Early Britain—Roman Britain eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 242 pages of information about Early Britain—Roman Britain.

G. 4.—­He was now in Caswallon’s own country, and his presence there encouraged the Trinobantian loyalists openly to throw off allegiance to their conqueror and raise Mandubratius to his father’s throne under the protection of Rome; sending to Caesar at the same time provisions for his men, and forty hostages whom he demanded of them.  Caesar in return gave strict orders to his soldiers against plundering or raiding in their territory.  This mingled firmness and clemency made so favourable an impression that the submission of the Trinobantes was followed by that of various adjoining clans, small and great, from the Iceni of East Anglia to the little riverside septs of the Bibroci and Ancalites, whose names may or may not be echoed in the modern Bray and Henley.  The Cassi (of Cassiobury) not only submitted, but guided the Romans to Caswallon’s own neighbouring stronghold in the forests near St. Alban’s.  It was found to be a position of considerable natural strength (probably on the site of the later Verulam), and well fortified; but all the heart was out of the Cateuchlanians.  When the assailing columns approached to storm the place on two sides at once, they hesitated, broke, and flung themselves over the ramparts on the other sides in headlong flight.  Caesar, however, was able to head them, and his troops killed and captured large numbers, besides getting possession of all the flocks and herds, which, as usual, had been gathered for refuge within the stockade.

G. 5.—­Caswallon himself, however, escaped, and now made one last bid for victory.  So great was still the influence of his prestige that, broken as he was, he was able to prevail upon the clans of Kent to make a sudden and desperate onset upon the Naval Station at Richborough.  All four of the chieftains beneath whose sway the county was divided (Cingetorix, Canilius, Taximagulus, and Segonax) rose with one accord at his summons.  The attack, however, proved a mere flash in the pan.  Even before it was delivered, the garrison sallied out vigorously, captured one of the British leaders, Lugotorix, slaughtered the assailants wholesale, and crushed the whole movement without the loss of a man.  This final defeat of his last hopes broke even Caswallon’s sturdy heart.  His followers slain, his lands wasted, his allies in revolt, he bowed to the inevitable.  Even now, however, he did not surrender unconditionally, but besought Caesar’s protege, the Atrebatian chieftain Commius, to negotiate terms with the conqueror.

G. 6.—­To Caesar this was no small relief.  The autumn was coming on, and Caswallon’s guerrilla warfare might easily eat up all the remainder of the summer, when he must needs be left alone, conquered or unconquered, that the Roman army might get back to its winter quarters on the Continent; more especially as ominous signs in Gaul already predicted the fearful tempest of revolt which, that winter, was to burst.  Easy conditions were therefore imposed.  Caswallon pledged himself, as Lord Paramount, that Britain should pay an annual tribute to the Roman treasury, and, as Chief of the Cateuchlani, that he would leave Mandubratius on the Trinobantian throne.  Hostages were given, and the Roman forces returned with all convenient speed to the coast; this time, presumably, crossing the Thames in the regular way at London.

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Early Britain—Roman Britain from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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