The Age of Fable eBook

Thomas Bulfinch
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,207 pages of information about The Age of Fable.
Cassibellaun, engaged in single combat with Csesar.  After several furious blows given and received, the sword of Caesar stuck so fast in the shield of Nennius that it could not be pulled out, and the combatants being separated by the intervention of the troops Nennius remained possessed of this trophy.  At last, after the greater part of the day was spent, the Britons poured in so fast that Caesar was forced to retire to his camp and fleet.  And finding it useless to continue the war any longer at that time, he returned to Gaul.

Shakspeare alludes to Cassibellaunus, in “Cymbeline”: 

    “The famed Cassibelan, who was once at point
     (O giglot fortune!) to master Caesar’s sword,
     Made Lud’s town with rejoicing fires bright,
     And Britons strut with courage.”


Caesar, on a second invasion of the island, was more fortunate, and compelled the Britons to pay tribute.  Cymbeline, the nephew of the king, was delivered to the Romans as a hostage for the faithful fulfilment of the treaty, and, being carried to Rome by Caesar, he was there brought up in the Roman arts and accomplishments.  Being afterwards restored to his country, and placed on the throne, he was attached to the Romans, and continued through all his reign at peace with them.  His sons, Guiderius and Arviragus, who made their appearance in Shakspeare’s play of “Cymbeline,” succeeded their father, and, refusing to pay tribute to the Romans, brought on another invasion.  Guiderius was slain, but Arviragus afterward made terms with the Romans, and reigned prosperously many years.


The next event of note is the conquest and colonization of Armorica, by Maximus, a Roman general, and Conan, lord of Miniadoc or Denbigh-land, in Wales.  The name of the country was changed to Brittany, or Lesser Britain; and so completely was it possessed by the British colonists, that the language became assimilated to that spoken in Wales, and it is said that to this day the peasantry of the two countries can understand each other when speaking their native language.

The Romans eventually succeeded in establishing themselves in the island, and after the lapse of several generations they became blended with the natives so that no distinction existed between the two races.  When at length the Roman armies were withdrawn from Britain, their departure was a matter of regret to the inhabitants, as it left them without protection against the barbarous tribes, Scots, Picts, and Norwegians, who harassed the country incessantly.  This was the state of things when the era of King Arthur began.

The adventure of Albion, the giant, with Hercules is alluded to by Spenser, “Faery Queene,” Book iv., Canto xi: 

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The Age of Fable from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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