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History Of The Britons (Historia Brittonum) by Nennius

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Here beginneth the history of the Britons, edited by Mark the anchorite, a holy bishop of that people.

7. The island of Britain derives its name from Brutus, a Roman consul. Taken from the south-west point it inclines a little towards the west, and to its northern extremity measures eight hundred miles, and is in breadth two hundred. It contains thirty three cities,[1] viz.

1. Cair ebrauc (York).
2. Cair ceint (Canterbury).
3. Cair gurcoc (Anglesey?).
4. Cair guorthegern [2]
5. Cair custeint (Carnarvon).
6. Cair guoranegon (Worcester).
7. Cair segeint (Silchester).
8. Cair guin truis (Norwich, or Winwick).
9. Cair merdin (Caermarthen).
10. Cair peris (Porchester).
11. Cair lion (Caerleon-upon-Usk).
12. Cair mencipit (Verulam).
13. Cair caratauc (Catterick).
14. Cair ceri (Cirencester).
15. Cair glout (Gloucester).
16. Cair luillid (Carlisle).
17. Cair grant (Grantchester, now Cambridge).
18. Cair daun (Doncaster), or Cair dauri (Dorchester).
19. Cair britoc (Bristol).
20. Cair meguaid (Meivod).
21. Cair mauiguid (Manchester).
22. Cair ligion (Chester).
23. Cair guent (Winchester, or Caerwent, in Monmouthshire).
24. Cair collon (Colchester, or St. Colon, Cornwall).
25. Cair londein (London).
26. Cair guorcon (Worren, or Woran, in Pembrokeshire).
27. Cair lerion (Leicester).
28. Cair draithou (Drayton).
29. Cair pensavelcoit (Pevensey, in Sussex).
30. Cairtelm (Teyn-Grace, in Devonshire).
31. Cair Urnahc (Wroxeter, in Shropshire).
32. Cair colemion (Camelet, in Somersetshire).
33. Cair loit coit (Lincoln).
[1] V.R. Twenty-eight, twenty-one.
[2] Site unknown.

These are the names of the ancient cities of the island of Britain. it has also a vast many promontories, and castles innumerable, built of brick and stone. Its inhabitants consist of four different people; the Scots, the Picts, the Saxons and the ancient Britons.

8. Three considerable islands belong to it; one, on the south, opposite the Armorican shore, called Wight;* another between Ireland and Britain, called Eubonia or Man; and another directly north, beyond the Picts, named Orkney; and hence it was anciently a proverbial expression, in reference to its kings and rulers, "He reigned over Britain and its three islands."
* Inis-gueith, or Gueith.

9. It is fertilized by several rivers, which traverse it in all directions, to the east and west, to the south and north; but there are two pre-eminently distinguished among the rest, the Thames and the Severn, which formerly, like the two arms of Britain, bore the ships employed in the conveyance of riches acquired by commerce. The Britons were once very populous, and exercised extensive dominion from sea to sea.

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Sources

  • Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
  • Bede
  • Gildas
  • Historia Brittonum
  • Confession of St Patrick
  • Articles

  • End of Roman rule
  • Tribal Militias
  • After Roman Rule
  • Post-Roman Britain
  • The Saxon Invasion
  • The Age of Saints
  • Pagan Religions in Britain
  • Nations
  • Evidence
  • The Picts
  • Ogham and the Irish in Britain
  • Scotti and Scots
  • 'Teutonic' England
  • Books

  • Dark Age Books
  • Anglo-Saxon Books
  • Orkney Books
  • Pict Books
  • Viking Books
  • Early Welsh History

  • After Rome

    Arthur and the Kings of Britain: The Historical Truth Behind the Myths

    By Dr Miles Russell

    The chapters in this volume, each written by a leading scholar of the period, analyse in turn the different nationalities and kingdoms that existed in the British Isles from the end of the Roman empire to the coming of the Vikings, the process of conversion to Christianity, the development of art and of a written culture, and the interaction between this written culture and the societies of the day. Available from:  

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