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Old January 12th, 2018, 06:03 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by MarsBar View Post
Wait, not to be prickly, but has the issue of King Arthur's own existence and/or place been truly settled?

I'm not sure how to fit Lancelot into the picture when many people seem to regard the King himself as absent...
Well, we know for a fact that there are certain characters from the Romances who were real people. For example, Sir Uriens and his son Sir Ywain came from Urien Rheged and his son Owain. So just because Arthur himself wasn't definitely historical doesn't mean that Lancelot (or any given 'knight') might not have been real.
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Old January 12th, 2018, 10:31 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by johnincornwall View Post
Not too sure about these Barbarian people in Cornwall. Every time a Roman villa is uncovered I sort of feel like the poor Roman family must have been living under siege - which is clearly nonsense. Also the ports of Cornwall were clearly used for import-export from even pre-Roman times.

I have also come across reports of a settlement near Ferrol in North-west Spain (Entre Fenecios y Visigodos) which was formed by Britons fleeing the Saxons - either their potential advances or their unpleasant presence.

The free movement of at least some people to Visigothic Spain suggests not only some measure of trade and pseudo-diplomatic contact but also abilities beyond those of Hollywood blue-painted swamp-dwellers

I just think that we sometimes get carried away with the alleged decline of post-roman Britain (especially in the south-west) - at one end you have the peace of Roman life - at the other is Alfred the Great studying in Rome for a year.

And in between - Raving Barbarians. Really?
I don't see the contradiction between Barbarian people and safe-to-live-among people. The original Greek word barbarian meant "speaker of foreign languages". So civilized Egyptians and Persians were considered barbarians by the Greeks.

According to Wikipedia:

Quote:
A barbarian is a human who is perceived to be either uncivilized or primitive. The designation is usually applied as generalization based on a popular stereotype; barbarians can be any member of a nation judged by some to be less civilized or orderly (such as a tribal society), but may also be part of a certain "primitive" cultural group (such as nomads) or social class (such as bandits) both within and outside one's own nation. Alternatively, they may instead be admired and romanticised as noble savages. In idiomatic or figurative usage, a "barbarian" may also be an individual reference to a brutal, cruel, warlike, and insensitive person.[1]
Note that barbarian can sometimes be negative, sometimes positive, and sometimes more or less neutral as far a persons ethical behavior is concerned. A barbarian is often merely someone - good, evil, or middling - coming from a society considered backwards technologically and/or socially.

People from 10,000 years in the future might consider us to be barbarians without judging us to be either good or bad barbarians.

So in many cases it is perfectly safe for civilized people to live surrounded by relatively peaceful - instead of warlike - barbarians.

You are assuming that the Britons who settled in northwestern Spain were fleeing from the Saxons. That is one possible motive. But they could have had other motives. Perhaps they were sent by the government in Britain and/or Brittany to settle in the area and gain control over the trade routes.
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Old January 14th, 2018, 06:19 AM   #33
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It is not certain that Rhun was illegitimate. Illegitimacy was so common in medieval Wales that the genealogies lists the "mothers" of king's sons instead of the "wives" of those kings. Gwallwen is not described as either the wife or mistress of Maelgwn, merely as the mother of Rhun.
Well according to Peter Bartrum's entry for Rhun ap Maelgwn in A Welsh Classical Dictionary, a certain record called 'Disgyniad Pendefigaeth Cymru' contains the claim that Rhun's mother Gwallwen was merely Maelgwn's mistress, not wife, making Rhun illegitimate (for which reason Elidir Mwynfawr claimed to be the rightful ruler and invaded Gwynedd). And from the wording in the entry for 'Gwallwen ferch Afallach', it seems that this is also contained in certain records prior to the aforementioned 'Disgyniad'.


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According to Gildas, Maglocunnus the Island Dragon usurped his first throne in earliest adolescence and an unspecified time later renounced the world and entered a monastery. After an unspecified time as a monk Maglocunnus returned to secular life and resumed rule of his kingdom. He killed his first wife (divorce Maelgwn style) and killed his nephew and married the nephew's widow. And Gildas doesn't mention whatever Maglocunnus did after Gildas wrote, possibly becoming a monk again, for example.

One version of the Annales Cambriae says Maelgwn died in the Church at Rhos. And a later story says he took refuge from the Yellow Plague in that church, implying that he was a secular ruler at the time.

If Maelgwn was Lancelot he might have overthrown Arthur and some time later repented and become a monk for months, years, or decades and then lived as a secular ruler for months, years, or decades after that. And maybe he might possibly have become a monk again sometime after Gildas wrote.
Indeed. The Romance tales need to be totally accurate. It is an undisputed certainty that they are not. Uriens of Gorre, for example, bears only limited similarity to the historical Urien Rheged. But in the case of Maelgwn, even though he died in a church evidently while still as a secular ruler, this event could fairly easily, I believe, have led to the belief that he was serving in some capacity in that church and it was for that reason that he died there. And the fact that he definitely did spend a number of years as a monk, earlier in his life, would have helped people without an accurate understanding of his life to reach that conclusion.


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One should not make too much of the surviving sources putting Arthur's activities in the west of Britain. Those were the places ruled by Britons the longest, so Arthur's deeds were likely to become falsely localized there.
That would be a fair point if the sources just put Arthur vaguely in the western half of Britain, but they actually indicate a specific location in south Wales as his base of operations. That cannot be attributed to the locality of the Britons' habitation.

Quote:
Maelgwn's mother is named as Meddyff, daughter of Maeldeff, son of Dylan Daws of Nan Conwy in Gwynedd. So the maternal uncle that Maglocunnus/Maelgwn overthrew would be a brother of Meddyff and son of Maeldeff. And possibly also King Arthur.
Well, that would mean that Arthur's father Uthyr was actually Maeldaf, would it not? Is there any evidence of that?

Quote:
If Maelgwn was Lancelot, it is possible that he ruled both in Wales and in Brittany.

There are several examples of trans-marine realms in the dark ages, or of kings ruling separate kingdoms separated by the sea. Thus there were monarchs claimed to have ruled both in Ireland and in Scotland, in Scotland and in Wales, in Ireland and in Wales, in Wales and in Cornwall/Devon, and in Cornwall/Devon and in Brittany. I believe that if all the theories about King Mark were correct, he would have ruled 4 diferent kingdoms, in southern Scotland, in Wales, in Cornwall, and in Brittany.
That's true, that's certainly a reasonable possibility. There's a reasonable suggestion that Count Conomor (King Mark), prince of Pohor in Brittany, was in fact Cynfarch, the father of Urien Rheged.
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Old January 14th, 2018, 10:08 PM   #34
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Well, that would mean that Arthur's father Uthyr was actually Maeldaf, would it not? Is there any evidence of that?
As I wrote earlier:

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In The Academy 1884, Volume 26, page 139, Professor Archibald Sayce put two and two together and speculated that Maglocunnus the Island Dragon, a giant said to have usurped his first throne as a boy, and Mordred, both alleged to have overthrown their maternal uncles, were the same person.

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?...ew=1up;seq=191
And I wrote:

Quote:
Maelgwn's mother is named as Meddyff, daughter of Maeldeff, son of Dylan Daws of Nan Conwy in Gwynedd. So the maternal uncle that Maglocunnus/Maelgwn overthrew would be a brother of Meddyff and son of Maeldeff. And possibly also King Arthur. Nan Conwy would seem to be an insufficient power base, so Arthur would probably have also ruled a kingdom of barbarian warriors in south east Wales, or Cornwall, or between the walls, and one or more relatively rich kingdoms in what is now southern England. And Maelgwn may have taken over all of them and added them to his power base.
If someone accepts Sayce's theory, then they could go on to accept that everything written about Arthur's ancestry and everything written about Maelgwn's ancestry is correct. Which means sometimes combining two persons in two different genealogies into one.

How could a person have different names in different genealogies?

in late Roman times most of the leading persons in Roman Britain would have strings of several names in the Roman fashion to use in Romanised society, some of those names often being Latinised versions of British names. And perhaps each important Romano-Briton would also have a single British name to use in more Celtic social situations.

And when later, medieval Welsh genealogists, living in a society where people had only a single name and maybe a nickname, traced someone's ancestry to a Romano-Briton with multiple names, they would have problems and might drop out all of the multiple names except one.

And possible different Welsh genealogists compiling different pedigrees might treat the same multiple names of the same persons differently. One genealogist might choose to record only the first names in each multiple name, another genealogist might choose to record only the second names in each multiple name, etc., etc.

And thus there could be two or more versions of the same pedigree of the same persons giving two or more completely different sets of names.

The practice of important persons using sets of several Roman names did not die out in Britain immediately in 410, but continued for generations, perhaps well into the 6th century. So it is quite plausible that Arthur's father was named both Uther and Maeldaff, and his grandfather was named both Constantine and Dylan Daws. One pedigree would be Arthur ap Uther ap Constantine ap..., and the other pedigree would be Arthur ap Maedaff ap Dylan Daws ap...

Last edited by MAGolding; January 14th, 2018 at 10:15 PM.
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Old January 15th, 2018, 02:38 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Calebxy View Post
Well, we know for a fact that there are certain characters from the Romances who were real people. For example, Sir Uriens and his son Sir Ywain came from Urien Rheged and his son Owain.
I don`t think you can say with any confidence that Urien Rheged and Owain are real people. There`s an Urbgen/Uryen that appears in genealogical lists who was probably real and might be Urien Rheged but then again he might not be. The genealogies don`t list any son for Urbgen/Uryen, he is the last in his line. Rheged is a borderless territory that may be no more real than the land of Far Far Away, a figment of Taliesins imagination. I`m a latecomer to Welsh poetry and much of it appears to be a regurgitation of Irish myth but in a British context. If Taliesin had been subject to copyright law back in the day, he would have had to sell his house.
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Old January 15th, 2018, 03:45 AM   #36

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Originally Posted by MAGolding View Post
As I wrote earlier:



And I wrote:



If someone accepts Sayce's theory, then they could go on to accept that everything written about Arthur's ancestry and everything written about Maelgwn's ancestry is correct. Which means sometimes combining two persons in two different genealogies into one.

How could a person have different names in different genealogies?

in late Roman times most of the leading persons in Roman Britain would have strings of several names in the Roman fashion to use in Romanised society, some of those names often being Latinised versions of British names. And perhaps each important Romano-Briton would also have a single British name to use in more Celtic social situations.

And when later, medieval Welsh genealogists, living in a society where people had only a single name and maybe a nickname, traced someone's ancestry to a Romano-Briton with multiple names, they would have problems and might drop out all of the multiple names except one.

And possible different Welsh genealogists compiling different pedigrees might treat the same multiple names of the same persons differently. One genealogist might choose to record only the first names in each multiple name, another genealogist might choose to record only the second names in each multiple name, etc., etc.

And thus there could be two or more versions of the same pedigree of the same persons giving two or more completely different sets of names.

The practice of important persons using sets of several Roman names did not die out in Britain immediately in 410, but continued for generations, perhaps well into the 6th century. So it is quite plausible that Arthur's father was named both Uther and Maeldaff, and his grandfather was named both Constantine and Dylan Daws. One pedigree would be Arthur ap Uther ap Constantine ap..., and the other pedigree would be Arthur ap Maedaff ap Dylan Daws ap...
It's known that my first problem with the Arthurian cycles is just the existence of that Arthur. To write a pedigree starting from a person who probably didn’t exist [as literature has constructed the personage] is at least a curious exercise.

My personal opinion is that Arthur is a kind of literary sum of different figures [and probably from different periods]. So to focus on a potential Arthur is an interesting historical exercise, but it doesn’t shed a lot of light on the matter.

Was this Arthur a “Dux Bellorum”? We are on a good path. Otherwise this Arthur is one Arthur. And that title, Dux Bellorum, could even be a later interpolation as well.

I tend to keep this matter in the literary field and I look for historical personages as models of the figures we find in literature.
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Old January 16th, 2018, 04:34 AM   #37
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I don`t think you can say with any confidence that Urien Rheged and Owain are real people.
The evidence seems convincing enough to establish the academic consensus, academics generally being far more sceptical about such things than the casual researcher.
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Old January 16th, 2018, 04:57 AM   #38

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Gildas ...

Pay attention that the fact that Gildas mentions Maelgwn of Gwynedd makes things more complicated, not more simple and clear.

If we are going to sustain that Maelgwn was Lancelot, so a powerful ally / love competitor of King Arthur, we will have to make a greater effort than usual to explain why Gildas doesn't mention King Arthur. If he erased him from his chronicles because of this or that reason [that Arthur killed Gilda's brother, just to say ...], why to mention the name of a personage who could create a context for the presence of King Arthur? Overall a powerful ally of his. If there was a linkage of some kind between Arthur and Maelgwn it was more natural for Gildas to avoid to mention the second as well.
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Old January 16th, 2018, 06:10 AM   #39

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Furthermore ...

let's read Gildas about Maelgwn

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quid tu enim, insularis draco, multorum tyrannorum depulsor tam regno quam etiam uita supra dictorum, nouissime stilo, prime in malo, maior multis potentia simulque malitia, largior in dando, profusior in peccato, robuste armis, sed animae fortior excidiis, maglocune, in tam uetusto scelerum atramento, ueluti madidus uino de sodomitana uite expresso, stolide uolutaris?

quare tantas peccaminum regiae ceruici sponte, ut ita dicam, ineluctabiles, celsorum ceu montium, innectis moles? quid tu non ei regum omnium regi, qui te cunctis paene brittanniae ducibus tam regno fecit quam status liniamento editiorem, exhibes ceteris moribus meliorem, sed uersa uice deteriorem?
"maglocune" was Maglocunus in the Latinized form.

I post a common translation [http://www.vortigernstudies.org.uk/a...nquotesgil.htm]
Quote:
And thou, the island dragon, who hast driven many of the tyrants mentioned previously, as well from life as from kingdom, thou last in my writing, first in wickedness, exceeding many in power and at the same time in malice, more liberal in giving, more excessive in sin, strong in arms, but stronger in what destroys thy soul----thou Maclocunus, why dost thou obtusely wallow in such an old black pool of crimes, as if sodden with the wine that is pressed from the vine of Sodom?
Why dost thou tie to thy royal neck (of thine own accord, as I may say), such heaps, impossible to remove, of crimes, as of high mountains? Why showest thou thyself to Him, the King of all kings, who made thee superior to almost all the kings of Britain, both in kingdom and in the form of thy stature, not better than the rest in morality, but on the contrary worse?
"prime in malo" "profusior in peccato"

Which can be translated "first in evil" and "plentiful in sin" ...

Sure Gildas presented him as a not exactly nice person.
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Old January 16th, 2018, 08:59 PM   #40
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Gildas ...

Pay attention that the fact that Gildas mentions Maelgwn of Gwynedd makes things more complicated, not more simple and clear.

If we are going to sustain that Maelgwn was Lancelot, so a powerful ally / love competitor of King Arthur, we will have to make a greater effort than usual to explain why Gildas doesn't mention King Arthur. If he erased him from his chronicles because of this or that reason [that Arthur killed Gilda's brother, just to say ...], why to mention the name of a personage who could create a context for the presence of King Arthur? Overall a powerful ally of his. If there was a linkage of some kind between Arthur and Maelgwn it was more natural for Gildas to avoid to mention the second as well.
Considering how many persons Gildas mentions, and how few persons Gildas names, it might be more logical to ask what were the reasons why Gildas mentions some persons by name.

And apparently the reason why Gildas mentioned Maglocunnus by name was to denounce him by name, and denouncing Maglocunnus and a few others by
name might have been the main reason why Gildas wrote the The Ruin of Britain.
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