Henry of Huntingdon

English historian

Henricus Huntendunensis or Henry of Huntingdon (c. 1088 – c. 1157) was an Anglo-Norman churchman and chronicler. His Historia Anglorum covers English history as far as the accession of Henry II.

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Historia Anglorum (The History of the English People) edit

Quotations in the original Latin and English translations are taken from the edition by Diana Greenway (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996). ISBN 0198222246.

  • Cum in omni fere litterarum studio dulce laboris lenimen et summum doloris solamen dum uiuitur insitum considerem, tum delectabilius et maioris praerogatiua claritatis historiarum splendorem amplectendum crediderim.
    • It is my considered opinion that the sweetest relief from suffering and the best comfort in affliction that this world affords are to be found almost entirely in the study of literature, and so I believe that the splendour of historical writing is to be cherished with the greatest delight and given the pre-eminent and most glorious position.
    • Prologue, pp. 2-3.
  • Proprie uero proprium Britanniae est, ut incolae eius in peregrinationem tendentes, omnibus gentibus cultu et sumptu clariores ex hoc unde sint dinosci possint.’’
    • A particular characteristic of Britain is that its natives, when travelling abroad, are more splendid in their dress and manner of living, whence they may be distinguished from all other peoples.
    • Book I, §6, pp. 18-21.
  • Quod cum in maximo uigore floreret imperii, sedile suum in littore maris cum ascenderet statui iussit. Dixit autem mari ascendenti: "Tu mee dicionis es, et terra in qua sedeo mea est, nec fuit qui inpune meo resisteret imperio. Impero igitur tibi ne in terram meam ascendas, nec uestes uel membra dominatoris tui madefacere presumas."
    • When he was at the height of his ascendancy, he ordered his chair to be placed on the sea-shore as the tide was coming in. Then he said to the rising tide, "You are subject to me, as the land on which I am sitting is mine, and no one has resisted my overlordship with impunity. I command you, therefore, not to rise on to my land, nor to presume to wet the clothing or limbs of your master."
    • Book VI, §1, pp. 366-9.
  • Circa hoc tempus Siwardus consul fortissimus Nordhymbre, pene gigas statura, manu uero et mente predura, misit filium suum in Scotiam conquirendam. Quem cum bello cesum patri renuntiassent, ait, "Recepitne uulnus letale in anteriori uel posteriori corporis parte?" Dixerunt nuntii, "In anteriori." At ille, "Gaudeo plane, non enim alio me uel filium meum digner funere."
    • Around this time Siward, the mighty earl of Northumbria, almost a giant in stature, very strong mentally and physically, sent his son to conquer Scotland. When they came back and reported to his father that he had been killed in battle, he asked, "Did he receive his fatal wound in the front or the back of his body?" The messengers said, "In the front." Then he said, "That makes me very happy, for I consider no other death worthy for me or my son."
    • Book VI, §22, pp. 376-7.
  • Edwardus, duodecimo anno regni sui, cum pranderet apud Windlesore, ubi plurimum manere solebat, Godwinus gener suus et proditor, recumbens iuxta eum, dixit: "Sepe tibi rex falso delatum est me prodicioni tue inuigilasse. Sed si Deus celi uerax et iustus est, hoc panis frustrulum concedat ne michi guttur pertranseat, si umquam te prodere uel cogitauerim." Deus autem uerax et iustus audiuit uocem proditoris, et mox eodem pane strangulatus, mortem pregustauit eternam.
    • In the twelfth year of his reign, when Edward was feasting at Windsor, where he often used to stay, his father-in-law, the traitor Godwine, was lying next to him, and said, "It has frequently been falsely reported to you, king, that I have been intent on your betrayal. But if the God of heaven is true and just, may He grant that this little piece of bread shall not pass my throat if I have ever thought of betraying you." But the true and just God heard the voice of the traitor, and in a short time he was choked by that very bread, and tasted endless death.
    • Book VI, §23, pp. 378-9
  • Siwardus, consul rigidissimus, pro fluuio uentris ductus mortem sensit imminere. Dixitque, "Quantus pudor me tot in bellis mori non potuisse, et uaccarum morti cum dedecore reseruarer! Induite me saltem lorica mea impenetrabili, precingite gladio. Sublimate galea. Scutum in leua. Securim auratam michi ponite in dextra, ut militum fortissimus modo militis moriar." Dixerat, et ut dixerat armatus honorifice spiritum exalauit.
    • Siward, the stalwart earl, being stricken by dysentery, felt that death was near, and said, "How shameful it is that I, who could not die in so many battles, should have been saved for the ignominious death of a cow! At least clothe me in my impenetrable breastplate, gird me with my sword, place my helmet on my head, my shield in my left hand, my gilded battle-axe in my right, that I, the bravest of soldiers, may die like a soldier." He spoke, and armed as he had requested, he gave up his spirit with honour.
    • Book VI, §24, pp. 378-81.

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