De excidio et conquestu Britanniae‘On the ruin/destruction and conquest of Britain’

  • Latin, Cambro-Latin
  • prose
  • Cambro-Latin texts, sermons and homilies
A long Latin sermon by the British cleric Gildas (fl. first half of the 6th century) concerning the state of Britain.
De excidio et conquestu Britanniae
‘On the ruin/destruction and conquest of Britain’
The work is variously referred to as De excidio et conquestu Britanniae (Mommsen's title), De excidio Britanniae, and after Giraldus Cambrensis, De excidio Britonum (Michael Winterbottom, Karen George, et al.).
GildasGildas (fl. 5th–6th century) – Author of De excidio et conquestu Britanniae
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  • Latin Cambro-Latin
prose (primary)


Cambro-Latin texts
 sermons and homilies

§§ 1-2. Preface

§§ 3-26. The history of Britain

§§ 27-65. Complaint about kings

§§ 66-110. Complaint about the clergy


Primary sources Text editions and/or modern translations – in whole or in part – along with publications containing additions and corrections, if known. Diplomatic editions, facsimiles and digital image reproductions of the manuscripts are not always listed here but may be found in entries for the relevant manuscripts. For historical purposes, early editions, transcriptions and translations are not excluded, even if their reliability does not meet modern standards.

[ed.] [tr.] Winterbottom, Michael, Gildas. The ruin of Britain and other works, History from the Sources: Arthurian Period Sources 7, London: Phillimore, 1978.
[ed.] Mommsen, Theodor [ed.], Chronica minora saec. IV, V, VI, VII, vol. 3, MGH Scriptores. Auctores antiquissimi 13, Berlin: Weidmann, 1898.
Digitale-sammlungen.de: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
1–24 (introduction); 25–85 (text); 727 (addenda for pp. 13, 17 and 43) direct link direct link

Secondary sources (select)

George, Karen, Gildas’s De excidio Britonum and the early British church, Studies in Celtic History 26, Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2009.
Turner, Peter, “Identity in Gildas's De excidio et conquestu Britanniae”, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 58 (Winter, 2009): 29–48.
Lapidge, Michael, and David N. Dumville (eds.), Gildas: new approaches, Studies in Celtic History 5, Cambridge: Boydell Press, 1984.
O'Loughlin, Thomas, Gildas and the Christian scriptures: observing the world through a biblical lens, Leiden, Boston: Brepols, 2013.
Dennis Groenewegen
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