I might be a descendent of King Arthur?

kazeuma

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
2,423
There is quite a lot of evidence that Gildas as born on the banks of the River Clyde. His father Caw or in full =

Galam Caw Erilich ap Geraint, I, King Of The Picts (Strathclyde / Ystrad / Alt Clut), Lord of Cwm Cawlywd.

I did not deny that he did not have a Roman education - the kingdom of Straithclyde was on the nothern frontier near Hadrian's wall.
Various authorities have suggested a king-list as follows:

Ceretic Guletic (410–450)
Dumnagual Hen/ Dyfnwal Hen (450–475)
Erbin (475–480)
Cinuit (480–485)
Gereint (485–490)
Tutagual (490–495)
Caw (495–501) deposed
Domgal (501–508)
etc.

Caw's father Gerient was half Roman / half pictish according to the accouts. So it is very likely that Caw himself would have married local. Poltical conserns would have either a southerner, a Pict, or Irish raider.

I already said that the 22 children are unlikely to the extreme and that some of them were "invented" later. e.

"After Caw was deposed (let us say for convenience for denying Arthur's rule and victory at the SECOND battle of Badon) and replaced with one of Arthur's sycophants - Gildas was placed into a monastery, Cywyllog in a nunnery, and Huiel turned to banditry. Huiel was defeated by Arthur, but since it was Easter at the time, pardon was given - "do not speak of this again."
There is no half-decent evidence for any of this."


Caw deposed - replaced by a socophant - see king's list the words "deposed".

In the Saint's life - after his deposing, Gildas was sent to Glastonbury as a monk. Cywyllog to a different nunnery.


Gildas' Saint lives says that Hueil ap Caw, brother of Gildas, was a bandit. He was defeated by Arthur, Hueil wounds Arthur, but pardon is given, Hueil insults him at a dance with a certain woman, Hueil returns to banditry, and Arthur chops his head off.


There is evidence of Cywyllog's marriage - her own Saint's life. oh, wait, you discount saint's lives. Remember she became a saint herself, after the death of her husband, and there is even a church built by her that exists today. Before you say that the church has been reconstructed numerous times, I will give you that - but the alter itself has not moved and dates to her period (and may even contain her corpse - unfortunately, the last time I pressed the city fathers for opening it, I was refused).

The boar hunting was not just a motif - during that period, it was common for a royals to go hunting especially if a royal cousin is getting married. Boar would have been a prime target. Boar are dangerous in the least - people die in boar hunts, there other examples of people dying in hunting accidents (and I do not mean - a king getting killed by a stupid archer, I mean, someone slips off their horse and falls onto the boar's tusk style accidents)
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Glastonbury at the time was Gildas' monastery. In Saint's life - Gildas did have to deal with Arthur's second wife and her kidnapper. Oh, wait, Saint's life again.

"Sometime between the death of Huiel and the sermon, Gildas burns every copy and record he could find of King Arthur's life - even his own records." - - also from his saint's life. Oh, wait, you discount any saint's life.

Yes, I do agree that the finding of Arthur's body was a money-maker, but it was also a way to kill off any potential "I am Arthur returned" nutbars.
 

Peter Graham

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
2,694
Westmorland
There is quite a lot of evidence that Gildas as born on the banks of the River Clyde.
Could you provide some citations or authorities? So far as I am aware, no academics argue this, but I can accept I might be wrong.

I did not deny that he did not have a Roman education - the kingdom of Straithclyde was on the nothern frontier near Hadrian's wall.
Not in the sixth century it wasn't. Strathclyde is a much later name and refers to a polity of the ninth century and later.

In the sixth century we have a polity called Alt Clut, which simply means 'rock of Clyde'. The rock in question is Dumbarton Rock, but it isn't 'near' Hadrian's Wall. It's one hundred miles to the north. We don't know the territorial extent of the sixth century Clyde kings, but they certainly weren't living just over the Wall.

Various authorities have suggested a king-list as follows:
Which authorities?

Gildas' Saint lives says that Hueil ap Caw, brother of Gildas, was a bandit. He was defeated by Arthur, Hueil wounds Arthur, but pardon is given, Hueil insults him at a dance with a certain woman, Hueil returns to banditry, and Arthur chops his head off.
Cuthbert's Life - which at least has the advantage of having been written very soon after hs death - says that he was kept alive by seals as he spent weeks up to his chest in freezing water on the Farne Islands. Are we supposed to believe that, too?

There is evidence of Cywyllog's marriage - her own Saint's life. oh, wait, you discount saint's lives.
It's not just me who discounts them. Joking aside, they are useful documents, but they are all too frequently misused, including for writing narrative history.

Remember she became a saint herself, after the death of her husband, and there is even a church built by her that exists today.
But none of that makes her hagiography any more likely to be true.
The boar hunting was not just a motif - during that period, it was common for a royals to go hunting especially if a royal cousin is getting married.
For mythical boar hunts associated with Arthur, read the Wonders section of the Historia. Then the Mabinogion.

Glastonbury at the time was Gildas' monastery.
What is the evidence that a) there was a monastic site at Glastonbury in the sixth century and b) that Gildas was connected to it?

In Saint's life - Gildas did have to deal with Arthur's second wife and her kidnapper. Oh, wait, Saint's life again.
To respond in the same spirit as this was written - yep, you're starting to get it!

But let's look at this a different way. If you say Gildas' Life is a sober and historically accurate account, can you answer the following:-

1. When was it written (easy question first)?

2. Where did the writer get their information from?

3. What is the demonstrable line of transmission that takes that information back to the sixth century?
 
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Nov 2008
1,437
England
What is the evidence that a) there was a monastic site at Glastonbury in the sixth century and b) that Gildas was connected to it?
None. There is some archaeological evidence for early British occupation for the site, and some slight, although dubious, evidence for a British church in the early seventh century. However, the religious prominence of Glastonbury including an abbey developed in Saxon times. By the late middle ages Glastonbury had attracted mythological and legendary accretions, with the supposed grave of King Arthur and the legendary visit by Joseph of Arimatheia. We are reminded of it often with the singing of Blake`s Jerusalem, "And did those feet in ancient times....."actually refers to that legendary visit.
 
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Jan 2015
966
England
There’s a reference in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the year 675 to a battle at a place called 'Beadan-head'. I think that's the best bet for the second battle of Badon
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,990
Dispargum
There’s a reference in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the year 675 to a battle at a place called 'Beadan-head'. I think that's the best bet for the second battle of Badon
Do we know if Beadan-head is at Mt. Badon or is Beadan-head some other place with a coincidental name?
 
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kazeuma

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
2,423
His own saint's life says he was born near the River Clyde, which is within the domains of the Lord of Cwm Cawlywdd. Cwm Cawlydd was a polity of "Alt Clut" -> which later became known as "Strathclyde".



Dumbarton Rock, which you cited - is only one-to-three day's ride by horse. (Horses if you do not want to tax them can average 20-30 miles a day, but a race horse in 1892 covered 117-miles in 72 hours). So it is "just over the wall", if you are rich enough to own a horse. Caw was rich enough to own multiple horses.

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King's list include genealogical, History of the Kings of Britain, Annales Cambriae, The Four Ancient Books of Wales, Saint's lives, and coinage of the Lairds of Straithclyde region.

No extent coins of Caw exist, but some do of Ceretic, Caw's great-grandfather. Ceretic (or "Ceredig Wledig ap Cynloyp", Brenin Alt Clut), is cited within the writings of Saint Patrick's surviving letters where he lambastes the war-band of Ceretic for his involvement with the Picts and selling Christians into slavery. In "The Book of Armagh", Ceretic is listed as "King of Clyde".


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Cywyllog hagiography is also backed by an official land grant (which in turn was used in creation of the monastery) - it is illegal to forge a land record.

However, I would not put it past the monastery to have hijacked the local Cywyllog legends to give themselves legitimacy to the lands they hold and their slaves toiling their lands.

However, I do dispute some parts of her hagiography as well as others - such as preforming a miracles.

I take any miracles with a grain of salt.

{Hell - Gildas himself was accused of preforming a miracle where he predicts the newest wife of the local Blue-beard is going to die, when she runs and loses her head at her husband's hands, Gildas puts her head back on her shoulders, he raises her from the dead to lay a curse on her husband invoking the Holy Trinity. Then some time later, some bricks fall from the wall, striking the local Blue-beard dead. Probably what really happened was - there was a local Blue-beard, a serial killer that married a new wife and "accidents do happen"... and accidents did happen. Gildas learns of it, tells the Blue-beard off, excommunicates him, then sometime later some bricks fall and kill the local Blue-beard. People then of course ran with the coincidence thinking that Gildas's holy power struck him dead . The dead raising was added some time latter.}

There was a church built on the land grant to Cywyllog before the time of the Norwich Taxation of 1250 - according to tax records - it is illegal to forge a tax record. But, I would not put it past them to hijack her legend or relics - monasteries are notorious for that sort of thing.

========================================================================================

Glastonbury Abbey was founded by Britons and dates at least to the early-6th to 7th century. Dark Age occupation of the site is evidenced by pieces of ceramic wine jars that were imported from the Mediterranean. King Ine of Wessex endowed the community of monks and built a stone church built in 712.

=======================

Yes, I have read about mythical boar hunts. It was interesting, but some of conclusions were more navel-gazing - I am not into navel gazing. As for the other book - "Gildas: New Approaches" - though well researched did not account Cywyllog's "Life".

Surely, IF you were to write a biography of my life, surly you would go into my sister's bedroom and take a butter-knife to her teenager diary and read it? Though my sister's conclusions would be partially right, dated, and / or partially wrong - it would enlighten you on my full biography.

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The first "Life of Saint Gildas" was written in 9th Century. According to it, Gildas was the son of the King of Alt Clut (which you cited), he was sent to the college of Theodosius under the care of Saint Illutud (The earliest mention of St. Illtud is in the Vita Sancti Sampsonis, written in Dol, Brittany, about 600 AD).

The Second "Life" of Saint Gildas was written by Caradoc of Llancarfan, a friend of Geoffrey of Monmouth. The date of the Life of Gildas is estimated at c.1130-1150. Its author shows familiarity with the abbey at Glastonbury, which has been taken as suggesting that he may have relocated from Llancarfan to Glastonbury.

However, Sir John E. Lloydd in 1938 Caradoc's Life of Saint Cadog" as "groundless and uses worthless authorizes". John's assumptions on this is quite true - since the translator was Iolo Morganwg, which is known for numerous literary forgeries.
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The former account (9th cent), latter (1130-1150) gleamed their lives from previous sources which may no longer exist, much like the history written by Geoffrey Monmouth.

No, the Lives (both of them) is not totally historically accurate, but it is the only sources we have - some of them have some grains of truth. Such as Gildas built a hermitage near the river at Glastonbury.

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Oral tradition (the Mabinogion and assorted saints' legends) mention a Gildas who was a junior son of Caw, and who had it in for Arthur because Arthur executed his oldest brother Heuil (apparently on justifiable grounds, such as robbery, plunder, murder, etc). The Llancarfan Life contains the earliest surviving appearance of the abduction of Guinevere episode, common in later Arthurian literature - where Gildas is tasked as peacemaker. Huail's enmity with Arthur was also apparently a popular subject in medieval Britain: he is mentioned as an enemy of Arthur's in the Welsh prose tale "Culhwch and Olwen", written around 1100.
 
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Nov 2008
1,437
England
Do we know if Beadan-head is at Mt. Badon or is Beadan-head some other place with a coincidental name?
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records for the year 675, "Here Wulfhere, Penda`s offspring, and Æscwine fought at Bieda`s Head.....". As we can deduce it was a battle fought between Wulfhere of the Mercians and Æscwine, king of the West Saxons. The name in Old English is spelt Biedan heafde, and seems to be based on a personal name . The actual battle was inconclusive although but Henry of Huntingdon wrote that the Mercians fared better than the Saxons. The battle`s location is unknown but Marlborough in Wiltshire has been suggested.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,599
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Do we know if Beadan-head is at Mt. Badon or is Beadan-head some other place with a coincidental name?
I have found references to a more modern name of the place and it would be "Bedwin". The real problem here is that it's not that clear where Badon was ... today a good candidate is Bath [but only on an etymological base].
 

Peter Graham

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
2,694
Westmorland
His own saint's life says he was born near the River Clyde, which is within the domains of the Lord of Cwm Cawlywdd. Cwm Cawlydd was a polity of "Alt Clut" -> which later became known as "Strathclyde".


I have never heard of Cwm Cawlywdd in the context of sixth-century historiography or political geography. I can guess at what the name means, but where do you say it was and what is the earliest reference to it?

Dumbarton Rock, which you cited - is only one-to-three day's ride by horse. (Horses if you do not want to tax them can average 20-30 miles a day
I don't know how familiar you are with the toponymy of the Southern Uplands, but the idea that you could get to the Wall from Dumbarton Rock in one day stretches credulity well beyond breaking point. Even three days might be pushing it, given the state of the roads (insofar as there were any). But in any event, a three day journey can hardly be described as 'just over the Wall'. Bewcastle is 'just over the Wall'. Dumbarton isn't.

but a race horse in 1892 covered 117-miles in 72 hours)
They didn't have pedigree race horses in tehearly medieva period and I'm guessing that your horse didn't have to achieve its feat over rain-soaked upland or on decaying roads.

King's list include genealogical, History of the Kings of Britain, Annales Cambriae, The Four Ancient Books of Wales, Saint's lives, and coinage of the Lairds of Straithclyde region.
The earliest full surviving set of British genealogies are in Harley 3859. They date to between 1100 and 1200. They undoubtedly contain earlier material, but it isn't good enough just to take thes things at face value.

No extent coins of Caw exist, but some do of Ceretic, Caw's great-grandfather. Ceretic (or "Ceredig Wledig ap Cynloyp", Brenin Alt Clut), is cited within the writings of Saint Patrick's surviving letters where he lambastes the war-band of Ceretic for his involvement with the Picts and selling Christians into slavery. In "The Book of Armagh", Ceretic is listed as "King of Clyde".
Hang on. Are you saying that Corocticus (who may or may not have been the Ceretic of the Alt Clut king lists) minted coins? Can I have an authority for that, because if there is proof that coins were being struck in the fifth-century in what is now Scotland, I've missed it.

it is illegal to forge a tax record.
The manipulation of documents to claim land was a cottage inductry ine arly medieval Britain. Illegal or not, it was endemic.

Glastonbury Abbey was founded by Britons and dates at least to the early-6th to 7th century.
You asserted that Glastonbury was Gildas' abbey. Yet Aelfwine tells us that here is no evidence of such an early monastic foundation there. Again, what are your sources?


Dark Age occupation of the site is evidenced by pieces of ceramic wine jars that were imported from the Mediterranean. King Ine of Wessex endowed the community of monks and built a stone church built in 712.


Occupation doesn't mean a monastic community.

712 is nearly two centuries too late for Gildas. Are you saying the monks were already there?

The first "Life of Saint Gildas" was written in 9th Century.
So 300 years after Gildas lived?

The former account (9th cent), latter (1130-1150) gleamed their lives from previous sources which may no longer exist,


Lost sources are frequently cited, but without any evidence that there ever was one, it's just a guess. What is the reason to assume a lost source? Lost sources can often be recovered or reconstruced from close textual reading, as has been the case with (for example) Y Gododdin. But it only works when there are linguistic clues in our surviving text which point at the existence of an earlier text. Are there any such clues in the Life of Gildas or are you just making assumptions?
 

kazeuma

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
2,423
A pony express rider did it as well 100 miles in a day - overland and in some of the worst country-side possible in the rain. I already said that "Caw was rich enough to own more than one horse" - so if you place a horse at the half-way point, you could average 50 miles on horse #1 and then next 50 miles horse #2, and arrive in a single day.

(in IRL - a car drove started in Peking on the 10 June 1907 and arrived in Paris on the 10th August 1907. There were no roads for a good part of the 9,317 mile journey. I do agree that a horse can not go far as a car. But using a horse-change method, I would estimate less than six months travel from Peking to Paris for a Mongolian horseman during the lifetime of Kublai Khan)

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As for the coinage that exist in the vaults of the British museum - the existent coins - they were not exactly "struck" or "minted" as we would call it. Coroctius took a Roman coin and struck his own name on top of it. It it not called rocket science, all you need is a few chisels, a very large hammer, and brute force to do so - strike a coin in your image. It is known as a "re-strike", because, the obverse still had the Roman original and at least one of the coins was struck wrong, so the re-strike is off-set.

Many of the coins of the post Roman period of the local kings are re-strikes, it was far cheaper than striking and minting new. Only powerful kings or emperors would go for the cost of minting new.

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Quote : You asserted that Glastonbury was Gildas' abbey. Yet Aelfwine tells us that here is no evidence of such an early monastic foundation there. Again, what are your sources? Unqote.

Answer given later in former post:

"the Lives (both of them - which counts as a source) is not totally historically accurate, but it is the only sources we have - some of them have some grains of truth. Such as Gildas built a hermitage near the river at Glastonbury."


A hermitage can be considered an abbey - in the terms of the spiritual retreats of the Desert Fathers of 300 AD. It was the shared hermitage that evolved into the first monastic communities -> which become abbeys.


Quote:

The first "Life of Saint Gildas" was written in 9th Century.

So 300 years after Gildas lived?

Unquote.

It is easy to forget that "The Illiad" dates to 7th to 8th Century BC - yet it refers to events and locations 11th to 12th Century BC. That is like 300 years after the collapse of Troy VII, found by a treasure hunter in the 19th Century using "The Illiad" as a treasure map. No, there was no Trojan horse. No there was no Judgement of Paris and all the other mythical things. However, the city was sacked by "someone" - there is 50% to 80% chance that the city was sacked by the Mycenaean Greeks and 99% chance that the Greeks wrote down the oral traditions of its sacking in "The Illiad".

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Yes, there are some clues that exist in the Gildas' Lives and the other sources. One must cross check against the other Saint's lives and the other extent sources.

I will use example - - Saint so-and-so in his saint's life had a silver chalice stolen from him by a bandit, the saint stopped the bandit with a miracle from god (not that I believe in such nonsense), and converted him to Christianity effecting its return. Meanwhile a different Saint's life makes an off-hand remark that Saint so-and-so lost a silver chalice but nothing about the theft and recovery. So, we can can conclude from both saint's lives that Saint so-and-so at one time owned a chalice, the chalice might have been made of silver, and saint so-and-so might have lost ownership of it.

But it is easier to discount saint's lives a nothing more than a bunch of religious bunk.
 
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