THE TRADITIONS OF THE ROYAL KING-LIST OF DUMNONIA by SUSAN M. PEARCE, M.A. THERE survives very little non-archaeological material relating to the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries in south-western Britain, the area which was known as Dumnonia. No local annals were ever kept. There are no records of it in the traditions which found their way into the early part of the Annales Cambriae or the Historia Brittonum. De Excidio Britanniae mentions it once. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is naturally concerned only with its gradual reduction by the West Saxon kings. The various pieces of informa- tion in the Lives of the saints, and in later poetic tradition must be? treated with extreme care. There are not many indications that there was ever in the south-west a class of bards who would cherish traditions, and perhaps pass them on to other British areas, as happened in the case of the short-lived kingdoms of the Men of the North'. This extreme paucity of material makes any frag- ments that do remain all the more valuable, and it is all the more necessary to try and make them yield up whatever they may contain. The chief surviving complex of information centres on the group of names which appear as the pedigree of the royal house. Very many pedigrees survive from the British kingdoms, and among these can be fairly clearly distinquished those which are recorded in an early form, and do not attempt to relate entirely separate heroes or involve Arthurian connexions. These are chiefly the pedigrees which appear in Jesus College MS 20, Harleian MS 3859, and Peniarth MS 45 (formerly Hengwrt MS 536). The genealogies are usually headed by several generations of divine or imperial ancestors, and then they relate a lists of princes, who may, but very probably may not, be known from elsewhere. The modem anthropological study of genealogical traditions places emphasis. not on the chronological information they may contain, but on the role they occupy in the society which produces them. A man's. location on the frame-work of descent from the ancestors of his- social group will ensure his title to land, marriage rights, and so on,