Cœsar taketh a new occasion to make warre. against the Britains, he arriueth on the coast without resistance, the number of his ships, both armies incountaer, why Cœsar forbad the Romans to pursue tie discomfited Britains, he repaireth his nauie, the Britains choose Cassibellane their cheefe gouernour, and skirmish afresh with their enimies, but haue the repulse in the end.
The Xiiij. Chapter.
NOW will we returne to the sequele of the matter, as Caesar himselfe reporteth. After his comming into Gallia, there were but two cities of all Britaine that sent ouer their hostages according to. their couenant, which gaue occasion, to Cesar to picke a new quarrell
against them, which if it had wanted, he would yet (I doubt not) haue found some other: for his full meaning was to make a more full conquest of that Ile. Therefore purposing to passe againe thither, as he that had a great desire to bring the Britains vnder the obedience of the Romane estate, he caused a great number of ships to be prouided in the winter season and put in a readinesse, so that against the next spring there were found to be readie rigged six hundred ships, beside 28 gallies. Héerevpon hauing taken order for the gouernance
Casar de bello Gal. libe 5.
of Gallia in his absence, about the beginning of the spring he came to the hauen of Calice, whither (according to order by him prescribed) all his ships were come, except 40 which by tempest were driuen backe, and could not as yet come to him.
After he had staied at Calice (as well, for a conuenient wind, as for other incidents) certeine daies, at length when the weather so changed that it serued his purpose, he tooke the sea, & hauing with him fiue legions of souldiers, and about two thousand horssemen, he departed out of Calice hauen about sun setting with a soft southwest wind, directing his course forward: about midnight the wind fell, & so by a calme he was carried alongst with the tide, so that in the morning when the day appéered, he might behold Britaine vpon his left hand. Then following the streame as. the course of the tide changed, he forced with oares to fetch the shore vpon that part of the coast, which he had discouered, and tried the last yeere to be the best landing place for the armie. The diligence of the souldiers was shewed héere to be great, who with continuall toile droue foorth the heauie ships, to kéepe course with the gallies, & so at length they. landed in Britaine about noone on the next day, finding not one to resist his comming ashore: for as he learned by certeine prisoners which were taken after his comming to land, the Britains being assembled in purpose to haue resisted. him, through feare striken into their harts, at the discouering of such an huge number of ships, they forsooke the shore and got them vnto the mountaines There were in deed of vessels one and other, what with vittellers, & those which priuat men had prouided and furnished foorth for their owne vse, being ioined to the ordinarie number, at the least eight hundred saile, which appeering in sight all at one time, made a wonderfull muster, and right terrible in the eies of the Britains.
But to procéed: Caesar being got to land, incamped his armie in a place conuenient: and after learning by the prisoners, into what part the enimies were withdrawne, he appointed one Quintus Atrius to remaine vpon the safegard of the nauie, with ten companies or cohorts of footmen, and three hundred horssemen: and anon after midnight marched foorth himselfe with the residue of his people toward the Britains, and hauing made 12 miles of way, he got sight of his enimies host, who sending downe their horssemen and charets vnto the riuer side, skirmished with the Romans, meaning to beate them backe from the higher ground: but being assailed of the Romane horssemen, they were repelled, & tooke the woods for their refuge, wherein they had got a place verie strong, both by nature and helpe of hand, which (as was to be thought) had béene fortified before, in time of some ciuill warre amongst them: for all the entries were closed with trées which had béene cut downe for that purpose. Howbeit the souldiers of the 7 legion casting a trench before them, found meanes to put backe the Britains from their defenses, and so entring vpon them, droue them out of the woods. But Caesar would not suffer the Romans to follow the Britains, bicause the nature of the countrie was not knowne vnto them: and againe the day was farre spent, so that he would haue the residue thereof bestowed in fortifieng his campe.
The next day, as he had sent foorth such as should haue pursued the Britains, word came to him from Quintus Atrius, that his nauie by rigour of a sore and hideous tempest was gréeuouslie molested, and throwne vpon the shore, so that the cabels and tackle being broken and destroied with force of the vnmercifull rage of wind, the maisters and mariners were not able to helpe the matter. Caesar calling backe those which he had sent foorth, returned to his ships, and finding them in such state as he had heard, tooke order for the repairing of those that were not vtterlie destroied, and caused them so to be drawne vp to the land, that with a trench he might so compasse in a plot of ground, that might serue both for defense of his ships, and also for the incamping of those men of warre, which he should leaue to attend vpon the safegard of the same. And bicause there were at the least a fortie ships lost by violence of this tempest, so as there was no hope of recouerie in them, he saw yet how the rest with great labour and cost might be repaired: wherefore he chose out wrights among the legions, sent for other into Gallia, and wrote ouer to such as he had left there in charge with the gouernment of the countrie to prouide so manie ships as they could, and to send them ouer vnto him. He spent a ten daies about the repairing of his nauie, and in fortifieng the campe for defense thereof, which done, he left those within it that were appointed there before, and then returned towards his enimies.
At his comming backe to the place where he had before incamped, he found them there readie to resist him, hauing their numbers hugelie increased: for the Britains hearing that he was returned with such a mightie number of ships assembled out of all parts of the land, and had by general consent appointed the whole rule and order of all things touching the warre vnto Cassiuellane or Cassibelane, whose dominion was diuided from the cities situat néere to the sea coast, by the riuer of Thames, 80 miles distant from the sea coast.
Cassibellane as should séeme, ruled in the parties of Oxfordshire, Barkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Bedfordshire.
This Cassibellane before time had bin at continuall warre with other rulers, and cities of the land: but now the Britains moued with the comming of the Romans, chose him to be chiefe gouernour of all their armie, permitting the order and rule of all things touching the defense of their countrie against the Romans onelie to him. Their horssemen and charets skirmished by the waie with the Romans, but so as they were put backe oftentimes into the woods and hills adioining: yet the Britains slue diuers of the Romans as they followed anie thing egerlie in the pursute.
Also within a while after, as the Romans were busie in fortifieng their campe, the Britains suddenlie issued out of the woods, and fierselie assailed those that warded before the campe, vnto whose aid Caesar sent two of the chiefest cohorts of two legions, the which being placed but a little distance one from another, when the Romans began to be discouraged with this kind of fight, the Britains therewith burst through their enimies, and came backe from thence in safetie That daie Quintus Laberius Durus a tribune was slaine. At length Cesar sending sundrie other cohorts to the succour of his people that were in fight, and shrewdlie handled as it appéered, the Britains in the end were put backe. Neuerthelesse, that repulse was but at the pleasure of fortune; for they quited themselues afterwards like men, defending their territories with such munition as they had, vntill such time as either by policie or inequalitie of power they were vanquished; as you shall sée after in the course of the historie. Howbeit in fine they were ouer-run and vtterlie subdued, but not without much bloudshed and slaughter.