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From The “Historia Brittonum” Commonly Attributed to Nennius; From a Manuscript Lately Discovered in the Library of the Vatican Palace at Rome: edited in the Tenth Century by Mark the Hermit with an English Version, Fac Simile of the Original, Notes and Illustrations, by the Rev. W. Gunn, London: Printed for John and Arthur Arch, 1819; pp. 8-15, pp. 122-145.



[Part II: The English Translation by W. Gunn]

[Latin Text]


30 According to the most learned among the Scots, Ireland was a desert, and uninhabited, at the time when the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, in which, as we read in the Book of the Law, the Egyptians 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 had never persecuted 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,31 by the lake of Osiers.32 Then passing between Rusicada33 and the hilly country of Syria, they travelled by the river Malva34 through Mauritana as far as the Pillars of Hercules; and navigating the Sea, landed in 9 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. 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.

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

35 The Britains 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. 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 Columcille to the death of St. Bridget, four years.

36 I have learned another account of this Brutus 10 from the ancient books of our ancestors. After the deluge, the three sons of Noah severally occupied three different parts of the earth: Shem into Asia, Hem into Africa, and Japhet into Europe.

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 Britains: from Armenon, the Gothi, Valagothi, Cibidi, Burgundi, and Longobardi; from Neugio, the Bogari, Vandali, Saxones, and Tarincgi. The whole of Europe was subdivided into these tribes.

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 Jafet; Jafet of Noah; Noah of Lamech; Lamech of Mathusalem; Mathusalem of Enoch; Enoch of Jared; Jared of Malalehel; 11 Malalehel of Cainan; Cainan of Enos; Enos of Seth; Seth of Adam; and Adam was formed by the living God.

From ancient tradition, we have obtained this information respecting the original inhabitants of Britain. The Britains were thus called from Brutus; Brutus was the son of Hisicion; Hisicion was the son of Alanus; Alanus was the son of Rhea Silvia; Rhea 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 Jafeth; but Jafeth 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 Traces: these are the sons of Jafeth, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech.

The Romans having obtained the dominion of the world, sent legates or deputies to the Britains 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.

Then Julius Cæsar, the first who had acquired 12 universal empire, highly incensed against the Britains, sailed with sixty vessels to the mouth of the Thames,37 where they greatly suffered whilst he fought at Deal38 (the proconsul39 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 Cæsar returned home without victory, having had his soldiers slain, and his ships shattered. But after three years40 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 pikes41 in the shallow part of the river,42 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 Cæsar was once more compelled to return without peace or victory. The Romans, were, therefore, a third time sent against the Britains; and, under the command of Julius, defeated them near a place called Trinovantum, forty-seven years before the birth of Christ, and five thousand, two hundred and twelve years from the Creation.

Julius43 was the first exercising supreme power over the Romans who invaded Britain: in honor of him the Romans decreed the fifth month to be called after his name. He was 13 assassinated in the Curia44 in the Ides of March, and Octavus Augustus succeeded to the empire of the world. He was the only emperor who received tribute from the Britains, according to the following verse of Virgil.

45 “Purpurea intexti tollunt aulea Britanni.”

46  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 Britains. He reigned thirteen years and eight months.47 His monument is to be seen at Moguntia (among the Lombards) where he died in his way to Rome.

48 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 Euaristus.

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 Britains, the Scots, and the Picts, 14 extending across the island from sea to sea, in length one hundred and thirty-three miles:49 for the Scots50 from the west, and the Picts from the North, unanimously made war against the Britains.

51 The fourth was the Emperor Caritius, who, incensed at the murder of Severus,52 passed into Britain, and attended by the leaders of the Roman people, severely avenged upon the chiefs and rulers of the Britains, the cause of Severus.

53 The fifth was Constantius, the son of Constantine the Great. He died in Britain; his sepulchre, as it appears by the inscription, is still seen near the city named Cair segeint. 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.

54  Maximus was the sixth emperor that ruled in Britain. It was in his time that consuls began, and that the appellation of Cæsar was discontinued: at this period also, St. Martin became celebrated for his virtues and miracles.

The seventh emperor was Maximianus. He withdrew from Britain with all its military force, slew Gratianus, the king of the Romans, and obtained the sovereignty of all Europe. Unwilling to send back55 his warlike companions 15 to their wives, children, and possessions in Britain, he conferred upon them numerous districts from the Lake on the summit of Mons Iovis, to the city called Cant Guic, and to the western Tumulus, that is, to Cruc Occident. These are the Armoric Britains,56 and they remain there to the present day.57 In consequence of their absence,58 Britain being overcome by foreign nations, the lawful heirs were cast out, till God interposed with his assistance. We are informed by the tradition59 of our ancestors that seven Emperors went into Britain, though the Romans affirm there were nine.



30  “Mihi periti Scottorum nuntiaverunt — Erat autem vir nobilis de Scithia.”

The Scythic origin of the Irish-Scots has been handed down as a favourite tradition. The term Scythian has always been applied with great latitude, both by ancient writers, and those of the middle ages. Pliny (4. c. 12.) says, the name of Scyth was given to those people who inhabited climates unknown to the rest of the world. The Greeks seem to have applied it commonly to nomadic tribes. “From Western Scythia, which answers in general to the Ukraine, the country of the Nogian Tartars, the Don Cossacks, &c. (its first river on the west being the Danube, and the last on the east, the Tanais or Don); proceeded immense swarms in every direction; and the name of Scythian is to be recognised for centuries after the Christian æra, in the scattered colonies settled in many parts of Greece, Italy, and other countries lying upon the Mediterranean Sea. Thus the lesser Syrtis, the lake Tritonis of Herodotus, situated opposite to Malta and Sicily, was intirely surrounded by nomadic tribes.” (Rennel, p. 637.) Rumours of these supposed peregrinations may have laid the foundation for the dispersions now 123 under consideration, and of which, the Irish-Scots may have claimed a share. It may be remarked, that in Tysilio and Jeffery, the route now traced was not made by the Trojan Brutus, but by the “Vir nobilis de Scythia,” as is here described.

31  “Ad aras Philistinorum,” — for Philænorum. — The same error occurs in the earliest copies of Tysilio, where the word is Felystynion; in Jeffery, it is Phylistewydyon. The Aræ Philænorum are well known in ancient history, and a legend framed respecting them is to be found both in Sallust (De Bell. Jug.) and Valerius Maximus. (l. 4. s. 4.) Nor have they escaped the notice of modern travellers, who describe them as “situated to the south east of the greater Syrtis, where the road makes a wide detour between Tripoli and Cyrene.” (Rennel, p. 651.) They are mounds of earth, probably tumuli, which marked the limits of the Carthaginian kingdom on the east. Tumuli were anciently called altars, as Αλεξανδρω “on the winding banks of the Tanais near Azof.” (Ptolem. Geog. l. 3. c. 5.) Clarke’s Travels, vol. i. p. 316.)

32  “per lacum salinarum.” In the English translation of Jeffery “the lake of Willows,” is an error, in which, however, the author is supported by the british original. “Both hills and beds of salt do exist in the country between Tripoli and Mauritania; the soil is so generally impregnated with it, that it sends forth a great number of salt springs; and there are other vast lakes of salt in various parts of the country. (Rennel, p. 641.) “The salt pits near Arzew, (probably those to which allusion is now made) lie surrounded with mountains, and take up an area of about six miles in compass. They appear like a large lake in winter. In the like manner, we find the Salinæ between Carthage and the Guletta. (Shaw’s Travels, p. 84, and 147.) In Alfred’s Orosius, (b. 1, c. 1. p. 23) lacus Salinarum is more properly rendered, “the salt mere of Arzuges.”

33  “Inter Rusidicam et montana Syriæ.” Rusidica, the Stora and Astoria of the modern sea charts, was 124 one of the principal cities of Numidia, and which Pliny describes as forty-eight miles from Cirta, the capital of the Sittii, of which, I suppose, the word Syriæ a corruption. Cirta Sittianorum (viz. a militibus Sittianis) cognomine. (Plin. l. 5. c. 3.)

34  “Flumen Malva.” Now the Malliva. It flows into the Mediterranean, opposite the Bay of Almeria, in Spain; and separates Numidia from Mauritania.

35  “Ad annum quartum Mermini regis.” Merfyn Frych, is the sovereign here meant. He was the King of the Isle of Man, who having married Essyllt, the daughter of Cynan Tindoethwy, succeeded in consequence to the government of North Wales, in the year 817. He was killed A. D. 843, by Berthrid, King of Mercia. (Camb. Biog. v. Merfyn.) A short cessation of Danish inroads, gave leisure to Berthred, the tributary sovereign of Mercia, to renew hostilities against the Welsh; and a severe battle was fought by the two princes, at a place (called Kettel) upon the frontiers; in which Mervyn, the King of North Wales, was slain. He was succeeded by Roderic his eldest son. (Chron. Saxon. p. 75. Warrington’s Wales, vol. i. p. 210. Usser. Antiq. c. 12. p. 217.)

36   “Aliud experimentum inveni de isto Brutone.” Mark having given the origin of Brutus, as it appeared “in annalibus romanis,” and that of the Irish-Scots, which the “periti Scottorum” communicated to him, now adduces two genealogies: one dervied “ex antiquis libris nostrorum,” the other “ex traditione veterum,” on which the dynasty of the Trojan hero is grafted.

37  “Pervenit in ostio fluminis tamensis, in quo naufragium naves illius perpessæ sunt. Dum ille pugnaret apud dolo bellum, qui erat proconsul bryttanici reges qui et ispe rex Belinus vocabatur, et erat minocanni filius, qui occupavit omnes insulas terreni maris. Et iulius reversus est, sine victoria; cæsis militibus fractisque navibus.” Cæsar has described his 125 landing in Britain with considerable accuracy. The ostium Tamenis, may, however, be understood in the same enlarged sense, (Antiq. Rutupinæ, s. 39.) as the Ostium of the Barry, which is said to commence at Wormshead point. (Camden, Glamorganshire, p. 617.) Ptolemy extends the estuary of the Thames as far northward as Idumania, or Blackwater Bay, Essex. There is in Whitaker’s Manchester a curious note (v. 1, Appendix XL.) principally composed from Richard, Camden, Somner and Batteley, describing the ancient state of the Rutupian harbour, and the changes it has subsequently undergone.

38  “Apud dolo bellum” Apud Doror bellum, contra Dolobellum. (Selden. Gale.) Apud Dolobellum. (Bertram.) That Cæsar landed at Deale, called by Nennius, Dole, — Cæsar ad Dole Bellum pugnavit. (Camden, Kent, p. 203.) The whole of the passage now quoted is embarrassed, apparently from the admission of a marginal note. I conceive this embarrassment to have arisen from a remarkable interpolation, for if we suspend the sentence at “bellum” and resume it again at “et Julius,” it will be more intelligible. “He came to the mouth of the river Thames, in which his ships suffered while he fought (we suppose) at Deal, and Julius returned without victory; his forces being slain, and his vessels shattered.” I think myself justified in proposing this change, from this circumstance: in Bertram’s copy, wherever a marginal note is admitted into the text, it is placed in a parenthesis, and printed in italics; and this is the case with “Qui erat Proconsul Brytannici regis qui et ipse rex Belinus vocabatur, et erat minocanni filius, qui occupavit omnes insulas terreni maris.” Rex Belinus is here called the son of Minocannus, which can only refer to Beli Maur, or the great, who died before the invasion of Cæsar. The Beli here particularised, and who opposed the Roman army, was, on the contrary, the youngest son of the former, the cassibelinus, or head of the Cassii, and the celebrated Caswallon of the Britains. (Camb. Biog. Caswallon.) “Ninnius, the british writer, does not say Cassibelinus, but Bellinus, as if that was the 126 proper appellation either of his person or dignity; nor ought it to seem strange that princes heretofore took their names from the people whom they governed, &c. for thus the Catti, in Germany, had their Cattimarus: the Teutones, their Teutomarus and Teutobachus; the Daci, their Decebalus; the Goths, their Gottisco.” (Camden, Buckinghamshire, p. 278.) Minocannus a latinization of Manogan (Camb. Biog.) we may presume was a native term, for we meet with a Minocynnibelinus in Orosius (l. 7, c. 5) under Caligula, who was the recreant son of the reigning british sovereign.

39  The term Proconsul may be thus explained. Beli Maur had male issue Lludd and Cassibelinus; the former succeeded to the dignities of his father, and died leaving two sons Afarwy and Tenevan, both young.

Afarwy (who in a triad is stigmatized as one of the three most disgraceful men of Britain, for betraying his country to the Romans) was the Androgeus of Tysilio; of Bede, the Mandubratius; (H. E. l. 1, c. 2) and of Orosius, the Androgeus. (l. 6, c. 9.) As these princes were not of mature age (Mandubratius is called by Cæsar &#“Adolescens”) their uncle Cassibelinus was chosen in this season of peril, to govern during their minority. There is a triad, in which he is styled one of the three conventional princes by privilege. This accords with the testimony of Cæsar (l. 5. c. 9) “summa imperii bellique administrandi, communi concilio permissa est Cassivelauno.” Thus was Cassibelinus acting in the important office of substitute or vice-roy, and in the lax sense in which the word was used during the middle ages, he may be said to have been Proconsul, or, as expressed in the next sentence, Consul, in the invasions by Cæsar.

40  “Post spatium trium annorum.”

Most of our oldest chronicles are under the same mistake. The first expedition of Cæsar happened in the consulate of Cn. Pompeius and M. L. Crassus, or fifty-five years B. C.; the second, the year following, during that of L. Dom. Ænobarbus and Appius Claudius.

41  “supradictus consul posuerat sudes ferreos semenque bellicosum id est cethilou.”

“Cethilou, from Cêth (s. m.) that which is of a penetrating nature. Cethyr (s. m.) a spike or long nail. “As to Cethilou, the word may be the same with our Cethri, Cethrau, from the singular Cethyr, which, without dropping y would be Cethyrau, i. e. spikes or stakes: for which we might use Cethylau by the analogy of our language, but I do not remember seeing the latter word.” (O. P. MS.)

42  “In vada fluminis.”

The attempt to ascertain the spot where Cæsar crossed the Thames has, at different periods, engaged the attention of the antiquary. The research has been embarrassed by the assertion of Cæsar, that it was traversed by him at the only place where it was fordable. Thus without considering how high Cæsar could have proceeded with his forces up the stream in a limited time, or without properly attending to the changes which the lapse of ages much have produced in the shifting materials, which form the bed of a large river, it seems to have been the aim, to search for a shallow, and accommodate opinion to that discovery. The Emperor, however, had no opportunity of proving the fact he asserts; he received the report from others; perhaps from those who had an interest in deceiving him. Fallacious as this testimony may be, it has been generally received as authentic. It was so admitted by Orosius: (l. 5, c. 9) “Inde ad flumen Thamesim profectus est, quem uno tantum loco vadis transmeabilum ferunt.” So far back as the ninth century, a fordable passage was localised by our ancestors; for Alfred, in his paraphrastic version of Orosius, (Barrington’s edition, p. 194) has thus rendered this quotation: “His third battle with the Bryttas was near the river that men call the Tamese, near those fords which are called Welingaford, after which not only all the inhabitants of Cyrnceastre submitted, but the whole island.” Barrington proposes Dorchester rather than Cirencester, as the former is so near Wallingford. “It is from this passage that Bishop Kennet (Par. Antiq.) hath insisted, that Cæsar’s army 127 forded the Thames at Wallingford, and not at Coway stakes;” (n. p. 194) but Coway stakes (Lalcham, near Oatlands) which were so long fixed upon, prove no other than the remains of an old fishing wear.

Smith, in a note on Bede, (l. 1, c. 2) observes that the Thames is fordable at Brentford, Kingston, and Chertsey. Horsely (Brit. Rom. p. 14) thinks the passage was somewhere in the turn of the river near Kingston, where it runs North and South, and where as he was “well informed that the water is fordable at several places, not being more than five feet deep.”

“Early in the reign of James the First, this important subject engaged the attention of the legislature, when an act passed for regulating the navigation of the Thames westward of London, which has been amended by several later statutes. And thus, by clearing the passage, and keeping up the banks, the stream has obtained a more uniform depth than it had before. Btu notwithstanding these precautions, a considerable shoal presents itself at Sunbury, where the river, in summer and dry seasons, is so shallow, that barges laden only three feet deep are incapable of passing; at such times it is not uncommon to see thirty barges or more detained from ten to twelve or fourteen days.” (Colquhoun’s River Police, p. 496.)

“About half a mile below this bridge (Battersea), and within view of it, and opposite the late scite of Ranelagh, stands a noted tea-drinking house, called the Red House, and about fifty yards on this western side of it, is the place at which Cæsar crossed the Thames. The reader who has read Stukeley’s reasons for fixing on Chertsey as the place of this celebrated passage, may startle at the positive assertion here made. Stukeley says, that the name of Chertsey is all Cæsar; so also is Chelsea, by analogies equally natural. London, or Lyn-dun, was then the chief town of South Britain, and would, as a matter of course, be the place towards which the Britons would retreat, and the Romans advance. Landing too near Deal, they would cross the river at the ford nearest the place of landing, and would not be likely to march to Chertsey, if they could cross at Chelsea. The marshes of the Thames, too, where the Britons retreated, 129 would correspond better with the marshes of Lambeth and Battersea, than with the low land near Chertsey, where the river is inconsiderable, and where there is no tide to confer strength and military character on the marshes. This ford from the Red House to the Bank near the scite of Ranelagh still remains. At ordinary low water, a shoal of gravel, broad enough for ten men to walk abreast, not three feet deep, extends across the river, except on the Surrey side, where it has been deepened by the raising of ballast, within the recollection of living watermen; indeed the causeway from the south bank, may be traced at low water: so that this was doubtless a ford to the peaceful Britons, across which the British army retreated before the Romans, and across which they were doubtless followed by Cæsar and the Roman legions.” (Monthly Magazine, June 1813, p. 409.)

From these authorities, it may be safely concluded that in the time of Cæsar, the Thames was fordable in more places than one.

There are evidences also, which favour the opinion that the passage under investigation was near London.

Cæsar asserts that the territories of Cassibelinus, were separated by the river Thames from the maritime states 80 miles from the sea. “Cujus fines (Cassivellauni) a maritimis civitatibus flumen dividit quod appellatur Tamesis, a mari circiter millia passuum 80. (l. 5.) Now though Cæsar (l. 4) owns himself ignorant of the topography of Britain, he could not be so of the distance he had traversed from the Rutupian harbour.

In the itinerary of Antonine, Rutupia is seventy-seven miles from London, according to the course of the military way. The eastern limits separating the Cassii from the Trinobantes, is acknowledged to have been near the metropolis, the ancient Trinovantum. Cæsar says he crossed the Thames, “in fines Cassivelauni,” and it is reasonable to suppose, at the first shallow which opened to the territories of that prince, and it appears probable there was one near the eastern boundary. When the ford was attempted, the natives were seen drawn up in military array on the opposite shore, to oppose the landing of the Romans; and it is inconsistent to suppose that the fierce and intrepid 130 Britons, should abandon their country to the enemy without a contest. Cæsar, however, (whose commentaries have incurred the censure of Pollius Asinius, “parum diligenter, parumque integra veritate compositos”) allows no such resistance, and only admits that his foragers were annoyed by skirmishing parties from the woods. Mark, on the contrary, says there was a battle, and points out the district, which is important on his occasion. It was fought, “juxta locum qui dicitur trinovantum.”

43  “Et Julius victor, imperium Brẏttanicæ gentis obtinuit.”

Materials both for proving the truth and extent of this assumption, as well as for ascertaining the degree of intercourse between the Britons and teh Romans, during the century that lapsed bewteen the departure of Julius and the invasion under Claudius, are scantily afforded both by national tradition and classic authors. In a system of politics, complex as that which existed in the British tribes, incessant conflicts must have prevailed among the chiefs. It was the insidious policy of the Romans to foment intestine animosities, in countries within the grasp of their ambition, “Vetere ac jampridem recepta populi Romani consuetudine, ut haberet instrumenta servitutis et reges.” (Tacit. V. Agric. c. 14.) And it was customary in after times for persons of distinction, who were banished or obliged to fly from this island, to seek an asylum in the court of Rome. Thus were the successes of Julius facilitated by the defection of Androgeus; and in a subsequent period, that of Adminius secured him the protection of Caligula. (Sueton. v. Calig. c. 44.) Others were bribed into adherence; the fall of Caractacus and the subjugation of Britain were hastened by influence, and the british Cogidunus was rewarded by Aulus Plautius with additional territory, for his attachment to the Romans.

Cæsar on his departure carried with him certain hostages, and imposed a tribute, but left no garrison; nor had the Romans any station or settlement here till the reign of Claudius. The british writers acknowledge a census; the 21st Triad expresses three thousand pieces of silver. An ancient record printed in the 131 Monasticon of Dugdale, informs us, that through the intercession of Androgen, Cassibelinus was permitted to retain his kingdom, on condition of paying the annual tribute of a denier for each messuage in his lands: neither of these accounts are very consistent. The british Reguli, intimidated perhaps by rumours of an attack on their country meditated by Augustus, as alluded to by Horace, (l. 3, Ode 5) dispatched messengers to Rome with presents, thereby hoping to conciliate the friendship of the Emperor; in consequence of which, nearly the whole island was included in an amicable intercourse. a sort of commercial treaty was settled between the two countries. Exports and imports were agreed upon with Gaul, and the protection of Rome was secured to the traders of Britain. (Strabo, l. 4, p. 200. Edit. Casaub.) Another source of communication through the interference of artists, may be mentioned. No coins have been discovered decidedly of higher date than Cunobeline. Rude as many of these are, they are obviously of Roman workmanship or imitation. The devices and heads, as well as the inscriptions of many of them, are Roman.

44  “In Curia occiditur.” There was no edifice exclusively appropriated to the meetings of the senate in ancient Rome. From early times it was convened in a temple, or some convenient place consecrated for that purpose by the augurs, either within or without the city. (Aul. Gell. 14-7.) Cæsar was assassinated in the Curia of Pompey, where the senate in times of public spectacle, frequently assembled for the convenience of the people. (Rossi. tom. i. p. 139.) It was in the Campus Martius, where some remains of it are supposed to exist, near the church of St. Andrea della Valle.

45  “Purpurea intexti tollunt aulea Brẏtanni.”

“Hoc secundum historiam est locutus. Nam Augustus post quam vicit Britanniam, plurimos de captivis quos adduxerat, donavit ad officia theatralia: dedit etiam aulæa, id est velamina in quibus depinxerat victorias suas, et quemadmodum Britanni ab eo Donati, eadem vela portarent: quæ ne vere portare consueverant, 132 quam rem mira expressit ambiguitate, dicens intexti tollant. Nam in velis ipsi erant picti qui eadem vela portabant, &c. &c.” (Servius Georg. 3, l. 25.) Hangings interwoven with figures, or plain, were much used by the Grecians and Romans, both for use and ornament, in their houses, temples, palaces, and theatres. They were suspended over many of the door ways of the latter, and are to be seen in many of the designs in the Vatican Terence; as they at present are over the portals of the churches in Italy, which are lifted up by attendants as you enter; once, perhaps, the employment of the British slaves. The curious reader is referred to the 25th Dissertation of Muratori, (Dell’ arte del Tessere, &c.)

46  “ — post hunc Claudius — In tempore illius nullum Romanis censum fuit traditum a Brytanniâ sed imperatoribus Brytanicis redditum est.”

This sentence is, in Gale, differently expressed: “In tempore illius quievit dari censum Romanis à Britannia, sed Britannicis imperatoribus redditum est.” Pegge proposes the substitution of assuevit, for quievit, hence implying, “that in the reign of Claudius tribute began to be paid from this island to the Romans.” (Coins of Cunobeline, p. 31.)

From the reign of Claudius, Britain must be considered as a Roman province. A military force was stationed, regular imposts were settled, and officers were distributed throughout the greater part of the island for collecting them. The subjugation of Britain commenced under Aulus Plautius, A. 42. The year following, Claudius came over, pursued the victories of his legate, and received the submission of the natives.

In the civil and military establishments of the island, we find two municipal, nine colonial, twelve stipendiary cities, and ten on which were conferred the rights of Latium, (Richard, l. 1. c. 7.) As in other provinces, the legions became permanent, and the island was peopled by a race of soldiers, who usually settled with the families, in the country where they had spent their youth. The native Reguli of Britain, from whatever reason, had embraced the cause of Rome, and were rewarded with a 133 nominal alliance and some solid advantages. In the municipal cities, the officers assumed the quality of Roman citizens. Those who performed any public services, together with the people generally, were remunerated; — “when all the provincials became liable to the peculiar impositions of Roman citizens, they seemed to acquire a legal exemption from the tributes, which they had paid in their former condition as subjects.” (Gibbon, vol. i. p. 267.) This, I conceive, was now the situation of Britain, and hence the expression, “In tempore illius nullum Romania censum,” &c. may be explained.

47  “Cujus monumentum in moguntia apud longobardos ostenditur, dum ad roman iret ibi defunctus est.”

The personage here alluded to, is Drusus Nero Claudius, the father of the Emperor Claudius. (Sueton. Vit. Claud. c. 1.) From having signalized himself in the wars in Germany, the name of Germanicus was conferred on his family. He died in that country; his body was brought to Rome, and a cenotaph was raised to his memory on the banks of the Rhine. (Dio, p. 544.) It existed in the time of Eutropius, “Monstratur adhuc Monumentum Drusi Moguntiæ per modum pyræ” (l. 3, c. 4.)

48  “Lucius bryttannicus rex, com omnibus regulis totius bryttanicæ gentis baptismum suscepit.”

Every detail relative to King Lucius, his conversion to the Christian faith, and the baptism of all the Britains, are to be found in Usher (Antiq. c. 4.) and in the notes of the Variorum edition of Athanasius, De Vit. Pontif. Roman. 4 tom. fol. Rom. 1718-1735); nor have the conjectures of later ecclesiastical writers thrown additional light on this event. The Cambrian MSS. indeed, which have been explored of late years, present a mass of information on subjects referable to our national antiquities, and among others the event now alluded to. The historical Triads and Genealogies, thus identify the lineage of King Lucius: Bran, Caradog, (Caractacus) Cyllin Sant, Coel, 134 Lucius, (Lleirwg Lleaver Mawr, Lles). Camb. Biog. under these names respectively.)

Caractacus, (the great-grandfather of Lucius) perfidiously given up to his enemies, was, with his brothers, wife and daughter, friends and servants, carried prisoners to Rome. (Tacitus, l. 12. c. 36.) Had this event been found in the british records alone, the fact might have been questioned. From them we are informed, that Caractacus, with all his family, in which Bran, his father, and Cyllin Sant his son, are particularised, were carried to Rome. Tacitus is silent both as to the result and the period of their detention; but from our domestic sources we learn, that after seven years, they were allowed to revisit their native land. The advantages derived to their country from this captivity, are enumerated in the Cambrian Biography, under the names of Bran, Coel, Morddal, Coruinwr Cyllin, but the most important was the introduction of Christianity. At Rome, these unfortunate exiles could not but admire the virtues of the Christians who abounded in that city; and who, both by their public and private conduct, exemplified the doctrine they professed. They must have been edified by observing the contrast between their primitive and simple manners, and the depraved habits of their pagan oppressors. Alive to every source of consolation which could soften the pains of banishment, it is natural to suppose that they sought refuge in doctrines which assured the glorious hope of immortality, and mentally administered freedom to the captive. The new faith was at that time acknowledged and revered, in some of the principal families in Rome; and there were “saints in Cæsar’s household.” The epistles of St. Paul were received (A. 58) during the detention of these Britains, who must have been conversant with his disciples, as enumerated in the sixteenth chapter, among whom were Andronicus and Junius, who were once fellow prisoners with St. Paul on account of the gospel, and who had been converted to Christianity before him: Aquila and Priscilla his attendants for several years, both in Corinth and Ephesus, and who on their return to Rome made their own house a place of resort for the Christian communities in Rome.


If this tradition be true, the deportation of this family to Rome, and its long continuance there, must be regarded as an interposition of Providence; since means were thereby furnished of learning the Roman language, and a facility obtained, of diffusing Christianity in their native country on their return.

From Tertullian, who was nearly contemporary with Lucius, we learn that in Britain obedience to Christ was acknowledged, in districts which were inaccessible to the Roman arms: “Brittannorum inaccessa Romanis loca, Christo subdita.” (Adv. Jud. c. 7.) The successes of the missionary in any country, must depend principally on an intimate knowledge of the language of those it is his business to convert; else why was the gift of tongues once miraculously imparted? Irenæus, the apostle of the Gauls, and who like Lucius received his mission from Pope Eleutherius, complains that he was under the necessity of learning the rude and barbarous dialect of the country, before he could confer any benefit on his flock. (Cave’s Lives, vol. i. p. 167.) The house of Bran is said to have transmitted Christianity to its descendants. Eigen, the daughter of Caractacus, is the earliest british female saint. In one of the historical Triads, Bran is associated with Lucius and Cadwaladyr, as one of the three blessed sovereigns of the island of Britain. In another, the family of Bran ranks with those of Brychan and Cunedda, under the appellation of the three holy lineages of Britain. As the Romans extended their conquests in this island, they erected stations for their legions, and constructed cities for the Britains. The lands assigned to the legionaries uniformly descended to their heirs, who were trained to the profession of their forefathers, and enjoyed them as military tenures from the emperors.

After the Roman subjugation, many of these chiefs were allowed to continue their several principalities, and internal œconomy was arranged, according to ancient usage and the circumstances of the times. Further, “the natives retained their own language. This appears from the works of the ancient bards; Aneurion, for instance, who was an Ottadinian of the fourth, Lywarç Hên (a prince of Argoed) a Cumbrian of the sixth century, wrote in their vernacular tongue, making use of the 136 dialect spoken near the wall of Severus, the boundary of their respective territories; and the language now spoken in North Wales, is the same which prevailed generally at the recess of the Romans.” (O. P.  MS.)

From a variety of causes, both civil and ecclesiastical, the Bishop of Rome soon obtained the respect, and eventually, the obedience of the latin churches. In the second century, the language of exhortation was not changed to that of command, nor was he then regarded as the Metropolitan of the West; yet we learn from early authorities, and from the writings of Irenæus, Tertullian, and Justin the Martyr in particular, that he was referred to both by pious individuals and by distant communities of Christians,* in cases which required attainments and experience superior to their own; and whether advice or assistance was imparted, a solicitude was evinced which conciliated affection and invited confidence.

That the seeds of the Gospel were already scattered in Britain, and that they were cultivated by the virtuous family of Bran and his followers on their return from Rome, we may venture to believe, and that intercourse with their christian associates in that city was continued: but that all the Reguli of Britain were so enlightened, or so unanimous to receive baptism at the same time, under the grandson of Caractacus, is a point which must rest with the opinion of the reader.

Objections have been urged against the probability of an application to Rome at this remote period, but surely without foundation. 137 One to Anicetus, who died a few years only before the election of Eleutherius, is here noticed; and we know that an embassy to the latter was dispatched from the churches of Gaul in favour of Irenæus. (Euseb. l. 5. c. 4.)

We cannot, therefore, conceive any difficulty in believing there was one from the Britains also to the same Pope.

The mission of Lucius is placed A. 167. Eleutherius, however, was not elected Bishop of Rome till 171; he enjoyed his episcopal honours fifteen years, or from the eleventh of Marcus Aurelius to the sixth year of Commodus. (Muratori Annali.) By every account, the reign of Eleutherius was active and prosperous; — “Nel tempo e Pontificato di Eleutherio, stette la Cheisa qieta, e in pace, e ne accrebbe, e si stese maravigliosamente per tutto il mondo il nome christiano, &c.” — (Platina, v. Eleuth. p. 35.) The elogium here expressed, is not indeed without some allowance applicable to the former of these emperors, whose reign was, upon the whole, unfavourable to the diffusion of christianity; and during which, the christians of Gaul, and of Vienne, and Lyons in particular, endured the most cruel persecution. But, in the reign of Commodus, the church suffered very little in comparison. A period of tranquillity and toleration was most favourable to the diffusion and establishment of christianity, and the only one which occurs during the episopacy of Eleutherius seems to have been that, when the Caledonians were conquered, and driven back beyond the walls of Antoninus. (Horsely, p. 53 n.)

What I have advanced on this occasion may at best be deemed hypothetical; and I leave the further discussion to those, who, by attainments and perseverance, are better capable of weighing the credibility of these ancient authorities.

 *  Dans les tems du Pape Anicet, vers l’an 158, St. Polycarpe, Evéque de Smyrne, fit un voyage à Rome pour regler sur ce point la discipline ecclésiastique, et la rendre uniforme (the celebration of Easter) dans toutes les Eglises. Ces deux saints Evêques, après avoir conféré ensemble, ne purent s’accorder, aucun d’eux ne voulant se départier des usages établis dans son Eglise dès le commencement. Mais ils convinrent de ne point rompre les liens de la charité et de la communion, pour ce point de discipline. Ils se séparèrent en paix; et cette paix étoit commune à toutes les Eglises qui célébroient la Pâque, ou le quatorzieme jour de la lune, ou le Dimanche d’après.” (Histoire Lit. de la France, tom. i. pt. 1, p. 241.) In turning over the pages of Ecclesiastical History, the Christian will ask with a sigh, — Pourquoi n‘a-t-on pas toujours suivi l‘exemple d‘Anicet? ! ! !

49  “id est per centena XXXII milia passuum deduxit, et brittanica sermone vocatur gaaul.”

The erroneous extension of one hundred and thirty-two miles here assigned to the wall of Severus, has been adopted by the Latin authors generally, though the isthmus across which it was built, is at most eighty miles. Consult Turner, (Anglo-Saxons, vol. i. p. 115) on the jarring and contradictory details respecting 138 the northern walls. It is also found in the Chronicon prefixed to Bede’s history: (“per CXXXII millia passuum a mari usque ad mare deduxit.”) Bede, however, lived too near the wall to authorize a mistake, occasioned by a faulty copier; or else the Chronicon itself may be a subsequent addition, for it does not accompany Alfred’s translation.

An interpolated passage in most of the copies of the “Historia Brittonum,” also exhibit’s the further progress of error. The following are the northern pretentures constructed by the Romans.

1st. The forts of Agricola, constructed of turf across the Isthmus between Clyde and the Forth in the years 70 and 79. They formed a line of about thirty-seven miles in length. They were repaired, A. 140, by Lollius Urbicus, under Antoninus Pius; these forts were fenced with walls and ditches, some parts of which still remain. Thus fortified by a series of stations, it reached from Carron, upon the Frith of Forth, to Dunglas, upon the Frith of Clyde; running by Falkirk Camelon, Kirkentelloch, and old Kirkpatrick.

2nd. The agger of Hadrian, (A. 117, 138.) was of turf also; and extended across the island from the mouth of the Tine, to the Solway Frith, and was about eighty miles in length. The wall of Severus, built after he had subdued the Caledonians and established peace, (208) was of stone. It is commensurate with the last, and runs nearly parallel with it. “The nearest distance is about twenty yards, the greatest near a mile, the medium forty or fifty yards.” (Hutton’s Roman Wall, p. 177.) The interpolated passage alluded to above, follows the word Gaaul. “Gual per 132 milliaria passus id est â Pengaaul, quæ villa Scoticè Cenail, Anglicè vero peneltum dicitur, usque ad ostium Fluminis Cluth et Cairpentaloch, quo murus illi finitur rustico opere. Severus ille prædictus construxit, sed nihil profuit.” The interpolator here adapts the assigned extent of the wall of Severus to the topography of that of Antoninus.

50  “Scotti ab occidente et picti ab aquilone unanimeter pugnabant contra bryttones.”


These two formidable races, the Scots and the Picts, are here properly localised, though they are not recognised in Caledonia, till long after the period now referred to. The successes obtained over them by Severus, is satisfactorily ascertained. (Horsely, p. 58, 64.) Having reduced them to terms of peace, A. 208, the wall known by his name was then begun; in 210, he died at York; Geta and Caracalla his sons left Britain the year after. This barrier was useful in repressing hostilities, and a period of tranquility is presumed, from the silence of writers, for more than seventy years. During this interval, we are scarcely acquainted with the names of the Roman governors in Britain. Some few inscriptions have indeed been found, and from coins, five or six of the thirty tyrants, which in the reign of Gallienus, (259, 268) disturbed the peace of the empire, it has been supposed, that they acted a part in this island, though too unimportant to be recorded in history. This silence was interrupted under Dioclesian, (284) when,

51  “Quartus fuit caritius imperator et tirannus.” Carausius, a Manapian (Eumenius, Pan. 9.) of low extraction, but of great intrepidity and naval experience, was intrusted with the command of a number of ships, to repress the piratical incursions of the Franks and Saxons, then becoming formidable to the coasts of Britain. The advantages gained by Carausius on the seas, the command of the mouths of the Seine and the Rhine, the possession of Boulogn and the adjacent country, were steps to the successful usurpations of Britain. Having obtained this object of his ambition, he for seven years conducted himself with courage and ability. He defended the frontiers of his dominions against the Caledonians of the north, invited from the continent great numbers of skilful artists, and displayed on a variety of coins that are still extant, his taste and opulence. (Gibbon, vol. ii. c. 13. p. 125.) Tysilio says, he (Caron) made the Picts, who lately came out of Scythia, his confederates, and settled them in Scotland. (l. 5.) According to the interpolated passage, that accompanies the copies of Nennius, Bertram (c. 19.), Carausius rebuilt the wall of Severus, fortified it with seven castles, he also built a 140 round house (supposed to have been the edifice called Arthur’s oven,) (Gough‘s Camden, vol. iii. p. 356, and 363) on the banks of the Carron, to which he gave his own name; he also built a triumphal arch in memory of some victory.” That it was the wall of Severus, which Carausius rebuilt and embellished, we know to be untrue; and Nennius contradicts himself, by saying it was on the Carron. If the authenticity of the poems of Ossian, as they now appear, could be relied upon, allusions to this wall, and the operations of Carausius (Caros) on the banks of the Carron, are therein recognised. (War of Caros, and critical dissertation concerning the Æra of Ossian.) The scene is near the “mossy rock of Crona,” a small stream which runs into the Carron; and while Caros is employed in repairing ancient barriers, or erecting new works for obstructing the incursions of the Caledonians, he seems to have been attacked by a party of the latter, under the command of Oscar, the son of Ossian. “What does Caros, king of ships? said the son of the now mournful Ossian — spreads he the wings (the Roman eagle) of his pride, bard of the times of old? He spreads them, Oscar, replied the bard, but it is behind his gathered heap, (Agricola’s wall repaired) — he looks over his stones with fear. He beholds thee terrible, as the ghost of night, that rolls the wave to his ships.” (Poems of Ossian, p. 95, and Preface, p. VIII. Quarto, 1762.) Whitaker (Hist. of Manchester, vol. i. p. 455, 462.) has criticised this passage. He supposes Caros to be Carus, the admiral of the Roman navy, stationed at Rutupæ and quotes Richard (p. 17) as his authority: the name of Carus, however, is not there to be found.

52  “in Bryttaniam venit — quia iratus pro occisione Severi — vindicavit in illis Severum.”

We know that the death of Severus was natural, though it might have been accelerated by exhaustion and sorrow, his last words were, “Turbatam rempublicam ubique accepi, pacatam etiam Britannis relinquo.” (Script. Hist. Aug. p. 364.) The contrary is a British tradition. “Fulgentius having been active in procuring the assistance of the Picts, collected from Scythia all 141 the forces of that country, and besieged York.” Severus was killed in the conflict. (Jeffery, b. 5. c. 2.) “Severus was killed and buried at York.” (Tysilio. Collec. Camb. vol. i. p. 92.) A Picits perempto requiescit Eboraci in monte qui ab eo Seversho vocatus est. (Radul. de Diceto Scrip. XV. p. 555.) Admitting the truth of this tradition, how was Carausius to avenge his death on the Picts, seventy-nine years after it happened? So far as concerns the rumour of assassination, however, the national traditions may have confounded Alexander and Septimius Severus together; for there is a passage in Lampridius’s life of the former, (Scrip. Hist. Aug. p. 587.) which seems to intimate, that according to some, he was slain in Britain. “In Britannica, ut alii volunt in Gallia, in vico cui Sicila (in the territory of Treves, between Boppart and Bingen) nomen est, cum occiderunt.” (Ibidem.)

53  “Quintus fuit constantius constantini magni filius, et defunctus est in brittania.”

Constantius, son of Constantine the Great, died not in Britain, but in Cilicia. (Ammian. l. 21. c. 13.) Gale and Bertram have pater instead of filius. If this change be allowed, Constantius Chlorus (who died at York, A. 307) must be meant. “Obiit in Britannia Eboraci principatus anno tertio decimo, atque inter divos relatus est.” (Eutropius, l. 10. c. 1.) From the belief, that Constantine was born in Britain, his memory became dear to the natives, and the name of Constantius and Constantinus “propter spem totam nominis,” (Orosius l. 7. p. 139) were long and frequently assumed by the princes of North Wales, and those of the Cornish line. (Pedigrees in Roland Mon. Antiq.) Cair Segeint was the royal residence of the former, and where, to this day, is to be seen the chapel founded by Helena, not the mother of the great Constantine, as has been erroneously stated, but the daughter of Euda, Duke of Cornwall, and the wife of the usurper Maximus, (the Malsen Wledig of the Britains) and who, according to the cambrian genealogies, was on the maternal side, descended from the first christian emperor. The British author of the Life of Grufydd ab Cynan, published in the Myrvian archaiology) speaks of an ancient inscription in the castle of 142 Cair Segeint, importing that it was the city of the emperor Constantine; and Matthew of Westminster says, the body of Constantius, the father of Constantine, “was in the year 1283 found there by Edward the First, and honorably interred in the church of the new own.” (Camb. p. 665, and 719. Usser, Antiq. p. 33.) The “literæ quæ sunt in lapide tumuli,” might at that time be visible. Deceived, therefore, by a similarity of name, and in an age of credulity, the tradition might be established, that Cair Segeint was the burying place, either of Flavius Valerius Constantius the son, or of Constantius Chlorus the father, of Constantine, when it was really the burying place of neither, but of some later prince of the cambrian race. I am further persuaded, that Cair Ebrauc and not Segeint was here intended. Mark says, that Cair Segont was called “alio nomine minmanton.” Bertram has Brigantum, a reading countenanced by Camden, (p. 717) who says, that Eboracum is called by Ptolemy, Brigantium, from its being the capital of the Brigantes. The advantages conferred on this city, by restoring tranquillity to the northern parts of Britain, justify the figurative elogium of having banished poverty from its borders, “seminavit in pavimento supradictæ civitatis tria semina, auri argenti et æris.” This allusion seems triadic. “Coll, the son of Collvewri, obtained the distinction of bestowing important advantages on the Cymry, by the introduction of wheat and barley into the island, &c.” (Camb. Biog. Coll. and Triad, No. 101.)

54  “Sextus maximus in brytannia; a tempore illius consules esse cœperunt: et cesares postea nunquam appellati sunt.”

That Consuls had their rise from this period, is probable from the innovations introduced in the affairs of the Empire by Diocletian, and perfected by Constantine. “In consequence of these, the civil administration of this island, was conducted by a vicar or vice-præfect, who acted in subordination to the Prætorian Præfect of Gaul; and the two northerly provinces Valentia and Maxima Cæsariensis being most exposed to danger, were deemed of the highest importance, and called consulares. (Horsely, p. 475. n.) As to the latter assertion, the following is the best illustration 143 I have to offer. Long after the extinction of the race of Julius, the appellation of Cæsar, which was to him a family distinction, was assumed by his successors, and seemed inseperable from the imperial dignity. When Diocletian associated three colleagues in the exercise of the supreme power, the two elder princes were distinguished by the use of the diadem, and the title of Augustus, while the two subordinate were recognised by that of Cæsar. Hence, perhaps, arises the assertion of our author; that the emperors were no longer called Cæsars. (Consult Horsely, p. 71, and Gibbon, vol. i. c. 14.) Considerable difficulty presents itself in identifying the Maximus, as the sixth emperor who was in Britain. Usher is of the opinion, that this and the following Maximianus, are the same individual, “Ninius ex uno hoc Maximo effecit duos.” (Antiq. l. 9. p. 107.) The british name Maxen answers both to Maximus and Maximianus; and is in the next page applied indiscriminately. The period referred to, is contemporary with St. Martin, who was born, A. 316, became bishop of Tours, and who died in 397. It may, however, be remarked, that Galerius Maximianus, (though previously to the date assigned) was on the resignation of Diocletian, elevated to the rank of Augustus. Galerius Maximianus was in Gaul, and from an inscription found in Cumberland, (Horsely, No. 16.) perhaps in Britain. It also appears from Laurentius, (Numis. l. 1. p. 81.) that he was called both Maximus and Maximianus. He is said to have served in Britain in the year 368, and to have acquired great military reputation. Being disgusted, that, on the death of Valens (378) he was not associated in the empire, in preference to Theodosius, (Horsely, p. 74.) he violated his allegiance, and usurped the sovereignty of this island. The british accounts affirm, that his power was strengthened by marrying Helena, the daughter of Euda, Duke of Cornwall, as before mentioned; and, in consequence of this union, the native youth flocked to his standard. Thus supported, he invaded Gaul, where he was opposed by the Emperor Gratian, at the head of a powerful army near Paris; but being betrayed by Merobaudis, was deserted by his troops, and fled towards Lyons, where he was 144 put to death. Flushed with success, and thinking himself secure of the imperial throne, Maximus nominated his son Victor, his colleague in the empire, and retained his authority till the year 383, when he was vanquished and beheaded near Aquileia. (Muratori Annal.)

55  “Noluit dimittere belligeros suos brittones ad uxores suas et filios, et ad possessiones suas.”v The British forces which accompanied Maximus in his expedition into Gaul, are said not to have returned to their native land, but were distributed over Gaul, “a stagno quod est super verticem montis jovis” (the Great St. Bernard) “usque ad civitatem quæ vocatur cant-guic” (Cantavic in Picardy) “ad tumulum occidentalem.” I cannot identify this tumulus, it was apparently on the western point of the coast of Gaul. (“Crug, a heap or mound, a lump or hillock, a barrow, &c.) It was on such round hillocks as came under this denomination, that the Britons held their bardic and judicial Gorsezau or assemblies; hence Crug and Gorses, are sometimes used as synonymous terms.” (Owen’s Welsh. Diction.)

56  “Hi sunt bryttones armorici.”

Armorica was not, as the word implies, confined to the maritime district of Gaul, nor was it at all times the same, but of varying extent. (Whitaker’s Genuine History of the Britons asserted, p. 214.) Pere Lobineau (Hist. de Bretagne, tom. i. p. 7,) assigns limits to ancient Armorica, which generally comprehend those just prescribed; for it took in the Lyonnoise, and great part of the intervening country to the northern coasts of Gaul. But that part of Armorica, on which the appellation of Bretagne is still fixed, contains generally the dioceses of St. Malo, Dol, and Brieu, formerly inhabited by the Diaulities, the Curiosilites, the districts of Treguer and Leon, of Carnoualle, where were seated the Ossismii, and great part of the territory of Vannes; while the cities of Vannes, Nantes, and Rennes, and their respective territories, are excepted from it. (Ibid.


57  “et illic permanserunt usque in hodiernum diem.”

The question relating to the antiquity of the name of Bretagne, as applied to Armorica, and its occupancy by insular Britons, is discussed by Whitaker (ut supra) and Carte, (vol. i. p. 25,) and with a different sentiment by Gibbon, (vol. vi. c. 38, p. 389.)

58  “Propter illorum absentiam brittannia superata est ab alienigenis gentibus, et heredes eiecti.”

The incursions here referred to, in consequence of the invasion of Maximus in Gaul, together with those which followed in the fourth century, have been already mentioned.

59  “Traditione vero seniorum didicimus fuisse a romanis VII. imperatores in brittania: Romani autem novem affirmant;”

Whence this defective calculation is derived we know not, nor is it of much importance to inquire. The Romani here mentioned, were, I conceive, the romanised Britains.


Nennius — Part III.

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