Tintagel 2017

In 2017, during the dig at Tintagel which was commissioned by English Heritage and done by Cornwall Archaeological Unit, a 7th C inscription was found at the southern terrace which like the 1998 discovery had inscription indicating a mix of different cultures. The dating may be a reference to the fact that the site was a post-Roman occupation from at least the 5th to the 7th C.

Two of the names that appear are Budic and Tito. The former is well-known and appears as an alternative to Emyr Llydaw, amongst other instances. The latter name, Titus, appears on an inscription located at Tawna, Cornwall, see CISP.

The stone will be examined further. I would propose the possibility of there being a third name. I believe what has been interpreted as “viri duo” is a reference to the name “Viridu”. The small circle at the end of that name has been misinterpreted to be an -o-. The use of such a symbol can be seen on the inscription at Lancarffe, also in Cornwall, see CISP.  Charles Thomas interpreted that to mean “of”. So the first part of the inscription states:

“Titus the son of Viridius” or “Titus the son of Viridus”.

The final name has been written incorrectly as “Viridu” where the -u- is an error for -ii- or -i-. The same mistake was made at Lanivet, in Cornwall, as pointed out by Thomas, see CISP.

The gens Viridia was a Roman family. The name is related to that of the Celtic god Viridius or Viridios. Dedications to him as well as a possible image were found at Ancaster, Lincolnshire. It has been suggested that the name may refer to “virile” or “verdant” and to associations with the Green Man.

Deo Viridio Stone from Ancaster. Author – Gfawkes05.

Time Team Stone Inscription from Ancaster. Author – Gfawkes05.

Carving from Ancaster. Photographer – The Portable Antiquities Scheme, Adam Daubney.

Viridius appears in the Arthurian Romance as Gweirydd ap Llew, the brother of Gwalchmai. He may be a doublet for Gareth. Their names appear in the Marchogion y Vort Gron (Soldiers of the Round Table). In the Vulgate cycle these names appear as Guerrehes and Gaheries respectively. He may have been Gwair dathar Weinidog with the cognomen Adarweinidog ([having] bird-servants or servant of birds) who appears in CO and had the daughter Tangwen.

Since Gweirydd’s mother was Gwyar, the daughter of Gwrlais and Eigr, it is not surprising for his name to appear at Tintagel. Nor so with Budic since Gwyar was first married to Emyr Llydaw and then to Llew ap Cynfarch. The name that the HRB gives for ByB’s Emyr Llydaw is Budic. That these figures of the Arthurian tradition are to be considered historical is a reflection of the fact that Gwalchmai belongs to its earliest stratum.

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Custennin Gorneu and Custennin Fendigaid

Bartum argued the two names Custennin Gorneu and Custennin Fendigaid, that of the brother of Aldwr, refer to the same individual citing ByS 76 as one piece of evidence:

“Thus Custennin Gorneu and Custennin, the grandfather of Arthur, have been tacitly identified. Further confirmation of this is the fact that Erbin ap Custennin is said to have been uncle to Arthur, and Geraint ab Erbin first cousin to Arthur in the tale of ‘Geraint and Enid’ …”[1]

However, that passage has been influenced by Historia Regum Britanniae which attempts to claim a Breton ancestry for Arthur. The following table shows that Custennin Gorneu was of gen. -2 whereas Custennin Fendigaid, being the brother of Aldwr, was one generation earlier:

Gen. ByS 26 ChB a
ByS G 24a
4 Alanus Magnus
3 Salomon II
2 Hoelus Tertius
1 Kyby Alanus Cristiolus Rystvd
0 Selyf Gereint Hoelus Secundus Howel vychan
-1 Erbin Hoelus Magnus Howel
-2 Custennyn Gorneu Budicus Emyr Llydaw
-3 Audroenus
-4 Salomon
-5 Grallonus Magnus
-6 Conanus Meriadocus

The names in the above table are as they appear in the document. Note, ByS 26 has been adjusted to show Cybi as being the son of Selyf ab Erbin as indicated by his Vitae. As indicated by ByS G 24, Budic was referred to as Emyr Llydaw. This can be confirmed by looking at parallel entries in the HRB and the ByB.

[1] Bartrum, P. C., 2009, 178.

Arthur’s descent from Cunedda

Gwen, the mother of Eigr, was the daughter of Cunedda Wledig, see Amlawdd and Gwen. Arthur is identified with Paternus, Padarn in Welsh, 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 late additions to the ByS, e.g. in version J:

Gwenn v’ch Karedic ap Kvnedda wledic

The respective pedigrees are shown below:

Gen. JC 7, ByA 31 ByS 21 Reconciled
0 Arthur Padarn Arthur/Padarn
-1 Eigr Pedrwn Gwen Eigr Gwendragon
-2 Gwen Emyr Llydaw Ceredig Gwen
-3 Cunedda Wledig Cunedda Wledig Cunedda Wledig

Arthur’s pedigree may be reconciled with that of Paternus as shown by the column entitled ‘Reconciled’ in the table above. The name of the Paternus’s mother, Gwen, was, in fact, also an element of Eigr’s cognomen. 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 as shown in the table below which presents the names in the forms given in the various documents:

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

Iubair is the name given to Arthur’s father in the 1467 ms. The name Iobhair can take the form Iomhair which is derived from the Welsh Emyr Llydaw. This title referred to Petranus, Pedrwn or Pedr in Welsh, the father of Paternus. Thus, Arthur’s father, Iobhair (Pedr), was the son of Ambrois (Ambrosius) who also held the title Emyr Llydaw as shown by ByS 21. His father was Constantine as indicated in the Historia Regum Britanniae. However, as that document incorrectly claimed Constantinus (Custennin Fendigaid) was the brother of Aldroenus (Aldwr) who belonged to the later gen. -2, in order to maintain a viable chronology he was forced to claim Ambrosius was the brother of Arthur’s father.

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.

Allocating Ambrosius to gen. -2 is consistent with HB 42 which indicates he was one generation later than Vortigern and also with HB 66 which says the discord between Vitalinus and Ambrosius occurred 12 years after Vortigern’s reign. He was an illegitimate son of the Roman emperor Constantine III. Because the HRB wrongly identified Constantine as Aldwr’s brother, as stated above, Geoffrey was forced to make the false claim that the emperor’s genuine son, Constans II, was also the brother of Ambrosius.

[1] ITS vol.10 1907 2
[2] ITS vol.10 1907 118