Pre-Roman History of Britain - Brutus, Trojans and Giants!

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0harris0
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2019-03-02 12:08:25
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_harris

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So I've always been interested in the history of this tiny island, especially the original inhabitants, my dad's dad's dad (etc) lived in Somerset, and I feel a bit of an affinity to the region.. I look like my grandad used to so I kinda presume my genetic traits (short-ish, tanned skin, dark hair) are from "around these parts", though I quite often get mistaken for being Spanish or from the mediterranean area! When I was in France quite some years ago, I met a group of lads from Brittany and they were convinced I was one of them, a Breton!

This led me to doing some research into the history of Britain, especially the south-west... There's an amazing compilation of 'his' stories from the 10th century called "Historia Brittonum" (oldest extant text is supposedly ~8-900 years old fwiw!). The text is attributed to a monk called Nennius, but this is still contested!

HISTORIA BRITTONUM (c.976), unconfirmed author
transl(iter)ation- History of the Britons (historia Brittonum), by Nennius

in this text we have some very interesting segments, I'll just post a couple of points of interest for now:

"The island of Britain derives its name from Brutus, a Roman consul"
"..the Thames and the Severn [rivers], which formerly, like the two arms of Britain, bore the ships employed in the conveyance of riches acquired by commerce."
"The Britons were once very populous, and exercised extensive dominion from sea to sea."
"[Brutus] went among the Gauls, and built the city of the Turones, called Turnis [Tours]. At length he came to this island named from him Britannia"

that'll do for now, still not 100% read the text. it's time for the 2nd text!

So there's another book pertaining to the Bretons, written (supposedly) in the 12th century by a 'cleric' called Geoffrey of Monmouth (yet he's also a "brave soldier and expert commander"?!?!). The "Historia Regum Brittaniae" contains many more stories, and of a much more far-fetched nature than the "Historia Brittonum", and is considered 'pseudo-history' due to the mythological content of the stories

Again, I'll provide just a brief overview of the main points of the book. The oldest extant text is supposed to be, again ~8-900 years old, though the author claimed his text was copied from a much older source!

HISTORIA REGUM BRITTANIAE (c.1136), Geoffrey of Monmouth
transl(iter)ation - www.yorku.ca/inpar/geoffrey_thompson.pdf

"Britons before the rest did formally possess the whole island from sea to sea, til divine vengeance, punishing them for their pride, made them give way to the Picts and Saxons"
"Brutus! there lies beyond the Gallic bounds
an island which the western sea surrounds
by giants once possessed, now few remain
to bar thy entrance, or obstruct thy reign.
To reach that happy shore thy sails employ
There fate decrees to raise a second Troy
And found an empire in thy royal line
Which time shall ne'er destroy or bounds confine"

they sail around for a bit, find Africa, go to Italy, meet some new Trojan descendants (including the mighty warrior Corineus), they join forces. from what I gather, they end up in middle-west France (presumably having sailed around the Iberian peninsula?!) and end up fighting with some princes... anyways
quote from Corineus (namesake of Cornwall):
"you are pursued by one, before whom the Tyrrhenian giants could not stand their ground, but fell down slain in heaps together."
"[Brutus] repaired to the fleet....(sailed from France) and arrived on the coast of Totness... The island was then called Albion, and was inhabited by none but a few giants"
"the language of the nation , which at first bore then name of Trojan, or rough Greek, was called British" - interested to see if there's any similarities!!!
"Among the rest was one detestable monster [giant], named Goemagot, in stature 12 cubits..."
"...this giant with twenty more .. companions came in upon the Britons .. made a dreadful slaughter"
"But the Britons .. killed them every one but Goemagot."

it carries on with a wrestling match between Corineus and Goemagot, who is thrown into the sea.. then continues with the foundation of NEW TROY, the site of present day London.. interesting.

Not made it through the entire manuscript but it contains further history of British kings, tales of King Arthur and other madness!

I'm not one to consign stories to mythology, and the amount of information surrounding Brutus, and information about Trojans, Greeks and other nations (including Africa!), is pretty concise!

I tried looking up any more information about this Brutus chappy, and there isn't much! One name I did find, however, is a contemporary Greek name of "Prouthous", which could quite easily have become "Brutus" over a couple of re-tellings of a story, ya know! Especially when considered the island's inhabitants were once known as the "Pretani"!

Anyways, just wanted to open this topic as the stories are pretty great, the Geoffrey of Monmouth version is fantastic... quite a few mentions of giants! also, pretty heavy proof of sailing routes from mediterranean around to Britain (and beyond), supposedly set some time BC, I guess trade with mainland would have begun at the founding of town settlements.

With the stories and very old surviving manuscripts, I believe there has to be some truth held within :)
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Username: Red Bird
Date: 2019-03-03 17:36:02
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I believe there’s another thread on this topic?
 

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Username: 0harris0
Date: 2019-03-04 16:27:38
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nope! double checked before posting ;)

I find these accounts of Giants in pre-roman Italy fascinating.. if there's truth within, maybe these 'Trojan' descendants eventually became the Romans after taking the lands from the Tyrrenhian giants??
could this then be an accurate pointer to the builders of the 'cyclopean' constructions? maybe the "etruscans" were the trojans who slew the giants? or even the giants themselves?!
 

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Username: Tyrion
Date: 2019-03-04 22:33:53
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E ancora una terra dei giganti. ?
 

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Username: ritch
Date: 2019-10-13 14:29:41
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The Holinshed Project Texts Worth looking through as and when, it does also indicate a rewrite of history after the dissolution of the monasteries.
 

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Username: Starmonkey
Date: 2019-10-14 16:01:39
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Maybe I'll give that book another go. "Mythology" is likely to connect some of the dots that our more sterilized narrative can NOT. The missing link. STORIES.
I'm picking through Nart Sagas from the Caucasus as well. Similar. Myths and legends intermixed...
If people didn't look at POLITICAL maps as much. Or even geographical ones, I guess. Things CHANGE. And people get into stuff all over the place.
 
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