Arthur's age at death

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,613
Italy, Lago Maggiore
That passage ... I guess that it's about the structure of the Latin paragraph ...

... duce ambrosio aureliano uiro modesto, qui solus forte romanae gentis tantae tempestatis collisione occisis in eadem parentibus purpura nimirum indutis superfuerat, cuius nunc temporibus nostris suboles magnopere auita bonitate degenerauit, uires capessunt, victores provocantes ad proelium: quis victoria domino annuente cessit.
That "provoking the victors to the battle" [in red] is related to "duce ambrosio aureliano" and the victory [quis victoria domino annuente cessit] is not of the "suboles" [offspring].
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,357
Quote:
Originally Posted by concan
Camlan is widely considered to be in Britain, yet Robert De Boron tells us that Arthur died in Ireland.

Robert de Boron flourished about 1200. So did he say Arthur fought Camlan in Ireland or did he say Arthur was wounded at Camlan in Britain and was taken to the Island of Avalon in the west and died - Robert de Boron considering Avalon to be a small island on the Irish coast?
Funny.... I always thought that Robert De Boron was a writer of medieval romances, not a historian.
 
Sep 2015
351
ireland
Gasp! Shudder! you have actually uncovered a battle that is described as a victory for one side in one source and a defeat for that same side in another source.
I`ve uncovered nothing new,just things that may be ignored because they don`t suit a particular storyline. Sometimes an aside or gloss contains more truth than a long narrative which is more likely to have an agenda.


Or will only random stones survive the ravages of time?
The randomness will be affected by the popularity or notoriety of the figure memorialized.


From Jesus College MS 20
Still no Arthur.


And note these pedigrees for Arthur
I`m pretty sure they postdate Geoffrey and Culwych and Olwen.

And after centuries in which family after family become extinct in the male line, and British kingdom after British kingdom is conquered by the Saxons, why expect that Arthur`s name would be found in the pedigrees?
I accept that this is a valid point. However an individual who is less boxoffice than Arthur, whose male lineage died with him in the genealogies in the sixth century and whose kingdom is now nothing more than a ball of smoke appears in the Harleian and Bonedd Gwyr Y Gogledd lists and that was Urien. So surely then, why not Arthur?


Since you cited the Life of Gruffyd ap Cynan, and brought it into the discussion, How does it describe Arthur?
Also Arthur, King of the kings of the island of Britain, and a renowned hero,
This again is quite different from his portrayal in HB where he isn`t a king at all but a dux bellorum.
 

Peter Graham

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
2,694
Westmorland
That "provoking the victors to the battle" [in red] is related to "duce ambrosio aureliano" and the victory [quis victoria domino annuente cessit] is not of the "suboles" [offspring].
Yes - that is how Winterbottom translates it and my rusty Latin would agree. The bit about the descendants is essentially a sub-clause.

Just out of interest, how confident do you feel with Latin given that you are a native Italian speaker? I'd assume that Latin is a bit more like modern Italian than Old English is like modern English, but is it close enough for you to have a stab without any formal education in Latin?
 

Peter Graham

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
2,694
Westmorland
However an individual who is less boxoffice than Arthur, whose male lineage died with him in the genealogies in the sixth century and whose kingdom is now nothing more than a ball of smoke appears in the Harleian and Bonedd Gwyr Y Gogledd lists and that was Urien. So surely then, why not Arthur?
IMO, this is an extremely sound point. We can even take it a little further. To ninth-century and later audiences Urien was the principal hero of the Hen Ogledd, which was essentially a literary re-invention of the sixth-century north (essentially northwest England and southwest Scotland). People seem to have been far more interested in him than in Arthur, although things slowly changed until Urien was eventually recast as one of Arthur's knights. Yet we have a surprising amount of surviving material about Urien - enough to be able to reconstruct his 'story arc' as he moves from a figure of flesh and blood to a figure of legend.

Yet we cannot do this with Arthur and this presents a problem. To his supporters, Arthur is the man who turned back the Saxons and, for a while at least, preserved his dying country (to parrot John Morris). He is presented to us as the hero par excellence. Yet if the victor of Badon was seen in these terms in early medieval Wales, why is he not the honorand of any of the earliest poems? Why is he not mentioned in any of the genealogies (and given that Athrwys is not Arthur, we can't get him in that way). Why, unlike Urien, Gwallawg, Maelgwn and even Vortigern, do so many of our earliest references to Arthur envisage him as living in the supernatural rather than the natural world?
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,613
Italy, Lago Maggiore
It's better with a bit of education ...

Yes - that is how Winterbottom translates it and my rusty Latin would agree. The bit about the descendants is essentially a sub-clause.

Just out of interest, how confident do you feel with Latin given that you are a native Italian speaker? I'd assume that Latin is a bit more like modern Italian than Old English is like modern English, but is it close enough for you to have a stab without any formal education in Latin?
I note that usually foreigners presume that Italians find it easy to understand Latin. It's partially true, but ...

It’s partially true because many Italian words are still as they were in Latin [in one of the possible declinations], so that Italians can often understand Latin words.

On the other hand, just the paragraph we are analyzing here presents all the difficulties that an Italian has to face when he reads a Latin text. The structure of the Latin sentence was well different from the structure of the Italian sentence. Italian language has absorbed a lot of external influences and it has evolved during the centuries.

An other evident difference is that Latin speakers hated [literally!] articles. In Latin articles weren't. While Italian speakers love articles …

Furthermore, the Latin declinations were different and not so familiar for Italians [also the Italian language declines substantially all, but some of our declinations don’t sound so Latin].

These aspects of the Latin language generate confusion in an Italian and actually we need a basic education to feel confident with Latin texts.
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
3,030
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
There is evidence that it was Justinian`s Plague which caused great mortality amongst the Britons in western Britain, giving the Saxons a numerical advantage and helping them in their western advance. Certainly a large number of British sites ceased to exist from 550 onwards.
Actually there is a new theory arguing that the Plague in the time of Justinian was probably much less devastating that is commonly believed.

The Justinianic Plague's Devastating Impact Was Likely Exaggerated

https://www.academia.edu/39898914/Rejecting_Catastrophe_The_Case_of_the_Justinianic_Plague

The Justinianic Plague: An inconsequential pandemic?

Of course Britain was plagued by various plagues during the 5th and 6th centuries and they might have contributed to a greater or lesser degree to the Saxon conquest.

My answer to this question: Who was the longest lived European monarch of the middle ages? is very long, but discusses the ages of various British and Welsh monarchs.
 
Last edited:
Nov 2008
1,437
England
Actually there is a new theory arguing that the Plague in the time of Justinian was probably much less devastating that is commonly believed.
Yes, I have read about this new theory. Nevertheless, this is at odds with the written evidence we have dating from the sixth century. That cannot be dismissed lightly, given that it was written for a contemporary audience for whom the information would have been self evident. Concerning some historians, particularly revisionists, I believe it was Tolkien who observed that some scholars seem to have an anxiety to be different. With this new theory I believe caution is the order of the day.
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
8,008
Cornwall
Yes, I have read about this new theory. Nevertheless, this is at odds with the written evidence we have dating from the sixth century. That cannot be dismissed lightly, given that it was written for a contemporary audience for whom the information would have been self evident. Concerning some historians, particularly revisionists, I believe it was Tolkien who observed that some scholars seem to have an anxiety to be different. With this new theory I believe caution is the order of the day.
Plague (whatever name you give it) was also one of the many factors involved in the terminal inviability of Visigothic Spain during the late 7th century/very early 8th
 
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Peter Graham

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
2,694
Westmorland
Yes, I have read about this new theory. Nevertheless, this is at odds with the written evidence we have dating from the sixth century. With this new theory I believe caution is the order of the day.
I rather agree with you. Read closely, this new theory (which is cropping up all over ther place at the moment) basically suggests that as populations bounce back quickly, the plague had no long term impact. Even if that was right, it ignores the potential importance of short-term impact. A sudden population collapse may stabilise relatively quickly (or may not), but that doesn't change the fact that for those on the ground, all sorts of possibilities may have opened up. IMHO, the observable stratification of Anglo-Saxon society and the emergence of the first known kings and royal burials from the middle of the sixth century may have had something to do with a changed political landscape.