Past and Present
...TO A.D. 45
The island Britain (1) is 800 miles long, and 200 miles broad. And there are in the island five nations; English, Welsh (or British) (2), Scottish, Pictish, and Latin. The first inhabitants were the Britons, who came from Armenia (3), and first peopled Britain southward. Then happened it, that the Picts came south from Scythia, with long ships, not many; and, landing first in the northern part of Ireland, they told the Scots that they must dwell there. But they would not give them leave; for the Scots told them that they could not all dwell there together; "But," said the Scots, "we can nevertheless give you advice. We know another island here to the east. There you may dwell, if you will; and whosoever withstandeth you, we will assist you, that you may gain it." Then went the Picts and entered this land northward. Southward the Britons possessed it, as we before said. And the Picts obtained wives of the Scots, on condition that they chose their kings always on the female side (4); which they have continued to do, so long since. And it happened, in the run of years, that some party of Scots went from Ireland into Britain, and acquired some portion of this land. Their leader was called Reoda (5), from whom they are named Dalreodi (or Dalreathians).
Sixty winters ere that Christ was born, Caius Julius, emperor of the Romans, with eighty ships sought Britain. There he was first beaten in a dreadful fight, and lost a great part of his army. Then he let his army abide with the Scots (6), and went south into Gaul. There he gathered six hundred ships, with which he went back into Britain. When they first rushed together, Caesar's tribune, whose name was Labienus (7), was slain. Then took the Welsh sharp piles, and drove them with great clubs into the water, at a certain ford of the river called Thames. When the Romans found that, they would not go over the ford. Then fled the Britons to the fastnesses of the woods; and Caesar, having after much fighting gained many of the chief towns, went back into Gaul (8).
((B.C. 60. Before the incarnation of Christ sixty years, Gaius Julius the emperor, first of the Romans, sought the land of Britain; and he crushed the Britons in battle, and overcame them; and nevertheless he was unable to gain any empire there.))
A.D. 1. Octavianus reigned fifty-six winters; and in the forty- second year of his reign Christ was born. Then three astrologers from the east came to worship Christ; and the children in Bethlehem were slain by Herod in persecution of Christ.
A.D. 3. This year died Herod, stabbed by his own hand; and Archelaus his son succeeded him. The child Christ was also this year brought back again from Egypt.
A.D. 6. From the beginning of the world to this year were agone five thousand and two hundred winters.
A.D. 11. This year Herod the son of Antipater undertook the government in Judea.
A.D. 12. This year Philip and Herod divided Judea into four kingdoms.
((A.D. 12. This year Judea was divided into four tetrarchies.))
A.D. 16. This year Tiberius succeeded to the empire.
A.D. 26. This year Pilate began to reign over the Jews.
A.D. 30. This year was Christ baptized; and Peter and Andrew were converted, together with James, and John, and Philip, and all the twelve apostles.
A.D. 33. This year was Christ crucified; (9) about five thousand two hundred and twenty six winters from the beginning of the world. (10)
A.D. 34. This year was St. Paul converted, and St. Stephen stoned.
A.D. 35. This year the blessed Peter the apostle settled an episcopal see in the city of Antioch.
A.D. 37. This year (11) Pilate slew himself with his own hand.
A.D. 39. This year Caius undertook the empire.
A.D. 44. This year the blessed Peter the apostle settled an episcopal see at Rome; and James, the brother of John, was slain by Herod.
A.D. 45. This year died Herod, who slew James one year ere his own death.
By Dr Miles RussellThe 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: