THE EARLY HISTORY OF MAN - PART 3.

THE KINGS OF THE ANCIENT BRITONS: A CHRONOLOGY

by Bill Cooper


INTRODUCTION

We saw in Part 2 of The Early History of Man 1 that the pagan kings of the ancient Britons traced their own descent back to Noah through Japheth, thus strongly enhancing the Biblical account of the Table of Nations (Genesis 10 and 11.) 2 A simple genealogy, compiled from both Nennius's Historia Brittonum (IX century AD) and from Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae (XII century AD,) demonstrated that descent. However, it is important that that genealogy now be tested for historical reliability, and we are going to test some of its credentials here by reconstructing the chronology of these kings. This, to my knowledge, has never been successfully attempted before, and this lack of success, or even effort on the part of previous scholars, has led to the denigration and eventual dismissal of this valuable record. And that, in turn, has cost us dear.

Previous attempts to compile the chronology of the ancient British kings have invariably ended with the scholars concerned giving it all up as a bad job. But most of these attempts were made by men who had already convinced themselves that the task would be hopeless. Even those rare scholars who thought that Geoffrey of Monmouth deserved more serious consideration than he currently receives, were easily dissuaded from the task. Witness Thorpe:

"Accustomed as he is to precise dates, the modern reader will wonder occasionally just where he is in time. In what year did Bladud have his flying accident? When exactly did Leir die? When did Utherpendragon see the great star? Geoffrey gives only three dates: the death of Lucius occurred in AD 156, the abdication of Arthur in AD 542, and the death of Cadwallader in AD 689. He has, however, a series of synchronisms....by which he is at pains to reassure his readers and add verisimilitude to his story.... (but) some of these synchronisms leave us more confused than if we had not read them." 3

Worse, two of Geoffrey's given dates are demonstrably wrong! Lucius did not die in AD 156, and that is usually enough to convince the modernist investigator that Geoffery was telling stories. However, the date AD 156 crops up elsewhere with regard to King Lucius, namely in Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum (AD 751):

"In the year of our Lord's Incarnation 156, Marcus Antoninus Verus, fourteenth from Augustus, became emperor jointly with his brother Aurelius Commodorus. During their reign, and while the holy Eleutherus ruled the Roman Church, Lucius, a British king, sent him a letter, asking to be made a Christian by his direction." 4

Pope Eleutherus, we learn from the Annuario Pontifico, did not lord it over the flock until the year AD 175 - 189, and so Geoffrey's date for the death of Lucius (that is, AD 156) is wrong by twenty or thirty years or so. Did Geoffrey misread Bede in his attempt to date the events mentioned in the source-book he was translating from British into Latin? Or was the source-book itself in error? It is more likely that Geoffrey, in whichever book the misreading occurred, mistook 156 for the year 186. It is easy to mistake a 5 for an 8 even with the clear print of today. We must also remember that when Bede gives the date 156, he does not do so in any direct connection with Lucius, but with reference to the beginning of the joint rule of the empire by Antoninus and Commodius. It is within the more general framework of the joint reign of these two emperors that Lucius is introduced into the narrative. More importantly, however, Geoffrey's mistake is one of which we are aware, and moreover it is one that can be easily sorted out.

The same goes for the second wrong date that Geoffrey provides. He tells us that the British king Cadwallader, died in the year AD 689. Cadwallader however, actually reigned from AD 654 - 664. What Geoffrey (or rather his source-book?) has done is to mistake the British Cadwallader for the Saxon king of Wessex named Caedwalla who did indeed die (at Rome) in the year AD 689! So, in our reconstruction of the British chronology, we shall assign to Cadwallader the true dates of his reign and not that given by Geoffrey for his death. But again, the error is something that we know about and can easily sort out, so the reluctance of previous scholars to seriously grapple with these problems becomes more puzzling as we progress.

THORPE'S LAMENT

Thorpe complains that Geoffrey of Monmouth provides too few clues for dating purposes, and that even those that he does provide only serve to confuse us. Upon examination of Geoffrey's Historia, however, we find that Thorpe was quite mistaken. The Historia is rich in clues compared to many other of these early accounts, and far from confusing us, they actually help us to build a most erudite picture.

Let us begin with Brutus, the very first king of the Britons and from whom the Britons derived their name. Geoffrey tells us in Book 1, chapter 18 of his Historia, that Brutus was born two or three generations after the Trojan Wars. The Trojan Wars having occurred around 1240 BC, that would place his birth in about the middle of the XII century, say around 1150 BC. Moreover, Geoffrey goes on to tell us that Brutus reigned as king for 23 years, and further, that he ruled Britain at the time that Eli was judge in Israel. We know that Eli judged Israel between the years 1115 - 1075 BC. Thus, we are given two synchronisms, not one, and both of these confirm each other, thus allowing us to date the reign of Brutus with much confidence. No cause for complaint there!

Following Brutus's reign, we are told that his son Locrinus ruled for 10 years, and that his, Locrinus's, widow, Queen Gwendolen, ruled after him for 15 years at the time when Samuel judged Israel (Book 2, chapter 6.) We know that Samuel judged Israel for the forty year period between 1075 - 1035 BC, and thus Geoffrey's synchronisms begin to take on an unexpected, and hitherto uncredited, aura of respectability.

Gwendolen abdicated in favour of her son, Maddan, and he went on to rule for 40 years after her. Then his son, Mempricius, ruled for 20 years, and his reign, we are told, roughly coincided with that of Saul (Book 2.6.) Saul was king in Israel between 1030 - 1010 BC.

Likewise Mempricius was succeeded by his son, Ebraucus. Ebraucus reigned for 39 years, and we are told that his reign corresponded roughly in time with that of David of Israel (Book 2.7.) Again, we know that David ruled from 1010 - 970 BC.

Table 1. The Chronology of the early British kings.

       (Bryt) Brutus ................... 23yrs ..c.1104 - 1O81BC
     (Lloegr) Locrinus ................. 10yrs ..c.1081 - 1871BC
              Gwendolen (Oueen) ........ 15yrs ..c.1071 - 1058BC
              Maddan ................... 48yrs ..c.1056 - 1016BC
              Mempriclus ............... 2Oyrs ..c.1016 -  996BC
              Ebraucus ................. 39yrs ..c. 906 -  957BC
              Brutus Greenshield ....... 12yrs ..c. 957 -  945BC
              Leil ..................... 25yrs ..c. 945 -  920BC
              Hudibras ................. 39yrs ..c. 920 -  881BC
              Bladud ................... 20yrs ..c. 881 -  861BC
       (Llyr) Leir ..................... 60yrs ..c. 861 -  801BC
 (Creiddylad) Cordelia (Oueen) .........  5yrs ..c. 801 -  796BC
              Marganus I ...............  2yrs ..c. 796 -  794BC **ruled
              Cunedagius ............... 35yrs ..c. 796 -  761BC *jointly
              RivaIlo .............. c.  18yrs ..c. 761 -  743BC
              Gurgustius ........... c.  20yrs ..c. 743 -  723BC
              Sisillius I .......... c.  20yrs ..c. 723 -  703BC
              Iago ................. c.  2Oyrs ..c. 703 -  683BC
              Kimarcus ............. c.  20yrs ..c. 683 -  663BC
              Gorboduc ............. c.  20yrs ..c. 683 -  663BC
              Civil war period ..... c. 203yrs ..c. 643 -  400BC
              Pinner ............... c.  10yrs ..c. 440 -  430BC
              Cloten ............... c.  10yrs ..c. 430 -  420BC
              Dunvallo Moimutius ....... 40yrs ..c. 420 -  380BC
              Belinus ............. c.    6yrs ..c. 380 -  374BC
              Gurguit ............. c.    5yrs ..c. 374 -  369BC
              Guithelin ........... c.    6yrs ..c. 369 -  363BC
              Marcia (Q. and Wid.). c.   11yrs ..c. 369 -  358BC
              Sisillius II ........ c.    8yrs ..c. 358 -  352BC
              Kinarius ............ c.    5yrs ..c. 352 -  347BC
              Danius .............. c.    6yrs ..c. 347 -  341BC
              Morvidus ............ c.    5yrs ..c. 341 -  336BC
              Gorbonianus ......... c.    6yrs ..c. 336 -  330BC
              Archgallo ........... c.    4yrs ..c. 33O -  326BC (deposed
     (Elidyr) Elidurus ............ c.    5yrs ..c. 326 -  321BC (abdica.
              Archgallo ................ 10yrs ..c. 321 -  311BC (restor.
retook crown) Elidurus ............ c.    5yrs ..c. 311 -  306BC (deposed
              Ingenius .................. 7yrs ..c. 306 -  299BC **ruled
    (Peredyr) Peredurus ........... c.   10yrs ..c. 3O6 -  296BC *jointly
retook crown) Elidurus .................. 5yrs ..c. 296 -  291BC (restor)
              Son of Gorbonianus .. c.    2yrs ..c. 291 -  289BC
              Marganus II ......... c.    5yrs ..c. 289 -  284BC
              Enniaunus ................. 6yrs ..c. 284 -  278BC
              Idvallo ............. c.    5yrs ..c. 278 -  273BC
              Runo ................ c.    6yrs ..c. 273 -  267BC
              Gerennus............. c.    5yrs ..c. 267 -  262BC
              Catellus ............ c.    6yrs ..c. 262 -  256BC
              Millus .............. c.    5yrs ..c. 256 -  251BC
              Porrex .............. c.    6yrs ..c. 251 -  245BC
              Cherin .............. c.    5yrs ..c. 245 -  240BC
              Fulgenius ........... c.    6yrs ..c. 24O -  234BC
              Edadus .............. c.    5yrs ..c. 234 -  229BC
              Andragius ........... c.    6yrs ..c. 229 -  223BC
              Urianus ............. c.    5yrs ..c. 223 -  218BC
              Eliud ............... c.    6yrs ..c. 218 -  212BC
              Cledaucus ........... c.    5yrs ..c. 212 -  207BC
              Clotenus ............ c.    6yrs ..c. 207 -  201BC
              Gurgintius .......... c.    5yrs ..c. 201 -  196BC
              Merianus ............ c.    6yrs ..c. 196 -  190BC
              Bledudo ............. c.    5yrs ..c. 190 -  185BC
              Cap ................. c.    6yrs ..c. 185 -  179BC
              Oenus ............... c.    5yrs ..c. 179 -  174BC
              Sisillius III ....... c.    6yrs ..c. 174 -  168BC
              Beldgabred .......... c.    5yrs ..c. 168 -  163BC
              Archmail .............c.    6yrs ..c. 163 -  157BC
              Eidol ................c.    5yrs ..c. 157 -  152BC
              Redon ................c.    6yrs ..c. 152 -  146BC
              Redechius ............c.    5yrs ..c. 146 -  141BC
              Samuil ...............c.    6yrs ..c. 141 -  135BC
              Penessil .............c.    5yrs ..c. 135 -  130BC
              Pir ..................c.    6yrs ..c. 130 -  124BC
              Capoir ...............c.    5yrs ..c. 124 -  119BC
              Digueillius ..........c.    6yrs ..c. 119 -  113BC
              Heli ..................... 40yrs ..c. 113 -   73BC
       (Llud) Lud ..................c.   15yrs ..c.  73 -   58BC
  (Caswallon) Cassivelaunus ........c.   20yrs ..c.  58 -   38BC
(Tasciovanus) Tenvantius ...........c.   20yrs ..c.  38 -   18BC
(Cunobelinus) Cymbeline ............c.   3Oyrs ..c.  18 -   12AD
              Guiderius ............c.   31yrs ..c.  12 -   43AD
              Arvirargus ...........c.   14yrs ..c.  43 -   57AD
              Marius ...............c.   40yrs ..c.  57 -   97AD
              Coilus ...............c.   40yrs ..c.  97 -  137AD
              Lucius ...............c.   59yrs ..c. 137 -  186AD
              Geta .................c.   35yrs ..c. 186 -  221AD
              Bassianus ............c.   35yrs ..c. 221 -  256AD
              Caruasius ............c.   40yrs ..c. 256 -  296AD
              Asclepiodotus ............ 10yrs ..c. 296 -  306AD
              Coel .................c.   3yrs  ..c. 306 -  309AD
              Constantius ..........c.   3yrs  ..c. 309 -  312AD
              Constantine I ........... 25yrs  .... 312 -  337AD
    (usurper) Octavius .............c.   5yrs  ..c. 330 -  335AD (deposed
              Octavius .............c.  13yrs  ..c. 335 -  348AD (restor)
              Maximianus ...........c.  14yrs  ..c. 348 -  362AD
              Caradocus ............c.  13yrs  ..c. 362 -  375AD
              Dionotus .............c.  14yrs  ..c. 375 -  389AD
              Gracianus ............c.  13yrs  ..c. 389 -  402AD
              Constantine II .......c.  18yrs  ..c. 402 -  420AD
              Constans .............c.  17yrs  ..c. 420 -  437AD
              Vortigern ............c.  18yrs  ..c. 437 -  455AD (deposed
 (Guorthemer) Vortimer .............c.   5yrs  ..c. 455 -  460AD
              Vortigern ............c.  20yrs  ..c. 460 -  480AD (restor)
              Aurellus Ambrosius ...c.  21yrs  ..c. 480 -  501AD
              Uther Pendragon ......c.  20yrs  ..c. 501 -  521AD
              Arthur ...............c.  21yrs  ..c. 521 -  542AD
              Constantine III .......... 4yrs  ..c. 542 -  546AD
              Aurellius Conanus ........ 3yrs  ..c. 546 -  549AD
              Vortiporius ..........c.   1yr   ..c. 549 -  550AD
    (Maelgwn) Malgo ................c.   5yrs  ..c. 550 -  555AD
              Keredic ..............c.   8yrs  ..c. 555 -  563AD
              3 unnamed kings ......c.  53yrs  ..c. 563 -  616AD
              Cadvan ................... 9yrs  .... 616 -  625AD
              Cadwallo ................. 8yrs  .... 625 -  633AD
              Cadwallader ............. 10yrs  .... 633 -  643AD (plague
              Court fled to Brittany .. 11yrs  .... 643 -  654AD & famine
   (restored) Cadwallader ............. 10yrs  .... 654 -  664AD
              Yvor ................ c.  39yrs  .... 664 -  703AD **ruled
              Yni ................. c.  40yrs  .... 604 -  704AD *jointly

Note: Between 1104 BC and AD 704,  there are 1808 years.   If we subtract
from this the 203 years of civil war then we have 1605 years.  From this,
if we deduct the 11 years of Cadwallader's  absence  when he fled abroad,
and a total of 31 years for joint rules, then we have 1563 years. In that
time there was a total of 114 consecutive reigns. Thus, if we divide 1563
by 114,  then we are given 13.71,  say 14 years, as the average length of
reign for the kings of the ancient Britons. This compares with an average
reign of  16.5 years  among  the Saxon kings of the house of Wessex,  and
22.5 years  among the English kings and queens since the Norman Conquest.
(The above reigns are in strict chronological order. That does not always
necessarily agree with their genealogical order.)

Table 1. The Chronology of the early British kings.

The next two kings of the Britons were Brutus Greenshield and Leil who ruled for 12 and 25 years respectively, and their reigns, Geoffrey tells us, coincided roughly in time with that of Solomon who ruled between the years 970-930 BC.

Hudibras and Bladud, the next kings of the Britons, ruled for 39 and 20 years respectively when Elijah prophesied in Israel (Historia, Book 2.10.) We know that Elijah was active during the reign of king Ahab, and that Ahab was king of Israel between 874 - 853 BC. (The chronology in Table 1 gives these two reigns as running from c.920 - 86l BC.)

Cunedagius, who ruled for 35 years (2 of them jointly with Marganus I,) reigned during the time of Isaiah according to Geoffrey (Book 2.15,) and we know that Isaiah was active between 740 - 70l BC. Now, referring to the chronology in Table 1 where we have followed Geoffrey exactly, we see that his particular synchronism of Geoffrey's is about 20 years out by modern reckoning. But, and as anyone who has ever worked on ancient chronologies will tell you, that is not a bad error for this period! Geoffrey, I think, can be forgiven such a trivial margin of error, especially as he enjoyed neither the benefits nor the amenities of modern research, and so far, other than the much-lamented unreliability so readily laid at Geoffrey's door these days, we see he shows surprising accuracy and consistency in his dates!

Hereafter, and without synchronisms of any description, we are given, out of a total of 61 kings, the lengths of reign enjoyed by only five. Dunvallo Molmutius reigned for 40 years (2.15); Archgallo reigned during his second term as king for 10 years: Ingenius reigned 7 years (3.9): Enniaunus ruled for 6 years (3.9) and Heli ruled 40 years (3.9).

It is not until Book 4 of the Historia that we come to our next synchronism, that of Cassivelaunus who resisted Julius Caesar's invasions of 55 and 54 BC (4.1-10.)

Thereafter, we read that Guiderius and Arvirargus resisted the Claudian invasion of AD 44 (Guiderius was killed during that invasion, Book 4.l2- 15,) and that Vesparsian (AD 69-79) was emperor of Rome when Marius ruled Britain (4.16).

Lucius, as we have already seen, must have been alive at least after AD 75, and our chronology allows him a reign of 59 years from AD 137 - 186.

The death of Arthur we can allow to stand as having occurred in AD 542, as this fits in very comfortably with the rest of the chronology, and the reign of Cadwallader we have already corrected to its true dates. In all, we are given sufficient information in Geoffrey's Historia to compile the chronology that appears in Table 1. We obviously cannot be certain about he lengths of reign or even the precise dates of every king. That is ever possible in these early lists. Rather, the number of years of any given time-gap is divided up among the number of kings who reigned in that period, and each king is allotted an equal portion for his reign. This is an entirely legitimate exercise in perfect accord with accepted historical method.

For example, between Marganus II, who began to rule c. 289 BC, and Digueillus, whose reign ended c. 113 BC, there reigned 32 kings within a period of 176 years. That gives an average reign of 5.5 years for each king within this period. For convenience's sake, therefore Marganus II is allotted a reign of 5 years, and his successor Enniaunus is given 6 years. Enniaunus's successor is allotted 5 years, and his successor in turn is given 6, and so on. Now obviously, we know that some of these kings would have reigned for only a year or so, while others would have reigned for decades, but this is the best that we can possibly hope for at this remove.

The only thing that we are left to puzzle over is what on earth Thorpe and his colleagues have been complaining about all these years! What appears in Table 1 is an extremely comprehensive chronology, and it is, moreover, one that has been built entirely upon the information given us by Geoffrey of Monmouth. So why the reluctance to produce a perfectly feasible chronology similar to that which appears here as Table 1? Could it be that that would give Geoffrey of Monmouth (and Nennius) a credibility that would damage, rather than enhance, modern(ist) theories about our past? Could it also be that it would lend credibility to the ancient assertion that our ancestors were indeed descended from Noah as Genesis teaches? Such descent was held to be true not just by early Christians, but by the again Britons and others who lived throughout the long centuries that preceded the coming of Christ. They themselves traced through long genealogies their descent from Noah, and there can be only one reason for this remarkable occurrence. But that would not accord with today's philosophy hat would have us believe that Genesis is an insubstantial myth...

REFERENCES

1. Cooper, W.R., 1991. The Early History of Man - Part 2. The Irish-Celtic, British and Saxon Chronicles. CEN Tech. J., 5 (1):2-28. See especially pp. 8-18 and Tables 3 and 4.
2. Cooper, W.R., 1991. The Early History of Man - Part.1. The Table of Nations. CEN Tech. J., 4:67-92.
3. Thorpe, Lewis (tr.), 1966. The History of the Kings of Britain, Guild Publishing, London, p. 285.
4. Sherley-Price, Leo (tr), 1968. The History of the English Church and People, Dorset Press, New York. p.42.

Bill Cooper is a student of Bible history, archaeology and paleontology. This article is reproduced by permission of the author and the editor of the Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal (PO Box 302, Sunnybank, Qld. AUSTRALIA 4109.)

.../Next Page

.../Back to Contents


http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/