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History in the Making
The Brutus Myth

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The Brutus Myth

In the sixteenth century, Britain had its own foundational story, the so-called "Brutus myth," which neatly linked the origins of Britain with the classical civilizations of Troy and Rome. Brutus (or Brut) was a descendant of Aeneas, who settled in Italy after the Trojan War. After being banished from Italy, as the story goes, Brutus found his way to Britain, which he named after himself and populated with his descendants. These semi-mythical ancient kings of Britain included such figures as Gorboduc, Leir, and Cymbeline, who later provided the inspiration for plays by Shakespeare and others.

John Bale. A brefe chronycle ... Antwerp, 1544

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