, escaped, and now made one last bid
for victory. So great was still the influence of his prestige that,
broken as he was, he was able to prevail upon the clans of Kent
to make a sudden and desperate onset upon the Naval Station at
Richborough. All four of the chieftains beneath whose sway the county
was divided (Cingetorix, Canilius, Taximagulus, and Segonax) rose with
one accord at his summons. The attack, however, proved a mere flash
in the pan. Even before it was delivered, the garrison sallied
out vigorously, captured one of the British leaders, Lugotorix,
slaughtered the assailants wholesale, and crushed the whole movement
without the loss of a man. This final defeat of his last hopes broke
even Caswallon's sturdy heart. His followers slain, his lands wasted,
his allies in revolt, he bowed to the inevitable. Even now, however,
he did not surrender unconditionally, but besought Caesar's _protege_,
the Atrebatian chieftain Commius, to negotiate terms with the

G. 6.--To Caesar this was no small relief. The autumn was coming
on, and Caswallon's guerrilla warfare might easily eat up all the
remainder of the summer, when he must needs be left alone, conquered
or unconquered, that the Roman army might get back to its winter
quarters on the Continent; more especially as ominous signs in Gaul
already predicted the fearful tempest of revolt which, that winter,
was to burst. Easy conditions were therefore imposed. Caswallon
pledged himself, as Lord Paramount, that Britain should pay an annual
tribute to the Roman treasury, and, as Chief of the Cateuchlani, that
he would leave Mandubratius on the Trinobantian throne. Hostages were
given, and the Roman forces returned with all convenient speed to the
coast; this time, presumably, crossing the Thames in the regular way
at London.

G. 7.--After a short wait, in vain expectation of the sixty ships
which Labienus had built in Gaul and which could not beat across the
Channel, Caesar crowded his troops and the hordes of British captives
on board as best he could, and being favoured by the weather, found
himself and them safe across, having worked out his great purpose, and
leaving a nominally conquered and tributary Britain behind him. This,
as we have seen from Cicero's letter, was on September 26, B.C. 54.

G. 8.--We have seen, too, that Cicero's cue was to belittle the
business. But this was far from being the view taken by the Roman "in
the street." To him Caesar's exploit was like those of the gods and
heroes of old; Hercules and Bacchus had done less, for neither had
passed the Ocean. The popular feeling of exultation in this new glory
added to Roman fame may be summed up in the words of the Anthologist
already quoted:

Libera non hostem, non passa Britannia regem, Aeternum nostro
quae procul orbe jacet; Felix adversis, et sorte oppressa
secunda, Communis nobis et tibi Caesar erit. ["Free Britain,
neither foe nor king that bears, That from our world lies
far and far away, Lucky to lose, crushed by a happy doom,
Henceforth, O Caesar, ours--and yours--will be."]

G. 9.--Caesar never set foot in Britain again, though he once saved
himself from imminent destruction by utilizing his British experiences
and passing his troops over a river in coracles of British build.[109]
He went his way to the desperate fighting, first of the great Gallic
revolt, then of the Civil War (with his own Labienus for the most
ferocious of his opponents), till he found himself the undisputed
master of the Roman world. But when he fell, upon the Ides of March
B.C. 44, it was mainly through the superhuman reputation won by
his invasion of Britain that he received the hitherto unheard of
distinction of a popular apotheosis, and handed down to his successors
for many a generation the title not only of Caesar, but of "Divus."




Britain after Julius Caesar--House of Commius--Inscribed coins--House
of Cymbeline--Tasciovan--Commians overthrown--Vain appeal to
Augustus--Ancyran Tablet--Romano-British trade--Lead-mining--British
fashions in Rome--Adminius banished by Cymbeline--Appeal to
Caligula--Futile demonstration--Icenian civil war--Vericus
banished--Appeal to Claudius--Invasion prepared.

A. 1.--With the departure of Caesar from its shores our knowledge of
the affairs of Britain becomes only less fragmentary than before he
reached them. We do not even learn how far the tribute he had imposed
continued to be paid. Most probably during the confusion of the Gallic
revolt and the Civil Wars it ceased altogether. In that confusion
Commius finally lost his continental principality of Arras, and had
to fly for his life into his British dominions. He only saved himself,
indeed, by an ingenious stratagem. When he reached the shore of Gaul
he found his ship aground in the tide-way. Nevertheless, by hoisting
all sail, he deceived the pursuing Romans into thinking themselves too
late till the rising tide permitted him really to put to sea.[110] The
effect of the extinction of Atrebatian power in Gaul was doubtless to
consolidate it in Britain, as when our English sovereigns lost their
hold on Normandy and Anjou, for we find that Commius reigned at least
over the eastern counties of Wessex, and transmitted his power to his
sons, Verica, Eppillus, and Tincommius, who seem to have shared
the kingdom between them. Tincommius, however, may possibly be, as
Professor Rhys suggests, merely a title, signifying the _Tanist_ (or
Heir) of Commius. In this case it would be that of Verica, who was
king after his father.[111]

A. 2.--The evidence for this is that in the district mentioned
British coins are found bearing these names. For now appears the first
inscribed British coinage; the inscriptions being all in Latin, a
sign of the abiding influence of the work of Caesar. And it is by that
light mainly that we know the little we do know of British history for
the next century. The coins are very numerous, and preserve for us
the names of no fewer than thirty several rulers (or states). They
are mostly of gold (though both silver and bronze also occur), and
are found over the greater part of the island, the southern and the
eastern counties being the richest. The inscriptions indicate, as
has already been mentioned,[112] a state of great political confusion
throughout the country. But they also bear testimony not only to the
dynasty of Commius, but to the rise of a much stronger power north of
the Thames.

A. 3.--That power was the House of Cunobelin, or Cinobellinus[113]
(Shakespeare's Cymbeline), who figures in the pages of Suetonius as
King of all Britain, insomuch that his fugitive son, Adminius, posed
before Caligula as the rightful sovereign of the whole island. His
coins were undoubtedly current everywhere south of Trent and east of
Severn, if not beyond those rivers. They are found in large numbers,
and of most varied devices, all showing the influence of classical
art. A head (probably his own portrait) is often on the obverse, and
on the reverse Apollo playing the lyre, or a Centaur, or a Victory, or
Medusa, or Pegasus, or Hercules. Other types show a warrior on horse
or foot, or a lion,[114] or a bull, or a wolf, or a wild boar; others
again a vine-leaf, or an ear of bearded wheat. On a very few is found
the horse, surviving from the old Macedonian mintage.[115] And
all bear his own name, sometimes in full, CVNOBELINVS REX, oftener
abbreviated in various ways.

A. 4.--But the coins do more than testify to the widespread power of
Cymbeline himself. They show us that he inherited much of it from his
father. This prince, whose name was Tasciovan, is often associated
with his son in the inscriptions, and the son is often described as
TASCIIOVANI F. (_Filius_) or TASCIOVANTIS. There are besides a large
number of coins belonging to Tasciovan alone. And these tell us where
he reigned. They are struck (where the mint is recorded) either at
Segontium[116] or at Verulam. The latter is pretty certainly the town
which had sprung up on the site of Caswallon's stronghold, so that
we may reasonably conclude that Tasciovan was the successor of the
patriot hero on the Cateuchlanian throne--very probably his son.
But Cymbeline's coins are struck at the _Trinobantian_ capital,
Camelodune,[117] which we know to have been the royal city of his son
Caratac (or Caradoc) at the Claudian conquest.

A. 5.--It would seem, therefore, that, Caesar's mandate to the
contrary notwithstanding, Caswallon's clan, who were now called
(perhaps from his name), Cattivellauni, had again conquered the
Trinobantes, deposing, and probably slaying, Mandubratius.[118] This
would be under Tasciovan, who gave the land to his son Cymbeline, and,
at a later date, must have subdued the Atrebatian power in the south.
The sons of Commius were, as is shown by Sir John Evans, contemporary
with Tasciovan. But, by and by, we find Epaticcus, _his_ son, and
Adminius, apparently his grandson, reigning in their realm, the latter
taking Kent, the former the western districts. The previous Kentish
monarch was named Dumnovellanus, and appears as DAMNO BELLA on the
Ancyran Tablet. This wonderful record of the glories of Augustus
mentions, _inter alia_, that certain British kings, of whom this
prince was one, fled to his protection. The tablet is, unhappily,
mutilated at the point where their names occur, but that of another
begins with TIM--probably, as Sir John Evans suggests, Tin-Commius.
Adminius also was afterwards exiled by his own father, Cymbeline, and
in like manner appealed to Caesar--Caligula--in 40 A.D.

A. 6.--Nothing came of either appeal. Augustus did indeed, according
to Dio Cassius, meditate completing his "father's" work, and (in B.C.
34) entered Gaul with a view to invading Britain. But the political
troubles which were to culminate at Actium called him back, and
he contented himself with laying a small duty on the trade between
Britain and Gaul. Tin, as before, formed the staple export of our
island, and other metals seem now to have been added--iron from Sussex
and lead from Somerset. Doubtless also the pearls from our native
oysters (of which Caesar had already dedicated a breastplate to his
ancestral Venus) found their way to Rome, though of far less value
than the Oriental jewel, being of a less pure white.[119] Besides
these we read of "ivory bracelets and necklets, amber and glass
ornaments, and such-like rubbish,"[120] which doubtless found a sale
amongst the _virtuosi_ of Rome, as like products of savage industry
from Africa or Polynesia find a sale amongst our _virtuosi_ nowadays.
Meanwhile, Roman dignity was saved by considering these duties to be
in lieu of the unpaid tribute imposed by Caesar, and the island was
declared by courtly writers to be already in practical subjection.
"Some of the chiefs [Greek: dunastai] have gained the friendship of
Augustus, and dedicated offerings in the Capitol.... The island
would not be worth holding, and could never pay the expenses of a

A. 7.--At the same time the Romans of the day evidently took a very
special interest in everything connected with Britain. The leaders of
Roman society, like Maecenas, drove about in British chariots,[122]
smart ladies dyed their hair red in imitation of British
warriors,[123] tapestry inwoven with British figures was all the
fashion,[124] and constant hopes were expressed by the poets that,
before long, so interesting a land might be finally incorporated in
the Roman Empire.[125]

A. 8.--Augustus was too prudent to be stirred up by this "forward"
policy; which, indeed, he had sanctioned once too often in the fatal
invasion of Germany by Varus. But the diseased brain of Caligula _was_
for a moment fired with the ambition of so vast an enterprise. He
professed that the fugitive Adminius had ceded to him the kingship of
the whole island, and sent home high-flown dispatches to that effect.
He had no fleet, but drew up his army in line of battle on the Gallic
shore, while all wondered what mad freak he was purposing; then
suddenly bade every man fill his helmet with shells as "spoils of the
Ocean" to be dedicated in the Capitol. Finally he commemorated this
glorious victory by the erection of a lofty lighthouse,[126] probably
at the entrance of Boulogne harbour.

A. 9.--It was clear, however, that sooner or later Britain must be
drawn into the great system so near her, and the next reign furnished
the needful occasion. Yet another exiled British pretender appealed
to the Emperor to see him righted--this time one Vericus. His name
suggests that he may have been Verica son of Commius; but the theory
of Professor Rhys and Sir John Evans seems more probable--that he was
a Prince of the Iceni. The earliest name found on the coins of that
clan is Addeomarus (Aedd Mawr, or Eth the Great, of British legend),
who was contemporary with Tasciovan. After this the tribe probably
became subject to Cymbeline, at whose death[127] the chieftainship
seems to have been disputed between two pretenders, Vericus
and Antedrigus; and on the success of the latter (presumably by
Cateuchlanian favour) the former fled to Rome. Claudius, who now sat
on the Imperial throne, eagerly seized the opportunity for the renown
he was always coveting, and in A.D. 44 set in motion the forces of the
Empire to subdue our island.


Aulus Plautius--Reluctance to embark--Narcissus--Passage of
Channel--Landing at Portchester--Strength of expedition--Vespasian's
legion--British defeats--Line of Thames held--Arrival of
Claudius--Camelodune taken--General submission of island.

B. 1.--The command of the expedition was entrusted to Aulus Plautius
Laelianus, a distinguished Senator, of Consular rank. But the
reluctance of the soldiery to advance "beyond the limits of this
mortal world" [Greek: _exo tas ohikoumenes_], and entrust themselves
to the mysterious tides of the ocean which was held to bound it,
caused him weeks of delay on the shores of Gaul. Nor could anything
move them, till they found this malingering likely to expose them
to the degradation of a quasi-imperial scolding from Narcissus, the
freed-man favourite of Claudius, who came down express from Rome as
the Emperor's mouthpiece.[128] To bear reproof from one who had been
born a slave was too much for Roman soldiers. When Narcissus mounted
the tribune to address them in the Emperor's name, his very first
words were at once drowned by a derisive shout from every mouth
of "_Io Saturnalia_!" the well-known cry with which Roman slaves
inaugurated their annual Yule-tide licence of aping for the day the
characters of their masters. The parade tumultuously broke off, and
the troops hurried down to the beach to carry out the commands of
their General--who was at least free-born.

B, 2.--The passage of the Channel was effected in three separate
fleets, possibly at three separate points, and the landing on our
shores was unopposed. The Britons, doubtless, had been lulled to
security by the tidings of the mutinous temper in the camp of the
invaders, and were quite unprepared for the very unexpected result
of the mission of Narcissus. It seems likely, moreover, that the
disembarkation was made much further to the west than they would have
looked for. The voyage is spoken of as long, and amid its discomforts
the drooping spirits of the soldiery were signally cheered by a
meteor of special brilliance which one night darted westwards as their
harbinger. Moreover we find that when the Romans did land, their first
success was a defeat of the Dobuni, subject allies of the House
of Cymbeline, who, as we gather from Ptolemy, dwelt in what is now
Southern Gloucestershire.[129] This objective rather points to their
landing-place having been in Portsmouth harbour[130] (_the_ Port, as
its name still reminds us, of Roman Britain), where the undoubtedly
Roman site of Portchester may well mark the exact spot where the
expedition first set foot on shore.

B. 3.--Besides an unknown force of Gallic auxiliaries, its strength
comprised four veteran legions, one (the Ninth _Hispanica_)[131] from
the Danube frontier, the rest (Twentieth, Fourteenth, and Second) from
the Rhine. This last, an "Augustan"[132] legion, was commanded by the
future Emperor Vespasian--a connection destined to have an important
influence on the _pronunciamento_ which, twenty-five years later,
placed him on the throne.[133] As yet he was only a man of low family,
whom favouritism was held to have hurried up the ladder of promotion
more rapidly than his birth warranted.[134] Serving under him as
Military Tribunes were his brother Sabinus and his son Titus; and in
this British campaign all three Flavii are said to have distinguished
themselves,[135] especially at the passage of an unnamed river, where
the Britons made an obstinate stand. The ford was not passed till
after three days' continuous fighting, of which the issue was finally
decided by the "Celtic" auxiliaries swimming the stream higher up, and
stampeding the chariot-horses tethered behind the British lines.

B. 4.--What this stream may have been is a puzzle.[136] Dion Cassius
brings it in after a victory over the sons of Cymbeline, Caradoc (or
Caractacus, as historians commonly call him) and Togodumnus, wherein
the latter was slain. And he adds that from its banks the Britons fell
back upon their next line of defence, the _tide-way_ on the Thames. He
tells us that, though tidal, the river was, at this point, fordable at
low water for those who knew the shallows; and incidentally mentions
that at no great distance there was even a bridge over it. But it was
bordered by almost impassable[137] swamps. It must be remembered that
before the canalizing of the Thames the influence of the tide
was perceptible at least as high as Staines, where was also a
crossing-place of immemorial antiquity. And hereabouts may very
probably have been the key of the British position, a position so
strong that it brought Plautius altogether to a standstill. Not till
overwhelming reinforcements, including even an elephant corps, were
summoned from Rome, with Claudius in person at their head, was a
passage forced. The defence then, however, collapsed utterly, and
within a fortnight of his landing, Claudius was able to re-embark for
Rome, after taking Camelodune, and securing for the moment, without
the loss of a man,[138] as it would seem, the nominal submission of
the whole island, including even the Orkneys.[139]


Claudius triumphs--Gladiatorial shows--Last stand of
Britons--Gallantry of Titus--Ovation of Plautius--Distinctions
bestowed--Triumphal arch--Commemorative coinage--Conciliatory
policy--British worship of Claudius--Cogidubnus--Attitude of
clans--Britain made Imperial Province.

C. 1.--The success thus achieved was evidently felt to be something
quite exceptionally brilliant and important. Not once, as was usual,
but four several times was Claudius acclaimed "Imperator"[140] even
before he left our shores; and in after years these acclamations
were renewed at Rome as often as good news of the British war
arrived there, till, ere Claudius died, he had received no fewer
than twenty-one such distinctions, each signalized by an issue of
commemorative coinage. His "Britannic triumph" was celebrated on a
scale of exceptional magnificence. In addition to the usual display,
he gave his people the unique spectacle of their Emperor climbing the
ascent to the Capitol not in his triumphal car, nor even on foot, but
on his knees (as pilgrims yet mount the steps of the Ara Coeli), in
token of special gratitude to the gods for so signal an extension
of the glory and the Empire of Rome. In the gladiatorial shows which
followed, he presided in full uniform [_paludatus_],[141] with his son
(whose name, like his own, a _Senatus consultum_ had declared to
be _Britannicus_)[142] on his knee.[143] One of the spectacles
represented the storm of a British _oppidum_ and the surrender of
British kings. The kings were probably real British chieftains, and
the storm was certainly real, with real Britons, real blood, real
slaughter, for Claudius went to every length in this direction.

C. 2.--The narrative of Suetonius[144] connects these shows with the
well-known tale of the unhappy gladiators who fondly hoped that a
kind word from the Emperor meant a reprieve of their doom. He had
determined to surpass all his predecessors in his exhibition of a
sea-fight, and had provided a sheet of water large enough for the
manoeuvres of real war-galleys, carrying some five hundred men
apiece.[145] The crews, eleven thousand in all, made their usual
preliminary march past his throne, with the usual mournful acclaim,
"_Ave Caesar! Salutant te morituri_!" Claudius responded, "_Aut non_:"
and these two words were enough to inspire the doomed ranks with hopes
of mercy. With one accord they refused to play their part, and he had
to come down in person and solemnly assure them that if his show was
spoilt he would exterminate every man of them "with fire and sword,"
before they would embark. Once entered upon the combat, however, they
fought desperately; so well, indeed, that at its close the survivors
were declared exempt from any further performance. Such was the fate
which awaited those who dared to defend their freedom against the
Fortune of Rome, and such the death died by many a brave Briton for
the glory of his subjugators. Dion Cassius[146] tells us that
Aulus Plautius made a special boast of the numbers so butchered in
connection with his own "Ovation."

C. 3.--This ceremony was celebrated A.D. 47, two years after that of
Claudius. Plautius had remained behind in Britain to stamp out the
last embers of resistance,--a task which all but proved fatal to
Vespasian, who got hemmed in by the enemy. He was only saved by the
personal heroism and devotion of Titus, who valiantly made in to his
father's rescue, and succeeded in cutting him out. This seems to
have been in the last desperate stand made by the Britons during
this campaign. After this, with Togodumnus slain, Caradoc probably a
fugitive in hiding, and the best and bravest of the land slaughtered
either in the field or in the circus at Rome, British resistance
was for the moment utterly crushed out. Claudius continued his
demonstrations of delight; when Plautius neared Rome he went out in
person to meet him,[147] raised him when he bent the knee in homage,
and warmly shook hands with him[148] [Greek:[kalos diacheirisas]];
afterwards himself walking on his left hand in the triumphal
procession along the Via Sacra.[149]

C. 4.--Rewards were at the same time showered on the inferior
officers. Cnaeus Ostorius Geta, the hero of the first riverside fight
in Britain, was allowed to triumph in consular fashion, though not yet
of consular rank; and an inscription found at Turin speaks of collars,
gauntlets and phalera bestowed on one Caius Gavius, along with
a golden wreath for Distinguished Service. Another, found in
Switzerland,[150] records the like wreath assigned to Julius Camillus,
a Military Tribune of the Fourth Legion, together with the decoration
of the _Hasta Pura_ (something, it would seem, in the nature of the
Victoria Cross); which was also, according to Suetonius,[151] given to
Posides, one of the Emperor's favourite freedmen.

C. 5.--To Claudius himself, besides his triumph, the Senate voted
two triumphal arches,[152] one in Rome, the other in the Gallic port
whence he had embarked for Britain. Part of the inscription on the
former of these was found in 1650 on the site where it stood (near
the Palazzo Sciarra), and is still to be seen in the gardens of the
Barberini Palace. It runs as follows (the conjectural restoration of
the lost portions which have been added being enclosed in brackets):


"To Tiberius Claudius Caesar, Augustus, Pontifex Maximus, holding
for the 9th time the authority of Tribune, Consul for the 6th time,
acclaimed Imperator for the 16th, the Senate and People of Rome [have
dedicated this arch]. Because that without the loss of a man he hath
subdued the Kings of Britain, and hath been the first to bring under
her barbarous clans under our sway." Claudius also affixed to the
walls of the imperial house on the Palatine (which was destined
to give the name of "palace" to royal abodes for all time),[153] a
"_corona navalis_"--a circlet in which the usual radiations were made
to resemble the sails, etc. of ships--in support of his proud claim
to have tamed the Ocean itself [_quasi domiti oceani_] and brought it
under Roman sway: "_Et jam Romano cingimur Oceano_."[154]

C. 6.--As usual, coins were struck to commemorate the occasion, the
earliest of the long series of Roman coins relating to Britain. They
bear on the obverse the laureated head of Claudius to the right, with
the superscription TI. CLAVD. CAESAR. AVG. P.M. TR. P. VIIII. IMP.
XVI. On the reverse is an equestrian figure, between two trophies,
surmounting a triumphal arch, over which is inscribed the legend DE.
BRITAN. This coin, being of gold, was struck not by the Senate (who
regulated the bronze issue), but by the Imperial mint, and dates from
the year 46, when Claudius was clothed for the ninth time with the
authority of Tribune. By that time the arch was doubtless completed,
and the coin may well show what it was actually like. Another coin,
also bearing the words DE. BRITAN., shows Claudius in his triumphal
chariot with an eagle on his sceptre. Even poor little Britannicus,
who never came to his father's throne, being set aside through the
intrigues of his stepmother Agrippina and finally poisoned (A.D. 55)
by Nero, had a coin of his own on this occasion issued by the
Senate and inscribed TI. CLAVD. CAESAR. AVG. F. [_Augusti Filius_]

C.7.--Seneca, whose own connection with Britain was that of a grinding
usurer,[155] speaks with intense disgust of the conciliatory attitude
of Claudius towards the populations, or more probably the kinglets,
who had submitted to his sway. He purposed, it seems, even to see some
of them raised to Roman citizenship [_Britannos togatos videre_].
That the grateful provincials should have raised a temple to him at
Camelodune, and rendered him worship as an incarnate deity, adds to
the offence. And, writing on the Emperor's death, the philosopher
points with evident satisfaction to the wretched fate of the man who
triumphed over Britain and the Ocean, only to fall at last a victim to
the machinations of his own wife.

C. 8.--An interesting confirmation of this information as to the
relations between Claudius and his British subjects is to be found in
a marble tablet[156] discovered at Chichester, which commemorates
the erection of a temple (dedicated to Neptune and Minerva) for
the welfare of the Divine [_i.e._ Imperial] Household by a Guild of
Craftsmen [_collegium fabrorum_] on a site given by Pudens the son
of Pudentinus;[157] all under the authority of Tiberius Claudius
Cogidubnus, at once a native British kinglet and Imperial Legate in
Britain. This office would imply Roman citizenship, as would also the
form of his name. That (doubtless on his enfranchisement) he should
have been allowed to take such a distinguished _nomen_ and _praenomen_
as Tiberius Claudius marks the special favour in which he was held by
the Emperor.[158] To this witness is also borne by Tacitus, who says
that certain states in Britain were placed under Cogidubnus not as a
tributary Kingdom but as a Roman Province. Hence his title of Imperial
Legate. These states were doubtless those of the Cantii and Regni in
Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

C. 9.--The Iceni, on the other hand, were subject allies of Rome, with
Vericus, in all probability, on the throne.[159] The Atrebates would
seem also to have been "friendlies." But the great mass of the British
clans were chafing under the humiliation and suffering which the
invaders had wrought for them, and evidently needed a strong hand
to keep them down. Under the Empire provinces requiring military
occupation were committed not to Pro-consuls chosen by the Senate, but
to Pro-praetors nominated by the Emperor, and were called "Imperial"
as opposed to "Senatorial" governments.[160] Britain was now
accordingly declared an Imperial Province, and Ostorius Scapula sent
by Claudius to administer it as Pro-praetor.


Ostorius Pro-praetor--Pacification of Midlands--Icenian revolt--Camb's
dykes--Iceni crushed--Cangi--Brigantes--Silurian war--Storm of
Caer Caradoc--Treachery of Cartismandua--Caradoc at Rome--Death of
Ostorius--Uriconium and Caerleon--Britain quieted--Death of Claudius.

D. 1.--When Ostorius, in A.D. 50, reached Britain he found things in a
very disturbed state. The clans which had submitted to the Romans were
being raided by their independent neighbours, who calculated that
this new governor would not venture on risking his untried levies in a
winter campaign against them. Ostorius, however, was astute enough to
realize that such a first impression of his rule would be fatal, and,
by a sudden dash with a flying column (_citas cohortes_), cut the
raiders to pieces. As usual the Britons hoisted the white flag in
their familiar manner, making a surrender which they had no intention
whatever of keeping to longer than suited their plans; and they
were proportionately disgusted when Ostorius set to work at a real
pacification of the Midlands, constructing forts at strategic points
along the Trent and Severn, and requiring all natives whatsoever
within this Roman Pale to give up their arms.

D. 2.--This demand the Britons looked upon as an intolerable
dishonour, even as it seemed to the Highlanders two centuries ago.
The first to resent it were the chieftain and clan whose alliance with
Rome had been the _raison d'etre_ of the Conquest, Vericus and his
Iceni.[161] Was this brand of shame to be their reward for bringing
in the invaders? They received the mandate of Ostorius with a burst of
defiance, and hastily organized a league of the neighbouring tribes
to resist so intolerable a degradation. Before their allies could
come in, however, Ostorius was upon them, and it became a matter of
defending their own borders.

D. 3.--The spot they selected for resistance was a space shut in by
earthworks _(agresti aggere)_ accessible only by one narrow entrance.
This description exactly applies to the locality where we should look
for an Icenian Thermopylae. The clan dwelt, as we have said, in East
Anglia, their borders to the south being the marshy course of the
Stour, running from the primaeval forest that capped the "East Anglian
Heights," and, to the west, the Cambridgeshire Fens. They thus lived
within a ring fence almost unassailable. Only in one spot was there an
entrance. Between the Fen and the Forest stretched a narrow strip of
open turf, some three or four miles across, affording easy marching.
And along it ran their own great war-path, the Icknield Street,
extending from the heart of their realm right away to the Thames
at Goring. It never became a Roman road, though a few miles are now
metalled. Along most of its course it remains what it was in British
days, a broad, green track seamed with scores of rut-marks. And even
where it has been obliterated, its course may be traced by the
names of Ickborough in Norfolk, Iclingham in Suffolk, Ickleton in
Cambridgeshire, and Ickleford in Hertfordshire.[162]

D. 4.--The Iceni had long ago taken care to fortify this approach to
their land. The whole space between fen and forest in the Cam valley
was cut across by four (or five) great dykes which may still be
traced, constructed for defence against invaders from the westward.
Of these, the two innermost are far more formidable than the rest, the
"Fleam Dyke" near Cambridge, and the "Devil's Ditch" by Newmarket.
The outer fosse of each is from twenty to thirty feet deep; and the
rampart, when topped by a stockade, must have constituted an obstacle
to troops unprovided with artillery which the Iceni might justifiably
think insuperable. The "one narrow entrance" along the whole length
of the dykes (five miles and ten miles respectively) is where the
Icknield Way cuts through them.

D. 5.--Here then, probably, the Icenian levies confidently awaited
the onslaught of Ostorius--the more confidently inasmuch as he had
not waited to call up his legionaries from their winter quarters, but
attacked only with the irregulars whom he had been employing against
the marauders in the midlands. The Iceni, doubtless, imagined that
such troops would be unequal to assaulting their dyke at all. But
Ostorius was no ordinary leader. Such was the enthusiasm which he
inspired in his troops that they surprised the revolters by attacking
along the whole line of the Fleam Dyke at once, and that with such
impetuosity that in a moment they were over it. The hapless Iceni were
now caught in a death-trap. Behind them the Devil's Ditch barred all
retreat save through its one narrow entrance, and those who failed to
force their way through the mad crush there could only fight and die
with the courage of despair. "Many a deed of desperate valour did
they," says Tacitus [_multa et clara facinora_], and the Romans
displayed like courage; the son of Ostorius winning in the fray the
"civic crown"[163] awarded for the rescue of a Roman citizen. But no
quarter seems to have been given, and the flower of the Icenian tribe
perished there to a man.

D. 6.--This slaughter effectually scotched the rising which the
Icenians were hoping to organize. All Central Britain submitted, and,
we may presume, was quietly disarmed; though the work cannot have been
very effectually done, as these same tribes were able to rise under
Boadicea twelve years later. The indefatigable Ostorius next led
his men against the Cangi in North Wales[164] (who seem to have been
stirred to revolt by the Icenian Prince Antedrigus), and gained much
booty, for the Britons dared not venture upon a battle, and had
no luck in their various attempts at surprise. But before he quite
reached the Irish Sea he was recalled by a disturbance amongst the
Brigantes, which by a judicious mixture of firmness and clemency he
speedily suppressed. And all this he did without employing a single

D. 7.--But neither firmness nor clemency availed to put an end to the
desperate struggle for freedom maintained by the one clan in Britain
which still held out against the Roman yoke. The Silurians of South
Wales were not to be subdued without a regular campaign which was to
tax the Legions themselves to the utmost. Naturally brave, stubborn,
and with a passionate love of liberty, they had at this juncture a
worthy leader, for Caradoc was at their head. We hear nothing of
his doings between the first battle against Aulus Plautius, when his
brother Togodumnus fell, leaving him the sole heir of Cymbeline, until
we find him here. But we may be pretty sure that he was the animating
spirit of the resistance which so long checked the conquerors on
the banks of the Thames, and that he took no part in the general
submission to Claudius. Probably he led an outlaw life in the forest,
stirring up all possible resistance to the Roman arms, till finally
he found himself left with this one clan of all his father's subjects
still remaining faithful.

D. 8.--But he never thought of surrender. He was everywhere amongst
his followers, says Tacitus, exhorting them to resist to the death,
reminding them how Caswallon had "driven out" the great Julius,
and binding one and all by a solemn national covenant [_gentili
religione_] never to yield "either for wound or weapon." Ostorius had
to bring against him the whole force he could muster, even calling out
the veterans newly settled at the Colony[165] of Camelodune. Caradoc
and his Silurians, on their part, did not wait at home for the attack,
but moved northwards into the territory of the Ordovices, who at least
sympathized if they did not actually aid. Here he entrenched himself
upon a mountain, very probably that Caer Caradoc, near Shrewsbury,
which still bears his name. Those who know the ground will not wonder
that Ostorius hesitated at assaulting so impregnable a position. His
men, however, were eager for the attack. "Nothing," they cried, "is
impregnable to the brave." The legionaries stormed the hill on
one side, the auxiliaries on the other; and once hand to hand, the
mail-clad Romans had a fearful advantage against defenders who wore
no defensive armour, nor even helmets. The Britons broke and fled,
Caradoc himself seeking refuge amongst the Brigantes of the north.

D. 9.--At this time the chief power in this tribe was in the hands of
a woman, Cartismandua, the heiress to the throne, with whose name and
that of her Prince Consort scandal was already busy. The disturbances
amongst the clan which Ostorius had lately suppressed were probably
connected with her intrigues. Anyhow she posed as the favourite and
friend of the Romans; and now showed her loyalty by arresting the
national hero and handing him over to the enemy. With his family
and fellow-captives he was [A.D. 52] deported to Rome, and publicly
exhibited by the Emperor in his chains, as the last of the Britons,
while the Praetorian Guards stood to their arms as he passed.

D. 10.--According to Roman precedent the scene should have closed with
a massacre of the prisoners. But while the executioners awaited the
order to strike, Caradoc stepped forward with a spirited appeal, the
substance of which there is every reason to believe is truthfully
recorded by Tacitus. Disdaining to make the usual pitiful petitions
for mercy, he boldly justified his struggle for his land and crown,
and reminded Claudius that he had now an exceptional opportunity for
winning renown. "Kill me, as all expect, and this affair will soon be
forgotten; spare me, and men will talk of your clemency from age to
age." Claudius was touched; and even the fierce Agrippina, who, to
the scandal of old Roman sentiment, was seated beside him at the
saluting-point "as if she had been herself a General," and who must
have reminded Caradoc of Cartismandua, was moved to mercy. Caradoc was
spared, and assigned a residence in Italy; and the Senate, believing
the war at an end with his capture, voted to Ostorius "triumphal
insignia"[166]--the highest honour attainable by any Roman below
Imperial rank.[167]

D. 11.--But even without their King the stubborn clan still stood
desperately at bay. Their pertinacious resistance in every pass and
on every hill-top of their country at length fairly wore Ostorius out.
The incessant fatigues of the campaign broke down his health, and he
died [A.D. 54] on the march; to the ferocious joy of the Silurians,
who boasted that their valour had made an end of the brave enemy who
had vowed to "extinguish their very name,"[168] no less than if they
had slain him upon the field of battle.

D. 12.--Before he died, however, he had curbed them both to north and
south by the establishment of strong Roman towns at Uriconium on the
Severn (named after the neighbouring Wrekin), and Isca Silurum at
the mouth of the Usk. The British name of the latter place, Caerleon
[Castra Legionum], still reminds us that it was one of the great
legionary stations of the island, while the abundant inscriptions
unearthed upon the site, tell us that here the Second Legion had its
head-quarters till the last days of the Roman occupation.[169]

D. 13.--The unremitting pressure of these two garrisons crushed out at
last the Silurian resistance. The fighting men of the clan must
indeed have been almost wholly killed off during these four years
of murderous warfare. Thus Avitus Didius Gallus, the successor of
Ostorius, though himself too old to take the field, was able to
announce to Claudius that he had completed the subjugation of Britain.
The Silurians after one last effort, in which they signally defeated
an entire Legion, lay in the quietude of utter exhaustion; and though
Cartismandua caused some little trouble by putting away her husband
Venusius and raising a favourite to the throne, the matter was
compromised by Roman intervention; and Claudius lived to hear that the
island was, at last, peacefully submissive to his sway. Then Agrippina
showed herself once more the Cartismandua of Rome, and her son Nero
sat upon the throne of her poisoned husband [A.D. 55].


Neronian misgovernment--Seneca--Prasutagus--Boadicea's revolt--Sack
of Camelodune--Suetonius in Mona--"Druidesses"--Sack of London and
Verulam--Boadicea crushed at Battle Bridge--Peace of Petronius.

E. 1.--Under Nero the unhappy Britons first realized what it was to be
Roman provincials. Though Julius Caesar and Augustus had checked the
grossest abuses of the Republican proconsulates, yet enough of the
evil tradition remained to make those abuses flourish with renewed
vigour under such a ruler as Nero. The state of things which ensued
can only be paralleled with that so vividly described by Macaulay in
his lurid picture of the oppression of Bengal under Warren Hastings.
The one object of every provincial governor was to exploit his
province in his own pecuniary interest and that of his friends at
Rome. Requisitions and taxes were heaped on the miserable inhabitants
utterly beyond their means, with the express object of forcing them
into the clutches of the Roman money-lenders, whose frightful terms
were, in turn, enforced by military licence.

E. 2.--The most virtuous and enlightened citizens were not ashamed
thus to wring exorbitant interest from their victims. Cicero tells
us[170] how no less austere a patriot than Brutus thus exacted from
the town of Salamis in Cyprus, 48 per cent. compound interest, and,
after starving five members of the municipality to death in default of
payment, was mortally offended because he, Cicero, as proconsul, would
not exercise further military pressure for his ends.

E. 3.--The part thus played in Cyprus by Brutus was played in Britain
by Seneca, another of the choice examples of the highest Roman virtue.
By a series of blood-sucking transactions[171] he drove the Britons
to absolute despair, his special victim being Prasutagus, now Chief of
the Iceni, presumably set up by the Romans on the suppression of the
revolt under Vericus. As a last chance of saving any of his wealth for
his children, Prasutagus, by will, made the Emperor his co-heir.
This, however, only hastened the ruin of his family. His property
was pounced upon by the harpies of Seneca and Nero, with the
Procurator[172] of the Province, Catus Decimus, at their head, his kin
sold into slavery, his daughters outraged, and his wife Boadicea, or,
more correctly, _Boudicca_, brutally scourged. This was in A.D. 61.

E. 4.--A convulsive outburst of popular rage and despair followed.
The wrongs of Boadicea kindled the Britons to madness, and she found
herself at once at the head of a rising comprising all the clans of
the east and the Midlands. Half-armed as they were, their desperate
onset carried all before it. The first attack was made upon the hated
Colony at Camelodune, where the great Temple of "the God" Claudius,
rising high above the town, bore an ever-visible testimony to Rome's
enslavement of Britain,[173] and whence the lately-established
veterans were wont, by the connivance of the Procurator, to treat the
neighbourhood with utterly illegal military licence, sacking houses,
ravaging fields, and abusing their British fellow-subjects as "caitiff

E. 5.--These marauders were, however, as great cowards as bullies, and
were now trembling before the approach of vengeance. How completely
they were cowed is shown by the gloomy auguries which passed from
lip to lip as foreshadowing the coming woe. The statue of Victory
had fallen on its face, women frantic with fear rushed about wildly
shrieking "Ruin!", strange moans and wailings were heard in Courthouse
and Theatre, on the Thames estuary the ruddy glow of sunset looked
like blood and flame, the sand-ripples and sea-wrack left by the ebb
suggested corpses; everything ministered to their craven fear.

E. 6.--So hopeless was the demoralization that the very commonest
precautions were neglected. The town was unfortified, yet these old
soldiers made no attempt at entrenchment; even the women and children
were not sent away while the roads were yet open. And when the storm
burst on the town the hapless non-combatants were simply abandoned to
massacre, while the veterans, along with some two hundred badly-armed
recruits (the only help furnished by their precious Procurator, who
himself fled incontinently to Gaul), shut themselves up in the Temple,
in hopes of thus saving their own skins till the Ninth Legion, which
was hastening to their aid, should arrive.

E. 7.--It is a satisfaction to read that in this they were
disappointed. Next day their refuge was stormed, and every soul within
put to the sword. The Temple itself, and all else at Camelodune, was
burnt to the ground, and the wicked Colony blotted off the face of the
earth. The approaching Legion scarcely fared better. The victorious
Britons swept down upon it on the march, cut to pieces the entire
infantry, and sent the cavalry in headlong flight to London, where
Suetonius Paulinus, the Governor of Britain, was now mustering such
force as he could make to meet the overwhelming onslaught.

E. 8.--When the outbreak took place he had been far away, putting down
the last relics of the now illicit Druidism in the island of Mona or
Anglesey. The enterprise was one which demanded a considerable display
of force, for the defenders of the island fought with fanatical
frenzy, the priests and priestesses alike taking part in the fray,
and perishing at last in their own sacrificial fires, when the passage
over the Menai Straits was made good.

E. 9--It is noticeable that in Mona alone do we meet with
"Druidesses." Female ministers of religion, whether priestesses or
prophetesses, are always exceptional, and usually mark a survival from
some very primitive cult. The Pythoness at Delphi, and the Vestals at
Rome, obviously do so. And amongst the races of Gaul and Britain
the same fact is testified to by such female ministrations being
invariably confined to far western islands. Pytheas, as he passed Cape
Finisterre (in Spain) by night, heard a choir of women worshipping
"Mother Earth and her Daughter"[175] with shrill yells and music.
A little further he tells of the barbarous rites observed by the
_Samnitae_ or _Amnitae_[176] in an island near the mouth of the Loire,
on which no male person might ever set foot; and of another island at
the extreme point of Gaul, already known as Uxisana (Ushant), where
nine virgin sorceresses kept alight the undying fire on their sacred
hearth and gave oracular responses. These cults clearly represented a
much older worship than Druidism, though the latter may very probably
have taken them under its shadow (as in India so many aboriginal rites
are recognized and adopted by modern Brahmanism). And the priestesses
in Mona were, in like manner, not "Druidesses" at all, but
representatives of some more primitive cult, already driven from the
mainland of Britain and finding a last foothold in this remote island.

E. 10.--The stamping out of the desperate fanaticism of Mona was
barely accomplished, when tidings were brought to Suetonius of
Boadicea's revolt. By forced marches he reached London before her,
only to find himself too weak, after the loss of the Ninth Legion, to
hold it. London, though no Colony, was already the largest and most
thriving of the Roman settlements in Britain, and piteous was the
dismay of the citizens when Suetonius bade the city be evacuated.
But neither tears nor prayers could postpone his march, and such
non-combatants as from age or infirmity could not retire with his
column, were massacred by the furious Britons even as those at
Camelodune. Next came the turn of Verulam, the Roman town on the
site of Tasciovan's stronghold,[177] where like atrocities marked the
British triumph. Every other consideration was lost in the mad lust of
slaughter. No prisoners were taken, no spoil was made, no ransom was
accepted; all was fire, sword, and hideous torturing. Tacitus declares
that, to his own knowledge,[178] no fewer than seventy thousand Romans
and pro-Romans thus perished in this fearful day of vengeance; the
spirit of which has been caught by Tennyson, with such true poetic
genius, in his 'Boadicea.'

E. 11.--Suetonius, however, now felt strong enough to risk a battle.
The odds were enormous, for the British forces were estimated at
two hundred and thirty thousand, while his own were barely ten
thousand--only one legion (the Fourteenth) with the cavalry of the
Twentieth. (Where its infantry was does not appear: it may have been
left behind in the west.) The Ninth had ceased to exist, and the
Second did not arrive from far-off Caerleon till too late for the
fight. The strength of legionary sentiment is shown by the fact that
its commander actually slew himself for vexation that the Fourteenth
had won without his men.

E. 12.--Where the armies met is quite uncertain, though tradition
fixes on a not unlikely spot near London, whose name of "Battle
Bridge" has but lately been overlaid by the modern designation of
"King's Cross."[179] We only know that Suetonius drew up his line
across a glade in the forest, which thus protected his flanks, and
awaited the foe as they came pouring back from Verulam. In front of
the British line Boadicea, arrayed in the Icenian tartan, her plaid
fastened by a golden brooch, and a spear in her hand, was seen passing
along "loftily-charioted" from clan to clan, as she exhorted each
in turn to conquer or die. Suetonius is said to have given the like
exhortation to the Romans; but every man in their ranks must already
have been well aware that defeat would spell death for him. The one

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