Sunday, November 21, 2010

Made Themselves at Home

Writing in his "Historia Brittonum" around 942 AD, Nennius continues the story of our grandfather Jones Vortigern. In paragraph 36 he writes:

"After the Saxons had continued some time in the island of Thanet, Vortigern promised to supply them with clothing and provision, on condition they would engage to fight against the enemies of his country. But the barbarians having greatly increased in number, the Britons became incapable of fulfilling their engagement, and when the Saxons, according to the promise they had received, claimed a supply of provisions and clothing, the Britons replied: 'Your number is increasing; your assistance is now unnecessary, you may, therefore, return home, for we can no longer support you.' and hereupon they began to devise means of breaking the peace between them."

So in the mind of Nennius, the Saxons made themselves at home on the land of Thanet. [Thanet is the eastern most part of the county of present day Kent.] They were then asked nicely to go back home, but of course they refused. In paragraph 37 the Saxons respond:

"But Hengist, in whom united craft and penetration, perceiving he had to act with an ignorant king, and a fluctuating people, incapable of opposing much resistance, replied to Vortigern, 'We are, indeed, few in number, but, if you will give us leave, we will send to our county, for an additional number of forces, with whom we will fight for you and your subjects." Vortigern assenting to this proposal, messengers were dispatched to Scythia, where selecting a number of warlike troops, they returned with sixteen vessels, bringing with them the beautiful daughter of Hengist."

By now you can already guess what is going to happen. Much like the fall of Troy, the fall of the Britons is blamed partly on the beautiful daughter of Hengist! More to come.

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