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Beric the Briton : a Story of the Roman Invasion

G. A. Henty

Book Overview: 

My series of stories dealing with the wars of England would be altogether incomplete did it not include the period when the Romans were the masters of the country. The valor with which the natives of this island defended themselves was acknowledged by the Roman historians, and it was only the superior discipline of the invaders that enabled them finally to triumph over the bravery and the superior physical strength of the Britons. The Roman conquest for the time was undoubtedly of immense advantage to the people -- who had previously wasted their energies in perpetual tribal wars -- as it introduced among them the civilization of Rome. In the end, however, it proved disastrous to the islanders, who lost all their military virtues. Having been defended from the savages of the north by the soldiers of Rome, the Britons were, when the legions were recalled, unable to offer any effectual resistance to the Saxons, who, coming under the guise of friendship, speedily became their masters, imposing a yoke infinitely more burdensome than that of Rome, and erasing almost every sign of the civilization that had been engrafted upon them. How far the British population disappeared under the subsequent invasion and the still more oppressive yoke of the Danes is uncertain; but as the invaders would naturally desire to retain the people to cultivate the land for them, it is probable that the great mass of the Britons were not exterminated. It is at any rate pleasant to believe that with the Saxon, Danish, and Norman blood in our veins, there is still a large admixture of that of the warriors who fought so bravely against Caesar, and who rose under Boadicea in a desperate effort to shake off the oppressive rule of Rome.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Beric said, "of men unsuspecting danger. I shall now warn them that they are about to be attacked, and that they are to gather instantly to repel the enemy."

Taking the conch slung over his shoulder Beric applied it to his lips and blew three short notes. The tribesmen ran together; there was, as it seemed to the lookers on, a scene of wild confusion for a minute, and then they were drawn up in companies, each a hundred strong, in regular order. A short blast and a long one, and they moved up together into a mass five deep; a single note, and the spears fell, and an array of glistening points shone in front of them.

A shout of surprise and approval rose from the tribesmen looking on. To them this perfect order and regularity seemed well nigh miraculous.

Beric now advanced to the line. At his order the two rear ranks stepped backwards a few feet, struck their spears in the ground, and then discharged their javelins -- of which each man carrie. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Another enjoyable read from Henty. In this book, you see life in 1st century England, Gaul, and Italy. Plenty of action and enjoyable characters.

I grew up reading G.A. Henty, and I still think that reading his books is one of the best ways to learn history. I particularly love his four Ancient History stories, Beric the Briton probably being my favorite.

Beric the Briton is the story of a young British chief who lives as a hostage for four y

This the story of the career of a young Briton, who has been held hostage by the Romans for five years following a revolt by the tribal leader Caractacus. He uses his time under Roman authority to learn Latin and Roman history and military tactics & discipline. He then applies his knowledge during t

Listening to the audio. Completed 1 cd already...krb 9/13/16

Another wonderful audio by G.A. Henty..krb 9/19/16

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