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Reevaluating the Saxons' Heritage

This revisionist account of ancient British history made full use of the inventions of Verstegan’s predecessor, Annius of Viterbo, augmented by his own rather eccentric geographical musings about the supposed movement of major land masses.

These resourceful inventions helped Verstegan shift traditional emphasis away from Trojan Britons toward the ancient Saxon tribes— the latter representing the “true” and exemplary ancestors of the English. An exiled Catholic living amid an English Protestant triumphal revival of mythical Arthurian foundation myths, Verstegan recast the Saxons, led by their leaders Horst and Hengist, here described not as oppressive foreign invaders but as heroes, liberators, and, eventually, Christianizers of the island’s pagan population.