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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 33

Caradoc, after this, taking along with him his son Mauricius, commanded everybody to withdraw from the king’s presence, and then addressed him in these words: “Behold, that which your more faithful and loyal subjects have long wished for, is now by the good providence of God brought about. You commanded your nobility to give their advice how to dispose of your daughter and kingdom, as being willing to hold the government no longer on account of your great age. Some, therefore, were for having the kingdom delivered up to Conan your nephew, and a suitable match procured for your daughter elsewhere; as fearing the ruin of our people, if any prince that is a stranger to our language should be set over us. Others were for granting the kingdom to your daughter and some nobleman of our own country, who should succeed you after your death. But the greater number recommended some person descended of the family of the emperors, on whom you should bestow your daughter and crown. For they promised themselves a firm and lasting peace, as the consequence of such a marriage, since they would be under the protection of the Roman state. See then! God has vouchsafed to bring to you a young man, who is both a Roman, and also of the royal family of Britain; and to whom, if you follow my advice, you will not delay to marry your daughter. And indeed, should you refuse him, what right could you plead to the crown of Britain against him? For he is the cousin of Constantine, and the nephew of king Coel, whose daughter Helena possessed the crown by an undeniable hereditary right.” When Caradoc had represented these things to him, Octavius acquiesced, and with the general consent of his people bestowed the kingdom and his daughter upon him. Conan Meriadoc, finding how things went, was beyond expression incensed, and, retiring into Albania, used all his interest to raise an army, that he might give disturbance to Maximian. And when he had got a great body of men together, he passed the Humber, and wasted the provinces on each side of it. At the news whereof, Maximian hastened to assemble his forces against him, and then gave him battle, and returned with victory. But this proved no decisive blow to Conan, who with his re-assembled troops still continued to ravage the provinces, and provoked Maximian to return again and renew the war, in which he had various success, being sometimes victorious, sometimes defeated. At last, after great damages done on both sides, they were brought by the mediation of friends to a reconciliation.

Chapter 12. Maximian overthrows the Armoricans: his speech to Conan.

Five years after this, Maximian, proud of the vast treasures that daily flowed in upon him, fitted out a great fleet, and assembled together all the forces in Britain. For this kingdom was now not sufficient for him; he was ambitious of adding Gaul also to it. With this view he set sail, and arrived first at the kingdom of Armorica, now called Bretagne, and began hostilities upon the Gallic people that inhabited it. But the Gauls, under the command of Imbaltus, met him, and engaged him in battle, in which the greater part being in danger, they were forced to fly, and leave Imbaltus with fifteen thousand men killed, all of them Armoricans. This severe overthrow was matter of the greatest joy to Maximian, who knew the reduction of that country would be very easy, after the loss of so many men. Upon this occasion he called Conan aside from the army, and smiling said; “See, we have already conquered one of the best kingdoms in Gaul: we may now have hopes of gaining all the rest. Let us make haste to take the cities and towns, before the rumour of their danger spread to the remoter parts of Gaul, and raise all the people up in arms. For if we can but get possession of this kingdom, I make no doubt of reducing all Gaul under our power. Be not therefore concerned that you have yielded up the island of Britain to me, notwithstanding the hopes you once had of succeeding to it; because whatever you have lost in it, I will restore to you in this country. For my design is to advance you to the throne of this kingdom; and this shall be another Britain, which we will people with our own countrymen, and drive out the old inhabitants. The land is fruitful in corn, the rivers abound with fish, the woods afford a beautiful prospect, and the forests are everywhere pleasant; nor is there in my opinion anywhere a more delightful country.” Upon this, Conan, with a submissive bow, gave him his thanks, and promised to continue loyal to him as long as he lived.

Chapter 13. Redonum taken by Maximian.

After this they marched with their forces to Redonum and took it the same day. For the citizens, hearing of the bravery, of the Britons, and what slaughter they had made, fled away with haste, leaving their wives and children behind them. And the rest of the cities and towns soon followed their example; so that there was an easy entrance into them for the Britons, who wherever they entered killed all they found left of the male sex, and spared only the women. At last, when they had wholly extirpated the inhabitants of all those provinces they garrisoned the cities and towns with British soldiers and made fortifications in several places. The fame of Maximian’s exploits

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