Sunday, September 01, 2013

A Tantalising Figure

Vortigern being presented-
 with his Saxon Bride

The period after the Roman’s abandoned, or were driven out of England is perhaps the most obscure period in English history we know virtually nothing about this time period. In fact historical knowledge of any reliability only really begins again in the late 6th century and not coincidentally at the same time the Christianity was reintroduced to England.1

During this early part of this time period two sources refer to a King named Vortigern who supposedly invited the Anglo-Saxons to settle in exchange for service as military units. Supposedly the Saxons had then risen in revolt and took control over much of England until they were halted by the Britons lead by Arthur. I have previously discussed why it is likely that Arthur is a mythological character but it appears that Vortigern is actually a real person.2

The writer Gildas, who wrote sometime in the mid-6th century C.E., in the historical section of his The Ruin of Britain gives the following account:

At that time all members of the assembly, along with the arrogant usurper Vortigern, are blinded; such is the protection they find for their country (it was, in fact, its destruction) that those wild Saxons, of accursed name, hated by God and men, should be admitted into the island, like wolves into folds, in order to repel the northern nations. Nothing more hurtful, certainly, nothing more bitter, happened to the island than this. What utter depth of darkness of soul! What hopeless and cruel dullness of mind! The men whom, when absent, they feared more than death, were invited by them of their own accord, so to say, under the cover of one roof: “Foolish princes of Zoan, as is said, giving unwise counsel to Pharaoh.” The Saxons prove far more cruel than the former enemies.

Then there breaks forth a brood of whelps from the lair of the savage lioness, in three cyulae (keels), as it is expressed in their language, but in ours, in ships of war under full sail, with omens and divinations. In these it was foretold, there being a prophecy firmly relied upon among them, that they should occupy the country to which the bows of their ships were turned, for three hundred years; for one hundred and fifty----that is for half the time----they should make frequent devastations. They sailed out, and at the directions of the unlucky tyrant, first fixed their dreadful talons in the eastern part of the island, as men intending to fight for the country, but more truly to assail it. To these the mother of the brood, finding that success had attended the first contingent, sends out also a larger raft-full of accomplices and curs, which sails over and joins itself to their bastard comrades. From that source, the seed of iniquity, the root of bitterness, grows as a poisonous plant, worthy of our deserts, in our own soil, furnished with rugged branches and leaves. Thus the barbarians, admitted into the island, succeed in having provisions supplied them, as if they were soldiers and about to encounter, as they falsely averred, great hardships for their kind entertainers. These provisions, acquired for a length of time, closed, as the saying is, the dog's maw. They complain, again, that their monthly supplies were not copiously contributed to them, intentionally colouring their opportunities, and declare that, if larger munificence were not piled upon them, they would break the treaty and lay waste the whole of the island. They made no delay to follow up their threats with deeds.

For the fire of righteous vengeance, caused by former crimes, blazed from sea to sea, heaped up by the eastern band of impious men; and as it devastated all the neighbouring cities and lands, did not cease after it had been kindled, until it burnt nearly the whole surface of the island, and licked the western ocean with its red and savage tongue. In this assault, which might be compared to the Assyrian attack upon Judaea of old, there is fulfilled in us also, according to the account, that which the prophet in his lament says: “They have burnt with fire thy sanctuary in the land,  They have defiled the tabernacle of thy name;  and again ,O God, the gentiles have come into thine inheritance,  They have defiled thy holy temple,”  and so forth. In this way were all the settlements brought low with the frequent shocks of the battering rams; the inhabitants, along with the bishops of the church, both priests and people, whilst swords gleamed on every side and flames crackled, were together mown down to the ground, and, sad sight! there were seen in the midst of streets, the bottom stones of towers with tall beam[35] cast down, and of high walls, sacred altars, fragments of bodies covered with clots, as if coagulated, of red blood, in confusion as in a kind of horrible wine press: there was no sepulture of any kind save the ruins of houses, or the entrails of wild beasts and birds in the open, I say it with reverence to their holy souls (if in fact there were many to be found holy), that would be carried by holy angels to the heights of heaven. For the vineyard, at one time good, had then so far degenerated to bitter fruit, that rarely could be seen, according to the prophet, any cluster of grapes or ear of corn, as it were, behind the back of the vintagers or reapers.3

I should point out that the name Vortigern does not occur in some of the manuscripts and some modern translations like the 1978 translation have simply “proud tyrant”. Some of the manuscripts do in fact have the name Vortigern or variations of it. And it should be mentioned that that the “name” Vortigern” is probably not a real name at all. There has been speculation about the name because the earliest and best manuscript does not have it has the Latin phrase about the “proud tyrant”. However it appears to be the case that Gildas’ Latin phrase “proud tyrant” is in fact a pun on the name Vortigern so that it appears likely that the name may in fact have dropped out so to speak from some manuscripts of Gildas’ The Ruin of Britain. The Name Vortigern is Celtic and means “overlord” or “high lord”. Which certainly fits in with the idea that Vortigern was some British “Lord” or “King” claiming over lordship of much of Britain. Thus the “name” being a title or nickname and not an actual name. Another historical example is Sargon of Akkad. Sargon actually simply means “rightful” king. Sargon’s actual name is unknown.

However there is no example of anyone bearing such a title among the Celts has “high / over lord / king”. Further personal names such as Ritigern meaning “great lord” are known. The name Tudor for example means “king of the tribe” is another example. So it is possible that Vortigern is in fact a personal name and not a title or nickname.4

The above quoted passages are fairly clear that sometime after the Roman’s left the British led by Vortigern, desiring to have professional soldiers to protect them invited Saxons soldiers to settle among them and provide such protection. In this case more especially from the Irish and the Picts of Scotland.

In this case Vortigern was imitating Roman practice whereby the Emperors allowed Barbarians to settle within the empire in exchange for tilling the land and providing soldiers for the defence of the Empire. This was a practice that goes back to the start of the empire. Although the practice became much more widespread in the later years of the empire.5

What appears to have happened was that either not given the support, provisions, pay that they were promised or it was insufficient and they rose in revolt. The subsequent devastation completed the wreck of town in eastern England and spread pillage, rack and Ruin over much of Britain.

In Gildas’ account it is not mentioned what happened to Vortigern. We can assume that Gildas’ account implies he perished or was overthrown in the ruin that followed, but that is an assumption. Gildas tells us nothing more about Vortigern. Although it is interesting to contrast the fact that Vortigern is mentioned in Gildas’ account and the much better known Arthur does not merit a mention it seems.

The next source that mentions Vortigern is Nennius’ British History, written in the early 9th century C.E., and here we have history so firmly intermingled with legend that disentangling the truth in it is probably impossible.

The British History is bluntly a complete mess as a document and is a compilation of fragments from different sources poorly edited together with some editorial work. A very large body of legendary material exists in it.

31. It came to pass that after this war between the British and the Romans, when their 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. Vortigern [Guorthigirnus] then reigned in Britain. In his time, the natives had cause of dread, not only from the inroads of the Saints and Picts, but also from the Romans, and their apprehensions of Ambrosius.

In the meantime, three vessels, exiled from Germany, arrived in Britain. They were commanded by Horsa and Hengist, brothers, and sons of Wihtgils. Wihtgils was the son of Witta; Witta of Wecta; Wecta of Woden; Woden of Frithowald, Frithowald of Frithuwulf; Frithuwulf of Finn; Finn of Godwulf; Godwulf of Geat, who, as they say, was the son of a god, not of the omnipotent God and our Lord Jesus Christ but the offspring of one of their idols, and whom, blinded by some demon, they worshipped according to the custom of the heathen. Vortigern received them as friends, and delivered up to them the island which is in their language called Thanet, and, by the Britons, Ruym.6

Later Nennius account says:

36. After the Saxons had continued some time in the island of Thanet, Vortigern promised to supply them with clothing and provision, on condition they would engage to fight against the enemies of his country. But the barbarians having greatly increased in number, the Britons became incapable of fulfilling their engagement; and when the Saxons, according to the promise they had received, claimed a supply of provisions and clothing, the Britons replied, "Your number is increased; your assistance is now unnecessary; you may, therefore, return home, for we can no longer support you;" and hereupon they began to devise means of breaking the peace between them.

37. But Hengist, in whom united craft and penetration, perceiving he had to act with an ignorant king, and a fluctuating people, incapable of opposing much resistance, replied to Vortigern, "We are, indeed, few in number; but, if you will give us leave, we will send to our country for an additional number of forces, with whom we will fight for you and your subjects." Vortigern assenting to this proposal, messengers were despatched to Scythia, where selecting a number of warlike troops, they returned with sixteen vessels, bringing with them the beautiful daughter of Hengist. And now the Saxon chief prepared an entertainment, to which he invited the king, his officers, and Ceretic, his interpreter, having previously enjoined his daughter to serve them so profusely with wine and ale, that they might soon become intoxicated. This plan succeeded; and Vortigern, at the instigation of the devil, and enamoured with the beauty of the damsel, demanded her, through the medium of his interpreter, of the father, promising to give for her whatever he should ask. Then Hengist, who had already consulted with the elders who attended him of the Oghgul race, demanded for his daughter the province, called in English, Centland, in British, Ceint, (Kent.) This cession was made without the knowledge of the king, Guoyrancgonus, who then reigned in Kent, and who experienced no inconsiderable share of grief, from seeing his kingdom thus clandestinely, fraudulently, and imprudently resigned to foreigners. Thus the maid was delivered up to the king, who slept with her, and loved her exceedingly.

38. Hengist, after this, said to Vortigern, "I will be to you both a father and an adviser; despise not my counsels, and you shall have no reason to fear being conquered by any man or any nation whatever; for the people of my country are strong, warlike, and robust: if you approve, I will send for my son and his brother, both valiant men who at my invitation will fight against the Scots, and you can give them the countries in the north, near the wall called Gual. "The incautious sovereign having assented to this, Octa and Ebusa arrived with forty ships. In these they sailed round the country of the Picts, laid waste the Orkneys, and took possession of many regions, even to the Pictish confines.

But Hengist continued, by degrees, sending for ships from his own country, so that some islands whence they came were left without inhabitants; and whilst his people were increasing in power and number, they came to the above-named province of Kent.7

So far the story fits in with Gildas in that Vortigern settles the Saxons in part of Britain in return for services specifically military, although Nennius claims this offer was made before Vortigern tried to renege, and that Vortigern promised to supply the Saxons apparently as a mercenary force. Here is where the account starts to gain legendary attributes. The whole story about Vortigern being seduced by Hengist’s daughter reads like legend. It is highly unlikely that Vortigern gave Kent to anyone in exchange for a bride. Besides this story doesn’t fit in well with what comes after.

It is more likely that Vortigern, copying late Roman Imperial practice allowed the Anglo-Saxons to settle in Kent in exchange for military services, and those problems arose when the British were unable or unwilling to pay / support their Anglo-Saxon mercenaries who then rose in revolt. Still it is interesting to read a story about the man who betrays his people for love.

Then Nennius throws in a totally contrary story.

39. In the meantime, Vortigern, as if desirous of adding to the evils he had already occasioned, married his own daughter, by whom he had a son.8

This is then followed by a legendary tale about the incest child and building a fortress needing a human sacrifice and a dream about two serpents, one white and one red. This material is obviously completely legendary. It along with the incest slur were obviously part of an effort to calumniate Vortigern’s reputation. It seems clear that Vortigern has the man who invited and settled the Anglo Saxons in Britain was bitterly condemned by future generations and blamed for the resulting wars and devastation. Hence the incest slur which does not go well with the previous story concerning Vortigern being enamoured with  Hengist’s daughter.9

43. At length Vortimer, the son of Vortigern, valiantly fought against Hengist, Horsa, and his people; drove them to the Isle of Thanet, and thrice enclosed them within it, and occupied, hit, threatened and frightened them on the western side.

The Saxons now dispatched deputies to Germany to solicit large reinforcements, and an additional number of ships with many men: and after he obtained these, they fought against the kings of our peoples and princes of Britain, and sometimes extended their boundaries by victory, and sometimes were conquered and driven back.

44. Four times did Vortimer valorously encounter the enemy; the first has been mentioned, the second was upon the river Darent, the third at the Ford, in their language called Epsford, though in ours Set thirgabail, there Horsa fell, and Catigern, the son of Vortigern; the fourth battle he fought, was near the stone on the shore of the Gallic sea, where the Saxons being defeated, fled to their ships.

After a short interval Vortimer died; before his decease, anxious for the future prosperity of his country, he charged his friends to inter his body at the entrance of the Saxon port, viz. upon the rock where the Saxons first landed; "for though," said he, "they may inhabit other parts of Britain, yet if you follow my commands, they will never remain in this island." They imprudently disobeyed this last injunction, and neglected to bury him where he had appointed.10

Now we are introduced to a son of Vortigern named Vortimer, who supposedly fought the Anglo Saxons invaders successfully. There is nothing inherently improbable in this. But it is interesting that the name is a variation on Vortigern and that even assuming that Vortimer was a distinct person he would likely have acted under Vortigern’s authority. However the image of the great traitor who betrays his people must not allow that to be clear. Of course Vortimer’s death means more trouble is coming.

45. After this the barbarians became firmly incorporated, and were assisted by foreign pagans; for Vortigern was their friend, on account of the daughter of Hengist, whom he so much loved. And let him that reads understand, that the Saxons were victorious, and ruled Britain, not from their superior prowess, but on account of the great sins of the Britons: God so permitting it. For what wise man will resist the wholesome counsel of God? The Almighty is the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, ruling and judging every one, according to his own pleasure.

After the death of Vortimer, Hengist being strengthened by new accessions, collected his ships, and calling his leaders together, consulted by what stratagem they might overcome Vortigern and his army; with insidious intention they sent messengers to the king, with offers of peace and perpetual friendship; unsuspicious of treachery, the monarch, after advising with his elders, accepted the proposals.

46. Hengist, under pretense of ratifying the treaty, prepared an entertainment, to which he invited the king, the nobles, and military officers, in number about three hundred; speciously concealing his wicked intention, he ordered three hundred Saxons to conceal each a knife under his feet, and to mix with the Britons; "and when," said he, "they are sufficiently inebriated, &c. cry out, 'Nimed eure Saxes,' then let each draw his knife, and kill his man; but spare the king, on account of his marriage with my daughter, for it is better that he should be ransomed than killed."

The king with his company, appeared at the feast; and mixing with the Saxons, who, whilst they spoke peace with their tongues, cherished treachery in their hearts, each man was placed next his enemy. After they had eaten and drunk, and were much intoxicated, Hengist suddenly vociferated, "Nimed eure Saxes!" and instantly his adherents drew their knives, and rushing upon the Britons, each slew him that sat next to him, and there was slain three hundred of the nobles of Vortigern. The king being a captive, purchased his redemption, by delivering up the three provinces of East, South, and Middle Sex, besides other districts at the option of his betrayers.11

This story doesn’t sit well with notions of Vortigern has the great betrayer; instead it has Vortigern and the leading British nobles has the victims of base Anglo Saxon treachery. Although this fits to some degree the view of Vortigern has a dupe in the other variations of the stories about him. 

Night of the Long Knives

Certainly there is nothing impossible about the story of the massacre at a banquet, the fact is this story is a familiar folk myth and tale. The story of the treacherous guest or host who murders his guest or host while he is having dinner. Traditionally murder of a guest or host is considered among the most heinous of crimes if not the worst. Those who do so are considered the lowest of the low and guilty of a terrible crime and sin. Because of this tales similarity to folk ideas of the treacherous host / guest I suspect this tale is a myth designed to paint the Anglo Saxons in the blackest hues has evil and to further paint Vortigern has their dupe.

No doubt in actual fact there were negotiations from time to time, and perhaps there was some treachery at some time but the above story is simply a folk tale based on ideas of proper host/ guest behaviour.

What follows is a folk tale about the death of Vortigern. After a St. Germanus condemns the king for his incest. Vortigern flees to a fortress where he and the fortress are destroyed by fire from heaven.

Obviously the tale has no historical value but is a complete legend.

48. Others assure us, that being hated by all the people of Britain, for having received the Saxons, and being publicly charged by St. Germanus and the clergy in the sight of God, he betook himself to flight; and, that deserted and a wanderer, he sought a place of refuge, till broken hearted, he made an ignominious end.

Some accounts state, that the earth opened and swallowed him up, on the night his castle was burned; as no remains were discovered the following morning, either of him, or of those who were burned with him.

He had three sons: the eldest was Vortimer, who, as we have seen, fought four times against the [barbarians] Saxons, and put them to flight; the second was Categirn who was slain in the same battle with Horsa; the third was Pascent, who reigned in the two provinces Builth and Guorthegirnaim, after the death of his father. These were granted him by Ambrosius, who was the great king among the kings of Britain. The fourth was Faustus, born of an incestuous marriage with his daughter, who was brought up and educated by St. Germanus. He built a large monastery on the banks of the river Renis, called after his name, and which remains to the present period.

49. This is the genealogy of Vortigern, which goes back to Fernvail[69], who reigned in the kingdom of Guorthegirnaim[70], and was the son of Teudor; Teudor was the son of Pascent; Pascent of Guoidcant; Guoidcant of Moriud; Moriud of Eltat; Eltat of Eldoc; Eldoc of Paul; Paul of Meuprit; Meuprit of Braciat; Braciat of Pascent; Pascent of Guorthegirn (Vortigern); Guorthegirn of Guortheneu; Guortheneu of Guitaul; Guitaul of Guitolion; Guitolion of Gloui. [71]Bonus, Paul, Mauron, Guotelin, were four brothers, who built Gloiuda, a great city upon the banks of the river Severn, and in British is called Cair Gloui, in Saxon, Gloucester.

Enough has been said of Vortigern.12

We get more legendary material about the death of Vortigern and it appears that Vortigern died obscurely or the records are so bad when and how he died is unknown. Or both. Of course it is possible that Vortigern simply died obscurely but the great betrayer had to die in legend anyway in an appropriately brutal manner.

The genealogy is of interest because it firmly places Vortigern as an historical figure in that he had descendants. This is quite unlike the figure of Arthur who left no genealogy for anyone to record. Further although Nennius in the early 9th century records a wealth of material, historical and legendary about Vortigern his record of Arthur is a simple list of battles with two glosses in it. Compared to Vortigern Arthur did not seem to rank very high in the historical memory of the compiler of the British History. It appears that this indicates that the growth of Arthur into a figure of great legendary significance had barely stated by the early 9th century. It appears that in viewing the post Roman period in the Welsh historical memory the figure of Vortigern loomed much larger than Arthur. In fact the figure of Vortimer loomed larger than Arthur at the time.13

To get back to Vortigern for a bit. The writer Bede, who wrote in the early 8th century C.E., mentions Vortigern in his History of the English People and Church. Since those sections are basically nothing more than a close paraphrase of Gildas I will not quote them here.14 The Anglo Saxon Chronicle which was first written during the reign of Alfred the Great in the late 9th century C.E., mentions Vortigern briefly apparently relying on Bede.15 The first passage is almost a copy of Bede. The second records Vortigern fighting against the Anglo Saxons at Aylesford in Kent in 455 C.E. Something that is not mentioned by Bede, Nennius or Gildas and could therefore be an independent tradition although possibly it is based upon a poor reading of Bede combined with Anglo-Saxon tradition. As it is Bede copying Gildas and with a bit extrapolation probably using Anglo Saxon traditions claims that the Anglo Saxon were invited to serve as mercenaries and they revolted because the pay was insufficient.16

Also what is interesting is both Bede and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle copying him give the year of the Saxons arrival has 449 C.E.17 Perhaps at another time I will go into how his was calculated but suffice for the moment to say that it is a dubious calculation.

Nennius gives a different time for the Anglo Saxon arrival.

Also from Stilicho to Valentinian, son of Placidia, and the reign of Vortigern, are twenty-eight years.

And from the reign of Vortigern to the quarrel between Guitolinus and Ambrosius, are twelve years, which is Guolopum, that is Catgwaloph. Vortigern reigned in Britain when Theodosius and Valentinian were consuls, and in the fourth year of his reign the Saxons came to Britain, in the consulship of Felix and Taurus, in the four hundredth year from the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.18

We know that Theodosius and Valentinian were Consuls in 425 C.E. The reference to Stilicho could refer to his accession to power in 392 C. E. or his Consulship in 400 C.E. Which is reasonably close to 425 C.E. It appears that the British History confuses the incarnation and the passion of Christ so that the reference should be to the passion not the incarnation or birth of Jesus. Also in this section certain words seem to have dropped out over time.19

So it appears that Vortigern came to power c. 425 C.E.. The Saxons in this account arrived in c. 428 C.E, which was indeed the year of the Felix and Taurus being Consuls. Since according to all the sources; Bede, Nennius, Gildas, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the Anglo-Saxon uprising began a few years later. Say 5 years; this would date the Anglo Saxon revolt to c. 433 C.E. more than 20 years before Bede’s date.

It is possible that Nennius is indeed right certainly his effort to be chronologically exact about the date of the start of Vortigern’s reign would indicate that this is a distinct possibility. Certainly two Gallic Chronicles, that of 452 and 511 mention under the year 441  or 440 C.E., large sections of Britain passing into Anglo-Saxon control.20

To conclude by getting back to Arthur and Vortigern. It appears that the process by which Arthur became first the great Welsh and then English mythical / historical folk / popular culture hero who then spread across Europe and then the world had barely started. Even among the Welsh the figure of Arthur for centuries was much less than the figure of the arch-betrayer Vortigern who had encrusted on him a large number of myths and stories.

Subsequently Vortigern went from an important mythological / historical figure to a figure known only to specialists. Which is interesting given that Vortigern unlike Arthur seems to have really existed. But then Arthur symbolized Success and Honor; Vortigern symbolized betrayal and failure. That Arthur eclipsed him is not really a surprise.

What Vortigern was actually like is anyone’s guess. The tradition is so hostile one suspects it is largely false. Certainly the incest story is almost certainly bogus. It is likely that Vortigern did what he thought was right and blundered or simply had bad luck. However baring the discovery of some primary source material it is unlikely that we will ever get to know the real Vortigern.

Britain 450 C.E.

1. See Snyder, Christopher, An Age of Tyrants, The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park PENN, 1998, pp. 29-49. In a previous posting I discussed the various literary sources for the sub-Roman history of Britain, Here.

2. IBID, pp. 102-103, 106, 229.

3.Gildas, The Ruin of Britain, Vortigern Studies Here, s. 23-24, and Gildas, The Ruin of Britain, Phillimore & Co., LTD, London, 1978, s. 23-24, pp. 26-27.

4. Gildas, Vortigern, Footnote 33, Vermaat, Robert, The Name of Vortigern, Vortigern Studies Here, Snyder, p. 106.

5. For a list of Barbarians settled in the Roman Empire by Emperors and when see, de Ste. Croix, G .E. M., The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World, Cornell University Press, Ithaca NY, 1981, Appendix III The Settlement of "barbarians" within the Roman Empire, pp. 509-518.

6. The Text of 'Nennius': Historia Brittonum, Vortigern Studies Here, s. 31 and Nennius, British History, Phillimore & Co., LTD, London, 1980, s. 31, p. 26.

7. IBID, British History, s. 36-38, pp. 28-29.

8. IBID, British History, s. 39. p. 29.

9. IBID, British History, s. 39-42, pp. 29-31.

10. IBID, British History, s. 43-44, pp. 31-32.

11. IBID, British History, s. 45-46, p. 32.

12. IBID, British History, s. 48-49, pp. 33.

13. For Arthur in Nennius see British History, s. 56, pp. 35-36.

14. Bede, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1994, Book 1, ch. 14-15, pp. 25-28. Vortigern is also mentioned under the year 4403 in Bede’s Greater Chronicle, it is in the above book at pp. 325-326.

15. For the relevant historical period see Swanton, Michael, Editor & Translator, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, Phoenix Press, London, 1996, 380-501 C.E., pp. 11-15, at 449 and 455 C.E., p. 12.

16. Bede, The …, Book 1, ch. 14-15, pp. 25-28, Greater…year 4403, pp. 326, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, 445 C.E., and 449 C.E., p. 11.

17. IBID.

18. Footnote 6, s. 66, Nennius, British History, s. 66, p.39.

19. For example:

From the year in which the Saxons came into Britain, and were received by Vortigern, to the time of Decius and Valerian, are sixty-nine years.(Nennius, s. 66)

Decius and Valerian were Consuls 169 years earlier so it appears “one hundred” in “one hundred and sixty-nine” got left out.

20. See Veprauskas, Michael, Saxon Invasion of Britain, Part 2, Britannica Here, and Saxon Invasion of Britain, Part 3, Here, and Vermaat, Robert, Forty Years of Fear, Vortigern Studies Here. The Gallic Chronicle of 452 gives for the date 409 / 410 C.E. the following:
Honorius, 16th year:
The Britains were devastated by an incursion of the Saxons.
Later the same Chronicle gives for the date 441 C.E. the following:

Theodosius II, 18th and 19th year :

The Britains, which to this time had suffered from various disasters and misfortunes, are reduced to the power of the Saxons.

The Gallic Chronicle of 511 gives for the year 440 C.E. the following:

Theodosius II and Valentinian III, 16th year:

The Britains, lost to the Romans, yield to the power of the Saxons.

The three above quotes are from Vermaat, Robert, The Gallic Chroniclers of 452 and 511, Vortigern Studies, Here. Translations of the above three quotes can also be found in Snyder, pp. 35-36.

Pierre Cloutier 

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