Caius Volusenus discouereth to Cæsar his obseruations in the Ile of Britaine, he maketh haste to conguere it, the Britains defend their countrie against him, Cæsar after consultation had changeth his landing place, the Romans are put to hard shifts, the Britains begin to giue backe, the courage of a Roman ensigne-bearer, a sharpe encounter betweene both armies.
The Eleuenth Chapter.
CAIUS VOLUSENUS within fiue daies after his departure from Caesar, returned vnto him with his gallie, and declared what he had séene touching the view which he had taken of
Cesar with two legions of souldiers passeth cuer into Britan.
the coasts of Britan.. Caesar hauing got togither so manie saile as he thought sufficient for the transporting of two legions of souldiers, after he had ordered his businesse as he thought expedient, and gotten a conuenient wind for his purpose, did embarke himselfe and his people, and departed from Calice in the night about the third watch (which is about three or foure of the clocke after midnight) giuing order that the horssemen should take ship at an
The Britans readie to defend their countrie.
other place 8 miles aboue Calice, and follow him. Howbeit when they somewhat slacked the time, about ten of the clocke in the next day, hauing the wind at will, he touched on the coast of Britaine, where he might behold all the shore set and couered with men of warre. For the Britains hearing that Caesar ment verie shortlie to come against them, were assembled in armour to resist him: and now being aduertised of his approch to the land, they prepared themselues to withstand him.
Cesar calleth 3. councell.
Caesar perceiuing this, determined to staie till the other ships were come, and so he lay at councell. anchor till about 11 of the clocke, and then called a councell of the marshals and chiefe capteines, vnto whome he declared both what he had learned of Volusenus, and also further what he would haue doone, willing them that all things might be ordered as the reason of warre required. And because he perceiued that this place where he first cast anchor was not méete for the landing of his people, sith (from the heigth of the cliffes that closed on ech side the narrow créeke into the which he had thrust) the Britains might annoy his people with their bowes and dartes, before they could set foote on land, hauing now the wind and tide with him, he disanchored from thence, and drew alongst the coast vnder the downes, the
This was about day.
space of 7 or 8 miles, and there finding the shore more flat and plaine, he approched néere to the land, determining to come to the shore.
The Britains perceiuing Cesar intent, with all spéed caused their horssemen and charets or wagons, which Caesar calleth Esseda,
out of the which in those daies they vsed to fight, to march forth toward the place whither they saw Caesar drew, and after followed with their maine armie. Wherefore Caesar being thus preuented, inforced yet to land with his people, though he saw that he should haue much a doo. For as the Britains were in redinesse to resist him, so his great and huge ships could not come néere the. shore, but were forced to
The Romans put to their shifts.
kéepe the déepe, so that the Romane soldiers were put to verie hard shift; to wit, both to leape forth of their ships, and being pestered with their heauie armour and weapons, to fight in the water with their enimies, who knowing the flats.and shelues, stood either vpon the drie ground, or else but a little waie in the shallow places of the water; and being not otherwise encumbred either with armour or weapon, but so as they might bestir themselues at will, they laid load vpon the Romans with their arrowes and darts, and forced their horsses (being thereto inured) to enter the water the more easilie, so to annoy and distresse the Romans, who wanting experience in such kind of fight, were not well able to helpe themselues, nor to keepe order as they vsed to doo on land: wherfore they fought nothing so lustilie as they were woont to doo. Caesar perceiuing this, commanded the gallies to depart from the great ships, and to row hard to the shore, that being placed ouer against the open sides of the Britains, they might with their shot of arrows, darts, and slings, remove the Britains, and cause them to withdraw further off from the water side.
This thing being put in execution (according to his commandement) the Britains were not
The Britans astonied.
a little astonied at the strange sight of those gallies, for that they were driuen with ores, which earst they had not séene, and shrewdlie were they galled also with the artillerie which the Romans discharged vpon them, so that they began to shrinke and retire somewhat backe. Herewith one that bare the ensigne of the legion surnamed Decima, wherein the eagle was
The valiant courage of an ensigne bearer.
figured, as in that which was the chiefe ensigne of the legion, when he saw his fellowes nothing eager to make forward, first beséeching the gods that his enterprise might turne to the weale, profit, and honor of the legion, he spake with a lowd voice these words to his fellowes that were about him; "Leape forth now euen you woorthie souldiers (saith he) if you will not betraie your ensigne to the enimies: for surelie I will acquit my selfe according to my duetie both towards the common wealth, and my generall: "and therewith leaping forth into the water, he marched with his ensigne streight vpon the enimies. The Romans douting to lose their ensigne, which should haue turned them to great reproch, leapt out of their ships so fast as they might, and followed their standard, so that there ensued a sore reencounter: and that which troubled the Romans most, was because they could not keepe their order, neither find anie sure footing, nor yet follow euerie man his owne ensigne, but to put themselues vnder that ensigne which he first met withall after their first comming forth of the ship.
The Britains that were inured with the shelues and shallow places of the water, when they saw the Romans thus disorderlie come out of their ships, ran vpon them with their horsses, and fiercelie assailed them, and now and then a great multitude of the Britains would compasse
The fiercenesse of the Britains.
in and inclose some one companie of them: and other also from the most open places of the shore bestowed great plentie of darts vpon the whole number of the Romans, and so troubled them verie sore.