Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
King of the Britons
The term King of the Britons refers to the legendary kings of Celtic Great Britain as established by such pseudo-historical authors as Nennius, Gildas, and predominantly Geoffrey of Monmouth. Various lists of the kings survive, although none of the originals. The Welsh Chronicles supply another good source for early British kings although they are considered highly unreliable. The kings of the Britons are considered part of the vast Matter of Britain.
The list is more often thought of as a comprehensive conglomeration of various Celtic rulers, Celtic warlords, mythical heroes, and, more obviously, Roman Emperors. Regardless of the source, no list of the kings has a high level of historic fact and, while they generally are similar to each other, no two lists are exactly the same. The kings of Britain are mythological and apocryphal, but contributed much to the history of England in the Middle Ages. Most modern historians consider the Kings of Briton to be genealogical and historical myths with no solid basis in fact.
Historium Regum Britanniae
House of Brutus
The house begins with Brutus who was a descendent of Aeneas of Troy, the ancestor of the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus. The genealogy of Aeneas is located in the Trojan Genealogy which includes Brutus at the bottom. This house continued to rule through most of the 2,000 years of Celtic rule, although minor houses were branched due to terminations of male heirs and civil war.
- Brut or Brutus the Trojan (reigned 23 years)
- Locrinus (r. 10 years)
- Gwendolen (r. 15 years)
- Maddan (r. 40 years)
- Mempricius (r. 20 years)
- Ebraucus (r. 39 years)
- Brutus II, Greenshield (r. 12 years)
- Leil (r. 25 years)
- Rud Hud Hudibras (r. 39 years)
- Blaedud (r. 20 years)
- Leir or Lear (r. 60 years)
- Cordelia (r. 5+ years)
1st House of Cornwall
When the Queen Cordelia took the throne, her nephews rebelled and imprisoned her. They then fought between each other in the Civil War of Albany and Cornwall over who would rule. For two years they ruled together until Marganus tried to take over and Cunedagius had him killed. Thus began the first house of Cornwall, a line descended from Brutus through Cuedagius's mother.
- Cunedagius (r. 35 years) (co-ruler Marganus I for 2 years)
- Sisillius I
- Ferrex and Porrex I
2nd House of Cornwall
Upon the death of Porrex, civil war broke out between various kings for about 200 years. Finally, another Duke of Cornwall took over as king and he brought peace to the land. It is unclear how he is related to Brutus. He was probably a descendent of Cunedagius, also a Duke of Cornwall, and his family was related to Brutus through that line.
- Dunvallo Molmutius (r. 40 years)
- Belinus (co-ruler Brennius throughout reign)
- Gurguit Barbtruc
- Marcia (as regent)
- Sisillius II
- Elidurus or Elidyr the Dutiful
- Archgallo (restored for 10 years)
- Elidurus or Elidyr the Dutiful (restored)
- Peredurus (co-ruler Ingenius for 7 years)
- Elidurus the Dutiful (restored)
- An Unnamed King (son of Gorbonianus)
- Marganus II
- Enniaunus (r. 5 years)
- Porrex II
- Bledudo or Blaedud II
- Sisillius III
- Heli (r. 40 years)
- Lud or Llud (r. began 73 BC)
- Androgeus (Cassivelaunus serves as regent shortly)
- Cassivelaunus (Androgeus and Tenvantius serve as Dukes)
- Cymbeline (AD 10–42)
- Guiderius (d. 43)
- Arvirargus or Gweyrydd
- Coilus or Coel
- St. Lucius (d. 156)
When Lucius died, he had no heirs for the throne. Rome sent over a delegate, the future emperor Severus, to mediate the crisis. He ruled the country as a protector until his death, at which time his sons became kings of Britain.
House of Severus
When Severus died, he left two sons in Britain, one fully Roman and one half British. These two sons were fought over in accords to their right to rule. Because of this fighting among the Britons and Romans in Britain, their term as kings was shortly lived. Geta is one of the few kings of Britain who was not descended from Brutus.
A period of civil war erupted in Britain when Bassianus became king. Rome continually had to send delegates to Britain to restore order, but both of them usurped the throne and declared themselves king, although neither were fully recognized. This abuse ended when the Britons restored order themselves.
3rd House of Cornwall
This shortly lived house was a response to Roman imperialism in Britain. The king was probably of the same family of Cornwall that descended from Dunvallo nearly 750 years earlier, but when the royal family ceased ruling with Lucius, this branch of the house of Brutus became a likely heir. When the atrocities of the Romans became too much, the Britons rebelled and rallied behind Asclepiodotus, although his house was short lived.
- Asclepiodotus (r. 10 years)
House of Colchester (Kaercolim)
Old King Cole's royal house only lasted eight years, but his descendants through his daughter reigned for a long time.
1st House of Rome
The house of Rome is the most legendary of all the houses due to its inclusion of Constantine the Great. It was established by Constantius, who married the daughter of King Coel. Thus this line descends from Brutus with Constantine . Many historic facts are mixed in with the stories of these two kings.
1st House of Gewissei
Yet another short-lived house, Gewissei ruled the island twice but his descent from Brutus is not confirmed. His descendents continued to rule through his daughter.
House of Trahern
Trahern was a son of Coel and a Roman senator and was elected by Rome to act as king and return Britain to Roman rule. He was overthrown, though, by Octravius and his house ended.
2nd House of Gewissei
Octavius returned from exile and overthrew Trahern ruling the country for another few years. When he died, the throne passed through his daughter to a Roman.
- Octavius or Eudaf Hen (the Old) (restored)
2nd House of Rome
The second Roman house in Britain was descended from Coel's son, Ioelinus, who was an uncle of Constantine and a Roman senator. It was solidified under Maximianus when he married Octavius's only daughter.
4th House of Cornwall
Cornwall's fourth house was never meant to become kings but did so when Maximianus departed Britain to conquer other countries. A king of Cornwall, who probably descended from Coel but declined the kingship in favor of a partial Roman ruler, Caradocus was the voice of reason in affairs involving relations with Rome.
House of Gracianus
An usurping house of unknown origins, Gracianus took over the kingdom when Maximianus died. It is unclear whether Dionotus was deceased or not when Gracianus took over. No source claims Gracianus was descended from Brutus.
When Gracianus was assassinated, the Britons cried out for help from Rome one last time. In this period, Rome left them once and for all and the Britons were truly separate from the rest of the world.
1st House of Brittany
Little Britain, which was conquered by Maximianus, was ruled by a descendent of Brutus who had fought for the kingship 150 years earlier. When Britain found itself without a king after the death of Gracianus, they pleaded with the king of Brittany to send a family member to rule. Constantine was his selection and his house ruled for a number of years.
3rd House of Gewissei
Probably descended from Coel distantly, this house usurped the throne from Constans due to Constans frailty. Vortigern ruled the country for many years and his house became a legend in the Arthur stories. When it was deposed, the house of Brittany returned.
2nd House of Brittany
When Vortigern returned and called for the return of the Saxons, the house of Brittany, in exile since Vortigern's ascension, returned to Britain and destroyed the Saxons. This family continued through Arthur and is probably the most legendary family in all British history.
5th House of Cornwall
It is unclear how Constantine is related to Arthur except he is said to be a cousin. Arthur appointed this house to the kingship when he was taken away to Avalon.
1st House of Gwynedd
This house became the pretender house of the Britons when the Saxons had established control over much of the island. It was divided by another king of different origins and tyrants that ruled.
This is the only unknown house of the Britons that ruled. It ruled very shortly and in the shadow of the Saxon kings.
Three unknown tyrants as well as other pretenders fought in Cornwall and Wales for control of the British people. These civil wars caused a great decline of the Britons in their fight against the Saxons.
2nd House of Gwynedd
The final ruling house of the Britons, this family ruled on as Kings of Gwynedd for many more centuries. Cadwallader is an example of the decline of the Britons he was the son of a Saxon queen and grandson of a Gewissei king. The house intermarried with the Saxons and, later, Normans, and the authority of the British people waned until it was no more than another piece of the English ethnicity.
These two relatives of Cadwallader led the exiles back to Britain following Cadwallader's exile in Brittany. They ruled a declining people and fell into history as petty rulers of a barbaric race.
After the death of Cadwallader, the kings of Britain were reduced to such a small domain that they ceased to be kings of the whole island. The Anglo-Saxon invaders ruled the island after that point in time under the Bretwaldas and later the Kings of England. The heirs to the Celtic-British throne continued through the Welsh kings of Gwynedd until that line was forced to submit itself to the English in the 13th century. Princes and lords of Gwynedd ruled until the reign of Dafydd III, who ruled from 1282 to 1283. His death marked the end of the house of Brutus. Owen Tudor, the ancestor of Henry VII of England, was a maternal descendent of the kings of Gwynedd and his marriage with Elizabeth of York signified the merging of the two royal houses (as well as the feuding houses of York and Lancaster).
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