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Vortigern a legendary 5th-century British king traditionally said to have invited the Saxons under Hengist and Horsa into Britain and to have married Hengist's daughter Rowena; according to Geoffrey of Monmouth's chronicle he was defeated and killed by Ambrosius Aurelianus, leader of Romano-British resistance to the Saxon invasion.

Vortigern and Rowena was the title of an alleged Shakespeare play which the forger William Henry Ireland (1777–1835) pretended to have discovered; it was produced by Kemble in 1796, but was derided by the public.

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Vortigern. A leader of the Britons in the immediate post-Roman period. Bede gives ad 449 as the year of the adventus Saxonum (the coming of the Saxons) and the story of Vortigern falls into the years following this date. Vortigern appears to have been a sub-Roman ruler in southern England, who, in order to protect his realm, is said to have invited two Saxon warriors, Hengist and Horsa, and their troops into Britain to act as a mercenary force. They revolted against Vortigern and set up their own rule in Kent in the 450s.

Eleanor Scott