Chronicles (1 of 6): The Historie of England (4 of 8) - The Fovrth Booke Of The Historie Of England
by Raphael Holinshed
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Againe, in his eight and twentith booke, the same Marcellinus reciting further what the same Theodosius atchiued in Britaine, hath in effect these words: Thedosius verelie a capteine of woorthie fame, taking [Sidenote: London called Augusta.] a valiant courage to him, and departing from Augusta, which men of old time called London, with souldiers assembled by great diligence, did succour and releeue greatlie the decaied and troubled state of the Britains, preuenting euerie conuenient place where the barbarous people might lie in wait to doo mischiefe: and nothing he commanded the meane souldiers to doo, but that whereof he with a cheerefull mind would first take in hand to shew them an example. By this meanes accomplishing the roome of a valiant souldier, and fulfilling the charge of a noble capteine, he discomfited and put to flight sundrie nations, whome presumption (nourished by securitie) emboldened to inuade the Romane prouinces: and so the cities and castels that had beene sore endamaged by manifold losses and displeasures, were restored to their former state of wealth, the foundation of rest and quietnesse being laid for a long season after to insue.

But as these things were a dooing, one wicked practise was in hand & like to haue burst foorth, to the greeuous danger of setting things in broile, if it had not beene staied euen in the beginning of the [Sidenote: Valentinus. Valeria now Stiermarke.] first attempt. For there was one Valentinus, borne in the parties of Valeria adioining to Pannonia, now called Stiermarke, a man of a proud and loftie stomach, brother to the wife of Maximinus, which Valentinus for some notable offense had beene banished into Britaine, where the naughtie man that could not rest in quiet, deuised how by some commotion he might destroy Theodosius, who as he saw was onelie able to resist his wicked purposes. And going about manie things both priuilie and apertlie, the force of his vnmeasurable desire to mischiefe still increasing, he sought to procure aswell other that were in semblable wise banished men, & inclined to mischiefe like him selfe, as also diuers of the souldiers, alluring them (as the time serued) with large promises of great wealth, if they would ioine with him in that enterprise. But euen now in the verie nicke, when they shuld haue gone in hand with their vngratious exploit, Theodosius warned of their intent, boldlie aduanced himselfe to see due punishment executed on the offendors that were foorthwith taken and knowne to be guiltie in that conspiracie.

[Sidenote: Dulcitius is appointed to put Valentinus to death.] Theodosius committed Valentine with a few other of his trustie complices vnto the capteine Dulcitius, commanding him to see them put to death: but coniecturing by his warlike skill (wherein he passed all other in those daies) what might follow, he would not in anie wise haue anie further inquirie made of the other conspirators, least through feare that might be spread abroad in manie, the troubles of the prouinces now well quieted, should be againe reuiued. After this, Theodosius disposing himselfe to redresse manie things as need required, all danger was quite remooued: so that it was most apparent, that fortune fauored him in such wise, that she left him not destitute of hir furtherance in anie one of all his attempts. He therefore restored the cities & castels that were appointed to be kept with garrisons, and the borders he caused to be defended and garded with sufficient numbers to keepe watch and ward in places necessarie. And hauing recouered the prouince which the enimies had gotten into their possession, he so restored it to the former state, that vpon his [Sidenote: A part of Britaine called Valentia.] motion to haue it so, a lawfull gouernour was assigned to rule it, and the name was changed, so as from thencefoorth it should be called Valentia for the princes pleasure.

The Areani, a kind of men ordeined in times past by our elders (of whome somewhat we haue spoken in the acts of the emperour Constance) being now by little and little fallen into vices, he remooued from their places of abiding, being openlie conuicted, that allured with bribes and faire promises, they had oftentimes bewraied vnto the barbarous nations what was doone among the Romans: for this was their charge, to runne vp and downe by long iournies, and to giue warning to our captains, what sturre the people of the next confines were about to make.

[Sidenote: The praise of Theodosius.] Theodosius therefore hauing ordered these & other like things, most woorthilie & to his high fame, was called home to the emperours court, who leauing the prouinces in most triumphant state, was highlie renowmed for his often and most profitable victories, as if he had beene an other Camillus or Cursor Papirius, and with the fauor and loue of all men was conueied vnto the sea side; and passing ouer with a gentle wind, came to the court, where he was receiued with great gladnesse and commendation, being immediatlie appointed to succeed in the roome of Valence Iouinus that was maister of the horsses. Finallie, he was called by the emperour Gratianus, to be associated with him in the imperiail estate, after the death of Valence, [Sidenote: 379.] in the yeare after the incarnation of our Sauior 379, and reigned emperour, surnamed Thodosius the great, about 16 yeares and 2 daies.

[Sidenote: Wil. Har.] Hereto also maie that be applied which the foresaid Marcellinus [Sidenote: Walf. Lazi.] writeth in the same booke, touching the inuasion of the Saxons, the which (as Wolf. Lazius taketh it) entred then first into great Britaine, but were repelled of the emperour Valentinianus the first, [Sidenote: Seuerus.] by the conduct and guiding of Seuerus. The same yeere (saith he) that the emperours were the third time consuls, there brake forth a multitude of Saxons, & passing the seas, entred stronglie into the Romane confines: a nation fed oftentimes with the slaughter of our [Sidenote: Nonneus Comes.] people, the brunt of whose first inuasion earle Nonneus sustained, one which was appointed to defend those parties, an approoued capteine, & with continuall trauell in warres verie expert. But then incountring with desperate and forlorne people, when he perceiued some of his souldiers to be ouerthrowne and beaten downe, and himselfe wounded, not able to abide the often assaults of his enimies, he obteined this by informing the emperour what was necessarie and [Sidenote: Seuerus coronell of the footmen.] ought to be doone, insomuch that Seuerus, maister or (as I maie call him) coronell of the footmen, was sent to helpe and releeue things that stood in danger: the which bringing a sufficient power with him for the state of that businesse, when he came to those places, he diuiding his armie into parts, put the Saxons in such feare and trouble before they fought, that they did not so much as take weapon in hand to make resistance, but being amazed with the sight of the glittering ensignes, & the eagles figured in the Romane standards, they streight made sute for peace, and at length after the matter was debated in sundrie wise (because it was judged that it should be profitable for the Romane commonwealth) truce was granted vnto them, and manie yoong men (able for seruice in the warres) deliuered to the Romans according to the couenants concluded.

After this the Saxons were permitted to depart without impeachment, & so to returne from whence they came, who being now out of all feare, and preparing to go their waies, diuers bands of footmen were sent to lie priuilie in a certeine hid vallie so ambushed, as they might easilie breake foorth vpon the enimies as they passed by them. But it chanced far otherwise than they supposed, for certeine of those footmen stirred with the noise of them as they were comming, brake foorth out of time, and being suddenlie discouered whilest they hasted to vnite and knit themselues togither, by the hideous crie and shout of the Saxons they were put to flight. Yet by and by closing togither againe, they staied, and the extremitie of the chance ministring to them force (though not sufficient) they were driuen to fight it out, and being beaten downe with great slaughter, had died euerie mothers sonne, if a troope of horssemen armed at all points (being in like maner placed in an other side at the entring of the waie to assaile the enimies as they should passe) aduertised by the dolefull noise of them that fought, had not speedilie come to the succour of their fellowes.

Then ran they togither more cruellie than before, and the Romans bending themselues towards their enimies, compassed them in on each side, and with drawne swords slue them downe right, so that there was not one of them left to returne home to their natiue countrie to bring newes how they had sped, nor one suffered to liue after anothers death, either to reuenge their ruine, or to lament their losse. Thus were the limits of the Romane empire preserued at that time in Britaine, which should seeme to be about the yeere of our Lord 399. [Sidenote: 399.]

Thus were the Romans, as commonlie in all their martiall affaires, so in this incounter verie fortunate, the happie issue of the conflict falling out on their side. And strange it is to consider and marke, how these people by a celestiall kind of influence were begotten and borne as it were to prowesse and renowme; the course of their dealings in the field most [Page 548] aptlie answering to their name. For (as some suppose) the Romans were called of the Greeke word [Greek: rhomae], [Sidenote: Solinus. Adr. Iun.] signifieng power and mightinesse: and in old time they were called Valentians, A valendo, of preuailing: so that it was no maruell though they were victorious subduers of forren people, sithens they were by nature created and appointed to be conquerors, and thereof had their denomination.

* * * * *

What the poet Claudianus saith of the state of Britaine in the decaie of the Romane empire, of the Scots and Picts cruellie vexing the Britains, they are afflicted by inuasion of barbarous nations, the practise of the Saxons, of the Scots first comming into this Iland, and from whence, the Scotish chonographers noted for curiositie and vanitie.


[Sidenote: Solinus. Adr. Iun.] After this, in the time of the emperour Honorius, the Scots, Picts, and Saxons, did eftsoones inuade the frontiers of the Romane prouince in Britaine, as appeereth by that which the poet Claudianus writeth, in attributing the honour of preseruing the same frontiers [Sidenote: 396. Claudianus.] vnto the said emperour, in his booke intituled "Panegerycus tertij consulatus" (which fell in the yeere 396) as thus:

Ille leues Mauros nec falso nomine Pictos Edomuit, Scotumq; vago mucrone secutus, Fregit Hyperboreas remis audacibus vndas, Et geminis fulgens vtroq; sub axe tropheis, Tethyos alternae refluas calcauit arenas.

The nimble Mores and Picts by right so cald, he hath subdude, And with his wandring swoord likewise the Scots he hath pursude: He brake with bold couragious oare the Hyperborean waue, And shining vnder both the poles with double trophies braue, He marcht vpon the bubling sands of either swelling seas.

The same Claudianus vpon the fourth consulship of Honorius, saith in a tetrastichon as followeth:

Quid rigor aeternus caeli? quid frigora prosunt? Ignotumq; fretum? maduerunt Saxone fuso Orcades, incaluit Pictonum sanguine Thule, Scotorum cumulos fleuit glacialis Hyberne.

What lasting cold? what did to them the frostie climats gaine? And sea vnknowne? bemoisted all with bloud of Saxons slaine The Orknies were: with bloud of Picts [Sidenote: Thule some take to be Iseland, some Scotland.] hath Thule waxed warme, And ysie Ireland hath bewaild the heaps of Scotish harme.

The same praise giueth he to Stilico the sonne in law of Honorius, and maketh mention of a legion of souldiers sent for out of Britaine in the periphrasis or circumlocution of the Gotish bloudie warres:

Venit & extremis legio praetenta Britannis, Quas Scoto dat fraena truci, ferroq; notatas Perleget exanimes Picto moriente figuras.

A legion eke there came from out the farthest Britains bent, Which brideled hath the Scots so sterne: and marks with iron brent Vpon their liuelesse lims dooth read, whiles Picts their liues relent.

He rehearseth the like in his second "Panegerycus" of Stilico, in most ample and pithie manner insuing:

Inde Calidonio velata Britannia monstro, Ferro Picta genas, cuius vestigia verrit Caerulus, Oceaniq; aestum mentitur amictus, Me quoq; vicinis pereuntem gentibus inquit, Muniuit Stilico, totam quum Scotus Hybernam Mouit, & infesto spumauit remige Thetis, Illius effectum curis, ne bella timerem Scotica, ne Pictum tremerem, ne littore toto Prospicerem dubijs venturum Saxona ventis.

Then Britaine whom the monsters did of Calidone surround, Whose cheekes were pearst with scorching steele, whose garments swept the ground, Resembling much the marble hew of ocean seas that boile, Said, She whom neighbour nations did conspire to bring to spoile, Hath Stilico munited strong, when raised by Scots entice All Ireland was, and enimies ores the salt sea fome did slice, His care hath causd, that I all feare of Scotish broiles haue bard, Ne doo I dread the Picts, ne looke my countrie coasts to gard Gainst Saxon troops, whom changing winds sent sailing hitherward.

[Sidenote: Britaine afflicted by inuasion of barbarous nations.] Thus maie it appeere, that in the time when the Romane empire began to decaie, in like manner as other parts of the same empire were inuaded by barbarous nations, so was that part of Britaine which was subiect to the Romane emperors grieuouslie assailed by the Scots and Picts, and also by the Saxons, the which in those daies inhabiting all alongst the sea coasts of low Germanie, euen from the Elbe vnto the Rhine, did not onelie trouble the sea by continuall rouing, but also vsed to come on land into diuerse parts of Britaine and Gallia, inuading the countries, and robbing the same with great rage and crueltie.

[Sidenote: Sidon. Apol. li. 8. Epist.] To the which Sidonius Apollinaris thus alludeth, writing to Namatius. "The messenger did assuredlie affirme, that latelie ye blew the trumpet to warre in your nation, and betwixt the office one while of a mariner, and another while of a souldier, wafted about the [Sidenote: The pirasie of the Saxons.] crooked shores of the ocean sea against the fleet of the Saxons, of whome as manie rouer as ye behold, so manie archpirats ye suppose to see: so doo they altogither with one accord command, obeie, teach, and learne to plaie the parts of rouers, that euen now there is good occasion to warne you to beware. This enimie is more cruell than all other enimies. He assaileth at vnwares, he escapeth by forseeing the danger afore hand, he despiseth those that stand against him, he throweth downe the vnwarie: if he be followed he snappeth them vp that pursue him, if he flee he escapeth."

Of like effect for proofe heereof be those verses which he wrote vnto Maiorianus his panegyrike oration, following in Latine and in English verse.

Tot maria intraui duce te, longeq; remotas Sole sub occiduo gentes, victricia Caesar Signa Calidonios transuexit ad vsq; Britannos, Fuderit & quanquam Scotum, & cum Saxone Pictum, Hostes quaesiuit quem iam natura vetabat, Quaerere plus homines, &c.

So manie seas I entred haue, and nations farre by west, By thy conduct, and Caesar hath his banners borne full prest Vnto the furthest British coast, where Calidonians dwell, The Scot and Pict with Saxons eke, though he subdued fell, Yet would he enimies seeke vnknowne whom nature had forbid, &c.

Thus much haue we thought good to gather out of the Romane and other writers, that ye might perceiue the state of Britaine the better in that time of the decaie of the Romane empire, and that ye might haue occasion to marke by the waie, how not onelie the Scots, but also the Saxons had attempted to inuade the Britains, before anie mention is made of the same their attempts by the British and English writers. But whether the Scots had anie habitation within the bounds of Britaine, till the time supposed by the Britaine writers, we leaue that point to the iudgement of others that be trauelled in the search of such antiquities, onelie admonishing you, that in the Scotish chronicle you shall find the opinion which their writers haue conceiued of this matter, and also manie things touching the acts of the Romans doone against diuerse of the Britains, which they presume to be doone against their nation, though shadowed vnder the generall name of Britains, or of other particular names, at this daie to most men vnknowne. But whensoeuer the Scots came into this Ile, they made the third nation that inhabited the same, comming first out of [Sidenote: Polydor.] Scithia, or rather out of Spaine (as some suppose) into Ireland, and from thence into Britaine; next after the Picts, though their writers fetch a farre more ancient beginning (as in their chronicles at large appeereth) referring them to the reading thereof, that desire to vnderstand that matter as they set it foorth.

Thus farre the dominion and tribute of the Romans ouer this land of Britaine, which had continued (by the collection of some chronographers) the space of 483. yeeres. And heere we thinke it conuenient to end this fourth booke.


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