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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 29

fleet into Britain, and besieged York. Upon this news being spread through the country, the greatest part of the Britons deserted Severus, and went over to Fulgenius. However this did not make Severus desist from his enterprise: but calling together the Romans, and the rest of the Britons that adhered to him, he marched to the siege, and fought with Fulgenius; but the engagement proving very sharp, he was killed with many of his followers: Fulgenius also was mortally wounded. Afterwards Severus was buried at York, which city was taken by his legions. He left two sons, Bassianus and Geta, whereof Geta had a Roman for his mother, but Bassianus a Briton. Therefore upon the death of their father the Romans made Geta king, favouring him on account of his being a Roman by both his parents: but the Britons rejected him, and advanced Bassianus, as being their countryman by his mother’s side. This proved the occasion of a battle between the two brothers, in which Geta was killed; and so Bassianus obtained the sovereignty.

Chapter 3. Carausius advanced to be king of Britain.

At that time there was in Britain one Carausius, a young an of mean birth, who, having given proof of his bravery in many engagements, went to Rome, and solicited the senate for leave to defend with a fleet the maritime coasts of Britain, from the incursions of barbarians; which if they would grant him, he promised to do more for the honour and service of the commonwealth, than by delivering up to them the kingdom of Britain. The senate, deluded by his specious promises, granted him his request, and so, with his commission sealed, he returned to Britain. Then by wicked practices getting a fleet together, he enlisted into his service a body of the bravest youths, and putting out to sea, sailed round the whole kingdom, causing very great disturbance among the people. In the meantime he invaded the adjacent islands, where he destroyed all before him, countries, cities, and towns, and plundered the inhabitants of all they had. By this conduct he encouraged all manner of dissolute fellows to flock to him in hope of plunder, and in a very short time was attended by an army which no neighbouring prince was able to oppose. This made him begin to swell with pride, and to propose to the Britons, that they should make him their king; for which consideration he promised to kill and banish the Romans, and free the whole island from the invasions of barbarous nations. Accordingly obtaining his request, he fell upon Bassianus and killed him, and then took upon him the government of the kingdom. For Bassianus was betrayed by the Picts, whom Fulgenius his mother’s brother had brought with him into Britain, and who being corrupted by the promises and presents of Carausius, instead of assisting Bassianus, deserted him in the very battle, and fell upon his men; so that the rest were put into a consternation, and not knowing their friends from their foes, quickly gave ground, and left the victory to Carausius. Then he, to reward the Picts for this success, gave them a habitation in Albania, where they continued afterwards mixed with the Britons.

Chapter 4. Allectus kills Carausius, but is afterwards himself slain in flight by Asclepiodotus.

When the news of these proceedings of Carausius arrived at Rome, the senate commissioned Allectus, with three legions, to kill the tyrant, and restore the kingdom of Britain to the Roman power. No sooner was he arrived, than he fought with Carausius, killed him, and took upon himself the government. After which he miserably oppressed the Britons, for having deserted the commonwealth, and adhered to Carausius. But the Britons, not enduring this, advanced Asclepiodotus, duke of Cornwall, to be their king, and then unanimously marched against Allectus, and challenged him to battle. He was then at London, celebrating a feast to his tutelary gods; but being informed of the coming of Asclepiodotus, he quitted the sacrifice, and went out with all his forces to meet him, and engaged with him in a sharp fight. But Asclepiodotus had the advantage, and dispersed and put to flight Allectus’s troops, and in the pursuit killed many thousands, as also king Allectus himself. After this victory, Livius Gallus, the colleague of Allectus, assembled the rest of the Romans, shut the gates of the city, and placed his men in the towers and other fortifications, thinking by these means either to make a stand against Asclepiodotus, or at least to avoid imminent death. But Asclepiodotus seeing this laid siege to the city, and sent word to all the dukes of Britain, that he had killed Allectus with a great number of his men, and was besieging Gallus and the rest of the Romans in London; and therefore earnestly entreated them to hasten to his assistance, representing to them withal, how easy it was to extirpate the whole race of the Romans out of Britain, provided they would all join their forces against the besieged. At this summons came the Dimetians, Venedotians, Deirans, Albanians, and all others of the British race. And as soon as they appeared before the duke, he commanded vast numbers of engines to be made, to beat down the walls of the city. Accordingly every one

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