Historia Brittonum c. 800
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NENNIUS

c. 800 Nennius is the earliest source regarding King Vortigern, the “fatherless” Ambrosius, the fortress at Dinas Emrys, and the dragons beneath which prevented the successful construction of the fortress. Arthur is identified not as a king but as dux bellorum (war leader) who united the kings of Britain against the Saxons.
DATABASES
c. 800 Nennius is the earliest source regarding King Vortigern, the “fatherless” Ambrosius, the fortress at Dinas Emrys, and the dragons beneath which prevented the successful construction of the fortress. Arthur is identified not as a king but as dux bellorum (war leader) who united the kings of Britain against the Saxons.
Nennius, (flourished c. 800), Welsh antiquary who between 796 and about 830 compiled or revised the Historia Brittonum, a miscellaneous collection of historical and topographical information including a description of the inhabitants and invaders of Britain and providing the earliest-known reference to the British king Arthur. In the preface to the Historia he describes himself as a disciple of Elvodugus (d. 809), chief bishop in Gwynedd.
Nennius was an eighth-century historian who is a major source for tales of King Arthur. [see #56 below]. Unlike the much more careful Bede, Nennius was, as one modern historian writes "unrestrainedly inventive" [ Gerhard Herm, The Celts, [London, 1976], p. 275]. Not all of Nennius can be dismissed as he apparently had access to no-longer available 5th century sources, but neither can he be entirely trusted.

I. THE PROLOGUE.

1. NENINIUS, the lowly minister and servant of the servants of God, by the grace of God, disciple of St. Elbotus, to all the followers of truth sendeth health.

Be it known to your charity, that being dull in intellect and rude of speech, I have presumed to deliver these things in the Latin tongue, not trusting to my own learning, which is little or none at all, but partly from traditions of our ancestors, partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans, and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymus, Prosper, Eusebius, and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons, although our enemies, not following my own inclinations, but, to the best of my ability, obeying the commands of my seniors; I have lispingly put together this history from various sources, and have endeavoured, from shame, to deliver down to posterity the few remaining ears of corn about past transactions, that they might not be trodden under foot, seeing that an ample crop has been snatched away already by the hostile reapers of foreign nations
It is thought that Nennius was a Welsh monk who lived some time during the seventh, eighth or ninth centuries.

He wrote a History of Britain, Historia Brittonum, using a range of sources. The result was a collection of documents witten in a range of styles. During later times this work was transcribed with changes and additions made.
The History of the Britons (Latin: Historia Brittonum) is a purported history of the indigenous British (Brittonic) people that was written around 828 and survives in numerous recensions that date from after the 11th century. The Historia Brittonum is commonly attributed to Nennius, as some recensions have a preface written in his name. Some experts have dismissed the Nennian preface as a late forgery, arguing that the work was actually an anonymous compilation.[a][b]
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