ANNALES CAMBRIAE otherwise known as the Welsh Chronicles
An annalistic chronicle of events in Welsh history, compiled around 960 AD, probably at St Davids, at the instigation of Owain ap Hywel Dda, King of Deheubarth.
It starts off in 447 AD with the comment "Days as dark as night" and ends in 954 AD with "Rhodri ap Hywel dies" and contains brief notes on a further 149 of the intervening years. (Most of which are record of various deaths and battles.)
It was based on a variety of sources including Irish chronicles, but mainly on the notes added to the Paschal Tables of the monastery at St Davids, and is therefore a useful if not entirely reliable source document for the history of the period.
The Annales Cambriae exists in three different versions, conveniently known as 'A', 'B' and C''. Version 'A', represents the earliest copy of the Annales Cambriae which has survived and is generally regarded as the primary text, whilst versions 'B' and 'C' are from later manuscripts.
Version 'A' is contained in the manuscript known as Harleian MS 3859; within this same manuscript as a version of the Historia Brittonum as well as a collection of geneaogical information referred to in the Welsh Genealogies. Version 'A' is regarded as the most accurate, as it is both the earliest and the only one that has been published in an adequate format; by Egerton Phillimore in Y Cymmrodor 9 (1888), 141-83. Versions B and C, are dependent on the frequently inaccurate transcriptions of Rev J C ab Ithel, published in the Rolls Series.
The entries in the Annales Cambriae were not specifically dated as such; the first entry is dated as the year one, with all subsequent entries dated with reference to this starting point. The dates allocated to the entries given have been simply calculated by scholars through cross-referncing certain events to those securely dated in other source documents.
Although it is true to say that the annals are written in Latin, the Latin is often no more that a phonetic rendering of Old Welsh. For example the entry for the year 876 refers to the 'battle of Sunday' as 'Gueith Diu Sul', which is recognisable as the modern Welsh as 'Gwaith Dy' Sul', rather than the strict Latin 'Bellum Dies Dominica'.
In the version presented below, the text in brackets comes not from A version but from the more recent B and C verions. The LAtin text is given first followed by the English translation. The translation given is essentially that of James Ingram contained in The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (London: Everyman Press, 1912), which is described as the 'principal translation', but the following amendments have been applied;
- References to 'Saxones' have been translated as 'English' rather than 'Saxons', because 'English' is what they meant
- Whereas the entry for the year 796 Vastatio Reinuch ab Offa is usually transalated as 'devastation by Rheinwg son of Offa' this seems wrong to me as; a) Rheinwg is the name under which the kingdom of Dyfed was known at the time and b) there are no other references to a 'Rheinwg' who was a son of Offa' (and it seems an unlikely choice as the name for a Mercian prince). It seems much more likely that the author(s) meant the 'Devastation of Rheinwg by Offa'
The Text of the Annales Cambriae
(Dies tenebrosa sicut nox.)
(Days as dark as night.)
Pasca commutatur super diem dominicum cum papa Leone episcopo Romae.
Easter altered on the Lord's Day by Pope Leo, Bishop of Rome.
Brigida sancta nascitur.
Saint Brigid is born.
Sanctus Patricus ad Dominium migrator.
Saint Patrick goes to the Lord.
Dewi nascitur anno tricesimo discessum Patricii de Menevia.
Saint David is born in the thirtieth year after Patrick left Mynyw.
Quies Benigni episcopi.
The death of Bishop Benignus.
Episcopus Ebur pausat in Christo anno CCCL aetatis suae.
Bishop Ebur rests in Christ, he was 350 years old.
Bellum Badonis, in quo Arthur portavit crucem Domini nostri Jhesu Christi tribus diebus et tribus noctibus in humeros suos et Brittones victores fuerunt.
The Battle of Badon, in which Arthur carried the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ for three days and three nights on his shoulders and the Britons were the victors.
Sanctus Columcille nascitur. Quies sanctae Brigidae.
Saint Columba is born. The death of Saint Brigid.
Gueith camlann in qua Arthur et Medraut corruerunt, et mortalitas in Brittannia et in Hibernia fuit.
The battle of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medrawd fell: and there was plague in Britain and Ireland.
The sleep of Ciaran.
Mortalitas magna in qua pausat Mailcun rex Genedotae. (Unde dicitur, "Hir hun Wailgun en llis Ros". Tunc fuit wallwelen.)
The great death in which Maelgwn, king of Gwynedd died. (Thus they say 'The long sleep of Maelgwn in the court of Rhos'. Then was the yellow plague.)
Gabran filius Dungart moritur.
The death of Gabrán mac Dungart.
Columcille in Brittannia exiit.
Columba went to Britain.
Navigatio Gildae in Hybernia.
The voyage of Gildas to Ireland.
Synodus Victoriae apud Brittones congragatur.
The Synod of Victory was held between the Britons.
Gildas (Britonus sapientissmus) obiit.
Gildas (wisest of Britons) died.
Bellum Armterid (inter filios Elifer et Guendoleu filium Keidiau; in quo bello Guendoleu cecidit; Merlinus insanus effectus est.)
The battle of Arfderydd (between the sons of Eliffer and Gwenddolau ap Ceidio; in which battle Gwenddolau fell; Merlin went mad.)
Brendan Byror dormitatio.
The sleep of Brendan of Birr.
Guurci et Peretur (filii Elifer) moritur.
Gwrgi and Peredur (sons of Elifert) died.
Bellum contra Euboniam et depositio Danielis Bancorum.
Battle against the Isle of Man and the burial of Daniel of the Bangors.
Conversio Constantini ad Dominum.
The conversion of Constantine to the Lord.
(Edilbertus in Anglia rexit.)
(Aethelberht reigned in England.)
Columcille moritur. Dunaut (filius Pabo) rex moritur. Augustinus Mellitus Anglos ad Christum convertit.
The death of Columba. The death of king Dunod (son of Pabo). Augustine and Mellitus converted the English to Christ.
Sinodus Urbis Legion. David episcopus Moni Judaeorum.
The Synod of Chester. Gregory died in Christ and also bishop David of Moni Iudeorum.
Depositio Cinauc episcopi.
The burial of bishop Cynog.
Aidan map Gabran moritur.
The death of Aidan mac Gabrán
Conthigirni obitus et Dibric episcopi.
The death of Kentigern and bishop Dyfrig.
Gueith Cair Legion, et ibi cecidit Selim filii Cinan. Et Jacob filii Beli dormitatio.
The battle of Chester. And there died Selyf ap Cynan. And Iago ap Beli slept.
Etguin incipit regnare.
Edwin begins his reign.
Sol obscuratus est.
The sun is covered.
Etguin baptizatus est, et Run filius Urbgen baptizavit eum.
Edwin is baptized, and Rhun ab Urien baptized him.
Obsessio Catguollaun regis in insula Glannauc.
The beseiging of king Cadwallon in the island of Glannauc.
Guidgar venit et non redit. Kalendis januariis Gueith Meicen; et ibi interfectus est Etguin cum duobus filiis; Catguollaun autem victor fuit.
Gwyddgar comes and does not return. On the Kalends of January the battle of Meigen; and there Edwin was killed with his two sons; but Cadwallon was the victor.
Bellum Cantscaul in quo Catguollaun corruit.
The battle of Cantscaul in which Cadwallon fell.
Strages Sabrinae et jugulatio Iudris.
The slaughter of the Severn and the death of Idris.
Bellum Cocboy in quo Oswald rex Nordorum et Eoba rex Merciorum corruerunt.
The battle of Cogfry in which Oswald king of the North and Eawa king of the Mercians fell.
Percussio Demeticae regionis, quando coenobium David incensum est.
The hammering of the region of Dyfed, when the monastery of David was burnt.
(Slaughter in Gwent.)
The rising of a star.
Strages Gaii campi.
The slaughter of Campus Gaius.
Osguid venit et praedam duxit.
Oswy came and took plunder.
Cummine the tall died.
Brocmail (Escithrauc) moritur.
Brocmail (the tusked) dies.
Primum Pasca apud Saxones celebratur. Bellum Badonis secundo. Morcant moritur.
The first celebration of Easter among the English. The second battle of Badon. Morgan dies.
Osguid rex Saxonum moritur.
Oswy, king of the English, dies.
Stella mirae magnitudinis visa est per totum mundum lucens.
A star of marvelous brightness was seen shining throughout the whole world.
Mortalitas magna fuit in Brittania, in qua Catgualart filius Catguolaun obiit.
A great plague in Britain, in which Cadwaladr ap Cadwallon dies.
Mortalitas (fuit) in Hibernia.
A plague (was) in Ireland.
Terrae motus in Eubonia factus est magnus.
A great earthquake in the Isle of Man.
Pluvia sanguinea facta est in Brittannia, et (in Hybernia) lac et butirum versa sunt in sanguinem.
The rain turned to blood in Britain, and (in Ireland) milk and butter turned to blood.
Alchfrit rex Saxonum obiit. Dormiatio Adomnan.
Aldfrith king of the English died. The sleep of Adomnan.
Nox lucida fuit sicut dies. Pipinus major, rex Francorum, obiit in Christo.
Night was as bright as day. Pepin the elder, king of the Franks, died in Christ.
Osbrit rex Saxonum moritur
Osred king of the English dies.
Consecratio Michaelis archangeli (in monte Gargano) ecclesiae.
The consecration of the church of the archangel Michael (on mount Gargano).
A hot summer.
Beli filius Elfin moritur. Et bellum Hehil apud Cornuenses, Gueith Gartmailauc, Cat Pencon, apud dexterales Brittones, et Brittones victores fuerunt in istis tribus bellis.
Beli ab Elffin dies. And the battle of Hehil among the Cornish, the battle of Garth Maelog, the battle of Pencon among the south Britons, and the Britons were the victors in those three battles.
Bellum montis Carno.
The battle of mount Carno.
Beda presbiter dormit.
Bede the priest sleeps.
Ougen rex Pictorum obiit.
Oengus king of the Picts died.
Bellum inter Pictos et Brittones, id est Gueith Mocetauc. Et rex eorum Talgarn a Brittonibus occiditur. Teudubr filius Beli moritur.
Battle between the Picts and the Britons, that is the battle of Mocetauc. And their king Talorgan is killed by the Britons. Teudubr map Beli dies.
Rotri, rex Brittonum, moritur.
Rhodri king of the Britons dies.
Ethwald rex Saxonum moritur.
Athelwald king of the English dies.
Bellum inter Brittones et Saxones, id est Gueith Hirford et Dunnagual filius Teudubr moritur.
A battle between the Britons and the English, that is the battle of Hereford and Dyfnwal son of Tewdwr dies.
Pasca commutatur apud Brittones (super dominicam diem) emmendante Elbodugo homine Dei.
Easter is changed among the Britons (on the Lord's day), Elfoddw, servant of God, emending it.
Fernmail filius Judhail moitur.
Ffernfael ab Ithael dies.
Cenioyd rex Pictorum obiit.
Cinaed king of the Picts dies.
Cudberth abbas moritur.
Abbot Cuthbert dies.
Vastatio Brittonum dexteralium apud Offa.
The devastation of the South Britons by Offa.
Vastatio Brittonum cum Offa in aestate.
The devastation of Britain by Offa in the summer.
(Vastatio Reinuch ab Offa) Primus adventus gentilium apud dexterales ad Hiberniam.
(The devastation of Rheinwg by Offa) The first coming of the gentiles among the southern Irish
Offa rex Merciorum et Morgetiud rex Demetorum morte moriuntur, et bellum Rudglann.
Offa king of the Mercians and Maredudd king of the Demetians die, and the battle of Rhuddlan.
Caratauc rex Guenedotae apud Saxones jugulatur.
Caradog king of Gwynedd is killed by the English.
Arthgen rex Cereticjaun moritur. (Eclipsis solis.)
Arthen king of Ceredigion dies. (Solar eclipse.)
Regin rex Demetorum et Catell (rex) Povis moriuntur.
Rhain king of the Demetians and Cadell (king) of Powys die.
Elbodug archiepiscopus Guenedotae regione migravit ad Dominum.
Elfoddw archbishop in the Gwynedd region went to the Lord.
(Luna obscuratur.) Combustio Miniu. (Mortalitas pecorum in Brittannia.)
(The moon covered.) Mynyw burnt. (Death of cattle in Britain.)
Eugein filius Margetiud moritur.
Owain ap Maredudd dies.
Decantorum arx ictu fulminis comburit.
The fortress of Degannwy is struck by lightning and burnt.
Bellum inter Higuel (et Kinan. Howel) victor fuit.
Battle between Hywel (and Cynan. Hywel) was the victor.
Tonitruum magnum fuit et incendia multa fecit. Trifun filius Regin moritur. Et Griphuid filius Cincen dolosa dispensatione a fratre suo Elized post intervallum duorum mensium interficitur. Higuel de Monia insula triumphavit et Cinan de ea expulit cum contritione magna exercitus sui.
There was great thunder and it caused many fires. Tryffin ap Rhain died. And Gruffydd ap Cyngen is killed by treachery by his brother Elisedd after an interval of two months. Hywel triumphed over the island of Anglesey and he drove Cynan from there with a great loss of his own army.
Higuel de Monia expulsus est (a Kenan.) Cinan rex moritur. (Saxones montes Ereri et regum Roweynauc invaserunt).
Hywel was again expelled from Anglesey. Cynan the king dies. (The English invaded the mountains of Eryri and the kingdom of Rhufoniog).
The battle of Llanfaes.
(Ceniul regiones Demetorum vastavit.)
(Cenwulf devastated the Dyfed region.)
Arecem Deccantorum a Saxonibus destruitur et regionem Poyis in sua potestate traxerunt.
The fortress of Degannwy is destroyed by the English and they took the kingdom of Powys into their own control.
(Eclipsis lunae.)Laudent moritur et Saturnbiu Hail Miniu moritur.
(Lunar eclipse.) Laudent died and Sadyrnfyw Hael of Mynyw died.
Nobis episcopus in Miniu regnavit.
Nobis the bishop ruled Mynyw.
Mermin moritur. Gueith Cetill.
Merfyn dies. The battle of Cetill.
Gueit Finnant. Judhail rex Guent a viris Broceniauc occisus est.
The battle of Ffinnant. Ithael king of Gwent was killed by the men of Brycheiniog.
Mouric occisus est a Saxonibus.
Meurig was killed by the English.
Cinnen a gentilibus jugulatur.
Cynin is killed by the gentiles.
Mon (est) vastata a gentilibus nigris.
Anglesey (is) laid waste by black gentiles.
Cinnen rex Povis in Roma obiit.
Cynin king of Powys dies in Rome.
Cenioyth rex Pictorum moritur. Et Jonathan princeps Opergelei moritur.
Kenneth king of the Picts died. And Jonathan prince of Abergele dies.
(Mail Eachlen obiit.)
(Mael Eachlen dies.)
Catgueithen expulsus est.
Catgueithen was expelled.
Duta vastavit Gliuisigng.
Duda laid Glywysing waste.
Cian Nant Nimer obiit.
Cian of Nanhyfer died.
rbs Ebrauc vastata est, id est Cat Dub Gint.
The city of York was laid waste, that is the battle with the black gentiles.
Cat Brin Onnen.
The battle of Bryn Onnen.
Arx Alt Clut a gentilibus fracta est.
The fortress of Alt Cluid was broken by the gentiles.
Guoccaun mersus est, rex Cereticiaum.
Gwgon king of Ceredigion was drowned.
Nobis (episcopus) et Mouric moriuntur. Gueith Bannguolou.
Nobis (the bishop) and Meurig die. The battle of Bannguolou.
(Llunwerth episcopus consecratur.)
(Llunferth the bishop consecrated.)
Dungarth rex Cerniu, (id est Cornubiae,) mersus est.
Dungarth king of Cernyw (that is of the Cornish) was drowned.
Gueith Diu Sul in Mon.
The battle of Sunday in Anglesey.
Rotri et filius ejus Guriat a Saxoonibus jugulatur.
Rhodri and his son Gwriad are killed by the English.
Aed map Neill moritur.
Aed mac Neill dies.
Gueit Conguoy. Digal Rotri a Deo. (Gueit Conani.)
The battle of Conwy. Vengeance for Rhodri at God's hand. (The battle of Cynan.)
Higuel in Roma defunctus est.
Hywel died in Rome.
Cerball defunctus est.
(Subin Scottorum sapientissimus obiit.)
Suibne the wisest of the Irish died.
Anaraut cum Anglis venit vastare Cereticiaun et Strati Tiui.
Anarawd came with the English and laid waste Ceredigion and Ystrad Tywi.
Nordmani venerunt et vastaverunt Loycr et Bricheniauc et Guent et Guinnliguiauc.
The Northmen came and laid waste England and Bycheiniog and Gwent and Gwynllwg.
(Panis in Hibernia defecit. Vermes de aere ceciderunt talpae smiles cum duobus dentibus qui totam comederunt; qui ejecti sunt jejunio et oratione.)
(Bread failed in Ireland. Vermin like moles with two teeth fell from the air and ate everything up; they were driven out by fasting and prayer.)
(Elstan rex Saxonum obiit.)
(Athelstan king of the English died.)
Albrit rex Giuoys moritur.
Alfred king of the Gewissae dies.
Igmunt in insula Mon venit tenuit Maes Osmeliaun.
Igmund came to Anglesey and took Maes Osfeilion.
(Merwyn filius Rodri obiit et) Loumarch filius Himeid moritur.
(Merfyn ap Rhodri died and ) Llywarch ap Hyfaidd dies.
Rostri (filius Heweid) decollatus est in Arguistli.
Rhodri (son of Hyfaidd) was beheaded in Arwystli.
Gueith Dinmeir et Miniu fracta est.
The battle of Dinmeir and Mynyw was broken.
Guorchiguil (episcopus) moritur et Cormuc rex.
(Bishop) Gorchywyl dies and king Cormac.
Asser (episcopus) defunctus est.
(Bishop) Asser died.
Catell (filius Rodri) rex moritur.
King Cadell (son of Rhodri) dies.
Otter venit (in Britanniam.)
Ohter comes (to Britain).
Anaraut rex (Britonum) moritur.
Anarawd king (of the Britons) dies.
Aelfled regina obiit.
Queen Aethelflaed died.
Clitauc rex occisus est.
King Clydog was killed.
Gueith Dinas Neguid.
The battle of Dinas Newydd.
Higuel rex perrexit ad Romam. (Helena obiit.)
Hywel journeyed to Rome. (Helen died.)
Grifinus filius Oweyn obiit.
Gruffudd ab Owain died.
The battle of Brune.
Himeid filius Clitauc et Mouric moritur.
Hyfaidd ap Clydog, and Meurig, died.
Aedelstan (rex Saxonum) moritur.
Athelstan (king of the English) died.
Abloye rex moritur.
King Afloeg dies.
Catel filius Artmail veneno moritur. Et Iudgual (filius Rodri) et filius ejus Elized a saxonibus occiduntur.
Cadell ab Arthfael was poisoned. And Idwal (son of Rhodri) and his son Elisedd are killed by the English.
Lunberth episcopus in Miniu obiit.
Llunferth bishop in Mynyw died.
(Morleis episcopus obiit.)
(Bishop Morlais died.)
Cincenn filius Elized veneno periit. Et Eneuris episcopus Miniu obiit. Et Strat Clut vastata est a Saxonibus.
Cyngen ab Elisedd was poisoned. And Eneuris bishop in Mynyw died. And Strathclyde was laid waste by the English.
Eadmund rex Saxonum jugulatus est.
Edmund king of the English was killed.
Higuel rex Brittonum (scilicet Bonus) obiit.
Hywel king of the Britons (called the Good) died.
Et Catguocaun filius Ovein a Saxonibus jugulatur. Et bellum Carno (inter filios Hoeli et filios Idwal).
And Cadwgan ab Owain is killed by the English. And the battle of Carno (between the sons of Hywel and the sons of Idwal).
(Iago et Idwal filii Idwal vastaverunt Dewe.)
(Iago and Idwal the sons of Idwal laid Dyfed waste.)
Rotri, filius Higuel, moritor.
Rhodri ap Hywel dies.
Text of the Annales Cambriae sourced from;