Annals to A.D. 381
The island Britain1
is 800 miles long, and 200 miles broad. And there are in the
island five nations; English, Welsh (or British),2
Scottish, Pictish, and Latin. The first inhabitants were the
Britons, who came from Armenia,3
and first peopled Britain southward. Then happened it, that
the Picts came south from Scythia, with long ships, not
many; and, landing first in the northern part of Ireland,
they told the Scots that they must dwell there. But they
would not give them leave; for the Scots told them that they
could not all dwell there together; "But," said the Scots,
"we can nevertheless give you advice. We know another island
here to the east. There you may dwell, if you will; and
whosoever withstandeth you, we will assist you, that you may
gain it." Then went the Picts and entered this land
northward. Southward the Britons possessed it, as we before
said. And the Picts obtained wives of the Scots, on
condition that they chose their kings always on the female
side;4 which they have
continued to do, so long since. And it happened, in the run
of years, that some party of Scots went from Ireland into
Britain, and acquired some portion of this land. Their
leader was called Reoda,5
from whom they are named Dalreodi (or Dalreathians).
Sixty winters ere that Christ was born,
Caius Julius, emperor of the Romans, with eighty ships
sought Britain. There he was first beaten in a dreadful
fight, and lost a great part of his army. Then he let his
army abide with the Scots,6
and went south into Gaul. There he gathered six hundred
ships, with which he went back into Britain. When they first
rushed together, Caesar's tribune, whose name was
Labienus,7 was slain.
Then took the Welsh sharp piles, and drove them with great
clubs into the water, at a certain ford of the river called
Thames. When the Romans found that, they would not go over
the ford. Then fled the Britons to the fastnesses of the
woods; and Caesar, having after much fighting gained many of
the chief towns, went back into Gaul.8
Before the incarnation of Christ sixty years, Gaius
Julius the emperor, first of the Romans, sought the land
of Britain; and he crushed the Britons in battle, and
overcame them; and nevertheless he was unable to gain any
Octavianus reigned fifty-six winters; and in the forty-
second year of his reign Christ was born. Then three
astrologers from the east came to worship Christ; and the
children in Bethlehem were slain by Herod in persecution of
This year died Herod, stabbed by his own hand; and Archelaus
his son succeeded him. The child Christ was also this year
brought back again from Egypt.
From the beginning of the world to this year were agone five
thousand and two hundred winters.
This year Herod the son of Antipater undertook the
government in Judea.
This year Philip and Herod divided Judea into four
This year Judea was divided into four tetrarchies.
This year Tiberius succeeded to the empire.
This year Pilate began to reign over the Jews.
This year was Christ baptized; and Peter and Andrew were
converted, together with James, and John, and Philip, and
all the twelve apostles.
This year was Christ crucified;9
about five thousand two hundred and twenty six winters from
the beginning of the world.10
This year was St. Paul converted, and St. Stephen
This year the blessed Peter the apostle settled an episcopal
see in the city of Antioch.
This year11 Pilate slew
himself with his own hand.
This year Caius undertook the empire.
This year the blessed Peter the apostle settled an episcopal
see at Rome; and James, the brother of John, was slain by
This year died Herod, who slew James one year ere his own
This year Claudius, the second of the Roman emperors who
invaded Britain, took the greater part of the island into
his power, and added the Orkneys to rite dominion of the
Romans. This was in the fourth year of his reign. And in the
same year12 happened
the great famine in Syria which Luke mentions in the book
called "The Acts of the Apostles". After Claudius Nero
succeeded to the empire, who almost lost the island Britain
through his incapacity.
This year the Emperor Claudius came to Britain, and
subdued a large part of the island; and he also added the
island of Orkney to the dominion of the Romans.
This year Mark, the evangelist in Egypt beginneth to write
This was in the fourth year of his reign, and in this
same year was the great famine in Syria which Luke speaks
of in the book called "Actus Apostolorum".
This year Claudius, king of the Romans, went with an army
into Britain, and subdued the island, and subjected all
the Picts and Welsh to the rule of the Romans.
This year Paul was sent bound to Rome.
This year James, the brother of Christ, suffered.
This year Mark the evangelist departed this life.
This year Peter and Paul suffered.
This year Vespasian undertook the empire.
This year Titus, son of Vespasian, slew in Jerusalem eleven
hundred thousand Jews.
This year Titus came to the empire, after Vespasian, who
said that he considered the day lost in which he did no
This year Domitian, the brother of Titus, assumed the
This year John the evangelist in the island Patmos wrote the
book called "The Apocalypse".
This year Simon, the apostle, a relation of Christ, was
crucified: and John the evangelist rested at Ephesus.
This year died Pope Clement.
This year Bishop Ignatius suffered.
This year Hadrian the Caesar began to reign.
This year Marcus Antoninus and Aurelius his brother
succeeded to the empire.
This year Eleutherius succeeded to the popedom, and held
it fifteen years; and in the same year Lucius, king of
the Britons, sent and begged baptism of him. And he soon
sent it him, and they continued in the true faith until
the time of Diocletian.
This year Severus came to the empire; and went with his army
into Britain, and subdued in battle a great part of the
island. Then wrought he a mound of turf, with a broad wall
thereupon, from sea to sea, for the defence of the Britons.
He reigned seventeen years; and then ended his days at York.
His son Bassianus succeeded him in the empire. His other
son, who perished, was called Geta. This year Eleutherius
undertook the bishopric of Rome, and held it honourably for
fifteen winters. To him Lucius, king of the Britons, sent
letters, and prayed that he might be made a Christian. He
obtained his request; and they continued afterwards in the
right belief until the reign of Diocletian.
In this year was found the holy rood.13
This year suffered Saint Alban the Martyr.
This year died St. Nicolaus.
This year Gratian succeeded to the empire.
This year Maximus the Caesar came to the empire. He was born
in the land of Britain, whence he passed over into Gaul. He
there slew the Emperor Gratian; and drove his brother, whose
name was Valentinian, from his country (Italy). The same
Valentinian afterwards collected an army, and slew Maximus;
whereby he gained the empire. About this time arose the
error of Pelagius over the world.
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
introductory part of the "Chronicle" to An. I.
first printed by Gibson from the Laud MS. only, has
been corrected by a collation of two additional
MSS. in the British Museum, "Cotton Tiberius B" lv.
and "Domitianus A" viii. Some defects are also here
supplied. The materials of this part are to be
found in Pliny, Solinus, Orosius, Gildas, and Bede.
The admeasurement of the island, however
inaccurate, is from the best authorities of those
times, and followed by much later
following the Laud MS. has made six nations of
five, by introducing the British and Welsh as two
tractu Armoricano." -- Bede, "Ecclesiastical
History" i. I. The word Armenia occurring a few
lines above in Bede, it was perhaps inadvertently
written by the Saxon compiler of the "Chronicle"
instead of Armorica.[Back]
of a disputed succession, "Ubi res veniret in
dabium," etc. -- Bede, "Ecclesiastical History" i.
Aelfr.; Reuda, Bede, Hunt. etc. Perhaps it was
originally Reutha or Reotha.[Back]
an error, arising from the inaccurately written
MSS. of Orosius and Bede; where "in Hybernia" and
"in Hiberniam" occur for "in hiberna". The error is
retained in Wheloc's Bede.[Back]
= Laberius. Venerable Bede also, and Orosius, whom
he follows verbatim, have "Labienus". It is
probably a mistake of some very ancient scribe, who
improperly supplied the abbreviation "Labius" (for
"Laberius") by "Labienus".[Back]
early transactions in Britain King Alfred supplies
us with a brief but circumstantial account in his
Saxon paraphrase of "Orosius".[Back]
Aprilis", Flor. M. West.[Back]
regrets this chronology, i.e. from the creation of
the world, which he thinks preferable to the vulgar
mode from the Christian aera. But how vague and
uncertain the scale which depends on a point so
remote and undetermined as the precise time when
the world was created. If we examine the
chronometers of different writers we shall find a
difference, between the maximum and the minimum, of
3368 years. The Saxon chronology seems to be
founded on that of Eusebius, which approaches the
medium between the two
Flor. This act is attributed by Orosius, and Bede
who follows him, to the threatening conduct of
Caligula, with a remark, that it was he (Pilate)
who condemned our Lord to
Flor. See the account of this famine in King
writers who mention this discovery of the holy
cross, by Helena the mother of Constantine,
disagree so much in their chronology, that it is a
vain attempt to reconcile them to truth or to each
other. This and the other notices of ecclesiastical
matters, whether Latin or Saxon, from the year 190
to the year 380 of the Laud MS. and 381 of the
printed Chronicle, may be safely considered as
interpolations, probably posterior to the Norman
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