From the book “THE  COMING  OF  THE  SAINTS”


by  J. W. TAYLOR (first published in 1906)



APPENDIX 1

A.D.   84.   'SPEECH   OF   GALGACUS,   THE   NORTH-BRITISH   OR

CALEDONIAN   LEADER,   BEFORE   THE  BATTLE   WITH  AGRICOLA,

AS   REPORTED   BY  TACITUS   IN  HIS   'LIFE   OF  AGRICOLA'




"WHEN I reflect on the causes of the war, and the circumstances of our situation, I feel a strong persuasion that our united efforts on the present day will prove the beginning of universal liberty to Britain. For none of us hitherto debased by slavery; and there is no land behind us, nor is even the sea secure, while the Roman fleet hovers around.


Thus the use of arms, which is at all times honourable to the brave, now offers the only safety even to cowards. All the battles which have yet been fought with varying success again the Romans, had their resources of hope and aid in our hands; for we, the noblest inhabitants of Britain, and therefore stationed in its deepest recesses - far from the view of servile shores - have preserved even our eyes unpolluted by the contact of subjection. We - at the farthest limits both of land and liberty - have been defended to this day by the remoteness of our situation and our fame. The extremity of Britain is now disclosed; and whatever is unknown becomes an object of importance. There is no nation beyond us; nothing but waves and rocks, and the still more hostile Romans, whose arrogance we cannot escape by obsequiousness and submission.


These plunderers of the world, after exhausting the land by their devastations, are rifling the ocean: stimulated by avarice, if their enemy be rich; by ambition, if poor; unsatiated by the East and by the West; the only people who behold wealth and indigence with equal avidity. To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call Empire; and whence they make a desert, they call it 'peace'.


Our children and relations are, by the appointment of Nature, rendered the dearest of all things to us. These are torn away by levies to serve in foreign lands. Our wives and sisters, though they should escape the violation of hostile force, are polluted under names of friendship and hospitality. Our estates and possessions are consumed in tributes; our grain in contributions. Even our bodies are worn down amid stripes and insults in clearing woods and draining marshes. Wretches born to slavery are once bought and afterwards maintained by their masters: Britain every day buys, every day feeds her own servitude. And as among domestic slaves every new-comer serves for the scorn and derision of his fellows, so, in this ancient corner of the world, we, as the newest and vilest, are sought out to destruction. For we have neither cultivated lands, nor mines, nor harbours which can induce them to preserve us for our labours. The valour, too, and unsubmitting spirit of subjects only renders them more obnoxious to their masters; while remoteness and secrecy of situation itself, in proportion as it conduces to security, tends to inspire suspicion.


Since then all hopes of forgiveness are vain, let those at length assume courage to whom safety as well as to whom glory is dear.


The Trinobantes, even under a female leader, had force enough to burn a colony, to storm camps and, if success had not induced negligence and inactivity, would have been able entirely to throw off the yoke: and shall not we, untouched, unsubdued, and struggling not for the acquisition but the continuance of liberty, show at the very first onset what men Caledonia has reserved for her defence? Can you imagine that the Romans are as brave in war as they are licentious in peace? Acquiring renown from our discords and dissensions, they convert the errors of their enemies to the glory of their own army - an army compounded of the most different nations which, as success alone has kept together, misfortune will certainly dissipate.


Unless, indeed, you can suppose the Gauls and Germans and (I blush to say it) even Britons, who, though they lavish their blood to establish a foreign dominion, have been longer its foes than its subjects, will be retained by loyalty and effection!


Terror and dread alone are their weak bonds of attachment: these once broken, they who cease to fear will begin to hate. Every incitement to victory is on our side. The Romans have no wives to animate them, no parents to upbraid their flight. Most of them have either no home or a distant one. Few in number, ignorant of the country, looking round in silent horror of woods, seas, and a heaven itself unknown to them, they are delivered by the gods, as it were imprisoned and bound, into our hands. Be not terrified with an idle show and the glitter of silver and gold which can neither protect nor wound. In the very ranks of the enemy we will find our own bands. The Britons will acknowledge their own cause. The Gauls will recollect their former liberty. The rest of the Germans will desert them as the Usipii have lately done. Nor is there anything formidable behind them - ungarrisoned forts, colonies of old men, municipal towns distempered and distracted between unjust masters and ill-obeying subjects.


Here is a general: here an army. There, tributes, mines, and all the train of punishments inflicted on slaves, which, whether to bear eternally or instantly to revenge, this field must determine. March then to battle and think of your ancestors and your posterity." (From the Life of Agricola, written by his son-in-law, C. Cornelius Tacitus, in the year of Rome 850, in that of Christ 97; during the third Consulate of the Emperor Nerva, and the third of Virginius Rufus.—Aitkin's translation.)

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THE  ROMANS  COULD  NEVER  TAKE  OR  DWELL  IN  SCOTLAND;  THE  PICS  AND  SCOTS  WERE  TOO   FIERCE AND  FEROCIOUS  FOR  THEM.  THE  GENERAL  ADRIAN  BUILT  A  WALL  ACROSS  THE  TOP  OF  ENGLAND  FROM  EAST  TO  WEST,  TO  KEEP  THE  PICTS  AND  SCOTS  FROM  COMING  DOWN  AND  PUSHING  THE  ROMANS  BACK  TO  EUROPE.  IN  THE  MOVIE  "EAGLE"  WE  ARE  TOLD  ABOUT THE  5TH  LEGION  OF  ROMAN  SOLDIERS  [5,000  MEN]  SENT  INTO  SCOTLAND  AND  WAS  NEVER  HEARD  FROM  AGAIN...... FOR  ROME  THEY  SIMPLE  DISAPPEARED!


Keith Hunt