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History of the Britons (Historia Brittonum) [Paperback]

Nennius , J. A. Giles
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

20 July 2007
The Historia Brittonum, or the History of the Britons, is a historical work that was first written sometime shortly after AD 833, and exists in several recensions of varying difference. It purports to relate the history of the Brythonic inhabitants of Britain from earliest times, and this text has been used to write a history of both Wales and England, for want of more reliable sources. The Historia Brittonum has drawn attention because of its role in influencing the legends and myths surrounding King Arthur. This history is the source of several stories some of which were repeated and amplified by later authors.

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History of the Britons (Historia Brittonum) + On the Ruin of Britain + The Ecclesiastical History of the English People (Oxford World's Classics)
Price For All Three: £19.17

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Product details

  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Dodo Press (20 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1406530727
  • ISBN-13: 978-1406530728
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 0.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 365,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reporting from Cair Peris 10 May 2009
Questions will always be asked about the accuracy of the dates and details of the histories told in this book. Most are now unanswerable but Nennius' work leads an imagination to our history and some amazing tales. I find it remarkable that a young person in England is not taught as part of the curriculum abot Hengist and Horsa. These two are the grand fathers of the English. I thought it was great.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating period piece and historic document 18 Feb 2008
By Atheen M. Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars History of the Britons 21 July 2013
By Kurt A. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
There is considerable controversy about this work. Drawing on earlier sources (some of which are no longer available), it appears to have been compiled around the end of the Eighth Century by a Welsh monk named Nennius. The book contains (not in this order) a history of Britain, complete with genealogies back to Adam, a list of extant British cities, and a short history of Saint Patrick. Most significantly, the book contains numerous references to Vortigern, Ambrosius and Arthur.

This short book is (compared to modern books) poorly organized, and of dubious reliability. However, as a historical artifact it is quite fascinating. If you have ever read references to Nennius' work in another book, then it would be worth your wile to get ahold of the book, and read see the references in context. I enjoyed it, and think that you will too.
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