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Medieval and Byzantine History Medieval and Byzantine History Forum - Period of History between classical antiquity and modern times, roughly the 5th through 16th Centuries


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Old November 12th, 2012, 05:08 AM   #71
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I imagine it's likely that Arthur was a Roman officer who held out for a while against the Saxons. It's interesting that a civilised society could fall to pagan barbarians and that the barbarians had no interest in living in towns./bothered to rebuild them. It's also interesting that the local Britons, after the legions had been recalled, hired barbarians to fight the barbarians rather than create their own military force.

After Vortigern went on the rampage and the Saxons started taking land things soon fell apart. If only more sources other than Bede et al could be found, it is a fascinating and rather complex period of history.

Vortigern - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Romans in Britannia Prima hired British from beyond the Wall, according to our legends, whereas the other provinces, like all Romans, hired Germans. The whole point about the Empire was to keep the populace disarmed. And, by the way, wooden towns just produce 'black earth' which racist archeologists just shovelled out of the way.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 05:18 AM   #72

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A point which could give some suggestions about the nature of "Arthur" is that after a "Golden Age", the Arthurian legends tell us that his power was lost. No other leaders were able to keep such an organization standing after him [or them in case there was not only an "Arthur"].

Despite the reconstruction of a certain Roman British power on the isle, Arthur was not able to make it lasting, durable.

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The Romans in Britannia Prima hired British from beyond the Wall, according to our legends, whereas the other provinces, like all Romans, hired Germans. The whole point about the Empire was to keep the populace disarmed. And, by the way, wooden towns just produce 'black earth' which racist archeologists just shovelled out of the way.
Yes, this was part of the Roman legacy. Romans used this military / social strategy to involve Barbarian population in granting the security of remote areas of the Empire.

It's also correct that Romans wanted the general population without weapons [because of obvious reasons of control of the territory].
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Old November 12th, 2012, 07:30 AM   #73

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it would be worth pointing out that Arthur was made the hero of celtic heroic myth dating back into the iron Age. Obviously he wasn't around then (and there's no evidence I know of concerning a population of giants in those days, whatever ancient texts tell us) and therefore we see Arthur as being made the hero of existing stories because he was a popular hero. He had after all been credited with the battle of Mons Badonicus (some believe that was a victory for Ambrosius Aurelianus (described as from superior Roman blood, who would have therefore been a very very old man if that was the case and perhaps an unlikely general), a confrontation listed by Gildas though he doesn't mention Arthur.

However, Arthur's credibility as a ruler is somewhat blunted because most of it was invented after the fact, especially by Geoffery of Monmouth, and also we see records of a Roman called Artorius who is sometimes thought to have been the protoype for Arthur.

Personally I think the mistake people make today is assuming, like early medieval writers, that 'Arthur' is one unique identifiable character. Far from being a ruler, he was a succesful war leader (Nennius may not be correct about the title of Dux Bellorum, but's a very specific honour for a man if the title wasn't real. back then, titles meant something. You didn't call a man a king unless he was, or unless it thought he ought to be real soon.

What we're seeing basically is a romantic reinvention of a historical reinvention of a celtic reinvention of a number of actual existing men. Arthur, incidentially, appears for the first time as a name in the late 5th century. Bit of a coincidence there.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 10:20 AM   #74

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The Romans in Britannia Prima hired British from beyond the Wall, according to our legends, whereas the other provinces, like all Romans, hired Germans. The whole point about the Empire was to keep the populace disarmed. And, by the way, wooden towns just produce 'black earth' which racist archeologists just shovelled out of the way.

Well we had to keep the Celtic savages from the Western valleys in order. Tacitus said they painted themselves with blue woad and had a penchant for chopping each other's heads off for sentimental decoration.

He also said the most civilised people in all Britannia lived in Kent, clearly he was a very perceptive chap old Tassy.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 10:28 AM   #75
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Well we had to keep the Celtic savages from the Western valleys in order. Tacitus said they painted themselves with blue woad and had a penchant for chopping each other's heads off for sentimental decoration.

He also said the most civilised people in all Britannia lived in Kent, clearly he was a very perceptive chap old Tassy.
That was before the barbarians came over from Deutchland in their rowing boats.. They couldn't afford paint and had two heads anyway, both too ugly for decoration..
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