The gouernment of P. Suetonius in this Iland, he inuadeth Anglesey, and winneth it, a strange kind of women, of the Druides, the Britains lament their miser ie and seruitude, and take aduise by weapon to redresse it against the Romans their enimies.
THE NINTH CHAPTER.
P. Suetonius lieutenant.
BUT now when this great losse chanced to the Romans Paulinus Suetonius did gouerne
here as lieutenant, a man most plentifullie furnished with all gifts of fortune and vertue,
and therewith a right skilfull warrior. This Suetonius therefore wishing to tame such of
the Britains as kept out, prepared to assaile the Ile of Anglesey, a countrie full of inhabitants,
and a place of refuge for all outlawes and rebels. He builded certeine brigantins with flat
keeles to serue for the ebbes and shallow shelues here and there, lieng vncerteinlie in the
straits which he had to passe. The footmen ferried ouer in those vessels, the horssemen
following by the foords, and swimming when they came into the deepe, got likewise to the
shore, where stood in order of battell and huge number of armed men close togither, redie
A strange maner of women.
to beat backe the Romans, and to staie them from comming to land. Amongst the men,
a number of women were also running vp and downe as they had béene out of their wits,
in garments like to wild roges, with their haire hanging downe about their shoulders, and
bearing firebrands in their hands. There was also a companie of their priests or philosophers
called Druides, who with stretched forth hands towards heauen, thundered out curssings
against the Romans in most bitter wise.
The souldiers were so amazed with the strangenesse of this sight, that (as men benummed
of their lims and senses) they suffred themselues to be wounded and slaine like
senselesse creatures, till by the calling vpon of their generall, and ech one incouraging other
in no wise to feare a sort of mad & distract women, they preassed forward vnder their ensignes,
bearing downe such as stood in their way, and with their owne fire smooldered and
burnt them to ashes.
Anglesey won by the Romans.
To conclude, the Romane lieutenant got possession of the whole Ile, wherein he placed
garisons of men of warre to kéepe the people there in subiection. He also caused their
Woods cut downe.
woods to be cut downe, that were consecrated to their gods, within the which they were accustomed
to sacrifice sush as they tooke prisoners, and by the view of their intrailes, in dismembring
them, to learne of their gods some oracles and such other things as should come
But now in the meane time, whilest Paulinus was abroad about this enterprise, the Britains
began to conferre togither of they great and importable miseries, of their grieuous state of
seruitude, of their iniuries and wrongs, which they dailie susteined: how that by sufferance
they profited nothing, but still were oppressed with more heauie burthens. Ech countrie
Lieutenant & procurator.
in times past had onelie one king to rule them: now had they two, the lieutenant by his
capteins and souldiers spilling their bloud, and the procurator or receiuer (as we may call
him) bereauing them of their goods and substance. The concord or discord betwixt those
that were appointed to rule ouer them, was all alike hurtfull vnto the subiects, the lieutenant
oppressing them by his capteins and men of warre, and the procurator or receiuer by force
and reprochfull demeanours, polling them by insufferable exactions.
There was nothing frée from the couetous extortion and filthie concupiscence of these
vnsatiable persons, for in these daies (say they) the greatest spoiler is the valiantest man,
and most commonlie our houses are robbed and ransacked by a sort of cowardlie raskals
that haue no knowledge of anie warlike feats at all. Our children are taken from us, we
are forced to go to the musters, and are set foorth to serue in forren parties, as those that
are ignorant which way to spend our liues in the quarell of our owne countrie. What a
number of souldiers haue beene transported ouer from hence to serue in other lands, if a
iust account were taken thereof: The Germans by manhood haue cast (said they) from
their shoulders the heauie yoke of bondage, and are not defended as we are with the
maine Ocean sea, but onelie with a riuer. Where the Britains haue their countrie, their
wiues and parents, as iust causes of war to fight for: the Romans haue none at all, but a
couetous desire to gaine by rapine, and to satisfie their excessiue lusts.
They might easilie be compelled to depart the countrie, as Iulius Cesar was, if the Britains
would shew some proofe of the noble prowesse that was euidentlie found in their woorthie
ancestors, and not shrinke or quaile in courage for the misaduenture that should happilie
chance by fighting one battell or two. Greatest force and constancie alwaies remaineth
with those that seek to deliuer themselues from miserie. Now appeared it that the gods
had taken some pitie of the poore Britains, who by their diuine power did withhold the
chiefe capteine of the Romans with his armie, as it were banished in an other Iland. Let
Occasion not to be neglected.
vs then (said they) take the oportunitie of time and good occasion offered, and foorthwith
proceed in our businesse: for lesse danger it is manfullie to aduenture, and to go forward
with our purpose, than to be bewraied and taken in these our consultations. Thus hauing
taken aduise togither, and wholie misliking their present state, they determined to take
weapon in hand, and so by force to seeke for reformation.