Brigands, kind of like a mix between pirates and outlaws, represent the complete opposite of the tranquil and law-abiding pastoral community they destroy. Okay, yes. We think they sound kind of sexy in a Jack Sparrow way too… but in The Faerie Queen they're not.
Interested only in profit, they take the shepherds and shepherdesses away in order to sell them as slaves. Instead of living in a lush and sunny valley like the shepherds, they live in a dark and hidden cave. The threat the brigands pose to the pastoral way of life, however, shows Calidore that the world still needs knight to protect the defenseless, since the shepherds were utterly unable to protect themselves.