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Abstract

A reassessment of the list of civitates in Chapter 66a of the Historia Brittonum is attempted through the establishment of a reliable text as it is preserved in a number of versions. Analysis of each name is attempted by working back to its hypothetical Brittonic original. Some names attested in Classical and early medieval sources are readily identifiable and can be identified with Roman or Romano-British sites; some names have survived into more recent times and can also be identified with known sites, although some remain difficult. Of particular interest is a group named after real or legendary characters known from other literature. The list proved influential and its history can be traced to the notorious forgery De Sitû Brittaniæ ascribed to Richard of Cirencester; its importance lies in its hints at the nature of antiquarian speculation in early medieval Wales.