Layamon (c.1190–1215), translated by Kline, A. S. (contact-email)

Open Access logo

Layamon's Brut, written in Anglo-Saxon dialect, was most probably composed sometime between 1189 and 1215, during the reign of King John. Known also as the Chronicle of Britain, it derives from Wace’s Anglo-Norman French work, the Roman de Brut, which is in turn a version of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain). The latter, in a mixture of legend and historical surmise, provided the first work following the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (created in the late ninth century during King Alfred’s reign) to relate anything like a history of Britain. The title Brut reflects the claim that a certain Brutus of Troy was Britain’s legendary founder.

Layamon’s work is a lengthier development of the works of Wace and Geoffrey, and contains a more extensive account of King Arthur’s life and deeds. Written in a loosely alliterative style, the two halves of each line are occasionally linked by rhyme. The most complete surviving manuscript is Cotton Caligula A ix, in the British Library, dating from the third quarter of the 13th century.

Author Details

cover image

Kline, A. S.

Support Open-Access:

Your contribution keeps our classical translations available to all. Every dollar helps support classics education and funds the expansion of our catalogue. Value what we do? Donate now.

© Copyright, All Rights Reserved. This work may be freely reproduced, stored and transmitted, electronically or otherwise, for any non-commercial purpose. Conditions and Exceptions apply.