- Nov 2010
Most people know of the Christian, Norman myths of Robin Hood and the Anglo-Saxon King Arthur. But what of the pre-Roman myths? I find it hard to believe there were none. So, have any survived?
No, they didn't. The Iron Age tales survived the Roman occupation by oral tradition and in the early medieval period some of these were retold with Arthur as the warrior-hero.. The strries are not too different to viking sagas, except a bit more esoteric, less dramatic, and more concerned with man's relationship to the mysterious world and any mystical regions connected to it, providing a rationale for describing how a man can develop and become great.The legend of King Arthur was actually a Celtic myth. The core myths of the Celtic peoples centre on the great cycle of stories based on the life and exploits of King Arthur.
A medieval romantic tradition based on the glories of the Roman Empire and transposed to chivalric culture.These legends link Arthur to a common poetic idea of Britain as a kind of paradise of the West, with a primeval unspoiled past.
Historical sources suggest most of Arthurs battles were against Picts and Scots. His most famous victory, Mons Badonicus, was against the Saxons - and although Arthur is hard to pin down as a real person, there is a correlation in history although as we might expect it could well be "Arthur" given credit for an anonymous victory (Ambrosius Aurelianus is often given credit for that battle, but he would have a very old man if he was still alive back then. Arthur is said to have executed more than nine hundred saxon prisoners personally - which even allowing for the usual poor bookkeeping, gives us a hint of what kind of man he might have been)The historic figure of Arthur as a victorious fifth-century warrior, leading Britons into battle against Saxon invaders, has so far proved impossible for historians to confirm.
No, he doesn't. he talks about the campaigns of Ambrosius and then the victory at Mons Badonicus, but doesn't actually link the too and does not give credit to any victorious general for the decades of peace that he enjoyed as a result.In fact the one contemporary source that we do have for the time, 'The Ruin and Conquest of Britain' by the British monk and historian Gildas (c.500-70) gives somebody else's name altogether as the leader of the Britons.
The other was excavated in 1926 from the centre of the circle and was possibly contemporary with the site, but has now been lost.
Thus, seemingly practically, Neolithic western European peoples "worked around" the biggest boulders, building those sizey slabs into tomb chambers, essentially on site; and then filling in gaps in between the big blocks with smaller stones, gathered from farther a-farm-field; and seemingly usually constructing a "curb" retaining wall around the edges, of the entire outer mound. Thus, the overall structure had straight sides, with the hump of a hill over the top, so looking at least a little, like the vertical faces, of a Neolithic (long- or round-)house, with its thatched roof.Some of these tombs were constructed over large filled-in pits, which may have been dug to extract the capstone. Thus the stone that once lay below the ground was now hovering in the air.
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