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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 25



them an opportunity of killing great numbers of the enemy. Caesar hereupon besieged the mountain that whole night, which had now overtaken them, and shut up all the avenues to it; intending to reduce the king by famine, since he could not do it by force of arms. Such was the wonderful valour of the British nation in those times, that they were able to put the conqueror of the world twice to flight and being ready to die for the defence of their country and liberty, they, even though defeated, withstood him whom the whole world could not withstand. Hence Lucan in their praise says of Caesar, “Territa quaesitis ostendit terga Britannis.” With pride he fought the Britons, but when found, Dreaded their force, and fled the hostile ground. Two days were now passed, when Cassibellaun having consumed all his provision, feared famine would oblige him to surrender himself prisoner to Caesar. For this reason he sent a message to Androgeus to make his peace with Julius, lest the honour of the nation might suffer by his being taken prisoner. He likewise represented to that he did not deserve to be pursued to death for the annoyance which he had given him. As soon as the messengers had told this to Androgeus, he made answer: “That prince deserves not to be loved, who in war is mild as a lamb, but in peace cruel as a lion. Ye gods of heaven and earth! Does my lord then condescend to entreat me now, whom before he took upon him to command? Does he desire to be reconciled and make his submission to Caesar, of whom Caesar himself, had before desired peace? He ought therefore to have considered, that he who was able to drive so great a commander out of the kingdom, was able also to bring him back again. I ought not to have been so unjustly treated, who had then done him so much service, as well as now so much injury. He must be mad who either injures or reproaches his fellow soldiers by whom he defeats the, enemy. The victory is not the commander’s, but theirs who lose their blood in fighting for him. However, I will procure him peace if I can, for the injury which he has done me is sufficiently revenged upon him, since he sues for mercy to me.”

Chapter 10. Androgeus’s speech to Caesar.

Androgeus after this went to Caesar, and after a respectful salutation addressed him in this manner: “You have sufficiently revenged yourself upon Cassibellaun; and now let clemency take place of vengeance. What more is there to be done than that he make his submission and pay tribute to the Roman state?” To this Caesar returned him no answer: upon which Androgeus said again; “My whole engagement with you, Caesar, was only to reduce Britain under your power, by the submission of Cassibellaun. Behold! Cassibellaun is now vanquished and Britain by any assistance become subject to you. What further service do I owe you? God forbid that I should suffer my sovereign who sues to me for peace, and makes me satisfaction for the injury which he has done me, to be in prison or in chains. It is no easy matter to put Cassibellaun to death while I have life; and if you do not comply with my demand, I shall not be ashamed to give him my assistance.” Caesar, alarmed at these menaces of Androgeus, was forced to comply, and entered into peace with Cassibellaun, on condition that he should pay a yearly tribute of three thousand pounds of silver. So then Julius and Cassibellaun from this time became friends, and made presents to each other. After this, Caesar wintered in Britain, and the following spring returned into Gaul. At length he assembled all his forces, and marched towards Rome against Pompey.

Chapter 11. Tenuantius is made king of Britain after Cassibellaun.

After seven years had expired, Cassibellaun died and was buried at York. He was succeeded by Tenuantius, duke of Cornwall, and brother of Androgeus: for Androgeus was gone to Rome with Caesar. Tenuantius therefore, now wearing the crown, governed the kingdom with diligence. He was a warlike man, and a strict observer of justice. after him Kymbelinus his son was advanced to the throne, being a great soldier, and brought up by Augustus Caesar. He had contracted so great a friendship with the Romans, that he freely paid them tribute when he might have very well refused it. In his days was born our Lord Jesus Christ, by whose precious blood mankind was redeemed from the devil, under whom they had been before enslaved.

Chapter 12. Upon Guiderius’s refusing to pay tribute to the Romans, Claudius Caesar invades Britain.

Kymbelinus, when he had governed Britain. ten years, begat two sons, the elder named Guiderius, the other Arviragus. After his death the government fell to Guiderius. This prince refused to pay tribute to the Romans; for which reason Claudius, who was now emperor, marched against him. He was attended in this expedition by the commander of his army, who was called in the British tongue, Leuis Hamo, by whose advice the following war was to be


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