The Celtic Literature Collective

Historia Brittonum IV: §57-66

The genealogy of of the kings of Bernicia87
57. Woden begat Beldeg, who begat Beornec, who begat Gethbrond, who begat Aluson, who begat Ingwi, who begat Edibrith, who begat Esa, who begat Eoppa, who begat Ida. But Ida had twelve sons, Adda, Belric, Theodric, Ethelric, Theodhere, Osmer, and one queen, Bearnoch, Ealric. Ethelric begat Ethelfrid: the same is Ædlfred Flesaur. For he also had seven sons, Eanfrid, Oswald, Oswin, Oswy, Oswudu, Oslac, Offa. Oswy begat Alfrid, Elfwin, and Egfrid. Egfrid is he who made war against his cousin Brudei, king of the Picts, and he fell therein with all the strength of his army, and the Picts with their king gained the victory; and the Saxons never again reduced the Picts so as to exact tribute from them. Since the time of this war it is called Gueithlin Garan. But Oswy had two wives, Riemmelth, the daughter of Royth, son of Rum; and Eanfled, the daughter of Edwin, son of Alla.

The genealogy of the kings of Kent.
§58. Hengist begat Octa, who begat Ossa, who begat Eormeriric, who begat Ethelbert, who begat Eadbald, who begat Ercombert, who begat Egbert.

The origin of the kings of East-Anglia.
59. Woden begat Casser, who begat Titinon, who begat Trigil, who begat Rodmunt, who begat Rippa, who begat Guilem Guercha,88 who was the first king of the East Angles. Guercha begat Uffa, who begat Tytillus, who begat Eni, who begat Edric, who begat Aldwulf, who begat Elric.

The genealogy of the Mercians.
60. Woden begat Guedolgeat, who begat Gueagon, who begat Guithleg, who begat Guerdmund, who begat Ossa, who begat Ongen, who begat Earner, who begat Pubba.89 This Pubba had twelve sons, of whom two are better known to me than the others, that is Penda and Eawa. Eadlit is the son of Pantha, Penda, son of Pubba, Ealbald, son of Alguing, son of Eawa, son of Penda, son of Pubba. Egfert, son of Offa, son of Thingferth, son of Enwulf, son of Ossulf, son of Eawa, son of Pubba.

The kings of the Deiri.
61. Woden begat Beldeg, Brond begat Siggar, who begat Sibald, who begat Zegulf, who begat Soemil, who first separated90 Deur from Berneich (Deira from Bern icia.) Soemil begat Sguerthing, who begat Giulglis, who begat Ulfrea, who begat Iffi, who begat Ulli, Edwin, Osfrid and Eanfrid. There were two sons of Edwin, who fell with him in battle at Meicen,91 and the kingdom was never renewed in his family, because not one of his race escaped from that war; but all were slain with him by the army of Catguollatmus,92 king of the Guendota. Oswy begat Egfrid, the same is Ailguin, who begat Oslach, sho begat Alhun, who begat Adlsing, who begat Echun, who begat Oslaph. Ida begat Eadric, who begat Ecgulf, who begat Leodwald, who begat Eata, the same is Glimnaur, who begat Eadbert and Egbert, who was the first bishop of their nation. Ida, the son of Eoppa, possessed countries on the left-hand side of Britain, i.e. of the Humbrian sea, and reigned twelve years, and united93 Dynguayth Guarth-Berneich.

62. Then Dutgirn at that time fought bravely against the nation of the Angles. At that time, Talhaiarn Cataguen94 was famed for poetry, and Neirin, and Taliesin and Bluchbard, and Cian, who is called Guenith Guaut, were all famous at the same time in British poetry. The great king, Mailcun,95 reigned among the Britons, i.e. in the district of Guenedota, because his reat-great-grandfather, Cunedda, with his twelve sons, had come before from the left-hand part, i.e. from the country which is called Manau Gustodin, one hundred and forty-six years before Mailcun reigned, and expelled the Scots with much slaughter from those countries, and they never returned again to inhabit them.

63. Adda, son of Ida, reigned eight years; Ethelric, son of Adda, reigned four years. Theodoric, son of Ida, reigned seven years. Freothwulf reigned six years. In whose time the kingdom of Kent, by the mission of Gregory, received baptism. Hussa reigned seven years. Against him fought four kings, Urien, and Ryderthen, and Guallauc, and Morcant. Theodoric fought bravely, together with his sons, against that Urien. But at that time sometimes the enemy and sometimes our countrymen were defeated, and he shut them up three days and three nights in the island of Metcaut; and whilst he was on an expedition he was murdered, at the instance of Morcant, out of envy, because he possessed so much superiority over all the kings in military science. Eadfered Flesaurs reigned twelve years in Bernicia, and twelve others in Deira, and gave to his wife Bebba, the town of Dynguoaroy, which from her is called Bebbanburg.96 Edwin, son of Alla, reigned seventeen years, seized on Elmete, and expelled Cerdic, its king. Eanfled, his daughter, received baptism, on the twelfth day after Pentecost, with all her followers, both men and women. The following Easter Edwin himself received baptism, and twelve thousand of his subjects with him. If any one wishes to know who baptized them, it was Rum Map Urbgen:97 he was engaged forty days in baptizing all classes of the Saxons, and by his preaching many believed on Christ.

64. Oswald son of Ethelfrid, reigned nine years; the same is Oswald Llauiguin;98 he slew Catgublaun (Cadwalla),99 king of Guenedot,100 in the baffle of Catscaul,101 with much loss to his own army. Oswy, son of Ethelfrid, reigned twenty-eight years and six months. During his reign, there was a dreadful mortality among his subjects, when Catgualart (Cadwallader) was king among the Britons, succeeding his father, and he himself died amongst the rest.102 He slew Penda in the field of Gai, and now took place the slaughter of Gai Campi, and the kings of the Britons, who went out with Penda on the expedition as far as the city of Judeu, were slain.

65. Then Oswy restored all the wealth, which was with him in the city, to Penda; who distributed it among the kings of the Britons, that is Atbert Judeu. But Catgabail alone, king of Guenedot, rising up in the night, escaped, together with his army, wherefore he was called Catgabail Catguommed. Egfrid, son of Oswy, reigned nine years. In his time the holy bishop Cuthbert died in the island of Medcaut.103 It was he who made war against the Picts, and was by them slain. Penda, son of Pybba, reigned ten years; he first separated the kingdom of Mercia from that of the North-men, and slew by treachery Anna, king of the East Anglians, and St. Oswald, king of the North-men. He fought the battle of Cocboy, in which fell Eawa, son of Pybba, his brother, king of the Mercians, and Oswald, king of the North-men, and he gained the victory by diabolical agency. He was not baptized, and never believed in God.

66. From the beginning of the world to Constantinus and Rufus, are found to be five thousand six hundred and fifty-eight years. Also from the two consuls, Rufus and Rubelius, to the consul Stilicho, are three hundred and seventy-three years. Also from Stilicho to Valentinian, son of Placida, and the reign of Vortigern, are twenty-eight years. And from the reign of Vortigern to the quarrel between Guitolinus and Ambrosius, are twelve years, which is Guoloppum, that is Catgwaloph.104 Vortigern reigned in Britain when Theodosius and Valentinian were consuls, and in the fourth year of his reign the Saxons came to Britain, in the consulship of Felix and Taurus, in the four hundredth year from the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. From the year in which the Saxons came into Britain, and were received by Vortigern, to the time of Decius and Valerian, are sixty-nine years.

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87. These titles are not part of the original work, but added in the MSS. by a later hand.

88. Guercha is a distortion of the name of Uffa, or Wuffa, arising in the first instance from the pronunciation of the British writer; and in the next place from the error of the transcriber--Palgrave.

89. Or Wibba.

90. V.R. Conquered.

91. Hatfield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. See Bede’s Eccles. Hist., p. 106.

92. Cadwalla, king of the Western Britons.

93. V.R. United the castle, i.e. Dinguerin and Gurdbernech, which two countries were in one country, i.e. Deurabernech; Anglice Deira and Bernicia. Another MS. Built Dinguayrh Guarth Berneich.

94. Talhaiarn was a descendant of Coel Godebog, and chaplain to Ambrosius.  The others listed: Neirin is Aneurin of the Book of Aneurin; Taliesin is self-explanatory. "Bluchbard, and Cian, who is called Guenith Guaut"--none of their work survives.  Of Talhaiarn, only one poem is attributed to him in the book Barddas

Talhaiarn's Prayer, called by some, the Gorsedd Prayer.
"God, impart strength;
And in that strength, reason;
And in reason, knowledge;
And in knowledge, justice;
And in justice, the love of it;
And in that love, the love of every thing;
And in the love of every thing, the love of God."
Composed by Talhaiarn, the father of Tanwyn.

Barddas is attributed to a Llewellyn Sion, who lived in the 16th century.  It claims to be a collection of bardic lore, passed down through the centuries from the druidic colleges, through the bardic schools, finally, to the days of Llewellyn's pen.  Whether this is true, or one of Iolo Morgannwg's forgeries, or even not a forgery but the work of one man's opinion (or delusion) is the subject of no small amount of debate.

95. Better known as Maelgwn. Maelgwn Gwynned, aka Maelgwn Hir, 

96. Bambrough. See Bede, iii. 6, and Sax. Chron. A.D. 547.

97. See Bede’s Eccles. Hist., p. 96. From the share which Paulinus had in the conversion of the Northumbrian king, it has been inferred that he actaully baptized him; but Nennius experssly states, that the holy sacrament was administered by Rhun, the son of Urien. The Welsh name of Paulinus is Pawl Hen, or Polin Eagob.

98. Llauiguin, means the "fair," or the "bounteous hand."

99. This name has been variously written; Bede spells it Caedualla (Cadwalla); Nennius, Catgublaun; the Saxon Chronicle, Ceadwalla; and the Welsh writers, Cadwallon and Kalwallawn: and though the identity of the person may be clearly proved, it is necessary to observe these particulars to distinguish him from Cadwaladr, and from another Caedualla or Caedwalla, a king of the West Saxons; all of whom, as they lived within a short time of each other, have been frequently confounded together.--Rees's Welsh Saints.

100. Gwynedd, North Wales.

101. Bede says at Denis’s brook. Eccles. Host., p. 109.

102. The British chronicles assert that Cadwallader died at Rome, whilst Nennius would lead us to conclude that he perished in the pestilence at home. See Geoffrey, p. 288.

103. The isle of Farne.

104. 1n Carmarthenshire. Perhaps the town now called Kidwelly.

Six Old English Chronicles ed. and trans. J.A. Giles. London: H. G. Bohn, 1848.

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