Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England

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De Excidio Britanniae, Sects. 23, 26; Six Old English Chroniclers, pp. 310, 313; trans. by J. A. Giles. World History

CHAPTER IV

Early Saxon England, A.D. 400–830

I.

THE ANGLO-SAXON SETTLEMENTS

25.

Gildas’ account of the first conquests of the Angles and Saxons

Settlements of the "protectors" in Britain

Then all the councilors, together with that proud tyrant Vortigern, the British king, were so blinded, that, as a protection to their country, they sealed its doom by inviting in among them, like wolves into the sheepfold, the fierce and impious Saxons, a race hateful both to God and men, to repel the invasions of the northern nations. Nothing was ever so pernicious to our country, nothing was ever so unlucky. What palpable darkness must have enveloped their minds — darkness desperate and cruel! Those very people, whom, when absent, they dreaded more than death itself, were invited to reside, as one may say, under the selfsame roof. Foolish are the princes, as it is said of Thafneos giving counsel to unwise Pharaoh. A multitude of whelps came forth from the lair of this barbaric lioness, in three keels, as they call them, that is, in three ships of war, with their sails wafted by the wind and with omens and prophecies favorable, for it was foretold by a certain soothsayer among them that they should occupy the country to which they were sailing three hundred years, and half of that time, a hundred and fifty years, should plunder and despoil the same. They first landed on the eastern side of the island, by the invitation of the unlucky king, and there fixed their sharp talons, apparently to fight in favor of the island, but alas! more truly against it. Their motherland, finding her first brood thus successful, sends forth a larger company of her wolfish offspring, which, sailing over, join themselves to their bastard-born comrades. From that time the germ of iniquity and the root of contention planted their poison amongst us, as we deserved, and shot forth into leaves and branches. The barbarians being thus introduced as soldiers into the island, to encounter, as they falsely said, any dangers in defense of their hospitable entertainers, obtain an allowance of provisions, which, for some time being plentifully bestowed, stopped their doglike mouths. Yet they complain that their monthly supplies are not furnished in sufficient abundance, and they industriously aggravate each occasion of quarrel, saying that unless more liberality is shown them, they will break the treaty and plunder the whole island. In a short time they follow up their threats with deeds. . . .

After this, sometimes our countrymen, sometimes me enemy, won the field, to the end that our Lord might in this land try after his accustomed manner these his Israelites, whether they loved him or not, until the year of the siege of Bath-hill, when took place also the last almost, though not the least, slaughter of our cruel foes, which was (as I know) forty-four years and one month after the landing of the Saxons, and also the time of my own nativity. And yet not even to this day are the cities of our country inhabited as before, but, being forsaken and overthrown, still lie desolate; our foreign wars having ceased, but our civil troubles still remaining.

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Chicago: "25. Gildas’ Account of the First Conquests of the Angles and Saxons," Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England in Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, ed. Edward Potts Cheyney (1861-1947) (Boston: Ginn, 1935, 1922), 35–36. Original Sources, accessed July 3, 2022, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=XWI28WRMATS6CIM.

MLA: . "25. Gildas’ Account of the First Conquests of the Angles and Saxons." Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, in Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, edited by Edward Potts Cheyney (1861-1947), Boston, Ginn, 1935, 1922, pp. 35–36. Original Sources. 3 Jul. 2022. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=XWI28WRMATS6CIM.

Harvard: , '25. Gildas’ Account of the First Conquests of the Angles and Saxons' in Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England. cited in 1922, Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, ed. , Ginn, 1935, Boston, pp.35–36. Original Sources, retrieved 3 July 2022, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=XWI28WRMATS6CIM.