Most likely King Arthur candidates

Who was King Arthur?

  • A Roman officer

    Votes: 2 16.7%
  • Riothamus

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Athrwys ap Meurig (of Glamorgan)

    Votes: 1 8.3%
  • Arthwys ap Mar (of Elmet)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • An otherwise unidentified Romano-British king or war leader

    Votes: 3 25.0%
  • Lucius Artorius Castus

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Owain Danwyn

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Cuneglasus

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Ambrosius Aurelianus

    Votes: 5 41.7%
  • Arthur ap Pedr (of Dyfed)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Artuir mac Aedan (of Scotland)

    Votes: 1 8.3%

  • Total voters
    12
Sep 2014
837
Texas
#11
Could you expand on why you think that?
Cormac was a real man who lived sometime before Constantine the Great. It is even possible that Cormac fought Constantine's father Constantinius. No hard core evidence but since Constantinius' capital was in France and Cormac's warrors fought the Romans whose leader came from France and no other Roman ruler worked out of France that I know of it just seemed logical.
Cormac Mac Art

According to myth the leader of his warriors was Finn mac Cool....kind of a Lancelot character of divine birth to a fae woman and a mortal man. In this story the woman leaves Finn and runs off with a beautiful warrior named Dermond.

Cormac lost an eye in battle and lost his kingship. He went to spend his last days in a monastary. According to him he actually met one of the most powerful of the fae kings Oengus mac Og who warned him not to go to war with the man he fought and lost to. Oh yeah, king is the land and the land is the king...any blemish keeps a man from being king...also infertility will cost you.

For a real man there is much mythology about him and he predates the arrival of the Anglo Saxons by a couple of hundred years.

As I said he is my candidate

High Kings
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,710
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#12
There are other possible candidates for the real King Arthur. Caratacus, for one: Book ID - Caractacus as "King Arthur"

@Peter Graham,

That is a logical approach, but, as with so many other early medieval chroniclers and poets, Gildas likely contrived an impression of Ambrosius (if he ever even mentioned him) as a hero who had divine favor. One must assume that Gildas would have considered Ambrosius a Christian and that he was an example to Christians In struggles against barbarians.

I agree that Arthur is only legend, but the legend is fascinating nonetheless.
Of course Gildas mentioned Ambrosius. And since Ambrosius was a Romano-Briton living sometime during the 5th century Gildas would naturally believe that Ambrosius was a Christian. What possible reason would Gildas have to think that Ambrosius might possible be pagan?

Did Margaret Beaufort claim she was related to King Arthur?:think:
Her son Henry Tudor became King Henry VII and produced a pedigree tracing the Tudor ancestry - not the Beaufort ancestry - back to King Arthur. It is quoted in posts 112 & 127 on pages 12 & 13 of this thread: Propaganda explanation for King Arthur

I don't know about this site, but it shows a manuscript that I've seen before. It's said to be from the the 7th century and shows a Latin version of what is taken to be Arthur.

Arthurian « The Knights Templar – Order of the Temple of Solomon
That is a page from Adomnan's life of St. Columbia, mentioning a son of King Aedan mac Gabran of Dalriada named Arthuir. Arthuir mac Aedan is one of the candidtates one can vote for in the poll. This Arthur was one of a number of royal persons named Arthur flourishing about 600, who some consider were named after a pervious famous person named Arthur.
 
Last edited:
Jan 2014
2,383
Westmorland
#14
Recently I read an article by the folklorist, Norris J. Lacy about the theories concerning the origin of the legends about Arthur. Lacy wrote that "Riothamus" is not a proper name but rather a honorific name meaning "high" or "high king". I`m not a great "Arthur" enthusiast as such, but I would be interested if forum members who are knowledgeable on this topic agree with Lacy.
It might be true. But the problem for the Lacy argument is that many early medieval figures had names which directly translated as something suitably illustrious whilst still apparently being their personal names. So, we have Brigomaglos ('high great one') and Rianorix ('lightning king') attested on post-Roman stones and the likes of Maglocunus ('great hound'), Cuneglasus ('grey hound') Urien ('high born one') and Taliesin ('shining brow') attested in literary sources. How far this was deliberate and how far this is just a consequence of naming practices no-one knows. How many modern Joannas know their name means 'praises to God'?

The Lacy argument is essentially an un-evidenced hypothesis which seeks to get round the biggest issue for those who argue for a real Arthur, which is that he is not named in any early source. To accept the premise, it would need to be proven that Riothamus really did have another name. We know of some who did. Aethelfrith was called 'the Twister' by the compiler of the Historia Brittonum and one of his family is probably the 'Flamebearer' mentioned on more than one occasion in early Welsh poetry. But we do not, so far as I am aware, have any grounds to believe that Riothamus falls into the same category.
 
Nov 2008
1,278
England
#15
The Lacy argument is essentially an un-evidenced hypothesis which seeks to get round the biggest issue for those who argue for a real Arthur, which is that he is not named in any early source.
All I can tell you about this is that Lacy stated that this theory was first suggested by the historian, Sharon Turner, in 1799, and later elaborated more systematically by Geoffrey Ashe.
 
Sep 2015
319
ireland
#16
. Aethelfrith was called 'the Twister' by the compiler of the Historia Brittonum and one of his family is probably the 'Flamebearer' mentioned on more than one occasion in early Welsh poetry. But we do not, so far as I am aware, have any grounds to believe that Riothamus falls into the same category.

Is `Flamebearer` Flamdwyn? If he is , why do you say he was related to Aethelfrith?
 
Jan 2014
2,383
Westmorland
#17
All I can tell you about this is that Lacy stated that this theory was first suggested by the historian, Sharon Turner, in 1799, and later elaborated more systematically by Geoffrey Ashe.
Yes indeed. That takes us back to the earliest days of serious historical interest in the 'real' Arthur. It's a workable theory, but ultimately an un-evidenced one.
 
Jan 2014
2,383
Westmorland
#18
Is `Flamebearer` Flamdwyn? If he is , why do you say he was related to Aethelfrith?
Yes it is.

The Historia lists a number of Bernician kings who all had pretty short reigns in the later part of the sixth-century. Whether they ruled successively or contemporaneously over different sub-kingdoms is far from clear (and the synthesis presented by the Historia is a bit wobbly, as one might expect), but generations of Welsh historians have assumed that as Fflamdwyn died in battle against Urien and Owain (at least according to the poems), he was probably a Bernician king who overstretched himself. Theodoric is the usual candidate, although not the only one.

It's worth pointing out that there is nothing in the poem in question which requires Fflamdwyn to be English, but in the (later) death song of Owain and (I think) in one of the Triads, he is impliedly English.

My guess is that as people are generally happy to assume that there was an ethnic component to early medieval warfare, the Fflamdwyn=Theodoric theory has become something of an assumed fact, rather than an actual fact.
 
Sep 2015
319
ireland
#19
I know there are varying translations of early Welsh poetry and it is a difficult subject. I`m aware that some translations say that Owain killed Flamdwyn. Skene however has it the other way round in the Death Song of Owain. Also even though Owain comes out fighting at Argoed Lwyfain when Flamdwyn calls for hostages, there is no other indication that he killed Flamdwyn there. It`s amazing really how an alternative translation of a few words or a phrase can change the entire context of a poem. What`s your own interpretation of the meaning of Argoed Lwyfain Peter? The Wiki essay about Theodric translates it as the Battle of Leeming Lane, something I`ve never come across before.
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,710
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#20
It might be true. But the problem for the Lacy argument is that many early medieval figures had names which directly translated as something suitably illustrious whilst still apparently being their personal names. So, we have Brigomaglos ('high great one') and Rianorix ('lightning king') attested on post-Roman stones and the likes of Maglocunus ('great hound'), Cuneglasus ('grey hound') Urien ('high born one') and Taliesin ('shining brow') attested in literary sources. How far this was deliberate and how far this is just a consequence of naming practices no-one knows. How many modern Joannas know their name means 'praises to God'?
A similar argument often made is that since Vortigern means high lord it must have been a title and not a name.

I never heard of the nickname of "the Twister" for Aethelfrith. I have always read his nickname, when given, to be "the Destroyer". And here is a site mentioning Aethelfrith the Destroyer: Aethelfrith | king of Bernicia and Deira

The name of Maglocunus is not only known from literary sources. Frank D. Reno in The historic King Arthur or Arthurian Figures of History and Legend mentions the name of Maglocunus in an inscribed stone in a Welsh church, and there is another inscribed stone about a man described as a citizen of Gwynedd and cousin of Maglos the Magistrate, Maglos being considered a version of Maglocunus.

The Lacy argument is essentially an un-evidenced hypothesis which seeks to get round the biggest issue for those who argue for a real Arthur, which is that he is not named in any early source. To accept the premise, it would need to be proven that Riothamus really did have another name. We know of some who did. Aethelfrith was called 'the Twister' by the compiler of the Historia Brittonum and one of his family is probably the 'Flamebearer' mentioned on more than one occasion in early Welsh poetry. But we do not, so far as I am aware, have any grounds to believe that Riothamus falls into the same category.
.
Arthur not being named in any early source may or may not be a big issue for those who argue for a real Arthur.

I once read about a recently discovered "Byzantine" emperor, Andronikos V Palaiologos (c. 1400-c. 1407) in a library copy of:
  • G. Dennis, "An unknown Byzantine Emperor", JÖBG 16 (1967)

That article proving the existence of Andronikos V was published when some users of this site were already alive or even old enough to read it. And Andronikos V lived in an era with much more surviving documentation that Arthur's Britain.

And on the subject of unknown Roman Emperors, how many persons in 5th and 6th century Africa who claimed to be Roman Emperors are known at the present? And what percentage of the actual imperial claimants are the known ones? 100 percent? 75 percent? 50 Percent? 25 Percent?

Such provincial claimants weren't considered legitimate emperors until and unless confirmed by the central government. Until then they were described as tyrants. And what did Procopius say about the government of post-Roman Britain in The Gothic Wars? That Britain was ruled by tyrants from the time of Constantine III (killed 411) to his time, strongly implying that he believed that rulers in Post-Roman Britain used the imperial title.

And if there were emperors or tyrants ruling in post-Roman Britain, it is natural to suppose that the persons most likely to have used the imperial title include Vortigern, Aurelius Ambrosius, and Arthur. Gildas, writing perhaps one to three generations after the time of Aurelius Ambrosius, mentions Ambrosius Aurelianus as a great leader of the Britons sometime before, which is usually considered a confirmation of the existence of Aurelius Ambrosius. The name of Arthur was used by several royal persons in Britain around 600, indicating that it may have also been in use generations earlier, and perhaps also indicating they were all named after a common ancestor or relative, or someone famous in earlier generations. And there is the mention of the name Arthur in Y Goddodin which may also date to about 600.

Considering that Gildas mentions names very rarely, and that the only other fairly contemporary sources in Britain c. 400 to c. 600 are inscriptions and a few very, very early poems, Arthur seems to be named in at least as many early sources as could be expected.
 

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