The Historical Origin of Lancelot

Sep 2015
337
ireland
Not too sure about these Barbarian people in Cornwall. Every time a Roman villa is uncovered I sort of feel like the poor Roman family must have been living under siege - which is clearly nonsense. Also the ports of Cornwall were clearly used for import-export from even pre-Roman times.
It seems to me that Cornwall would have been the most civilised part of Britain in the pre-Roman era driven primarily by the tin mining industry. The elite in the region must have been wealthy and you`d expect there would have been close links with Roman Gaul. But even evidence of a few Roman villas(I`m not sure of the number, maybe it`s significantly more), might only mean that the locals were `keeping up with the Jones`, although you`d expect over time that there must have been some Roman integration due to trade etc.
 
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johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,672
Cornwall
It seems to me that Cornwall would have been the most civilised part of Britain in the pre-Roman era driven primarily by the tin mining industry. The elite in the region must have been wealthy and you`d expect there would have been close links with Roman Gaul. But even evidence of a few Roman villas(I`m not sure of the number, maybe it`s significantly more), might only mean that the locals were `keeping up with the Jones`, although you`d expect over time that there must have been some Roman integration due to trade etc.
I agree absolutely. First place you come to from Spain/West Gaul when sailing up.

Once upon a time (when I was a kid) they would say 'the Romans didn't come past Exeter'. Which is clearly rubbish for all the reasons discussed. Villas have been discovered in very recent years, one very close to me as it happens - a few hundred yards from my mum's house.

It's absolutely frightening what we don't actually know about Roman and post-Roman Britain - people tend to fill in the (large) gaps! Shame nobody wrote in those days give or take the odd monk!!
 
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AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,011
Italy, Lago Maggiore
According to Google Maps there are many lakes and ponds in Anglesey. I don't know which, if any, were natural and around During the Dark Ages.

But some persons sometimes call arms of the sea "lakes". At it's narrowest the straight between Angelsey and Holy Island is only a few hundred feet wide. It has wider, lake-like, sections and is fed by streams from Angelsey and Holy Island. Thus I am willing to suppose that some lake-like extensions of the sea in Angelsey might have been called lakes.

And of course there were centuries of years, hundreds of miles, and translations between languages separating any connection Maelgwn may have had with bodies of water in or near Angelsey and the first European stories of Lancelot of the Lake.
I've made a bit of geographical research and the isle of Angelsey presents some natural lakes [quite little]. There is anyway one which deserves some attention: Llyn Llywenan. It's natural, 1.1km X 0.4km, [sure not impressive for me ... I live on one of the greatest Alpine lakes ... Lago Maggiore] and not far from Llangwyllog. It presents a little isle and some archaeological neolithic sites.
 
Sep 2015
337
ireland
It's absolutely frightening what we don't actually know about Roman and post-Roman Britain - people tend to fill in the (large) gaps! Shame nobody wrote in those days give or take the odd monk!!
I suspect that when the Romans first arrived, they cut a deal in the southwest and let the locals get on with what they knew best, which was tin mining, and just traded with them. Geoffrey of Monmouth quoted a Juvenal account about a British king Arviragus and he seems a likely candidate for an early Dumnonian king. I`m not sure if the Juvenal quote is extant outside of Geoffreys writing so he might have made it up.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,011
Italy, Lago Maggiore
It seems to me that Cornwall would have been the most civilised part of Britain in the pre-Roman era driven primarily by the tin mining industry. The elite in the region must have been wealthy and you`d expect there would have been close links with Roman Gaul. But even evidence of a few Roman villas(I`m not sure of the number, maybe it`s significantly more), might only mean that the locals were `keeping up with the Jones`, although you`d expect over time that there must have been some Roman integration due to trade etc.
Also the Romans exploited that resource [tin] and there is an important archaeological site which can give us some clues about how the region was strategic: the Nastallon Roman Fort. Even if the main Roman streets didn't go beyond "Isca Dumnoniorum", Exeter, the rest of the area was well active [we have anyway to add that tin mines in Spain, during the Roman age, competed a lot with the ones in Cornwall].

Not many years ago, they found the rests of a Roman Fort West of Exeter: at St Austell. Roman fort found in Cornwall 'rewrites history' - BBC News
 
Oct 2017
186
United States
Wait, not to be prickly, but has the issue of King Arthur's own existence and/or place been truly settled?

I'm not sure how to fit Lancelot into the picture when many people seem to regard the King himself as absent...
 
Nov 2008
1,401
England
Once upon a time (when I was a kid) they would say 'the Romans didn't come past Exeter'. Which is clearly rubbish for all the reasons discussed. Villas have been discovered in very recent years, one very close to me as it happens - a few hundred yards from my mum's house.

It's absolutely frightening what we don't actually know about Roman and post-Roman Britain - people tend to fill in the (large) gaps! Shame nobody wrote in those days give or take the odd monk!!
This is at odds with the information from the Cornwall Heritage Trust which says there were few Roman sites in that region, and none of any significance apart from a few Roman military forts.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,011
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Wait, not to be prickly, but has the issue of King Arthur's own existence and/or place been truly settled?

I'm not sure how to fit Lancelot into the picture when many people seem to regard the King himself as absent...
I was thinking to the literary origin of "Lancelot" like I tend to think to a literary origin of the figure of King Arthur.

From a strictly historical perspective the existence of a real King Arthur is as probable as the existence of a real Moses.

That is to say that, a part a tradition, there are no direct and clear evidences supporting his existence.
 
Sep 2015
337
ireland
It's absolutely frightening what we don't actually know about Roman and post-Roman Britain - people tend to fill in the (large) gaps! Shame nobody wrote in those days give or take the odd monk!!

Speaking of the odd monk, there is an account of post-Roman Britain that is often overlooked and it is Patricks `Confessio`. Having escaped slavery in the west of Ireland, Patrick made his way to the east coast and blagged his way onto a ship to Britain. Having arrived in Britain, he and his companions wandered for 28 days without meeting anybody. Patrick converted the half starved group and God intervened by sending a herd of pigs their way.

28 days is a long time to be rambling around without meeting someone. It could be argued that they were in the forests of Caledonia, but then Patrick was himself a Roman and if he wanted to get back to his family, presumably he would have sought out a ship that was bound for the general area of his home. It`s possible that there was a large part of south central Britain which was essentially a no-mans land in the fifth century and I don`t think there`s anything in the testimony of Gildas which contradicts this.
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,672
Cornwall
This is at odds with the information from the Cornwall Heritage Trust which says there were few Roman sites in that region, and none of any significance apart from a few Roman military forts.
I rest my case.

I'm not saying it's a very populous area or desirable to settle in. But the idea of just a few forts, that Cornwall was excluded from normal Anglo-Roman society, yet there's a nice big villa down overlooking the sea in a field at Par seemingly without need a of a fort........................................

May have been the case in the first century but when you talk about 400 years - it's fairly bonkers.

Edit - I've just looked at that site. 'Must have been, may have been' etc etc. No information.
 
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