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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 16

Fifteen thousand men fell in the battle, nor were there a thousand of the rest that escaped unhurt. Brennius with much difficulty securing one ship, went as fortune drove him to the coasts of Gaul; but the rest that attended him, were forced to sculk up and down wherever their misfortunes led them.

Chapter 4. The king of Dacia, with Brennius’s wife, is released out of prison.

Belinus, after this victory, called a council of his nobility, to advise with them what he should do with the king of the Dacians, who had sent a message to him out of prison, that be would submit himself and the kingdom of Dacia to him, and also pay a yearly tribute, if he might have leave to depart with his mistress. He offered likewise to confirm this covenant with an oath, and the giving of hostages. When this proposal was laid before the nobility, they unanimously gave their assent that Belinus should grant Guichthlac his petition upon the terms offered. Accordingly he did grant it, and Guichthlac was released from prison, and returned with his mistress into Dacia.

Chapter 5. Belinus revives and confirms the Molmutine laws, especially about the highways.

Belinus now finding no body in the kingdom of Britain able to make head against him, and being possessed of the sovereignty of the whole island from sea to sea, confirmed the laws his father had made, and gave command for a settled execution of justice through his kingdom. But above all things he ordered that cities, and the roads leading to them, should enjoy the same privilege of peace that Dunwallo had established. But there arose a controversy about the roads, because the limits determining them were unknown. The king, therefore, willing to clear the law of all ambiguities, summoned all the workmen of the island together, and commanded them to pave a causeway of stone and mortar, which should run the whole length of the island, from the sea of Cornwall, to the shores of Caithness, and lead directly to the cities that lay along that extent. He commanded another to be made over the breadth of the kingdom, leading from Menevia, that was situated upon the Demetian Sea, to Hamo’s Port, and to pass through the interjacent cities. Other two he also made obliquely through the island, for a passage to the rest of the cities. He then confirmed to them all honours and privileges, and prescribed a law for the punishment of any injury committed upon them. But if any one is curious to know all that he decreed concerning them, let him read the Molmutine laws, which Gildas the historian translated from British into Latin, and king Alfred into English.

Chapter 6. Brennius, being made duke of the Allobroges, returns to Britain to fight with his brother.

While Belinus was thus reigning in peace and tranquillity, his brother Brennius, who (as we said before) was driven upon the coasts of Gaul, suffered great torments of mind. For it was a great affliction to him to be banished from his country, and to have no power of returning to retrieve his loss. Being ignorant what course to take, he went among the princes of Gaul, accompanied only with twelve men; and when he had related his misfortune to every one of them, but could procure assistance from none, he went at last to Seginus, duke of the Allobroges, from whom he had an honourable reception. During his stay here, he contracted such an intimacy with the duke, that he became the greatest favourite in the court. For in all affairs, both of peace and war, be showed a great capacity, so that this prince loved him with a paternal affection. He was besides of a graceful aspect, tall and slender in stature, and expert in hunting and fowling, as became his princely birth. So great was the friendship between them, that the duke resolved to give him his only daughter in marriage; and in case he himself should have no male issue, he appointed him and his daughter to succeed him in his dukedom of the Allobroges after his death. But if he should yet have a son, then he promised his assistance to advance him to the kingdom of Britain. Neither was this the desire of the duke only, but of all the nobility of his court, with whom he had very much ingratiated himself. So then without farther delay the marriage was solemnized, and the princes of the country paid their homage to him, as the successor to the throne. Scarcely was the year at an end before the duke died; and then Brennius took his opportunity of engaging those princes of the country firmly in his interest, whom before he had obliged with his friendship. And this he did by bestowing generously upon them the duke’s treasure, which had been hoarded up from the times of his ancestors. But that which the Allobroges most esteemed him for, was his sumptuous entertainments, and keeping an open house for all.

Chapter 7. Belinus and Brennius being made friends by the mediation of their mother, propose to subdue Gaul.

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