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´╗┐Title: History of the Britons (Historia Brittonum)
Author: Nennius, fl. 796
Language: English
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by Nennius

Translated by J. A. Giles


1. Nennius, the lowly minister and servant of the servants of God, by
the grace of God, disciple of St. Elbotus,* to all the followers of
truth sendeth health.

     * Or Elvod, bishop of Bangor, A.D. 755, who first adopted in
     the Cambrian church the new cycle for regulating Easter.

Be it known to your charity, that being dull in intellect and rude of
speech, I have presumed to deliver these things in the Latin tongue, not
trusting to my own learning, which is little or none at all, but partly
from traditions of our ancestors, partly from writings and monuments
of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the
Romans, and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymus,
Prosper, Eusebius, and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons,
although our enemies, not following my own inclinations, but, to the
best of my ability, obeying the commands of my seniors; I have lispingly
put together this history from various sources, and have endeavored,
from shame, to deliver down to posterity the few remaining ears of corn
about past transactions, that they might not be trodden under foot,
seeing that an ample crop has been snatched away already by the hostile
reapers of foreign nations. For many things have been in my way, and I,
to this day, have hardly been able to understand, even superficially, as
was necessary, the sayings of other men; much less was I able in my own
strength, but like a barbarian, have I murdered and defiled the
language of others. But I bore about with me an inward wound, and I
was indignant, that the name of my own people, formerly famous and
distinguished, should sink into oblivion, and like smoke be dissipated.
But since, however, I had rather myself be the historian of the Britons
than nobody, although so many are to be found who might much more
satisfactorily discharge the labour thus imposed on me; I humbly entreat
my readers, whose ears I may offend by the inelegance of my words, that
they will fulfil the wish of my seniors, and grant me the easy task of
listening with candour to my history. For zealous efforts very often
fail: but bold enthusiasm, were it in its power, would not suffer me to
fail. May, therefore, candour be shown where the inelegance of my words
is insufficient, and may the truth of this history, which my rustic
tongue has ventured, as a kind of plough, to trace out in furrows, lose
none of its influence from that cause, in the ears of my hearers. For it
is better to drink a wholesome draught of truth from the humble vessel,
than poison mixed with honey from a golden goblet.

2. And do not be loath, diligent reader, to winnow my chaff, and lay up
the wheat in the storehouse of your memory: for truth regards not who
is the speaker, nor in what manner it is spoken, but that the thing be
true; and she does not despise the jewel which she has rescued from the
mud, but she adds it to her former treasures.

For I yield to those who are greater and more eloquent than myself, who,
kindled with generous ardour, have endeavoured by Roman eloquence to
smooth the jarring elements of their tongue, if they have left unshaken
any pillar of history which I wished to see remain. This history
therefore has been compiled from a wish to benefit my inferiors, not
from envy of those who are superior to me, in the 858th year of our
Lord's incarnation, and in the 24th year of Mervin, king of the Britons,
and I hope that the prayers of my betters will be offered up for me in
recompence of my labour. But this is sufficient by way of preface. I
shall obediently accomplish the rest to the utmost of my power.


Here begins the apology of Nennius, the historiographer of the Britons,
of the race of the Britons.

3. I, Nennius, disciple of St. Elbotus, have endeavoured to write some
extracts which the dulness of the British nation had cast away, because
teachers had no knowledge, nor gave any information in their books about
this island of Britain. But I have got together all that I could find as
well from the annals of the Romans as from the chronicles of the sacred
fathers, Hieronymus, Eusebius, Isidorus, Prosper, and from the annals of
the Scots and Saxons, and from our ancient traditions. Many teachers
and scribes have attempted to write this, but somehow or other have
abandoned it from its difficulty, either on account of frequent deaths,
or the often recurring calamities of war. I pray that every reader
who shall read this book, may pardon me, for having attempted, like a
chattering jay, or like some weak witness, to write these things, after
they had failed. I yield to him who knows more of these things than I


4, 5. From Adam to the flood, are two thousand and forty-two years. From
the flood of Abraham, nine hundred and forty-two. From Abraham to Moses,
six hundred.* From Moses to Solomon, and the first building of the
temple, four hundred and forty-eight. From Solomon to the rebuilding of
the temple, which was under Darius, king of the Persians, six hundred
and twelve years are computed. From Darius to the ministry of our Lord
Jesus Christ, and to the fifteenth year of the emperor Tiberius, are
five hundred and forty-eight years. So that from Adam to the ministry of
Christ and the fifteenth year of the emperor Tiberius, are five thousand
two hundred and twenty-eight years. From the passion of Christ are
completed nine hundred and forty-six; from his incarnation, nine hundred
and seventy-six: being the fifth year of Edmund, king of the Angles.

     * And forty, according to Stevenson's new edition.  The rest
     of this chronology is much contracted in several of the
     manuscripts, and hardly two of them contain it exactly the

6. The first age of the world is from Adam to Noah; the second from Noah
to Abraham; the third from Abraham to David; the fourth from David
to Daniel; the fifth to John the Baptist; the sixth from John to the
judgment, when our Lord Jesus Christ will come to judge the living and
the dead, and the world by fire.

     The first Julius.
     The second Claudius.
     The third Severus.
     The fourth Carinus.
     The fifth Constantius.
     The sixth Maximus.
     The seventh Maximianus.
     The eighth another Severus Aequantius.
     The ninth Constantius.*

     * This list of the Roman emperors who visited Britain, is
     omitted in many of the MSS.

Here beginneth the history of the Britons, edited by Mark the anchorite,
a holy bishop of that people.

7. The island of Britain derives its name from Brutus, a Roman consul.
Taken from the south-west point it inclines a little towards the west,
and to its northern extremity measures eight hundred miles, and is in
breadth two hundred. It contains thirty three cities,(1) viz.

     1. Cair ebrauc (York).
     2. Cair ceint (Canterbury).
     3. Cair gurcoc (Anglesey?).
     4. Cair guorthegern (2)
     5. Cair custeint (Carnarvon).
     6. Cair guoranegon (Worcester).
     7. Cair segeint (Silchester).
     8. Cair guin truis (Norwich, or Winwick).
     9. Cair merdin (Caermarthen).
     10. Cair peris (Porchester).
     11. Cair lion (Caerleon-upon-Usk).
     12. Cair mencipit (Verulam).
     13. Cair caratauc (Catterick).
     14. Cair ceri (Cirencester).
     15. Cair glout (Gloucester).
     16. Cair luillid (Carlisle).
     17. Cair grant (Grantchester, now Cambridge).
     18. Cair daun (Doncaster), or Cair dauri (Dorchester).
     19. Cair britoc (Bristol).
     20. Cair meguaid (Meivod).
     21. Cair mauiguid (Manchester).
     22. Cair ligion (Chester).
     23. Cair guent (Winchester, or Caerwent, in Monmouthshire).
     24. Cair collon (Colchester, or St. Colon, Cornwall).
     25. Cair londein (London).
     26. Cair guorcon (Worren, or Woran, in Pembrokeshire).
     27. Cair lerion (Leicester).
     28. Cair draithou (Drayton).
     29. Cair pensavelcoit (Pevensey, in Sussex).
     30. Cairtelm (Teyn-Grace, in Devonshire).
     31. Cair Urnahc (Wroxeter, in Shropshire).
     32. Cair colemion (Camelet, in Somersetshire).
     33. Cair loit coit (Lincoln).
     (1) V.R. Twenty-eight, twenty-one.
     (2) Site unknown.

These are the names of the ancient cities of the island of Britain. It
has also a vast many promontories, and castles innumerable, built of
brick and stone. Its inhabitants consist of four different people; the
Scots, the Picts, the Saxons and the ancient Britons.

8. Three considerable islands belong to it; one, on the south, opposite
the Armorican shore, called Wight;* another between Ireland and Britain,
called Eubonia or Man; and another directly north, beyond the Picts,
named Orkney; and hence it was anciently a proverbial expression, in
reference to its kings and rulers, "He reigned over Britain and its
three islands."

     * Inis-gueith, or Gueith.

6. It is fertilized by several rivers, which traverse it in all
directions, to the east and west, to the south and north; but there
are two pre-eminently distinguished among the rest, the Thames and the
Severn, which formerly, like the two arms of Britain, bore the ships
employed in the conveyance of riches acquired by commerce. The Britons
were once very populous, and exercised extensive dominion from sea to

10.* Respecting the period when this island became inhabited
subsequently to the flood, I have seen two distinct relations. According
to the annals of the Roman history, the Britons deduce their origin both
from the Greeks and Romans. On the side of the mother, from Lavinia, the
daughter of Latinus, king of Italy, and of the race of Silvanus, the son
of Inachus, the son of Dardanus; who was the son of Saturn, king of the
Greeks, and who, having possessed himself of a part of Asia, built the
city of Troy. Dardanus was the father of Troius, who was the father
of Priam and Anchises; Anchises was the father of Aeneas, who was the
father of Ascanius and Silvius; and this Silvius was the son of Aeneas
and Lavinia, the daughter of the king of Italy. From the sons of Aeneas
and Lavinia descended Romulus and Remus, who were the sons of the
holy queen Rhea, and the founders of Rome. Brutus was consul when
he conquered Spain, and reduced that country to a Roman province. He
afterwards subdued the island of Britain, whose inhabitants were
the descendants of the Romans, from Silvius Posthumus. He was called
Posthumus because he was born after the death of Aeneas his father; and
his mother Lavinia concealed herself during her pregnancy; he was called
Silvius, because he was born in a wood. Hence the Roman kings were
called Silvan, and the Britons from Brutus, and rose from the family of

     * The whole of this, as far as the end of the paragraph, is
     omitted in several MSS.

Aeneas, after the Trojan war, arrived with his son in Italy; and Having
vanquished Turnus, married Lavinia, the daughter of king Latinus, who
was the son of Faunus, the son of Picus, the son of Saturn. After the
death of Latinus, Aeneas obtained the kingdom Of the Romans, and Lavinia
brought forth a son, who was named Silvius. Ascanius founded Alba, and
afterwards married. And Lavinia bore to Aeneas a son, named Silvius;
but Ascanius (1) married a wife, who conceived and became pregnant.
And Aeneas, having been informed that his daughter-in-law was pregnant,
ordered his son to send his magician to examine his wife, whether the
child conceived were male or female. The magician came and examined the
wife and pronounced it to be a son, who should become the most valiant
among the Italians, and the most beloved of all men. (2) In consequence
of this prediction, the magician was put to death by Ascanius; but it
happened that the mother of the child dying at its birth, he was named
Brutus; ad after a certain interval, agreeably to what the magician had
foretold, whilst he was playing with some others he shot his father with
an arrow, not intentionally but by accident. (3) He was, for this cause,
expelled from Italy, and came to the islands of the Tyrrhene sea, when
he was exiled on account of the death of Turnus, slain by Aeneas. He
then went among the Gauls, and built the city of the Turones, called
Turnis. (4) At length he came to this island named from him Britannia,
dwelt there, and filled it with his own descendants, and it has been
inhabited from that time to the present period.

     (1) Other MSS. Silvius.

     (2) V.R. Who should slay his father and mother, and be hated
     by all mankind.

     (3) V.R. He displayed such superiority among his play-
     fellows, that they seemed to consider him as their chief.

     (4) Tours.

11. Aeneas reigned over the Latins three years; Ascanius thirty
three years; after whom Silvius reigned twelve years, and Posthumus
thirty-nine * years: the latter, from whom the kings of Alba are called
Silvan, was brother to Brutus, who governed Britain at the time Eli the
high-priest judged Israel, and when the ark of the covenant was taken by
a foreign people. But Posthumus his brother reigned among the Latins. *
V.R. Thirty-seven.

12. After an interval of not less than eight hundred years, came the
Picts, and occupied the Orkney Islands: whence they laid waste many
regions, and seized those on the left hand side of Britain, where they
still remain, keeping possession of a third part of Britain to this
day. *

     * See Bede's Eccles. Hist.

13. Long after this, the Scots arrived in Ireland from Spain. The first
that came was Partholomus,(1) with a thousand men and women; these
increased to four thousand; but a mortality coming suddenly upon them,
they all perished in one week. The second was Nimech, the son of...,(2)
who, according to report, after having been at sea a year and a half,
and having his ships shattered, arrived at a port in Ireland, and
continuing there several years, returned at length with his followers
to Spain. After these came three sons of a Spanish soldier with thirty
ships, each of which contained thirty wives; and having remained there
during the space of a year, there appeared to them, in the middle of the
sea, a tower of glass, the summit of which seemed covered with men, to
whom they often spoke, but received no answer. At length they determined
to besiege the tower; and after a year's preparation, advanced towards
it, with the whole number of their ships, and all the women, one ship
only excepted, which had been wrecked, and in which were thirty men,
and as many women; but when all had disembarked on the shore which
surrounded the tower, the sea opened and swallowed them up. Ireland,
however, was peopled, to the present period, from the family remaining
in the vessel which was wrecked. Afterwards, other came from Spain, and
possessed themselves of various parts of Britain.

     (1) V.R. Partholomaeus, or Bartholomaeus.

     (2) A blank is here in the MS.  Agnomen is found in some of
     the others.

14. Last of all came one Hoctor,(1) who continued there, and whose
descendants remain there to this day. Istoreth, the son of Istorinus,
with his followers, held Dalrieta; Buile had the island Eubonia, and
other adjacent places. The sons of Liethali(2) obtained the country of
the dimetae, where is a city called Menavia,(3) and the province Guiher
and Cetgueli, (4) which they held till they were expelled from every
part of Britain, by Cunedda and his sons.

     (1) V.R. Damhoctor, Clamhoctor, and Elamhoctor.

     (2) V.R. Liethan, Bethan, Vethan.

     (3) St. David's.

     (4) Guiher, probably the Welsh district Gower.  Cetgueli is
     Caer Kidwelly, in Carmarthenshire.

15. According to the most learned among the Scots, if any one desires
to learn what I am now going to state, Ireland was a desert, and
uninhabited, when the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, in which,
as we read in the Book of the Law, the Egyptians who followed them were
drowned. At that period, there lived among this people, with a numerous
family, a Scythian of noble birth, who had been banished from his
country and did not go to pursue the people of God. The Egyptians who
were left, seeing the destruction of the great men of their nation, and
fearing lest he should possess himself of their territory, took counsel
together, and expelled him. Thus reduced, he wandered forty-two years in
Africa, and arrived, with his family, at the altars of the Philistines,
by the Lake of Osiers. Then passing between Rusicada and the hilly
country of Syria, they travelled by the river Malva through Mauritania
as far as the Pillars of Hercules; and crossing the Tyrrhene Sea, landed
in Spain, where they continued many years, having greatly increased and
multiplied. Thence, a thousand and two years after the Egyptians were
lost in the Red Sea, they passed into Ireland, and the district of
Dalrieta.* At that period, Brutus, who first exercised the consular
office, reigned over the Romans; and the state, which before was
governed by regal power, was afterwards ruled, during four hundred and
forty-seven years, by consuls, tribunes of the people, and dictators.

     * North-western part of Antrim in Ulster.

The Britons came to Britain in the third age of the world; and in the
fourth, the Scots took possession of Ireland.

The Britons who, suspecting no hostilities, were unprovided with the
means of defence, were unanimously and incessantly attacked, both by the
Scots from the west, and by the Picts from the north. A long interval
after this, the Romans obtained the empire of the world.

16. From the first arrival of the Saxons into Britain, to the fourth
year of king Mermenus, are computed four hundred and twenty eight years;
from the nativity of our Lord to the coming of St. Patrick among the
Scots, four hundred and five years; from the death of St. Patrick to
that of St. Bridget, forty years; and from the birth of Columeille(1) to
the death of St Bridget four years.(2)

     (1) V.R. Columba.

     (2) Some MSS. add, the beginning of the calculation is 23
     cycles of 19 years from the incarnation of our Lord to the
     arrival of St. Patrick in Ireland, and they make 438 years.
     And from the arrival of St. Patrick to the cycle of 19 years
     in which we live are 22 cycles, which make 421 years.

17. I have learned another account of this Brutus from the ancient books
of our ancestors.* After the deluge, the three sons of Noah severally
occupied three different parts of the earth: Shem extended his borders
into Asia, Ham into Africa, and Japheth in Europe.

     * This proves the tradition of Brutus to be older than
     Geoffrey or Tyssilio, unless these notices of Brutus have
     been interpolated in the original work of Nennius.

The first man that dwelt in Europe was Alanus, with his three sons,
Hisicion, Armenon, and Neugio. Hisicion had four sons, Francus, Romanus,
Alamanus, and Brutus. Armenon had five sons, Gothus, Valagothus,
Cibidus, Burgundus, and Longobardus. Neugio had three sons, Vandalus,
Saxo, and Boganus. From Hisicion arose four nations--the Franks, the
Latins, the Germans, and Britons: from Armenon, the Gothi, Balagothi,
Cibidi, Burgundi, and Longobardi: from Neugio, the Bogari, Vandali,
Saxones, and Tarinegi. The whole of Europe was subdivided into these

Alanus is said to have been the son of Fethuir;* Fethuir, the son of
Ogomuin, who was the son of Thoi; Thoi was the son of Boibus, Boibus
of Semion, Semion of Mair, Mair of Ecthactus, Ecthactus of Aurthack,
Aurthack of Ethec, Ethec of Ooth, Ooth of Aber, Aber of Ra, Ra of Esraa,
Esraa of Hisrau, Hisrau of Bath, Bath of Jobath, Jobath of Joham, Joham
of Japheth, Japheth of Noah, Noah of Lamech, Lamech of Mathusalem,
Mathusalem of Enoch, Enoch of Jared, Jared of Malalehel, Malalehel of
Cainan, Cainan of Enos, Enos of Seth, Seth of Adam, and Adam was formed
by the living God. We have obtained this information respecting the
original inhabitants of Britain from ancient tradition.

     * This genealogy is different in almost all the MSS.

18. The Britons were thus called from Brutus: Brutus was the son of
Hisicion, Hisicion was the son of Alanus, Alanus was the son of Rhea
Silvia, Fhea Silvia was the daughter of Numa Pompilius, Numa was the son
of Ascanius, Ascanius of Eneas, Eneas of Anchises, Anchises of Troius,
Troius of Dardanus, Dardanus of Flisa, Flisa of Juuin, Juuin of Japheth;
but Japheth had seven sons; from the first named Gomer, descended the
Galli; from the second, Magog, the Scythi and Gothi; from the third,
Madian, the Medi; from the fourth, Juuan, the Greeks; from the fifth,
Tubal, arose the Hebrei, Hispani, and Itali; from the sixth, Mosoch,
sprung the Cappadoces; and from the seventh, named Tiras, descended
the Thraces: these are the sons of Japheth, the son of Noah, the son of

19.* The Romans, having obtained the dominion of the world, sent legates
or deputies to the Britons to demand of them hostages and tribute, which
they received from all other countries and islands; but they, fierce,
disdainful, and haughty, treated the legation with contempt.

     * Some MSS. add, I will now return to the point from which I
     made this digression.

Then Julius Caesar, the first who had acquired absolute power at Rome,
highly incensed against the Britons, sailed with sixty vessels to the
mouth of the Thames, where they suffered shipwreck whilst he fought
against Dolobellus, (the proconsul of the British king, who was called
Belinus, and who was the son of Minocannus who governed all the islands
of the Tyrrhene Sea), and thus Julius Caesar returned home without
victory, having had his soldiers Slain, and his ships shattered.

20. But after three years he again appeared with a large army, and three
hundred ships, at the mouth of the Thames, where he renewed hostilities.
In this attempt many of his soldiers and horses were killed; for the
same consul had placed iron pikes in the shallow part of the river, and
this having been effected with so much skill and secrecy as to escape
the notice of the Roman soldiers, did them considerable injury; thus
Caesar was once more compelled to return without peace or victory. The
Romans were, therefore, a third time sent against the Britons; and under
the command of Julius, defeated them near a place called Trinovantum
(London), forty-seven years before the birth of Christ, and five
thousand two hundred and twelve years from the creation.

Julius was the first exercising supreme power over the Romans who
invaded Britain: in honour of him the Romans decreed the fifth month to
be called after his name. He was assassinated in the Curia, in the ides
of March, and Octavius Augustus succeeded to the empire of the world. He
was the only emperor who received tribute from the Britons, according
to the following verse of Virgil: "Purpurea intexti tollunt aulaea

21. The second after him, who came into Britain, was the emperor
Claudius, who reigned forty-seven years after the birth of Christ. He
carried with him war and devastation; and, though not without loss of
men, he at length conquered Britain. He next sailed to the Orkneys,
which he likewise conquered, and afterwards rendered tributary. No
tribute was in his time received from the Britons; but it was paid
to British emperors. He reigned thirteen years and eight months. His
monument is to be seen at Moguntia (among the Lombards), where he died
in his way to Rome.

22. After the birth of Christ, one hundred and sixty-seven years, king
Lucius, with all the chiefs of the British people, received baptism,
in consequence of a legation sent by the Roman emperors and pope

     * V.R. Eucharistus.  A marginal note in the Arundel MS.
     adds, "He is wrong, because the first year of Evaristus was
     A.D. 79, whereas the first year of Eleutherius, whom he
     ought to have named, was A.D. 161."  Usher says, that in one
     MS. of Nennius he found the name of Eleutherius.

23. Severus was the third emperor who passed the sea to Britain, where,
to protect the provinces recovered from barbaric incursions, he ordered
a wall and a rampart to be made between the Britons, the Scots, and
the Picts, extending across the island from sea to sea, in length one
hundred and thirty-three miles: and it is called in the British language
Gwal.* Moreover, he ordered it to be made between the Britons, and the
Picts and Scots; for the Scots from the west, and the Picts from the
north, unanimously made war against the Britons; but were at peace among
themselves. Not long after Severus dies in Britain.

     *Or, the Wall.  One MS. here adds, "The above-mentioned
     Severus constructed it of rude workmanship in length 132
     miles; i.e. from Penguaul, which village is called in
     Scottish Cenail, in English Peneltun, to the mouth of the
     river Cluth and Cairpentaloch, where this wall terminates;
     but it was of no avail.  The emperor Carausius afterwards
     rebuilt it, and fortified it with seven castles between the
     two mouths: he built also a round house of polished stones
     on the banks of the river Carun (Carron): he likewise
     erected a triumphal arch, on which he inscribed his own name
     in memory of his victory."

24. The fourth was the emperor and tyrant, Carausius, who, incensed at
the murder of Severus, passed into Britain, and attended by the leaders
of the Roman people, severely avenged upon the chiefs and rulers of the
Britons, the cause of Severus.*

     * This passage is corrupt, the meaning is briefly given in
     the translation.

25. The fifth was Constantius the father of Constantine the Great. He
died in Britain; his sepulchre, as it appears by the inscription on his
tomb, is still seen near the city named Cair segont (near Carnarvon).
Upon the pavement of the above-mentioned city he sowed three seeds of
gold, silver and brass, that no poor person might ever be found in it.
It is also called Minmanton.*

     * V.R. Mirmantum, Mirmantun, Minmanto, Minimantone.  The
     Segontium of Antoninus, situated on a small river named
     Seiont, near Carnarvon.

26. Maximianus(1) was the sixth emperor that ruled in Britain. It was in
his time that consuls(2) began, and that the appellation of Caesar was
discontinued: at this period also, St. Martin became celebrated for his
virtues and miracles, and held a conversation with him.

     (1) This is an inaccuracy of Nennius; Maximus and Maximianus
     were one and the same person; or rather no such person as
     Maximianus ever reigned in Britain. (2) Geoffrey of Monmouth
     gives the title of consul to several British generals who
     lived after this time.  It is not unlikely that the town,
     name, and dignity, still lingered in the provinces after the
     Romans were gone, particularly as the cities of Britain
     maintained for a time a species of independence.

27. The seventh emperor was Maximus. He withdrew from Britain with all
his military force, slew Gratian, the king of the Romans, and obtained
the sovereignty of all Europe. Unwilling to send back his warlike
companions to their wives, children, and possessions in Britain, he
conferred upon them numerous districts from the lake on the summit of
Mons Jovis, to the city called Cant Guic, and to the western Tumulus,
that is, to Cruc Occident.* These are the Armoric Britons, and they
remain there to the present day. In consequence of their absence,
Britain being overcome by foreign nations, the lawful heirs were cast
out, till God interposed with his assistance. We are informed by the
tradition of our ancestors that seven emperors went into Britain, though
the Romans affirm there were nine.

     * This district, in modern language, extended from the great
     St. Bernard in Piedmont to Cantavic in Picardy, and from
     Picardy to the western coast of France.

28. Thus, aggreeably to the account given by the Britons, the Romans
governed them four hundred and nine years.

After this, the Britons despised the authority of the Romans, equally
refusing to pay them tribute, or to receive their kings; nor durst the
Romans any longer attempt the government of a country, the natives of
which massacred their deputies.

29. We must now return to the tyrant Maximus. Gratian, with his brother
Valentinian, reigned seven years. Ambrose, bishop of Milan, was then
eminent for his skill in the dogmata of the Catholics. Valentinianus
and Theodosius reigned eight years. At that time a synod was held at
Constantinople, attended by three hundred and fifty of the fathers,
and in which all heresies were condemned. Jerome, the presbyter of
Bethlehem, was then universally celebrated. Whilst Gratian exercised
supreme dominion over the world, Maximus, in a sedition of the soldiers,
was saluted emperor in Britain, and soon after crossed the sea to Gaul.
At Paris, by the treachery of Mellobaudes, his master of the horse,
Gratian was defeated and fleeing to Lyons, was taken and put to death;
Maximus afterwards associated his son victor in the government.

Martin, distinguished for his great virtues, was at this period bishop
of Tours. After a considerable space of time, Maximus was divested of
royal power by the consuls Valentinianus and Theodosius, and sentenced
to be beheaded at the third mile-stone from Aquileia: in the same year
also his son Victor was killed in Gaul by Arbogastes, five thousand six
hundred and ninety years from the creation of the world.

30. Thrice were the Roman deputies put to death by the Britons, and yet
these, when harassed by the incursions of the barbarous nations, viz. Of
the Scots and Picts, earnestly solicited the aid of the Romans. To
give effect to their entreaties, ambassadors were sent, who made their
entrance with impressions of deep sorrow, having their heads covered
with dust, and carrying rich presents, to expiate the murder of the
deputies. They were favourably received by the consuls, and swore
submission to the Roman yoke, with whatever severity it might be

The Romans, therefore, came with a powerful army to the assistance of
the Britons; and having appointed over them a ruler, and settled the
government, returned to Rome: and this took place alternately during the
space of three hundred and forty-eight years. The Britons, however, from
the oppression of the empire, again massacred The Roman deputies,
and again petitioned for succour. Once more the Romans undertook
the government of the Britons, and assisted them in repelling their
neighbours; and, after having exhausted the country of its gold, silver,
brass, honey, and costly vestments, and having besides received rich
gifts, they returned in great triumph to Rome.

31. After the above-said war between the Britons and Romans, the
assassination of their rulers, and the victory of Maximus, who slew
Gratian, and the termination of the Roman power in Britain, they were in
alarm forty years.

Vortigern then reigned in Britain. In his time, the natives had cause of
dread, not only from the inroads of the Scots and Picts, but also from
the Romans, and their apprehensions of Ambrosius.*

     * These words relate evidently to some cause of dispute
     between the Romans, Ambrosius, and Vortigern.  Vortigern is
     said to have been sovereign of the Dimetae, and Ambrosius
     son to the king of the Damnonii.  The latter was half a
     Roman by descent, and naturally supported the Roman
     interest: the former was entirely a Briton, and as naturally
     seconded by the original Britons.

In the meantime, three vessels, exiled from Germany, arrived in
Britain. They were commanded by Horsa and Hengist, brothers, and sons of
Wihtgils. Wihtgils was the son of Witta; Witta of Wecta; Wecta of Woden;
Woden of Frithowald; Frithowald of Frithuwulf; Frithuwulf of Finn; Finn
of Godwulf; Godwulf of Geat, who, as they say, was the son of a god,
not(1) of the omnipotent God and our Lord Jesus Christ (who before
the beginning of the world, was with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
co-eternal and of the same substance, and who, in compassion to
human nature, disdained not to assume the form of a servant), but the
offspring of one of their idols, and whom, blinded by some demon, they
worshipped according to the custom of the heathen. Vortigern received
them as friends, and delivered up to them the island which is in
their language called Thanet, and, by the Britons, Ruym.(2) Gratianus
Aequantius at that time reigned in Rome. The Saxons were received by
Vortigern, four hundred and forty-seven years after the passion of
Christ, and,(3) according to the tradition of our ancestors, from the
period of their first arrival in Britain, to the first year of the reign
of king Edmund, five hundred and forty-two years; and to that in
which we now write, which is the fifth of his reign, five hundred and
forty-seven years.

     (1) V.R. not the God of gods, the Amen, the Lord of Hosts,
     but one of their idols which they worshipped.

     (2) Sometimes called Ruoichin, Ruith-in, or "river island,"
     separated from the rest of Kent and the mainland of Britain
     by the estuary of the Wantsum, which, though now a small
     brook, was formerly navigable for large vessels, and in
     Bede's time was three stadia broad, and fordable only at two

     (3) The rest of this sentence is omitted in some of the MSS.

32. At that time St. Germanus, distinguished for his numerous virtues,
came to preach in Britain: by his ministry many were saved; but many
likewise died unconverted. Of the various miracles which God enabled
him to perform, I shall here mention only a few: I shall first advert
to that concerning an iniquitous and tyrannical king, named Benlli.* The
holy man, informed of his wicked conduct, hastened to visit him, for the
purpose of remonstrating him. When the man of God, with his attendants,
arrived at the gate of the city, they were respectfully received by the
keeper of it, who came out and saluted them. Him they commissioned to
communicate their intention to the king, who returned a harsh answer,
declaring, with an oath, that although they remained there a year, they
should not enter the city. While waiting for an answer, the evening came
on, and they knew not where to go. At length, came one of the king's
servants, who bowing himself before the man of God, announced the words
of the tyrant, inviting them, at the same time, to his own house, to
which they went, and were kindly received. It happened, however, that he
had no cattle, except one cow and a calf, the latter of which, urged by
generous hospitality to his guests, he killed, dressed and set before
them. But holy St. Germanus ordered his companions not to break a bone
of the calf; and, the next morning, it was found alive uninjured, and
standing by its mother.

     * King of Powys.  V.R. Benli in the district of Ial (in
     Derbyshire); in the district of Dalrieta; Belinus; Beluni;
     and Benty.

33. Early the same day, they again went to the gate of the city, to
solicit audience of the wicked king; and, whilst engaged in fervent
prayer they were waiting for admission, a man, covered with sweat, came
out, and prostrated himself before them. Then St. Germanus, addressing
him, said "Dost thou believe in the Holy Trinity?" To which the man
having replied, "I do believe," he baptized, and kissed him, saying, "Go
in peace; within this hour thou shalt die: the angels of God are waiting
for thee in the air; with them thou shalt ascent to that God in whom
thou has believed." He, overjoyed, entered the city, and being met by
the prefect, was seized, bound, and conducted before the tyrant, who
having passed sentence upon him, he was immediately put to death; for it
was a law of this wicked king, that whoever was not at his labour before
sun-rising should be beheaded in the citadel. In the meantime, St.
Germanus, with his attendants, waited the whole day before the gate,
without obtaining admission to the tyrant.

34. The man above-mentioned, however, remained with them. "Take care,"
said St. Germanus to him, "that none of your friends remain this night
within these walls." Upon this he hastily entered the city, brought out
his nine sons, and with them retired to the house where he had exercised
such generous hospitality. Here St. Germanus ordered them to continue,
fasting; and when the gates were shut, "Watch," said he, "and whatever
shall happen in the citadel, turn not thither your eyes; but pray
without ceasing, and invoke the protection of the true God." And,
behold, early in the night, fire fell from heaven, and burned the
city, together with all those who were with the tyrant, so that not one
escaped; and that citadel has never been rebuilt even to this day.

35. The following day, the hospitable man who had been converted by
the preaching of St. Germanus, was baptized, with his sons, and all the
inhabitants of that part of the country; and St. Germanus blessed him,
saying, "a king shall not be wanting of thy seed for ever." The name of
this person is Catel Drunlue:* "from henceforward thou shalt be a
king all the days of thy life." Thus was fulfilled the prophecy of the
Psalmist: "He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the
needy out of the dunghill." And agreeably to the prediction of St.
Germanus, from a servant he became a king: all his sons were kings, and
from their offspring the whole country of Powys has been governed to
this day.

     * Or Cadell Deyrnllug, prince of the Vale Royal and the
     upper part of Powys.

36. After the Saxons had continued some time in the island of Thanet,
Vortigern promised to supply them with clothing and provision, on
condition they would engage to fight against the enemies of his country.
But the barbarians having greatly increased in number, the Britons
became incapable of fulfilling their engagement; and when the Saxons,
according to the promise they had received, claimed a supply of
provisions and clothing, the Britons replied, "Your number is increased;
your assistance is now unneccessary; you may, therefore, return home,
for we can no longer support you;" and hereupon they began to devise
means of breaking the peace between them.

37. But Hengist, in whom united craft and penetration, perceiving he
had to act with an ignorant king, and a fluctuating people, incapable of
opposing much resistance, replied to Vortigern, "We are, indeed, few in
number; but, if you will give us leave, we will send to our country for
an additional number of forces, with whom we will fight for you and
your subjects." Vortigern assenting to this proposal, messengers were
despatched to Scythia, where selecting a number of warlike troops, they
returned with sixteen vessels, bringing with them the beautiful daughter
of Hengist. And now the Saxon chief prepared an entertainment, to which
he invited the king, his officers, and Ceretic, his interpreter, having
previously enjoined his daughter to serve them so profusely with wine
and ale, that they might soon become intoxicated. This plan succeeded;
and Vortigern, at the instigation of the devil, and enamoured with
the beauty of the damsel, demanded her, through the medium of his
interpreter, of the father, promising to give for her whatever he
should ask. Then Hengist, who had already consulted with the elders
who attended him of the Oghgul(1) race, demanded for his daughter the
province, called in English, Centland, in British, Ceint, (Kent.) This
cession was made without the knowledge of the king, Guoyrancgonus,(2)
who then reigned in Kent, and who experienced no inconsiderable share
of grief, from seeing his kingdom thus clandestinely, fraudulently, and
imprudently resigned to foreigners. Thus the maid was delivered up to
the king, who slept with her, and loved her exceedingly.

     (1) V.R. Who had come with him from the island of Oghgul,
     Oehgul (or Tingle), Angul.  According to Gunn, a small
     island in the duchy of Sleswick in Denmark, now called
     Angel, of which Flensburg is the metropolis.  Hence the
     origin of the Angles.

     (2) V.R. Gnoiram cono, Goiranegono, Guiracgono.  Malmesbury,
     Gorongi; Camden, Guorong, supposed to mean governor, or

38. Hengist, after this, said to Vortigern, "I will be to you both a
father and an adviser; despise not my counsels, and you shall have no
reason to fear being conquered by any man or any nation whatever;
for the people of my country are strong, warlike, and robust: if you
approve, I will send for my son and his brother, both valiant men, who
at my invitation will fight against the Scots, and you can give them the
countries in the north, near the wall called Gual."(1) The incautious
sovereign having assented to this, Octa and Ebusa arrived with forty
ships. In these they sailed round the country of the Picts, laid waste
the Orkneys, and took possession of many regions, even to the Pictish

     (1) Antoninus's wall.

     (2) Some MSS. add, "beyond the Frenesic, Fresicum (or
     Fresic) sea," i.e. which is between us and the Scotch.  The
     sea between Scotland and Ireland.  Camden translates it
     "beyond the Frith;" Langhorne says, "Solway Frith."

But Hengist continued, by degrees, sending for ships from his own
country, so that some islands whence they came were left without
inhabitants; and whilst his people were increasing in power and number,
they came to the above-named province of Kent.

39. In the meantime, Vortigern, as if desirous of adding to the evils he
had already occasioned, married his own daughter, by whom he had a son.
When this was made known to St. Germanus, he came, with all the
British clergy, to reprove him: and whilst a numerous assembly of the
ecclesiastics and laity were in consultation, the weak king ordered his
daughter to appear before them, and in the presence of all to present
her son to St. Germanus, and declare that he was the father of the
child. The immodest* woman obeyed; and St. Germanus, taking the child,
said, "I will be a father to you, my son; nor will I dismiss you till
a razor, scissors, and comb, are given to me, and it is allowed you to
give them to your carnal father." The child obeyed St. Germanus, and
going to his father Vortigern, said to him, "Thou art my father; shave
and cut the hair of my head." The king blushed, and was silent; and,
without replying to the child, arose in great anger, and fled from the
presence of St. Germanus, execrated and condemned by the whole synod.

     (1) V.R. "Immodest" is omitted in some MSS.

40. But soon after, calling together his twelve wise men, to consult
what was to be done, they said to him, "Retire to the remote boundaries
of your kingdom; there build and fortify a city(1) to defend yourself,
for the people you have received are treacherous; they are seeking to
subdue you by stratagem, and, even during your life, to seize upon all
the countries subject to your power, how much more will they attempt,
after your death!" The king, pleased with this advice, departed with his
wise men, and travelled through many parts of his territories, in search
of a place convenient for the purpose of building a citadel. Having, to
no purpose, travelled far and wide, they came at length to a province
called Guenet;(2) and having surveyed the mountains of Heremus,(3) they
discovered, on the summit of one of them, a situation, adapted to the
construction of a citadel. Upon this, the wise men said to the king,
"Build here a city: for, in this place, it will ever be secure against
the barbarians." Then the king sent for artificers, carpenters,
stone-masons, and collected all the materials requisite to building; but
the whole of these disappeared in one night, so that nothing remained
of what had been provided for the constructing of the citadel. Materials
were, therefore, from all parts, procured a second and third time,
and again vanished as before, leaving and rendering every effort
ineffectual. Vortigern inquired of his wise men the cause of this
opposition to his undertaking, and of so much useless expense of labour?
They replied, "You must find a child born without a father, put him to
death, and sprinkle with his blood the ground on which the citadel is to
be built, or you will never accomplish your purpose."

     (1) V.R. You shall find a fortified city in which you may
     defend yourself.

     (2) V.R. Guined, Guoienet, Guenez, North Wales.

     (3) V.R. Heremi, Heriri, or Eryri, signifying eagle rocks,
     the mountains of Snowdon, in Carnarvonshire.  The spot
     alluded to is supposed to be Dinas Emrys, or the fortress of

41. In consequence of this reply, the king sent messengers throughout
Britain, in search of a child born without a father. After having
inquired in all the provinces, they came to the field of Aelecti,(1)
in the district of Glevesing,(2) where a party of boys were playing at
ball. And two of them quarrelling, one said to the other, "O boy without
a father, no good will ever happen to you." Upon this, the messengers
diligently inquired of the mother and the other boys, whether he had
had a father? Which his mother denied, saying, "In what manner he was
conceived I know not, for I have never had intercourse with any man;"
and then she solemnly affirmed that he had no mortal father. The boy
was, therefore, led away, and conducted before Vortigern the king.

     (1) V.R. Elleti, Electi, Gleti.  Supposed to be Bassalig in

     (2) The district between the Usk and Rumney, in

42. A meeting took place the next day for the purpose of putting him to
death. Then the boy said to the king, "Why have your servants brought me
hither?" "That you may be put to death," replied the king, "and that
the ground on which my citadel is to stand, may be sprinkled with your
blood, without which I shall be unable to build it." "Who," said the
boy, "instructed you to do this?" "My wise men," answered the king.
"Order them hither," returned the boy; this being complied with, he thus
questioned them: "By what means was it revealed to you that this citadel
could not be built, unless the spot were previously sprinkled with my
blood? Speak without disguise, and declare who discovered me to you;"
then turning to the king, "I will soon," said he, "unfold to you every
thing; but I desire to question your wise men, and wish them to disclose
to you what is hidden under this pavement:" they acknowledging their
ignorance, "there is," said he, "a pool; come and dig:" they did so, and
found the pool. "Now," continued he, "tell me what is in it;" but they
were ashamed, and made no reply. "I," said the boy, "can discover it to
you: there are two vases in the pool;" they examined and found it so:
continuing his questions, "What is in the vases?" they were silent:
"there is a tent in them," said the boy; "separate them, and you shall
find it so;" this being done by the king's command, there was found in
them a folded tent. The boy, going on with his questions, asked the wise
men what was in it? But they not knowing what to reply, "There are,"
said he, "two serpents, one white and the other red; unfold the tent;"
they obeyed, and two sleeping serpents were discovered; "consider
attentively," said the boy, "what they are doing." The serpents began to
struggle with each other; and the white one, raising himself up, threw
down the other into the middle of the tent, and sometimes drove him to
the edge of it; and this was repeated thrice. At length the red one,
apparently the weaker of the two, recovering his strength, expelled the
white one from the tent; and the latter being pursued through the pool
by the red one, disappeared. Then the boy, asking the wise men what was
signified by this wonderful omen, and they expressing their ignorance,
he said to the king, "I will now unfold to you the meaning of this
mystery. The pool is the emblem of this world, and the tent that of
your kingdom: the two serpents are two dragons; the red serpent is your
dragon, but the white serpent is the dragon of the people who occupy
several provinces and districts of Britain, even almost from sea to sea:
at length, however, our people shall rise and drive away the Saxon race
from beyond the sea, whence they originally came; but do you depart from
this place, where you are not permitted to erect a citadel; I, to whom
fate has allotted this mansion, shall remain here; whilst to you it
is incumbent to seek other provinces, where you may build a fortress."
"What is your name?" asked the king; "I am called Ambrose (in British
Embresguletic)," returned the boy; and in answer to the king's question,
"What is your origin?" he replied, "A Roman consul was my father."

Then the king assigned him that city, with all the western Provinces of
Britain; and departing with his wise men to the sinistral district,
he arrived in the region named Gueneri, where he built a city which,
according to his name, was called Cair Guorthegirn.*

     * An ancient scholiast adds, "He then built Guasmoric, near
     Lugubalia (Carlisle), a city which in English is called
     Palmecaster." Some difference of opinion exists among
     antiquaries respecting the site of vortigern's castle or
     city.  Usher places it at Gwent, Monmouthshire, which name,
     he ways, was taken from Caer-Went, near Chepstow.  This
     appears to agree with Geoffrey's account, {illegible} See
     Usher's Britan. Eccles. cap. v. p.23.  According to others,
     supposed to be the city from the ruins of which arose the
     castle of Gurthrenion, in Radnorshire, Camden's Britannia,
     p.479.  Whitaker, however, says that Cair Guorthegirn was
     the Maridunum of the Romans, and the present Caermarthen.
     (Hist. Of Manchester, book ii. c. 1.)  See also Nennius,

43. At length Vortimer, the son of Vortigern, valiantly fought against
Hengist, Horsa, and his people; drove them to the isle of Thanet, and
thrice enclosed them within it, and beset them on the Western side.

The Saxons now despatched deputies to Germany to solicit large
reinforcements, and an additional number of ships: having obtained
these, they fought against the kings and princes of Britain, and
sometimes extended their boundaries by victory, and sometimes were
conquered and driven back.

44. Four times did Vortimer valorously encounter the enemy;(1) the first
has been mentioned, the second was upon the river Darent, the third
at the Ford, in their language called Epsford, though in ours Set
thirgabail,(2) there Horsa fell, and Catigern, the son of Vortigern; the
fourth battle he fought was near the stone(3) on the shore of the Gallic
sea, where the Saxons being defeated, fled to their ships.

     (1) Some MSS. here add, "This Vortimer, the son of
     Vortigern, in a synod held at Guartherniaun, after the
     wicked king, on account of the incest committed with his
     daughter, fled from the face of Germanus and the British
     clergy, would not consent to his father's wickedness; but
     returning to St. Germanus, and falling down at his feet, he
     sued for pardon; and in atonement for the calumny brought
     upon Germanus by his father and sister, gave him the land,
     in which the forementioned bishop had endured such abuse, to
     be his for ever. Whence, in memory of St. Germanus, it
     received the name Guarenniaun (Guartherniaun, Gurthrenion,
     Gwarth Ennian) which signifies, a calumny justly retorted,
     since, when he thought to reproach the bishop, he covered
     himself with reproach."

     (2) According to Langhorne, Epsford was afterwards called,
     in the British tongue, Saessenaeg habail, or 'the slaughter
     of the Saxons.'

     (3) V.R. "The Stone of Titulus", thought to be Stone in Kent,
     or Larger-stone in Suffolk.

After a short interval Vortimer died; before his decease, anxious for
the future prosperity of his country, he charged his friends to inter
his body at the entrance of the Saxon port, viz. upon the rock where
the Saxons first landed; "for though," said he, "they may inhabit other
parts of Britain, yet if you follow my commands, they will never remain
in this island." They imprudently disobeyed this last injunction, and
neglected to bury him where he had appointed.*

     * Rapin says he was buried at Lincoln; Geoffrey, at London.

45. After this the barbarians became firmly incorporated, and were
assisted by foreign pagans; for Vortigern was their friend, on account
of the daughter* of Hengist, whom he so much loved, that no one durst
fight against him-in the meantime they soothed the imprudent king, and
whilst practising every appearance of fondness, were plotting with
his enemies. And let him that reads understand, that the Saxons were
victorious, and ruled Britain, not from their superior prowess, but on
account of the great sins of the Britons: God so permitting it.

For what wise man will resist the wholesome counsel of God? The Almighty
is the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, ruling and judging every
one, according to his own pleasure.

After the death of Vortimer, Hengist being strengthened by new
accessions, collected his ships, and calling his leaders together,
consulted by what stratagem they might overcome Vortigern and his army;
with insidious intention they sent messengers to the king, with offers
of peace and perpetual friendship; unsuspicious of treachery, the
monarch, after advising with his elders, accepted the proposals.

     * V.R. Of his wife, and no one was able manfully to drive
     them off because they had occupied Britain not from their
     own valour, but by God's permission.

46. Hengist, under pretence of ratifying the treaty, prepared an
entertainment, to which he invited the king, the nobles, and military
officers, in number about three hundred; speciously concealing his
wicked intention, he ordered three hundred Saxons to conceal each a
knife under his feet, and to mix with the Britons; "and when," said he,
"they are sufficiently inebriated, &c. cry out, 'Nimed eure Saxes,'
then let each draw his knife, and kill his man; but spare the king,
on account of his marriage with my daughter, for it is better that he
should be ransomed than killed."*

     * The VV. RR. Of this section are too numerous to be

The king with his company, appeared at the feast; and mixing with the
Saxons, who, whilst they spoke peace with their tongues, cherished
treachery in their hearts, each man was placed next to his enemy.

After they had eaten and drunk, and were much intoxicated, Hengist
suddenly vociferated, "Nimed eure Saxes!" and instantly his adherents
drew their knives, and rushing upon the Britons, each slew him that
sat next to him, and there was slain three hundred of the nobles of
Vortigern. The king being a captive, purchased his redemption, by
delivering up the three provinces of East, South, and Middle Sex,
besides other districts at the option of his betrayers.

47. St. Germanus admonished Vortigern to turn to the true God, and
abstain from all unlawful intercourse with his daughter; but the unhappy
wretch fled for refuge to the province Guorthegirnaim,* so called
from his own name, where he concealed himself with his wives: but St.
Germanus followed him with all the British clergy, and upon a rock
prayed for his sins during forty days and forty nights.

     * A district of Radnorshire, forming the present hundred of

The Blessed man was unanimously chosen commander against the Saxons. And
then, not by the clang of trumpets, but by praying, singing hallelujah,
and by the cries of the army to God, the enemies were routed, and driven
even to the sea.*

     *V.R. This paragraph is omitted in the MSS.

Again Vortigern ignominiously flew from St. Germanus to the kingdom
of the Dimetae, where, on the river Towy,* he built a castle, which he
named Cair Guothergirn. The saint, as usual, followed him there, and
with his clergy fasted and prayed to the Lord three days, and as many
nights. On the third night, at the third hour, fire fell suddenly
from heaven, and totally burned the castle. Vortigern, the daughter of
Hengist, his other wives, and all the inhabitants, both men and women,
miserably perished: such was the end of this unhappy king, as we find
written in the life of St. Germanus.

     *The Tobias of Ptolemy

47. Others assure us, that being hated by all the people of Britain, for
having received the Saxons, and being publicly charged by St. Germanus
and the clergy in the sight of God, he betook himself to flight; and,
that deserted and a wanderer, he sought a place of refuge, till broken
hearted, he made an ignominious end.

Some accounts state, that the earth opened and swallowed him up, on the
night his castle was burned; as no remains were discovered the following
morning, either of him, or of those who were burned with him.

He had three sons: the eldest was Vortimer, who, as we have seen,
fought four times against the Saxons, and put them to flight; the second
Categirn, who was slain in the same battle with Horsa; the third was
Pascent, who reigned in the two provinces Builth and Guorthegirnaim,(1)
after the death of his father. These were granted him by Ambrosius, who
was the great king among the kings of Britain. The fourth was Faustus,
born of an incestuous marriage with his daughter, who was brought up and
educated by St. Germanus. He built a large monastery on the banks of
the river Renis, called after his name, and which remains to the present

     (1) In the northern part of the present counties of Radnor
     and Brecknock.

     (2) V.R. The MSS. add, 'and he had one daughter, who was the
     mother of St. Faustus.'

49. This is the genealogy of Vortigern, which goes back to Fernvail,(1)
who reigned in the kingdom of Guorthegirnaim,(2) and was the son of
Teudor; Teudor was the son of Pascent; Pascent of Guoidcant; Guoidcant
of Moriud; Moriud of Eltat; Eltat of Eldoc; Eldoc of Paul; Paul of
Meuprit; Meuprit of Braciat; Braciat of Pascent; Pascent of Guorthegirn,
Guorthegirn of Guortheneu; Guortheneu of Guitaul; Guitaul of Guitolion;
Guitolion of Gloui. Bonus, Paul, Mauron, Guotelin, were four brothers,
who built Gloiuda, a great city upon the banks of the river Severn, and
in Birtish is called Cair Gloui, in Saxon, Gloucester. Enough has been
said of Vortigern.

     (1) Fernvail, or Farinmail, appears to have been king of
     Gwent or Monmouth.

     (2) V.R. 'Two provinces, Builth and Guorthegirnaim.'

50. St. Germanus, after his death, returned into his own country. *At
that time, the Saxons greatly increased in Britain, both in strength and
numbers. And Octa, after the death of his father Hengist, came from the
sinistral part of the island to the kingdom of Kent, and from him have
proceeded all the kings of that province, to the present period.

     * V.R. All this to the word 'Amen,' in other MSS. is placed
     after the legend of St. Patrick.

Then it was, that the magnanimous Arthur, with all the kings and
military force of Britain, fought against the Saxons. And though there
were many more noble than himself, yet he was twelve times chosen their
commander, and was as often conqueror. The first battle in which he
was engaged, was at the mouth of the river Gleni.(1) The second,
third, fourth, and fifth, were on another river, by the Britons called
Duglas,(2) in the region Linuis. The sixth, on the river Bassas.(3) The
seventh in the wood Celidon, which the Britons call Cat Coit Celidon.(4)
The eighth was near Gurnion castle,(5) where Arthur bore the image of
the Holy Virgin,(6) mother of God, upon his shoulders, and through the
power of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the holy Mary, put the Saxons to
flight, and pursued them the whole day with great slaughter.(7) The
ninth was at the City of Legion,(8) which is called Cair Lion. The tenth
was on the banks of the river Trat Treuroit.(9) The eleventh was on the
mountain Breguoin, which we call Cat Bregion.(10) The twelfth was a most
severe contest, when Arthur penetrated to the hill of Badon.(11) In this
engagement, nine hundred and forty fell by his hand alone, no one but
the Lord affording him assistance. In all these engagements the Britons
were successful. For no strength can avail against the will of the

     (1) Supposed by some to be the Glem, in Lincolnshire; but
     most probably the Glen, in the northern part of

     (2) Or Dubglas.  The little river Dunglas, which formed the
     southern boundary of Lothian.  Whitaker says, the river
     Duglas, in Lancashire, near Wigan.

     (3) Not a river, but an isolated rock in the Frith of Forth,
     near the town of North Berwick, called "The Bass."  Some
     think it is the river Lusas, in Hampshire.

     (4) The Caledonian forest; or the forest of Englewood,
     extending from Penrith to Carlisle.

     (5) Variously supposed to be in Cornwall, or Binchester in
     Durham, but most probably the Roman station of Garionenum,
     near Yarmouth, in Norfolk.

     (6) V.R. The image of the cross of Christ, and of the
     perpetual virgin St. Mary.

     (7) V.R. For Arthur proceeded to Jerusalem, and there made a
     cross to the size of the Saviour's cross, and there it was
     consecrated, and for three successive days he fasted,
     watched, and prayed, before the Lord's cross, that the Lord
     would give him the victory, by this sign, over the heathen;
     which also took place, and he took with him the image of St.
     Mary, the fragments of which are still preserved in great
     veneration at Wedale, in English Wodale, in Latin Vallis-
     doloris.  Wodale is a village in the province of Lodonesia,
     but now of the jurisdiction of the bishop of St. Andrew's,
     of Scotland, six miles on the west of that heretofore noble
     and eminent monastery of Meilros.

     (8) Exeter.

     (9) Or Ribroit, the Brue, in Somersetshire; or the Ribble,
     in Lancashire.

     (10) Or Agned Cathregonion, Cadbury, in Somersetshire; or

     (11) Bath.

The more the Saxons were vanquished, the more they sought for new
supplies of Saxons from Germany; so that kings, commanders, and military
bands were invited over from almost every province. And this practice
they continued till the reign of Ida, who was the son of Eoppa, he,
of the Saxon race, was the first king in Bernicia, and in Cair Ebrauc

When Gratian Aequantius was consul at rome, because then the whole world
was governed by the Roman consuls, the Saxons were received by Vortigern
in the year of our Lord four hundred and forty-seven, and to the year
in which we now write, five hundred and forty-seven. And whosoever shall
read herein may receive instruction, the Lord Jesus Christ affording
assistance, who, co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Ghost, lives
and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

In those days Saint Patrick was captive among the Scots. His master's
name was Milcho, to whom he was a swineherd for seven years. When he
had attained the age of seventeen he gave him his liberty. By the divine
impulse, he applied himself to reading of the Scriptures, and afterwards
went to Rome; where, replenished with the Holy Spirit, he continued a
great while, studying the sacred mysteries of those writings. During
his continuance there, Palladius, the first bishop, was sent by pope
Celestine to convert the Scots (the Irish). But tempests and signs from
God prevented his landing, for no one can arrive in any country, except
it be allowed from above; altering therefore his course from Ireland, he
came to Britain and died in the land of the Picts.*

     * At Fordun, in the district of Mearns, in Scotland-Usher.

51. The death of Palladius being known, the Roman patricians, Theodosius
and Valentinian, then reigning, pope Celestine sent Patrick to convert
the Scots to the faith of the Holy Trinity; Victor, the angel of God,
accompanying, admonishing, and assisting him, and also the bishop

Germanus then sent the ancient Segerus with him as a venerable and
praiseworthy bishop, to king Amatheus,(1) who lived near, and who had
prescience of what was to happen; he was consecrated bishop in the
reign of that king by the holy pontiff,(2) assuming the name of Patrick,
having hitherto been known by that of Maun; Auxilius, Isserninus, and
other brothers were ordained with him to inferior degrees.

     (1) V.R. Germanus "sent the elder Segerus with him to a
     wonderful man, the holy bishop Amathearex."  Another MS.
     "Sent the elder Segerus, a bishop, with him to Amatheorex."

     (2) V.R. "Received the episcopal degree from the holy bishop
     Amatheorex."  Another MS. "Received the episcopal degree
     from Matheorex and the holy bishop."

52. Having distributed benedictions, and perfected all in the name of
the Holy Trinity, he embarked on the sea which is between the Gauls
and the Britons; and after a quick passage arrived in Britain, where he
preached for some time. Every necessary preparation being made, and the
angel giving him warning, he came to the Irish Sea. And having filled
the ship with foreign gifts and spiritual treasures, by the permission
of God he arrived in Ireland, where he baptized and preached.

53. From the beginning of the world, to the fifth year of king Logiore,
when the Irish were baptized, and faith in the unity of the individual
Trinity was published to them, are five thousand three hundred and
thirty years.

54. Saint Patrick taught the gospel in foreign nations for the space of
forty years. Endued with apostolical powers, he gave sight to the blind,
cleansed the lepers, gave hearing to the deaf, cast out devils, raised
nine from the dead, redeemed many captives of both sexes at his own
charge, and set them free in the name of the Holy Trinity. He taught the
servants of God, and he wrote three hundred and sixty-five canonical and
other books relating to the catholic faith. He founded as many churches,
and consecrated the same number of bishops, strengthening them with the
Holy Ghost. He ordained three thousand presbyters; and converted and
baptized twelve thousand persons in the province of Connaught. And, in
one day baptized seven kings, who were the seven sons of Amalgaid.(1) He
continued fasting forty days and nights, on the summit of the mountain
Eli, that is Cruachan-Aichle;(2) and preferred three petitions to God
for the Irish, that had embraced the faith. The Scots say, the first
was, that he would receive every repenting sinner, even at the latest
extremity of life; the second, that they should never be exterminated
by barbarians; and the third, that as Ireland(3) will be overflowed with
water, seven years before the coming of our Lord to judge the quick
and the dead, the crimes of the people might be washed away through
his intercession, and their souls purified at the last day. He gave the
people his benediction from the upper part of the mountain, and going
up higher, that he might pray for them; and that if it pleased God,
he might see the effects of his labours, there appeared to him an
innumerable flock of birds of many coulours, signifying the number of
holy persons of both sexes of the Irish nation, who should come to him
as their apostle at the day of judgment, to be presented before the
tribunal of Christ. After a life spent in the active exertion of good
to mankind, St. Patrick, in a healthy old age, passed from this world to
the Lord, and changing this life for a better, with the saints and elect
of God he rejoices for evermore.

     (1) King of Connaught.

     (2) A mountain in the west of Connaught, county of Mayo, now
     called Croagh-Patrick.

     (3) V.R. that no Irishman may be alive on the day of
     judgment, because they will be destroyed seven years before
     in honour of St. Patrick.

55. Saint Patrick resembled Moses in four particulars. The angel spoke
to him in the burning bush. He fasted forty days and forty nights upon
the mountain. He attained the period of one hundred and twenty years.
No one knows his sepulchre, nor where he was buried; sixteen(1) years he
was in captivity. In his twenty-fifth year, he was consecrated bishop by
Saint Matheus,(2) and he was eighty-five years the apostle of the Irish.
It might be profitable to treat more at large of the life of this saint,
but it is now time to conclude this epitome of his labours.(3)

     (1) V.R. Fifteen.

     (2) V.R. By the holy bishop Amatheus.

     (3) Here ends the Vatican MS. collated by Mr. Gunn.

(Here endeth the life of the holy bishop, Saint Patrick.) (After this,
the MSS. give as 56, the legend of king Arthur, which in this edition
occurs in 50.)


     * These titles are not part of the original work, but added
     in the MSS. by a later hand.

57. Woden begat Beldeg, who begat Beornec, who begat Gethbrond, who
begat Aluson, who begat Ingwi, who begat Edibrith, who begat Esa, who
begat Eoppa, who begat Ida. But Ida had twelve sons, Adda, Belric,
Theodric, Ethelric, Theodhere, Osmer, and one queen, Bearnoch, Ealric.
Ethelric begat Ethelfrid: the same is Aedlfred Flesaur. For he also
had seven sons, Eanfrid, Oswald, Oswin, Oswy, Oswudu, Oslac, Offa. Oswy
begat Alfrid, Elfwin, and Egfrid. Egfrid is he who made war against
his cousin Brudei, king of the Picts, and he fell therein with all the
strength of his army, and the Picts with their king gained the victory;
and the Saxons never again reduced the Picts so as to exact tribute from
them. Since the time of this war it is called Gueithlin Garan.

But Oswy had two wives, Riemmelth, the daughter of Royth, son of Rum;
and Eanfled, the daughter of Edwin, son of Alla.


58. Hengist begat Octa, who begat Ossa, who begat Eormenric, who begat
Ethelbert, who begat Eadbald, who begat Ercombert, who begat Egbert.


59. Woden begat Casser, who begat Titinon, who begat Trigil, who begat
Rodmunt, who begat Rippa, who begat Guillem Guercha,* who was the first
king of the East Angles. Guercha begat Uffa, who begat Tytillus, who
begat Eni, who begat Edric, who begat Aldwulf, who begat Elric.

     * Guercha is a distortion of the name of Uffa, or Wuffa,
     arising in the first instance from the pronunciation of the
     British writer; and in the next place from the error of the


60. Woden begat Guedolgeat, who begat Gueagon, who begat Guithleg, who
begat Guerdmund, who begat Ossa, who begat Ongen, who begat Eamer, who
begat Pubba.* This Pubba had twelve sons, of whom two are better known
to me than the others, that is Penda and Eawa. Eadlit is the son of
Pantha, Penda, son of Pubba, Ealbald, son of Alguing, son of Eawa, son
of Penda, son of Pubba. Egfert, son of Offa, son of Thingferth, son of
Enwulf, son of Ossulf, son of Eawa, son of Pubba.

     * Or Wibba.


61. Woden begat Beldeg, Brond begat Siggar, who begat Sibald, who begat
Zegulf, who begat Soemil, who first separated(1) Deur from Berneich
(Deira from Bernicia.) Soemil begat Sguerthing, who begat Giulglis, who
begat Ulfrea, who begat Iffi, who begat Ulli, Edwin, Osfrid and Eanfrid.
There were two sons of Edwin, who fell with him in battle at Meicen,(2)
and the kingdom was never renewed in his family, because not one of his
race escaped from that war; but all were slain with him by the army of
Catguollaunus,(3) king of the Guendota. Oswy begat Egfrid, the same is
Ailguin, who begat Oslach, sho begat Alhun, who begat Adlsing, who begat
Echun, who begat Oslaph. Ida begat Eadric, who begat Ecgulf, who begat
Leodwald, who begat Eata, the same is Glinmaur, who begat Eadbert and
Egbert, who was the first bishop of their nation.

     (1) V.R. Conquered.

     (2) Hatfield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire.  See Bede's
     Eccles. Hist.

     (3) Cadwalla, king of the Western Britons.

Ida, the son of Eoppa, possessed countries on the left-hand side of
Britain, i.e. of the Humbrian sea, and reigned twelve years, and united*
Dynguayth Guarth-Berneich.

     * V.R. United the castle, i.e. Dinguerin and Gurdbernech,
     which two countries were in one country, i.e. Deurabernech;
     Anglice Diera and Bernicia.  Another MS. Built Dinguayrh
     Guarth Berneich.

62. Then Dutgirn at that time fought bravely against the nation of the
Angles. At that time, Talhaiarn Cataguen* was famed for poetry, and
Neirin, and Taliesin and Bluchbard, and Cian, who is called Guenith
Guaut, were all famous at the same time in British poetry.

     * Talhaiarn was a descendant of Coel Godebog, and chaplain
     to Ambrosius.

The great king, Mailcun,* reigned among the Britons, i.e. in the
district of Guenedota, because his great-great-grandfather, Cunedda,
with his twelve sons, had come before from the left-hand part, i.e. from
the country which is called Manau Gustodin, one hundred and forty-six
years before Mailcun reigned, and expelled the Scots with much slaughter
from those countries, and they never returned again to inhabit them.

     * Better known as Maelgwn.

63. Adda, son of Ida, reigned eight years; Ethelric, son of Adda,
reigned four years. Theodoric, son of Ida, reigned seven years.
Freothwulf reigned six years. In whose time the kingdom of Kent, by the
mission of Gregory, received baptism. Hussa reigned seven years. Against
him fought four kings, Urien, and Ryderthen, and Guallauc, and Morcant.
Theodoric fought bravely, together with his sons, against that Urien.
But at that time sometimes the enemy and sometimes our countrymen were
defeated, and he shut them up three days and three nights in the island
of Metcaut; and whilst he was on an expedition he was murdered, at
the instance of Morcant, out of envy, because he possessed so much
superiority over all the kings in military science. Eadfered Flesaurs
reigned twelve years in Bernicia, and twelve others in Deira, and gave
to his wife Bebba, the town of Dynguaroy, which from her is called

     * Bambrough.  See Bede, iii. 6, and Sax. Chron. A.D. 547.

Edwin, son of Alla, reigned seventeen years, seized on Elmete, and
expelled Cerdic, its king. Eanfled, his daughter, received baptism, on
the twelfth day after Pentecost, with all her followers, both men and
women. The following Easter Edwin himself received baptism, and twelve
thousand of his subjects with him. If any one wishes to know who
baptized them, it was Rum Map Urbgen:* he was engaged forty days in
baptizing all classes of the Saxons, and by his preaching many believed
on Christ.

     * See Bede's Eccles. Hist.  From the share which Paulinus
     had in the conversion of the Northumbrian king, it has been
     inferred that he actually baptized him; but Nennius
     expressly states, that the holy sacrament was administered
     by Rhun, the son of Urien. The Welsh name of Paulinus is
     Pawl Hen, or Polin Eagob.

64. Oswald son of Ethelfrid, reigned nine years; the same is Oswald
Llauiguin;(1) he slew Catgublaun (Cadwalla),(2) king of Guenedot,(3) in
the battle of Catscaul,(4) with much loss to his own army. Oswy, son of
Ethelfrid, reigned twenty-eight years and six months. During his reign,
there was a dreadful mortality among his subjects, when Catgualart
(Cadwallader) was king among the Britons, succeeding his father, and he
himself died amongst the rest.(5) He slew Penda in the field of Gai, and
now took place the slaughter of Gai Campi, and the kings of the Britons,
who went out with Penda on the expedition as far as the city of Judeu,
were slain.

     (1) Llauiguin, means the "fair," or the "bounteous hand."

     (2) This name has been variously written; Bede spells it
     Caedualla (Cadwalla); Nennius, Catgublaun; the Saxon
     Chronicle, Ceadwalla; and the Welsh writers, Cadwallon and
     Kalwallawn: and though the identity of the person may be
     clearly proved, it is necessary to observe these particulars
     to distinguish him from Cadwaladr, and from another
     Caedualla or Caedwalla, a king of the West Saxons; all of
     whom, as they lived within a short time of each other, have
     been frequently confounded together.--Rees's Welsh Saints.

     (3) Gwynedd, North Wales.

     (4) Bede says at Denis's brook.

     (5) The British chronicles assert that Cadwallader died at
     Rome, whilst Nennius would lead us to conclude that he
     perished in the pestilence at home.

65. Then Oswy restored all the wealth, which was with him in the city,
to Penda; who distributed it among the kings of the Britons, that is
Atbert Judeu. But Catgabail alone, king of Guenedot, rising up in
the night, excaped, together with his army, wherefore he was called
Catgabail Catguommed. Egfrid, son of Oswy, reigned nine years. In his
time the holy bishop Cuthbert died in the island of Medcaut.* It was he
who made war against the Picts, and was by them slain.

     * The isle of Farne.

Penda, son of Pybba, reigned ten years; he first separated the kingdom
of Mercia from that of the North-men, and slew by treachery Anna, king
of the East Anglians, and St. Oswald, king of the North Men. He fought
the battle of Cocboy, in which fell Eawa, son of Pybba, his brother,
king of the Mercians, and Oswald, king of the North-men, and he gained
the victory by diabolical agency. He was not baptized, and never
believed in God.

66. From the beginning of the world to Constantinus and Rufus, are found
to be five thousand six hundred and fifty-eight years.

Also from the two consuls, Rufus and Rubelius, to the consul Stilicho,
are three hundred and seventy-three years.

Also from Stilicho to Valentinian, son of Placida, and the reign of
Vortigern, are twenty-eight years.

And from the reign of Vortigern to the quarrel between Guitolinus and
Ambrosius, are twelve years, which is Guoloppum, that is Catgwaloph.*
Vortigern reigned in Britain when Theodosius and Valentinian were
consuls, and in the fourth year of his reign the Saxons came to Britain,
in the consulship of Felix and Taurus, in the four hundredth year from
the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

     * In Carmarthenshire.  Perhaps the town now called Kidwelly.

From the year in which the Saxons came into Britain, and were received
by Vortigern, to the time of Decius and Valerian, are sixty-nine years.

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