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.
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