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Hengist

Hengist and Horsa. Reputed founders of the kingdom of Kent and its royal house. Bede was the first to identify the two brothers as the leaders of Germanic forces invited to Britain by Vortigern in 449; fuller accounts are provided in the 9th-cent. Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and Historia Brittonum. The stories concerning them should be seen as part of Kentish foundation legends rather than as records of actual events. ‘Stallion’ and ‘Horse’ are more likely to have been horse-deities than genuine ancestors and with their alliterating names recall other legendary founding pairs of the Indo-European world such as Romulus and Remus.

Barbara Yorke

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Hengist

Hengist and Horsa (d. 488 and d. 455), semi-mythological Jutish leaders. According to Bede the brothers were invited to Britain by the British king Vortigern in 449 to assist in defeating the Picts and later established an independent Anglo-Saxon kingdom in Kent.

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