Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
Please Support Us!
Donate with PayPal!
November Goal: $40.00
Due Date: Nov 30
Gross Amount: $5.00
PayPal Fees: $0.50
Net Balance: $4.50
Below Goal: $35.50

November Donations
5th Anonymous $5.00
Pages: 1 2 3 4 [All]   Go Down
Current Topic Rating: *****
You have not rated this topic. Select a rating:
Author Topic: Arthur in History  (Read 4946 times)
Description: A study of the archaeology and history
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1768

View Profile
« on: August 16, 2006, 12:46:39 AM »

Historians claim to have found fabled lost city
Aug 15 2006
Rin Simpson, Western Mail, Wales
WELSH historians believe they have uncovered the site of a 2,000-year-old city which they say is the most important location in ancient British history.

The Ancient British Historical Association (ABHA) claims that a field at Mynydd y Gaer near Pencoed is the fabled fortress city of King Caradoc I, or Caractacus, who fought the Romans between 42-51 AD.

The Roman leader at that time was the Emperor Claudius, immortalised by Derek Jacobi in the TV series and film I, Claudius, alongside Welsh actress Si n Phillips as his aunt Livia.

Historians Alan Wilson and Baram Blackett used old manuscripts to narrow their field of search and aerial photos obtained from Google Earth, which provides maps and satellite imagery, to find the exact spot.

Their findings have yet to be verified but the team are positive they have found the long lost site.

Mr Wilson said, "What we have is a clearly- defined walled city in exactly the place the records tell us it should be.

"The Welsh manuscripts and supporting records are always precise and allow us to make major progress in terms of identifying royal burial mounds, tombs, artefacts and more."

Tim Matthews, another member of the team, added, "We knew pretty much the area we were looking for and we knew that St Peter's Church nearby was an important meeting site and that it was at Caer Caradoc.

"So our area of search was limited to that area but because some land owners are less happy than others about people traipsing though their land access wasn't always easy.

"If you look at other ancient walled cities and what they may have been like you start to get an idea of the shape and the delineation and the patterning and you can see this is exactly what we're looking for."

Some experts have received the news with caution. A spokesperson at the Council for British Archaeology said, "Clearly it is very difficult to interpret early Welsh sources in relation to what is on the ground today.

"Although aerial photographs can be very revealing they can be very deceiving too. Without ground surveys and geophysical surveys to establish whether there were buried features, it would be difficult to say for certain whether it was an ancient site.

"That would be the next stage of investigation."

However the ABHA are sure of their findings.

Mr Matthews added, "With our research there's no theory and no speculation. You can read every manuscript, visit every site and touch every stone.

"You can go to places and see things - South Wales is littered with about 200 stones, dozens of grave mounds, tombs, all sorts of artefacts."

The group has gathered evidence from a number of ancient documents which they say refer to Caer Caradoc, including the Brut Tyssilio (684AD) and the later Gruffyd ap Arthur (1135AD).

Another reference is that of Teithfallt or Theodosius, who buried the 363 British noblemen murdered by treacherous Saxons at the notorious "Peace Conference" circa 456 AD at the Mynwent y Milwyr at Caer Caradoc.

According to the ABHA the Mynwent y Milwyr [monument to the soldiers] - is still to be found on the second highest point of Mynydd y Gaer above the possible site of the city of Caer Caradoc.

A third reference is that of the "Uthyr Pendragon", King Meurig or Maurice, who lies buried at the giant circle at Caer Caradoc.

There is, at this location, a gigantic ditch and mound shaped like a boat, next to St Peter's Church ruin not far from the site.

Mr Matthews believes that a historical discovery of this size could have important implications for the local economy.

"South Wales is packed with historical stuff and people just don't realise this.

"It's an area which is rich in ancient history you can actually touch.

"People love this kind of thing, they love it everywhere. People will come and see these things.

"It's regrettable that people in tourism agencies haven't done more."

When King Caradoc I, son of Arch, fought against the Romans between 42-51AD he was taking on a pretty big task.

At the time Rome was ruled by Emperor Claudius, or Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus to give him his full name.

The first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy, Claudius nonetheless oversaw the expansion of his empire, including the conquest of Britain.

His life was immortalised by English writer Robert Graves in his novels I, Claudius (1934) and Claudius the God (1935), which were adapted into the 1976 BBC TV series and film I, Claudius starring Derek Jacobi and Si n Phillips, pictured right.

However, as with many of the great Roman leaders, Claudius met his death at the hand of someone within his own household, poisoned either by his taster or his doctor. He died on October 13, 54AD.

Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2006, 10:16:32 AM »

An interesting story, indeed. Thanks, Bart, for bringing to our attention. One aspect which pleases me is that for once, Mynydd y Gaer is not being associated with the Arthurian legend.

Burial Place of Uther, Arthur or Athrwys?

The Tradition: Medieval accounts of the Arthurian story, including Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain tell how Uther Pendragon was buried at or near a place called Caer Caradog (which Geoffrey mistakenly identifies as Sailsbury).
- http://www.britannia.com/history/arthur/mynydd.html

The Theory:  Blackett & Wilson claim that one of the two figures who went to make up "King Arthur" is to be identified with King Athrwys of Gwent & Glywysing. Athrwys (or Arthwys) was an historical monarch who is usually believed to have lived in the mid-7th century, though Blackett & Wilson push him back in time to the traditional Arthurian period at the beginning of the 6th century. They interpret "Uther Pendragon" as a title used by both Athrwys and his father, King Meurig ap Tewdr. Following numerous clues, they claim to have traced King Athrwys' burial-place first to a secret cave and then to a re-interment in the ruined Church of St.Peter-super-Montem on Mynydd-y-Gaer in Mid Glamorgan. The fort of Coedcae Gaer on a spur projecting south-eastward from here, is marked on old maps as Caer Caradog. Barber & Pykitt follow Blackett & Wilson, but take the more obvious line of claiming this as the burial-place of Meurig ap Tewdr alias Uther Pendragon.

Modern Archaeology:  Blackett & Wilson's hypothesis hit the headlines in 1983, and created much interest across the country. Unfortunately, this also brought notoriety to some of the places that they revealed to have Arthurian  associations; and the secret burial cave subsequently suffered a series of attacks by vandals. Concerned about the site that they believed to contain Arthur's last resting-place, Blackett & Wilson undertook a private excavation near the altar of St. Peter's Church. Here they claim to have discovered a large sword-shaped memorial which reads, in very faint 6th century style, "Rex Artorius fili Mauricius" (picture below - text outlined). Beneath this was a grave which they hurriedly sealed for future investigation.

Subsequent excavations undertaken in 1990 by Dr Eric Talbot of Glasgow University and a team of professional archaeologists, with the permission of the RCAHMW, have revealed that below the present church (of 13th century origin) lie the remains of at least two earlier building phases: A solid rectangular building covering an earlier "beehive" hermitage and rectangular paved (possibly) wooden erection. Significant finds included a small electrum cross bearing the inscription, "Pro Anima Artorius".

Possible Interpretations & Criticism:  Despite flying in the face of much accepted doctrine concerning a Real  King Arthur, many of Blackett & Wilson's arguments are extremely compelling. Coedcae Gaer may be translated as Forest of Cai Fort  which might sound like further evidence for their identification of the great High-King Arthur. However, whether one accepts this or not, the question still remains, "Did they find the Grave of King Athrwys of Gwent & Glywysing?" As the initial discovery of the memorial stone at St.Peter's Church there had no official supervision, this major find has thus come in for considerable criticism. It is true that Early Medieval Latin is so corrupt that it is difficult to claim any particular inscription to be incorrect, but still something like "Artorius Rex filius Mauricii" would read much better, and surely the letters are much too regular for a 6th century context. But then again, the corroborative cross inscribed "For the Soul of Artorius" recovered under better documented circumstances would indicate that the site is indeed associated with a man named Arthur, and the King of Gwent & Glywysing would seem the most likely candidate. The "beehive" cell would certainly indicate St. Peter's to be the site of a 5th or 6th century hermitage. The associated rectangular building was probably of similar date, though Blackett & Wilson's interpretation is a little more controversial.
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2006, 12:41:17 PM »

Mention the fabled King Arthur and I'm off  Wink
On a quest, that is.

Tintagel is, of course, the traditonal home of Arthur and recent excavations may support this.

The 'Artognov' inscription

This inscription, carved on an ordinary piece of slate, appears to have two inscriptions - or rather graffiti - in two different styles.

The earlier one, at the top right, is in better (= Roman period? ) lettering, and appears to read AXE.

The more interesting inscription is that below, more faintly visible.

Almost immediately under the earlier inscription is the word PATER (= Father) though this is almost invisible on screen.

The second line begins at the same level as PATER, but then curves underneath it. It reads COLIAVIFICIT:
- presumably FICIT is the Latin FECIT - 'made this'. The third line reads ARTOgNOV which may (or may not) be a form of Arthur. At the bottom right the words COLI and FICIT are repeated.

Image fullsize:
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2006, 12:58:50 PM »

We could play around with this.

AXE is clearly missing at least one letter preceding.
Some possibilities:

faxe - torch
maxe - myself
naxe - spin

Then the next:

col.i              V      3 1 PRES PASSIVE INF
[to be live in]                     
colo, colere, colui, cultus
live in (place), inhabit; till, cultivate, promote growth; foster, maintain;

col.i              V      3 1 PRES PASSIVE INF
[to be |honored]                       
colo, colere, colui, cultus
|honor, cherish, worship; tend, take care of; adorn, dress, decorate, embellish;

Followed by:

avi - ancestors, grandfather, portent


ficit - he/she/it made it

Good fun, this  Roll Eyes
Bronze Member

Karma: 2

Posts: 18

Pickin up the pieces of history

View Profile
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2006, 02:10:13 PM »

King Arthur was real? I thought that was just a story.
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2006, 02:24:14 PM »

King Arthur was real? I thought that was just a story.
It's been fashionable, in the late 20th century, to ridicule much, including the legendary Arthur. However, there is a basis of fact.

St Bede the Venerable wrote in his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum ("Ecclesiastical History of the English People"), in AD 731, about the arrival of the English people (Saxons and Angles). Bede recorded that the Saxons and Angles were led by Hengist (Hengest) and Horsa, arrived in Britain (AD 449) at King Vortigern's invitation. Bede also recorded that Ambrosius Aurelianus, a Roman warlord, won his first decisive battle against the Angles at Badon Hills, in AD 493. Once again, Ambrosius Aurelianus appeared as the Briton resistance leader against the invaders, not Arthur.

According to the Welsh historian Nennius, who flourished in the early 9th century, this victory (at Badon Hills) was associated with Arthur. Nennius wrote in his Historia Brittonum that eleven other victories were ascribed to Arthur, but he was more of British warlord or general, than a king. Nennius pushed the date of the battle of Mons Badonicus, to a later time, in AD 516. This was the first mention of Arthur in the historical (psuedo-historial) source.

     Then it was, that the magnanimous Arthur, with all the kings and military force of Britain, fought against the Saxons. And though there were many more noble than himself, yet he was twelve times chosen their commander, and was as often conqueror. The first battle in which he was engaged, was at the mouth of the river Gleni. The second, third, fourth, and fifth, were on another river, by the Britons called Duglas, in the region Linuis. The sixth, on the river Bassas. The seventh in the wood Celidon, which the Britons call Cat Coit Celidon. The eighth was near Gurnion castle, where Arthur bore the image of the Holy Virgin, mother of God, upon his shoulders, and through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the holy Mary, put the Saxons to flight, and pursued them the whole day with great slaughter. The ninth was at te City of Legion, which is called Cair Lion. The tenth was on the banks of the river Trat Treuroit. The eleventh was on the mountain Breguoin, which we call Cat Bregion. The twelfth was a most severe contest, when Arthur penetrated to the hill of Badon. In this engagement, nine hundred and forty fell by his hand alone, no one but the Lord affording him assistance. In all these engagements the Britons were successful. For no strength can avail against the will of the Almighty.
   Historia Brittonum
by Nennius (c. AD 796)
Edited by J. A. Giles
Six Old English Chronicles
Henry G. Bohn, London, 1848

Nennius also recorded the episode of Vortigern and Hengist, but added a new person associated with Vortigern, Ambrosius. This Ambrosius is not the same Ambrosius Aurelianus mentioned in the works by Gildas and Bede. No. This Ambrosius was another name for the boy prophet, whom Geoffrey called Merlin. The story of Vortigern and Ambrosius (Merlin), the falling wall and the two sleeping dragons influenced Geoffrey's own work (see Vortigern in Life of King Arthur).

From the Annales Cambriae (the Annals of Wales) from 10th century, Arthur won the battle in Mons Badonicus (Mons Badon) and some other victories as well. The Annales also mentioned in a short passage that Arthur and Medraut (Mordred) falling in the battle of Camlann (537).
     AD 516    The Battle of Badon, in which Arthur carried the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ for three days and three nights on his shoulders and the Britons were the victors.
     AD 537    The battle of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut fell: and there was plague in Britain and Ireland.

   Annales Cambriae
Translated by Ingram, James
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Everyman Press, London, 1912

As it can be seen, Geoffrey had derived his sources, mainly from Nennius, but also from the Gildas, Bede and the Annales Cambriae. However, Geoffrey set the year of Arthur's fall a little later on 542. Also, Geoffrey had cleverly turned Ambrosius Aurlianus into Aurelius Ambrosius, an uncle of Arthur.

None of this proves the existence of Arthur, which is why the above artefact has attracted so much interest.

Diving Doc
Platinum Member

Karma: 104

Posts: 1482

Treasure is In books

View Profile WWW
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2006, 02:48:04 PM »

I've been fascinated by King Arthur since I first read "The Sword in the Stone" when I was in high school. I raised a sparrowhawk and named him Cully.


Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1768

View Profile
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2006, 03:43:51 PM »

Barram and Blackett's work came to my attention years ago, especially their claim that ancient Welsh is a direct descendant of ancient Hebrew. Though some info re: this was on the web a few years ago, I have been unable to find more, I would especially like to see their work/s if anyone knows where to find it. I understand they have many hundreds/ thousands of hours in perusing the ancient documents, and are often at odds with the Oxford/ Cambridge historians whom they claim push the Anglo side of history at the 'expense' of negating/ destroying the Welsh aspecs of history.

If  I have any sort of misconceptions or errors here, please don't hesitate to jump in and enlighten me with other perspectives. It is exciting to finally find someone who can discuss this topic with historical fact without all the Arthurian legend nonsense.

Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2006, 04:06:39 PM »

The pleasure is shared, Bart.

I have not been able to find anything substantial on the work of Barram and Blackett. If it's 'old', then the orthodox view could well have been tainted. How long ago was it that speaking Welsh was an offence? Not long, I think.

In general, I am wary of claimed Hebrew connections, as they seem to indicate a desire to link to the 'lost tribes' idea, Ham, or a refusal to admit that earlier peoples could have developed without outside assistance (European, or even aliens). In the case of Wales, we know of their ancestry through both history and DNA: they are a composite of Celt and pre-Aryan peoples. I am not aware of any reliable evidence that Hebrew speakers migrated to Wales. Any linguistic parallels can be explained by usage of Biblical words, perhaps via Greek.

Like you, I would like to study the work of Barram and Blackett. It would be interesting to see how their arguments stand up today.
Diving Doc
Platinum Member

Karma: 104

Posts: 1482

Treasure is In books

View Profile WWW
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2006, 05:54:18 PM »

From what I know of the Welsh language and my education in the Classics I would think it more closely related to Celtic and Norse than Hebrew. Just my opinion, I am not that an accomplished linguist.


Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1768

View Profile
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2006, 11:43:21 PM »

My mistake, the names are Alan Wilson and Barram Blackett, below is a part of some of their claims. They also say that Prince Madoc was a brother of Arthur.

As they say in Kentucky; "Cymru am bith".
News Wales (UK) ^ | 8/26/02 | Unknown

Posted on 08/29/2002 9:51:38 AM PDT by scouse

Did the Welsh discover America?


A team of historians and researchers announced today that Radio Carbon dating evidence, and the discovery of ancient British style artefacts and inscriptions in the American Midwest, provide the strongest indications yet" that British explorers, under the Prince Madoc ap Meurig, arrived in the country during the 6th Century and set up colonies there.

Research team members have known the location of burial sites of Madoc's close relatives in Wales for some time, it emerged today; but they have decided to break their self-imposed silence in order that their research be fully known and understood. DNA evidence could provide vital new leads, they say.

"We have a mass of remarkable evidence," said British historian Alan Wilson, who has been working with Jim Michael of the Ancient Kentucke Historical Association since 1989. "As experts in ancient British history, we were approached by Jim and visited locations in the Mid West with him," he added.

Many of the grave mounds found in the American mid West, including those at Bat Creek, Tennessee, are ancient British in origin and design, Wilson said. Jim Michael added, "the stone tablet found at Bat Creek in 1889 included an inscription written in Coelbren, an ancient British alphabet known and recorded by historians and bards down the ages."

Wilson said that his research had brought him into contact with very similar alphabet inscriptions in Britain, Europe and the Middle East. "The components of the alphabet derive from the earliest days of the Khumric (Welsh) people," he added, "and were used along their migration routes to Wales in antiquity."


Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
Diving Doc
Platinum Member

Karma: 104

Posts: 1482

Treasure is In books

View Profile WWW
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2006, 11:46:10 PM »

keep adding to the post. Great stuff!


Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1768

View Profile
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2006, 02:40:30 AM »

(Prince) Madoc In America
Native American Histories in the USA

Is truth stranger than fiction? Of course it is; it always has been One subject that has been debated for the last four hundred years was whether or not a Khumric-Welsh Prince called Madoc discovered America. Queen Elizabeth I was persuaded by her advisors that this was so and the Khumric-Welsh discovery was put forward as somehow giving England a prior claim in the political wrangles over first rights in the New World of the Americas.

No one ever thought to investigate the British records. Caradoc of Llancarfan wrote about it circa 1140. The information was made available to historian Richard Hakluyt. Immediately, things started to go wrong. Thinking that the Madoc story was a continuation of the same history, Hakluyt wrongly dated the voyages around 1170, which, of course, would be impossible as Caradoc of Llancarfan could not have recorded voyages which took place 14 years after he died!

A certain William Fleming, of Flemingston, near Cardiff, wrote poetry on the subject before Caradoc died, so the idea of voyages being made in 1170 becomes even weaker. In 1625, the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote a world history that stated that a Welsh Prince had discovered America and that, "King Arthur knew of it". This means voyages in the sixth century...

We know that "King Arthur" was, in fact, two people, which clears up the confusion of Polydore Vergil, historian at the Court of Henry VIII, relating to how "King Arthur" could defeat the Romans and also the Angles, the Saxons and others. "Arthur" would have been 250 years old. We know now, thanks to our King Arthur Research Project, that Arthur I was son of Magnus Maximus and led the British armies into Gaul in 383, defeated the Romans at Sassy-Soissons and chased the Roman Emperor Gratian to Lyons, where he executed him.

Arthur II, son of King Meurig, and a sixth generation direct male descendant of Arthur I, is the Sixth Century Arthur of legend.

What has this to do with America? Well, King Arthur, son of Meurig, had brothers and sisters. His brothers were Idnerth, who was murdered, St Pawl, known as "King Poulentius" in the Lives of Saints, Ffrioc, who was killed by Morgan Mwynfawr, and Madoc Morfran, the Cormorant. If we begin to research the sixth Century Madoc Morfran some extraordinary and startling facts emerge. For instance, the best recorded and defining event of "Dark Age" Britain was the devastation caused by debris from a comet, which struck in 562. Dr Victor Clube, Professor of Astrophysics at Oxford University, estimates this as having been an equivalent of a scatter of at least 100 Hiroshima-size atomic bombs. Unsurprisingly, great tracts of land were rendered uninhabitable and populations were wiped out, giving rise to subsequent literature relating to "The Great Wastelands" of Arthurian Britain, the "Yellow Plague" and the "Coming Of The Dragon". Seen in this context, all are symbolic of the same cataclysmic event?

A wealth of ancient manuscript evidence preserves the records of Madoc Morfran's voyages to Er-Yr meaning "towards that which is beyond", in search of new and habitable lands. Eryr means "land of eagles" and is usually attributed to Snowdonia in Gwynedd, but Er-Yr is, in fact, America. The records were obviously both religiously and politically incorrect; religion preached that God had created a safe, stable solar system and that stones could not fall from the heavens. The records tell us of a voyage by Madoc Morfran where he was believed lost and then "miraculously" re-appeared after ten years. No ship could sail west into the Atlantic for ten years and be supplied and return, so the event was truly remarkable. Madoc even brought a brown skinned man home with circa 572?

The records tell of the great new lands across the Western ocean and, in 573, Admiral Gwenon was sent out to check Madoc's star reckonings, which were doubted. Gwenon returned, and a fleet of 700 ships was assembled. It sailed for Er-Yr in 574. Anyone having a negative knee jerk reaction to all this would do well to keep an open mind. The evidence for Madoc, son of King Meurig, brother of King Arthur ll, is formidable, to say the least. So also is the surviving physical evidence in both Britain and in North America.

We have done a great deal of research into the question of the ancient British navy and its capabilities. (This will be published in the very near future and is unusually detailed. Much of the research was done in the early-mid 1980s. We have recently updated it with new and important hard evidence.) Welsh shipbuilders were the best in the business and many ancient Khumric Kings fought wars of movement that relied upon their being able to move large numbers of troops and vast quantities of supplies from place to place. Oddly enough, some modern historians claim that Arthur ll could not have fought such wars of movement because the Khumry were "primitive". And yet they are quite happy for other tribal groups, the Angles, the Saxons, the Vikings and others to have sailed long distances in ships of great speed and manoeuvrability. The double standard is immediately obvious but ships more ancient than those used by Arthur and his contemporaries have been located around Britain's shores. Indeed, ancient Khumric-British history is a story of two seaborne mass migrations!

Jim Michael, President of the Ancient Kentucke Historical Association, and one of our most active US supporters, takes up the tale: "In the early 1800s a Dr. Ward was summoned to the White Water area of Indiana to treat the people of a village of Native Americans who were dying of, perhaps, smallpox. One of the last surviving men, who called himself a king, asked if he could give Dr. Ward some sacred information. He told Ward that the member of the tribe who was to have received this "Lleni Llenape" information was dead, and there was no one left to pass it on to. He then handed him 148 sticks each of which had carving upon it."

"Dr Ward later gave these sticks to Professor Constantine Rafinesque of Transylvania College. Rafinesque and Eli Lilly went back to the tribal area to get more information on the history, called the "Wallam Ollam". They met with several of the remaining elders and learned that there was a chant that went with each stick. One of the sticks told of a great flood, and another of the creation myth. The remaining sticks told what happened when different kings were leading their people. It appeared to be a chronology of their tribal leadership. Eli Lily published the Wallan Ollam in book form and gave every member of the Indiana Historical Society a copy."

"The bards of Britannia also recorded all the births and deaths of nobility on sticks, and on special occasions they brought them out into public and sang their story to all. It is very hard to believe that two historical record systems could be independently invented. Of course, the two men had a bit of trouble understanding the wording but they did the best they could to write down what they heard."

Sounds crazy? Not really; the best part is that the Delaware histories tell of a great and powerful nation of "White men" who came to the Kentucky and Indiana regions in antiquity and that only an unprecedented alliance of all the Mid Western and Eastern tribes was able to fight against them. Had Rafinesque and Lilly known that Gwallam Oll-means "The Organization of Everyone", and that Lleni Llenape means "Secret Knowledge", in the Khumric-Welsh language, then things would have been rather different.

When we realised the massive significance of this information we formed a transatlantic partnership; researchers, historians and supporters in the USA joined us in the early 1990s. Several exchange visits and lectures tours resulted. Alan Wilson travelled to the USA in 1993-4, lectured in colleges and universities, appeared on TV and told the Americans about the Khumric side of the story. The work continues today and, we were encouraged by the publication of The Holy Kingdom (May 2002) in the USA by Invisible Cities Press, which will give interested American readers the correct historical background to both King Arthurs and more besides.

We now know who led the 700-ship expedition to America; the records say it was Arthur II ap Meurig, along with his brother Madoc Morfran and brother-in-law Ammwn Ddu. This, we should point out, is only the beginning?

For political reasons, Humphrey Llwyd and Richard Hakluyt invented a Madoc sailing in 1170 instead of 562; they were only 600 years out! Their fiction made Madoc a son of Owen Gwynedd (an ancestor of Elizabeth I) instead of the copiously well-recorded Madoc son of King Meurig. Wrong family but suitable ancestry for Elizabeth I of England. Then they moved Madoc from his native South East Wales to North West Wales. Wrong territory but very suitable for ancestors of Elizabeth I of England. The result? A deliberately targetted, early political and religious attack upon our immensely valuable, well documented and provable British history.

But that's OK. We are following in the tradition of truth set in motion by Bardic scholars in ancient times. Their work was understood, researched and republished from the earliest times and we are carrying on the noble tradition of truth in British history. The stones and monuments are where the ancient manuscripts tell us they should be and the site of every battle and, indeed, every significant historical event can be tracked down using the same information. What is good for Britain is good for America too, as we discovered. Riddles in the ancient poetry and other stories became clear when we understood that Madoc, and Arthur, had indeed engaged upon a very real voyage to the otherworld.

As a result, we now know the true story of Madoc in America and the detailed evidence is truly remarkable. We are making progress on all fronts and we have archaeological, documentary, oral, radiocarbon dated and other evidence to support our case.

Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1768

View Profile
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2006, 02:52:21 AM »

English And Welsh Are Races Apart

BBC ^ | 6-30-2002

Posted on 07/04/2002 5:27:12 PM PDT by blam

Sunday, 30 June, 2002, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK

Gene scientists claim to have found proof that the Welsh are the "true" Britons.

The research supports the idea that Celtic Britain underwent a form of ethnic cleansing by Anglo-Saxons invaders following the Roman withdrawal in the fifth century.

Genetic tests show clear differences between the Welsh and English

It suggests that between 50% and 100% of the indigenous population of what was to become England was wiped out, with Offa's Dyke acting as a "genetic barrier" protecting those on the Welsh side.

And the upheaval can be traced to this day through genetic differences between the English and the Welsh.

Academics at University College in London comparing a sample of men from the UK with those from an area of the Netherlands where the Anglo-Saxons are thought to have originated found the English subjects had genes that were almost identical.

But there were clear differences between the genetic make-up of Welsh people studied.

The research team studied the Y-chromosome, which is passed almost unchanged from father to son, and looked for certain genetic markers.

Ethnic links: Many races share common bonds

They chose seven market towns mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and studied 313 male volunteers whose paternal grandfather had also lived in the area.

They then compared this with samples from Norway and with Friesland, now a northern province of the Netherlands.

The English and Frisians studied had almost identical genetic make-up but the English and Welsh were very different.

The researchers concluded the most likely explanation for this was a large-scale Anglo-Saxon invasion, which devastated the Celtic population of England, but did not reach Wales.

Dr Mark Thomas, of the Centre for Genetic Anthropology at UCL, said their findings suggested that a migration occurred within the last 2,500 years.

Genetic links

It reinforced the idea that the Welsh were the true indigenous Britons.

In April last year, research for a BBC programme on the Vikings revealed strong genetic links between the Welsh and Irish Celts and the Basques of northern Spain and south France.

It suggested a possible link between the Celts and Basques, dating back tens of thousands of years.

The UCL research into the more recent Anglo-Saxon period suggested a migration on a huge scale.

"It appears England is made up of an ethnic cleansing event from people coming across from the continent after the Romans left," he said.

Celtic Britons

Archaeologists after the Second World War rejected the traditionally held view that an Anglo-Saxon invasion pushed the indigenous Celtic Britons to the fringes of Britain.

Instead, they said the arrival of Anglo-Saxon culture could have come from trade or a small ruling elite.

But the latest research by the UCL team, "using genetics as a history book", appears to support the original view of a large-scale invasion of England.

It suggests that the Welsh border was more of a genetic barrier to the Anglo-Saxon Y chromosome gene flow than the North Sea.

Dr Thomas added: "Our findings completely overturn the modern view of the origins of the English."



Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
Diving Doc
Platinum Member

Karma: 104

Posts: 1482

Treasure is In books

View Profile WWW
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2006, 03:09:28 AM »

That reinforces what I always thought about the Welsh, Celtic, and Norse language links. Thanks, that was a very good post.

Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1768

View Profile
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2006, 04:29:47 AM »

I think Wilson and Blackett would disagree with much of this posted below, I even have problems with it myself.  There are claims that Cambridge and Oxford scholors have/ are conspiring to elliminate/ obfuscate, and deny and destroy the Welsh history and language. Parliament is said to have an absolute ban on speaking the Welsh tongue in chambers, and one MP was censured? for quoting some Chaucer recently. Historically, the Welsh language was forbidden to be used in schools there for decades, with some strong punishment for students who did use it. Yet it has obviously survived that and is apparently still going strong. It seems from my reading over the years that there are two basic factions within Bitain proper, those of Anglo-Saxons descent vs Welsh. - Bart

Coelbren Ar Beirdd

by Serenwen

The authenticity of the Coelbren is a subject that has been the cause of much controversy. This is due to the origins of the system having no certain historical point at which they can be said to have been created. Instead their origins are lost in the mists of the antiquarian movement peopled by such characters as the famous, and for some infamous, Iolo Morgannwg. One Welsh magical tradition that collectively refer to themselves as the Gwyddon state that they can prove a lineage that is unbroken for the past eighteen generations. The problem with this is that the group is a closed hereditary group and as such will not produce any documentation that would corroborate this and so we cannot definitely say that this claim is true. However this does not mean that the claim is false, it is rather that as with so many aspects of modern Paganism generally and Druidry specifically these things must be taken upon faith and the individual must decide. However, the name Gwyddon provides some interesting food for thought. In old Welsh it is a term applied to a Witch, but it is also the title for the Arch Druid, in some older Druid literature, and a literal translation interprets it as 'Wood Learning'. The term Coelbren also has several possible translations. In Welsh it is usually translated as 'Wood Memorials', and it is most frequently found in the phrase 'Y Coelbren Ar Beirdd' meaning 'The Wood Memorials of the Bards'. It seems likely that at some point in the past, whether the more recent past of the Druid revival of the eighteenth century or quite possibly before, it was an alphabet utilised by the Bards in much the same way as the Ogham alphabet. One of the most detailed descriptions of the origins of the Coelbren (there are many different versions) and the most easily available in modern literature appears in The Ancient Bards of Britain by D. Delta Evans (1906 Educational Publishing Company). It is quite lengthy and is in part reproduced below:

"Tradition has it that in the far, far remote past, when no-one and nothing existed,, Great Spirit articulated the Divine Name: and simultaneously with the word all creation sprang into being, repeating three times the Divine Name in a subdued but distinctly melodious and sweet voice. Menu, the first person, heard that voice, and perceived the Three columns of Light. So Menu took three quicken-ashes and formed them into a picture of what was conceived to be the symbol of the Divine Name. And the symbol of that voice thrice sounded was ... /|\"

This symbol should be immediately recognised as the Awen that is an everyday part of Druidry. The practice of sounding the Awen three times in Druid rituals takes us straight back to the myth above, and this may indicate that the myth and the practice of sounding the Awen are at least as old as each other. As with many aspects of modern Druid practice it is uncertain exactly when these practices began but it would suggest that the Coelbren are at least as old as the Druid revival of the eighteenth century - making the Coelbren at least two or three hundred centuries old. The commentary by Delta Evans continues: "/|\ is sometimes referred to in the Triads as the Three columns of Light and the Three Columns of Truth as 'Nothing can be known of the Truth save through the Light which is shed upon it'".

According to oral history the early pioneers of the Coelbren discovered that /|\ was capable of expansion into other forms through being broken down into its component parts, and reformed in different ways. How this was accomplished has unfortunately been lost but this does not mean that it cannot be refound through careful meditation and study. After all the Awen is inspiration and as the first symbol within the Coelbren this would seem to be a fitting start to any such project. One of these early pioneers, Einigan, was able to evolve the first symbol into a further ten characters representing the letters A P C E T I L R O and S (see chart). These were kept secret until the reign of Beli the Great when another eight characters were added, these being M N B Ff G D U and Dd.Over time another five were added sporadically (W F Ch Ll and H) and it was in this state when the Roman invasion began being mistaken by Julius Caesar for Greek. It fell into disuse thereafter due to the growing importance of Latin, especially after the later Roman conquest. However it experienced a renaissance around the second or third century A.D. and was improved until it numbered forty-four, in which state it remained until the Middle Ages.

Whether or not this mythological history is correct or not is uncertain. Due to no written records surviving from these times it is impossible to say what system of writing was used. However, it does tally in part with modern views of the Coelbren. These views fall into three parts. It is possible that the Druids who had access to 'Greek Letters' altered them over time, or that Nennius created them in response to a jibe made by a Saxon over the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon Runes when compared to Ogham. The most favoured explanation is that our old friend Iolo Morgannwg formed them in his search and consequent 'channelling' of ancient Bardic wisdom. Whatever may be the case the argument that Caesar overlooked the Coelbren thinking that the Druids were using the Greek alphabet is enigmatic and persuasive. Enigmatic as it cannot be proved archaeologically, and yet persuasive due to a re-examination of classical sources. One idea put forward by John Daniel in The Philosophy of Ancient Britain is that the Druidic doctrine was written down as the Romans carried out its decimation of the Druids. This may well have some validity. Caesar comments that "Generally, in other cases (apart from passing on religious doctrine), and in their public and private accounts, they use Greek letters" (De Bello Gallica). However, "From a number of sources it may be gathered, that although there was a likeness between the letters used by continental Druids, and those of the Greek, yet they were certainly not identical" (Daniel). Other more tenuous links support this idea. Plato refers to the Hyperborean alphabet and the Celtae were the Hyperboreans to the Greeks. And Strabo comments on the Turditani, "These are the wisest amongst the Iberians. They have letters, and written histories of ancient transactions, and poems, and laws in verse, as they assert, six thousand years old". According to Xenophon those letter that were supposed to have been brought out of Phoenicia into Greece resembled Gaulish rather than Phoenician characters. This may mean that the Coelbren may be older than the Greek alphabet, though it must be stated that this is pure conjecture. It is more likely that they share a common origin, especially when other ancient European alphabets like Etruscan and the Runes are considered.

One of the problems is the total lack of written evidence within archaeology. The Ogham script was seen as associated with the older races within the Irish mythological cycles and as such the many Ogham monuments do not fit into the picture of ancient Celtic literacy. However, it may be that such books existed but have been destroyed and lost over the past two thousand years. St. Patrick is reputed to have systematically destroyed Druidic literature, including works with such titles as 'The Stones of Gwyddon' (See Lewis Spence The Magic Arts in Celtic Britain). No one can say what may have been contained within these resources, but it is certainly unfortunate that the early Christian Church carried out such activities.

The idea that Nennius created the Coelbren in response to the criticisms of the Saxons in the eighth century also holds a certain credibility. In the Bodlean library in Oxford there is a manuscript that confirms this tale, dated A.D. 817. This would also correspond to the idea that the Druids did not have their own system of writing in antiquity, which is the standard archaeological view. It also has clarity as the Coelbren do look similar to the Runes, which is usually one of the main criticisms aimed at them. But if Nennius used the idea of the Runes to create a Celtic equivalent, a direct combination of the method of writing Runes as opposed to the Ogham and the associations which the Ogham are traditionally associated with, it would seem likely that they would share similarities. Against this though is the simple fact that there are only so many ways of making up letters. Either a series of straight lines must be used, especially when working with the practicalities of marking wood or stone, or curved lines that are really only practical with paper and ink technology. Thus there would have to be some aesthetic similarities between the two alphabets. Even if this is the origin of the Coelbren it still points to the fact that the Coelbren have been in existence since the eighth century.

The last of the three starting points rests upon the creative or channelling genius of Iolo Morgannwg. It may well be that it was he who devised the system to fill the gap in Celtic literacy that he felt existed but had been lost. This is usually the interpretation favoured by those who think that the Coelbren are contrived and to explain the lack of any physical evidence that they existed before this point. Even so, this does not alter the fact that since Iolo's time the system has been in more or less continuous use and has now developed a considerable heritage in the process.

The whole point to examining the history of the Coelbren is quite simple. It gives a surety of authenticity. It is not a question of age, but usage. How old the Coelbren are makes no difference to the efficacy of the system, all it can do is settle the mind so that it can focus upon the Coelbren themselves. Enough of history. Each Coelbren glyph has several associations. As well as a pictorial element each has a specific sound, as well as a tree that it shares with the Ogham in some cases. Therefore each glyph can be used for either vocal or visual magical techniques, and act as mnemonics for a large amount of natural lore. It also means that they may be used for divination, and various techniques are discussed later. One of the problems that is encountered today when using the Coelbren is that not all retain associations. Out of the forty-four that are in existence only sixteen have associations that can be traced back to the turn of the eighteenth century (see Edward Davies Celtic Researches). However, some people have reasoned that the associations of the different Coelbren glyphs should be comparable to those connected to the Ogham script by virtue of the similarity in the systems. For many, Ogham is an earlier system that was the forerunner of the Coelbren and as such the only difference between the two is the language in which they have been preserved. This may be the case though it would seem that there are at least two distinct versions of the Coelbren, both being different to Ogham, and only one of which is immediately available to anyone wishing to use the system. For this reason both sets that are available, one loosely connected to Ogham and the other more traditional Coelbren system, are reproduced and it is up to the individual which they choose. In effect this adds to the flexibility of the Ogham system in providing a more easily utilised method for writing, and still allows people to connect to the traditional form of the Coelbren if they so wish.


Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2006, 11:08:46 AM »

I think Wilson and Blackett would disagree with much of this posted below, I even have problems with it myself.  There are claims that Cambridge and Oxford scholors have/ are conspiring to elliminate/ obfuscate, and deny and destroy the Welsh history and language. Parliament is said to have an absolute ban on speaking the Welsh tongue in chambers, and one MP was censured? for quoting some Chaucer recently. Historically, the Welsh language was forbidden to be used in schools there for decades, with some strong punishment for students who did use it. Yet it has obviously survived that and is apparently still going strong. It seems from my reading over the years that there are two basic factions within Bitain proper, those of Anglo-Saxons descent vs Welsh. - Bart

An interesting, deep topic, Bart.

Britain, in her days of empire, was against the use of Welsh, probably thinking that learning Welsh in school would distract from other subjects and so handicap the pupil. Today, not only is that language accepted, but attempts are made to resurrect its related tongue, in Cornwall. Everyone loves ethnicity these days. And everyone complans at poor standards in education  Wink

As a student of history, I try to put the relationships between the Anglo Saxons and other peoples of the British Isles into some sort of context. For example, what happened to the Beaker People, who built the henges? Did the invading Celts exterminate them, in a campaign of ethnic cleansing? It looks like it.

What happened to the natives of Pictland? The first Scottish king, MacAlpine, murdered all of seven royal Pictish families. Did he largely exterminate the Picts? Probably.

The Irish raided, invaded and occupied as much of mainland Britain as they could. That's how they got Pictland and created Scotland. The Irish kidnapped from Britain the young man who would later become St. Patrick of Ireland, and used him as a slave.

Most of us live together quite happily and have done so for a very long time. Not to say, though, that there is not friction somewhere, with some people. The Protestant-Catholic bigotry is still rife in Scotland, as the casualty departments of hospitals attest, especially of a Saturday evening.

The modern interest in druids and Stonehenge I find ironic, especially as many people gather at the henge each mid-summer, dressed as druids. This is because the henge was at least as concerned with the moon as with the sun and the druids had even less of an idea of what the henge was for than we do, today. To the druids, the henge was a complete mystery. At least we now have archaeology, which allows us to know and understand a little of its purpose.

The last of the three starting points rests upon the creative or channelling genius of Iolo Morgannwg.

Is this channelling of the paranormal? Is this how we should study history?

Diving Doc
Platinum Member

Karma: 104

Posts: 1482

Treasure is In books

View Profile WWW
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2006, 03:34:30 PM »

Chanelling is an understanding of the spiritual core of a race of people by one who has gone before among them. 

Moneypenny knows somthing of this.

However, I don't believe it is how one should study History.


Bronze Member

Karma: 30

Posts: 75

Spot o' tea?

View Profile
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2006, 04:32:21 AM »

Well, I'm not going to touch the 'channeling' question with a ten foot pole.  Tongue
 I was most interested in this thread when it started and was concerned with Arthurian legend.  I have come across an article in a past issue of "The Heroic Age" that contains much of what Bart has detailed, plus more. Best of all, it contains a really nice bibliography at the end.  There are so many theories that I wonder if it will ever be put to rest.  Huh

Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1768

View Profile
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2006, 11:30:52 AM »

Having trouble posting, keep getting error on page when I hit post. Excellent bio on Wilson at the link below, if someone could post it here, I'm thinking it will make Moneypenny's day.


Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1768

View Profile
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2006, 11:38:37 AM »



"Ancient British history, the history of the Khumric people, is under attack," says Alan Wilson, Britain's foremost expert on these matters.

"A new genetic study by a team based at University College, London, under Dr. Mark Thomas, is amateurish and fatally flawed because it ignores the best historical evidence", Wilson adds. Thomas claims that invading Anglo-Saxons gained a position of power within the British Isles through a "system of apartheid", supposedly explaining how, over a period of 300 years, the ancient British, numbering at least six million (the number given in Salway's Roman Britain, 1981), were supplanted by Anglo-Saxons, numbering in the tens of thousands.

"But this is nonsense," says Wilson, co-author of seven books on ancient British history and whose best-selling paperback The Holy Kingdom caused uproar when published in 1997. "Massive historical evidence points to much of Britain being devastated by a cometary strike in the mid 6th Century. Astronomers at Cardiff University agree with us, as do astrophysicists including Dr. Victor Klube of Oxford University and dendrochronologists led by Dr. Michael Baillie of Belfast. All agree that a comet hit Britain and yet this research, and that of other scientists, has been completely ignored by Dr. Thomas."


The destruction caused by the comet, is, Wilson says, the simplest, best, most appropriate and only factual explanation for the growth of Anglo-Saxon power from the 7th Century onwards. Subsequent Anglo Saxon invasions could not have succeeded without this disaster. "We are in trouble if academics can ignore the best historical evidence we have," Wilson continued. "Clearly, as explained in Welsh historical records of huge integrity, the comet struck causing massive devestation and the main victims were the Khumric people."


One ancient Khumric record, the Brut Tyssilio, speaks of, "a star of great magnitude and brilliance with a single beam shining from it. At the end of this beam was a ball of fire, spread out in the shape of a dragon..."

Another, the Life of St. Teilo (who lived mid sixth Century), states, "St. Teilo received the pastoral care of the church of Llandaff to which he had been consecrated....but could not long remain, however, on account of the pestilence which nearly destroyed the whole nation....it was called the Yellow Pestilence because it occasioned all persons who were seized by it to be yellow without blood and it appeared to men as a watery column of cloud having one end trailing along the ground and the other above, proceeding in the air and passing through the entire country like a shower going through the bottom of the vallies."


These are but two examples of a multiplicity of historical sources pointing in the same direction but which have been ignored by Dr. Mark Thomas. "The Anglo-Saxon invasion would have been impossible without the cometary strike," argues Wilson, "and you cannot ignore 99% of the historical evidence and make effective progress, which is why genetic studies such as this much-publicised recent effort are so flawed."


"If we want the answers to important historical questions that are the basis for the origins of the Welsh Dragon, and the real heritage and culture of the Khumric and British people, then we need look no further than the ancient records," says Wilson.

"Dr. Thomas and his team at University College London have replaced historical fact with modern-day fiction and they clearly have not done their homework."


For more please visit, realhistory.libsyn.com or realhistoryradio.blogspot.com

In support of the Ancient British Historical Association, Chairperson, Alan Wilson




Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1768

View Profile
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2006, 11:49:25 AM »

Real History Radio
The only show bringing you Real ancient British, European and Middle Eastern history based upon the best and most illustrious records available; the Khumric "Welsh". Christianity in Britain circa 37AD, King Arthur, the ancient British Kings, the Brutus Dynasty, the Khumry, Egypt and more!


Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1768

View Profile
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2006, 12:03:19 PM »

Lots of review on Wilson's new book, The Holy Kingdon, mostly rave.


Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1768

View Profile
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2006, 12:24:30 PM »

A strong opinion, but are his facts right for the Copper Scroll?

"John Laprise Ph.D., Ontario, Canada

My ancestry consists of Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Norman ancestry. My Grandfather Arthur Houle who was of Welsh/Breton ancestry insisted that there was a King Arthur who did great things in history. Their oral tradition maintained, that there was always a boy named Arthur in every generation for his commemoration. We know that Magus Maximus existed and that his son Arthur was the eldest. I was however surprised, that there had been two Arthurs in early British history. I would challenge the pseudo-researchers found in our colleges and universities, who would criticize the thirty years of scholarly research of Alan Wilson and Baram Blackett, to learn the written Coelbren language of the Khumry first, then confirm the research and documentation brought forward. Oh yes I forgot, Coelbren was determined to be a forged language of the early 1800's by these pseudo-academics. That must be why the Etruscan and even the so-called Copper Scrolls of the famed Dead Sea Scrolls read perfectly in the ancient Coelbren of the Khumry. The Copper Scroll was supposedly written in an unknown language according to the academe/know it alls. I guess in time history will have to be rewritten, and all these tomes of gobbledeegook written over the centuries by the farmers of government grants will have to be discarded. "

Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2006, 03:04:40 PM »

No, Bart, he is not.
The Copper Scroll is in Hebrew.
The scrolls were discovered in 1947, hardly time for centuries of scholarly work.

Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1768

View Profile
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2006, 06:04:14 PM »

That is just what I have been hearing for a few years now, that the Coelbren is Hebrew, but it is all from this source, Wilson. How does one go about verifying Wilson on this particular claim? Where would you start? I keep asking myself, what if Wilson is right about this claim?

I spent ten years searching for the truth regarding a fantastic archaeological claim here in the US. The whole thing, books, inscribed rocks, artifacts, documentation, turned out to be a fraud. It was quite an odyssey.

Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2006, 06:50:26 PM »

That is just what I have been hearing for a few years now, that the Coelbren is Hebrew, but it is all from this source, Wilson. How does one go about verifying Wilson on this particular claim? Where would you start? I keep asking myself, what if Wilson is right about this claim?

I spent ten years searching for the truth regarding a fantastic archaeological claim here in the US. The whole thing, books, inscribed rocks, artifacts, documentation, turned out to be a fraud. It was quite an odyssey.
That Coelbren is supposed to be Hebrew is not quite what was claimed in the above post:
the...Copper Scolls...read perfectly in the ancient Coelbren
As I said, that scroll is in Hebrew, not Coelbren. If the scroll can be read perfectly as Coelbren, then Coelbren is Hebrew, not merely similar to it. The terms Hebrew and Coelbren would become interchangeable: in fact, one would not need to use the term Coelbren at all, as Hebrew is already well-known, well-established and understood.

The Copper Scroll was supposedly written in an unknown language according to the academe/know it alls
This statement is therefore patently untrue.

I'm not quite sure what to say regarding those ten years. I have just spent two years studying the claimed archaeology of a famous site in North America and it turned out to be the result of at least two frauds. The abuse I received in thanks was predictable, maybe, as this sort of thing can easily become a cult and heretics are always persecuted, but at least after two years, it was over. Ten years? That would upset me.

Over the last 35 years or more, I have studied both Qumran and the scrolls. After a decade or so, I decided that to begin to understand the arguments, I would have to take it seriously. My method was to obtain (copies of ) the source materials and check every single element of each argument. That took about two years. The result is that I can now hold an informed point of view of my own.

Going to the source is always the best method. Depending on the interpretations of others is always risky at best and can never match the validity of the original sources. Once you have studied the source material with an educated mind, then your opinion can stand up to those of the experts, for you can become an expert in your own right.

We are fortunate that in academia today, most are open with their material. I have never had an academic refuse my request for data and I send out requests maybe once or twice a week. The case of the horse bones may confirm that to you.

« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2006, 07:10:39 PM »

"But this is nonsense," says Wilson, co-author of seven books on ancient British history and whose best-selling paperback The Holy Kingdom caused uproar when published in 1997. "Massive historical evidence points to much of Britain being devastated by a cometary strike in the mid 6th Century. Astronomers at Cardiff University agree with us, as do astrophysicists including Dr. Victor Klube of Oxford University and dendrochronologists led by Dr. Michael Baillie of Belfast. All agree that a comet hit Britain and yet this research, and that of other scientists, has been completely ignored by Dr. Thomas."

I would not argue against Wilson, in his claim for a catastrophic event having caused societal changes in the 6th century and in particular, for the collapse of an agrarian Celtic Britain in favour of more mobile Anglo Saxons. As he says, there is now a mass of supporting evidence for this. There is another hypothesis for the cause.

SEMP Biot #214: Did a Krakatoa Eruption in 535 A.D. Help Precipitate the Decline of Antiquity and the Spread of Islam?
May 16, 2005
David Keys*, in a 1999 British television documentary** based on his book ?Catastrophe,?*** suggested that an eruption of Krakatoa in 535 A.D. was the primary cause of a global climatic catastrophe that caused widespread famine, pestilence, and extinction of many civilizations around the globe. Keys reasons that a huge volcanic eruption, somewhere near the equator sent volcanic emissions high into the stratosphere where air currents distributed them around the globe, creating a veil through which sunlight could not penetrate. As a result, the earth sustained flooding and cooling over the next century, which caused the failure of crops. People and animals scattered and either starved to death or died from a pandemic that swept the civilized world in the sixth century (or both).

The Super-Explosive Volcano?s Potential For Darkening The Sun,
Producing Sudden Global Climate Changes,
And Causing Catastrophes
A Syrian bishop, John of Ephesis, wrote of certain extraordinary events that occurred in 535-536 A. D., as follows:

"There was a sign from the Sun, the likes of which had never been seen or reported before. The Sun became dark, and its darkness lasted for about 18 months. Each day, it shown for about four hours and still this light was only a feeble shadow. Everyone declared that the Sun would never recover its full light again."1

Thus the 535-555 interval began with significant solar darkening and a sudden, significant worldwide temperature decline. Floods and droughts, crop failures, plagues, and famines followed this global cooling of the climate. [Perhaps this is why Cayce readings 3620-1 and 257-254 say that "anyone who can should buy a farm, and buy it if you don't want to grow hungry in some days to come," for "the hardships for [America] have not yet begun, so far as the supply and demand for foods are concerned".]

Bubonic plague occurred due to the cooler temperatures. This plague massively reduced populations. Traces of sulfate ions, from sulfuric acid produced by the eruption, are found in ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica, ruling out asteroid or comet impacts as the source of the Sun-darkening dust. No wonder that the term Dark Ages is used to describe the physical and societal situations that developed beginning in 535 A.D.

« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2006, 09:57:56 AM »

1. Go to the source.
2. Follow wherever the evidence leads.

Well done, all  Grin
Diving Doc
Platinum Member

Karma: 104

Posts: 1482

Treasure is In books

View Profile WWW
« Reply #29 on: August 26, 2006, 01:49:42 AM »

Well it certainly is fun to speculate just how many times a coincidence, isn't it?


Webmaster: History Hunters
Gold Member

Karma: 84

Posts: 687

The Eyrie

View Profile
« Reply #30 on: October 28, 2006, 09:11:26 AM »

Having trouble posting, keep getting error on page when I hit post. Excellent bio on Wilson at the link below, if someone could post it here, I'm thinking it will make Moneypenny's day.


Here we go:
Alan Wilson (historian)
Alan Wilson is a Welsh historian specialising in the study of the origins of King Arthur and related subjects.

Early career
Wilson studied at the University of Cardiff before a highly successful career in the shipbuilding industry as a master planner. After working in Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland, Italy and Sweden as a consultant, he retired to concentrate on the historial research he first started on a part-time basis in 1956.

Arthurian research
In 1976, after a chance meeting with historical researcher, Baram Blackett, at the public library in Newcastle upon Tyne, the two men decided to put up many thousands of pounds of their own money to fund full-time research into the origins of King Arthur. The Arthurian stories, so popular today, came out of South-Eastern Wales into France, via the Normans, in the 12th century and this encouraged them to start their search in the same place. The search soon moved beyond Wales into the English Midlands.

To date, Wilson and Blackett have produced some seven books that provide massive historical detail based upon Old Welsh records. They believe that these provide a final solution to the King Arthur story and claim to have discovered the true sites of the battles of Badon (Mynydd Baedan) and Camlann.

In 1983, Wilson and Blackett discovered what they believe to be King Arthur's memorial stone at the small ruined church of St Peter-super-Montem on Mynydd-y-Gaer in Mid-Glamorgan, which they own. Following this, they employed the services of two archaeologists, in 1990, to lead a professional dig at the same place. During the excavations, which were authorised by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, several highly significant artefacts were discovered including an ancient axe, a knife and a small electrum cross, comprising 79% silver and weighing two and a half pounds, that reads "Pro Anima Artorius" ("For The Soul Of Arthur"). This was no surprise to Wilson and Blackett who had already identified the church as an ancient and vitally important historical site dating to the 1st century. Other major Welsh kings are buried locally.

Lecture tours
Alan Wilson and his colleague lectured extensively in the United Kingdom, including Manchester and Jesus College at the University of Oxford, and Alan Wilson gave the prestigious Bemis Lecture in Boston in 1993. Research into claims that the Welsh settled in mid-western America in antiquity led to Wilson and his colleague, Baram Blackett, accepting invitations from American supporters to visit US sites of historical significance in 1994. The visit led to several television appearances and the deciphering of alphabetic inscriptions claimed to be in the old 'Coelbren' alphabet. Wilson also concluded that the many snake mounds in the American Mid-west were of ancient Khumric-British construction. Whilst in America, the two men were also commissioned to produce a detailed genealogy for the Bush family (friends and supporters of President George H. W. Bush).

Published works
    * Arthur, King of Glamorgan and Gwent (with Baram Blackett, MT Byrd Partnership, 1980)
    * Arthur and Charter of the Kings (with Baram Blackett, MT Byrd Partnership, 1981)
    * Arthur The War King (with Baram Blackett, MT Byrd Partnership, 1982-3)
    * Artorius Rex Discovered (with Baram Blackett, MT Byrd Partnership, 1986)
    * The Holy Kingdom (with Adrian Gilbert and Baram Blackett, Bantam, 1998)
    * King Arthur Conspiracy (with Grant Berkley and Baram Blackett, Trafford, 2005)
    * Moses in the Hieroglyphs (with Grant Berkley and Baram Blackett, Trafford, 2006)

« Reply #31 on: October 28, 2006, 09:24:43 AM »

Exclusive interview with Alan Wilson, co-author of seven books on Ancient British history with Baram Blackett.
Dated: Mon, 4 September 2006
« Reply #32 on: October 28, 2006, 09:26:09 AM »

Athrwys, King of Ergyng
(c.AD 618-c.655)
(Latin: Artorius; English: Arthur)

 Athrwys (or Arthwys) was the eldest son of King Meurig ap  Tewdrig of Gwent & Glywysing. He is generally supposed to have lived in the mid 7th century and Dr Wendy Davies suggests that he did not outlive his father. They may, however, have ruled jointly in the 640s & 50s, after Athrwys became King of Ergyng in right of his mother. Upon the death of his maternal grandfather, King Gwrgan Fawr, in about AD 645, Athrwys - presumably with the help of his father's armies - appears to have seized the throne of Ergyng from his uncles, Caradog & Morgan. He ruled there for about ten years before his death.

Athrwys may have made quite an impression as a young warrior as well as a king; for it seems likely that many Southern Welsh stories associated with High-King Arthur actually refer to King Athrwys. Particularly relevant are King Arthur's associations with Caer-Legeion-guar-Uisc (Caerleon) which was said to have been one of his major courts. This is, of course, deep in the heart of King Athrwys' home kingdom. Blackett & Wilson followed by Barber & Pykitt further argue that King Athrwys actually was the King Arthur by pushing his lifetime back to the traditional Arthurian period in the early 6th century. They suggest that either Athrwys or his father were buried on Mynydd-y-Gaer in Mid-Glamorgan.
« Reply #33 on: October 28, 2006, 10:06:21 AM »

Caerleon Excavation
Sites and places associated with Arthurian legend
The following is a list and assessment of sites and places associated with King Arthur and the Arthurian legend in general. Given the lack of concrete historical knowledge about one of the most potent figures in British mythology, it is unlikely that any definitive conclusions about the claims for these places will ever be established, nevertheless it is both interesting and important to try to evaluate the body of evidence which does exist and examine it critically. The earliest reference to Arthur is in Aneirin's poem Y Gododdin (c. 594). Another is in Taliesin's poem Journey to Deganwy, believed to have been composed in 547; while his fame may have increased in the intervening years, the facts about his life have become less discernible.

Roman Caerleon
Caerleon is a site of considerable archaeological importance, being the site of a Roman legionary fortress (it was the headquarters for Legio II Augusta from about 75 to 300 AD) and an iron age hill fort.

The name Caerleon is commonly thought to be from the Welsh for "fortress of the legion"; the Romans themselves called it Isca Silurum, "Usk of the Silures", after the Silures, the Celtic tribe that dwelt there.

Substantial excavated Roman remains can be seen, including the military amphitheatre, one of the most impressive in Britain, and the bath house, with a modern museum in situ above it. Both sites are administered by Cadw. There is a separate museum, part of the National Museums and Galleries of Wales complex, which exhibits finds from excavations throughout the village.

Because of its circular form, the unexcavated amphitheatre was known to locals as "King Arthur's Round Table", but there is no known connection. An initial investigation in 1909 showed the potential for a full-scale excavation of the structure, which began in 1926 and was supervised by Victor Nash-Williams. This revealed, among other things, that the amphitheatre had been built around 90AD, but had twice been partially reconstructed, once in the early part of the 2nd century AD, and again about a hundred years later. The arena is oval in shape, with eight entrances, and the stadium is thought to have had a capacity of around 6000.

Caerleon and Arthurian Legend
Caerleon is one of the sites most often connected with King Arthur's Camelot. There was no Camelot mentioned in the early Arthurian traditions recorded by Geoffrey of Monmouth, Wace, and Layamon. These early Arthurian authors say that Arthur's capital was in Caerleon, and even the later recaster of Arthurian material, Sir Thomas Malory, has Arthur re-crowned at "Carlion" (Caerleon). It has been suggested that the still-visible Roman amphitheatre at Caerleon is the source of the 'Round-Table' element of the tales, and was used for discussion and entertainment. (The "Camelot" reference originates with the French writer of courtly romance, Chr?tien de Troyes.)

Geoffrey of Monmouth writes of Caerleon in the mid 12th century:

    "When the feast of Whitsuntide began to draw near, Arthur, who was quite overjoyed by his great success, made up his mind to hold a plenary court at that season and place the crown of the kingdom on his head. He decided too, to summon to this feast the leaders who owed him homage, so that he could celebrate Whitsun with greater reverence and renew the closest pacts of peace with his chieftains. He explained to the members of his court what he was proposing to do and accepted their advice that he should carry out his plan in The City Of The Legions.

Situated as it is in Morgannwg (Glamorgan), on the River Usk, not far from the Severn Sea, in a most pleasant position, and being richer in material wealth than other townships, this city was eminently suitable for such a ceremony. The river which I have named flowed by it on one side, and up this the kings and princes who were to come from across the sea could be carried in a fleet of ships. On the other side, which was flanked by meadows and wooded groves, they had adorned the city with royal palaces, and by the gold-painted gables of its roofs it was a match for Rome."
(Historia Regum Britanniae "History of the Kings of Britain")

In another part of his work Geoffrey stated that Caerleon had an archbishop - and from the context we can deduce that this was a man with considerable power and influence:

"After the death of Uther Pendragon, the leaders of the Britons assembled from their various provinces in the town of Silchester and there suggested to Dubricus, the archbishop of the City Of The Legions, that as their King he should crown Arthur, son of Uther. He called the other bishops to him and bestowed the crown of the kingdom upon Arthur. Arthur was a young man only fifteen years old ..."

Caerleon also has later Arthurian literary associations, as the birthplace of the writer Arthur Machen who often used it as a location in his work. Alfred Lord Tennyson also wrote his Idylls of the King overlooking the Usk in a bay window of what is now the saloon bar of the Hanbury Arms public house.

Remains of the Roman Watchtower attached to the Hanbury Arms pub in Caerleon near the castle. Photograph copyright 1998 by Jeffrey L. Thomas

In Michael Morurgo's novel Arthur, High King if Britain, Caerleon is the castle where Arthur unknowingly commits incest with his half-sister Margause, resulting in the conception of his bastard son Mordred, who will later bring about his downfall.
« Reply #34 on: October 28, 2006, 03:53:51 PM »

The Historia Britonum, or The History of the Britons, is a historical work that was first written sometime shortly after AD 820. It purports to relate the history of Brythonnic inhabitants of Great Britain from earliest times. The text itself is a collection of excerpts, chronological calculations, glosses, and summaries based on earlier records -- many of which no longer exist.

Traditionally, the Historia Britonum is ascribed to be the work of Nennius, a Welsh monk of the ninth century. However, examination of the numerous recensions show that Gildas was also claimed as its author (since Gildas was the only historical author its scribes knew of), while others (such as the British Library manuscript Harleian 3859) do not name an author. Professor Dumville's researches have shown that the ascription of this work to Nennius originated in the tenth century in one branch of the manuscript transmission, created by a scribe seeking to root this work in the intellectual traditions of that time.

The Historia Britonum has also drawn attention because of its role in influencing the legends and myths surrounding King Arthur.

It has what appears to be a summary of a poem listing 12 battles of Arthur, some of which clearly are not properly identified with him:

    Then it was, that Arthur, with all the kings and military force of Britain, fought against the Saxons. And though there were many more noble than himself, yet he was twelve times chosen their commander, and was as often conqueror. The first battle in which he was engaged, was at the mouth of the river Glein. The second, third, fourth, and fifth, were on another river, by the Britons called Dubglas, in the region Linnuis. The sixth, on the river Bassas. The seventh in the wood Celidon, which the Britons call Cat Coit Celidon. The eighth was near Castle Gurnion, where Arthur bore the image of the Holy Virgin, mother of God, upon his shoulders, and through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the holy Mary, put the Saxons to flight, and pursued them the whole day with great slaughter. The ninth was at the City of Legion, which is called Cair Leon. The tenth was on the banks of the river Tribruit. The eleventh was on the mountain Breguoin, which we call Cat Breguoin. The twelfth was a most severe contest, when Arthur penetrated to the hill of Badon. In this engagement, nine hundred and forty fell by his hand alone, no one but the Lord affording him assistance. In all these engagements the Britons were successful. For no strength can avail against the will of the Almighty.
        (Chapter 56)

The City of the Legion is identified with either Chester or Caerleon.
Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1768

View Profile
« Reply #35 on: November 22, 2006, 12:37:35 PM »

The Legend of King Tewdrig of Penwith, Cornwall - Arthur's Paternal Grandfather

by J. Henry Harris

K I N G   T E W D R I G
and the Saints

     Most of the saints came to Cornwall, dropping little bits of fame and reputation as they travelled from parish to parish, and from holy well to holy well. They were born under a travelling planet, "neither bred where born, nor beneficed where bred, nor buried where beneficed", but wandering ever. Cornwall is known as the "Land of Saints", and the county teams are usually Saints. For example The Saints verses Week-enders. Six goals to three. Five to one on Saints. It sounds a bit curious, but you get used to it. The true story of the saints is a little mixed; the giants and the piskies come in, and wherever the saints went there was sure to be trouble.

     Irish saints swarmed to Cornwall as thick as flies in summer in the reign of Tewdrig the King, who built is castle on the sands at Hayle. It is there now, only modern technology has yet to be used to make it visible. This Tewdrig was a good old sort, who was respectfully called Theodoric by the saints as long as he had anything to offer them. However, the saints let it be known, in the distressful land, that they had struck oil, and so their friends and relatives swarmed across the Irish Sea. They came in such crowds that the King was in danger of being eaten out of house and home. He summoned the Keeper of the Victuals, and asked for a report. He was given it, and it was very short and sad - as sad in its way as an army stores inquiry. Every living thing in air and field and wood had been devoured. All the salted meat in the barrels had disappeared, "and if you don't stop this immigration of Irish saints," said the unhappy official, "we shall be eaten up alive." The good King became serious. Whilst they were talking, a messenger came with the news that another great batch of saints had come ashore. The King and his Keeper of the Victuals - when there were any to keep - looked at each other solemnly.
"Put the castle in mourning," said the King. When the new arrivals danced up to the gate, with teeth well set for action and stomachs empty, the Keeper of the Victuals spoke sadly.
"The good King died," he said, "the moment he heard that more saints had arrived. Those who came first ate all his substance and emptied his barrels, and there is nothing left of him now but bones. The last words of the good King were, "Give them my bones"." The Keeper of the Victuals turned, as though to fetch the good King's bones for the saints to feast on. They, however, departed, one and all, and spread the story. The king played the game and ordered his own funeral, and when the time came, he got up and looked through a peep-hole to see the procession.

     "The saints," he said, "have spared my bones, but they will surely come and see the last of me." But he was mistaken. The story that all the barrels were empty spread, and there wasn't a saint left in the land on the morrow. Then the King showed himself to his own people, and a law was passed entitled "An Act against Alien Saints' Immigration". The country recovered its ancient prosperity, and the Keeper of the Victuals filled the barrels with salted meat. There were wild birds in the air, and beasts in the field, and the King once more feasted in his own hall.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Saint Tewdrig was a 7th century King of Glywysing (Glamorgan) and Gwent in South Wales who was martyred fighting the Anglo-Saxons.

Tewdrig was the son of the previous king, either Llywarch or Teithfall, and a supposed benefactor of the church of Llandaff. He resigned the government to his son, Meurig, in order to devote himself to religion and contemplation at Tintern in Monmouthshire. However, when the Saxons, under King Ceolwulf, crossed the Severn and pressed hard upon Meurig, Tewdrig left his solitude and gained a victory at the head of his old troops, but was killed in the process. A church was erected over his grave and called Marthyr Tewdrig. This is now Mathern, at the junction of the Rivers Wye and Severn. He was the grandfather of Athrwys ap Meurig.


St. Tewdrig,
King of Gwent & Glywysing
(Latin: Theodoricius; English: Theodoric)

St. Tewdrig was the son of King Nynniaw of Gwent's son, Llywarch. He was King of Gwent in the early 7th century, but little is known of his reign. In later life, he abdicated in favour of his son, Meurig, and became a hermit at Din-Teyryn (Tintern). Soon afterward, however, around 630, the Saxons invaded Gwent. The local monasteries were particularly badly hit by their raids and so Tewdrig decided to come out of retirement and take up his sword once more to defend the church.

Together with his son, the two Kings pushed back the Saxon menace, but Tewdrig was wounded in the Battle of Pont-y-Saeson and had to be taken to Flat Holm in the Bristol Channel for treatment. An ox-cart was called to take him there but, on their journey, the oxen stopped themselves at a miraculous spring (now known as St.Tewdrig's Well). Here Tewdrig's wounds were cleansed and here he died. King Meurig built a great church on the spot and enshrined his father's saintly body there. The place became known Merthyr-Teyryn (Mathern) after the Martyred-Prince.



Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
« Reply #36 on: November 22, 2006, 01:27:37 PM »

Very nice, Bart  Cool

If it ever comes to pass the the UK ends as Ulster, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man and the various Channel Islands (and overseas territories) decide to go their own way, then England could still be a United Kingdom, for it is composed of more kingdoms than I can remember. Maybe then we could have an English monarchy again, too.

Webmaster: History Hunters
Gold Member

Karma: 84

Posts: 687

The Eyrie

View Profile
« Reply #37 on: November 25, 2006, 02:39:47 AM »

We now have this fine and illustrated piece The Death of Arthur by Alan Hassell, who has kindly offered us more of his work, which I look forward to publishing here.

« Reply #38 on: December 24, 2006, 02:21:41 PM »

I would like to look again at Historia Brittonum (History Of The Britons) and what it says regarding Arthur and Arthurian Britain.

First, the author.


Nennius, or Nemnivus, is either of two shadowy personages traditionally associated with the history of Wales. The better known of the two is Nennius, the student of Elvodugus. Elvodugus is commonly identified with the bishop Elfoddw of Gwynedd, who convinced the rest of the Welsh portion of Celtic Christianity to celebrate Easter on the same date as the other Catholics in Britain in 768, and is later stated by the Annales Cambriae to have died in 809. This Nennius is traditionally stated as having lived in the early 9th century, and is identified in one group of manuscripts of the Historia Britonum as the author of that work. The careful scholarship of professor David N. Dumville on this text has instead shown that the manuscripts that make this claim come from an exemplar dating to the later eleventh century, far later than the exemplars of other versions of this manuscript ? as well as over two hundred years after this Nennius is supposed to have lived. However, a number of historians still refer to the author of either the original text of the Historia Brittonum, or this specific recension, as Nennius, or pseudo-Nennius.

The other Nemnivus, or Nennius, is mentioned in a Welsh manuscript of the 9th century. In response to the snide accusation of a Saxon scholar that the Britons had no alphabet of their own, this Nemnivus is said to have invented an alphabet on the fly in order to refute this insult. The alphabet Nemnivus is said to have invented is preserved in this manuscript, and according to Nora K. Chadwick it is derived from the Old English futhark or runic writing. "Indeed the names given to some of his letters seem to show evidence of an actual knowledge of their Saxon names", Chadwick concludes.

Some conclude that these two figures are the same individual. Others argue that drawing such a conclusion is not warranted, since Nennius, the student of Elvodugus, is arguably fictional, and since the histories of both Wales and Britain over the period in question are quite incomplete.

History Of The Britons (Historia Brittonum), by Nennius


1. Nennius, the lowly minister and servant of the servants of God, by
the grace of God, disciple of St. Elbotus, to all the followers of
truth sendeth health.

Be it known to your charity, that being dull in intellect and rude of
speech, I have presumed to deliver these things in the Latin tongue, not
trusting to my own learning, which is little or none at all, but partly
from traditions of our ancestors, partly from writings and monuments
of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the
Romans, and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymus,
Prosper, Eusebius, and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons,
although our enemies, not following my own inclinations, but, to the
best of my ability, obeying the commands of my seniors; I have lispingly
put together this history from various sources, and have endeavored,
from shame, to deliver down to posterity the few remaining ears of corn
about past transactions, that they might not be trodden under foot,
seeing that an ample crop has been snatched away already by the hostile
reapers of foreign nations. For many things have been in my way, and I,
to this day, have hardly been able to understand, even superficially, as
was necessary, the sayings of other men; much less was I able in my own
strength, but like a barbarian, have I murdered and defiled the
language of others. But I bore about with me an inward wound, and I
was indignant, that the name of my own people, formerly famous and
distinguished, should sink into oblivion, and like smoke be dissipated.
But since, however, I had rather myself be the historian of the Britons
than nobody, although so many are to be found who might much more
satisfactorily discharge the labour thus imposed on me; I humbly entreat
my readers, whose ears I may offend by the inelegance of my words, that
they will fulfil the wish of my seniors, and grant me the easy task of
listening with candour to my history. For zealous efforts very often
fail: but bold enthusiasm, were it in its power, would not suffer me to
fail. May, therefore, candour be shown where the inelegance of my words
is insufficient, and may the truth of this history, which my rustic
tongue has ventured, as a kind of plough, to trace out in furrows, lose
none of its influence from that cause, in the ears of my hearers. For it
is better to drink a wholesome draught of truth from the humble vessel,
than poison mixed with honey from a golden goblet.

2. And do not be loath, diligent reader, to winnow my chaff, and lay up
the wheat in the storehouse of your memory: for truth regards not who
is the speaker, nor in what manner it is spoken, but that the thing be
true; and she does not despise the jewel which she has rescued from the
mud, but she adds it to her former treasures.

For I yield to those who are greater and more eloquent than myself, who,
kindled with generous ardour, have endeavoured by Roman eloquence to
smooth the jarring elements of their tongue, if they have left unshaken
any pillar of history which I wished to see remain. This history
therefore has been compiled from a wish to benefit my inferiors, not
from envy of those who are superior to me, in the 858th year of our
Lord's incarnation, and in the 24th year of Mervin, king of the Britons,
and I hope that the prayers of my betters will be offered up for me in
recompence of my labour. But this is sufficient by way of preface. I
shall obediently accomplish the rest to the utmost of my power.


Here begins the apology of Nennius, the historiographer of the Britons,
of the race of the Britons.

3. I, Nennius, disciple of St. Elbotus, have endeavoured to write some
extracts which the dulness of the British nation had cast away, because
teachers had no knowledge, nor gave any information in their books about
this island of Britain. But I have got together all that I could find as
well from the annals of the Romans as from the chronicles of the sacred
fathers, Hieronymus, Eusebius, Isidorus, Prosper, and from the annals of
the Scots and Saxons, and from our ancient traditions. Many teachers
and scribes have attempted to write this, but somehow or other have
abandoned it from its difficulty, either on account of frequent deaths,
or the often recurring calamities of war. I pray that every reader
who shall read this book, may pardon me, for having attempted, like a
chattering jay, or like some weak witness, to write these things, after
they had failed. I yield to him who knows more of these things than I

7. The island of Britain derives its name from Brutus, a Roman consul.
Taken from the south-west point it inclines a little towards the west,
and to its northern extremity measures eight hundred miles, and is in
breadth two hundred. It contains thirty three cities,(1) viz.

     1. Cair ebrauc (York).
     2. Cair ceint (Canterbury).
     3. Cair gurcoc (Anglesey?).
     4. Cair guorthegern (2)
     5. Cair custeint (Carnarvon).
     6. Cair guoranegon (Worcester).
     7. Cair segeint (Silchester).
     8. Cair guin truis (Norwich, or Winwick).
     9. Cair merdin (Caermarthen).
     10. Cair peris (Porchester).
     11. Cair lion (Caerleon-upon-Usk).
     12. Cair mencipit (Verulam).
     13. Cair caratauc (Catterick).
     14. Cair ceri (Cirencester).
     15. Cair glout (Gloucester).
     16. Cair luillid (Carlisle).
     17. Cair grant (Grantchester, now Cambridge).
     18. Cair daun (Doncaster), or Cair dauri (Dorchester).
     19. Cair britoc (Bristol).
     20. Cair meguaid (Meivod).
     21. Cair mauiguid (Manchester).
     22. Cair ligion (Chester).
     23. Cair guent (Winchester, or Caerwent, in Monmouthshire).
     24. Cair collon (Colchester, or St. Colon, Cornwall).
     25. Cair londein (London).
     26. Cair guorcon (Worren, or Woran, in Pembrokeshire).
     27. Cair lerion (Leicester).
     28. Cair draithou (Drayton).
     29. Cair pensavelcoit (Pevensey, in Sussex).
     30. Cairtelm (Teyn-Grace, in Devonshire).
     31. Cair Urnahc (Wroxeter, in Shropshire).
     32. Cair colemion (Camelet, in Somersetshire).
     33. Cair loit coit (Lincoln).
     (1) V.R. Twenty-eight, twenty-one.
     (2) Site unknown.

These are the names of the ancient cities of the island of Britain. It
has also a vast many promontories, and castles innumerable, built of
brick and stone. Its inhabitants consist of four different people; the
Scots, the Picts, the Saxons and the ancient Britons.

8. Three considerable islands belong to it; one, on the south, opposite
the Armorican shore, called Wight;* another between Ireland and Britain,
called Eubonia or Man; and another directly north, beyond the Picts,
named Orkney; and hence it was anciently a proverbial expression, in
reference to its kings and rulers, "He reigned over Britain and its
three islands."

50. St. Germanus, after his death, returned into his own country. *At
that time, the Saxons greatly increased in Britain, both in strength and
numbers. And Octa, after the death of his father Hengist, came from the
sinistral part of the island to the kingdom of Kent, and from him have
proceeded all the kings of that province, to the present period.

     * V.R. All this to the word 'Amen,' in other MSS. is placed
     after the legend of St. Patrick.

In illo tempore Saxones inualescebant in
multitudine et crescebant in brittannia.
Mortuo autem Hengisto octha filius eius transi-
uit de sinistrali parte brittanie ad reg
-num cantorum. et de ipso orti sunt reges cantorum.
Tunc arthur pugnabat contra illos.
in illis diebus cum regibus brittonum. sed ipse dux erat

Then it was, that the magnanimous Arthur, with all the kings and
military force of Britain, fought against the Saxons. And though there
were many more noble than himself, yet he was twelve times chosen their
commander, and was as often conqueror. The first battle in which he
was engaged, was at the mouth of the river Gleni.(1) The second,
third, fourth, and fifth, were on another river, by the Britons called
Duglas,(2) in the region Linuis. The sixth, on the river Bassas.(3) The
seventh in the wood Celidon, which the Britons call Cat Coit Celidon.(4)
The eighth was near Gurnion castle,(5) where Arthur bore the image of
the Holy Virgin,(6) mother of God, upon his shoulders, and through the
power of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the holy Mary, put the Saxons to
flight, and pursued them the whole day with great slaughter.(7) The
ninth was at the City of Legion,(8) which is called Cair Lion. The tenth
was on the banks of the river Trat Treuroit.(9) The eleventh was on the
mountain Breguoin, which we call Cat Bregion.(10) The twelfth was a most
severe contest, when Arthur penetrated to the hill of Badon.(11) In this
engagement, nine hundred and forty fell by his hand alone, no one but
the Lord affording him assistance. In all these engagements the Britons
were successful. For no strength can avail against the will of the

     (1) Supposed by some to be the Glem, in Lincolnshire; but
     most probably the Glen, in the northern part of

     (2) Or Dubglas.  The little river Dunglas, which formed the
     southern boundary of Lothian.  Whitaker says, the river
     Duglas, in Lancashire, near Wigan.

     (3) Not a river, but an isolated rock in the Frith of Forth,
     near the town of North Berwick, called "The Bass."  Some
     think it is the river Lusas, in Hampshire.

     (4) The Caledonian forest; or the forest of Englewood,
     extending from Penrith to Carlisle.

     (5) Variously supposed to be in Cornwall, or Binchester in
     Durham, but most probably the Roman station of Garionenum,
     near Yarmouth, in Norfolk.

     (6) V.R. The image of the cross of Christ, and of the
     perpetual virgin St. Mary.

     (7) V.R. For Arthur proceeded to Jerusalem, and there made a
     cross to the size of the Saviour's cross, and there it was
     consecrated, and for three successive days he fasted,
     watched, and prayed, before the Lord's cross, that the Lord
     would give him the victory, by this sign, over the heathen;
     which also took place, and he took with him the image of St.
     Mary, the fragments of which are still preserved in great
     veneration at Wedale, in English Wodale, in Latin Vallis-
     doloris.  Wodale is a village in the province of Lodonesia,
     but now of the jurisdiction of the bishop of St. Andrew's,
     of Scotland, six miles on the west of that heretofore noble
     and eminent monastery of Meilros.

     (8) Exeter.

     (9) Or Ribroit, the Brue, in Somersetshire; or the Ribble,
     in Lancashire.

     (10) Or Agned Cathregonion, Cadbury, in Somersetshire; or

     (11) Bath.

The more the Saxons were vanquished, the more they sought for new
supplies of Saxons from Germany; so that kings, commanders, and military
bands were invited over from almost every province. And this practice
they continued till the reign of Ida, who was the son of Eoppa, he,
of the Saxon race, was the first king in Bernicia, and in Cair Ebrauc

When Gratian Aequantius was consul at rome, because then the whole world
was governed by the Roman consuls, the Saxons were received by Vortigern
in the year of our Lord four hundred and forty-seven, and to the year
in which we now write, five hundred and forty-seven. And whosoever shall
read herein may receive instruction, the Lord Jesus Christ affording
assistance, who, co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Ghost, lives
and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

In those days Saint Patrick was captive among the Scots. His master's
name was Milcho, to whom he was a swineherd for seven years. When he
had attained the age of seventeen he gave him his liberty. By the divine
impulse, he applied himself to reading of the Scriptures, and afterwards
went to Rome; where, replenished with the Holy Spirit, he continued a
great while, studying the sacred mysteries of those writings. During
his continuance there, Palladius, the first bishop, was sent by pope
Celestine to convert the Scots (the Irish). But tempests and signs from
God prevented his landing, for no one can arrive in any country, except
it be allowed from above; altering therefore his course from Ireland, he
came to Britain and died in the land of the Picts.*

     * At Fordun, in the district of Mearns, in Scotland-Usher.

51. The death of Palladius being known, the Roman patricians, Theodosius
and Valentinian, then reigning, pope Celestine sent Patrick to convert
the Scots to the faith of the Holy Trinity; Victor, the angel of God,
accompanying, admonishing, and assisting him, and also the bishop

Germanus then sent the ancient Segerus with him as a venerable and
praiseworthy bishop, to king Amatheus,(1) who lived near, and who had
prescience of what was to happen; he was consecrated bishop in the
reign of that king by the holy pontiff,(2) assuming the name of Patrick,
having hitherto been known by that of Maun; Auxilius, Isserninus, and
other brothers were ordained with him to inferior degrees.

     (1) V.R. Germanus "sent the elder Segerus with him to a
     wonderful man, the holy bishop Amathearex."  Another MS.
     "Sent the elder Segerus, a bishop, with him to Amatheorex."

     (2) V.R. "Received the episcopal degree from the holy bishop
     Amatheorex."  Another MS. "Received the episcopal degree
     from Matheorex and the holy bishop."

52. Having distributed benedictions, and perfected all in the name of
the Holy Trinity, he embarked on the sea which is between the Gauls
and the Britons; and after a quick passage arrived in Britain, where he
preached for some time. Every necessary preparation being made, and the
angel giving him warning, he came to the Irish Sea. And having filled
the ship with foreign gifts and spiritual treasures, by the permission
of God he arrived in Ireland, where he baptized and preached.

53. From the beginning of the world, to the fifth year of king Logiore,
when the Irish were baptized, and faith in the unity of the individual
Trinity was published to them, are five thousand three hundred and
thirty years.

54. Saint Patrick taught the gospel in foreign nations for the space of
forty years. Endued with apostolical powers, he gave sight to the blind,
cleansed the lepers, gave hearing to the deaf, cast out devils, raised
nine from the dead, redeemed many captives of both sexes at his own
charge, and set them free in the name of the Holy Trinity. He taught the
servants of God, and he wrote three hundred and sixty-five canonical and
other books relating to the catholic faith. He founded as many churches,
and consecrated the same number of bishops, strengthening them with the
Holy Ghost. He ordained three thousand presbyters; and converted and
baptized twelve thousand persons in the province of Connaught. And, in
one day baptized seven kings, who were the seven sons of Amalgaid.(1) He
continued fasting forty days and nights, on the summit of the mountain
Eli, that is Cruachan-Aichle;(2) and preferred three petitions to God
for the Irish, that had embraced the faith. The Scots say, the first
was, that he would receive every repenting sinner, even at the latest
extremity of life; the second, that they should never be exterminated
by barbarians; and the third, that as Ireland(3) will be overflowed with
water, seven years before the coming of our Lord to judge the quick
and the dead, the crimes of the people might be washed away through
his intercession, and their souls purified at the last day. He gave the
people his benediction from the upper part of the mountain, and going
up higher, that he might pray for them; and that if it pleased God,
he might see the effects of his labours, there appeared to him an
innumerable flock of birds of many coulours, signifying the number of
holy persons of both sexes of the Irish nation, who should come to him
as their apostle at the day of judgment, to be presented before the
tribunal of Christ. After a life spent in the active exertion of good
to mankind, St. Patrick, in a healthy old age, passed from this world to
the Lord, and changing this life for a better, with the saints and elect
of God he rejoices for evermore.

     (1) King of Connaught.

     (2) A mountain in the west of Connaught, county of Mayo, now
     called Croagh-Patrick.

     (3) V.R. that no Irishman may be alive on the day of
     judgment, because they will be destroyed seven years before
     in honour of St. Patrick.

55. Saint Patrick resembled Moses in four particulars. The angel spoke
to him in the burning bush. He fasted forty days and forty nights upon
the mountain. He attained the period of one hundred and twenty years.
No one knows his sepulchre, nor where he was buried; sixteen(1) years he
was in captivity. In his twenty-fifth year, he was consecrated bishop by
Saint Matheus,(2) and he was eighty-five years the apostle of the Irish.
It might be profitable to treat more at large of the life of this saint,
but it is now time to conclude this epitome of his labours.(3)

     (1) V.R. Fifteen.

     (2) V.R. By the holy bishop Amatheus.

     (3) Here ends the Vatican MS. collated by Mr. Gunn.

(Here endeth the life of the holy bishop, Saint Patrick.) (After this,
the MSS. give as 56, the legend of king Arthur, which in this edition
occurs in 50.)

51. The death of Palladius being known, the Roman patricians, Theodosius
and Valentinian, then reigning, pope Celestine sent Patrick to convert
the Scots to the faith of the Holy Trinity; Victor, the angel of God,
accompanying, admonishing, and assisting him, and also the bishop
« Reply #39 on: December 24, 2006, 02:37:33 PM »

The earliest documentary reference to Arthur by name occurs in the Welsh poem Y Gododdin, a poem which commemorates British warriors who died in a battle at "Catraeth," probably Catterick in modern Yorkshire. The period to which the poem refers is the 5th to 6th centuries, when the native Britons fought against Germanic Saxon invaders. "Arthur" appears simply as a positive comparison to one of the dead warriors being eulogized.

Ef guant tratrigant echassaf      He pierced over three hundred of the finest
ef ladhei auet ac eithaf                He slew both the centre and the flanks
oid guiu e mlaen llu llarahaf      He was worthy in the front of a most generous army
godolei o heit meirch e gayaf    He gave out gifts of a herd of steeds in the winter
gochore brein du ar uur             He fed black ravens on the wall
caer ceni bei ef arthur                Of the fortress, although he was no Arthur
rug ciuin uerthi ig disur            He gave support in battle
ig kynnor guernor guaurdur.   In the forefront, an alder-shield was Gwawrddur
« Reply #40 on: February 20, 2007, 12:50:35 PM »

A Research Framework for the Archaeology of Wales
East and North East Wales Archaeological Resource Audit
Watching briefs: Mynydd y Gaer Camp, watching brief 1997

A spokesperson at the Council for British Archaeology said, "Clearly it is very difficult to interpret early Welsh sources in relation to what is on the ground today.

"Although aerial photographs can be very revealing they can be very deceiving too. Without ground surveys and geophysical surveys to establish whether there were buried features, it would be difficult to say for certain whether it was an ancient site.

"That would be the next stage of investigation."

Landscape Assessment:
The southern half of the area is dominated by Mynydd y Gaer, this comprises an
area characterised by enclosed upland of a moderately late date.
Numerous Bronze Age cairns, singularly, in pairs and in cemeteries, adorn the
elevated slopes of Mynydd y Gaer and Foel Fynyddau signifying the importance of
this area as a funerary and ritual landscape. Later during the Iron Age the summit
and elevated slopes of Mynydd y Gaer was chosen as a situation for the hillforts
enclosures of Buarth y Gaer, Gaer Fawr, and Craig Ty Isaf. This represent a highly organised landscape during late prehistory, a theme that continues into the later

Much of the medieval landscape owes to the strong ecclesiastical presence of both
the Margam and Neath Abbeys. A reoccurring theme is the position and regularity of
medieval platform houses and longhuts on the elevated mountain slopes, one
suggestion is that they are seasonal settlements or hafodydd in use during the
milder parts of the year when stock is grazed on the higher pasture.
The 1st edition OS (1884) records only the partial enclosure of and Mynydd y Gaer,
and Foel Fynyddau remained unenclosed until the 20th century and even then the
area to the southeast of the mountain, beneath the forestry, has remained

Consortium of South Wales Valleys Authorities: Landscape and Visual Analysis
Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1768

View Profile
« Reply #41 on: February 20, 2007, 04:34:52 PM »

It definitely appears to be an ancient site, and an important one, judging from the aerial. This will be very interesting.

- Bart

Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
Diving Doc
Platinum Member

Karma: 104

Posts: 1482

Treasure is In books

View Profile WWW
« Reply #42 on: February 20, 2007, 04:39:55 PM »

I think that would be an excellent place to do a non-intrusive survey with our gear, don't you?

« Reply #43 on: February 20, 2007, 05:14:23 PM »

Mynydd y Gaer

I agree that it would be nice to survey this with some of our geophysical kit.

Yes, this is an attractive proposition.

Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1768

View Profile
« Reply #44 on: March 02, 2007, 07:06:25 AM »

Annales Cambriae

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Annales Cambriae, or The Annals of Wales, believed to date from 970, is a chronicle of events thought to be significant occurring during the years 447-954. It is widely accepted that the first entry (listed "Year 1") was made in 447; however, some sources claim that some entries may have been 'interpolated' in later years (details, names etc. added). Despite the name, it does not only record events in Wales, but also mentions events in Ireland, Cornwall and England and sometimes further afield.

The Annals were compiled at the behest of Owain ap Hywel, son of Hywel Dda (who himself had codified Welsh law in the Laws of Hywel).

 Source for Arthurian history

   There are two entries in the Annals on King Arthur, one on Mordred and one on Merlin. These entries have been presented in the past as proof to the existence of Arthur and Merlin, although that view is no longer widely held. It is interesting to note that all the other people mentioned in the chronicle are real.

Entries on Arthur, Mordred and Merlin:

Year 72 (c. 516) The Battle of Badon, in which Arthur carried the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ on his shoulders for three days and three nights and the Britons were victors.
Year 93 (c. 537) The battle of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut fell, and there was death in Britain and in Ireland.

Year 126 (c. 573) The Battle of Arfderydd, between the sons of Eliffer, and Gwenddolau son of Ceidio; in which battle Gwenddolau fell; and Merlin went mad.


English Translation of Annales Cambriae
Medieval Sourcebook:
The Annales Cambriae 447-954
(The Annals of Wales)

447      ? Days as dark as night.?      
453      Easter altered on the Lord's Day by Pope Leo, Bishop of Rome.      
454      St. Brigid is born.      
457      St. Patrick goes to the Lord.      
458      St. David is born in the thirtieth year after Patrick left Menevia.      
468      The death of Bishop Benignus.      
501      Bishop Ebur rests in Christ, he was 350 years old.      
516      The Battle of Badon, in which Arthur carried the Cross of our Lord Jesus
                          Christ for three days and three nights on his shoulders and the Britons were the victors.      
521      St. Columba is born. The death of St. Brigid.      
537      The battle of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut fell: and there was plague
                          in Britain and Ireland.      
544      The sleep [death] of Ciaran.      
547      The great death [plague] in which Maelgwn, king of Gwynedd died.
                          ?Thus they say 'The long sleep of Maelgwn in the court of Rhos'.
                          Then was the yellow plague.?      
558      The death of Gabr?n, son of Dungart.      
562      Columba went to Britain.      
565      ?The voyage of Gildas to Ireland.?      
569      ?The 'Synod of Victory' was held between the Britons.?      
570      Gildas ?wisest of Britons? died.      
573      The battle of Arfderydd ?between the sons of Eliffer and Gwenddolau son of Ceidio;
                          in which battle Gwenddolau fell; Merlin went mad.?      
574      The sleep [death] of Brendan of Birr.      
580      Gwrgi and Peredur ?sons of Elifert? died.      
584      Battle against the Isle of Man and the burial of Daniel of the Bangors.      
589      The conversion of Constantine [king of Britain] to the Lord.      
594      ?Aethelbert reigned in England.?      
595      The death of Columba.      
      The death of king Dunod ?son of Pabo.?      
      Augustine and Mellitus converted the English to Christ.      
601      The synod of Urbs Legionis [Chester].      
      Gregory died in Christ and also bishop David of Moni Iudeorum.      
606      The burial of bishop Cynog.      
607      The death of Aidan son of Gabr?n      
612      The death of Kentigern and bishop Dyfrig.      
613      The battle of Caer Legion [Chester]. And there died Selyf son of Cynan. And Iago
                          son of Beli slept [died].      
616      Ceredig died.      
617      Edwin begins his reign.      
624      The sun is covered [eclipsed].      
626      Edwin is baptized, and Rhun son of Urien baptized him.      
627      Belin dies.      
629      The beseiging of king Cadwallon in the island of Glannauc.      
630      Gwyddgar comes and does not return. On the Kalends of January the battle of Meigen;
                          and there Edwin was killed with his two sons; but Cadwallon was the victor.      
631      The battle of Cantscaul in which Cadwallon fell.      
632      The slaughter of the [river] Severn and the death of Idris.      
644      The battle of Cogfry in which Oswald king of the Northmen and Eawa king of the Mercians fell.      
645      The hammering of the region of Dyfed, when the monastery of David was burnt.      
649      ?Slaughter in Gwent.?      
650      The rising of a star.      
656      The slaughter of Campus Gaius.      
657      Penda killed.      
658      Oswy came and took plunder.      
661      Cummine the tall died.      
662      Brocmail ?the tusked ? dies.      
665      The first celebration of Easter among the Saxons. The second battle of Badon. Morgan dies.      
669      Oswy, king of the Saxons, dies.      
676      A star of marvelous brightness was seen shining throughout the whole world.      
682      A great plague in Britain, in which Cadwaladr son of Cadwallon dies.      
683      A plague ?was? in Ireland.      
684      A great earthquake in the Isle of Man.      
689      The rain turned to blood in Britain, and ?in Ireland? milk and butter turned to blood.      
704      Aldfrith king of the Saxons died. The sleep of Adomn?n.      
714      Night was as bright as day. Pepin the elder [actually Pepin II, of Heristal],
                          king of the Franks, died in Christ.      
717      Osred king of the Saxons dies.      
718      The consecration of the church of the archangel Michael ?on mount Gargano.?      
721      A hot summer.      
722      Beli son of Elffin dies. And the battle of Hehil among the Cornish,
                          the battle of Garth Maelog, the battle of Pencon among the south Britons,
                          and the Britons were the victors in those three battles.      
728      The battle of mount Carno.      
735      Bede the priest sleeps.      
736      Oengus king of the Picts died.      
750      Battle between the Picts and the Briton, that is the battle of Mocetauc.
                          And their king Talorgan is killed by the Britions.      
754      Rhodri king of the Britons dies.      
757      Ethelbalk king of the Saxons dies.      
760      A battle between the Britons and the Saxons, that is the battle of Hereford and Dyfnwal son of Tewdwr dies.      
768      Easter is changed among the Britons ?on the Lord's day ?, Elfoddw, servant of God, emending it.      
775      Ffernfael son of Ithael dies.      
776      Cinaed king of the Picts dies.      
777      Abbot Cuthbert dies.      
778      The devastation of the South Britons by Offa.      
784      The devastation of Britain by Offa in the summer.      
796      ?Devastation by Rheinwg son of Offa ? The first coming of the gentiles
                          [Norsemen] among the southern Irish.      
797      Offa king of the Mercians and Maredudd king of the Demetians die, and the battle of Rhuddlan.      
798      Caradog king of Gwynedd is killed by the Saxons.      
807      Arthen king of Ceredigion dies. ?Solar eclipse?      
808      Rhain king of the Demetians and Cadell ?king? of Powys die.      
809      Elfoddw archbishop in the Gwynedd region went to the Lord.      
810      ?The moon covered ?. Mynyw burnt. ?Death of cattle in Britain.?      
811      Owain son of Maredudd dies.      
812      The fortress of Degannwy is struck by lightning and burnt.      
813      Battle between Hywel ?and Cynan. Hywel? was the victor.      
814      There was great thunder and it caused many fires. Tryffin son of Rhain died.
                          And Gruffydd son of Cyngen is killed by treachery by his brother Elisedd after an
                          interval of two months. Hywel triumphed over the island of Mona and he drove
                         Cynan from there with a great loss of his own army.      
816      Hywel was again expelled from Mona. Cynan the king dies. ?Saxons invaded the
                          mountains of Eryri and the kingdom of Rhufoniog?.      
817      The battle of Llan-faes.      
818      ?Cenwulf devastated the Dyfed region.?      
822      The fortress of Degannwy is destroyed by the Saxons and they took the kingdom
                          of Powys into their own control.      
825      Hywel dies.      
831      ?Lunar eclipse.? Laudent died and Sadyrnfyw Hael of Mynyw died.      
840      Nobis the bishop ruled Mynyw.      
842      Idwallon dies.      
844      Merfyn dies. The battle of Cetill.      
848      The battle of Ffinnant. Ithael king of Gwent was killed by the men of Brycheiniog.      
849      Meurig was killed by Saxons.      
850      Cynin is killed by the gentiles.      
853      Mona laid waste by black gentiles.      
856      Kenneth king of the Picts died. And Jonathan prince of Abergele dies.      
860      Catgueithen was expelled.      
864      Duda laid Glywysing waste.      
865      Cian of Nanhyfer died.      
866      The city of York was laid waste, that is the battle with the black gentiles.      
869      The battle of Bryn Onnen.      
870      The fortress of Alt Clud was broken by the gentiles.      
871      Gwgon king of Ceredigion was drowned.      
873      Nobis ?the bishop? and Meurig die. The battle of Bannguolou.      
874      ?Llunferth the bishop consecrated.?      
875      Dungarth king of Cernyw ?that is of the Cornish? was drowned.      
876      The battle of Sunday in Mona.      
877      Rhodri and his son Gwriad is killed by the Saxons.      
878      Aed son of Neill dies.      
880      The battle of Conwy. Vengeance for Rhodri at God's hand. ?The battle of Cynan.?      
882      Catgueithen died.      
885      Hywel died in Rome.      
887      Cerball died.      
889      Suibne the wisest of the Irish died.      
892      Hyfaidd dies.      
894      Anarawd came with the Angles and laid waste Ceredigion and Ystrad Tywi.      
895      The Northmen came and laid waste Lloegr and Bycheiniog and Gwent and Gwynllywiog.      
896      ?Bread failed in Ireland. Vermin like moles with two teeth fell from the air and ate
                          everything up; they were driven out by fasting and prayer.?      
898      ?Athelstan king of the Saxons died.?      
900      Alfred king of the Gewissi dies.      
902      Igmund came to Mona and took Maes Osfeilion.      
903      ?Merfyn son of Rhodri died and ? Llywarch son of Hyfaidd dies.      
904      Rhodri ?sone of Hyfaidd ? was beheaded in Arwystli.      
906      The battle of Dinmeir and Mynyw was broken.      
907      ?Bishop ? Gorchywyl dies ? and king Cormac?.      
908      ?Bishop ? Asser died.      
909      King Cadell son of Rhodri dies.      
913      Ohter comes ?to Britain?.      
915      Anarawd king ?of the Britons? dies.      
917      Queen Aethelflaed died.      
919      King Clydog was killed.      
921      The battle of Dinas Newydd.      
928      Hywel journeyed to Rome. ?Helen died.?      
935      ?Gruffydd son of Owain died.?      
938      The battle of Brune.      
939      Hyfaidd son of Clydog, and Meurig, died.      
941      Aethelstan ?king of the Saxons? died.      
942      King Afloeg dies.      
943      Cadell son of Arthfael was poisoned. And Idwal ?son of Rhodri ? and his son Elisedd are killed by the Saxons.      
944      Llunferth bishop in Mynyw died.      
945      ?Bishop Morlais died.?      
946      Cyngen son of Elisedd was poisoned. And Eneuris bishop in Mynyw died. And strathclyde was laid wasted by the Saxons.      
947      Edmund king of the Saxons was killed.      
950      Hywel king of the Britons ?called the Good? died.      
951      And Cadwgan son of Owain is killed by the Saxons. And the battle of Carno ?between the
                          sons of Hywel and the sons of Idwal?.      
952      ?Iago and Idwal the sons of Idwal laid Dyfed waste.?      
954      Rhodri son of Hywel dies.    


   Ingram, James, translator. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. London: Everyman Press, 1912.
The primary text of this translation is from the Harleian manuscript, the earliest copy of the Annales Cambriae which has survived. The text enclosed within the "?" symbols are entries which are not found in the Harleian MS, but which appear in a later version.

   This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.
Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

? Paul Halsall, November 1998


Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1768

View Profile
« Reply #45 on: March 25, 2007, 05:11:51 AM »


   Caratacus (Brythonic *Caratācos, Greek Καράτακος; variants Latin Caractacus, Greek Καρτάκης) was a historical British cheiftan of the Catuvellauni tribe, who led the British resistance to the Roman conquest. He may correspond with the legendary Welsh character Caradog and the legendary British king Arvirargus.


   Caratacus is named by Dio Cassius as a son of the Catuvellaunian king Cunobelinus. Based on coin distribution Caratacus appears to have been the proteg? of his uncle Epaticcus, who expanded Catuvellaunian power westwards into the territory of the Atrebates. After Epaticcus died ca. 35, the Atrebates, under Verica, regained some of their territory, but it appears Caratacus completed the conquest, as Dio tells us Verica was ousted, fled to Rome and appealed to the emperor Claudius for help. This was the excuse Claudius used to launch his invasion of Britain in 43.

   Cunobelinus had died some time before the invasion. Caratacus and his brother Togodumnus led the initial defence of the country against Aulus Plautius's legions, primarily using guerrilla tactics, but were defeated in two crucial battles on the rivers Medway and Thames. Togodumnus was killed and the Catuvellauni's territories conquered, but Caratacus survived and carried on the resistance further west.

   We next hear of Caratacus in Tacitus' Annals, leading the Silures and Ordovices in what is now Wales against Plautius's successor as governor, Publius Ostorius Scapula. Finally, in 51, Scapula managed to defeat Caratacus in a set-piece battle somewhere in Ordovician territory (see the Battle of Caer Caradoc), capturing Caratacus's wife and daughter and receiving the surrender of his brothers. Caratacus himself escaped, and fled north to the lands of the Brigantes. The Brigantian queen, Cartimandua, however, was loyal to Rome, and she handed him over in chains. (This was one of the factors that led to two Brigantian revolts against Cartimandua and her Roman allies, once later in the 50s and once in 69, led by Venutius, who had once been Cartimandua's husband).

   Legend places Caratacus' last stand at British Camp in the Malvern Hills, but the description of Tacitus makes this unlikely: [Caratacus] "resorted to the ultimate hazard, adopting a place for battle so that entry, exit, everything would be unfavorable to us and for the better to his own men, with steep mountains all around, and, wherever a gentle access was possible, he strewed rocks in front in the manner of a rampart. And in front too there flowed a stream with an unsure ford, and companies of armed men had taken up position along the defenses."

   Although the Severn is visible from British Camp, it is nowhere near it, so this battle must have taken place elsewhere. A number of locations have been suggested, including a site near Brampton Bryan.

   After his capture, Caratacus was sent to Rome as a war prize, presumably to be killed after a triumphal parade. Although a captive, he was allowed to speak to the Roman senate. Tacitus records a version of his speech in which he says that his stubborn resistance made Rome's glory in defeating him all the greater:

   "If the degree of my nobility and fortune had been matched by moderation in success, I would have come to this City as a friend rather than a captive, nor would you have disdained to receive with a treaty of peace one sprung from brilliant ancestors and commanding a great many nations. But my present lot, disfiguring as it is for me, is magnificent for you. I had horses, men, arms, and wealth: what wonder if I was unwilling to lose them? If you wish to command everyone, does it really follow that everyone should accept your slavery? If I were now being handed over as one who had surrendered immediately, neither my fortune nor your glory would have achieved brilliance. It is also true that in my case any reprisal will be followed by oblivion. On the other hand, if you preserve me safe and sound, I shall be an eternal example of your clemency."

   He made such an impression that he was pardoned and allowed to live in peace in Rome. After his liberation, according to Dio Cassius, Caratacus was so impressed by the city of Rome that he said "And can you, then, who have got such possessions and so many of them, covet our poor tents?"


Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1768

View Profile
« Reply #46 on: October 02, 2007, 07:56:18 PM »

This is a PDF transfer of the review article �The Historicity and Historicisation of Arthur� (archived at http://www.arthuriana.co.uk/historicity/arthur.htm), the first version of which appeared online in 1998. This transfer has been undertaken in order to ease both the reading and referencing of this article. The text itself remains unchanged from the HTML version, aside from being necessarily re-formatted and having the separate notes incorporated as end-notes. An up-to-date expansion, development and revision of the views presented below can be found in my Concepts of Arthur.

Thomas Green, Exeter College
University of Oxford
14th May 2006

* * *
The Historicity and Historicisation of Arthur

1. Introduction

   Many different theories are available as to the �identity� of Arthur and some brief methodological notes will be found here regarding the making of such identifications. While these theories are interesting, they fail to address fully one important question � was there a historical post-Roman Arthur? Many books, articles and web-pages simply make the a priori assumption that there has to be a historical figure behind the Arthurian legends. Such an assumption is totally unjustified. As anyone at all familiar with medieval literature in general will know, the historicisation of nonhistorical/mythical personages � often through association with some important event of the past � is not in any way an unusual occurrence. Some examples of this that will probably particularly interest readers of this article are Hengest and Horsa, who were Kentish totemic horse-gods historicised by the 8th-century with an important role in the 5th-century Anglo-Saxon conquest of eastern Britain (see Turville-Petre, 1953-7; Ward, 1969; Brooks, 1989; Yorke, 1993); Merlin (Welsh Myrddin), who was an eponymous founder-figure derived from the place-name Caer-fyrddin and historicised with the deeds of one Lailoken (see Jarman, 1991); and the Norse demigod Sigurd/Siegfried who was historicised by being associated with a famous historical battle between the Huns and the Burgundians dated 437AD, in the Nibelungenlied (Thomas, 1995, p.390).1

   Given this, no a priori judgements can be made as to whether a figure is, in origin, historical, mythical or fictional � each individual case must (and can only) be decided by a close examination of all the relevant material. When we have figures such as Arthur being portrayed as historical we are therefore, on a very basic level, looking at either a historical figure or a legendary figure who became historicised, with neither explanation enjoying priority on a priori grounds � it must be recognised that one can only say that there has to have been a historical Arthur once all the material has been evaluated and this has been shown to be the case; there is no possible justification for simply assuming this. The following article is intended to provide a summary account and bibliography of the latest academic research into Arthur with a particular focus on the question of historicity. Aside from the various articles and books cited, much of what is below has been discussed in detail on the discussion list of the International Arthurian Society, Arthurnet, in a moderated debate that I had the great pleasure of chairing. The results of this discussion, including all
posted comments, can be found in the Arthurnet archives.

The Historical Arthur: an Analytical and Bibliographic Survey

   Any inquiry into the �historical� Arthur must proceed from the sources. One of the most important sources for the student of post-Roman Britain is archaeology and, indeed, the case is sometimes made that it is our only reliable source (see, for example, Arnold, 1984). When looking at Arthur�s possible historicity however, archaeology cannot really help as it deals with sites not people � it can show that a site was occupied in the right period but only very rarely (that is, when we have an inscription) can it tell us who the occupier was. The only piece of archaeological data
which might have been significant to the debate is the Glastonbury cross naming King Arthur as the occupant of the grave it was supposedly found in by the monks of Glastonbury in 1191. Some have suggested a mid 10th- or 11th-century date for this (for example, Radford, 1968; Alcock, 1971) but it is now clear that it was the product
of a late 12th-century fraud and derivative of Geoffrey of Monmouth�s Historia Regum Britanniae, and thus of no use in the search for a historical Arthur (see Rahtz, 1993; Carey, 1999; Carley, 1999; Gransden, 1976; Somerset and Dorset Notes & Queries for 1984 &c.; there was a copy of Geoffrey�s Historia at Glastonbury from c.1170.

   The early 6th-century inscribed stone that has recently been found at Tintagel does not refer to Arthur, contrary to reports by English Heritage and the media). Given the above, any conclusions regarding Arthur�s historicity, or lack thereof, must be drawn from the textual references to him. The King Arthur we encounter in the later medieval texts (and with which people are often most familiar) is not the Arthur of earlier works � shortly before A.D. 1139
Geoffrey of Monmouth (Galfridus Monemutensis) completed his Historia Regum Britanniae (�History of the Kings of Britain�) which glorified Arthur and made him an international warlord. This work quickly became influential throughout western

   Europe and affected the Arthurian legend in all areas with the result that, in general, scholars look to sources written before Geoffrey�s Historia for the �original� Arthur (that is, in the �pre-Galfridian� sources). One well known dissenter from this is Geoffrey Ashe (1981; 1985; 1995) who argues that Riotamus, a 5th-century �king� of the Britons who campaigned on the continent, is the actual historical prototype of Arthur and Geoffrey of Monmouth drew on this tradition when writing his magnum opus. While this theory is quite popular it is rightly dismissed by academics as
nothing more than �straws in the wind� (Bromwich et al, 1991, p.6. See also Padel, 1994, p.31, n.113; Hanning, 1995; Padel, 1995) on the grounds that, while Riotamus (or Breton traditions about this figure) could be the (partial) inspiration for Geoffrey�s portrayal of Arthur, he has nothing at all in common with the insular traditions of Arthur and thus cannot be the prototype for Arthur as a whole (indeed, he doesn�t even have the correct name. Ashe explains this by saying that Riotamus was a title and Arthur was his real name but a recent reviewer (Padel, 1995) has shown this to be incorrect). The above means that the historical Arthur, if he existed, will be found in the pre-Galfridian texts and it is to these we must now turn.

   The pre-Galfridian sources for Arthur can be most conveniently read in Coe and Young (1995), which provides facing text and translation. Some earlier historians, such as John Morris (1973), tried to make use of, as historical texts, all the sources which mentioned Arthur including, for example, the Saints� Lives and late poetry. This tendency has been correctly and heavily criticised by David Dumville (1977a), amongst others, mainly because these sources cannot be seen as in any way historically reliable � we are therefore, when looking at a possibly historical Arthur and in the light of Dr Dumville�s learned comments, essentially confined to four pieces of evidence which might contain information of real historical value: the Annales Cambriae (Phillimore, 1888; Morris, 1980); the Historia Brittonum (Morris, 1980; Dumville, 1985; Koch and Carey, 1995); the collection of heroic death-songs known as Y Gododdin (Jackson, 1969; Jarman, 1988; Koch, 1997); and the four or five occurrences of the name Arthur in 6th- and 7th-century contexts (Barber, 1972; Bromwich 1975-6; Coe and Young, 1995, pp.156-165).

   Dealing with the last of these first, the occurrence of four (or possibly five) people named �Arthur� in 6th- and 7th-century western Scotland and Wales has often been seen as one of the best pieces of evidence for a historical Arthur � the argument is, essentially, that the appearance of these names reflects the commemoration of an
earlier historical figure (see, for example, Chadwick and Chadwick, 1932).2 However such a commemoration by name of an earlier historical hero would be totally unparalleled in the Celtic world and as such cannot be at all supported as an explanation of these names (see Bromwich, 1975-6, pp.178-9). Thus these names cannot be used as evidence for a historical Arthur and as long as we continue to see Arthur as genuinely historical they are likely to remain a lasting crux (at present there is only one viable explanation of these names, that proposed by Dr Oliver Padel (1994, p.24) � see below on this. It is worth noting that none of these �Arthurs� can be seen as the �original� Arthur, pace Barber, 1972 � see Bromwich, 1975-6, p.179; Jackson, 1973; Roberts, 1973-4).3

   The second source for consideration is the collection of heroic death-songs known as Y Gododdin, relating to a battle fought in the late 6th-century. In recent years there has been considerable debate over the statement in Y Gododdin that Gordur �fed black ravens on the rampart of a fort, although he was no Arthur� (B.38. Koch (1997)
numbers this B�.38). Thomas Charles-Edwards (1991, p.14), building on his theory of textual transmission (set forth in Charles-Edwards, 1978), concluded that, as the reference only occurs in the B version and not the A version of Y Gododdin, it need be no older than the 9th- or 10th-century. Recently, however, John Koch (1997) has
attempted a �reconstruction� of the �original� text of Y Gododdin and includes the �Arthurian� reference in this text, dated by him to pre-638AD. Whilst his is certainly an interesting exercise in discovering how Y Gododdin might have looked if it was of 6th- or 7th-century date, the limitations of this �reconstruction� must be recognised.

   As one reviewer has noted, Koch�s text is, in reality, a translation of Y Gododdin into the language of c.600AD and in this it must be seen in the same light as Jarman�s earlier translation of this text into modern Welsh (Jarman, 1988) � Koch has not shown that Y Gododdin was composed in this period, only what it might have looked like if it had been (Padel, 1998). Indeed, Isaac has demonstrated that Koch�s whole theory of the creation and transmission of Y Gododdin, including the idea that B� represents the Ur-text, cannot be at all supported (Isaac, 1999).

   Similar caveats have been shown to apply to Koch�s �reconstruction� of the poem Gweith Gwen Ystrat, with Isaac demonstrating that whilst one can undertake such an  exercise and show how this poem would have looked if it had been composed c.600AD, such a reconstruction is entirely unwarranted and there is no reason to think that the text
was composed inthis period (Isaac, 1998). Given the above, it seems clear that, despite  Koch�s assertions, �[t]he date of composition [of Y Gododdin] remains as unclear as ever.� (Padel, 1998, p.55). Indeed Isacc (1996; 1999) has recently followed D. Simon Evans (1978) in arguing that there is no linguistic evidence that would necessitate dating Y
Gododdin as a whole before the 9th- or 10th-century and, in light of all of this, Charles-Edwards� comments on the antiquity of the Arthurian references in this text must stand.

   Turning to the �Arthurian� awdl (�stanza�) of Y Gododdin, how does this reference affect the question of Arthur�s historicity, given that Arthur only appears as a comparison to a warrior of (supposedly) the late 6th-century? One common argument is that in works such as Y Gododdin the figures named are always believed to be historical and therefore the Arthurian awdl would seem to indicate that by the 9th- or 10th-century Arthur was believed to have been a historical personage, at least by the author of Y Gododdin (see Jarman, 1989-90; Bromwich et al, 1991). Whilst
superficially convincing, there are considerable problems with such a judgement. First, the simple fact of the matter is that we can only identify a few of the characters that appear in early Welsh heroic poetry; many of the people in the poems appear only there, so that we have no knowledge of whether they were (or were thought to be) historical or not � it is an assumption, nothing more, that everyone in these poems was a real historical figure and as such we cannot take Arthur�s presence in Y Gododdin as evidence either for his historicity or a belief in his historicity . Second, in Y Gododdin Arthur is in the remarkable position of appearing �only not to appear� (Padel, 1994, p.14).

   Unlike Gordur or the other warriors he is not actually present at the battle: �In the allusion, Arthur is presented as the unrivalled paragon of martial valour and is thus used to form a highly unusual comparison by rendering explicitly inferior the honorand of the awdl (�stanza�). Therefore, if the relevant awdl and lines can be sustained as Aneirin�s original, this would tell us that by the later sixth century there existed in North Britain a tradition of a Brittonic superhero Arthur...� (Koch, 1996, p.242). Whilst we might not be able to accept Koch�s assertions on dating, we can say that Arthur is essentially a �highly unusual comparison�, not a warrior who is being honoured; he is not envisaged as being present at the battle and he is a military �superhero�, someone to whose heights of valour not even a man who killed 300 in one rush could compare.

   He is therefore in a different league to the rest of the figures who appear in Y Gododdin and, as such, there is no reason to think that assumptions drawn from the identifications of a few characters in the text as a whole, even if they were viable, would apply to him. All the Y Gododdin reference tells us is that Arthur was seen, by the 9th- or 10th-century, as �the impossible comparison� (Padel, 1994, p.14), a �superhero� to whom not even the greatest living warrior could compare; it does not tell us whether this reflects a mythical �superhero� named Arthur or a historical Arthur mythicized and Arthur is, in the text, in no way associated with the defence of post-Roman Britain or any specific period of history.

   In light of the fact that neither of the above can help in the investigation of Arthur�s possible �historicity�, the case for a historical Arthur rests entirely on two sources, the Historia Brittonum and the Annales Cambriae, both of which would appear to have a concept of Arthur that is (at least partly) unequivocally historical. The Historia Brittonum was written anonymously in A.D. 829/30, the ascription to one �Nennius� now being regarded as false (Dumville, 1974; 1975-6, though see Field, 1996). There is considerable debate over the nature of the text (see, for example, Dumville, 1986;
Charles-Edwards, 1991; Dumville, 1994; Koch, 1997; Howlett, 1998) but it now seems clear that the writer of the Historia was not an ignorant and incompetent compiler who simply �made a heap� of earlier sources but rather �author� who wrote the Historia Brittonum with a unity of structure and outlook and engaged in the active processing of his sources, and this conclusion is endorsed by the researches of Dr David Howlett who sees the Historia as a work of architectonic genius making use of the sophisticated �Biblical style� in its construction (Howlett, pers. comm.; 1998,
chp.5. For the Celtic-Latin tradition of Biblical style see Howlett, 1995).

   Given the above, we must question to what extent the author altered his sources for his own purposes, what were the nature of his sources, and thus how far can we trust what we read in the Historia? Dumville (1986) took a very pessimistic line on this, arguing that it was a source only for the 9th-century and its concerns. While this view
has been challenged by Thomas Charles-Edwards (1991), who identifies the Historia as a fusion of the two historical genres, historia gentis and historia ecclesiastica, it is still clearly the case that �even where credit might be given to the supposed source [of a section of the Historia], the author�s methods...do not encourage us to be confident
about the possibility of recovering usable information about the period whose history he was narrating. His procedures were synthetic and interpretive, his sources overwhelmingly non-contemporaneous with the events which they purport to describe� (Dumville, 1994, p.419).

   As such the Historia is of very dubious historical value, for example, in addition to many of its sources being of a similar date to itself and suspect in nature, the Historia can be shown to portray characters who are decidedly mythical in origin, such as Hengest and Horsa (see Turville-Petre, 1953-7; Ward, 1969; Brooks, 1989; Yorke, 1993; Green, n.d.), as genuinely historical. Indeed, as a number of recent commentators have recognised, the Historia Brittonum is in fact a synchronising and synthetic history of the type well known from medieval Ireland, fusing sources for its own political ends and involved in the creation of a full national pseudo-history, a process which was closely allied with the historicising of legend (Padel, 1994, p.23; Carey, 1994; Dumville, 1994; Coe and Young, 1995, p.6).
Directly relevant to this question of the �historical value� of the Historia Brittonum is the fact that the author of the Historia was not writing �history� as we know it today but was rather engaging in something more akin to that which we would call sermonising, and this must be remembered in any analysis of the Historia. To try and read such works as the Historia as linear history is completely false to the methods and assumptions with which they were composed (see Hanning, 1966; Howlett, 1998; N. Hinton, pers. comm).

   This leads us to Chapter 56 of the Historia Brittonum, which contains the references to a �historical� Arthur. This is �a pseudo-historical account of a suspiciously formulaic list of twelve battles against Germanic invaders� (Coe and Young, 1995, p.6), supposedly fought by Arthur. Some have suggested (for example, Chadwick and Chadwick, 1932; Jones, 1964) that Chapter 56 could have been based on a poem written in Welsh that was translated into Latin by the author of the Historia. Whilst this is an interesting suggestion it has to be recognised that such a notion is speculation and it does not allow us to give this section of the Historia an early date.

   Indeed, various considerations indicate that any such hypothetical poem would date to much the same period as the Historia anyway (see Jackson, 1945-6, p.57; Jackson, 1959a, pp.7-8; Dumville, 1977a, p.188; Jarman, 1981, pp.2-3; Dumville, 1986, pp.13- 4; Charles-Edwards, 1991, pp.21-29; Padel, 1994).6 Furthermore it must not be
forgotten that, with the writer of the Historia Brittonum now seen as an author actively manipulating his text to create a synthetic pseudo-history rather than a simple compiler, Chapter 56 was, to some large extent, his creation. This is underlined by Dr. Howlett�s (1998, chp. 5) discovery that this section is written in the highly complex
�Biblical Style�, showing that Chapter 56 was an integral part of the Historia that was created, engineered and planned by the author in accordance with his aims and methodology. As such the notion that Chapter 56 might represent anything like a postulated earlier source incorporated bodily into the text of the Historia can be rejected.

   Instead it seems clear that this chapter, along with its concept of Arthur, cannot be separated from the Historia as a whole, the aims, methodology, unity of structure and outlook with which this was created, or, indeed, the general comments of Dr Dumville and others on the nature of the Historia and its sources noted above (see further Hanning, 1966; Barber, 1972, p.101ff.; Charles-Edwards, 1991, p.21ff. on Chapter 56 as an integral and inseparable part of the Historia). The best we can therefore honestly say is that in the Historia Brittonum, a source of very dubious
historical value (which can be shown to portray mythical figures as genuinely historical), we have evidence for the idea that Arthur was a historical figure being current by A.D. 829/30 at the latest.

   Our last source, the Annales Cambriae, was compiled in 950s and is sometimes seen as providing good evidence for Arthur being a historical figure (see Grabowski and Dumville, 1984 for the dating. Studies and commentaries on the text include Jones, 1964; Alcock, 1971; Hughes, 1980; Grabowski and Dumville, 1984; Dumville, 1990; Charles-Edwards, 1991 and Koch, 1996. Dumville apparently has a new study of the Annales forthcoming). It mentions Arthur in two entries: that for A.D. 516 which tells of the �battle of Badon, in which Arthur carried the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ on his shoulders for three days and three nights, and the Britons were the victors� and that for A.D. 537 concerning �the battle of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut fell�. In assessing the value of these entries, considerable attention should be paid to the date of these annals. Jones (1964) and Alcock (1971) were both inclined to see at least one of these annals as a contemporary record of Arthur and, if it could be accepted, such a conclusion would �prove� Arthur�s historicity.

   However, the late Dr. Hughes (1980) in her important and extensive studies of the Annales reached a rather different (and convincing) conclusion, and this has been built upon by Dumville (in Grabowski and Dumville, 1984) and Charles-Edwards (1991) � the Annales Cambriae to 613 is basically a version of the �Chronicle of Ireland�, with the sections from 613 to 777 being based on North British materials; there is absolutely no justification for thinking that any of the pre-613 British entries are drawn from contemporary or even near-contemporary sources and, rather, they should be seen as retrospective interpolations dating from between the very late 8th-century (the period in which the
�Chronicle of Ireland� was first brought together with the post-613 North British materials at St David�s in order to extend backwards a chronicle kept by that community from the closing years of the 8th-century onwards) and the mid 10thcentury (when the Annales reached something like its final form). Indeed, in light of Dr Dumville�s further researches into the date of this bringing together, the above 7 terminus post quem for the interpolations might well be shifted forward to the earlymid 10th-century.

   Looking at the annals themselves, one very important point must be made: the Badon entry in the Annales is not an independent witness to Arthur�s historicity. Instead it is clearly related to the Historia Brittonum�s account (Chapter 56) of Arthur�s eighth battle at Guinnion Castle, in which Arthur carries an icon on his shoulders into battle
with him, and as such the Annales account either derives from the Historia Brittonum or its source. Thomas Charles-Edwards has suggested (1991, pp.25-8) that they be seen as dual elaborations of single original, the entry in neither case being very much older than the text it is contained in (829/30 for the Historia and the 950s for the
Annales). However, a more convincing explanation has been provided by Professor John Koch. Koch observes that both the Historia Brittonum and the Annales Cambriae have the probable confusion of Old Welsh scuit �shield� and scuid
�shoulder� in them and notes that �that error of transmission is hardly likely to have come about twice�. He goes on to say that �In all details, the Annales Cambriae entry is more easily understood as derived from Historia Brittonum�s account�, which would appear to be the most probable scenario on the present evidence and is sound even without the support of the scuit/d confusion (see Koch, 1996, pp.252-3 for discussion; also Barber, 1972, p.105). Similarly the second entry regarding Camlann is best viewed as non-traditional and as having mid 10th-century origins (see Charles-
Edwards, 1991, pp.25-7, 28; Ashe, 1986, pp.76-8; Wood, 1981, pp.59-60; Bromwich, 1978a, p.487; Jarman, 1983, p.109), with the consequence that the Annales Cambriae cannot really be seen to be of any independent value in making the case for a �historical Arthur�. As a result we are forced to return to the text of the Historia Brittonum.

   Whilst general comments on Chapter 56 of the Historia Brittonum have been made, a more detailed examination of the information contained within it may prove enlightening. It is easy to assume that all the battles mentioned in Chapter 56 were remembered as being those fought by Arthur but such assumptions may well be incorrect. Perhaps the most famous �Arthurian� battle is that of Badon (in montis badonis) but the reference to this has serious problems. It has long been accepted that this is the same battle as the obsessio Badonici montis of Gildas�s De Excidio
Britanniae � 26 (see Winterbottom, 1978 for an edition and translation. The date of publication of this work, and thus the date of Badon, has been much discussed � see for example Miller, 1975; O�Sullivan, 1978; Sims-Williams, 1983; Lapidge and Dumville (edd.), 1984; Higham, 1994; Howlett, 1998)7 and one of the arguments against Arthur�s historicity has always been that Gildas fails to mention Arthur in his reference to the battle.

   It is usually countered (as Jackson 1959a) that he was deliberately omitted, either because Gildas didn�t approve of him or because his contribution to the victory was too well known, but recent work suggests that the reason Arthur was not mentioned was indeed because he was not associated with the battle when Gildas wrote. Rather than not naming anyone as the British leader at Badon, Gildas does indeed assign Badon a victor � Ambrosius Aurelianus. The idea that this figure was the true victor has been previously dismissed on the grounds that the manuscript (British Library, Cotton Vitellius A.vi) implies a major interval between Ambrosius and Badon. Dr Oliver Padel has returned to the original manuscript however and has been able to show that the break evident in Winterbottom�s edition (1978) has no manuscript authority and rather that Mount Badon now �reads naturally as the victory that crowned the career of Ambrosius Aurelianus� (Padel, 1994, pp.16-18 at p.17. For further very good reasons to doubt the attribution of Badon to Arthur see Jones, 1964; Bromwich, 1978a, p.276; Bromwich et al, 1991, pp.3-4. There seems to be good evidence for the existence of traditions about Badon which did not associate it with Arthur � see Bromwich, 1978a).

   This is all, of course, of the utmost significance as it further undermines our faith in the �traditions� recorded in the Historia Brittonum � it seems very probable that in the case of Badon we are seeing a battle that had originally been fought by another leader being attributed to Arthur by the 9th-century (It is interesting to note that this conclusion has also recently been reached � apparently without knowldge of Padel�s work � by Woods (1999, pp.34-38) who, like Dr Padel, returns to the original manuscript and finds the un-edited text clearly indicating that Gildas saw Badon as
being won by Ambrosius). This tendency would appear not to be restricted to the battle of Badon � similar cases can be made for the eleventh, ninth and seventh battles (see Jackson, 1945-6; Jackson, 1949; Bromwich 1975-6 and Padel, 1994, pp.18-19). The other battles are largely unidentifiable,9 though the tenth, the �battle on the bank
of a river which is called Tribruit�, is recorded elsewhere in very early sources as a traditional battle against werewolves, thus casting further doubt on the Historia�s value; similarly a good case can be made for seeing Cat Coit Celidon in Chapter 56 as the entirely mythical battle of trees recorded in the archaic poem from the Book of
Taliesin, Kat Godeu.

   Other elements within the body of Chapter 56 appear similarly suspect. For example, Prof. Hanning (1966, pp.119-20) and Prof. Charles-Edwards (1991, pp.24-5 and 28) have respectively shown that both the number of battles and the reference to Arthur as dux bellorum would seem to reflect the needs of the author of the Historia rather than any postulated earlier source. Whether or not all of the above conclusions regarding the identification of the battles are accepted it can be said, bringing all this together, that in the Historia Brittonum, our only really usable source for a �historical� Arthur, we have a text which cannot be at all relied upon to predate the 9th-century and the
contents of which can be described as being, at the very least, suspect � as such it can tell us virtually nothing certain about any possible �historical� Arthur. Indeed, the whole portrayal of Arthur in the Historia Brittonum might be seen to reflect the needs and aims of the 9th-century author rather than genuinely ancient tradition, as we
might expect given the nature of the text as a whole (see Hanning, 1966; Dumville, 1986; Charles-Edwards, 1991, pp.21-9; Dumville, 1994; Coe and Young, 1995, pp.6- 7; Howlett, 1998). The failure of the Historia as a source of information regarding any historical Arthur and the consequent intangibility of this �historical� Arthur is a fact
which has often been remarked upon: as Dr Dumville has written, �This is not the stuff of which history can be made� (1977a, p.188. See further Jackson, 1945-6; Jackson, 1959a; Jones, 1964; Bromwich, 1974-5; Dumville, 1977a; Charles-Edwards, 1991; Padel, 1994, and also Dumville�s (1994) comments on the Historia as a whole).

   What then of the case for Arthur�s historicity? It should be obvious that, even when we restrict ourselves to the best sources for a �historical� Arthur, as discussed above, we can come to no solid conclusions regarding historicity. The four occurrences of the name Arthur in southern Scotland and southern Wales in the 6th- and 7th-century
cannot be seen as evidence for a historical Arthur; indeed they defy interpretation if we have a historical Arthur. The Y Gododdin reference clearly reflects a 9th- or 10thcentury (and possibly earlier) concept of Arthur as a  military �superhero� but this concept of Arthur could result either from a mythical figure being used as �the
impossible comparison� or a historical figure being mythicized as a paragon of valour � thus this reference cannot help us to reach any solid conclusions. The case for a historical Arthur must therefore be based on only two sources, the Historia Brittonum and the Annales Cambriae, and neither of these can be seen as a reliable witness to historicity, both being late in date and suspect in content, with the latter very probably being derivative of the former and the former being a synthetic pseudo-history known to portray mythical figures as historical � as such, these sources cannot in any way prove that there was a historical 5th-/6th-century Arthur and no contemporary or nearcontemporary source makes any mention of him.10 The best we can say is that there existed by the 9th-century at the latest a concept of Arthur as a historical figure; our sources are simply not of the quality that would allow us to come to any firmer conclusion than this.

   Against this we have to set the evidence for the existence of a concept of Arthur as a legendary figure. Whatever else we might say about it, Y Gododdin (and, it might be added, Marwnad Cynddylan) very clearly possesses a concept of Arthur as a mythical �superhero�, not a historical figure. Similarly in the Historia Brittonum, the earliest
source to portray Arthur as �historical�, Arthur appears not only in the �historical� light of Chapter 56 but also in a manifestly legendary folkloric light in Chapter 73 (an important point that is too often overlooked, particularly as the legends recorded here are considered to pre-date the 9th-century, see Bromwich and Evans, 1992, p.lxvi),
and this same concept of Arthur as a mythical hero is found in a number of other early sources, such as the 8th-century Preideu Annwfyn (Padel, 1994; Koch, 1996, pp.263- 5, etc.. See further below).

   Given this, a concept of Arthur as a figure of myth and legend can be demonstrated to be present as early as (and, indeed, earlier than) a concept of Arthur as a historical figure. Here we must return to the methodological comments made at the beginning of this study. As was there noted, there are numerous examples of mythical or fictional figures being historicised, often in association with some important event of the past, and consequently �no a priori judgements can be made as to whether a figure is, in origin, historical, mythical or fictional � each individual case must (and can only) be decided by a close examination of all the relevant material.� Each of these possibilities is equally as
likely to be true, on a priori grounds, as the others; the burden of proof lies with all sides. In the absence of such proof we simply cannot assume � in the �no smoke without fire� mould � that one explanation of figures such as Arthur enjoys priority over the others: it does not. Thus whilst the above �legendary Arthur� might be the result of a historical figure being mythicised, it is at least equally as likely that, in the absence of good evidence either way, the above �historical Arthur� was a result of a legendary figure being historicised (it is perhaps worth noting with regards to this that the �process of historicising legends was a widespread feature of Celtic literary activity in the Middle Ages� (Padel, 1994, p.23)).

   Hence in answer to the question �Was there a historical Arthur?�, the sources being questioned (i.e. the Historia Brittonum and the Annales Cambriae) can only answer �perhaps, maybe� � they cannot say �no there wasn�t� for obvious reasons but equally they cannot say �yes there was�: the nature and quality of the sources for a �historical� Arthur is quite simply such that they neither show nor demand a historical figure to lie behind them and we most definitely cannot assume one in the absence of this. Whilst it is possible that Chapter 56 of the Historia reflects, to some extent, the distorted but genuine traditions of a �historical Arthur�, it is at least equally as likely, given the nature of our sources, their claims to reliability and the fact that a concept of Arthur as a mythical hero existed from at least the 8th-century, that the opposite is true and that these references simply reflect a legendary figure (such as that of Chapter 73 of the Historia) historicised by the 9th-century. Arthur could well be a mythical figure
portrayed as historical by the author of the Historia Brittonum in just the same way as Hengest and Horsa were mythical figures portrayed as historical by both Bede and the author of the Historia.

  In the absence of a priori assumptions regarding historicity, a detailed investigation of the �relevant material� (as required by the above methodology) has left us with a situation in which the information contained within these late references could still reflect either a historical figure or a legendary figure historicised with no convincing reason, from the internal evidence of these few sources, for accepting one alternative over the other. To put it another way, there is no obvious reason from the material discussed above to prefer the portrayal of Arthur in Chapter 56 of the 9th-century Historia Brittonum over that in Chapter 73, or vice versa.

   Part of the problem, of course, lies with methodology. When the case for a historical 5th-/6th-century Arthur is made, it involves trawling the pre-Galfridian source material for anything that might be used to back it up. The interest is not with the pre- Galfridian material itself and with what it tells us but rather with what it can tell us about a possibly historical figure called Arthur. The texts selected to answer this question, as in the above analysis, are thus divorced from the context of the whole body of pre-Galfridian material in which they must surely be viewed and of which they form an integral part. By asking �Was there a historical Arthur?� one forces the texts to answer �perhaps, maybe�; they have no other choice because, on the basis of the few sources selected and the viewing of these few sources in isolation, they are incapable of denying that there was such a figure just as they are incapable of
confirming it.

   As such this �perhaps, maybe� is in reality valueless. What this means is that conclusions regarding Arthur�s historicity can and should only be drawn via a sound methodology, namely by looking at all the available evidence and allowing it to �lead�, not forcing it to conform to preconceived notions. The Historia Brittonum and Annales Cambriae references must be seen in the context of all the early Arthurian material, not as discrete pieces of information that can be mined for �facts�. No judgements of any value can be made by attacking the pre-Galfridian corpus in a
piecemeal fashion � one has to look at the weight of the body of evidence as a whole. To quote Dr Padel, �the nature of the inquiry, which hitherto has always started with the natural question �was there a historical Arthur?�, has determined its outcome (�Yes, perhaps�)� (Padel, 1994, p.2. Ashe (1995) also makes this point).

   By commencing an examination of the pre-Galfridian material with a view to discovering (or, at least, investigating) a truly historical figure of the post-Roman period the conclusions reached are unavoidably biased and the investigation ignores the majority of the available early evidence. We must therefore ask, what is the nature of Arthur in the pre-Galfridian sources with which we are here primarily concerned with? Where does the �weight� of the evidence
�lead� us? What is the context of the �historical� sources? The most recent attempt to define this �nature� (which then proceeds, after doing this, to adopt the above methodology and look at the Annales and Historia references in the context of this nature) is by Oliver Padel of Cambridge University (in Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 27 (Summer 1994) pp.1-31.

   We cannot possibly do justice to Padel�s detailed analysis in a short summary account and only the main conclusions are here reproduced � those interested in the details and wishing to see the evidence on which these conclusions are based should most definitely read his article, along with the other studies listed in the bibliography at the end of this article). The conclusion reached is that, when the pre-Galfridian sources are approached without such preconceived agendas and a priori assumptions as described above, the results prove to be most interesting: �if the collective evidence is first allowed to speak for itself, its weight is quite different.� (Padel, 1994, p.2). In non-Galfridian tradition, Arthur was very clearly �the leader of a band of heroes who live outside of society, whose main world is one of magical animals, giants and other wonderful happenings, located in the wild parts of the landscape.� (ibid., p.14); Arthur is portrayed as a figure of pan-Brittonic folklore and mythology, associated with the Otherworld, supernatural
enemies and superhuman deeds, not history. This concept of Arthur occurs in both the very earliest of these sources (earlier than and contemporary with the earliest references to a possibly �historical Arthur�) and, indeed, in the vast majority of the non-Galfridian sources, with these sources consistent in their portrayal of Arthur.

   For example, it appears in the 8th-century or earlier mythological poem Preideu Annwfyn (see Koch, 1996, pp.263-5), the very early mythological poem Kat Godeu (see Ford, 1977 for a translation), Chapter 73 of the Historia Brittonum (the folklore contained in which is considered to be �already ancient by the ninth century� (Bromwich and Evans 1992, p.lxvi)), Pa gur yv y porthaur? (which might be as early as the 9thcentury, or even the 8th, and is, itself, simply a summary of many earlier entirely mythical Arthurian tales (Bromwich, 1978b, p.21; Koch, 1996; Koch, 1994, p.1127; Edel, 1983)), and Culhwch ac Olwen (which was written in the 11th-century but is a literary composition based on a number of earlier legendary Arthurian tales brought together with the �giant�s daughter� folklore tale-type � the Arthurian material is generally considered to represent the same body of very early non-historical tales as
Pa gur yv y porthaur?, Historia Brittonum Chapter 73 and Preideu Annwfyn do: see Edel, 1983; Bromwich and Evans, 1992). Padel is not at all alone in seeing this as the context of the Historia Brittonum and Annales Cambriae references, though he has given the subject its fullest treatment.

   Two of the foremost authorities on early Arthurian literature, Dr Rachel Bromwich and Professor D. Simon Evans, have recently written that �Arthur was above all else... a defender of his country against every kind of danger, both internal and external: a slayer of giants and witches, a hunter of monstrous animals � giant boars, a savage cat monster, a winged serpent (or dragon) � and also, as it appears from Culhwch and Preiddeu Annwn, a releaser of prisoners. This concept of Arthur is substantiated from all the early sources: the poems Pa Gur and Preiddeu Annwn, the Triads, the Saints Lives, and the Mirabilia attached to the Historia Brittonum... in early literature he belongs, like Fionn, to the realm of mythology rather than to that of history.� (Bromwich and Evans (edd.) 1992, pp. xxviii-xxix. See Ford (1983) for some very interesting supplementary evidence for the view that the pre-Galfridian Arthur belongs to the realms of mythology. The above comments on the �nature of Arthur� in early literature represent the general view among Celticists of this question, see for example Ford 1986; Jarman, 1983; Ross, 2001, chapter 4; and note 16 below).

   In essence, the vast majority of the non-Galfridian material, including the earliest sources, paints a notably consistent picture of Arthur as a pan-Brittonic folkloric hero, a peerless warrior of giant-like stature who leads a band of superhuman heroes that roam the wild places of the landscape, who raids the Otherworld whilst being intimately associated with it, who fights and protects Britain from supernatural enemies, who hunts wondrous animals and who takes part in mythical battles, and hence the �weight� of this evidence indicates not a historical origin for Arthur but
rather a legendary one (it is particularly worthy of note that Arthur is never associated with either the Saxons or Badon in the vast majority of the material, despite the fact that such an association is usually said to be the reason for his fame, and when this association does appear it is only present in those sources which are directly derivative
of Historia Brittonum Chapter 56). In fact, the Fionn parallel in the above quote is also noted by Dr Padel in his article � it is his convincing conclusion that the nature of Arthur evidenced in the pre-Galfridian sources is very similar indeed to the nature of Fionn in Gaelic literature, this Fionn being an entirely mythical character (originally a god) who became associated (i.e. historicised) with the repelling of the Viking invasions of Ireland and who had a list of battles against his �foes� attached to his name (for Fionn see � h�g�in, 1988; Padel (1994) summarises some of the parallels
on pp.19-23). Professor Van Hamel made some very similar observations regarding the nature of Arthur in the early sources and the very close parallels between him and Fionn, noting that it was but a natural, logical step �to represent a hero of this type [i.e. a protector of Britain against supernatural threats] as a victor over the Saxons� (1934,
quote at p.231. See also Murphy, 1953, pp.213-17; MacKillop, 1986, pp.63-4; Koch, 1996, p.261; Ross, 2001, chapter 4).

   How does this affect the question of Arthur�s historicity? What then of those references to a �historical� Arthur which, when viewed in isolation, can only answer the question �Was there a historical Arthur?� with �perhaps; maybe� and could at least just as easily represent a legendary figure historicised as the distorted remembrances of a �genuinely� historical figure? To recapitulate, the conclusions resulting from the above discussion are:
(A) that one cannot assume that a character is historical simply because a medieval source claims that this is the case: such a priori assumptions are demonstrably false (Hengest & Horsa and Fionn being good examples of mythical figures historicised by later writers) and are thus unacceptable. One can only say that there was / has to have
been a historical Arthur once all the material has been evaluated and this is shown to be the case. There is no possible justification for simply assuming this to be the case � �historical� explanations of figures such as Arthur do not, on a priori grounds, enjoy priority over other explanations. Indeed, it should be remembered that the �process of
historicising legends was a widespread feature of Celtic literary activity in the Middle Ages.� (Padel, 1994, p.23).
(B) that the few usable sources that we have which portray Arthur as �historical� could very easily represent either a legendary figure historicised or the distorted traditions of a genuinely historical Arthur. Each possibility is equally as likely as the other judging from the internal evidence of the sources and, as such, no conclusions can be reached on the matter of historicity � there may have been a historical Arthur but at least equally as well there may not have been.

   (C) that whilst it is true to say, as in (B) above, that Historia Brittonum Chapter 56 etc. could just as easily reflect a legendary figure historicised as a genuinely historical personage, this method of analysis fails to answer the question of Arthur�s historicity satisfactorily. By treating the �historical Arthur� sources in isolation rather than in the context of the whole body of non-Galfridian Arthurian literature of which they form an integral part, valuable information is ignored that is essential to the interpretation of these sources and, as such, no conclusions of any value can be drawn. To give an example, we might have a charter purporting to be a grant of land to a monastery from a king.

   When this charter is viewed on its own the evidence internal to the charter may be such that no decision can be made over whether it is genuine or a forgery � in the absence of convincing evidence for either option each possibility might be said to be equally as likely. If, however, this charter is looked at in the context of all the other charters from that monastery then the situation is rather different: thus if, for example, all the other charters from that monastery appear to be forgeries then it seems very likely indeed that this charter too is a forgery. In the context of the body of material of which it forms an integral and inseparable part, it becomes clear that the two possibilities allowed by the internal evidence are not in fact equally as likely � when viewed in light of all the other material it remains remotely possible that the charter may be genuine but it is infinitely more probable that it is a forgery.

   In other words,
the serious possibility that the charter is genuine only really existed because the charter was being analysed outside of the body of material of which it is an integral part, something which caused information essential to the interpretation of the charter to be ignored � when it is viewed within the context of all the material, there is simply
no reason to think that it might be genuine; the charter�s context is such that this is not, in the absence of evidence in its favour, a serious possibility. In the same way, conclusions regarding historicity can only be drawn from looking at the �historical Arthur� texts in the context of the whole body of early material. The Historia Brittonum and Annales Cambriae references must be seen in the context of all the early Arthurian material, not as discrete pieces of information that can be mined for �facts�; no judgements of any value can be made by attacking the pre-Galfridian
corpus in a piecemeal fashion � one has to look at the weight of the body of evidence as a whole and allow it to �lead�. To do otherwise simply biases the conclusions and ignores the vast majority of the available early evidence.
(D) that the weight of the non-Galfridian material (early and late) provides, as numerous scholars have noted, a very clear and consistent picture of Arthur as a thoroughly legendary figure of folklore and myth not associated in any way with either the Saxons or Badon, and with this figure resembling in many of its characteristics (and, indeed the development of its legend) the Gaelic Fionn who was a mythical figure � originally a god � later historicised with battles against foreign invaders.

   These four relatively uncontroversial conclusions have, as should be obvious, some very interesting consequences for the question of Arthur�s historicity. Following them through, it seems clear that if those few references which portray Arthur as historical are seen in the context of the material as a whole � as they have to be � then the
weight of the material is such that there is absolutely no justification for believing there to have been a historical figure of the 5th- or 6th-century named Arthur who is the basis for all later legends. When the �historical� references are pulled out of their context and viewed in isolation then, as we have seen, they may possibly represent the
distorted traditions of a historical figure but at least equally as well they may not. However, when they are viewed, as they must be, in the context of the body of material of which they are an integral part this �maybe� evaporates. All the other evidence, the vast majority of the early material, portrays Arthur as an entirely legendary figure from the same mould as the Gaelic Fionn, and he is never connected in this material in any way with either the Saxons or Badon.

   As such there is simply no reason to think that there was a historical Arthur. The �maybe� only appears when it is forced to, when the few references to a �historical� Arthur are divorced from their context and made to answer questions regarding the possibility of a historical Arthur. If we ask what the material actually says rather than try and force any preconceived notions upon it then it appears, as Dr Padel has observed, to very clearly tell of a
legendary figure of folklore named Art(h)ur who was historicised in much the same way as Hengest or Fionn were � the serious possibility of there ever having been a �historical Arthur� who was the �original� from whom all the later tales spring is simply a construct based on a misuse of the sources.

   Therefore, rather than the folkloric Arthur evidenced in the Historia Brittonum Chapter 73 being an elaboration
of the �historical� Arthur of Chapter 56, this �legendary� Arthur would appear to be �the true one, and the �historical� Arthur... the secondary development.� (Padel, 1994, p.30), a logical extension of his folkloric role, with not only the existence of Arthur but also his association with the fifth and sixth centuries being seen as most probably
spurious (with regards to this, it should be noted that the post-Roman period was not the only period into which Arthur was historicised � see below). To put it another way, the context of the few �historical� references is such that the onus of proof would seem to come to lie firmly on the shoulders of those who would have a historical 5th-
/6th-century Arthur as the basis for all the later legends � in the absence of proof of historicity (and in the absence of a priori assumptions and the forcing of preconceived agendas onto the sources) there is simply no reason to think that a �historical Arthur� is a serious possibility.

   We must consequently ask, can the �evidence� for a �historical� Arthur of the 5th-/6thcentury live up to this burden of proof? Does it provide any reason to believe that there was a 5th- or 6th-century figure named Arthur? Taken on its own, it can be legitimately said that the answer to this is �no�. Even when viewed outside of the context of the whole body of early material, thus in the most advantageous circumstances, it could (as has been seen above) only produce the answer �perhaps; maybe�; the Arthur portrayed in the Historia Brittonum and the Annales Cambriae
could be easily understood as either a historical figure or a legendary one historicised. In the context of the pre-Galfridian material this answer becomes meaningless due to the shifting of the burden of proof � as such the �maybe� has to be taken as a �no�. The Historia and the Annales do not provide the necessary proof that would allow us to
disregard the context of the pre-Galfridian material (particularly as the latter is very probably derivative of the former, and the former is known to portray mythical figures as historical) and thus on the basis of these pieces of evidence we are forced to conclude that there is, at present, no cogent reason to think that there was a historical
post-Roman Arthur.

   Instead he is best seen, like Fionn for the Gaelic regions, as a folkloric hero, living in the wilds of the landscape and protecting Britain from all kinds of supernatural threats, just as the vast majority of the evidence suggests.16
Indeed it is worth pointing out once more that the Historia Brittonum�s account of Arthur in Chapter 56 not only appears to include deeds of a number of earlier warriors such as Urien of Rheged and Ambrosius Aurelianus, but also identifiable mythical elements which have been historicised in this text � the possibly very early poem Kat
Godeu would appear to be concerned with a mythical battle in which Arthur plays some (perhaps major) part and in which the trees of Coed Celyddon are magically animated to fight, thus showing the battle of Coit Celidon (�the Caledonian Forest�) recorded in Chapter 56 of the Historia Brittonum in a very interesting light.

   Similarly, the �battle on the bank of a river which is called Tribruit� in Chapter 56 of the Historia appears elsewhere, in the early Pa gur yv y porthaur? (which summarises a number of pre-existing Arthurian tales) as an entirely mythical battle against werewolves (With regards to the battles named in the Historia Brittonum, it should perhaps be emphasised that there is no reason to think that all of the battles used to historicise Arthur were real historical battles � at least some of the battles used to historicise Fionn seem to have been invented spontaneously for the purposes of historicisation and this could well be the case here (a fact that may well explain some of the problems in identifying the battles in Historia Brittonum Chapter 56, see Padel, 1994, p.21; Jackson, 1945-6)).

   The above conclusions may well help explain certain puzzling features of the Arthurian legend, in particular the strange absence which has often been noted (e.g. Bromwich, 1978a, p.274; Thomas, 1995, p.389) of Arthur from the early Welsh genealogies. Such texts are perhaps best understood as dynastic �propaganda� (see Dumville, 1977a; 1977b) and if Arthur was generally held to have been a great historical leader at the time of their compilation, his absence would be very puzzling; if, on the other hand, he was not viewed in this light but instead as a pan-Brittonic
folkloric hero then his absence is entirely comprehensible (see Gowans, 1988 for a similar situation involving Cei). This notion, of a reluctance to use the name of a national folkloric hero, can also provide the only viable explanation of one of the first pieces of evidence examined here, that is the four (or five) occurrences of the name Arthur in 6th- and 7th-century contexts, as Dr Padel has recently noted (1994, p.24).

   Padel observes, as others have done before him, that all the occurrences of the name �Arthur� are recorded in Gaelic sources and occur in the context of the Irish settlers in western Wales and Scotland (see Bromwich 1975-6; Barber, 1972) and he suggests that the absence of this name in British contexts is due to Arthur being regarded �with exceptional awe� as a legendary hero and Protector of Britain, whilst the Irish �when they came into contact with the folklore as a result of their settlements in western Britain, need not have felt such reverence or reluctance�(Padel, 1994, p.24) and consequently they made use of this name (the date of adoption of this name would, of course, be dependent on complex cultural interactions  and developments and thus the fact that it was not immediately adopted should not be seen as significant).

   As well as explaining satisfactorily all the available evidence this suggestion gains a considerable amount of credence from the fact that detailed study of the Welsh genealogical tracts reveals that not one single person of British descent in Wales bore the name �Arthur�  in the genealogies until the late 16th-century at the earliest, a situation Bartrum suggests may well be because the name carried some sort of superstition with it (Bartrum, 1965). If Arthur was to be viewed as historical rather than legendary, then explanation of these three pieces of information (the absence of Arthur from the early royal genealogies; the sudden occurrence of four people named Arthur in the context
of the Irish settlers in Wales and Scotland; the fact that not one single person in Wales of British descent can be shown to bear the name Arthur until at least the late 16th century) would be a very difficult problem.

   Another �puzzling� feature particularly worthy of note is the fact that, outside of the Historia Brittonum Chapter 56, the Annales Cambriae (which is derivative of the Historia Brittonum), the possibly 11th-century Breton Life of Saint Goueznou (which paraphrases the Historia Brittonum) and William of Malmesbury�s 12th-century Gesta Regum (which again paraphrases the Historia Brittonum and the Annales Cambriae), Arthur is never associated in the whole body of pre-Galfridian literature with the post-Roman defeat of the Saxons � a very strange situation surely for one who is supposed to be famed because of such an association. However, it fits with the fact that there seems to be good reason to believe that there was a separate non-Arthurian tradition regarding the battle of Badon (which, again, is only ever associated with Arthur in the few sources (above) that are directly derivative of the Historia Brittonum � in sources that are not connected with the Historia, Badon is not linked with Arthur nor is Arthur linked with Badon, see Bromwich, 1978a), the single event which puts Arthur�s supposed victories into the realms of history and which, in
essence, defines his role as defeater of the Saxons.

   Both of these features, especially when taken together, appear highly suggestive. One has to ask, why, if the reason that Arthur was so honoured in Welsh tradition was that he led the British resistance and won the famous battle of Badon, this is ignored and even perhaps doubted by the �guardians of Welsh tradition�? Why, in the vast majority of cases, both early and late, did they instead paint a consistent picture of Arthur as a figure of folklore who was very similar indeed to the Gaelic Fionn, an entirely mythical figure who came to be historicised with great battles against the Viking invaders of Ireland? Indeed, one might further ask why, if Arthur was universally famous not for being a folkloric Protector of Britain but rather the defeater of the Saxons, the Cornish felt perfectly able to totally ignore his Saxon associations and instead historicise him into distant antiquity and into the period of the Viking incursions (see Hunt, 1881; Courtney, 1890)?

   Such considerations as those above, quite apart from the fact that the adoption of a sound methodology forces us to conclude that Arthur was in all probability a folkloric �Protector of Britain�, suggest that such an interpretation is the correct one. A historical 5th- or 6th-century Arthur is not in anyway necessary to the understanding of the pre-Galfridian Arthur and the evidence we have makes the postulation of such a figure not only unnecessary but also completely unjustifiable.

 The Historicisation of Arthur

   Whatever else Arthur is, he is a composite figure. Through the centuries the concept of Arthur did not stay the same � there is no �standard� Arthurian legend as this legend is the result of Arthur attracting to himself both the deeds and characteristics of other tales and characters. This bears directly on the above question � we cannot
conclude that there was no historical Arthur as there was, to the extent that certain texts, notably the Historia Brittonum, the Annales Cambriae and Geoffrey�s Historia Regum Britanniae, have a concept of Arthur that is clearly historical. While the Arthur they portray cannot be seen, in light of the above, as the �original�, it is surely still a valuable exercise to inquire as to whose deeds were being later attributed to Arthur, as these deeds are an integral part of many later portrayals of Arthur and as such do constitute part of the origins of Arthur. What then of the Arthur of Historia Brittonum Chapter 56? While we might legitimately look for an �original� for each of the battles, we also have to ask whether the whole concept presented in Chapter 56 of the Historia is based on a single figure.

   The prime candidate for this �honour� has to be, naturally, Ambrosius Aurelianus. In Gildas�s De Excidio Britanniae Ambrosius is given prominence as the initiator of the British counterattack which, after the fighting of several battles, culminates in the battle of Badon, just as Arthur in the Historia Brittonum initiates the British counterattack which, after the fighting of several battles, culminates in the battle of Badon. On the basis of this we may well be able to say that, to some extent, we do have a historical Arthur � Ambrosius � in the sense that the concept of Arthur as a
historical figure and the framework for historicisation was based on his deeds.

   With regards to the individual battles, this is perhaps more difficult. As noted in the preceding discussion, the �battle on the bank of a river which is called Tribruit� and Cat Coit Celidon may well be actual Arthurian mythic battles. Others may be �real� or they could be invented: Badon, as has been argued above, can be easily associated with Ambrosius, just like the whole framework of historicisation, and Breguion appears elsewhere in very early sources as a battle fought by Urien of Rheged. Others however could simply be made up, as is thought to be the case for the battles used to historicise Fionn in his battle-list and as has been suggested earlier in this study. The problem with undertaking any exercise of this kind is the fact that the names given to the battles could represent many areas � only a few can actually be called certain and on the basis of this list theories of a Southern Arthur, a Midland Arthur and a
Northern Arthur have all been constructed.

   A partial solution is to split the list up into separate characters as above but it should be remembered that it can only be taken so far. The desire to identify these battles is often great but this should not prevent us from recognising that with sufficient �ingenuity� they can be made to fit just about any area and many may not, in fact, be identifiable or even have identifications. With regards to the whole question of historicity and historicisation, it has been
suggested that, rather than ask whether there is any justification for postulating a historical Arthur, we should ask whether any candidate fits the �facts� � certainly the undert

Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
Tags: Arthur,Nennius,Y Gododdin 
Pages: 1 2 3 4 [All]   Go Up

Jump to:  

Powered by SMF 1.1.4 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC
History Hunters Worldwide Exodus | TinyPortal v0.9.8 © Bloc