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2000 AD => General => : kev67 13 March, 2021, 03:16:53 AM

: King Brutus of Slaine
: kev67 13 March, 2021, 03:16:53 AM
I have been reading Gwynne's Kings and Queens: The Indispensable History of England and her Monarchs. Blow me down with a feather if the first recorded British king wasn't King Brutus. I thought his name was just a pun by Pat Mills: the British Empire being the brutish empire, Britons being brutes, etc. King Brutus was recorded as the first British king by Geoffrey of Monmouth, and most British historians think his history is a bit fanciful. Got to say, when I read King Brutus was a grandson of Aeneas, I was rather doubtful myself. I thought Aeneas was fictional. We did a bit of Virgil's Aeneid at school. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth's account, King Brutus arrived in Britain at Totnes, which is oddly specific, and quickly took over.
: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: Dark Jimbo 13 March, 2021, 09:24:35 AM
I thought his name was just a pun by Pat Mills: the British Empire being the brutish empire, Britons being brutes, etc.

Yeah, it's the other way around - Britain is supposedly named after Brutus. I've always loved that British mythology is a 'spin-off' of the Greek (by way of the Trojan War).
: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: The Legendary Shark 13 March, 2021, 09:39:47 AM

Hold on - if Brutus was descended from Aeneas, does that mean Price Philip is closer to being King (hailing from the Classical Lands) than Elizabeth (a local Mayfair lass) is to being queen?

And where does Germany come into it? It's all very convoluted.

: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: I, Cosh 13 March, 2021, 12:26:01 PM
And where does Germany come into it? It's all very convoluted.
It certainly is. From the Plantagenets to the Stuarts there’s an entire cottage industry of academia dedicated to dredging up tenuous genealogical links which give your favoured Pretender a claim to closer descent from Brutus.
: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: The Legendary Shark 13 March, 2021, 12:37:40 PM

IIrc, there's a couple of  guys (Colin Wilson(?) And Barram Blackett(?)) who think they can prove that King Arthur was a real king (two real kings, in fact) who ruled much of south and mid England from Wales in the Long Ago.

How different the world might have been under the Welsh Empire.

: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: I, Cosh 13 March, 2021, 01:44:12 PM
Arthurology is quite a fertile area of interpretive history. I have a pal who’s very invested (writes papers, speaks at conferences) in the idea that Arthur actually came from Drumchapel (just outside Glasgow) and he’ll have you half convinced if you give him the chance.
: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: The Legendary Shark 13 March, 2021, 03:44:08 PM

I love stuff like that. Does he have a website, by any chance?

: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: TordelBack 13 March, 2021, 03:57:34 PM
King Brutus was recorded as the first British king by Geoffrey of Monmouth, and most British historians think his history is a bit fanciful. Got to say, when I read King Brutus was a grandson of Aeneas, I was rather doubtful myself. I thought Aeneas was fictional.

All kings are fictional, being just robbers, murderers and bullies and/or descendants of same who make up titles for themselves,  but Geoffrey of Monmouth's kings are more fictional than most. This is a man whose contemporary historian the pathological liar Geraldus Cambrensis* thought too fanciful.

Pat is absolutely right to include Geoffrey (who translated the prophecies of Merlin from a conveniently 'unknown language',  establishing a tradition enjoyed by John Dee and friend of Robohunter "Holy" Joe Smith) as a source for a fantastic version of dragon-haunted Britain, it's the best use for him.


* Geraldus is the guy whose writing formed the basis of the kingship ceremony in Sláine the King, written as a slur on the kings of Donegal to establish them as pagans and savages for his boss, Henry II, then engaged in the partial colonisation of Ireland.
: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: Dark Jimbo 13 March, 2021, 04:12:29 PM
From the Plantagenets to the Stuarts there’s an entire cottage industry of academia dedicated to dredging up tenuous genealogical links which give your favoured Pretender a claim to closer descent from Brutus.

As a 14-times Great Grandson of Edward IV, I live in permanent readiness for the phonecall telling me that, due to some unforseen circumstances, I am needed to take my rightful place on the throne.
: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: I, Cosh 13 March, 2021, 04:17:44 PM
I love stuff like that. Does he have a website, by any chance?
He used to but I can’t find it now. Will try and find out where it’s moved to.
: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: The Legendary Shark 13 March, 2021, 04:23:01 PM

Thank you, :)

: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: kev67 13 March, 2021, 04:42:07 PM

All kings are fictional, being just robbers, murderers and bullies and/or descendants of same who make up titles for themselves,  but Geoffrey of Monmouth's kings are more fictional than most. This is a man whose contemporary historian the pathological liar Geraldus Cambrensis* thought too fanciful.


N.M. Gwynne (whose book I'm reading) gives Geoffrey of Monmouth more credence than most historians. He points out an incident reported in his Historia Regum Britanniae that I don't think is recorded anywhere else. In 256, British king Asclepiodotus besieged London, succeeded in bringing down its walls, beheaded all the Roman soldiers therein, and threw them in a stream. In the 16th century a road was built over the stream, named Walbrook. When the road was was dug up in the 1860s, they found a lot of skulls with no bodies.
: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: TordelBack 13 March, 2021, 05:32:32 PM
Even a broken clock etc. There is of course great historical and folkloric value in Geoffrey's writing, as there is in Geraldus, but like that propagandist he also makes vast reams of stuff up for his own amusement and that of his patrons, which is why he's so entertaining. WRT Brutus, he's embellishing earlier accounts with a view to positioning Britain as the rightful inheritor of the Classical world.


If you'll indulge me - I dredged up a chunk of this stuff for my eternally-in-development Sláine blog waaaay back when Brutus and New Troy first appeared back in Books of Invasion: Moloch.

"Given that Aeneas was a refugee from the Achaean sack of Troy, which if it ever happened best guesses identify with the destruction of Troy VII circa 1200BC, who fetched up somewhere near Anzio and defeated the rulers of Latium to become the ancestor of Romulus and Remus. Or so Livy and Virgil had it, writing more than a millennium later. Another millennium later again the putative chronicler Nennius acsribes the founding of Britain to Aeneas' grandson, which would place it before 1100BC, towards the end of the Middle Bronze Age."

The idea that Britain had a Latin king originating from the Hittite world at that point is, to agree with Geraldus, fanciful. But great fun!
: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: The Legendary Shark 13 March, 2021, 06:12:04 PM

This is the kind of thinking that leads to Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. More, please!

I came to history too late. I'm currently loving a bit of Plutarch's Roman Lives again after stumbling across a pristine Penguin copy in a charity shop (along with Livy's War with Hannibal, which I hope to tackle next), and it's chock full of wonderful stories.

I also get a great sense of how little the fundamental nature and problems of man have changed since then, of how vile and wonderful we can be.

Marcus Crassus, I think, invented the fire brigade on his way to becoming the richest man in the Empire. As most of the buildings in Rome were combustible, fire was a constant worry. So, there you are, a wealthy merchant, and your warehouse is on fire. In the nick of time, up turns old Marcus with a cart full of water and a mob of slaves. You are initially relieved until Marcus offers you fifty quid for the warehouse. It's worth five hundred, you protest, not counting the stock which can still be saved. Marcus inspects his fingernails and points out that the warehouse isn't worth anything while its on fire. So you lose everything or sell, turning total disaster into fifty quid and whatever can be snatched from the flames. If you accept, Marcus's slaves spring into action and the next thing you he's built a shopping centre on it. What a tw*t.

And in his will, Julius Cesar (who was assassinated because it was feared he was becoming too ambitious, which seems debatable) left every citizen of Rome enough money to live on for four months.

Sadly, the paperback I have contains only a handful of Lives, all Roman with no Greek counterpart, but it's still fascinating and inspiring. How I wish I'd been exposed to these things when I was younger, understood that old doesn't mean irrelevant.

: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: TordelBack 13 March, 2021, 07:58:24 PM
How I wish I'd been exposed to these things when I was younger, understood that old doesn't mean irrelevant.

Me too - other than my final primary school teacher, the very odd Mrs Bradley, no-one even attempted to teach us any Classics. Obviously I ended up doing archaeology at 3rd level, but having no Romans to speak of in Ireland, we conveniently left them out. I've sat in on a pile of Roman lectures, but Classics always feels like this big hole of ignorance I'm struggling to fill.

That said, I think the lack of formal education or professional need for same  has done me a favour - I read about (and visit) Greek and Roman stuff for pure pleasure, whereas a lot of my other historical interests are tainted a bit by the feeling of work-related necessity, or that I should really already know this stuff.
: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: The Legendary Shark 13 March, 2021, 08:33:55 PM

I think there might be some relevant lectures on those SD cards. If I put them on there, "Famous Greeks" and "Famous Romans" are fantastic, given by a properly enthusiastic and engaging lecturer.

: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: kev67 13 March, 2021, 10:36:57 PM

IIrc, there's a couple of  guys (Colin Wilson(?) And Barram Blackett(?)) who think they can prove that King Arthur was a real king (two real kings, in fact) who ruled much of south and mid England from Wales in the Long Ago.

How different the world might have been under the Welsh Empire.

Leslie Alcock, University College Cardiff, author of Arthur's Britain, and John Morris, University College, London, author of The Age of Arthur: A History of the British Isles 350 to 650, proved Arthur was real, and that he achieved most of what was attributed to him. This was a lot more than I thought. He beat the Saxons, Picts and Scots, but then he also conquered Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Gaul. So there was a Welsh empire. He set off to learn the Romans a thing or two, but then he heard Mordred was having it off with Guinevere, so turned back home. This is according to my book and I am not sure I believe it.
: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: The Legendary Shark 14 March, 2021, 07:22:20 AM

I'll have to have a butcher's at that, thanks, Kev.

: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: AlexF 15 March, 2021, 10:29:56 AM
I only recent stumbled across the idea that the recent Slaine arc was based not so much on truth as on a once-popular account of British/Brutish history. Fascinating.
Tordelback, make that in-development blog into a live blog immediately please, I don't care how busy you are. I shan't enjoy Slaine properly until you do!

Speaking as an Englishman (well actually I'm, half-German on my mother's side, but I was educated in English public schools so they beat the Hun out of me), I did get exposed to a fair bit of the classical Rome/Greece history stuff... but one thing I never learned at school was quite how much horror England visited upon Ireland and indeed Wales. (Not to mention various other colonies further afield)
: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: sheridan 15 March, 2021, 03:10:51 PM
If you'll indulge me - I dredged up a chunk of this stuff for my eternally-in-development Sláine blog waaaay back when Brutus and New Troy first appeared back in Books of Invasion: Moloch.


My advice, as somebody who writes a blog with sometimes month-long (sometimes years-long) gaps in posts is to just get on and write a blog post, then release it in to the wild.
: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: kev67 16 March, 2021, 11:35:50 PM
Assuming King Brutus is fictional, I wondered how far the line of succession went back before it became fictional. Cassivellaunus was king when Julius Ceasar invaded in 55 BC. Gwynne's book does not list every king going back to Brutus, just some who were king when something especially interesting happened. There is a gap in the Historia between 113 BC and 358 BC. Maybe that is when the succession became fictional. There do not seem to be any other gaps. How would they keep records back then? Is there any corroboration from other sources?

The last bit on the British kings blew my mind. Around 555 the Saxons called upon King Gormund, who had conquered Ireland with a huge fleet carrying African warriors. He invaded Britain with 160,000 Africans and routed King Keredic's forces and ravaged the entire country. Gormund then handed over most the country to the Saxons. The British retreated to Wales, Cornwall and Armorica (now Brittanny). The British did rally again in the 600s. King Cadwallo supposedly reconquered it with 10,000 soldiers from Armorica, but his son, king Cadwallader was the last of the British kings. There was civil war, famine and pestilence, and the country was so depopulated, the Saxons invited their Germanic kinsfolk to come across.

I'm 53 and I have never heard of Britain being invaded by 160,000 Africans before. Is there any corroboration for this?
: Re: King Brutus of Slaine
: sheridan 18 March, 2021, 07:05:43 PM
First time I've heard about this.  I won't dispute where the mercenaries came from but will point out that most troop estimates in historical accounts are exaggerated (sometimes wildly).