This was a fascinating document. I have read a number of history books which cite early documents such as this one, but have not read any of the primary documents from this period. Although I've had a smattering of Latin, I have never tried to tackle the self translation of works written in it as this one was. J. A. Jiles' translation is welcome.
The lengthy introduction by the original author with its elaborate profession of inadequacy carries one almost immediately into a past world where there was as much art to modesty as there was to anything. It gives a bird's eye view of a world very different from our own.
The beginning chapters deal primarily with early Church history in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. While much of this was based on tradition and legend, the author was much closer in time to those whose deeds he describes than we are, and despite errors and emendations by later writers and the undoubted PR potential for the Church, he had a greater possibility of knowing the subjects or their sources better than we do. It certainly makes for interesting reading. Later chapters are devoted to the Romans in England, and to later kings of the Picts, Scots, Britians, Angles and Saxons. The names of these individuals and their exploits will be familiar to anyone who has read anything about the history of the period, and include discussions of King Arthur, Ambrosius, the Saxon incursions into England, etc.
An interesting chance to read one of the sources for early English history.