History Of The Britons (Historia Brittonum) by Nennius

Previous page of Historia Brittonum

Next page of Historia Brittonum

13. Long after this, the Scots arrived in Ireland from Spain. The first that came was Partholomus,[1] with a thousand men and women; these increased to four thousand; but a mortality coming suddenly upon them, they all perished in one week. The second was Nimech, the son of...,[2] who, according to report, after having been at sea a year and a half, and having his ships shat- tered, arrived at a port in Ireland, and continuing there several years, returned at length with his followers to Spain. After these came three sons of a Spanish soldier with thirty ships, each of which contained thirty wives; and having remained there during the space of a year, there appeared to them, in the middle of the sea, a tower of glass, the summit of which seemed covered with men, to whom they often spoke, but received no answer. At length they determined to besiege the tower; and after a year's preparation, advanced towards it, with the whole number of their ships, and all the women, one ship only excepted, which had been wrecked, and in which were thirty men, and as many women; but when all had disem- barked on the shore which surrounded the tower, the sea opened and swallowed them up. Ireland, however, was peopled, to the present period, from the family remaining in the vessel which was wrecked. Afterwards, other came from Spain, and possessed themselves of various parts of Britain.
[1] V.R. Partholomaeus, or Bartholomaeus.
[2] A blank is here in the MS. Agnomen is found in some of the others.

14. Last of all came one Hoctor,[1] who continued there, and whose descendants remain there to this day. Istoreth, the son of Istorinus, with his followers, held Dalrieta; Buile had the island Eubonia, and other adjacent places. The sons of Liethali[2] obtained the country of the dimetae, where is a city called Menavia,[3] and the province Guiher and Cetgueli, [4] which they held till they were expelled from every part of Britain, by Cunedda and his sons.
[1] V.R. Damhoctor, Clamhoctor, and Elamhoctor.
[2] V.R. Liethan, Bethan, Vethan.
[3] St. David's.
[4] Guiher, probably the Welsh district Gower. Cetgueli is Caer Kidwelly, in Carmarthenshire.

15. According to the most learned among the Scots, if any one desires to learn what I am now going to state, Ireland was a desert, and uninhabited, when the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, in which, as we read in the Book of the Law, the Egyptians who followed them 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 did not go to pursue 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 Philis- tines, by the Lake of Osiers. Then passing between Rusicada and the hilly country of Syria, they travelled by the river Malva through Mauritania as far as the Pillars of Hercules; and crossing the Tyrrhene Sea, landed in 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, and the district of Dalrieta.* 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.
* North-western part of Antrim in Ulster.

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

The Britons 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.

Previous page of Historia Brittonum

Next page of Historia Brittonum


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:  

Amazon.co.uk - British pounds
Amazon.com - US dollars
Amazon.ca - Canadian dollars
Amazon.de - Euros
Amazon.fr - Euros