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

Historia 32

Britinia insola oceani cui quondam Olbiian nomen erat, is eight hundred thousand paces in length, two hundred thousand in breadth, and in circumference five thousand seventy and eight times forty. There are in it eight score cities, and five languages, viz. the Saxon language, and the British language, and the Cruithnian language, and Gaelic, and Latin.

Anno xlmo. ante nativitatem Christi, i e. forty years before the birth of Christ, came Galus into the island of Britain; he lost his ships and his army on his first expedition, and he lost Labienus the tribune, but at length he took the hostages of the island of Britain.

Cluids Ceissir, the fourth king after Juil, came into the island of Britain even to the island of Orc.

Ab incarnatione Domini clvi. Marcus Antonus with his brother, i. e. Lucidus Aurelius Commodus, devastated the island of Britain.

Ab incarnatione Domini clxxxix. Severus Afer Tripolitanus came into the island of Britain. Leipis was the name of the city in Africa where he was born; he was the seventeenth king after Juil:


it was for him was made the Saxon ditch; he died at Caer Abrog. He had two sons, Basianus and Geta. It was he (the former) that succeeded to the kingdom by the name of Anton.

Ab incarnatione Domini cclxxxiii. Dioclistan, the thirty-third king after Juil, and Maximin, came into the island of Britain. It was in their time that Carausius held the sovereignty of Britain seven years, until Alectus killed him, and held the sovereignty himself for three years, until Asclipidotus killed him, and became king himself for ten years. Dioclistan, in the east of the world, was persecuting the Christians, and Maiscimen in the west.

It was in that persecution over the world that Saint Albain—and Aron, and Juil, chiefs of the city Leigionum at that time,—died.

Constanst, king of Britain, was the father of Constantine, son of Eiline (Helena), the concubine of Constantin. Etrobus wrote that it was in the island of Britain that Constantin took sovereignty at first; for his father had exercised dominion over France and Spain in the life-time of Dioclistan.

Ab incarnatione ccclxvi. Gradianus was the fortieth king from Juil. It was in his time that a certain Maxim took the sovereignty of Britain.


Ab incarnatione Domini ccccxciv. Arcatus was sovereign of the world son of Toetas Theodosius, the forty-third king after Augustus. Pilacius Pelagius a Briton, adopted heresy, and destroyed the Christians.

Ab incarnatione D. (ccccv.) Forty-four years [gap: text unintelligible] two years before Eolair Alaric, King of the Gaeth Goths, Gradian the champion is made king of the Britons; and then Constantine, afterwards [gap: text unintelligible] until Constantinus Comes killed him at the command of Honorius. Constans, his son, came from being a monk, and took the kingdom.

Now Rome was destroyed afterwards in the thousandth one hundredth and year from its foundation. That was the end of the Roman dominion over the island of Britain, after cccclxx. years from the time when Juil took the island of Britain. The Romans extinguished it as to its military power, and there were left in it no warriors nor men of learning, and the Romans carried them off, and would not suffer them to return.

It was then that the Gaedhels and the Cruithnians, two border tribes, took captives and spoil.

There went ambassadors from the Britons with presents along with them, to the Romans, to seek relief; and there came to them a valiant army across the island, who attacked the Cruithnians and


Gaedhels; and they returned to their home then. Immediately the enemy came, and mowed down the Britons like a ripe corn field.

The ambassadors were sent again, and a legion came to the assistance of the Britons, and fought against the enemies of the Britons, and the ditch which the second Severus made was repaired by them; it was of stones this time, i. e. seven feet broad and twelve high from sea to sea; of sods they found it, and they fortified it so that they might not be required to come again to assist them; and they departed.

When the Gaedhels and the Cruithnians heard this they came upon them (i.e. upon the Britons) as wolves upon sheep.

Ab incarnatione cccc.xxii. Theothas junior post Honorium the forty-fourth king after Augustus.