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Layamon(lā`əmən, –mŏn, lī`–), 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 is a chronicle in 32,341 short lines on the history of Britain, from the fall of Troy to the arrival of Brutus in Britain and continuing through the death of Cadwaladr. Layamon freely adapted the Brut of Wace and added material from other sources. His Anglo-Saxon narrative meter foreshadows the Middle English metrical system. This chronicle, important in the development 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.
..... Click the link for more information. , gives one of the finest renderings of King Arthur as a national hero. It also contains the first mention of LearLear
, legendary English king, supposed descendant, through Locrine and Brut, of Aeneas of Troy. The story of Lear and his three daughters probably originated in early Celtic mythology.
..... Click the link for more information. and CymbelineCymbeline
, d. c.A.D. 40, British king. His conquest of the Trinovantes (of Essex) reportedly made him the wealthiest and most powerful ruler in SE England. After his death his kingdom was divided between his sons Togodumnus and Caractacus.
..... Click the link for more information. .
See his Brut, ed. by G. L. Brook and R. F. Leslie (1963).
12th-century English poet and priest; author of the Brut, a chronicle providing the earliest version of the Arthurian story in English