Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 173
Brut is an epic poem by thirteenth-century priest and poet Layamon. The poem is also called The Chronicle of Britain. The poem has 16,096 lines and is written in Middle English (c. 1150 to c. 1470). Brut is a primer on British history and is particularly known for its substantially large section dedicated to the exploits of King Arthur, which is still regarded as a mythical figure or a composite of various historical figures.
The poem is not an accurate historiography, but instead features various mythical anecdotes, which makes Brut more similar to an ethnographic presentation of British culture, folklore and literary tradition. Due to the fact that history facts and fantasy interweave in the epic poem.
Layamon's masterpiece provokes inquiry into the nature of history and historical analysis. How can one discern what actually happened from mythology? This is especially true when historical figures or events have been intertwined with legends throughout the centuries. The poem is a fascinating and accomplished undertaking nonetheless, and serves as a primer for those interested in the Anglo-Saxon culture.