History Files




The History Files

About the History Files

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 sources:

  • First, and least, many are drawn from news media and contain archaeology or science-based news on historical or prehistoric topics
  • 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 web sites.

King Lists

These lists act as a detailed source of information both to back up the features and to provide detailed information in their own right.

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 red tint.

A detailed breakdown of the formatting used on a king list page is shown here.

Dating Conventions

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 world.

That project is ongoing. New material is constantly being added, and all contributions and submissions of data and features are highly welcome.


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