The Adventus Saxonum and the consuls Gratian and Equitius

At the end of HB 31 we have the following:

“When Gratian ruled for the second time with Equitius, the Saxons were received by Vortigern, 347 years after the Passion of Christ.”

The consulships of Gratian were:

Year Consul prior Consul posterior
366 Flavius Gratianus Dagalaifus
371 Flavius Gratianus Augustus II Sextus Claudius Petronius Probus
374 Flavius Gratianus Augustus III Flavius Equitius

How did this incorrect dating for the Advenrtus come about. It has already been shown how the error of Vortigern’s reign starting in the year 390 AD came to occur, see Vortigern to Badon in the Red Book of Hergest. This would have implied an Adventus in 393 AD, that is 366 AP. If it was later assumed that 366 was in anno domini dating, then the notion would have occurred it was during the consulship of Gratian.

The inclusion of Equitius was an error as can be seen by the HB claiming it was Gratian”s second consulship, rather than his third. As it turns out, the reference was to Gratian’s first period as consul.

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Vortigern to Badon in the Red Book of Hergest

The Red Book of Hergest claims there were 128 years from the start of Vortigern’s reign to the battle of Badon. As Vortigern’s reign started in the year 425 and Badon was in 518, this is clearly incorrect. The question is how was the figure of 128 arrived at. It is likely to have been as a result of the following:

1. The Incarnation and Passion was generally taken to be separated by 28 years. However, the source of the RBH, took 35 years as the time gap on the basis of HB 4, which states “From the Passion of Christ 796 years have passed; from the Incarnation 831 years.”.
2. The start of Vortigern’s reign was 425 AD. However, in the earlier dating method it would have been 390 AP (anno passionis) using the 35 year interval.
3. By the time of the RBH, the figure 390 had been interpreted by the later dating method as 390 AD (anno domini).
4. The RBH statement “From the age of Vortigern to the Battle of Badon, which Arthur and his nobles fought with the Saxons, when Arthur and his nobles were victorious, 128 years.” used the fallacious calculation 518 – 390 = 128.

Jocelin’s Life of Kentigern

In his Life of Kentigern, Jocelin combined the lives of the northern Cyndeyrn Garthwys, that is Kentigern, with the southern Cyndeyrn ap Cyngar. As a result the story appears to state anachronisms. However, in reality, Kentigern of gen. 2 would have been a contemporary of Moken if he was Morgan Fwlch, one of Barturm’s candidates for the name. However, when the story shifts to the south with with Dewi in Menevia, Cadwallon Lawhir and Maelgwn Gwynedd the saint was Cyngar, not Kentigern. Finally, the Vita returns to the north with Kentigern and Rhydderch Hen.

Gen. ByS 6b ByS 13 seg. ByS 14 HG 1b seg. HG 6 HG 10 seg.
3 Morgan
2 Cyndeyrn Garthwys Rhydderch Hen Coleddog
1 Cyndeyrn Owain Denw Rhun Tudwal Morgan Fwlch
0 Cyngar Asaph Urien Lleuddun Luyddog Maelgwn Gwynedd Clinoch Cyngar
-1 Garthog Sawyl (Benuchel) [Benisel] Cadwallon Lawhir Dyfnwal Hen
-2 Ceredig Pabo (Post Prydyn)
-3 Cunedda Wledig

Jocelin did not give the name of Kentigern’s father, perhaps, because of having to avoid choosing between Owain ab Urien and Cyngar ap Garthog. Cyndeyrn was probably the saint of Llangyndeyrn. Nothing is known about him as his story was absorbed into that of Kentigern.

The two bishop Davids

The AC B tells us that David was born 30 years after Patrick left Menevia:

“Anus sanctus dewy nascitur anno xxx post dis(c)essum patricii de meneuia.”

As the Irish annals say Patrick arrived in Ireland in 432 it follows that David I was born in 462. This is the David whose ancestry is given in the Welsh genealogies and is spoken of in the Historia Regum Britanniae. His death is mentioned in AC C:

“Sanctus Dauid meneuensis archiepiscopus in domino quieuit .”

The death of the later individual, David II, appears in the AC A and B texts respectively thus:

“Dauid episcopus moni iudeorum.”

“dauid meneuensis episcopus obiit.”

The B text has incorrectly interpreted the A text, the last three words of which are “manu in deorum”, that is “in the hands of God”. So, in reality there is no reference to Mynyw. The date of 601 is not totally inconsistent with the Irish annals which date his obit between 587 and 589.

The Adventus Saxonum in the Historia Brittonum

The Historia Brittonum contains a number of statements which allow us to date the Adventus Saxonum:

“Vortigern, however, held power in Britain in the consulate of Theodosius and Valentinian and in the fourth year of his reign the Saxons came to Britain, in the consulship of Felix and Taurus, and in the four hundredth year from the incarnation of our lord Jesus Christ.”

The first consulate of Theodosius II and Valentinian III was in the year 425. That this was the start of Vortigern’s reign is plausible since he was of gen. -3. This would suggest he was probably in his 30s when crowned king. The passage suggests the Adventus occurred in the year 428 which was, indeed, the year of the consulship of Flavius Felix and Flavius Taurus. The last element of the text may be reconciled with this date by suggesting incarnation was an error for Christ’s Passion.

In the Chronicon Britannicum we see the Adventus incorrectly placed one Metonic cycle later in the year 447, see The Adventus Saxonum in the Chronicon Britannicum. The events of 425 and 428 listed in the HB may have been swapped in the mind of the author when he wrote:

“Also, from Stilicho to Valentinian son of Placidia, and the reign of Vortigern 28 years.”

as Flavius Stilicho was consul for the first time in 400.

HB 31 states:

“It came to pass that after this war between the Britons and the Romans, in which the generals were killed, and after the killing of the tyrant Maximus and the end of the Roman Empire in Britain, the Britons went in fear for 40 years.”

Magnus Maximus was executed in 388. 40 years on from that date we arrive at 428, that is at the Adventus, which is described towards the end of the following passage of text:

“Vortigern welcomed them, and handed over to them the island that in their language is called Thanet, in British Ruoihm.”