The Historia Regum Britanniae, translated as ‘The background of the emperors of Britain’ is a middle ages text created by Geoffrey of Monmouth approximately 1136, and is an account of British background laced v fictitious references and also tales of drama.

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The book charts the rise and fall of the kings of Britain, tracking the story of conquest, power and also success. Starting with the Trojan establishing of the brothers Isles and following the follow of those in strength until the moment of the Anglo-Saxons, this body of work creates a an important component the the matter of Britain.

The matter of Britain describes the collection of middle ages literary functions which depict legend and also mythology, entwined with tales that heroism and patriotism, which illustration this genre that literature.As a middle ages source, the message has good value and also although it might prove to it is in fictitious and also highly misrepresentative the the facts, the publication provides an interesting insight right into the medieval world.

Historia Regum Britanniae, by Geoffrey of Monmouth

The publication proved come be exceptionally popular v its medieval audience. This popularity far surpassed expectation and subsequently the Latin message was interpreted into several various other languages, permitting the book to become critical source for plenty of well right into the 16 century.

Geoffrey that Monmouth, believed to have been born in Wales roughly 1100, was a monk and also an influential scholar. The is assumed to have actually spent many of his life external Wales, as his name shows up on several charters in the Oxfordshire area. In 1152, Geoffrey ended up being Bishop the St Asaph, consecrated through Archbishop Theobald of Bec in ~ Lambeth.

His most famous work to be ‘Historia Regum Britanniae’ completed around 1140 and also apparently based upon the translations of ancient British texts. The publication tracks the history of Britain, with intrepid tales ranging from the Roman invasion by Julius Caesar to the tales of King Lear and Cymbeline. The narrative contains some of the most compelling brothers myths and legends us are acquainted with today.

Brutus the Trojan

The publication is arranged in twelve sections, with the an initial part covering ten centuries, beginning with the Trojan War and the mythic founder the Britain, Brutus, that was the great-grandson the Prince Aeneas. Meanwhile, the last six books of the manuscript narrate the events of King Arthur’s era.

In fact, the book served together the structure for the Arthurian legend, with Merlin and Arthur mythology entrenched in brothers story-telling for centuries to come. The legend that King Arthur was a critical part or Geoffrey that Monmouth’s work and also continues come remain popular today.

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His relenten of King Arthur together a great king of brother who safeguarded his kingdom against the Saxons, would record the creative thinking of the middle ages world. Geoffrey’s story contained the details of the legend that Arthur, including Merlin the magician, his mam Guinevere and also the sword Excalibur. With additions to the story indigenous French writer Chretien de Troyes, the Arthurian story take it on a whole new dimension as not just a military tale but additionally one the romance. Tales of the holy Grail, Knights that the ring Table and a host of other characters helped come entrench it as one of the favourite story of the middle Ages.

Whilst Geoffrey lived a religious life, the also specialized much that his time to scholarship, creating in Latin which to be the lingua franca that the academic world in middle ages Europe.

Geoffrey sourced material from a wide range of texts including the Venerable Bede’s ‘Ecclesiastical history of the English People’, and also the ‘Historia Brittonum’, a ninth century text. From this range of sources Geoffrey had the ability to extract stories and also events which might be suitable re-told with elaborate embellishment and also vivid story-telling.

Illumination that a 15th century manuscript that Historia Regum Britanniae. It shows Vortigern, king of the Britons, and also Ambros the town hall the fight in between two dragons

Geoffrey’s work very quickly came to be entrenched in popular society so much so that several centuries later, in the time of Shakespeare, his publication was easily accessible in Latin and Norman French. Through ‘Historia’ containing what is believed to be the faster manuscript of the tale of King Lear and also his three daughters, it might have perhaps even been used as a useful resource of motivation for the budding talent the a good writer such as Shakespeare himself.

The aim of the publication was to file a huge and outstanding tale of how Britain came to be, v enthralling story that captured the creativity of its medieval audience. Regardless of the fact that as early on as the sixteenth century, scholar had started to question its reliability, that still stays a an useful historical resource and even today, the legendary story of historic figures, mythical or otherwise, proceed to connect readers far and also wide.

Jessica brain is a freelance writer specialising in history. Based in Kent and also a lover of all points historical.