The name of Caratacus famous in Italie, the maner how he and his alies were led captiues by the Romans in triumph, his courage and manlie speech to the emperour Claudius, whereby he and his obteine mercie and pardon: the Britains vndertake a new reuenge against the Romans; the cause why the Silures hated the Romans, Ostorius Scapula dieth the cite of Chester builded.
The Seuenth Chapter.
Cornelius Tacit. lib. 12. Carataks name renowmed.
THE name of Caratacus being brought out of the Iles was alreadie spred ouer the prouinces adioining, and began now to grow famous through Italie. Men therefore were desirous to sée what maner of man he was that had so manie yéeres set at naught the puissant force of the empire. For in Rome the name of Caratacus was much spoken of, insomuch that the emperour whilest he went about to preferre his owne honours aduanced the glorie of him also that was vanquished: for the people were called foorth as vnto some great notable sight or spectacle. The pretorian bands stood in order of battell armed in the field that laie before their lodgings, through which field Caratake shuld come. Then passed by the traine of his friends and seruants; and such armor, riches, iewels, and other things as had béene gotten in those warres, were borne forward, and openlie shewed, that all men might behold the same.
After these followed his brethren, wife, and daughters: and last of all came Caratacus himselfe, whose countenance was nothing like to theirs that went afore him. For whereas they fearing punishment for their rebellion with wailefull countenance craued mercie, he neither by countenance nor words shewd anie token of a discouraged mind, but being presented before the emperour Claudius sitting in his tribunall seat, he vttered this speach as followeth.
"If there had béene in me so much moderation in time of prosperitie, as there was nobilitie of birth and puissance, I had come to this citie rather as a friend than as a capteine
: neither should I haue thought scorne, being borne of most noble parents; and ruling ouer many people, to haue accepted peace by waie of ioining with you in league. My present estate as it is to me reprochfull, so to you it is honorable. I had at commandement, horsses, men, armor, and great riches; what maruell is it if I were loth to forgo the same? For if you shall looke to gouerne all men, it must néeds follow that all men must be your slaues. If I had at the first yéelded my selfe, neither my power nor your glorie had béene set foorth to the world, & vpon mine execution I should straight haue béene forgotten. But if you now grant me life, I shall be a witnesse for euer of your mercifull clemencie."
The emperour with these words being pacified, granted life both to Caratake, and also to his wife and brethren, who being loosed from their bands, went also to the place where the empresse Agrippina sat (not farre off) in a chaire of estate, whom they reuerenced with the like praise and thanks as they had doone before to the emperour. After this the senat was called togither, who discoursed of manie things touching this honourable victorie atchiued by the taking of Caratake, estéeming the same no lesse glorious, than when P. Scipio shewed in triumph Siphax king of the Numidians, or L. Paulus the Macedonian king Perses, or other
Siphax. L. Paulus.
Romane capteins anie such king whom they had vanquished.
Héerevpon it was determined, that Ostorius should enter the citie of Rome with triumph like a conqueror, for such prosperous successe as hitherto had followed him: but afterwards his procéedings were not so luckie, either for that after Caratake was remooued out of the waie, or bicause the Romans (as though the warre had béene finished) looked negligentlie to themselues, either else for that the Britains taking compassion of the miserable state of Caratake, being so worthie a prince, through fortunes froward aspect cast into miserie, were more earnestlie set to reuenge his quarrell. Héerevpon they incompassed the maister of the campe, and those legionarie bands of souldiers which were left amongst the Silures to fortifie a place there for the armie to lodge in: and if succour had not come out of the next towns and castels, the Romans had béene destroied by siege. The head capteine yet, and eight centurions, and euerie one else of the companies being most forward, were slaine. Shortlie after they set vpon the Romane forragers, and put them to flight, and also such companies of horssemen as were appointed to gard them. Héerevpon Ostorius set foorth certeine bands of light horssemen, but neither could he stale the flight by that meanes, till finallie the legions entred the battell, by whose force they were staid, and at length the Romans obteined the better: but the Britains escaped by flight without great losse, by reason the daie was spent.
After this, manie bickerings chanced betwixt the Britains and Romans, & oftentimes they wrought their feats more like the trade of them that vse to rob by the high waies, than of those that make open warre, taking their enimies at some aduantage in woods and bogs, as hap or force ministred occasion vpon malice conceiued, or in hope of prey, sometimes by commandement, and sometimes without either commandement or knowledge of capteine or officer.
At one time the Britains surprised two bands of footmen that were with the Romans in aid, and sent foorth to forreie abroad vnaduisedlie, through couetousnesse of the capteins. This feat was atchiued by the Silures also, the which in bestowing prisoners and part of the spoile vpon other of their neighbours, procured them likewise to rebell against the Romans, and to take part with them. The Silures were the more earnestlie set against the Romans, by occasion of words which the emperor Claudius had vttered in their disfauour, as thus: that euen as the Sicambres were destroied and remooued into Gallia, so likewise must the Silures be dealt with, and the whole nation of them extinguished. These words being blowne abroad, and knowne ouer all, caused the Silures to conceiue a woonderfull hatred against the Romans, so that they were fullie bent, either to reteine their libertie, or to die in defense thereof vpon the enimies swoord.
In the meane time Ostorius Scapula departed this life, a right noble warrior, and one who by litle & litle insuing the steps of Aulus Plautius his predecessor, did what he could to bring the Ile into the forme of a prouince, which in part he accomplished.
There be some led by coniecture grounded vpon good aduised considerations, that suppose
W. H. in his chronologie
this Ostorius Scapula began to build the citie of Chester after the ouerthrow of Caratacus: for in those parties he fortified sundrie holds, and placed a number of old souldiers either there in that selfe place, or in néere therevnto by waie of a colonie. And for somuch (saie they) as we read of none other of anie name thereabouts, it is to be thought that he planted the same in Chester, where his successors did afterwards vse to harbour their legions for the winter season, and in time of rest from iournies which they haue to make against their common enimies.
In déed it is a common opinion among the people there vnto this daie, that the Romans built those vaults or tauerns (which in that citie are vnder the ground) with some part of the
Ran. Hig. alias Cestrensis.
And verelie as Ranulfe Higden saith, a man that shall view and well consider those buildings, male thinke the same to be the woorke of Romans rather than of anie other people. That the Romane legions did make their abode there, no man séene in antiquities can doubt thereof, for the ancient name Caer leon ardour deuy,
that is, The citie of legions vpon the water of Dée, proueth it sufficientlie enough.
But to returne vnto Ostorius Scapula, we find in Corn. Tacitus, that during his time of
Cogidune a king in Britains
being lieutenant in this Ile, there were certeine cities giuen vnto one Cogidune a king of the Britains, who continued faithfull to the Romans vnto the daies of the remembrance of men liuing in the time of the said Cornelius Tacitus, who liued and wrote in the emperor Domitianus time. This was doone after an old receiued custom of the people of Rome, to haue both subiects and kings vnder their rule and dominion, as who so shall note the acts and déeds of the Roman emperours from C. Iulius Caesar (who chased Pompeie out of Italie, and was the first that obteined the Romane empire to himselfe; of whom also the princes and emperours succéeding him were called Cesars) to Octauian, Tiberius, Caligula, &c: maie easilie marke and obserue. For they were a people of singular magnanimitie, of an ambitious spirit, gréedie of honour and renowme, and not vnaptlie termed "Romani rerum domini, &c."