King of the Britons

From Academic Kids

The term King of the Britons refers to the legendary kings of Celtic Great Britain as recorded by much later authors, including Nennius, Gildas, and predominantly Geoffrey of Monmouth. Various lists of the kings survive, although none of the originals. The Welsh Chronicles supply another good source for early British kings although they are considered highly unreliable. The kings of the Britons are considered part of the vast Matter of Britain.

The list is more often thought of as a comprehensive conglomeration of various Celtic rulers, Celtic warlords, mythical heroes, and, more obviously, Roman Emperors. Regardless of the source, no list of the kings has a high level of historic fact and, while they generally are similar to each other, no two lists are exactly the same. The kings of Britain are mythological and apocryphal, but contributed much to the history of England in the Middle Ages. Most modern historians consider the Kings of Briton to be genealogical and historical myths with no solid basis in fact.


Historium Regum Britanniae

The following list is the most recent, being written by Geoffrey of Monmouth in 1136 in his Historia Regum Britanniae (The History of the Kings of Britain). It spans a length of roughly 2000 years.

House of Brutus

The house begins with Brutus who was a descendant of Aeneas of Troy, the ancestor of the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus. The genealogy of Aeneas is located in the Trojan Genealogy which includes Brutus at the bottom. This house continued to rule through most of the 2,000 years of Celtic rule, although minor houses were branched due to terminations of male heirs and civil war.

First War of the Two Brothers

Civil War of the Feeble King

1st House of Cornwall

When the Queen Cordelia took the throne, her nephews rebelled and imprisoned her. They then fought between each other in the Civil War of Albany and Cornwall over who would rule. For two years they ruled together until Marganus tried to take over and Cunedagius had him killed. Thus began the first house of Cornwall, a line descended from Brutus through Cuedagius's mother.

2nd House of Cornwall

Upon the death of Porrex, civil war broke out between various kings for about 200 years. Finally, another Duke of Cornwall took over as king and he brought peace to the land. It is unclear how he is related to Brutus. He was probably a descendant of Cunedagius, also a Duke of Cornwall, and his family was related to Brutus through that line.

Second War of the Two Brothers

Julius Caesar invades Britain

A somewhat conjectural modern genealogy [1] ( claims that the extant Lougher family are descended from Caratacus, a younger son of this dynasty.


When Lucius died, he had no heirs for the throne. Rome sent over a delegate, the future emperor Severus, to mediate the crisis. He ruled the country as a protector until his death, at which time his sons became kings of Britain.

House of Severus

When Severus died, he left two sons in Britain, one fully Roman and one half British. These two sons were fought over in accords to their right to rule. Because of this fighting among the Britons and Romans in Britain, their term as kings was shortly lived. Geta is one of the few kings of Britain who was not descended from Brutus.


A period of civil war erupted in Britain when Bassianus became king. Rome continually had to send delegates to Britain to restore order, but both of them usurped the throne and declared themselves king, although neither were fully recognized. This abuse ended when the Britons restored order themselves.

3rd House of Cornwall

This shortly lived house was a response to Roman imperialism in Britain. The king was probably of the same family of Cornwall that descended from Dunvallo nearly 750 years earlier, but when the royal family ceased ruling with Lucius, this branch of the house of Brutus became a likely heir. When the atrocities of the Romans became too much, the Britons rebelled and rallied behind Asclepiodotus, although his house was short lived.

House of Colchester (Kaercolim)

Old King Cole's royal house only lasted eight years, but his descendants through his daughter reigned for a long time.

1st House of Rome

The house of Rome is the most legendary of all the houses due to its inclusion of Constantine the Great. It was established by Constantius, who married the daughter of King Coel. Thus this line descends from Brutus with Constantine. Many historic facts are mixed in with the stories of these two kings.

1st House of Gewissei

Yet another short-lived house, Gewissei ruled the island twice but his descent from Brutus is not confirmed. His descendants continued to rule through his daughter.

House of Trahern

Trahern was a son of Coel and a Roman senator and was elected by Rome to act as king and return Britain to Roman rule. He was overthrown, though, by Octavius and his house ended.

2nd House of Gewissei

Octavius returned from exile and overthrew Trahern ruling the country for another few years. When he died, the throne passed through his daughter to a Roman.

2nd House of Rome

The second Roman house in Britain was descended from Coel's son, Ioelinus, who was an uncle of Constantine and a Roman senator. It was solidified under Maximianus when he married Octavius's only daughter.

4th House of Cornwall

Cornwall's fourth house was never meant to become kings but did so when Maximianus departed Britain to conquer other countries. A king of Cornwall, who probably descended from Coel but declined the kingship in favor of a partial Roman ruler, Caradocus was the voice of reason in affairs involving relations with Rome.

House of Gracianus

An usurping house of unknown origins, Gracianus took over the kingdom when Maximianus died. It is unclear whether Dionotus was deceased or not when Gracianus took over. No source claims Gracianus was descended from Brutus.


When Gracianus was assassinated, the Britons cried out for help from Rome one last time. In this period, Rome left them once and for all and the Britons were truly separate from the rest of the world.

1st House of Brittany

Little Britain, which was conquered by Maximianus, was ruled by a descendant of Brutus who had fought for the kingship 150 years earlier. When Britain found itself without a king after the death of Gracianus, they pleaded with the king of Brittany to send a family member to rule. Constantine was his selection and his house ruled for a number of years.

3rd House of Gewissei

Probably descended from Coel distantly, this house usurped the throne from Constans due to Constans frailty. Vortigern ruled the country for many years and his house became a legend in the Arthur stories. When it was deposed, the house of Brittany returned.

2nd House of Brittany

When Vortigern returned and called for the return of the Saxons, the house of Brittany, in exile since Vortigern's ascension, returned to Britain and destroyed the Saxons. This family continued through Arthur and is probably the most legendary family in all British history.

5th House of Cornwall

It is unclear how Constantine is related to Arthur except he is said to be a cousin. Arthur appointed this house to the kingship when he was taken away to Avalon.

1st House of Gwynedd

This house became the pretender house of the Britons when the Saxons had established control over much of the island. It was divided by another king of different origins and tyrants that ruled.

Unknown House

This is the only unknown house of the Britons that ruled. It ruled very shortly and in the shadow of the Saxon kings.


Three unknown tyrants as well as other pretenders fought in Cornwall and Wales for control of the British people. These civil wars caused a great decline of the Britons in their fight against the Saxons.

2nd House of Gwynedd

The final ruling house of the Britons, this family ruled on as Kings of Gwynedd for many more centuries. Cadwallader, an example of the decline of the Britons, was the son of a Saxon queen and grandson of a Gewissei king. The house intermarried with the Saxons and, later, the Normans, and the authority of the British people waned until it was no more than another piece of the English ethnicity.


These two relatives of Cadwallader led the exiles back to Britain following Cadwallader's exile in Brittany. They ruled a declining people and fell into history as petty rulers of a barbaric race.

The Aftermath

After the death of Cadwallader, the kings of Britain were reduced to such a small domain that they ceased to be kings of the whole island. The Anglo-Saxon invaders ruled the island after that point in time under the Bretwaldas and later the Kings of England. The heirs to the Celtic-British throne continued through the Welsh kings of Gwynedd until that line was forced to submit itself to the English in the 13th century. Princes and lords of Gwynedd ruled until the reign of Dafydd III, who ruled from 1282 to 1283. His death marked the end of the house of Brutus. Owen Tudor, the ancestor of Henry VII of England, was a maternal descendant of the kings of Gwynedd and his marriage with Elizabeth of York signified the merging of the two royal houses (as well as the feuding houses of York and Lancaster).nl:Lijst van mythische Britse koningen no:Mytiske konger av britene


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