Geoffrey of Monmouth

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Geoffrey of Monmouth
Known for His chronicle Historia Regum Britanniae

Geoffrey of Monmouth

(mŏn`məth), c.1100–1154, English author. He was probably born at Monmouth and was of either Breton or Welsh descent. In 1152 he was named bishop of St. Asaph in Wales. His Historia regum Britanniae (written c.1135), supposedly a chronicle of the kings of Britain, is one of the chief sources of the Arthurian legendArthurian legend,
the mass of legend, popular in medieval lore, concerning King Arthur of Britain and his knights. Medieval Sources

The battle of Mt. Badon—in which, according to the Annales Cambriae (c.
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. Geoffrey was the first to write a coherent account of Arthur, establishing the great warrior as a national hero, the conqueror of Western Europe. He drew information from the writings of BedeBede, Saint
, or Baeda
(St. Bede the Venerable), 673?–735, English historian and Benedictine monk, Doctor of the Church, also called the Venerable Bede. He spent his whole life at the monasteries of Wearmouth (at Sunderland) and Jarrow and became probably the
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, GildasGildas, Saint
, d. 570, British historian, possibly a Welsh monk. Shortly before 547 he wrote the De excidio et conquestu Britanniae, a Latin history of Britain dealing with the Roman invasion and the Anglo-Saxon conquest of England, the earliest authority for the period.
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, NenniusNennius
, fl. 796, Welsh writer, to whom is ascribed the Historia Britonum. He lived on the borders of Mercia and probably was a pupil of Elbod, bishop of Bangor.
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, the Welsh chronicles, and folklore, and imaginatively wove the whole into a fictional narrative in the form of a history. His work had great influence on WaceWace
, c.1100–1174, Norman-French poet of Jersey. King Henry II made him canon of Bayeux. His Roman de Brut (1155) is a long, rhymed chronicle of British history based on the Historia of Geoffrey of Monmouth.
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, LayamonLayamon
, fl. c.1200, first prominent Middle English poet. He described himself as a humble priest attached to the church at Ernley (Arley Regis) near Radstone. His Brut
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, and many chroniclers of the Middle Ages. Another work attributed to him, the Vita Merlini (1148), also influenced later stories of Arthur and MerlinMerlin,
in Arthurian legend, magician, seer, and teacher at the court of King Vortigern and later at the court of King Arthur. He was a bard and culture hero in early Celtic folklore. In Arthurian legend he is famous as a magician and as the counselor of King Arthur.
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See his History of the Kings of Britain, tr. by L. Thorpe (1966); study by J. S. P. Tatlock (1950).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Geoffrey of Monmouth


(Galfridus Monemutensis). Born circa 1100; died circa 1154. English chronicler.

Geoffrey’s main work, History of the Kings of Britain (circa 1137), covering the period up to the end of the seventh century, draws heavily from Celtic legend. One of its sources is History of the Britons by Nennius, a Welsh chronicler of the late eighth and early ninth century. Geoffrey’s chronicle influenced Medieval European literature and chronicles. Many later English writers, including Shakespeare, Milton, Pope, and Tennyson, relied upon Geoffrey’s work for source material.


Historia Regum Britanniae. Edited by A. Griscom. London, 1929.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Geoffrey of Monmouth

?1100--54, Welsh bishop and chronicler; author of Historia Regum Britanniae, the chief source of Arthurian legends
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
* Breta sogur (Sagas de los britanos): Version nordica de la Historia regum Britanniae de Geoffrey de Monmouth con adiciones a partir de otras fuentes.
El Sueno de Ursula de Maria Negroni (2) se entrama con la fantasmal y contradictoria leyenda de Ursula de Britania, la princesa que pone condiciones a su novio pagano, difiere tres anos el casamiento y emprende el peregrinaje a Roma embarcandose en el Mar del Norte y navegando por el Rhin, acompanada por once o quiza por once mil virgenes (Eckbert, Sermon contra los Cataros) o fueron diez las martires cada una con una comitiva de mil doncellas o cientos de doncellas mas sesenta mil mujeres del pueblo (Geoffrey de Monmouth, Historia de los reyes britanicos).
El capitulo finaliza con una descripcion muy breve pero mas que suficiente de la literatura anglo-latina del periodo anglosajon, donde se menciona fundamentalmente la obra de Gildas, Aldhelm, Beda, Nennius, Geoffrey de Monmouth y Asser.