Cassius Dio was a Roman statesman and historian of Greek and Roman origin. He published 80 volumes of the history on ancient Rome.
References to Britain and the Britons
- Book XXXIX, Chapters 50-53 – Caesar’s First Expedition to Britain (55BC)
- Book XL, Chapters 1-4 – Caesar’s Second British Expedition (54BC)
- Book XL, Chapters 42/43 – Caesar’s Dealings with Commius the Gaul (51BC)
- Book LX, Chapters 19-22 – The Claudian Invasion of Britain under Aulus Plautius (43AD)
- Book LXII, Chapters 1-12 – The Neronian Revolt of the Iceni under Suetonius Paullinus (61AD)
- Book LXI, Chap. 30 – Plautius Celebrates an Ovation (47AD)
- Book LXIII, Chap. 1 – Unrest Amongst the British Tribes (60AD?)
Caesar’s First Expedition to Britain
Book XXXIX, Chapters 50-53 (55BC)
50 Caesar, then, at this time was the first of the Romans to cross the Rhine, and later, in the consulship of Pompey and Crassus, he crossed over to Britain. This country is sixty miles distant, by the shortest way, from the Belgic mainland, where the Morini dwell, and extends alongside the rest of Gaul and nearly all of Spain, reaching out into the sea. To the very earliest of the Greeks and Romans it was not even known to exist, while to their descendants it was a matter of dispute whether it was a continent or an island ; and accounts of it have been written from both points of view by many who knew nothing about it, because they had not seen it with their own eyes nor heard about it from the natives with their own ears, but indulged in surmises according to the scholarly sect or the branch of learning to which they severally belonged. In the lapse of time, however, it has been clearly proved to be an island, first under Agricola, the propraetor, and now under the emperor Severus.
51 To this land, then, Caesar decided to cross, now that he had won over the Morini and the rest of Gaul was quiet. He made passage with the infantry by the most desirable course, but did not select the best landing-place ; for the Britons, apprised beforehand of his voyage, had secured all the landings on the coast facing the mainland. Accordingly, he sailed around a certain projecting headland, coasted along the other side of it, and disembarking there in the shoals, conquered those who joined battle with him and gained a footing on dry land before numerous assistance could come, after which he repulsed this attack also. Not many of the barbarians fell, for their forces consisted of chariot-drivers and cavalry and so easily escaped the Romans whose cavalry had not yet arrived ; but alarmed at the reports about them from the mainland and because they had dared to cross at all and had managed to set foot upon the land, they sent to Caesar some of the Morini, who were friends of theirs, to see about terms of peace.
52 Upon his demanding hostages, they were willing at the time to give them ; but when the Romans began to encounter difficulties by reason of a storm which damaged both the fleet that was present and also the one on the way, they changed their minds, and though not attacking the invaders openly, since their camp was strongly guarded, they took some men who had been sent out to forage for provisions on the assumption that the country was friendly, and destroyed them all, save a few, to whose rescue Caesar came in haste. After that they assaulted the camp itself of the Romans. Here they accomplished nothing, but fared badly ; they would not make terms, however, until they had been defeated many times. Indeed, Caesar would have had no thought of making peace with them at all, except that the winter was approaching and that he was not equipped with a sufficient force to continue fighting at that season, since the additional force coming to his aid had met with mishap, and also that the Gauls in view of his absence had begun an uprising ; so he reluctantly concluded a truce with them, demanding many hostages this time also, but obtaining only a few.
53 So he sailed back to the mainland and put an end to the disturbances. From Britain he had won nothing for himself or for the state exceptthe glory of having conducted an expedition against its inhabitants ; but on this he prided himself greatly and the Romans at home likewise magnified it to a remarkable degree. For seeing that the formerly unknown had become certain and the previously unheard-of accessible, they regarded the hope for the future inspired by these facts as already actually realized and exulted over their expected acquisitions as if they were already within their grasp ; hence they voted to celebrate a thanksgiving for twenty days.
Caesar’s Second British Expedition
Book XL, Chapters 1-4 (54BC)
1 These were the occurrences in Rome while the city was passing through its seven-hundredth year. In Gaul during the year of these same consuls, Lucius Domitius and Appius Claudius, Caesar among other undertakings constructed ships of a style half-way between his own swift vessels and the native ships of burden, endeavouring to make them at once as light and as seaworthy as possible and capable of being left high and dry without injury. When the weather became fit for sailing, he crossed over again to Britain, giving as his excuse that the people of that country, thinking that he would never make trial with them again because he had once retired empty-handed, had not sent all the hostages they had promised ; but the truth of the matter was that he mightily coveted the island, so that he would certainly have found some other pretext, if this had not offered itself. He came to land at the same place as before, no one daring to oppose him because of the number of his ships and the fact that they approached many points on the shore at the same time ; and he straight-way got posession of the harbour.
2 The barbarians, then, for the reason stated were unable to hinder his approach, and being more afraid than before, because he had come with a larger army, they carried away all their most valuable things into the most wooded and overgrown portions of the neighbouring country. After they had put them in safety by cutting down the surrounding wood and piling more upon it row after row until their goods were in a sort of stockade, they proceeded to annoy the Roman’s foraging parties. Indeed, after being deeated in a certain battle on open ground they drew the invaders in pursuit to their retreat, and killed many in their turn. Soon after, when a storm had once more damaged the Roman’s ships, the natives sent for allies and set out against their naval arsenal itself, with Cassivellaunus, regarded as the foremost of the chiefs in the island, at their head. The Romans upon meeting them were at first thrown into confusion by the attack of their chariots, but later opened ranks, and by letting them pass through and then from the side hurling their weapons at the men as they rushed past, made the battle equal. For the time being both parties remained where they were.
3 Later, however, the barbarians, after being victorious over the infantry but being defeated by the cavalry, withdrew to the Thames, where they encamped after cutting off the ford by means of stakes, some visible, and some under water. But Caesar by a powerful assault forced them to leave the stockade and later on by siege drove them from their fortress, while others repulsed a party of theirs that attacked the ships in the harbour. Then they became terrified and made terms, giving hostages and agreeing to pay a yearly tribute.
4 Thus Caesar departed entirely from the island and left no body of troops behind in it ; for he believed that such a force would be in danger while passing the winter in a foreign land and that it might be inadvisable for him to remain away from Gaul for any considerable period ; hence he was satisfied with his present achievements, in the fear that if he reached out for more, he might be deprived even of these. It seemed that here again he had done right, as was, indeed, proved by the event. For when he had gone to Italy, intending to winter there, the Gauls, though each nation contained many garrisons, nevertheless became restless and some of them openly revolted. Now if this had happened while he was staying in Britain through the winter season, all Gaul would have been in a turmoil.
Caesar’s Dealings with Commius the Gaul
Book XL, Chapters 42/43 (51BC)
42.1 This [Caesar’s triumph over Gaul], however, was a later occurrence. At the time mentioned [the surrender of Vercingetorix] he gained some of the remaining foes by capitulation and enslaved others after conquering them in battle. The Belgae who lived near by had put at their head Commius, an Atrebatean, and resisted for a long time. They fought two indecisive cavalry battles and the third time in an infantry battle, although at first they held their own, they were later turned to flight when attacked unexpectedly in the rear by the cavalry. 42.2 After this the remainder abandoned the camp at night, and as they were passing through a wood set fire to it, leaving behind only their waggons, in order that the enemy might be delayed by these and by the fire, and they themselves might thus reach safety. 42.3 Their hope, however, was not realised. For the Romans, as soon as they were aware of their flight, pursued them and encountering the fire they extinguished it in places or hewed their way through the trees, and some even ran through the midst of the flames ; thus the came upon the fugitives without warning and sloughtered great numbers.
43.1 Thereupon some of the others came to terms, but the Atrebatean, who escaped, would not remain quiet even then. He undertook at one time to ambush Labienus, but after being defeated in battle was pursuaded to hold a conference with him. 43.2 Before any terms were made, however, he was wounded by one of the Romans, who surmised that it was not his real intention to make peace ; but he escaped and again proved troublesome to them. At last, despairing of his project, he secured for his associates unconditional amnesty for all their acts, and pardon for himself, as some say, on the condition of his never appearing again within sight of any Roman. 43.3 So these foes became reconciled on these terms, and later the rest were subdued, some voluntarily and some when conquered in war ; and Caesar by means of garrisons and punishments and levies of money and assessments of tribute humbled some of them and tamed others.
The Claudian Invasion of Britain under Aulus Plautius
Book LX, Chapters 19-22 (43AD)
19 At the same time as these events were happening in the City Aulus Plautius, a senator of great distinction, led a campaign to Britain, since a certain Berikos [Verica], who had been driven out of the island as a result of an uprising, had persuaded Claudius to send a force there. So it was that Plautius undertook the expedition, though he had difficulty in getting his army to leave Gaul, since the troops were indignant at the prospect of campaigning outside the known world, and would not obey him until Narcissus, who had been sent by Claudius, mounted Plautius’ tribunal and tried to harangue them. Thereupon they became even more angry and refused to allow him to speak at all, but suddenly all in unison they raised the cry ‘Io Saturnalia’ – at the festival of Saturn the slaves take over the role of their masters and engage in festivities – and at once they willingly followed Plautius. These events did, however, delay the departure. They made the crossing in three divisions so as not to be hampered in landing, as a single force might be. On their way across, however, they were at first disheartened by being driven back in their course. Subsequently, though, they recovered their spirits when a bolt of lightning shot from east to west – the direction they were sailing. On putting in to the island they met with no resistance, since the Britons, from what they had learned, had not expected them to come, and had not assembled beforehand. Even when they did assemble they did not engage the Romans, but took refuge in the marshes and woods hoping to wear them out by these tactics, so that they would sail back empty-handed, as had happened in Julius Caesar’s day.
20 Plautius, therefore, had a good deal of trouble in searching them out, and when he did eventually locate them, he defeated first Caratacus and then Togodumnus, the sons of Cunobelinus, who was now dead. The Britons were not in fact independent, but ruled over by various kings. With these two put to flight Plautius secured the surrender on terms of part of the Bodunni [Dobunni] tribe who were subject to the Catuvellauni. Leaving a garrison there he advanced further and came to a river. The barbarians thought the Romans would not be able to cross this without a bridge, and as a result had pitched camp in a rather careless fashion on the opposite bank. Plautius, however, sent across some Britons who were practised in swimming with ease fully armed across even the fastest of rivers. These fell unexpectedly on the enemy, but rather than attacking the men they maimed the horses that drew their chariots instead. In the resultant confusion not even the mounted warriors could get away unscathed. Plautius then sent across Flavius Vespasian, who subsequently became emperor, and his brother Sabinus, who was serving under him. They too managed to get across the river and killed some of the enemy, since they were not expecting them. Those Britons who survived did not, however, take to flight, but rather joined battle with them again the following day. The struggle was indecisive until Gnaeus Hosidius Geta, after narrowly escaping capture, defeated the enemy so resoundingly that he was awarded triumphal ornaments even though he had not yet held the consulship. From there the Britons withdrew to the Thames, at a point where it flows into the sea and at high tide forms a lake. This they crossed with ease since they knew precisely where the ground was firm and the way passable. The Romans, however, in pursuing them, got into difficulties here. Once again the Britons swam across, while others crossed by a bridge a little way upstream, and they engaged the enemy from several sides at once, cutting many of them down. However, in pursuing the survivors without due precautions the got into marshes from which it was difficult to find a way out and lost a number of men.
21 On account of this and the fact that the death of Togodumnus, far from causing the Britons to give in, had united them all the more to avenge him, Plautius became afraid and advanced no further. Instead, he hung on to what was already in his posession and sent for Claudius. He had in fact been instructed to do this in the event of any strong opposition, and a good deal of equipment, including elephants, had already been assembled for this campaign. when the report reached Claudius, he handed over affairs at home to his colleague Lucius Vitellius (father of the future emperor), whom he had obliged to remain consul like himself for the full half year, and went off on campaign. After sailing downriver to Ostia he was then conveyed along the coast to Massilia. From there he travelled partly overland and partly along the rivers and on his arrival at Ocean, he crossed over to Britain and joined the army, which was waiting for him at the Thames. Taking over command, he crossed the river and engaging the natives who had gathered at his approach, defeated them, and took Camelodunum [Colchester], the capital of Cunobelinus. As a result of this he won over numerous tribes, some on terms of surrender, others by force, and was saluted Imperator on several occasions – contrary to precedent; for no one may receive this title more than once for the same war. In addition he disarmed the Britons and handed them over to Plautius, whom he authorised to subjugate the remaining areas. Claudius himself hastened back to Rome, sending news of his victory on ahead by means of his sons-in-law, Magnus and Silanus.
22 When the Senate learned of these achievements, it awarded Claudius the title Britannicus and gave him permission to celebrate a triumph. They also voted to hold an annual festival and to erect two triumphal arches, one in Rome, the other in Gaul, from where he had put to sea when he crossed to Britain. They also bestowed on his son the same title, with the result that Britannicus came in a way to be the boy’s actual name, and they granted Messalina the privilege that Livia had of sitting in the front seat at the theatre and the use of the carriage.
The Neronian Revolt of the Iceni under Suetonius Paullinus
Book LXII, Chapters 1-12 (61AD)
1a While this sort of child’s play was going on at Rome, a terrible disaster occurred in Britain.Two cities were sacked, eighty thousand of the Romans and of their allies perished, and the island was lost to Rome. Moreover, all this ruin was brought upon the Romans by a woman, a fact which in itself caused them the greatest shame. 1b Indeed, Heaven gave them indications of the catastrophe beforehand. For at night there was heard to issue from the senate-house foreign jargon mingled with laughter, and from the theatre outcries and lamentations, though no mortal man had uttered the words or the groans; houses were seen under the water in the river Thames, and the ocean between the island and Gaul once grew blood-red at flood tide.
2a An excuse for the war was found in the confiscation of the sums of money that Claudius had given to the foremost Britons ; for these sums, as Decianus Catus, the procurator of the island, maintained, were to be paid back. This was one reason for the uprising ; another was found in the fact that Seneca, in the hope of receiving a good rate of interest, had lent to the islanders 40,000,000 sesterces that they did not want, and had afterwards called in this loan all at once and had resorted to severe measures in exacting it. 2b But the person who was chiefly responsible in rousing the natives and persuading them to fight the Romans, the person who was thought worthy to be their leader and who directed the conduct of the entire war, was Buduica, a Briton woman of the royal family and posessed of greater intelligence than often belongs to women. 2c This woman assembled her army, to the number of some 120,000, and then ascended a tribunal which had been constructed of earth in the Roman fashion. 2d In stature she was very tall, in appearance most terrifying, in the glance of her eye most fierce, and her voice was harsh ; a great mass of the tawniest hair fell to her hips ; around her neck was a large golden necklace ; and she wore a tunic of divers colours over which a thick mantle was fastened with a brooch. This was her invariable attire. She now grasped a spear to aid her in terrifying all beholders and spoke as follows :
3a “You have learned by actual experience how different freedom is from slavery. Hence, although some amoung you may previously, through ignorance of which was better, have been deceived by the alluring promises of the Romans, yet now that you have tried both, you have learned how great a mistake you made in preferring an imported despotism to your ancestral mode of life, and you have come to realize how much better is poverty with no master than wealth with slavery. 3b “For what treatment is there of the most shameful or grievous sort that we have not suffered ever since these men made their appearance in Britain ? Have we not been robbed entirely of most of our possessions, and those the greatest, while for those that remain we pay taxes ? 3c “Besides pasturing and tilling for them all our other possessions, do we not pay a yearly tribute for our very bodies ? How much better it would be to have been sold to masters once for all than, possessing empty titles of freedom, to have to ransom ourselves every year ! How much better to have been slain and to have perished than to go about with a tax on our heads ! 3d “Yet why do I mention death ? For even dying is not free of cost with them ; nay, you know what fees we deposit even for our dead. Among the rest of mankind death frees even those who are in slavery to others ; only in the case of the Romans do the very dead remain alive for their profit. 3e “Why is it that, though none of us has any money (how, indeed, could we, or where could we get it?), we are stripped and despoiled like a murderer’s victims ? And why should the Romans be expected to display moderation as time goes on, when they have behaved toward us in this fashion at the very outset, when all men show consideration even for the beasts they have newly captured ?
4a “But to speak the plain truth, it is we who have made ourselves responsible for all these evils, in that we allowed them to set foot on the island in the first place instead of expelling them an once as we did their famous Julius Caesar, – yes, and in that we did not deal with them while they were still far away as we deat with Augustus and with Gaius Caligula and make even the attempt to sail hither a formidable thing. 4b “As a consequence, although we inhabit so large an island, or rather a continent, one might say, that is encircled by the sea, and although we possess a veritable world of our own and are so separated by the ocean from all the rest of mankind that we have been believed to dwell on a different earth and under a different sky, and that some of the outside world, aye, even their wisest men, have not hitherto known for a certainty even by what name we are called, we have, notwithstanding all this, been despised and trampled underfoot by men who know nothing else than how to secure gain. 4c “However, even at this late day, though we have not done so before, let us, my countrymen and friends and kinsmen, – for I consider you all kinsmen, seeing that you inhabit a single island and are called by one common name, – let us, I say, do our duty while we still remember what freedom is, that we may leave to our children not only its appellation but also its reality. For, if we utterly forget the happy state in which we were born and bred, what, pray, will they do, reared in bondage ?
5a “All this I say, not with the purpose of inspiring you with a hatred of present conditions, – that hatred you already have, – nor with fear for the future, – that fear you already have, – but of commending you because you now of your own accord choose the requisite course of action, and of thanking you for so readily co-operating with me and with each other. 5b “Have no fear whatever of the Romans ; for they are superior to us neither in numbers nor in bravery. and here is the proof : they have protected themselves with helmets and breastplates and greaves and yet further provided themselves with palisades and walls and trenches to make sure of suffering no harm by an incursion of their enemies. For they are influenced by their fears when they adopt this kind of fighting in preference to the plan we follow of rough and ready action. 5c “Indeed, we enjoy such a surplus of bravery, that we regard our tents as safer than their walls and our shields as affording greater protection than teir whole suits of mail. As a consequence, we when victorious capture them, and when overpowered elude them ; and if we ever choose to retreat anywhere, we conceal ourselves in swamps and montains so inaccessible that we can be neither discovered nor taken. 5d “Our opponents, howeer, can neither pursue anybody, by reason of their heavy armour, nor yet flee ; and if they ever do slip away from us, they take refuge in certain appointed spots, where they shut themselves up as in a trap. 5e “But these are not the only respects in which they are vastly inferior to us : there is also the act that they cannot bear up under hunger, thirst, cold, or heat, as we can. They require shade and covering, they require kneaded bread and wine and oil, and if any of these things fails them, they perish ; for us, on the other hand, any grass or root serves as bread, the juice of any plant as oil, any water as wine, any tree as a house. 5f “Furthermore, this region is familiar to us and is our ally, but to them it is unknown and hostile. As for the rivers, we swim them naked, whereas they do not get across them easily even with boats. Let us, therefore, go against them trusting boldly to good furtune. Let us show them that they are hares and foxes trying to rule over dogs and wolves.”
6a When she had finished speaking, she employed a species of divination, letting a hare escape from the fold of her dress ; and since it ran on what they considered the auspicious side, the whole multitude shouted with pleasure, and Buduica, raising her hand toward heaven said : 6b “I thank thee, Andraste, and call upon thee as woman speaking to woman ; for I rule over no burden-bearing Egyptians as did Nitocris, nor over trafficking Assyrians as did Semiramis (for we have by now gained thus much learning from the Romans!), 6c “much less over the Romans themselves as did Messalina once and afterwards Agrippina and now Nero (who, though in name a man, is in fact a woman, as is proved by his singing, lyre-playing and beautification of his person) ; nay, those over whom I rule are Britons, men that know not how to till the soil or ply a trade, but are well versed in the art of war and hold all things in common, even children and wives, so that the latter possess the same valour as the men. 6d “As the queen, then, of such men and of such women, I supplicate and pray thee for victory, preservation of life, and liberty against men insolent, unjust, insatiable, impious, – if, indeed, we ought to term those people men who bathe in warm water, eat artificial dainties, drink unmixed wine, anoint themselves with myrrh, sleep on soft couches with boys for bedfellows, – boys past their prime at that, – and are slaves to a lyre-player and a poor one too. 6e “Wherefore may this Mistress Domitia-Nero reign no longer over me or over you men ; let the wench sing and lord it over the Romans, for they surely deserve to be the slaves of such a woman after having submitted to her so long. But for us, Mistress, be thou alone ever our leader.”
7a Having finished an appeal to her people of this general tenor, Buduica led her army against the Romans ; for these chanced to be without a leader, inasmuch as Paulinus, their commander, had gone on an expedition to Mona, an island near Britain. This enabled her to sack and plunder two Roman cities, and, as I have said, to wreak indescribable slaughter. 7b Those who were taken captive by the Briitons were subjected to every form of outrage. The worst and most bestial atrocity committed by their captors was the following. They hung up naked the noblest and most distinguished women and then cut off their breasts and sewed them to their mouths, in order to make the victims appear to be eating them ; afterwards they impaled the women on sharp skewers rin lengthwise through the entire body. 7c All this they did to the accompaniment of sacrifices, banquets and wanton behaviour, not only in all their other sacred places, but particularly in the grove of Andate. This was their name for Victory, and they regarded her with most exceptional reverence.
8a Now it chanced that Paulinus had already brought Mona to terms, and so on learning of the disaster in Britain he at once set sail thither from Mona. However, he was not willing to risk a conflict with the barbarians immediately, as he feared their numbers and their desperation, but was inclined to postpone battle to a more convenient season. But as he grew short of food and the barbarians pressed relentlessly upon him, he was compelled, contrary to his judgement, to engage them. 8b Buduica, at the head of an army of about 230,000 men, rode in a chariot herself and assigned the others to their several stations. Paulinus could not extend his line the whole length of hers, for, even if the men had been drawn up only one deep, they would not have reached far enough, so inferior were they in numbers ; 8c nor, on the other hand, did he dare to join battle in a single compact force, for fear of being surrounded and cut to pieces. He therefore separated his army into three divisions, in order to fight at several points at one and the same time, and he made each of the divisions so strong that it could not easily be broken through.
9a While ordering and arranging his men he also exhorted them, saying : “Up, fellow-soldiers ! Up, Romans ! Show these accursed wretches how far we surpass them even in the midst of evil fortune. It would be shameful, indeed, for you to lose ingloriously now what but a short time ago you won by your valour. Many a time, assuredly, have both we ourselves and our fathers, with far fewer numbers than we have at present, conquered far more numerous antagonists. 9b Fear not, then, their numbers or their spirit of rebellion ; for their boldness rests on nothing more than headlong rashness unaided by arms or training. Neither fear them because they have burned a couple of cities ; for they did not capture them byforce nor after a battle, but one was betrayed and the other abandoned to them. Exact from them now, therefore, the proper penalty for these deeds, and let them learn by actual experience the difference between us, whom they have wronged, and themselves.”
10a After addressing these words to one division he came to another and said : “Now is the time, fellow-soldiers, for zeal, now is the time for daring. For if you show yourselves brave men today, you will recover all that you have lost ; if you overcome these foes, no one else will any longer withstand us. By one such battle you wil both make your present possessions secure amd subdue whaever remains ; for everywhere our soldiers, even though they are in other lands, will emulate you and foes will be terror-stricken. 10b “Therefore, since you have it within your power either to rule all mankind without a fear, both the nations that your fathers left to you and those that you yourselves have gained in addition, or else be deprived of them altogether, choose to be free, to rule, to live in wealth, and to enjoy prosperity, rather than, by avoiding the effort, to suffer the opposite of all this.”
11a After making an address of this sort to these men, he went on to the third division, and to them he said : “You have heard what outrages these damnable men have committed against us, nay more, you have even witnessed some of them. 11b “Choose, then, whether you wish to suffer the same treatment yourselves as our comrades have suffered and to be driven out of Britain entirely, besides, or else by conquering to avenge those that have perished and at the same time furnish to the rest of mankind an example, not only of benevolent clemency toward the obedient, but also of inevitable severity toward the rebellious. 11c “For my part, I hope, above all, that victory will be ours ; first, because the gods are our allies (for they almost always side with those who have been wronged) ; second, because of the couage that is our heritage, since we are Romans and have triumphed ofer all mankind by our valour ; next, because of our experience (for we have defeated and subdued these very men who are now arrayed against us) ; and lastly, because of our prestige (for those with whom we are about to engage are not antagonists, but our slaves, whom we conquered even when they were free and independent). 11d “Yet if the outcome should prove contrary to our hope, – for I will not shrink from mentioning even this possibility, – it would be better for s to fall fighting bravely than to be captured and impaled, to look upon our own entrails cut from our bodies, to be spitted on red-hot skewers, to perish by being melted in boiling water – in a word, to suffer as though we had been thrown to lawless and impious wild beasts. 11e “Let us, therefore, either conquer them or die on the spot. Britain will be a noble monument for us, even though all the other Romans here should be driven out ; for in any case our bodies shall for ever possess this land.”
12a After addressing these and like words to them he raised the signal for battle. Thereupon the armies approached each other, the barbarians with much shouting mingled with menacing battle-songs, but the Romans silently and in order until they came within a javelin’s throw of the enemy. 12b Then, while their foes were still advancing towards them at a walk, the Romans rushed forward at a signal and charged them at full speed, and when the clash came, easily broke through the opposing ranks ; but, as they were surrounded by the great numbers of the enemy, they had to be fighting everywhere at once. 12c Their struggle took many forms. Light-armed troops exchanged missiles with light-armed, heavy armed were opposed to heavy-armed, cavalry clashed with cavalry, and against the chariots of the barbarians the Roman archers contended. The barbarians would assail the Romans with a rush of their chariots, knocking them helter-skelter, but, since they fought without breastplates, would themselves be repulsed by the arrows. 12d Horseman would overthrow foot-soldier and foot-soldier strike down horseman ; a group of Romans, forming in close order, would advance to meet the chariots, and others would be scattered by them ; a band of Britons would come to close quarters with the archers and rout them, while others were content to dodge their shafts at a distsnce ; and all this was going on not at one spot only, but in all three divisions at once. 12e They contended for a long time, both parties being animated by the same zeal and daring. But finally, late in the day, the Romans prevailed ; and they slew many in battle beside the wagons and the forest, and captured many alive. Nevertheless, not a few made their escape and were preparing to fight again. 12f In the meantime, however, Buduica fell sick and died. The Britons mourned her deeply and gave her a costly burial ; but, feeling that now at last they were really defeated, they scattered to their homes. So much for afairs in Britain.
Book LXI, Chapter 30 – Aulus Plautius Obtains an Ovation. (47AD)
2 Plautius for his skilfull and successful conduct of the war in Britain not only was praised by Claudius but also obtained an ovation.
3 In the gladiatorial combats many persons took part, not only of the foreign freedmen but also of the British captives. He (Claudius) used up ever so many men in this part of the spectacle and took pride in the fact.
Book LXIII, Chapter 1 – The Tribes of Britain Revolt. (60/61AD)
1a While Nero was still in Greece, the Jews revolted openly, and he sent Vespasian against them. Also the inhabitants of Britain and of Gaul, oppressed by the taxes, were becoming more vexed and inflamed than ever.