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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to GunnLeif Merl I 53VIII (Bret 121)

[All]: Cf. DGB 113 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 147.86-149.87; cf. Wright 1988, 104, prophecy 11): Venedocia rubebit materno sanguine, et domus Corinei sex fratres interficiet ‘Venedotia will run red with a mother’s blood, and the house of Corineus kill six brothers’ (Reeve and Wright 2007, 146, 148). The historical status of this prophecy is difficult to assess. The first clause of the prophecy possibly extrapolates Geoffrey’s awareness of growing unrest against Henry I in Wales (Poole 1955, 290-1; cf. Curley 1982, 223) into the immediate future. The Lat. Venedocia corresponds to Welsh Gwynedd, the kingdom in North Wales. The mention of the house of Corineus, i.e. the successors of the legendary first ruler of Cornwall (cf. DGB I: Reeve and Wright 2007, 28-9) in the second clause of the prophecy might then personify Cornish involvement in this imagined conflict. But confused records exist concerning an atrocity in Cornwall, committed against Normans and datable to some time between 1100 and 1129 (Padel 1984, 20-7), that matches the account and hence gives the prophecy historic status.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Reeve, Michael D., and Neil Wright. 2007. Geoffrey of Monmouth. The History of the Kings of Britain. An Edition and Translation of De gestis Britonum [Historia regum Britanniae]. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  3. Wright, Neil, ed. 1988. The Historia Regum Britannie of Geoffrey of Monmouth. II. The First Variant Version: A Critical Edition. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer.
  4. Poole, Austin Lane. 1955. From Domesday Book to Magna Carta, 1087-1216. 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon.
  5. Curley, Michael J. 1982. ‘A New Edition of John of Cornwall’s Prophetia Merlini’. Speculum, 217-49.
  6. Padel, Oliver. 1984. ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth and Cornwall’. Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies 8, 1-28.


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