NIGHTBRINGER | The Arthurian Encyclopedia

Belinus the Great

Belin, Belins, Bellinus, Belyns

In the chronicles, a king of the Britons who preceded Arthur by many centuries. He was the brother of Brennius.

When his father, King Dunwallo, died, Belinus and Brennius contended for the throne. After many battles, the brothers reached a truce and divided the island at the river Humber, with Belinus the higher king. Five years later, they went to war again. Brennius was aided by Norweigans, but was still defeated and driven off the island. During the same period, Belinus subjugated Denmark. He was later reconciled with his brother.

Together they conquered Gaul and Rome. Brennius remained to rule Rome while Belinus returned to Britain. His son Gurguint Barbtruc succeeded him.

When Arthur faced war with Rome, he used Belinus’s example as justification and inspiration for his own campaign. In the fourteenth-century Short Metrical Chronicle, with its confused chronology, Belinus is succeeded by Hengist.

He may be reflected in Welsh legend by Beli the Great.

Historia Regum Britanniae | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1138
Roman de Brut | Wace, c. 1155
Short Metrical Chronicle | 1307