Nennius on the descendants of the Patriarch Yapheth

nenniushistorybrittonumThe English translation of the Latin Text of Nennius 17 and 18 by

Translation from Latin (below)

Nennius, also known as Nemnius or Nemnivus, was a Welsh monk of the 9th century. He has traditionally been attributed with the authorship of the Historia Brittonum, based on the prologue affixed to that work.
Nennius was a student of Elvodugus, commonly identified with the bishop Elfodd who convinced British ecclesiastics to accept the Continental dating for Easter, and who died in 809 according to the Annales Cambriae.
Nennius is believed to have lived in the area made up by present-day Brecknockshire and Radnorshire counties in Powys, Wales. He lived outside the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, isolated by mountains in a rural society. Welsh traditions include Nennius with Elbodug and others said to have escaped the massacre of Welsh monks by Ethelfrid in 613, fleeing to the north.


Chapter Seventeen

I found another explanation concerning this Brutus in the ancient books of our elders:

After the Flood, the three sons of Noah divided the earth into three parts. Shem (settled) in Asia; Ham in Africa, (and) Japheth expanded his borders in Europe. Alanus, of the line of Japheth, (was) the first man who came to Europe with his three sons, whose names were Hessitio, Armenon and Negue.

Now, Hessitio had four sons, Francus, Romanus, Britto (and) Albanus. Then Armenon had five sons, Gothus, Walagothus, Gepidus, Burgundus [note: the name Langobardus should have been given here]. (And) Negue had three sons, Wandalus, Saxo (and) Boguarus. Four nations, then, are arisen from Hessitio: the Franks, the Latins, the Albans and the Britons. Then, from Armenon (come) five (nations): the Goths, the Valagoths, the Gepids, the Burgundians (and) the Lombards. (And) from Negue (come) four (nations): the Bavarians, the Vandals, the Saxons and the Thuringians. (And) these nations are subdivided throughout all Europe. Alanus, it is said, was the son of Fetebir, (who was) the son of Ougomun, (who was) the son of Thous, (who was) the son of Boib, the son of Simeon, (who was) the son of Mair, the son of Ethach, (who was) the son of Aurthach, the son of Ecthet, (who was) the son of Oth, the son of Abir, (who was) the son of Rea, the son of Ezra, (who was) the son of Izrau, the son of Baath, (who was) the son of Iobaath, the son of Javan, (who was) the son of Japheth, the son of Noah, (who was) the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, (who was) the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, (who was) the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, (who was) the son of Enos, the son of Seth, (who was) the son of Adam, the child of the living God. I found this teaching in the tradition of the elders.

Chapter Eighteen


The first inhabitants of Britain were the Britons (so named) from Brutus. Brutus was the son of Hessitio. Hessitio (was the son of) Alanus. Alanus (was) the son of Rhea Silvia, (who was) the daughter of Numa Pompilius, the son of Ascanius. Ascanius (was) the son of Aeneas, the son of Anchises, (who was) the son of Trous, the son of Dardanus, (who was) the son of Elishah, the son of Javan, (who was) the son of Japheth. Japheth, in fact, had seven sons, the first (being) Gomer, from whom (came) the Gauls. The second was Magog, from whom (came) the Scythians and the Goths. The third (son was) Madai, from whom (came) the Medes. The fourth (son was) Javan, from whom (came) the (Ionian) Greeks. (And) the fifth was Tubal, from whom (came) the Iberians, the Spanish and the Italians. The sixth (was) Meshech, from whom (came) the Cappadocians. (And) the seventh (son was) Tiras, from whom (came) the Thracians. These are the sons of Japheth, the son of Noah, (who was) the son of Lamech. (My translation)

Below is a simplified family tree from Noah to Dardanus, leaving out some levels, like Javan & Elishah.descent_of_dardanus

    (translation is below original text)

Aliud experimenttini inueni de isto Bruto ex ueteribus libris ueterum nostrorum.

Tres fiji Noe diuiserunt orbem in tres partes post Diluuium. Sem in Asia; Chain in Africa; lafeth in Europa dilitauerunt terminos suos. Primus homo uenit ad Europam de genere lafeth Alanus cum tribus fihis suis quorum nomina sunt Hessitio, Armeno, Negue. Hessitio autem habuit fihios quat-tuor hi sunt Francus, Romanus, Britto, Albanus. Armenon autem habuit quinque fibs, Gothus, Valagothus, Gebidus, Burgundus. Negue autem habuit tres fihios, Wandalus, Saxo, Boguarus. Ab Hisitione autem ortae sunt quattuor gentes, Franci, Latini, Albani, et Britti. Ab Armenone autem qumque, Gothi, Walagothi, Gebidi, Burgundi, Langobardi. A Neguio uero quattuor, Boguarii, Vandali, Saxones, et Turingi. Lstae autem gentes subdiuisae sunt per totam Europam. Alanus autem ut aiunt fihius fuit Fetebir, flu Ougomun, fihi Thoi, flu Boib, flu Simeon, fiji Mair, flu Ethach, flu Aurthach, filii Ecthet, flu 0th, fiji Abir, flu Rea, filii Ezra, fihi Izrau, fbi Baath, flu Iobaath, flu lovan, flu lafeth, flu Noe, flu Lamech, flu Matusalem, flu Enoch, flu lareth, fin Malaleel, fihi Cainan, flu Enos, fiji Seth, flu Adam, fiji Dei vivi. Hanc peritiam inueni ex traditione ueterum.


Qui incolae in primo fuerunt Bnttanniae. Brittones a Bruto. Brutus filius Hisitionis, Hisition Alanei. Alaneus filius Reae Silviac, Rea Silvia filia Numae Pampiii, flu Ascanu, Ascanius filius Aeneae, flu Anchisae, fili Troi, fili Dardani, flu Else, fili Iuuani, flu Jafeth. lafeth uero habuit septern fibs. Primus Corner, a quo Galli; secundus Magog, a quo Scythas et Gothos; tertius Madai, a quo Medos; quartus Iuuan, a quo Graeci; quintus Tubal, a quo Hiberei et Hispani et Ital; sextus Mosoch, a quo Cappadoces; septimus Tiras, a quo Traces. Hi sunt flu lafeth, fihi Noe, fbi Lamech.

The Voyage of Alanus

According to one of the sources preserved by Nennius, there is a great-grandson of Noah, called Jobath, whose descendants can be traced for 17 more generations, and they populated many of the nations of Europe. The etymology of Turkish place names suggests that they migrated westwards from Ararat to Asia Minor, then went on a voyage from two sea ports on the Mediterranean coast. It is likely that they went to Spain, stopping in Italy on the way.

Note: This is a speculative article, subject to revision as new information becomes available.

Family of Javan, the Grandson of Noah

Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. From these three sons he had 16 grandsons who spread out and populated the world. For details of where they went, see The Sixteen Grandsons of Noah (1) and the first three appendices of After the Flood (2).

The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras.


The sons of Javan were:

  • Elishah, who populated Greece. The province of Eleia is named after him, and also from his name we get the word Hellenic.
  • Tarshish, the father of the peoples of Tartesis, who are thought to have settled in Spain.
  • Kittim, whose descendants settled in Cyprus.
  • Dodanim, whose descendants settled near Troy in Asia Minor, and were known as the Dardanians. The islands off the western coast of Turkey are still known as the Dardanelles. The Dardanians were allies of the Trojans and became assimilated with them. They were scattered when Troy was burnt by the Greeks (the famous story of the wooden horse). The Britons, named after Brutus, are believed to have descended from them. See my article on The Trojan City of London.

Family of Alanus

Nennius, an 8th century historian, had sources available to him that have long since perished, but he preserved the following text in Chapter 17 of his Historia Brittonum (3).

17. I have learned another account of this Brutus from the ancient books of our ancestors. After the deluge, the three sons of Noah severally occupied three different parts of the earth: Shem extended his borders into Asia, Ham into Africa, and Japheth into Europe.

The first man that dwelt in Europe was Alanus, with his three sons, Hisicion, Armenon, and Neugio. Hisicion had four sons, Francus, Romanus, Alamanus, and Bruttus. Armenon had five sons, Gothus, Valagothus, Cibidus, Burgundus, and Longobardus. Neugio had three sons, Vandalus, Saxo, and Boganus. From Hisicion arose four nations__the Franks, the Latins, the Germans, and Britons: from Armenon, the Gothi, Valagothi, Cibidi, Burgundi, and Longobardi:: from Neugio, the Bogari, Vandali, Saxones, and Tarincgi. The whole of Europe was subdivided into these tribes.

Alanus is said to have been the son of Fethuir; Fethuir, the son of Ogomuin, who was the son oof Thoi; Thoi was the son of Boibus, Boibus off Semion, Semion of Mair, Mair of Ecthactus, Ecthactus of Aurthack, Aurthack of Ethec, Ethec of Ooth, Ooth of Aber, Aber of Ra, Ra of Esraa, Esraa of Hisrau, Hisrau of Bath, Bath of Jobath, Jobath of JJoham, Joham of Japheth, Japheth of Noah, Noah of Lamech, Lamech of Mathusalem, Mathusalem of Enoch, Enoch of Jared, Jared of Malalehel, Malalehel of Cainan, Cainan of Enos, Enos of Seth, Seth of Adam, and Adam was formed by the living God. We have obtained this information respecting the original inhabitants of Britain from ancient tradition.

This genealogy includes Jobath, who is either an additional son of Joham (Javan), or else one of the four sons already mentioned under a different name. The genealogy continues to Alanus and his three sons, Hisicion, Armenon, and Neugio, who have populated many countries of Europe. This genealogy corresponds to place names which are found in Turkey, as follows:

  • Hisrau and Esraa correspond to the province of Erzurum in eastern Turkey, near mount Ararat where the Ark came to rest. It was called Erzurum by the Romans, and means “Land of the Romans” (4). They were using the local language to perpetuate the name of Rome, but at the same time they were perpetuating the names of Hisrau and Esraa which mean “land”. (The name of their grandfather Japheth has two meanings, “extender” and “fair”, so we have fair-skinned people with a common cause, extending and aquiring land).
  • There are the towns of Erdek, Eragli, Erkelet, Ermenech, in different places around Turkey. Clearly they correspond to Ethec, Aurthack and Ecthactus.
  • On the south coast of Turkey, within about 150 miles of each other as the crow flies, there are the towns of Fethiye, near the island of Rhodes, and Alanya in the bay of Antalya. These correpond to Fethuir and Alanus, the last two names in the genealogy before we get to the three sons of Alanus.

Hisrau was the fifth generation after Noah, the same generation as Peleg, in whose time the nations were scattered from Babylon. The descendants of Japheth must have travelled north, in the direction of Mount Ararat where they had originally come from. Hisrau and Esraa established their names in the region to the west of Ararat, and their descendants migrated further west and spread out over Anatolia and Asia Minor. Fethuir and Alanus went to the south-west and established the two sea ports on the coast.

Voyage to Italy

As their numbers increased, there was a need for further migration, especially as they were sharing territory with the Gauls (descendants of Gomer) who were also migrating westward. So Alanus and his three sons, together with many others, took off in ships and embarked on a voyage in search of new lands where they could settle.

As a matter of speculation, which I hope to verify when more information becomes available, I am suggesting that they stopped in Italy, where Romanus established the Latins and Longobardus established Longobardy. These grandsons of Alanus were the 21st generation after Noah, the same generation as Obed, the grandfather of King David of Judah. This does not necessarily mean they lived at the same time, but for the record, Obed was in Judah about 1200 BC.

This Romanus was not the same as Romulus who is credited with the foundation of Rome in 753 BC, instead he was much earlier.
Note: There are some authors who say that Romulus didn’t establish Rome anyway, he merely enlarged it, and the city was founded much earlier by Rhomanessos, the grandson of Atlas Italicus. See my article on the Travels of Noah (a summary of a book based mainly on Berosus).

Romanus and Longobardus did not inhabit an empty land. It had already been inhabited by Gomer the grandson of Noah, then invaded by Cham, then recovered by Hercules, as I have also described in the Travels of Noah.

Voyage to Spain

After some of the descendants of Alanus had gone to Italy, others continued their voyage westward to Spain. At this point I am no longer speculating, because there is some actual history. According to the Travels of Noah, there were some early inhabitants of Spain called the Alani, and together with them we find the Goths who are also mentioned by Nennius, as the people of Gothus (son of Armenon, son of Alanus).

Looking at the map of Spain, I do not find any towns directly named after Alanus, but there is Almansa in the province of Albacete. This suggests that Alamanus (son Hisicion, son of Alanus) might have been there, before he went off and founded Germany. (The French name for Germany is Allemagne).


Nennius says that Brutus, who came to Britain, was a son of Hisicion. However, if this was the same Brutus that we read about in the Tysilio Chronicle (5), and also in other parts of Nennius, the parentage of Brutus is already accounted for. He was the son of Silvius, the son of Ascanius, the son of Aeneas, but he could also have been a descendant of Hisicion along one of his maternal lines.

There could be problems with some of the sources used by Nennius, but not with Nennius himself, considering that he simply collected the documents available in his time (9th century AD). He never tried to prove or disprove any of it. Instead he says “I have therefore made a heap of all that I have found . . .”.


The conclusions of this study are as follows:

  • Nennius gives us a geneaology that traces the descent of the nations of Europe from Noah.
  • By studying the etymology of Turkish place names, it is possible to trace the migration of the family of Alanus as far as the two sea ports of Fethiya and Alanya.
  • Alanus set off on a voyage to Spain. He took his three sons with him, and his grandsons, and he may have stopped in Italy on the way and dropped some of them off.


1. The Sixteen Grandsons of Noah, Harold Hunt and Russell Grigg, Creation Ex Nihilo Magazine, Vol. 20, No. 4, September-November 1998, pp 22-25, ISSN 0819-1530, Answers in Genesis.

2. After the Flood, Bill Cooper, New Wine Press, 1995, ISBN 1-874367-40-X.

3. Nennius: Historia Brittonum, 8th century, Giles translation, Medieval Sourcebook.

4. Erzurum, Encyclopaedia Britannica.

5. Chronicle of the Kings of Britain. Translated by Peter Roberts in 1811 from the Welsh copy attributed to Tysilio. Facsimile reprint by Llanerch Publishers. ISBN 1-86143-111-2.
Note: This document is associated with the name of Tsysilio, although it was not necessarily written by his own hand. It comes from Brittany where Tysilio spent the last few years of his life, and he died there in 640 AD. At the end of the book, the death of Cadwallader in 688 is recorded, so at least this part of it could not have been written by Tysilio, but possibly by some of the monks in the monastery that he had founded.

Copyright 2001 BY COURTESY of Mike Gascoigne


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