Texts

Historia regum Britanniae‘History of the kings of Britain’

Geoffrey of Monmouth
  • Latin
  • Cambro-Latin texts, Pseudohistory
Geoffrey of Monmouth's pseudohistorical narrative of the kings of Britain, from the foundation of Britain to the Anglo-Saxon conquest.
Title
Historia regum Britanniae
‘History of the kings of Britain’
The work has been conventionally known as Historia regum Britanniae (‘The history of the kings of Britain’), which is the title adopted here. As Michael D. Reeve has shown, however, the title attested in the earliest manuscripts, and the one apparently favoured by Geoffrey himself, is De gestis Britonum (‘On the deeds of the Britons’).(1)n. 1 Michael D. Reeve • Neil Wright, Geoffrey of Monmouth. The history of the kings of Britain: an edition and translation of De gestis Britonum (2007): lix..
Author
Geoffrey of MonmouthGeoffrey of Monmouth
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Manuscripts

Over 200 manuscripts are known. See Julia C. Crick, The Historia Regum Britannie of Geoffrey of Monmouth: A summary catalogue of the manuscripts, vol. 3 (1989).

  • Bern, Burgerbibliothek, MS 568
Language
  • Latin
Date
c. 1136

Classification

Cambro-Latin texts

Sources

Notes

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.] Reeve, Michael D. [ed.], and Neil Wright [tr.], Geoffrey of Monmouth. The history of the kings of Britain: an edition and translation of De gestis Britonum, Arthurian Studies 69, Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2007.
[ed.] Wright, Neil [ed.], The Historia Regum Britannie of Geoffrey of Monmouth, vol. 1: Bern, Burgerbibliothek, MS 568, Cambridge: Brewer, 1985.
[ed.] [tr.] Wright, Neil [ed.], The Historia regum Britannie of Geoffrey of Monmouth, vol. 2: The first variant version: a critical edition, Cambridge: Brewer, 1988.
[ed.] Griscom, Aston, and Robert Ellis Jones, The Historia regum Britanniae of Geoffrey of Monmouth, London, New York: Longmans, Green & Co., 1929.

Secondary sources (select)

Dumville, David N., “An early text of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum Britanniae and the circulation of some Latin histories in twelfth-century Normandy”, Arthurian Literature 4 (1985): 1–36.
Dumville, David N., “XIV: An early text of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum Britanniae and the circulation of some Latin histories in twelfth-century Normandy” [1985], in: Dumville, David N., Histories and pseudo-histories of the insular Middle Ages, Variorum Collected Studies Series 316, Aldershot: Variorum, 1990. 1–36. Reprint.
Edel, Doris, “Geoffrey's so-called animal symbolism and insular-Celtic tradition”, in: Edel, Doris, The Celtic west and Europe: studies in Celtic literature and the early Irish church, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2001. 264–279.
Jankulak, Karen, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Writers of Wales, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2010.
Roberts, Brynley F., “Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia regum Britanniae and Brut y Brenhinedd”, in: Bromwich, Rachel, A. O. H. Jarman, and Brynley F. Roberts (eds.), The Arthur of the Welsh. The Arthurian legend in medieval Welsh literature, Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages 1, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1991. 97–116.
Contributors
Dennis Groenewegen