Past and Present
History Of The Britons (Historia Brittonum) by Nennius
47. Others assure us, that being hated by all the people of Britain, for having received the Saxons, and being publicly charged by St. Germanus and the clergy in the sight of God, he betook himself to flight; and, that deserted and a wanderer, he sought a place of refuge, till broken hearted, he made an ignominious end.
Some accounts state, that the earth opened and swallowed him up, on the night his castle was burned; as no remains were discovered the following morning, either of him, or of those who were burned with him.
He had three sons: the eldest was Vortimer, who, as we have seen, fought four times against the Saxons, and put them to flight; the second Categirn, who was slain in the same battle with Horsa; the third was Pascent, who reigned in the two provinces Builth and Guorthegirnaim, after the death of his father. These were granted him by Ambrosius, who was the great king among the kings of Britain. The fourth was Faustus, born of an incestuous marriage with his daughter, who was brought up and educated by St. Germanus. He built a large monastery on the banks of the river Renis, called after his name, and which remains to the present period.
 In the northern part of the present counties of Radnor and Brecknock.
 V.R. The MSS. add, 'and he had one daughter, who was the mother of St. Faustus.'
49. This is the genealogy of Vortigern, which goes back to Fernvail, who reigned in the kingdom of Guorthegirnaim, and was the son of Teudor; Teudor was the son of Pascent; Pascent of Guoidcant; Guoidcant of Moriud; Moriud of Eltat; Eltat of Eldoc; Eldoc of Paul; Paul of Meuprit; Meuprit of Braciat; Braciat of Pascent; Pascent of Guorthegirn, Guorthegirn of Guortheneu; Guortheneu of Guitaul; Guitaul of Guitolion; Guitolion of Gloui. Bonus, Paul, Mauron, Guotelin, were four brothers, who built Gloiuda, a great city upon the banks of the river Severn, and in Birtish is called Cair Gloui, in Saxon, Gloucester. Enough has been said of Vortigern.
 Fernvail, or Farinmail, appears to have been king of Gwent or Monmouth.
 V.R. 'Two provinces, Builth and Guorthegirnaim.'
50. St. Germanus, after his death, returned into his own country. *At that time, the Saxons greatly increased in Britain, both in strength and numbers. And Octa, after the death of his father Hengist, came from the sinistral part of the island to the kingdom of Kent, and from him have proceeded all the kings of that province, to the present period.
* V.R. All this to the word 'Amen,' in other MSS. is placed after the legend of St. Patrick.
Then it was, that the magnanimous Arthur, with all the kings and military force of Britain, fought against the Saxons. And though there were many more noble than himself, yet he was twelve times chosen their commander, and was as often conqueror. The first battle in which he was engaged, was at the mouth of the river Gleni. The second, third, fourth, and fifth, were on another river, by the Britons called Duglas, in the region Linuis. The sixth, on the river Bassas. The seventh in the wood Celidon, which the Britons call Cat Coit Celidon. The eighth was near Gurnion castle, where Arthur bore the image of the Holy Virgin, mother of God, upon his shoulders, and through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the holy Mary, put the Saxons to flight, and pursued them the whole day with great slaughter. The ninth was at the City of Legion, which is called Cair Lion. The tenth was on the banks of the river Trat Treuroit. The eleventh was on the mountain Breguoin, which we call Cat Bregion. The twelfth was a most severe contest, when Arthur penetrated to the hill of Badon. In this engagement, nine hundred and forty fell by his hand alone, no one but the Lord affording him assistance. In all these engagements the Britons were successful. For no strength can avail against the will of the Almighty.
 Supposed by some to be the Glem, in Lincolnshire; but most probably the Glen, in the northern part of Northumberland.
 Or Dubglas. The little river Dunglas, which formed the southern boundary of Lothian. Whitaker says, the river Duglas, in Lancashire, near Wigan.
 Not a river, but an isolated rock in the Frith of Forth, near the town of North Berwick, called "The Bass." Some think it is the river Lusas, in Hampshire.
 The Caledonian forest; or the forest of Englewood, extending from Penrith to Carlisle.
 Variously supposed to be in Cornwall, or Binchester in Durham, but most probably the Roman station of Garionenum, near Yarmouth, in Norfolk.
 V.R. The image of the cross of Christ, and of the perpetual virgin St. Mary.
 V.R. For Arthur proceeded to Jerusalem, and there made a cross to the size of the Saviour's cross, and there it was consecrated, and for three successive days he fasted, watched, and prayed, before the Lord's cross, that the Lord would give him the victory, by this sign, over the heathen; which also took place, and he took with him the image of St. Mary, the fragments of which are still preserved in great veneration at Wedale, in English Wodale, in Latin Vallis-doloris. Wodale is a village in the province of Lodonesia, but now of the jurisdiction of the bishop of St. Andrew's, of Scotland, six miles on the west of that heretofore noble and eminent monastery of Meilros.
 Or Ribroit, the Brue, in Somersetshire; or the Ribble, in Lancashire.
 Or Agned Cathregonion, Cadbury, in Somersetshire; or Edinburgh
The more the Saxons were vanquished, the more they sought for new supplies of Saxons from Germany; so that kings, commanders, and military bands were invited over from almost every province. And this practice they continued till the reign of Ida, who was the son of Eoppa, he, of the Saxon race, was the first king in Bernicia, and in Cair Ebrauc (York).
When Gratian Aequantius was consul at rome, because then the whole world was governed by the Roman consuls, the Saxons were received by Vortigern in the year of our Lord four hundred and forty-seven, and to the year in which we now write, five hundred and forty-seven. And whosoever shall read herein may receive instruction, the Lord Jesus Christ affording assistance, who, co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Ghost, lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
In those days Saint Patrick was captive among the Scots. His master's name was Milcho, to whom he was a swineherd for seven years. When he had attained the age of seventeen he gave him his liberty. By the divine impulse, he applied himself to reading of the Scriptures, and afterwards went to Rome; where, replenished with the Holy Spirit, he continued a great while, studying the sacred mysteries of those writings. During his continuance there, Palladius, the first bishop, was sent by pope Celestine to convert the Scots [the Irish]. But tempests and signs from God prevented his landing, for no one can arrive in any country, except it be allowed from above; altering therefore his course from Ireland, he came to Britain and died in the land of the Picts.*
* At Fordun, in the district of Mearns, in Scotland-Usher.
51. The death of Palladius being known, the Roman patricians, Theodosius and Valentinian, then reigning, pope Celestine sent Patrick to convert the Scots to the faith of the Holy Trinity; Victor, the angel of God, accompanying, admonishing, and assisting him, and also the bishop Germanus.
Germanus then sent the ancient Segerus with him as a venerable and praiseworthy bishop, to king Amatheus, who lived near, and who had prescience of what was to happen; he was consecrated bishop in the reign of that king by the holy pontiff, assuming the name of Patrick, having hitherto been known by that of Maun; Auxilius, Isserninus, and other brothers were ordained with him to inferior degrees.
 V.R. Germanus "sent the elder Segerus with him to a wonderful man, the holy bishop Amathearex." Another MS. "Sent the elder Segerus, a bishop, with him to Amatheorex."
 V.R. "Received the episcopal degree from the holy bishop Amatheorex." Another MS. "Received the episcopal degree from Matheorex and the holy bishop."
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: