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Goneril and Regan give extravagant answers, but Cordelia answers simply and sincerely; angered, he gives Cordelia no land. Goneril and Regan are to share half the island with their husbands, the Dukes of Albany and Cornwall.

Geoffrey of Monmouth and his History of the Kings of Britain - The Literature of King Arthur

Cordelia marries Aganippus, King of the Franks, and departs for Gaul. Soon Goneril and Regan and their husbands rebel and take the whole kingdom. After Leir has had all his attendants taken from him, he begins to regret his actions towards Cordelia and travels to Gaul. Cordelia receives him compassionately and restores his royal robes and retinue. Aganippus raises a Gaulish army for Leir, who returns to Britain, defeats his sons-in-law and regains the kingdom. Leir rules for three years and then dies; Cordelia inherits the throne and rules for five years before Marganus and Cunedagius, her sisters' sons, rebel against her.

They imprison Cordelia; grief-stricken, she kills herself. Marganus and Cunedagius divide the kingdom between themselves, but soon quarrel and go to war with each other.

Cunedagius eventually kills Marganus in Wales and retains the whole kingdom, ruling for thirty-three years. He is succeeded by his son. They quarrel and both are eventually killed, sparking a civil war. This leads to Britain being ruled by five kings, who keep attacking each other. Dunvallo Molmutius , the son of the King of Cornwall, becomes pre-eminent. He eventually defeats the other kings and establishes his rule over the whole island. He is said to have "established the so-called Molmutine Laws which are still famous today among the English". Dunvallo's sons, Belinus and Brennius , fight a civil war before being reconciled, and proceed to sack Rome.

Victorious, Brennius remains in Italy, while Belinus returns to rule Britain. Numerous brief accounts of successive kings follow. These include Lud , who renames Trinovantum " Kaerlud " after himself; this later becomes corrupted to Lon don. Lud is succeeded by his brother, Cassibelanus. After his conquest of Gaul, Julius Caesar looks over the sea and resolves to order Britain to swear obedience and pay tribute to Rome. His commands are answered by a letter of refusal from Cassivellaunus. Caesar sails a fleet to Britain, but he is overwhelmed by Cassivellaunus's army and forced to retreat to Gaul.

Two years later he makes another attempt, but is again pushed back. Then Cassivellaunus quarrels with one of his dukes, Androgeus, who sends a letter to Caesar asking him to help avenge the duke's honour.

English Kings

Caesar invades once more and besieges Cassivellaunus on a hill. After several days Cassivellaunus offers to make peace with Caesar, and Androgeus, filled with remorse, goes to Caesar to plead with him for mercy. Cassivellaunus pays tribute and makes peace with Caesar, who then returns to Gaul. Cassivelaunus dies and is succeeded by Androgeus's son Tenvantius, who is succeeded in turn by his son Kymbelinus , and then Kymbelinus's son Guiderius.

Guiderius refuses to pay tribute to emperor Claudius , who then invades Britain. After Guiderius is killed in battle with the Romans, his brother Arvirargus continues the defence, but eventually agrees to submit to Rome, and is given the hand of Claudius's daughter Genvissa in marriage. Claudius returns to Rome, leaving the province under Arviragus's governorship. The line of British kings continues under Roman rule, and includes Lucius , Britain's first Christian king, and several Roman figures, including the emperor Constantine I , the usurper Allectus and the military commander Asclepiodotus.

After a long period of Roman rule, the Romans decide they no longer wish to defend the island and depart. By breaking with Rome in when the pope refused to annul his marriage with Catherine of Aragon, Henry created the sovereign English nation, living under its own laws and guarded by its own ships. Parliament became his junior partner in this venture, and in the dissolution of the monasteries. Catherine of Aragon gave birth to a girl, Mary.

Historia Regum Britanniae

She was replaced by the much younger and prettier Anne Boleyn , who likewise gave birth to a girl, Elizabeth, before Henry wearied of her and had her beheaded on trumped-up charges. In it reached its ecstatic climax when together they defied the Armada sent by Philip of Spain to subdue them. France descended at this time into the horrors of religious civil war.

England did not, because Elizabeth steered a successful course between Roman Catholicism and puritanism. She promoted the Church of England as a compromise between religious extremes, and she was herself tolerant of private differences of belief. Elizabeth had amorous friendships, but never married.

She employed outstanding ministers, but never allowed herself to be dominated. Charles II is, in my view, the wittiest monarch in English history.

History of the Kings of Britain by Geoffrey of Monmouth Audiobook

He was courageous, tolerant, lazy, duplicitous and pleasure-loving: his return from exile in inaugurated the most conspicuous change in manners — from extreme puritanism to unbridled licentiousness — this country has seen. But he conducted the restoration of the Stuart dynasty with such tact, and rode every later crisis with such skill, that he was never in serious danger of being unseated.

His father, Charles I, was executed after refusing to reach a compromise with his opponents. William III is one of the greatest kings of England and yet one of the least remembered. No one could have been more skilful at deposing James II, or at negotiating the terms for a monarchy more acceptable to parliament. But even in his lifetime, this bold, cold, asthmatic Dutchman was not popular. William had timed to perfection his arrival in England in , landing in Devon with a printing press as well as an army.

But for him, the Glorious Revolution, as the constitutional settlement reached in —89 came to be known, might not have been very glorious at all. Queen Victoria reigned for longer than any of her predecessors. She rescued the monarchy from the contempt in which it was held for several decades before , and became the grand unifying figure, at once majestic and domestic, in a Britain that dominated the globe.

Here was an empress who had a startling affinity with the middle class: the class to which even the aristocracy felt it must now defer.


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Her views about politics, and especially about foreign affairs, were so strong, and expressed with such partisan sincerity, that it was impossible to kick her upstairs, to the less exciting region above politics that her successors came to occupy. But though Victoria was passionate, she possessed also a devout desire for self-improvement, fully shared by her husband, Prince Albert, who was from Coburg.

His early death on 14 December led her to retire for many years from public life.

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Victoria proceeded to rout incipient republicanism by establishing an emotional link with her subjects that no anti-monarchist could rival. During the reign of George V, an alarming number of royal families, including the Romanovs, the Hohenzollerns and the Hapsburgs, were overthrown. George helped to avert that fate by welcoming the Labour party into power. In January the first, short-lived Labour government was formed.

Its members proved as anxious to demonstrate respectability as George was to confer it. They have different ideas to ours as they are all socialists, but they ought to be given a chance and ought to be treated fairly. After Guiderius is killed in battle with the Romans, his brother Arvirargus continues the defence, but eventually agrees to submit to Rome, and is given the hand of Claudius's daughter Genvissa in marriage. Claudius returns to Rome, leaving the province under Arviragus's governorship.

The line of British kings continues under Roman rule, and includes Lucius , Britain's first Christian king, and several Roman figures, including the emperor Constantine I , the usurper Allectus and the military commander Asclepiodotus. After a long period of Roman rule, the Romans decide they no longer wish to defend the island and depart.

The Britons are immediately besieged by attacks from Picts, Scots and Danes. In desperation the Britons send letters to the general of the Roman forces, asking for help, but receive no reply this passage borrows heavily from the corresponding section in Gildas' De Excidio Britanniae. After the Romans leave, Vortigern comes to power, and invites the Saxons under Hengist and Horsa to fight for him as mercenaries, but they rise against him. At this point Geoffrey abruptly pauses his narrative by inserting a series of prophecies attributed to Merlin.

Some of the prophecies act as an epitome of upcoming chapters of the Historia , while others are veiled allusions to historical people and events of the Norman world in the 11thth centuries. The remainder are obscure. After Aurelius Ambrosius defeats and kills Vortigern, becoming king, Britain remains in a state of war under him and his brother Uther , assisted by the wizard Merlin. At one point during the continuous string of battles, Ambrosius takes ill and Uther must lead the army for him. This allows an enemy assassin to pose as a physician and poison Ambrosius.

When the king dies, a comet taking the form of a dragon's head pendragon appears in the night sky, which Merlin interprets as a sign that Ambrosius is dead and that Uther will be victorious and succeed him. So after defeating his latest enemies, Uther adds "Pendragon" to his name and is crowned king.

But another enemy strikes, forcing Uther to make war again. This time he is temporarily defeated, gaining final victory only with the help of Duke Gorlois of Cornwall. But while celebrating this victory with Gorlois, he falls in love with the duke's wife, Igerna. This leads to war between Uther Pendragon and Gorlois of Cornwall, during which Uther clandestinely lies with Igerna through the magic of Merlin.

Arthur is conceived that night. Then Gorlois is killed and Uther marries Igerna. But he must war against the Saxons again. Although Uther ultimately triumphs, he dies after drinking water from a spring the Saxons had poisoned. Uther's son Arthur assumes the throne and defeats the Saxons so severely that they cease to be a threat until after his death.

In the meantime, Arthur conquers most of northern Europe and ushers in a period of peace and prosperity that lasts until the Roman emperor Lucius Hiberius demands that Britain once again pay tribute to Rome. Arthur defeats Lucius in Gaul, but in his absence, his nephew Mordred seduces and marries Guinevere and seizes the throne. Arthur returns and kills Mordred at the Battle of Camlann, but, mortally wounded, he is carried off to the isle of Avalon , and hands the kingdom to his cousin Constantine , son of Cador and Duke of Cornwall.

The Saxons returned after Arthur's death, but would not end the line of British kings until the death of Cadwallader. Geoffrey claimed to have translated the Historia into Latin from "a very ancient book in the British tongue", given to him by Walter, Archdeacon of Oxford.