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About the same time that Grallon and the other British princes in Armorica are mentioned, we also hear of Budic, a king in these regions. It is indeed obvious, from the tenor of the fragments of history and tradition which have come down to us on this subject, that the British settlers in Armorica reached it at different periods, and remained at first disparted into many petty, but independent sovereignties (1).
Grallon is mentioned with so many epithets and allusions which imply conquests, that it is probable that his contemporaries felt the effects of his power (2).
In the middle of the sixth century, a British king, who had been the friend of Arthur, also emigrated to Armorica. This was Caradoc Vreichvras, a prince of great notoriety in the Welsh traditions (3). He had governed Cornwall under Arthur (4), and he is often mentioned with encomiastic epithets in the Triads (5). He obtained a settlement of dignity among the Armorican Britons.
What scene can appeal so forcibly to our compassionate feelings, as little colonies of families driven by the sword of invasive war from their paternal homes, and seeking an asylum and subsistence on some foreign shore? Have we not often followed the interesting Eneas and his exiled friends, with the warmest glow of heart, with the most ardent hopes of their final tranquillity? Emigrants, like the Britons, who go to colonize a foreign soil, reach their new country in misery the most afflicting. They have not only their luxuries, but every convenience to create. Long before they can even hope to enjoy comfort, they must extort from the uncultured soil the indispensable aliment of the passing day. The cottage must be built; the wood must be cut down; the marsh must be drained; the town must be raised. These considerations would lead us to expect an age of peace, till happiness had produced satiety. What leisure can expatriated penury afford for civil feud? what temptation can it present to ambitious war? Alas! misery is unfriendly both to virtue and to peace. It indurates the heart; it clouds the mind; it engenders cruelty, ferocity, and turbulence: it exiles benevolence; it cherishes malignity. Man, therefore, has seldom been in any
(1) It has been asserted by some, that these Bretons were never under independent sovereigns, but always subjected to the Frankish kings. The passages of Gregory of Tours on this subject are rather contradictory. Valesius, who considered the question maturely, decides, that the Bretons, though often subdued, yet were never subject to the Merovingian or Carlovingian families, by any certa imperii confessione. See the note in Bouquet's Recueil, v. iii. p. 205. Their governors are called kings oftener than duces at first. I cannot avoid coinciding with Valesius.
(2) The Vita Winwal. says of Grallon, "Qui post devictas gentes inimicas sibi duces subduxerat," p. 259. So the ancient Breviary of Bretagne styles him Grallonus Britonum rex, qui tunc temporis illius gentis monarchiam tenebat, Boll. 1 June 84. There is a grant of Gradlon to St. Guengalocus, in Lobineau, ii. p. 17., wherein he styles himself, "Ego Gradlonus gratia Dei rex Britonum."
(3) In illis diebus Caradauc cognomento Brecbras-ad Letaviam veniens illam cepit imperio. Vita Paterni MS. Cott. Lib. Vesp. A. 14. p. 79. So the Breviarium Venetense, “Čaradoco Britannia subjugata ad Letaviam quoque debellandam mare transgresso." Boll. 2 April, p. 381. These lives of saints are certainly among the least eligible documents for history; but on this period of the Breton history we have little else; and we must admit, that however inventive they may be in their miraculous circumstances, they had no motive to be intentionally false in such collateral historical hints as are quoted here.
(4) Trioedd ynys Prydain, vii. Arch. Welsh, ii. p. 3.
(5) The 23d Triad styles him one of the chadfarchawc, or the knights of battle of Britain; another calls him the pillar of Wales. The 19th Triad mentions his son Chawrdaf ; And the 9th Trioedd y meirch, notices his daughter Lluagor,
state of want and pain, but his actions and his history have become too faithful mirrors of his misfortunes and his depravity.
The British emigrants soon augmented the evils which accompanied their exile by political calamities. Their history is confused by their numerous assassinations, wars, and usurpations. Soon after their full establishment, we read of Chanao, one of the princely exiles, killing his three brothers, and imprisoning Macliau the other. Macliau, being liberated, rebels, flies, conceals himself from his pursuers in a chest within a tomb, turns monk and bishop; but on Chanao's death, takes his wife and kingdom (1).
We hear also of crimes like those of Arabian romance attached to the character of Conomer, or Conon Mawr, or the Great, another chieftain. As soon as his wives became pregnant, the wild tradition transformed into fable asserts that he destroyed them (2). His political cruelties, the crimes of his ambition, are more probable, because more common. He killed Iena, the grandson of Ruval, and by submitting himself to the Frankish king, he sought safety from the enmity of his countrymen. Judual, the son of Iena, flew to the court of Childebert to escape the search of murder (3). Conon is also stated to have destroyed Canao, his wife and son (4). The Frankish sword, in 360, at last released Bretagne from his oppressions (5).
Soon afterwards Macliau expelled his nephew Theodoric, who, in return, in 577, killed his uncle and cousin. Waroc succeeded to the part of Bretagne which his father Macliau had held, and Theodoric to the other (6). Waroc defeated the Frankish confederacy, and destroyed the Saxons of Bayeux (7). Contests then ensued in the efforts of Waroc to possess himself of Rennes and Naniz (8).
In 590, Judual was reigning in Armorican Devonshire, and Waroc in Vannes (9). Judual was succeeded by his son Judichael, whose moral and religious character impresses us like an apparition of benign beauty in a stormy night. At first he retired to a cloister on his father's death, but he was persuaded to accept the crown. In his time, about 635, some Bretons made incursions on the frontiers of Dagobert; but Judichael, after receiving an embassy of expostulation (10), paid a visit of peace to the Frankish court (11).
The good Judichael, in 635, choosing to secede from the cares and em
(1) Gregory of Tours, 1. 4. c. 4. p. 70. Ed. Hanov. 1613.
(2) Vita Gildæ, written by Monacho Ruyensi about 1008. Boll. 2 Jan. 961.
(3) Lobineau, i. p. 9.
(4) Ibid. p. 10.
(5) Gregory of Tours, 1. 4. c. 20. Gregory names this person sometimes Conomer, and sometimes Conober; but so he calls Bobolen, 1. 8. c. 32. Beppolen in c. 43. This diversity of orthography is inseparable from this period.
(6) Gregory, p. 101.
(7) When the Saxons invaded Britain, some went towards Armorica, and settled near Nantz and Bayeux. They mingled with the ancient inhabitants, and had a common appellation with them. Charles the Bald, in his laws, names their language the linguam Saxonicam. They were called Saxones Bajocassimi. Bouquet, v. ii. p. 250. and 482.
(8) Gregory, 108, 109, 110. 199. 224.
(9) Lobineau, 20. After Conon's death, Judual in tota cum sua sobole regnavit Domnonia. Vit. Samsoni, by a contemporary in Bouquet, v. iii. p. 433.
(10) Eligius was the Frankish ambassador, an ecclesiastic of much skill in the goldsmith's art, and of much moral merit. See his life, Bouquet, iii. 552.
(11) Aimonius de Gest. Franc. Bouquet, iii. 132. St. Ouen, the chancellor of France, who was present at the interview, has mentioned it in his life of Eloi. Ib. The Cronicon Britannicum, from the ancient MS. of the church of Nantz, dates this peace in 643. See it in Lobineau, v. ii. p. 30.
ployments of royalty, wished to transfer his power to his brother Judoc; but this prince had imbibed the love of a private life so strongly, that he fled to avoid the honours intended for him (1). These unambitious characters are so rare, and the want of them sometimes causes such calamity, that whenever they appear they ought to be extolled.
Of Judichael's children, we only know that he had two sons; "by whom," says Ingomar, "long after his death, the Breton nation was so irradiated, that every province and country in their occupation continued to be governed by their descendants (2).”
The kingdom or county of Armorican Cornwall has escaped the notice of the old annalists, who have reached us. We have a catalogue of its chiefs, written in the twelfth century, but no narration accompanies it (3). The ancient romances of the country, indeed, abound with matter. The heroic actions of Daniel Dremruz transcend in glory the greatest achievements that have amazed us; but fiction has written in the page which history left a blank. We can only assert with truth, that Breton Cornwall had always its own counts to the time of Alain Cagnart; and that in the eleventh century they rose from the possession of an inferior province of Bretagne to the government of all the country (4).
In 753, the Bretons were defeated by Pepin, but not subdued. Under Charlemagne there was a Comte des Marches de Bretagne. This Comte was the famous Roland, who fell in 778, at the well known battle of Ronceval, and whose memory has been consecrated by the genius of romance, and the admiration of our forefathers (5).
We are trespassing with an episode at some length, but we now hasten to its close. Charlemagne appointed the count Gui, a potent warrior, to watch the frontiers of Bretagne. The endangered people, instead of repulsing their general enemy, wasted their strength in civil wars, and for the first time, all Bretagne was conquered and subjected to France by the indefatigable Gui. The troops were joined to the Imperial armies (6); disdaining a long submission they revolted. Vannes had been for 200 years the object of war between the Bretons and the French. It was the key of Bretagne, by which the French could enter at their pleasure into the very heart of the kingdom. The most violent efforts were therefore made to take and to keep this city. The Bretons mastered it in 809; the army of Charlemagne retook it in 811. The miseries which this nation suffered at last
(1) See the Vita Judoci, by an author of the eighth century, in Bouquet, iii. p. 519. (2) Lobineau, i. p. 26.
(3) It may be worth inserting from Lobineau, ii. p. 17. "Catalogue des Comtes de Cornouaille tiré des Cartulaires de Landevence et Quimper écrits dans le douzième siècle:"
Diles. Heirguer Ehebre
Alan Canhaiart (died 1058)
(5) Lobin. ib.
ended their civil dissensions. In 814, Jarnithin was reigning in Britain, and afterwards Morvan (1).
Louis le Débonnaire twice subdued Bretagne (2), and made Nominoe its lieutenant-governor (3). In 848, Nominoe was consecrated king of Bretagne at Dol (4). He baffled three Frankish expeditions of Charles the Bald (5). In 851 he died, the most prosperous and powerful prince which the Bretons had yet enjoyed (6). At his accession, the history of Bretagne breaks out into distinct notice, and flows into a clear and regular
His son Erispoe defeated Charles again; who, in revengeful policy, supported Salomon, the heir of Erispoe's eldest brother, against him. Erispoe allowed Salomon to govern subordinately the county of Rennes (7). In 857, Salomon, by an atrocious act (he killed his cousin) (8), began a reign of ability, but of guilt.
Salomon, assuming the sovereignty of all Bretagne, conciliated the French king, who, for his services against the Northmen, sent him a crown enriched with gold and jewels, and also the ornaments of regal dignity (9); but in 874 he experienced the instability of all power which has been obtained by crime. So many minds are depraved by the example, and encouraged by the success, that usurpation is generally dethroned by usurpation, till it ceases to be enviable. Pasquitan, count of Vannes, and also Gurvaint, the count of Rennes, who has obtained by his bravery a ray of fame, because all was gloom around him, caballed against Salomon, and destroyed him (10). The revolters then fought for the undivided sovereignty, and both perished in 877 (11).
Alain, brother of Pasquitan, succeeded at Vannes; and Judichail, son of Erispoe's daughter, at Rennes. Their civil discord was overawed by a Northman invasion. They united for the time; but in 878, Judichail, too eager for glory, fought alone with the enemy and perished. Alain, with better collected strength, conquered them, with decisive slaughter, and was acknowledged the sovereign of all Bretagne (12). He reigned till 907 with splendour and tranquillity. He attained the surname of the Great; but not great from overpowering intellect, or mighty achievements; not great because he was a giant, but because his countrymen were dwarfs.
We now approach the incident which has connected the history of Bretagne with the reign of Athelstan. After Alain's death, one passing cloud has shaded the affinity of his successor; but we find Gurmhailon, called the
(1) Lob. p. 28.
(3) Lob. 30.
(5) Lob. 40-49. and see Daniel, Histoire de France, v. ii. p. 42, 43. 46.
(7) Lob. p. 52.
(4) Lob. 47.
(6) Lob. p. 50.
(8) Lob. p. 54.
(9) Lob. 62. Daniel states, 66., that the Council of Savoiniers, held 859, mentioned Salomon with the periphrasis qui Britannorum tenet regionem, to avoid calling him king. The Council of Soissons afterwards styled him merely duke. Father Daniel follows this obligatory authority, and gives no higher title to any ruler in Bretagne.
(10) Lob. 66. Gurvaint, called by Regino, Vurfandus, challenged Hastings. See Regino's.detailed account in 874, p. 43.
(11) Lob. 67, 68.
(12) Annales Metenses Bouquet, viii. p. 71.: they state, that out of 15,000 Northmen, with whom Alain fought, 400 only escaped. Le séjour ordinaire d'Alain le Grand étoit au château de Rieux, près de Bedon, Lob. 70.
monarch of Bretagne (1), living in amity with Rivalt, the count of Vannes, and Mathuedoi, the count of Poher (2).
Mathuedoi had married the daughter of Alain the Great; The Bretons fly to but the throne of Alain was suddenly swept away by the furious torrent of the Northmen, now becoming Normans under Rollo, who in the beginning of the tenth century burst upon Bretagne with desolation and ruin. No exertion could check its approaches: it overwhelmed the sovereignty and the people with destruction, and Mathuedoi escaped to England with his family, and was received by Athelstan as already mentioned.
(1) Some make him son of Alain; some of Pasquitanus. He was evidently the superior prince, because Mathuedoi même a recours à lui pour faire confirmer les donations qu'il fait aux églises, Lob. p. 70. The Chronicle of Nantz states, that the sons of Alain the Great, minime patris vestigia sequentes, omnino defecti fuerunt. 8 Bouquet, 276.
(2) There may be some foundation for the remark of Daniel :-"Il semble même que depuis la mort du duc Alain, prince vaillant, il y avoit une espèce d'anarchie, et que les comtes du pays s'étoient rendus maîtres chacun dans leur canton," p. 221. ; but there is not foundation for his pertinacity in maintaining the courtly proposition: "Que ce duché étoit toujours tributaire de la France, et sujet à l'hommage." lb.
Edmund the Elder.
Athelstan having left no children, his brother Edmund succeeded at the age of eighteen (1).
Anlaf, the Northumbrian prince, who had fought. the battle of Brunanburh against Athelstan, renewed his competition with Edmund. The Anglo-Danes of Northumbria encouraged his hopes; they invited him from Ireland, and appointed him their king (2).
Collecting a great armament, he sailed to York, and thence marched towards Mercia, to wrest the crown of England from the head of Edmund (3). He assaulted Tamworth. Edmund, whom the Saxon song styles "the lord of the English-the protector of his relations-the author of mighty deeds," armed on the hostility, and marched against Anlaf to the "way of the White Wells, and where the broad stream of the Humber flowed (4).”
(1) Flor. Wig. 350.; Sax. Chron. 114.; Al. Bev. 110.; Ing. 29. The Sax. Chron. Tib. B. 4. dates Athelstan's death in 940. So Tib. B. 1.
(2) Malmsb. 53. Flor. Wig. 350. The MS. Saxon Chronicle, Tib. B. 4. has this passage, which is not in the printed one : 66 941, her Northymbra alugon hira getreowatha and Anlaf of Yrlande him to cinge gecuron."
(3) Matt. West. 365.
(4) The first paragraph of the reign of Edmund, in the Saxon Chronicle, is obviously an extract from a poem :
Her Edmund cyning,