It bore the same emblem: a black symbol upon a white field; the bird in flight with talons extended, as if descending for the kill. There was not much forage to be had here, and so I dug a brace of carrots out from my saddlebag to give to Rollo. He had kept going without complaint all day, and I would have liked to have offered him more, but for now it was all I had.
The others said nothing as they too dismounted and began to pace about, feeling the use of their legs once more. Eudo rubbed at the lower part of his back, doubtless nursing some twinge from spending so long in the saddle. To the east the clouds were beginning to break, and I could spy the silver-flecked ribbon of the river Wiire as it wove about the town of Dunholm. A narrow promontory jutted out to the south, atop which stood the fastness: a palisade surrounding a small huddle of buildings; shadows against the half-lit clouds.
The promontory was sided by steep bluffs and the river coiled about them, enclosing the fastness on three sides. Thin spires of smoke rose gently from the thatch of the mead hall there: threads of white lit by the moon. Below the fastness lay the town. There the rest of our army would be out in the streets: half a thousand knights like ourselves, the household warriors of the lords heading this expedition; seven hundred spearmen; and another three hundred archers.
And of course there were the scores upon scores of others who attended on such an army: armorers, swordsmiths, leech-doctors, and others. Many of those would be there too: close to two thousand men reveling in the spoils of war, the capture of Dunholm, the conquest of Northumbria. It was perhaps something of a risk to allow those men to go plundering when there was a chance that the enemy still lurked, but the truth was that they had been waiting the whole march for the promise of booty.
It mattered less for knights like ourselves, for we were paid well enough by our lord, but the spearmen fought out of obligation: most were drawn from the fields of their lords' estates, and so this was their only hope of reward. For Robert to deny them it now would be to turn them against him, and that he could not afford to do.
Already there was discontent among the other nobles, some of whom were reckoned to have felt though none had said openly that they were more deserving and that the honor of the earldom should have gone to them, to a Norman rather than a Fleming, as Robert was. But many were the men who had come over in the last two years who were Normans only by allegiance, rather than by birth. I myself hailed from the town of Dinant in Brittany, though it was some years since I was last there; Fulcher was Burgundian, while others came from Anjou or even Aquitaine.
But in England that should not have mattered, for in England we were all Frenchmen, bound together by oaths and by a common tongue. Besides, Lord Robert was one of the men closest to King Guillaume, having served him for more than ten years, since the battle at Varaville.
I found it odd, to say the least, that a man who had served loyally and for so long should be resented so vehemently. On the other hand, these times were not as settled as once they had been, and there were many, I knew, who would look only for their own advancement rather than the good of the realm. I had fought in so many battles that most of them had blurred in my memory, but I recalled that campaign.
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It had been a protracted one, extending late into the autumn, perhaps even into the early part of the winter. I knew because I could picture the sacks of newly harvested grain we had captured on our raids, and I could see the leaves turning brown and falling from the trees in the countryside all about. Yet, strangely, of the struggle for the town itself no images came to mind. The rebels had retreated and were holding out within its walls. A smile broke out across his thin face.
We attacked that night, so quickly that we had overrun the town even before their lord had dressed for battle. I shook my head; five years was a long time. Back then I would have been but twenty summers old and, like all youths, my head was probably full of ideas of glory and plunder. I had craved the kill; not once had I paused to consider the details of whom we fought or why, only that it had to be done.
Beside me, Fulcher yawned and shrugged his shoulders inside his cloak. He took a draught from his waterskin. There's nothing in this land but hills and trees and sheep. Had I been more awake I might have been able to think of some retort, but instead I simply glared at him. I was not young or foolish enough to think that I loved Oswynn, or that she loved me; she was English and knew hardly a word of French or Breton, and I was French and knew almost none of English.
But she was my woman all the same and I prayed to God that she was safe. Perhaps Eudo had been speaking in jest, but on a night such as this, when wine and mead flowed freely, I knew how high men's spirits could run, how hard it was for them to control their lusts. There were few enough women to be had as it was: only those who had come northward with the army. Soldiers' wives and camp-followers. Women like Oswynn. There was a kind of wild beauty in the way she always wore her hair unbound, in the way her eyes appeared dark and yet inviting, that drew the stares of men wherever we went.
More than once before, it had been only the threat of my blade meeting their necks that had kept them away. I did not like to leave her on her own, and for that reason I had paid Ernost and Mauger, another two of the men from my conroi, to stay away from the plunder and to keep guard over the house I had taken for us. But even so, I would be glad when the morning came, when I could get back to her.
I swallowed my last mouthful of bread, laced up my saddlebag, and looped the shield-strap back over my head. The track continued to the west. There had been high winds recently, and on several occasions we had to negotiate around trees that had fallen across the way. More than once the path itself seemed to disappear and we had to turn back until we found it again. To venture into the heart of the woods in the dark was to risk getting lost, for we did not know this country. But the enemy would. They would know to stay away from the paths; they would probably travel in small groups rather than together.
They could be less than a hundred paces from us and still we might pass them by. I felt an angry heat rise up inside me. Our presence out in these woods was as much use as a cart without wheels: Robert had sent us out only so the other lords might see that he was being vigilant. And yet if we returned before dawn without having seen anything of the enemy, then we would have defied his orders and failed in our duty to him.
I gritted my teeth and we rode on in silence. I had been with Robert since my fourteenth year, when he was little older than I was now, and in that time I had come to know him as a generous lord who afforded his men good treatment and rewarded them well too often with gifts of silver or arms or even horses. Indeed it was from him that I had received Rollo, the destrier I rode: a strong mount of constant temper that had seen me through several campaigns and many battles.
To his longest-serving and most loyal retainers, moreover, Lord Robert gave land, and I, as one of the men who had led his conrois into battle, who had saved his life on more than one occasion, would soon be one of those. I was patient, as one had to be, and grateful for what he had given me, and rarely in those years had I found cause to resent him.
But now, as I imagined him with the rest of the lords, sitting by the hearth in the mead hall up in the fastness, while we were here-. There was no pattern to it, no rhythm, just a clash of different notes.
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Sell one like this. We found something similar. About this product. Stock photo. Brand new: lowest price The lowest-priced, brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item in its original packaging where packaging is applicable. ISBN: Title: Knights of the Hawk. Format: Paperback. But as the Normans' attempts to assault the rebels' island stronghold are thwarted, the King grows ever more frustrated.
Read full description. See details and exclusions. See all 13 brand new listings. Buy it now. Add to basket. Be the first to write a review About this product. All listings for this product Buy it now Buy it now. Any condition Any condition. See all I propose, then, to exhibit, in the fullest detail, the national struggle which followed the conquest of England by the Normans established in Gaul; to reproduce every particular afforded by history of the hostile relations of two peoples violently placed together upon the same soil; to follow them throughout their long wars and their obstinate segregation, up to the period when, by the intermixture of their races, manners, wants, languages, there was formed one sole nation, one common language, one uniform legislation.
The scene of this great drama is England, Scotland. Ireland, and also France, by reason of the numerous relations which the successors of the Conqueror had, since the invasion, with that portion of the European continent. On the French side of the Channel, as well as on the other, their enterprises have modified the political and social existence of many populations whose history is almost completely unknown. The obscurity in which these populations have become involved does not arise from any unworthiness on their part to have had historians, equally with other populations; most of them, on the contrary, are remarkable for an originality of character which distinguishes them in the most marked manner from the great nations into which they have been absorbed, and in resistance to a fusion with which they have displayed a political activity, the moving cause of many great events that have hitherto been erroneously attributed to the ambition of particular individuals, or to other accidental causes.
The research into Edition: current; Page: [ xxiii ] the history of these populations may contribute to solve the problem, hitherto undecided, of the varieties of the human race in Europe, and of the great primitive races whence these varieties derive. Under this philosophical point of view, and independent of the picturesque interest which I have endeavoured to create, I hoped to aid the progress of science by constructing, if I may use the expression, the history of the Welsh, of the Irish of pure race, of the Scots, both those of the primitive and those of the mixed race, of the continental Bretons and Normans, and more especially of the numerous population then, as now, inhabiting Southern Gaul, between the Loire, the Rhone, and the two seas.
Without assigning to the great facts of history less importance than they merit, I have applied myself with peculiar interest to the local events relating to these hitherto neglected populations, and while necessarily relating their revolutions in a summary manner, I have done this with that sort of sympathy, with that sentiment of pleasure, which one experiences in repairing an injustice.
The establishment of the great modern states has been mainly the work of force; the new societies have been formed out of the wrecks of the old societies violently destroyed, and in this labour of recomposition, large masses of men have lost, amid heavy sufferings, their liberty, and even their name as a people, replaced by a foreign name. Such a movement of destruction was, I am aware, inevitable. However violent and illegitimate it may have been in its origin, its result has been the civilization of Europe.
But while we render to this civilization its due homage, while we view with glowing admiration the noble destiny it is preparing for the human race, we may regard with a certain tender regret the downfal of other civilizations that might one day have also grown and fructified for the world, had fortune favoured them. This brief explanation was necessary to prevent that feeling of surprise which the reader might otherwise have felt Edition: current; Page: [ xxiv ] upon finding in this work, the history not merely of one, but of several conquests, written in a method the very reverse of that hitherto employed by modern historians.
All of these, following what seemed to them the natural path, go from the conquerors to the conquered; they take their stand in the camp where there is triumph, rather than in that where there is defeat, and exhibit the conquest as accomplished the moment that the victor has proclaimed himself master, taking no more heed than he to the ulterior resistance which his policy has afterwards defeated. Thus, for all those who, until recently, have written the history of England, there are no Saxons after the battle of Hastings and the coronation of William the Bastard; a romance writer, a man of genius, was the first to teach the modern English that their ancestors of the eleventh century were not all utterly defeated and crushed in one single day.
A great people is not so promptly subjugated as the official acts of those who govern it by the law of the strongest would appear to indicate. The resuscitation of the Greek nation proves how great a misconception it is to take the history of kings, or even that of conquering peoples, for that of the whole country over which they rule. This sentiment of patriotism, when it is no longer adequate to the creation of armies, still creates bands of guerillas, of political highwaymen in the forest or on the mountain, and venerates as martyrs those who die in the field or on the gibbet, in its cause.
Such is what recent investigations have taught us with reference to the Greek nation, 1 and what I have myself discovered with respect to the Anglo-Saxon race, in tracing out its history where no one previously had sought it, in the popular legends, traditions, and ballads. The resemblance between Edition: current; Page: [ xxv ] the state of the Greeks under the Turks and that of the English of Saxon race under the Normans, not only in the material features of the subjugation, but in the peculiar form assumed by the national spirit amidst the sufferings of its oppression, in the moral instincts and superstitious opinions arising out of it, in the manner of hating those whom it would fain, but could not, conquer, and of loving those who still struggled on while the mass of their countrymen had bent the neck—all this is well worthy of remark.
It is a resemblance in the investigation of which much light may be thrown upon the moral study of man.
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To keep in view the distinction of races in England after the conquest, does not merely communicate importance to facts before unperceived or neglected: it gives an entirely new aspect and signification to events celebrated in themselves, but hitherto incorrectly elucidated. The protracted quarrel between Henry II. If, in relating the struggle between these famous personages, the philosophic historians have taken part against the weaker and more unfortunate of the two, it is from not having viewed the struggle under its true aspect, from not having been thoroughly acquainted with all the elements of which the mutual hate of the antagonists was composed.
They have wholly laid aside, in reference to a man assassinated with the most odious circumstances, all those principles of justice and philanthropy which they so energetically profess. Six hundred years after his murder, they have assailed his memory with the fiercest malignity; and yet there is nothing in common between the cause of the enemies of Thomas Becket, in the twelfth century, and that of philosophy in the eighteenth. Henry II. If the grave circumstances which marked the dispute of the fifth king of Norman race with the first archbishop of English race since the conquest, are to be attributed, more than to any other cause, to the still living animosity between conqueror and conquered, another fact, equally important, the great civil war under John and Henry III.
It was this material, personal interest, and no lofty desire to found political institutions, that made the barons and knights of England rise up against their kings. If this great aristocratic movement was sustained by popular favour, it was because the alarm of a second conquest, and the indignation against those who sought to bring it about, were common to the poor and to the rich, to the Saxon and to the Norman.
A close examination of all the political phenomena that accompanied the conquests of the middle ages, and of the part taken in them by religion, have led me to a new manner of considering the progress of papal power and of catholic unity. Hitherto historians have represented this power as extending itself solely by metaphysical influence, as conquering by persuasion, whereas it is certain that its conquests, like all other conquests, have been effected by the ordinary means, by material means.
The popes may not have headed military expeditions in person, but they have been partners in almost all the great invasions and in the fortune of the conquerors, even in that of conquerors still pagans.
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It was the destruction of the independent churches effected throughout Christian Edition: current; Page: [ xxvii ] Europe concurrently with that of the free nations, which gave reality to the title of universal, assumed by the Roman church long before there was anything to warrant the assumption. From the fifth century up to the thirteenth, there was not a single conquest which did not profit the court of Rome quite as much as it profited those who effected it with sword and lance.
A consideration of the history of the middle ages under this hitherto unnoticed aspect has given me, for the various national churches which the Roman church stigmatized as heretical or schismatic, the same sort of interest and sympathy which I expressed just now for the nations themselves. Like the nations, the national churches have succumbed to powers that had no sort of right over them; the independence they claimed for their doctrines and their government was a part of the moral liberty consecrated by Christianity.
Ere I conclude, I would say a few words as to the plan and composition of this work. Pursuant to its title, it will be found to contain a complete narrative of all the details relating to the Norman conquest, placed between two other briefer narratives—one, of the facts preceding and preparing that conquest; the other, of those which flowed from it as necessary consequences. Before introducing the personages who figure in the great drama of the conquest, I was desirous of making the reader acquainted with the ground on which its various scenes were to take place.
For this purpose, I have carried him with me from England to the Continent, from the Continent to England. I have explained the origin, the internal and external situation, the first relations of the population of England with that of Normandy, and by what chances these relations became so complicated as necessarily to involve hostility and invasion. The success of the Norman invasion crowned by the battle of Hastings, produced a conquest, the progress, settlement and direct results of which form several distinctly marked epochs.
The first epoch is that of territorial usurpation: it commences with the battle of Hastings, on the 14th of October, , and embracing the successive progress of the conquerors from east to west and from south to north, terminates in , when every centre of resistance had been broken up, and every powerful native who survived had submitted or abandoned the country.
The second epoch, that of political usurpation, begins where the first ends; it comprehends the series of efforts made by the Conqueror to disorganize and denationalize the conquered population. It terminates in with the execution of the last chief of Saxon race, and the decree degrading the last bishop of that race. During the third epoch, the Conqueror is engaged in subjecting to regular order the violent results of the conquest, and in converting the forcible possession of lands by his soldiers into legal if not legitimate property; this epoch terminates in , by a comprehensive review of all the conquerors in possession of estates, who, renewing to the king in a body the oath of fealty, figure for the first time as an established nation, and no longer as merely an army in the field.
The fourth epoch is occupied with the intestine quarrels of the conquering nation, and with its civil wars, whether for the possession of the conquered territory or for the right of rule there. This period, more extended than the preceding, terminates in , with the extinction of all the pretenders to the throne of England, except one, Henry, son of Geoffroy, earl of Anjou, and of the empress Matilda, niece of the Conqueror.
Lastly, in the fifth epoch, the Normans of England and of the continent, having no intestine dissensions wherein to expend their activity and their strength, either go forth from their two centres of action to conquer and colonize abroad, or extend their supremacy without themselves moving. It Edition: current; Page: [ xxix ] terminates, in the earlier part of the thirteenth century, by a reaction against the Anglo-Norman power, a reaction so violent that Normandy itself, the native land of the kings, lords, and chivalry of England, is severed for ever from the country to which it had given its conquerors.
With these various epochs correspond successive changes in the lot of the Anglo-Saxon nation; it first loses the property in the soil; next, its ancient political and religious organization; then, favoured by the divisions of its masters, and siding with the kings against their revolted vassals, it obtains concessions which give it a momentary hope of once more becoming a people, and it even essays a vain attempt to enfranchise itself by force.
Lastly, overwhelmed by the extinction of parties in the Norman population, it ceases to play any political part, loses its national character in public acts and in history, and falls altogether into the condition of an inferior class. Its subsequent revolts, extremely rare of occurrence, are simply referred to by the contemporary writers as quarrels between the poor and the rich; and it is the account of an outbreak of this nature, which took place at London in , under the conduct of a person evidently or Saxon race, that concludes the circumstantial narrative of the facts relating to the conquest.
Having brought the history of the Norman conquest up to this point, I have carried on, in a more summary form, that of the populations of various race which figure in the main body of the work. The resistance they opposed to the more powerful nations, their defeat, the establishment of the conquerors among them, the revolutions they essayed and accomplished, the events, political or military, over which they exercised an influence, the fusion of people, languages, and manners, and the exact period of this fusion, all this I have endeavoured clearly to exhibit and to demonstrate.
This last portion of the work, where a special article is devoted to each race of men, begins with the continental populations which have since Edition: current; Page: [ xxx ] become French. Next come those, now called English, each in its rank; the Welsh, whose spirit of nationality is so tenacious that it has survived a territorial conquest; the Scots, who have never undergone any such conquest, and who have struggled with such vast energy against a political conquest; the Irish, who had better have become serfs, like the Anglo-Saxons, than have preserved a precarious liberty at the expense of peace, of individual and family happiness, and of the civilization of their country; lastly, the population of England herself, of Norman or Saxon origin, where these national differences become a distinction of classes, less and less marked, as time progressed.
I have only now to mention one other historical innovation, of no less importance than the rest; the retaining the orthography of the Saxon, Norman, and other names, so as to keep constantly marked out the distinction of races, and to secure that local colouring, which is one of the conditions, not merely of historic interest, but of historic truth.
I have, in like manner, taken care not to apply to one period the language, forms, or titles of another. In a word, I have essayed thoroughly to reintegrate political facts, details of manners, official forms, languages, and names; so as, by restoring to each period comprised in my narrative its external aspect, its original features, its reality, to communicate to this portion of history the certitude and fixity which are the distinguishing characteristics of the positive sciences.
Ancient tradition informs us that the great island which now bears the name of the united kingdom of England and Scotland, was primitively called the Country of the Green Hills, then the Island of Honey, and thirdly, the Island of Bryt or Edition: current; Page: [ 2 ] Prydyn; 1 the Latinization of the latter term produced the name Britain. From the most remote antiquity, the isle of Prydyn, or Britain, was regarded, by those who visited it, as divided from east to west, into two large unequal portions, of which the Firth of Forth, and the Clyde, constituted the common limit.
The nation of the Cambrians boasted the higher antiquity; it had come in a mass from the eastern extremities of Europe, across the German ocean. A portion of the emigrants had landed on the coast of Gaul; the remainder, disembarking on the opposite shores of the straits Fretum Gallicum, Fretum Morinorum , had colonized Britain, which, say the Cambrian traditions, 2 had previously no other inhabitants than bears and wild cattle, and where, consequently, the colonists established themselves as original occupants of the soil, without opposition, without war, without violence.
This probability is rendered almost matter of fact, by the existence of many names of places altogether foreign to the Cambrian language, and by ruins of an unascertained period, which popular tradition assigns to an extinct race of hunters who employed foxes and wild cats, instead of dogs in the chase. Those who retreated into North Britain, found an impregnable asylum in the lofty mountains which extend from the banks of the Clyde to the extremity of the island, and maintained their position here under the name of Gael or Galls more correctly, Gadhels, Gwyddils , which they still retain.
The wreck of this dispossessed race, augmented, at different periods, by bands of emigrants from Erin, constituted the population of Alben, or the highlands of Britain, a population foreign to that of the plains of the south, and its natural enemy, from the hereditary resentment growing out of the recollection of conquest.
The epoch at which these movements of population took place is uncertain; it was at a later period, but equally unascertained, that, according to the British annals, the men called Logrians landed on the south of the island. These, according to the same annals, emigrated from the south-western coasts of Gaul, and derived their origin from the primitive race of the Cambrians, with whom they could readily converse. After the establishment of this second colony, there came a third band of emigrants, issuing from the same primitive race, and speaking the same language, or, at all events, a dialect very slightly differing from it.
The district which they had previously occupied was the portion of western Gaul comprehended between the Seine and the Loire; these, like the Logrians, obtained lands in Britain with very little difficulty. It is to them that the ancient annals and the national poems especially assign the name of Brython or Briton, which, among foreigners, served to designate Edition: current; Page: [ 4 ] generally all the inhabitants of the island. The precise site on which they settled is not known; but the most probable opinion places them to the north of the Cambrians and Logrians, on the frontier of the Gaelic population, between the Firth of Forth and that of Solway.
These nations of common origin were visited at intervals, either pacifically, or in a hostile manner, by various foreign tribes. A band from that portion of the Gaulish territory now called Flanders, compelled permanently to quit their native country, in consequence of a great inundation, passed the sea in sail-less vessels, and landed on the Isle of Wight and the adjacent coast, first as guests, and then as invaders.
They encountered a determined resistance at the hands of the Logrian-Britons, entrenched behind their war-chariots; but, ere long, thanks to the treachery of the tribes of foreign race, and more especially the Coranians, the Romans, penetrating into the interior of the island, gradually achieved the conquest of the two countries of Logria and Cambria. They left behind them only their wives and young children, who all became Cambrians.
During this sojourn of four centuries, the Romans extended their conquests and their domination over the whole southern portion of the island, up to the foot of the northern mountains which had served as a rampart for the aboriginal population Edition: current; Page: [ 5 ] against the Cambrians. The Roman invasion stopped at the same limit with the British invasion; and the Gael remained a free people throughout the period that their former conquerors were groaning under a foreign yoke.
They more than once drove back the imperial eagles; and their ancient aversion for the inhabitants of Southern Britain grew stronger and stronger amidst the wars which they had to maintain against the Roman governors. Every spring, the men of Alben, or Caledonia, 1 passed the Clyde in boats of osier covered with leather: becoming formidable to the Romans, they obliged the latter to construct, on the limits of their conquest, two immense walls, furnished with towers, and extending from one sea to the other.
The former of these two names appertained to the inhabitants of the island of Erin, which the Romans called indifferently Hibernia or Scotia. The close relationship between the British highlanders and the men of Hibernia, with the frequent emigrations from the one country to the other, had produced this community of name. In northern Britain itself, the term Scots was applied to the inhabitants of the coasts and of the great archipelago of the north-west, and that of Picts to the eastern population on the shores of the German ocean.
The respective territories of these two peoples, or distinct branches of one population, were separated by the Grampian hills, at the foot of which, Gallawg Galgacus , the leading chieftain of the Northern Forests Calyddon , had valiantly combated the imperial legions. The manner of Edition: current; Page: [ 6 ] life of the Scots wholly differed from that of the Picts; the former, dwellers on the mountains, were hunters or wandering shepherds; the latter, enjoying a more level surface, and more fixedly established, occupied themselves in agriculture, and constructed solid abodes, the ruins of which still bear their name.
When these two peoples were not actually leagued together for an irruption into the south, even a friendly understanding ceased at times to exist between them; but on every occasion that presented itself of assailing the common enemy, the two chiefs, one of whom resided at the mouth of the Tay, the other among the lakes of Argyleshire, became brothers, and set up their standards side by side.
The southern Britons and the Roman colonists in their fear and their hate, made no distinction between the Scots and the Picts. Upon the departure of the legions, recalled to defend Rome against the invading Goths, the Britons ceased to recognise the authority of the foreign governors who had been left in charge of their provinces and towns. The form, and even the name of these administrators perished; and in their place arose once more the ancient authority of the chiefs of tribe, which had been abolished by the Romans.
With them, people of the lowest condition committed to memory the whole line of their descent, with a care which, among other nations, was peculiar, in such matters, to the wealthy and exalted. Every Briton, poor as well as rich, had to establish his genealogy, ere he could be admitted to the full enjoyment of his civil rights, or of any property in the district of which he was a native; for each district belonged in original ownership to one particular primitive family, and no man could legally possess any portion of its soil unless he were by descent Edition: current; Page: [ 7 ] a member of that primitive family, become, by gradual extension, a tribe.
Above this singular social order, of which the result was a federation of petty sovereignties, some elective, some hereditary, the Britons, delivered from the Roman authority, raised, for the first time, a high national sovereignty: they created a chief of chiefs, Penteyrn, a king of the country, as their annals express it, whom they made elective. This new institution, which seemed destined to give the people more union and more strength against external aggressions, became, on the contrary, a cause of divisions, of weakness, and, ere long, of subjection. The two great populations who shared the southern portion of the island, respectively asserted the exclusive right of furnishing candidates for the monarchy.
The Cambrians, jealous of this advantage, maintained that the royal authority belonged of right to their race, as the most ancient, as that which had received the others on the soil of Britain.
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To justify this claim, they carried back the origin of the power they sought, far beyond the time of the Roman conquests, attributing its institution to a certain Prydyn, son of Aodd, a Cambrian, who, according to their account, had combined the whole island under one monarchical government, and decreed that this government should for ever remain vested in his nation.
The intervention of the tribes of foreign origin, ever hostile to the two great branches of the British population, encouraged its discords and nourished the intestine war. Under a succession of chiefs, called national, but regularly disowned as such by a portion of the nation, no army was levied to replace the Roman legions which had guarded the frontiers against the invasions of the Gaelish tribes.
Accordingly, amidst the disorders which thus afflicted South Edition: current; Page: [ 8 ] Britain, the Picts and Scots broke down the two great Roman walls, and passed into south Britain, at the same time that other enemies, not less formidable, burst upon the country from the sea.
These were pirates come forth from the coasts and islands along the German ocean, to pillage and then return home laden with booty. When the great ships of Roman construction were forced by tempests back to port, the light vessels of these men of the sea 1 dashed boldly on at full sail, and suddenly attacking the tall ships amid the terror and confusion of the storm, seldom failed to capture them.
Several British tribes made singly great efforts against the enemy, and in a number of engagements defeated their aggressors, both of German and of Gallic race. The inhabitants of the southern coasts, who had frequent communication with the continent, solicited foreign aid; once or twice Roman troops, coming over from Gaul, fought for the Britons, and assisted them in repairing the great walls of Hadrian and Severus. At this period, the dignity of supreme chief of all Britain was in the hands of one Guorteyrn, 5 a Logrian.
On several occasions he assembled around him all the chiefs of the British tribes, in order to take, in concert with them, measures for the defence of the country against the northern invasions. But little union prevailed in these deliberations, and, justly or not, Guorteyrn had many enemies, more especially among the western people, who seldom assented to anything proposed Edition: current; Page: [ 9 ] by the Logrian. The latter, in virtue of his royal preeminence, and by the counsel of several tribes, though without the consent of the Cambrians, 1 suddenly adopted the resolution of introducing into Britain a population of foreign soldiers, who, in consideration of pecuniary subsidies and grants of land, should, in the service of the Britons, carry on the war against the Picts and Scots.
At about the epoch when this decision was formed, a decision which the Cambrians denounced as base and cowardly, chance directed to the shores of Britain three German piratical ships, commanded by two brothers, called Henghist and Horsa, 2 who landed in Kent, on the same promontory where the legions of Rome had formerly disembarked. It would appear that the three vessels had come to Britain on this occasion on a mission, not of piracy, but of trade.
They were of the nation of the Jutes, or, more correctly, Iutes, a nation forming part of a great league of peoples spread over the marshy coasts of the ocean, north of the Elbe, and all designating themselves by the general name of Saxons, or men with the long knives. Such had been the league of the Alamans, or men of men, and that of the Franks, or men rude in fight. There seemed nothing strange in this to men with whom war was a business. They at once promised a considerable body of troops in exchange for the little island of Thanet, 5 formed on the coast of Edition: current; Page: [ 10 ] Kent, on one side by the sea, and on the other by a river with two arms.
Seventeen vessels speedily brought over from the north the new military colony, which divided out its new settlement, and organized itself there according to its national customs, under the command of the two brothers, he promoters of the enterprise. It received from its hosts, the Britons, all the necessaries of life; it fought well and truly for them on several occasions, advancing against the Picts and Scots its standard of the White Horse, emblem of the name of its two leaders; each time, the mountain bands, strong in numbers, but ill armed with long, brittle pikes, fled before the great axes, the national weapon of the Saxon confederation.
Woe to Guorteyrn and his craven councillors. In effect, the good understanding was of no long duration between those who made war and those for whom it was made; the former soon demanded more land, more provisions, and more money than had been stipulated, and menaced, in the event of refusal, to pay themselves by pillage and usurpation.
To render these threats more effective, they called to their aid fresh bands of adventurers, either belonging to their own nation or to other peoples of the Saxon confederation. The emigration continuing, the lands assigned by the Britons no longer sufficed; the bounds agreed upon were violated, and ere long a numerous German population collected upon the coast of Kent. The natives, who at once needed its aid and feared it, treated with it on the footing of nation with nation. On either side there were frequent embassies and fresh treaties, broken almost as soon as concluded. The latter, indeed, did not give way to them unresistingly; they once even drove them back to the seacoast, and compelled them to re-embark; but they soon returned with increased numbers, and with a fiercer determination subdued the country for many miles on the right bank of the Thames, and did not again quit the conquered lands.
One of the two brothers who commanded them was killed in battle; 1 the other, from a mere military chief, became the ruler of a province; 2 and his province, or, to use the customary language, his kingdom, was called the kingdom of the men of Kent; in the Saxon language, Kent-wara-rike. Eighteen years afterwards, a certain Kerdic, 4 followed by the most powerful army that had yet passed the ocean to seek lands in Britain, disembarked on the southern coast, to the west of the south Saxons, and founded a third kingdom, under the name of West Saxony, West-seaxna-rice, more briefly, West-seax.
They called the territory in which they established themselves East Saxony, 1 East-seaxna-rice, East-seax. All these acquisitions were made at the expense of Logria and of the race of Logrian-Britons, who had invited the Saxons to come and dwell beside them. From the moment that the city of London was taken, and the coasts of Logria became Saxon, the kings and chiefs selected to oppose the conquerors were all of the Cambrian race.
Such was the famous Arthur. He defeated the Saxons in numerous battles; but, despite the services he rendered to his people, he had enemies among them, as had been the case with Guorteyrn. The title of king obliged him to draw his sword against the Britons almost as often as against the foreigner, and he was mortally wounded in a battle with his own nephew. He was removed to an island formed by several streams, near Afallach, Insula Avallonia, now Glastonbury, south of the bay into which the Severn discharges itself.
He there died of his wounds, but as it was at the time that the western Saxons invaded this territory, amid the tumult of invasion, no one exactly knew the circumstances of the death of Arthur, or the spot where he was buried. This ignorance surrounded his name with a mysterious celebrity: long after he was no more, his followers still looked for him; the need they felt of the great war chief, who had conquered the Germans, nourished the vain hope of one day seeing him return.
This hope was not abandoned; and for many centuries the nation, which had loved Arthur, did not despair of his recovery and return. The emigration of the inhabitants of the marshes of the Elbe and the neighbouring islands, gave the desire for a Edition: current; Page: [ 13 ] similar emigration to nations situated further east, near the shores of the Baltic sea, and who were then called Anghels, or Angles, Engla, Anglen. After having experimented with petty partial incursions upon the north-east coast of Britain, the entire population of the Angles put itself in motion, under the conduct of a military chief, named Ida, and his twelve sons.
Their numerous vessels came to anchor between the mouths of the Forth and the Tweed. The better to succeed against the Britons of these districts, they formed an alliance with the Picts, and the confederate troops advanced from east to west, striking such terror into the natives, that the king of the Angles received from them the appellation of the flame-man, Flamddwyn.
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