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Old September 27th, 2016, 02:58 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Calebxy View Post
Which Romances are they? I heard that one from the 12th century said that Arthur was 76 years old when he died. Do you know of this one?
I don't remember. I do remember reading that some medieval romances and/or historical works claimed that Arthur was very old at the time of Camlann.
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Old September 27th, 2016, 03:08 PM   #32
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The sobering reality about all of this is that Gildas never mentioned Arthur at all. It is inconceivable that the Arthur described by Nennius would not have been recognised in some way by him.
How many individuals does Gildas mention in The Ruin of Britain?

How many individuals does Gildas name in The Ruin of Britain?

The second group is certainly a lot smaller than the first group.

Are you certain you know the reasons why Gildas names only a fraction of the people he mentions and thus are certain that Gildas would have mentioned Arthur? If so, please list the scholarly papers you have written about Gildas and Dark Age Britain.
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Old September 27th, 2016, 04:44 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Lawnmowerman View Post
Given the legend of King Arthur I find it rather strange that there have been no other English monarchs named after him.

There have however been 2 potential King Arthur's both died young (Henry VII's first born son from an illness - Richard I heir was murdered by John I)

Trying to establish a dynasty on the throne naming your son after the most famous Legendry king of England seems like a wise propaganda move so why was only Henry VII the only monarch to try this???

Arthur of legend in the earliest stories was not a king. He was a military commander leading armies provided by (petty) kings. The fellow who inspired Geoffrey of Monmouth to write a fanciful, long tale of "King" Arthur wasn't a king either, he was a Count and that by courtesy title only, because he was without a county; technically he was only a landlord, though of many properties.


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Old September 28th, 2016, 01:33 AM   #34
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Here is the historical Arthur

St. Germanus, after his death, returned into his own country. At that time, the Saxons greatly increased in Britain, both in strength and numbers. And Octa, after the death of his father Hengist, came from the sinistral part of the island to the kingdom of Kent, and from him have proceeded all the kings of that province, to the present period.

Then it was, that the magnanimous Arthur, with all the kings and military force of Britain, fought against the Saxons. And though there were many more noble than himself, yet he was twelve times chosen their commander, and was as often conqueror. The first battle in which he was engaged, was at the mouth of the river Gleni. The second, third, fourth, and fifth, were on another river, by the Britons called Duglas, in the region Linuis. The sixth, on the river Bassas. The seventh in the wood Celidon, which the Britons call Cat Coit Celidon. The eighth was near Gurnion castle, where Arthur bore the image of the Holy Virgin, mother of God, upon his shoulders, and through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the holy Mary, put the Saxons to flight, and pursued them the whole day with great slaughter. The ninth was at the City of Legion, which is called Cair Lion. The tenth was on the banks of the river Trat Treuroit. The eleventh was on the mountain Breguoin, which we call Cat Bregion. The twelfth was a most severe contest, when Arthur penetrated to the hill of Badon. In this engagement, nine hundred and forty fell by his hand alone, no one but the Lord affording him assistance. In all these engagements the Britons were successful. For no strength can avail against the will of the Almighty.

The more the Saxons were vanquished, the more they sought for new supplies of Saxons from Germany; so that kings, commanders, and military bands were invited over from almost every province. And this practice they continued till the reign of Ida, who was the son of Eoppa, he, of the Saxon race, was the first king in Bernicia, and in Cair Ebrauc (York).
I'd be careful with that assertion. This account is basically the account from the Historia Brittonum (or 'Nennius', as most people wrongly call it). It was written down between 815-829 and, as such, is about 300 years later than the events it describes - roughly the same gap in time between us and the first Jacobite uprising and three times longer than the gap between us and the Battle of the Somme.

As such, any historical Arthur which might once have existed has already had three centuries for legends and stories to gather around him. Some of those legendary stories actually crop up in the Historia, but they are generally ignored by those hunting the 'real' Arthur as they are (inconveniently) obviously not historical. The famous battle list has no greater claim to be a reliable historical account than the other Arthurian material in the same volume and we are better, in my view, seeing the Historia as one point along the line of the development of a legend rather than as the historically accurate start point for that legend.
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Old September 28th, 2016, 01:56 AM   #35

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We have discussed a lot the figure of King Arthur on Historum and probably what is to be reminded is that, despite the fame and the power attributed to the monarch, there are no contemporary sources mentioning him.

It's difficult to imagine that a more near [in the temporal sense] author like Bede mentioned a battle at Mynydd Badon without recording the presence of King Arthur.

And what about Gildas? He was born around 494 CE ... why didn't he mention Arthur?

This is the biggest hole in the historicity of a real dux bellorum called Arthur in post Roman Britain.

And regarding Nennius, Arthur appears with Bruto and Myrdhin [not exactly a company of real historical personages].
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Old September 28th, 2016, 02:36 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by MAGolding View Post
How many individuals does Gildas mention in The Ruin of Britain?

How many individuals does Gildas name in The Ruin of Britain?

The second group is certainly a lot smaller than the first group.

Are you certain you know the reasons why Gildas names only a fraction of the people he mentions and thus are certain that Gildas would have mentioned Arthur? If so, please list the scholarly papers you have written about Gildas and Dark Age Britain.
I have no idea what the ratio of `mentioned` to `named` is and I`ve never counted those mentioned or named either. As I am uneducated in Latin, I rely on various translations of the text and I have in fact sat down with pen and paper and translated word for word those passages relating to the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries using `google translate`. It`s surprising what some translations leave out. The Giles version which is freely available on the excellent `Mary Jones` site , fails to provide us with some imagery which is important in helping us understand what Gildas may be actually saying.

The Arthur of Nennius is a Christian who leads an army of British kings to twelve consecutive victories in what can only have been a glorious campaign against the Saxons, culminating in a final victory at Badon. Badon is usually considered to be Gildas`s `monti badonici`. Gildas`s account of the period leading up to Badon is far less enthusiastic... `sometimes we were victorious , sometimes our enemy was` or words to that effect. Our only potentially contemporary British source for Arthur doesn`t mention him at all and given the description provided by Nennius, I find this extraordinary. There are two possible explanations for this....(a) There was no Arthur, at least not in the later fifth early sixth century. Nennius may have taken an existing legend of unknown provenance and conveniently dropped it into the time period between Ambrosio Aureliano and monti badonici .....(b) Ambrosio was alternatively known as Arthur. Nennius clearly did not consider this to be the case. There is also the issue of Gildas not naming the victorious leader at Badon and I suspect that given his admiration for Ambrosio he would have given him the credit if it was due.

With regard to my credentials, I have none. All of my public contributions on these issues are contained within the boundaries of this forum. Technically I am a relatively uneducated farmer whose formal education ended at 17. If you consider my contributions unworthy so be it . You can always ignore me.
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Old September 28th, 2016, 03:34 AM   #37
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As I am uneducated in Latin, I rely on various translations of the text
An inexpensive option would be to get hold of the 1978 softback Phillimore edition - 'Gildas: The Ruin of Britain and other works'. This includes the Michael Winterbottom translation of the text, which is the one which pretty much every serious minded scholar uses. You can pick it up for less than 15.00 and the translation is excellent.

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Gildas`s account of the period leading up to Badon is far less enthusiastic... `sometimes we were victorious , sometimes our enemy was` or words to that effect.
That's pretty much exactly how the Latin translates. However, it might be a rhetorical device, as a very similar phrase is used in the Historia in connection with the conflict between Urien et al and the Bernicians.

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There are two possible explanations for this....(a) There was no Arthur, at least not in the later fifth early sixth century. Nennius may have taken an existing legend of unknown provenance and conveniently dropped it into the time period between Ambrosio Aureliano and monti badonici .....(b) Ambrosio was alternatively known as Arthur.
A third option might be that there really was an Arthur at the right time, but he had nothing to do with Badon.

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There is also the issue of Gildas not naming the victorious leader at Badon and I suspect that given his admiration for Ambrosio he would have given him the credit if it was due.
Although a number of posters disagree, there is a growing group of scholars who think that Gildas intends to tell us that Ambrosius was the victor at Badon. If you read the text, there is nothing in there that prevents Badon from being the culmination of Ambrosius' campaign.

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With regard to my credentials, I have none. All of my public contributions on these issues are contained within the boundaries of this forum. Technically I am a relatively uneducated farmer whose formal education ended at 17. If you consider my contributions unworthy so be it . You can always ignore me.
For my money, you are an intelligent and considered poster and I don't think a lack of academic credentials in any way undermines the validity of your views. Now, some of us could set out suitably academic credentials, but there is absolutely no point in doing so, as that inevitably leads to accusations of not living in the real world and/or not having any common sense and/or being part of some politically correct academic conspiracy. Whether one is an uneducated farmer or a fusty scholar who is able to crack gags in Old Norse, one's views can always be discounted......
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Old September 28th, 2016, 04:14 AM   #38
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Thank you Peter. I am mindful that many of the contributors have probably devoted their lives to the study and indeed teaching of history and I respect them for that. I also try to keep in mind the old adage that `a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing` as I post.
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Old September 28th, 2016, 04:28 AM   #39
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I also try to keep in mind the old adage that `a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing` as I post.
Then I suspect you can take great comfort from the fact that pretty much everyone - including scholars - cannot claim to have much more than a 'little knowledge'. The more one knows, the less certain one becomes.

My own research focusses on one small geographical area in one rather limited time zone and I am endlessly aware of how many disciplines one must master in order to say anything even remotely authoritative. If I wanted to profess genuine expertise, I'd have to be a historian, dig archaeologist, linguist, speaker of at least three dead languages, paleobotanist, landscape archaeologist, sociologist, psychologist and an expert on both literature and poetry, not to mention Christianity and early medieval paganism, genetics, early farming practices, oral history, geography, literary criticism and, of course, toponymy. Of course, none of us can be all of these things (even if we have wikipedia to back us up!) so what we end up becoming is magpies, reading the work of the experts in each field, extracting the shiny bits we particularly like and then fluttering back to our nests to try and knit everything together into a comprehensive whole.

Professional academics should have been trained in the skills to do this knitting together with a reasonable level of objectivity, circumspection and understanding, but other professions expect practitioners to have the same skills. Academics do not have a monopoly on this stuff, even if they do generally have a much better knowledge of both primary and secondary sources. So, even if you had been able to reply to the poster who challenged you by talking about your PhD and your conference presentations and peer-reviewed articles, almost certainly another poster could have brought up an equally heavyweight academic who says the exact opposite.

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Old September 28th, 2016, 06:48 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by zoetropo View Post
Arthur of legend in the earliest stories was not a king. He was a military commander leading armies provided by (petty) kings. The fellow who inspired Geoffrey of Monmouth to write a fanciful, long tale of "King" Arthur wasn't a king either, he was a Count and that by courtesy title only, because he was without a county; technically he was only a landlord, though of many properties.


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Arthur in the earliest sources doesn't have a title.

Except for Arthur the soldier mentioned in a list of wonders of Britain. Why is he given a title or occupation? Perhaps to distinguish him from other Arthurs with other titles or occupations.

Like:
Arthur the monk
Arthur the bishop
Arthur the governor
Arthur the king
Arthur the emperor

Or maybe to distinguish this Arthur from Arthurs with various nicknames.

Like:
Arthur the good
Arthur the bad
Arthur the wise
Arthur the simple
Arthur the great
Arthur the terrible
Arthur the kind
Arthur the cruel
Arthur the old
Arthur the young

etc.

Since Arthur might be the Roman name Artorius and thus hereditary in his family there could have been a whole family or dynasty of Arthurs.
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