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History of the Kings of Britain written by Geoffrey of Monmouth is considered a combination of myths and historical facts. It depicts the chronological development of Britain’s history in ancient times covering the periods of kings from 625 AD. This book left a print not only on the world of literature but also influenced such areas as art and history.
It is interesting to note that this book is a mixture of two genres: epic and historical which is why the book is really the reflection of ancient historical times. It includes the stories of King Arthur, North Wales kings, invasions of Julius Caesar, etc. the reflection of the epic genre in the book provides the readers to be completely involved in the chronological events of epic Britain. This genre performs informational and educational functions highlighting all the peculiarities of that time.
The historical genre of the book was used by the author in order to mix legends with the real facts from the history of Great Britain. The book shows all the events of British life history beginning with the Trojan diaspora and its fall. The writer managed to highlight all the historical facts covering Roman invasions and all British wars.
“…thousands of soldiers were drowned as the river water flowed into the holed ships and sucked them down” (Geoffrey of Monmouth, 112)
It is important to stress that this book became the background of many historical sources written later. It influenced the works of such famous writers as Shakespeare, Spenser, Malory, and many others. This work was translated into many world languages and spread throughout the whole world. The fields of art and literature used this book as the most important component for the creation of the world masterpieces of history; due to this fact the history of Britain is widely known everywhere.
The historical genre used by the author in the book under analysis was aimed at the description of the early British legends about the country and its kings. Geoffrey strived to create the detailed epic history making it real and interesting. He introduced the chronology in such detail that one can observe all the steps of the heroes of that time. The author began with the introduction of the tribes and their invasions and up to the peculiarities of the king’s government.
He managed to mix dramatic and cruel real historical events with mythical tales and legends. It helped the author to achieve the brilliant effect and its influence on many other spheres of British life. The main thing the author was concentrated on was the civilization of Britons and their place in the world. This aspect is considered to be the key one in the book. It is difficult to say that this book is fiction but it has a lot of features. Though the genres of history and epic are combined in the book they can be viewed independently from each other depicting separate elements and facts of their field.
Thus, the History of the Kings of Britain is the combination of genres presented by the author in order to reflect all the sides of Early Britain’s life and its history. These genres are presented through the heroes, legendary people, and kings. The stories are detailed and emotionally colored which helps the readers to feel the atmosphere of ancient times of Great Britain.
Geoffrey of Monmouth. History of the Kings of Britain. Penguin Classics. 1977.