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 ?
The History of the Kings of Britain by Geoffrey of Monmouth was accepted within the context of this development, for he tried to create a totally new version of the ecclesiastical history of the island, in the center of which a "Brittonic" church was placed.
As mentioned earlier, by Chaucer's time the story of Troy had already appeared in several book-length accounts in England, among which Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae stood out in its consciously associating the founding of Britain with one of the Trojan descendants Brutus.
My favorite chapters are those on Shakespeare and Geoffrey of Monmouth, perennially interesting subjects on which Mendenhall has new and fascinating things to say.
Geoffrey of Monmouth tells us that Brutus of Troy, father of 'Britain', divided his patrimony between his older son Locrinus who inherited what is now England and the younger Alba who received the lesser portion of Scotland.
Geoffrey of Monmouth, recording an ancient tradition, refers in his Vita Merlini to nine sisters who dwell on an island in the sea called 'The Fortunate Isle', or 'the Island of Apples.' He continues that:
Several have been released over the last few years, including his poem "The Fall of Arthur," set in the last days of Arthur's reign and inspired by Geoffrey of Monmouth and Thomas Malory, "The Legend of Sigurd and Gudr?n" in 2009 and his unfinished Middle-Earth story
Although it was once understood to be a fragment lifted from the fifteenth-century Metrical Chronicle of John Harding, in 1980 Clifford Peterson put forward the hypothesis that the prophecy is an independent derivative of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Prophetiae Merlini.
Forster, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Henry Hazlitt, and Mark Twain.
Both of these references indicate the influence of Geoffrey of Monmouth's work, presumably also of the 9th century Historia Britonum, which both contain accounts of Brutus as the founder of London.
Not sure of that but if you are believer in the Arthur stories then within Llandaff Cathedral is the tomb of the saint who according to the prime originator of the legends, Geoffrey of Monmouth, actually crowned King Arthur at Caerleon.
Williams concludes by suggesting that much of the preChristian Celtic druidic tradition may have been invented by later medieval writers from Geoffrey of Monmouth on, as a romanticizing of native traditions for the entertainment of later medieval and early modern readers.
Geoffrey of Monmouth and William Camden the author divides her text according to the standard regions because names tended to come in groups according to settlers.