Vortigern was almost certainly a title rather
than a proper name - it means 'overlord' [analogous to High
King - Ed.]. According to the
Vortigern's reign took place in the Roman consulship of Felix and
Taurus. This places it in circa AD 425.
According to Nennius one Vitalinus,
(assumed to be a member of the 'Vortigern' family, as Vortigern's
grandfather is also thus named), fought against
Ambrosius twelve years
after Vortigern came to power. However, as the period of Ambrosius was circa
460 we have an anomaly. Vortigern's reign needs to be placed in
There are two conflicting accounts of the death
of Vortigern - both recorded by Nennius. In one he
perishes when his fortress is consumed by fire (when Germanus was
present in England), and in the other he is universally hated because of
his duplicity in inviting the barbarians to England and dies of a broken
heart without honour.
If he died when Germanus was present then that
places his death in AD 447, yet both the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (ASC) and Bede
insist that Vortigern was alive in 455.
Bearing in mind that the name 'Vortigern' was
almost certainly a title the only way of reconciling all the threads of
this evidence is to propose that there were two 'Vortigerns'.
VORTIGERN I - Comes to power in circa 425. Dies in a
fire in 447.