The Samotheans - First Inhabitants of Britain

According to an ancient account that has been preserved in Holinshed's Chronicle, the earliest inhabitants of the island which is now called Britain were the Samotheans. Their first king was called Samothes, and he is believed to have been Meshech, the sixth son of Japheth.

Note: This history uses source material of questionable origin, known as "pseudo-Berosus". See the Lost Works of Berosus.

The Samothean Kings

Holinshed's Chronicle (1) is a large six-volume work, written during the Tudor period. It contains a comprehensive history of England, Scotland and Ireland, from the earliest times to shortly before the publication date (first edition 1578, second edition in 1587). Volume I describes a succession of Samothean kings, ruling over an empire until they were invaded by a giant called Albion. They were liberated by another powerful figure called Hercules, and then the succession of kings continued until the arrival of Brutus the Trojan.

The island of Britain was first called Samothea, until Albion came and re-named it after himself. When Albion was defeated, it did not revert to Samothea, but retained the name of Albion, until Brutus arrived and called it Britain. The succession of kings was as follows:

Bardus Junior
Albion (invaded Samothea)
Hercules (defeated Albion)
Celtes (continued after defeat of Albion)
Galates II
Brutus (invaded and set up a new succession of kings)

The Samothean kings ruled over more than just the island of Samothea. Their kingdom included a large part of Europe from the Rhine to the Pyrennes, an area known as Gallia. Samothes is said to be the founder of Celtica, as if the Celts and Gauls were in different parts of the same empire, although they are known to have spread out all over Europe and they are the same race.

Holinshed's Chronicle gives more than one possible date for the arrival of the first inhabitants of Samothea. In one place it says that they arrived 200 years after the Flood. In another place (in Volume VI, Ireland) it gives the date of the Flood as 1650 AM (Anno Mundi - Year of the World from Creation). Going back to Volume I we have the arrival of Samothes in 1910 AM which is 260 years after the Flood. Without getting bogged down with the detail, we get the impression that the dispersion was not a gradual process. People travelled large distances in a very short time (probably to get away from Nimrod who had become a tyrant).

There are other issues to be resolved, which I will return to later:

Samothes to Bardus - The First Five Kings

The first five kings of Samothea maintained the true religion that they had learned from Noah and Japheth. They are each described as follows:

After Bardus, the Celts departed from the strict ordinances of their former kings and fell into idleness and decadence, so that they were quickly subdued by the giant Albion.

The Egyptian Family Feud

Ham was the youngest of Noah's three sons, and he had four sons:

Mizraim had seven sons, known as Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathruhim, Casluhim and Caphtorim. Two of these are of interest in this study:

The Egyptians adopted the practice of deifying their kings, just as the Babylonians had deified Nimrod. The same practice was passed on to the Greeks and Romans and to all the pagan world, until it was subdued by Christianity. There were no unique characters called Neptune or Hercules, instead there could be any number of them, depending on how the pagans deified their kings. In the case of these two sons of Mizraim, they were called Neptune Marioticus and Hercules Lybicus. Their father Mizraim was also deified, and was called Osiris.

Neptune, the son of Osiris, sailed the seas with his 33 giant sons, leaving each of them in a different place to overthrow the kingdoms that already existed and bring the world under their own tyrannical rule. The sons that feature in this story are:

Osiris was opposed to their ambitions, so the giants held a judicial council, with the support of their father Neptune, and put him to death. This event was a cause of great lamentation that was regularly observed in the religion of ancient Egypt, and the practice was passed on to the Greeks and Romans who lamented the death of Bacchus. It is also thought that Nimrod met a violent death. He may have been torn to pieces by wild beasts, but nobody seems to know for sure.

Hercules Lybicus was infuriated by the murder of his father Osiris and set out to kill the giant sons of Neptune wherever they could be found. He went to Spain and defeated the Lomnimi or Geriones, then he passed through Gallia on his way to Italy, to do battle with Lestrigo. When Albion and Bergion heard that he was on his way to Italy, they set off to defend their brother Lestrigo, and fought against Hercules on the banks of the Rhine (it seems that Hercules must have gone further north to meet Albion and Bergion).

The battle was going badly for Hercules, and his army had used up all their weapons, but Hercules called on them to pick up stones which were available in abundance and throw them at the enemy. This way they killed both Albion and Bergion, and most of their army, so that the remainder were put to flight and the battle was won. After that, Hercules went throughout Gallia, overthrowing tyrants in every place.

It is thought that Hercules came to the island of Albion, arriving at a headland which Ptolomie calls Promontorium Herculis, now known as Hartland Point in north Devon.

Holinshed gives a succession of Celtic kings who reigned after the defeat of Albion, beginning with the reinstatement of Celtes, although very little is said about these kings and there is doubt about what sort of rule they had. There are accounts of complete disorder as the other giants continued in a state of lawlessness. Tysilio's Chronicle (4) says that when Brutus arrived, the island was empty except for a few giants. Whatever may be the case, we can be sure that the island retained the name of Albion until Brutus arrived and called it Britain.

The Samotheans gained a hollow liberation at the hand of Hercules. He did not fight his battles out of love for the Celts or other oppressed people. He simply wanted to avenge the death of his father Osiris. The Samotheans had been invaded by an Egyptian giant, from a family that was divided against itself, and they were liberated by a member of the same family.

As already mentioned, the Samotheans had fallen because they had departed from the true religion of Noah and turned to paganism. When Albion came in 1721 BC (according to a rough calculation), the paganism got worse and continued after his death. It got no better when Brutus came, because Brutus himself was a pagan, and was not subdued until the arrival of Christianity in the first century AD. No wonder the Britons embraced Christianity with enthusiasm, after the long dark night of paganism that had oppressed them for 18 centuries.

Note: Holinshed gives some contradictory accounts of the Egyptian genealogy, in which Hercules is sometimes the uncle of the giants and sometimes their cousin. I don't know how this has occurred, but we should reflect on the fact that in our own language, the terms "uncle" and "nephew" only exist in the line that includes first cousins. Otherwise we talk about "second cousins once removed" etc. It's possible that an uncle or nephew might have been considered a type of cousin, but that's a matter for people who are skilled in ancient languages and is beyond my competence.

What Is A Giant?

There used to be some big people in ancient times, and Holinshed gives some examples of medieval archeology where the bones of giants were found, but none of them remain today because they are so ancient and have all disintegrated. Perhaps if some of them had become fossilised, there might be some evidence for us to see, but they have avoided the rapid flood conditions required for fossilisation. The early patriarchs were thought to have been big, including Noah himself, but they are not generally referred to as a giants. The term "Gigantes" does not just describe someone's physical size. It means "sons of the earth", and from this word we get "Aborigenes" or "indigenous", meaning born and bred out of the earth that they inhabited. This creates a problem for the so-called giant sons of Neptune, who went around inhabiting the lands that belonged to other people, although if they were born at sea they might have been considered indigenous to the place where they landed. But that's just speculation. The real answer is that nothing is simple in ancient history and mythology.

It's unlikely that Holinshed would have known much of the creation science that is being discussed today. In the pre-Flood climate, there were different physical conditions including higher air pressure and possibly even a higher speed of light. This meant that biological processes were more efficient, making it possible for very large animals such as dinosaurs to walk around with ease, and large birds could fly in the heavens. The post-flood climate favoured smaller creatures, and the very large ones became extinct through natural selection, although they were fearsome beasts while they still existed.

The same thing could have happened to the human population. The early patriarchs were big, because they inherited their genes from their pre-flood ancestors. Then in the process of time, as the conditions favoured people of smaller stature, the number of small people began to increase. However, there were still some big people around, and if they were of evil intent they could inflict terror on the rest of the population.

Ancestor Worship

The practice of ancestor worship began with the Babylonians and Egyptians, and spread to the Greeks and Romans. Nimrod was the first person to make himself a king and rule over other people, and he was also worshipped as a god.

Many nations of the ancient world adopted the practice of deifying their kings, acording to a simple genealogy. The first king to establish his rule in any part of the world was called "Saturn". His son and successor would be called "Jupiter" and his grandsons or nephews who reigned in the third place would be called "Hercules". Thus Nimrod was the Saturn of Babylon, and Ham was the Saturn of Egypt. Mizraim was the Jupiter of Egypt, although he was called Osiris. Their wives were also deified, so that the wife of Saturn was Rhea, and the wife of Jupiter was Juno, Isis or Io.

Even Noah and his wife were deified, so that Noah was called Heaven, Oxygus, Sun, or Pater Deorum, and his wife was called Terra (the Earth), Vesta, Aretia, Moone, or Mater Deorum. Holinshed refers to a belief that the real name of Noah's wife was Tydia, and hence we get Terra.

The practice of deifying kings, and even the early patriarchs, explains the whole Greek mythology:

Clearly, you could make almost anything out of Greek mythology because it's so complex, but it seems to be based on the deification of ancestors and kings, starting with Noah and his wife. Different names were used by different nations, so that the Osiris of Egypt became the Zeus of Greece and the Jupiter of Rome, but in every nation there was Saturn, Jupiter and Hercules in some form or other.

The name Jupiter probably suited the Romans (Latins) as a way of remembering and possibly deifying their ancestor Japheth. If this is what happened, it would be the ideal type of cultural transformation that would be needed to transport the idolatry of Egypt to all the nations that descended from Japheth.

The deification of kings has sown much confusion in the study of ancient history. We find that Saturn, Jupiter and Hercules are everywhere, but we cannot always find the names of the kings that they represent. For example, we find Hercules all over Europe, and Holinshed gives us the surname Lybicus, but we cannot be sure if all his exploits are done by one person, or by many people who have been deified as Hercules.

Fighting for Heaven

The custom arose in Egypt, that whenever a worthy or famous king died, a star would be assigned to his name, so that he would always be remembered. In ancient Egypt they built pyramids, arranged according to the constellations, for example the three pyramids of Giza represent Orion's belt. The king would be buried in his pyramid so that he would be transported to his chosen star.

The custom was exported to other countries, including the island of Albion. It is thought that Albion the giant, together with his other giants, erected some of the megaliths and standing stones, and the practice was continued after Brutus arrived.

In the process of time, it wasn't possible to find enough stars for all the kings (although they certainly could have done if they had today's modern telescopes). Instead, they thought of other places where their kings and fighting men could go, and the Greeks and Romans called it Elysium. It was a place of paradise, full of green fields.

A place of honour in the afterlife was not automatically given to a king. He had to earn it by doing something valiant. Consequently, kings and princes were always trying to outdo each other, invading and conquering other countries to try and prove their valour. Honours were awarded, not just to the king himself, but to all his fighting men, so that a commander would encourage his troops by telling them that if they do not see the end of the battle, they will wake up in Elysium.

Many unnecessary wars have been fought, and much blood has been spilt, because people have thought that if they fight and kill, they will go to some kind of heaven, but the whole abominable practice has its roots in paganism. It becomes even more lamentable when we consider that in ancient times there were just a few people spreading out over the whole earth, and there was nothing to fight for other than heaven.

Albion was only the fourth generation after Noah. The genealogy was Noah, Ham, Mizraim, Naphtuhim, Albion. The so-called Samothean "kingdom", descended from Noah, Japheth and Meshech wasn't anything like a kingdom as we know it today. It was just a few families on an almost deserted island. Albion could have enjoyed the good life in his native Egypt, with plenty of space to do whatever he wanted, but no, he had to sail all the way to Samothea and overthrow a peaceful kingdom. His motivation was his grudge against Shem and Japheth, because of Noah's curse against Caanan the son of Ham. He thought that by going to war against the sons of Japheth, he could invalidate the curse and become a star in heaven.

Gallic Gomer or Samothean Meshech?

Earlier in this article, I asked two questions, about why Meshech was called Samathos, and were the original inhabitants of Britain descended from Gomer or Meshech? The two questions have to be answered together, because the descendants of Gomer and Meshech appear to have co-existed alongside each other in different places.

Josephus (2) the first-century Jewish historian, describes the nations and tribes that are descended from Noah, both in his own time and in previous ages. He says the descendants of Gomer used to be called Gomerites, but in his own time they were called Galatians or Galls. The descendants of Meshech used to be called Mosocheni or Mazaca, but in his own time they were called Cappadocians. He also refers to a city called Mazaca, which undoubtedly means Moscow.

Looking at the historic maps in Thompson's Chain Reference Bible (6), we find that in the apostolic age, the Galatians and Cappadocians used to live in two separate provinces directly alongside each other in Asia Minor, south of what is now known as the Black Sea. They had been there for a long time, and on the map of the ancient world they are simply called "Gomer" and "Meshech". There was also the nation of Gallia which occupied the area now known as France and Belgium as far as the Rhine, also in existence since ancient times. It is not at all inconcievable that the descendants of Meshech lived alongside Gallia in neighbouring "Britannia".

However, the most surprising aspect of this study is that a large area including White Russia, Ukraine, and the western part of Russia as far as the Urals, was called Sarmatia, both in ancient times and in the apostolic age. This is precisely the area with Moscow at its centre, so we have the historic association between Meshech and Sarmatia. In ancient times we also find Gomer to the north of the Black Sea, occupying the area south of Sarmatia, so again we have the descendants of Gomer and Meshech alongside each other.

It seems very likely that Gomer and Meshech were two friendly tribes that travelled together and occupied neighbouring areas, and for a considerable time thay retained their distinct identity and avoided intermarriage. The descendants of Meshech were called Celts, and the descendants of Gomer were called Gauls, but eventually they became indistinguishable and were known as Celtic Gauls. Somehow, in the history of the Britons (now known as the Welsh), Gomer has been remembered but Meshech has been forgotten.

To answer the question about why Meshech was called Samathos, we have to find what the word means, rather than simply calling him Saturn according to the pagan mythology that he would have rejected. Really, we have to get a linguist to work on it, but to make a start, I have found the word "Summarius", in Archeologica Britannica (7), which means the "chief" or "principal", and would be an appropriate title for the first king and spiritual leader of a new nation.

Authenticity of Berosus

After discussing the Samothean history at great length, Holinshed casts doubt on it with the following words (which I quote in the original Tudor English):

Vpon these considerations I haue no doubt to deliuer vnto the reader, the opinion of those that thinke this land to haue bene inhabited before the arriuall here of Brute, trusting it may be taken in good part, sith we haue but shewed the conjectures of others, till time that some sufficient learned man shall take vpon him to decipher the doubts of all these matters. Neuerthelesse, I thinke good to aduertise the reader that these stories of Samothes, Magus, Sarron, Druis, and Bardus, doo relie onelie vpon the authoritie of Berosus, whom most diligent antiquaries doo reject as a fabulous and counterfet author, and Vacerius hath laboured to prooue the same by a speciall treatise latelie published at Rome.

When Holinshed refers to "Berosus" in this way, he actually means "pseudo-Berosus", as described in the Lost Works of Berosus.


1. Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland, 6 volumes, Raphael Holinshed and others, 1587 edition. Reprinted 1807 for J. Johnson and others, London. Facsimile reprint 1965 by AMS Press Inc, New York, NY 10003.

2. Josephus Antiquities, I,VI,1

3. The History of the Welsh Baptists, from the Year Sixty-Three to the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy, by Jonathan Davis (c.1786-1846), Pittsburgh: D.M. Hogan, 1835, 204p.
Re-published in 1976 by The Baptist, Rt. 1, Aberdeen, Miss. 39730.
Re-published again in 1982 by Church History Research & Archives, 220 Graystone Drive, Gallatin, Tennessee 37066. Tel: (615) 452-0341 or 452-7027.
Note: The term "Baptist", used by Davis and his contemporaries, is taken to mean anyone who practices the baptism of believers by immersion, and is not restricted to the Baptist denomination.

4. Chronicle of the Kings of Britain. Translated by Peter Roberts in 1811 from the Welsh copy attributed to Tysilio. Facsimile reprint by Llanerch Publishers. ISBN 1-86143-111-2.

5. Midrash Rabbah - Genesis XXXVI:7. Soncino Classics Collection, Judaic Classics Library CD-ROM, 1995, Davka Corporation, Chicago, USA.

6. The New Chain Reference Bible, compiled and edited by Frank Charles Thompson, 1964, B.B. Kirkbride, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

7. Archeologica Britannica, Volume 1, Glossography, Edward Lhuyd, Irish University Press, Shannon, 1971, SBN 7165-0031-0.
Tit. II, A Comparative Vocabulary of the Original Languages of Britain and Ireland.

Copyright 2001 Updated February 2002

Mike Gascoigne
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