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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 26



carried on. This man, therefore, arriving at the city of Portcestre, (Portchester) began to block up the gates with a wall, and denied the citizens all liberty of passing out. For his design was either to reduce them to subjection by famine, or kill them without mercy.

Chapter 13. Leuis Hamo, a Roman, by wicked treachery kills Guiderius.

Guiderius, upon the news of Claudius’s coming, assembled all the soldiery of the kingdom, and went to meet the Roman army. In the battle that ensued, he began the assault with great eagerness, and did more execution with his own sword than the greater part of his army. Claudius was now on the point of retreating to his ships, and the Romans very nearly routed, when the crafty Hamo, throwing aside his own armour, put on that of the Britons, and as a Briton fought against his own men. Then he exhorted the Britons to a vigorous assault, promising them a speedy victory. For he had learned their language and manners, having been educated among the British hostages at Rome. By these means he approached by little and little to the king, and seizing a favourable opportunity, stabbed him while under no apprehension of danger, and then escaped through the enemy’s ranks to return to his men with the news of his detestable exploit. But Arviragus, his brother, seeing him killed, forthwith put off his own and put on his brother’s habiliments, and, as if he had been Guiderius himself, encouraged the Britons to stand their ground. Accordingly, as they knew nothing of the king’s disaster they made a vigorous resistance, fought courageously, and killed no small number of the enemy. At last the Romans gave ground, and dividing themselves into two bodies, basely quitted the field. Caesar with one part, to secure himself, retired to his ships; but Hamo fled to the woods, because he had not time to get to the ships. Arviragus, therefore, thinking that Claudius fled along with him, pursued him with all speed, and did not leave off harassing him from place to place, till he overtook him upon a part of the sea-coast, which, from the name of Hamo, is now called Southampton. There was at the same place a convenient haven for ships, and some merchant-ships at anchor. And just as Hamo was attempting to get on board them Arviragus came upon him unawares, and forthwith killed him. And ever since that time the haven has been called Hamo’s port.

Chapter 14. Arviragus, king of Britain, makes his submission to Claudius, who with his assistance conquers the Orkney islands.

In the meantime, Claudius, with his remaining forces, assaulted the city above mentioned, which was then called Kaerperis, now Portcestre, and presently levelled the walls, and having reduced the citizens to subjection, went after Arviragus, who had entered Winchester. Afterwards he besieged that city, and employed a variety of engines against it. Arviragus, seeing himself in these straits, called his troops together, and opened the gates, to march out and give him battle. But just as he was ready to begin the attack, Claudius, who feared the boldness of the king, and the bravery of the Britons, sent a message to him with a proposal of peace; choosing rather to reduce them by wisdom and policy, than run the hazard of a battle. To this purpose he offered a reconciliation, with him, and promised to give him his daughter, if he would only acknowledge the kingdom of Britain subject to the Roman state. The nobility hereupon persuaded him to lay aside thoughts of war, and be First with Claudius’s promise; representing to him at the same time, that it was no disgrace to be subject to the Romans, who enjoyed the empire of the whole world. By these and many other arguments he was prevailed upon to hearken to their advice, and make his submission to Caesar. After which Claudius sent to Rome for his daughter, And then, with the assistance of Arviragus, reduced the Orkney and the provincial islands to his power.

Chapter 15. Claudius gives his daughter Genuissa for a wife to Arviragus, and returns to Rome.

As soon as the winter was over, those that were sent for Claudius’s daughter returned with her, and presented her to her father. The damsel’s name was Genuissa, and so great was her beauty, that it raised the admiration of all that saw her. After her marriage with the king, she gained so great an ascendant over his affections, that he in a manner valued nothing but her alone: insomuch that he as desirous to have the place honoured where the nuptials were solemnized and moved Claudius to build a city upon it, for a monument to posterity of so great and happy a marriage. Claudius consented to it, and commanded a city to be built, which after his name is called Kaerglou, that is Gloucester, to this day, and is situated on the confines of Dimetia and Loegria, upon the banks of the Severn. But some say that it derived its name from Duke Gloius, a son that was born to Claudius there, and to whom, after the death of Arviragus, fell the dukedom of Dimetia. The city being finished, and the island now enjoying peace, Claudius returned to Rome, having to Arviragus the government of the British islands. At the same time


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