The ‘Historia Brittonum’ (History of the Britons) was written around 828, and it is traditionally ascribed to a British monk named Nennius. This work was a fresh synthesis of sources concerning the history of Britain.
In Part 4 of this 9 part series, I discussed Bede’s history written in the 8th Century. In Part 5, I will discuss Nennius and the Historia Brittonuum written about 828.
‘Then came three keels, driven into exile from Germany. In them were the brothers Horsa and Hengest, sons of Wichtgils, son of Witta, son of Wechta, son of Woden, son of Frealaf, son of Fredulf, son of Finn, son of Folcwald, son of Geta, who said they were son of God; but He was not the God of Gods, Amen, the God of Hosts, but one of the idols they worshipped’ (Historia Brittonum 31).
The author was most likely familiar with Gildas and Bede. In addition, he may also have been aware of some of their sources as well as additional sources that they had not used. The ‘Historia Brittonum’ is notable for several reasons:
- Firstly, it demonstrates a continuing scholarly tradition within Britain – depictions of Britain as experiencing a ‘Dark Age’ are not consistent with the production of such works like this.
- Secondly, it demonstrates a belief in the value of scholarship – and possibly also the use of scholarship as a counter-work to Bede’s nationalistic history.
In Part 6, I will discuss the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.
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|Title: Sutton Hoo helmet reconstructed Description: Replica of the helmet from the Sutton Hoo ship-burial 1, England. Source: Wikipedia Commons Author: Gernot Keller Copyright Statement: This is a retouched picture, which means that it has been digitally altered from its original version. Modifications: brighten & crop. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.|