Welcome to the History Files web site
We want to help you get the best from the History Files web site
so some basic information on the layout used here is necessary.
The History Files is divided into two main sections:
features and king lists.
These are added regularly, and cover various
subjects across the whole time scope of human history and
prehistory, as well as all previous eras. These come from three main
- First, and least, many are drawn from news
media and contain archaeology or science-based news on historical or
- Secondly, a few are reproductions of previously published material
- Thirdly, and most importantly, many features
are contributions from individuals with an interest in, and some knowledge of,
history. Anyone is welcome to submit material. Submitted
material will be highlighted on the front page as a banner feature
for at least seven days, and the author will be fully credited for
their work, with their name appearing on
the appropriate features index page, something that
only happens for original material. The work must be your own, and
not a direct copy of something that already exists. Contact us for more details.
Each feature page is split into
two sections. The main body text is on the lefthand two-thirds
of the page. The sidebar (established in 2002 and not related to the
more recent Microsoft Vista use of the name) on the right is reserved for associated images,
related internal links, external links to other web sites, and links
to other content around the History Files.
The History Files is not responsible for the content of other
These lists act as a detailed source of information both to back
up the features and to provide detailed information in their own
They are ordered much as they were created, being first
grouped into broad categories (continents), and then broken down,
wherever possible, into regions dictated to an extent by modern
national borders or long-lasting historical ones. Where possible,
continuity from one set of rulers to another in the same country or
region is maintained, and frequent notes explain and expand upon the
process of any changes.
Where important or prominent members of a ruling family did not
actually rule themselves, they are shown on a darkened background.
In some cases, especially with the kings of Celtic Britain,
semi-legendary family lineages are also shown. These are backed by a
A detailed breakdown of the formatting used on a
king list page is shown
In the main conventional formats are used, including
'c.' for circa, and 'fl' (flourished) to indicate a
specific, single, known date for a ruler where the ruler in question
must have been in power for a period longer than just that one date,
and also the occasional 'bef' (before) where the earliest known date
for a ruler is available, but where he was probably in power before that date.
The use of 'b.' and 'd.' are for born and died, so
'b.c.435' would mean born circa AD 435.
Care has been used to maintain the correct usage of the prefix
'AD' in these files. This is often used incorrectly, being placed
after, instead of before, a date. This originates from the practice
of teaching Latin syntax in the Augustan/Vergilian 'Silver Age,'
which demanded that the number of the year preceded 'ab urbe condita',
and that was why anno domini (in the year of our Lord) followed in
English. This was adopted later, according to the dictates of such
luminaries as Swift and, most especially, Pope, in the early
eighteenth century. Other stylistic devices were introduced.
It was only at this time that the split infinitive and the
separation of phrasal verbs began to be frowned upon as they didn't
suit the dictates of the grammarians of the time, so heavily were
they immersed in the Latin models from which they drew their
inspiration. With the removal of the Latin prefix, it no longer
makes any sense to say (for example) 1999 anno domini (as well as
being poorly constructed English), and should therefore always
precede the date to which it appends. The cultural persuasion and
inherited dating system of the reader makes no difference here. If
one is going to use this particular and widespread form of dating,
one may as well do it correctly.
Note that the (largely US-inspired) use of BCE and
CE to replace BC and AD will not be followed anywhere on this site.
Any contributed material will be edited to maintain this rule.
Compiling the Lists
The king lists, built up from notes from the mid-1980s onwards
and from sources which were only listed from the late 1990s onwards,
have been compiled for a couple of reasons. It seems that history in
modern schools is not taught in terms of dynasties and rulers any
longer (and this seems to be as true of the USA as it does of the
UK). The liberalist thinking behind this appears to be that learning
about rulers is elitist and irrelevant compared to understanding the
lot of the average citizen at any period in time.
This seems nonsensical. Rulers and their impact on national and
international events is what makes history. In the form of kings and
emperors, etc, they led the creation and evolution of most states
throughout written history, so how can one begin to understand the
lot of the common man without knowing about the essential
construction of his society? History without the skeletal framework
of events that centre around rulers is meaningless.
So works of this nature, which lay out the framework of states
and nations through their rulers, are essential before more intimate
studies of individuals who lived in those societies can be made.
The very start of the king lists came about for one
reason. One of the most interesting and consistently
fascinating periods is the Late Romano-British / Early Welsh period
known alternatively as Sub-Roman, the Twilight of the Celts or the
beginning of The Dark Ages.
This remarkable and extremely unstable
era of British history began its life in the History Files as a
series of handwritten lists of rulers and kingdoms. These lists
remained on paper until the early 1990s, when they were finally
digitised (along with the other original lists). Enthusiasm for this
project and its subject matter spilled over into compiling further
lists on all British rulers, and then spread by stages to cover the
That project is ongoing. New material is constantly
being added, and all contributions and submissions of
data and features are highly welcome.