To see a commentary note, click on a blue square. To see the Latin text, click on a green square. To see a textual note, click on a red square.


AVING undertook to write the history of our nation, that the series thereof might appear more plain to the reader I have, in my former Books, premised a few ancient memoirs, and especially those which are freest from fabulous vanities and are also most consonant to old writers. First of all, it is constantly reported, and there are many evidences to confirm the same, that a great multitude of Spaniards, being driven out of their own country by the powerful Dons, or else voluntarily departing by reason of their superabounding populousness, transported themselves into Ireland and seized upon those places of that island which were nearest to them. Afterward, the healthiness of the air and the fatness of the pasturage invited many others to follow them, especially, seeing their seditions at home and the injuries offered them by foreigners (to which Spain was always subject) drew many thither in hopes of a quieter life, which voyage they were more easily persuaded to undertake because they looked upon themselves as going into an island already possessed by their own country-men, and by that means, as it were, their second country. This stock of Spaniards did so flourish and increase in a country fit for propagation that now they were not contented within the bounds of Ireland, but frequently made emigrations into the lesser islands near adjacent.
2. In the mean time, the Scots (for that was the general name of the whole nation), propagating their bounds through the islands of Aebudae [Hebrides] and dispersing themselves by tribes and kindreds without either King or fixed government, a German, or as Bede writes, a Scythian fleet came to the coasts of Ireland, being driven there, ’tis very probable, by stress of weather, for they had not their wives or children aboard with them. They, being very poor, having nothing left them by reason of so long a voyage but only their arms, sent ambassadors to the Scots, desiring them that they themselves were compelled to seek their habitation in those small island, which, by reason of the barrenness of the soil, were also unfruitful; and if it were otherwise, yet all of them, if they should forsake them quite, would not be sufficient to entertain so great a multitude. But in regard they pitied the common miseries of mankind and were particularly affected with their condition, whom divine Providence had so grievously afflicted, and who did not seem to be wholly strangers to their lineage (as by their language and custom appeared): they would therefore give them their advice and, as far as they were able, would assist them to execute it. Their advice to them was to sail to their neighbour island Albium, which was large and fruitful and in many places then uninhabited; and also, by reason of the condition of those inhabitants that were in it, who were under several Kings and fewd one with another, and consequently very weak. that amidst those discords ’twere easy for them, by supporting the weaker side, to make themselves masters of that large country, and that in this matter they would afford them their assistance. The narrowness of the Aebudae and the lowness of their own condition, for so it then was, made them give ear to this counsel. So that these Germans (which were afterwards both by the Romans and their neighbour-nations called Picts), landing upon the coasts of the island bordering on the German Sea, having expelled the inhabitants, which were few and those at mutual discord amongst themselves, they brought a great part of that district under their subjection; and, soon after, in prosecution of the friendship with the Scots so happily begun, they took wives from amongst them and so were, in a manner, compacted into one nation with them.
3. By this mutual intercourse betwixt them a great many Scots, being either detained by their allies, who were yet but weak, or else driven by want and penury, or for the loss of their relations, fled their habitations amongst the Picts. The Picts at first were glad of their coming, but when they grew numerous by degrees, they began to fear lest, if the Scots increased in strength, they would become their masters. So that first in their secret assemblings and afterward in their publick councils they muttered that care was to be taken, that no stranger should hereafter be intermixed amongst them, and some way was to be found that the number of those already admitted might be lessened. A rumor also was spread abroad that it was revealed from heaven to the Picts that their nation should in time be extirpated by the Scots. These suspitions caused the two nations, which before were very amicable, to part companies. The Scots betook themselves to the mountainous places which were less fit for culture, in regard they were more addicted to pasturage and hunting, and the Picts possessed the lowlands, which were more fertile and fit for tillage, situate near the German Sea. Thus their friendship, before contracted by so many mutual kindnesses, did soon break forth into a terrible civil war. For the seeds of a deadly hatred were sown between those two nations, both of them being of fierce dispositions, tho the occasion at first was but trivial, as some little pets, chidings, and some few injuries sustained.
4. The Brittons, being enemies to both nations, having gotten this opportunity, fomented the dissensions and did freely offer aid to the Picts, even before they desired it, against the Scots. When the Scots perceived that these things were in agitation against them, they sent elsewhere for aid and procured a foreign King to assist them against so imminent a danger. The commanders of the islanders being of almost equal authority and scorning to stoop one to the other, Fergusius, the son of Ferchard, was sent for with forces out of Ireland, being counted the most eminent person among the Scots both for advice and action. He, by the publick consent of the people, was chosen King and charged to prepare his army to undergo the shock of a battle, if need required. Just about the same time a rumour was dispers’d abroad, which came to the ears both of the Scots and Picts, that the Brittons were managing some ambiguous counsels, equally pernicious to both nations, and that they would set upon the conquered and conquerors together with their arms and, destroying both or else driving them out of the island, they themselves would enjoy the whole. This report made both armies doubtful what course to take, and for a time kept them both within their trenches. At length they came to a treaty and, perceiving the secret fraud of the Britons, they inclined to make peace one with another; which being confirmed, the three different armies returned home. The Brittons, having failed in their first project, attempt another wile. They privily sent in robbers amongst the Picts, who drove away their cattle. When the Picts demanded restitution, they answered that they should seek it from the Scots, who were accustomed to thieving and plundering, rather than from them. Thus they eluded the ambassy, and sent away their ambassadors without their errands, so that the matter did appear to be a plain mockery. Their fraudulent counsels being thus more and more discover’d, the late reproach did incense the hearts of both nations against them, more than the relicks of their anger for their former injuries. And therefore, levying as great an army as they could, both Kings, two several ways, invaded the coasts of the Brittons, and, destroying the country with fire and sword, returned home with a great booty. To revenge this loss the Brittons enter Scotland and came as far as the River Don, and having ravaged the country thereabouts with greater terror than loss to the inhabitants, they pitched their tents upon the bank of the river.
5. Fergus, having sent their wives and children and other portable things into the mountains and places inaccessible for armies, secured all the avenues till the coming of the Picts, with whom he at length joyned his forces and, communicating counsels one with another, they resolved to make a diversion and lengthen the war by making an incursion with vast forces into their enemies country, and so to weary them out. But Coilus (that was the name of the King of the Brittons)s understanding by his spies the cause of their delay, sends five thousand men before to lye in ambush in the upper grounds, and he determined to lead forth the rest of his army directly against the enemy. When the Picts knew this, they again consulted with the Scots and, by way of prevention, they agreed to assault the camp of the Brittons by night, and accordingly drawing out their forces, the Scots in the front, the Picts in the rear, attack their enemies before day. And by this means they made a great slaughter of the Brittons, being as it were half asleep, whom the former delays of their enemies had made secure and confident. In this battel Coilus himself fell with the greatest part of his army, and made the place where it was fought famous from his name. Fergus returning home a conqueror, the Scots setled the regal government upon him and his posterity by the solemnity of an oath. Afterwards, having quieted matters in Scotland, he returned back into Ireland to quell seditions there; where, having composed all things, as he was returning home, a tempest arising suddainly, he was drowned not far from the port called from him Fergus his Rock, i. e., Knock-Fergus or Carrick-Fergus, in the twenty fifth year of his reign. Historians say that his coming into Albium was at the time when Alexander the Great took Babylon, about 330 years before the birth of Christ.


Fergus dying left two sons behind him, Ferlegus and Mainus, neither of them yet able to mange the government, so that the chiefs of the clans meeting together to declare the succeeding King, there was great contention amongst them, some urging the late oath whereby they had bound themselves to preserve the scepter for the Fergusian family, others alleging what great hazards they might run under an infant King. At last, after a long dispute, a medium was found out whereby neither the infant not yet fit to the managed the government should actually reign, nor yet the oath be violated, which was that whilst the children of their Kings were infants, one of their kindred who as judged most accomplished for the government should weild the scepter in their behalf, and if he dyed, then the succession of the kingdom should descend to the former Kings sons. This law did afterwards obtain for almost 1025 years, even unto the days of Kenneth the III, of whom I shall speak in his place. By virtue of this law, Feritharis, brother to Fergus, obtained the kingdom and managed it 15 years with such equity and moderation that his subjects found him a just King, and the orphans or pupils a good guardian, having by this carriage procured peace abroad and got the love of his subjects at home. Yet he could not allay the ambition of his kindred. for Ferlegus, being inflam’d with a desire to reign, having first communicated his design to the most turbulent of the soldiers and such as were most desirous of innovation and change, comes to his uncle and demands the kingdom of him, which he held (as he alleg’d) not as his own but in trust only for him. Feritharis was so far from being disturbed at this rash undertaking of the young man that, calling an assembly of the states together, he declared to them that he was ready to lay down and resign the royal scepter, adding also many words in commendation of the young man. As for himself, he had rather freely resign up the kingdom, with which he was but intrusted, willingly, which death, now near at hand, would deprive him of, that so his fidelity towards him nephews might appear to be rather of good will than of necessity. But such was the respect and love all did bear to Feritharis that they utterly disliked this over-hasty desire of the kingdom in Ferlegus, which they manifested not only by their countenances and frowns, but by the loud acclamations of the whole convention and assembly. And having discovered by spies the conspiracy against the uncle, tho they judged the author of so detestable a design to be worthy of death, yet the memory of this father Fergus, and the present favour and desires of his uncle, did so far prevail that they did not inflict on him for his designed wickedness; only they set keepers about him which should watch over and pry into all his words and actions. But he, being impatient not presently [immediately] to obtain what he hoped for in his mind, tho the delay would have proved but short, deceiving his keepers, with a few others privy to his design fled away, first to the Picts, and finding there no encouragement for his desired innovation, afterwards to the Brittons, where he lived an obscure, and consequently an ignoble life. But Feritharus, a few months after, was taken off, ’tis doubtful whether by disease or treachery. The former ambition of Ferlegus, the detection of his conspiracy, and his late flight raised such suspitions that he was guilty of his death that he was unanimously condemned in his absence, about the fifteenth year after his fathers death.


Ferlegus being condemned, Mainus his brother was created third King of the Scots, a man more like his father and uncle than his brother Ferlegus. He confirmed and setled peace with his neighbours abroad, punished the wicked and profligate at home, and constantly performed religious exercises, whereby he procured to himself such an opinion of justice and piety that as well foreigners as his own subjects thought it a nefarious thing to hurt such a person. He was better guarded by this opinion of his sanctuary than by his military forces. After he had reigned 29 years, he departed this life, being much lamented by all good men.


He left a son behind him called Dornadilla, the successor of his kingdom; in point of equity like his father, but very unlike him in the other parts of his life. For he spent much of his time in hunting, as judging that exercise to be proper enough in a time of peace and healthful, as also very beneficial to harden the body for war. And besides, the mind did suck in the purest pleasure therefrom, and was greatly strengthened thereby against covetousness, luxury and other vices which spring from idleness. Report says that the venatory [hunting] laws which the ancient Scots observe to this day were made by him. He deceased in the 28th year of his reign.


After his death, the people placed Nothatus his brother on the throne, his own son Reutherus being yet immature in point of age for the government. This Nothatus changed the government, which till then had been moderate and bounded with laws, into an arbitrary domination, and, as if his subjects had been given him to prey upon, not to defend, he punished high and low promiscuously with forfeiture of goods, banishment, death and all sorts of miseries, so that scarce any addition could be made to his cruelty. By these severities most of the people were cow’d out, only one Dovalus of Galway, an ambitious man, thinking it a seasonable opportunity for him to advance himself by reason of the peoples hatred against their King, and knowing also that his own life was insidiously aim’d at by the King, he resolves to prevent him. And accordingly, all things being in a readiness, and being accompanied with a great number of his vassals and friends, away goes he to the King and openly upbraids him with the slaughter of the Nobility, with the seizure of their goods and estates, and with his enslaving the commonality, and demands of him to restore the kingdom, which he was not able to manage, to the right heir. Nothatus, being thus bearded and affronted contrary to his expectation, yet remitted nothing of his former stoutness, but answered peremptorily that he would maintain what he had done by his kingly prerogative, and if he had carried it somewhat despotically, it was to be imputed not to his own disposition, but to the contumacy of the subject, who had enforced him thereto. These taunts increased the animosities between them, so that at last it came to blows and Nothatus was slain by Dovalus and his partisans, after he had reigned, cruelly and avariciously, twenty years.


Whereupon Reutherus was made King by the Dovalian faction, without the suffrages of the people. The Nobles hearing of it, though they judged Nothatus worthy of the worst of punishments, yet did not approve so bad an example, and they took it in greater disdain because a publick convention was not consulted, but the choice of the chief magistrate devolved on the pleasure and arbitrement of one man, besides that it was not to be thought an obliging act in him thus to advance the young man to the chief power, who was as yet unfit to rule. for such as look’d narrowly into the matter would find that only the name of King would be given to Reutherus, but the whole power would reside in Dovalus. However, it did not much concern the publick whether Nothatus or Dovalus were King, unless perhaps they did hope for a more tolerable life under him who, being a private man, durst adventure to murder his King, and so to deliver over the scepter to another private man, than under one who was not so extream or cruel in his government until, by the permission of the people, he was back’d with power and with the terrour of an army. The kindred of Nothatus, hearing such things to be bruited abroad, insinuating themselves into the societies of those who did regret such evil carriage, at last gain’d this point, that war should be denounced against Dovalus and that Ferchard, Nothatus his son in law, should be General of their army. Neither did Dovalus refuse to give battel. They fought twice in one and the same day. The Dovalians, though superior in number yet were beaten and put to flight, more of them being slain in the pursuit than in the battel. For besides Dovalus himself and the chief of his faction, there fell also Getus, the King of the Picts, with many of his men. Reutherus, the new King, was taken prisoner, and pardoned out of respect to his tender age, to the memory of his father, and to the royal blood which ran in his veins. Neither was the victory un-bloody even to the conquerors themselves, almost all the chief of the clans being slain, with many common souldiers also. This conflict of the Scots and Picts brought matters to that low ebb in Britain that they who survived fled into desert and mountainous places and even into the neighbour islands, lest they should become a prey to the Brittons, who having now gotten that opportunity which they long thirsted after, peirced into the country as far as Bodotria (now called Forth) without any resistance.
11. Afterwards, having made a little settlement of things there, they went forward against the Caledonians, and, having scattered those who were there gathered together to oppose them, they seized upon the champion [lowland] countries of the Picts and, placing garisons there, thinking the war to be at an end, they return’d home with their army. In the mean time, the remainders of the Scots and Picts which had retired to the mountains, woods and other inaccessible places, did vex the governors of castles and garisons by robbing them of their cattle, upon which they themselves also did live; and, being increased by the accession of greater forces from the islands, they sometimes burnt villages and fetcht in preys further off, so that the ground was left without tillage in many places. The Brittons, either being detained by home-bred dissensions, or not thinking it adviseable or safe to lead their army into such difficult and almost inaccessible places, where they could meet their enemies with no forces more numerous than they had to oppose them, did by their slow actings increase the boldness of their contrariants. The Scots and Picts being thus miserably afflicted for twelve years, at length a new fry [generation] of lusty, warlike youths grew up, who, in so great streights that they had undergone, were enured to hardship. Those sent messengers all about, and, mutually exhorting one another, they resolved to try their fortunes. Whereupon Reutherus sails out of Ireland into the Aebudae, and from thence into Albium, and landing his forces at the bay now called Lough Brien, and now joyning with the young Gethus, the son of old Gethus who was slain, who was also his wifes brother, they consulted together concerning the manage of the war. The issue of their consult was that it was best to draw towards the enemy unawares, whilst he was unprepared; assoon as they met, the service was so hot and the fight so sharp that neither army had reason to boast, so tht both of them, being wearied with slaughter, made peace for some years. Reutherus (or, as Bede calls him, Reuda) returned to his ancient seat of Argyle, and the Scots were, from him, called Dalredini; for daal in the old Scottish signifieth a part, as some, or a meadow or plain, as others. From whence he made a further progress, and in a short time enlarged his dominions even to their ancient bounds. After he had reigned twenty six years, he died, leaving a son behind him named Thereus, begot upon the daughter of Gethus.


Because Thereus was yet scarce ten years old, and so too young to undertake the kingdom according to the law long before made and observed concerning the succession of Kings, therefore his uncle Reutha was declared King; who, being free from external wars, endeavoured to reduce the people, who were grown almost wild by their former sufferings, and also insolent upon their late victory (though a bloody one), into a milder carriage and deportment, and accordingly he enacted many publick and profitable laws, of which not a few yet remain amongst the ancient Scots. Having reigned seventeen years with so good a decorum, being reverenced and beloved for want of health (to which he himself imputed it), or else, fearing the ambitious nature of his kinsman Thereus, he resigned up the government, the people being hardly brought to consent thereunto, and at his resignation there was a large panegyrick made in his praise.


Thereus was substituted in his stead. In the first six years of his reign he so managed the government that Reutha’s predictions concerning him seemed to be true. But after that time was expired, he ran headlong into all manner of vice, not by degrees, but all at once, insomuch that, putting the Nobles to death by false indictments, some lewd fellows thereupon did without fear range all over the kingdom, using rapines and robberies at the their pleasure. The phylarchae (i. e., chief of the clans), bewailing the deplorable state of the publick, determined to proceed judicially against him, which he having notice of, fled to the Brittons, where, despairing of his return, he ended his days in great contempt and ignominy. In the mean time, Conanus, a prudent and regular person, was elected Vice-roy. He restored and strengthened what the other had impaired and weakened; he restrained robberies, and having composed matters as well he could, he received news of the death of Thereus, whereupon in a publick assembly or convention of the Estates he abdicated the magistracy about the twelfth year after Thereus began his reign.


Josina, brother of the late King, was raised to the helm of government. He did nothing memorable one way or other, only he had physicians in very high esteem because, when he was banished with his father into Ireland, they had been his great intimates. Whereupon, the rest of the Nobility complying with the humour of the King, it came to pass that for many ages there was scarce a nobleman or gentleman of Scotland which had not the skill to cure wounds. For there was then little use of other parts of physick among such men, who were educated parsimoniously and enured to much labour and toil. He died in a good old age, having reigned four and twenty years.


His son Finnanus succeeded him, who, walking in his fathers steps, endeavoured nothing more than to accustom his subjects to a just and moderate government, labouring to maintain his kingly authority more by good will than arms. And that he might cut up the root of tyranny, he made a decree that Kings should determine or command nothing of great concernment without the authority of their Great Council. He was beloved both by his subjects and by foreigners. He deceased, having reigned thirty years.


Nothing did so much aggravate the loss of Finnanus as the profligate and deboist [debauched] life of his son Durstus, who succeeded him. For, first of all, he banished from his presence his fathers friends as troublesom abridgers of his pleasures. Then he made the corruptest youngsters his familiar and bosom friends, giving up himself wholly to wine and women. He drove away his wife, the daughter of the King of the Britains, who was prostituted to his nobles. At length, when he perceived that the Nobility were conspiring against him, as if he had been just then awakened out of a deep sleep, foreseeing that he was not safe at home and knew not where to find a secure place abroad if he were banished, in regard he was so hated both of his subjects and strangers too, he therefore thought it his best course to dissemble a repentance for his former evil life, by that means thinking he might retain the regal government, and in time be reveng’d of his enemies too. And thereupon, in the first place, he recalled his wife, and by that means endeavour’d to make fair weather with the Britains. He assembles the heads of his subjects, and under a solemn oath to do so no more, he enacts an amnesty for what was past. He commits notorious criminals to prison, as if he had reserved them for further punishment, and religiously promised that for the future he would act nothing without the counsel of his nobles. When by these arts he had made others believe that he was a true convert, he celebrates this reconciliation and concord with plays, feastings and other divertisements proper for publick rejoycings. Thus all mens minds being filled with jollity, he invites the Nobility to supper, and then, shutting them up in one place, being unarmed and fearing nothing, he sent in ruffians amongst them who destroy’d them every man. That calamity did not so much abate and quell the minds of the rest with fear as it raised and blew up their languishing anger into new flames. Wherefore, gathering a great army together, they all conspired to rid the earth of so foul a monster. Durstus, perceiving that all other hope failed him, resolved to try his fortune in a battel with a few others whom the like fear of punishment for the wickedness of their former lives had drawn in to joyn with him; in which fight he was slain, after he had reigned nine years. Although all orders and estates were justly incens’d against him, yet they gave so great deference to the name of King and to the memory of his ancestors that he was buried among his royal predecessors.


After his death, in a publick assembly of the Nobles there was a very great contest, some alledging that, according to their oath made to King Fergus, the ancient custom was to be observed; others fearing that if they made any one of the kindred of Durstus King, that either the similitude of manners would incline him to the same wickedness, or else the propinquity of blood would make him study revenge. At last Evenus, brothers-child to Durstus, being commended for his former life and for his extream hatred against the tyrant whilst he was alive, was sent for from amongst the Picts (whither he had voluntarily banished himself out of hatred to Durstus) and unanimously created King. He is reported to be the first who made his subjects to take an oath of allegiance to him, which custom is yet retained by the heads of the clans. Evenus, that he might rectifie the manners of his subjects, which were depraved by the former King, did first reduce [bring back] youth to the ancient parsimony in diet, apparel, and in their daily conversation. For by that means, he judged, they would be more valiant in war and less seditious in peace. He diligently viewed all the parts of his kingdom, administring justice with great moderation and punishing offenders according to their demerits. He assisted the King of the Picts with aid against the Brittons, betwixt whom there was fought a long and cruel battel till night parted them, the victory being so uncertain that both armies departed with equal slaughter and as equal fear. The Brittons went home, the Scots and Picts retired into the next adjacent mountains. But the day after, from the high grounds perceiving the departure or flight of their enemies, they came and gathered up the spoils as if they had been conquerors, and so return’d home with their army. Evenus, having repelled his enemies, again betook himself to the arts of peace. And that it might not be troublesom to Kings to travel over the countries so oft for the adminstring justice (which was then their custom to do), he divided the kingdom into circuits and setled ordinary judges to do that work. He also appointed informers to bring in accusations against the guilty. Which office, being found inconvenient, was either abrogated by a law or else grew obsolete by custom. He died in the nineteenth year of his reign, leaving a base-born son called Gillus behind him, a crafty man and desirous of the kingdom.


There were yet living of the blood royal as heirs to the crown to twins, Dochamus and Dorgallus, the sons of Dursus. Though their age was not the cause of the difference, yet there arose a deadly fewd between them concerning the kingdom, which was also further increased by the fraud of Gillus. The matter being referred to the arbitration of their kindred, such was the obstinacy of the factions that nothing could be determined. Gillus, who advis’d each of them to kill one another, when his secret counsel took no effect gathered together the chief of the Nobles and his kindred (on pretence to end the controversie) into one place, where he suborned men fit for his purpose to raise a tumult and destroy them both. And then, as if he himself had been assaulted by treachery, he implored the aid of all that were present and fled to Evonium, a place fortified by king Evenus. Having garison’d that fort with part of the Nobility and other flagitious persons, out of a high place in the castle he made a long oration to the people who in great multitudes were gathered about him, concerning the rashness and obstinacy of the two brothers. He declaimed also against those assassins who killed them, but at last he told them that he was left by Evenus the guardian or superior of the kingdom, as well of his domestick affairs, till a new King was chosen. When the people heard this, though they believed it to be false, yet when they saw him fortified in a strong garison, for fear of a greater mischief they instantly swore fealty to him and declared him King. he, though he had strengthened himself in the kingdom by the consent of the people (though unwillingly obtain’d), yet not thinking himself safe from the posterity of Durstus as long as any of them were alive, resolved to destroy his nephews. There remained alive of them Lismorus, Germathus and Ederus, the sons of Dochamus, son of Durstus. They were educated in the Isle of Man. Thither Gillus went on pretence to bring them home, and to the two elder he behaved himself with great reverence and respect and carried them with him into Albium, cunningly pretending that they, being of a royal stock, should be educated in his Court suitable to their princely quality. As for Ederus, the younger, he left souldiers on pretence of a guard to attend his person, to whom he gave command on a certain appointed day to kill him. But the disposition of Gillus being well known to all, the nurse, suspecting treachery to be hatching against the child, conveyed him secretly by night into the country of Argyle, and so she eluded Gillus, who sought in vain to find him out to destroy him; for she bred him up some years privately in a cave under ground.
19. Whereupon he, in fury, put the two elder brothers of Ederus, and also their guard to death. But it being publickly reported that Ederus himself was conveyed into Ireland, he made no further enquiry after him. And yet his cruelty rested not here, though he had slain the nephews of Durstus; For not judging himself sufficiently secure as long as any one of the royal progeny was left alive, he caused all those kin or alliance thereto to be also put to death. The Nobles, who were grieved at the present state of affairs, which was bad at present, and fearing that it would be worse, entred into a combination against him and carried the matter with so much secresie that a war was begun against Gillus before he had notice that any preparations were making towards it. But in levying an army against his contrariants he soon perceived how inconstant the fealty of man is towards wicked and flagitious princes. For there were very few that came in to him at his summons, and those that did were debauchees such as were afraid of peace in regard of the wickedness of their former lives. And therefore distrusting his forces, he left his army and in a fisher-boat was wafted over into Ireland. In the mean time, the scots, that they might not be without a legal government, made Cadvallus chief of those who conbined against Gillus their Vice-roy, to whom, upon a treaty, the forces of his enemies did submit, and were thereupon received into his protection. When Cadvallus understood that Gillus was about to renew the war, and in order thereto was raising as many deboist persons as he could, he resolved to prevent him before could gather together a just army, and so to pursue him whithersoever he fled. First he sailed in to the Aebudae or Hebrides; there he caused Ederus, the only branch of the family of Durstus yet alive, to be brought to him, and gave order for his liberal and royal education. When Gillus heard of his march, he retired again into Ireland. There he gathered the clans of that nation with great promises of reward, to endeavour his restitution to his kingdom; which if they could effect, then he would give them the Aebudae islands for their reward. By these promises he gathered together a great army. Cadvallus, having prepared all things for his transportation, was suddainly called back to clear himself from a false suspicion of affecting or aspiring to the kingly government.


In which case, the first thing he did was to take care that Evenus, an eminent person, the son of Dovallus, brother to king Finnanus, might by the suffrages of the people be created King. Who, having accepted the government, caused all places which were commodious for his enemies, and especially the maritime ones, to be filled with strong garisons so that his enemies might not make a suddain descent into his kingdom without opposition. Gillus, hearing of this, did also alter his resolution, and sailed to the isle Ila And there, having wasted the country far and near with fire and sword, he returned back into Ireland. Evenus sends a great army thither under the command of Cadvallus, that so he might exhaust the spring-head of the war. Neither did Gillus refuse to fight him, but being forsaken by his men, who followed him for booty rather than for love, he changed his apparel and with a small company fled into a neighbor wood. The rest of his army being thus deserted by their General, and their fellow soldiers too yielded to Cadvallus. After the battel was ended they sought a long time for Gillus, and at last found him in a blind cave, where he was slain, the third year after he began his reign, and his head was brought to Cadvallus. Matters being thus happily setled in Ireland by cadvallus, as he was returning home he met not with the same felicity. For being toss’d up and down with a grievous tempest, he lost the greatest part of his army and all the prey they had gotten, which strook him into such a dump that not long after he died of grief. The King indeed comforted him (but all in vain), and, praising his valour and success in the war, he cast all his miseries upon the crossness of fortune. The new King being lifted up with this success renewed a peace with the Picts, and in confirmation thereof he took to wife the daughter of Getus, the third King of the Picts. But the suddain arrival and landing of the Orkny-men in Albium quickly disturbed this publick joy. But the King falling suddainly upon them drove them out of the field to the mountains, and from thence to the sea, and they being in a fright and hurry whilst they crowded and hindred one another in endeavouring to ship themselves, they were all slain to a man. Belus their King, despairing to obtain quarter, slew himself. Evenus, having finished this war, returns to the work of peace and constitute two mart-towns for trade in convenient places, i. e. Ennerlochy and Ennerness, each of them receiving their name from rivers gliding by them. For enner among the ancient Scots signifies a place whither ships do usually resort. He subdued the inhabitants of the Aebudae, who by reason of their long wars were grown very licentious and quarrelsome. He reconciled their animosities and appeased their disturbances, and soon after died, having reigned seventeen years.


Ederus the son of Dechamus was made King in his place, who whilst he was reaping the sweet fruits of peace establish’d both at home and abroad, and giving himself to the sport of hunting (according to the ancient custom of the nation), had news suddenly brought him that one Bredius, an islander, of kin to the tyrant Gillus, was landed with a great navy of souldiers and plundered the country. He presently gathered together a tumultuary army against him, and marching as silently as he could in the night, he passed by the camp of his enemies and set upon their ships in the road, which by this suddain surprize he easily mastred and, killing the guard, he burnt the navy. In the morning he led his army against the camp, which he easily took, finding the souldiers negligent and in no order at all. Many were slain on the spot, whilst they delay’d either to fight or fly. The rest, having their flight by sea prevented by the burning of the ships, were there taken and hanged. The prey was restored to the owners that claimed them. A few years after, another of the kindred of Gillus, and out of the same island too, raised the like commotion, which had the same event and success. For his army was overthrown, his fleet burnt, their prey recovered back and restored to the right owners. Thus having settled a firm peace, being very old, he fell sick and died in the forty eight year of his reign.


Evenus the Third succeeded him, a son unworthy of so good a father. For, not being contented with an hundred concubines of the noblest families, he published his filthiness and shame to the world by established laws. For he enacted that every man might marry as many wives as he was able to maintain. And also that before the marriage of noble virgins the King should have one nights lodging with them, and the Nobles the like before the marriage of plebeians. That the wives of plebeians should be common to the Nobility. Luxury, cruelty and covetousness did (as they ordinarily do) attend and follow this his flagitious wickedness. For his incomes and revenues not answering his expence, upon causes the wealthier sort were put to death and the King going snips [in collusion] with the robbers, by that means thieves were never punished. And thus the favour which he had obtain’d from corrupt youth by reason of his permission of promiscuous lust, he lost by his cruelty and rapaciousness. For, a conspiracy of the Nobles being made against him, he soon perceived that the friendship and seeming union of wicked men is not to be relied upon. For assoon as they came to fight he was deserted by his souldiers, and fell alive into his enemies hands, by whom he was cast into the common jail. Cadellanus, who succeeded him, demanding what punishment he should have, he was condemned to perpetual imprisonment. But there one or other of his enemies, either out of some old grudge for injuries received from him, or else hoping for favour, or at least impunity, for the murder of the King, strangled him by night in the prison, when he had reigned seven years. The murderer was hanged for his labour.


Metellanus, kinsman to Ederus, succeeded him in the throne, a prince no less dear to all for his excellent virtues than Evenus was hated by them for his flagitious vices. He was mightily priz’d and esteem’s for this, that during his reign there was peace both at home and abroad. But it was some allay to his happiness that he could not abrogate the filthy laws of Evenus, being hindred by his nobility, who were too much addicted to luxury. He deceased in the thirtieth year of his reign.


Metellanus dying without issue, the kingdom was conferred on Caratacus, son of Cadallanus, a young man of the royal blood. Assoon as he entred upon the kingdom, he quieted the people of the Aebudae islands (who had raised commotions upon the death of their last King), but not without great trouble. Yet here I cannot easily beleive what our writers, following Orosius, Eutropius and Bede, do say, viz., that the Orcades were subdued by Claudius Caesar in his reign. Not that I think it a very hard thing for him to attempt, one by one, a few islands scatter’d up and down in the stormy sea, and having but a few, and those too unarmed, inhabitants to defend them, and seeing they could not mutually help another, to take them all in; nor that I think it incredible that a navy might be sent by Claudius on that expedition, he being a man that fought for war and victory all the world over, but because Tacitus affirms that before the coming of Julius Agricola into Britain that part thereof was utterly unknown to the Romans. Caratacus reigned twenty years.


Corbredus his brother succeeded him. He also subdued the islanders in many expeditions, a people that almost in every inter-regnum did affect innovation and raise up new tumults. He also quite suppress’d the banditti which most infested the commonalty. Having settled peace, he return’d to Albium, and making his progress over all Scotland, he repaired the places injured by war, and departed this life in the eighteenth year of his reign.


The convention of Estates set up Dardannus, the nephew of Metallanus, in his stead, passing by the son of Corbredus because of his young and tender years. No man before him entred upon the government of whom greater expectations were conceived, and no man did more egregiously deceive the peoples hopes. Before he undertook the chief magistracy, he gave great proof of his liberality, temperance and fortitude, so that in the beginning of his reign he was an indifferent good and tolerable King. But he had scarce sat three years on the throne before he ran head-long into all sorts of wickedness. The sober and prudent counsellors of his father he banish’d from his court because they were against his lewd practices. Only flatters and such as could invent new pleasures were his bosom friends. He caused Cardorus his own kinsman to be put to death, because he reproved him for his extravagance in lawless pleasures; and yet he had been Lord Chief Justice and Chancellor too under the former King. And a while after many other persons, as they did excel in virtue or in wealth, were circumvented by him by one wile or another, and so unjustly brought to their ends. At last, to free himself from the fears of a successor he took up a resolution to destroy Corbredus Galdus his kinsman with his brothers, who were royally educated in hope of the kingdom. The charge of this assassination to committed to Cormoracus, one of his privado’s [private henchmen]. He being laden with many gifts, but more promises, was sent away to perpetrate the villainy. But attempting it with less caution than such a butchery required, he was taken in the very fact [deed] by some of Galdus his train, with a naked fauchion [drawn dagger] in his hand. Being arraigned and put to the torture, he confessed the author and the designed order of the whole conspiracy, and so was executed immediately. When this wicked plot was divulged abroad, there was a general combination of almost all sorts of people against the King, insomuch that, having slain <as> many of those who were panders to his lust as they could be found, at last they endeavoured to make their way to the King himself, the source and fountain of their mischief. In the mean time Comanus, one of the Kings parasites, a man meanly descended but highly respected and trusted by his master, levied some troops and had the confidence to send them forth against the Nobles, but, being forsaken of his men, he was taken and hang’d. The Commons, having now got Galdus for their General, found out Dardanus, who was privately lurking to secure himself. while they were apprehending of him he endeavour’d to lay violent hands on himself, but being prevented, he was brought to Galdus and immediately put to death. His head was carried up and down in mockery and his body thrown into a jakes, after he had reigned four years.


Corbred the second, sirnamed Galdus, succeeded him, a prince equally dear to Lords and Commons, both upon the account and early proof of his own personal virtue and promising ingenuity, as for the memory of his worthy father. Some imagin that he was that Galgacus who is mentioned by Tacitus, and that he was sirnamed Galdus by the scots because he had been educated amongst the Britains. For the Scots, according to their ancient custom, call all strangers galds or galls, as the Germans call them wals, as I have shewed largely before. After he had undertook the government, he increased the great hopes which had been pre-conceived of him. For making an expedition into the islands of Sky and Lewis, he quelled the seditions lately raised there, and suffered to come to a head by the negligence of Dardanus, and that with a due and prudent mixture of mercy and severity. He slew the captains of those bandits and enforced the rest, for fear of punishment, either voluntarily to banish themselves, or else to return to their former rural employments. He, as I believe, was the first of the Scotish Kings that ever advanced his ensigns against the Romans, who had by little and little propagated their Empire even to the very borders. For Petilius Cerealis first broke the forces of the Brigantes, and his successor Julius Frontinus conquered the Silures. ’Tis very probable that the Scots and Picts sent aid to those nations, who were situate not far from their borders. Julius Agricola succeeded the former Generals, who having overcome the Ordovices and reduced the island Man, when he was come to the narrowest part of Britain, thinking that it was not so far to the end of the island, he was encouraged to the conquest of it all. And therefore in the third year of his generalship he overcame and plundered the neighboring countries of the Scots and Picts until he came to the River Tay. And tho his army was much distressed by tempest, yet he had time to build forts in all places convenient for defence, by which means he defeated the designs of his enemies, and withal brake their force. For before, the adverse party, being men inured to hardship, what they lost in the summer would many times recover in winter when the Roman legions were dispersed into winter quarters. And sometimes they would assault and take their enemies castles and garisons, not being sufficiently fortified. But at that time, by the cunningness of Agricola in building his forts and by his skill in making them defensible, and withal by relieving them with his forces every year, their arts were deluded. In the fourth year of his government, perceiving that the Firths of Forth and of Clyd were severed but by a small tract of land, having fortified that place with garisons he spoiled the countries bending to the Irish Sea. In his fifth year he sent a fleet to sea and made descents in many places, and plundered the maritime coasts, fortifying those that looked towards Ireland with garisons, not only for that present occasion but also that he might from thence more easily transport an army to that country.
28. By this prudence of Agricola, the Scots and Picts, being shut up in a narrow angle and secluded from any commerce with the Britains, prepared themselves for the last shock and rancounter. [encounter]. Neither was Agricola less careful, but commanding his navy to fetch a compass about [to sail about Britain] to discover the utmost parts of the island, he led his army beyond the forth and drew towards the Caledonians. There their enemies, being ready (as in a desperate case) to run their last hazard, assaulted some of the Romans, as fearing neither the number of their enemies or their obstinacy, by reason of their desperation, gave their advice to retreat with their army into a place of greater safety. But their General, being resolved to fight, when he was informed that the enemy approached him in three distinct brigades, he also drew towards them having divided his army into three squadrons also, which project was almost his total ruin. For his enemies, understanding his design, did with their whole army assault one of his legions by night, and having killed the sentinels, had almost taken his whole camp. But being prevented by the coming in of other legions, after they had fought desperately till day light, at length, being put to flight, they returned into the mountains and woods. Those things were acted about the eighth year of his expeditions. Both parties prepare themselves as for their last encounter, against the next spring, the Romans, judging that the victory would put an end to the war, and their enemies looking upon their all to be at stake, and that they were about to fight for their liberty, lives, and for whatsoever is to be accounted dear and sacred amongst men. Hereupon, judging that in former battels they were overcome by stratagem rather than by valour, they betook themselves to the higher grounds, and at the foot of Mount Grampius waited for the coming of the Romans. There a bloody fight was begun betwixt them. The victory was a great while hovering and uncertain. At last, all the valiant men of the Caledonians being slain, the rest, having their courage cooled, were forced to retreat to their fastnesses. After this battel there was no doubt at all but that Agricola would have subdued all Britain by the force of his conquering arms, if he had not been called home by Domitian, not for the honour of his victories, as was pretended, but for his destruction and death. After his departure sedition arose in the Roman camp and the Scots and Picts, being glad of the occasion and somewhat encouraged thereby, began to creep out of their lurking places; and perceiving that the Romans had not a General nor the same camp-discipline as before, they sent envoys up and down to try the inclination, not only of their own country-men, but of the Brittons also. Thus in the first place being imboldned by some small successful skirmishes, they began to take heart and to assault garisons, and at last with a formed army they resolved to venture the hazard of a pitched field. By this means the Romans were expelled out of the territories and were forced, with doubtful success, to contend with the Britains for their ancient province. Galdus, having obtained respite from war, made his progress all over the several countries of the land and resetled the old owners in their habitations, which had been almost destroyed by the war. As for the places which were wholly void, he sent his soldiers to inhabit them. And having restrained the frequent robberies which were wont to be committed, he composed the differences which began to arise betwixt him and the Picts. At length, in great glory and endearment both with friends and foes, he deceased in the 35th
year of his reign.


So good a father was succeeded by Luctacus, as bad a son, who, despising the counsel of his Nobles, gave up himself wholly to drinking and whoring. No nearness of alliance, no reverence of the laws, no respect of nobility, or of the conjugal relation, did restrain him from his vile lewdness with those women which he had a mind to. Moreover, he was inhumanly cruel and also unsatiably covetous. The soldiers and youthful fry, which is still more inclinable to the worse, did easily degenerate into the manners of their King. So that, at last, when he had defiled all with whoredom, rapines and slaughters, and no man durst oppose his exorbitant power, an assembly of the States being called together and speaking freely concerning the state of the kingdom, he commanded the Nobles, as seditious persons, to be led out to execution, but by the concourse of the intervening multitude both he and also the loathed ministers of his lust and lewdness were slain, when he had scarce finished the third year of his reign. For the honour had to his father, his body was allowed to be buried amongst the sepulchres of his ancestors, but the bodies of his associates were cast out as unworthy of any burial at all.


After him Mogaldus was elected King, the nephew of Galdus by his daughter. In the beginning of his reign he equalled the best of Kings, but, growing older, he was tainted with vices and easily degenerated into the manners of his uncle. When he first entered on the government, that he might with greater facility cure the vitious practices committed by the former King, which did even contaminate the publick manners, he made peace with his neighbors; he restored the ancient ceremonies in religion, which had been carelessly neglected; he banished all pimps of lust and debauchery from court; and acted all things by the advice of the Estates according to the ancient custom. by which deportment he procured to himself love at home and reverence abroad. Having setled matters at home, he turned his mind to warlike affairs and drove out the Romans from the borders of his kingdom, and by his auxiliaries assisted the Picts against the injuries of the Romans. Yea, in some prosperous battels he so weakened the Roman power amongst the Britains that they also were erected to some hopes of recovering their liberty, and thereupon took up arms in many places. And their hopes were encreased because the Emperor Adrian had called back Severus, a fierce and skilful warrior, out of Britanny into Syria to quell the seditions of the Jews, so that Adrian himself, the tumults more and more increasing, was inforced to pass over from Gallia into Britain. But he, being a greater lover of peace than war, desired rather to maintain the bounds of his Empire than to enlarge them. Whereupon when he came to York and found the country beyond it to be harassed by the war, he resolved to take a particular view of the devastation, and so marched his army to the River Tine, where being informed by the old soldiers who had followed Agricola almost to the utmost bounds of Britanny that there would be more pains than profit in conquering the rest of the island, he built a wall and trench for the space of eighty miles between the Firths of the Rivers Tine and Esk, and so excluded the Scots and Picts from their provincials, and having setled the state of the province, he returned back from whence he came. Here I cannot but take notice that, seeing there yet remain divers marks of this wall in many places, it is a wonder to me that Bede did wholly omit to mention it, especially since Aelianus Spartianus hath taken notice of it in the Life of Adrian, and also Herodian in the Life of Severus. I cannot persuade my self that Bede could be so mistaken to think, as many yet do, that that wall was not made by Adrian but by Severus. This by the by.
31. Hereupon the Roman province was quieted, the excursions of their neighbors were prevented, and peace was observed between them for a great while. The Britains did easily embrace it, and the Scots and Picts had thereby opportunity to divide the neighboring lands as a prey amongst themselves. But that peace, besides the prejudice it did to the body by weakening its vigor through sloth and idleness, did also enervate the mind by the baits of pleasure which then began to tickle it. For hereby Mogaldus, till then unconquered in war, forgetting the glory of his ancestors, ran headlong into all kind of vice, and beside other pernicious and foul miscarriages prejudicial to the publick, he made a most unjust law that the states [estates] of such as were condemned should be forfeited to the exchequer, no part thereof being allotted to their wives or children. This law is yet observed and pleaded for by the officers of the King’s revenue, who are willing to gratifie his lust, though they then did, and yet do know, that it is an unjust and inhuman institution. Mogaldus having thus made himself obnoxious and hateful to the Nobles and Commons too, being unable to resist their combinations, with one or two of his companions sought to run from their fury, but before he could execute his project he was taken and slain, after he had reigned 36 years. This was done about the sixth year of the reign of the Emperor Antoninus Pius.


Conatus his son succeeded him, who, from an ill beginning, ended his wicked reign with as unhappy a conclusion. For he was not only conscious and privy to, but also a partner in, the conspiracy against his father. But to cover his faults in the beginning of his reign a war did fall out very opportunely for him. For the Britains, having passed Adrian’s Wall, took away great store of men and cattle. Whereupon Conatus by the advice of his council joyning his army with the Picts, they passed over Adrian’s Wall in many places and made a great havock in the Britains country; and at last, encountring their enemy, a great and bloody battel was fought betwixt them, the Romans and Britains. The slaughter was almost equal on both sides, which occasioned peace between them till the next year. Yet the Romans, because they were not conquerors, looked upon themselves as in a manner conquered. Whereupon, their own forces being much lessened and Adrian putting no great confidence in the Britains, who he saw to conceive some hopes of liberty upon his misfortunes, he sent for aid from Antoninus Pius, laying the blame of the violation of the peace upon the Scots and Picts, and the loss and slaughter of his men upon the Britains. Lollius Urbicus was sent over Lieutenant-General by the Emperor, who overcame his enemy in a bloody battel and drove them beyond the Wall of Adrian, which he again repaired. Afterwards there was a cessation of arms for many years, as if a silent truce had been made. For the Romans had work enough to keep the enemy from ravaging and plundering, and for that end their camp was pitched on the Borders. And Conatus, who loved nothing in war but the licentiousness obteinied thereby, made haste to return home that he might imploy that vacancy wholly to immerge [immerse] himself in pleasures. Whereupon those vices, which he had before concealed on design to gain the love of others, began now to appear bare-faced. And when by this dissimulating art he judged the kingdom sure to him, what his ancestors had gotten by great pains and labour he did as profusely spend on his own lusts and pleasures, insomuch that in a very short time he was reduced to great want, so that, convening an assembly of the Estates, he made a long and plausible oration of the grandeur and magnificence which was necessary for Kings, and complained of the lowness of his exchequer, thus covering his vices under the cleanly names of gallantry and magnificence. And he was also an earnest suitor that a valuation of every mans estate should be made, and a proportionable tax imposed on each individual. This speech was unacceptable to all that heard it, whose answer was that the matter was of more moment than to be determined on a sudden.
33. Whereupon the Estates, having obtained a short time for consultation, upon asking every particular mans opinion they soon found that this new device of demanding such a vast sum of money did not proceed from the Nobles, but from some Court-parasites. Whereupon they voted that the King should be kept prisoner as unfit to reign, until upon his abjuration of the government they did substitute another. When they met the next day, he who was first demanded to give his vote made a sharp speech and invective against the life of the former King, saying that bawds, parasites, minstrels, and troops of harlots were not fit instruments for Kings and kingdoms, as being useless in war and troublesome in peace; besides, they were costly and full of infamy and disgrace. He added the complaint was false that the King’s revenue and incom were not sufficient for his expense: for a great many of their former Kings, who were famous warriors and formidable to their enemies, had loved nobly and splendidly upon it in time of peace, But if any prince be of opinion that the publick revenue was too short, then, said he, let a supplement be made, not out of the subjects purse, but out of his own domestick parsimony. He further added that the measure of expence was not to be taken from the lust and exorbitant desires of men, which were infinite, but from the ability of the people and the real necessities of nature. And therefore it was his opinion that those villains upon whom the publick patrimony was conferred, and for whose sake the King had undone so many worthy persons of good rank and quality by despoiling them of their estates and putting them to death, should be compelled to refund that to the lawful owners which by their flatteries they had unjustly robbed them of; and also that they should be further punished to boot. In the mean time, he advised that the King should be kept a prisoner till they could substitute another that would not only inure himself to thrift, but also teach others by his example to live hardly and parsimoniously as his forefathers had done, that so the strict discipline received from our ancestors might be transmitted to posterity. This whole speech was sharp enough of it self, so it seemed more cutting those who had velvet ears and were unaccustomed to hear such free and bold discourses before. Neither did the King endeavour to allay the heats of his people by fair and gentle words, but rather by fierce and minatory expressions, which did more vehemently inflame and provoke them, so that, amidst these quarellings and altercations, a tumult arising, some that were next the King laid hands on him and thrust him with some few others into a cave under-ground. those courtiers who had been the authors of such wicked counsels were presently put to death, and lest any tumult of the mobile [the mob] should arise upon this dissolution of the bonds of government, one Argadus, a nobleman, was made Vice-roy till the people could conveniently meet to set up a new King. He, though in the beginning of his administration he setled all things with great equity, and thereby had procured much commendation by his moderate deportment, yet, his mind being corrupted by prosperity, he soon lost all the credit of his former praise-worthy life. For he cherished home-bred seditions and strengthened his authority by external aid, having such great familiarity with the chief of the Picts that he took a wife from amongst them and gave his daughters to them in marriage, by which practice it soon appeared that he aspired to the crown. These things being laid to his charge in a publick assembly wherein he was much blamed for his so sudden degeneration and apostacy, he was altogether ashamed, and, knowing them to be true, he brake forth into tears; and as soon as his weeping gave him liberty to speak, being unable to purge himself from the objected crimes, he craved mercy and humbly deprecated the punishment of his offences.
34. “Which,” said he, “if I can obtain, I will recompense and make amends for my errors in government by my future care, industry and valour.” These things he humbly supplicated upon his knees, so that the anger of the Nobles being now turned into pity, they lifted him up from the ground and ordered him to continue in the government, remitting his own punishment to himself. As for them, they were well enough satisfied if he did now truly and heartily repent of what he had done amiss heretofore. From that day forward, Argadus assembled the wisest men of the whole kingdom about him and acted nothing but by their advice; yea, during the remainder of his magistracy he enacted many laws for the good of the publick, of which this was the chief, that he restrained the arbitrariness of provincial judges, and forbad them to give sentence against all offenders alike, but to have respect to alleviating circumstances, where any such were. He either restrained or put to death flagitious persons, and amended the publick manners, which had been corrupted by a long course of licentiousness, not only by inflicting legal punishments on transgressors of the laws, but by affording them the leading example of his own regular life. Whilst these things were acting, Conatus, partly afflicted with grief, and partly worn out by diseases, ended his filthy and ignominious life in prison, in the fourteenth year of his reign.


Ethodius was set up in his stead, Mogaldus’ sisters son. He immediately convened the Estates, and thereupon highly extolled Argadus, and after he had bestowed on him great honours and large rewards, he made him plenipotentiary under him for the administration of the government; when he had made his progress to view all the counties and parts of his dominions according to custom, he sailed over to the Aebudae islands. Argadus was sent by him to quell the disturbers of the publick peace; who soon suppressed them and brought them prisoners to the King. These combustions thus appeased, he returned into Albium, but the islanders, being freed by his absence from their present fear, and further being persuaded by false reports spread abroad that he was engaged in a foreign war, and, besides, being provoked rather than suppressed by the punishment of their associats, began to raise new tumults. Argadus was again sent to suppress them, but they, being assisted both by the Picts and Irish, gave him battel without any delay, in which fight Argadus himself, being circumvented by treachery, was slain. That blow made the King lay aside all other business, and to march thither himself, where he so wasted them with some light occasional skirmishes and by his frequent alarms and inroads upon them that, being inferior to him in force, they retired into a valley encompassed on all sides with craggy rocks, having only one passage leading into it, that so the convenience of the place, as they thought, might somewhat contribute to their safety. Ethodius, perceiving the disadvantage of the place for his enemy, disposed his guards in fit avenues, and also made a wall and a graft [ditch] at the mouth of the passage, by which means they were brought to that extreme penury of all things that they were forced to yield up themselves to the King at discretion. They were willing to accept any conditions, but the King gave them only these, that two hundred of them, such as the King should cull out, with their General, should be surrendered up to him; the rest should every man return to his own home. The punishment of those who were thus given up, being presently inflicted on them, had almost raised up a new sedition. For the common soldiers were so enraged at so terrible a spectacle that, for want of arms, they threw stones at the King’s officers. Neither was their tumultuous fury allayed without much bloodshed. Thus Ethodius, having setled peace every where, in order to the administration of justice, made his progress over all his kingdom, much delighting himself in hunting by the way, so that he made many venary [hunting] laws, of which a great part are observed to this very day. He had an Irish musician or harper lying all night in his bed chamber (according to the custom of the Scotish Nobility), by whom he was slain in the night, in revenge of a kinsman of his whom, he said, the King had put to death. When he was led forth to execution, he was so unconcerned at his torture that he seemed to be very glad, as if he had done but his duty, and acted his part with applause.


Ethodius being thus slain when he had reigned three and thirty years, and his son being not of age fit to govern, his brother Satrael was elected King. This man, being of a naughty yet cunning disposition, endeavoured to establish the kingdom in his own family, and so to destroy the sons of Ethodius. In order whereunto those Nobles who were most dear to Ethodius were by calumnies purposely devised suppressed and slain by him. Afterwards, because the Commons did much regret the slaughter of their Nobles, he began to oppress them also. Which matter in a little time did so increase the hated conceived against him, and so diminish his authority, that tumults and seditions did thereupon arise. He durst not go forth to suppress them, because he knew he lay under a publick odium, so that he was sculkingly slain at home by his own men in the night, when he had reigned four years.


Donaldus, another brother of Ethodius, was set up in his room, who equalled, yea exceeded, the vices of Satrael by as great and as many contrary virtues. His clemency joyned with his love of equity did much enhaunce the price of his other excellencies. He, by the terrour and weight of his authority, and also by present punishments inflicted, quelled all intestine commotions, and rightly conceiving that the souldiery, who were before wanton and idle and spoiled by luxury, might be made more ready to resist an enemy, he caused a muster to be made of them, and so accustomed to training and exercising their arms and military discipline, that in a short time the new-listed tyroe’s did equal the valour of the veterans and old souldiers. The peace which he had abroad did much forward his design. For the Roman legions, some years before, made a mutiny in Britanny as desiring any other General rather than Commodus, and especially Aelius Pertinax, who was sent to suppress them; so that, leaving the Scots and Picts, they turned the whole stress of the war upon themselves. It was also a further advantage to him, in order to a peace, that Donaldus had first of all the Scotish Kings, embraced the Christian religion; yet neither he nor some other of the succeeding Kings, though a great part of the Nobility did favour the design, could wholly extirpate the old heathenish rites and ceremonies. But the expedition of Severus the Emperor, falling out in his time, did mightily disturb all his measures both publick and private. For Severus, being very skilful in military affairs, brought so many forces into Britain, in hopes to conquer the whole island, as never any Roman General had done before him. There were also other causes for this expedition of his, as the corrupt life of his sons by reason of the vices reigning in Rome and the effeminacy of his army, occasioned by sloath and lying still. To remedy these mischiefs, he thought it best to put them upon action.
38. Upon his arrival, the private tumults which were about to break forth were suppressed, and the Scots and Picts, leaving the counties near the enemy, retreated to places of greater safety and more difficult access. Severus, that he might once for all put an end to the British wars, led his army through all the waste places deserted by their inhabitants, against the Caledonians. Though his enemy did not dare to give him battel in the field, he was much incommoded by the coldness of the country, and underwent a great deal of trouble to cut down woods, to level hills, and to throw up vast heaps of earth into the marish grounds, and also to erect bridges over rivers to make a passage for his army. In the mean time, the enemy, despairing of success if they should fight so great a multitude in a pitch’d battel, did here and there leave herds of their cattle on purpose as a prey to them, that so they might stop the Romans, who in hopes of such booties were inticed to stray far from their camp. And indeed the Romans, besides those that being thus dispersed were taken in the ambushes laid for them, were also much prejudiced by continual rains, and, being wearied with long marches and so not able to follow, were in many places slain by their own fellows that so they might fall alive into the hands of their enemies. Yet notwithstanding, though they had lost 50000 of their souldiers (as Dion writes), they did not desist from their enterprize till they had pierced even to the end and extream bounds of the island. As for Severus himself, though he was sick during this whole expedition, and thereupon was fain to be carried in a covered horse-litter, yet by his incredible obstinacy and perseverance he made his enemies to accept of conditions of peace and to yield up to him no small part of their country. He built a wall as a mound to the Roman Empire between the Firths of Forth and Clyd, where Agricola before him had also determined to bound their province. That wall, where it toucheth the the River Carron, had a garison thereon, so situate, and the ways and passage so laid out, that it was like a small city, which some of country-men, though mistaken, do think to be Malden. But it is more probable that this was the city which Bede calls Guidi. A few years before the writing hereof, some footsteps of trenches, walls and streets did appear, neither yet are all of the walls so demolished but that they discover themselves visibly in many places, and when the earth is a little digg’d up, square stones are quarried out which the owners of the neighbouring countries use in building their houses. Yea, sometimes stones with inscriptions on them are found which shew that it was a Roman pile of building. Those words of Aelius Spartianus do shew the grandeur of this structure. “He strengthened Britain (says he) with a wall drawn crossways or thwart the island from sea to sea, which is the greatest ornament of his Empire.” By which words he seems to intimate that it was not a trench, as Bede would have it, but a wall, especially since he gives such a commendation to a work which is shorter by half than Adrian’s wall.
39. Yea, this fortification, where it is least distant, yet is eighty miles off from the Wall of Adrian. There are also other indications of that peace, if I mistake not. For a little below that garison of which I have spoken there is a round edifice on the opposite side of the River Carron made of square stones heaped on one another without lime or mortar. ’Tis no bigger than a small pidgeon-house. The top of it is open, but the other parts are whole save for the upper lintel of the door, where in the of the builder and work is thought to have been ascribed, was taken away by Edward the First, King of England, who did also invidiously deface all the rest of the old Scotish monuments as much as ever he could. Some think, and have written accordingly, that that structure was the temple of Claudius Caesar. But my conjecture is rather that it was the temple of the heathen god Terminus. There were also on the left bank of the same river two hillocks or barrows of earth, raised (as it sufficiently appears) by the hands of men. A great part of the lesser one, which inclines more to the west, is swept away by the washing and overflowings of the river. The neighbouring inhabitants call them yet Duni Pacis. So that peace being again procured by this division of the island, all matters being in a sort accommodate, Donaldus departed this life, having reigned one and twenty years.


Ethodius the Second, son of the former Ethodius, was substituted in his room, a man almost stupid. This is certain, he was of a more languid and soft disposition than was fit to have the government of such a fierce and warlike people conferred upon him. Which being taken notice of, the Nobles in a convention bore that reverence to the progeny of King Ferhus that they left the name of King to Ethodius, as sloathful as he was, but yet not guilty of any notorious wickedness, but set deputies over all the provinces to administer justice therein, whose moderation and equity did so regulate matters that Scotland was never in a quieter state. for they did not only punish offenders, but also made the immoderate covetousness of the King to be no burden to the people. This King in the twenty first year of his reign was slain in a tumult of his own officers.


Athirco his son, manifesting greater ingenuity than is usually found in such a youthful age, was therefore made King. For by his manly exercises in riding, throwing the dart, and vying with his young courtiers in feats of arms, as also by his bounty and courteous demeanor, he won to himself the love of all. But his vices increasing with his age, by his profound avarice, peevishness, luxury and sloath he so alienated the minds of good men from him that the more the sons were delighted with his nefarious practices, the more their fathers were offended thereat. At last, a conspiracy of the Nobles was formed against him, occasioned by one Nathalocus, a Nobleman, whose daughters first being deflowred by him, and then ignominiously beaten with rods, he prostituted to the lust of those ruffians that were about him. He endeavoured to defend himself against them, but perceiving he had not force enough to do so, being also forsaken by his domesticks, who detested his lewd practices, he laid violent hands on himself, in the twelfth year of his reign. After his death Dorus, either because he was his brother, or else had been a pander to his lust, fearing lest the nobles, in the heat of their provocation, should exercise their rage upon all the Kings lineage, saved himself by flight with his brothers three small children, Findecus, Carantius and Donaldus. Neither was he mistaken in his opinion, for Nathalocus, who had received so signal an injury, not contented with Dorus his exile, suborned emissaries to kill him and his brothers children too; who, coming to the Picts (for the royal youths had chosen the place of their banishment among them) and lighting upon one very like Dorus in stature and physiognomy, they slew him instead of Dorus himself.


Natholacus, thinking that he had slain him who stood most in his way, was the first of all the Scots that ambitiously sought for the kingdom. ’Tis true a great part of the Nobility were against him, yet by means of those whom he had corrupted by promises and bribes he carried the point, and was made King. Neither did he manage the kingdom any better than he got it. For suspecting the Nobility, which in the Parliaments of the kingdom he had found to be averse to him, he governed all by the ministry of plebeians, whom audaciousness and penury (he knew) would easily incline to any wickedness. Besides those suspicions I have mentioned, he was encountred with a far more grievous one. For, intercepting letters directed to some of the chief Nobles, he understood by them that Dorus and the children of Athirco were yet alive and were brought up amongst the Picts in hopes of the kingdom. To avoid this danger, he sent for those Nobles whom he most suspected to come to him, pretending he had need of their advice in the publick affairs of the kingdom. When they were assembled, he shut them all up in prison, and the very next night caused them all to be strangled. But that which he hoped would be a remedy to his fears was but as a firebrand to raise up another conspiracy. For the friends of those who were slain, being afraid of themselves as well as grieving for the loss of their relations and kindred, unanimously take up arms against him. Whilst he was raising an army to oppose them, he was slain by one of his own domesticks, about the twelfth year of his reign. Some of our country-men do add a tale in the case, which is more handsomly contrived than likely to be true, that the very man who slew the King had been before sent by him to southsayers to enquire concerning the King, his victories, his life and kingdom; and that an old wizard should answer him, that the King should not live long, but his danger would arise, not from his enemies, but from his domesticks. And when he pressed the woman, from which of them, she replyed “Even from thy self, man.” Whereupon he cursed the woman. Yet returning home in a great quandary, he thought with himself that the womans answer could not be concealed, and yet it was not safe for him to declare it lest he should render himself suspected to the King, who was a depraved person and guided wholly by his own fears. And therefore it seemed to him the safest course to kill the tyrant with the favour of many than to preserve him alive with the extreme hazard of his own life. Presently after he returned home, having obtained liberty of private access to declare the secret answer of the oracle or conjurer, he slew the King, now entring upon the twelfth year of his reign, and so freed his country from bondage, and himself from danger.


When the last King’s death was publickly known, the sons of Athirco were recalled home. Findochus, besides his being of the royal family, was also endued with many blandishments of nature, being very beautiful, tall of stature, in the flower of his age; and besides, being rendred yet more acceptable for the afflictions he had suffered, he was chosen King. Neither did he deceive mens expectations. For in his ordinary deportment he was very courteous; in administering of justice, equal and impartial; and a conscientious performer of all his promises. But Donaldus the islander, being weary of peace, sailed over with a numerous army into Albium, and, making havock of the villages where he came, returned home with a great booty. HIs pretension for the war was the revenge of the death of King Natholacus. Findochus speedily listed [enlisted] an army against him, and, transporting them into the island, he overthrew Donaldus in battel and forced him to fly for refuge to his ships. Many were slain in the fight, and many were drowned whilst they endeavoured in an hurry to get a shipboard. Donaldus himself was taken into a boat, endeavouring to escape; the boat sunk by reason of the multitude of those who overladed it, and so he was drowned. Notwithstanding, the islanders, not disheartned with this, after the departure of the King sent for forces out of Ireland and renewed the war, making Donaldus his son their General in the room of his father; under whom they again made a descent into the continent and drove away much booty. Whereupon Findochus again wafted over his forces into the Aebudae isles, and, marching over all the islands, executed severe punishment on the plunderers; and, overthrowing the forts into which they were wont to fly, he made such a slaughter of the men and carried away so much prey that he left many of the islands almost desolate. Upon Findochus his return, Donaldus, who had fled for safety into Ireland, returned from thence and, endeavouring to recruit his armies, he found his forces so weakened that he left off the thoughts of managing an open war and resolved to betake himself to guile and stratagem. And in prosecution of that design, not daring to trust the King, tho he had given him the publick faith for his security, he sent two of his friends, persons both bold and crafty, as with a secret message to him. They, coming to Findochus and boasting of their lineage and descent, and withal grievously complaining of the wrongs they had received from Donaldus, yet could not induce the King to believe them. Whereupon they applyed themselves to Carantus his brother, a shallow-pated and ambitious person. Being admitted into an intimate familiarity with him, and by his means being made acquainted with the secret affairs of the state and commonwealth, having found out his disposition, they were at last so bold as to tell him they were went over to kill the King. He, hearing this, looked upon the kingdom as gotten by other mens wickedness and danger now sure to himself, did therefore shew them all the countenance and favour imaginable. Whereupon all things were prepared for the perpetration of the designed murder. Whilst the King was hearing one of them relating the various adventures of his life, and the rest were busy in running to see a wild beast of an extraordinary bigness, the other thrust him through the breast with an hunting spear and so slew him. Upon the committing of which horrible fact, there was a great hubbub and concourse of people. Some take up their dying King, others pursue the murderers, who were taken and deservedly executed; yet they were not to death before they had been rackt, and by that means they confest the design of Donaldus and the wickedness of Carantus, who had withdrawn himself to dissemble the matter. This Carantus first fled to the Brittons, but they, hearing of the cause of his banishment, did detest so execrable a guest, whereupon he went to the Roman camp.


The best of men, as well as of Kings, being thus slain by the detestable treachery of his brother in the eleventh year of his reign, Donaldus, the youngest of his three brothers, was set up King in his room. He whilst he was preparing to revenge his brothers death, word was brought him that Donaldus the islander had entred Murray, not now carrying himself as a robber, but as a King. Whereupon he with a few soldiers which were near at hand (having left a command for the rest to follow) marches directly towards the enemy. Donaldus, being informed by his spies that the King had but a small force with him, continued his march day and night, and by that means prevented [anticipated] the news of his approach. The King being thus surprized, seeing he could not avoid fighting, performed more than could have been expected from so small a number, but at length was overcome by the multitude of his enemies, and being grievously wounded, with thirty more of the prime of his Nobility was taken prisoner. About 3000 men were slain in the fight, and 2000 taken. The King dyed within three days, either of his wounds or for grief of his overthrow, having scarce reigned one full year.


After his death, Donald the islander, who before, without any authority, had assumed the name of King, did now manage all things as a legitimate prince, being advantaged much the fear of the Nobles, who (lest their kinsmen, who were prisoners with him, should be slain, which Donaldus did daily threaten to do) durst not make any insurrections against him. He was a very tyrant in his government, and cruel to all his subjects. For he was not content by an edict to forbid any others to bear arms but his own servants and officers too, and also he hurried the Nobility to violent deaths, whose destruction he esteemed to be the establishment of his government. Yea, he proceeded to sow seeds of discord amongst those who survived his cruelty, neither did he think any sight more lovely than the mutual slaughter of his subjects. For he counted their ruin was his gain, and judged himself to be freed of so many enemies as were slain out of both armies. Neither was he afraid of any thing more than the union of his subjects against him. Hereupon he kept himself commonly within the verge of his own palace, and, being conscious of the wrong he had done to all, as fearful of them and formidable to them, he seldom went abroad. These miseries continuing twelve years, at length Crathilinthus, the son of King Finochus, with much ado was found out to revenge the publick wrongs and calamities. He had ben bred up privately with his foster-father, and was thought to have been dead. But having few about him equal to him in strength or cunning, dissembling his name and his lineage, he first applyed himself to Court, and being received into near familiarity by the King, by the dexterity of his wit he became his most intimate and greatest favourite. At last, when all things succeeded according to his desire, he discover’d to a few his confidants who he was and what he designed; and gathering a small party about him, having got a convenient opportunity, he slew Donaldus and departed privately with his associates.


When the death of the tyrant was divulged, both the fact and the authors thereof too were entertained with a general acclamation, so that Crathilinthus, upon the discovery and legal proof of his stock, was made King with more unanimity and applause than ever any King had been before him, in regard he had been the author, not only of their liberty, but of their safety too. At the beginning of his reign, by publick consent he caused the children and kindred of the tyrant to be put to death, as if he would extirpate tyranny from the very root. Afterwards, he made a progress over all his kingdom to administer justice, as accustomed; he repaired as carefully as he could what was damaged by Donaldus. Thus having established peace at home and abroad, after the custom of the nation he spent his time in hunting. In order to which exercise, being on Mount Grampius near the borders of the Picts, he nobly entertained the young gallants of the Picts that came to visit him; yea, he was not content with that friendship that had been ancienty betwixt them, grounded on old acquaintance and strengthened by a mutual peace, but he took them also into a nearer courtship and familiarity. But that familiarity had almost proved his ruin. For the Picts, having stoln a dog of the Scotish Kings wherein he much delighted, the keeper, having discovered the place where he was concealed, in going thereto and endeavouring to bring him back was slain. Hereupon a great outcry was presently made, and a multitude of both parties were gathered together, between whom there was a sharp combat wherein many were slain on both sides, amongst whom were not a few of the young Nobility of both nations, by which means there were sown the seeds of a most cruel war betwixt them. For from that day forward each nation did vex the other with full armies. Neither could peace be made up between them upon any terms, though both Kings desired it. For although they were not ignorant that it was to their disadvantage to be at odds one another, the Romans and Brittons being their perpetual enemies and assailants, yet they were so madded by, and so set upon the desire of revenge that, whilst they were eager on that account, they neglected the publick calamity impending on them both, and unless Carantius, a Roman exile, one of mean descent but a good soldier, had interposed, they had fought it out to the last man, even till both nations had been destroyed. This Carantius, being sent to the sea-coasts of Bologne by Dioclesian to defend Belgick Armorica from the incursions of the Francs and Saxons, after he had taken many of the barbarians yet would neither restore the prey to the provincials, the right owners, nor yet send them to the Emperor. Hereupon a suspicion arose that he purposely allowed the barbarians to plunder so that he might rob them at their return and thereby enrich himself with the spoil. For this reason Maximianus commanded him to be slain, but he, taking authority upon him, seized upon Britany, and to strengthen his party against Bassus, the Roman Lieutenant-General, he reconciled the discords between the Scots and Picts, and entred into a firm league and alliance with them both. The Romans made many attempts against him, but by his skill in military affairs he defeated all their designs. After he had restored the Scots and Picts into the possession of those lands which they formerly held, he was slain by his companion Allectus, after he had reigned seven years. Allectus, having reigned three years, was slain by Asclepiodotus, and thus Britanny was restored to the Romans in the twelfth year after its revolt. But neither Asclepiodotus nor he who succeeded him, Constantius Chlorus, did any memorable thing in Britain, but that this latter begat Constantin, afterwards Emperor, on Helena his concubine. Amidst these transactions Crathilinthus died, after he had reigned 24 years.


Fincormacus his cousin-german succeeded him, who perform’d many excellent exploits against the Romans by the aid of the Britains and Picts; yea, some battels he fought them without any auxiliaries at all. At length, when the Romans were weakned by their civil wars at home and perpetual molestations abroad, matters being a little quieted, the Scots were also glad to embrace peace. Who, being thus freed from external care, did principally endeavour to promote the Christian religion. they took this occasion to do it because many of the British Christians, being afraid of the cruelty of Dioclesian, had fled to them. Amongst which sundry, eminent for learning and integrity of life, made their aboad in Scotland, where they lived a solitary life with such an universal opinion of their sanctity that when they died their cells were changed into temples or kirks. From hence the custom arose afterwards among the ancient Scots to call temples cells. This sort of monks were called Culdees, whose name and order continued till a later sort of monks, divided into many sects, did expel them. Yet these last were as far inferiour to the former in learning piety as they did exceed them in wealth, in ceremonies, and in pomp of outward worship, whereby they please the eye but infatuate the mind. Fincormachus, having settled affairs in Scotland with great equity and reduced his subjects to a more civil kind of life, departed this life in the 47th year of his reign.


After his death there was a great contest about the kingdom between three cousin-germans begot by the three brothers of Crathilinthus. Their names were Romachus, Fethelmachus and Augusianus, or rather Aeneanus. Romachus’ plea was that his father was the eldest of the three brothers of Crathilinthus, and that his mother was descended from the blood-royal of the Picts, as also that he himself was of a stirring disposition and likely to procure friends and allys. That which made for Augusianus was his age and experience in the world, as also his admirable deportment, to which was added the favour of the people, and that which was the principal of all, Fethelmachus, who was before his competitor, now voted for him. By reason of this sedition, the matter being like to be decided by arms, nothing could be concluded in the first convention of the Estates, and that being dissolved, the whole kingdom was divided into two factions and Romachus, who least in the favour of the people, called in the Picts militia for his assistance, that so he might strengthen himself by foreign aid. Augusianus, being informed that ambushes were laid for him, judged it better, once for all, to try the shock of a battel than to live in perpetual solicitude and fear. Whereupon, gathering his party into a body, he fought with Romachus, but, being overcome by him, he and Fethelmachus fled together in the Aebudae islands. But perceiving he could not be safe there on the account of his victory, he was formidable to the heads of the factions, and that he was also amongst a people naturally venal and corrupted by the promises of Romachus, he fled into Ireland with his friends. Romachus, having thus removed his rival and obtained the kingdom rather by force than the good will of the people, did exercise his power very cruelly over his enemies. And to put a pretence of law on the matter, when he went about the country to keep assizes he took no counsel of others, as was accustomed, but assumed all capital causes to his own arbitrement, so that he made great execution amongst the people and strook a general terror into the hearts of all good men. At length, when all were wearied with the present state of affairs, the Nobility made a sudden combination against him, and before he could gather his forces together he was taken in his flight to the Picts, and put to death in the third year of his reign. His head was carried up and down fasten’d to the top of a pole, and afforded a joyful spectacle to the people.


Hereupon Augusianus was recalled by general consent to undertake the kingly government. In the beginning of his reign they which were the ministers of cruelty and covetousness under Romachus, being afraid to live under so good a King, stirred up Nectamus, King of the Picts, to make war upon him in revenge of his kinsman. Augusianus, being a lover of peace, sent embassadors to them very often to advise them that both nations would be much prejudiced by those divisions in regard the Brittons did but watch an opportunity to destroy them both. But they hearkned not unto them, either out of confidence in their strength or out of anger and vexation of spirit. So that, perceiving them to be averse from peace, he led forth his army against them, and after a sharp conflict obtained the victory. The King of the Picts made his escape with a few of his company, and after he had a little master’d his fear, being inflam’d with rage and fury, he obtained, but with great difficulty, of his subjects to raise him a new army, and when it was levied he marched into Caledonia. Augusianus, having again propounded terms of peace, with not being harkned unto, he drew his forced towards the enemy. The fight was maintain’d with equal obstinacy on both sides, one striving to retain their acquired glory and th’ other endeavouring to wipe away their received ignominy and disgrace. At length the Scots, Augusianus being slain, broke their ranks and ran away. Neither was the battel unbloody to the Picts. their King and all his valiant warriors being slain therein. The loss being in a manner equal on both sides occasioned a peace between them for some short time. Augusianus reigned little above a year.


Fethelmachus was made King in the room of Augusianus. When he had scarce reigned 2 years he levied an army and made foul havock of the Picts country. As soon as the enemy could meet him, they fought with a great slaughter on either side. For the main battel [van] of Picts, they having lost both their wings, was almost all encompassed round and taken, yet they died not unrevenged. The King of the Picts, three days after, died of his wound. the Scots, making use of their victory, having no army at all to withstand them, made a great spoil all over the Picts country. For the Picts, having received so great a blow, never durst oppose them with their whole force; only they appointed some small partys of their men in fit time and place to withstand the straggling troops of their enemy, that so they might not plunder far from home. In the mean time, one Hergustus, a crafty man, having undertaken the command of the Picts, inasmuch as he was inferior in force, he applied himself to fraud, for he sent two Picts who, pretending themselves to be Scots, were to kill the King. They, according to their instructions, treated with a certain musician about the murder of the King. For those sorts of creatures are wont to lodge in the chambers of princes and noblemen to relieve them whilst awake and also to procure sleep, which custom still continues in all the British isles amongst the old Scots. So that on a night agreed upon them, the Picts were introduced by this minstrel, and so slew the King as privately as they could. Yet they could not carry it so secretly but that the Kings attendants were awaken’d at the hearing of his death groans, and so pursued the authors of the villainy, and when they could fly no further, the Kings officers took them (tho’ they threw stones at them to defend themselves, from a steep rock) and brought them back to execution.


Fethelmachus being thus slain in the third year of his reign, Eugenius, or rather Evenus, the son of Fincormachus, succeeded him. About that time Maximus, the Roman General, being in hopes to conquer the whole island, if he could destroy the Scots and Picts both, first of all he pretends many favourable respects to the Picts, who were the the weaker party and therefore, by consequence, more ready to treat with him. Them he filled with vain promises, that if they would persevere in their alliance with the Romans, besides many other innumerable advantages they should have the Scots land to be divided amongst them. The Picts were catched with this bait, being blinded by anger, desirous of revenge, allured by promises, and regardless of future events. Hereupon they joyned their forces with the Romans and spoiled the Scots country. Their first fight with them was at Cree, a river of Galway. The Scots, being few in number, were easily overcome by a more numerous army, and being thus put to flight, the Romans pursued them every way without any order, as being sure of the victory. In the mean time, the Argyle men and some other forces of the remote parts who were coming up to joyn with their vanquished friends fell in good order upon the scatter’d troops of the Romans and made a great slaughter amongst their enemies. Eugenius gather’d up those whom he could recal from flight and, calling a council of war, was advised that, seeing his forces were not sufficient to carry on the war, he should return back to Carrick. But as Maximus was prosecuting his victory, word was brought him that all was in a flame in the inner parts of Britain. the Scots were glad of his departure, as being eased of a great part of their enemies; and, though they were scarce able to defend their own, yet, between anger and hope, they resolved before the summer was past to perform some great exploit against their adjacent enemies, and thereupon they poured in the remainders of their force upon the Picts. As they marched they slew all they met without distinction, and made all desolate with fire and sword. Maximus, tho’ he threatned and spake contumeliously of the Scots, yet being equally joyful at the destruction of both nations, as soon as he found an opportunity marched against the Scots upon pretence to revenge the wrongs done by them to the Picts; the Scots on the other side, being now to fight, not for glory, empire or booty, but for their country, fortune, lives and whatsoever else is wont to be dear to men, drew forth all that were able to bear arms. Not the men only but women also (according to the custom of the nation) prepare themselves for their last encounter, and pitched their tents not far from the River Down and near their enemies camp.
52. Both armies being set in order of battel, first of all the auxiliaries set upon the Scots, where, some fighting in hope, others incited by despair, there was a very sharp tho’ short encounter. The Picts and Britains were repulsed with great loss, and had been certainly wholly routed and put to flight if seasonable relief had not come to them from the Romans. But Maximus brining on his legions, the Scots, being inferior in number, in the nature of their arms, and in their military discipline, were driven back and almost quite ruined. King Eugenius himself fell in the fight, as not being willing to survive his soldiers, and the greatest part of his Nobles fell with him, as loath to forsake their King. Maximus, having obtained this great victory sooner than he hoped, and scarce finding any on whom he might wreck his hatred, mercifully returned to his former clemency. For, marching over many provinces of the Scots, he took those that yielded themselves to mercy, and caused them to till the land, withal adding his commands that they should be contented with their own and not be offensive to their neighbours. The Picts, taking this his clemency in evil part, did allege that the Romans and their allys would never obtain a firm, solid peace as long as the nation of the Scots, which were always unquiet and took all opportunities to plunder, did remain alive, adding further that Britanny would never be secure whilst any of the Scotish blood remain’d in it; that they were like wild beasts who would be sweetned by no office of love, nor would they be quiet though they received never so many losses; so that there would be no end of war till the whole nation was extinct. Maximus replied many things in bar [opposition] to such severities, as that ’twas the ancient custom of the Romans, if they overcame any nation, to be so far from extirpating them that they made many of them denizons of their city; that though they had almost conquered the whole world, yet never any people or nation were wholly eradicated by them; that he himself having slain their King with the flower of his army had so quelled them that they were no longer to be feared, but rather pitied by their enemies. He further urged that his hatred of the Picts was as great as theirs; but, if they considered the matter well, it would be a joyfuller spectacle to behold the miseries of them being alive than the graves of them being slain; yea, that it was a more grievous punishment to live a dying life than by once dying to put an end to all miseries.
53. This was the sum of the discourse which he made, not so much out of any affection to the Scots as out of hatred to the Picts cruelty. Moreover, he had an eye to the future, as judging it extreamly hazardous to the Roman province if the force of the Picts, upon the extirpation of the Scots, should be doubled. But the Picts did so ply him with complaints, supplications and guifts, that at length they obtained an edict from him that all the Scots should depart out of Britain by a certain day, and he that was found there after the time limited should be put to death. Their country was divided betwixt the Picts and the Britains. Thus the surviving Scots, as every mans fortune led him, were scattered over Ireland, the Aebudae islands, through Scandia and the Cimbrick Chersonnesus, and were in all places kindly received by the inhabitants. But the Picts, though they made publick profession of the Christian religion, yet did not forbear to commit injuries against priests and monks, which in that age were had in great esteem, so that those poor ecclesiasticks were dispersed into all the countries round about, and many of them came into Icolumbkill, one of the Aebudae isles, where, being gathered together in a monastery, they transmitted an high opinion of their piety and holiness to posterity. The rest of the Scots being thus afflicted by wars, exiled from their countries, and in despair of returning thither again, the inhabitants of the Hebrides, being of a fierce and unquiet nature, idle, poor, abounding in men yet wanting necessaries, thought that they ought to attempt something of themselves, and so gathering a navy of birlius and small ships together under Gillo their commander, they landed in the county of Argyle. Having made their descent there and dispersing themselves scatteredly amongst a country almost wholly destitute of inhabitants to fetch in booty, they were circumvented by the Picts, who were sent to assist the inhabitants and placed in garison there, and, being kept from their ships, were slain every man. Their navy was taken and reserved for service against the islanders.
54. And not long after, they which fled to Ireland, partly of remembrance of their ancient alliance, and partly out of commiseration of their fortune, did easily incite a nation naturally inclined to war and plunder to afford them aid to recover their country and antient patrimony. Ten thousand auxiliaries were allowed them, who, landing in that part of Scotland which is opposite to Ireland, struck a great terrour to the people all over the country. Being encouraged by their first happy success, when they were consulting how to carry on the war, the Albian Scots, well knowing the strength of the Romans and how much they exceeded other nations in their skill about military affairs, persuaded them to be contented with their present victory and to return home with their booty, not staying till the whole force of Britain was gathered together to assault them. And seeing tha all the forces of Ireland, if they had been there, could not withstand the Roman army, which by its conduct and valour had almost subdued the whole world, therefore they were to deal with them, not by open force, but by subtilty; that they were to watch opportunities, and seeing they could not match their enemies in number, force or warlike skill, that therefore they should weary them out with toil and labour; and that this was the only method for the managing the war with them. The Irish-Scots, on the other side, did blame those of Albium, whose former valour was now so languid, that though they were the off-spring of those who had almost overthrown whole armies of the Romans, yet that they could not now look them in the face; yea, there were some of the Albine-Scots themselves of the same opinion, alleging that this method of war propounded by their country-men was very vain and frivolous, serving only to vex the enemy but not to recover their own country; and that therefore they ought to follow their good fortune, and not to think of returning till she made way for them; and if they would act thus, then no doubt but God (who had blessed them with such prosperous beginnings) would by their arms lessen the power of the enemie, either by raising up new tumults among the Britains, or by calling off the Roman legions to a war nearer home; that the occasion now offered was not to be neglected, lest hereafter it might be sought for in vain. This opinion prevailed, and so they joyfully returned to the prey. Thus whilst in hopes to recover what they had lost they indulged their own will rather rashly than prudently, being immediately overpowred by greater forces, they lost the better part of their men.
55. This slaughter being made known in Ireland cut off all hopes of return from the Scots, and made the Irish fear lest they also should not retain their liberty long, so that after many consultations they could find no way more adviseable than that the Irish Scots should send ambassadors into Britain to make peace with the Romans upon the best conditions they could procure. Upon their arrival, Maximus first of all did severely rebuke them in that, without any provocation, they had causedly [of their own initiative] excited the Roman arms against them. The ambassadors, in excuse, laid the blame on the rude rabble, and so they obtained pardon. The peace was mode on these conditions, that the Hibernians after that day should never entertain or shelter any enemies of the Romans; that they should forbear to offer any injury to their allies; and that they should manage their government with a friendly respect to the Romans. The Hibernians, having thus obtained better terms than they expected, returned joyfully home. That which inclined Maximus to make this easie pacification was not his fear of the Hibernians (for he did not much value all they disturbance they could give him), but because his mind being intent on hopes of greater matters, he was willing to leave all Britain not only quiet and free from war, but also affectionate and under an obligation to him. For when he perceived, after the defeat and slaughter of so many of their armies, that the forces of the Roman Empire were shattered and weakned by their civil wars, and that the Emperors were not made by the Senate and People but by military election and favouring, considering also that he had conquered Britain (which none ever did before him) and thereby had got great fame by his military exploits, and had an army (for the number of it) strong enough, in this posture of affairs he determined, if fortune offred him an opportunity to seize on the Empire, not to be wanting thereunto. Being prompted by this hope, he treated his souldiers with great affability and bestowed on them many largesses. He took advice in all his important affairs from the noblest of the Britains. He recruited his army with Picts soldiers, and committed several garisons in divers places to be kept by them. The land of the Scots he divided betwixt them and the Britains. To the Picts he left their ancient possessions, only he exacted a small tribute from the utmost angle of the Scotish kingdom, which he had given to them as a testimony (for so he gave it out himself) that all Britain was partly overcome and partly setled on conditions of peace by him.
56. And by these artifices he strangely won the affections of the common soldiers, so that, all things being in readiness according to his conceived hope, he assumed the diadem, as if he had been compelled to do so by his soldiers. After him, Constantine was chosen General by the Britains, being recommended only upon the accompt of his name, for otherwise he was but a common soldier at first. He being also slain. Gratian, a person descended of British blood, ruled over the island. but Maximus being slain in Italy and Gratian in Britain, Victorinus was sent from Rome to rule Britain as a Governor. He, pretending [aspiring] to inlarge the Empire during his administration, commanded the Picts, who were reduced into the form of a province, to use the Roman laws, denouncing a great penalty on those who should dare to do otherwise. And whereas Hergustus their King died whilst these things were in agitation, he forbad them to choose another King or set up any other magistrate but what was sent them from Rome. This the Picts looked upon as a mere slavery. Whereupon they begun, tho’ too late and to no purpose, to resent him and complain they had been basely and unworthily betrayed by a nation allied to them and amity with them; and though sometimes they were tumultuous, yet the were partakers with them of all hazards against a foreign enemy, so that now they had suffered according to their demerits, who had deprived themselves not only of all aid, but of all mercy and pity also. For now who would be sorry for their calamity who called to mind into what miseries and necessities they had reduced their ancient friends. And that oracle was applicable here, which foretold that the Picts in time should be extirpated by the Scots. So that now they were punished for betraying the Scots; yea, their own punishment was the greater of the two, in regard banishment is more tolerable than servitude. For banished men are free, let their fortune be what it will, but they themselves were encountered with the bitterest of all evils, which were so much the more intolerable because they fell into them by their own demerit. Whereupon, that they might have one to whom to resort in order to a publick consultation for the remedying of these calamities, they create Durstus, the son of Hergustus, King. The Nobles being assembled about him to provide remedy for their miseries, their complaints did express the severity of their bondage. They alleged that they were now not in in an imaginary, but real, slavery; that they were shut up within the Walls of Severus as wild beasts, severed from all human commerce; and that all their soldiery, under the splendid name of war, were indeed drawn out for the shambles. That, besides the hatred of their neighbour nations, they were bitterly reproached by the monks too, who cryed out that God did justly despise and reject their prayers, who had so cruelly persecuted His ministers though they were their brethren and of the same religion with themselves, in that they would not suffer them, by whom God might have been appeased or exorated [entreated], to live in the same country with them. These things did grievously pinch their consciences, to that, adversity infusing some sparks of religion into their minds, and also some ease from their miseries being obtained, they at least pitched upon this as the only way to recover their liberty: that after they had reconciled themselves with the Scots they would also endeavour to appease the wrath of God, Who was an enemy to them for their perfidiousness. Whereupon, understanding that young Fergusius, of the royal blood, was an exile in Scandia, they thought if he were recalled that the rest also might be induced by his authority to return. To effect which, they sent an embassy to him, but secretly for fear of the Romans, to sound his inclination as to the return into his own country.

Go to Book V