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).

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.

Geoffrey of Monmouth

?1100--54, Welsh bishop and chronicler; author of Historia Regum Britanniae, the chief source of Arthurian legends
References in periodicals archive ?
This multifaceted background gives him a keen ability to explore the intersection of law and literature, which is perhaps most apparent in his chapters on Geoffrey of Monmouth, Shakespeare, and E.
Much as Geoffrey of Monmouth strains to assimilate Arthur into a culture shaped by various often overlapping ethnicities, so numerous late-medieval aristocrats appropriated Trojan myths to legitimate familial control of and identification with land, taking part in a "recourse to origins" key to post-twelfth-century Western aristocratic culture (Bloch 1983, 75-83).
In other words, the studies Williams makes of the use of celestial phenomena in early Irish literature are suggested to indicate Welsh uses of those images from the same period, and which can thus be used as a background for a discussion of high medieval literary uses of celestial portents in Taliesin and Geoffrey of Monmouth.
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.
The English first claimed Arthur for their own in the 12th century, when writer Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote a History of the Kings of Britain.
Breton bards, like their Welsh counter-parts, maintained and enhanced Arthur's legend between the second half of the 5th century, when the real Arthur is said to have lived, and the 12th, when the stories began appearing in books by Geoffrey of Monmouth, the Anglo-Norman Robert Wace and Chretien de Troyes, beginning an industry that continues today.
Since making his appearance in The History of the Kings, a 12th century book written by clergyman Geoffrey of Monmouth, Merlin the Wizard has continued to influence storytelling, music, film and television.
The rugged coastal castle is famous for being the birthplace of Arthur, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth and subsequent romancers.
In chapter 1, "History as Romance: The Genesis of a Medieval Genre," Heng argues for the origin of medieval romance, not in the vernacular courtly love narratives of Chretien de Troyes, as has often been proposed, but in the Latin Historia Regum Britannie, or History of the Kings of Britain, composed by Geoffrey of Monmouth sometime between 1130 and 1139.
Thus, in addition to development of the psychology of the characters, both in terms of the reasons for their actions and in terms of their culture, Paxson also develops the historical side of her novel, depicting an archeologically and comparatively possible society, inspired by early Celtic culture, by Geoffrey of Monmouth, and by Shakespeare--sometimes, one feels, inspired by a need to explain Shakespeare.
Geoffrey of Monmouth in 1136 wrote that Merlin brought the stones from Ireland by magic and erected them on the plain at the request of King Arthur.
In an embarkation scene whose richness of detail is quite unrepresented in Geoffrey of Monmouth, Wace shows Arthur's fleet being readied and setting sail for the invasion of Gaul and a confrontation with Roman forces (Arnold ed.