M. (Paul) Rapin de Thoyras.

The history of England : written in French (Volume 1) online

. (page 9 of 360)
Online LibraryM. (Paul) Rapin de ThoyrasThe history of England : written in French (Volume 1) → online text (page 9 of 360)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

ney he had lent fome of the Britons upon Ufury (5). This
Treatment bred in the Minds of the People fo great an
Averfion to a foreign Yoke, that they were all unanimoufly
determined to Shake it off". Venutius, mortal Enemy of the
Romans, cherifhes the Rebellion to the utmoft of his Power.
The very Adherents of the Queen laying afkle their dome-
ftick Quarrels, and renouncing the Friendship of the Ro-
mans, join with the reft of their Countrymen tor the reco-
very of their Liberty.

Boadicea, animated with an ardent Djfire of Revenue, _ ,
heads the Revolters, and earnestly exhorts them to take Maffacre of
Advantage of the Roman General's Abfence to free them- ike Romans,
felves from Slavery, by putting their Oppreffors, the Fo-
reigners, all to the Sword. The Britons immediately em-
brace the Propofal, and fall in a fudden and furious manner
upon the Romans difperfed in their Colonies, which were
more carefully embellished than fortified, maffacring ail

(1) She rejected him, and marries his Efquire Vellocatus, making him King. Tacit. ]. 3.

(2) So call i'd from Men, fjgnifying in old Britijb, the Furtbermoji or End, in refpect of its Situation from the Continent of Gaul. Krzut. p. 21.

(3! The Romans arc fuppos'd tu have pafs'd from Lhan njair is Gair in Caernar<ucnjhivc to Llan Idan in Anglcjey, which is ftill the fnalloweft Part of tbe
Frctum, and there are remarkable Works yet vifible near Lhan Idan. See Camden, p. 675, 676.

('!-) This Name is varioufly written, Xipbilinc Dions Epitomizer, has it Bonduca j Tacitus calls her Vcadica, and Boudicea ; Camden and others,
Beodicia, but moft ufually Boadicea.

(c) Seneca is faid by Dion Cajjius to have in Britain about this time to the value of Three hundred thoufand Pounds, ai Car.den computes it.
Xlpbil. in Ner. Stilling. 0:ig. Brit. p. 3.



Cruelties ex-

ercis'd vf'-n
fita Romans.

77)t H I S T R T of E N G L A N D.

Vol. t


>"". - licea
Speech to

w hh tut Diftinaion of Age or Sex. Unheard of Cruelties
are acted upon this Occaiion, and ftrange Punilhments in-
vented to glut the Fury of the enraged People. W .Ves are
hun°- up with their Infants at their Breafts, to make them
fuffer in feme meafure a double Death. Virgins have their
Breafts cut off and cramb'd into their Mouths, to make
them feem in the Agonies of Death to eat their own hlefh.
The Veterans at Camelodunum retiring into a 1 emple ior
Sanctuary, are facrilegioufly burn'd alive, rather than fuf-
jVd to ftarve to Death. In a word, the Fury of the
Britons is carried to that height, that not a angle Roman
efcapes. Eighty Thoufand (i) are computed to penfh in

this Maffacre. ,„,.., c \ r n

Let us reflect here a little on the Politicks of thofe Con-
querors of the World, fo great Mailers in the Art of Go-
vernment. Upon their fubduing a Country, they imme-
diately fent thither numerous Colonies, who by Degrees
mixing and intermarrying with the Natives, fecund to
them their Conquefts. Of this Britain is a remarkable In-
ftance where, tho' the Illand had been conquered but
eighteen Years before by Claudius, above eighty Thoufand
Romans were already fettled, befides Pauhnus's Army, and
doubtlels, fume Garrifons in the fortified Places, which
the Fury of the Britons could not penetrate.

Paulinus receiving Advice of this Revolution, fuddenly
, quits the I fie of Mom to march againft the revolted Bri-
totts, who have now an Army of a Hundred Thouland
Men, under the Condud of Boadicca, whofe noble Sta-
ture and heroic Courage make them hope (he may have
likewife all the Qualities of a General. This Pnncefs fired
with the Affronts fhe had received, ardently delires to en-
gao-e with Paulinus, whofe Army is only Ten thoufand
ftrong, in Expectation of compleating her Revenge, by the
Deftrudtion of fo inconfiderable Remains of the Enemy.
Mean while, Paulinus expecting no Succours from any
Place, is in great Straits. The ninth Legion, commanded
by Petilius Cerialis, was juft then entirely defeated. Paemus
Poftbumus, with a confiderable Detachment of the Second,
refufed, contrary to the Law of Arms, to obey his Gene-
ral's Orders, to come and join him. Thus Paulinus is
under a Neceffity either of marching againft his Enemies
with his little Army, cr of expefting them in fome Town.
He chufes the latter, and fhuts himfelf up in London, but
quickly alters his Refolution. Forefeeing his Endeavours
to fave that Colony will endanger the whole Province, he
marches out notwithib.nding the Cries and Intreaties of
the Inhabitants not to abandon them to the Fury of the
Rebels. However, with his handful of Troops, he feem-
ed little able to ftand againft an Army of a Hundred thou-
fand Men. But great Men very often by their Courage
and Experience find Means to extricate themfelves out of
the greateft Difficulties. Paulinus plainly fees that in fuch
an Extremity he muft either conquer or die, the Relief he
might expect being too far off, and the Danger at hand.
Therefore, inftead of retiring from the Britons, now
maiching towards him, he refolves to meet them. This
Refolution infpires his Troops with fuch Courage, jhat
they readily follow him ; fo powerful is an Army's good
Opinion of their General. Paulinus fummons all his Ex-
perience to balance by his Conduit the Advantage of the
Enemv's Numbers. He pitches upon a narrow Piece of
Ground for the Field of Battle, with a Foreft behind that
fecures him from Ambufcades in the Rear, and a large
Plain before, where the Britons are encamp'd. He draws
up the Legions clofe together in the Center, the light arm'd
are placed round them, and the Horfe make the two
Wings. The Enemies fwarm about the Plain in Battali-
ons and Squadrons, exulting at their Numbers (;), and fe-
cure of Victory. Their Wives and Children are brought
into the Field in Waggons, which line their Intrenchments,
to be Witnefles of their Actions and Partners in the Spoil.
Boadicca, with her Daughters by her Side in the Chariot,
tic rides up and down, addreffing hcrlelf to the feveral Nations
in the following manner, " That it was not the firft time
" the Britons had been victorious under the Conduct of
" their Queens. That for her part flic came not there,
" as one defcended from Royal Progenitors, to fight for
" Empire or Riches, but as one of the common People,
" to avenge the Lois of their Liberty, the Wrongs done
" to her own Perfon, and the Violation of her Daughter's
" Chaftity. That the Remans Lull was grown to that
" Height, that neither Old nor Young efcap'd its Pollutions ;
" but the Gods had already begun to punifh them ac-
" cording to their Deferts ; for one Legion that durit ha-
" zard a Battle was cut in Pieces, and the reft skulk'd
" in their Camp (3), or fled for their Lives; fo that
" inftead of being able to ftand the Attack of a victo-

' rious Army, the very Shouts of fo many Thoufands
; ' would put them to flight. That if the Britons would
" but confider the Number of their Forces, and the Mo-
" tines of the War, they would refolve to vanquijh or die.
" That it was much better to fall honourably in Defence of
" their Liberty, than be expos'd again to the Outrages of
" the Romans. This was her Refolution ; but as for the
" Men, they might, if they pleafed, live and be Slaves."
She is faid at the end of her Speech to let loofe a Hare,
fhe concealed in her Bofom, as a good Omen of Vic-

Whilft Boadicea is endeavouring to animate the Britons, Paulinos
Paulinus is not idle at the Profpect of fo great Danger. t^*2£
Tho' he is affured of the Bravery of his Troops, he ex- "
horts them to defpife the Clamour and Threats of the Bar-
barians. # He reprefents to them, that " among the Enemy
" there were more Women than Soldiers, and that the
" greateft Part of them, having neither Arms nor Cou-
" rage, would immediately take to their Heels, when
" they came to feel the Force of their victorious Arms.
" That in the molt numerous Armies, the Dccifion of
" the Battle depended upon a. few, and that their Glory
" would be fo much the greater as it was the lefs divided.
" That they fhould take care only to keep their Ranks
" clofe, and fight Sword in Hand, after they had
" thrown their Darts. And laftly, that they fhould not
" lofe time about the Spoil, whicli would be the certain
" Reward of their Victory." Thefe Words are follow-
ed with fuch loud Acclamations, and the Refolution of
the Soldiers appears fo great, that the General not doubt-
ing of Succefs, orders a Charge to be founded. Thz Abinolf
Rjmans dart their Javelins without quitting the Advan- Batik.
tage of their Poll. But their Quivers beini emptied,
they advance Sword in hand, feconded by the Auxiliaries,
who fight with equal Bravery, in an Opinion there is no
fafety but in Victory. Whilft the Fight was carried on
with Darts at a Diilance, the Britons were in hopes the
Romans, daunted at the Number of their Enemies, would
take to flight. But when they fee the Legions advancing
Sword in hand, with fhort and thick Steps, and no Signs
of Fear in their Looks, they fall into Diforder, which
continually increafes, there being no Leaders or Officers
capable of repairing it (4). 1 he Romans feeing them
thus fhaken, fall upon them with great Fury, and put
the whole Army into the utmoft Confufion, who now
think only of faving themfelves by Flight. At the fame
time, the Roman Horfe in the Wings breaking through
the Btitijh Cavalry, a terrible R cut enfues of the frighted
Troops. 'Tis even with Difficulty they run away, by
reafon of the great Number of Carriages, full of unfervice-
able Multitudes, which firft retiring, become an Obftacle
to the Flight of the Army. The Roman Soldiers fpare nei-
ther Age nor Sex, but facrifice to their Revenge the Wo-
men and Children, and even the very Horfes. This Victo-
ry equalled their moft famous ones, ii it be true, as Tacitus
affirms, that Eighty thoufand Britons were flain, with the
Lofs only of Four hundred Romans, and as many wound-
ed. Boadicea efcaped (ailing into the Hands of the Con-
querors, but was touch'd with fo deep a Senfe of her
Shame and Lofs, that file ended her Days with Poifon.
On the other Side, Paenius Pojihumus who refufed to
obey his General, either to avoid the Puniihment due to
his Offence, or for Grief at lofing his fhare of the Glory
of the Vidory, ftabb'd himfelf.

How advantagions to the Romans tlie Confequences of
fo great a Victory were, may be eafily conceived. The c JJ™/'"/*
Britons, in the utmoft Confirmation, without General or the Britons.
Army, fly before their Enemies without offering the leaft
Refiftance. Their Mifery is farther increafed by a Fa-
mine, brought upon themfelves by neglecting to fow their
Lands. All their hopes are, that the inconfiderable Num-
ber of their Enemies mull oblige them to keep together,
and thereby afford time to form another Arm)'. But thefe
hopes vanifh upon the Romans receiving a ftrong Rein-
forcement from Germany. No doubt, as Matters then
flood, Pau/rnus's Army would have been fufficient to corn-
pleat the Conquefl of Britain, if Diffenfions arifing among
the Romans had not prevented them from improving their

J-ulius Clajjicianus, who fucceeded Decianus in the Of- fl
fice of Procurator, difagreeing with Paulinus, ftudied to among tit
crofs him in all his Defigns. Probably the General would Roman
not fuffcr him to continue the Oppreilions that cccafioncd , ''"'"
the late Revolt. However this be, Clajjicianus conceives
fo violent a Hatred for him, that he declares publickly,
and even writes to the Emperor's Minifters at Rome, that
there is no Profpect of ending the War, as long as the

(1) Rapi-i follows Di;n Cajfms. Tacitus fays only Seventy Thoufand, hi? Words are, ad Septvaginta millia CiVam. £f Scchrum.

KUiaiafium. So that Civium may retcr chiefly to this Place, and Sscioruir. to London, which was enly a Trading Colony.


(2) The Army confifted of 230,000 according to Dion Cajjius.

iding to Pctmus Poftbumus's Conduft, who. fgems ta have r:fu/d to diaw his L-„i-r. Hit of their Swicn or Camp.
(+} Thefe hit Words are not in Tecitus,

Horjliy, p. IJ,


Book I.



Management is left to Paulinas. In all his Reports to the
Emperor's Minifters, he imputes the good Succefs to For-
tune, and the bad to the Governor's ill Conduct, intima-
ting, that if another General were fent, it would be very
ealy to appeafe the Troubles without difobliging die Pro-

fufpedting any fuch thing, furrender'd the Ifle to the Ro-
mans without obliging them to draw a Sword.

War was not the only Affair that employ 'd the newf<F'»"''
Governor. Whilft his Arms are triumphant, he carefully i^'fc'l
enquires about every thing relating to the Government off/st " "

vince. At lair, Nero hearing of this DifTenfion, orders the Province, and the propereft Means to keep the People

paulinus is
nlitvzd by



tsfio is (itc-
ceeded by
Tac!t. vit


his Freedman Polyclctus to go and learn the Caufe. The
Refpect fhuu'n him by Paulinas was furprizing to the Bri-
tons, who could not conceive that fuch a General and a
victorious Army fhould be accountable to a Freedman.
This Refpect however was not paid in vain. Polychtus in
his Report to the Emperor, juiiifies Paulinus, and fo ma-
nages that he keeps his Command. But in the end, Clajfi-
cianus beginning afrefh, prevails by his Friends and fecret
Practices, to have Paulinus relieved by Petronius Turpilia-
nus, who being a Perfon of no Ambition, acted nothing
memorable, hiding his Love of Eafe and Sloth under the
fpecious Name of the Love of Peace.

To him fucceeds Trebelhus Maximus, as indolent as
himfelf, and famous for nothing during his Government but
his Quarrel with Cevlius Commander of the twentieth Le-
gion. This Quarrel is carried fo high, that great Part of
the Army deferting their General, he is forced at length
to fly to Vitellius, who commanded the Roman Army in

In the mean time Nero dying, the Britons enjoy fome
Refpite, during the fhort Reigns of Galba and Otho,
there being neither Governor nor General. The Roman
Army was commanded only by Tribunes, among whom
Ceclius bore the chief Sway. Vitellius being come to the
' Empire, fends Veclius Bolanus into Britain, to take upon
him the Command of the Army. The new Governor,
little skilled in the Art of War, leaves the Britons in Quiet,
and contents himfelf with gaining the Affections of the
*■ Soldiers, without having the Authority of a General. He
continues in the Province till Vefpafian, who fucceeds Vi-
tellius in the Imperial Throne, being informed of the Wants
of Britain, fends thither Petilius Cerealis. Petiiius, during
his Government, attacks and defeats in feveral Battles the
Brigantes, the moft numerous and confiderable of all the
Britijh Nations (i.) "Julius Frontinus fucceeds him and
'." YvJtfc- acquires no lefs Glory than his Predeceffor. He fubdues
the warlike Silures, whofe Country feemed, by its Situa-
;. tion, to fcreen them from all Attacks.


Veaius Bo
Janusi; fiad



edby Petilius


who is j&C'


Julius Agri
cola is made

in Obedience. This Enquiry mows him that the Britons
are not to be tam'd by Arms alone, but that Lenity is no
lefs neceffary than Force. And therefore lie fpcnds the
whole Winter after his firft Campaign, in diligently regu-
lating feveral Abufes crept in by the Avarice or Negli-
gence of former Governors. He takes care to prevent all
kind of Exactions ; to caufe Juftice to be adminiftxed
punctually and impartially ; in a word, to remove every
Occafion of Difcontent from the Britons in Subjection to the
Empire. This Proceeding gain'd their Affection to fuch a
Degree, that he had no Caufe to fear a Revolt whilft he
fhould be employ'd in making new Conquefts. Vefpafian
dying about this time, his Son Titus fucceeds him, and
knowing dgrieola's great Merit, continues him in his Go-

In the Spring the General takes the Field again, and 79.
marches towards the North, where he makes fome Con- AgncMs'i
quefts. He obferv'd the Romans commonly loft in the-'"' ""' c " m '
Winter what they gain'd in the Summer, becaufe they i
durft not venture to quarter in the conquer'd Countries,
which were too much expos'd. To prevent this Inconve-
nience, he rcfolved to build Forts in proper Places, where
Garrifons might be kept in the Winter, always ready to
repulfe the Enemy. As he was a great Mafter in the Art
of Fortification, thefe Forts were built and lituated in fuch
manner, that the Romans were never under a Neceflity to
quit them, nor the Enemies ever able to take them (3).

During the following Winter Agrieola's chief Bufinefs//, ™W
was to foften the rough Manners of the Britons, and inftill '*' Britons
into them a Deiire to imitate the Cuftoms of the Rimans. !, """"" *

. _ tbetujtoms oj

His Pains are not beftow d in vain. Soon after, Britain h,hi Romans,
adorn'd with ftately Temples, noble Porticos, and many
fine Structures both publick and private, of a very different
Taffe from what had been hitherto feen. The BritiJJ)
Nobles even pride themfelves in fpeaking the /.#//« Tongue,
to which a little before they were utterly averfe. They
drefs likewife after the Roman manner, and in fhort, as
Tacitus obferves, are brought to efteem, as Politenefs and
good Breeding, what was only a Badge of their Slavery.

In his third Campaign, Agricola advances as far as the g .
River Tiveed, fortifying his Conquefts with Caftles and third Caw-
are wholly indebted to Tacitus, who has taken care to write Fortreffes in feveral Places. /•"!»•

the Life of his Father-in-law Agricola, in order to give The fourth Summer was fpent in fubduing the Nations g r
that Luftre to his Actions they juftly deferved, and which inhabiting between the Tweed and the two Friths of Glota Fo^wi Caw-
perhaps they would have wanted, had it not been for that an J Bodotria, now call'd of Dunbritton and Edcnhurgh.f'V*
illuftrious Hiftorian (2). Thefe two Arms of the Eaft and Weft Seas {hoot fo far

Some time before Agricola was appointed Governor of into the Land, that they are parted only by an Ifthmus of
Britain, the Ordovices had furprifed and cut in pieces a between thirty and forty Miles. Upon this Ifthmus Agri-
Body of Roman Horfe, quarter'd in their Frontiers. This C ola raifes Forts and plants Garrifons for the Security of
Accident gave Occafion to apprehend the like again, and the Roman Province, which he had extended thus far.

By this means the Nations yet unconquer'd, were pent up
as it were in a feparate Ifland

Towards the End of Vefpafian 's Reign, yulius Agricola

is fent into Britain to fucceed Frontinus. Here we begin to

clll^f have fuller Accounts of the Britijh Wars ; for which we

Tacit, vit.

Agricola 5
Jirjl Cam-

caufed the Romans to expect with great Impatience the Ar-
rival of a new Governor. The News that Agricola was
to command them, revived their Courage. They did not
queftion but under a General of fo eftablifhed a Reputation,
they fhould quickly put an End to the War. However,
he could not come till about the middle of Summer. Tho'
he finds no Magazine for the Army, difperfed in feveral
Places for their better Subfiftence, he draws them together
without Delay. He immediately attacks the Ordovices,
and notwithftanding the Difficulty of the Undertaking by
reafon of the incommodious Places he is fore'd to go thro'
in queft of them, makes them pay dear for the Advan-
tage they had lately gained. All the World was furpriz'd
to" fee him fighting the Enemies of the Empire upon his
firft Entrance, a Time ufually fpent by other Governors
in Feafting andDiverfions, or in receiving the Compliments
of the Province. But there was ftill greater Reafon to ad-
mire his Diligence, when he was feen, in this firft Cam-
paign, to attack the Ifle of Mona, which the Romans had
been fore'd to abandon, tho' he wanted flat-bottom'd Vef-
fels for the Expedition. He order'd a choice Body of
Auxiliaries, who were acquainted with the Shallows, to
fwim over, which they perform'd fo dextroufly, (being
train'd up by the Cuftom of their native Country to ma-
nage in fwimming themfelves, their Horfes and Arms)
that the Inhabitants, aftonifli'd at the Sight, and never

What Agricola had done fhould, one would think, g 2
have fatisfied his Ambition : But he was labouring alfo for Fftb Cam.
the Glory of the Roman Name, which, as Tacitus expref- /"*'£"•
fes it, knew no Bounds. During the fifth Campaign,
Agricola leads his Army beyond the Friths, where he dif-
covers Countries and Nations, whofe very Names were
unknown to the Romans. Some of them he conquers, and
leaves Garrifons in the Weftern Parts oppofite to Ireland.
His Defign was to attempt the Conqueft of that Ifland,
that it might be a Check upon Britain, being perfectly in-
form'd of the State of the Country by a Lord banifh'd
from thence. Tacitus fays, he heard his Father-in-law fay,
that with one Legion and a few Auxiliaries, he could
eafily become Mafter of that Ifland, the Conqueft whereof
would be of great Service to keep the Britons in Awe.

In his fixth Campaign, the Roman General paffes Bodo- g ,
tria, ordering his Fleet to row along the Coafts, and dif- Sixth Cam'
cover the Creeks and Harbours in thofe Northern Parts./""£' ,<
This was the firft Roman Fleet that appear'd on thofe Seas,
the Sight whereof infpir'd the Enemy with Terror, but
the Romans with Courage, who having ventur'd upon
thofe unknown Countries with fome Dread, were extreme-
ly animated by the Communication they had with their
Fleet, which always kept near the Shore.

(i) Their Capital was Ifurium, call'd by Antinint Ifu-Brlgantum, now Alborougb in Yorkjhire, which appears to have been a very large Station. It
mult be oblerv'd, that Encampments upon a March were by the Romans call'd Cajlra. Winter or Summer Quarters, Cajira, /.rberna, aur ajliiia.
The Word Statio is us'd by Co-far, tacitus, Sec. tor the Duty of Soldiers upon Guard, or tor the Men employ'd in this Duty. But afterwards
Statio was applied to a Fort or Place where the Soldiers lodg'd, and like t'egetius's Cafiella, were often built like Towns in the Borders of the Em-
pire, where they were conftant Fences againft the Enemy. The Stations here in England were ftrong Fortifications, of no great Extent, adjoin-
ing to which were ufually ether Buildings, forming a fort of Town, to which the Station was in the nature of a Citadel.

(2) tacitus\ Life of Agricola is juftly cfteem'd a Mafter-Piece by the bell Judges. The Strength and Vivacity of the Expreffion, the Beauty
and Variety of Thought are aimoft inimitable. Horjley, p. 38.

(3) This Paffage of tacitus, (fays Horjley) is almoft inctidible, tho' we extend it no farther than to the Time of tacitus writing his Hiftory.
There is perhaps a good deal of Compliment in it to Agricola, the Hiftorian's Father-in-law and favourite Hero. It feems not to be well con-
fident with another Paffage, perdomiia Britannia & Jlatim eimijfa. Hift. 1. 1. c. 2. The Forts built this Year by Agikola are fuppos'd to be on
ll.e Borden, especially on tie Weftern Side of the Wand, along which Agricola march'd. Horjley, p. 40a

Vol. I. N» I.




Vol. I.

the n'mth
i r . in is at-
tacked in
ticir Camp.

marches u
ticir Aid.


But while Agricola was advancing tov/ards the North,
a Report was fpread that the northern Nations had drawn
together a formidable Army and attack'd the Forts built
on their Frontiers. The News of this Armament being
confirm'd a few Days after by Deferters, the principal
Officers of the Army advifed the General to relinquiih his
Conqueits beyond the Friths, and avoid the Shame of be-
in^ compcll'd to it by force. But he rejected this Advice
as injurious to his Matter's Honour and Intereft. Whiltt
he was deliberating upon this Affair, he had notice that
the Enemies were coming upon him with an Army of num-
berlefs Multitudes, according to common Report. Ap-
prehcnfive of being furrounded, he divided his Army into
three Bodies, hearing the Enemy had done the fame. This
Precaution had like to have colt him dear. For the Ene-
mies having Intelligence of it, alter their Refolution, and
with united Forces fet upon the ninth Legion in the Night
as they lie encamp'd at a good diftance from the reft of the
Army. They furprized the advane'd Guard, and attacking

Online LibraryM. (Paul) Rapin de ThoyrasThe history of England : written in French (Volume 1) → online text (page 9 of 360)