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.

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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

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.

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.

The regnal list of Glywysing

The kings of Glywysing were descended from King Arthur as indicated by JC 12:

Gen. JC 12 1st seg.
13 Morgan Hen
12 Owain
11 Hywel
10 Rhys
9 Arthfael
8 Ceingar
7 Maredudd
6 Tewdws
5 [Rhain]
4 Cadwgon
3 Cathen
2 Gwlyddien
1 Nowy
0 Arthur
-1 Pedr
-2 Cyngar

Morgan Hen died in the year 974. The LL tells us:

Morgan Hen son of Owain, King of Glamorgan, contemporary with Edgar, King of England …[1]

Edgar died a year later in 975. The father of Morgan, Owain, according to the ASC, accepted Athelstan as overlord in the year 926. Arthfael’s father is given by JC 9 as Gwriad ap Brochwel. His mother, Ceingar from Dyfed.

[1] Rees, W. J., 1840, 502

Nowy ab Arthur

The LL states:

Noe ab Arthur … gave … ,in the first place, Penn Alun, with its territory, without any payment to mortal man, besides to God, and to Archbishop Dubricius, and the church of Llandaff … and also Llandeilo fawr, on the banks of the Towy, with its two territories, where Teilo, the pupil and disciple of St. Dubricius dwelt; and likewise the territory of the Aquilensians, on the banks of the river Tâf. Noe placed his hands on the four Gospels, and committed to the hand of Archbishop Dubricius this alms forever …[1]

… the lands of the Church of Llandaff, namely, Penaly, and Llandeilo fawr, and Llandyfrgwyr, which had before belonged to Archbishop Dubricius, and from the time of Noe son of Arthur …[2]

Baring-Gould and Fisher noted:

The grant of Llanddowror, with Penally and Llandeilo Fawr, to Dubricius by Nouy or Noë ab Arthur1 is clearly a forgery, as the latter lived at a much later period. Noë was the father of Sannan, the mother of Elisse, King of Powys circa 725-750, to whose memory the Valle Crucis pillar was set up.[3]

Bartrum, referring to the above authors wrote:

Noe filius Arthur occurs in the Book of Llandaf as the donor of land in Penalun [Penally] in Dyfed (BLD 77), but the charter is clearly a forgery (LBS II.401), pretending that the original recipient of the land was Dubricius.[4]

Although Bartrum did not accept the above genealogy cited by Baring-Gould and Fisher, see Sanan ferch Elise, he dated Nowy to c. 580 and came to the same conclusion concerning the authenticity of the charter. The reality is that this entry was not a forgery. Nowy ab Arthur belonged to gen. 1, see Why Bartrum’s dating of the Demetian Arthur is wrong, as did Dubricius as can be seen in the table below.

Gen. JC 9
JC 10 seg. 1
13 Morgan Hen Morgan Hen
12 Owain Owain
11 Hywel Hywel
10 Rhys Rhys
9 Arthfael Arthfael
8 Gwriad Gwriad or Ceingar
7 Brochwel Cenedlon
6 Rhys Briafael Frydig
5 Nudd Hael Llywarch
4 Morgan Tewdwr
3 Athrwys Peibio Glafoeriog
2 Meurig Arberth
1 Tewdrig St. Dyfrig (Dubricius)
0 Llywarch [Efryddyl]
-1 Nynnio Peibio
-2 Erb
-3 Erbic
-4 [Creirwy]
-5 Meurig
-6 Enynny
-7 Erbic
-8 Meurig
-9 Caradog Freichfras

Morgan Hen died in the year 974 and Dubricius in the year 612. In Culhwch ac Olwen the brothers Nynnio and Peibio appear transformed into oxen.

[1] Rees, W. J., 1840, 321
[2] Ibid., 374
[3] Baring-Gould, S., Fisher, J., 1908, 401
[4] Bartrum, P. C., 2009, 579

Arthur’s descent from Cunedda

Gwen, the supposed mother of Eigr, is said to have been the daughter of Cunedda Wledig, see Amlawdd and Gwen. Arthur is identified with Paternus on the Tintagel slate. The V. Paterni tells us that Paternus’s mother was a lady named Gwen (Guean) but does not give her ancestry. This is provided by a late addition to the ByS in the manuscript Pen. 128:

Gwenn v’ch Karedic ap Kvnedda wledic

The respective pedigrees are shown below:

Gen. JC 7, ByA 29(13, 14) ByS Pen. 128 Reconciled
0 Arthur Paternus Arthur/Paternus
-1 Eigr Gwen Eigr Gwendragon
-2 Gwen Ceredig Ceredig
-3 Cunedda Cunedda Cunedda

Arthur’s pedigree may be reconciled with that of Paternus as follows. Gwen was not the mother of Eigr and that name was part of her cognomen as shown in column entitled ‘Reconciled’ in the table above. The evidence for this assertion is provided by two Irish Arthurian Romances. In the RIA.23D 22 version of the Romance Eachtra an Mhadra Mhaoil (The Story of the Crop-Eared Dog)[1] we have:

Artur mhic Iobhair mhic Ambros mhic Constaintin

whereas in the RIA.23M 26 version it is:

Arthur mhac Ambróis mic ConstantÍn mic Uighir Finndrea guin

In the Romance Eachtra Mhacaoimh an Iolair (The Story of Eagle-boy)[2] the last name in the above pedigree takes the form Ughdaire Finndreagain. These pedigrees are consistent but need to be interpreted thus:

Gen. EaMM RIA.23D 22 EaMM RIA.23M 26 EMaI
0 Artur Arthur Artur
-1 Iobhair [Iobhair] Uighir Finndreaguin Iubhair Ughdaire Finndreagain
-2 Ambros Ambróis Ambrois
-3 Constaintin ConstantÍn Constaintin

So, Arthur’s father, Iobhair, was the son of Ambrois (Ambrosius) who in turn was the son of Constantin (Custennin Gorneu). Moreover, Arthur’s mother was Uighir Finndreaguin (Eigr Gwendragon), where Irish Finn and Welsh Gwen have the meaning white or fair or blessed. Finndreaguin was erroneoulsy taken to be Cinndreaguin, resulting in the matronymic Arthur m. Uighir Finndreaguin becoming the false patronymic Arthur m. Uther Pendragon. Another inaccuracy is the assertion that Eigr’s father was Amlawdd Wledig. As noted by Brynley F. Roberts[3] he is a fictitious character whose only role is that his daughters are the mothers of heroic figures.

[1] ITS vol.10 1907 2
[2] ITS vol.10 1907 118
[[3] AoW 94