The Adventus Saxonum and the consuls Gratian and Equitius

At the end of HB 31 we have the following:

“When Gratian ruled for the second time with Equitius, the Saxons were received by Vortigern, 347 years after the Passion of Christ.”

The consulships of Gratian were:

Year Consul prior Consul posterior
366 Flavius Gratianus Dagalaifus
371 Flavius Gratianus Augustus II Sextus Claudius Petronius Probus
374 Flavius Gratianus Augustus III Flavius Equitius

How did this incorrect dating for the Advenrtus come about. It has already been shown how the error of Vortigern’s reign starting in the year 390 AD came to occur, see Vortigern to Badon in the Red Book of Hergest. This would have implied an Adventus in 393 AD, that is 366 AP. If it was later assumed that 366 was in anno domini dating, then the notion would have occurred it was during the consulship of Gratian.

The inclusion of Equitius was an error as can be seen by the HB claiming it was Gratian”s second consulship, rather than his third. As it turns out, the reference was to Gratian’s first period as consul.

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Paganism in the Arthurian age

It is unlikely that paganism had disappeared by the 6th and maybe 7th C. O.J. Padel refers to a probably early 10th C text in the Vatican library listing between twenty-four and thirty-two names of saints revered in Cornwall.[1] Another text lists the twenty-four saintly children of Brychan Brycheiniog, the Cornish version of which is in The V. Nectani. Both lists are in the vernacular and the names are partly geographically arranged. Padel states that these lists demonstrate the existence in Cornwall of local dedications, many of which are unique to particular parish churches. The explanations he gives for the dedications is usually in terms of the conversion of the area by the local saint. The Vatican list dedications includes a number of 6th C saints, such as St. Levan, St. Just and St. Gerrans.

The AC records for the year 589 AD ‘The conversion of Constantine to the Lord’. This event is also recorded in the AT and AU. He may well have been Constantine, the king of Damnonia, the one rebuked by Gildas.

There is a description of communal worshiping in the V. Samsonis where the saint comes across in Tricurium (The Cornish Hundred of Trigg) a group worshipping an idol with music and dance.

St. Collen banishing the court of Gwyn ap Nudd may be a reference to him abolishing pagan belief in the Glastonbury area, see St. Collen.

[1] Thacker, A., Sharpe, R., 2002, 316-319