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History of the Britons (Historia Brittonum)

History of the Britons (Historia Brittonum) by Nennius

Although the origin of this book is much debated it remains, perhaps, one of the earliest recorded histories of Britain. It was believed that Nennius wrote the book around 796AD. If indeed he wrote this record, Nennius is recognised as being a teller, and embellisher, of historic characters and events.
This book remains notable however, as one of the earliest that mention Arthur (The King of Arthurian legend).

First Page:


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... Continue reading book >>

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