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Geoffrey of Monmouth History of the Kings of Britain

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Geoffrey of Monmouth
History of the Kings of Britain
page 27

the apostle Peter founded the Church of Antioch; and afterwards coming to Rome, was bishop there, and sent Mark, the evangelist, into Egypt to preach the gospel which he had written.

Chapter 16. Arviragus revolting from the Romans, Vespasian is sent into Britain.

After the departure of Claudius, Arviragus began to show his wisdom and courage, to rebuild cities and towns, and to exercise so great authority over his own people, that he became a terror to the kings of remote countries. But this so elevated him with pride that he despised the Roman power, disdained any longer subjection to the senate, and assumed to himself the sole authority in every thing. Upon this news Vespasian was sent by Claudius to procure a reconciliation with Arviragus, or to reduce him to the subjection of the Romans. When, therefore, Vespasian arrived at the haven of Rutupi, Arviragus met him, and prevented his entering the port. For he brought so great an army along with him, that the Romans, for fear of his falling upon them, durst not come ashore. Vespasian upon this withdrew from that port, and shifting his sails arrived at the shore of Totness. As soon as he was landed, he marched directly to besiege Kaerpenhuelgoit, now Exeter; and after lying before it seven days, was overtaken by Arviragus and his army, who gave him battle. That day great destruction was made in both armies, but neither got the victory. The next morning, by the mediation of queen Genuissa the two leaders were made friends, and sent their men over to Ireland. As soon as winter was over, Vespasian returned to Rome, but Arviragus continued still in Britain. Afterwards, when he grew old, he began to show much respect to the senate, and to govern his kingdom in peace and tranquillity. He confirmed the old laws of his ancestors, and enacted some new ones, and made very ample presents to all persons of merit. So that his fame spread over all Europe, and he was both loved and feared by the Romans, and became the subject of their discourse more than any king in his time. Hence Juvenal relates how a certain blind man, speaking of a turbot that was taken, said: “Regem aliquem capies, aut de temone Britanno Decidet Arviragus.” Arviragus shall from his chariot fall, Or thee his lord some captive king shall call. In war none was more fierce than he, in peace none more mild, none more pleasing, or in his presents more magnificent. When he had finished his course of life, he was buried at Gloucester, in a certain temple which he had built and dedicated to the honour of Claudius.

Chapter 17. Rodric, leader of the Picts, is vanquished by Marius.

His son Marius, a man of admirable prudence and wisdom, succeeded him in the kingdom. In his reign a certain king of the Picts, named Rodric, came from Scythia with a great fleet, and arrived in the north part of Britain, which is called Albania, and began to ravage that country. Marius therefore raising an army went in quest of him, and killed him in battle, and gained the victory; for a monument of which he set up a stone in the province, which from his name was afterwards called Westmoreland, where there is an inscription retaining his memory to this day. He gave the conquered people that came with Rodric liberty to inhabit that part of Albania which is called Caithness, that had been a long time desert and uncultivated. And as they had no wives, they desired to have the daughters and kinswoman of the Britons. But the Britons refused, disdaining to unite with such a people. Having suffered a repulse here, they sailed over into Ireland, and married the women of that country and by their offspring increased their number. But let thus much suffice concerning them, since I do not propose to write the history of this people, or of the Scots, who derived their original from them and the Irish. Marius, after he had settled the island in perfect peace, began to love the Roman people, paying the tribute that was demanded of him; and in imitation of his father’s example practised justice, law, peace, and every thing that was honourable in his kingdom.

Chapter 18. Marius dying, is succeeded by Coillus.

As soon as he had ended his days, his son Coillus took upon him the government of the kingdom. He had been brought up from his infancy at Rome, and having been taught the Roman manners, had contracted a most strict amity with them. He likewise paid them tribute, and declined making them any opposition, because he saw the whole world subject to them, and that no town or country was out of the limits of their power. By paying therefore what was required of him, he enjoyed his kingdom in peace: and no king ever showed greater respect to his nobility, not only permitting them to enjoy their own with quiet, but also binding them to him by his continual bounty and munificence.

Chapter 19 . Lucius is the first British king that embraces the Christian faith, together with his people.

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