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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 21

brother; after Arthmail, Eldol; to whom succeeded in order, Redion, Rederchius, Samuilpenissel, Pir, Capoir, and Cligueillus the son of Capoir, a man prudent and mild in all his actions, and who above all things made it his business to exercise true justice among his people.

Chapter 20. Heli’s three sons; the first of whom, viz. Lud, gives name to the city of London.

Next to him succeeded his son Heli, who reigned forty years. He had three sons, Lud, Cassibellaun, and Nennius; of whom Lud, being the eldest, succeeded to the kingdom after his father’s death. He became famous for the building of cities, and for rebuilding the walls of Trinovantum, which he also surrounded with innumerable towers. He likewise commanded the citizens to build houses, and all other kinds of structures in it, so that no city in all foreign countries to a great distance round could show more beautiful palaces. He was withal a warlike man, and very magnificent in his feasts and public entertainments. And though he had many other cities, yet he loved this above them all, and resided in it the greater part of the year; for which reason it was afterwards called Kaerlud, and by the corruption of the word, Caer-london; and again by change of languages, in process of time, London; as also by foreigners who arrived here, and reduced this country under their subjection, it was called Londres. At last, when he was dead, his body was buried by the gate which to this time is called in the British tongue after his name, Parthlud, and in the Saxon, Ludesgata. He had two sons, Androgeus and Tenuantius, who were incapable of governing on account of their age: and therefore their uncle Cassibellaun was preferred to the kingdom in their room. As soon as he was crowned, he began to display his generosity and magnificence to such a degree, that his fame reached to distant kingdoms; which was the reason that the monarchy of the whole kingdom came to be invested in him, and not in his nephews. Notwithstanding Cassibellaun, from an impulse of piety, would not suffer them to be without their share in the kingdom, but assigned a large part of it to them. For he bestowed the city of Trinovantum, with the dukedom of Kent, on Androgeus; and the dukedom of Cornwall on Tenuantius. But he himself, as possessing the crown, had the sovereignty over them, and all the other princes of the island.

Book 4.

Chapter 1. Julius Caesar invades Britain.

About this time it happened, (as is found in the Roman Histories) that Julius Caesar, having subdued Gaul, came to the shore of the Ruteni. And when from thence he had got a prospect of the island of Britain, he inquired of those about him what country it was, and what people inhabited it. Then fixing his eyes upon the ocean, as soon as he was informed of the name of the kingdom and the people, he said: “In truth we Romans and the Britons have the same origin, since both are descended from the Trojan race. Our first father, after the destruction of Troy, was Aeneas; theirs, Brutus, whose father was Sylvius, the son of Ascanius, the son of Aeneas. But I am deceived, if they are not very much degenerated from us, and know nothing of the art of war, since they live separated by the ocean from the whole world. They may be easily forced to become our tributaries, and subjects to the Roman state. But before the Romans offer to invade or assault them, we must send them word that they pay tribute as other nations do, and submit themselves to the senate; for fear we should violate the ancient nobility of our father Priamus, by shedding the blood of our kinsmen.” All which he accordingly took care to signify in writing to Cassibellaun; who in great indignation returned him an answer in the following letter.

Chapter 2. Cassibellaunus’s letter to Julius Caesar.

“Cassibellaun, king of the Britons, to Caius Julius Caesar. We cannot but wonder, Caesar, at the avarice of the Roman people, since their insatiable thirst for money cannot let us alone, though the dangers of the ocean have placed us in a manner out of the world; but they must have the presumption to covet our substance, which we have hitherto enjoyed in quiet. Neither is this indeed sufficient: we must also choose subjection and slavery to them, before the enjoyment of our native liberty. Your demand, therefore, Caesar, is scandalous, since the same vein of nobility flows from Aeneas in both Britons and Romans, and one and the same chain of consanguinity unites us: which ought to be a band of firm union and friendship. It was that, which you should have demanded of us, and not slavery: we have learned to admit of the one, but never to bear the other. And so much have we been accustomed to liberty, that we are perfectly ignorant what it is to submit to slavery. And if even the gods themselves should attempt to deprive us of our liberty, we would, to the utmost of our power, resist them in defence of it. Know then, Caesar, that we are ready to fight for that and our kingdom, if, as you threaten, you shall attempt to invade Britain.”

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