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Vortigern, flourished 5th century

According to a tradition, first reported by Gildas, Vortigern was the warlord who invited the Anglo-Saxons to settle in Britain. His son Vortemir died in battle fighting against the forces of the leader of the Anglo-Saxons, Aesc. This tradition was repeated with embellishments by Bede, the Historia Britonum, and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

Vortigern could be dismissed as a fiction were it not for the fact that Welsh genealogies preserve traditions tracing their ancestry back to this figure, and mention that his stronghold was Gloucester. Late Roman political practice was to settle allied barbarian peoples, who were known as foederati, within the boundaries of the Empire to furnish troops to aid in the defence of the Empire. It is not known if private individuals imitated this practice.

John Henry Ireland[?], a notorious forger of Shakespearean manuscripts, claimed to have found a lost play of Shakespeare entitled Vortigern and Rowena, which was presented in Drury Lane on April 2, 1796. As was clear from its crude writing, it was not the work of the famous playwright, and the play elicited ridicule and laughter from both cast and audience at its opening performance.

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