Further reading

d'Ardenne, Salvina. "The Old English Inscription on the Brussels Cross." English Studies 21 (1939): 145-164, 271-272.

BRUT, THE Layamon (ca. 1155) Layamon's The Brut is a verse chronicle of the history of England from the time of its alleged founding by the legendary Brutus, great-grandson of the Trojan hero Aeneas, until the last British king. Included in its contents is the reign of King Arthur.

The Brut comprises more than 16,000 lines of alliterative verse divided into half-lines. It survives in two manuscripts, both dating to the later 13th century. contrary to other renditions of early Britain, The Brut strips away most of the lavish aristocratic settings, focusing instead on the plight of ordinary people. This, coupled with its vernacular composition, may indicate that its intended audience was nonaristocratic. On the other hand, the sheer cost of producing a manuscript of such length suggests wealthy patronage, and most of the aristocracy were bilingual.

After the Norman Conquest, there was a renewed interest in the history of Britain, leading to the proliferation of chronicles, both verse and prose. For his poem, Layamon used source material from the venerable Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People (Historia Ecclesiastic a), the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain (Historia Regum Britanniae), and the Roman de Brut, by the Jersey poet Wace in the Anglo-Norman language. The Brut is an important poem as it is the first work to cast the mythical history of England into the vernacular, and one of the few major pieces written in English during the immediate postconquest period.

See also alliteration.

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