HengestHengest or Hengist (?-488) was ruler of Kent, England. The facts of his life are unknown, but according to Bede (writing nearly 200 years after the events in question), he and his brother Horsa were mercenaries for Vortigern, hired to fight against the Picts. Following his victories over the Picts, Hengest invited more immigrants from Germany to settle in Britain, turned on Vortigern, and established himself as king.
The actual historical existence of both Hengest and Horsa has been called into question numerous times, with many historians labeling these two as legendary 'divine twins' along the order of Romulus and Remus. It is perhaps more likely that Hengest, meaning 'Stallion', was an honorific for an actual warlord, while Horsa was a later accretion to the story, perhaps as a misreading of a gloss in a manuscript that was written to define the name Hengest as meaning 'horse'.
Later accounts, in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the Historia Britonum, by Geoffrey of Monmouth, and by Robert Wace add further details from tradition and legend about Hengest's career. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle dates his death to 488, but does not provide a cause.