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overcome. But the Silures, who were naturally fierce, determined to fight to the very last against the invaders of their country. The only Celt of those days
whose name is worth remembering was Caradog, king Caradog. of the Silures. Caradog is generally known by the
name of Caractacus. He was a very brave man, and an able soldier and leader of men. He loved his country and his people very dearly, for he was a true prince. He was one of the noblest of patriots, and the most perfect of heroes. He fought against the Romans time after time. His fellow-countrymen fully believed in him, and after defeat they continued faithful to him. At last he determined to fight one great battle, and, if possible, to destroy the Roman soldiers under Ostorius. He took his stand with his brave subjects upon some lofty hills, which he protected with heaps of stones : in his front was a river. Before the battle began Caradog encouraged his men to fight for freedom; and then each man took an oath that he would not shrink in the coming struggle.? The Romans crossed the river, rushed up the hills, and pulled down the walls of stones that protected the Britons. So far the Romans were at a disadvantage, for as they came up the hill they were killed by the darts and arrows of the enemy; but when they came to fight hand to hand, they were able to defeat Caradog's forces, as the Romans were protected by armour, while the limbs and breasts of the Britons had no protection from the swords, spears, and javelins of their assailants. Caradog and his men fought long and bravely, but to no purpose; so they dispersed and fled. The Annals of Tacitus, book xii. chap. 33. 2 Ibid, chap. 34.
3 Ibid, chap. 35
The brave King went to the Queen of the Brigantes, who was his mother-in-law. But she was afraid of the Romans, and, wishing to please them, she delivered Caradog in chains to Ostorius. The news of his capture Caradog. was soon carried throughout the island and the neighbouring countries. His fame as a good general was known in many lands. For nine years he had defied the
power of the Romans. Caradog was carried to Rome. When he saw that wonderful city, with its large and beautiful buildings, and its riches and greatness, he did not show any surprise or anxiety. Nor did the splendour that surrounded him cause him to forget that he was a king, although he was clothed in skins and coarse cloth. So he held up his head and looked about him in a very quiet and easy manner. The Emperor Claudius summoned the people to see the British captives, and all were eager to see the great Caradog. The Emperor Claudius sat upon one throne, and his fourth wife, the infamous Agrippina, mother of the Emperor Nero, sat upon another throne. But neither their presence nor that of the Roman legions and of thousands upon thousands of people affected Caradog, who neither by looks nor words sought pity. The Emperor was so pleased with his brave appearance and calm dignity that he set him free, together with his wife and brothers. The Roman Senate delivered speeches on the capture of Caradog, and declared that his exposure to the Roman populace was as glorious as the display of any captive prince by any of their generals to the people of Rome.? The capture of Caradog did not discourage the · The Annals of Tacitus, book xii. chap. 36.
2 Ibid, chap. 38.
Silures. They were enraged because Ostorius had declared that their name ought to be blotted out. Again and again they attacked the Roman soldiers, and at last the Roman general was worn out? by his anxieties, and died in the year 51.
The Celts had a religion called Druidism. Their priests were very clever men, and very good speakers. Before a battle they always spoke to the soldiers, and encouraged them to fight well. Because of this the Romans under Suetonius Paulinus, the conqueror of the Moors of Africa, determined to kill the Druids. The Saxons afterwards followed their example, and killed the Welsh preachers and students. And the Danes followed the example of both Roman and Saxon, and killed as many priests as they could find, whether they belonged to the British or Romish Church. The island of Anglesey, then called Mona, was the chief abode of the Druids. So Suetonius Paulinus prepared to attack it with cavalry and infantry. The former swamo by the side of their horses, and the latter got across the Menai Straits by means of flat bottomed vessels. They were opposed by the British warriors, and also by their wives and priests. The women, dressed in black, with their hair all loose and with flaming brands in their hands, encouraged the men to fight; whilst the Druids lifted up their hands to heaven and cursed the foe. The Roman soldiers were terrified at such an extraordinary spectacle, and stood motionless for a time. But, urged on by their general, they rushed forward and overthrew the hapless throng of British men and women. Such as escaped their swords they put on fire
* The Annals of Tacitus, book xii. chap. 39.
The Conquest of Anglesey. 61.
with their own brands. They also cut down the woods in which the Druids performed their religious rites, and overthrew the altars over which human blood' was wont to flow. This took place in the year 61.
While these events were taking place in the west, terrible things were happening in the east. The King of the Iceni, before he died, left part of his kingdom to his daughters and part of it to the Emperor of Rome. He did this to gain the good-will of the Romans. But the latter beat his wife Boadicea, outraged his daugh- Boadicea's ters, reduced his relations to slavery, and deprived the chief men of their estates. Boadicea, accompanied by her daughters, rode among her subjects in her war chariot, and called upon them to arise and drive the cruel and wicked Romans out of the land. She was obeyed, as the people burned to avenge the slaughter of their male relatives and the outrage of their female ones; they bore in mind that their children had been taken from them, and that the invaders held their lands. The Iceni were joined by their neighbours the Trinobantes.
The combined forces surrounded the Roman colony at Colchester, which was unprotected. The town, with its temple dedicated to the Emperor Claudius, and its inhabitants, were destroyed. A Roman legion, except some cavalry, was utterly routed. London and St. Albans were laid waste. Suetonius retreated before the victorious Britons until he came upon a favourable position of defence, which was approached by a narrow defile. A plain was in his front, and a forest behind him.
i The Annals of Tacitus, book xiv. chap. 30. * Ibid, book xiv. chap. 31. 8 The Romans called it Camalodunum.
Death of Boadicea, 61.
Boadicea declared to her excited listeners that one of the people I avenge lost freedom, my scourged body, the outraged chastity of my daughters. Heaven is on the side of a righteous vengeance.” Her exhortations were joyfully received. In the battle that followed the Britons were impeded by the waggons in which their wives had come to see the destruction of the Romans. The Britons fought well. Boadicea, with her long yellow hair floating in the breeze, encouraged her followers; but all in vain. Discipline prevailed over patriotism. This battle ranks among the decisive ones of the world. The victorious Romans revenged the seventy thousand killed by the British, by the indiscriminate slaughter of eighty thousand native men, women, and children.' Boadicea despaired of her country, and poisoned herself. After this battle the hostile tribes were ravaged with fire and sword. This unpardonable severity led to the recall of Suetonius.
After Seutonius several Roman generals came to Britain, but it is not necessary to mention even their
The best of them was Agricola. He was the Roman lieutenant of Britain from 78 to 85. As well as being very brave and a good general, he was a kind and a far-seeing man. He was anxious to civilize the Celts, and to make Britain a province of the Roman empire. Unlike Ostorius and Seutonius, he did not wish to kill its inhabitants; but he was determined to master them, and also to do all he could to bring them into the ways of the Romans.
Fortunately for posterity Agricola's son-in-law was the famous Roman historian Tacitus. They were fond
The Annals of Tacitus, book xiv, chap. 37.
Agricola, 78 to 85.