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Geoffrey of Monmouth History of the Kings of Britain

 
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Geoffrey of Monmouth
History of the Kings of Britain
page 3



their flight, and kills some of them in the stream, and some upon the banks; and running to and fro, rejoices to see them in both places exposed to ruin. But Antigonus, the brother of Pandrasus, grieved at this sight, rallied his scattered troops, and made a quick return upon the furious Trojans; for he rather chose to die making a brave resistance, than to be drowned in a muddy pool in a shameful flight. Thus attended with a close body of men, he encouraged them to stand their ground, and employed his whole force against the enemy with great vigour, but to little or no purpose; for the Trojans had arms, but the others none; and from this advantage they were more eager in the pursuit, and made a miserable slaughter; nor did they give over the assault till they had made nearly a total destruction, and taken Antigonus, and Anacletus his companion prisoners.

Chapter 6. The town of Sparatinum besieged by Pandrasus.

Brutus, after the victory, reinforced the town with six hundred men, and then retired to the woods, where the Trojan people were expecting his protection. In the meantime Pandrasus, grieving at his own flight and his brother’s captivity, endeavoured that night to re-assemble his broken forces, and the next morning went with a body of his people which he had got together, to besiege the town, into which he supposed Brutus had put himself with Antigonus and the rest of the prisoners that he had taken. As soon as he was arrived at the walls, and had viewed the situation of the castle, he divided his army into several bodies, and placed them round it in different stations. One party was charged not to suffer any of the besieged to go out; another to turn the courses of the rivers; and a third to beat down the walls with battering rams and other engines. In obedience to those commands, they laboured with their utmost force to distress the besieged; and night coming on, made choice of their bravest men to defend their camp and tents from the incursions of the enemy, while the rest, who were fatigued with labour, refreshed themselves with sleep.

Chapter 7. The besieged ask assistance of Brutus.

But the besieged, standing on the top of the walls, were no less vigorous to repel the force of the enemies’ engines, and assault them with their own, and cast forth darts and firebrands with a unanimous resolution to make a valiant defence. And when a breach was made through the wall, they compelled the enemy to retire, by throwing upon them fire and scalding water. But being distressed through scarcity of provision and daily labour, they sent an urgent message to Brutus, to hasten to their assistance, for they were afraid they might be so weakened as to be obliged to quit the town. Brutus, though desirous of relieving them, was under great perplexity, as he had not men enough to stand a pitched battle, and therefore made use of a stratagem, by which he proposed to enter the enemies’ camp by night, and having deceived their watch to kill them in their sleep. But because he knew this was impracticable without the concurrence and assistance of some Greeks, he called to him Anacletus, the companion of Antigonus, and with a drawn sword in his hand, spake to him after this manner:— “Noble youth! your own and Antigonus’s life is now at an end, unless you will faithfully perform what I command you. This night I design to invade the camp of the Greeks, and fall upon them unawares, but am afraid of being hindered in the attempt if the watch should discover the stratagem. Since it will be necessary, therefore, to have them killed first, I desire to make use of you to deceive them, that I may have the easier access to the rest. Do you therefore manage this affair cunningly. At the second hour of the night go to the watch, and with fair speeches tell them that you have brought away Antigonus from prison, and that he is come to the bottom of the woods, where he lies hid among the shrubs, and cannot get any farther, by reason of the fetters with which you shall pretend that he is bound. Then you shall conduct them, as if it were to deliver him, to the end of the wood, where I will attend with a band of men ready to kill them.”

Chapter 8. Anacletus, in fear of death, betrays the army of the Greeks.

Anacletus, seeing the sword threatening him with immediate death while these words were being pronounced, was so terrified as to promise upon oath, that on condition he and Antigonus should have longer life granted them, he would execute his command. Accordingly, the agreement being confirmed, at the second hour of the night he directs his way towards the Grecian camp, and when he was come near to it, the watch, who were then narrowly examining all the places where any one could hide, ran out from all parts to meet him, and demanded the occasion of his coming, and whether it was not to betray the army. He, with a show of great joy, made the following answer:—”I come not to betray my country, but having made my escape from the prison of the Trojans, I fly thither to desire you would go with me to Antigonus, whom I have delivered from Brutus’s chains. For being not able to come


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