Chapter 30. [The Druids at Mona Island]
On the opposite shore stood the Britons, close embodied, and prepared
for action. Women were seen running through the ranks in wild disorder; their
apparel funeral; their hair loose to the wind, in their hands flaming torches,
and their whole appearance resembling the frantic rage of the Furies. The
Druids were ranged in order, with hands uplifted, invoking the gods, and
pouring forth horrible imprecations. The novelty of the fight struck the
Romans with awe and terror. They stood in stupid amazement, as if their limbs
were benumbed, riveted to one spot, a mark for the enemy. The exhortations
of the general diffused new vigour through the ranks, and the men, by mutual
reproaches, inflamed each other to deeds of valour. They felt the disgrace
of yielding to a troop of women, and a band of fanatic priests; they advanced
their standards, and rushed on to the attack with impetuous fury.
The Britons perished in the flames, which they themselves had kindled.
The island fell, and a garrison was established to retain it in subjection.
The religious groves, dedicated to superstition and barbarous rites, were
levelled to the ground. In those recesses, the natives [stained] their altars
with the blood of their prisoners, and in the entrails of men explored the
will of the gods. While Suetonius was employed in making his arrangements
to secure the island, he received intelligence that Britain had revolted,
and that the whole province was up in arms.