Click a green square to see the Latin text. Click a blue square to see a commentary note.    


HE reign of Lugthacus, who received the kingship after the memorable rule of Galdus, which ended in the manner I have just described, was as hateful and loathsome as his father’s had been loved by all men. He was very different from his father in his character in manners, having been corrupted by luxury and idleness. He convicted wealthy men on false charges without a hearing, despoiled them of their fortunes, and soon, employing various accusations and wiles, put to death most excellent men whom Galdus had highly esteemed, since he found them burdensome. He assigned the power of sitting as judge and the principal dignities of the realm to base-born fellows whom he knew to be savage and greedy for other men’s properties, thinking only of their wallets. In all districts there ensued pillaging that went unpunished, since the royal authority forbade this. This was the reason why rabble were regarded as respectable men, and men of laudable dignity and decency were wretchedly mistreated at the whim of the worst sort of men. Elders of the realm, convicted even of the most trifling offenses, were hoisted up onto gallows or compelled to end their lives by other demeaning forms of punishment. The king called these extortionists his “brothers” at public meetings and in his letters, and was pleased by himself over nothing so much as the invention of a new fiction to justify pilling and polling. Lugthacus’ other felonies must go unmentioned, since they are unfit for men’s ears: I mean the ways in whic he debauched his aunts both paternal and maternal, his nieces, and finally his own daughters, having only this single regret, that he could not debauch all his kinswomen.
spacer 2. For nearly two years the Scottish elders endured the outrages of this most foul prince. But nothing moved their noble minds more than his foul insults to their dignity: he called his elders, who employed wiser counsel and had better ideas about commonwealth and its government, raving gaffers and mad fools, and placed bagpipe-players, gluttons, panderers, stage-actors, and similar low-down fellows, in whom he delighted, in public office, thinking everything would go his way under this manner of government. But his criminal rashness could not go long unpunished. For a parliament was held at Evonium, and when Lugthacus had commanded that the numerous noblemen who had employed many arguments in damning his impious manner of governing should be dragged off to their execution for fomenting dissension, an uproar broke out and by order of the elders the soldiers very cruelly put him to death together with the unclean toadies to whom he had entrusted his life, in the third year of his reign. The elders command that the king’s body be buried with royal estate, since the were moved by the memory of his late father’s good accomplishments; those of the rest killed by the mob were to be cast in a field to be rent apart by wild beasts.
spacer 3. After the death of Lugthacus, by consent of all men Mogallus, Galdus’ grandson by his daughter, assumed government over the Scots. At the beginning of his reign, mindful of the glory of his grandfather, he very earnestly strove to imitate his manners and way of life: to preserve his faith with the Romans and Britons in accordance with treaties, and to grant his commoners peace and quiet, preventing internal sedition in all quarters. He took painstaking care to make good thefaults of public government introduced during the reign of his uncle Lugthacus. He hanged those pestilential agents of his who had acted to the public detriment, who had managed to escape the recent upheaval. He took pious care to restore the rites of the gods to the condition in which they had originally been established by his ancestors and had been carefully maintained by the priesthood, since at the urging of disreputable man they had been either neglected or ill-managed during the reign of his uncle. For he thought that, if he could regain the good-will of the gods, who had been rendered angry against the kingdom and its people by Lugthacus’ monstrous crimes, he would be taking good enough care for the welfare of his person and that of his realm. The Scots lifted up their spirits in great hope for a better fortune as they saw King Mogallus adopting his grandfather’s ways and exerting all his powers to improve themselves, as he visited all the districts of the Scots with an enthusiasm and zeal for reforming all things for the better. They embraced him with the same good-will and reverence with which they had embraced King Galdus a little earlier for having expelled the Romans from Scottish territories after waging such a toilsome war.
spacer 4. Meanwhile Pictish ambassadors came to King Mogallus, tearfully requesting his aid against the Romans and Britons, For they had joined forces and made a sudden invasion of Pithland, laying low everything with fire and sword to the great harm of its inhabitants, who had tried to take up arms and ward off the invaders’ violence. At the same time, the men of Galdia (thus far I have called this people the Brigantes) also lodged a complaint concerning Roman injuries: they had attacked the district of Galdia with great force, wasted the Ordovices, and taken off great booty in the form of both men and cattle. King Mogallus, who was by nature more suited for martial affairs than civic or religious ones, and was spurred on by his grandfather’s glory, was glad to have a reason for going to war voluntarily presented by the enemy. And yet, so as not to declare war with impiety, he first sent ambassadors to the Romans, to demand the return of the property and to obtain reparations in accordance with their treaty. The ambassadors went, but when they related their instructions to the Roman legate they received an arrogant response filled with mockery: the Scots and the Picts, living at the edge of the barbarian world, were esteemed so lightly by the Romans that they would not allow them to serve as their slaves, even if they should freely surrender themselves. They were only permitted to keep on living (assuming that such permission were granted) so as to tend cattle for the Romans and produce them at their camps in the wintertime, bringing along their wives and daughters to serve as the soldiers’ whores. And if they were even to murmur against this, they would experience far harsher things, learning at length what woes are incurred by resisting the world’s masters.
spacer 5. Stung by this insult, Mogallus called on the gods to witness that the treaty had been broken and his embassy disdained, and prayed that they turn the destruction of this war against those who had fomented it. Not much later, having collected those things he would need on the march, he moved from Siluria, where a multitude assembled from all Scottish districts had assembled, to Galdia. When he had arrive there, as a gesture of respect for the dead he joined his nation’s elders in a visit to the tomb of his illustrious grandfather King Galdus. And there performing the rites of the dead with the help of the Druids, who presided over religious matters in those parts, and had solemnly uttered many pious prayers in accordance with national tradition, he sank to the ground and said, “Galdus, invincible king, you who with such great exertion restored the ill-starred kingdoms of the Scots and Picts who all but destroyed by the Romans’ unjust arms, and, thanks to the gods’ kindness, overcame our enemy, the most wealthy conquerors of the world, and by your bravery and excellence drove them from these homes of ours, having cast off the yoke of servitude, we embraced you in life with a indescribably great love. And now we come to this your tomb, an enduring place of refuge for all Scotsmen in times of adversity, and fall at your dead feet (or rather, we prostrate ourselves before your shade), praying with our querulous voices that you will supply us with your help, since we are placed in great danger. For we are being harried by the same enemies you once conquered, and we earnestly pray, if you have any virtue or any power among the gods, when it comes to a fight you not allow the victory to fall to those desecrators of the pubic faith, since we, your posterity, are being beset in this very impious war. Nor will you allow these unjust enemies, conquered by you so often, freely to depart, in possession of their lives and fortunes. For your name cannot help but be a terror to them.”
spacer 6. When King Mogallus had pronounced these words, the surrounding multitude addressed the same prayers to the gods with much confused shouting. They clung to the statue of King Galdus, which was decorated with many garlands, as was the pagan custom, and offered many pious prayers and rituals for a happy departure and return. And fanatic women assisted at the ceremonies, scourging themselves with lashes, and joined with the Druid priests in spewing forth dire imprecations with their hands raised to high heaven, greatly cursing Caesar’s person and his Roman empire. Afterwards King Mogallus passed into Ordovicia, where he met King Unipanus of the Picts with his army, who had been awaiting him according to prearrangement. And so, in accordance with their common decision, they joined forces and invaded Westmorland and then Cumbria, both Roman provinces at that time. And there, having ravaged the villages and fields, they destroyed by fire and sword all they could not carry away, while the inhabitants of those provinces, panic-stricken, disappeared to safety. Some of the Romans from the garrisons occupying the strongholds went back to Lucius Antenous, the Roman legate, who was then at Eboracum, to lodge their complaints with him concerning the injuries inflicted by the Scots and Picts. At this news, Lucius held a levy, assembled an army, and hastened to confront the enemy. Apprised of this, King Mogallus gave the signal for his army to gather together, lest a sudden attack by the enemy catch the Scots scattered throughout the countryside. Then he is said to have spoken as follows:
spacer 7. “In any exhortation to honorable action, brave sirs, I think that it is first necessary for a commander to show his soldiers that, when it comes to the acquisition of praise and glory, nothing is more suitable for good, brave men, than to exert their strength in warding off enemy harm, and to fight to the end for their nation and liberty, lest they be compelled to submit to the yoke of servitude at the whim of their enemies. We have inherited unquestionable fine examples of this, not just from our own ancestors, but from other nations as well. By what strength, by what counsels did King Ederus (to speak of our own people) come to the aid of King Cassibilanus of the Britons and bring it about that Caesar, the first general of his nation to invade Albion, who had striven to deprive the Britons of their liberty, abandoned this island with his project unfinished, very like a fugitive, in all men’s opinion acquiring undying glory for himself and his posterity? Nor did King Caractacus’ martial virtue cover him with any less glory, who fought on behalf of liberty in many a battle, with varying fortune, and, when he could not be overcome by his most mighty foe, was deceived by the fraud of a woman, his kinswoman Cartumandia. Handed over to his enemies, he was led as a captive before Claudius Caesar. Because his mind had always remained indomitable amidst adversity and he had remained a champion of his nation to the end, so that he was reckoned to be greater than his conqueror, by Caesar’s kindness he was granted his liberty and restored to his kingdom, doubtless providing all posterity with a very fine example of fortitude for the imitation. It is recorded that Caractacus’ brother King Corbredus was equally spirited in the defense of liberty. He battled, almost to the death, to end the Romans’ power in Albion, after they had waged impious war against our part of the world for so many years, and, although he lost many noble men in his fight, he reduced our enemies to the point that during his lifetime the Romans lacked the strength to infest our lands.
spacer 8. “And at this point — I know you will not find it tedious to hear of this — I would like to mention my grandfather, the most illustrious king Galdus, the best of all men who lived in his age of the world and a right brave man, who fought so many battles against the Romans, and indeed against Fortune. Opposed by Fortune, he was so often overcome, so often put to rout, he all but lost both his foot and horse, and yet for many years, beset by countless calamities, losing one army after another, he always remained steadfast of mind, unmoved by many misfortunes and bearing up excellently amidst adversities, until Fortune, exhausted by her long struggle against virtue (if I may put it thus), finally yielded to this bravest of men, and, almost against her will, looked upon him with a kindlier eye. And, having thus become a victor, he could not hold his peace until he had driven our enemies, bested in a third battle and greatly reduced in number by their catastrophes, back to their camp, and reduced them to such an abject state that those men for whom, just a little while before, the entire world and and its most far-flung islands could scarcely contain, could barely protect themselves within that camp. He witnessed a thing which had hitherto befallen no man, no matter how well-furnished with strength and martial virtue: ambassadors of that nation groveling at his feet and humbly begging his pardon, and yet so many bested magistrates of peoples and cities would rejoice if they obtained mercy from these same men as they dictated laws and terms of peace, and demanded hostages at their whim, men to whom nearly all nations look for their legislation. Indeed he gave his name to Galdia, the place where that memorable victory was won, so that it will endure as a monument of his very excellent deed as long as the kingdom of Scotland endures.
spacer 9. “It glorifies King Galdus and our entire nation all the more that they fought so hard and so long, at their extreme risk, against a nation so wealthy and so warlike. And I beg you fellow soldiers, who either fought alongside him in that memorable war or are the sons of men who did, to consider with what manner of men we are dealing today: men who have been conquered, turned, routed, men who are alive only by your leave. And consider who you yourselves are: victors, men of unbroken spirits, champions of our liberty, our children and wives, our sacred treaties, and our national gods, men unmoved by any ambition for power or greed for stealing what belongs to others, but rather men who will fight with steadfast martial virtue. Consider, furthermore, what a disgrace it would be if the Romans, so often bested by yourselves, cannot be conquered now. And be confident that this same virtue and good fortune is now within your grasp. So go, brave sirs, for victory indeed is within your grasp, and conquer those conquered men once more, put to rout those who place their faith in flight. There is only need for keen spirits: beyond doubt, your proven martial virtue will accomplish the rest as you would wish.”
spacer 10. With these words, or words not very unlike them, Mogallus filled his men with ardent spirits for the battle. Nor was Lucius Antenous any the slower to harangue his soldiers, already clamoring for the opportunity to fight. In a vehement speech he urged that they bravely imitate the example set by their ancestors and fight with excellence, being mindful of the great effort with which they were accustomed to join battle, and to defeat, overwhelm and put to rout the might of their strong enemies. And they should bear in mind they were now going into action against barbarians devoid of martial virtue, inspired only by fury, and their fury had the effect of destroying their strength of both mind and body, greatly spurring them to join battle with rashness, but, when it was most necessary to endure in a battle, undermining their ability to fight and quickly evaporating. His soldiers should place their faith in the martial virtue which had been instilled in their minds. They should disdain these savages, who were cruel against the helpless, who, in the absence of a foreign war, were constantly suffering from domestic seditions, and who were united, not by any affection, but merely by hatred of their enemy. Among them were concealed many rivalries, many seeds of discords. Therefore his men should take up their arms with great confidence in the certain hope of victory, for they were undoubtedly destined to gain great glory, since they were about to restore to the Roman empire that part of Albion lost by the negligence of Gnaeus Trebellius. Thus spoke Lucius. Then both sides invoked their national gods, and with an ardor greater than can be described the two battle-lines came together. The Romans sent a rain of javelins against our men, wounding many. Ours for their part shot arrows, and launched stones from slingshots. And, after hurling many rocks against the Romans, the great number of women who fought for their nation in our army snatched up their axes and, fearing no manner of weapon, no kind of danger, and only spurred on by their wounds, their womanly bashfulness was transformed into a wrath which made them more savage than their menfolk. The difficult terrain was a great protection for our men, but problematic for the enemy. For, because of their ignorance of the roads, they fell into marshland and steep terrain, and this obliged their companies to join battle individually. Everywhere the fighting was savage, but most savage of all in the center, where the generals urged on the fight. Indeed, great martial virtue inspired men’s spirits on both sides: the Romans fought lest they allowed themselves to be bested by barbarians, peoples of the end of the earth whom they so greatly scorned, and the Scots and Picts lest in their lifetime they lose their reputation as victors, gained with such effort. The soldiers continued to stand where they had been stationed at the battle’s beginning, exhausted by dealing out wounds, with their blood-lust sated more by the deaths of their enemy then their own men. At length, after a protracted and laborious struggle, they cast aside their swords and went to work with daggers. And when countless men had been killed but neither side appeared likely to yield to the others, the commanders, beholding such atrocities, almost regretted having joined battle, since so many very brave men had fallen on both sides. In the end the Scots and Picts began to budge their enemies thanks to their innate ferocity. But when the Romans could no longer withstand the press of their numbers, they did not run away like fugitives, but retreated step by step.
spacer 11. When he perceived this, with great shouts Lucius exhorted his men to renew the battle, lest they turn tail and on that day besmirch the glory of Rome’s majesty. Wounded by the arrow of a common soldier, he left the field. A large number followed him, especially those who preferred to observe the battle rather than participate in it. The rest, observing the flight of their comrades, turned tail themselves and ran for a nearby woods at breakneck speed in an effort to rescue themselves from the danger. Prevented from going there without great danger by their enemies’ forces, some Roman maniples banded together and headed in another direction, but because of their unfamiliarity with the area they were uncertain where they could retire in safety. Now the sun was approaching its setting, and when the recall was sounded the victorious armies of the confederates broke off their pursuit, and in their incredible joy they consumed the following night with loud singing and joyous cries. At daybreak they plundered the dead, and a conference was convened. When the kings and the elders of both nations had taken their seats there, they received scouts’ reports that some ordinary Roman soldiers who had abandoned the battle were scarcely two miles away, uncertain where they should go because they were greatly hindered by their ignorance of the rivers, byways, and hills. A choice fighting-band was sent out to overwhelm them, and when these had come in sight, the Romans on a nearby hill retreated in good order, ready to fight to the death lest they be captured by barbarians. When the Scottish and Pictish soldiers saw them standing on the hill, the realized that they were about to join battle although far inferior in strength and numbers, and so they urged them to cast away their arms and sue for mercy: they had a general who was prone to spare those he had conquered and who would send them back to their own people safe and sound. The Romans refused, thinking it unworthy to survive that fatal day and be subjected to barbarian mistreatment. And so, when in their stubbornness they declined to beg the confederate kings for mercy and safe-conduct, many of our soldiers who had abhorred such great cruelty became suffused with anger and hatred, and they were killed to the last man.
spacer 12. Oh the following day they performed the traditional pagan rites for celebrating a victory. Then a new military council was convened, in which the kings vigorously praised the martial virtue of individual soldiers, and bestowed well-deserved rewards on the bravest who had been seen to surpass their comrades in the battle. And then a lengthy discussion was held about how the remainder of the war was to be managed. As these things were being done, the legate Lucius Antenous sent a messenger to Rome to inform Hadrian Caesar of his defeat. The Romans had been overcome by barbarians, the wildest nation of them all, in a battle: among those people no distinction was made between the sexes when it came to making war, and the women fought far more ferociously than the men. They requested that Caesar would quickly send auxiliaries to Britain as a protection for the province: otherwise they would be obliged either to submit to those barbarians or shamefully quit the province. When this message was brought to Rome, the emperor Hadrian immediately undertook an expedition against Britain. Having made a levy, he hurried to Gaul, and then had a difficult crossing from Icium to Albion. Arriving there, he learned from local inhabitants that the Scots and Picts had been made the most insolent of all mortals by their recent victory They had burst into the Roman province with far greater forces than ever before, they had laid everything low with fire and the sword, sparing no sex or age; they had driven off the cattle together with all moveable goods and all the grain they could carry, and burned the rest, together with villages, farms, and country estates. All territory as far as Tyne (a name maintained for the river down to our own time) had been ravaged most foully and left it devoid of inhabitants.
spacer 13. Stung by these developments and eager to avenge the wrong, the emperor Hadrian, having added to his Roman legions the army he had enrolled in Gaul and Britain, moved towards Eboracum with all his forces. There, so that the enterprise he had undertaken could better be carried out, he paused a little while, until each soldier had equipped himself with two months’ field rations. Then, marching against the enemy and getting across the Tyne with great difficulties, on the fourth day he arrived at the ravaged territory, which was denuded of the necessities for supporting human life. Proceeding for day after day without seeing cattle, crops, or any living thing, and learning that the inhabitants had fled to safer places, he learned from his scouts and those locals who had attached themselves to the Roman forces because they had been despoiled of their livelihoods what kind of men the enemy were and what manners they had. He learned that these barbarians (for such he called them) were accustomed to endure harsher winter-campaigning than other mortals, existing in the open air with no shelter, and to live in marshlands that they employed in lieu of fortifications. They could endure winter snow, ice and sleet and did not put down their arms when when the rest of mankind was at rest by land and sea. Rather, they would take refuge in steep hills where they could not be caught by a pursuing enemy (other than those most familiar with the terrain) when they fled, because of the inclement weather and difficult roads. Therefore, when he understood that they could not be conquered in a short time or with little effort, but only by exposing his Roman army to extreme risk, and also because he had it in mind to visit all Roman provinces and so could not tarry in Britain any longer, he refrained from marching against the enemy any further, thinking that he would do enough for himself and the Roman republic if by his expedition he suppressed the risings of some Britons and defended those who obeyed Roman rule from any further barbarian incursions. Therefore, so that further invasions by the Picts and Scots might be prevented, he was the first of all men to construct a wall of monstrous size in that part of Albion which constituted the Roman province. This was made of turf cut from the ground, as high as a hill with a deep ditch in in front of it, which reached from the mouth of the Tyne to the river Esk, from the German Sea to the Irish Sea. The distinguished Roman historian Aelius Spartianus affirms that this was a distance of eighty miles. In our annals it is stated that this wall was begun by Hadrian, but completed a number of years thereafter by the emperor Severus, which, I imagine, is why our common writers call it the Wall of Severus. But I follow the Romans and Vairement, and whenever I mention it in my following narrative I shall call it Hadrian’s Wall.
spacer 14. Having settled matters there as best he could under the circumstances, Hadrian Caesar retired through Westmorland into Tegenia, and then into Cambria, because he had heard of an uprising against the Roman magistrates there. There, having with little trouble captured the authors of the rising and subjecting them to various punishments, he very swiftly repressed the rebellion. Going on to Kent, blue he lingered a while at London, giving the British elders time to assemble and congratulate Rome on its felicity. When they arrived, he gave them a kind and affable welcome and bestowed gifts on them, with the result that henceforth they did not regret being subjects of the Romans. From London he crossed over to Gaul straightway, taking with him the legate Lucius Antenous, who suffered from ill health because of the British climate, replacing him with Aulus Victorinus. And upon Hadrian’s departure that man immediately stationed a large number of Romans soldiers and auxiliaries in forts, strongholds, and castles along the aforementioned wall, for the purpose of protecting the locals from Scottish and Pictish violence. And so it was brought about that for a number years the Britons lived under the Roman axes and fasces free from enemy incursions. The Scots and Picts divided the British territories north of the wall which they had ravaged a little before, in such a way that the portion facing the Irish Sea belonged to the Scots and that part towards the German Sea fell to the Picts, where garrisons placed in the old fortifications not far from the wall protected their new inhabitants from British and Roman harm.
spacer 15. Henceforth Mogallus’ reign was for many years free of any disturbance, foreign or domestic. But, famed for his victory over the world’s masters, he could not (or rather would not) exercise self-control. For, excessively wallowing in idleness, he simultaneously arrived at old age and unspeakable feloniousness. He devoted himself so greatly to lust, and became such an avaricious old man that he was unashamed to indulge in either public plunder or any kind of wantonness, boldly helping himself to a share of the wives of both nobles and common rustics, and debauching abducted virgins according to the dictates of his lust. He furthermore perverted every form of justice: he allowed the guilty who had no fortunes, or at least very small ones, to pillage with impunity wherever they wanted, but put to death wealthy men, accused of even them most trifling offenses, and appropriated their fortunes. He was the first of our all kings to pass a law that the property of a proscribed man, or one subjected to capital punishment, should be confiscated, with no consideration had for his wife, children, or creditors, although previously the wife and children of an executed man would have a full legal right to the possession of his lands, estates, moveable property, and fortune. Imitating Mogallus’ insatiable greed, our contemporaries scrupulously contain to observe this law. But, since the gods set themselves in opposition, his foul crimes could not go unpunished. For the nobles and commoners, stung by countless injuries and insults, finally encompassed the death of King Mogallus. The doers of the deed, the time, the place were appointed. But Mogallus, conscious of all his evildoing and acutely suspicious of an association against himself, was either warned by the forecasts of wizards, to whom that age of the world was very addicted, or by the advice of friends with knowledge of the scheme, feared for his life and prepared to flee to the Hebrides.
spacer 16. And, so that he would have the opportunity to put his plan into action, on the following night he feigned illness and went to bed earlier than usual. Then, at the first watch of the night, he donned an iron jacket, took up his bow and arrows, and in the company of two servants betook himself to a nearby woods, leaving behind those he distrusted (the mark of a guilty man). At dawn on the following day the matter was discovered and the members of the association quickly gave chase to the fugitive king. While desperately trying to escape his pursuers he ran into another band of men bent on his destruction. Receiving many wounds from them, he died in the thirty-sixth year of his reign, which was the year of Christian piety 148, at a time when Antoninus Pius ruled the Romans and Phiatus (nicknamed “The White‘) ruled the Picts. His head was cut off, and as a joke a stable-boy carried it on a pole to the next farmstead, where an assortment of men had gathered to await the outcome of the affair. Many men thought about putting out the king’s body to be rent by wild beasts, bawling out that this was what he deserved. But the nobles, mindful of King Galdus’ recent good deeds, prevented such an outrage, and buried him in a king’s tomb so that they might appear to respect the virtue and loyalty of their ancestors. This was the bloody, ill-starred end of Mogallus, who had criminally stained the probity of his grandfather.
spacer 17. From the time of the death of King Dardannus until now, during which three descendants of Galdus’ family ruled over the Scots in turn (for Galdus was succeeded by his son Lugthacus, and Lugthacus by Galdus’ grandson Mogallus), men notable for their reputation and learning flourished in various parts of the world: Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, the famous orator and professor of rhetoric; the well-known philosopher and physician Serapion; the orator and philosopher Philo Judaeus, of whom it has wrongly been said “either Plato philonized, or Philo platonized”; blue Gaius Plinius Secundus, who wrote the Natural History in thirty-seven Books, with no less learning than truth; the historian Cornelius Tacitus, whom I have frequently had no reluctance in following in this work; Caecilius Plinius Secundus, the orator; Suetonius Tranquillys; the astrologer Ptolemy, famed in his own time, who (as some learned men write) contributed no small amount of improvements to the Geography of King Ptolemy Philadelphus of Egypt; the orator Lucius Apuleius Afer; Aulus Gellius; and the philosopher Plutarch of Chaeronea. Some say that Hegesippus, who wrote about Christian and Jewish things, lived during this period. Furthermore, there were plenty of poets: Juvenal, Silius Italicus, Martial, and countless others who flourished in their learning. And in these time Roman emperors cruelly persecuted those of the Christian faith throughout nearly the entire world: Popes Linus, Cletus, Clement, Anacletus, Eurastus, and Alexander, the pious Christian virgins Domicillia, Euphrosyne, and Theodora, the elder Nicomedes, and the priest Hermagoras, a disciple of Mark the Evangelist, the archdeacon Fortunatus, and countless other devotees of the true religion and martyrs. They subjected them to monstrous tortures, ignorant of the great virtue of Christian piety, which was, the more it is repressed by tyrannical cruelty, the more it always enjoysa resurgence with greater brilliance, gaining strength from nothing more than from its persecutors.
spacer 18. But I must return to my subject. As has been said, at the start of his reign King Mogallus could justly be counted among the most distinguished kings, but by its end, in the opinion of all men, he was worthy neither of kingship nor of life, and received the comeuppance I have described. And the life of his son and successor Conarus was not much better, nor was his fortune happier. For, having gained the throne by parricide (for he had secretly suborned his father’s assassins), at the beginning of his reign he managed to conceal the crimes to which he was greatly addicted. Then, having secured his rule, he basely squandered the pubic and private taxes reserved for royal expenditure on his infamous wantonness, bestowing great estates and wealth on the most low-down of men, besmirched with every manner of infamy, who (as is wont to happen) praised his corrupt morals to high heaven and loathed virtue, if he made any showing of such. By their guidance, and ignoring the opinions of the elders and more prudent of his subjects, he managed his government. Contrary to ancestral custom, he tried to introduce the use of dainties, neglecting his forefathers’ parsimony. When he had ruined his royal resources by no single kind of infamy, a parliament of the leading men of the realm was convened. In a lengthy and tedious speech he boastfully expatiated on the splendor of the royal household, the number of its members, the elegance of its banquets, the number of courses and variety of dishes served, as if these were virtuous and not a part of servitude. Because they royal revenue and income were scarcely adequate for these things, he requested that a poll tax be instituted, whereby the wealth of each individual subject would be ascertained and funds provided for his support. The elders’ reply was that they neither could nor should be hurried to pass a vote concerning an important matter, unheard-of to the people until that very day. Rather, since this was a matter requiring careful consideration, they would return to the same place on the following day and deliver their opinion.
spacer 19. On the following night, secret discussions were held about placing the king under arrest, imprisoning him, and stripping him of his kingship and honor, with men appointed to perform this task: his outrageous manner of life, filled with every manner of infamy, demanded this. When the leading men reassembled on the following day, although the rest of them agreed to the royal demands, some of them responded in this way; the elders and the noblest men of the Scottish nation could scarcely express their surprise that a sum,with which many kings, very distinguished in war and peace and troubled by frequent wars, had previously been content, kings who had ruled with great general popularity, were insufficient for Conarus, who was governing in peacetime. When King Galdus, that champion of his nation, had exercised the supreme power, at a time when his enemy were pressing and there was continual need of provisions, had never been reduced to the extremity of requiring a poll tax, since he was not unaware that this form of taxation was odious to his people. And furthermore, King Conarus was not adhering to the manner of government once employed by Galdus. For, by the advice of his nobles, Galdus had forsworn all forms of pleasure-seeking for himself and his soldiery so that he could devote his full attention to his public administration, and had expended much labor and many sleepless nights to protecting his nation and repelling his enemies. He had banished from his army camp-followers, stable-boys, panderers, sluts, tavern-keepers, and whatever would tend to render their spirits effeminate. But Conarus, on the other hand, was immersed in pleasure-seeking and took delights in the dregs of tavern-keepers, harlots, whoremongers, and a large number of other disreputable and intolerable rascals, as if they were his particular pets. From the beginning of his reign, he had managed the difficult businesses of state by their auspices, he had bestowed wealth an estates on them. They had tried by might and main to deprive both nobles and commoners of their fortunes, and, after causing them many other troubles, had devised a poll tax, something strange and loathsome to the Scottish nation, and appointed the king to be their tax-collector, so that all the wealth would be theirs. But they were to be deceived in their opinion, just as for many years now they had deceived others, and be placed in a condition where they would have no more need of a poll tax, namely they would be hosted onto exceedingly high gallows that would be set up because of their great and many detestable crimes, their goods having been confiscated. By public decree, King Conarus was to be kept in close custody, and the extreme authority was to be placed in the hands of men chosen for this by the elders, until they had come to some conclusion about the form of the public government. This would serve as an example to mankind how insolent a thing it is for base-born men of obscure origin to abuse royal authority, and what an impious wrong that is for their king and for themselves.
spacer 20. They had scarce finished speaking when the king roared, “With what temerity have you spewed forth these disloyal statements, you most bold-faced of men? If you have designed some punishment for me, you yourselves will immediately suffer the same for your treachery.” The elders responded to these words by saying that Conarus was unworthy to occupy the throne of Fergus. It was by his connivance, or rather because of his lust, that servile, unclean, low-down men had too long raged with full license, arrogantly mocking at all things. A shout immediately went up from the association’s supporters, and those who were younger and more vigorous seized the king by the middle, and forcibly dragged from the meeting-place to a cell. The courtiers who had evilly mismanaged the commonwealth were thrown into chains, subjected to great tortures, and at length, by authority of the magistrates, executed by hangmen. Afterwards a parliament was convened, at which by their common vote they created Argadus, a noble man and the chieftain of Argathelia, was created regent of the realm, to possess supreme power until something was decided about the government. At the beginning of his tenure of office, striving hard to be an ornament to the commonwealth, with wonderful prudence and supported by the elders’ authority, he put an end to theft, rapine, murder, and any other crimes that existed, doing everything with transparent good faith, neither too slothfully nor too harshly, not employing the law to trouble any man. But (as frequently befalls mortals) after a few years his good fortune led the man’s mind to stray from righteousness, since he departed from the ways of which all men approved, scorned our ancestral manner of deliberation concerning grave manners, and administered everything according to his private designs. He fostered domestic quarrels between the most important clans, and entered into or broke off alliances as he saw fit, so that nobles would be most often obliged to have recourse to himself. He joined to himself the Pictish nobility by relationships of hospitality and kinship. For he had married a noble woman of Pictish blood, the daughter of the headman of the Otolini, so that he might be more secure among his people thanks both to his own wealth and that of foreigners.
spacer 21. The leading men took Argadus’ lies and his vices amiss. Summoned to a parliament, he was harshly taxed by them all because he, chosen regent of the realm by public consensus for his outstanding virtues, after Conarus had been stripped of his royal dignity for his outrages, had imitated the deposed king in the cruelty of his crimes; because he had married a woman of foreign blood and mingled his blood with that of the Pictish nation without consulting the elders or awaiting their decision, since they had better and more upright ideas about managing the republic; because he had administered the most realm’s most important affairs according to his private counsels, to the great inconvenience of one and all; because he had, to his great shame, lost his well-respected reputation for virtue, which everybody had regarded as an object of veneration during the first years of his rule; and because he had now devoted his mind, formerly devoted to the finest things, most worthy of an excellent ruler, to matters which had no association with virtue. When Argadus heard these rebukes directed at himself from the the nobler members of the parliament, he deeply blushed and his tears welled forth. And when he was unable to excuse himself with any quantity of words, no matter how great, he expended yet more on begging not to be punished. He prayed that they set aside their anger and be better disposed towards himself. Henceforth, inasmuch as he could, he would employ virtue to erase the disgrace he had contracted and make good the harms with which, no doubt by his own fault, both nobles and commoners had been affected. Prostrate on the ground, he gave himself over to the magnates, together with the members of his household and all his fortune, to do with as they liked, to be subject to the penalties they appointed. Moved by his tears and timely words, the elders permitted Argadus to continue in his government, but cast his courtiers in chains.
spacer 22. Henceforth Argadus refrained from relying on private and domestic counsels, and conducted all public business according to the opinion and guidance of the elders. He paid particular attention to the proper administration of justice and limited the authority of municipal magistrates and governors of districts and castles, ordaining that they their power should be restricted to the judging of lesser crimes: they should refer graver felonies to a royal officer (nowadays they call him the Great Justice) for punishment, although from the commencement of the Roman war until this time they had punished all offences by their own decisions. Diligently searching out thieves, pillagers, robbers (who at that time were plentiful in the Hebrides, Argathelia, and nearby regions), and those whom he discovered were turned over to the hangman. He commanded that all men holding public office abstain from the consumption of anything that would inebriate them, lest those set over the people have more need for custodians than others, and he prescribed the penalty of death for those who did not comply. He proscribed camp-followers, pastry-mongers, tavern-keepers, and other members of that breed of men created by some evil genius for men’s pleasures more than their needs, a breed which was seducing, enticing and compelling his subjects to indulge in delicacies in violation of their ancestral custom, confiscating their fortunes and destroying their shops. Rendered famous for these and similar civic acts, he bent great effort towards restraining men from harming others, partly by displaying his kindness, and partly by exercising this authority. In a short time, bad men were transformed into good and upright ones, and good men were improved.
spacer 23. Finally, in the eighth year of Argadus’ administration, King Conarus, whom I have described as being placed in public custody by decree of the elders, having suffered lengthy imprisonment and suffering from ruined health, gave up the ghost, in the fourteenth year since he had gained the crown. Conarus’ reign fell in the times of Antoninus Aurelius, a philosopher who was a Roman emperor. My next narrative will be about Ethodius, who ruled after the death of Conarus. He was the grandson of King Mogallus (of whom I have written a little while ago) by his sister, and so by authority of magistrates and by the vote of the people (and of Argadus most of all) the kingship was conferred on him, as was his hereditary right. And so, having been declared king, Ethodius convened a parliament and mounted the dais. When he had expressed his thanks for their having conferred the kinship on him, he heaped great praises on Argadus for his prosperous and peaceful administration, bestowed large gifts and ample estates on him, and appointed him a governor with power second only to that of the king. When the parliament was dissolved, in the course of visiting all districts under Scottish rule, as was then customary for a new king, he crossed over to the Hebrides. At his arrival it was reported that no few leading islanders had died a bloody death during a sudden disturbance created by a sudden quarrel involving low-down rascals. Learning of this, and with the approval of the elders, he dispatched Argadus with some forces to search for the troublemakers and hale them, albeit against their will, before his royal seat of judgment. Argadus took a select band of soldiers and brought them over to the islands in ships to the place where scouts had reported these disturbers of the national peace to be located, and attacked with unanticipated speed. Some of them were captured by force and others freely yielded, and brought them to the king. A few days later they were dealt with in accordance with the law, and the ringleaders where hoisted onto the gallows. The remaining factious fellows where fined in accordance with the elders’ decision, some of their lands, some of their cattle, and thus this disturbance was happily settled to the nobles’ satisfaciton.
spacer 24. After the islanders had been pacified, King Ethodius returned to Albion, and when he was staying at Inverlochy (a town in Lochaber, as has previously been said), he learned from the Scots and Picts who dwelt hard by the Britons that the Romans had breached Hadrian’s Wall and launched a vigorous raid into the adjacent Scottish and Pictish lands. Driving off a great amount of plunder, they had come across enemies intent on fending off their violence. Both sides joined in a very sharp battle, with many slain on both sides. The victory had gone to the Romans, but it was a very bloody, with nearly all of their nobles who had joined in that sudden conflict killed off. Hearing this news, King Ethodius sent a herald to Aulus Victorinus, the current Roman legate in Britain), demanding reparations in accordance with their treaty, and threatening to declare war after two weeks, should these not be forthcoming. The Roman legate’s reply to the herald was that, albeit the Scots and Picts were peoples always squabbling with each other, they had now united for inflicting harm on a foreign land. They had driven off plunder from the Roman province, just as the Romans had from theirs. The confederates had taken the lead in breaching the wall, and at the point where this had been done they had constructed a wooden fort, protected on all sides by turf and stones, and defended by a strong garrison. From there, they had made frequent raids on Rome’s subjects and had practiced thefts, murder, and plundering. Frequently, indeed almost daily, the local Britons had demanded reparations from the Scottish and Pictish magistrates, but their messengers were scorned and sometimes subjected to serious harm, and so he had rightfully declared war on them.
spacer 25. Ethodius, stung by Victorinus’ response, wrote a letter to the king of the Picts informing him of the situation and urging him to join in avenging this fresh insult of Roman arms and the Roman legate’s words. He should pull down the wall where it bounded his realm, invade Roman territory, and lay waste to everything with fire and the sword. He should dismiss any doubt that the Scottish army would immediately join him. The Pictish king thanked the messenger and vowed that, in accordance with the opinion of his nation’s elders, he would vigorously invade the province. Learning of this by their spies, the Romans bent all their efforts to prepare for war. The Scots and Picts broke down the wall at many points and burst into the Roman province, visiting much slaughter on its rustics. The Romans bypassed their enemies’ camp and invaded the Picts’ territory, in an attempt to draw their enemy back from the Roman province. Learning of this by the watchmen they had stationed, the confederate kings joined forces and at first light approached their enemy as closely as they could. When they had come within sight of the enemy, both sides met together. Battle was immediately joined and victory hung in the balance, as both armies’ right wings prevailed, while their left wings were overwhelmed. Those stationed in the center fought with such dedication that, when night fell and took away their vision, neither side seemed about to yield to the other. And, since the battle had been conducted in this way, both sides were routed, having lost may soldiers together with their cavalry, during the night both sides retreated to their camps out of fear of the other, very much as if they had been conquered. After the day had dawned, the Pictish and Scottish women who had followed their menfolk to the battle (in accordance with their national custom), had great leisure to plunder the dead, since neither friend nor foe was to be seen. In that battle, which went badly for both sides, their strength was so broken and dissipated that for the following year they both refrained from battle.
spacer 26. Meanwhile the legate Aulus Victorinus wrote a dispatch to the Caesar Marcus Antoninus Aurelius, indicating that the Scots and the Picts, those barbaric, intractable nations, had violated their treaty by breaching Hadrian’s wall, which separated them from the Roman province, and had made frequent inroads, using no single kind of cruelty to visit devastation and death on those who obeyed the Roman government. Roman forces had fought against them with a sad slaughter suffered by both sides, and both sides had retreated from the other as if it had been victorious. The barbarians had withdrawn into Pithland and Galdia to repair their armies. Little faith was to be placed in the Britons, since they were in sympathy with the Scots and Picts about reclaiming their liberty, and would rise if they were given support. And so he begged Caesar for help in warding off such a great war, and in the absence of such help the Romans could not long withstand the barbarians’ violence. The Roman emperor received the dispatch. He suspected that Victorinus was a slothful commander and that Roman affairs in Britain had been mismanaged by his negligence, removed him from office and sent to Britain Calpurnius Agricola in his place together with in an army, to prosecuting the war against the barbarians. It is said that this man was the grandson of Julius Agricola, the most outstanding of all Roman generals who had come to Albion. And so, arriving in Britain and joining the British forces to his own, he marched to Eboracum on the way to attacking the enemy. Then, having performed pagan rites to secure a happy outcome, he moved to the river Tyne. And when he had passed beyond it and beyond Hadrian’s wall, he found everything devastated, with no crops or cattle, nor any country estate not either demolished or burned to the ground. The Scots and Picts had attended to this to deprive any invading enemy provisions in those parts. In his lengthy pursuit of the enemy, Calpurnius came into Ordolucia, Deira, and finally into Pithland. And, having wasted the fields, burned the crops, and also farmsteads and villages, since it was now time to go into winter quarters, he went back to Eboracum, and there he wintered in camp with his army.
spacer 27. In the ensuing summer, when many preparations had been made for prosecuting the war against the Scots and Picts, as Calpurnius was leading his army against them it was announced that the Cambri and their neighboring nations had fomented a grave rebellion against the Romans, having ransacked their municipalities, towns, and cities, and abusively killing the soldiers who had been stationed throughout the provinces to defend those rustics and commoners who persisted in their loyalty to the Romans, together with refugees. Hearing this news, lest, while attempting to subdue a part of Albion hostile to the Romans, he lose another part, which had been gained and held to its loyalty by his ancestors’ great exertions, abandoned his project of pursuing the confederated enemies, and very energetically attended to the careful repair of Hadrian’s Wall, in large part demolished by the Scots and Picts. He cleaned out the ditches and added watchtowers and ramparts to debar the enemy from the Roman province. Craftsmen were imported from all over to accomplish this work. When the part of the wall nearly demolished by enemy violence had been rebuilt, he left behind a garrison to protect his craftsmen from the barbarians, and moved against the Cambri. His arrival filled them with great panic, and when they finally came forth to do battle the were conquered by the Romans, but not quickly and not without considerable trouble. When the Cambrian revolt had just been suppressed, another mutiny arise. The inhabitants of the Isle of Wight rebelled and a large part of the British nobility sided with them. But these too were bested by Calpurnius, at the cost of considerable effort, and the leaders of the rebellion were executed.
spacer 28. While Calpurnius was thus occupied by domestic upheavals and battles, the Scots and Picts kept themselves at home and refrained from doing harm to the province of the Britons and Romans, being unwilling to provoke Roman arms against themselves. For foremost in their minds was the present situation. They feared Calpurnius Agricola’s great name, for they remembered his grandfather Julius Agricola, who had subdued Ordolucia, Deira, Pithland, Brigantia, Siluria, and nearby parts and routed their armies. He had penetrated the Caledonian Forest, and Roman arms had once crossed the Tay into Horestia. They were afraid that his grandson would have the same martial virtue, and so were afraid to come to blows with him. When Calpurnius learned through his spies that the Scottish and Pictish kings had dismissed their armies and sent their disbanded soldiers home, he was as happy as if they had suffered a defeat in war, calculating that the barbarians could bloodlessly be restrained from attacking those Britons who abided by their loyalty to Roman authority by means of the ditch and the wall. He turned his attention to settling British affairs, which sorely suffered from sedition. Finally, having put an end to the dissension of British petty kings and having reorganized the province along better lines, Calpurnius was recalled to Rome by Antoninus Commodus Caesar, who governed Rome after Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. By command of Caesar, Publius Trebellius was appointed legate in Britain, while Calpurnius took a land route to Italy, by way of Gaul. So that Trebellius might appear to be imitating Calpurnius, he relied on the advice of British elders in difficult matters, and at the beginning he performed as as a moderate legate. He governed King Lucius, and (thanks to Caesar’s benevolence and authority) Lucius governed the Britons. He conferred many honors on Lucius, and extolled him with great praises to Caesar and the Roman senate for being a friend to the Roman republic: he was devoted to nothing so much as the advantage of the Roman empire, and he hated those who were hostile to Roman government. For his part, Trebellius put to death some who had leagued themselves against Roman magistrates.
spacer 29. When he had delivered such praises of Lucius to Caesar and the Roman senate, and these unusual expressions of confidence had done much to ingratiate himself to King Lucius, Caesar, and the senate, he at length revealed the disposition he had long kept concealed, and, a man of insatiable avarice, he plunged headlong into vice. Not long thereafter he lodged public accusations against certain wealthy men, and put others to death to satisfy other men’s hatred of them. He banished yet others, and, no less boldly than freely, acquired the property of those who could be accused with a show of plausibility. At length these outraged turned the people against Trebellius, and the situation was heading towards a bloody rebellion, had not King Lucius, that supporter of the Romans, helped the legate with his counsel. Those Scots and Picts who had dealings among the Britons got wind of how the Britons were disposed towards the Roman legate, and thought the time was at hand, with Calpurnius out of the way, to avenge their ancient injury. So they assembled a great multitude and breached the wall with great violence. Entering British territory, they worked great devastation. These things provoked Trebellius to lead a large army of horse and foot against his wild enemy. When they joined battle, he was deserted by virtually all his British and Gallic auxiliaries, his army was routed and scattered, and he barely escaped the battlefield with his life. This dire massacre consumed many Romans, and no few Scots and Picts. Trebellius gathered up the remnants of his army and retired to Eboracum in the hope of renewing his forces. Even though the Scots and Picts had suffered no small amount of casualties in the victory, they were rendered fiercer than usual by the victory, and in order to avenge the blood of their kinsmen they killed the captives they had taken, to the last man. And then, raging with great freedom against the inhabitants of Westmorland and the Candali and ravaging their fields, there was no kind of cruelty that they did not exercise. This afflicted the local rustics so much that they were bereft of any hope, either at home or abroad.
spacer 30. Even though Trebellius was highly aggrieved by the indignity of the thing, he thought that entering into open warfare would be injurious to the Roman cause, since he feared British treachery even more than Scorttish or Pictish violences. So he rested content with executing those enemies he could cut off as they ravaged the fields, and otherwise kept his soldiers within their towns and fortifications. At this time a popular and servile uprising in Britain greatly disturbed the Romans. For after they had been almost daily troubled by the Scots and Picts and had no hope of making good the damage, at the instigation of a numberof nobles the commoners grew alienated from Roman rule and defected from their loyalty to Caesar. Angrily taking up arms, and electing a certain Pict named Caldorus as their leader, a man who had lived among them for many years and had acquired British matters together with a deep hatred of Roman rule, they began to make their confused way against the legate Trebellius and the Roman army. Learning of these Britons’ mutiny, Trebellius realized that he had become involved in a far more dangerous war than that he had fought against the Scots and the Picts, anxiously discussed with his officers by what remedies he could rid himself of the present danger. After much deliberation, they decided to join battle with the Romans, lest, if their strength were increased by the addition of their enemies, they could not be opposed without great Roman losses.
spacer 31. And so Trebellius led his army against the British conspirators. At first their army of common folk, scraped together from many nations, dreaded the name of Trebellius, the self-confidence of the Roman nation, and the sight of their armament, and this all but took away their spirit and boldness. But, thanks to the urgent and diligent effort of Caldorus, to whom this rebellion was very welcome, they were retained in their fighting order, and joined battle with much greater enthusiasm than did the Romans. The clash was fierce and bloody on both sides, and for a while the victory was uncertain. Ultimately the Romans did their work with vigor and the Britons were overcome, suffering a great loss of their men. Caldorus and a number of men privy to his plans abandoned the battlefield and retired into Pithland, quite pleased with himself because so great a slaughter had been inflicted on the Britons and Romans by his doing. Some British nobles who were disguised as slaves, seeing that the Romans were not sparing rustics, revealed their true identities and were taken alive. When the legate Trebellius discovered that these disguised captives who were concealing their breeding had been the ringleaders of the entire mutiny, he commanded that they be crucified in the full sight of one and all. This greatly intensified British hatred of the Romans. During the following night the bodies of the Britons were taken down, and an equal number of Romans put up on the crosses by parties unknown. The legate, making the probable conjecture that danger was impending from all sides, sent a messenger to Caesar, who was to complain of British treachery and Scottish and Pictish damages, and pray that help be sent quickly to counter the perfidy of those Britons who had defected from their loyalty to Rome, and the might of the barbarians: otherwise the Romans, their affairs wrecked, would be obliged to quit Britain, not without disgrace.
spacer 32. Commodus Antoninus Caesar, realizing the parlous state of Roman affairs in Britain, sent there Pertinax, a man of consular rank and (as Julius Capitolinus writes) a man often praised both in military councils and in the senate, in order to rescue the situation. When he arrived there and Trebellius had been removed from command, the appointee legate showed himself to the people as most kind and humane. Most of all by making himself welcome and liked to King Lucius, he suppressed the Britons’ revolt by benevolence more than arms, executing only a few conspirators and base-born ones at that, very deserving of the worst evil by the common consensus of everybody. Then he attacked the Scots and Picts and, killing many, forced them back beyond Hadrian’s Wall. But he did not pursue them any farther, for the was recalled to Rome, and, after Antoninus Commodus was strangled by a conspiracy of his followers, he unwillingly accepted the imperial purple when it was offered him by the great consensus of all men. So, when Trebellius was re-appointed as legate and left behind in the province, he returned to Rome. During the time these things were transpiring, troubles confronted King Ethodus. The Hebridians, taking it amiss that the leading men of their nation had been been undeservedly put to death by Argadus (as has been related), collected a large fighting-band of soldiers and rushed into Argathelia. They foully ravaged the district, making no distinction of either sex or age, and displayed incredible impiety towards its inhabitants. Argadus was sent there with soldiers to suppress the commotion, and King Ethodius, with an army recruited both from his nation and from that of the Picts, encamped not far from Hadrian’s Wall, ready to ward of any hostile incursion, should one occur. Hearing of Argadus’ approach, the islanders immediately gathered under their leader. A little earlier about two thousand men of Ireland had come to Argathelia with the intention of plundering. In order to assist the islanders, they concealed themselves in thick underbrush, and as soon as Argadus had passed them by, they sprang forth and, raising great shouts, attacked the Scottish army from the side. When Argadus saw he was being attacked from both front and side, but could not extricate himself from his enemies. For they ran in, pressing in on all sides, so that he was surrounded, and, since he could not withstand his enemies’ strength, he was overwhelmed and killed, albeit not without great difficulty, together with about two thousand men. The rest scattered in fear and were rescued by flight.
spacer 33. The report of this defeat made King Ethodius exceedingly irate at the islanders. Soon thereafter, he took twenty thousand men recruited from all the Scottish districts, and made a hurried march into Argathelia to put down this disturbance. The islanders, prevented by an angry sea from crossing over to the Hebrides, unwillingly awaited his advent. When he made his appearance, mindful of his soldiers’ safety, he caused his enemies great trouble by small daily skirmishes rather than any display of force. In the end, he took advantage of an opportunity of time and place: his enemies’ fighting-bands had heedlessly concealed themselves in a forest. He threw a ditch and rampart around them, and soon reduced them to such a state of helplessness that, when they had consumed all their provisions, they preserved their miserable lives for a while by eating tree-leaves and grass, then their roots, and finally human excrement. In the end they were subdued by starvation and convinced the king to give an audience to their messenger. When this messenger arrived, Ethodius dictated his terms: their leader and two hundred of their number, selected by their own choice, should come to him to be punished as the elders saw fit; if they put down their weapons, the rest were free to depart for the Hebrides. With final starvation confronting them, the multitude agreed to these conditions, and they immediately handed over two hundred men of their men particularly guilty of fomenting the rebellion, together with its leader. These were immediately put to death by order of the king and the elders. When the islanders took this amiss and began to riot, picking up stones (for they were bereft of arms) and throwing them at the soldiers like madmen, they were met by an armed force and a large number of them were butchered. Those who were able to escape the wrath of their killers fled to mountaintops.
spacer 34. Thereafter, when the Hebridians’ tumult had been put down, and while the Romans were (albeit with difficulty) holding the Britons who had been obliged to submit to their loyalty, Scottish affairs were more peaceful for some years, free of domestic and foreign war. Having achieved peace in all quarters, Ethodius made a progress through the Scottish districts, and appointed judges who would perform their duties with due reverence to justice and equity. Lest he language in ignoble idleness even in his old age, he devoted himself to the hunt, which he had practiced since boyhood, as is our custom. He took great pains lest any ordinances of his ancestors regarding this art be neglected: his edict was that one should not employ a net, a snare, or any manner of noose to catch a hare, nor use a javelin, stick, or any other device intended for the same purpose to kill one sitting on the ground unawares, nor chase down an exhausted one, when once it has escaped the hounds by the swiftness of its feet; and that nobody should discharge arrows at a stag, or hunt a pregnant doe, and should entirely refrain from hunting them throughout the winter and that part of the spring when the land still lies under deep snow, a time when they are compelled by great hunger to abandon the forests, glades, and hilly country; and that the offspring of does should at all times be immune. For he hated nothing so much as to have the hunt, a fair thing for noble and high-born spirits, to be sullied by such offenses, and to have himself and the nobles of his kingdom cheated out of this praiseworthy solace.
spacer 35. Furthermore, when he was at liberty from the hunt because of the season of year, he devoted himself to his pleasures. He took huge delight in those skilled in singing and playing musical instruments, particularly those who performed on the trumpet and flute. In the end he was strangled at night by a flautist of Hebridian blood, whom he had appointed his chamberlain. He was caught by the palace guards after they heard the grieving shouts of his servants, and was given deservedly rough handling because he had stained his hands with the blood of a king who had entrusted his life to him. And so it was necessary to take this man, whom a little earlier the king had numbered among his trustiest courtiers, and subject him to the most exquisite tortures for his unspeakable crime, as if he were an enemy. He would provide posterity with an example of how impious a thing it is for mortals to pollute themselves with a king’s sacred blood. To this the flute-player responded, “King Ethodius killed many of my kinsman in Argathelia, employing no single method of cruelty. As has been my plan for many days now, I have repaid this insult and satisfied my angry mind: by this bold deed I have appeased that strong emotion, which had me in its grip. I am satisfied, I admit, and my lust for revenge is slaked. I have no desire to go on living: do as you will with me, employ all cruelty. My mind is now set on dying, just as it was previously set on killing Ethodius, and there is no manner of death you can inflict on me that would keep me from rejoicing, even at the moment of my death, that I have avenged the harm done my kinsmen by that most criminal king’s savagery.”
spacer 36. When he had said these things, by command of the magistrates his feet were tied to horses, so they could be driven in opposite directions and he would be torn in pieces. After entering into his office, Ethodius lived thirty-three years. As was then the custom, his body was borne in royal estate, and he was buried in the field at Evonium. His reign extended to the principate of the Roman emperor Septimius Severus. During the reign of Ethodius many men lived distinguished for their learning and piety: the physician Galen, who annotated Hippocrates, famous in his day, but far more famed to posterity. Today there survive a large number of his medical writings, proof of his profound learning. The notable orator Apollonius, who achieved the crown of martyrdom for delivering a speech in praise of the Christian religion, a capital crime among the pagans. And Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth. He wrote many things for the benefit of the true faith, and many others. During this time the honor of the Christian religion was enhanced, and the pious enjoyed peace and quiet everywhere. In various provinces and regions, people turned away from pagan impiety and were converted to the true religion of Christ. The holy see at Rome was then held by Eleutherius, the fourteenth after Peter. When he had newly been installed, in a letter King Lucius of Britain (of whom I have written above), negotiated for his consent to enroll himself and his people in the roster of Christians, for he had heard much about the Christians’ piety and miracles from Roman soldiers serving in Britain under Trebellius and Pertinax. Fugacius and Damianus were sent there, men distinguished for their piety, and they baptized the king, together with all his household and his people, and in that part of the world the worship of evil demons was abolished, and true piety was instituted. As our annals record, the year in which Christ’s faith was received in Britain was the year of His incarnation 178.
spacer 37. After Ethodius had died the death I have described, with the great approval of the fathers his brother Satrahel was hailed as king by the people’s happy acclamation. Ethodius’ living son was too young to rule, and so the power fell to Satrahel, as was the custom from the very begging. He was possessed of a sly and subtle character, and a little after the beginning of his realm he became notable for his treachery and cruelty. Having inherited peace by land and sea, he put nearly all of King Ethodius’ familiars to death on trumped-up charges: as the constant report went, he did so for the purpose of cheating Ethodius’ son of the kingship. Nor was he much gentler towards the commoners. He subjected men to an assortment of punishments after having stripped them of their lands and fortunes, with the result that he was deeply hated by people and nobles alike. And so, a little later, he lost the favor of both the people and the elders, and began to be an object of contempt for one and all. There ensued factions and seditions, as well as domestic battles between neighbors and kinsmen, to the unspeakable detriment of all men. And when a great danger threatened the commonwealth because of its king’s sloth and waywardness, and his guilty conscious forbade him to appear in public, his throat was cut at night by courtiers in the night, in the fourth year after he had received the supreme power.
spacer 38. And in his place, by common vote of all, was set Donald, another brother of Ethodius. Donald had a very different nature than his brother: he was free of deceit and perfidy, disposed to mercy and mildness, and more devoted to equity than to a rigid application of the law. At the outset of his reign, he devoted much effort to the resolution of lawsuits and internal discords, frequently reflecting how dangerous a thing it was to the public welfare for the nation to suffer from domestic sedition. And when by his great effort he had settled old quarrels, and had made everything full of peace and concord, partly by his authority and benevolence, and partly by fear of punishment, he made a progress through the districts of his realms, residing for a while at its principal castles. He sat with the elders of the realm and pronounced the law for any man who petitioned for this, having no respect for the identity of the litigants. Following in the footsteps of his ancestors, he imposed just punishments on robbers, thieves, and receivers of stolen goods. He was responsible for taking the realm’s young men, virtually uncouth because of their tutors’ negligence, and training them with in better ways, so that they might serve under him, to the end that enemy damage outrages against the inhabitants of his realm might be warded off. He formed fighting-bands of these young men, ready to do what was necessary both at home and in the field, and so always had a standing army.
spacer 39. At about this time, after the death of the aforementioned King Lucius of the Britons, the Romans, aware that British kings had been responsible for many popular seditions and rebellions against themselves, forbade by public decree that henceforth any man of British birth should be honored with royal dignity, for the better tranquility of their affairs in Britain. Fulgentius, a nobleman born of the ancient blood of British kings took this very amiss and summoned many British nobles to an assembly. In a long speech he complained of Roman insults: they were enslaved, subject to the fasces and axes. Their forefathers’ laws and liberty had been stolen, their virgins, widows and matrons debauched by soldiers’ lust. In addition, the Romans had dealt harshly with their fortunes, and a new tax or impost was being levied almost every day, or a new levy was being held. And the British people was being mistreated with nearly countless other abuses. Most recently their royalty dignity had been taken away, as it appeared, for the purpose of exterminating the royal stock together with their entire nobility. Unless the Britons quickly took counsel for their affairs, it would come to pass that their captive nobility would be removed to foreign provinces at the whim of their enemies, leaving only hapless commoners in Britain. By these and many other arguments, those who attended the assembly were readily induced to mutiny against the Roman empire. After electing Fulgentius the leader of their faction, they appointed a day on which all men would be present in arms. Meanwhile Fulgentius gave a letter to a herald, to be carried to King Donald of Scots, in which he announced that virtually all Britain had entered into an association against the Romans. If he would agree to come to their aid against their ancient enemies, ever hostile to all the men of Albion, they should soon drive the Romans out of Britain, to their great disgrace. And this would be less difficult to achieve, since nearly all the provinces in Gaul, in Germany and the orient were disgusted with the proud Roman empire and, as he knew for certain, had fomented a grand revolt against them. Caesar was worn down by old age, beset by many ills, and had no idea what was to be done. He was so careworn that henceforth he could send no troops to Britain.
spacer 40. Receiving this news, Donald was overjoyed. He was eager for a foreign war, since he was well aware that in the absence of one his subject could not long exist without internal sedition. And so he promised that a Scottish army would be present at the place and time appointed. The Pictish king’s response was not very different, after Fulgentius had sent him a similar letter. Learning of the Scots’ and Picts’ enthusiasm for themselves and their good will, the Britons thought that there should be no delay in such a great enterprise, and bade their followers snatch up arms as quickly as possible. Each man immediately took his provisions and marched to that part of Hadrian’s Wall adjacent to the Irish Sea. Arriving there, they battered down the wall with great strength, opening up a way by which the Scots could join them. Nor were the Scots and Picts, who had assembled beyond the wall at the same time, any the more behindhand in doing their part. In a brief moment they filled the ditch with turf excavated nearby, and got beyond the wall with no great difficulty, after they had demolished a goodly part of it. When they joined with Fulgentius’ men they filled the locals with fear. Then they all banded together and, by forced marches day and night, advanced towards Eboracum. Moving faster than the news of their coming, they appeared before it was heard that they were approaching. At the sight of such a great army the citizens of Eboracum were immediately thrown into a panic. The rebels’ scheme was to take the city by storm so that, when they had captured the legate Trebellius and the leading Romans they had heard to be staying there, and had suppressed the Roman militia in Britain, the rest of their plan could more easily be accomplished throughout the island. But when they heard that Trebellius and the Roman nobles had retreated to Kent, they refrained from a siege in order to concentrate their army. Then they exercised full freedom in raging through the nearby districts, working the foulest slaughter and destruction against those who obeyed Roman government. Frightened by this novel thing, the local population received the Scots and Picts, and the Britons joined to them, with what passed for happy acclamations, since they could neither withstand nor check such a number of soldiers. These hostile forces lingered not far from Eboracum, until they could find the necessities for their army. Then they quickly passed into other parts, bent on ravaging them in the same way. Nor did their fury abate until the onset of winter, when these soldiers, assembled from various districts and provinces, could not endure the rain and cold in their camp, and were sent home.
spacer 41. The legate Trebellius was deeply disturbed that the Roman province in Britain was being beset by these troubles. In a letter he advised the emperor Septimius Severus that the barbarians were fomenting severe uprisings, and devastating the the entire province with their forays and raids. Therefore a larger army, or even the emperor’s own presence, was required. As Herodianus writes, blue Severus was happy to receive this news, since he was even more avid for glory after his victories in the orient and the north, having received special cognomens for both, and wished to gain trophies in fighting the Britons as well. He also had an ardent desire to remove his sons from the city and its urbane delights and accustomed them to the austere life of a martial camp, and therefore proclaimed an expedition against Britain. Although he was an old man suffering from arthritis, his spirits were higher than any youth’s. Therefore he took to the road, for the most part carried on a litter, never loitering anywhere. And so he covered the distance faster than anyone could imagine possible, crossed the sea, and entered Britain. Gathering his soldiers and amassing a great force, he prepared for war. Fulgentius and his confederate Britons were amazed at Caesar’s sudden arrival, hearing that such great forces had been assembled against themselves by the Romans, taken from Gaul, Spain, and Britain. They sent ambassadors to Caesar to sue for peace and clear their names. But Severus dragged his heels, so that he would not be obliged to return to Rome without having accomplished something. Being eager to gain a victory and the cognomen Britannicus, he finally sent the ambassadors back without having accomplished their mission, and with great care readied the things needful for war.
spacer 42. And so Fulgentius, frustrated in his suit for peace, had a change of heart. Summoning the head men of his faction to another conference, he gave a short speech in which he urged that their liberty should be reclaimed, their old wrongs revenged, and their royal power restored, touching on many things in a few words. He said that he had undertaken the hateful and dangerous task of confronting the masters of the world for no other reason than to expel the foreign-born and restore the British nobility to its erstwhile honor. Albeit the Roman army was very large in numbers, it was nevertheless composed of mercenaries of diverse manners, languages, and customs, and therefore less to be feared. And, unless they were hindered by Severus’ great reputation and military experience, it could be overcome by the forces of the Britons, who were of a single mind and shared the same customs. Nevertheless, since the safety of so many noble men should not be entrusted to the outcome of a single battle, he was of the opinion that the Romans were to be worn out by skirmishes and held back without a full engagement. They should wait for the Scots and Picts, those perpetually bitter enemies of the Romans. If only the gods would be favorable, it would come to pass that, with the help of those nations, the Romans would at length be scattered and, their hope of returning to Britain destroyed, would be forever debarred from there, to their great disgrace. Making these and similar statements, Fulgentius won the favor and confidence of them all.
spacer 43. A little while afterwards, their wives and children who could not bear arms were removed beyond Hadrian’s Wall, together with their cattle, which were driven into forests and inaccessible mountain-ridges. Fulgentius assembled some fighting-bands from the more noble members of his faction, and strove with great diligence to defend himself and his followers, rather than to attack the enemy. Not long afterwards the Scottish and Pictish companies arrived, ready to run all risks for the public safety. Severus, not unaware of his enemies’ strategy and ready for any eventuality, did not fail to make any arrangement which would serve the purpose of his Roman soldiers, or hinder his enemy from fighting. When he perceived that everything in readiness to his satisfaction, he left behind his younger son Geta in that part of the island which remained obedient to the Romans, to preside over the administration of justice and the management of civil affairs, allowing the older of his friends to serve as his counselors. He took along his other son, Antoninus, on his campaign against the enemy. After this he formed up his army and marched to Eboracum. At his arrival, its citizens and the nobles who lived nearby came out to meet him and received the approaching prince with happy acclaim, extolling his fortune, his fortitude and martial virtue with many praises. The emperor entered Eboracum, made the customary visits to temples and adored the gods, and then retired into the stronghold which served as the Roman headquarters. He remained there, deliberating how best to subdue his enemies, and then gave the command to march against the barbarions with great vigor.
spacer 44. Hearing of the Romans’ approach, the elders of Fulgentius’ faction held a conference, deliberating whether they should await their enemies or retreat. After diverse opinions had been offered, they came to an agreement that they should avoid the disgrace of flight and settle matters with the Romans by the sword, as they all cried out that they should either die bravely or live with honor But when the Romans came into sight in battle order, ready to come to grips, panic destroyed the self-confidence of a large number of them, and changed their minds. Battle was immediately joined with great force and enthusiasm, and for a while it continued with varied fortune. Finally the Romans proved victorious, thanks to their numbers and experience, and routed the greater part of their enemy. The rest, who stubbornly stood and fought, were destroyed in a terrible massacre. When Fulgentius, who was in great jeopardy during the fight, saw that all those who had come with him were either giving ground or dying of their wounds, and that he could not come to their aid, he attempted to place himself where the enemy were the thickest, so that he might die an honorable death alongside those very brave men he saw perishing. But he was prevented by his followers, and compelled to leave the battle. A large number of men followed him, which made the victory easier for the Romans. Now that Fulgentius’ forces were routed and dispersed all over the field, the Romans immediately gave chase, to deprive them of the opportunity of reforming their ranks. When the Scots and Picts saw that there was no chance of rejoining the fight, they threw away their arms and swam across the river Tyne, with Fulgentius in their midst, passed beyond Hadrian’s Wall, and went home. Some Britons escaped the massacre by flight, when the Roman soldier were forbidden to give chase, and went home cursing the battle. In this unhappy encounter about thirty thousand Scots, Picts, and Britons were lost.
spacer 45. Having suffered such a great calamity, the Scottish sent to Ireland for help, as did the Picts to Norway and Nearer Scythia, the present Denmark, their former homeland. And Fulgentius hired as many mercenaries as he could to rebuild his army. Severus exercised severe harshness on Britons of the more noble sort who had defected from their loyalty towards Rome, but was more merciful in sparing the commoners, saying that they had done no wrong in obeying their leaders. Then he made a progress through nearly all of Britain that was subject to Roman government. He improved many things that had gone awry by the negligence of his magistrates, and gave all men alike the freedom to plead a suit before himself, making no distinction of rank. A little while thereafter his soldiers were dismissed to their winter quarters. He himself wintered at Eboracum in the company of noble Britons. In the following summer the Scots, who had not been successful in obtaining auxiliaries from Ireland, were mindful of their recent defeat and preferred to defend their own interests rather than join battle with the Romans under Severus, a general so distinguished in military matters. Fulgentius and the Britons with him thought it best to wait for a more opportune moment to fight, and kept themselves within the territories of the Scots and Picts. The Roman army crossed over the Tyne and fought some skirmishing raids along the wall which separated them from the Scots and Picts, some won by the Romans, and some by their enemies. For the Scots and the Picts, the forests and marshlands, familiar territory for themselves, served as a protection against Roman incursions. When the Romans pressed them, they fled there and used them as fortifications to avoid impending danger, and at opportune moments they were accustomed to make forays. All of which adversities created delay and difficulties for the Romans as they waged this war.
spacer 46. Meanwhile Severus, greatly weighed down by his advanced years, was overcome by a protracted disease, to the extent that he was obliged to remain at home and send Antoninus to serve as commander in the war. And Antoninus, not greatly concerned about the enemy, broke off offensive operations and encamped not far from the Tyne with his forces. He commanded that they invest all their effort in rebuilding that portion of Hadrian’s Wall which had been destroyed, adding stone ramparts and high towers set apart at such a distance that, even when the wind was blowing against it, a bugle sounded in one could easily be heard at the next. Then he set trumpeters in each tower, so that when the enemy attacked, the locals could be roused by their calls and issue forth to defend the war, armed with slingshots, arrow-shooting engines, javelins, and other missiles. Countless craftsmen were recruited for the work, and great care was exercised in choosing architects for the structures, the towers, and the battlements. Meanwhile Antoninus exerted himself to gain the army’s loyalty and secure it for himself, so that they would look to himself alone, gaining power for himself and taking it away from his brother. The longer his father’s health endured and the greater the delay of his death, the more anxious the young man became, so that he kept trying to persuade his physicians and servants to kill off the old man quickly in any way they could, until at length Severus died, done in more by sorrow than sickness, having been the most distinguished of all emperors when it came to military matters. After the death of his father Severus, Antoninus urged the army’s officers to declare him alone emperor, meanwhile hatching various schemes against his brother. But he could not induce the soldiers to do this, since they were mindful that from boyhood Severus had reared both of them with equal honor, so they displayed equal obedience and good will towards them both.
spacer 47. And so Antoninus, realizing that he was making little headway with the army, came to an agreement with the Scots and Picts, and made peace with Fulgentius and his confederate Britons, with an exchange of hostages. Then he left, and hurred to his mother and brother, who were then at London. Their mother attempted to reconcile her sons after they had met, as did Severus’ most honorable friends and counselors. But since nobody could blunt his desire, he was obliged by compulsion more than agreement to offer a show of concord and affection, and so they quit Britain while sharing the rule with equal honors and hastened to Rome, carrying their father’s urn. For his body had been cremated and his ashes enclosed in a golden container, mixed with incense and enclosed in an alabaster vase, and this they carried to Rome to be set in the sacred imperial tomb. They took with them the army that had conquered Fulgentius and crossed the sea to Gaul. From there they hastened along on their journey and entered the city of Rome, where, a little later, Antoninus, greedy for all the power, strove by various schemes to encompass the murder of his brother. In the end, he burst into Geta’s bedchamber and savagely butchered his unsuspecting brother as he clung to his mother’s breast, befouling it with much blood, and by such an act of murder he alone gained control of the empire. These things concerning the Roman emperor Septimius Severus and his notable deeds in Britain are partly taken from the Greek writer Herodian, and partly from Spartianus and our annals.
spacer 48. But I must return to King Donald. He restored Scottish affairs to a better condition by his mild and gentle rule, having gained peace and quiet at home and abroad, which with wonderful popularity he embraced until the end of his life. This great peace of mind was granted him by Christ the Lord, the Prince and Author of Peace, because a little earlier he had turned his back on the worship of evil demons and devoted himself to true piety. For during the principate of Severus, his ambassadors obtained from Pope Victor, the fifteenth after Peter to govern the Church, that he send to Scotland men distinguished for their learning and piety to baptize himself, his wife and children, who professed Christ’s name. The Scottish nobility imitated the example set by their king, rejected impiety, and embraced Christ’s religion, and were bathed in the sacred font. The year in which the Scots were summoned and received into the light of true Piety, by the goodness of God Almighty, was the year 203 A. D., the year after the foundation of the kingdom of Scotland 533, and the year of creation 5399. This befell our people somewhat differently than it did the Britons, even if they were the first to come to the rue religion. For the Britons, duly established in the faith, subsequently rejected it for a time, because of the savagery of persecutions and the urgings of pagans. Once our countrymen were established in faith and piety, they have persisted in the same down to this time, scorning errors.
spacer 49. In addition to these things, as our annals tell us, Donald was the first of all Scottish kings to mint gold and silver coinage, so that, having the saving Cross on side and his head on the other, he might testify to posterity that among the Scots Christian piety was first adopted by himself. For previously our countrymen either did without money, or used Roman or British coinage for purposes of trade. This is demonstrated by the very old caches once buried in the ground full of foreign money, which have been excavated in many places. Thus in the year of human salvation 1519 a large number of coins were found by shepherds in Fife, not far from the mouth of the river Leven, stashed in a brass vase, some gold, and others silver. On some of these were stamped a two-faced Janus and the prow of a ship, and on other the effigies of Mars, Venus, Mercury, or some other god. On the other side of them all was the image of a Roman emperor with the inscription underneath or alongside, S. P. Q. R. And on the coast of Moray, among the ruins of a very ancient citadel, a two-handled marble vase with the image of two fighting snakes engraved thereon with remarkable skill, full of similar money, was found by shepherds in the year of Christ 1460. As I have heard from trustworthy men, this vase was no less an object of admiration than the money it contained, and goes to show that our ancestors once used Roman money.
spacer 50. King Donald, distinguished for his religious and civic accomplishments, finally died, in the twenty-first year after he he had begun to preside overScottish affairs. He was given a Christian burial in a Christian graveyard, at the urging of the priests who then presided over the Scots’ religion, after many pious prayers had been recited, as was customarily done. At about this time Alexander (who called himself Alexander Severus, to make himself seem more honorable) held power at Rome. In Donald’s lifetime, in all branches of learning there were distinguished men, especially in civil law. At the behest of Alexander Caesar, may of these produced venerable opinions. The most outstanding of these was Domitius Ulpianus, regarded as the glory of legalists in his age of the world. Then there was Origin, a man of notable piety and doctrine. They say that he was possessed of a quick God-given intellect and profound learning, so much so that seven secretaries, working in relays, could scarcely keep up with his dictation. He was summoned to Rome by Mammea, the mother of the emperor Alexander, and most learnedly preached much about the Christian religion, with the result that she embraced the true piety. Alexander himself did not only tolerate the Christians, but even had a statue of Christ in his private apartments, and in a public edict forbade Christians to be searched out, or to be punished if denounced. Origin’s fellow-student was Plotinus, who, together with many of their contemporaries, was possessed of excellent learning. Some of these became Christians, and others pagans.
spacer 51. Then our countrymen first began to revere Holy Writ, under the instruction of the priests whom Pope Victor had sent to remotest Albion to preach Christ’s doctrine. But some rites of sacrifice to evil demons still remained, that King Donald could not abolish, no matter how many urgings or priestly admonitions he used, no how much force he applied. Nor could Ethodius, the son of the previous Ethodius, who possessed the throne of Scotland after Donald’s death, for I have come to the point where I must speak of him. Ethodius was raised on the island of Mona under the care of preceptors and custodians, as was then the practice. And so what he would be like when he had control over his own life could not easily be predicted. When he was freed of his tutelage and declared king, the facts themselves revealed the quality of his intellect, which was dull and scarcely fit for governing, and was devoted to nothing else than amassing money in his wallet and keeping it there. When the elders understood this, the government was not managed by his guidance, but rather by the decision of certain magistrates appointed for the purpose. Then everything was handled with consummate dexterity, with individual magistrates set over each district, who with the greatest care attended to the public business the suppression of evildoing, with the result that a large number of malefactors were suppressed. No man was fined save in accordance with the law, and it was forbidden anyone condemned by his ill repute to resort to arms to defend himself, when haled before a magistrate. If sedition were to crop up anywhere, immediately the elders would gather there to put it down and impose due punishment on its ringleaders. At that time the Britons remained so quiet under their Roman legates, propraetors and procurators, that nobody dared even to speak. For a little before his death the emperor Severus had arranged everything with great wisdom, requiring hostages to be sent to Rome from virtually all noble British families. And during the reign of Ethodius neither the Scots nor the Picts dared to inflict any harm on the Britons or the Romans, nor were they harmed by them. King Ethodius died during a riot of the bodyguards assigned him for his protection, because he was considered to be excessively devoted to avarice, in the sixteenth year of his reign. And his death brings Book V to its conclusion.

Go to Book VI