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GILDAS On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain
page 8

uso. 5, β.] REBELLION OF THE BRITONS. in tyrants."* I will only endeavour to relate the evils which Britain suffered in the times of the Roman emperors, and also those which she caused to distant states ; but so far as lies in my power, I shall not follow the writings and records of my own country, which (if there ever were any of them) have been consumed in the fires of the enemy, or have accompanied my exiled countrymen into distant lands, but be guided by the relations of foreign writers, which, being broken and interrupted in many places, are therefore by no means clear. § 5. For when the rulers of Rome had obtained the empire of the world, subdued all the neighbouring nations and islands towards the east, and strengthened their renown by the first peace which they made with the Farthians, who border on India, there was a general cessation from war throughout the whole world; the fierce flame which they kindled could not be extinguished or checked by the Western Ocean, but passing beyond the sea, imposed submission upon our island without resistance, and entirely reduced to obedience its unwarlike but faithless people, not so much by fire and sword and warlike engines, like other nations, but threats alone, and menaces of judgments frowning on their countenance, whilst terror penetrated to their hearts. § 6. When afterwards they returned to Rome, for want of pay, as is said, and had no suspicion of an approaching rebellion, that deceitful lioness (Boadicea) put to death the rulers who had been left among them, to unfold more fdlly and to confirm the enterprises of the Romans. When the report of these things reached the senate, and they with a speedy army made haste to take vengeance on the crafty foxes,f as they called them, there was no bold navy on the sea to fight bravely for the country ; by land there was no marshalled army, no right wing of battle, nor other preparation for resistance ; but their backs were their shields against their vanquishers, and they presented their necks to * Gildas here confuses the modern idea of a tyrant with that of an usurper. The latter is the sense in which Britain was said to be fertile in tyrants, viz. in usurpers of the imperial dignity. f The Britons who fought under Boadicea were anything but "crafty foxes." «* Bold lions9 9 is a much more appropriate appellation ; they would also have been victorious if they had had half the military advantages of the Romans.

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