Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/348

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The Sixth Age

ninth of the calends of September, in the 1164th year from the building of it; the sack of the city lasted six days, at the end of which he quitted it. Lucian, a presbyter, to whom in the seventh year of Honorius, God revealed the spot where were interred the remains of the of first blessed martyr The relics of St. Stephen, &c.Stephen, and of Gamaliel and Nicodemus, of whom we read in the Gospel and in the Acts of the Apostles, wrote an account of that revelation in Greek, and sent it to the head of each of the churches; the presbyter Avitus, a Spaniard by birth, turned it into Latin, and by the presbyter Orosius transmitted it to the western churches;Orosius this same Orosius was sent to the Holy Land by Augustine, to Jerome, to enquire of his soul's welfare, and there he obtained the relics of the blessed Stephen and brought them home with him to the west.

The Britons,[1] dreadfully infested by the Scots and Picts, send to Rome and submissively ask for aid against the enemy: forthwith a legion is sent to them which slew a great multitude of the barbarians, and drove the rest from the British territories; before taking their departure,Another border rampart the Romans persuaded their allies, with a view to repel the enemy, to build a wall from sea to sea across the island; which they accordingly did, but with so little skill, constructing it rather with turf than stone, that it availed them nothing. destroyed by the Picts and Scots.For no sooner had the Romans departed than their old foes returned in their vessels, and slaughtered, trod down, and devoured like standing corn whatever withstood them. At their en-
  1. The distressed state of Britain, the incursions of the Picts and Scots, the building of this new rampart of sods, "and not of stone," its destruction by the northern tribes, the building of the Roman Wall "near the trench of Severus," the final departure of the Romans from Britain, and miserable condition of deserted natives, are all circumstantially narrated by Bede in the 12th Chapter of the first book of his Ecclesiastical History. Gibbon's picture of the state of Britain at this period, sketched with a master's hand, in his 31st Chapter, must be familiar to every one.