Badbury Rings

Badbury is a strong candidate for the location of Arthur’s battle of Baddon. It is an Iron Age hillfort located at the intersection of Roman roads. The entries for Cerdic and Cynric in the AC suggest it would have been an area fought over by the emerging kingdom of Wessex. It is close to the Roman military base at Hod Hill which is next to the River Stour and used the port at Hengistbury Head.

An archaeological excavation took place at Badbury in 2004. Besides the expected material from the Iron Age, the finds included a late Roman bronze spiral ring on a chalk floor which had charcoal, all three samples of which were dated to the period 480 to 520.


The word ‘map’ in the Welsh genealogies

E. W. B. Nicholson explained the origin of the use of the word ‘ap’ in the Welsh genealogies, see The Dynasty of Cunedag and the ‘Harleian Genealogies’. Take HG 1. Notice the repetition in the names: Cein, Guorcein, Doli, Guordoli, Dumn and Gurdumn. In the manuscript the names are listed in columns preceded by the word ‘map’ as indicated by Phillimore, see The Annales Cambriae and Old-Welsh Genealogies from Harleian MS 3859. These six names appear thus:

map. Cein.
map. Guorcein.
map. doli.
map. Guordoli.
map. dumn.
map. Gurdumn.

Nicholson explains (p. 65) that the manuscript we have is a copy of an original which was of a different form. He writes:

My next point is that in their original form these were not all of them certainly ‘genealogies’ in the modern sense of the word-that, in fact, No. 1 is not a genealogy but a table of succession. Part, at least, of the original table had no map’s, but the preposition guor, ‘over’, in their place.

He then presents how the original table would have shown these names:

guor cein doli
guor doli dumn
guor dumn Amgueryt

In the later versions of the manuscript, the word ‘guor’ was replaced by the word ‘map’ at the start of each line presumably because it involved less repetition, there being no need to restate the last name in one line as the first name in the next. However, accidently the ‘guor’ in just the above three lines of the text were left in, thus generating three fictitious names: Guorcein, Guordoli and Gurdumn. Nicholson goes on to state:

In other words, we have before us what may not be a table of direct blood-descent at all, but only of succession

The above three lines of the text would thus read:

Before Cein, Doli
Before Doli, Dumn
Before Dumn, Amgueryt

showing no assertion of a son-to-father relationship.

Naval power

The triads give some indication of the naval powers at the time. Triad 14 mentions the Seafarers/Fleet Owners. Geraint ab Erbin and March ap Meirchion were both of Cernyw. There must have been frequent communication between this kingdom and those of Brittany for the LL to regard them as “one people and one language”. Triad 15 gives the Roving Fleets and Bromwich suggests the names may indicate they were Irish while those of the previous triad were British[1]. It may be that with Tintagel being on the north coast, the Cornish and Irish together controlled all trade going through the Irish Sea. Likewise Dumnonia and Brittany could have dominated commerce through the English Channel.

[1] Bromwich, R., 2006, 30

Cyndeyrn Fendigaid

*Outigirn is a name that appears in HG 10. But in JC 5 his name has been corrupted to *Kyndeern weldic.

A later individual with the same name is to be found in HB 62:

Then Dutgirn at that time fought bravely against the nation of the Angles. At that time, Talhaiarn Cataguen was famed for poetry, and Neirin, and Taliesin and Bluchbard, and Cian, who is called Guenith Guaut, were all famous at the same time in British poetry.

The document indicates that *Dutgirn or *Outigirn (Eudeyrn) lived in the time of Ida and Maelgwn. The corruption of the name Eudeyrn to Cyndeyrn that occurred in JC 5 may have occurred in the opposite direction, i.e. Cyndeyrn to Eudeyrn in the HB. Chronology suggests the HB reference is to Cyndeyrn Fendigaid ab Owain ap Cyngar who appears in ABT 18a and JC 13. He was not Cyndeyrn Garthwys ab Owain ab Urien Rheged of ByS 14.

The derivation of the name Arthur

The name Arthur derives from the Latin Artorius. Its rarity is explained by it being not a native name in origin. Latin origin names that continued to be in regular use in Wales had Christian associations or were derived from the names of various professions.

Y Gogledd

The term Y Ogledd, the North, is taken to cover N. England and S. Scotland. The document BGG has a number of pedigrees unrelated to these areas. The obvious instance is the last one which includes Amlawdd Wledig. However, there are others like the one for Rhydderch Hael and Elffin and, therefore, I believe the term would have covered places like Gwynedd. It is claimed that the Welsh took stories from N. Britain and transferred them into Wales. This conjecture is incorrect as Y Gogledd would have included N. Wales.

Was Arthur Pagan or Christian?

It is unlikely less than two centuries after Christianity became the state religion that people would entirely abandon Paganism, the faiths of their forefathers, see Paganism in the Arthurian age. It is likely that Arthur straddled both Pagan and Christian beliefs. In V. Paterni he appears as two opposing characters, namely tyrant Arthur and Christian Paternus. Not surprisingly in a Christian document, Paternus is shown to be supreme as symbolised by him retaining the tunic despite the challenge from Pagan Arthur.