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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 28

Coillus had but one son, named Lucius, who, obtaining the crown after his father’s decease, imitated all his acts of goodness, and seemed to his people to be no other than Coillus himself revived. As he had made so good a beginning, he was willing to make a better end: for which purpose he sent letters to pope Eleutherius, desiring to be instructed by him in the Christian religion. For the miracles which Christ’s disciples performed in several nations wrought a conviction in his mind; so that being inflamed with an ardent love of the true faith, he obtained the accomplishment of his pious request. For that holy pope, upon receipt of this devout petition, sent to him two most religious doctors, Faganus and Duvanus, who, after they had preached concerning the incarnation of the Word of God, administered baptism to him, and made him a proselyte to the Christian faith. Immediately upon this, people from all countries, assembling together, followed the king’s example, and being washed in the same holy laver, were made partakers of the kingdom of heaven. The holy doctors, after they had almost extinguished paganism over the whole island, dedicated the temples, that had been founded in honour of many gods, to the one only God and his saints, and filled them with congregations of Christians. There were then in Britain eight and twenty flamens, as also three archflamens, to whose jurisdiction the other judges and enthusiasts were subject. These also, according to the apostolic command, they delivered from idolatry, and where they were flamens made them bishops, where archflamens, archbishops. The seats of the archflamens were at the three noblest cities, viz. London, York, and the City of Legions, which its old walls and buildings show to have been situated upon the river Uske in Glamorganshire. To these three, now purified from superstition, were made subject twenty-eight bishops, with their dioceses. To the metropolitan of York were subject Deira and Albania, which the great river Humber divides from Loegria. To the metropolitan of. London were subject Loegria and Cornwall. These two provinces the Severn divides from Kambria or Wales, which was subject to the City of Legions.

Chapter 20. Faganus and Duvanus give an account at Rome of what they had done in Britain.

At last, when they had made an entire reformation here, the two prelates returned to Rome, and desired the pope to confirm what they had done. As soon as they had obtained a confirmation, they returned again to Britain, accompanied with many others, by whose doctrine the British nation was in a short time strengthened in the faith. Their names and acts are recorded in a Book which Gildas wrote concerning the victory of Aurelius Ambrosius; and what is delivered in so bright a treatise, needs not to be repeated here in a meaner style.

Book V.

Chapter 1. Lucius dies without issue, and is a benefactor to the churches.

In the meantime, the glorious king Lucius highly rejoiced at the great progress which the true faith and worship had made in his kingdom, and permitted the possessions and territories which formerly belonged to the temples of the gods, to be converted to a better use, and appropriated to, Christian churches. And because a greater honour was due to them than to the others, he made large additions of lands and manor-houses, and all kinds of privileges to them. Amidst these and other acts of his great piety, he departed this life in the city of Gloucester, and was honourably buried in the cathedral church, in the hundred and fifty-sixth year after our Lord’s incarnation. He had no issue to succeed him, so that after his decease there arose a dissension among the Britons, and the Roman power was much weakened.

Chapter 2. Severus, a senator, subdues part of Britain: his war with Fulgenius.

When this news was brought to Rome, the senate despatched Severus, a senator, with two legions, to reduce the country to subjection. As soon as he was arrived, he came to a battle with the Britons, part of whom he obliged to submit to him, and the other part which he could not subdue he endeavoured to distress in several cruel engagements, and forced them to fly beyond Deira into Albania. Notwithstanding which they opposed him with all their might under the conduct of Fulgenius, and often made great slaughter both of their own countrymen and of the Romans. For Fulgenius, brought to his assistance all the people of the islands that he could find, and so frequently gained the victory. The emperor, not being able to resist the irruptions which he made, commanded a wall to be built between Deira and Albania, to hinder his excursions upon them; they accordingly made one at the common charge from sea to sea, which for a long time hindered the approach of the enemy. But Fulgenius, when he was unable to make any longer resistance, made a voyage into Scythia, to desire the assistance of the Picts towards his restoration. And when he had got together all the forces of that country, he returned with a great

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