The History of the Kings of Britain Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What does Geoffrey write to Alexander? Why does he do this?

Geoffrey's dedication is a request that his benefactor, Alexander, receive the text favorably. Geoffrey speaks highly of the ruler and asks that Alexander ignore the base language in which Geoffrey writes. He refers to himself as an inadequate writer attempting to do what little he can for Alexander's glory. The dedication is a necessary part of ancient texts as writers need a benefactor to promote their work. However, the book is probably intended for Alexander as a warning against pursuing personal glory and Geoffrey needs a way to sugar-coat the truth of his text.

2. How is Britain described? What is the purpose of this book?

The first part opens with a description of Britain as an idyllic island. The rich soil provides a bounty of crops, while the clear running streams and beautiful forests give up fish and game. Britain boasts "three noble rivers": the Thames, the Severn and the Humber, which bring goods and trade from all over the world. There are five races of man that populate the isle: the Norman-French, the Britons, the Saxons, the Picts and the Scots. The Britons are the original inhabitants that have been driven into the minority by the invasion of the others. Geoffrey of Monmouth says he will relate to the reader exactly how Britain became overrun by outside forces.

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