Mons Graupius - Texts Sun, 09 Dec 2018 06:04:59 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb (Mons Graupius) Nennius: Historia Brittonum Nennius was an eighth-century historian who is a major source of British History. But unlike Bede who filters his work so as to remove details he dislikes, Nennius included material even some which he clearly felt was dubious (it is clear in the text that he felt e.g. the Dragon story to be dubious). This has falsely led to one modern "celtic" historian describing him as "unrestrainedly inventive" [ Gerhard Herm, The Celts, [London, 1976], p. 275].

This is an unsustainable slur on one of the best if not the best early British historian. All historical sources are by their nature more or less suspect even from the most careful writers. Therefore all contain errors. However what is so good about the approach taken by Nennius is that he has left in material even when he felt was not entirely credible (but signals it as such). Thus we are allowed to make up our own mind in light of modern evidence. In contrast, someone like Bede because he has removed all such material (both good and bad), we have no idea what he either correctly or incorrectly left out.

Source: Six Old English Chronicles. ed. J. A. Giles. London: Henry G. Bohn, 1848.



1. NENINIUS, the lowly minister and servant of the servants of God, by the grace of God, disciple of St. Elbotus, to all the followers of truth sendeth health.

Be it known to your charity, that being dull in intellect and rude of speech, I have presumed to deliver these things in the Latin tongue, not trusting to my own learning, which is little or none at all, but partly from traditions of our ancestors, partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans, and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymus, Prosper, Eusebius, and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons, although our enemies, not following my own inclinations, but, to the best of my ability, obeying the commands of my seniors; I have lispingly put together this history from various sources, and have endeavoured, from shame, to deliver down to posterity the few remaining ears of corn about past transactions, that they might not be trodden under foot, seeing that an ample crop has been snatched away already by the hostile reapers of foreign nations. For many things have been in my way, and I, to this day, have hardly been able to understand, even superficially, as was necessary, the sayings of other men; much less was I able in my own strength, but like a barbarian, have I murdered and defiled the language of others. But I bore about with me an inward wound, and I was indignant, that the name of my own people, formerly famous and distinguished, should sink into oblivion, and like smoke be dissipated. But since, however, I had rather myself be the historian of the Britons than nobody, although so many are to be found who might much more satisfactorily discharge the labour thus imposed on me; I humbly entreat my readers, whose ears I may offend by the inelegance of my words, that they will fulfil the wish of my seniors, and grant me the easy task of listening with candour to my history. For zealous efforts very often fail: but bold enthusiasm, were it in its power, would not suffer me to fail. May, therefore, candour be shown where the inelegance of my words is insufficient, and may the truth of this history, which my rustic tongue has ventured, as a kind of plough, to trace out in furrows, lose none of its influence from that cause, in the ears of my hearers. For it is better to drink a wholesome draught of truth from a humble vessel, than poison mixed with honey from a golden goblet

2. And do not be loath, diligent reader, to winnow my chaff, and lay up the wheat in the storehouse of your memory:: for truth regards not who is the speaker, nor in what manner it is spoken, but that the thing be true;; and she does not despise the jewel which she has rescued from the mud, but she adds it to her former treasures.

For I yield to those who are greater and more eloquent than myself, who, kindled with generous ardour, have endeavoured by Roman eloquence to smooth the jarring elements of their tongue, if they have left unshaken any pillar of history which I wished to see remain. This history therefore has been compiled from a wish to benefit my inferiors, not from envy of those who are superior to me, in the 858th year of our Lord's incarnation, and in the 24th year of Mervin, king of the Britons, and I hope that the prayers of my betters will be offered up for me in recompence of my labour. But this is sufficient by way of preface. I shall obediently accomplish the rest to the utmost of my power.


Here begins the apology of Nennius, the historiographer of the Britons, of the race of the Britons.

3. I, Nennius, disciple of St. Elbotus, have endeavoured to write some extracts which the dulness of the British nation had cast away, because teachers had no knowledge, nor gave any information in their books about this island of Britain. But I have got together all that I could find as well from the annals of the Romans as from the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Hieronymus, Eusebius, Isidorus, Prosper, and from the annals of the Scots and Saxons, and from our ancient traditions. May teachers and scribes have attempted to write this, but somehow or other have abandoned it from its difficulty, wither on account of frequent deaths, or the often recurring calamities of war. I pray that every reader who shall read this book, may pardon me, for having attempted, like a chattering jay, or like some weak witness, to write these things, after they had failed. I yield to him who knows more of these things than I do.


4,5. From Adam to the flood, are two thousand and forty-two years. From the flood to Abraham, nine hundred and forty-two. From Abraham to Moses, six hundred. From Moses to Solomon, and the first building of the temple, four hundred and forty-eight. From Solomon to the rebuilding of the temple, which was under Darius, king of the Persians, six hundred and twelve

6. The first age of the world is from Adam to Noah; the second from Noah to Abraham; the third from Abraham to David; the fourth from David to Daniel; the fifth to John the Baptist; the sixth from John to the judgment, when our Lord Jesus Christ will come to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire.

The first Julius. The second Claudius. The third Severus. The fourth Carinus. The fifth Constantius. The sixth Maximus The seventh Maximianus. The eighth another Severus AEquantius. The ninth Constantius.

Here beginneth the history of the Britons, edited by Mark the anchorite, a holy bishop of that people.

7. The island of Britain derives its name from Brutus, a Roman consul. Taken from the south-west point it inclines a little towards the west, and to its northern extremity measures eight hundred miles, and is in breadth two hundred. It contains thirty-three cities, viz.

1. Cair ebrauc (York)
2. Cair ceint (Canterbury)
3. Cair gurcoc (Anglesey)
4. Cair guorthegern
5. Cair custeint (Carnarvon)
6. Cair guoranegon (Worcester)
7. Cair segeint (Silchester)
8. Cair guin truis (Norwhich?)
9. Cair merdin (Caermarthen)
10. Cair peris (Porchester)
11. Cair lion (Caerleon-upon-Usk)
12. Cair mencipit (Verulam)
13. Cair caratauc (Catterick)
14. Cair ceri (Cirencester)
15. Cair gloui (Gloucester)
16. Cair lullid (Carlisle)
17. Cair grant (Cambridge)
18. Cair daun (Doncaster)
19. Cair britoc (Bristol)
20. Cair meguaid (Meivod)
21. Cair mauiguid (Manchester)
22. Cair ligion (Chester?)
23. Cair guent (Caerwent?)
24. Cair collon (Colchester?)
25. Cair londein (London)
26. Cair Guorcon (Worren?)
27. Cair lerion (Leicester)
28. Cair draithou (Drayton)
29. Cair ponsavelcoit (Pevenscy) 30. Cairteimm (Teyn-Grace)
31. Cair Urnahc (Wroxster)
32. Cair colemion1
33. Cair loit coit (Lincoln)

1 - In the J.A. Giles translation, this is identified as "Camalet, in Somersetshire."

These are the names of the ancient cities of the island of Britain. It has also a vast many promontories, and castles innumerable, built of brick and stone. Its inhabitants consist of four different people; the Scots, the Picts, the Saxons, and the ancient Britons.

8. Three considerable islands belong to it; one, on the south, opposite the Armorican shore, called Wight; another between Ireland and Britain, called Eubonia or Man;; and another directly north, beyond the Picts, named Orkney; and hence it was anciently a proverbial expression, in reference to its kings and rulers, "He reigned over Britain and its three islands."

9. It is fertilized by several rivers, which traverse it in all directions, to the east and west, to the south and north; but there are two pre-eminently distinguished among the rest, the Thames and the Severn, which formerly, like the two arms of Britain, bore the ships employed in the conveyance of the riches acquired by commerce. The Britons were once very populous, and exercised extensive dominion from sea to sea.

10.Respecting the period when this island became inhabited subsequently to the flood, I have seen two distinct relations. According to the annals of Roman history, the Britons deduce their origin both from the Greeks and Romans. On the side of the mother, from Lavinia, the daughter of Latinus, king of Italy, and of the race of Silvanus, the son of Inachus, the son of Dardanus; who was the son of Saturn, king of the Greeks, and who, having possessed himself of a part of Asia, built the city of Troy. Dardanus was the father of Troius, who was the father of Priam and Anchises; Anchises was the father of Aeneas, who was the father of Ascanius and Silvius; and this Silvius was the son of Aeneas and Lavinia, the daughter of the king of Italy. From the sons of Aeneas and Lavinia descended Romulus and Remus, who were the sons of the holy queen Rhea, and the founders of Rome. Brutus was consul when he conquered Spain, and reduced that country to a Roman province he afterwards subdued the island of Britain, whose inhabitants were the descendants of the Romans, from Silvius Posthumus. He was called Posthumus because he was born after the death of Aeneas his father; and his mother Lavinia concealed herself during her pregnancy; he was called Silvius, because he was born in a wood. Hence the Roman kings were called Silvan, and the Britons who sprang from him; but they were called Britons from Brutus, and rose from the family of Brutus.

AEneas, after the Trojan war, arrived with his son in Italy; and having vanquished Turnus, married Lavinia, the daughter of king Latinus, who was the son of Faunus, the son of Picus, the son of Saturn. After the death of Latinus, Aeneas obtained the kingdom of the Romans, and Lavinia brought forth a son, who was named Silvius. Ascanius founded Alba, and afterwards married And Lavinia bore to Aeneas a son named Silvius; But Ascanius married a wife, who conceived and became pregnant. And Aeneas, having been informed that his daughter-in-law was pregnant, ordered his son to send his magician to examine his wife, whether the child conceived were male or female. The magician came and examined the wife and pronounced it to be a son, who should become the most valiant among the Italians, and the most beloved of all men. In consequence of this prediction, the magician was put to death by Ascanius; but it happened that the mother of the child dying at its birth, he was named Brutus; and after a certain interval agreeably to what the magician had foretold, whilst he was playing with some others he shot his father with an arrow, not intentionally but by accident. He was, for this cause, expelled from Italy, and came to the islands of the Tyrrhene sea, when he was exiled on account of the death of Turnus, slain by Aeneas. He then went among the Gauls, and built the city of Turones, called Turnis. At length he came to this island, named from him Britannia, dwelt there, and filled it with his own descendants, and it has been inhabited from that time to the present period.

11. AEneas reigned over the Latins three years; Ascanius thirty-three years; after whom Silvius reigned twelve yeaars, and Posthumus thirty-nine years: the latter, from whom the kings of Alba are called Silvan, was brother to Brutus, who governed Britain at the time Eli the high-priest judged Israel, and when the Ark of the covenant was taken by a foreign people. But Posthumus his brother reigned among the Latins.

12. After an interval of not less than eight hundred years, came the Picts, and occupied the Orkney Islands: whence they laid waste many regions, and seized those on the left hand side of Britain, where they still remain, keeping possession of a third part of Britain to this day.

13. Long after this, the Scots arrived in Ireland from Spain. The first that came was Partholomus, with a thousand men and women, these increased to four thousand; but a mortality coming suddenly upon them, they all perished in one week. The second was Nimech, the son of …..who, according to report, after having his ships shattered, arrived at a port in Ireland, and continuing there several years, returned at length with his followers to Spain. After these came three sons of a Spanish soldier with thirty ships, each of which contained thirty wives; and having remained there during the space of a year, there appeared to them, in the middle of the sea, a tower of glass, the summit of which seemed covered with men, to whom they often spoke, but received no answer. At length they determined to besiege the tower; and after a year's preparation, advanced towards it, with the whole number of their ships, and all the women, one ship only excepted, which had been wrecked, and in which were thirty men, and as many women; but when all had disembarked on the shore which surrounded the tower, the sea opened and swallowed them up. Ireland, however, was peopled, to the present period, from the family remaining in the vessel which was wrecked. Afterwards, others came from Spain, and possessed themselves of various parts of Britain.

14. Last of all came one Hoctor, who continued there, and whose descendants remain there to this day. Istoreth, the son of Istorinus, with his followers, held Dalrieta; Build had the island Eubonia, and other adjacent places. The sons of Liethali obtained the country of Dimetae, where is a city called Menavia and the province Guiher and Cetgueli, which they held till they were expelled from every part of Britain, by Cunedda and his sons.

15. According to the most learned among the Scots, if any one desires to learn what I am now going to state, Ireland was a desert, and uninhabited, when the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, in which, as we read in the Book of the Law, the Egyptians who followed them were drowned. At that period, there lived among this people, with a numerous family a Scythian of noble birth, who had been banished from his country, and did not go to pursue the people of God. The Egyptians who were left, seeing the destruction of the great men of their nation, and fearing lest he should possess himself of their territory, took counsel together, and expelled him. Thus reduced, he wandered forty-two years in Africa, and arrived with his family at the altars of the Philistines, by the Lake of Osiers. Then passing between Rusicada and the hilly country of Syria, they travelled by the river Malva through Mauritania as far as the Pillars of Hercules; and crossing the Tyrrhene Sea, landed in Spain, where they continued many years, having greatly increased and multiplied Thence, a thousand and two years after the Egyptians were lost in the Red Sea, they passed into Ireland, and the district of Dalrieta. At that period, Brutus, who first exercised the consular office, reigned over the Romans; and the state, which before was governed by regal power, was afterwards ruled, during four hundred and forty-seven years, by consuls, tribunes of the people, and dictators.

The Britons came to Britain in the third age of the world; and in the fourth, the Scots took possession of Ireland.

The Britons who, suspecting no hostilities, were unprovided with the means of defence, were unanimously and incessantly attacked, both by the Scots from the west, and by the Picts from the north. A long interval after this, the Romans obtained the empire of the world.

16. From the first arrival of the Saxons into Britain, to the fourth year of king Mermenus, are computed four hundred and twenty-eigtht years; from the nativity of our Lord to the coming of St. Patrick among the Scots, four hundred and five years; from the death of St. Patrick to that of St. Bridget, forty years; and from the birth of Columcille to the death of St. Bridget four years.

17. I have learned another account of this Brutus from the ancient books of our ancestors. After the deluge, the three sons of Noah severally occupied three different parts of the earth: Shem extended his borders into Asia, Ham into Africa, and Japheth into Europe.

The first man that dwelt in Europe was Alanus, with his three sons, Hisicion, Armenon, and Neugio. Hisicion had four sons, Francus, Romanus, Alamanus, and Bruttus. Armenon had five sons, Gothus, Valagothus, Cibidus, Burgundus, and Longobardus. Neugio had three sons, Vandalus, Saxo, and Boganus. From Hisicion arose four nations__the Franks, the Latins, the Germans, and Britons: from Armenon, the Gothi, Valagothi, Cibidi, Burgundi, and Longobardi:: from Neugio, the Bogari, Vandali, Saxones, and Tarincgi. The whole of Europe was subdivided into these tribes.

Alanus is said to have been the son of Fethuir; Fethuir, the son of Ogomuin, who was the son oof Thoi; Thoi was the son of Boibus, Boibus off Semion, Semion of Mair, Mair of Ecthactus, Ecthactus of Aurthack, Aurthack of Ethec, Ethec of Ooth, Ooth of Aber, Aber of Ra, Ra of Esraa, Esraa of Hisrau, Hisrau of Bath, Bath of Jobath, Jobath of JJoham, Joham of Japheth, Japheth of Noah, Noah of Lamech, Lamech of Mathusalem, Mathusalem of Enoch, Enoch of Jared, Jared of Malalehel, Malalehel of Cainan, Cainan of Enos, Enos of Seth, Seth of Adam, and Adam was formed by the living God. We have obtained this information respecting the original inhabitants of Britain from ancient tradition.

18. The Britons were thus called from Brutus: Brutus was the son of Hisicion, Hisicion was the son of Alanus, Alanus was the son of Rehea Silvia, Rhea Silvvia was the daughter of Numa Pompilius, Numa was the son of Ascanius, Ascanius of Eneas, Eneas of Anchises, Anchises of Troius, Troius of Dardanus, Dardanus of Flisa, Flisa of Juuin, Juuin of Japheth; but Japheth had seven sons; from the first, named Gomer, descended the Galli; from the second, Magog, the Scythi and Gothi; from the third, Madian, the Medi; from the fourth, Juuan, the Greeks; from the fifth, Tubal, arose the Hebrei, Hispani, and Itali; from the sixth, Mosoch, sprung the Cappadoces; and from the seventh, named Tiras, descended the Thraces: these are the sons of Japheth, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech.

19. The Romans having obtained the dominion of the world, sent legates or deputies to the Britons to demand of them hostages and tribute, which they received from all other countries and islands; but they, fierce, disdainful, and haughty, treated the legation with contempt.

Then Julius Caesar, the first who had acquired absolute power at Rome, highly incensed against the Britons, sailed with sixty vessels to the mouth of the Thames, where they suffered shipwreck whilst he fought against Dolobellus, (the proconsul of the British king, who was called Belinus, and who was the son of Minocannus who governed all the islands of the Tyrrhene Sea), and thus Julius Caesar returned home without victory, having had his soldiers slain, and his ships shattered.

Julius was the first exercising supreme power over the Romans who invaded Britain: in honour of him the Romans decreed the fifth month to be called after his name. He was assassinated in the Curia, in the ides of March, and Octavius Augustus succeeded to the empire of the world. He was the only emperor who received tribute from the Britons, according to the following verse of Virgil:

"Purpurea intexti tollunt aulaea Britanni."

21. The second after him, who came into Britain, was the emperor Claudius, who reigned forty-seven years after the birth of Christ. He carried with him war and devastation; and, though not without loss of men, he at length conquered Britain. He next sailed to the Orkneys, which likewise conquered, and afterwards rendered tributary. No tribute was in his time received from the Britons; but it was paid to British emperors. He reigned thirteen years and eight months. His monument is to be seen at Moguntia (among the Lombards), where he died in his way to Rome.

22. After the birth of Christ, one hundred and sixty-seven years, king Lucius, with all the chiefs of the British people, received baptism, in consequence of a legation sent by the Roman emperors and pope Evaristus.

23. Severus was the third emperor who passed the sea to Britain, where, to protect the provinces recovered from barbaric incursions, he ordered a wall and a rampart to be made between the Britons, the Scots, and the Picts, extending across the island from sea to sea, in length one hundred and thirty-three miles: and it is called in the British language, Gwal. Moreover, he ordered it to be made between the Britons, and the Picts and Scots; for the Scots from the west, and the Picts from the north, unanimously made war against the Britons; but were at peace among themselves. Not long after Severus dies in Britain.

24. The fourth was the emperor and tyrant, Carausius, who, incensed at the murder of Severus, passed into Britain, and attended by the leaders of the Roman people, severely avenged upon the chiefs and rulers of the Britons, the cause of Severus.

25. The fifth was Constantius the father of Constantine the Great. He died in Britain; his sepulchre, as it appears by the inscription on his tomb, is still seen near the city named Cair segont (near Carnarvon). Upon the pavement of the above-mentioned city he sowed three seeds of gold, silver, and brass, that no poor person might ever be found in it. It is also called Minmanton.

26. Maximianus was the sixth emperor that ruled in Britain. It was in his time that consuls began, and that the appellation of Caesar was discontinued: at this period also, St. Martin became celebrated for his virtues and miracles, and held a conversation with him.

27. The seventh emperor was Maximus. He withdrew from Britain with all his military force, slew Gratian, the king of the Romans, and obtained the sovereignty of all Europe. Unwilling to send back his warlike companions to their wives, children and possessions in Britain, he conferred upon them numerous districts from the lake on the summit of Mons Jovis, to the city called Cant Guic, and to the western Tumulus, that is, to Cruc Occident. These are the Armoric Britons, and they remain there to the present day. In consequence of their absence, Britain being overcome by foreign nations, the lawful heirs were cast out, till God interposed with his assistance. We are informed by the tradition of our ancestors that seven emperors went into Britain, though the Romans affirm there were nine

The eighth was another Severus, who lived occasionally in Britain, and sometimes at Rome, where he died.

The ninth was Constantius who reigned sixteen years in Britain, and, according to report, was treacherously murdered in the seventeenth year of his reign.

28. Thus, agreeably to the account given by the Britons, the Romans governed them four hundred and nine year. After this, the Britons despised the authority of the Romans, equally refusing to pay them tribute, or to receive their kings; nor durst the Romans any longer attempt the government of a country, the natives of which massacred their deputies.

29. We must now return to the tyrant Maximus. Gratian, with his brother Valentinian, reigned seven years. Ambrose, bisho;p of Milan, was then eminent for his skill in the dogmata of the Catholics. Valentinianus and Theodosius reigned eight years. At that time a synod was held at Constantinople, attended by three hundred and fifty of the fathers, and in which all heresies were condemned. Jerome, the presbyter of Bethlehem, was then universally celebrated. Whilst Gratian exercised supreme dominion over the world, Maximus, in a sedition of the soldiers, was saluted emperor in Britain, and soon after crossed the sea to Gaul. At Paris, by the treachery of Mellobaudes, his master of the horse, Gratian was defeated, and fleeing to Lyons, was taken and put to death; Maximus afterwards associated his son Victor in the government.

Martin, distinguished for his great virtues, was at this period bishop of Tours. After a considerable space of time, Maximus was divested of royal power by the consuls Valentinianus and Theodosius, and sentenced to be beheaded at the third mile-stone from Aquileia:; in the same year also his son Victor was killed in Gaul by Arbogastes, five thousand six hundred and ninety years from the creation of the world.

30. Thrice were the Roman deputies put to death by the Britons, and yet these, when harassed by the incursions of the barbarous nations, viz. Of the Scots and Picts, earnestly solicited the aid of the Romans. To give effect to their entreaties, ambassadors were sent, who made their entrance with impressions of deep sorrow, having their heads covered with dust, and carrying rich presents to expiate the murder of the deputies. They were favourably received by the consuls, and swore submission to the Roman yoke with whatever severity it might be imposed.

The Romans, therefore, came with a powerful army to the assistance of the Britons; and having appointed over them a ruler, and settled the government, returned to Rome: and this took place alternately during the space of three hundred and forty-eight years. The Britons, however, from the oppression of the empire, again massacred the Roman deputies, and again petitioned for succour. Once more the Romans undertook the government of the Britons, and assisted them in repelling their neighbours;; and, after having exhausted the country of its gold, silver, brass, honey, and costly vestments, and having besides received rich gifts, they returned in great triumph to Rome.

31. After the above-said war between the Britons and Romans, the assassination of their rulers, and the victory of Maximus, who slew Gratian, and the termination of the Roman power in Britain, they were in alarm forty years. Vortigern then reigned in Britain. In his time, the natives had cause of dread, not only from the inroads of the Scots and Picts, but also from the Romans, and their apprehensions of Ambrosius.

In the meantime, three vessels, exiled from Germany, arrived in Britain. They were commanded by Horsa and Hengist, brothers, and sons of Wihtgils. Wihtgils was the son of Witta; Witta of Wecta; Wecta of Woden; Woden of Frithowald; Frithowald of Frithuwulf; Frithuwulf of Finn; Finn of Godwulf; Godwulf of Geat, who, as they say, was the son of a god, not of the omnipotent God and our Lord Jesus Christ (who before the beginning of the world, was with the Father and the Holy Spirit, co-eternal and of the same substance, and who, in compassion to human nature, disdained not to assume the form of a servant), but the offspring of one of their idols, and whom, blinded by some demon, they worshipped according to the custom of the heathen. Vortigern received them as friends, and delivered up to them the island which is in their language called Thanet, and, by the Britons, Ruym. Gratianus AEquantius at that time reigned in Rome. The Saxons were received by Vortigern four hundred and forty-seven years after the passion of Christ, and, according to the tradition of our ancestors, from the period of their first arrival in Britain, to the first year of the reign of king Edmund, five hundred and forty-two years; and to that in which we now write, which is the fifth of his reign, five hundred and forty-seven years.

32. At that time St. Germanus, distinguished for his numerous virtues, came to preach in Britain: by his ministry many were saved; but many likewise died unconverted. Of the various miracles which God enabled him to perform, I shall here mention only a few: I shall first advert to that concerning an iniquitous and tyrannical king, named Bennlli. The holy man, informed of his wicked conduct, hastened to visit him, for the purpose of remonstrating with him. When the man of God, with his attendants, arrived at the gate of the city, they were respectfully received by the keeper of it, who came out and saluted them. Him they commissioned to communicate their intention to the king, who returned a harsh answer, declaring, with an oath, that although they remained there a year, they should not enter the city. While waiting for an answer, the evening came on, and they knew not where to go. At length, came one of the king's servants, who bowing himself before the man of God, announced the words of the tyrant, inviting the, at the same time, to hi own house, to which they went, and were kindly received. It happened, however, that he had no cattle, except one cow and a calf, the latter of which, urged by generous hospitality to his guests, he killed, dressed and set before them. But holy St. Germanus ordered his companions not to break a bone of the calf; and, the next morning, it was found alive uninjured, and standing by its mother.

33. Early the same day, they again went to the gate of the city, to solicit audience of the wicked king; and, whilst engaged in fervent prayer they were waiting for admission, a man, covered with sweat, came out, and prostrated himself before them. Then St. Germanus, addressing him, said, "Dost thou believe in the Holy Trinity?" To which the man having replied, "I do believe," he baptized, and kissed him, saying, "Go in peace; within this hour thou shalt die: the angels of God are waiting for thee in the air; with them thou shalt ascend to that God in whom thou hast believed." He, overjoyed, entered the city, and being met by the prefect, was seized, bound, and conducted before the tyrant, who having passed sentence upon him, he was immediately put to death; for it was a law of this wicked king, that whoever was not at his labour before sun-rising should be beheaded in the citadel. In the meantime, St. Germanus, with his attendants, waited the whole day before the gate, without obtaining admission to the tyrant.

34. The man above-mentioned, however, remained with the. "Take care," said St. Germanus to him, "that none of your friends remain this night within these walls. Upon this he hastily entered the city, brought out his nine sons, and with them retired to the house where he had exercised such generous hospitality. Here St. Germanus ordered them to continue, fasting; and when the gates were shut, "Watch," said he, "and whatever shall happen in the citadel, turn not thither your eyes; but pray without ceasing, and invoke the protection of the true God." And, behold, early in the night, fire fell from heaven, and burned the city, together with all those who were with the tyrant, so that not one escaped; and that citadel has never been rebuilt even to this day

35. The following day, the hospitable man who had been converted by the preaching of St. Germanus, was baptized, with his sons, and all the inhabitants of that part of the country; and St Germanus blessed him, saying, "a king shall not be wanting of thy seed for ever." The name of this person is Catel Drunluc: "from henceforward thou shalt be a king all the days of thy life." Thus was fulfilled the prophecy of the Psalmist: "He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the needy out of the dunghill." And agreeably to the prediction of St. Germanus, from a servant he became a king: all his sons were kings, and from their offspring the whole country of Powys has been governed to this day.

36. After the Saxons had continued some time in the island of Thanet, Vortigern promised to supply them with clothing and provision, on condition they would engage to fight against the enemies of his country. But the barbarians having greatly increased in number, the Britons became incapable of fulfilling their engagement; and when the Saxons, according to the promise they had received, claimed a supply of provisions and clothing, the Britons replied, "Your number is increased; your assistance is now unnecessary; you may, therefore, return home, for we can no longer support you;" and hereupon they began to devise means of breaking the peace between them.

37. But Hengist, in whom united craft and penetration, perceiving he had to act with an ignorant king, and a fluctuating people, incapable of opposing much resistance, replied to Vortigern, "We are, indeed, few in number; but, if you will give us leave, we will send to our country for an additional number of forces, with whom we will fight for you and your subjects." Vortigern assenting to this proposal, messengers were despatched to Scythia, where selecting a number of warlike troops, they returned with sixteen vessels, bringing with them the beautiful daughter of Hengist. And now the Saxon chief prepared an entertainment, to which he invited the king, his officers, and Ceretic, his interpreter, having previously enjoined his daughter to serve them so profusely with wine and ale, that they might soon become intoxicated. This plan succeeded; and Vortigern, at the instigation of the devil, and enamoured with the beauty of the damsel, demanded her, through the medium of his interpreter, of the father, promising to give for her whatever he should ask. Then Hengist, who had already consulted with the elders who attended him of the Oghgul race, demanded for his daughter the province, called in English Centland, in British, Ceint, (Kent.). This cession was made without the knowledge of the king, Guoyrancgonus who then reigned in Kent, and who experienced no inconsiderable share of grief, from seeing his kingdom thus clandestinely, fraudulently, and imprudently resigned to foreigners. Thus the maid was delivered up to the king, who slept with her, and loved her exceedingly.

38. Hengist, after this, said to Vortigern, "I will be to you both a father and an adviser; despise not my counsels, and you shall have no reason to fear being conquered by any man or any nation whatever; for the people of my country are strong, warlike, and robust: if you approve, I will send for my son and his brother, both valiant men who at my invitation will fight against the Scots, and you can give them the countries in the north, near the wall called "Gual." The incautious sovereign having assented to this, Octa and Ebusa arrived with forty ships. In these they sailed round the country of the Picts, laid waste the Orkneys, and took possession of many regions, even to the Pictish confines.

39. In the meantime, Vortigern, as if desirous of adding to the evils he had already occasioned, married his own daughter, by whom he had a son. When this was made known to St. Germanus, he came, with all the British clergy, to reprove him: and whilst a numerous assembly of the ecclesiasties and laity were in consultation, the weak king ordered his daughter to appear before the, and in the presence of all to present her son to St. Germanus, and declare that he was the father of the child. The immodest woman obeyed; and St. Germanus, taking the childc said, "I will be a father to you, my son; nor will I dismiss you till a razor, scissors, and comb, are given to me, and it is allowed you to give them to your carnal father." The child obeyed St. Germanus, and going to his father Vortigern, said to him, "Thou are my father; shave and cut the hair of my head." The king blushed, and was silent; and, without replying to the child, arose in great anger, and fled from the presence of St. Germanus, execrated and condemned by the whole synod.

40. But soon after calling together his twelve wise men, to consult what was to be done, they said to him, "Retire to the remote boundaries of your kingdom; there build and fortify a city todefend yourself, for the people you have received are treacherous; they are seeking to subdue you by stratagem, and, even during your life, to seize upon all the countries subject to your power, how much more will they attempt, after your death!" The king, pleased with this advice, departed with his wise men, and travelled through many parts of his territories, in search of a place convenient for the purpose of building a citadel. Having, to no purpose, travelled far and wide, they came at length to a province called Guenet; and having surveyed the mountains of Heremus, they discovered, on the summit of one of them, a situation, adapted to the construction of a citadel. Upon this, the wise men said to the king, "Build here a city; for, in this place, it will ever be secure against the barbarians." Then the king sent for artificers, carpenters, stone-masons, and collected all the materials requisite to building; but the whole of these disappeared in one night, so that nothing remained of what had been provided for the constructing of the citadel. Materials were, therefore, from all parts, procured a second and third time, and again vanished as before, leaving and rendering every effort ineffectual. Vortigern inquired of his wise men the cause of this opposition to his undertaking, and of so much useless expense of labour? They replied, "You must find a child born without a father, put him to death, and sprinkle with his blood the ground on which the citadel is to be built, or you will never accomplish your purpose."

41. In consequence of this reply, the king sent messengers throughout Britain, in search of a child born without a father. After having inquired in all the provinces, they came to the field of Aelecti, in the district of Glevesing, where a party of boys were playing at ball. And two of them quarrelling, one said to the other, "" boy without a father, no good will ever happen to you." Upon this, the messengers diligently inquired of the mother and the other boys, whether he had had a father? Which his mother denied, saying, "In what manner he was conceived I know not, for I have never had intercourse with any man;" and then she solemnly affirmed that he had no mortal father. The boy was, therefore, led away, and conducted before Vortigern the king.

42. A meeting took place the next day for the purpose of putting him to death. Then the boy said to the king, "Why have your servants brought me hither?" "That you may be put to death," replied the king, "and that the ground on which my citadel is to stand, may be sprinkled with your blood, without which I shall be unable to build it." "Who," said the boy, "instructed you to do this?" "My wise men," answered the king. "Order them hither," returned the boy; this being complied with, he thus questioned them: "By what means was it revealed to you that this citadel could not be built, unless the spot were previously sprinkled with my blood? Speak without disguise, and declare who discovered me to you;" then turning to the king, "I will soon," said he, "unfold to you every thing; but I desire to question your wise men, and wish them to disclose to you what is hidden under this pavement:" they acknowledging their ignorance, "there is," said he, "a pool; come and dig:" they did so, and found the pool. "Now," continued he, "tell me what is in it;" but they were ashamed, and made no reply. "I," said the boy, "can discover it to you: there are two vases in the pool;" they examined, and found it so: continuing his questions, "What is in the vases?" they were silent: "There is a tent in them," said the boy; "separate them, and you shall find it so;" this being done by the king's command, there was found in them a folded tent. The boy, going on with his questions, asked the wise men what was in it? But they not knowing what to reply, "There are," said he, "two serpents, one white and the other red; unfold the tent;" they obeyed, and two sleeping serpents were discovered; "consider attentively," said the boy, "what they are doing." The serpents began to struggle with each other; and the white one, raising himself up, threw down the other into the middle of the tent and sometimes drove him to the edge of it; and this was repeated thrice. At length the red one, apparently the weaker of the two, recovering his strength, expelled the white one from the tent; and the latter being pursued through the pool by the red one, disappeared. Then the boy, asking the wise men what was signified by this wonderful omen, and they expressing their ignorance, he said to the king, "I will now unfold to you the meaning of this mystery. The pool is the emblem of this world, and the tent that of your kingdom: the two serpents are two dragons; the red serpent is your dragon, but the white serpent is the dragon of the people who occupy several provinces and districts of Britain, even almost from sea to sea: at length, however, our people shall rise and drive away ;the Saxon race from beyond the sea, whence they originally came; but do you depart from this place, where you are not permitted to erect a citadel; I, to whom fate has allotted this mansion, shall remain here; whilst to you it is incumbent to seek other provinces, where you may build a fortress." "What is your name?" asked the king; "I am called Ambrose (in British Embresguletic)," returned the boy; and in answer to the king's question, "What is your origin?" he replied, "A Roman consul was my father." Then the king assigned him that city, with all the western provinces of Britain; and departing with his wise men to the sinistral district, he arrived in the region named Gueneri, where he build a city which, according to his name was called Cair Guorthegirn.

43. At length Vortimer, the son of Vortigern, valiantly fought against Hengist, Horsa, and his people; drove them to the isle of Thanct, and thrice enclosed them with it, and beset them on the western side. The Saxons now despatched deputies to Germany to solicit large reinforcements, and an additional number of ships: having obtained these, they fought against the kings and princes of Britain, and sometimes extended their boundaries by victory, and sometimes were conquered and driven back.

44. Four times did Vortimer valorously encounter the enemy; the first has been mentioned, the second was upon the river Darent, the third at the Ford, in their language called Epsford, though in ours Set thirgabail, there Horsa fell, and Catigern, the son of Vortigern; the fourth battle he fought, was near the stone on the shore of the Gallic sea, where the Saxons being defeated, fled to their ships.

After a short interval Vortimer died; before his decease, anxious for the future prosperity of his country, he charged his friends to inter his body at the entrance of the Saxon port, viz. Upon the rock where the Saxons first landed; "for though," said he, "they may inhabit other parts of Britain, yet if you follow my commands, they will never remain in this island." They imprudently disobeyed this last injunction, and neglected to bury him where he had appointed.

45. After this the barbarians became firmly incorporated, and were assisted by foreign pagans; for Vortigern was their friend, on account of the daughter of Hengist, whom he so much loved, that no one durst fight against him__in the meantime they soothed the imprudent king, and whilst practicing every appearance of fondness were plotting with his enemies. And let him that reads understand, that the Saxons were victorious, and ruled Britain, not from their superior prowess, but on account of the great sins of the Britons: God so permitting it.

For what wise man will resist the wholesome counsel of God? The Almighty is the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, ruling and judging every one, according to his own pleasure.

After the death of Vortimer, Hengist being strengthened by new accessions, collected his ships, and calling his leaders together, consulted by what stratagem they might overcome Vortigern and his army; with insidious intention they sent messengers to the king, with offers of peace and perpetual friendship; unsuspicious of treachery, the monarch, after advising with his elders, accepted the proposals.

46. Hengist, under pretence of ratifying the treaty, prepared an entertainment, to which he invited the king, the nobles, and military officers, in number about three hundred; speciously concealing his wicked intention, he ordered three hungred Saxons to conceal each a knife under his feet, and to mix with the Britons; "and when,"said he, "they are sufficiently inebriated, &c.cry out, ''Nimed eure Saxes,''then let each draw his knife, and kill his man; but spare the king on account of his marriage with my daughter, for it is better that he should be ransomed than killed."

The king with his company, appeared at the feast; and mixing with the Saxons, who, whilst they spoke peace with their tongues, cheerished treachery in their hearts, each man was placed next his enemy.

After they had eaten and drunk, and were much intoxicated, Hengist suddenly vociferated, "Nimed eure Saxes!" and instantly his adherents drew their knives, and rushing upon the Britons, each slew him that sat next to him, and there was slain three hundred of the nobles of Vortigern.. The king being a captive, purchased his redemption, by delivering up the three provinces of East, South, and Middle Sex, besides other districts at the option of his betrayers.

47. St. Germanus admonished Vortigern to turn to the true God, and abstain from all unlawful intercourse with his daughter; but the unhappy wretch fled for refuge to the province Guorthegirnaim, so called from his own name, where he concealed himself with his wives: but St. Germanus followed him with all the British clergy, and upon a rock prayed for his sins during forty days and forty nights.

The blessed man was unanimously chosen commander against the Saxons. And then, not by the clang of trumpets, but by praying, singing hallelujah, and by the cries of the army to God, the enemies were routed, and driven even to the sea.

Again Vortigern ignominiously flew from St. Germanus to the kingdom of the Dimetae, where, on the river Towy, he built a castle, which he named Cair Guothergirn. The saint, as usual, followed him there, and with his clergy fasted and prayed to the Lord three days, and as many nights. On the third night, at the third hour, fire fell suddenly from heaven, and totally burned the castle. Vortigern, the daughter of Hengist, his other wives, and all the inhabitants, both men and women, miserably perished: such was the end of this unhappy king, as we find written in the life of St. Germanus.

48. Others assure us, that being hated by all the people of Britain, for having received the Saxons, and being publicly charged by St. Germanus and the clergy in the sight of God, he betook himself to flight; and, that deserted and a wanderer, he sought a place of refuge, till broken hearted, he made an ignominious end.

Some accounts state, that the earth opened and swallowed him up, on the night his castle was burned; as no remains were discovered the following morning, either of him, or of those who were burned with him.

He had three sons: the eldest was Vortimer, who, as we have seen, fought four times against the Saxons, and put them to flight; the second Categirn, who was slain in the same battle with Horsa; the third was Pascent, who reigned in the two provinces Builth and Guorthegirnaim, after the death of his father. These were granted him by Ambrosius, who was the great king among the kings of Britain. The fourth was Faustus, born of an incestuous marriage with his daughter, who was brought up and educated by St. Germanus. He built a large monastery on the banks of the river Renis, called after his name, and which remains to the present period.

49. This is the genealogy of Vortigern, which goes back to Fernvail, who reigned in the kingdom of Guorthegirnaim, and was the son of Teudor; Teudor was the son of Pascent; Pascent of Guoidcant; Guoidcant of Moriud; Moriud of Eltat; Eltate of Eldoc; Eldoc of Paul; Paul of Meuprit; Meuprit of Braciat; Braciat of Pascent; Pascent of Guorthegirn; Guorthegirn of Guortheneu; Guortheneu of Guitaul; Guitaul of Guitolion; Guitolion of Gloui. Bonus, Paul, Mauron, Guotelin, were four brother, who built Gloiuda, a great city upon the banks of the river Severn, and in British is called Cair Gloui, in Saxon, Gloucester. Enough has been said of Vortigern.

50. St. Germanus, after his death, returned into his own country. At that time, the Saxons greatly increased in Britain, both in strength and numbers. And Octa, after the death of his father Hengist, came from the sinistral part of the island to the kingdom of Kent, and from him have proceeded all the kings of that province, to the present period.

Then it was, that the magnanimous Arthur, with all the kings and military force of Britain, fought against the Saxons. And though there were many more noble than himself, yet he was twelve times chosen their commander, and was as often conqueror. The first battle in which he was engaged, was at the mouth of the river Gleni. The second, third, fourth, and fifth, were on another river, by the Britons called Duglas, in the region Linuis. The sixth, on the river Bassas. The seventh in the wood Celidon, which the Britons call Cat Coit Celidon. The eighth was near Gurnion castle, where Arthur bore the image of the Holy Virgin, mother of God, upon his shoulders, and through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the holy Mary, put the Saxons to flight, and pursued them the whole day with great slaughter. The ninth was at te City of Legion, which is called Cair Lion. The tenth was on the banks of the river Trat Treuroit. The eleventh was on the mountain Breguoin, which we call Cat Bregion. The twelfth was a most severe contest, when Arthur penetrated to the hill of Badon. In this engagement, nine hundred and forty fell by his hand alone, no one but the Lord affording him assistance. In all these engagements the Britons were successful. For no strength can avail against the will of the Almighty.

The more the Saxons were vanquished, the more they sought for new supplies of Saxons from Germany; so that kings, commanders, and military bands were invited over from almost every province. And this practice they continued till the reign of Ida, who was the son of Eoppa, he, of the Saxon race, was the first king in Bernicia, and in Cair Ebrauc (York).

When Gratian Aequantius was consul at Rome, because then the whole world was governed by the Roman consuls, the Saxons were received by Vortigern in the year of our Lord four hundred and forty-seven, and to the year in which we now write, five hundred and forty-seven. And whosoever shall read herein may receive instruction, the Lord Jesus Christ affording assistance, who, co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Ghost, lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

In those days Saint Patrick was a captive among the Scots. His master's name was Milcho, to whom he was a swineherd for seven years. When he had attained the age of seventeen he gave him his liberty. By the divine impulse, he applied himself to reading of the Scriptures, and afterwards went to Rome; where, replenished with the Holy Spirit, he continued a great while, studying the sacred mysteries of those writings. During his continuance there, Palladius, the first bishop, was sent by pope Celesting to convert the Scots {the Irish}. But tempests and signs from God prevented his landing, for no one can arrive in any country, except it be allowed from above; altering therefore his course from Ireland, he came to Britain and died in the land of the Picts.

51. The death of Palladius being known, the Roman patricians, Theodosius and Valentinian, then reigning, pope Celestine sent Patrick to convert the Scots to the faith of the Holy Trinity; Victor, the angel of God, accompanying, admonishing, and assisting him, and also the bishop Germanus.

Germanus then sent the ancient Segerus with him as a venerable and praisewowrthy bishop, to king Amatheus who lived near, and who had prescience of what was to happen; he was consecrated bishop in the reign of that king by the hold pontiff, assuming the name of Patrick, Having hitherto been know by that of Maun; Auxilius, Isserninus, and other brothers were ordained with him to inferior degrees.

52. Having distributed benedictions, and perfected all in the name of the Holy Trinity, he embarked on the sea which is between the Gauls and the Britons; and after a quick passage arrived in Britain, where he preached for some time. Every necessary preparation being made, and the angel giving him warning, he came to the Irish Sea. And having filled the ship with foreign gifts and spiritual treasures, by the permission of God he arrived in Ireland, where he baptized and preached.

53. From the beginning of the world, to the fifth year of king Logiore, when the Irish were baptized, and faith in the unity of the individual Trinity was published to them, are five thousand three-hundred and thirty years.

54. Saint Patrick taught the gospel in foreign nations for the space of forty years. Endued with apostolical powers, he gave sight to the blind, cleansed the lepers, gave hearing to the deaf, cast out devils, raised nine from the dead, redeemed many captives of both sexes at his own charge, and set them free in the name of the Holy Trinity. He taught the servants of God, and he wrote three hundred and sixty-five canonical and other books relating to the catholic faith. he founded as many churches, and consecrated the same number of bishops, strengthening them with the Holy Ghost He ordained three thousand presbyters; and converted and baptized twelve thousand persons in the province of Connaught. And, in one day baptized seven kings, who were the seven sons of Amalgaid. He continued fasting forty days and nights, on the summit of the mountain Eli, that is Cruachan-Aiichle; and preferred three petitions to God for the Irish, that had embraced the faith.. The Scots say, the first was, that he would receive every repenting sinner, even at the latest extremity of life; the second, that they should never be exterminated by barbarians; and the third, that as Ireland will be overflowed with water, seven years before the coming of our Lord to judge the quick and the dead, the crimes of the people might be washed away through his intercession, and their souls purified at the last day. He gave the people his benediction from the upper part of the mountain, and going up higher, that he might pray for them; and that if it pleased God, he might see the effects of his labours, there appeared to him an innumerable flock of birds of many colours, signifying the number of holy persons of both sexes of the Irish nation, who should come to him as their apostle at the day of judgment, to be presented before the tribunal of Christ. After a life spent in the active exertion of good to mankind, St. Patrick, in a healthy old age, passed from this world to the Lord, and changing this life for a better, with the saints and elect of God he rejoices for evermore.

55. Saint Patrick resembled Moses in four particulars. The angel spoke to him in the burning bush. He fasted forty days and forty nights upon the mountain. He attained the period of one hundred and twenty years. No one knows his sepulchre, nor where he was buried; sixteen years he was in captivity. In his twenty-fifth year, he was consecrated bishop by Saint Matheus, and he was eighty-five years the apostle of the Irish. It might be profitable to treat more at large of the life of this saint, but it is now time to conclude this epitome of his labours. {Here ended the life of the holy bishop, Saint Patrick.}

[Chap. 56 is not in the Giles translation. It is supplied here from the text made availabel to the net by Alan Lupack [] for the Camelot Project]

56. At that time, the Saxons grew strong by virtue of their large number and increased in power in Britain. Hengist having died, however, his son Octha crossed from the northern part of Britain to the kingdom of Kent and from him are descended the kings of Kent. Then Arthur along with the kings of Britain fought against them in those days, but Arthur himself was the military commander ["dux bellorum"]. His first battle was at the mouth of the river which is called Glein. His second, third, fourth, and fifth battles were above another river which is called Dubglas and is in the region of Linnuis. The sixth battle was above the river which is called Bassas. The seventh battle was in the forest of Celidon, that is Cat Coit Celidon. The eighth battle was at the fortress of Guinnion, in which Arthur carried the image of holy Mary ever virgin on his shoulders; and the pagans were put to flight on that day. And through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and through the power of the blessed Virgin Mary his mother there was great slaughter among them. The ninth battle was waged in the City of the Legion. The tenth battle was waged on the banks of a river which is called Tribruit. The eleventh battle was fought on the mountain which is called Agnet. The twelfth battle was on Mount Badon in which there fell in one day 960 men from one charge by Arthur; and no one struck them down except Arthur himself, and in all the wars he emerged as victor. And while they were being defeated in all the battles, they were seeking assistance from Germany and their numbers were being augmented many times over without interruption. And they brought over kings from Germany that they might reign over them in Britain, right down to the time in which Ida reigned, who was son of Eobba. He was the first king in Bernicia, i.e., in Berneich.


57. Woden begat Beldeg, who begat Beornec, who begat Gethbrond, who begat Aluson, who begat Ingwi, who begat Edibrith, who begat Esa, who begat Eoppa, who begat Ida. But Ida had twelve sone, Adda, Belric Theodric, Thelric, Theodhere, Osmer, and one queen Bearnoch, Ealric. Ethelric begat Ethelfrid: the same is AEdlfred Flesaur. For he also had seven sons, Eanfrid, Oswald, Oswin, Oswy, Oswudu, Oslac, Offa. Oswy begat Alfrid, Elfwin, and Egfrid. Egrid is he who made war against his cousin Brudei, king of the Picts, and he fell therein with all the strength of his army and the Picts with their king gained the victory; and the Saxons never again reduced the Picts so as to exact tribute from the. Since the time of this war it is called Gueithlin Garan.

But Oswy had two wives, Riemmelth, the daughter of Royth, son of Rum; and Eanfied, the daughter of Edwin, son of Alla.


58. Hengist begat Octa, who begat Ossa, who begat Eormenric, who begat Ethelbert, who begat Eadbald, who begat Ercombert, who begat Egbert.

THE ORIGIN OF THE KINGS OF EAST-ANGLIA. 59. Wodeen begat Casser, who begat Titinon, who begat Trigil, who begat Rodmunt, who begat Rippa, who begat Guillem Guercha, who was the first king of the East Angles.


Guercha begat Uffa, who begat Tytillus, who begat Eni, who begat Edric, who begat Aldwulf, who begat Elric.


60. Woden begat Guedolgeat, who begat Gueagon, who begat Guithleg, who begat Guerdmund, who begat Ossa, who begat Ongen, who begat Eamer, who begat Pubba. This Pubba had twelve sons, of whom two are better known to me than the others, that is Penda and Eawa. Eadlit is the son of Pantha, Penda, son of Pubba, Ealbald, son of Alguing, son of Eawa, son of Penda, son oof Pubba. Egfert, son of Offa, son of Thingferth, son of Enwulf, son of Ossulf, son of Eawa, son of Pubba.


61. Woden begat Beldeg, Brond begat Siggar, who begat Sibald, who begat Zegulf, who begat Soemil, who first separated Deur from Berneich (Deira from Bernicia.) Soemil begat Sguerthing, who begat Giulglis, who begat Ulfrea, who begat Iffi, who begat Ulli, Edwin, Osfrid, and Eanfrid. There were two sons of Edwin, who fell with him in battle at Meicen, and the kingdom was never renewed in his family, because not one of his race escaped from that war; but all were slain with him by the army of Catguollaunus, king of the Guendota Oswy begat Egfrid, the same is Ailguin, who begat Oslach, who begat Alhun, who begat Adlsing, who begat Echun, who begat Oslaph. Ida begat Eadric, who begat Ecgulf, who begat Leodwald, who begat Eata, the same is Glinmaur, who begat Eadbert and Egbert, who was the first bishop of their nation.

Ida, the son of Eoppa, possessed countries on the left-hand side of Britain, i.e. of the Humbrian sea, and reigned twelve years, and united Dynguayth Guarth-Berneich

62. Then Dutigirn at that time fought bravely against the nation of the Angles. At that time, Talhaiarn Cataguen was famed for poetry, and Neirin, and Taliesin and Bluchbard, and Cian, who is called Guenith Guaut, were all famous at the same time in British poetry.

The great king, Mailcun, reigned among the Britons, i.e. in the district of Guenedota, because his great-great-grandfather, Cunedda, with his twelve sons, had come before from the left-hand part, i.e. from the country which is called Manau Gustodin, one hundred and forty-six years before Mailcun reigned, and expelled the Scots with much slaughter from those countries, and they never returned again to inhabit them.

63. Adda, son of Ida, reigned eight years; Ethelric, son of Adda, reigned four years. Theodoric, son of Ida, reigned seven years. Freothwulf reigned six years. In whose time the kingdom of Kent, by the mission of Gregory, received baptism Hussa reigned seven years. Against him fought four kings, Urien, and Ryderthen, and Gualllauc, and Morcant. Theodoric fought bravely, together with his sons, against that Urien. But at that time sometimes the enemy and sometimes our countrymen were defeated, and he shut them up three days and three nights in the island of Metcaut; and whilst he was on an expedition he was murdered, at the instance of Morcant, out of envy, because he possessed so much superiority over all the kings in military science. Eadfered Flesaurs reigned twelve years in Bernicia, and twelve others in Deira, and gave to his wife Bebba, the town of Dynguoaroy, which from her is called Bebbanburg.

Edwin, son of Alla, reigned seventeen years, seized on Elmete, and Expelled Cerdic, its king. Eanfied, his daughter, received baptism, on the twelfth day after Pentecost, with all her followers, both men and women. The following Easter Edwin himself received baptism, and twelve thousand of his subjects with him. If any one wishes to know who baptized them, it was Rum Map Urbgen: he was engaged forty days in baptizing all classes of the Saxons, and by his preaching many believed on Christ.

64. Oswald son of Ethelfrid, reigned nine years; the same is Oswald Llauiguin; he slew Catgublaun (Cadwalla), king of Guenedot, in the battle of Catscaul, with much loss to his own army. Oswy, son of Ethelfrid, reigned twenty-eight years and six months. During his reign, there was a dreadful mortality among his subjects, when Catgualart (Cadwallader) was king among the Britons, succeeding his father, and he himself died amongst the rest. He slew Penda in the field of Gai, and now took place the slaughter of Gai Campi, and the kings of the Britons, who went out with Penda on the expedition as far as the city of Judeu, were slain.

65. Then Oswy restored all the wealth, which was with him in the city, to Penda; who distributed it among the kings of the Britons, that is, Atbert Judeu. But Catgabail alone, king of Guenedot, rising up in the night, escaped together with his army, wherefore he was called Catgabail Catguommed. Egfrid, son of Oswy, reigned nine years. In his time the holy bishop Cuthbert died in the island of Medcaut. It was he who made war against the Picts, and was by them slain.

Penda, son of Pybba, reigned ten years; he first separated the kingdom of Mercia from that of the North-men, and slew by treachery Anna, king of the East Anglians, and St. Oswald, king of the North-men. He fought the battle of Cocboy, in which fell Eawa, son of Pybba, his brother, king of the Mercians, and Oswald, king of the North-men, and he gained the victory by diabolical agency. He was not baptized, and never believed in God.

66. From the beginning of the world to Constantinus and Rufus, are found to be five thousand six hundred and fifty-eight year.

Also from the two consuls, Rufus and Rubelius, to the consul Stilicho, are three hundred and seventy-three years.

Also from Stilicho to Valentinian, son of Placida, and the reign of Vortigern, are twenty-eight years.

And from the reign of Vortigern to the quarrel between Guitolinus and Ambrosius, are twelve years, which is Guolopum, that is Catgwaloph. Vortigern reigned in Britain when Theodosius and Valentinian were consuls, and in the fourth year of his reign the Saxons came to Britain, in the consulship of Feliz and Taurus, in the four hundredth year from the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

From the year in which the Saxons came into Britain, and were received by Vortigern, to the time of Decius and Valerian, are sixty-nine years.

[This is where the the Giles translation ends. Chap. 73 is supplied from the text made availabel to the net by Alan Lupack [] for the Camelot Project]

There is another marvel in the region which is called Buelt. There is a mound of stones there and one stone placed above the pile with the pawprint of a dog in it. When Cabal, who was the dog of Arthur the soldier, was hunting the boar Troynt, he impressed his print in the stone, and afterwards Arthur assembled a stone mound under the stone with the print of his dog, and it is called the Carn Cabal. And men come and remove the stone in their hands for the length of a day and a night; and on the next day it is found on top of its mound.

There is another wonder in the region which is called Ercing. A tomb is located there next to a spring which is called Licat Amr; and the name of the man who is buried in the tomb was called thus: Amr. He was the son of Arthur the soldier, and Arthur himself killed and buried him in that very place. And men come to measure the grave and find it sometimes six feet in length, sometimes nine, sometimes twelve, sometimes fifteen. At whatever length you might measure it at one time, a second time you will not find it to have the same length--and I myself have put this to the test.

]]> (Mike Haseler) Texts Mon, 26 Oct 2015 13:51:47 +0000
William Roy - Military Antiquities of the Romans in North Britain, 1793 This is a copy of some parts of William Roy's Antiquities of the Romans in North Britain

Note: this is a first draft which has not been checked.

During the execution of a public work that was carried on in the space of nine years, from 1747 to 1755, the most favourable opportunities offered for acquiring a thorough knowledge of North Britain, with regard, at least, to the relative situation of places, and the nature of the country in general. And though at that early period, the study of Antiquity was but little the object of the young people employed in that service, yet it was not whollty neglected; many sketches of Roman works having been made in the ordinary course of the other observations. These however, were, as usual of the stationary kind only; whose vestiges, as formerly mentioned, being always conspicuous enough, and often exceedingly entire, could not miss to strike the eye of the most transient passenger. not having as yet sufficiently attended to the description of the camp of a great Roman army, as give by Polybius, the author had but imperfect notion of its figure and dimensions; neither did it occur to him that, at the distance of so many ages, the remains of works so very temporary in their nature might be found to exist; much less could he imagine, from the number of such gestiges being discovered in succession to each other, at proper distances, that the daily marches of the Romany army might thereby be traced.

The situation of mons grampius, and therefore of the field of battle between Agricola and Galgacus, had all along been a point about which antiquaries, from Camden downwards, differed exceeding in opinion; some supposing it in Mearns, others in Angus, others again at Ardock, in Strathallan; while Gordon and Horsley, who are the latest writers on the subject, fix the spot to Dealgin-Ross, in the head of Strathern. It is true, the last of the gentlemen seems not to have examined into the point in question, nor to have allowed his own reason and judgement to direct him; adopting, in this instance, the opinion of Gordon, who wrote some few years before him.

That the principles of war are fixed and general, varying only with local circumstances and situation of the country, we doubt not will be admitted: whence it follows, that some knowledge of modern military operations seems necessary, to enable us to trace with success the motiions of a Roman army; and whoever hath been accustomed to observe the one with moth attention, will, in all likelyhood, not only find it easist to trace the other, but, at the same time, will perceive a very great resemblance in the leading principle upon which they respectively acted. With regard, then, to military antiquities, it seems to have been a misfortune, that few of the commentators who have treated on this subject, however well qualified in other respects, have been military men.

It was by comparing the relation which Tacituc hath given of Agicola's last campaing, with the face of the country, that a very intelligent and ingenious officer* was led to judge, from the reasons of war, that the battle between the Romans and Caledoninas, at the Gampian mountains, instead of happening in Strathern, must have been fought towards the eastern extremity of that lofty range, where the country becomes narrow, but its near approach to the sea. With the view of endeavouring to ascertain this point, in 1754 he purposely made a tour into Strathmore, + and was lucky enough to discover four camps in that district, which, from their situation, there was every reason to suppose were part of those actually occupied by Agicola's army, in the last year of the war. Some time after this he likewise found the remains of another, resembling these, bear Channelkirk, in the south of Scotland. Had not this gentleman been soon after called to more important employments, which necessarily occaisioned his being long absent from Britain, he probably would have had opportunities of prosecuting his own discoveries, which would have rendered any attempt of this sort unnecessary; he being much better qualified to treat the subject as it deserves.

The discovery of the camps in Strathmore having, however, been communicated to the author, he thereby found his ideas enlarged. Knowing now what a temporary Roman camp really was, he therefore (during the completion of the public business formerly alluded to, in the following summer, 1755), employed some time in augmenting his collection, by taking exact plans of those that had been newly discovered; at the same time that a survey was made of the wall of Antoninus, and more accurate drawings of such stations as formerly had been only slightly sketched. On comparing the plans of most of these works, as given by Gordon, in the Itinerarium Septentrionale, and by Horsley, in the Britannia Romana, there seemed to be but too much room for improvement; as will evidently appear to those who may have opportunities, or who may choose to give themselves the trouble of repeating the comparison upon the spots.

In the course of this summer's observations more of the temporary camps were discovered, adjoining the station at Ardoch in Strathallan, similar in all respects to those found the preceding year in Strathmore. This seemed to demonstrate that the same army had been, at different times, in the respective situations, and that they were equally the camps of Agricola; since it had ever been allowed by all, that thus far, at least, the Roman general had advanced into Caledonia. That these should ahave hitherto remained unnoticed, was the more extraordinary; because this station,* being one of the most remarkable, as well as the entirest of its kind, had therefore been often visited by the curious. Such then was the progress made in the search after the Roman camps, when late war commenced; during the course of which the author's attention was necessarily called to the observance of the actual manoeuvres of modern armies. instead of endeavouring to investigate those of the ancients.

For the space of eight years, from 1755 to 1764, no opportunity offered of resuming the inquiry into this branch of antiquity which was now in a great degree forgotten, and probably would never have been more thought of, had it not been for the accidental discovery of a camp in the south-west of Scotland. that so far revived it as to lead to a farther search, which produced discoveries of more works of the same kind, as will be mentioned hereafter. Hitherto it had been generally supposed, that Agricola led his army into Scotland by the Western communication, along Annandale and Clydesdale, towards the istmus between the Forth an Clyde. As yet, however, no camps had been found on this route, excepting those at Birrenswork-hill, in Annandale; which, differing both in dimensions and in construction, from the other temporary works lately discovered, seemed to make it very doubtful, whether they were occupied by any part of the same army. On the other hand, from the vestiges of the camp at Channel-kirk there was every reason to believe, that either in entering into, or returning from Scotland, some part of Agicola's army had followed the eastern communication.

But in the autumn of 1764, a camp of the true kind being very accidentally found at Cleghorn in Clydesdale, this occaisioned farther search to be made towards the south; and accordingly one exactly similar to it, was soon after discovered at Lockerby* in Annandale. These two camps being of the smaller dimensions, seemed to put it beyond a doubt that one division, at least, of Agricola's army, or of some other that used a form of castrametation agreeing perfectly with his, had marched by this road.

From this suite of camps now discovered, such a number of points were ascertained as sufficiently indicate the general route of routes by which the Roman army advanced from the northern counties of England, as far as Strathmore in Scotland. but as in penetrating from Strathearn into this last mentioned part of the country, they were under the necessity of crossing the great river Tay, it naturally occurred, that at the passage of this remarkable river, either on its wester or eastern bank, the army would hprobably encamp; and that the vestiges of their intrenchements might possibly be found to exist. Accordingly, propoer search being made, in 1771, the remains of this camp were discovered on the east bank of the Tay, at a place called Grassy-walls, about three miles north of Perth. Even the partial existence of this work gave great pleasure, and was considered as exceedingly fortunate, not only from its being found where it was absolutely sought for, but likewise because, though greatly defaced, yet enough remained to shew that Agricola's whole army had been united at the passage of the Tay, whence it formed an essential link in the chain, by means of which, the camps to the east and west of that river, were in some degree connected.

Though the first discovery of these temporary camps afforded that sort of entertainment, which always flows from the observance of countries that have been the scenes of military operations, and which consequently induces offices to prosecute such inquiries, step by step, in the manner just now shewn; yet nothing had hitherto been committed to writing on the subject, excepting some few cursory remarks, at the bottoms of the sketches made of the several works. Nevertherless, so many camps having now been found in succession to each other, two points naturally suggested themselves, concerning which antinquaries differed exceedingly in opinion, that might by this means be cleared up, namely the ancient system of castramentation of the Romans, and the march of Agricola into Caledonia. It was to the illustration of these alone, as being things not wholly unworthy of attention, that the author's design was originally confied, and accordingly comprised in two short essays on these subjects.

From small beginning, it is, however, no unusual thing to be led imperceptibly to engage in the more extensive and labouriious undertakings, as will easly appear from what follows: for since the discovery of Agricola's camps the work of Richard of Cirencester having likewise been found out in Denmark, and published to the world, the curious have thereby been furnished with many new lights concerning the Roman history and geography of Britain in general, but more particularly the north part of it; which, from the dificiency of materials, was hitherto not near so well ascertained as that of South Britain, whereof the Romans had a long and undistubted possession. The knowledge which the author had acquired of the north part of the island, and the many plans he had collected of the remains of Roman works there, appearing to be things very essential in themselves toward any attempt that might be made to rectify the ancient geography of these parts, were the reasons which induced him to hope he might contribute in some respect to its improvement. With views, then, of this sort, it became not only necessary to extend farther the original plan, but likewise to change, in a certain degree, the arrangement of the several subject proposed to be treated on.

At first nothing historical was intended, excepting the transaction of that short, but interesting period, comoprehending Agricola's campaigns. In order, however, to render the workd less defective that otherwise it must have been, and that the mind might keep pace with the progress of the Romans in extending their conquests northward, and thus be gradually led to the chief thing proposed, there seemed to be propriety in giving a concise account of their affairs here, from the first invasion of Julius Caesar, to the time when Agricola took command. This, of course, forms the first historical period; the second comprehends Agricola's campaigns only, as extracted from Tacitus; and the third, from hist recall by Domitian, to the final dereliction of the island by the Romans, was judged equally necessary, to shew that it was probably in great measure owing to the short and precarioius possession they had of North Britain, and to the almost continual wars they were engaged in with the natives, that the ancient geography of this part of the island is not so well ascertains as that of South Brtain, which they had completely conquered, and whereof they enjoyed an uninterrupted possession, during a series of many years. This abridged history is comprised in the first book: as nothing new is offered in it, therefore the authors from whom it is borrowed are not mentioned on every occaision; which will easily appear, without always quoting them. With regard to the points of chronology, they are in general taken from Horsley, who seems to have deduced them with sufficient accuracy.

*Captain Melvill, the of the twenty-fifth regiment, since governor of Grenada, and Lieutenant-general.

+A circumstantial narrative of this discoverey, furnished by lieutenant-general Robert Melville, from his recollections, is to be found in the third volume, page 414, of the new and enlarge edition of Camden's Britannia, published in London, in 1789 ....

Book 3 Chapter III

A commentary of the Campaigns of Julius Agricola in Britain; wherein his principal movements are attempted to be traced, from the remaining Vestiges of his Camps.

In the historical part of these essays, a short account hath been given of the military operations of Julius Agricola in Britain, extracted from the faithful and elegan relation of them which Tacitus hath transmitted to us. The subsequent points having likewise been severally treated of in their order, we come now to one of the principle things proposed, namely, of tracing the motions of the Roman general, from the remains of his camps described in the last chapter.

It is true, these vestiges have hitherto only been discovered in Scotland; whereas North Wales, and the northern counties of England, were undoubtedly the theatre of war for ht two first campaigns of Agricola. Perhaps, when the real figure and the dimensino fo these temporary works are thorough understood, other such may be discovered, particularly in the uncultivated places of North Wales, which may serve to indicate his march on the expedition toward Anglesey. Two or three of these would sufficiently ascertain the route he followed; though it is not to be expected, that either here, or any where else, vestiges of intrenchements are always to be found in the situations where the Roman army encamped; and were it not for those already discovered in North Britain, which are indisputably the works of Agricola, any search for remains of so very temporary a nature, at the distance of near seventeen centuries, would appear perfectly ridiculous. In treating, therefore, on this subject, when vestiges fail us, which indeed they do too often, either from their being wholly obliterated, or that the faint traces of them have not yet been discovered, all we can recur to is probable conjecture, found on what seem to be the reasons of war, which are fixed and general, varying only with the local circumstances attending the nature and situation of the country.

When Julius Agricola arrived in Britain, the main body of the Roman army appears to have been quartered in Warwickshire, Staffordshire, and Cheshire, bordering on North Wales, which all agree was the country of the Ordovices. Against these he led his army, and having defeated them in battle, he advanced from thence into the isle of Anglesay, which he likewise subdued. After this first expedition, it is probable some part of the troops would winter in the newly-conquered coutnry, ther to build the necessary forts for overawing the inhabitants, while the remained might be pushed as far north as the frontiers of Derbyshire and Lancashire, in order to prepare for the further prosecution of the war.

On the opening of the second campaign, the army was again assebled, and advancing forward, crossed the several friths and salt marshes, reducing to the Roman obedience the different communities inhabiting the norther counties of England, as far as the isthmus between Newcastle and Carlisle. These people had hitherto asserted their independence; but having now submitted to the Romans, they suffered forts and garrisons to be established among them.

In the course of these two campaigns the Romans seem not to have met with any great resistance from the Britons; who, it is likely, perceived that the invaders had now obtained so firm footing in the country, that any farther struggle to expel them would be vain: perhaps they might even begin to relish the mild and equitable form of government of their conquerors; which, from the prudent management of Agricola, and the lenient measures he pursued, was every day becoming less burdensome and griveous.

The relation with Tacitus gives us, in this place, is conceived in very general and consies terms; few circumstances are mentioned which tend any way to point out the route which the army followed. Had the Roman historian accompanied his father-in-law in his British wars, he probably would have furnished us with many curious and interesting particulars, the want of which we have now much cause to regret.

In the first year, the army is supposed to have entered the isle of Anglesey near Beaumaris; *1 and the friths which it passed in the second could be no other than the Dee, Mersey, and Ribble, with the bays near the mouths of the rivers Lune and Ken, in the north part of Lancashire.

Some antiquarians are of the opinion, that Agricola penetrated, during the course of this second summer,, as far as the friths of Forth and Clyde. The words of Tacitus seem not, however, to allude to a farther progess that the norther counties of England. It would have been inconsistent with that discretion and foresight for which the Roman general was so remarkable, and with the caution which he constantly observed, of choosing the ground for the camp, and examining carefully himself all points that were critical and difficult, to have advanced, as it were, into a new country, till he had secured, by means of fortresses, that which he had already subdued. It is therefore probable, that part, at least of the stations on the istmus between newcastle and Carlisle, which in after times the Romans joined with a wall, were established by Agricola, while the army lay extrending in its winter quarters, along this narrow part of Britain. But besides this chain of forts, which Agricola would occupy between the two seas, it is likely he would push on advanced posts at some distance before it, in order the better to explore the country through which he proposed next year to march.

The stations at Risinghamd and Rochester, in Reedsdale, and also that at Chew-green near Gamwell's-path, on the border range of hills, might form the advanced posts towards the east, or right; that at Beaucastle might be one before the centre; while the post called Liddel-moat, the station at Netherby, and perhaps one where now Langtown church stands, on the banks of the Esk, might form the advanced posts toward the west, or before the left of the army.

Having offered such conjectures as seemed most reasonable concerning the progress and position of the Roman army, at the close of the second campaign, we shall next proceed to trace Agricola's movements in North Britain, as far as the vestiges of his remaining camps afford any light; and here it may be necessary to observe, that the reference must be had, from time to time, to the descriptions of these works, exhibited in the last chapter.

It hath commonly been supposed that Agricola entered Scotland by the western route, through Annandale and Clydesdale; because of the much greater number of Roman works existing there, than on the eastern communication, leading toward the frith of Forth. If on either route a camp of the large kind had been discovered, that is to say, such as would have contained three legions, with their auxiliaries united, we should naturally have concluded that the whole army had certainly followed that route; but the camps hitherto found in this part of the country, namely, one at Channel Kirki, on the easter road, and two on the western, at Lockerny and Cleghorn (the vestiges of Tassiesholm being too slight to fix a third with certainty) are all of the small kind, none of them being capable of receiving above one-half of Agricola's army, even if we suppose it to have been weaker now, in advancing into Caledonia, than it afterwards was, when reinforced with those of the Britons, whom, from experience, the general could safely confide in. From this circumstances it follows, either that Agricol marched in two columns, one taking the east and the other the west road; or that at different times the same, or such another army as that of Agricola, had passed through this part of the country, in divisions which followed each other, the second occupying successively the camps the first had quitted. Of both suppositions, that of the march in two columns seems to be the most probable.

The Romans having established themselves on the banks of the Esk, and having likewise secured the principal pass leading across the Cheviot range of hills, would , from the station at Chew-green, and the post at Woden Low, a little way before it, not only command a very extrensive view over the plains of Tiviotdale, and on both sides the Tweed, but likewise over all the south-east of Scotland, as far as the sea on the righ, and the Lammermoor, and Soutra hills, directly before them. The Eildon hills could not fail to appear a very remarkable point in this prospect, and as such must strike them. In another part of his work we shall endeavour to prove, that the Trimontium of the Romans was situated there, and not in Annandale, as histerto supposed.

From the posts formerly mentioned on the banks of the Esk, one of which hath undoubtedly been the Roman castra exploratorum, they would see a great way into Annandale: and if they had already advanced as far as Birrenswork-hill, they would then discover Hartfield and the Lothers: being part of the great range of mountains, which beginning at the Cheviot, on the east, extends across the south of Scotland to Loch Ryan, at the mouth of thr frith of Clyde, on the west. From the banks of Solway frith, the Romans would see the south coast of Scotland, running a great way to the left: they would discover the country to be high and mountainous, and therefore by no means so proper for them to lead their army into as the low lands towards the east, which lay next to Gaul, from whence they came, and from which only they could receive such reinforcements as they might at any time have occaision for during the course of the war.

For these reasons it seems propbable, that Agricola would advance farthest with his right, take possessioin of the lowest parts of the country first, where he could best suppy his army, and meet with the least opposition from the enemy. Having explored the low lands along the tweed, and penetrated as far a Channel Kirk, or Soutra, he would from thence discover the lothians, and the frith of Forth running far into the land; he would see the low country of Fife, beyond the Forth; and evey descry the still more distant Grampian mountains, long before he could have any notion that there was such an inlet from the west sea as the frith of Clyde: for supposing that he had procured such previous knowledge of the country as might enable him to advance in two columns, one from his right, by the Eildon hills and Channel Kirk towards Cramond; and another from his left along Annandale, towards Clydesdale, which very probably he did; yet the left-hand column must have crossed the mountains, and, having got hold of the Clyde, must have followed the north, or north-west course of that river, as far as Biggar, or perhaps even below Lanark, before it was possible to know that the Clde fell into the west, and not into the east sea. But, on the other hand, if the camps found in the south of Scotland, on both routes, are camps of retour, and not those occupied by Agricola in advancing into the country, and if it should still be thought that he marched in one column, and not in two, it seems more probable that this column followed the eastern road, towards the frith of Forth, than that it pentrated the western route, across the mountains, into Clydesdale; for though this last was the best and shortest communication for the Romans, and probably that which they most commonly used after they had subdued and knew the country thoroughly, yet it does not seem to be the most proper one for their whole army to follow, while they were yet strangers to it, and obliged to force their way against the efforts of the natives to repel them. This conjecture seems to be farther confirmed from a circumstance mentioned by Tacitus; for, in describing the experidion of the fleet along the coast of Fife, at the beginning of the sixth campaign, he says, that they had all along made part of the forces; that is, they had co-operated with the land army in carrying on the way: therefore it is natural to suppose, that the army would keep nearest that shore which the fleet was cotoying, that they might mutually receive and lend each other assistance.

In the third year of the way Agricola, in pursuit of his conquests, seems to have met with little or no opposition from the natives, who durst not attack him, though his army suffered greatly from the severities of the climate. He is even said, during the course of this summer, to have explored the country as far as the mouth of the Tay. We are not, however, to suppose, that he had already established forts so far to the northward as that river; on the contrary, it is clear that he wintered on the isthmus between the Forth and Clyde; and that the next summer, being the fourth of his command, he was employed in fortifying it with a chain of stations, no doubt the same that Lollius Urbicus afterwards joined with a wall in the reign of Antononus Pius. As to the small works on the north side of the plain, which Gordon supposed to be the Praetentura of Agricola, they are trifling insignificant posts; it is very doubtful whether many of them are Roman or not; and, at any rate, they are situated on the wrong side of the valley for the sagacious general to occupy.

But though a part of the army was employed this fourth summer in securing the isthmus, yet it is probably that Agricola would push on advanced posts towards the nearest gorges of the Grampians, that lofty range of mountains which now presented itself before him. Perhaps the station at Ardoch might be established this year, also a small post at Calendar in Monteith: and it is likely that he would over-run all th evalley lying west from Stirling, as far as Loch-Lomond and Dumbarton.

From the relation which Tacitus gives of the fifth campaign, some are of the opinion that Agricola carried his army this summer into the south parts of Argyleshire; but those who know the extraordinary ruggedness of Cowal, Knapdale, and Cantyre, divided and intersected by so many different arms of the sea, will easily be convinced that this mountainous and inaccessible country is little calculated for the movements of a Roman army, and therefore could not have been the theatre of war for this campaign of Agricola: besides there are no remains of camps or stations, nor any other vestiges, which would seem to indicate that the Romans had ever been there; neither have we ever heard of any of their coins being found in this part of the country, though these alone would not be proof sufficient.

The frith here mentioned was undoubtedly the Clyde; for we have already seen that Agricolar, having the year before fortified the istmus, where he had now passed two winters and one summer, and having made himself master of the country west from Stirling, had by this time advanced as far to the left as Dumbarton. Leaving, therefore, sufficient garrison behind him, here he passed the Clyde with his army, and marching through Renfrew and Airshires into Galloway, he reduced to the Roman obedience that great and mountainous country, which, in passing Solway, we saw running so far to the westward, and which he was obliged to leave on his left, without knowing till now what nations it might contain, or how far it extended. And though Tacitus tells us that Gricola was induced to take this step more with regard to future views (alluding, probably, to the conquest of Ireland), than from any hostile attempts he had reason to apprehend from that quarter, yet it must have been contrary to the cautious and prudent system which he constantly adopted, to have engaged in military operations in the remoter parts of Britain, before he had made himself thoroughly acquainted with this corner of the island.


Remains of Roman works are to be met with in these parts; here coins have been found; and the plain vestiges of a Roman way (though hitherto seemingly unnoticed by antiquarians), leading from the neighbourhood of Lanark, by Blackwood, to the south of Stonehouse and Strathaven, toward the gorge of Loudon-hill, and so into Airshire, put the thing beyond a doubt. It is indeed true, that the road here mentioned was not probably made till after the expedition, as a communication which the Romans judged necessary, from this centrical part of Clydesdale, into the south-west of Scotland.

The sixth campaign was opened by an expedition along the coast of Fife, wherein the fleet and land forces are said to have co-operated; but as Agricola, so early as the third year of his command, had discovered the frith of Tay, he must now have known that Fife was a narrow country, confined between the river and the Forth, a cul-de-sac, in every respect improper for him to lead his whole army into, and that a movement of this sort could not essentially tend towards the total reduction of the island, which no doubt was the great and ultimate object he always had in view. If, nevertherless, this passage of the Roman historian is to be understood literally, it cannot at least be supposed that the whol army would advance father eastward than Loch Leven, or Falkland; and on this occaision the post at Loch Ore might possibly have been established. It however seems most likely, that a part only of the land forces accompanied the fleet on this expedition, and that the rest would take post at Stirling, or rather in the camp at Ardoch, where no doubt the whole were soon assembled.

The commodious situation of this camp hath been pointed out; and, from its extent, we have shewn that it was capable of containing the whole army which Agricolar had along with him, amounting to about twenty-six thousand men. Here, then, the army assembled after leaving Fife, in order to make head against the numerous bodies of Caledonians that were now rising in arms, with the intention of surrounding them; to prevent which, and to counteract, as far as circumstance would permit, the advantages which the enemy derived from their superior numbres, and knowledge of the country, Agricola, too,*2 separated his forces into three divisions, and in this manner took post. One of these, it is imagined, would remain in the small camp at Ardock, and this seems to have been the principal body, with which it is liekly the general himself would continue; another might probably be sent to the passage of the Ern, at Strageth, about five miles distant, where there are the distinct vestiges of a station, though the camp is now plouged down. The third, and the weakest division, consisting of the ninth legion, we have already endeavoured to shew was detached to Dealgin Ross, in the head of Stathern, about eight miles to the left of Ardoch, and the same distance from Strageth. The intention of this corps was, no doubt, to observe the nearest gorges of the Grampians, between the Crief and Lorch Ern, as well as the douchees from Balguhidder, and the forest of Glenartny, lying more to the westward. Here he have a camp, as formerly described, that would just contain a weak legion, and situatedm, in other respects, so as to suit with the relations of Tacitus.

The Caledonians finding Agricola divided his forces, immediately unite theirs, and suddenly fall upon this weakest body of the Romans. Had not the general, by means of his light troops and spies, got very speedy information of the march and intentions of the enemy, the ninth legion must have been cut in pieces; for the Caledonians had already forced the intrenchements, and were fighting in the camp itself, when he came to their relief.

Gordon, in his Itinerary, is of the opinion, that this attack happened at Loch Ore, in Fife; where we have already taken notice there is a small post. He was probably led into this belief, because the campaign was opened by an expedition into that part of the country, and that near this post there are some morasses, which he fancies to be the same that Tacitus says favoured the flight of the Caledonians, when they found themselves attacked by Agricola in the rear. But the post at Loch Ore is of the stationary kind, and by no means capable of containing a legion, not even the weakest, which we know most certainly the ninth was: a cohort, or two at most, is all the garrison this work would contain. Indeed we need not be surprised that the post at Loch Ore was judged fit to hold a legion, when the same author finds the works at Dealgin Ross so wonderfully well adapted to receive Agricola's whole army, and to all the circumstances of his decisive battle with Galgacus. But, whereever the ninth legion was attacked, it iis clear that Agricolar, with the main body, was at great distance, otherwise he could not have arrived at the scene of action by day-break next morning. This must have been utterly impossible had the gros of the army been at Ardock, and the other body at Loch Ore, in Fife: and indeedm, though the country between Ardoch and Dealgin Ross is not very mountainous, yet it is in some places so broken and rugged, and others so morassy, that without the greatest alacrity on the part of the succours, proceeding from the extreme urgency of the occaision, they probably could not have come up in time.

After this defeat, the Caledonians retired for the winter, in order to concert measure for the future conduct of the war. No doubt the Roman army would likewise be put into quarters in the nearest garrions; and it is natural enough to suppose, that, in the present circumstances, and additional force might be left at Ardoch, for the security of that important post, more than what the station itself would contain. On this, or such another occaision, then, the procestrium in all likelihood was occupied, as hath been already mentioned in the description of the camps.

Having thus attempted to trace Agricola's motinos through the first six years of the war, we should now proceed to follow him in the seventh campaign, which finished his military operations in Britain. Previous, however, to this, it may not be improper to observe, that antiquaries, from Camden downwards, have been very much divided in opinion about the situation of Mons Grampius, where the Romans defeated Galgacus, with his Caledonians. Some have all along supposed it in the Mearns, others in Angus, others, again, at Ardoch in Strath Allan; and Gordon thinks himself particularly happy in having ascertained the spot to be at Dealgin Ross, in the head of Strathern; to which last opinion Horsley subscribes, without appearing to have examined the point in question.

Already there hath been occasion to point out the course of this mighty range of mountains, which extend across the island from one sea to the other. There is no particular part of it known at this day by the name of Grantsbain, as Camden would insinuate. Richar of Cirencester, in his Map of Britain, denominates Mormond (which signifies the great mountain), near Buchan-ness, in Aberdeenshire, Mons Grampius; though in his Chorography he tells us, that the inhabitants distinguish this hill by another name; and he seems constantly to suppose the Grampians a general range, and not a detached mountain, standing in a low country, and separated at a great distance from any other, as Mormond really is. So far, however, we may conclude, from Richard's authority, that if there was any part of this long chain of mountains properly called Mons Grampius, he understood that part to be situated towards the eastern extremity of it, and not towards the middle, or west.

The camps discovered in Strathmore, corresponding in every respect with those found in the hither parts of North Britain, already subdued by the Romans, prove, beyond the possibility of doubt, that the country to the eastward of the Tay was the scene of Agricola's operations during his seventh campaign. Richard of Cirencester knew of these camps, though the modern antiquaries seem to have been totally ignorant that any thing of the kind existed. Gordon, in particular, denies that there are any in this part of the country; neither knew he of the Roman way which leads along it.

Ptolemy makes no mention of the Horestii; and Richar places them in Fife, instead of Angus, which hath generally been supposed to be their country. At any rate, it is clear from Tacitus, that the battle was fought beyond their frontiers; for, after the action, Agricola led back his army through their territories, before he sent them into winter quarters. If the Horestii were really situated to the eastward of the Tayt, which (from all the circumstances, and particularly these related by the Romaan historian abovementioned) seems most probable, the battle could not have happened to the westward of that river, in the head of Strathern; because in that case Agricola, after the battel, must have led his army into a country still unsubdued by the Romans, and where, of course, they possesd no fortresses for the reception of their troops during the winter.

When the Romans had, in the pursuit of their conquests, advanced so near the Grampian mountains as Ardoch, or Dealgin Ross, they must have seen how difficult, and indeed improper, it would have been to attempt to penetrate into that rugged and inaccessible region, while the plains of Strathern and Strathmore presented themselves towards the right, extending eastward along the foot of that remarkable range. But we now proceed to trace Agricola in his last military operations in Britain.

At the close fo the sixth campaign, it hath been shewn, that the greater part of the Roman army was probably thrown back into winter quarters in the nearest garrisons; leaving, however, the advanced posts, and particularly the important one at Ardoch, sufficiently guarded. Here, then, it is likely that the army would re-assemble on the opening of the seventh campaign; or it might have rendezvoused at the stations of Strageth, five miles forward, where undoubtedly it passed the Ern. Be this as it will, Agricola, having sent on his fleet (which must have wintered either in the Forth, or in the Tay) to harass and perplex the enemy, now assembled on the Grampian mountains, under Galgacus, by landing, and committing all manner of depredations on their coasts, marched with his army lightly equipped, that is to say, without their heavy baggage, which probably was left in the station of Ardoch, or in its procestrium, with an additional garrison for the security of the place.

From the Strageth it is thirteen and one-half English miles to Bertha, situated on the land formed by the conflux of the Tay and Almond, a Roman road leading to it all the way. By this route, along Strahern, Agricola marched, and here he passed the Ta; for on the east bank of that river, a very commodious situation, we meet with the camp of Grassy Walls; which from such parts of it as yet exist, hath been shewn originally sufficient for containing twenty-six thousand men, or the same army assembled in the large camp of Ardoch, from which it is twenty miles distant. This, indeed, is a long march, even exceeding that mentioned by Vegetius, and therefore we have supposed that there might have been a camp at the station of Strageth, though no traces of it are now to be seen.

If we allow one of Agricola's ordinary marches to be about fourtenn English miles, his next camp, from the passage of the Tay at Grassy Walls, would probably be near Meigle. The country hereabouts is too much cultivated to suffer us to expect any remains of intrenchements so very temporary in their nature; but, in all other respects, the ground seems perfectly suitable for the position of the Roman army, in its progress towards the north-east, along the plains of Strathmore.

Continuing, therefore, in this direction, fourteen miles from Meigle will bring us to the camp at Battle-dykes, situated between Killy-moor, and Brechin. From the account formerly given of this work, it appears to be one of the most entire of the kind hitherto discovered; at the same time that the similarity of its figure, and its dimensions, prove indisputably that it held the same army formerly encamped at Ardoch and Grassy Walls. If the circumstances of the situation had in any degree answered to Tacitus's description, particularly if it had been near enough to the Grampian mountains, the name of Battle-dykes would have had some weight, and we might have conjectured, that this was the camp which the Roman general occupied immediately before the famous battle with Galgacus. But this place is at least four miles from the bottom of the mountains, with the large river South Esk intervening; the passage of which, and other incidents that must have atttended it, the historian could scarcely have failed to mention, had this beent he spot from whence they marched to attack the enemy, formed on the faces of [86] the opposite mountains. On the other hand, if the Caledonians had been posted on that part of the Grampians immediately beind Killy-Moor, called Cothlaw-hill, they would then have occupired a position with their right towards Glen Ila, and their left towards Glen Prossen, which would have respectively covered their flanks. In this case, it is true the Romans, in marching from battle-dykes to attack them, would have had no river to pass, but then they must have had a march of six or seven miles to make, before they ould have reached the bottom of the mountains; and this great distance will by no means suit that particular circumstance mentioned by Tacitus, of leaving the legions drawn up just before the intrenchements;*3 for then they never could have sustained their auxiliaries, had they attacked unsuccessfully, or met with any great and unforeseen disaster. Indeed, if the Caledonians had been posted here, Agricola would not have marched so far to the eastward as Battle-dykes; but from Meigle would probably have taken the route of Killymoor, directly towards them.

In the description of the camps, we have had occaision to point out three of the smaller kind, discovered in this part of the country, one of which, namely that at Kiethick is situated a short march to the eastward of Battle-dykes; from which circumstance, joined to those just now mentioned, and otherw which follow, there is the strongest reason to conclude, that the Roman army advanced still farther into Strathmore, before they came to the decisive engagement with Galgacus.

The nature of the country seems to point out that the Caledonians would take post on [87] the Grampian mountains, towards their eastern extremity, where the plain becomes narrow, from the near approach of that lofty range to the sea. IN such a situation as this, they would find it easier to hamper the Romans in their movement, than in the more open and extended parts of the country, and therefore would, as it were, force Agricola to fight on their own terms, since he never could think of penetrating into Aberdeenshire by this gorge, leaving the enemy undefeated in his rear.

Somewhere, therefore, about Fettercain, Montboddo, or perhaps even still nearer to Stonehaven, it would seem probable that the battle may have happened; but unless a number of old Roman and Caledonian arms should, by mere accident, be dug up in the neighbourhood of those places, or that the vestiges of a camp should be discovered fronting one or other of them, sufficient to contain Agricola's whole army, and at no great distance from the Grampian mountains, we never can hope to be able to ascertain the particular spot. Many thousand chances there must be to one against it ever being hit upon by either means; yet as so many camps have already been found to exist in whole or in part, this, of the two methods, seems to be what would promise most success. The most likely places to examine and search for such vestiges, would therefore appear to be on the south side of the valley near Lawrence Kirk, Keir, or Drumliethy. That Agricola would choose this side seems probably, since the enemy being in possession of the Grampians, he would not have thought it constistent with prudence to have encamped close under the hills which they occupied.

The victory gained over Galgacus finished the seventh campaign, and with it put an end to the active military operations of Agricola in Britain. The season being now so far spent as not to admit of any farther prosecution of the war for the present, he led back his army into winter quarters. The enemy being defeated, and entirely dispersed among the innnermost regions of the mountains, therw was no longer any reason to keep his whole force united. Agricola, therefore, seems to have divided his army into two bodies, returning through the territories of the newly-vanquished nations by slow and easy marches; that thus, being more generally inured to the sight of the conquerors, they might be effectively overawed. The three camps taken notice of at Kiethick, Kirkboddo, and Lintrose, seem to have been part of those which he occupied on his return westward. Perhaps, too vestiges of others may even exist, though not yet discovered; but no doubt the greater part are entirely demoloshed. On this occasion it is probable that the army marched in two columns. The camps at Kiethick and Lintrose seem to have belonged to the right-hand column, which must therefore have taken its route along the south side of the valley of Strathmore, while that on the left kept nearer to the sea, by Kirkboddo, toward the Carse of Gourie. Whether they united at Perth, at Ardock, or not till their arrival at Stirling, cannot be determined, unless the remains of camps should hereafter be discovered, which might serve to throw farther light on this point; for if such were found in the north-east parts of Fife, we might conclude, that the left-hand column had crossed the Tay near Dundee, and thence had proceeded westward as far as Stirling before their junction with the other division of the army.


From the dimensions of thes camps of retour, it appears that two of them, taken together, are not capable of containing the army that was assembled at Battle-dykes. We know, from Tacitus, that the Romans lost but few men in the action with the Caledonians, and we are not told of any garrisons being left behind in this part of the countnry, to the eastward of the Tay. Hence, then, the deficiency of troops probably arose from the detachment sent on board the fleet, which is very likely lay in the bay of Montrose till the issue of the campaign was known. If we are to conjecture, from the size of these camps, the body of land forces with which the fleet was supplied on this occasion, must, as formerly mentioned, have amounted to between three and four thousand men.

The admiral would, no doubt have orders, in his progress round Britain, to make descents om different parts of the coast, and even to leave small garrisons in the properest situations and such as he judged would best suit the future views of the general, in order to a full and complete reduction of the island, when circumstances permitted the war to be resumed.

Roman coins have been found in many paces along the coast, particularly at Nairn, on the Murray frith; and not far from thence, about twenty, or twenty-five years ago, a very curious Roman sword, and head of a spear, were dug up near Arderseer. The Ultima Ptoroton of the Romans, mentioned in Richar of Cirencester as their farthest station, and which is undoubtedly the Alata Castra of Ptolemy, was probably established by the fleet on this expedition; and we may suppose that the Arae finium Imperii Romani expressed in Richard's map and likewise mentioned in his Chorography, as the utmost bounds of their empire here, were erected at the same time. But these and other things, concerning the Roman geography of North Britain, make the subject to be treated of in the next book.

1According to the common acceptation of the word vadum, it has generally been supposed, that the narrow channel called the Menai, which separates Anglesey from Carnarvonshire, must formerly have been so shallow, at extraordinary low spring tides at least, as to have enabled the Romans to wade across it in both their enterprizes against that island. The sands, which reach from Aberconqay towards Beaumaris, are passable for some hours of each tide as far as the ferry, which at low water is not near so brad as the Thames. But though this is likewise reckoned the shallowest part of the whole, yet even here there is now, and for time immemorial there hath been, upwards of three fathoms depth of water, on the farthest retreat of the sea. Either, therefore, the nature of the channel is altered, or the word vadum must be taken in a less confined sense; as signifying not only a ford, that can every where be waded over, on horseback or on foot, but also a shallower part of the whole, though it might me impossible to effect the passage entirely, without swimming for some little space in the middle. This indeed corresponds with the account of Tacitus (Life of Agricola, Sect. 18); for, in the last expedition, it is evident that the natives, seeing Agricola was unprovided with vessels for carrying this army over, deemed themselves secure, from the depth of the intervening sea. This interprestion of the word vadum, which reconciles history with the local situation of the country, the author acknowledges to have had from a gentleman to whose pentration and judgement he has every reason to pay the greatest deference.

2Though the passage in the orignal, “diviso et ipse in tres partes exercitu incessit,” (Tacit. Life of Agricolar, Sect. 25.) shews, no doubt, that the army marched immediately, after it had divided into three bodies; yet this cannot be understood to mean a continued march, to any distance, in three columns, as hath sometimes been supposed, but simply a separation of the army, after it had assembled, into three divisions, which produced a single movement, or change of position, from one into three camps, the better to prevent their being surrounded. This seems sufficiently plain from what follows; for no act whatsoever intervens between the separation in question and the attack on the ninth legion, in its own detached camp, being the weakest part of the army, and at not great distance from, at least, one of the other divisions, which Agricolar brought to its relief, though noth might probably march, at the same time, to sustain it.

3With regard to the position of the legions, where it is said, “Legiones pro vallo stetere,” (Tacit. Life of Agricola, Sect. 35.) they are supposed, according to the general opinion, to have been drawn up before, that is to say, withou the intrenchement of the camp, that they might be in readiness to sustain the auxiliaries, if circumstances had rendered their assistance necessary. Nevertherless, there are some who, in the expression “pro vallo,” give to the prepostion a different interpretation making it signify, for, instead of, or by way of, a wall or rampart; and who suppose that, even if there was a camp, the expression alluded not to its rampart, but simply to the strength and security which the legionary forces, considered as the corps-de-reserve, afforded to the auxiliaries that were led to attack the enemy. This, say they, seems to be the sense in which Tacitus uses pro on other similar occasions; for in the disposition which Caractacus made against Ostorius in the country of the Ordovices, “catervague majorum pro munimentis constiterant” (An.B.12. Sect.33.) could only mean, that the bands of majores, which seem to have been the choice veteran troops of the Britons, were drawn up in such places as had no fortifications, and were substituted in the stead. Whereas, had they been posted on the outside of the intrenchements which the Romans were just going to assault, their best men, when pressed by the enemy, must have been exposed to inevitable destruction, all possibility of retreat being, as it were, cut off by the situation of their own works, in their rear. To this signification of pro another circumstance is added, namely, that no vestiges of a camp have hitherto been discovered near that part of the Grampian mountains where it is imagined the battle with Galgacus was fought. But whatever degree of plausibility or force there may be in these arguments, it must be observed, that when the Romans were the attacker, and not obliged to remain on the defensive, pent up within their own lines, it seems to have been consistent with the most common rules of war, and therefore customary with them, to lead their army out of the camp, and to draw it up in order of battle before it, previous to their engaging; leaving, at the same time, a sufficient guard for the security of the lines, and the baggage deposited within them. At the end of every day's march, we know that iw was an invariable rule with the Romans to fortify their camp; and accordingly we see that Agricola, in advancing towards the Caledonians, and though yet at a distance from them, practised this method. It cannot, therefore, be supposed that he would omit any precaution when near the enemy, that at a distance he judged necessary. On the contrary, from the superior numbers and apparent confidence of the Britons, immediately preceding the action, more than ordinary circumspection seemed requisite. Admitting, however, that on this occasion Agricola made one of his usual marches, and though fatigued as his troops must have been, nevertherless engage the enemy directly after his arrival, yet, as the battle lasted till night, it must be allowed, at least, that the victorious army would encamp, and consequently intrench near the ground they fought on. Whether,t herefore, the legions were actually formed in front of a camp that the army had occupied the preceding night, which seems most likely to have been the case; or that the Romans made a march towards the Caledonians, and fought the same day; yet still there must have been a camp near the scene of action (though now perhaps, wholly obliterated), wherein the troops would not only take the necessary repose on the succeeding night, but would probably make some short halt, after the fate of the campaign had been thus decided.

]]> (Mike Haseler) Texts Fri, 26 Sep 2014 21:37:34 +0000
Vegetius : The Military Institutions of the Romans The Military Institutions of the Romans
(De Re Militari) By Flavius Vegetius Renatus

Translated from the Latin by Lieutenant John Clarke

Text written in 390 A.D. British translation published in 1767. Copyright Expired

  • Introduction
  • Preface to Book I
  • Book I: The Selection and Training of New Levies
  • Preface to Book II
  • Book II: The Organization of the Legion
  • Preface to Book III
  • Book III: Dispositions for Action
    • The Number which Should Compose an Army
    • Means of Preserving it in Health
    • Care to Provide Forage and Provisions
    • Methods to Prevent Mutiny in an Army
    • Marches in the Neighborhood of the Enemy
    • Passages of Rivers
    • Rules for Encamping an Army
    • Motives for the Plan of Operations of a Campaign
    • How to Manage Raw and Undisciplined Troops
    • Preparations for a General Engagement
    • The Sentiments of the Troops should be Determined before Battle
    • The Choice of the Field of Battle
    • Order of Battle
    • Proper Distances and Intervals
    • Disposition of the Cavalry
    • Reserves
    • The Post of the General and of the Second and Third in Command
    • Maneuvers in Action
    • Various Formations for Battle
    • The Flight of an Enemy should not be Prevented, but Facilitated
    • Manner of Conducting a Retreat
    • Armed Chariots and Elephants
    • Resources in Case of Defeat
    • General Maxims]]> (Mike Haseler) Texts Tue, 23 Sep 2014 22:12:58 +0000 Agricola Latin


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      [1] Clarorum virorum facta moresque posteris tradere, antiquitus usitatum, ne nostris quidem temporibus quamquam incuriosa suorum aetas omisit, quotiens magna aliqua ac nobilis virtus vicit ac supergressa est vitium parvis magnisque civitatibus commune, ignorantiam recti et invidiam. Sed apud priores ut agere digna memoratu pronum magisque in aperto erat, ita celeberrimus quisque ingenio ad prodendam virtutis memoriam sine gratia aut ambitione bonae tantum conscientiae pretio ducebantur. Ac plerique suam ipsi vitam narrare fiduciam potius morum quam adrogantiam arbitrati sunt, nec id Rutilio et Scauro citra fidem aut obtrectationi fuit: adeo virtutes isdem temporibus optime aestimantur, quibus facillime gignuntur. At nunc narraturo mihi vitam defuncti hominis venia opus fuit, quam non petissem incusaturus: tam saeva et infesta virtutibus tempora. Translation

      [2] Legimus, cum Aruleno Rustico Paetus Thrasea, Herennio Senecioni Priscus Helvidius laudati essent, capitale fuisse, neque in ipsos modo auctores, sed in libros quoque eorum saevitum, delegato triumviris ministerio ut monumenta clarissimorum ingeniorum in comitio ac foro urerentur. Scilicet illo igne vocem populi Romani et libertatem senatus et conscientiam generis humani aboleri arbitrabantur, expulsis insuper sapientiae professoribus atque omni bona arte in exilium acta, ne quid usquam honestum occurreret. Dedimus profecto grande patientiae documentum; et sicut vetus aetas vidit quid ultimum in libertate esset, ita nos quid in servitute, adempto per inquisitiones etiam loquendi audiendique commercio. Memoriam quoque ipsam cum voce perdidissemus, si tam in nostra potestate esset oblivisci quam tacere. Translation

      [3] Nunc demum redit animus; et quamquam primo statim beatissimi saeculi ortu Nerva Caesar res olim dissociabilis miscuerit, principatum ac libertatem, augeatque cotidie felicitatem temporum Nerva Traianus, nec spem modo ac votum securitas publica, sed ipsius voti fiduciam ac robur adsumpserit, natura tamen infirmitatis humanae tardiora sunt remedia quam mala; et ut corpora nostra lente augescunt, cito extinguuntur, sic ingenia studiaque oppresseris facilius quam revocaveris: subit quippe etiam ipsius inertiae dulcedo, et invisa primo desidia postremo amatur. Quid, si per quindecim annos, grande mortalis aevi spatium, multi fortuitis casibus, promptissimus quisque saevitia principis interciderunt, pauci et, ut ita dixerim, non modo aliorum sed etiam nostri superstites sumus, exemptis e media vita tot annis, quibus iuvenes ad senectutem, senes prope ad ipsos exactae aetatis terminos per silentium venimus? Non tamen pigebit vel incondita ac rudi voce memoriam prioris servitutis ac testimonium praesentium bonorum composuisse. Hic interim liber honori Agricolae soceri mei destinatus, professione pietatis aut laudatus erit aut excusatus. Translation

      [4] Gnaeus Iulius Agricola, vetere et inlustri Foroiuliensium colonia ortus, utrumque avum procuratorem Caesarum habuit, quae equestris nobilitas est. Pater illi Iulius Graecinus senatorii ordinis, studio eloquentiae sapientiaeque notus, iisque ipsis virtutibus iram Gai Caesaris meritus: namque Marcum Silanum accusare iussus et, quia abnuerat, interfectus est. Mater Iulia Procilla fuit, rarae castitatis. In huius sinu indulgentiaque educatus per omnem honestarum artium cultum pueritiam adulescentiamque transegit. Arcebat eum ab inlecebris peccantium praeter ipsius bonam integramque naturam, quod statim parvulus sedem ac magistram studiorum Massiliam habuit, locum Graeca comitate et provinciali parsimonia mixtum ac bene compositum. Memoria teneo solitum ipsum narrare se prima in iuventa studium philosophiae acrius, ultra quam concessum Romano ac senatori, hausisse, ni prudentia matris incensum ac flagrantem animum coercuisset. Scilicet sublime et erectum ingenium pulchritudinem ac speciem magnae excelsaeque gloriae vehementius quam caute adpetebat. Mox mitigavit ratio et aetas, retinuitque, quod est difficillimum, ex sapientia modum. Translation

      [5] Prima castrorum rudimenta in Britannia Suetonio Paulino, diligenti ac moderato duci, adprobavit, electus quem contubernio aestimaret. Nec Agricola licenter, more iuvenum qui militiam in lasciviam vertunt, neque segniter ad voluptates et commeatus titulum tribunatus et inscitiam rettulit: sed noscere provinciam, nosci exercitui, discere a peritis, sequi optimos, nihil adpetere in iactationem, nihil ob formidinem recusare, simulque et anxius et intentus agere. Non sane alias exercitatior magisque in ambiguo Britannia fuit: trucidati veterani, incensae coloniae, intercepti exercitus; tum de salute, mox de victoria certavere. Quae cuncta etsi consiliis ductuque alterius agebantur, ac summa rerum et recuperatae provinciae gloria in ducem cessit, artem et usum et stimulos addidere iuveni, intravitque animum militaris gloriae cupido, ingrata temporibus quibus sinistra erga eminentis interpretatio nec minus periculum ex magna fama quam ex mala. Translation

      [6] Hinc ad capessendos magistratus in urbem degressus Domitiam Decidianam, splendidis natalibus ortam, sibi iunxit; idque matrimonium ad maiora nitenti decus ac robur fuit. vixeruntque mira concordia, per mutuam caritatem et in vicem se anteponendo, nisi quod in bona uxore tanto maior laus, quanto in mala plus culpae est. Sors quaesturae provinciam Asiam, pro consule Salvium Titianum dedit, quorum neutro corruptus est, quamquam et provincia dives ac parata peccantibus, et pro consule in omnem aviditatem pronus quantalibet facilitate redempturus esset mutuam dissimulationem mali. Auctus est ibi filia, in subsidium simul ac solacium; nam filium ante sublatum brevi amisit. Mox inter quaesturam ac tribunatum plebis atque ipsum etiam tribunatus annum quiete et otio transiit, gnarus sub Nerone temporum, quibus inertia pro sapientia fuit. Idem praeturae tenor et silentium; nec enim iurisdictio obvenerat. Ludos et inania honoris medio rationis atque abundantiae duxit, uti longe a luxuria ita famae propior. Tum electus a Galba ad dona templorum recognoscenda diligentissima conquisitione effecit, ne cuius alterius sacrilegium res publica quam Neronis sensisset. Translation

      [7] Sequens annus gravi vulnere animum domumque eius adflixit. Nam classis Othoniana licenter vaga dum Intimilium (Liguriae pars est) hostiliter populatur, matrem Agricolae in praediis suis interfecit, praediaque ipsa et magnam patrimonii partem diripuit, quae causa caedis fuerat. Igitur ad sollemnia pietatis profectus Agricola, nuntio adfectati a Vespasiano imperii deprehensus ac statim in partis transgressus est. Initia principatus ac statum urbis Mucianus regebat, iuvene admodum Domitiano et ex paterna fortuna tantum licentiam usurpante. Is missum ad dilectus agendos Agricolam integreque ac strenue versatum vicesimae legioni tarde ad sacramentum transgressae praeposuit, ubi decessor seditiose agere narrabatur: quippe legatis quoque consularibus nimia ac formidolosa erat, nec legatus praetorius ad cohibendum potens, incertum suo an militum ingenio. Ita successor simul et ultor electus rarissima moderatione maluit videri invenisse bonos quam fecisse. Translation

      [8] Praeerat tunc Britanniae Vettius Bolanus, placidius quam feroci provincia dignum est. Temperavit Agricola vim suam ardoremque compescuit, ne incresceret, peritus obsequi eruditusque utilia honestis miscere. Brevi deinde Britannia consularem Petilium Cerialem accepit. Habuerunt virtutes spatium exemplorum, sed primo Cerialis labores modo et discrimina, mox et gloriam communicabat: saepe parti exercitus in experimentum, aliquando maioribus copiis ex eventu praefecit. Nec Agricola umquam in suam famam gestis exultavit; ad auctorem ac ducem ut minister fortunam referebat. Ita virtute in obsequendo, verecundia in praedicando extra invidiam nec extra gloriam erat. Translation

      [9] Revertentem ab legatione legionis divus Vespasianus inter patricios adscivit; ac deinde provinciae Aquitaniae praeposuit, splendidae inprimis dignitatis administratione ac spe consulatus, cui destinarat. Credunt plerique militaribus ingeniis subtilitatem deesse, quia castrensis iurisdictio secura et obtusior ac plura manu agens calliditatem fori non exerceat: Agricola naturali prudentia, quamvis inter togatos, facile iusteque agebat. Iam vero tempora curarum remissionumque divisa: ubi conventus ac iudicia poscerent, gravis intentus, severus et saepius misericors: ubi officio satis factum, nulla ultra potestatis persona[; tristitiam et adrogantiam et avaritiam exuerat]. Nec illi, quod est rarissimum, aut facilitas auctoritatem aut severitas amorem deminuit. Integritatem atque abstinentiam in tanto viro referre iniuria virtutum fuerit. Ne famam quidem, cui saepe etiam boni indulgent, ostentanda virtute aut per artem quaesivit; procul ab aemulatione adversus collegas, procul a contentione adversus procuratores, et vincere inglorium et atteri sordidum arbitrabatur. Minus triennium in ea legatione detentus ac statim ad spem consulatus revocatus est, comitante opinione Britanniam ei provinciam dari, nullis in hoc ipsius sermonibus, sed quia par videbatur. Haud semper errat fama; aliquando et eligit. Consul egregiae tum spei filiam iuveni mihi despondit ac post consulatum collocavit, et statim Britaniae praepositus est, adiecto pontificatus sacerdotio. Translation

      [10] Britanniae situm populosque multis scriptoribus memoratos non in comparationem curae ingeniive referam, sed quia tum primum perdomita est. Ita quae priores nondum comperta eloquentia percoluere, rerum fide tradentur. Britannia, insularum quas Romana notitia complectitur maxima, spatio ac caelo in orientem Germaniae, in occidentem Hispaniae obtenditur, Gallis in meridiem etiam inspicitur; septentrionalia eius, nullis contra terris, vasto atque aperto mari pulsantur. Formam totius Britanniae Livius veterum, Fabius Rusticus recentium eloquentissimi auctores oblongae scutulae vel bipenni adsimulavere. Et est ea facies citra Caledoniam, unde et in universum fama [est]: transgressis inmensum et enorme spatium procurrentium extremo iam litore terrarum velut in cuneum tenuatur. Hanc oram novissimi maris tunc primum Romana classis circumvecta insulam esse Britanniam adfirmavit, ac simul incognitas ad id tempus insulas, quas Orcadas vocant, invenit domuitque. Dispecta est et Thule, quia hactenus iussum, et hiems adpetebat. Sed mare pigrum et grave remigantibus perhibent ne ventis quidem perinde attolli, credo quod rariores terrae montesque, causa ac materia tempestatum, et profunda moles continui maris tardius impellitur. Naturam Oceani atque aestus neque quaerere huius operis est, ac multi rettulere: unum addiderim, nusquam latius dominari mare, multum fluminum huc atque illuc ferre, nec litore tenus adcrescere aut resorberi, sed influere penitus atque ambire, et iugis etiam ac montibus inseri velut in suo. Translation

      [11] Ceterum Britanniam qui mortales initio coluerint, indigenae an advecti, ut inter barbaros, parum compertum. Habitus corporum varii atque ex eo argumenta. Namque rutilae Caledoniam habitantium comae, magni artus Germanicam originem adseverant; Silurum colorati vultus, torti plerumque crines et posita contra Hispania Hiberos veteres traiecisse easque sedes occupasse fidem faciunt; proximi Gallis et similes sunt, seu durante originis vi, seu procurrentibus in diversa terris positio caeli corporibus habitum dedit. In universum tamen aestimanti Gallos vicinam insulam occupasse credibile est. Eorum sacra deprehendas ac superstitionum persuasiones; sermo haud multum diversus, in deposcendis periculis eadem audacia et, ubi advenere, in detrectandis eadem formido. Plus tamen ferociae Britanni praeferunt, ut quos nondum longa pax emollierit. Nam Gallos quoque in bellis floruisse accepimus; mox segnitia cum otio intravit, amissa virtute pariter ac libertate. Quod Britannorum olim victis evenit: ceteri manent quales Galli fuerunt. Translation

      [12] In pedite robur; quaedam nationes et curru proeliantur. Honestior auriga, clientes propugnant. Olim regibus parebant, nunc per principes factionibus et studiis trahuntur. Nec aliud adversus validissimas gentis pro nobis utilius quam quod in commune non consulunt. Rarus duabus tribusve civitatibus ad propulsandum commune periculum conventus: ita singuli pugnant, universi vincuntur. Caelum crebris imbribus ac nebulis foedum; asperitas frigorum abest. Dierum spatia ultra nostri orbis mensuram; nox clara et extrema Britanniae parte brevis, ut finem atque initium lucis exiguo discrimine internoscas. Quod si nubes non officiant, aspici per noctem solis fulgorem, nec occidere et exurgere, sed transire adfirmant. Scilicet extrema et plana terrarum humili umbra non erigunt tenebras, infraque caelum et sidera nox cadit. Solum praeter oleam vitemque et cetera calidioribus terris oriri sueta patiens frugum pecudumque fecundum: tarde mitescunt, cito proveniunt; eademque utriusque rei causa, multus umor terrarum caelique. Fert Britannia aurum et argentum et alia metalla, pretium victoriae. Gignit et Oceanus margarita, sed subfusca ac liventia. Quidam artem abesse legentibus arbitrantur; nam in rubro mari viva ac spirantia saxis avelli, in Britannia, prout expulsa sint, colligi: ego facilius crediderim naturam margaritis deesse quam nobis avaritiam. Translation

      [13] Ipsi Britanni dilectum ac tributa et iniuncta imperii munia impigre obeunt, si iniuriae absint: has aegre tolerant, iam domiti ut pareant, nondum ut serviant. Igitur primus omnium Romanorum divus Iulius cum exercitu Britanniam ingressus, quamquam prospera pugna terruerit incolas ac litore potitus sit, potest videri ostendisse posteris, non tradidisse. Mox bella civilia et in rem publicam versa principum arma, ac longa oblivio Britanniae etiam in pace: consilium id divus Augustus vocabat, Tiberius praeceptum. Agitasse Gaium Caesarem de intranda Britannia satis constat, ni velox ingenio mobili paenitentiae, et ingentes adversus Germaniam conatus frustra fuissent. Divus Claudius auctor iterati operis, transvectis legionibus auxiliisque et adsumpto in partem rerum Vespasiano, quod initium venturae mox fortunae fuit: domitae gentes, capti reges et monstratus fatis Vespasianus. Translation

      [14] Consularium primus Aulus Plautius praepositus ac subinde Ostorius Scapula, uterque bello egregius: redactaque paulatim in formam provinciae proxima pars Britanniae, addita insuper veteranorum colonia. Quaedam civitates Cogidumno regi donatae (is ad nostram usque memoriam fidissimus mansit), vetere ac iam pridem recepta populi Romani consuetudine, ut haberet instrumenta servitutis et reges. Mox Didius Gallus parta a prioribus continuit, paucis admodum castellis in ulteriora promotis, per quae fama aucti officii quaereretur. Didium Veranius excepit, isque intra annum extinctus est. Suetonius hinc Paulinus biennio prosperas res habuit, subactis nationibus firmatisque praesidiis; quorum fiducia Monam insulam ut vires rebellibus ministrantem adgressus terga occasioni patefecit. Translation

      [15] Namque absentia legati remoto metu Britanni agitare inter se mala servitutis, conferre iniurias et interpretando accendere: nihil profici patientia nisi ut graviora tamquam ex facili tolerantibus imperentur. Singulos sibi olim reges fuisse, nunc binos imponi, e quibus legatus in sanguinem, procurator in bona saeviret. Aeque discordiam praepositorum, aeque concordiam subiectis exitiosam. Alterius manus centuriones, alterius servos vim et contumelias miscere. Nihil iam cupiditati, nihil libidini exceptum. In proelio fortiorem esse qui spoliet: nunc ab ignavis plerumque et imbellibus eripi domos, abstrahi liberos, iniungi dilectus, tamquam mori tantum pro patria nescientibus. Quantulum enim transisse militum, si sese Britanni numerent? Sic Germanias excussisse iugum: et flumine, non Oceano defendi. Sibi patriam coniuges parentes, illis avaritiam et luxuriam causas belli esse. Recessuros, ut divus Iulius recessisset, modo virtutem maiorum suorum aemularentur. Neve proelii unius aut alterius eventu pavescerent: plus impetus felicibus, maiorem constantiam penes miseros esse. Iam Britannorum etiam deos misereri, qui Romanum ducem absentem, qui relegatum in alia insula exercitum detinerent; iam ipsos, quod difficillimum fuerit, deliberare. Porro in eius modi consiliis periculosius esse deprehendi quam audere. Translation

      [16] His atque talibus in vicem instincti, Boudicca generis regii femina duce (neque enim sexum in imperiis discernunt) sumpsere universi bellum; ac sparsos per castella milites consectati, expugnatis praesidiis ipsam coloniam invasere ut sedem servitutis, nec ullum in barbaris [ingeniis] saevitiae genus omisit ira et victoria. Quod nisi Paulinus cognito provinciae motu propere subvenisset, amissa Britannia foret; quam unius proelii fortuna veteri patientiae restituit, tenentibus arma plerisque, quos conscientia defectionis et proprius ex legato timor agitabat, ne quamquam egregius cetera adroganter in deditos et ut suae cuiusque iniuriae ultor durius consuleret. Missus igitur Petronius Turpilianus tamquam exorabilior et delictis hostium novus eoque paenitentiae mitior, compositis prioribus nihil ultra ausus Trebellio Maximo provinciam tradidit. Trebellius segnior et nullis castorum experimentis, comitate quadam curandi provinciam tenuit. Didicere iam barbari quoque ignoscere vitiis blandientibus, et interventus civilium armorum praebuit iustam segnitiae excusationem: sed discordia laboratum, cum adsuetus expeditionibus miles otio lasciviret. Trebellius, fuga ac latebris vitata exercitus ira, indecorus atque humilis precario mox praefuit, ac velut pacta exercitus licentia, ducis salute, [et] seditio sine sanguine stetit. Nec Vettius Bolanus, manentibus adhuc civilibus bellis, agitavit Britanniam disciplina: eadem inertia erga hostis, similis petulantia castrorum, nisi quod innocens Bolanus et nullis delictis invisus caritatem paraverat loco auctoritatis. Translation

      [17] Sed ubi cum cetero orbe Vespasianus et Britanniam recuperavit, magni duces, egregii exercitus, minuta hostium spes. Et terrorem statim intulit Petilius Cerialis, Brigantum civitatem, quae numerosissima provinciae totius perhibetur, adgressus. Multa proelia, et aliquando non incruenta; magnamque Brigantum partem aut victoria amplexus est aut bello. Et Cerialis quidem alterius successoris curam famamque obruisset: subiit sustinuitque molem Iulius Frontinus, vir magnus, quantum licebat, validamque et pugnacem Silurum gentem armis subegit, super virtutem hostium locorum quoque difficultates eluctatus. Translation

      [18] Hunc Britanniae statum, has bellorum vices media iam aestate transgressus Agricola invenit, cum et milites velut omissa expeditione ad securitatem et hostes ad occasionem verterentur. Ordovicum civitas haud multo ante adventum eius alam in finibus suis agentem prope universam obtriverat, eoque initio erecta provincia. Et quibus bellum volentibus erat, probare exemplum ac recentis legati animum opperiri, cum Agricola, quamquam transvecta aestas, sparsi per provinciam numeri, praesumpta apud militem illius anni quies, tarda et contraria bellum incohaturo, et plerisque custodiri suspecta potius videbatur, ire obviam discrimini statuit; contractisque legionum vexillis et modica auxiliorum manu, quia in aequum degredi Ordovices non audebant, ipse ante agmen, quo ceteris par animus simili periculo esset, erexit aciem. Caesaque prope universa gente, non ignarus instandum famae ac, prout prima cessissent, terrorem ceteris fore, Monam insulam, cuius possessione revocatum Paulinum rebellione totius Britanniae supra memoravi, redigere in potestatem animo intendit. Sed, ut in subitis consiliis, naves deerant: ratio et constantia ducis transvexit. Depositis omnibus sarcinis lectissimos auxiliarium, quibus nota vada et patrius nandi usus, quo simul seque et arma et equos regunt, ita repente inmisit, ut obstupefacti hostes, qui classem, qui navis, qui mare expectabant, nihil arduum aut invictum crediderint sic ad bellum venientibus. Ita petita pace ac dedita insula clarus ac magnus haberi Agricola, quippe cui ingredienti provinciam, quod tempus alii per ostentationem et officiorum ambitum transigunt, labor et periculum placuisset. Nec Agricola prosperitate rerum in vanitatem usus, expeditionem aut victoriam vocabat victos continuisse; ne laureatis quidem gesta prosecutus est, sed ipsa dissimulatione famae famam auxit, aestimantibus quanta futuri spe tam magna tacuisset. Translation

      [19] Ceterum animorum provinciae prudens, simulque doctus per aliena experimenta parum profici armis, si iniuriae sequerentur, causas bellorum statuit excidere. A se suisque orsus primum domum suam coercuit, quod plerisque haud minus arduum est quam provinciam regere. Nihil per libertos servosque publicae rei, non studiis privatis nec ex commendatione aut precibus centurionem militesve adscire, sed optimum quemque fidissimum putare. Omnia scire, non omnia exsequi. Parvis peccatis veniam, magnis severitatem commodare; nec poena semper, sed saepius paenitentia contentus esse; officiis et administrationibus potius non peccaturos praeponere, quam damnare cum peccassent. Frumenti et tributorum exactionem aequalitate munerum mollire, circumcisis quae in quaestum reperta ipso tributo gravius tolerabantur. Namque per ludibrium adsidere clausis horreis et emere ultro frumenta ac luere pretio cogebantur. Divortia itinerum et longinquitas regionum indicebatur, ut civitates proximis hibernis in remota et avia deferrent, donec quod omnibus in promptu erat paucis lucrosum fieret. Translation

      [20] Haec primo statim anno comprimendo egregiam famam paci circumdedit, quae vel incuria vel intolerantia priorum haud minus quam bellum timebatur. Sed ubi aestas advenit, contracto exercitu multus in agmine, laudare modestiam, disiectos coercere; loca castris ipse capere, aestuaria ac silvas ipse praetemptare; et nihil interim apud hostis quietum pati, quo minus subitis excursibus popularetur; atque ubi satis terruerat, parcendo rursus invitamenta pacis ostentare. Quibus rebus multae civitates, quae in illum diem ex aequo egerant, datis obsidibus iram posuere et praesidiis castellisque circumdatae, et tanta ratione curaque, ut nulla ante Britanniae nova pars [pariter] inlacessita transierit. Translation

      [21] Sequens hiems saluberrimis consiliis absumpta. Namque ut homines dispersi ac rudes eoque in bella faciles quieti et otio per voluptates adsuescerent, hortari privatim, adiuvare publice, ut templa fora domos extruerent, laudando promptos, castigando segnis: ita honoris aemulatio pro necessitate erat. Iam vero principum filios liberalibus artibus erudire, et ingenia Britannorum studiis Gallorum anteferre, ut qui modo linguam Romanam abnuebant, eloquentiam concupiscerent. Inde etiam habitus nostri honor et frequens toga; paulatimque discessum ad delenimenta vitiorum, porticus et balinea et conviviorum elegantiam. Idque apud imperitos humanitas vocabatur, cum pars servitutis esset. Translation

      [22] Tertius expeditionum annus novas gentis aperuit, vastatis usque ad Tanaum (aestuario nomen est) nationibus. Qua formdine territi hostes quamquam conflictatum saevis tempestatibus exercitum lacessere non ausi; ponendisque insuper castellis spatium fuit. Adnotabant periti non alium ducem opportunitates locorum sapientius legisse. Nullum ab Agricola positum castellum aut vi hostium expugnatum aut pactione ac fuga desertum; nam adversus moras obsidionis annuis copiis firmabantur. Ita intrepida ibi hiems, crebrae eruptiones et sibi quisque praesidio, inritis hostibus eoque desperantibus, quia soliti plerumque damna aestatis hibernis eventibus pensare tum aestate atque hieme iuxta pellebantur. Nec Agricola umquam per alios gesta avidus intercepit: seu centurio seu praefectus incorruptum facti testem habebat. Apud quosdam acerbior in conviciis narrabatur; [et] ut erat comis bonis, ita adversus malos iniucundus. Ceterum ex iracundia nihil supererat secretum, ut silentium eius non timeres: honestius putabat offendere quam odisse. Translation

      [23] Quarta aestas obtinendis quae percucurrerat insumpta; ac si virtus exercituum et Romani nominis gloria pateretur, inventus in ipsa Britannia terminus. Namque Clota et Bodotria diversi maris aestibus per inmensum revectae, angusto terrarum spatio dirimuntur: quod tum praesidiis firmabatur atque omnis propior sinus tenebatur, summotis velut in aliam insulam hostibus. Translation

      [24] Quinto expeditionum anno nave prima transgressus ignotas ad id tempus gentis crebris simul ac prosperis proeliis domuit; eamque partem Britanniae quae Hiberniam aspicit copiis instruxit, in spem magis quam ob formidinem, si quidem Hibernia medio inter Britanniam atque Hispaniam sita et Gallico quoque mari opportuna valentissimam imperii partem magnis in vicem usibus miscuerit. Spatium eius, si Britanniae comparetur, angustius nostri maris insulas superat. Solum caelumque et ingenia cultusque hominum haud multum a Britannia differunt; [in] melius aditus portusque per commercia et negotiatores cogniti. Agricola expulsum seditione domestica unum ex regulis gentis exceperat ac specie amicitiae in occasionem retinebat. Saepe ex eo audivi legione una et modicis auxiliis debellari obtinerique Hiberniam posse; idque etiam adversus Britanniam profuturum, si Romana ubique arma et velut e conspectu libertas tolleretur. Translation

      [25] Ceterum aestate, qua sextum officii annum incohabat, amplexus civitates trans Bodotriam sitas, quia motus universarum ultra gentium et infesta hostilis exercitus itinera timebantur, portus classe exploravit; quae ab Agricola primum adsumpta in partem virium sequebatur egregia specie, cum simul terra, simul mari bellum impelleretur, ac saepe isdem castris pedes equesque et nauticus miles mixti copiis et laetitia sua quisque facta, suos casus attollerent, ac modo silvarum ac montium profunda, modo tempestatum ac fluctuum adversa, hinc terra et hostis, hinc victus Oceanus militari iactantia compararentur. Britannos quoque, ut ex captivis audiebatur, visa classis obstupefaciebat, tamquam aperto maris sui secreto ultimum victis perfugium clauderetur. Ad manus et arma conversi Caledoniam incolentes populi magno paratu, maiore fama, uti mos est de ignotis, oppugnare ultro castellum adorti, metum ut provocantes addiderant; regrediendumque citra Bodotriam et cedendum potius quam pellerentur ignavi specie prudentium admonebant, cum interim cognoscit hostis pluribus agminibus inrupturos. Ac ne superante numero et peritia locorum circumiretur, diviso et ipso in tris partes exercitu incessit. Translation

      [26] Quod ubi cognitum hosti, mutato repente consilio universi nonam legionem ut maxime invalidam nocte adgressi, inter somnum ac trepidationem caesis vigilibus inrupere. Iamque in ipsis castris pugnabatur, cum Agricola iter hostium ab exploratoribus edoctus et vestigiis insecutus, velocissimos equitum peditumque adsultare tergis pugnantium iubet, mox ab universis adici clamorem; et propinqua luce fulsere signa. Ita ancipiti malo territi Britanni; et nonanis rediit animus, ac securi pro salute de gloria certabant. Ultro quin etiam erupere, et fuit atrox in ipsis portarum angustiis proelium, donec pulsi hostes, utroque exercitu certante, his, ut tulisse opem, illis, ne eguisse auxilio viderentur. Quod nisi paludes et silvae fugientis texissent, debellatum illa victoria foret.Translation

      [27] Cuius conscientia ac fama ferox exercitus nihil virtuti suae invium et penetrandam Caledoniam inveniendumque tandem Britanniae terminum continuo proeliorum cursu fremebant. Atque illi modo cauti ac sapientes prompti post eventum ac magniloqui erant. Iniquissima haec bellorum condicio est: prospera omnes sibi vindicant, adversa uni imputantur. At Britanni non virtute se victos, sed occasione et arte ducis rati, nihil ex adrogantia remittere, quo minus iuventutem armarent, coniuges ac liberos in loca tuta transferrent, coetibus et sacrificiis conspirationem civitatum sancirent. Atque ita inritatis utrimque animis discessum. Translation

      [28] Eadem aestate cohors Usiporum per Germanias conscripta et in Britanniam transmissa magnum ac memorabile facinus ausa est. Occiso centurione ac militibus, qui ad tradendam disciplinam inmixti manipulis exemplum et rectores habebantur, tris liburnicas adactis per vim gubernatoribus ascendere; et uno remigante, suspectis duobus eoque interfectis, nondum vulgato rumore ut miraculum praevehebantur. Mox ad aquam atque utilia raptum [ubi adpul]issent, cum plerisque Britannorum sua defensantium proelio congressi ac saepe victores, aliquando pulsi, eo ad extremum inopiae venere, ut infirmissimos suorum, mox sorte ductos vescerentur. Atque ita circumvecti Britanniam, amissis per inscitiam regendi navibus, pro praedonibus habiti, primum a Suebis, mox a Frisiis intercepti sunt. Ac fuere quos per commercia venumdatos et in nostram usque ripam mutatione ementium adductos indicium tanti casus inlustravit. Translation

      [29] Initio aestatis Agricola domestico vulnere ictus, anno ante natum filium amisit. Quem casum neque ut plerique fortium virorum ambitiose, neque per lamenta rursus ac maerorem muliebriter tulit, et in luctu bellum inter remedia erat. Igitur praemissa classe, quae pluribus locis praedata magnum et incertum terrorem faceret, expedito exercitu, cui ex Britannis fortissimos et longa pace exploratos addiderat, ad montem Graupium pervenit, quem iam hostis insederat. Nam Britanni nihil fracti pugnae prioris eventu et ultionem aut servitium expectantes, tandemque docti commune periculum concordia propulsandum, legationibus et foederibus omnium civitatium vires exciverant. Iamque super triginta milia armatorum aspiciebantur, et adhuc adfluebat omnis iuventus et quibus cruda ac viridis senectus, clari bello et sua quisque decora gestantes, cum inter pluris duces virtute et genere praestans nomine Calgacus apud contractam multitudinem proelium poscentem in hunc modum locutus fertur: Translation

      [30] "Quotiens causas belli et necessitatem nostram intueor, magnus mihi animus est hodiernum diem consensumque vestrum initium libertatis toti Britanniae fore: nam et universi co[i]stis et servitutis expertes, et nullae ultra terrae ac ne mare quidem securum inminente nobis classe Romana. Ita proelium atque arma, quae fortibus honesta, eadem etiam ignavis tutissima sunt. Priores pugnae, quibus adversus Romanos varia fortuna certatum est, spem ac subsidium in nostris manibus habebant, quia nobilissimi totius Britanniae eoque in ipsis penetralibus siti nec ulla servientium litora aspicientes, oculos quoque a contactu dominationis inviolatos habebamus. Nos terrarum ac libertatis extremos recessus ipse ac sinus famae in hunc diem defendit: nunc terminus Britanniae patet, atque omne ignotum pro magnifico est; sed nulla iam ultra gens, nihil nisi fluctus ac saxa, et infestiores Romani, quorum superbiam frustra per obsequium ac modestiam effugias. Raptores orbis, postquam cuncta vastantibus defuere terrae, mare scrutantur: si locuples hostis est, avari, si pauper, ambitiosi, quos non Oriens, non Occidens satiaverit: soli omnium opes atque inopiam pari adfectu concupiscunt. Auferre trucidare rapere falsis nominibus imperium, atque ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant. Translation

      [31] "Liberos cuique ac propinquos suos natura carissimos esse voluit: hi per dilectus alibi servituri auferuntur; coniuges sororesque etiam si hostilem libidinem effugerunt, nomine amicorum atque hospitum polluuntur. Bona fortunaeque in tributum, ager atque annus in frumentum, corpora ipsa ac manus silvis ac paludibus emuniendis inter verbera et contumelias conteruntur. Nata servituti mancipia semel veneunt, atque ultro a dominis aluntur: Britannia servitutem suam cotidie emit, cotidie pascit. Ac sicut in familia recentissimus quisque servorum etiam conservis ludibrio est, sic in hoc orbis terrarum vetere famulatu novi nos et viles in excidium petimur; neque enim arva nobis aut metalla aut portus sunt, quibus exercendis reservemur. virtus porro ac ferocia subiectorum ingrata imperantibus; et longinquitas ac secretum ipsum quo tutius, eo suspectius. Ita sublata spe veniae tandem sumite animum, tam quibus salus quam quibus gloria carissima est. Brigantes femina duce exurere coloniam, expugnare castra, ac nisi felicitas in socordiam vertisset, exuere iugum potuere: nos integri et indomiti et in libertatem, non in paenitentiam [bel]laturi; primo statim congressu ostendamus, quos sibi Caledonia viros seposuerit. Translation

      [32] "An eandem Romanis in bello virtutem quam in pace lasciviam adesse creditis? Nostris illi dissensionibus ac discordiis clari vitia hostium in gloriam exercitus sui vertunt; quem contractum ex diversissimis gentibus ut secundae res tenent, ita adversae dissolvent: nisi si Gallos et Germanos et (pudet dictu) Britannorum plerosque, licet dominationi alienae sanguinem commodent, diutius tamen hostis quam servos, fide et adfectu teneri putatis. Metus ac terror sunt infirma vincla caritatis; quae ubi removeris, qui timere desierint, odisse incipient. Omnia victoriae incitamenta pro nobis sunt: nullae Romanos coniuges accendunt, nulli parentes fugam exprobraturi sunt; aut nulla plerisque patria aut alia est. Paucos numero, trepidos ignorantia, caelum ipsum ac mare et silvas, ignota omnia circumspectantis, clausos quodam modo ac vinctos di nobis tradiderunt. Ne terreat vanus aspectus et auri fulgor atque argenti, quod neque tegit neque vulnerat. In ipsa hostium acie inveniemus nostras manus: adgnoscent Britanni suam causam, recordabuntur Galli priorem libertatem, tam deserent illos ceteri Germani quam nuper Usipi reliquerunt. Nec quicquam ultra formidinis: vacua castella, senum coloniae, inter male parentis et iniuste imperantis aegra municipia et discordantia. Hic dux, hic exercitus: ibi tributa et metalla et ceterae servientium poenae, quas in aeternum perferre aut statim ulcisci in hoc campo est. Proinde ituri in aciem et maiores vestros et posteros cogitate.' Translation

      [33] Excepere orationem alacres, ut barbaris moris, fremitu cantuque et clamoribus dissonis. Iamque agmina et armorum fulgores audentissimi cuiusque procursu; simul instruebatur acies, cum Agricola quamquam laetum et vix munimentis coercitum militem accendendum adhuc ratus, ita disseruit: 'septimus annus est, commilitones, ex quo virtute et auspiciis imperii Romani, fide atque opera vestra Britanniam vicistis. Tot expeditionibus, tot proeliis, seu fortitudine adversus hostis seu patientia ac labore paene adversus ipsam rerum naturam opus fuit, neque me militum neque vos ducis paenituit. Ergo egressi, ego veterum legatorum, vos priorum exercituum terminos, finem Britanniae non fama nec rumore, sed castris et armis tenemus: inventa Britannia et subacta. Equidem saepe in agmine, cum vos paludes montesve et flumina fatigarent, fortissimi cuiusque voces audiebam: "quando dabitur hostis, quando in manus [veniet]?" Veniunt, e latebris suis extrusi, et vota virtusque in aperto, omniaque prona victoribus atque eadem victis adversa. Nam ut superasse tantum itineris, evasisse silvas, transisse aestuaria pulchrum ac decorum in frontem, ita fugientibus periculosissima quae hodie prosperrima sunt; neque enim nobis aut locorum eadem notitia aut commeatuum eadem abundantia, sed manus et arma et in his omnia. Quod ad me attinet, iam pridem mihi decretum est neque exercitus neque ducis terga tuta esse. Proinde et honesta mors turpi vita potior, et incolumitas ac decus eodem loco sita sunt; nec inglorium fuerit in ipso terrarum ac naturae fine cecidisse. Translation

      [34] "Si novae gentes atque ignota acies constitisset, aliorum exercituum exemplis vos hortarer: nunc vestra decora recensete, vestros oculos interrogate. Hi sunt, quos proximo anno unam legionem furto noctis adgressos clamore debellastis; hi ceterorum Britannorum fugacissimi ideoque tam diu superstites. Quo modo silvas saltusque penetrantibus fortissimum quodque animal contra ruere, pavida et inertia ipso agminis sono pellebantur, sic acerrimi Britannorum iam pridem ceciderunt, reliquus est numerus ignavorum et metuentium. Quos quod tandem invenistis, non restiterunt, sed deprehensi sunt; novissimae res et extremus metus torpore defixere aciem in his vestigiis, in quibus pulchram et spectabilem victoriam ederetis. Transigite cum expeditionibus, imponite quinquaginta annis magnum diem, adprobate rei publicae numquam exercitui imputari potuisse aut moras belli aut causas rebellandi.' Translation

      [35] Et adloquente adhuc Agricola militum ardor eminebat, et finem orationis ingens alacritas consecuta est, statimque ad arma discursum. Instinctos ruentisque ita disposuit, ut peditum auxilia, quae octo milium erant, mediam aciem firmarent, equitum tria milia cornibus adfunderentur. Legiones pro vallo stetere, ingens victoriae decus citra Romanum sanguinem bellandi, et auxilium, si pellerentur. Britannorum acies in speciem simul ac terrorem editioribus locis constiterat ita, ut primum agmen in aequo, ceteri per adclive iugum conexi velut insurgerent; media campi covinnarius eques strepitu ac discursu complebat. Tum Agricola superante hostium multitudine veritus, ne in frontem simul et latera suorum pugnaretur, diductis ordinibus, quamquam porrectior acies futura erat et arcessendas plerique legiones admonebant, promptior in spem et firmus adversis, dimisso equo pedes ante vexilla constitit. Translation

      [36] Ac primo congressu eminus certabatur; simulque constantia, simul arte Britanni ingentibus gladiis et brevibus caetris missilia nostrorum vitare vel excutere, atque ipsi magnam vim telorum superfundere, donec Agricola quattuor Batavorum cohortis ac Tungrorum duas cohortatus est, ut rem ad mucrones ac manus adducerent; quod et ipsis vetustate militiae exercitatum et hostibus inhabile [parva scuta et enormis gladios gerentibus]; nam Britannorum gladii sine mucrone complexum armorum et in arto pugnam non tolerabant. Igitur ut Batavi miscere ictus, ferire umbonibus, ora fodere, et stratis qui in aequo adstiterant, erigere in collis aciem coepere, ceterae cohortes aemulatione et impetu conisae proximos quosque caedere: ac plerique semineces aut integri festinatione victoriae relinquebantur. Interim equitum turmae, [ut] fugere covinnarii, peditum se proelio miscuere. Et quamquam recentem terrorem intulerant, densis tamen hostium agminibus et inaequalibus locis haerebant; minimeque aequa nostris iam pugnae facies erat, cum aegre clivo instantes simul equorum corporibus impellerentur; ac saepe vagi currus, exterriti sine rectoribus equi, ut quemque formido tulerat, transversos aut obvios incursabant. Translation

      [37] Et Britanni, qui adhuc pugnae expertes summa collium insederant et paucitatem nostrorum vacui spernebant, degredi paulatim et circumire terga vincentium coeperant, ni id ipsum veritus Agricola quattuor equitum alas, ad subita belli retentas, venientibus opposuisset, quantoque ferocius adcucurrerant, tanto acrius pulsos in fugam disiecisset. Ita consilium Britannorum in ipsos versum, transvectaeque praecepto ducis a fronte pugnantium alae aversam hostium aciem invasere. Tum vero patentibus locis grande et atrox spectaculum: sequi, vulnerare, capere, atque eosdem oblatis aliis trucidare. Iam hostium, prout cuique ingenium erat, catervae armatorum paucioribus terga praestare, quidam inermes ultro ruere ac se morti offerre. Passim arma et corpora et laceri artus et cruenta humus; et aliquando etiam victis ira virtusque. Nam postquam silvis adpropinquaverunt, primos sequentium incautos collecti et locorum gnari circumveniebant. Quod ni frequens ubique Agricola validas et expeditas cohortis indaginis modo et, sicubi artiora erant, partem equitum dimissis equis, simul rariores silvas equitem persultare iussisset, acceptum aliquod vulnus per nimiam fiduciam foret. Ceterum ubi compositos firmis ordinibus sequi rursus videre, in fugam versi, non agminibus, ut prius, nec alius alium respectantes: rari e vitabundi in vicem longinqua atque avia petiere. Finis sequendi nox et satietas fuit. Caesa hostium ad decem milia: nostrorum trecenti sexaginta cecidere, in quis Aulus Atticus praefectus cohortis, iuvenili ardore et ferocia equi hostibus inlatus. Translation

      [38] Et nox quidem gaudio praedaque laeta victoribus: Britanni palantes mixto virorum mulierumque ploratu trahere vulneratos, vocare integros, deserere domos ac per iram ultro incendere, eligere latebras et statim relinquere; miscere in vicem consilia aliqua, dein separare; aliquando frangi aspectu pignorum suorum, saepius concitari. Satisque constabat saevisse quosdam in coniuges ac liberos, tamquam misererentur. Proximus dies faciem victoriae latius aperuit: vastum ubique silentium, secreti colles, fumantia procul tecta, nemo exploratoribus obvius. Quibus in omnem partem dimissis, ubi incerta fugae vestigia neque usquam conglobari hostis compertum (et exacta iam aestate spargi bellum nequibat), in finis Borestorum exercitum deducit. Ibi acceptis obsidibus, praefecto classis circumvehi Britanniam praecipit. Datae ad id vires, et praecesserat terror. Ipse peditem atque equites lento itinere, quo novarum gentium animi ipsa transitus mora terrerentur, in hibernis locavit. Et simul classis secunda tempestate ac fama Trucculensem portum tenuit, unde proximo Britanniae latere praelecto omni redierat. Translation

      [39] Hunc rerum cursum, quamquam nulla verborum iactantia epistulis Agricolae auctum, ut erat Domitiano moris, fronte laetus, pectore anxius excepit. Inerat conscientia derisui fuisse nuper falsum e Germania triumphum, emptis per commercia, quorum habitus et crinis in captivorum speciem formarentur: at nunc veram magnamque victoriam tot milibus hostium caesis ingenti fama celebrari. Id sibi maxime formidolosum, privati hominis nomen supra principem attolli: frustra studia fori et civilium artium decus in silentium acta, si militarem gloriam alius occuparet; cetera utcumque facilius dissimulari, ducis boni imperatoriam virtutem esse. Talibus curis exercitus, quodque saevae cogitationis indicium erat, secreto suo satiatus, optimum in praesentia statuit reponere odium, donec impetus famae et favor exercitus languesceret: nam etiam tum Agricola Britanniam obtinebat. Translation

      [40] Igitur triumphalia ornamenta et inlustris statuae honorem et quidquid pro triumpho datur, multo verborum honore cumulata, decerni in senatu iubet addique insuper opinionem, Syriam provinciam Agricolae destinari, vacuam tum morte Atili Rufi consularis et maioribus reservatam. Credidere plerique libertum ex secretioribus ministeriis missum ad Agricolam codicillos, quibus ei Syria dabatur, tulisse, cum eo praecepto ut, si in Britannia foret, traderentur; eumque libertum in ipso freto Oceani obvium Agricolae, ne appellato quidem eo ad Domitianum remeasse, sive verum istud, sive ex ingenio principis fictum ac compositum est. Tradiderat interim Agricola successori suo provinciam quietam tutamque. Ac ne notabilis celebritate et frequentia occurrentium introitus esset, vitato amicorum officio noctu in urbem, noctu in Palatium, ita ut praeceptum erat, venit; exceptusque brevi osculo et nullo sermone turbae servientium inmixtus est. Ceterum uti militare nomen, grave inter otiosos, aliis virtutibus temperaret, tranquillitatem atque otium penitus hausit, cultu modicus, sermone facilis, uno aut altero amicorum comitatus, adeo ut plerique, quibus magnos viros per ambitionem aestimare mos est, viso aspectoque Agricola quaererent famam, pauci interpretarentur. Translation

      [41] Crebro per eos dies apud Domitianum absens accusatus, absens absolutus est. Causa periculi non crimen ullum aut querela laesi cuiusquam, sed infensus virtutibus princeps et gloria viri ac pessimum inimicorum genus, laudantes. Et ea insecuta sunt rei publicae tempora, quae sileri Agricolam non sinerent: tot exercitus in Moesia Daciaque et Germania et Pannonia temeritate aut per ignaviam ducum amissi, tot militares viri cum tot cohortibus expugnati et capti; nec iam de limite imperii et ripa, sed de hibernis legionum et possessione dubitatum. Ita cum damna damnis continuarentur atque omnis annus funeribus et cladibus insigniretur, poscebatur ore vulgi dux Agricola, comparantibus cunctis vigorem, constantiam et expertum bellis animum cum inertia et formidine aliorum. Quibus sermonibus satis constat Domitiani quoque auris verberatas, dum optimus quisque libertorum amore et fide, pessimi malignitate et livore pronum deterioribus principem extimulabant. Sic Agricola simul suis virtutibus, simul vitiis aliorum in ipsam gloriam praeceps agebatur. Translation

      [42] Aderat iam annus, quo proconsulatum Africae et Asiae sortiretur, et occiso Civica nuper nec Agricolae consilium deerat nec Domitiano exemplum. Accessere quidam cogitationum principis periti, qui iturusne esset in provinciam ultro Agricolam interrogarent. Ac primo occultius quietem et otium laudare, mox operam suam in adprobanda excusatione offerre, postremo non iam obscuri suadentes simul terrentesque pertraxere ad Domitianum. Qui paratus simulatione, in adrogantiam compositus, et audiit preces excusantis, et, cum adnuisset, agi sibi gratias passus est, nec erubuit beneficii invidia. Salarium tamen proconsulare solitum offerri et quibusdam a se ipso concessum Agricolae non dedit, sive offensus non petitum, sive ex conscientia, ne quod vetuerat videretur emisse. Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris: Domitiani vero natura praeceps in iram, et quo obscurior, eo inrevocabilior, moderatione tamen prudentiaque Agricolae leniebatur, quia non contumacia neque inani iactatione libertatis famam fatumque provocabat. Sciant, quibus moris est inlicita mirari, posse etiam sub malis principibus magnos viros esse, obsequiumque ac modestiam, si industria ac vigor adsint, eo laudis excedere, quo plerique per abrupta, sed in nullum rei publicae usum <nisi> ambitiosa morte inclaruerunt. Translation

      [43] Finis vitae eius nobis luctuosus, amicis tristis, extraneis etiam ignotisque non sine cura fuit. vulgus quoque et hic aliud agens populus et ventitavere ad domum et per fora et circulos locuti sunt; nec quisquam audita morte Agricolae aut laetatus est aut statim oblitus. Augebat miserationem constans rumor veneno interceptum: nobis nihil comperti, [ut] adfirmare ausim. Ceterum per omnem valetudinem eius crebrius quam ex more principatus per nuntios visentis et libertorum primi et medicorum intimi venere, sive cura illud sive inquisitio erat. Supremo quidem die momenta ipsa deficientis per dispositos cursores nuntiata constabat, nullo credente sic adcelerari quae tristis audiret. Speciem tamen doloris animi vultu prae se tulit, securus iam odii et qui facilius dissimularet gaudium quam metum. Satis constabat lecto testamento Agricolae, quo coheredem optimae uxori et piissimae filiae Domitianum scripsit, laetatum eum velut honore iudicioque. Tam caeca et corrupta mens adsiduis adulationibus erat, ut nesciret a bono patre non scribi heredem nisi malum principem. Translation

      [44] Natus erat Agricola Gaio Caesare tertium consule idibus Iuniis: excessit quarto et quinquagesimo anno, decimum kalendas Septembris Collega Prisc<in>oque consulibus. Quod si habitum quoque eius posteri noscere velint, decentior quam sublimior fuit; nihil impetus in vultu: gratia oris supererat. Bonum virum facile crederes, magnum libenter. Et ipse quidem, quamquam medio in spatio integrae aetatis ereptus, quantum ad gloriam, longissimum aevum peregit. Quippe et vera bona, quae in virtutibus sita sunt, impleverat, et consulari ac triumphalibus ornamentis praedito quid aliud adstruere fortuna poterat? Opibus nimiis non gaudebat, speciosae [non] contigerant. Filia atque uxore superstitibus potest videri etiam beatus incolumi dignitate, florente fama, salvis adfinitatibus et amicitiis futura effugisse. Nam sicut ei [non licuit] durare in hanc beatissimi saeculi lucem ac principem Traianum videre, quod augurio votisque apud nostras auris ominabatur, ita festinatae mortis grande solacium tulit evasisse postremum illud tempus, quo Domitianus non iam per intervalla ac spiramenta temporum, sed continuo et velut uno ictu rem publicam exhausit. Translation

      [45] Non vidit Agricola obsessam curiam et clausum armis senatum et eadem strage tot consularium caedes, tot nobilissimarum feminarum exilia et fugas. Una adhuc victoria Carus Mettius censebatur, et intra Albanam arcem sententia Messalini strepebat, et Massa Baebius iam tum reus erat: mox nostrae duxere Helvidium in carcerem manus; nos Maurici Rusticique visus [foedavit]; nos innocenti sanguine Senecio perfudit. Nero tamen subtraxit oculos suos iussitque scelera, non spectavit: praecipua sub Domitiano miseriarum pars erat videre et aspici, cum suspiria nostra subscriberentur, cum denotandis tot hominum palloribus sufficeret saevus ille vultus et rubor, quo se contra pudorem muniebat. Tu vero felix, Agricola, non vitae tantum claritate, sed etiam opportunitate mortis. Ut perhibent qui interfuere novissimis sermonibus tuis, constans et libens fatum excepisti, tamquam pro virili portione innocentiam principi donares. Sed mihi filiaeque eius praeter acerbitatem parentis erepti auget maestitiam, quod adsidere valetudini, fovere deficientem, satiari vultu complexuque non contigit. Excepissemus certe mandata vocesque, quas penitus animo figeremus. Noster hic dolor, nostrum vulnus, nobis tam longae absentiae condicione ante quadriennium amissus est. Omnia sine dubio, optime parentum, adsidente amantissima uxore superfuere honori tuo: paucioribus tamen lacrimis comploratus es, et novissima in luce desideravere aliquid oculi tui. Translation

      [46] Si quis piorum manibus locus, si, ut sapientibus placet, non cum corpore extinguuntur magnae animae, placide quiescas, nosque domum tuam ab infirmo desiderio et muliebribus lamentis ad contemplationem virtutum tuarum voces, quas neque lugeri neque plangi fas est. Admiratione te potius et immortalibus laudibus et, si natura suppeditet, similitudine colamus: is verus honos, ea coniunctissimi cuiusque pietas. Id filiae quoque uxorique praeceperim, sic patris, sic mariti memoriam venerari, ut omnia facta dictaque eius secum revolvant, formamque ac figuram animi magis quam corporis complectantur, non quia intercedendum putem imaginibus quae marmore aut aere finguntur, sed ut vultus hominum, ita simulacra vultus imbecilla ac mortalia sunt, forma mentis aeterna, quam tenere et exprimere non per alienam materiam et artem, sed tuis ipse moribus possis. Quidquid ex Agricola amavimus, quidquid mirati sumus, manet mansurumque est in animis hominum in aeternitae temporum, fama rerum; nam multos veterum velut inglorios et ignobilis oblivio obruit: Agricola posteritati narratus et traditus superstes erit. Translation

      ]]> (Mike Haseler) Texts Sat, 20 Sep 2014 09:30:02 +0000
      Tacitus: The Life of Gnaeus Julius Agricola

      Tacitus: The Life of Gnaeus Julius Agricola

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      [Chapter 1] (Introduction)
      To bequeath to posterity a record of the deeds and characters of distinguished men is an ancient practice which even the present age, careless as it is of its own sons, has not abandoned whenever some great and conspicuous excellence has conquered and risen superior to that failing, common to petty and to great states, blindness and hostility to goodness. But in days gone by as there was a greater inclination and a more open path to the achievement of memorable actions, so the man of highest genius was led by the simple reward of a good conscience to hand on without partiality or self-seeking the remembrance of greatness. Many too thought that to write their own lives showed the confidence of integrity rather than presumption. Of Rutilius and Scaurus no one doubted the honesty or questioned the motives. So true is it that merit is best appreciated by the age in which it thrives most easily. But in these days, I, who have to record the life of one who has passed away, must crave an indulgence, which I should not have had to ask had I only to inveigh against an age so cruel, so hostile to all virtue. Latin

      [Chapter 2] We have read that the panegyrics pronounced by Arulenus Rusticus on Paetus Thrasea, and by Herennius Senecio on Priscus Helvidius, were made capital crimes, that not only their persons but their very books were objects of rage, and that the triumvirs were commissioned to burn in the forum those works of splendid genius. They fancied, forsooth that in that fire the voice of the Roman people, the freedom of the Senate, and the conscience of the human race were perishing, while at the same they banished the teachers of philosophy, and exiled every noble pursuit, that nothing good might anywhere confront them. Certainly we showed a magnificent example of patience; as a former age had witnessed the extreme of liberty, so we witnessed the extreme of servitude, when the informer robbed us of the interchange of speech and hearing. We should have lost memory as well as voice, had it been as easy to forget as to keep silence. Latin

      [Chapter 3] Now at last our spirit is returning. And yet, though at the dawn of a most happy age Nerva Caesar blended things once irreconcilable, sovereignty and freedom, though Nerva Trajan is now daily augmenting the prosperity of the time, and though the public safety has not only our hopes and good wishes, but has also the certain pledge of their fulfilment, still, from the necessary condition of human frailty, the remedy works less quickly than the disease. As our bodies grow but slowly, perish in a moment, so it is easier to crush than to revive genius and its pursuits. Besides, the charm of indolence steals over us, and the idleness which at first we loathed we afterwards love. What if during those fifteen years, a large portion of human life, many were cut off by ordinary casualties, and the ablest fell victims to the Emperor's rage, if a few of us survive, I may almost say, not only others but our ownselves, survive, though there have been taken from the midst of life those many years which brought the young in dumb silence to old age, and the old almost to the very verge and end of existence! Yet we shall not regret that we have told, though in language unskillful and unadorned, the story of past servitude, and borne our testimony to present happiness. Meanwhile this book, intended to do honour to Agricola, my father-in-law, will, as an expression of filial regard, be commended, or at least excused. Latin

      [Chapter 4] (Agricola's early life)
      Gnaeus Julius Agricola was born at the ancient and famous colony of Forum Julii. Each of his grandfathers was an Imperial procurator, that is, of the highest equestrian rank. His father, Julius Graecinus, a member of the Senatorian order, and distinguished for his pursuit of eloquence and philosophy, earned for himself by these very merits the displeasure of Gaius Caligula. He was ordered to impeach Marcus Silanus, and because he refused was put to death. His mother was Julia Procilla, a lady of singular virtue. Brought up by her side with fond affection, he passed his boyhood and youth in the cultivation of every worthy attainment. He was guarded from the enticements of the profligate not only by his own good and straightforward character, but also by having, when quite a child, for the scene and guide of his studies, Massilia, a place where refinement and provincial frugality were blended and happily combined. I remember that he used to tell us how in his early youth he would have imbibed a keener love of philosophy than became a Roman and a senator, had not his mother's good sense checked his excited and ardent spirit. It was the case of a lofty and aspiring soul craving with more eagerness than caution the beauty and splendor of great and glorious renown. But it was soon mellowed by reason and experience, and he retained from his learning that most difficult of lessons--moderation. Latin

      [Chapter 5] (Military apprenticeship in Britain)
      He served his military apprenticeship in Britain to the satisfaction of Suetonius Paullinus, a painstaking and judicious officer, who, to test his merits, selected him to share his tent. Without the recklessness with which young men often make the profession of arms a mere pastime, and without indolence, he never availed himself of his tribune's rank or his inexperience to procure enjoyment or to escape from duty. He sought to make himself acquainted with the province and known to the army; he would learn from the skilful, and keep pace with the bravest, would attempt nothing for display, would avoid nothing from fear, and would be at once careful and vigilant. Never indeed had Britain been more excited, or in a more critical condition. Veteran soldiers had been massacred, colonies burnt, armies cut off. The struggle was then for safety; it was soon to be for victory. And though all this was conducted under the leadership and direction of another, though the final issue and the glory of having won back the province belonged to the general, yet skill, experience, and ambition were acquired by the young officer. His soul too was penetrated with the desire of warlike renown, a sentiment unwelcome to an age which put a sinister construction on eminent merit, and made glory as perilous as infamy. Latin

      [Chapter 6] (Rome and Marriage)
      From Britain he went to Rome, to go through the regular course of office, and there allied himself with Domitia Decidiana, a lady of illustrious birth. The marriage was one which gave a man ambitious of advancement distinction and support. They lived in singular harmony, through their mutual affection and preference of each other to self. However, the good wife deserves the greater praise, just as the bad incurs a heavier censure. Appointed Quaestor, the ballot gave him Asia for his province, Salvius Titianus for his proconsul. Neither the one nor the other corrupted him, though the province was rich and an easy prey to the wrongdoer, while the proconsul, a man inclined to every species of greed, was ready by all manner of indulgence to purchase a mutual concealment of guilt. A daughter was there added to his family to be his stay and comfort, for shortly after he lost the son that had before been born to him. The year between his quaestorship and tribunate, as well as the year of the tribunate itself, he passed in retirement and inaction, for he knew those times of Nero when indolence stood for wisdom. His praetorship was passed in the same consistent quietude, for the usual judicial functions did not fall to his lot. The games and the pageantry of his office he ordered according to the mean between strictness and profusion, avoiding extravagance, but not missing distinction. He was afterwards appointed by Galba to draw up an account of the temple offerings, and his searching scrutiny relieved the conscience of the state from the burden of all sacrileges but those committed by Nero. Latin

      [Chapter 7] (Command of 20th Legion /Vespasian)
      The following year inflicted a terrible blow on his affections and his fortunes. Otho's fleet, while cruising idly about, cruelly ravaged Intemelii, a district of Liguria; his mother, who was living here on her own estate, was murdered. The estate itself and a large part of her patrimony were plundered. This was indeed the occasion of the crime. Agricola, who instantly set out to discharge the duties of affection, was overtaken by the tidings that Vespasian was aiming at the throne. He at once joined his party. Vespasian's early policy, and the government of Rome were directed by Mucianus, for Domitian was a mere youth, and from his father's elevation sought only the opportunities of indulgence. Agricola, having been sent by Mucianus to conduct a levy of troops, and having done his work with integrity and energy, was appointed to command the 20th Legion, which had been slow to take the new oath of allegiance and the retiring officer of which was reported to be acting disloyally. It was a trying and formidable charge for even officers of consular rank, and the late praetorian officer, perhaps from his own disposition, perhaps from that of the soldiers, was powerless to restrain them. Chosen thus at once to supersede and to punish, Agricola, with a singular moderation, wished it to be thought that he had found rather than made an obedient soldiery. Latin

      [Chapter 8] (Britain under Vettius Bolanus & Petilius Cerialis)
      Britain was then under Vettius Bolanus, who governed more mildly than suited so turbulent a province. Agricola moderated his energy and restrained his ardour, that he might not grow too important, for he had learnt to obey, and understood well how to combine expediency with honour. Soon afterwards Britain received for its governor a man of consular rank, Petilius Cerialis. Agricola's merits had not room for display. Cerialis let him share at first indeed only the toils and dangers, but before long the glory of war, often by way of trial putting him in command of part of the army, and sometimes, on the strength of the result, of larger forces. Never to enhance his own renown did Agricola boast of his exploits; he always referred his success, as though he were but an instrument, to his general and director. Thus by his valour in obeying orders and by his modesty of speech he escaped jealousy without losing distinction. Latin

      [Chapter 9] (Aquitania)
      As he was returning from the command of the legion, Vespasian admitted him into the patrician order, and then gave him the province of Aquitania, a pre-eminently splendid appointment both from the importance of its duties and the prospect of the consulate to which the Emperor destined him. It is a common belief that soldiers lack the finer points of intelligence; and indeed the law of the court-martial, knowing no appeal and proceeding bluntly to its usually summary decisions, gives no scope to the chicanery of the law-courts. But Agricola, even in dealing with civilians, had enough good sense to be natural and just. He made a clear division between hours of business and relaxation. When the provincial courts demanded attention, he was dignified, serious and austere, though still inclined to mercy. When duty had had its due, he put off the official pose; harshness, arrogance and greed had long ceased to be part of his make-up. He succeeded where few succeed; he lost no authority by his affability, no affection by his sternness. To mention incorruptibility and self-denial in a man of his calibre would be to insult his virtues. The desire for fame is often a secret weakness even of the good, but Agricola never courted fame by advertisement or intrigue. Scorning all rivalry with his colleagues, all bickering with the procurators, he deemed it no triumph to override others, but ignominious to be overborne himself. He was kept in this command for less than three years and then called home to the immediate prospect of the consulship. Public opinion insisted that the province of Britain was intended for him, not because he said anything to suggest it, but because he was obviously the right man. Rumour is not always at fault; it may even prompt a selection. In his consulship he betrothed to me, in my early manhood, his daughter, a girl of rare promise, and after its close gave her to me in marriage. Immediately afterwards he received the command of Britain, coupled with the priestly office of pontifex. Latin

      [Chapter 10] (Description of Britain)
      Though the geographical position and peoples of Britain have been described by many writers, I am going to describe them again, not to match my skill and research against theirs, but because the conquest was only completed in this period. Where my predecessors relied on style to adorn their guesses, I shall offer assured fact. Britain, the largest of the islands known to us Romans, is so shaped and situated as to face Germany on the East and Spain on the West, while to the South it actually lies in full view of Gaul. Its northern shores, with no land confronting them, are beaten by a wild and open sea. The general shape of Britain has been compared by Livy, the best of the old writers, and by Fabius Rusticus, the best of the younger, to an elongated diamond or a double headed axe. Such indeed is its shape south of Caledonia, and so the same shape has been attributed to the whole. But when you go farther North you find a huge and shapeless tract of country, jutting out towards the land's end and finally tapering into a kind of wedge. This coast of that remotest sea was first rounded, at this time, by a Roman fleet, which thus established the fact that Britain was an island. At the same time it discovered and subdued the Orkney Islands, hitherto unknown. Thule, too, was sighted by our men, but no more; their orders took them no farther, and winter was close at hand. But they do report that the sea is sluggish and heavy to the oar and, even with the wind, does not rise as other seas do. The reason, I suppose, is that lands and mountains, which create and feed storms, are scarcer there and the deep mass of an unbroken sea is more slowly set in motion. To investigate the nature of Ocean and its tides lies outside my immediate scope, and the tale has often been told. I will add just one observation. Nowhere does the sea hold wider sway; it carries to and fro in its motion a mass of currents, and, in its ebb and flow, is not held by the coast, but passes deep inland and winds about, pushing in among highlands and mountains, as if in its own domain. Latin

      [Chapter 11] (The British)
      Who were the first inhabitants of Britain, whether natives or immigrants, remains obscure. One must remember we are dealing with barbarians. But physical characteristics vary, and from this we may suggest: that the reddish-yellow hair and large limbs of Caledonians proclaim a German origin; the swarthy faces of Silures, the tendency of their hair to curl and the fact that Spain lies opposite, all lead one to believe that Spaniards crossed in ancient times and conquered the land, and likewise nearest Gaul, either from the permanent influence of original descent, or because in countries so close, climate has produced similar physical qualities. In general however, it seems Gauls also invaded their neighbouring island. You find the same holy things and superstitious persuasions, there is similar language, and there is the same boldness in challenging danger, and when danger comes, the same timidity in shrinking from it. However the Britons have more spirit, so the long peace has not emasculated them. For the Gauls who were once renowned in war but quickly inactive in peace, lost power as well as freedom, like those Britons who were conquered long ago, but the rest are still what the Gauls once were3. Latin

      [Chapter 12] (Britain)
      Their strength is in their infantry. Some tribes also fight from chariots. The nobleman drives, his dependants fight in his defence. Once they owed obedience to kings; now they are distracted between the jarring factions of rival chiefs. Indeed, nothing has helped us more in war with their strongest nations than their inability to cooperate. It is but seldom that two or three states unite to repel a common danger; fighting in detail they are conquered wholesale. The climate is objectionable, with its frequent rains and mists, but there is no extreme cold. Their day is longer than is normal in the Roman world. The night is bright and, in the extreme North, short, with only a brief interval between evening and morning twilight. If no clouds block the view, the sun's glow, it is said, can be seen all night long. It does not set and rise, but simply passes along the horizon. The reason must be that the ends of the earth, being flat, cast low shadows and cannot raise the darkness to any height; night therefore fails to reach the sky and its stars. The soil can bear all produce, except the olive, the vine, and other natives of warmer climes, and it is fertile. Crops are slow to ripen, but quick to grow —both facts due to one and the same cause, the extreme moistness of land and sky. Britain yields gold, silver and other metals, to make it worth conquering. Ocean, too, has its pearls, but they are dusky and mottled. Some think that the natives are unskilful in gathering them. Whereas in the Red Sea the oysters are torn alive and breathing from the rocks, in Britain they are collected as the sea throws them up. I find it easier to believe in a defect of quality in the pearls than of greed in us. Latin

      [Chapter 13] The Britons themselves submit to the levy, the tribute and the other charges of Empire with cheerful readiness, provided that there is no abuse. That they bitterly resent; for they are broken in to obedience, not to slavery. The deified Julius, the first Roman to enter Britain with an army, did indeed intimidate the natives by a victory and secure a grip on the coast. But though perhaps he hinted to posterity how the island might be won, it was not his to bequeath. After him came the Civil Wars, with the leading men of Rome fighting against their country. Even when peace returned, Britain was long out of mind. The deified Augustus spoke of this as 'policy', Tiberius called it 'precedent'. Gaius Caesar unquestionably planned an invasion of Britain; but his quick fancies shifted like a weathercock, and his vast efforts against Germany ended in farce. The deified Claudius was responsible for-reviving the plan. He sent over legions and auxiliaries and chose Vespasian as his coadjutor-the first step towards his future greatness. Nations were subdued, kings captured, and the finger of fate pointed to Vespasian. Latin

      [Chapter 14] (British governors: Aulus Plautius, Didius Gallus, Suetonius Paulinus)
      Aulus Plautius was the first ex-consul to be appointed governor, and soon after him came Ostorius Scapula —both of them fine soldiers. The nearest parts of Britain were gradually shaped into a province, and to crown all came a colony of veterans. Certain states were presented to King Cogidumnus, who maintained his unswerving loyalty down to our own times —an example of the long established Roman custom of employing even kings to make others slaves. Didius Gallus, the next governor, kept a firm hold on what his predecessors had won, and even pushed some few forts into outlying districts, so that he could say that he had extended his sphere of duty. Veranius succeeded Didius, only to die within the year. After him, Suetonius Paulinus enjoyed two years of success, conquering tribes and establishing strong forts. Emboldened thereby to attack the island of Anglesey, which was feeding the native resistance, he exposed himself to a stab in the back. Latin

      [Chapter 15] (Boudiccan revolt)
      For the Britons, freed from their repressions by the absence of the dreaded legate, began to discuss the woes of slavery, to compare their wrongs and sharpen their sting in the telling. 'We gain nothing by submission except heavier burdens for willing shoulders. Once each tribe had one king, now two are clamped on us-the legate to wreak his fury on our lives,the procurator on our property. We subjects are damned in either case, whether our masters quarrel or agree. Their gangs of centurions or slaves, as the case may be, mingle violence and insult. Nothing is any longer safe from their greed and lust. In war it is the braver who takes the spoil; as things stand with us, it is mostly cowards and shirkers that rob our homes, kidnap our children and conscript our men. Any cause is good enough for us to die for-any but our country's. But what a mere handful our invaders are, if we reckon up our own numbers. The Germans, reckoning so, threw off the yoke, and they had only a river, not the Ocean, to shield them. We have country, wives and parents to fight for; the Romans have nothing but greed and self-indulgence. Back they will go, as the deified Julius went back, if only we can rival the valour of our fathers. We must not be scared by the loss of one battle or even two; success may foster the spirit of offence, but it is suffering that gives the power to endure. The gods themselves are at last showing mercy to us Britons in keeping the Roman general away, with his army exiled in another island. For ourselves we have already taken the most difficult step-we have begun to plot. And in an enterprise like this there is more danger in being caught plotting than in taking the plunge.' Latin

      [Chapter 16] Goaded by such mutual encouragements, the whole island rose under the leadership of Boudicca, a lady of royal descent-for Britons make no distinction of sex in their leaders. They hunted down the Roman troops in their scattered posts, stormed the forts and assaulted the colony itself, in which they saw their slavery focused; nor did the angry victors deny themselves any form of savage cruelty. In fact, had not Paulinus, on hearing of the revolt, made speed to help, Britain would have been lost. As it was, he restored it to its old obedience by a single successful action. But many guilty rebels refused to lay down their arms out of a peculiar dread of the legate. Fine officer though he was, he seemed likely to abuse their unconditional surrender and punish with undue severity wrongs which he insisted on making personal.

      (British governors: Petronius Turpilianus, Trebellius Maximus & Vettius Bolanus)
      The government therefore replaced him by Petronius Turpilianus. They hoped that he would be more merciful and readier to forgive offences to which he was a stranger. He composed the existing troubles, but risked no further move before handing over his province to Trebellius Maximus. Trebellius was deficient in energy and without military experience, but he governed his province like a gentleman. The barbarians now learned, like any Romans, to condone seductive vices, while the intervention of our Civil Wars gave a reasonable excuse for inactivity. There was, however, a serious outbreak of mutiny, for the troops, accustomed to campaigns, ran riot in peace. Trebellius fled and hid to escape his angry army. His self-respect and dignity compromised, he now commanded merely on sufferance. By a kind of tacit bargain the troops kept their license, the general his life, and the mutiny stopped short of bloodshed. Vettius Bolanus, likewise, as the Civil War still ran its course, declined to disturb Britain by enforcing discipline. There was still the same paralysis in face of the foe, the same lack of discipline in the camp-only Bolanus was a decent man, with no sins to make him hated, and had won affection where he lacked authority. Latin

      [Chapter 17] (Vespasian appoints Petillius Cerealis)
      But when Vespasian, in the course of his general triumph, recovered Britain, there came a succession of great generals and splendid armies, and the hopes of our enemies dwindled. Petillius Cerealis at once struck terror into their hearts by attacking the state of the Brigantes, which is said to be the most populous in the whole province. After a series of battles, some not uncostly, Petillius had operated, if not actually triumphed, over the major part of their territory. Petillius, indeed, would have eclipsed the record and reputation of any ordinary successor. But Julius Frontinus shouldered the heavy burden, and rose as high as a man then could rise. He subdued by force of arms the strong and war-like nation of the Silures, laboriously triumphing not only over a brave enemy but also over a difficult terrain. Latin

      [Chapter 18] (Agricola governor of Britain)
      Such was the state of Britain, such the vicissitudes of war that Agricola found waiting for him when he crossed the Channel with the summer half spent, a season when campaigning seems to be over and our troops tend to relax, while our enemies seek to profit thereby. Shortly before his arrival the tribe of the Ordovices had almost wiped out a squadron of cavalry stationed in their territory, and this initial stroke had excited the province. The war-party welcomed the lead, and only waited to test the temper of the new legate. The summer was far spent, the irregulars were scattered over the province, the legionaries were assuming that there would be no more fighting that year. Everything, in fact, combined to hamper or thwart a new campaign, and many were in favour of simply watching where the danger lay. In spite of all, Agricola decided to go and meet the threat. He drew together detachments of the legions and a small force of auxiliaries. As the Ordovices did not venture to meet him in the plain, he marched his men into the hills, himself in the van, to lend his own courage to the rest by sharing their peril. Thus he cut to pieces almost the whole fighting force of the nation. But he realized that he must not lag behind his reputation and that the success of his first enterprises would decide how much his other enemies would fear him. He decided, therefore, to reduce the island of Anglesey, from the occupation of which Paulinus had been recalled by the revolt of all Britain, as I described in an earlier chapter. The plan was hastily conceived, and there was no fleet at hand; the resource and resolution of the general had to take the troops across. Agricola picked out the best of his auxiliaries, who had experience of fords and had been trained at home to swim with arms and horses under control beside them, and made them discard their whole equipment. He then launched them on a surprise attack, and the enemy, who had been thinking in terms of fleet, ships and naval warfare, completely lost their heads. What could embarrass or defeat a foe who attacked like that? They sued for peace and surrendered the island; and Agricola, in a flash, found himself enjoying reputation and respect. Had he not, at his very first entrance to the province, deliberately chosen a difficult and dangerous enterprise, at a time usually devoted to pageantry and ceremonial visits? Yet Agricola would not let success tickle his vanity. He had kept under control a conquered people; he would not represent that as a campaign of conquest. He did not even use laurel-wreathed dispatches to announce his achievement; but his very refusal to recognize his fame increased it. Men gauged his splendid hopes for the future by his reticence over so grand a triumph. Latin

      [Chapter 19] Agricola, however, understood the feelings of a province and had learned from the experience of others that arms can effect little if injustice follows in their train. He resolved to root out the causes of war. Beginning with himself and his staff, he enforced discipline in his own household first-a task often found as difficult as the government of a province. He made no use of freedmen or slaves for official business. He would not be influenced by personal feelings, recommendations or petitions in choosing his centurions and men. The best, he was sure, would best justify his trust. He knew everything, but did not always act as if he knew. He could condone minor offences, but had no kind of mercy for major ones. Some times he would omit to punish and be satisfied by a change of heart. He preferred to appoint to official positions and duties men whom he could trust not to transgress, rather than punish the transgressor. He eased the levy of corn and tribute by distributing the burden fairly, and cancelled those charges, contrived by profiteers, which were more bitterly resented than the tax itself. The provincials had actually been compelled to wait at the doors of closed granaries, buy back their own corn and pay farcical prices. Delivery was ordered to destinations off the map or at a great distance, and states that had permanent quarters of troops close by them had to send to remote and inaccessible spots, until a service that should have been easy for all ended by benefiting a few scoundrels only. Latin

      [Chapter 20] By checking these abuses in his very first year of office, Agricola gave men reason to love and honour peace. Hitherto, through the negligence or arbitrariness of former governors, it had been as much feared as war. But when summer came and he had concentrated his army, he was present everywhere on the march, praising discipline and checking stragglers. He himself chose the sites for camps, himself reconnoitred estuaries and woods; and all the time he gave the enemy no rest, but constantly launched plundering raids. Then, when he had done enough to inspire fear, he turned to mercy and proffered the allurements of peace. As a result, many states which had till then maintained their independence abandoned their resentful mood and accepted the curb of garrisons and forts; and so skilfully and thoroughly was the whole operation carried through that no fresh acquisition in Britain ever came off with so little challenge as this. Latin

      [Chapter 21] (Britons Romanised)
      The following winter was spent on schemes of the most salutary kind. To induce a people, hitherto scattered, uncivilized and therefore prone to fight, to grow pleasurably inured to peace and ease, Agricola gave private encouragement-and official assistance to the building of temples, public squares and private mansions. He praised the keen and scolded the slack, and competition to gain honour from him was as effective as compulsion. Furthermore, he trained the sons of the chiefs in the liberal arts and expressed a preference for British natural ability over the trained skill of the Gauls. The result was that in place of distaste for the Latin language came a passion to command it. In the same way, our national dress came into favour and the toga was everywhere to be seen. And so the Britons were gradually led on to the amenities that make vice agreeable-arcades, baths and sumptuous banquets. They spoke of such novelties as 'civilization', when really they were only a feature of enslavement. Latin

      [Chapter 22] (Establishing Forts)
      The third year of campaigning opened up new nations, because4 the territory of tribes as far as the estuary named Tanaus was being ravaged. Our army was seriously buffeted by furious storms, but the enemy were now too terrified to molest it. There was even time to spare for the establishment of forts. It was observed by experts that no general had ever shown a better eye for ground than Agricola. No fort of his was ever stormed, ever capitulated or was ever abandoned. They were protected against long protracted siege by supplies renewed every year. And so winter in these forts had no terrors. Frequent raids were made, and every commandant could look after himself. The enemy were baffled and near despairing. They could no longer retrieve the losses of the summer by the gains of the winter, but were equally hard pressed in both seasons. Agricola was never greedy in stealing the credit for other men's work. Every centurion and prefect found in him an honest witness to his merit. By some accounts, he could be very bitter in reprimand; and certainly he was as nasty to the wrong kind of man as he was nice to the right. But his anger left no secret residue, and you had no need to fear his silence. He thought it more honourable to hurt than to hate. Latin

      [Chapter 23] (Forth-Clyde)
      The fourth summer was spent in securing the districts already overrun, and, if the valour of our armies and the glory of Rome had not forbidden a halt, a place for halting was found inside Britain itself. Clyde and Forth, carried inland to a great depth on the tides of opposite seas, are separated only by a narrow neck of land. This neck was now secured by garrisons, and the whole sweep of country to the south was safe in our hands. The enemy had been pushed into what was virtually another island. Latin

      [Chapter 24] (Shores facing Ireland)
      In the fifth year of campaigning Agricola began with a sea passage, and in a series of successful actions subdued nations hitherto unknown. The whole side of Britain that faces Ireland was lined with his forces. But his motive was rather hope than fear. Ireland, lying between Britain and Spain, and easily accessible also from the Gallic sea, might, to great general advantage, bind in closer union that powerful section of the empire. Ireland is small in extent as compared to Britain, but larger than the islands of the Mediterranean. In soil, in climate and in the character and civilization of its inhabitants it is much like Britain. Its approaches and harbours are tolerably well known from merchants who trade there. Agricola had given a welcome to an Irish prince, who had been driven from home by a rebellion; nominally a friend, he might be used as a pawn in the game. I have often heard Agricola say that Ireland could be reduced and held by a single legion and a few auxiliaries, and that the conquest would also pay from the point of view of Britain, if Roman arms were in evidence on every side and liberty vanished off the map. Latin

      [Chapter 25] (Beyond the Forth-Clyde)
      In the summer in which his sixth year of office began, Agricola embraced in his schemes the states that lie beyond the Forth. Fearing a general rising of the northern nations and threatening movements by the enemy on land, he used his fleet to reconnoitre the harbours. It was first brought in by Agricola to bring up his forces to the requisite strength. Its continued attendance on him made an excellent impression. The war was pushed forward simultaneously by land and sea; and infantry, cavalry and marines, often meeting in the same camp, would mess and make merry together. They would boast, as soldiers will, of their several exploits and adventures, and match the perilous depths of woods and mountains against the hazards of storms and tides, the victories on land against the conquest of the ocean. The Britons, for their part, as was learned from prisoners, were stupefied by the appearance of the fleet. The mystery of their sea was divulged, their last refuge in defeat cut off. The natives of Caledonia turned to armed resistance on the grand scale, exaggerated, as the unknown always is, by rumour. Without provocation they attacked one of our forts, and inspired alarm by their challenging offensive. There were cowards in the council who pleaded for a 'strategic retreat' behind the Forth, claiming that 'evacuation is preferable to expulsion'. But at that very juncture Agricola learned that the enemy was about to attack in several columns. To avoid encirclement by superior forces he himself advanced with his army in three divisions. Latin

      [Chapter 26] (Attack on ninth legion)
      As soon as the enemy got to know of this move they suddenly changed their plans and massed for a night attack on the ninth legion. That seemed to them the weakest point. Striking panic into the sleeping camp, they cut down the sentries and broke in. The fight was already raging inside the camp when Agricola was warned by his scouts of the enemy's march. He followed close on their tracks, ordered the speediest of his cavalry and infantry to skirmish up to their rear, and finally made his whole army join in the battle cry. Dawn was now breaking, and the gleam of the standards could be clearly seen. The Britons were dismayed at being caught between two fires, while the men of the ninth took heart again; now that their lives were safe they could fight for honour. They even effected a sally, and a grim struggle ensued in the narrow passage to the gates. At last the enemy broke under the rival efforts of the two armies — the one striving to make it plain that they had brought relief, the other that they could have done without it. Had not marshes and woods covered the enemy's retreat, that victory would have ended the war. Latin

      [Chapter 27] Fired with self-confidence and the glory of this victory, the army protested that no obstacle could bar its brave advance; 'We must drive deeper and deeper into Caledonia and fight battle after battle till we have reached the end of Britain'. Even the conservative strategists of yesterday were forward and boastful enough after the victory. That is the crowning injustice of war; all claim credit for success, while defeat is laid to the account of one. The Britons, on their side, felt that they had not lost through any lack of courage, but through chance exploited by strategy. With unbroken spirit they persisted in arming their whole fighting force, putting their wives and children in places of safety and ratifying their league by conference and sacrifice. The campaign thus ended with the temper of both parties raised to fever-heat. Latin

      [Chapter 28] (The Usipi Sail Round Britain)
      That same summer a cohort of the Usipi that had been levied in Germany and transferred to Britain committed a crime remarkable enough to deserve record. They had had attached to them a centurion and soldiers, to teach them discipline in the first place and thereafter serve as models and directors. These they now murdered. They boarded three warships, constraining the pilots to do their will. Two of these incurred suspicion and were put to death, the third did as he was told. As their story was still unknown, they sailed along the coasts like a ship in a fairy story. But the time soon came when they had to put into land to get water and other necessaries. This brought them to blows with the Britons, who defended their property. Often successful, they were occasionally repulsed. They were finally reduced to such straits of famine that they first ate the weakest of their number and then victims drawn by lot. In this fashion they sailed right round Britain, then lost their ships through bad seamanship, were taken for pirates and were cut off first by the Suebi and then by the Frisii. Some of them were sold as slaves and passed from hand to hand till they reached our bank of the Rhine, where they gained notoriety from the circumstantial account of their great adventure. Latin

      [Chapter 29] (Mons Graupius)
      At the beginning of the summer Agricola suffered a grievous personal loss in the death of the son who had been born the previous year. This cruel blow drew from him neither the ostentatious stoicism of the strong man nor the loud expressions of grief that belong to women. He had also war to help to relieve his sorrow. He sent his fleet ahead to plunder at various points and thus spread uncertainty and terror, and, with an army marching light, which he had reinforced with the bravest of the Britons and those whose loyalty had been proved during a long peace, reached the Graupian Mountain, which he found occupied by the enemy. The Britons were, in fact, undaunted by the loss of the previous battle, and welcomed the choice between revenge and enslavement. They had realized at last that common action was needed to meet the common danger, and had sent round embassies and drawn up treaties to rally the full force of all their states. Already more than 30,000 men made a gallant show, and still they came flocking to the colours — all the young men and those whose 'old age was fresh and green', famous warriors with their battle honours thick upon them. At that point one of the many leaders, named Calgacus, a man of outstanding valour and nobility, summoned the masses who were already thirsting for battle and addressed them, we are told, in words like these: Latin

      [Chapter 30] (Calgacus' battle speech)
      "Whenever I consider why we are fighting and how we have reached this crisis, I have a strong sense that this day of your splendid rally may mean the dawn of liberty for the whole of Britain. You have mustered to a man, and to a man you are free. There are no lands behind us, and even the sea is menaced by the Roman fleet. The clash of battle--the hero's glory-- has become the safest refuge for the coward. Battles against Rome have been lost and won before--but never without hope; we were always there in reserve. We, the choice flower of Britain, were treasured in her most secret places. Out of sight of subject shores, we kept even our eyes free from the defilement of tyranny. We, the last men on earth, the last of the free, have been shielded till today by the very remoteness and the seclusion for which we are famed. We have enjoyed the impressiveness of the unknown. But today the boundary of Britain is exposed; beyond us lies no nation, nothing but waves and rocks and the Romans, more deadly still than they, for you find in them an arrogance which no reasonable submission can elude. Brigands of the world, they have exhausted the land by their indiscriminate plunder? and now they ransack the sea. The wealth of an enemy excites their cupidity, his poverty their lust of power. East and West have failed to glut their maw. They are unique in being as violently tempted to attack the poor as the wealthy. Robbery, butchery, rapine, with false names they call Empire; and they make a wilderness and call it peace. Latin

      [Chapter 31] "We instinctively love our children and our kinsmen above all else. These are torn from us by conscription to slave in other lands. Our wives and sisters, even if they are not raped by Roman enemies, are seduced by them in the guise of guests and friends. Our goods and fortunes are ground down to pay tribute, our land and its harvest to supply corn, our bodies and hands to build roads through woods and swamps--all under blows and insults. Slaves, born into slavery, once sold, get their keep from their masters. But as for Britain, never a day passes but she pays and feeds her enslavers. In a private household it is the latest arrival who is always the butt of his fellow slaves; so, in this establishment, where all the world have long been slaves, it is we, the cheap new acquisitions, who are picked out for extirpation. You see, we have no fertile lands, no mines, no harbours, which we might be spared to work. Courage and martial spirit we have, but the master does not relish them in the subject. Even our remoteness and seclusion, while they protect, expose us to suspicion. Abandon, then, all hope of mercy and at last take courage, whether it is life or honour that you hold most dear. The Brigantes, with only a woman to lead them, burned the colony, stormed the camp and, if success had not made them grossly careless, might have cast off the yoke. Let us, then, uncorrupted, unconquered as we are, ready to fight for freedom but never to repent failure, prove at the first clash of arms what heroes Caledonia has been holding in reserve. Latin

      [Chapter 32] "Can you really imagine that the Romans' bravery in war comes up to their wantonness in peace? No! It is our quarrels and disunion that have given them fame. The reputation of the Roman army is built up on the faults of its enemies. Look at it, a motley agglomeration of nations, that will be shattered by defeat as surely as it is now held together by success! Or can you seriously think that those Gauls or Germans-and, to our bitter shame, many Britons too!-are bound to Rome by genuine loyalty or love? They may be lending their life-blood to foreign tyrants, but they were enemies of Rome much longer than they have been her slaves. Apprehension and terror are weak bonds of affection; once break them, and, where fear ends, hatred will begin. All that can goad men to victory is on our side. The enemy have no wives to fire their courage, no parents ready to taunt them if they run away. Most of them have no country, or, if they have one, it is not Rome. See them, a scanty band, scared and bewildered, staring blankly at the unfamiliar sky, sea and forests around! The gods have given them, spellbound prisoners, into our hands. Never fear the outward show that means nothing, the glitter of gold and silver that can neither avert nor inflict a wound. In the ranks of our very enemies we shall find hands to help us. The Britons will recognize our cause as their own, the Gauls will remember their lost liberty, the rest of the Germans will desert them as surely as the Usipi have just done. They have nothing in reserve that need alarm us-only forts without garrisons, colonies of grey-beards, towns sick and distracted between rebel subjects and tyrant masters. Here before us is their general, here his army; behind are the tribute, the mines and all the other whips to scourge slaves. Whether you are to endure these for ever or take summary vengeance, this field must decide. On, then, into action and, as you go, think of those that went before you and of those that shall come after.' Latin

      [Chapter 33] (Agricola's battle speech)
      This speech was received with enthusiasm, expressed, as barbarians express it, by shouting, singing and confused applause. Bodies of troops began to move and arms blazed, as the adventurous sallied out in front, and all the time their battle-line was taking shape. Agricola's soldiers were in good heart and fretting at confinement within their defences. For all that, he felt it desirable to put the final edge on their courage and addressed them thus: 'This is the seventh year, comrades, that you by your valour, by the divine blessing on Rome and by my loyal efforts have been conquering Britain. All these campaigns, all these battles, have made great demands: on courage in face of the enemy, on patient toil in face of Nature herself; but, in all, I have had no complaint to make of my men nor you of your general. And so we have passed the limits that held back former legates and their armies. Our grip on the ends of Britain is vouched for, not by report or rumour, but by our encampment there in force. Britain has been discovered and at the same time subdued. How often on the march, when you were making your weary way over marshes, mountains and rivers, have I heard the bravest of you exclaim, "When shall we find the enemy? When shall we come to grips?" Well, here they come, dislodged from their lairs. The field lies open, as you so bravely desired it. An easy path awaits you if you win, but a hard and uphill one if you lose. The miles of hard marching behind you, the woods you have threaded, the estuaries you have crossed-all redound to your credit and honour, while you keep your eyes to the front; but, if once you retreat, present assets become deadly liabilities. We have not the exact local knowledge that our enemy has, we have not his abundant supplies; but we have our hands and our swords in them, and, with that, we have all that matters. For myself, I made up my mind long ago that no army and no general can safely turn their back. It follows, then, that a death of honour is better than a life of shame, and safety and renown are to be sought in the same field; and, if we must perish, it would be no mean glory to fall where land and nature end. Latin

      [Chapter 34] 'If you were confronted by strange nations and an unfamiliar army, I would quote the example of other armies to encourage you. That is not the case; you need only recall your own battle-honours, only question your own eyes. These are the men who last year took advantage of night-time to attack a single legion, only to be broken by your battle-cry. These are the Britons with the longest legs-the only reason they have survived so long. When we used to plunge into the woods and thickets, all the brave beasts charged straight at us, the timid and passive slunk away at the mere sound of our tread. It is just the same now. The flower of Britain has fallen long since; what is left is a pack of spiritless cravens. You have indeed got them at last; but you have caught them-they never meant to stand. It is only extreme danger and deadly fear that have rooted them to this spot, where you may gain a great and memorable victory. Have done with campaigning, crown fifty years with one day of splendour, convince Rome that, if wars have dragged on or been permitted to revive, her soldiers were not to blame!' Latin

      [Chapter 35] (The Battle of Mons Graupius)
      While Agricola was yet speaking, the ardour of the soldiers was rising to its height, and the close of his speech was followed by a great outburst of enthusiasm. In a moment they flew to arms. He arrayed his eager and impetuous troops in such a manner that the auxiliary infantry, 8,000 in number, strengthened his centre, while 3,000 cavalry were posted on his wings. The legions were drawn up in front of the entrenched camp; his victory would be vastly more glorious if won without the loss of Roman blood, and he would have a reserve in case of repulse. The enemy, to make a formidable display, had posted himself on high ground; his van was on the plain, while the rest of his army rose in an arch-like form up the slope of a hill. The plain between resounded with the noise and with the rapid movements of chariots and cavalry. Agricola, fearing that from the enemy's superiority of force he would be simultaneously attacked in front and on the flanks, widened his ranks, and though his line was likely to be too extended, and several officers advised him to bring up the legions, yet, so sanguine was he, so resolute in meeting danger, he sent away his horse and took his stand on foot before the colours. Latin

      [Chapter 36] The fighting began with exchanges of missiles, and the Britons showed both courage and skill in parrying our shots with their great swords or catching them on their little shields, while they themselves rained volleys on us. At last Agricola called upon the four cohorts of the Batavi and the two of the Tungri to close and fight it out at the sword's point. The manoeuvre was familiar to those old soldiers, but most inconvenient to the enemy with their small shields and unwieldy swords-swords without a thrusting point, and therefore unsuited to the clash of arms in close fighting. The Batavi began to rain blow after blow, push with the bosses of their shields and stab at their enemies in their face. They routed the enemy on the plain and pushed on uphill. This provoked the rest of our cohorts to drive in hard and butcher the enemy as they met him. Many Britons were left behind half dead or even unwounded, owing to the very speed of our victory. Our cavalry squadrons, meanwhile, had routed the war chariots, and now plunged into the infantry battle. Their first onslaught was terrifying, but the solid ranks of the enemy and the roughness of the ground soon brought them to a standstill. The battle now looked anything but favourable to us, with our infantry precariously perched on the slope and jostled by the flanks of the horses. And often a stray chariot, its horses panic-stricken without a driver, came plunging in on flank or front. Latin

      [Chapter 37] The Britons on the hill-tops had so far taken no part in the action, and had had leisure to note the smallness of our numbers with contempt. They now began to make a slow descent and envelop our victorious rear ranks. But Agricola had anticipated just such a move, and threw in their path four squadrons of cavalry,which he was keeping in hand for emergencies. He thus broke and scattered them in a rout as severe as their assault had been gallant. The tactics of the Britons now recoiled on themselves. Our squadrons, obedient to orders, rode round from the front and fell on the enemy in the rear. The spectacle that followed over the open country was awe-inspiring and grim. Our men followed hard, took prisoners and then killed them, as new enemies appeared. On the enemy's side each man now followed his bent. Some bands, though armed, fled before inferior numbers, some men, though unarmed, insisted on charging to their deaths. Arms, bodies, severed limbs lay all around and the earth reeked of blood; and the vanquished now and then found their fury and their courage again. Indeed, when they reached the woods, they rallied and profited by their local knowledge to ambush the first rash pursuers. Our excess of confidence might even have led to no inconsiderable disaster. But Agricola was everywhere at once. He ordered the cohorts to rally, discard their equipment and ring the woods like hunters. Where the woods were denser, dismounted cavalry went in to scour them; where they thinned out, the cavalry did the work. But the Britons, when they saw our ranks steady and firm and the pursuit beginning again, simply turned and ran. They no longer kept any formation or any touch with one another, but deliberately broke into small groups to reach their far and trackless retreats. Only night and exhaustion ended the pursuit. Of the enemy some 10,000 fell, on our side 360, among whom was Aulus Atticus, the prefect of a cohort, who in his young enthusiasm was carried by the charge of his horse deep into the ranks of the enemy. Latin

      [Chapter 38] (The Aftermath)
      Night brought our men the satisfactions of victory and booty. The Britons wandered all over the countryside, men and women together wailing, carrying off their wounded and calling out to the survivors. They would leave their homes and in fury set fire to them, and choose lairs, only to abandon them at once. Sometimes they would try to concert plans, then break off conference. Sometimes the sight of their dear ones broke their hearts, more often it goaded them to fury. Some, it was afterwards found, laid violent hands on their wives and children in a kind of pity. The next day revealed the quality of the victory more distinctly. A grim silence reigned on every hand, the lulls were deserted, only here and there was smoke seen rising from chimneys in the distance, and our scouts found no one to encounter them. When they had been sent out in all directions and had made sure that everything pointed to indiscriminate flight and that the enemy was not massing at any point, Agricola led his army into the territory of the Boresti. Summer was almost over, and it was impossible for operations to be extended over a wider area. There Agricola took hostages and ordered his admiral to coast round Britain. The forces allotted were sufficient, and the terror of Rome had gone before him. Agricola himself, marching slowly in order to inspire terror in fresh nations by his very lack of hurry, placed his infantry and cavalry in winter-quarters. At the same time, the fleet, sped by favouring winds and fame, took up its quarters in the harbour of Trucculurn from which it had set out to coast all the neighbouring stretch of Britain and to which it now returned. Latin

      [Chapter 39] (Domitian's disquiet)
      The news of these events, although reported by Agricola in his dispatches in the most exact and modest terms, was received by Domitian with the smile on his face that so often masked a secret disquiet. He was bitterly aware of the ridicule that had greeted his sham triumph over Germany, when he had bought up slaves to have their dress and hair made up to look like prisoners of war. But now came a genuine victory on the grand scale. The enemy dead were reckoned by thousands. The popular enthusiasm was immense. There was nothing Domitian need fear so much as to have the name of a subject exalted above that of his prince. He had only wasted time in silencing forensic eloquence and all that was distinguished in the civil career, if another man were to snatch his military glory. Talents in other directions could at a pinch be ignored; but the quality of a good general should be the monopoly of the emperor. Such were the anxieties that vexed him and over which he brooded till he was tired--a sure sign in him of deadly purpose; finally, he decided to store up his hatred for the present and wait for the first burst of popular applause and the enthusiasm of the army to die down. Agricola, you see, was still in possession of Britain. Latin

      [Chapter 40] Domitian therefore gave instructions that the external distinctions of triumph, the honour of a splendid statue and all the other substitutes for the triumph itself should be voted to Agricola in the Senate, coupled with a most flattering address; further, the impression was to be conveyed that the province of Syria, then vacant through the death of Atilius Rufus, the ex-consul, and always reserved for men of mark, was intended for Agricola. It was very commonly believed that one of the freedmen in Domitian's closest confidence was sent with dispatches offering Agricola Syria, but with instructions to deliver them only if he were still in Britain. The freedman, it is said, met Agricola's ship in the Channel and, without even seeking an interview, returned to Domitian. The story may be true, or it may be a fiction; at least it suits Domitian's character. Agricola, meanwhile, had handed over a province peaceful and secure to his successor. In order not to signalize his arrival in Rome by the publicity of a crowded welcome, he avoided the attentions of his friends and entered the city by night. By night, too, he went, in accordance with instructions, to the palace. He was welcomed with a perfunctory kiss and then dismissed, without a word of conversation, to join the crowd of courtiers. Agricola was anxious to tone down the military reputation which so easily offends civilians by displaying other qualities. He drank deep of peace and repose. He was modest in his dress, an affable companion, never seen with more than one or two friends. The result was that the majority who usually measure great men by their self-advertisement, after a close survey of Agricola, were left asking why he was famous; very few could read his secret aright. Latin

      [Chapter 41] Often during this period Agricola was denounced to Domitian behind his back, often behind his back acquitted. His danger did not arise from any charge against him or any complaint from a victim of his injustice, but from the Emperor's hatred of Merit, Agricola's own fame and that deadliest type of enemy, the singers of his praises. And, indeed, the fortunes of Rome in those ensuing years were not such as to permit Agricola to be forgotten in silence. One by one came the loss of all those armies in Moesia and Dacia, in Germany and Pannonia, through the rash folly or cowardice of their generals, the taking by storm and capture of all those captains and their cohorts. It was no longer the frontier and the Danube line that were in question, but the permanent quarters of the legions and the maintenance of the Empire. So, as loss was piled on loss, and year after year was signalized by death and disaster, public opinion began to clamour for Agricola to take command. His energy, his resolution and military expertness were universally contrasted with the general irresolution and cowardice. Domitian's own ears, we may be sure, were stung by the lash of such talk. The best of his freedmen spoke out of their loyal affection, the worst out of malice and spleen; but all alike infuriated an emperor who was so ready to go wrong. And so Agricola was driven headlong by his own virtues and the vices of others to where glory lay over the edge of a precipice. Latin

      [Chapter 42] (Agricola declines proconsulship of Africa or Asia)
      At last the year arrived in which Agricola was due to draw for the proconsulship of Africa or Asia; and, with the execution of Civica still fresh in memory, Agricola was not without warning nor Domitian without precedent. Agricola was approached by some of the Emperor's confidants with the straight question whether he meant to take a province. They began with somewhat guarded praises of the life of peaceful retirement, went on to promise their good services should Agricola care to decline, and finally, throwing off the mask, pleaded and threatened in direct terms, until he was ready to go with them to Domitian. The Emperor had his hypocrite's part prepared. He put on a majestic air, listened to Agricola's request to be excused, and, after granting it, allowed Agricola to thank him, with never a blush for so odious a concession. He did not, however, assign him the proconsular salary, usually offered in such cases and given by himself in some-perhaps from annoyance that Agricola had not asked for it, perhaps out of very shame, not wishing to appear to have bought an abstention which he had imposed. It is a sin peculiar to man to hate his victim. Yet even Domitian, prone as he was to plunge into fury and only the more inexorable if he tried to hide it, was appeased by the measured wisdom of Agricola, who declined, by a defiant and futile parade of freedom, to court the fame that must mean his fall. Let it be clear to those who insist on admiring insubordination that even under bad emperors men can be great, and that a decent regard for authority, if backed by ability and energy, can reach that peak of honour that many have stormed by precipitous paths, winning fame, without serving their country, by a melodramatic death. Latin

      [Chapter 43] (Agricola dies)
      The end of his life was, of course, a bitter blow to us, his kindred, and a sorrow to his friends; but it deeply affected others outside his circle and even complete strangers. The masses and the commons of Rome, usually so bent on their own concerns, flocked to his house to enquire and gossiped in the markets and clubs. When his death was announced there was no one to exult, no one to forget too readily. The sense of pity was quickened by the persistent rumour that he had been poisoned. We have no definite evidence--that is all that I can say for certain. I must add, however, that throughout the whole of his illness there were more visits from prominent freedmen and Court physicians than is usual even with emperors, whose visits are regularly paid by proxy. Perhaps it meant genuine concern, perhaps mere espionage. On the day of his death the critical stages of his decline were certainly reported by a line of couriers, and no one could believe that tidings need be brought so quickly if they were unwelcome. However, Domitian made a decent show of genuine sorrow; he was relieved of the need to hate, and he could always hide satisfaction more convincingly than fear. It is quite certain that he was genuinely delighted when Agricola's will was read in public; he left Domitian as co-heir with his good wife and loving daughter. Domitian took it as a deliberate compliment. His soul was so blinded and corrupted by incessant flattery that he could not realize that no good father makes any emperor but a bad one his heir. Latin

      [Chapter 44] Agricola was born on June 13th in the third consulship of Gaius Caesar; he died in his fifty-fourth year on August 23rd in the consulship of Collega and Priscinus. Should posterity care to know what he looked like, he was attractive rather than impressive. There was a lack of forcefulness in his features, but abundant charm of expression. You could see at a glance that he was a good man, you were tempted to believe him a great one. Cut off though he was in the middle of a life of splendid promise, measured by glory his life was absolutely complete. He had wholly realized those true blessings which reside in a man's own character. He had held the consulship, he bore the ornaments of triumph; what more could fortune contrive for him? He had no taste for vast wealth, while a handsome competence had fallen to his lot. We may count him blessed, then, who left a widow and daughter to survive him, who, in the full enjoyment of his great position, at the height of his fame, leaving kinsmen and friends secure, escaped by death from the wrath that was to come. Happy he, had he been permitted to see the dawn of this blessed age and the principate of Trajan, a prospect of which he often spoke to us in wistful prophecy! Yet it was no small consolation for his untimely loss that he missed those final days, when Domitian no longer left interval or breathing space, but, with a succession of blows so continuous as to give the effect of one, drained the last strength of the Roman state. Latin

      [Chapter 45] (Wretched Domitian)
      Agricola did not live to see the senate-house under siege, the senators hedged in by soldiers, and that one fell stroke that sent so many a consular to death, so many a noble lady to exile or flight. A single victory was all that was yet credited to Carus Mettius, the screech of Messalinus was still confined to debate in the Alban fortress and Massa Baebius was at that very moment in the dock. Soon, Helvidius was to be led to prison by our hands, we were to send Mauricus and Rusticus to their several fates, Senecio was to drench us with his innocent blood. Even Nero forbore to witness the abominations he ordered. Under Domitian more than half our wretchedness consisted in watching and being watched, while our very sighs were scored against us, and the blanched faces of us all were revealed in deadly contrast to that one scowling blush behind which Domitian sheltered against shame. Happy you, Agricola, in your glorious life, but no less happy in your timely death. We have the testimony of those who enjoyed your conversation at the last that you met death with a cheerful courage. You seemed glad to be doing your best to spare Domitian the guilt of killing you. But your daughter and I have suffered more than the pang of a father's loss; we still grieve that we could not tend your illness, cheer your failing powers and take our fill of fond look and embrace. We could not have failed to catch some words of admonition to be engraved forever in our hearts. It was our special sorrow, our peculiar hurt, that through the accident of our long absence from Rome, we had lost him four years before he died. All, more than all, dear Father, was assuredly done to honour you by the devoted wife at your side; but there were tears due to you that were not shed and, as the night fell, there was something for which your closing eyes looked in vain. Latin

      [Chapter 46] If there is any place for the souls of the pious, if, as the wise men think, great souls do not perish with the body, quiet, O Father, be your rest! May you call us, your household, from feeble regrets and unmanly mourning to contemplate your virtues, in presence of which sorrow and lamentation become a sin! May we honour you in better ways--by our admiration, by our undying praise, even, if our powers permit, by following your example! That is the true honour, the true affection of souls knit close to yours. To your daughter and widow I would suggest that they revere the memory of a father and a husband by continually pondering his deeds and sayings, and by cherishing his spiritual, above his physical, presence. Not that I would place an absolute ban on likenesses of marble or of bronze. But the image of the human face, like that face itself, is feeble and perishable, whereas the essence of the soul is eternal, never to be caught and expressed by the material and skill of a stranger, but only by you in your own living. All in Agricola that won our love and admiration abides and shall abide in the hearts of men, through endless ages, in the chronicles of fame. For oblivion will efface the memory of many of the great men of old as though without glory or nobility: Agricola, his story told and handed down to posterity, will survive. Latin


      1. Text found on line. Early paragraphs appear to be from Church and later paragraphs similar but not identical to Handford 1970
      2. 6/10/15: Links added
      3. Sect 11: Rewrite to reflect the Latin which separates Britons and Gauls and implies the Britons nearer Gaul were conquered by them.
      4. Sect 22: The Latin only says the country as far as Tanaus was being ravaged, but the agent doing this is unclear. But, given that the Clyde-Forth was discovered later [25], the agent is not Agricola with the Roman army. To avoid wrongly attributing the ravaging to the Roman army text changed from "[we invaded] for the territory ... was ravaged" to "[we invaded] because the territory ... was being ravaged."
      ]]> (Mike Haseler) Texts Fri, 12 Sep 2014 10:32:14 +0000