[see also Legends]
The historical chronology of the first millenium BC is known in as much detail in regard to Britain as anywhere else on the planet; an anchor date is the Sack of Rome in 390 BC by Brennus of Britain [see below, Belinus & Brennus]; earlier millenia are mistier; information on works cited is available elsewhere [see Sources]
Genealogies: two key genealogies are available to us for the first millenium BC, the Cambrian (Welsh) and the Lloegrian (English); both show the royal descent from Brutus, Britain’s founding king [see below Brutus]; one genealogy relates to Brutus’s eldest son Locrinus, ruler in Lloegria in the east side of the island, in what was to become England; the second shows the descent from Brutus’s youngest son Camber, ruler in West Britain (Cambria), including what was to become Wales; during the period of Roman influence the Cambrian Genealogy gives the Silurian Dynasty, later called the Kings of Glamorgan & Gwent; Brutus’s middle son, Albanactus, ruler of what was to become Scotland, died without issue; so Scotland does not have a corresponding Brutus genealogy; a version of the Lloegrian Genealogy is to be found in the Tudor historian Holinshed [see Sources]; this genealogy is reproduced in parts below, alongside individual notices, and in full at the section frontispiece [see Monarchs]; the Cambrian Genealogy is to be found in ‘The Genealogy of Iestyn, the son of Gwrgan, Prince of Glamorgan’; an example of the two genealogies intersecting in the BC era is at the time when Dunvallo Molmutius (Dyfnwal Moelmud), 21st ruler of the Lloegrian line and a great lawgiver, is overking and there is a 16th monarch installed in Cambria:
‘16. Idwal the Proud, the son of Llywarch, was a man supreme in all great exploits, and lived in the time of Dyfnwal Moelmud, of whose court he was chief elder; and, thence, the princes descended from him became chief elders in the courts of all the kings and princes of the island of Britain.’ (Anonymous, The Genealogy of Iestyn, the Son of Gwrgan, date unknown)
Another example of an apparent intersection between the two royal lineages relates to the period of Roman influence, late BC/early AD, and the personage of 'Old King Cole' [see Royal family tree]; a third is after the period of Roman influence in the time of King Arthur, when Morgan, who gave his name to Glamorgan, is said to be Arthur’s cousin [see Arthur]; the Lloegrian and Cambrian Genealogies take us back to c1100 BC and the Arrival of Brutus; yet there is information on Britain even before that time, as the following notices attest
Flood story: according to the Welsh Triads, a body of ancient folklore written down in triplets in medieval times [see Sources], the bursting of the Lake of Floods caused a rushing of water over all the lands, with only Dwyvan and his wife Dwyvack escaping in an open vessel, to repopulate the Isle of Britain; their ark was named Nwydd Nav Neivion; into this they took a male and female of all living things; there are more than 200 Flood traditions from around the world, including Utnapishtim of Sumer, the Deluge of Deucalion of the Greeks and the Biblical Noah [Source: Bill Cooper, The Authenticity of the Book of Genesis, 2011]; the Khymraec-Welsh records point to a Flood date around 2150 BC, which would appear to be the oldest date in the British historical record, untethered to reality as it may be [see Atlantis]; for reference, the Biblical story of Noah was set by Archbishop James Ussher at 2340 BC, 1656 years after the Creation in 4004 BCSamothes: is said to have been the first king of Britain, according to Holinshed [see Sources], who reports with detached scepticism on this alleged grandson of Japhet, third son of Noah; Samothes apparently entered Britain in 2056 BC, naming the island Samothea after himself [see Name]; this would be dismissable legend but for an intriguing report by Julius Caesar (100-44 BC); he said that the Gauls claimed descent from Dis and that they had been taught this by the Druids, Druidism itself having emanated from Britain; the word 'Paradise' unpacks as para, near, Dis, God; yet is there a more specific answer to the question, Who was Dis?; Holinshed supplies this answer:
'...our Iland, I find that it séemed to be a parcell of the Celtike kingdome, whereof Dis otherwise called Samothes, one of the sonnes of Japhet was the Saturne or originall beginner, and of him thenceforth for a long while called Samothea.' (Vol 1, p6)
Samothes’s son was Magus, the supposed founder of the Magi [see Sun-Fire worship]; the great-grandson of Samothes was Druis, the inventor of Druidism; Samothes’s great-great-grandson was Bardus, the founder of the Bards; referring to this material, Holinshed has this to say (Vol I, p436):
'…I think good to aduertise the reader that these stories of Samothes, Magus, Sarron, Druis, and Bardus, doo relie onelie vpon the authoritie of Berosus, whom most diligent antiquaries doo reiect as a fabulous and counterfet author, and Vacerius hath laboured to prooue the same by a special treatise latelie published at Rome.'
The recital in Holinshed of kings before Brutus is as follows:
‘OF THE KINGS OF BRITAINE,
FROM SAMOTHES TO BRUTE.
Samothes. [2056 BC]
Albion. [see next entry, Albion]
Celtes after Albion slaine.
After whom Brute entreth
into the Iland, either
neglected by the Celts, or
otherwise by conquest,
and reigned therein...’
[For Holinshed's full king list, see Monarchs; for 'Brute' see below, Brutus]Albion: Samothes's succession eight generations later is said to have been interupted by the coming of the giant Albion, son of Neptune; this would be around 1825 BC; he imposed a tyranny on the island and changed its name to Albion, an appelation attested historically by Aristotle among others; Albion the tyrant is described as crossing to Gaul to make war on Hercules [see Giants, also Hu Gadarn, below], as that mighty personage battled in the west against Albion's kinsfolk, who are said to have hacked to bits Hercules's father Osiris; Albion is killed and Hercules, as liberator, restores the island to its former king, Celtes [Source: Holinshed; for more on this material, see below, 'Celts']
Albyne: Syrian princess of the second millenium BC who sailed into exile to Britain with her younger sisters, after they slew their husbands; names and narrative details are rendered differently by different authorities
‘...Albia, oldest of the fifty daughters of Diocletian king of Syria. These fifty ladies all murdered their husbands on the wedding night. By way of punishment, they were cast adrift in a ship, unmanned; but the wind drove the vessel to our coast, where these Syrian damsels disembarked. Here they lived the rest of their lives, and married with the aborigines, “a lawless crew of devils.” ...Its [the legend’s] resemblance to the fifty daughters of Danaos is palpable.’ (E Cobham Brewer, The Reader’s Handbook, reprinted 1925)
‘The popular story of Albine and her sisters, daughters of King Diodicias, is related with many interesting details. It is not easy to trace the source of this singular tale, one evidently of great antiquity; but the reader will not fail to be reminded of the fifty daughters of King Danaus...’ [Source: De Wavrin, translator’s preface, page xi]
For reference, the legend of Danaus, King of Argos, describes his being forced to marry his 50 daughters to the 50 sons of his pushy younger brother, Æygptius, King of Egypt; fearing a power grab, Danaus urges his daughters to kill with swords their new husbands on the wedding night, which they do, with one exception; the surviving nephew kills Danaus and, in one account, his wife’s sisters are married off to the winners of a foot-race; note that the Albyne story is not mentioned in Tysilio, Gildas, Nennius, Bede, Geoffrey or Enderbie, but is recounted in The Brut, De Wavrin & Holinshed [see Sources]; the Coming of Albyne is the starting point of The Brut, from which this plot summary is taken:
‘KING DIOCLICIAN weds his 33 daughters to 33 kings. The daughters despise their husbands. When Dioclician scolds them they kill their husbands. Albine and her sisters put to sea. They reach Albion, and breed giants by the devil.’ (Summary of Contents, ‘The Prolog’, The Brut or Chronicle of England, Edited by Friedrich W D Brie, 1906; see Sources)
After marriage, according to The Brut, ‘dame Albyne bycome so stoute & so stern’, having for her husband ‘scorne and dyspite’; reproached by her father for unwifeliness, she cuts her sleeping husband’s throat, inducing her sisters to do likewise to their husbands; the sisters are exiled together in a ship supplied with half a year’s victuals; they fetch up on the shore of Britain, which Albyne, being senior, presumes to name ‘Albyon’ after herself; this dubious origin of the island’s early name is also mentioned by De Wavrin, this time spelt ‘Albion’, though this derivation is disputed by Holinshed [see Name]; the island was
‘...subsequently called after Brutus or Brut, who conquered it from the giants descended from Albine and her sisters, and who called it Britain the Great beyond Sea, to distinguish it from Basse Brétagne [Britain the Less, i.e. Brittany].’ [see Sources: De Wavrin, pp4, 5]
De Wavrin dates the story to around 1200 BC, saying of ‘Lady Albine’, in a mysteriously detailed account, that none was her equal in beauty, ‘save only that she had a very malicious look’; the Albyne story has been claimed to be in (unspecified) early Welsh records, which are said to date the expedition to 1534 BC [Source: Wilson & Blackett, The Trojan War of 650 BC, 2010]; Holinshed reports historians as describing ‘Dioclesian the king of Assyria’, when the person meant was Danaus, a short form of Dioclesianus; he then confounds his own argument by noting that ‘Albina’ is not mentioned among the 50 daughters of that King Danaus, all of whose names have come down to us [Source: Holinshed, Volume 1, pp434-6]; in other words, the Albyne story can get you to the Danaus legend, via mass husband slaying, but the Danaus legend cannot get you to Albyne, since she is nowhere to be found in it, and neither is Ancient Syria or a maritime exile; and while Danaus urges his daughters to murder their husbands, Dioclician is innocent; of Albyne’s father we learn this:
‘...there reigned in Syria a very powerful king named Diodicias [Dioclician], who held under his sovereignty the greater part of Persia, Media, and Mesopotamia...even in Higher and Lower Armenia his commands were obeyed.’ [see Sources: De Wavrin, pp5, 6]
The Brut starts ‘In the noble lande of Surrye...’; ‘Surrey’, as in the English county name, may even derive from ‘Syria’, speculate Wilson & Blackett, who also claim that the phrase ‘Ealde Cyrcenas’ crops up in (unspecified) medieval English histories and that this description refers to ‘Old Syrians’; Albyne’s father Dioclician engendered her with a wife who is described as the daughter of his enemy ‘Labana’; adjacent to Syria in ancient times, to the northwest in Asia Minor, were the Hittites, whose founding king in around 1600 BC was Labarna; subsequent Hittite kings took the title Labarna, just as the Roman Emperors were to use the title Caesar; Labarna raided southwest, sacking Babylon in 1595 BC, so his status as an 'enemy' of anyone in the area of Ancient Syria seems secure; achieving a similarly satisfying identification for ‘Dioclician’ is more problematic:
‘For in olde Storyes or Cronycles is nat [not] founde that any suche kynge of that name reygned ouer the Syriens or yet Assiryens...’ (Robert Fabyan, The New Chronicles of England and France, 1516, p7)
‘...Albone or Albina, daughter of Dioclesian King of Syria, and this some of our Histories seem to aver, notwithstanding no Authentick Writer as yet ever produced any such King to bear sway and Government, either over the Syrians or Assyrians...’ [Source: Enderbie, p5]
The period in question in the Middle East is chaotic and not fully documented, as the arrival of cavalry and chariots revolutionised military affairs, prompting movements of peoples; Labarna himself was unknown to scholarship until the twentieth century; looking to lower Mesopotamia, Wilson & Blackett propose Dungi of the Third Dynasty of Ur as a candidate for Dioclician, yet this king flourished before Labarna and far to the southeast; for reference, De Wavrin has Albyne embarking at the Mediterranean seaport of Tyre; Wilson & Blackett make a comparison between the contents of the tomb of Dunghi and the grave goods found in Lexdon Mound in Colchester, burial place of the first-century British king Cymbeline [see Cymbeline]; Cymbeline was of the Iceni and as such a descendant of Albyne, assert Wilson & Blackett; a further speculation by these investigators is that Albyne’s language is the true ancient native British derivation of English, which in the twenty-first century has become the world’s most prominent language [see English language]; a possibility is that the story of Albyne is a conflation of a real migration from the Eastern Mediterranean, led anomalously by a woman and thus requiring explanation, with the legend of Danaus, with its cast-adrift mariticides supplying one; Albyne’s migration, if it occurred, may well have been made on the basis of foreknowledge of Britain as the Tin Island set in the western ocean; tin was vital for alloying with copper to make bronze for tools and weapons, so much stronger than copper alone [see Tin]; in The Brut, Albyne’s god is described as Appolyn, i.e. Apollo; the easy assumption is that Albyne will have taken her religion with her on her travels; the more intriguing conjecture is that worship of the Hyperborean god, like the tin, awaited her at her eventual destination, as she well knew [see Hyperborea]; in Homer we read of an island called Syria, under the sway of Apollo & his twin sister Artemis (Odyssey, 15, 403, The Chicago Homer online); Homer’s geography is notoriously hard to transpierce but ‘where the sun’s turning places are’ seems to indicate the extreme west; other elements in the description fit Britain, down to a reference to visiting Phoenicians; Albyne could well have provided a second Syria, with ‘Surrey’ as its enduring echo, even as Brutus was later to provide a New Troy, in the form of London [see below, Brutus]
Hu Gadarn: In the following quotation from the Welsh Triads [see Sources], ‘Prydain’ refers to Brutus the Trojan and the ‘Isle of Prydain’ is the island he is said to have named after himself, Britain [see below, Brutus; also Name]
'The three national pillars of the Isle of Prydain:-
1st. Hu Gadarn who brought the nation of the Cymry to the Isle of Prydain. They came from the land of Summer, which is called Deffrobani: and they came through the vapoury sea to the Isle of Prydain.
2nd. Prydain the son of Aedd the Great, who first organised a social state and sovereignty in the Isle of Prydain, for before the time there was no justice but what was done from internal probity, nor was there any law but that of superior force.
3rd. Dyfnwal Moelmud [see below, Dunvallo Molmutius], who made the first orderly discrimination of Laws, ordinances, customs and privileges of country and tribe.'
(Welsh Triads cited in John Daniel, The Philosophy of Ancient Britain, 1927)
Hu Gadarn ‘the Mighty’ has been identified with Hercules [Source: E O Gordon; see Giants]; an echo of the ancient homeland could be carried by the English county name 'Somerset'Brutus: this is the name of the first King of Britain to be fully recognised, at least by legend; the following recital of the Kings of Britain after the end of the line of Samothes [see above, Samothes] is taken from Holinshed, with Brutus identified as 'Brute':
'OF THE KINGS OF BRITAINE,
FROM SAMOTHES TO BRUTE.
After whom Brute entreth
into the Iland, either
neglected by the Celts, or
otherwise by conquest,
and reigned therein with
his posteritie by the space
of 636. yeares, in such
order as foloweth.
Gwendolena his widow.
Ebracus. [see below, Ebraucus]
Bladunus. [see below, Bladud]
Cordeil his daughter.
Cunedach and Morgan.
Ferres and Porrex.
[For Holinshed's full king list, see Monarchs; for the last-mentioned 'Dunwallon' see below, Dunvallo Molmutius]
The next great event in the British Histories after The Coming of Albyne is the ‘The Arrival of Brutus’; Brutus is regarded as the founder of Britain, yet he is insufficiently known to modern Britons, having been consigned previously to the categories of ‘mythical’ or ‘legendary’ and largely forgotten; there is historical evidence for his existence, even bearing in mind the claim that ancient histories are exaggerated for reasons of national self-agrandisement; moreover Brutus provides a candidate explanation for the name of Britain, as in -ain, meaning ‘land of’ and Brit, as in the Bryttys of the Tysilio Chronicle [see Sources], rendered into Latin as Brutus; rival hypotheses for the naming of Britain are insubstantial [see ‘Britain’]; ‘At length he (Brutus-the-Trojan) came to this island named after him ‘Britannia’, dwelt there and filled it with his descendants.’ [see Sources: Nennius, 10]; Brutus appears in numerous histories, including that of De Wavrin, a medieval French version of British history [see Sources]; what is impressive is how often Brutus features in other nations’ histories; he is mentioned in the main French Chronicles, Les Grande Chroniques de France, which is unexpected until it is realised that the French royal family also claimed a Trojan descent; Brutus is also mentioned in Holinshed’s Irish Chronicles, Holinshed’s Scottish Chronicles, as well of course in his English Chronicles, and even in the Spanish Chronicles; Brutus and his associate Corineus turn up repeatedly, if anachronistically, in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey; this has been argued on the basis of a series of remarkable similarities in their stories with those of Homer’s Peirithoos and Coronos Caineaus [see More 21]
'...Pope Eleutherius [2nd century AD; see Lucius] also calleth this Nation, Gens Bruti, the off-spring and Nation of Brute… as that in the time of Edward the first at Lincoln, who after most diligent search of Antiquities, and due examination as the greatest matter the right of a Kingdom required, sent his Apologetical Letters to the Pope of Rome sealed with an hundred Seals and Witnesses, wherein is declared and justified that in the time of Hely and Samuel the Prophets, Brutus the Trojan landed here, and by his own name called the Country Britannia before named Albion... And except Mr. [John] Stow be deceived in his authors, Aethieus an old Pagan Philisopher testifieth no less, affirming that Brutus named this Kingdom Britannia…' (Percy Enderbie, Cambria Triumphans or Brittain in its Perfect Lustre, 1661, p4; Enderbie provides references in the margin of his text)
In the British Chronicles Brutus is described as leading a fleet migration of the Trojan descendants and others to Britain from the Mediterranean, arriving around 1120 BC; the Roman authors Virgil and Livy tell of Aeneas, Aeneas’s father Anchises (also mentioned by Homer) and Aeneas’s son Ascanius; the story starts with the Fall of Troy, an Achaen (early Greek) victory which shattered the existing world order; elderly Anchises and his son Aeneas, who was son-in-law of Priam, last King of Troy, fled to the River Tiber in Latium (modern-day Italy); De Wavrin, incidentally, thought that the ordinary Trojans who escaped the Fall of Troy went on to found Venice; referring again to Aeneas, the settlement he built, called Lavinium, has been identified with the modern-day Practica di Mare; if this is correct it backs up the British Chronicles, for Lavinium is not on the banks of the Tiber at all but now inland; satellite imagery shows that in former times the Tiber did indeed flow this far south and was prevented from reaching the sea directly by a natural sandbank; therefore originally Lavinium was by a large lagoon at the mouth of the Tiber, a natural harbour; around 400 BC Ostia, Rome’s port, was built and the sand bank was cut through at that piont altering the coarse of the Tiber by several miles and causing the lagoon to silt up; it is hard to see how Tysilio or Geoffrey of Monmouth could possibly have known that Lavinium was once by the Tiber; Aeneas’s great-grandson (some sources say grandson) Brutus ventured eastward having been expelled from Italy for having accidently killed his father in a hunting accident; the chronicles give enough detail to show he went to northern Greece, Epirus; here he discovered Trojans who had been enslaved after the Fall of Troy; becoming their leader and training them up as an army, Brutus overthrew Pandrasus, King of the Greeks, after a series of battles; Brutus demanded a fleet, money and provisions, as well as the hand in marriage of the king’s favourite daughter, called Enogen in the Tysilio Chronicle, Ignoge by Geoffrey of Monmouth; in this area of modern Greece near the border with Albania is a town called Filiates that was originally known as Ilium or Troy of Epirus; it is on the River Thyamis; Brutus’s departing fleet first visited the island of modern-day Lefkada (according to Holinshed and also Bill Cooper, the present-day translator of the Tysilio Chronicle) or modern-day Lemnos (see later in this entry) where there was a ruined temple of Diana, according to the Tysilio Chronicle; Brutus dreamt of his tutelary goddess, Diana, who said “Brutus, beneath the setting of the sun, beyond the land of Gaul, there lies an island in the sea in which giants once lived [see Giants]. It is empty now. Go there, for it is set aside for you and your descendants. And it will be for your children like a second Troy, and kings shall be born of your line unto whom the whole earth shall pay homage!”; the fleet then set sail south down the Mediterranean and then along its southern shores, out beyond the Pillars of Hercules and around the coast of Spain, where it picked up more Trojans under the leadership of Corineus, who became Brutus’s comrade in arms and captain; Flinders Petrie, the eminent Egyptologist, showed how the meticulous description of Brutus’s Mediterranean journey in the Tysilio Chronicle was highly unlikely to have been faked by medieval monkish scribes, who would have lacked access to the relevant information; from internal evidence the account has to date from before the Roman Emperor Claudius (first century AD); a contrast is the description by Homer of the wanderings of the characters in his stories, which generations of scholars have failed to map onto the Eastern Mediterranean; in any event, Brutus and Corineus continued northwards to France, to the River Loir, and in battle defeated Goffar, ‘King of the Picts’; this latter appelation sounds anomalous yet equates well with the people that were living in the area in Roman times, the Pictones, who gave their name to modern Poitiers; journeying further north, Brutus landed in southern Britain at Totnes in Devon; the ‘Brutus Stone’, the first footfall, can be seen to this day in Fore Street, Totnes; Brutus proceeded to conquer the whole island of Britain, according to the British Chronicles; he renamed the island Britain, after himself; the early names for Britain include Bruttene, Brutene, Brutaine, Brutten, Bruttaine, Brutlonde, Brutlond and Brutayne; as late as the AD mid-1100s Arab historians (e.g. Gregory bar Hebreaus) were still referring to Britain as Brutusland; Brutus is said to have founded a capital on the site of modern London around 1100 BC, which he called ‘New Troy’; note that Troe-Noey is mentioned in the Norse Edda writings [see Sources: Waddell]; the British Chronicles describe the later corruption of the name to Tri-novantum, clearly identifying the early British Londoners with the Trinovantes of Julius Caesar’s account of his invasions of 55 and 54 BC; these Thameside people were also mentioned by the Roman writers Ptolemy and Tacitus; the founding of London by Brutus was so firmly believed up until the time of King Edward I (1239-1307), that it was referred to as Troy Novantium (New Troy); this is confirmed in the early histories of Middlesex, of 1627, written by Pieter van der Keere; in that work the inhabitants are described as the Trinobants, with London as their capital; Britain’s Trojan origins have been celebrated by Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton, among many others; the River Thames was probably named by Brutus and his companions after the River Thyamis in Epirus, Greece, which flows into the Ionian Sea, whence Brutus had just come, bringing his princess bride [see Sources: Waddell]; giants are mentioned as occupying Britain before the Arrival of Brutus; who were these people?; Albyne’s people were known as Gutians and also Geauntes, possibly accounting for the alleged presence of giants before Brutus; note also in this connection that in the Old Testament the Amorites of Syria-Phoenicia-Palestine are described as ‘giants’; giants are also associated with the megaliths; Corineus is said to have hurled to destruction a giant called Gogmagog; there are Gogmagog Hills near Cambridge and this is believed to be the site of a Late Bronze Age battle, which would be the right period for Brutus; the legendary giants of London’s Lord Mayor’s show are called Gog and Magog; Brutus is claimed by authors Wilson & Blackett [see Sources] to have brought a new language to Britain, Kymraec, which was eventually destined to become the language of Wales; he is also claimed by these authors to have brought the Coelbren Alphabet, a purported system of ancient lettering; the English kings are said by these authors to have adopted the Broad Arrow (awen) cipher of the Coelbren Alphabet as the national emblem placed on all royal and government buildings and property; Wilson & Blackett go on to describe how a large inscribed stone was found in 1876 on the island of Lemnos; this is now in the Athens Museum; it depicts a man holding a spear and tells of a goddess instructing her people to sail to the great fertile green island out in the distant ocean at the end of the world; the text closely matches material in the British Chronicles, say Wilson & Blackett; there is an old poem called ‘Songs of the Graves’ which gives place references to the burial places of two dozen or so of the illustrious British dead, one of whom is Brutus; miscellaneous other lines of evidence for a Trojan contribution to British history include a polity that accepts queens regnant, a legal tradition based on parliaments and liberty in the island, the existence of the Troy game and place names (e.g. Troy Town London) [see Sources: E O Gordon]; to quote the waggish and misinformed Mayor of London, Boris Johnson:
'London was founded by a bunch of pushy Italian immigrants. Boudicca's biggest achievement was to persuade the Romans to invest in London's infrastructure.' (London Evening Standard, 14 November 2011)
For 'Italian' read 'Trojan' and push the foundation back more than a thousand years - and there you have it, the original foundation of Britain's capital; also explained by the Trojan evidence is the tripartite political arrangements that endure to this day on the island of Great Britain:
'In the time of Edward I. at Lincolne, where held a Parliament, after much diligent search of Antiquities due examination, as the greatest matter of right of a Kingdom required: Apologitical letters were sent of the Pope of Rome, sealed with an hundred seals and witnesses thus…wherein is declared and justified that in the time of Hely and Samuel the Prophet, Brutus a Trojan landed here, and by his own name called the Country Britannia, before named Albion…and having three Sons, Locrinus Albanactus, and Camber, at his death divided the island into three parts or provinces. Loegria now England, (though Welsh keep the old name) was given to Locrinus the eldest son; Albania Scotland, to Albanact the Second Son. Cambria, now miscalled Wales, to Camber his third Son…this conjecture may suffice for this business, it being testified by so many Domesticall and forrain, private and publick witnesses, that this his tripartite division was here from the beginning, and the first name of Brittain given by Brutus.' (Percy Enderbie’s message ‘To The Gentle Reader’ in his Cambria Triumphans or Brittain in its Perfect Lustre, 1661)
The obliteration of Britain's Trojan heritage from the historical record seems to have begun in the 1600s
The obliteration of Britain's Trojan heritage from the historical record seems to have begun in the 1600s
'Every Londoner in Shakespeare’s day was familiar with the legends of the old Trojan kings and with the spots associated with them. Such popular knowledge has since been educated away, and children can no longer delight in the tales of Brutus who conquered Britain from the giants, of Bladud the aeronaut, and the rest of the fabulous dynasty. The first important historian to deny their authenticity was William Campden, whose Britannia of 1607 omitted their entire record. Thereby, said one of his critics, he “blew away 60 kings at one blast.” Camden’s skepticism was reasonable in his time because the antiquity of London was then unknown. Since the 1940s, however, when German wartime bombing destroyed much of London’s old City area and allowed archaeologists to investigate beneath the ruins, it has been recognised that many of its churches and monuments were built over sites which go back to Roman and earlier times. This has caused renewed interest in the histories of the old kings and their legendary links with the sacred places of their former capital... Their main attraction to pilgrims is the atmosphere of peace and sanctity which in some cases they have retained from prehistoric times.' (John Michell, The Traveller’s Guide to Sacred England, 1996)
Spanish Chronicles & French sources are referred to in Manley-Pope’s A History of the Kings of Ancient Britain, from Brutus to Cadwaladr, p159 et seq, Notes; three Spanish historians cite independently the migration of a colony to mainland Britain under Brutus – Florian de Campo (Chronicle of Spain, 1578), Estevan de Garabay (Historical Compendium, 1628) and Pedro de Roias (History of Toledo, 1654); Pieter van der Keere; for Tysilio's account of Brutus see More 18; see also More 22
Phoenicians: this maritime people dared the oceans and kept secret about what they found, for commercial reasons; what they found to trade in Britain was Cornish tin [see Tin], among other things; the Phoenicians were mariners who occupied strategic islets, inlets and peninsular seaports, such as Tyre, Sidon, Carthage and Cadiz, which were adapted for defence on the landside yet open to the sea; fitting the bill in Britain were St Michael’s Mount, Wight, Gower, the Aran isles of Galway, Dun Barton, Inch Keith etc; the name of Penzance in Cornwall is likely derived from ‘Phoenicia’; the tinport of St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall, may have been named for Tas-Mikal, the Phoenician archangel of agriculture, ‘The Gladdener of Corn’; this divine personage was later subject to a Christian makeover, hence ‘Michaelmas’ for the Harvest Festival (29th September); in Julius Caesar’s time the Veneti of northwest Gaul had control of the cross-Channel trade; the Veneti were probably remnant Phoenicians; on similar lines, Venice got its name from the Phoenicians and in its turn gave its name to Venezuela
Ebraucus: sixth monarch, counting Brutus as number one [see Brutus for king list]; reigned 900s BC; Ebraucus invaded and sacked Gaul; he founded the city whose name the Romans Latinised to Eboracum, present-day York; he also expanded ‘Maiden Castle’, which is taken to be a reference to Edinburgh; Ebraucus, unusual for an early British Monarch in being polygamous, is said to have had twenty-one wives who bore him twenty sons and thirty daughters; their names are all recorded; the daughters were married to the king of the Latins [Source: Holinshed]; this practice seems to have been widespread in the ancient world, for after the Sack of Rome [see Belinus & Brennus] the Latins demanded wives from the Romans in order, they claimed, to renew an ancient kinship; Rome had originally been founded on Latin territory, but fearing a trap they declined the offer and had the Latins killed (Plutarch, The Life of Camillus, paragraph 33); Ebraucus’s sons conquered and settled Germany, which is intriguing given that the Anglo-Saxons came to Britain in the AD 400s and after [see Saxons]; so it is possible to consider that there was an element of 'return' in this undoubted invasion [Source: Waddell] and indicates why lexical (vocabulary) scholars have found the English language in Britain centuries before the Anglo-Saxon influx [see English language]; from the Tysilio Chronicle there is this:
'…the mighty Ebraucus… And upon the death of Mempricius, Ebraucus his son became king, and he ruled the kingdom stoutly for thirty years. And since the days of Brutus, he was the first to take ship to Gaul, which he ravaged and burned, pillaging gold and silver and returning victorious, having put whole cities to the flame, along with fortresses and castles. And he was the first to build in Albany, in the land beyond the Humber, the city named after him, Eboracum. At about this time was David king in Jerusalem.'
[See More 24]
Bladud: reigned 800s BC, tenth ruler [see Brutus for king list]; the most colourful monarch in early British history; Bladud founded the city of Bath, naming it after himself as Caer Bladon; he built there the first phase of the baths, fed by a hot spring, after earlier being cured of leprosy in the waters as a wandering outcast prince, according to legend; his hogs contracted his disease but were cured by rolling in the hot mud, so he followed their example; Bladud dedicated the medicinal spring to Minerva; thus the Romans did not found the baths at Bath but merely added to the existing arrangements; every time someone takes a bath today in Britain they can be said, a touch whimsically, to be commemorating this ancient king
'...Bath, which city, if legend be true, derived its thermal waters from a stream that poured into the Avon at Swineford, lying between Bath and Clifton' (William Comyns Beaumont, The Riddle of Prehistoric Britain, 1946)
Bath may have been the hub of a pre-Roman canal system [see Canals];Bladud is said to have been a necromancer (communicator with the dead) and enchanter; he also made wings and experimented with flight, crashing into the temple of Apollo in the city of Trinovantum (London) and being dashed to pieces, according to the Tysilio Chronicle and the much later Geoffrey of Monmouth; this is one of the earliest recorded attempts at human flight; the temple stood where Westminster Abbey; note that nearby was Tothill Fields, anciently London’s recreation ground; if a test flight were to be hazarded, this would have been as good a place as any to choose; the Temple of Apollo survived into the Roman period, when it was destroyed by an earthquake in the time of Antoninus Pius, Roman Emperor in the period AD 138-161 [See Press Release 1]; Antoninus’s father was Hadrian of Wall fame and Antoninus himself gave his name to the Antonine Wall to the north of it; note that near Westminster Abbey was Tothill Fields, anciently London’s recreation ground; if a test flight were to be hazarded, this would have been as good a place as any to choose; Bladud was the father of Shakespeare’s King Lear, who built Leicester [see More 23]
Flying King Bladud
[For a picture the original statue in Bath, see Press release 1]
Here is the entry for Bladud from John Milton’s The History of Britain (1670, pp14-15):
'Bladud, his son, built Caerbadus, or Bath, and those medicinal waters he dedicated to Minerva; in whose temple there he kept fire continually burning. He was a man of great invention, and taught necromancy; till having made him wings to fly, he fell-down upon the temple of Apollo in Trinovant [London], and so died after twenty years reign.'
Here is what the Tysilio Chronicle has to say about Bladud (p13):
'And after Hudibras came Bladud, his son, who ruled for twenty years. And he built Bath and the springs that were perpetually warm for any that had need of healing. And he worshipped the goddess Minerva. He learned the use of coals which burn to fine ash, but which flare up a second time into balls of fire… And Bladud was a deep and cunning man, the first in all Britain to talk with the dead. And he did not cease from doing such things until he had made for himself pinions and wings and flew high in the air, from where he fell to earth onto the Temple of Apollo in London, and was broken into a hundred pieces.'
The translator adds this in a footnote on the same page:
'…a Roman votive coin was found in a spring at Bath, an engraving of which appears in Campden’s Britannica (see Manley Pope, p.168). On the obverse is a winged head and the inscription Vlatos (Bladud), and on the reverse a unicorn with the legend Atevia, meaning a gift or vow. This dates the tradition to Roman times at the latest, when it is safe to assume that it was already very old.'
The translator then goes on to refer in the same footnote to the Mediterranean island of Levkas, where:
'…there are the remains of a temple to the sun god Apollo (who in Greek mythology was the husband of Diana). These ruins lie on a prominence some 230 feet above the sea, and: “…it was from here that the priests of Apollo would hurl themselves into space, buoyed up – so it was said – by live birds and feathered wings. The relationship between the ritual and the god seems obscure, although there was an early connection between Apollo and various birds….Ovid confirms that the virtue of the flight and the healing waters below the cliff had been known since the time of Deucalion, the Greek Noah.” (Bradford, E, Companion Guide to the Greek Islands, Collins, London, 1963, p. 48). Bladud, it is recorded, also made himself pinions and wings and with them attempted to fly. But the intriguing detail is that he fell onto the temple of Apollo which stood in Troinovantum, present-day London.'
Incredulity that hundreds of years BC a British monarch died while trying to fly should be tempered by the record of an event in AD 1010, when a monk called Elmer used fabricated wings to glide about a furlong from a tower at Malmesbury Abbey, breaking both legs in the process; Elmer realised the need for a tailplane, for greater control, a realisation that some eight hundred years later also struck the father of aviation, George Cayley [see Aviation]; Geoffrey of Monmouth (c1100-c1155) mentions Bladud (History of the Kings of Britain, Chapter X) as contemporaneous with the Prophet Elijah in Israel; this would place Bladud in the ninth century (i.e. 800s BC); Bladud is also mentioned by the medieval French chronicler De Wavrin [see Sources], who refers to Bladud as a contemporary of Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome; this would place Bladud in the eighth century (i.e. 700s); Bladud’s forebears are described in the Tysilio Chronicle; Ebraucus was succeeded on the throne by his son Brutus II Greenshield, who was succeeded by his own son Leil:
'…And the mighty Leil, his son, came after. A good man was he, and a king who upheld truth and justice. And Leil ruled well over the government of the realm, and he built in the north of Britain the city of Carlisle…
…And after him did Hudibras, his son, reign forty years less one. And he delivered his people from war and brought them into peace, and built Canterbury and Winchester, and the town of Shaftesbury…
…And after Hudibras came Bladud, his son, who ruled for twenty years.'
Here is the evaluation of ‘Bladudus’, i.e. Bladud, in Holinshed’s Chronicle (Vol I, p297), together with an estimation of a much later king ‘Dunwallon’, i.e. Dunvallo Molmutius:
'Certes [i.e. Certainly], there was neuer prince in Britaine, of whom his subjects conceiued better hope in the beginning, than of Bladudus,and yet I read of none that made so ridiculour an end: in like sort there hath not reigned anie monarch in this Ile, whose waies were more feared at the first, than those of Dunwallon (king Henrie the fift excepted) and yet in the end he prooued such as prince, as after his death there was in maner no subiect, that did not lament his funerals.'
[For more on Bladud, his son Lear and Lear's daughter Cordelia, see More 23]
'OF THE KINGS OF BRITAINE...
Gwendolena his widow.
Ebracus. [see above, Ebraucus]
Bladunus. [see above, Bladud]
Cordeil his daughter.
Cunedach and Morgan.
Ferres and Porrex.
These 2. being slaine, the
princes of the land straue [strived]
for the superioritie and
regiment of the same, by
the space of 50. yéeres
(after the race of Brute
was decaied) vntill Dunwallon
king of Cornwall
subdued them all, &
brought the whole to his subiection, notwithstanding
that the aforesaid
number of kings remained still,
which were but as vassals & inferiours
to him, he being their chéefe and onelie souereigne.
Belinus his sonne, in whose time Brennus vsurpeth.'
[For Holinshed's full king list, see Monarchs; for the last-mentioned ruler, see next entry, Belinus & Brennus]
Holinshed goes on to give further information on the succession in the main text:
'From Brute to the extinction of his posteritie in Ferrex and Porrex, and pentarchie of Britaine, are 630. years… The time of the pentarchie indured likewise 49. yeares…which being expired Dunwallo brought all the princes vnder subiection, and ruled ouer them as monarch of this Ile.' (Holinshed’s Chronicles, Vol I, p50)
The name of this king in the Tysilio Chronicle is given as Dyfnal moel myd, which was Latinised by Geoffrey of Monmouth to ‘Dunvallo Molmutius’; Geoffrey moved away from meaningful Welsh versions of names, through his successive editions, and later Latin scribes further moved away from meaning [see Sources]; in this case it is a pity, as 'Dyfnal moel myd' can be rendered as Donald the Bald; Molmutius was the unifying king after Brutus’s direct line ended and civil war erupted; he was from Cornwall and was presumably of the line of Brutus’s kinsmen Corineas, founder of Cornwall; according to the Tysilio Chronicle ‘he restored the land to its ancient dignity and compiled laws that are known as the Molmutine Laws, which even the Saxons obey’ i.e. a thousand years later; the roads were safe ‘for in his day was tolerated neither thief nor footpad’, as the Tysilio Chronicle puts it, and he was in fact a great roadbuilder, a tradition upheld by his son Belinus [see Belinus & Brennus]; Molmutius is regarded as the founder of the ancient seat of Winchester, whose Ancient British name was Winton, according to E O Gordon [see Sources]; yet the Tysilio Chronicle cites Hudibras, father of Bladud (AD 800s), as the founder of the city, so Molmutius should be regarded as its later developer; under Molmutius Winton became the supreme seat of civil government and it was again so under Canute the Great (reigned in England 1016-35), who is buried there; the Molmutine Laws survive for anyone to read [see More 4]; the world portrayed by the laws of the Molmutine Laws was gentler and less capricious than the Roman world that followed; there was provision in his legal code for voting by ordinary folk – men and women – on new laws and even, astoundingly, on whether to get rid of a bad king; Dunvallo Molmutius is Britain’s greatest-ever lawmaker, since his laws, via King Alfred the Great [see Alfred the Great], were the early basis of what became the English common law, which has been globally influential, notably in former British colonies including the United States of America; Holinshed [see Sources] reports that ‘Amongst other of his ordinances, he appointed weights and measures, with which men should buy and sell.’; Molmutius was one of the greatest of all the monarchs of Britain; his line ruled up to the Romans, during the occupation – as native kingship mostly continued – and afterwards; Shakespeare alludes to Donald in Cymbeline, Act III, saying “…Molmutius made our laws;/Who was the first of Britain which did put/His brows within a golden crown, and called/Himself a king.”; Molmutius is reported by E O Gordon [see Sources] as being buried on the White Mound, on which now stands the White Tower of the Tower of London; yet the Tysilio Chronicle reports that Molmutius was buried in London in a famous temple of his own building, specified by Geoffrey of Monmouth as the Temple of Concord
[see More 4]
Belinus & Brennus: these were the sons of Dunvallo Molmutius, Belinus being the elder; Belinus the Great reigned, 399-364 BC; their names are given in the Tysilio Chronicle as Beli & Bran, in Geoffrey of Monmouth as Belinus & Brennus [see Sources]; Belinus ruled directly Loegria and Cambria, modern-day England and Wales, as well as Cornwall; his brother Brennus ruled as subordinate to Belinus north of the Humber; Brennus tried to usurp his brother but his rebellion was crushed and he went into exile; during these events the King of Denmark fell into the hands of Belinus; for his release Belinus extracted a great tribute and an oath of fealty; Brennus, with the help of the Senones, probably the modern-day Burgundians, but not the Gauls, invaded Britain, but an impassioned plea by their mother saw Brennus and Belinus reconciled without a fight; instead the Britons and Burgundians invaded and sacked Gaul; they then invaded what is now modern-day Italy and took Rome; the Sack of Rome of 390 BC was one of the most important events in Roman history; Terry Jones in his book Terry Jones’ Barbarians (BBC Books, 2006) said that it ‘was to haunt the Roman psyche for eight centuries’, so it is not surprising that the event was written about at length in the Roman histories; Diodorus Siculus, the first century BC Greek historian describes it, as does Dionysius of Halicarnassus, another Greek historian of a later period; he said that the reason for the attack was the invaders’ love of wine and olive oil; prior to this ‘they used for wine a foul-smelling liquor made from barley rotted in water, and for oil, stale lard, disgusting both in smell and taste’; this was presumably beer which sounds just like an early version of the renowned British real ale - and for a nation that raised pigs and hunted wild boar, lard (unrefined) would have been the natural choice of cooking fat; Plutarch (c46 – 120AD) in his The Life of Camillus said that the day the Roman army was defeated at the nearby river Allia, which battle preceded the Sack of Rome, was one of the unluckiest (darkest) days of Roman history; Plutarch also records that Aristotle mentioned the Sack of Rome and that Heraclides Ponticus, who was born at that time and was another Greek philosopher, reported that the Hyperboreans had invaded Rome; ‘Hyperboreans’ was a name used by the Ancient Greeks for Britain, argue some scholars [see Hyperborea]; Plutarch also mentions Brennus several times, which supports the British history as relayed for example via the Tysilio Chronicle; the Roman historian Livy in his Book 5 mentions Brennus by name as chieftain [see More 20]; Belinus and Brennus were undoubtedly real historical characters; here is Professor L A Waddell’s take on the Sack of Rome:
'Brennus (or Bryan), brother of King Belinus (No.22 on list) is reported in the Chronicles to be the famous Brennus who led the Gauls in the sack of Rome, placed in 390 B.C. But this Briton tradition, along with the rest of the Chronicles has been summarily thrust aside by modern writers… Rome and Roman civilization and traditional history are of so much later origin than London and British civilization and traditional history… The Roman tradition states that the Gauls were led by Brennus in that raid in retaliation for Roman opposition to the Senones, or Seine tribe of the Gauls, in their siege of Clusium in Etruscany of the Tyrrheni, in which country they wished to establish a colonial settlement. The British Chronicles relate…[that] the Briton prince Brennus, who had married the heiress-daughter of the Gallic Duke of the Allobroges, had, upon the death of the latter and with the assistance of his brother King Belinus, conquered Gaul and “brought the whole kingdom of Gaul into subjection.” [Ref: Geoffrey of Monmouth 3, 8]… And the Chronicle account also states that Brennus led the Senones to Rome “in revenge on the Romans for their breach of treaty.” This raid appears to have been analagous to that later one by their kinsmen Goths under Alaric in the fifth century A.D., and, like that, was also for the breach by the Romans of their treaty.' [see Sources: Waddell, p389)
Back in Britain, Belinus became a famous builder of roads [see Roads], which were made of stone and mortar and which ran the length and breadth of the country; for this reason these roads continued long afterwards to be called the ‘Belinian roads of Britain’ [see References below: R W Morgan], but are usually misattributed to the Romans [see More 7]; the medieval historian Henry of Huntingdon claimed they were built as a defence against invasion and they would certainly suit the British battle tactics, based on war chariots, which could rush to meet a threat at the periphery; in peacetime these road will have fostered trade; a law was passed during the time of Belinus that made the roads open to all, natives and foreigners; Belinus also built a fine gate beside the Thames in London, topped with a great tower; this was Belin’s Gate, corresponding to that part of London now known as Billingsgate; when Belinus died he was cremated and his ashes placed in an urn of gold at the top of the tower.
Belinus & Brennus references:
Marcia: Queen Marcia ruled as regent c350 BC for her young son Sisillius after the death of her husband King Guithelin, Belinus’s grandson; she introduced the Laws of Marcia – otherwise known as the Marcian Code – which were translated many centuries later by Alfred the Great from Old Welsh into Old English and called the Mercian Code, owing to a mistaken attribution of provenance [see Human rights]; here is what the Tysilio Chronicle [see More 18] has to say on these matters:
'And at the death of Belinus, his son, Gurgant the Peaceful, took up the crown…
And after Gurgant’s death, Guithelin, his son, ruled the realm, and he governed it peacefully and quietly until the end of his days. And his wife was named Marcia, and she was learned in all the arts, having discovered with her husband all manner of things concerning the foundations of the laws. And these [laws] the Britons called the Laws of Marcia, which laws did Alfred the king translate from Old Welsh into Saxon, and called it the Mercian Code in the Saxon tongue.
And when Guithelin died, his wife ruled both in his stead and in that of his son, for Sisillius was barely seven years of age at his father’s death, and was disqualified from the crown because of his years. But his mother wisely kept him at her side, so that when she died Sisillius took up the crown.'
The relevant part of Holinshed's king list is as follows:
‘OF THE KINGS OF BRITAINE...
Belinus his sonne, in whose time Brennus vsurpeth.
Gurgwinbatrus. [Gurgant the Peaceful in Tysilio]
Guittellinus. [Guithelin in Tysilio]
Seisill. [Sisillius in Tysilio, son of Marcia]
Owan aliàs Ellan.
Morwich aliàs Morindus.
Grandobodian aliàs Gorbonian.
Elidurus aliàs Hesidor.
Vigen aliàs Higanius, & Petitur aliàs Petidurus.
Elidurus the third time.
Gorbodia aliàs Gorbonian.
Meriones aliàs Eighuans.
Pyrrho aliàs Porrex.
Fulganius aliàs Sulgenis.
Owinus aliàs Oghwen.
Sisillus or Sitsiltus.
Ruthenis thrée moneths.
Rodingarus aliàs Rodericus.
Carporis aliàs Capporis.
Dynellus aliàs Dygnellus.
Hellindus a few moneths.
[For Holinshed's full king list, see Monarchs; for the last-mentioned 'Lhoid' & 'Casibellane', see next entry]Lud, Cassivelaunus & Nennius: Lud (Holinshed's 'Lhoid'), firstborn of these brothers, reigned from 73 BC, Cassivelaunus (Holinshed's 'Casibellane') from 52 BC, after Lud’s death; Nennius died in 55 BC of wounds sustained while fighting Julius Caesar no less in personal combat on a British beach [see Julius Caesar]; Lud rebuilt Brutus’s New Troy, renaming it ‘Caer Lud’ – ‘The Fortified City of Lud’ – to the annoyance of Nennius in particular, according to the Tysilio Chronicle; the name became Caer Lundain, which the Romans took up as Londinium, whence London; that is one derivation of the modern name; another is given by E O Gordon [see Sources], where Landin is an ancient parliamentary assembly point; Brutus was the founder of London, Lud can be regarded as the founder of modern London; Lud constructed a wall around the city long before the Romans; Lud’s London, at 324 acres, was the largest city in Western Europe; referring to Lud, the Tysilio Chronicle reports that ‘within the city he ordered the raising of many fine buildings such as were never seen in any land’; Lud was buried in a vault under Ludgate, the western gate of London; there used to be a statue of King Lud and his two sons at Ludgate Circus, as it is now called; this statue has been moved to a church next to the Law Courts in the Strand, at the top end of Fleet Street; it is in a state of neglect; referring to the Mabinogion, E O Gordon [see Sources] comments ‘From the same source we learn that Lludd caused the Isle of Britain to be measured in its length and in its breadth, and in Oxford he found the central point.’; the Tysilio Chronicle has it thus;
'And straightway Lud commanded that all the island be measured in its length and breadth. And the centre was found in Rydychen' [which is Oxford].
After Lud’s death his brother Cassivelaunus took over, because Lud’s children were thought too young to counter the Roman threat; here is the account of these events in the Tysilio Chronicle:
'And he [i.e. Lud] had two sons, Androgeus and Tenvantius. But because they were too young to rule the kingdon, Casswallon [i.e. Cassivelaunus], the son of Beli [Geoffrey of Monmouth has ‘Heli’], was anointed king. And Casswallon gave himself over to uphold truth and justice, and notwithstanding he was king, he sought no advantage over his nephews, but bestowed upon them large parts of the realm. He gave to Androgeus London and the earldom of Kent. And to Tenvantius he gave the earldom of Cornwall. But he, Casswallon, was king over all.'
Cassivelaunus led the fight against the Roman invasions from Gaul [see Julius Caesar]; the relationship of Cassivelaunus ('Cassibellan') to the later king Cymbeline ('Cunobelin') is described in these terms by Waddell:
'…the Chronicles, in their different versions, are quite clear upon the point that Cassibellan was the uncle, and not the father of Cunobelin…' [Waddell; More 21]
To be precise Cassivelaunus was Cymbeline's great-uncle [see Royal family tree]; yet another brother of Lud, Llefelys, is cited in the Tysilio Chronicle, in a section that is evidently a later interpolation; note though that Llefelys also turns up as Lud’s brother in the Mabinogion
Julius Caesar: his invasion attempt of 55 BC, with 12,000 men at his back, was thwarted by determined British resistance; the Romans got back into their ships and departed after less than a week’s hostilities; Caesar wrote of himself in the third person, saying in his Gallic Wars:
'During the short part of summer which remained, Caesar, although in these countries, as all Gaul lies towards the north, the winters are early, nevertheless resolved to proceed into Britain, because he discovered that in almost all the wars with the Gauls succours had been furnished to our enemy from that country…'
Caesar wrote of the Briton’s terrifying use of war-chariots, which he was to encounter only one other time in his illustrious military career, in the far east of the Roman Empire; the British battle leader Cassivelaunus held a great victory banquet in London in 55 BC, on display at which was Caesar’s sword, a trophy from the fighting, won by his younger brother Nennius (who later died of his wounds) in hand-to-hand fighting with Caesar himself and his 10th Legion; the sword is depicted to this day in the upper left quadrant of the coat of arms of the City of London, other explanations for its provenance being fallacious; Shakespeare alludes to the sword story in Cymbeline, wrongly attributing the exploit to Cassivelaunus (‘Cassibelan’):
'The famed Cassibelan, who was once at point
(O giglot fortune!) to master Caesar’s sword,
Made Lud’s town with rejoicing fires bright,
And Briton’s strut with courage.'
The beach incident is related thus by the Tysilio Chronicle:
'And Nennius and Caesar met [in battle], and Caesar lifted his sword to bring it down on Nennius’ head. But he, Nennius, blocked it with his shield, so that the sword stuck fast in it. And he, Caesar, could not free it by virtue of the press of soldiers about them.'
Back in Gaul Caesar found no respite, according to the Tysilio Chronicle:
'And the men of Gaul rebelled against him and gave him battle, and looked to overthrow his tyranny over them, for they supposed that his invastion of the Britons had come to nought because he had fled from them. And they heard also that Casswallon’s ships were upon the sea to give him chase. But he, Caesar, pacified the people with a great sum of money to the princes of Gaul and liberty to all his captives.'
Caesar came back in 54 BC with 30,000 troops; this time he achieved enough military success to satisfy his honour, before sailing away once more, rather hurriedly; Caesar’s military achievement during his second invasion amounted to a subduing rather than a conquest, to stop the Britons helping Gaul (France); Flinders Petrie [see Sources] wrote ‘That there was generally a well-organized peace kept in the country is shown by Caesar's statement that “the number of the people is countless and their buildings exceedingly numerous”.’; a civilised state of affairs thus supervened in Britain before the Romans came on the scene and indeed Britain was wealthy by the standards of the time; it stayed that way; Caesar laid waste Gaul over eight years and at a cost of more than a million lives; the Britons had united under Cassivelaunus, the Pendragon or Battle Sovereign, of whom Winston Churchill remarked ‘the impression remains of a prudent and skilful chief’; they had put up an unexpectedly stern resistance; the Romans were not to return for nearly a century, in the time of the Emperor Clausius [see Claudius]; Caesar famously declared ‘Veni. Vidi. Vici.’, ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’, yet he was talking about a real conquest in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) not his excursions to the western edge of the known world, where ‘I came, I saw, I went’ would be closer to the mark; of Caesar’s cross-Channel exploits the Roman poet Lucan wrote, “In haste he turned and showed his back/To the Britons he had attacked”; Caesar’s British exploits were in fact like his incursion into Germany in 55 BC, as much as anything intended to impress the people back home (i.e. Rome); according to the Tysilio Chronicle Julius Caesar believed that Romans and Britons were both of Trojan stock – Aeneas settling in Rome, his great-grandson Brutus in Britain; Caesar claims descent from Aeneas’s son Iulus in his Commentaries, Book IV, XX; meanwhile Tacitus has Nero make this claim about Julius Caesar too (Book XII, LVIII); the British Chronicles provide an independent version of the Roman invasions, as Flinders Petrie pointed out in 1917 [see Sources]; the Tysilio Chronicle relates that during the first of Caesar’s invasions the Britons successfully thwarted his attack; Holinshed’s Scottish Chronicles add that the Britons had been helped in this endeavour by the Picts and Scots, who had gathered in London before the invasion; the Tysilio Chronicle continues the story thus:
'…Caesar came a second time to wreak vengence upon the Britons for his defeat. And when Casswallon learned of it, he commanded that iron stakes, as stout as a man’s thigh, should be planted in the Thames where Caesar’s ships should come. And of a sudden then, the Romans, ran [their ships] upon the stakes and the ships were holed, drowning thousands of his men. And those who reached the banks were met by Casswallon and all the host of Loegria [England]. And Caesar fled…'
There is then another victory banquet in London, but this one goes disastrously awry, according to the Tysilio Chronicle; a quarrel arises between two princes whilst they are jousting; this fractures relations between Androgeus, Lud’s son, in charge of London, and his uncle Cassivelaunus; civil war ensues, Androgeus appealing for help from Caesar; Caesar duly lands a fleet in Androgeus’s domain of Kent, unopposed, even as Cassivelaunus is laying seige to London; after a battle between Caesar and Cassivelaunus and a subsequent seige of the latter, holed up in a hillfort, Cassivelaunus sues for peace, via Androgeus; thus the Tysilio Chronicle has two Caesarian incursions to Caesar’s two; the account in the Tysilio Chronicle then proceeds as follows:
'And so Caesar made a pack with Casswallon upon his paying to the Senate of Rome for the island of Britain three thousand pounds each year. And upon this being ratified, they came together to London and made their winter-quarters there. And the summer following, Caesar returned to Rome and Androgeus with him, to come against Pompey who in those days was [seeking to] rule the empire there. And Caswallon continued to rule the land of Britain for [a further’] seven years. And when he died, he was buried at Eboracum. And after Casswallon, Tenvantius, the son of Lud, was made king.
And after Tenvantius, Cymbeline was made king whom Caesar had raised [as his own son].'
So the Tysilio Chronicle has three Caesarian invasions to the two in Caesar’s own account, though Caesar has a withdrawal to his base campe to repair storm-damaged vessels, probably accounting for the discrepancy; an account by The Venerable Bede has two invasions, with details (e.g. river stakes) that are found in the Tysilio Chronicle but not in Caesar’s account; Bede’s recounting is reproduced below this notice after the references; legend has it that Caesar stayed at the Tower of London in what is now part of the Tower complex - ‘Caesar’s Tower’; Androgeus, because he had betrayed his country, departed with the Romans; the Welsh knew him as the Black Traitor or ‘Mandubrad’, which is also what the Romans knew him as; the Welsh are said to have called Julius Caesar ‘Iolo the Bald’ (pronounced ‘Yolo’), because the vain Roman was known to be dismayed by his hair loss; by a twist of fate Androgeus’s family went on to prosper in Rome, Emperor Severus (ruled AD 193-211) being purportedly of the same family and hence of British blood [see Severus]; Julius Caesar pushed through calendar reform in Rome in 46 BC, expanding ten months to twelve; Caesar named the seventh month, July, after himself; he may have been given a harder than expected time by the western islanders, but the British honour him to this day via the Roman calendar that they and the world still use; it is usually assumed that Caesar only visited southeastern England getting not much further north than the Thames, but this is based partly on the false assumption that there were no fast roads in Britain at the time, when there most certainly were [see Belinus & Brennus]; the Caesarian descriptions of people further north was thought to have been due to his receiving reports from traders, but this was not Caesar’s style at all, as he usually reported what he had seen at first-hand; Holinshed’s Scottish Chronicles claim that Julius Caesar got as far as southern Scotland; there would appear to be physical evidence for this; until the eighteenth century, there stood a Roman ‘temple’ at Stenhousemuir (‘stone house moor’), until it was demolished to repair a dam in the nearby river Carron,; an engraving of 1726 exists of this and it matches a description supplied by the Tudor-era historian Hector Boethius, who reported that ‘it is round, having no windows or opening at the top. It resembles those ancient shrines one can see at Rome, having stone benches within set in a circle, with an ashlar floor once covered by a mosaic, as its few remaining fragments reveal. The eagles engraved into the stones are now all but worn away by the passage time, and within it is a great stone at its south, which the pagans are thought to have used as an altar’; that it is Roman there can be little doubt; it is said that Julius Caesar used it as a forward headquarters; the possibility that it may have been built much later by Vespasian can be discounted as Tacitus described the typical Roman temple as being like a citadel whereas Julian’s Hoff (hall), as it was known tellingly, was more like a pepper pot of a building; Julius Caesar described the Britons as licentious, but this seems to be a reference to the Scots in the period; Holinshed’s Scottish Chronicles relate how the Scot’s King Edwin - the next monarch after Caesar’s time – was known for polygamy and other activities aligning with Caesar’s description, so it is likely that this licentiousness was already occurring in Caesar’s time; Edwin was eventually assasinated by his own people; the charge that the British rather than the Scots were promiscuous may have dented British pride and perhaps helps to explain why the British have been so keen to disclaim and discredit their own ancient history; in Britain the hereditary principle was paramount; any son thought to be illegitimate could be sold into slavery, indicating a robust moral stance, not the reverse
Julius Caesar references:
Here is Bede’s account of Julius Caesar’s invasion, taken from Bede’s Book 2 entitled ‘CAIUS JULIUS CAESAR, THE FIRST ROMAN THAT CAME INTO BRITAIN’:
'Britain had never been visited by the Romans, and was, indeed, entirely unknown to them before the time of Caius Julius Caesar…[he] having provided about eighty ships of burden and vessels with oars, he sailed over into Britain; where, being first roughly handled in a battle, and then meeting with a violent storm, he lost a considerable part of his fleet, no small number of soldiers, and almost all his horses. Returning into Gaul, he put his legions into winter quarters, and gave orders for building six hundred sail of both sorts. With these he again passed over early in spring into Britain, but, whilst he was marching with a large army towards the enemy, the ships, riding at anchor, were, by a tempest either dashed one against another, or driven upon the sands and wrecked. Forty of them perished, the rest were, with much difficulty, repaired. Caesar's cavalry was, at the first charge, defeated by the Britons, and Labienus, the tribune, slain. In the second engagement, he, with great hazard to his men, put the Britons to flight. Thence he proceeded to the river Thames, where an immense multitude of the enemy had posted themselves on the farthest side of the river, under the command of Cassibellaun, and fenced the bank of the river and almost all the ford under water with sharp stakes: the remains of these are to be seen to this day, apparently about the thickness of a man's thigh, and being cased with lead, remain fixed immovably in the bottom of the river. This, being perceived and avoided by the Romans, the barbarians not able to stand the shock of the legions, hid themselves in the woods, whence they grievously galled the Romans with repeated sallies. In the meantime, the strong city of Trinovantum [London], with its commander Androgeus, surrendered to Caesar, giving him forty hostags. Many other cities followed their example, made a treaty with the Romans. By their assistance, Caesar at length, with much difficulty, took Cassibellaun's town, situated between two marshes, fortified by the adjacent woods, and plentifully furnished with all necessaries. After this, Caesar returned into Gaul, but he had no sooner put his legions into winter quarters, than he was suddenly beset and distracted with wars and tumults raised against him on every side.'
Continental migration into Britain:
'there had been a continual flow of population into Britain before the Roman age. The Atrebates, the Belgae, the Parisii, the Brigantes, and others, are equally familiar on both sides of the channel. Nor was this process stopped even by Rome…By clinging to the Saxon Chronicle, and its ignorance of all that went on before 449, the archaeological evidence has been rejected and a water-tight compartment of Britain has been formulated, which was never true of any century of its history.' [Source: Flinders Petrie, More 19]
‘Celts’: the word is said to derive from the Greek Keltoi, meaning ‘strangers’; the Celts were understood by classical authors to be a mix of peoples in what is now southern France, going into Switzerland; the Ancient Britons were separate; nineteenth century historians concocted the theory of central European Celts, with an influx into Iron Age Britain in the first millenium BC, but present-day academic researchers for the most part distance themselves from such a view, which is unsupported by the archaeological record; in short, no part of the British Isles was ever ‘Celtic’, so the use of this word and ‘Celts’ to describe the peoples of Britain and Ireland is inappropriate; this view is supported by observations such as this:
'…Strabo, like Caesar and all other Greco-Roman writers without exception, expressly excludes Britain from Keltica or “The Land of the Celts”… neither Caesar, nor Tacitus, nor any other of the Greek or Roman historians or writers ever refer to the Celts or Kelts as inhabitants of Britain or of Hibernia… The confusion arose through the popular misconception that because a people spoke a dialect of the same group of languages they were necessarily of the same race… the “die-hard” Celtists…keep alive the old mental confusion and mislead the public and popular writers… No traditional or historical references or records whatever exist of the migration of any people called “Celts” into Early Britain.' [See Sources: Waddell, pp129-38]
Waddell adds ‘…nor is the word “Celt” even known in the “British Celtic” languages.’ [p176]; the erroneous idea of a Celtic British Isles is traced by Waddell to a book of 1703 written by Abbé Pezron, a Frenchman; a different view entirely is that articulated by Holinshed [see Sources], who cites with cool detachment the ancient historian Berossus; Holinshed describes Celts over a thousand years prior to the Arrival of Brutus (which was somewhat before 1100 BC); in this alternative telling, a Europe-wide empire is envisaged at an early date, under a king called Samothes
'…and (as Berosus and divers othr authors agrée) Samothes was the founder of Celtica, which conteined in it…a great part of Europe, but speciallie those countries which now are called by the names of Gallia and Britannia.' (Hollinshed’s Chronicles, Vol I, p428)
Samothes in Holinshed is noted as being the sixth son of Japhet, himself the third son of Noah, placing this material in the legendary category; Samothes's coming to Britain can be computed from Holinshed's remarks as being 2056 BC [Holinshed, Vol 1, pp 8-9]; a separate take on Samothes and the Celts is that of David Hughes (p30; see Sources):
'The first king of the Celts is called Samothes, who flourished around 2025BC. He was a contemporary of the Bible figure Abraham. The Celts in Europe fought their rivals, the Germans…and the Slavs in a series of wars which kept them in check. The conquests of the indigenous peoples of Europe by the Celts made them a great power…Their conquests drove…the Picts from Britain to Ireland. Legend says that the Celtic high-king/or emperor Albiorix subdued most of Europe and found[ed] the first European empire about 1175/1150BC.'
Hughes’s Albiorix is presumably Holinshed’s Allobrox, the sixth generation descendant of a king called Celtes, himself an eighth generation descendant of Samothes; Celtes is pivotal as he reigned over Britain immediately before and after Albion - who is described as crossing to Gaul and having been overthrown there by Hercules; the founding king Samothes is said to have given Britain its name before it was known as Albion; so in this scheme the name sequence for the island would be Samothea-Albion-Britain; note that the name did not revert to Samothea after Albion met his end in Gaul; to cite Holinshed’s Chronicles once more (Vol I, p50):
'…the regiment [rule] of Albion continued by seauen yeares, and then was the souereingtie of this Ile restored againe by Hercules vnto the Celts.'
Summarising, the notion that there was a Celtic influx into Britain in the first millenium BC is a fantasy; the notion of there having been a Celtic empire in the late third millenium BC is an intriguing legend
Ancient Celts reference:
‘Britain’: in the title ‘The National CVpedia of Britain’ the word ‘Britain’ refers to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, otherwise known as the UK; whence ‘Britain’?; early manuscript sources admit a conjecture as to the sequence of names attaching to the island as Sea-girt Green Spot, Honey Isle (of Bel), Samothea, Albion, then Britain [see Name]; the Roman name for the island was Britannia; this was derived from Greek renderings of what the Britons presumably called their own land; Phytheas, a Greek explorer of the British Isles in the fourth century BC, used Bretannike (feminine noun, note; see Britannia), Aristotle Britannic, Pliny Britannia, Diodorus Brettanike nesos (‘the British Isle’), Ptolemy Bretania; P was sometimes used anciently in place of B, the two being dialectically interchangeable; in line with this Prydain was the name of the land in the ancient British language of Kymraec and remains so in present-day Welsh; pryd in Welsh means ‘form’ and some scholars have said that the Ancient Britons were ‘people of forms’ i.e. tatoos; here is how one scholar describes this approach:
'The usually conjectured derivation of “Britain”…is that evolved by Sir J. Rhys. He derives the name “Britain,” from the Welsh Brith and Braith, “spotted, parti-coloured – a reference to the painting or tatooing of the body.” (J. Rhys, Celtic Britain, p211, 1904) But, evidently not quite satisfied with this, he thinks it is derived from the Welsh Brethyn, “cloth,” and adds: “It would appear that the word Brython and its congeners meant ‘clothed,’ or ‘cloth-clad’ people.” ' (J Rhys Ib., 212)[Source: Waddell, p169]
Etymological derivations of ‘Britain’ are feebly preposterous; these kind of derivations indeed can only really be mooted on the basis that someone else, Greek or Roman, named the island, since the locals are no more likely to have called themselves ‘clothed people’ than modern Britons are to call themselves ‘the people of the computer’; these name explanations are also predicated on the view that the Ancient Britons were tribal primitives; this they most certainly were not [see Romans in Britain]; as the -ain of Britain is universally agreed by etymologists to mean ‘land of’, all that needs explaining is the first syllable; fortunately a candidate hypothesis is to hand; the name of Britain most plausibly comes from Brutus, the nation’s founding monarch, for whose existence there is much evidence [see Brutus]; Geoffrey of Monmouth – supported by other British Chroniclers, including the Tysilio, author of Geoffrey’s main source-work – states that “Brutus called the island after his own name ‘Britain’ and his companions ‘Britons’.”; Brutus or Brute is the Latinised form of the name of the founder of Britain; in Khymraec he is known as Brwth or via ‘P’ we get to something like Pryddys or Pryd; the Irish-Scots rendering was Briutus [see Sources: Waddell], while the Tysilio Chronicle gives us Bryttys; summarising, ‘Britain’ most plausibly means ‘Land of Brit’, i.e. King Brit, exactly as the British Chronicles say; to quote Holinshed:
'In the former part of this historie it is manifest to the heedful reader, that (after the opinion of most writers) Brute did first inhabit this land, and called it then after his owne name, Britaine …in the yéere before the incarnation of Christ 1108.' [Source: Holinshed, p765]
And here is another account:
'First, therefore we see it was called
Albion. Secondly, Brittain from Brute. Thirdly, Egbert commanded it to be called Angliafrom a nation of which he descended. (Percy Enderbie, CambriaTriumphans or Brittain in its Perfect Lustre, 1661)'
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