Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How a Legend Became History: Brutus of Troy and the Birth of Britain

Today I get to talk about some history that almost assuredly didn't happen over at English Historical Fiction Authors. Did one of the survivors of the Trojan War go on to found Britain? That's what medieval historians claimed....

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If you’re an ancient Greek, you have wrathful Achilles, the “swift-footed son of Peleus” who defeats Priam’s mighty son Hector and paves the way for the eventual destruction of Troy. Or if guile is more your style, you have Odysseus, the resourceful hero who wanders the world for ten years on his homeward voyage, braving Cyclops, Sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, before slaying the scores of suitors ensconced in his own halls.

If you’re an imperial Roman, you have Aeneas, striding proudly out of the flames of Troy, escaping the wiles of Dido of Carthage and carving out a new home in Italy.

But if you’re British and living in the ninth century A.D., you have…nothing. And frankly, it’s kind of embarrassing. Or, at least, it was to the historian Nennius.... (read more


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