The history, therefore, falls into recurring cycles, each of which begins with religious corruption, followed by chastisement, which continues until Yahweh, in answer to the groans of his oppressed people, raises up a "judge" to deliver Israel, and recall them to the true faith.
The supposition that the tree was the source of Christ's crown of thorns gave rise doubtless to the tradition current among the French peasantry that it utters groans and cries on Good Friday, and probably also to the old popular superstition in Great Britain and Ireland that ill-luck attended the uprooting of hawthorns.
He allowed his supporters to suggest the offer of the regal title by putting in circulation an oracle according to which it was destined for a king of Rome to subdue the Parthians, and when at the Lupercalia (15th January 44 B.C.) Antony set the diadem on his head he rejected the offer half-heartedly on account of the groans of the people.
Passing near Mount Caucasus, they heard the groans of Prometheus and the flapping of the wings of the eagle which gnawed his liver.
Thus it is on his sole, though in this instance perhaps trustworthy, testimony that the famous letter rests, said to have been sent to Rome in 446 by the despairing Britons, commencing: - "To Agitius (Aetius), consul for the third time, the groans of the Britons."