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PREFACE.

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$ 1. THERE are few writers of English History Life of Gildas whose biography has led to so much discussion obscurity. as St. Gildas. We are unable to speak with certainty as to his parentage, his country, or even his name, the period when he lived, or the works of which he was the author. tended by some that only one individual bearing this name attained any eminence during the Middle Ages, and that to him relate all the Legends in which St. Gildas is commemorated; while others assert, with equal pertinacity, that there were at least two personages of the name, and that the exploits of the one have, in some degree, been ascribed to the other.

Without entering into this controversy, we shall endeavour to profit by the information which it has elicited, adopting those results which, upon an examination of the rival theories, bear the greatest appearance of probability.

See the following section, MSS., see the present volume, and the reference to Beda there 35, 18. The passage, however, given. He is, apparently, sur- may be understood as if Cormac named · Cormac' by the copyist were the name of the scribe, not an of the earliest of the existing adjunct to the name of the author.

Materials whence derived.

§ 2. It is beyond all dispute that a writer named Gildas (or, as Beda' seems to have read, Gildus,) was the author of a work upon the early history of Britain ; and as the passages quoted from that work by Beda agree very closely in all the manuscripts of the Historia Ecclesiastica,' we are warranted in concluding that the whole work, as we now have it, has sustained no very important alterations since the time when it was written. The information which it contains respecting its author is consequently entitled to the highest credit, and may safely be adopted as the basis of our ensuing remarks..

There exist, also, two Legends of St. Gildas, containing statements sometimes reconcileable with the details furnished by authentic History, at other times directly opposed to it. One of these, for the first time printed, accompanies the present volume; the other, which it has not been considered expedient to reprint in an entire form, is cited whenever requisite.

§ 3. Following the authority of Archbishop Usher, to which considerable deference must be paid, especially in such questions as are to be decided by the aid of chronology, we conclude that there were at least two individuals called Gildas, surnamed respectively · Albanius' and 'Badoni

Two indivi. duals named Gildas; namely, Gildas Albanius,

H. E. 1. xxii. $ 50, edit. complete form by Mabillon, Act. 1838.

Sanctor. Ord. S. Bened. i. 130, 2 It is printed by Bollandus edit. Venet. 1733. the Acta Sanct. mens. Januar. 3 Primord. pp. 442, 444, 906, tom. ii. p. 958, and in a more ) etc., edit. Dubl. 1639.

cus,' and that they were not contemporaries.' Gildas Albanius, who must be carefully distinguished from the author of the work now printed, is he whose exploits form the subject of the · Vita Gildæ' prefixed to the present volume. We shall, in the first place, offer a few remarks upon this earlier individual. He was born about A.D. 425 ;and in the thirteenth year of his age passed over from Scotland, of which he was a native, into France, at that time under the rule of Childeric, the son of Merovius, where he founded the monastery of Ruys.* The Legend printed by Mabillon, after detailing his various miracles, and ascribing to him the authorship of the Epistolaris Libellus,' proceeds to recount his death, which, according to it, occurred in France, and contains internal evidence of having been composed, or at least reduced to its present form, in the eleventh century.

§ 4. The Life of Gildas, ascribed to Caradoc of Llancarvan, which accompanies the present volume, is supposed by Usher to relate in like manner to Gildas Albanius. It agrees with the Legend already mentioned as to his parentage and birth,' and also states that he visited France; but differs from it in asserting, that he returned to England after an absence of seven years. On his homeward journey he encountered an adventure in Pepediauc, the date of which is fixed by what is known of the circumstances with which it was associated.” His subsequent residence in Armagh, his reconciliation with Arthur, the siege of Glastonbury, with which his name is connected, are facts, the era of which can be ascertained with tolerable accuracy.

1 The contrary opinion is de- , to the throne A. D. 456; Chron. fended by Bollandus, Jan. tom. Moissiac. ap. Bouquet, ii. 649. ii. pp. 953-956 ; Vossius de Hist. It is impossible to reconcile the Latin. 11. xxi.; Mabillon, Annal. chronology of this king's reign Ord. S. Bened. vi. § 19. The with the theory that Gildas Albatranscriber of the oldest existing nius and Gildas Badonicus were MS. believed that the author of one and the same person. the work which he copied, was 4...venit ad quamdam insulam, the contemporary of Arthur. See quæ in Reumvisii pagi prospecp. 11, note 1.

tu sita est.' Act. SS. ut supra, 2 Vit. S. Gildæ, inter Acta $ 16. SS. Jan. ii. 960, $ 16.

5 Act. ss. ut supra, p. 956, 3 Acta SS. ut supra. Childeric, 31. the son of Merovius, succeeded

According to the same authority, this Gildas died in A.D. 512, eight years before the birth of his more illustrious namesake with whom he has been so frequently identified.

§ 5. Gildas Badonicus informs us, in the ensuing work, that he was born in the year in which the Saxon invaders of England sustained a signal defeat at the siege of Kair Badon; consequently we have only to ascertain when the one event took place, in order to establish the exact date of the other. His words, as quoted in the note below,8

and Gildas Badonicus.

See 1.
2 See $ 2.

5 Vit. Gildæ, ut supra, § 6;
3 $4; see also Usher's Primord. Primord. p. 508.
ad ann. 462, and the references 6 Vit. Gildæ, ut supra, $ 10,
there indicated.

11; Primord. p. 510.
4 Vit. Gildæ, ut supra, 5;

Primord. ad ann.
Primord. p. 498.

8 Ex eo tempore nunc cives, nunc hostes, vincebant, usque ad tis. His argument to cap. xviii. annum obsessionis Badonici mon- shows that he understood it as tis, qui prope Sabrinum ostium indicating quis Gildæ Sapientis habetur, novissimæque ferme de nativitatis annus sit.' See the furciferis non minimæ stragis, present volume, p. 7. quique quadragesimus quartus, ut 3 Compare Gildas, $ 17, note novi, oritur[orditur]annus, mense 23, with Beda, H. E. I. xii. $ 30, jam primo emenso, qui jam et note 20, of the edition of 1838. meæ nativitatis est. § 26, p. 33. * A.D. 520. Unde [Saxones] in 1.

7

have indeed received from Beda a different interpretation from that which we have here assigned to them. That writer understands them as meaning that the siege of Kair Badon occurred forty-four years after the arrival of the Saxons in England,' whereas they seem rather to show that Gildas wrote his Epistle forty-four years after that siege, he being then in the forty-fourth year of his age. Admitting that Beda has here, as elsewhere,' been misled by the turgid and involved style of the author, it remains for us to fix the date of the siege of Kair Badon, which, as has been already stated, was coeval with the birth of Gildas. The argument in favour of the year 520 rests partly upon the direct authority of Matthew of Westminster,* and partly upon the data furnished by an anonymous British chronicler, who affirms that twenty-two years elapsed be

. ex eo tempore nunc cives, Britanniam revertentes in Totonunc hustes, vincebant, usque ad nesio littore applicuerunt, et ad annum obsessionis Badonici mon- ultimum Urbem Badonis obsidetis, quando non minimas eisdem runt. i. 186, edit. 1570. hostibus strages dabant, quadra- 5 A tempore Guorthigerni usgesimo circiter et quarto anno que ad bellum Badonicum, quo adventus eorum in Britanniam. Arthurus dimicavit adversus 1. xvi. § 38.

Saxones et eos debellavit, cxxviii 9 The same meaning is at- anni; a bello Badonico usque ad tached to this passage by the bellum de Camelan, in quo cæsus scribe who prefixed to the Epis- est Arthurus, xxii anni. Usher, tle the Capitula Libri Sequen- Primord. p. 401.

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