Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Irish version of the Historia Britonum of Nennius (Author: unknown)

Historia 13

It is thus the elders of the Britons have recorded their history, viz., that there were seven Roman emperors who had dominion over Britain. But the Romans say that there were nine of them over the Britons: that is to say, that the eighth was Severus the second, who died as he was going to Rome from the island of Britain. The ninth was Constantine, who was sixteen years in the kingdom of the island of Britain when he died. Four hundred and nine years were


the Britons under Roman tribute. But afterwards the Britons drove out the Roman power, and did not pay them tax or tribute, and they killed all the Roman chiefs that were in the island of Britain.

Immediately, however, the power of the Cruithnians and of the Gaels advanced in the heart of Britain, and they drove them to the river whose name is Tin Tyne. There went afterwards ambassadors from the Britons to the Romans with mourning and great grief, with sods on their heads, and with many costly presents along with them, to pray them not to take vengeance on them for the chiefs of the Romans who were put to death by them. Afterwards Roman chiefs and consuls came back with them, and they promised that they would not the less willingly receive the Roman yoke, however heavy it might be.

Afterwards the Roman knights came, and were appointed princes and kings over the island of Britain, and the army then returned home. Anger and grief seized the Britons from the weight of the Roman yoke and oppression upon them, so that they put to death the chieftains that were with them in the island of Britain, the second time. Hence the power of the Cruithnians and Gaels increased again over the Britons, so that it became heavier than the Roman tribute, because their total expulsion out of their lands was the object aimed at by the northern Cruithnians and Gaels.

After this the Britons went in sorrow and in tears to the Roman senate, and thus we are told they went with their backs foremost for shame; and a great multitude returned with them, i. e. an innumerable army of Romans, and sovereignty and chieftainry was assumed over


them afterwards. But again the Roman tribute became oppressive to the Britons, so that they slew their kings and chieftains the third time.

Afterwards there came Roman chieftains across the sea, and gained a very great victory over the Britons, so that they vindicated the honour of their people upon them, and they plundered the island of Britain of its gold, and of its silver, and took from it its satin, and its silk, and its vessels of gold and silver, so that they returned home with victory and triumph.