Druides rebus divinis intersunt, sacrifica publica ac privata procurant, religiones interpretantur: ad hos magnus numerus adulescentium discendi causa concurrit, magnoque hi sunt apud eos honore. nam fere de omnibus controversiis publicis privatisque constituunt, et, si quod facinus admissum est, si caedes facta, si de hereditate, de finibus controversia est, Druides rem decernunt, praemia poenasque constituunt. si quis aut privatus aut publicus eorum decreto non stetit, sacrificiis interdicunt: haec poena apud eos est gravissima. ei quibus ita interdictum est numero impiorum ac scelestorum habentur; eis omnes decedunt, aditum sermonemque fugiunt, ne quid ex contagione incommodi accipiant; neque eis petentibus ius redditur neque honos ullus datur. his autem omnibus Druidibus praeest unus, qui summam inter eos habet auctoritatem. hoc mortuo, aut is qui ex reliquis excellit dignitate succedit, aut, si sunt multi pares, suffragio Druidum, nonnumquam etiam armis, de principatu contendunt. disciplina eorum in Britannia reperta atque inde in Galliam translata esse existimatur, et nunc ei, qui diligentius eam rem cognoscere volunt, plerumque in Britanniam discendi causa proficiscuntur. Druides a bello abesse solent neque tributa una cum reliquis pendunt; militae vacationem omniumque rerum immunitatem habent. Tantis praemiis excitati et sua sponte multi in disciplinam conveniunt et a parentibus propinquisque mittuntur. magnam ibi numerum versuum ediscere dicuntur; itaque nonnulli viginti annos in disciplina permanent. neque fas esse existimant hos versus litteris mandare, cum in reliquis fere rebus Graecis litteris utantur. id mihi duabus de causis instituisse videntur, quod neque in vulgum disciplinam efferri velint, neque eos, qui discunt, litteris confisos minus memoriae studere. in primis hoc volunt persuadere, animas non perire, sed ab allis post mortem transire ad alios, atque hoc maxime homines ad virtutem excitari putant metu mortis neglecto. Multa praeterea de sideribus atque eorum motu, de mundi ac terrarum magnitudine, de rerum natura, de deorum immortalium vi ac potestate disputant et iuventuti tradunt. natio omnis Gallorum est magnopere dedita religionibus, atque ob eam causam ei, qui sunt affecti gravioribus morbis quique in proeliis periculisque versantur, aut pro victimis homines immolant aut se immolaturos esse vovent administrisque ad ea sacrificia Druidibus utuntur, quod, nisi pro vita hominis reddatur hominis vita, non posse deorum immortalium numen placari arbitrantur: publiceque eiusdem generis habent instituta sacrificia. alli simulacra ingenti magnitudine habent, quorum membra viminibus contexta vivis hominibus complent; simulacris incensis homines flamma circumventi pereunt. supplicia eorum qui in furto aut in latrocinio aut aliqua noxia sint comprehensi gratiora deis immortalibus esse arbitrantur; sed, cum copia eius generis defecit, etiam ad innocentium supplicia descendunt. Suetonius igitur Monam insulam, incolis validam et receptaculum perfugarum, aggredi parat: navibus pedites equites vado secuit aut adnates equis transierunt. stabat pro litore diversa acies, densa armis virisque intercursantibus feminis; quae in modum Furiarum veste ferali, crinibus deiectis faces praeferebant; Druidesque circum, preces diras sublatis ad caelum minibus funderntes novitiate aspectus perculerunt milites it wuase haerentibus membris immobile corpus vulnerius praeberent. deinde hortante duce et se ipsi stimulantes ne muliebre et fanatiucm agmen timerent, inferunt signa sternuntque obvios et igni suo incolcunt. praesidium posthac impositum est victis excisique sunt luci superstitionibus sacri: nam Druides cruore captivo adolere aras et hominum fibris consulere deos fas habebant. rex Icenorum Prautagus, divitiis diu clarus, Caesarem heredem duasque filias scripserat, tali obsequio ratus et regnum et domum suam procul iniuria futuram esse. quod contra vertit, adeo ut regnum a centurionibus, domus a servis velut capta vastarentur. iam primum uxor eius Boudica verberata et filiae stupro violatae sunt: principes omnes Icenorum, quasi Romani totam regionem muneri accepissent, avitis bonis exuuntur, et propinqui regis inter servos habebantur. qua contumelia et metu graviorum permoti, quod in formam provinciae cesserant, rapiunt arma; commoti sunt ad rebellionem Trinobantes et qui alii, nondum servitio fracti, recipere libertatem occultis coniurationibus pepigerant. acerrimum in veteranos odium; qui in coloniam Camulodunum nuper deducti pellebant domibus Trinobantes, exturbabant agris, captivos vel servos appellabant; militesque superbiam saevitiamque veteranorum incitabant similitudine vitae et spe eiusdem licentiae. ad hoc, templum divo Claudio exstructum quasi arx aeternae dominationis aspiciebatur, electique sacerdotes specie religionis omnes fortunas suas effundebant. nec difficile videbatur delere coloniam nullis munimentis saeptam; quod ducibus nostris parum provisum erat, cum amoenitati prius quam usui consuluissent. iam Suetonio erant quarta decima legio cum vexillariis vicensimae et e proximis auxiliares, decem ferme milia armatorum: contendere et acie congredi parat. eligitque locum angustis faucibus et a tergo silvis clausum; sciebat enim nihil hostium esse nisi in fronte, et apertam esse planitiem sine metu insidiarum. igitur legionarii instructi sunt frequentes ordinibus, levi armatura circumstante; equites conglobati pro cornibus adstiterunt. at Britannorum copiae passim per catervas et turmas exultabant, tanta multitudo quanta non alias, et animo adeo feroci ut coniuges quoque testes victoriae secum traherent, plaustrisque imponerent quae ad extremam planitiem posuerant. ac primum legio gradu immota et angustiis loci defensa, postquam in appropinquantes hostes certo iactu tela exhauserat, tamquam cuneo erupit. auxiliares quoque impetum faciunt; et equites protentis hastis perfringunt quod obvium et validum erat. ceteri terga praebuerunt, difficili effugio, quia circumiecta plaustra saepserant abitus. et milites ne feminis quidem parcebant, confixaque telis etiam iumenta corporum cumulum auxerant. eo die milites laudem claram et parem antiquis victoriis pepererunt: qippe sunt qui paulo minus quam octoginta milia Britannorum cecidisse tradant, militum quadringentis ferme interfectis nec multo amplius vulneratis. Boudica vitam veneno finivit. The Druids are concerned with sacred things, they attend to public and private sacrifices and they explain religious questions. A great number of young men flock to them to learn and they are held in great honour among them. For they make decisions about nearly all public and private disputes and if any crime has been committed, if any murder has been done, if there is a dispute about inheritance or about boundaries the Druids decide the matter and fix rewards and punishments. If any public or private individual has disobeyed their decree, they ban them from 9sacrifices. This punishment is the most serious one among them. Those who have been banned in the way are reckoned in the number of evil men and criminals. Everyone avoids them and refuses to approach them or talk with them in case they receive some harm from contact with them. Justice is not given to them if they ask for it nor is any honour given to them. But one man is in change of all these Druids, who has supreme authority among them. When this man dies either the man who stands out from the rest in merit succeeds him, or if there are many equals, they compete for the leadership either by vote of the Druids or sometimes even with weapons. The Druids’ training is believed to have been invented in Britain and to have been brought from there to Gaul and now those who want to learn that doctrine more deeply generally set off to Britain to learn. Druids are accustomed to being exempt from warfare and they do not pay taxes together with the rest of the Gauls. They have exemption from military service and freedom from all duties. Attracted by such great rewards many people flock to this training both of their own accord and are sent by their parent and relatives. They are said to learn a great number of verses there by heart; and so, some remain in training for twenty years. They do not think it right to entrust these verses to writing, although in nearly all other things they uses Greek letters. They seem to me to have established that for two reasons: because they do not want their doctrine to be spread amongst the common people and because they do not want those who learn, relying on the written word, to pay less attention to memory. In particular they wish to persuade the people of this: that souls do not die but after death pass from one body to another and from this belief especially they think that men are spurred onto courage, with fear of death disregarded. Moreover, they discuss many things about the stars and their movement, about the size of the universe and the earth, about the nature of things, about the strength and power of the immortal gods and they pass this down to the young people. The entire nation of the Gauls is deeply devoted to religion and because of that reason those who have been affect by more serious illnesses and those who are engaged in battles or dangers either sacrifice men as sacrificial victims or vow that they will sacrifice them and they employ Druids as assistants for these sacrifices because they think that, unless a man’s life is offered up for a man’s life the divine power of the immortal gods cannot be appeased, and they have sacrifices established publicly of this same sort. Some have images of immense size whose limbs, woven from willow branches, they fill with living men. When the images have been set on fire, the men die engulfed in flames. They think that the punishment of those who have been caught in theft or in robbery or in some other offense are more pleasing to the immortal gods but when the supply of that kind of men has run out, they even stoop to the execution of innocent men. Therefore, Suetonius prepared to attack Mona, the island of Anglesey, well supplied with inhabitants and a haven for refugees. The infantry crossed on boats, the cavalry followed in the shallows or swimming next to their horses. The varied battle-line was standing on the shore, close-packed with armed men, with women running about between them, who in funeral clothes, in the manner of Furies, with their hair dishevelled, were brandishing torches, and round about the Druids, with their hands raised to the sky, pouring out terrible curses, overawed our soldiers by the strangeness of the sight so that, as if with paralysed limbs they presented their unmoving bodies to wounds. Then with their general urging them on and they themselves spurring themselves on not to fear a column of women and fanatics, they carried the standards forward and cut down those in their way and enveloped them in their own fire. After this a garrison was imposed on the conquered men and the groves sacred to these savage superstitions were cut down; for the Druids considered it right to make offerings on the altars with the blood of captive and to consult the gods with human intestines. Prasutagus, the king of the Iceni, famous for a long time for his wealth, had made Caesar his heir along with his two daughters, thinking that by such obedience both his kingdom and his home would be far from harm. And this turned out quite the opposite, to such an extent that his kingdom was plundered by the centurions and his home by his slaves, as if it had been captured. Now at first his wife Boudica was beaten and his daughters were violated by rape, all the chiefs of the Iceni, as if the Romans had received the whole region as a gift, were deprived of their ancestral goods and the relatives of the king were treated among the slaves. Alarmed by this humiliation and by fear of more serious things because they had been reduced to the state of a province, they took up arms; the Trinobantes were roused to rebellion and others, who not yet broken by slavery, vowed to recapture their freedom through secret conspiracies. The fiercest hatred was towards the veterans, who, having recently been brought into the colony of Camulodonum, were driving the Trinobantes from their homes, expelling them from their fields and calling them captives or slaves; and the soldiers were encouraging the arrogance and the violence of the veterans, owing to the similarity in their lifestyles and in hope of the same freedom to misbehave. In addition to this the temple constructed to the divine Claudius was regarded as a citadel of eternal domination and the priests who had been chosen were pouring out all of their fortunes under the pretence of religion. Nor did it seem difficult to destroy a colony surrounded by no fortifications. A fact which had been considered too little by our leaders, since they had payed attention to its pleasantness rather than its practicality. Now Suetonius had the fourteenth legion with detachments of the twentieth and auxiliaries from the neighbouring area, almost 10,000 armed men. He prepared to hurry and join battle. And he choose a place with a narrow entrance and closed in from behind by woods; for he knew that there were no enemy except in front of him and that the plain was open with no fear of ambush therefore the legionaries were drawn up densely in their lines, with the light troops surrounding them; the cavalry stood by massed together in front of the wings. But the troops of the Britons were rushing out wildly everywhere through troops of soldiers and cavalry. Such a number as never before and with spirit so fierce that they also dragged their wives along with them as witnesses of their victory and they placed them on the wagons which they had put at the edge of the plane. And now at first the legion, giving no ground and defended by the narrowness of the location, after it had used up its weapons, with accurate throws at the approaching enemy charged in wedge formation. The auxiliaries also made an attack and the cavalry, with their spears stretched forth broke through that which was in their way and strong. The others turned tail but their escape was difficult because the wagons which had been placed around them blocked their escape routes and the soldiers spared not even the women and even the baggage animals, pierced with weapons, had increased the heap of bodies. On that day the soldiers acquired glory which was famous and equal to the victories of old. Indeed, there are those who say that a few less that 80,000 of the Britons had fallen and that about 400 of our soldiers were killed and not many more were wounded, Boudica ended her life with poison.