Frollo and Freothwulf

The HB gives the following list for the kings of the Deira:

“Theodoric, son of Ida, reigned seven years. Freothwulf reigned six years. In whose time the kingdom of Kent, by the mission of Gregory, received baptism. Hussa reigned seven years. Against him fought four kings, Urien, and Ryderthen, and Guallauc, and Morcant. Theodoric fought bravely, together with his sons, against that Urien.”

The FH states:

“In the year of grace 570, Frethwulf reigned in Bernicia seven years. In this year the people of Armenia embraced the faith of Christ …
In the year of grace 577 … This year died Frethwulf, king of Bernicia, and was succeeded by Theodoric, who reigned seven years.”

The inversion in HB’s sequence, Theodoric followed by Freothwulf, in the FH’s list may be explained by the CeC which gives a sequence of kings together with the lengths of their reigns:

“… Theodwlf uno, Freothulf VII., Theodric VII. …”

indicating the first name listed above was mistakenly written as Theodoric.

Freothwulf name becomes Frollo (Flollo in the Latin text) in the HRB. It takes the form Freol in The Awntyrs of Arthur. Indeed, in the Vulgate Merlin and Lancelot Frollo is said to be from Germany. Frollo’s flight to Paris may be a garbled version of Freothwulf retreating to the kingdom of Deira which originated as the civitas of the Parisi.

Those dates in the FH seem to indicate chronologically Freothwulf could not have been an adversary of Arthur. However, Urien fought against Theodoric and if Freothwulf preceded Theodoric then it is possible that Freothwulf was a contemporary of Arthur and the FH dating is incorrect. The FH does contain dates that may be questionable, such as Maelgwn’s death in the year 586.

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Arthur and Batraz

From Scythia to Camelot draws attention to the similarity between the disposal into water of Arthur’s sword, Excalibur, by Bedivere for the mortally wounded hero in Le Morte Darthur and that of the Ossetian Batraz, as discovered by Joël Grisward.[1]
C. Scott Littleton postulated that the legend was transmitted to the west on the basis of a comment in the Roman History by Dio Cassius that 5,500 Iazyges, a Sarmatian people, were sent to Britain.[2]

However, it is likely that the transmission went the opposite way, from west to east, as a result of the Crusades. The name Batraz is likely to be a derivative from Paternus, the other name by which Arthur was known, as indicated on the Tintagel slate. J. Colarusso states that the protoform for Batraz was */pat‛(e)raʒ/.[3] He explains that the Nart epic took shape from ancient times up to the 14th C.

Bedivere or Bedwyr itself is another derivative, and a doublet of Arthur. He had a son called Amren just as Arthur had a son named Amr.

It would thus indicate that the link between the names Paternus and Arthur survived into the 11th C. The Tintagel slate tells us Arthur’s name was originally Artorgnou, before the loss of the epithet ‘gnou’. Whether the form Artor indicates that Arthur was named after Lucius Artorius Castus, as claimed by Linda A. Malcor, is a seperate question.

[1] Grisward, J. H., 1969.
[2] Cary, E., 1955, 37.
[3] May, W., 2016, Colarusso, J., Salbiev, T. (eds.), LXV.

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.

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