Saturday, March 17, 2018

"THE BEAR KING" POSTED IN ITS ENTIRETY (free published book - kindly respect the copyright)





Copyright © August Hunt January 12, 2018

Cover Photo: Photographer Andy Van den Eynde.  The subject of the photo is Jef Pinceel, who is portraying a Roman vexillarius (or vexillifer) wearing a bear pelt.


August Hunt has a lifelong passion for the Arthurian stories and has been studying them since his youth. He has lectured extensively on King Arthur at colleges and for re-enactment organizations. His articles on British Dark Age topics are also featured on various award-winning websites.

Drawing on his considerable knowledge of folklore, heroic legend and myth, as well as place-name studies, history and archaeology, August is providing new and challenging material which illuminates many of the previously shadowy areas of the Arthurian tradition.

August holds a degree in Celtic and Germanic Studies, and is a member of the International Arthurian Society. When he is not engaged in research and writing, he enjoys designing and building stone circles and other monuments that reproduce the celestial alignments of their ancient European counterparts.

His other Arthurian books include:

The Mysteries of Avalon: A Primer on Arthurian Druidism
The Arthur of History: A Reinterpretion of the Evidence

His blog on Arthur can be found at:








A NOTE TO THE READER                              9
MAP                                                          11
INTRODUCTION                                         12
CHAPTER ONE                                           14
CHAPTER TWO                                           19
CHAPTER THREE                                       30
CHAPTER FOUR                                         37
CHAPTER FIVE                                           41
APPENDIX ONE                                          60
APPENDIX TWO                                          64
APPENDIX THREE                                      79
APPENDIX FOUR                                        87
APPENDIX FIVE                                          91
APPENDIX SIX                                            96
APPENDIX SEVEN                                      103
APPENDIX EIGHT                                       106
APPENDIX NINE                                         112
APPENDIX TEN                                           123
APPENDIX ELEVEN                                    133
APPENDIX TWELVE                                    140
APPENDIX THIRTEEN                                 153
AFTERWORD                                              156                                                            

And Arthur and his knighthood for a space
Were all one will, and through that strength the King
Drew in the petty princedoms under him,
Fought, and in twelve great battles overcame
The heathen hordes, and made a realm and reigned.

‘The Coming of Arthur’ from Idylls of the King by Alfred Lord Tennyson


My previous books on Arthuriana have all been overly academic.  This was necessary for me, but did the casual reader no favor at all.  While I'm not particularly interested in producing a popular title, I also do not wish to present merely a rehash of all my previous blog posts, pastiched together in an unabsorbable and unpalatable form. I've decided, therefore, on a very different kind of approach, where I "tell" the story of Arthur as I've come to understand it.  Many proofs will be lacking, and most source citations omitted (although the Appendices will contain some "denser" material). Anyone who needs to access additional details such can find them in my previous blog posts. This kind of account may seem odd to those expecting either more or less in terms of scholarly explication or creative expression.  It is not my goal to be entertaining, but neither do I want to continue being dreadfully dull or, worse, impenetrable.

Sometimes I think that we Arthurian researchers and writers are little better off than Sir Thomas Malory, who supposedly penned the great and ponderous (and occasionally tiresome) Le Morte D'Arthur while in prison.  Whatever scant sources he had at hand - like his 'French books' - he cobbled together as best he could, producing a rather amazing synthesis of a series of adventures which themselves often lacked cohesion and even coherence, or were even contradictory.

So, too, we modern writers are circumscribed by our limited extant materials, our scientific or spiritual biases, our nationalistic tendencies, our egos.  We all write from prisons of our own making, or that have been made for us others.  This book an attempt to escape from such a prison.  Whether or not doing so will actually free me in any important sense remains to be seen.  But if it does, a new and more vibrant Arthur may emerge from behind the bars and walls that have for so long kept him moribund.

Arthurian Sites Mentioned in the Text



Several years ago I wrote and published my book THE ARTHUR OF HISTORY: A REINTERPRETATION OF THE EVIDENCE.  While I remain proud of the work – the end result of many years of intensive research - do not regret producing it, and still believe there is much of value to be found therein, I was from the outset dissatisfied with the conclusions I had reached.  Why? Because I had failed to solve two nagging mysteries: 1) who was Arthur’s father, Uther Pendragon, really and 2) why were all the Dark Age Arthurs who were subsequent to the more famous man of that name hail from Irish-descended dynasties in Britain?

As it turns out, No. 1 above is not at all important.  For as we shall see, Uther Pendragon was most certainly not Arthur’s father.  No. 2, however, contains the clue we need to finally solve the Arthurian mystery. 

At the very end of this book I will include my most recent findings on Uther.  There, too, will present my case against Ambrosius Aurelianus as Arthur – an equation still fashionable in some circles. First, though, I need to devote several chapters and appendices to the Irish Question. 

We will see that the real Arthur has been known for some time, and that his battles can be identified with those belonging to another famous Celtic figure. 



A 5th century memorial stone was ploughed up at the site of the Roman city of Viroconium near Wroxeter, Shropshire, England.  This stone is unusual in two respects.  First, it almost certainly bears the name of an important, perhaps high-ranking Irishman of the period.  Second, the name of the person in question is Cunorix son of Maquicoline.*

So far as I know, no one prior to myself had realized just how remarkable a name this was.  I’ve already mentioned in the Introduction that a second name of the Irish Chuinnedha, who in the British language was called Cunedda, was Mac Cuilinn.  As it happens, Mac Cuilinn corresponds exactly in meaning with Maquicoline.  Thus I proposed that the Maquicoline on the Cunorix Stone was none other than Cunedda himself.

Yet again, though, we are struck with a rather serious discrepancy.  For if Maquicoline on this stone is Cunedda, Cunorix is probably the Cynyr known from the Welsh sources as a grandson of Cunedda. 

The names (Maqui)coline and Cunorix are associated in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. There were find Ceawlin (in Bede called Coelin), one of the Bretwaldas or Britain-rulers, and Cynric.  While the ASC gets the order of generations wrong, making Cynric the son of Cerdic and Ceawlin the son (or at least successor) of Cynric, I’ve been able to show that both personages do, in fact, belong to the Gewissei, the ‘Sure/Certain/Reliable Ones’ who fought alongside the West Saxons against Britons and helped found Wessex.  Indeed, the tribal or group name Gewissei or Gewissae is found preserved in the genealogy for the kingdom of Ceredigion, where it occurs as Iusay, son of Ceredig son of Cunedda.

The names of the earliest members of the Gewessei have long been suspected to be of Celtic origin. My research suggests they were Irish or Hiberno-British. 

What were the Gewessei from Gwynedd doing in both Viroconium in central Wales and in southern England?

My working theory is fairly simple and straight-forward, although I admit that things “on the ground” may have been much more complicated. When the Romans withdrew from Britain, Irish raids on Gwynedd intensified.  Eventually, Cunedda and his sons (or warband) were able to found a number of petty kingdoms in the region.  In a typical Roman-style acknowledgement of this situation, these Irish conquerors were offered federate status by the Welsh high-king who was ruling at Viroconium.

I should not neglect to point out, however, that the high-king in question may himself have been half Irish and half British.  Certainly, this was true of Vortigern.  There is also a confusion in the Welsh tradition between Vortigern and another chieftain named Catel, later Welsh Cadell.  It has been thought that because Vortigern had been so thoroughly vilified, it was thought preferable to trace the princes of Powys through Catel instead.  The true trace to Vortigern was, therefore, suppressed. 

My idea here is a bit different.  The best etymology for the name Catel/Cadell is Latin catellus, ‘puppy, whelp, little dog.”  Two such princes are found in the Powys dynasty bearing this name. Both had sons named Cyngen, ‘Hound-born.’ I think it is possible, given these names, that Catel/Cadell was a pet-name for Cunorix. ‘Hound-king.’  If so, then Cunorix son of Cunedda may have either usurped the Powys kingship for a generation or even have started an entirely new dynasty.  That Catel or Cadell is said to have begun his reign in Ial of northern Powys fits with what we know about Cunedda’s sons and their settlement of northwestern Wales. 

In any case, the high-king at Powys had formed a federate relationship with Cunedda and his sons. The earliest source tells us that these federates drove the Irish out of Wales.  This statement may seem highly ironic, but at the core it may be correct.  Additional service to the high-king seems to have involved allying themselves with the Saxons against enemies of Powys to the southeast. It is tempting to view the Gewissei as fighting the Saxons themselves, but the ASC does not support such a patriotic picture of the politics of the time.  Vortigern is said to have brought in Saxons as mercenary federates to help him against his enemies.  There is no reason to assume, knowing what we do about intertribal warfare among the Celts, that his enemies did not also include other Britons.  In later centuries, when it became necessary to invent a nationalistic resistance against the barbaric, pagan, Germanic invaders for the usual propagandist reasons, we rarely find Britons fighting Britons.

If this general sketch of what may have been happening in 5th century Britain has any bearing on reality at all, what are we to make of the phenomenon called Arthur?  Well, to begin with we must “disenthrall ourselves” of the notion that this greatest of all Dark Age British heroes was fighting the Saxons.  If he were son of Cunedda and one of the Gewissei, clearly he was not.  Rather, he was fighting with the Saxons against the Britons in the name of the Welsh high-king.

Furthermore, he might well be known to us already under another name – a name which is found not only the English sources, but in the Welsh as well.

* Cunorix/Cynric is known in the early Welsh sources as Cynyr, and he is wrongly made the son of Gwron son of Cunedda.  From P. C. Bartram's A CLASSICAL WELSH DICTIONARY:

"GWRON ap CUNEDDA WLEDIG. (Legendary). (420)

He appears in the legends of Anglesey as the father of Cynyr, Meilir and Yneigr who aided their cousin Cadwallon Lawhir in expelling the Gwyddyl from the island. The story occurs in the expanded ‘Hanesyn Hen’ tract (ByA §29(15) in EWGT pp.92-93). See s.nn. Cadwallon Lawhir and Meilir Meilirion.

Gwron is not mentioned in the older lists of the sons of Cunedda and therefore his historical existence is doubtful. He might, perhaps, have been too young to take part in the conquests which the other sons of Cunedda are supposed to have made. Another suggestion is that his name Gwron, ‘hero’ is really a cognomen and that he is actually to be identified with Ysfael (q.v.) ap Cunedda, who gave his name to a part of Anglesey and presumably ruled there. This was suggested by Owen Rhoscomyl."

Gwron as a heroic epithet here must have belonged either to Cynyr himself or to his real father, Cunedda.



According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the most famous of Cunedda’s sons was Cerdic (Welsh Ceredig).  This man founded the kingdom of Ceredigion in west Wales.  If we compare the military careers of Cerdic with that of Arthur, some amazing correspondences quickly manifest themselves.

The departure point for our exploration of this subject is a comparison of the relevant chronologies. When making such a comparison, we must bear in mind that the ASC reverse the order of the Gewessei generations.  In other words, Cynric or Cunorix, properly the son of Cunedda, is made to be the son of Cerdic/Ceredig son of Cunedda.  And Ceawlin/Mac Cuilinn/Maquicoline or Cunedda is made to succeed Cynric.  There is good reason to believe, therefore, that some or all of the later Gewessei battles have been temporally displaced. 

To proceed, Cerdic of Wessex appears on the scene (according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle) in 495 A.D.  His death is marked in 534.

Arthur's floruit is nicely bracketed from some time shortly after the accession of Aesc (ASC) to the kingdom of Kent in 488 (or Octha, according to the Historia Brittonum account) to the time of Ida, who according to the ASC succeeded to the kingship of Northumbria in 547.  The Welsh Annals give Arthur's death at Camlan at c. 537.

We can see that according to the two sources cited, Cerdic and Arthur were near perfect contemporaries. 

Years ago I played around with trying to equate some or all of the battles of Arthur and those of Cerdic of Wessex.  Alas, my knowledge of place-name development and of the languages involved was insufficient to the task.  Having once again brought up the very real possibility that Arthur = Cerdic in my previous blog post here, it occurred to me that I should take a second look at the battles listed in the Historia Brittonum and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

First, those of Arthur:

Mouth of the river Glein
4 battles on the Dubglas River in the Linnuis region
River Bassas
Celyddon Wood
Castle Guinnion
City of the Legion
Tribruit river-bank
Mt. Agned/Mt. Breguoin (and other variants)
Mt. Badon c. 516
Camlann c. 537

And, secondly, those of Cerdic (interposed battles by other Saxon chieftains are in brackets):

495 - Certicesora (Cerdic and Cynric arrive in Britain)
[Bieda of Bedenham, Maegla, Port of Portsmouth]
Certicesford - Natanleod or Nazanleog killed
[Stuf, Wihtgar - Certicesora]
Cerdicesford - Cerdic and Cynric take the kingdom of the West Saxons
Cerdicesford or Cerdicesleag
537 - Cerdic dies, Cynric takes the kingship, Isle of Wight given to Stuf (of Stubbington near Port and opposite Wight) and Wihtgar

As Celtic linguist Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson pointed out long ago, 'Glein' means 'pure, clean.'  It is Welsh glân.  However, there is also a Welsh glan, river-bank, brink, edge; shore; slope, bank.  This word would nicely match in meaning the -ora of Certicesora, which is from AS. óra, a border, edge, margin, bank.  If we allow for Glein/glân being an error or substitution for glan, then the mouth of the Glein and Certicesora may be one and the same place.

Ceredicesora or "Cerdic's shore" has been thought to be the Ower near Calshot.  This is a very good possibility for a landing place.  However, the Ower further north by Southampton must be considered a leading contender, as it is quite close to some of the other battles.

Natanleod or Nazanleog is Netley Marsh in Hampshire.  The parish is bounded by Bartley Water to the south and the River Blackwater to the north.  Dubglas is, of course, 'Black-stream/rivulet.' Linnuis contains the British root for lake or pool, preserved in modern Welsh llyn.  Netley is believed now to mean 'wet wood or clearing', and this meaning combined with the 'marsh' that was present probably accounts for the Linnuis region descriptor of the Historia Brittonum.

W. bas, believed to underlie the supposed river-name Bassas, meant a shallow, fordable place in a river.  We can associate this easily with Certicesford/Cerdicesford, modern Charford on the Avon. Just a little south of North and South Charford is a stretch of the river called “The Shallows” at Shallow Farm. These are also called the Breamore Shallows and can be as little as a foot deep. An Anglo-Saxon cemetery was recently uncovered at Shallow Farm:

“A Byzantine pail, datable to the sixth century AD, was discovered in 1999, in a field near the River Avon in Breamore, Hampshire. Subsequent fieldwork confirmed the presence there of an early Anglo-Saxon cemetery. In 2001, limited excavation located graves that were unusual, both for their accompanying goods and for the number of double and triple burials. This evidence suggests that Breamore was the location of a well-supplied ‘frontier’ community which may have had a relatively brief existence during the sixth century. It seems likely to have had strong connections with the Isle of Wight and Kent to the south and south-east, rather than with communities up-river to the north and north-east.” [An Early Anglo-Saxon Cemetery and Archaeological Survey at Breamore, Hampshire, 1999–2006, The Archaeological Journal
Volume 174, 2017 - Issue 1, David A. Hinton and Sally Worrell]

Cerdicesleag contains -leag, a word which originally designated a wood or a woodland, and only later came to mean a place that had been cleared of trees and converted into a clearing or meadow. I suspect the Celyddon Wood was plugged in for this site. Celyddon contains the word later found in Welsh as called, ‘hard.’. 

Cerdicesleag or "Cerdic's wood" I would identify with Hardley on Southhampton Water.  I pick this location not only because it originally meant ‘Hard Wood’, but because of the mention of Stuf (= Stub/b) both before and after the Cerdicesleag battle. Hardley is just across Southhampton Water from Stubbington, the settlement of the descendents of Stuf/Stubb.  It is also just across the Solent from the Isle of Wight, which was given to both Wihtgar and Stuf. 

Castle Guinnion is composed of the Welsh word for 'white', plus a typical locative suffix (cf. Latin -ium).  Wihtgar as a personage is an eponym for the Isle of Wight.  Wihtgarasburh is, then, the Fort of Wihtgar.  But it is quite possible Wiht- was mistaken for OE hwit, 'white', and so Castellum Guinnion would merely be a clumsy attempt at substituting the Welsh for the English.  /-gar/-garas/ may well have been linked to Welsh caer, 'fort, fortified city', although the presence of -burh, 'fort, fortified town' in the name may have been enough to generate Castellum.  Wihtgara is properly Wihtwara, 'people of Wight', the name of the tribal hidage.  Wihtgarasburh is traditionally situated at Carisbrooke.

Arthur's City of the Legion battle may well be an attempt at the ASC's Limbury of 571, whose early forms are Lygean-, Liggean- and the like.  The Waulud’s Bank earthwork is at Limbury.

Tribruit is a Welsh substitute for the Latin word trajectus (see my book THE ARTHUR OF HISTORY for the full etymology).  Rivet and Smith (The Place-Names of Roman Britain, p. 178) discuss the term, saying that in some cases "it seems to indicate a ferry or ford..." The Welsh rendered 'litore' of the Tribruit description in Nennius as 'traeth', demanding a river estuary emptying into the sea. However, in Latin litore could also mean simply a river-bank.

If I were to look at Tribruit in this light, and provisionally accepted the City of the Legion as Limbury, and Badon as Bath (which the spelling demands, and which appears in a group of cities captured by Cerdic's father Ceawlin/Maquicoline/Cunedda), then the location of the Tribruit/Trajectus in question may well be determined by the locations of Mounts Agned and Breguoin.  These last two battle-sites fall between those of the City of the Legion and Bath, and after that of the Tribruit.

I decided to take a fresh look at Agned, which has continud to vex Arthurian scholars.  I noticed that in the ASC 571 entry there was an Egonesham, modern Eynsham.  Early forms of this place-name include Egenes-, Egnes-, Eghenes-, Einegs-.  According to both Ekwall and Mills, this comes from an Old English personal name *Aegen.  Welsh commonly adds -edd to make regular nominative i:-stem plurals of nouns (information courtesy Dr. Simon Rodway, who cites several examples).  Personal names could also be made into place-names by adding the -ydd suffix.  –ed1 (see the Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru) is the suffix in the kingdom name Rheged. The genitive of Agnes in Latin is Agnetus, which could have become Agned in Welsh - as long as <d> stands for /d/, which would be exceptional in Old Welsh (normally it stands for what is, in Modern Welsh, spelled as <dd>). I'd long ago shown that it was possible for Welsh to substitute initial /A-/ for /E-/.  What this all tells me is that Agned could conceivably be an attempt at the hill-fort named for Aegen.

But what of Mount Breguoin?  Well, I had remembered that prior to his later piece on Breguoin ('Arthur's Battle of Breguoin', Antiquity 23 (1949) 48—9), Jackson had argued (in 'Once Again Arthur's Battles') that the place-name might come from a tribal name based on the Welsh word breuan, 'quern.'  The idea dropped out of favor when Jackson ended up preferring Brewyn/Bremenium in Northumberland for Breguoin.

So how does seeing breuan in Breguoin help us?

In the 571 ASC entry we find Aylesbury as another town that fell to the Gewessei.  This is Aegelesburg in Old English.  I would point to Quarrendon, a civil parish and a deserted medieval village on the outskirts of Aylesbury.  The name means "hill where mill-tones [querns] were got". Thus if we allow for Breguoin as deriving from the Welsh word for quern, we can identify this hill with Quarrendon at Aylesbury.

All of which brings us back, rather circuitously, to Tribruit.  This can only be the Romano-British Trajectus on the Avon of the city of Bath.  Rivet and Smith locate this provisionally at Bitton at the mouth of the Boyd tributary.  The Boyd runs past Dyrham, scene of the ASC battle featuring Ceawlin which led to the capture of Bath. 

If we accept all this, then we cannot very easily reject Badon as Bath.  In truth, with Bath listed in the ASC entry for 577, and made into a town captured by Ceawlin, we simply are no longer justified in trying to make a case for the linguistically impossible Badbury, such as the one at Liddington Castle in Wiltshire.  This is true despite the fact that Ceawlin/Cunedda is said to have fought at Beranbyrig/ Barbury Castle, the “Bear’s Fort” only a few kilometers distant from Liddington.  I’ve made the case in the past for Barbury being an English reference to Arthur, as the Welsh word arth means “bear.” There remains the possibility, of course, that Badon, a Welsh form of English bathum, was merely confused with and thus substituted for Baddanbyrig/Badbury. Arthur may indeed have won a major victory at Liddington Castle, while Bath may have fallen separately as a result of the action at Deorham/Dyrham.

There is one possible clue to identifying Badon. It lies in a comparison of the Welsh Annals entry for the Second Battle of Badon and the narrative of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.  The actual year entry for this Second Battle of Badon reads as follows:

665 The first celebration of Easter among the Saxons.  The second battle of Badon. Morgan dies.

The "first celebration of Easter among the Saxons" is a reference to the Synod of Whitby of c. 664.  While not directly mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, nor the Anglo-Saxon version of Bede, there is an indirect reference to this event:

664 … Colman with his companions went to his native land…

This is, of course, a reference to Colman's resigning of his see and leaving Lindisfarne with his monks for Iona.  He did so because the Roman date for Easter had been accepted at the synod over the Celtic date. 

While there is nothing in the ASC year entry 664 that helps with identifying Badon, if we go to the year entry 661, which is the entry found immediate prior to 664, an interesting passage occurs:

661 In this year, at Easter, Cenwalh fought at Posentesburh, and Wulfhere, son of Penda, ravaged as far as [or "in", or "from"] Ashdown…

Ashdown is here the place of that name in Berkshire. It is only a half dozen miles to the east of Badbury and Liddington Castle.  A vague reference to ravaging in the neighborhood of Ashdown may well have been taken by someone who knew Badon was in the vicinity of Ashdown as a second battle at Badon.

I've recently identified Posentesbyrig as "Pascent's Burg".  Leading English place-name authority Dr. Richard Coates had this to say when I asked him if this etymology worked:

"I see no absolute barrier to Posent – Pascent. Welsh <sc> is the cluster [sk], which would be rendered in OE as  “esh” since OE had no cluster [sk] before a front vowel, even in the earliest times. “Esh” would normally also be spelt <sc>, but that’s a coincidence. It’s possible for “esh” to appear very occasionally as <s>, even before the conquest, as in Ryssebroc for Rushbrooke (Suffolk) in the mid-10th century."

Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing where Pascent's Burg was located.  Pascent son of Vortigern ruled over Buellt and Gwrtheyrnion.  But the Vortigern family was also said to have originated at Gloucester.  William of Malmesbury claims that Bradford on Avon was once called Vortigern's Burg, but this is surely not right, as Cenwalh of Wessex is said to fight at both Bradford on Avon and Posentesbyrig in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.  While Pascent's Burg and Vortigern's Burg may refer to the same place, if these aren't nicknames for Gloucester we cannot know Posentesbyrig's location. 

The battle listed before Posentesbyrig in the ASC is Peonnum, fought against the Welsh by Cenwalh. This is thought to be Penselwood in Somerset, found in the Domesday Book as Penne or Penna.

A battle at Gloucester, nicknamed Pascent's fort, would make sense between the Mercian king Wulfhere and the Wessex king Cenwalh.

If we are going for a Badbury, we also cannot ignore the Badbury Hill fort near Faringdon, which overlooks the Thames Valley.  Several of the Gewissei battles occur in this region and so, strategically speaking, we cannot discount a Badbury here.  For details on Badbury hill, see

NOTE: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle mentions a certain Bieda as fighting at Portsmouth with the eponymous Port c. 501.  The battle entry is placed between the first and second entries concerning Cerdic and Cynric.

I would make Bieda the eponym for Bedenham between Portsmouth and Portchester.



Which brings us back, of course, to a consideration of the name Arthur and how this could possibly relate to that of Cerdic.  Obviously, we can simply state that Ceredig son of Cunedda had been given the usual three-part Roman style name and that one of these name elements was none other than Artorius.  My problem with this idea is two-fold.  First, Artorius was a very rare name even among the Romans.  We know of only one in Britain, the 2nd or 3rd century camp prefect at York.  We have no reason for seeing Lucius Artorius Castus of York as being any more famous than any other soldier serving in Roman Britain.  Second, why would an Irish-descended dynasty in the extreme north and west of Wales take the name Artorius from York?

An interesting fact I've called attention to before in Ceredig son of Cunedda's kingdom of Ceredigion is the presence there of the Afon Arth or Bear River, as well as its tributary the Nant Erthig or Little Bear Stream, and the Castell Dinerth or Castle of the Fort of the Bear (possibly the site of an earlier sub-Roman fortification).  In addition, these geographical bear-names seem to have spawned bear-names in the early genealogy of the Ceredigion princes as these are found listed in the Harleian MS.:

[G]uocaun map Mouric map Dumnguallaun map Arthgen map Seissil map Clitauc Artgloys map Artbodgu map Bodgu map Serguil map Iusay map Ceretic map Cuneda.

Artbodgu or Arthfoddw is 'Bear-Crow' (more precisely, the ‘Bear of the Crow’, as his father is named Bodgu), Artgloys or Arthlwys is 'Beautiful or Holy Bear' and Arthgen (perhaps the most interesting of them all) is 'Bear-Born' or 'Born of the Bear.'  There is the very real possibility that the bear in question from which Arthgen was born is the Afon Arth itself, conceived of as a water deity.

Given these bear names of the Ceredigion dynasty, is there any way in which Ceredig, the founder of the kingdom, may have been designated by 'Arthur?'  That is, by a name or title whose first element was taken from the name of the divine Bear River, the apparent ruling center of the dynasty?

The problem is coming up with a name that will satisfy linguists.  As things stand right now, they will allow nothing other than a derivation from Roman/Latin Artorius. This despite the fact that such a derivation makes little or no geographical or historical sense.  Granted, some names such as *Artori:x, 'Bear-king', or *Arto-wiros, 'Bear-man', may have been replaced early on with the purely Latin Artorius.  But this begs the question of WHY?  And it requires knowledge of the name Artorius, which as I've already mentioned was a very rare name even among the Romans.
What complicates the issue for us is the presence of the Irish language early on in western Wales.  It is possible that a British name became Arthur by being taken over into Irish and then, at a later date, being re-borrowed by the British in its new, Gaelic form.  The problem is coming up with a satisfactory explanation of how this may have happened.  Alternately, Ceredig may have been called Artur for 'Bear-king', for example, in Irish.  And this form of the name was retained in Welsh.  I would cite the example of the name Beccur(us), found on a 6th century memorial stone near Penmorfa in Gwynedd.  Patrick Sims-Williams has this as deriving from *Bikkori:x, 'small king'. Professor Peter Schrijver of Utrecht University says that *Bikko-wiro, 'little man', is also possible. The Irish Annals has a Bicoir father of a 7th century Arthur, and some have thought this Bicoir may be Beccur. 

Unfortunately, the Celtic linguists will not allow for anything like this to have taken place.

Dr. Simon Rodway of the University of Wales states that

"If we were to allow regular *Bikkori:x > Beccur-, it would still not follow that *Artori:x would give Arthur - it would give **Arthwr, just as Beccur- would now be spelled *Bychwr or *Bechwr. In fact, of course, as has been well established, *Artori:x would give *Erthyr."

Schrijver adds

"By no stretch of the imagination could *artorix become MW Arthur. Beccur- is not comparable because it is early and inscriptional and could therefore conceivably reflect*bikkorix (Beccur- = late Proto-British /bExür/, with E = shwa and ü as the intermediate stage between *o and MW y). The difference between Welsh w and Irish u is purely graphic.

If a Brittonic written form was the input for Irish, *arthgur would be it. But if the input was a spoken form, it would be /arthur/ (with/u/ = Welsh written <w>). Both would have Irish –th- rather than –t-. It therefore seems that the Irish form with –t- reflects the Latinate form Artorius or the early Romance (French) Artür."

And so it goes.  We are forced to accept that if Cerdic were called a bear-name because of a sacred bear river at the heart of his kingdom, the name that was used was the Roman Artorius, which was ASSUMED TO BE A BEAR-NAME OF THE KIND FOUND IN IRISH AND WELSH WITH *ARTO-/ART-/ARTH- FORMS. Ironically, Professor Stefan Zimmer of the University of Bonn has proposed that the Roman name Artorius derives from a Celtic original meaning 'Bear-king' (see THE NAME OF ARTHUR - A NEW ETYMOLOGY, Journal of Celtic Linguistics 13(1):131-136 ·March 2009).

On his WORDPRESS blogsite "In the Name of Arthur", Malcolm Wilson (The Arthurs of Ireland – kith and kin of the ‘Kernyw Kid’? – PART V) nicely summarizes such a use of Artorius as a Latin substitute for an earlier Celtic name:

"The name Arthur is generally argued to be from Brythonic or Latin. I would suggest that the only way in which it could possibly come from Gaelic is the same way in which it could have possibly come from Brythonic, and that is through the Latin decknamen[18] (pseudonym) of Artōrius for the Celtic name Artorix (from *Arto-rig(i)os = ‘Bear King’). The recipient of the name would then have to have become known by this Latin decknamen, which would morph to Insular Latin Artūrius – which is what Adomnán called Artúr mac Áedán in the Vita Sancti Columbae (The Life of St. Columba/Colm Cille) – and then contract to Artúr/Arthur.[19] It’s a complicated morphology, but not impossible. There could be an argument given that a Gael or Gaelo-Briton warrior might use a Latin decknamen instead of his own Celtic one, especially if fighting for more Latinised Britons."

When I discussed this possibility with Dr. Rodway his response was simply "This sounds perfectly plausible."

Professor Stefan Zimmer, in his “The Name of Arthur”, comments thusly regarding this concept:

“Simple names like Artos, Artus, Irish Art; derivatives such as patronyms, e.g. Galatian Artiknos, and hypocoristica of the type Artillus, Artilla. A fine example of the latter has been found in Trier (CIL XIII/1.1, no. 3909): HIC QUIESCIT IN PACE URSULA . . . ARTULA MATER TIT(ULUM) POSUIT. Mother and daughter bear the same name, the mother still in Celtic, the daughter already in the Roman tongue. This is typical for the language switch implied in Romanization throughout the empire.”

There is ample evidence for the substitution of Roman/Latin names for earlier Irish names in the various genealogies belonging to the Dessi-descended princes of Dyfed, as well as to the Ciannachta-descended princes of Gwynedd.  I personally have no trouble accepting an Irish or Hiberno-British *Artori:x (cf. Old Irish Artri) being replaced by Latin Artorius.  And if this did happen, the only Arthur we have who is early enough for the established dates, and whose father could be Uther Pendragon, is Ceredig son of Cunedda. 

For a good precedent that would allow us to view Ceredig as "king of the Arth [river]", we might look at Ceredig Wledig of Strathclyde, who in the early Irish sources is called Coroticus 'regis Aloo/regem Aloo', or 'King of the Rock.' Aloo is here an abbreviated form of Alclud, the Rock of the Clyde, the capital of the early Strathclyde kingdom.

The Roman Bear-Soldiers

Those with a knowledge of Roman military history will recognize the image on the cover of this book as a signifer (more technically a vexillarius or vexillifer) wearing a bear pelt.

Cunedda as the Terrible Chief-dragon or Uther Pendragon seems to have associated himself with the shield pattern of Segontium, viz. two crossed serpents.  Later legend confused this standard for the draco, and I once thought that Pendragon was literally a Welsh translation of the late Roman rank of magister draconum, the superior of the draconarii. 

Given that the Artri Ceredig assumed the Roman name Artorius, it is not impossible that he donned a bear pelt in a manner meant to mimic that of a signifer.  His father was the dragon, while he was the bear. 



If the name Arthur or Artorius is a Latin decknamen on an Irish name meaning "Bear-king", and the king in question is Ceredig son of Cunedda of Ceredigion, known in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as Cerdic of the Gewessei, where might we find his ruling center?

Well, as we have seen above, the bear personal names in the Ceredigion genealogy can best be explained by the fact that in mid-Ceredigion there was an Arth or 'Bear' River, right next to the Afon Aeron.  Aeron or *Agrona, 'Slaughter goddess', suggests to me that the "Bear" might also have been a divine river.  If so, the bear names of Ceredig and his descendants were due to the fact that the ruling center of the kingdom was somewhere on the Afon Arth.

Subsequent research to find this ruling center of Ceredig/Arthur revealed only two possible sites. One is Dineirth, and the other Llandewi Aberarth.  What I needed to determine is which of the two places showed potential for sub-Roman or early medieval habitation.

According to Frances Foster, Archive & Library Assistant, Archive and Library Team, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales:

"I have checked the information we hold on the above site [Dineirth] and have not found any mention of Roman occupation or activity.  The description on the Ordnance Survey National Archaeological Record card states that the site was originally a Clare Castle (Richard de Clare) founded prior to 1136.

In R.E. Kay’s description he suggests that ‘the first Norman adventurers may have found the earthworks of a small promontory fort at their chosen site which they heightened and strengthened’.  He also says that ‘the Castle of Dineirth (or Dinarth) was probably founded by Richard de la Mare and follower of Richard de Clare in 1110.

Again in Cadw’s scheduling description there is no mention of sub-Roman occupation of this site."

Llandewi Aberarth may be different. On the possible ruling center of the kingdom of Ceredigion, Toby Driver, Senior Investigator (Aerial Survey) for the RCAHMW and author of HILLFORTS OF CARDIGAN BAY, says

"I would find it very difficult to decide on a place for a ‘ruling centre’, although a coastal position may be better connected than one inland [emphasis mine]... The Arth has a very restricted catchment, and I am not aware of any other major archaeological sites along its reaches. That said the presence of a major castle at Dinerth, the Viking hog-back stone at Llanddewi-Aberarth and the coastal hillfort, along with the ancient fish traps on the foreshore at Aberarth, all add up to a high concentration of interesting sites. Certainly it is an interesting locale along the Cardigan Bay coastline."

Lynne Moore, Enquiries and Library Officer with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales regarding the hill-fort at Llandewi Aberarth, which I've tentatively suggested might have been the main fortress of Ceredig son of Cunedda:

"As suggested by Dyfed Archaeological Trust, the hilltop enclosure (a possible Iron Age hillfort) was noted by ourselves (RCAHMW) during a flight to take aerial photographs of the area. Please note that the RAF APs, and the earlier RCAHMW APs, exist only in hard-copy form."

Here is the description of the hill fort at Llandewi Aberarth from COFLEIN:

“Period Iron Age

Site Description - The church of St Davids sits below and to the east of the triangular summit of a prominent coastal hill which has been suggested as a possible Iron Age hillfort by the Dyfed Archaeological Trust, citing both its general shape and the presence of Bronze Age finds just below the summit.

Royal Commission aerial photographs of the hilltop taken during the drought summer of 2++++++++++013 (on 12th July) appear to clarify parched banks and ditches of a large triangular or pear-shaped hilltop enclosure, generally following the lines of present field boundaries and walls but of more massive construction, suggesting a prehistoric origin. This main hilltop enclosure measures approximately 278m x 110m, enclosing 2.7 hectares. On the east side of the ridge is a discrete, smaller rectangular earthwork enclosure within the larger one, following the line of the ridge but with a rounded southern end, into which the cemetery of St Davids Church encroaches. It is possible that this is also a prehistoric or early medieval enclosure [emphasis mine], perhaps representing a first phase, or a contraction of a larger site. Recorded during RCAHMW aerial reconnaissance (frames AP_2013_2951-53) and also during winter conditions on 26th February 2014, highlighting the earthworks (frames AP_2014_0311-12, 319, 324-5).”

If I'm right about the Arth River being the location of the Dark Age ruling center belonging to Ceredig and his descendants, then the hill fort at Llandewi Aberarth must be considered the primary contender.  Of course, only excavation of the site, and in particular of the smaller enclosure on the east side of the ridge, would be able to demonstrate whether sub-Roman or early medieval habitation occurred there.



I. The Site of Camlan

The purpose of this sub-chapter is to prove, once and for all, where Arthur’s Camlann battle site was located. Or, more accurately, where Welsh tradition happen to place it!  I once opted for the Roman fort of Camboglanna at the western end of Hadrian’s Wall as the place.  I was fairly certain of the identification, for the story of Arthur’s being taken to Avalon may have been influenced by the presence only a few miles west of Camboglanna of another Roman fort named Aballava or Avalana, the place of the Apple Orchard.  Alas, at the time I was not aware that Arthur was Ceredig of Ceredigion.  As the three Camlans in Wales are all in Merionethshire, once a kingdom called Meirionnydd that bordered on Ceredigion, my focus came back to the Welsh tradition.

It is fairly well known that the Welsh record seven survivors of Camlann. Yet, to my knowledge, no one has sought to plot these personages out on a map. To do so may help us pinpoint a geographical region in which Camlann was believed to be situated.

One of the seven – Geneid Hir – it a difficult and otherwise unknown name. P.C. Bartram (in “A Welsh Classical Dictionary: People in History and Legend up to about A.D. 1000) suggests the name may be corrupt and offers an unlikely identification with a personage named Eueyd or Euehyd Hir (often rendered Hefeydd). However, I would see in Geneid ‘Cannaid’, “white, bright, shining, pure, clean, radiant,” an epithet substituted for the original title Ceimiad, ‘Pilgrim’, of St. Elian. Elian had churches on Mon/Anglesey and in Rhos, Gwynedd.

Sandde Bryd Angel looks to be a pun for the Afon Angell, Aberangell, etc., places immediately to the south of the Camlan on the Afon Dyfi in Merionethshire.

Morfran son of Tegid is from Llyn Tegid, now Bala Lake in Gwynedd.

St. Cynfelyn is of Llancynfelyn in Ceredigion just below the Afon Dyfi.

St. Cedwyn of Llangedwyn in Powys, while somewhat further removed than the rest, is still in NW Wales.

St. Pedrog of Llanbedrog is on the Lleyn Peninsula in Gwynedd, just opposite the three Camlans in Merionethshire.

St. Derfel Gadarn is at Llandderfel near Bala Lake in Gwynedd.

Needless to say, if we “triangulate” with all these names/places, we find at the center the three
Merionethshire Camlans.

So which one is the right one?

Only one way to know for sure: we must find the Camlann that is claimed as the gravesite of Osfran’s son. This reference comes from the ‘Stanzas of the Graves:’

Bet mab Ossvran yg Camlan,
Gvydi llauer kywlavan…

The grave of Osfran’s son is at Camlan,
After many a slaughter…

[“The Black Books of Carmarthen ‘Stanzas of the
Graves’, Thomas Jones, Sir John Rhys Memorial
Lecture, 1967, Critical Text and Translation.]

While –fran of Osfran looks like Bran or ‘Raven’, the Os- does not look at all right for a Welsh name. I suspected Ys- and after a first search failed, I defaulted to bryn or ‘hill’ as the original of –bran. Thus I was looking for an Ysbryn.

And I actually found him – or, rather, it - in “An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Wales and Monmouthshire: VI – County of Merioneth”, p. 98, RCAHMW, 1921.

On the Mawddach River in Merionethshire there is a Foel Ispri. It used to be Moel Ysbryn and was the legendary residence of Ysbryn Gawr or Ysbryn the Giant. If we go north on the Mawddach we run into its tributary the Afon Gamlan, i.e. the Water of the Crooked Bank.

According to David Hopewell, Senior Archaeologist with the Gwynedd Archaeological Trust,

"As far as we know the Roman road runs to the east of the Mawddach.  It is well-preserved and easy to trace from Tomen-y-Mur to Penystryd (just E of Bronaber) after that it presumably runs to Brithdir but its line is somewhat debatable.  On current evidence I don’t know of anything crossing the Gamlan."

II. Arthur’s Opponent at Camlan

In Welsh tradition (whether due to Geoffrey of Monmouth or not!), Medraut, Latin Moderatus, was the son of Lleu - the very god who was anciently claimed as Lord of Gwynedd in the Mabinogion. Lleu’s fortress was Mur Castle, now Tomen y Mur.  The Roman settlement here, which continued into the medieval period, is only 15 kilometers or so north of the Afon Gamlan. A chieftain based at Tomen y Mur would be in a position to fight at the Camlann which lay between his kingdom and that of Ceredigion. At that battle he and Arthur/Ceredig both fell.

However, there may be a better candidate for Medraut’s headquarters.

Here is the definition of moderatus from the online Perseus dictionary:

moderātus adj. with comp. and sup.

P. of moderor, within bounds, observing moderation, moderate : senes: Catone moderatior: consul moderatissimus: cupidine victoriae haud moderatus animus, S.—Plur m . as subst: cupidos moderatis anteferre.— Within bounds, moderate, modest, restrained : oratio: convivium: doctrina: ventus, O.: amor, O.: parum moderatum guttur, O.

The reader will note 'modest' is one meaning assigned to this word.

I will now turn to the pages of Gildas, where we are told Ambrosius Aurelianus was a 'viro modesto', a MODEST man.

For the sake of comparison, here is the same dictionary's definition for modestus:

modestus adj. with comp. and sup.

modus, keeping due measure, moderate, modest, gentle, forbearing, temperate, sober, discreet : sermo, S.: adulescentis modestissimi pudor: plebs modestissima: epistula modestior: voltus, T.: verba, O.: mulier, modest , T.: modestissimi mores: voltus modesto sanguine fervens, Iu.—As subst: modestus Occupat obscuri speciem, the reserved man passes for gloomy , H.

Both Latin modestus and moderatus are found the Indo-European root med-,'to measure, to allot, to mete out':

3. Suffixed form *med-es-.
a. modest; immodest from Latin modestus, "keeping to the appropriate measure" moderate;
b. moderate; immoderate from Latin moderārī, "to keep within measure" to moderate, control. Both a and b from Latin *modes-, replacing *medes- by influence of modus

Thus the words modestus and moderatus are consonant in meaning.

Could it be that the ruler at Dark Age Dinas Emrys was originally called Moderatus, and that this name became confused with that of the modest man Ambrosius?  If so, we would have a chieftain named Medraut whose main citadel was Dinas Emrys, and who claimed descent from the god Lleu, Lord of Gwynedd.  This chieftain fought at the Camlann which lay between his kingdom and that of Ceredigion and at that battle he and Arthur/Ceredig both fell. [Technically, the Afon Gamlan is in Ardudwy, the southern half of the earlier kingdom of Dunoding.  Meirionnydd lay between Ardudwy and Ceredigion.]

III. Arthur’s Grave

The Welsh sources record two separate traditions for an Arthurian grave in the vicinity of the Afon Gamlan.  One is fairly early, the other one late.

In the Welsh 'Stanzas of the Graves', we are told 'anoeth bin u bedd arthur'.  This has been translated in various ways.  But some (myself included) have noticed that anoeth in this line may be an oblique reference to both the teulu  (household warriors) of oeth and anoeth and Cair ('fort') Oeth and Anoeth. In Triad 52 we are told Arthur was a prisoner in Caer Oeth and Anoeth.

We know where a military force from Caer Oeth and Anoeth ended up: Gwanas, a mountainous region situated exactly between the Welsh Camlanns. They had gone there in order to rob the rich graves of, we must presume, their “anoetheu” or “wonders.”

A detailed investigation of the Gwanas region reveals an interesting candidate for the so-called 'beddau hir' or long graves of the place. The best account of this candidate is found on the COFLEIN site:

"A small square earthwork set upon a ridge summit has been identified as a possible Roman military tower. It is set on the crest of a south-facing ridge, commanding extensive views across the upland basin below Pen-y-Brynnfforchog and the course of the Roman road between Caer Gai and Brithdir.

A range of alternative interpretations can be advanced, notably that this is a Roman or early Medieval square ditched barrow, such as are found at Druid beyond Bala (NPRN 404711), and Croes Faen near Tywyn (NPRN 310263). As such it would, with Tomen-y-Mur (NPRN 89420), be a rare surviving earthwork example, most sites being known only from cropmarks. This monument might be compared to the small practice work at Llyn Hiraethllyn (NPRN 89703), otherwise the smallest example of its type known in Wales.

It is a square platform about 5.0m across with a shallow ditch up to 2.8m across on the south-east, 1.1m wide on the north-east and south-west and not discernable on the north-west. The platform has low banks on the north-east and south-west sides. As a Roman work the earthwork has been associated with a road or track passing below the ridge to the south-east (NPRN 91903), suggested as part of the Roman road between Caer Gai and Brithdir (Rigg & Toller 1983, 165; Britannia XXVIII (1997), 399), although this has been disputed as it is a modern feature (Browne 1986) and is depicted on the 1st edition OS 1" map of 1837 (sheet 59 north-east). A tower on this site would command extensive views of the tributary valley to the south-east, but not of the main Wnion valley on the north-west and the Brithdir military settlement (NPRN 95480) may be out of sight. The earthwork is intervisible with the 'Rhyd Sarn' works 11.5km to the north-east towards Bala Lake (NPRN 303162-3)."

The 'low banks' of this monument (if that is what it really is!) nicely answer for the 'long graves' of Gwanas. 

There are no other candidates for the beddau hir.  Of course, time and the combined ravages of Man and Nature may long since have destroyed any other such monuments in the region.

But what of Caer Oeth and Anoeth itself?  The site has not been identified. 

I think, though, that the clue is in the name.  Rachel Bronwich in her TRIADS suggests that the fortress was “of difficult access”, which is one possible meaning of the word oeth.  Anoeth would in this context merely have an amplified sense. But the important thing to remember here is that anoeth could be a wonderful, strange treasure or Otherworld object.  Or the word can refer to the process of obtaining such an object, this being a difficult task to accomplish. Such is made plain in the MABINOGION story “Culhwch and Olwen.”  Fiona Dehghani discusses anoetheu in her article “The Anoetheu Dialogue in Culhwch ac Olwen” (Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium, Vol. 26/27 (2006/2007), pp. 291-305). Other scholars have discussed the word at some length, including Rachel Bromwich in the notes to her TRIADS.

Arthur is released from the prison of Caer Oeth and Anoeth by one Goreu son of Custennin, who plays an important role in “Culhwch and Olwen.” I believe this point has been overlooked.  There is even a point near the end of the tale in which Culhwch and Goreu return to the castle of Ysbaddaden the Giant with the anoetheu.  Goreu slays the giant and Culhwch takes the fort, marring the giant’s daughter Olwen. There is no mention of the anoetheu (here the objects of the difficult tasks the giant had laid upon Culhwch) leaving the place.

It seems fairly obvious to me, therefore, that Ysbaddaden’s castle is Caer Oeth and Anoeth.  This is the only fort of anoetheu that we know of, and the only one directly involving Arthur and his men. It is true that Arthur and his warriors raid various Otherworld castles in the poem “The Spoils of Annwm”, but these actions are not defined as anoetheu and we are not told of a castle where stolen Otherworld objects are stored.

Can we determine where Caer Oeth and Anoeth is located?  I believe we can.  If the fort is, in fact, that of Ysbaddaden, I successfully identified the site years ago (see  It is none other than The Wrekin hillfort in Shropshire.

Wrekin is a form of the Romano-British name Viroconium (see Rivet and Smith’s THE PLACE-NAMES OF ROMAN BRITAIN for an extensive discussion of this).  The Romans built the city of Viroconium after they had destroyed the hillfort of the Cornovii.

Why is it significant that Arthur features in a story involving the Wrekin, is said to have been a prisoner there and that his grave is “anoeth?”  Because, in all likelihood, he was buried in the Roman cemetery of Viroconium next to his brother, Cunorix son of Maquicoline/Cunedda. It is possible that The Wrekin, otherwise known to the Welsh as Cair Guricon/Gwrygon, was given the poetic name of Oeth and Anoeth as a cipher designed specifically to prevent the English and Normans from discovering the whereabouts of Arthur's final resting place. 

The modern champions of the notion that Arthur was buried in northwest Wales are Steve Blake and Scott Lloyd, whose book PENDRAGON: THE DEFINITIVE ACCOUNT OF THE ORIGINS OF KING ARTHUR, was released in 2003 by Lyons press.

Blake and Lloyd place their trust in a very late medieval source, the VERA HISTORIA MORTE DE ARTHURI, a work dated in extant MSS. to c. 1300, although perhaps to originals dating between 1199 and 1203. According to Blake and Lloyd, the VERA HISTORIA probably was written in Gwynedd. I will not contest this point, as it may well be correct.

The importance of the VERA HISTORIA lies in its placement of Arthur’s interment – and thus of Avalon – in Gwynedd. Although Blake and Lloyd are familiar with the Gwynedd tradition which places Arthur’s grave at Carnedd Arthur near Cwm-y-llan or Cym Llan (an error for Cwm Llem, the Valley of the river Llem), they choose to ignore this bit of folklore and instead settle on Tre
Beddau near Llanfair, well to the east on the Conwy River, as the actual burial place of the king. They deduce this from the fact that the VERA HISTORIA states that the grave is near a church of St. Mary (in Welsh, Llan-fair), and that archaeologists have recently uncovered a Dark Age or 6th century cemetery at Tre Beddau.

[Note: Cwm Llan is a very clumsy attempt at rendering Camlan, and is obviously spurious tradition.]

Unfortunately, the authors of PENDRAGON also choose to ignore the description of the burial place of Arthur as preserved in the VERA HISTORIA. In their own words, the burial of Arthur after Camlan is told as follows:

“ …the VERA HISTORIA describes the funeral of Arthur as taking place at a chapel dedicated to the Virgin, the entrance to which was so narrow that the mourners had to enter by first forcing their shoulder into the gap and then dragging the rest of their body through the opening. While the funeral took place inside the chapel, a large storm blew up and a mist descended, so thick that is was impossible to see the body of Arthur – which had been left outside, as it would not fit into the chapel. Following the storm the mourners came out to find that the body had gone and the tomb prepared for Arthur was sealed shut, ‘such that it rather seemed to be one single stone’.”

Now, this passage quite obviously DOES NOT portray a 6th century Christian cemetery. Rather, it is a fitting description of a ‘chapel’ comparable to the “Green Chapel’ of SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT. In other words, the said ‘chapel’ is a Neolithic chambered tomb, whose passage is so tight as to barely allow the entrance of the mourners.

Furthermore, we are talking about TWO conjoined passage tombs – one that is the chapel of the Virgin, and the other which mysteriously receives the body of King Arthur. In all of Gwynedd, there is only one such ancient monument: that of the double chamber tomb of Dyffryn Ardudwy not far west of the Afon Gamlan.

One of the two chambers of Dyffryn Ardudwy is actually known as Coetan Arthur or Arthur’s Quoit. The “Virgin” is here a Christian embellishment on what would have been a pagan goddess associated with the Otherworld site.

The grave of Arthur discussed in the VERA HISTORIA is thus a product of folklore only. It can thus be dismissed as an actual grave of Arthur.

Granted, we cannot so easily dismiss the Camlans/Gamlans in northwestern Wales. Since writing this, Dr. Jessica Hughes of CADW has sent me information via snail-mail that adds important details to the description of the Dyffryn Ardudwy chambered tombs. To quote Dr. Hughes:

“The Chambered tomb at Dyffryn Ardudwy has been known as Coetan Arthur in the past, indeed antiquarian reports of the site refer to Dyffryn as ‘Coetan Arthur’. However, the name appears to refer to the whole of the monument as opposed to a particular chamber. Interestingly (and maybe somewhat confusingly), one mile to the east of Dyffryn lies another chambered tomb known as ‘Cors-y-Gedal’. This was also known in the past as ‘Coetan Arthur’… Regarding whether there is a church of St. Mary in proximity to Dyffryn Ardudwy, I have found a church 4 miles north of Dyffryn in the village of Llanfair. “

The enclosed Detail Report on this Church of St. Mary states that Llanfair was dedicated to Mary “by at least the 12c when Gerald of Wales and Archbishop Baldwin stayed there in 1188…”

Here is the COFLEIN listing for the second chambered cairn:

“A rather tapering rectilinear cairn, c.31m NESW by 14.5m, showing at its eastern end a number of orthostats, partly supporting a tipped capstone, c.3.6m by 3.0m & 0.45m thick: a spindlewhorl, thought to be IA, is said to have come from under the capstone.”

Both of these chambered tombs are directly west of the Afon Gamlan.

IV. The Real Grave of Arthur

My own opinion is that Arthur is not buried near the Afon Gamlan.

I suspect he was interred in one of two places: either at his capital in Ceredigion (the hillfort above Llanddewi Aberarth?) or at Viroconium.  This last is the most likely candidate given his association in Welsh tradition with Caer Oeth and Anoeth or The Wrekin. Cunorix son of Cunedda was buried at Viroconium, and if the records are any indication Ceredig was far more famous than his brother.

I suppose that if Camlan were the kind of disaster that tradition claims, a hasty battlefield burial could have occurred.  Still, that would be odd, for no one wants their great leader to be left on enemy territory or even in a disputed border region the enemy may exhume and desecrate the body. Rather, he would have been carried off and laid to rest in a place of honor.

Pastscape briefly discusses the whereabouts of the Roman cemetery at Viroconium under its discussion of the Cunorix Stone:

“Roman cemetery identified from finds of inscribed tombstones and excavations. The cemetery may be the principal cemetery for the Roman town of Virconium Cornovirum and probably occupied both sides of the road. The tombstone of Cunorix was ploughed up here in 1967. He was Irish and possible leader of group of mercenaries. The tombstone is dated to around 470 AD.

SJ 5711 0925. Site of Roman burial ground.

This appears to have been the site of the principal cemetery of the Roman town. It probably occupied both sides of the road, but it is only on the east side that any important discoveries have been made. Inscribed tombstones were first discovered here by workmen in 1752, and others have been found subsequently.

Excavations were begun on the Cemetery site in 1923, but with somewhat disappointing results, very few and ill-preserved interments being found.

The exact location of the Roman Burial Ground could not be determined and there is no trace on the ground.”

According to Professor Roger White, an archaeologist at The Universirty of Birmingham who carried out field work at Wroxeter,

"No plan was made of the [Cunorix Stone] findspot – it was recovered by the farmer and reported by Dr John Houghton. Houghton took the earliest photos of it showing the fresh ploughmarks on it. My best estimate of the find spot is likely to be the field immediately south and east of Watling Street as it comes into the city on its north-east corner. This was the location, on both sides of the road, of the Wroxeter eastern cemetery. The best plan of this can be found in the this article: H. Johnson ‘The excavations at the cemetery, Uriconium’ Gentleman’s Magazine 132:1 (1862), 398-405." [For which see Figure 2 above]

The following Website (which has a thorough bibliography on sources of information for the stone) gives some important additional details on the findspot:

"Description: A tombstone was ploughed up just outside the town defences, 35-40 yards (35-40m) south of the Horseshoe Lane. <1>

CMHTS Comment:- Note that the earliest accounts [<3>,<4>] give the findspot as being inside the town wall. This is incorrect. The stone is, in effect, an outlier of the Middle Crows Green Cemetery. <2>

Houghton's account mentions the tombstone. <3>

The inscription, dated to about 460-475 was cut on an earlier tombstone which had been re-used as a part of a building. <4>

CMHTS Comment:- This find lies outside defined post-Roman/early medieval urban area (cf. PRN 06495). <5>"

As Cunorix/Cynyr/Cynric was deemed important enough to have been given a memorial stone outside Viriconium, the presumed capital of the Welsh High King, it stands to reason that his even more impressive brother, Ceredig, would have been afforded a similar honor.  If so, his stone - assuming it survived the combined destructive energies of Nature and Man - is even now lying under the turf in this same burial ground. 

What would its inscription read, I wonder?  Would it say merely Ceredig son of Maquicoline?  Or would we find chiseled into the stone Ceredig's more famous appellation, Artorius?




Sometime after the Roman withdrew from Britain, the Irish founded several kingdoms there. The Deissi established a ruling dynasty in Dyfed. Brycheiniog was of Irish foundation. Cunedda Chuinnedha/Mac Cuilinn and his sons took Gwynedd.  As federates of the high-king at Viroconoum, they chased the Irish Ui Liathain out of Anglesey, Dyfed, Gower and Kidwelly. The Laigin were at Dinllaen and in the Lleyn Peninsula, and there is the possibility that Dinevor in Ystrad Tywi was named for an Efwr Llwydon, i.e. of the Irish Laithain. The Irish mercenary son of Cunedda, Cunorix, was buried in the heart of Powys at Viroconium.  Further north, in Scotland, Dalriada was founded by invaders from northeastern Ireland.

In this book I have outlined my fairly detailed case for the famous Arthur being Cerdic of Wessex, himself a mercenary chieftain who can be identified with Ceredig son of Cunedda of western Wales.  This Cerdic/Ceredig was Irish or perhaps Hiberno-British.

Here I wish to briefly discuss the Irish literary "evidence" for the presence of Irish raiders and even Irish kings in that part of England where Cerdic of Wessex was most active.

In the SANAS CORMAIC (c. 900 A.D.), we are told that the Irish  during the time of the half-legendary 4th century king Crimthann Mar mac Fidaig, held "Ireland and Alba [Britain]... down to the Ictian Sea [English Channel, named for the Isle of Wight, ancient Vectis]..." Cerdic of Wessex, of course, is billed as the conqueror of the Isle of Wight, while his other recorded victorious battles were in southern Hampshire opposite Wight.  If, according to Cormac's Glossary, the Irish held this area during the 4th century, might it not also be true that they came to control it in alliance with the Saxons in the 5th-6th centuries under Cerdic/Ceredig?

The famous Njal of the Nine Hostages (probably 5th century) is also brought into connection with the English Channel - and in a most peculiar, even perhaps, suspicious way.  The 10th century poet Cinaed ua hArtacain tells us that Njal engaged in seven raids of Britain (Alba being in other accounts confused with the European Alps!).  In the last he was slain by Eochu or Eochaid the Leinsterman "above the surf of the Ictian Sea."  My question when I read this account focused on the name of Najl's killer.  For both Eochu and Eochaid contain the ancient Irish word for 'horse'.  The following is from the thesis on the names prepared by Professor Jurgen Uhlich, Professor of Irish and Celtic Languages, Trinity College, Dublin:

EOCHAID [and many variants]:

z.B. 'dem Pferd(egott) dienend/genehm' = e.g. ‘serving the horse(-god)’ or ‘acceptable to the horse(-god)'


z.B. [Bv.] ‚pferdeäugig‘ oder „‘Qui a la voix du Cheval (prophétique)’ = qui parle selon les indications fournies par le Cheval prophétique“ = e.g. ‘horse-eyed’ or ‘having a Horse’s (prophetic) voice’ = ‘he who speaks according to the insights provided by the Horse-prophet'

As we all know, Kent, named for the ancient British tribe of the Cantiaci, was a kingdom on the English Channel.  The supposed founders of Kent for Hengest ('Stallion') and Horse ('Horse').  Could it possibly be that Eochu/Eochaid in the story of the slaying of Njal on the English Channel is an Irish substitute for one of these English horse names? That Njal was, in reality, slain by Hengest and/or Horsa?  The idea is not as absurd as it may seem, for Eochu/Eochaid is said to have killed Njal "in concert with the violent grasping Saxons."

Hengest and Horsa, in turn, have before been associated with an ancient British king named Eppilus. There were one or two kings of this name, one of the Atrebates and the other of the Cantiaci. The name contains the word for 'horse', i.e. epo- (epos), as is made clear by the authoritative CELTIC PERSONAL NAMES OF ROMAN BRITAIN website.

Eppilus minted coins with horses on them.  His brother was one Tincomarus, 'Great Peace' or the like. However, one cannot help but wonder if the -marus element in this last name did not remind the Saxons of their own early word mearh; g. meares; m. A horse, steed? We now have this word as mare, a female horse, but that was not its original meaning.  Words from the same Indo-European root are found in the Celtic languages, e.g. Welsh march.  However, Old English also had eoh for 'horse, steed', and this word is cognate with the Irish ech, itself the basis for names such as Eochu and Eochaid.

If Eppilus and Tincomarus were interpreted as divinely ruling horse-brothers, could it be that the Saxon brothers Hengist and Horsa are merely later reflections of these earlier Celtic kings, adopted by the Germanic federates or invaders? Or that two Saxons who were credited with conquering Kent were actually named for their famous British predecessors?

Scholars have tried to form a connection between Hengist and Horsa and the Alcis, twin gods of the Naharnavali tribe in Silesia.  This is a stretch, however.  Of the several etymologies proposed for the word Alcis, one does relate it to "elks".  But elks, needless to say, are not horses.  Rudolf Simek (in his DICTIONARY OF NORTHERN MYTHOLOGY), points out the presence of a horse-shaped variant of the Germanic twin god motif in Migration Era illustrations.



The name Vortigern or Gwrtheyrn, as found in the HB of Nennius, was once held to be a ruling title. It was thought to be represented by Gildas' Latin pun 'superbus tyrannus' or ‘Proud Tyrant’. However, we now know that Vortigern was a proper name and not a title. It is found recorded not only in several localities in Wales, but in Ireland as well.

Aside from the British Vortigern, whose name means ‘Over-lord’, we have records for the following Dark Age Irish Vortigerns or ‘Fortcherns’:

1) Fortchern, the smith of St. Patrick (Annals of the Four Masters Year Entry 448); as this Fortchern is paired with another smith, Laebhan, i.e. St. Lomman (?), this Fortchern may be:

2) Foirtchern son of Fedelmid, who was for a short time bishop of St. Lomman's Trim. Fortchern of Trim, who was of mixed Irish and British blood, is said to have later retired to Killoughterane/Cill Fortchern in the parish of Muinebeag, Co. Carlow. However, we are told in the ancient Irish sources that Fortchern the smith is the same as Foirtchern of Rath Seimhne (see below). It may not be a coincidence that there is a Gobbin's Cliff, the Cliffs of the divine smith Goban Saor, in Seimhne/Island Magee.
3) Vortigern of Ballyhank, East Muskerry, Co. Cork (inscribed stone).
4) Vortigern of Knockboy in Decies Without Drum, Co. Waterford (inscribed stone dated c. 700-900 CE).
5) Foirtchern of Monte Cainle (probably the Hill of Conlig/Coinleac in north Co. Down), a contemporary of St. Columba.
6)Foirtchern of Rath Seimhne (Island Magee, south Co. Antrim).
7)Fortchern, brother of Cathchern (a name cognate with British Cattigern, a supposed son of Vortigern in the HB narrative), son of Tigernach of the Meic Carthind of the Lough Foyle region.
8)Fortcheirn son of Mael Rubae of the Ui Dicholla of the Dessi
9)Fortchern son of Iarlaith of the Ui Brigte of the Dessi
10)Fortchern son of Tigernach of the Ui Brigte of the Dessi
11)Clan Foirtchern in the Breadach genealogy on Inishowen, near the Lough Foyle Meic Carthind

These examples, some ‘in stone’, should be sufficient to dispell the notion that Vortigern is merely a title. Instead, Vortigern is a genuine Brythonic personal name.

In Wales, Radnorshire or Maesyfed (the ‘field of Hyfaidd’) was once known as Gwrtheyrnion, i.e. the kingdom of Gwrtheyrn. Gwrtheyrnion, roughly between the Wye and Ithon rivers, was a relatively small kingdom in southwestern Powys. Other places in Wales where Vortigern's name is preserved are Nant Gwrtheyrn in Lleyn, close to Gwyniasa (and surrounding Gwynus placenames), and a Craig Gwrtheyrn on the Teifi.

These three places are mentioned in Nennius's narrative, but only Gwrtheyrnion carries weight. The Lleyn and Teifi sites may represent the presence in these places of other Vortigerns, but in all likelihood it is merely the proximity to them of St. Garmon place-names that accounts for the ‘Over-lord’s’ association with them. In Nennius's story of Vortigern, the poor chieftain is literally hounded all over Wales by the saint. Thus wherever there was a known St. Garmon site, Vortigern was placed there. In my opinion, Vortigern was probably not in Lleyn, nor was he on the Teifi (despite the presence at nearby Nevern of a Vitalinus Stone; see below). He belonged instead to Gwrtheyrnion, which was merely one of several Welsh Dark Age sub-kingdoms.

Vortigern of Wales, who is said to have been the son of Guitaul (= Roman Vitalis) son of Guitolin (= Roman Vitalinus, a name found on a stone at Nevern dated by Charles Thomas between 466 and 533 CE – too late for Vortigern’s grandfather) son of Gloiu (Gloyw, the eponym of Welsh Caerloyw, modern Gloucester), is actually the British-Irish Fortchern son of Fedelmid son of Laeghaire. This Fortchern son of Fedelmid was of the right time to be the Vortigern of Nennius. Both Guitaul and Guitolin are substituted for the name Fedel-mid.

It was Robert Vermaat who first called my attention to the details surrounding this particular Fortchern. To quote extensively from his Vortigern Studies website article,

‘Scotnoe & Foirtgirn, the Irish Branch’:

“Foirtchern was the son of Fedelmid, son of Loguire, who was High King of Ireland throughout the period of the mission of St. Patrick (whose dates may be 428-462). Foirtchern’s mother was a daughter of the King of the Britons. The story goes that when St. Patrick’s nephew Lomman visited Trim (in Ireland), the boy Foirtchernn took him home to Fedelmid and his mother, who both spoke British and were delighted to see a visitor from his mother’s country. They made Lomman stay, who then subsequently converted the whole family. The mother might have been a Christian in the first place, for she ‘welcomed’ the saint. Maybe the fact that Lomman was a Christian made him more welcome than his being from Britain. Fedelmid may have embraced Christianity because the saint had just come from Tara Hill, where St. Patrick had defeated the druids of Fedelmid’s father the High King Loguire.

Foirtchern's date may be confirmed by the Annala Rioghachta Eirann:

Annals of the Four Masters, M432.0 – 4

The Age of Christ, 432. The fourth year of Laeghaire. Patrick came to Ireland this year, and proceeded to baptize and bless the Irish, men, women, sons, and daughters, except a few who did not consent to receive faith or baptism from him, as his Life relates. Ath Truim was founded by Patrick, it having been granted by Fedhlim, son of Laeghaire, son of Niall, to God and to him, Loman, and Fortchern.

These annals, though dating to 1616 in their youngest version, date back at least to 1172.

In any case, Fedelmid enthrusted Foirtchirnn to Lomman and founded the church of Trim, making St Patrick, Lomman and Foirtchirnn his heirs. But Foirtchernn was obdurate and did not want to accept his heritage, after which Lomman had to threaten him with taking away the blessing of the church, which is tantamount to incurring its curse. After Lomman's death, though, Foirtchirnn gave away his church within three days. This may be apocryphal, for Foirtchirnn was listed afterwards as the first episcopus (abbot) after Fedelmid and Lomman. He might have given it up later though, for he is also listed as a plebilis, a lay successor.”

Now, the question on my mind, after reading this account, was "Who succeeded Lomman at Trim?" The answer is in the Patrician Texts in the Book of Armagh:

He [Foirtchernn] held the abbacy for three days after his master's death until he came to Ath Truim, and then immediately handed his church over to the foreigner Cathlaid [Cathlaido perigrino].

I immediately recognized this ‘Cathlaid the Foreigner’ as a doublet for Catel Durnluc, the traditional founder of Powys, the kingdom that succeeded that of the Roman-period Cornovii.  In the book above I suggested Catel or Cadel might be a pet-name for Cunorix son of Cunedda.

The only objection to a Gwrtherynion ruled by a chieftain of mixed British-Irish ancestry would be that such a king, with such a small sub-kingdom, could not possibly be the ‘superbus tyrannus’ of Gildas. But I offer this argument to account for how such a confusion could have taken place: any chieftain possessing a name such Vor-tigern, ‘the over-/super-/great- lord’ could easily have been misinterpreted as an over-king similar to the ardrigh or ‘high-king’ of Ireland. If I am right and Fortchern son of Fedelmid son of Laeghaire the high king is the British Vortigern of Gwrtheyrnion, then this kind of royal descent from an ardrigh could also have contributed to Gildas's misinterpretation of Vortigern's status in Britain.

In summary, then, what may have happened is this: a chieftain named Vortigern (or Fortchern), who was of mixed Irish-British ancestry, and whose grandfather was the ardrigh of Ireland, had established a small sub-kingdom in southwestern Powys in the 5th century. Gildas, attracted to the name because it seemed to denote a sort of British high king, laid the blame for the Saxon ‘invitation’ (i.e. the use of Germanic barbarian federates) in this presumed high king's lap. Further vilification continued after this identification of Vortigern as the offending monarch was made, until by the 9th century we have a fully developed story of Vortigern in the HB of Nennius.

Alternately, given that the Eliseg Pillar in what was the kingdom of Powys traces the descent of the Powys dynasty from Vortigern, and Catel Durnluc is in the various genealogies confused with Vortigern or made his near-descendent, it is possible that Fortchern son of Fedelmid, at least partly through his wife’s British blood, had managed to lay claim to the throne of Powys itself. His sub-kingdom of Gwrtheyrnion was, after all, part of Powys.

A final possibility, and one which calls into some doubt the notion that Vortigern was related to the Irish high king, is the proximity of Gwrtheyrnion to Brycheiniog.  The latter, as Charles Thomas has shown in his ‘And Shall These Mute Stones Speak?”, was likely founded by the Irish-descended Dessi dynasty of Dyfed.  We have seen above that fully three of the Irish Vortigerns hailed from the Dessi.

The Bodvoc Stone and Vortigern

On Mynydd Margam in southern Wales, there is an interesting inscribed stone dated either 500-599 or 400-550 A.D..  Interesting chiefly because it bears the name Catotigirnus, a name we know from the Historia Brittonum of Nennius and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.  A Cattigern, modern Caderyn, is said according to competing genealogies to be either the son of the great Vortigern or of Cadell Dyrnllwg.  While Catotigirnus may well have been a relatively common name in the period, the fact that we find it on a stone means that at least his son Bodvoc must have been someone of considerable importance.  Could the father of Bodvoc also have been an important man?  Could he have actually been THE Cattigern?

Here is the relevant inscription:

Of Bodvocus (PN) -- he lies here, the son of Catotigirnus (PN) and great-grandson of Eternalis (PN) Vedomavus (PN).
RCAHMW/1976 37 reading only

We learn more about this stone from the CADW Web page:

"The earliest and perhaps most visual features of the pre-industrial landscape throughout the area are funerary monuments located within the uplands dating to the Bronze Age (2300-800BC); these features are arranged in two main clusters or groups; one towards the western end of the Mynydd Margam ridge including two Bronze Age Cairns, or round barrows at Ergyd Isaf (SAM Gm 160; PRNs 741 and 742; HLCA 004), and nearby at Ergyd Uchaf (SAM Gm 159; PRN 749w; HLCA 010), and a second grouping at the head of Cwm Cynffig, including a two cairns near Llyndwr Fawr (PRNs 751w and 752w; HLCA 010), a ring cairn (PRN 753w; HLCA 010), the 'supposed' original site of the early medieval inscribed Bodvoc stone (SAM Gm 443; HLCA 010), to the south the so called Port Talbot Tumulus (PRN 763w; HLCA 013) and at Waun Lluest-wen another ring cairn (PRN 115m; HLCA 013), and Twmpath Diwlith (PRN 00754w; excavation in 1921 revealed a cist burial; HLCA 013). Outliers include the possible barrow of Mynydd Margam Beacon (NPRN 307,286; HLCA 010), also considered to be a maritime defensive feature of medieval date, and to the south west the near destroyed Rhyd Llechws round barrow, just south east of the summit and the round barrow on Moel Ton mawr (PRN 00755w; HLCA 014). Several of these sites were excavated on behalf of the National Museum of Wales by Dr RE Mortimer Wheeler in 1921 (RCAHMW. Glamorgan Inventory, Volume 1, Part 1); the Royal Commission record that all of the barrows and cairns excavated had been previously damaged and that 'some of the the mounds had been built of irregularly cut turves, and yielded a few flint flakes during excavation.

Of particular interest is the barrow of Twmpath Diwlith (PRN 00754w; SS 8322 8879; HLCA 013), this was found to have been constructed of turf over a rough cist-burial containing fragmentary burnt bones', the site had later been enlarged with earth and a secondary interment (disturbed) inserted. The important 6th century Bodvoc stone (ECM 229; PRN 809w; replica, original in NMW) inscribed BODVOC-HIC IACIT / FILIVIS CATOTIGIRNI / PRONEPVS ETERNALI VEDOMAV ('the stone of Bodvocus-he lies here, the son of Catotigirnus and great grandson of Eternalis Vedomavus') is set into the adjacent ringcairn (PRN 753w; SAM Gm 443; SS 8306 8878; HLCA 010). The 1st edition 6'' OS map of 1884 shows the then location of the stone on the 'tumulus' immediately east of the ancient ridgeway route of Heol-y-moch (an extention of Ffordd-y-gyfraith), and names it as careg-lythrog (inscribed stone). There is a possibility that the Bodvoc stone may have originally have been associated with Twmpath Diwlith, especially in the light of the secondary burial; this is, however, largely speculative.

The significance of the Bodvoc stone is enhanced by its location close to a well-established civil and ecclesiastic boundary; the boundary between the parishes of Margam and Llangynwyd ('yr Hen Blwyf') and the boundary of main monastic lands of Margam during the medieval period (Rees 1932; Williams 1990), the stone's location is thought to reflect the even earlier boundary between the early medieval parochiae of Margam and Llangynnd (Knight 1995)."

Let us first tackle the name Vedomav-.  Celtic language specialists are in agreement that the second component is "servant."  To quote again from the CISP site:

"MAU is attested as the second element in the name Tutamau (CR no. 281), and also probably in Wormawi in ch. 14 of the Vita of Paul Aurelian), unless that is Uurm-/Uorm- `brown' plus the suffix -(i)au. Cornish has a common noun maw `young man, servant' from British *magus. Magu- is attested as a name element in Gaulish. These forms correspond to the OIr. common noun mug `slave, servant'. The same root is found in Breton maouez `woman', corresponding to Cornish mowes `girl', and probably in Breton mevel `domestic servant'. The Early Welsh collective maon (two syllables) is used with the meaning `subjects, a king's warband' (GPC sn.). The singular occurs in the Welsh fossilized phrase meudwy `hermit, monk', as if from *magus Dewi: `servant of God'. The same element occurs in two compound names in Late Romano-British spellings in inscriptions from Wales: MAVOHE[N-] from *Magu-senos (Llanboidy: ECMW no. 149) and VEDOMAV- (Margam: ECMW no. 229). If Gallmau is not simply a name that is servile in origin, it may contain the sense of meudwy as a name in faith, i.e. `Gallo-Roman Servant [of God]'."

Vedo- is from some word which in modern Welsh would appear as gwydd (information courtesy Dr. Simon Rodway).  I will present my reason below for choosing gwydd, 'tree(s), branches, twigs' (see Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru).

The second thing we notice about the Bodvoc Stone inscription is that the name of the father of Catotigirnus is left out.  We thus must be satisfied with the great-grandfather of Bodvoc, Eternalis Vedomavus.  Now, long ago I suggested that Vortigern was at least part Irish.

At the time, I had not plugged the Bodvoc Stone into the equation.  As a result, I did not bother to check into the etymologies for Lomman and Fedelmid (Feidilmidh and other variants).

Lomman, as it turns out, means (see the eDIL) 'tree (or branch) stripped of its bark and/or leaves and/or twigs.'  He is given an epithet lainnech, meaning 'the Scaly' (perhaps for the appearance of bark?).  Ath Truim, his church, means "ford of the elder trees." According to a traditional account, Foirtchern son of Fedelmid was a follower of Lomman.

This reminded me immediately of Vedomavus as "Tree-servant."

Could Eternalis be a Latin rendering of Fedelmid?  We have examples in stone and in MSS. of Latin being used as "translations" of Celtic names.  In Dyfed we have the Voteporigas Protictoris stone, while Gildas wrongly renders Cuneglasus as 'tawny butcher'.

I went to look for an etymology for Fedelmid.  One possibility, supplied by Christopher Gwinn, wasn't helpful:

“Fedelm is the Irish equivalent of the Gaulish name Uidluia (for *Uidlmia). The first element is based on the root ‘to see’ (Uid-). The name likely means ‘seeress.’”

According to Professor Jurgen Uhlich of Trinity College, a derivation from a word similar to Gaulish Uidluia is not possible:

"And finally ref. the connection you propose with Gaulish Uidluia, even IF < *vidlmia (which, however, seems a phonotactically impossible formation). Be that as it may, such a preform could not possible lead to the vocalism of the first syllable of Fedelm(-id), where the e must either be original or the result of Primitive Irish lowering, which however only happens before *a or *o in the following syllable. Also, a group *dl could not have survived into Old Irish, but would regularly lose the d with ensuing compensatory lengthening, thus yielding something like *file, or if really with an original *m, *fílme (all of this a purely formal exercise, of course). So while words beginning with, or containing, the sequence <vid> make one think of the IE root ‘to see’ (though there are other formal possibilities), one can still not be sure that even the apparently appellative Gaulish word containing this must have meant ‘seer(ess)’, unless it can be argued plausibly have that meaning in its transmitted Larzac context. But this would still do nothing for Fedelm etc., unless the formal concerns could be addressed, and even then it is attested as a context-free name, not an appellative noun."

The second possibility for Fedlemid, however, was quite remarkable:

Sabine Ziegler derives Fedelm and Fedelmid from the adjective feidil "enduring, lasting".

I went to the eDIL for feidil (or fedil) and derivatives and found these meanings:

lasting, enduring, long-lived, constant, continuous, perpetual

Prof. Jurgen's opinion on this derivation is as follows:

"...the only formal connection available indeed appears to be the Irish word feidil... All of this leaves us at best with feidil, for no other reason that this is the most similar word the Irish dictionary can come up with (albeit a very similar one in the present case, admittedly)... I will restate that that connection with feidil seems more suggestive than some other, shorter, root-etymologies... "

What I propose is this: whoever carved the Bodvoc Stone had rightly or wrongly interpreted Fedelmid to mean the same as Latin Eternalis and so he "translated" the name.

Prof. Jurgen commented on this idea thusly:

 "...the latter “meaning” would only have been the one that the translator assumed the name to have by his own reinterpretation (which may have been historically “correct” or incorrect), not the actual meaning of the name at the time, which again would have been limited to denoting a particular person. This is the realm of folk-etymology (usually called that only when the contemporary interpretation of a form can be shown by modern linguists to be historically wrong, but the approach is the exact same when the explanation happens to be “correct”, a criterion that would have made no sense to the folk-etymologiser)."

Eternalis = Fedelmid

Vedomavus = Tree-servant (i.e. Fedelmid, who was, as is made plain in the hagiographical account, a follower of the "tree" Lomman)

If I'm right about this, the Vortigern of Wales was indeed Foirtchern son of Fedelmid by a British wife.  This Foirtchern eventually carved out a kingdom for himself called Gwrtheyrnion, located in southern Powys.

I realize some may challenge my reading of this stone.  Still, I feel that what I have come up with is more than merely provocative.  In truth, it may point to the actual historical existence of Vortigern and allow us to trace his ancestry back to an Irish king.



Many years ago I floated the idea that Iusay, son of Ceredig son of Cunedda, may be a form of the family/tribal designation Gewissae or Gewissei. While a proposed relationship between these names was not well-received (or, rather, for the most part ignored!), I would like to briefly revisit the possibility here.

The forms Gewissei and Gewissae are attested (see Richard Coates "On some controversy surrounding Gewissae / Gewissei, Cerdic and Ceawlin").

The later Welsh forms Iwys or Iwis for the Gewissae would appear to derive from the Anglo-Saxon form of this word.  Simon Rodway has confirmed for me that "Iwys is the Welsh form of Gewissae (Armes Prydein, ed. Ifor Williams, English version by Rachel Bromwich (Cardiff, 1972), pp. 49-50)."

Alfred is king of the "giuoys", i.e. Gewissae, in Welsh Annal entry AD 900.  Asser says in his LIFE OF ALFRED: "Cerdic, who was the son of Elesa, who was the son of Geuuis, from whom the Britons name all that nation Geguuis [Gewissae]."

Iusay (variant Usai) has not been successfully etymologized by the Celtic linguists.  Recently, I sent queries to several, all of whom were forced to admit that they could not come up with an acceptable derivation.  I myself have tried everything I could think of, including Classical and Biblical names. This attempt ended in failure.  Although there are some forms of Biblical names as recorded in Irish texts (like Usai), the initial /I-/ of Iusay prohibits us from identifying such with the Welsh name.  A Ius- might suggest a Roman name like Justus, but then we cannot account for the ending of Iusay/Usai.

Of course, it is possible Iusay and Usai are corrupt or that they represent some Welsh mangling of an Irish name. Neither I nor the language experts have been able to find such an Irish analog.  This is not to say it does not exist, merely that we have been unable to find it.

All of which brings me back to this:

I have shown in previous research that the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle's Cerdic is Ceredig son of Cunedda, that the same source's Cynric is Cunorix son of Cunedda (as Maquicoline) and that Ceawlin, supposed son or successor of Cynric is, in fact, Cunedda (Maquicoline).  Sisam and Dumville have aptly proven that Elesa (= the metathesis Esla) is a borrowing from the Bernician pedigree.  Omitting Elesa, then, permits us to see Gewis, eponym of the Gewissei/Gewissae, as the immediate ancestor of Cerdic/Ceredig.  As the genealogy in the ASC in the main runs backwards, it may be that Gewis/Gewissae/Gewissei is properly the son of Ceredig.

If so, we might be able to account for Iusay after all.  It is well known that the /G-/ of Gewis or Gewissei/Gewissae came to be pronounced as a /Y-/.  This is what accounts for the Welsh forms beginning in /I-/.  /W/ and /U/ regularly substitute for each other, especially when going from Welsh to Latin (cf. gwyn and guin).  If the terminal diphthong in Iusay/Usai represents the /-ei/-ae/ of Gewissae/Gewissei, then we need only allow for a lost medial small vowel /-i-/.  Iusay would then be a Welsh form of not Gewis, but of the group designation Gewissae/Gewissei.

I feel this is a rather elegant solution to the problem posed by the name Iusay.  Additional support of this idea has come from the following top Celticists:

From Professor Oliver Padel Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, University of Cambridge -

"In fact I think your suggestion is not only ingenious but also quite convincing. The only difficult bit, I suppose, is how a tribal name came to be thought of as an individual personal name.

The I- for OE Ge- is fine, of course; as for its loss (Iu- becoming U-),  one might think of the wider Welsh loss of I- in words beginning Iu-, such that original iudd (`lord') became udd (I'm using Modern Welsh spellings for clarity), and personal names containing that word as an element did likewise. (You will find details in Jackson's Language & History in Early Britain -- sorry I haven't got it to hand)."

From Dr Ben Guy, Research Associate, Latin Lives of the Welsh Saints Project, Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, University of Cambridge -

"Your email was forwarded to me by Professor Russell, because I specialise in early Welsh genealogies (I completed a PhD on the subject last year). I'm happy to help if I'm able.

I think you're right that no etymology has been proposed for 'Iusay/Usai' before. What you propose is certainly an intriguing suggestion, but I think that you may encounter a couple of difficulties with it. Firstly, as you point out below, there appears to be one too few minims in Iusay for it to equate to Gewisse/Iwys. Welsh forms of Gewisse, of which the best known is in Armes Prydein Vawr, always appear as Iwis or Iwys (compare the examples listed in GPC online). There are also earlier forms that point to the same thing: 'Giuoys' in Annales Cambriae A, s.a. 899, and Asser's 'Geguuis'. But as you suggest, this is not an insurmountable problem - though the loss would be more readily explained on a palaeographical rather than phonological level. The greater problem is the '-ay/-ai' ending. Comparable endings appear in the English forms because they survive in Latinate contexts - chiefly Bede's nominative plural form 'Geuissae' and a genitive plural 'Gewisorum' (implying a Latin nom. pl. 'Gewisi') in some Anglo-Saxon charters (as mentioned in the Keynes-Lapidge Asser book, p. 229). I don't think that that kind of ending would be expected in an OE context, and it certainly wouldn't in Welsh - GPC takes Iwys as a plural or collective noun whose ending has been influenced by the plural noun ending -wys (< Lat. -enses) found in words like 'Gwennwys'. So in other words, for your proposed derivation to work, Iusay would have to be a version of a Latinate form such as Bede's 'Geuissae'. The question of how that got into the Ceredigion genealogy in the form 'Iusay' would then be all the more complex, and wouldn't be solely a matter of linguistics! That's not to say that you're necessarily incorrect, of course, but it would require a more elaborate, and therefore more speculative, theory of derivation.

There is one further thing you might consider though, if you wanted to pursue this further: the genealogy of St Cadog. This survives in two versions, one appended to the Life of St Cadog, the other in the Jesus College 20 genealogies. The former calls Cadog's great-grandfather 'Solor', the latter 'Filur'. Both of these names were probably copied ultimately from 'Silur' or the like. Given where St Cadog's cult centre is (Llancarfan), this can't be anything other than a representation of the pre-Roman tribe 'Silures', who were resident in that area. But the form 'Silur' is not the result of regular linguistic development from the 1st century AD; it is a form taken at a later stage from a Latin text, with the '-res' ending lopped off. This might help you envisage the kind of process that might have led to a Latinate form such as Bede's 'Geuissae' being included in the Ceredigion pedigree, but one has to make rather more leaps to get there!"

From Professor Doctor P.C.H. Schrijver, Department of Languages, Literature and Communication - Celtic, Institute for Cultural Inquiry, University of Utrecht -

"Linguistically, the first thing that comes to mind regarding the initial alternation Usai /Iusay is the pair OW iud, MW udd 'lord' < *iüdd. So OW word-initial j- disappears in front of ü (= MW u). As to your assumption that Iusay may be connected to Gewissae if there is a rule that states that medial -i- is lost, I can tell you that there is indeed such a rule: *wi > ü in non-final syllables (as in *wikanti: > MW ugeint, see my Studies in British Celtic Historical Phonology 159-60). This generates the ü that we need in order to later get rid of the initial j. The only remaining problem is connecting OE Ge- /je/ with OW j-. Barring that, I would say, yes, what you suggest is possible. That still leaves the origin and etymology of the name in the dark (the reconstruction leads to something like *iwissai- or *g/jewissai-), but first things first."

From Professor Doctor Stefan Zimmer, Department of Celtic, University of Bonn -

"Spontaneaously, your idea of interpreting "Iusay" as a W form of OE Gewisse seems quite attractive. One must, of course, check meticulously the palaeographic details. As I am, alas, not a palaeograher myself, I cannot say more. I see no "LINGUISTIC" problems."

From Professor Patrick Sims-Williams, Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies, The University of Wales, Aberystwyth -

"I suppose Ius- is the older form and became Us- like Iustic in Culhwch which becomes Usic. Forms of Gewissae are noted by Williams/Bromwich Armes Prydein pp. xv-xvi. One Welsh form is Iwys, which rhymes as I-wys, and as the diphthong wy can become w, you could get I-ws- which could be written Ius- in Old Welsh and then add  -ae from Latin which almost gets you to Iusay."

From Professor Doctor P.C.H. Schrijver, Department of Languages, Literature and Communication, Celtic, Institute for Cultural Inquiry, University of Utrecht -

"Linguistically, the first thing that comes to mind regarding the initial alternation Usai /Iusay is the pair OW iud, MW udd 'lord' < *iüdd. So OW word-initial j- disappears in front of ü (= MW u). As to your assumption that Iusay may be connected to Gewissae if there is a rule that states that medial -i- is lost, I can tell you that there is indeed such a rule: *wi > ü in non-final syllables (as in *wikanti: > MW ugeint, see my Studies in British Celtic Historical Phonology 159-60). This generates the ü that we need in order to later get rid of the initial j. The only remaining problem is connecting OE Ge- /je/ with OW j-. Barring that, I would say, yes, what you suggest is possible. That still leaves the origin and etymology of the name in the dark (the reconstruction leads to something like *iwissai- or *g/jewissai-), but first things first."

From Professor Doctor Stefan Zimmer, Department of Celtic, University of Bonn -

"Spontaneaously, your idea of interpreting "Iusay" as a W form of OE Gewisse seems quite attractive. One must, of course, check meticulously the palaeographic details. As I am, alas, not a palaeograher myself, I cannot say more. I see no "LINGUISTIC" problems."

From Professor Patrick Sims-Williams, Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies, The University of Wales, Aberystwyth -

"I suppose Ius- is the older form and became Us- like Iustic in Culhwch which becomes Usic. Forms of Gewissae are noted by Williams/Bromwich Armes Prydein pp. xv-xvi. One Welsh form is Iwys, which rhymes as I-wys, and as the diphthong wy can become w, you could get I-ws- which could be written Ius- in Old Welsh and then add  -ae from Latin which almost gets you to Iusay."



The great Cunedda, called Cunedag (supposedly from *Cunodagos, ‘Good Hound’) in the Historia Brittonum and Cunedaf in the MARWNAD CUNEDDA, is said to have come down (or been brought down) from Manau Gododdin, a region around the head of the Firth of Forth, to Gwynedd. This chieftain and his sons then, according to the account found in the HB, proceeded to repulse Irish invaders. Unfortunately, this tradition is largely mistaken.

Cunedda of Manau Gododdin, the reputed founder of Gwynedd, was himself actually Irish. There was an early St. Cuindid (d. c. 497 CE) son of Cathbad, who founded a monastery at Lusk, ancient Lusca. In the year entry 498 CE of the Ulster Annals, his name is spelled in the genitive as Chuinnedha. In Tigernach 496 CE, the name is Cuindedha.

The Irish sources also have the following additional information concerning St. Cuindid:

Mac Cuilind - Cunnid proprium nomen - m. Cathmoga m. Cathbath m Cattain m Fergossa m. Findchada m Feic m. Findchain m Imchada Ulaig m. Condlai m Taide m. Cein m Ailella Olum.

U496.2 Quies M. Cuilinn episcopi Luscan. (Repose of Mac Cuilinn, bishop of Lusca).

D.viii. idus Septembris. 993] Luscai la Macc Cuilinn

994] caín decheng ad-rannai, 995] féil Scéthe sund linni, 996] Coluimb Roiss gil Glandai.

trans: 'With Macc cuilinn of Luscae thou apportionest (?) a fair couple: the feast of Sciath here we have, (and that) of Columb of bright Ross Glandae'

The (later-dated) notes to this entry read: 'Lusk, i.e. in Fingall, i.e. a house that was built of weeds (lusrad) was there formerly, and hence the place is named Lusca ........Macc cuilinn, i.e. Luachan mac cuilinn, ut alii putant. Cuinnid was his name at first, Cathmog his father's name'.

Significantly, Lusk or Lusca is a very short distance from the huge promontory fort at Drumanagh, the Bruidhne Forgall Manach of the ancient Irish tales. Manau is an error for this Manach (see Appendix IX).

Aeternus, Cunedda's father, is none other than Aithirne of Dun and Ben Etair just south of Lusca. Paternus Pesrudd (‘Red-Cloak’), Cunedda's grandfather, is probably not derived from Mac Badairn of Es Ruad (‘Red Waterfall’), since Es Ruad is in northwest Ireland (Ballyshannon in Co. Donegal). I think Paternus, from the L. word for ‘father’, is Da Derga, the Red God; Da, god, being interpreted as W. tad (cf. L. tata, ‘father’). The Da Derga's hostel was just a little south of the Liffey. Cunedda's great-great-grandfather is said to be one Tegid (Tacitus), while his great-great-great grandfather is called Cein. These two chieftains are clearly Taig/Tadhg and his father Cian. Cian was the founder of the Irish tribe the Ciannachta, who ruled Mag Breg, a region situated between the Liffey and either Duleek or Drumiskin (depending on the authority consulted). The Lusca and Manapia of Chuinnedha are located in Mag Breg.

According to the genealogy edited in Corpus Genealogiarum Sanctorum Hiberniae, the name of Chuinnedha’s father was Cathmug. He belonged to the descendants of Tadc mac Cian, otherwise called the Cianachta. There was a concentration of the saints of this family in the Dublin/Louth/ Meath area, corresponding roughly to the teritory of the Cianachta Breg.

It is surely not a coincidence that according to the Irish Annals Chuinnedha's other name was Mac Cuilinn. We’ve seen above that Mac Cuilinn and the Maqui-Coline of the Wroxeter Stone in Wales are not only the same name, but the same person. Gwynedd was thus founded by Chuinnedha alias Mac Cuilinn of the Manapii in Ireland, not by a chieftain of Manau Gododdin in Britain.

The Irish origin of Cunedda should not be a surprise to us, as there is the well-documented case of the Welsh genealogy of the royal house of Dyfed, which was altered to hide the fact that Dyfed was founded by the Irish Deisi. We know this because we have the corresponding Irish genealogy from a saga which tells of the expulsion of the Deisi from Ireland and their settlement in Dyfed. As is true of Cunedda's pedigree, in the Welsh Dyfed pedigree we find Roman names substituted for Irish names.



Quite a few years ago now Dr. Richard Coates clarified the etymological origin of the tribal name Gewissei or Gewissae.  He linked the name, correctly, to Old English ge-wis.  Here are the listings for the proper name Gewis (itself concocted from the word) and ge-wis from the Bosworth and Toller dictionary:

Gewis, Giwis, es; m. Gewis, the great grandfather of Cerdic :-- Se Cerdic wæs Elesing, Elesa Esling, Esla Gewising, Gewis Wiging Cerdic was the son of Elesa, Elesa the son of Esla, Elsa the son of Gewis, Gewis the son of Wig, Chr. 495; Erl. 2, 5: 597; Erl. 20, 7. Giwis, 552; Erl. 16, 19. According to Asset it was from this name that the term Gevissæ, applied by Bede to the West Saxons, was derived. 'Gewis, a quo Britone totam illam gentem Gegwis nominant,' see Grmm. Gesch. D. S. 458. For the use by Bede, see Bd. 3, 7-'Gens Occidentalium Saxonum qui antiquitus Gevissæ vocabantur ... primum Gevissorum gentem ingrediens,' where the translation has 'West Seaxna þeód ... Ðá com he æ-acute;rest upp on West Seaxum.' See also 4, 15, 16. Smith's note on the word is 'Gevissæ. Saxonicum est pro Occidentalium. Sic Visigothi præposita tantum Saxonica expletiva Ge.' See Thorpe's Lappenberg i. 109, note.

ge-wis, -wiss; adj. Certain, sure, knowing, foreknowing; certus :-- Gewis be heora gerihtnesse certus de illorum correctione, Bd. 5, 22; S. 644, 45. Ðæt is gesægd ðæt he wæ-acute;re gewis his sylfes forþfóre qui præscius sui obitus exstitisse videtur, 4, 24; S. 599, 14. Wite ðæt érest gewiss ðæt ðæt mód byþ ðære sáwle æ-acute;ge know first that as certain, that the mind is the soul's eye, Shrn. 178, 2. Gewis is constat, Hpt. Gl. 419. Ða úþwitan ðe sæ-acute;don ðæt næ-acute;fre nán wiht gewisses næ-acute;re búton twæónunga the philosophers that said that there was no certainty without doubt, Shrn. 174, 25. Swá litel gewis funden found so little certain, Bt. 41, 4; Fox 250, 20. Gewis andgit intelligence, 5; Fox 252, 20, 30. We syndon gewisse ðínes lífes we are acquainted with thy life, Guthl. 5; Gdwin. 30, 18. He hí gewisse gedyde and gelæ-acute;rde be ingonge ðæs écan ríces de ingressu regni æterni certos reddidit, Bd. 4, 16; S. 584, 35. On gewissum tídum at certain times, R. Ben. interl. 48. Of gewissum intingan of certain causes, R. Ben. interl. 63. Myd gewyssum gesceáde with certain reason, wherefore; propter certam rationem, quapropter, Nicod. 3; Thw. 2, 6. [O. H. Ger. giwis: Ger. gewiss certus.]

It has been thought (including by the present author) that the term was meant to be a way of distinguishing "good" Britons from "bad", the bad ones being, of course, the wealas or Welsh.  Your enemy is a foreigner and strange to you.  Your friend or ally is known and you can be sure and certain of him.

But I've just had cause to wonder whether there might be more behind the Gewissei name - as well as the Cuth- names who are first brought into connection with Ceawlin/Cunedda in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.  I long ago made a case for the Cuth- names being for the goddess Cuda of the Cotswolds.

Her Ceaulin 7 Cuþa gefuhton wiþ Ęþelbryht. 7 hine in Cent gefliemdon, 7 tuegen aldormen on Wibban dune ofslogon, Oslaf 7 Cnebban.

Her Cuþwulf feaht wiþ Bretwalas æt Bedcan forda. 7 .iiii. tunas genom, Lygeanburg. 7 Ægelesburg. Benningtun. 7 Egonesham. 7 þy ilcan geare he gefor.

Her Cuþwine 7 Ceawlin fuhton wiþ Brettas, 7 hie .iii. kyningas ofslogon, Coinmail, 7 Condidan, 7 Farinmail, in þære stowe þe is gecueden Deorham. 7 genamon .iii. ceastro Gleawanceaster, 7 Cirenceaster, 7 Baþanceaster.

hand8: Her Mauricius feng to Romana rice.

Her Ceawlin 7 Cuþa fuhton wiþ Brettas, in þam stede þe mon nemneþ Feþanleag. 7 Cuþan mon ofslog. 7 Ceaulin monige tunas genom, 7 unarimedlice herereaf, 7 ierre he hwearf þonan to his agnum.

However, this may be wrong.  Cunedda/Cunedag /Kynadaf (Cunedaf) of Welsh tradition owes his name to the Irish Chuinnedha, also spelled Cuindedha, Cunnid, Cuinnid.  Let us bear this in mind as we look at the various forms of Old English cunnan, ‘know’:

tō cunnenne
cunnen / (ġe)cūþ

Suppose this happened: the name Cunedda/Chuinnedha, regardless of its meaning in Irish or Welsh, was intrepreted by the early English as being related to their own word cunnan, which has forms such as cunnaþ. And that the Cuth- names themselves should be derived not from the goddess Cuda, but from a spelling like cūþe.

If so - and I realize this is highly speculative, and quite possibly wrong - we might suppose that the term Gewissei came about as a way of identifying the descendants of Cunedda.  In other words, the Sure or Certain or Knowing Ones were those belonging to the teulu of a man whose name the English believed meant something akin to the Known One. 



The family of Arthur as found in the early sources is a fairly late fabrication.  I have discussed Guinevere and Igraine in some depth in my book THE MYSTERIES OF AVALON.  The first is an Irish goddess, while the second is a deity associated with the Tintagel headland.  Some of his sons are actually personified streams. Other supposed blood connections are equally fraudulent, the products of folklore or literary invention.

Lucky for us, once we accept Arthur as merely another name for Ceredig of Ceredigion, a very prosaic and mostly acceptable nuclear family can be can be fleshed out.  

Gwawl, mother of Ceredig son of Cunedda

According to the early Welsh genealogies, the mother of Ceredig son of Cunedda (in a later source called the mother of Cunedda) was named Gwawl.  She was supposedly a daughter of Coel Hen of the North, a common progenitor of early princely lines.  Although some have disagreed, Coel himself is likely a eponym created for the Kyle region of South Ayrshire in southern Scotland.

Gwawl is though to mean (GPC) 'light, brightness, radiance, splendour; bright'.  This would be a very pretty name for a woman, and an especially apt one for a queen.  Unfortunately, there is a another word in Welsh spelled exactly the same which leads us to a different conclusion regarding Ceredig's mother.

Gwawl is 'wall' in Welsh and Welsh tradition records a 'Gwawl son of Clud.'.  Gwawl son of Clud (Clud being an eponym for the Clyde) is a personification of the Antonine Wall.  As Cunedda was wrongly said to have come from Manau Gododdin, a region which stretched to both sides of the same Roman defensive barrier, it seems pretty obvious to me that Gwawl was chosen as the name of Ceredig's mother for exactly this reason, i.e he and his father were said to have originated or were "born" from the eastern end of the Antonine Wall.

An ancient Welsh poem called MARWNAD CUNEDDA, or the "Death-Song of Cunedda", places the Terrible Cheif-Dragon at Northern battle sites.  Cunedda is said to have fought at Carlisle and Durham.  These locations are interesting, as they designate sites not far to the south of Hadrian's Wall, at both the western and eastern ends, respectively.  But what are we to make of this claim in the panegyric?

Carlisle, the earlier Roman fort of Luguvalium, is directly between the Camboglanna and Aballava forts.  If Cunedda really were fighting here, and his sons (or teulu) were with him at the time, then it is certainly conceivable that Ceredig/Arthur fought and died at Camboglanna.  This would appear to be in contradistinction to Ceredig (or Cerdic) fighting in the extreme south of England and perishing at a Camlan in NW Wales.

There are two possibilities, as I see it.  First, as a mercenary chieftain (or federate in the old Roman style), Ceredig/Arthur was literally fighting all over the place.  There is nothing wrong with this notion and it cannot, on the face of things, be objected to.  We do have to remember, though, that Cunedda himself was falsely associated with the Far North when he was converted from an Irishman into a Briton with bogus Roman ancestry.  The same death-song, for example, has him being militarily active in Bernicia, which at its maximum extent eventually bordered right on Manau Gododdin, the region substituted for that around Drumanagh in Ireland.  Thus it could well be that these northern locations with which Cunedda became associated represent fictional elements in his exploits.  In other words, as he came to be seen as a great British chieftain of the North, who at some point in his career came down and conquered or settled in NW Wales, it was deemed necessary to provide a "history" for him that preceded his actions in Gwynedd.

Meleri, Wife of Ceredig Son of Cunedda

According to Dr. Simon Rodway of the University of Wales, Meleri is a hypocoristic form of Eleri.  'My', which means the same as our word my, is affixed to the front of the name as a term of endearment, viz. 'My Eleri.'  Some sources have Eleri as a Welsh form of the Latin name Hilarius, from hilaris, 'cheerful, merry.'  However, this is wrong. According to Dr. Simon Rodway of The University of Wales,

"Meleri is a hypocoristic form of Eleri, following a very well-recognized insular Celtic pattern. It literally means ‘my Eleri’, cf. Teleri ‘your Eleri’. Eleri has nothing to do with the name Hillary.  The name comes from the Afon Eleri (modern Leri) in Ceredigion and was, perhaps, a goddess name."

In Richard JamesThomas's Enwau afonydd a nentydd Cymru (1938;p. 142), the stream Eleri is associated with Welsh alar ‘excess, too much’.

Meleri is one of the many daughters of Brychan, the eponymous IRISH founder of the kingdom of Brycheiniog. which lay to the southeast of Ceredigion.

Children of Meleri and Ceredig

Regarding the progeny of Ceredig, I would refer the reader to the relevant entry in P.C. Bartram's A CLASSICAL WELSH DICTIONARY. He lists the following sons and daughters according to various sources:
Iusay (whom I've discussed in an Appendix above)
Sant father of Dewi
Cynon, father of Cynidr Gell
Samson, father of Gwgon
Ithel, father of St. Dogfael
Garthog, father of Cyngar
Hydwn, ancestor of Teilo

Gwawr, wife of Glywys and mother of Gwynllyw
Gwen, mother of St. Padarn

To me the most interesting person among Ceredig's children is the daughter Gwawr, mother of Gwynllyw.  On my blog site I discussed the Coedkernyw in Gwynllwg, a petty kingdom named for Gwynllyw, as well as the Celliwig located in the same vicinity.  Arthur in Welsh tradition is always strongly associated with a Kernyw and also with a Celliwig. 

Arthur features largely in the Life of St. Carannog.  There we meet with both a dragon (a reflection of Uther Pendragon, as I showed in my book THE MYSTERIES OF AVALON) and a magical alter/table.  Here is the story as provided in the translation from the Latin by A.W. Wade Evans (1944):

Vita Sancti Carantoci (Version 1)

4. In those times Cadwy and Arthur were reigning in that country, dwelling in Dindraithov. And Arthur came wandering about that he might find a most formidable serpent, huge and terrible, which had been ravaging twelve portions of the land of Carrum (i.e., locus, monastery). And Carannog came and greeted Arthur, who joyfully received a blessing from him. And Carannog asked Arthur, whether he had heard where his altar had landed. And Arthur replied, ‘If I shall have a reward, I will tell thee.’ And he said,’ What reward dost thou ask?’ He answered, ‘That if thou art a servant of God, thou shouldst bring forth the serpent, which is near to thee, that we may see it.’ Then the blessed Carannog went and prayed to the Lord, and immediately the serpent came with a great noise like a calf running to its mother, and it bent its head before the servant of God like a slave obeying his lord with humble heart and with sidelong glance. And he placed his stole about its neck and led it like a lamb, nor did it raise its wings or claws. And its neck was like the neck of a bull of seven years, which the stole could scarcely go round. Then they went together to the citadel and greeted Cadwy, and they were welcomed by him. And he led that serpent down the middle of the hail and fed it in the presence of the people, and they tried to kill it. He did not allow it to be killed because he said that it had come at the word of God to destroy the sinners who were in Carrum, and to show the power of God through him. And after this he went outside the gate of the citadel and Carannog loosed it and bade it to depart and not to hurt anyone nor to return any more. And it went forth and remained as he had foretold, according to God’s ordinance. And he received the altar which Arthur had thought to convert into a table, but whatever was placed upon it was thrown to a distance. And the king asked of him that he should accept Carrum for ever by a written deed. And after this he built a church there.

5. Afterwards a voice came to him from heaven to cast the altar into the sea. Then he sent Cadwy [and] Arthur to enquire concerning the altar, and it was told them that it had landed at the mouth of the Guellit. And the king said, ‘Again give him twelve parts of the land where the altar was found.’ Afterwards Carannog came and built a church there, and the monastery was called Carrov.



Much has been made of the 'dux erat bellorum' or 'leader of battles' title given to Arthur in the HISTORIA BRITTONUM.  For the most part, scholars have been led astray into thinking this was an indication that Arthur held a true Roman rank (or one patterned after an earlier Roman rank).  The majority hold to something like Dux Britanniarum, the military leader in the north of Britain.  Early Welsh sources refer to Arthur as 'miles', 'soldier', and this has seemed to lend support to the the Dux Britanniarum idea.

If I'm right and Arthur is Cerdic of Wessex, another possibility presents itself.  In the ANGLO-SAXON CHRONICLE, Cerdic first appears in the annal entry for the year 495 A.D.  He is referred to as an aldorman, according to the translator Garmonsway "perhaps a translation of principes."  The Latin version of the ASC uses duces duo when referring to Cerdic and Cynric.

Here is the definition of alderman or ealdorman as found in the Bosworth and Toller dictionary.  The reader will note the meaning does include that of duke and often denoted a military leader.  In my opinion, then, dux erat bellorum is merely a Latin rendering for ealdorman.


I. an elderman, ALDERMAN, senator, chief, duke, a nobleman of the highest rank, and holding an office inferior only to that of the king; mājor nātu, sĕnātor, prŏcer, princeps, prīmas, dux, præfectus, trĭbūnus, quīcunque est aliis grădu aut nātu mājor. The title of Ealdorman or Aldorman denoted civil as well as military pre-eminence. The word ealdor or aldor in Anglo-Saxon denotes princely dignity: in Beowulf it is used as a synonym for cyning, þeóden, and other words applied to royal personages. Like many other titles of rank in the various Teutonic languages, it, strictly speaking, implies age, though practically this idea does not survive in it any more than it does in the word Senior, the original of the feudal term Seigneur. Every shire had its ealdorman, who was the principal judicial officer of the shire, and also the leader of its armed force. The internal regulations of the shire, as well as its political relation to the whole kingdom, were under his immediate guidance and supervision,—the scír-geréfa, or sheriff, being little more than his deputy, and under his control. The dignity of the ealdorman was supported by lands within his district, which appear to have passed with the office,—hence the phrases, ðæs ealdormonnes lond, mearc, gemǽro, etc. which so often occur. The ealdorman had also a share of the fines and other monies levied to the king's use; though, as he was invariably appointed from among the higher nobles, he must always have possessed lands of his own to the extent of forty hides, v. Hist. Eliens. ii. 40. The ealdormen of the several shires seem to have been appointed by the king, with the assent of the higher nobles, if not of the whole witena gemót, and to have been taken from the most trustworthy, powerful, and wealthy of the nobles of the shire. The office and dignity of ealdorman was held for life,—though sometimes forfeited for treason and other grave offences; but it was not strictly hereditary



I have previously demonstrated that the Manau Gododdin associated with Cunedda (or Uther Pendragon, the father of Ceredig/Arthur) is an error or intentional substitution for a place in Ireland that resembles Manau.  As Cunedda hailed from Lusk and its environs, the natural conclusion was to look towards the nearby promontory fort of Drumanagh.

Some of the possible etymologies for Drumanagh are discussed here, in Chapter 3 of Sean Daffy's thesis:

To this we may add:

While I once leaned towards a possible connection with the Menapii of Ptolemy's map of Ireland, I no longer think that is a feasible theory.  Instead, we should take a closer look at the legendary figure Forgall Monach, who has two forts (or one bearing two names?) in this region.

To begin with, Forgall's name is not really a name.  It instead designates a rank, as is made clear by the entry in the eDIL for this word:

forgell, forgal(l)

Aire forgill a landed proprietor next in rank to a `ri': aire forggaill cid ara n-eperr? Ar is hé fortgella for na gráda doruirmisem, Críth G. 417 ( Laws iv 326 ) `testifies to [the character of] the grades'; `makes affirmation above the grades' Mac Neill, Law of Status 29 (see Críth G. p. 72 , B. Crólige p. 70 § 46 ). aire forgill, Críth G. 11 ( Laws iv 298 ). a. forggaill LL 29b22 . Called also: fer forgaill ZCP v 499 § 5 .

His epithet Monach is what I now believe lies behind the name of the Drumanagh fort.  Again from the eDIL:


adj o, ā. (mon) able to perform feats or tricks; dexterous, skilled. cach clessach na chanad cheilg | manach sein [i]sin Gædilg, LL 144b27 . ? fer manach craftsman (?), Hib. Min. 55.12 = f. manath, IT i 104.10 (see manath). n p. monaig ` equestrians' (= trick-riders?), Laws v 108.20 , with gl.: .i. bid ar monaib a n-each isna haenaigib `who stand on the backs of their horses (? perform feats of riding) in the fairs', 27 . As sobriquet: Forgall m.¤ the trickster (?), LL 144b26 . Forgull M.¤ .i. cleasuch ro bhoí, Cóir An. 205. ingen Forgaill manaich, LU 10176.

Forgall Monach is thus the 'skillful, high-ranking landed proprietor' or some such.  As for his proper name, well, that is not difficult to determine.  His fort at or near Lusk was called Luglochta Loga or Luglochtaib Loga.  While the first part of this place-name has eluded specialists, Loga here is for the god Lugh. 

I would render the place-name not as the 'Garden' of Lugh, which is suggested by an early gloss, but as Loc (log, lag, luic, lucc, etc.) + lucht, giving us a meaning of 'The Place of Those Belonging to Lugh.'  However, Professor Jurgen Uhlich of Trinity College had the following to say about my proposed etymology:

“While Loga is indeed the regular gen. sg. of Lug and lochtaib may be connected to lucht - although the -o- herer does not prove this, since being unstressed in is not a proper /o/ but may also represent a schwa slightly rounded by the the neighbouring guttural and can thus represent ANY original vowel short or long, including diphthongs, I do not think it is possible to state ‘lug- for loc’, since while <g> could stand for an earlier spelling <c> for underlying /g/m the stressed vowel u in the paradigm of loc is limited to specific cases and due to Primitive Irish raising of the original o, thus strictly nom./acc. sg./ loc, locaib as against luic, luc, lucu, with nothing approaching free interchange between these cases, and since the composition form of loc is strictly loc-, lug- cannot be it, but seems rather like belonging to Lug itself. Formally it seems more like a plural, the lochta (lachta? lechta?…) of Lug, [namely] of Lug, with the idea ‘of Lug’ originally expressed in Lug- and then reinforced secondarily by adding Loga.”

As Lugh was the skillful god and master crafsman in both Irish and Welsh tradition, it is fairly obvious to me that the Skillful, High-Ranking Proprietor is none other than Lugh himself.

The god Lugh was known as Lleu in Wales, and he was traditionally referred to as the Lord of Gwynedd.  And it was Gwynedd which Cunedda and his sons (or teulu) came to control sometime after the Roman withdrawal.

Forgall Monach is credited with having another great fort, this one called the Bruidne Forgall Monach.  Now, we can't know if this bruidne or 'hostel' is merely another name for Luglochta(ib) Loga or if it designates another nearby site.  But I'm guessing the Ridge of Monach or the Drumanagh fort is this place.

As the HISTORIA BRITTONUM ascribed to the monk Nennius claims that Cunedda came with his sons from Manau, i.e. the Ridge of [Forgall] Monach, and as Arthur was later said to have been born on a promontory fort at Tintagel in England, I would propose that the most likely birthplace for Ceredig son of Cunedda was, in fact, Drumanagh. 

Of course, we must wait for an actual excavation of Drumanagh before we can substantiate this kind of claim.  If we can't definitively show sub-Roman occupation of Drumanagh, then the notion that Ceredig/Arthur was actually born there cannot be proven.  According to Dr. Ger Dowling, "No evidence [of early medieval re-use of the site] - features identified by geophysical survey cannot be directly dated. This requires excavation." For now, we must rely on the thesis quoted above by Sean Daffy, as well as on the following more recent survey:

Dowling, G. 2014. Geophysical investigations at Drumanagh and Loughshinny, north County Dublin. Late Iron Age and 'Roman' Ireland, Discovery Programme Reports 8, 59–90 (Dublin: Wordwell)

A Note on Lambay Island

According to Sean Daffy's thesis,

"...just over 6km to the southeast of Drumanagh lies Lambay Island, where at least two crouched inhumations dating to the late 1st century AD were uncovered in 1927. The burial rite of crouched inhumation, and the presence of Roman brooches and Iron Age objects that have very close parallels in Wales and Northern England, would indicate that these individuals had strong links with communities in post-conquest Britain and are very likely to have come originally from Britain themselves (Rynne 1976; O’Brien 1990)... It is therefore possible that the burials on Lambay Island may belong to the wealthy members of a similar trading community that was settled just off the east coast of Ireland during the Late Iron Age (Waddell, 1998, 375-7)... recent geophysical survey on Lambay Island has revealed the presence of a promontory fort (consisting of an earthen bank and ditch) with two ring-barrows located immediately outside the ramparts. Traces of numerous circular huts in the interior also suggest that this site may have been a significant settlement (Cooney 2009). Another much smaller promontory fort a short distance to the east consists of three sets of banks and ditches that are closely spaced like the defences at Drumanagh."



My identification of Arthur with Cerdic of Wessex and then with Ceredig son of Cunedda naturally led me to a consideration of the Arthur name.  Ceredig, I discovered, had three descendants with Art- or "Bear" names.  This seemed promising, but I at first could not account for why bears were so important among the early members of this princely line.  Then I turned to the geography of their kingdom in western Wales, viz. Ceredigion.  There I noticed a river called the Arth - literally, the Bear River - in the very heartland of the region over which they ruled.

I went on to surmise that the name Arthur, indisputably from the Roman/Latin Artorius, was a decknamen that had replaced an earlier Irish or Hiberno-British 'bear-king' title or name.  As Ceredig was the founder of the kingdom, he would have been the first of his line to be given a bear designation. Aerial archaeology has only recently found what is believed to be a hillfort at Llandewi Aberarth and this defensive work may well have been built or re-used by Ceredig.

Having established all this (at least in theory!), my next question had to do with the nature of the original 'Bear-king' name/title.  Was this merely a territorial honorific, one which did no more than identify Ceredig as the King of the Arth [River]? Or was some totemic element present?  The Aeron River hard by the Arth is from a Proto-Celtic *Agrona, meaning 'Carnage-goddess'.  Divine rivers are plentiful in Celtic lands and Wales is no exception.  Several examples are known.  Might the Arth, too, have been a divine stream?  And, if so, was it worshiped by Ceredig/Arthur? 

Well, it goes without saying these questions cannot be answered definitively.  Bears were sacred animals among the Celtic peoples prior to the coming of Christianity.  Of this we have plentiful evidence. See, for example, the following excellent sources:

Anne Ross, Pagan Celtic Britain, pp. 434-5

Miranda Green’s Animals in Celtic Life and Myth, pp. 217-8 from

Bears and Coins: The Iconography of Protection in Late Roman Infant Burials, by Nina Crummy, in Britannia 41 (2010), 37-93

My main problem with Arthur/Ceredig being a pagan has to do precisely with his decknamen Artorius.  Such Latin names were assumed because the chieftain in question wished to be perceived as a civilized Briton who looked back upon the Roman period with nostalgic longing. Connections with famous Romans of the past were constantly being sought and genealogies forced to reflect family relationships with such Romans. The Romans of the later period were, of course, thoroughly Christian.  Hence it makes little sense to propose pagan worship of a divine Bear River by a Bear-king of Ceredigion who had taken a Roman name!

Furthermore, Irish sources insists Cunedda himself was a saint.  While this sainthood could well have been bestowed on Ceredig's father only by later and, possibly, spurious tradition, it is true that Ireland itself became fully Christian fairly early on. We must consider the possibility, then, that when Cunedda and his sons (or teulu) came over to Wales they were already Christian. 

We cannot judge whether Arthur/Ceredig worshipped a divine Bear River based on a source like the Welsh Mabinogion. In the tale 'Culhwch and Olwen', for example, we are told Arthur had relatives at Caer Dathal.  This would appear significant, as the early legendary lord of that fort was none other than Math son of Mathonwy.  Math is based on an ancient taboo word for 'bear.' While Rachel Bromwich in her notes to the TRIADS mentions some possible etymologies for Mathonwy, I would propose that this name is actually the same bear word plus the male divine suffix, with a territorial suffix -wy appended.  There are some other possibilities for Mathonwy, as Rachel Bromwich discusses in a note to her TRIADS (see below).

In the past I tried to make a case for Caer Dathal being related to Dindaethwy.  But a recent discussion with one of the world's top experts in early Irish, Professor Jurgen Uhlich of Trinity College, Dublin, has dissuaded me from further defense of this argument.  He is less than enthusiastic about the idea, as is made clear by his most comments:

"I am not aware of any proven case of cutting of -al in particular for the purpose of forming a hypocoristic. One problem aside, namely that hypocoristics are more usually formed with a dedicated suffix (such as frequently -án, if not the older -u), another difficulty is that after “shortening”, it is generally impossible to ascertain what the lost second part was, unless there happens to be only one name in existence with that first part. A typical case to illustrate my point is Cathán, which in view of the popularity of cath in names could formally represent any one of Cathal, Cathgal, Cathgus, etc. And on top of that there is also the unshortened Cathalán, which could suggest (a full and much more time-consuming analysis of the material pending) that hypocoristic loss of -al was actually avoided.

And for the present case, an added difficulty is that Welsh Daeth is actually a poor fit even for *Dath/*Daith by itself because of the diphthong -ae-."

If a case cannot be made for Caer Dathal being another name for Din Daethwy, where is the former fort?

One clue remains.  Arthur is said to be related to the sons of Iaen, who occupy Caer Dathal.  But Iaen is not a true personal name.  It is, instead, the Welsh word for ice or, more specifically, an ice sheet and, by extension, a glacier.  While it is certainly possible Iaen is a corruption of a real personal name (perhaps an Irish one), the Mabinogion stories are replete with such made-up personal names.  If we go with Iaen as a designation for someplace in Arfon dominated by ice, then we must look to that part of Arfon that included Snowdonia/Eryri. 

In previous blog posts and in an appendix to the current book, I showed that there never was an Ambrosius at Dinas Emrys.  Nor is it likely the hillfort was ever really called after Vortigern as the "Fiery Pharoah".  The story of the High King giving Dinas Emrys and Gwynedd to Ambrosius was clearly substituted for what really happened, i.e. the northwestern part of Wales was given to or taken by the Irish.  There is ample evidence to support this claim, from Laigin place-names to the advent of Cunedda (a chieftain of the Ciannachta).  Snippets of Welsh tradition suggest that Cunedda’s grandson Cadwallon Llawhir cleared the Irish out of Arfon and Mon – a true irony, given that Cunedda’s descendants were all Hiberno-British.

Dinas Emrys is not only in Arfon, but in Eryri.  It lies in a location that, during hard winters, becomes an ice-laden landscape.  A fort in such a place might well have been poetically termed the home of the "Sons of Ice".  Dinas Emrys is also well-situated in regards to the other places that figure in the Math Son of Mathonwy tale.

Could it be, then, that the reason Caer Dathal - such a famous place in the ancient lore of Wales - became lost is solely because its Irish nature had been concealed beneath the name of the legendary Ambrosius, last of the Romans in Britain?  Was it an Irish chieftain by the name of Dathal who was responsible for the proven sub-Roman occupation of Dinas Emrys?

I've long been frustrated with the Emrys story.  I knew that something else was there - but I couldn't find anything beneath the folklore accretions.  But if we accept as fact that it was not Ambrosius who took or was granted Gwynedd, but instead the Irish, then it stands to reason that Dinas Emrys itself must once have had an Irish name. 

And the Dathal of Caer Dathal is just such a name.

If Iaen ("ice") is indeed an indicator that the fort was in the mountains of Arfon, then all the various lowland forts that have been proposed for it can no longer be considered. While other forts exist in Snowdonia, none - to my knowledge - display evidence of Dark Age occupation.


Here is the entry on Iaen from P.C. Bartram's A CLASSICAL WELSH DICTIONARY:

IAEN. (Legendary).

A list of the sons of Iaen, supposed to be present at Arthur's Court, is given in the tale of
‘Culhwch and Olwen’ (WM 461, RM 107). Their names are:

Teregud, Sulien, Bradwen, Morien, Siawn, and Caradog,

and they are said to be men of Caer Dathal, kindred to Arthur on his father's side, or perhaps ‘on their
father's side’ (CO(2) p.77).

In the ‘Hanesyn Hen’ tract there is a list of the children of Iaen as follows (ByA §2 in EWGT

Dirmig Corneu, Gwyn Goluthon, Siawn, Caradog, Ievannwy, Llychlyn, and a daughter, Eleirch*,
mother of Cydfan ab Arthur.

Note that only two names, Siawn and Caradog, are common to the two lists.

Garthiaen** is a township in the parish of Llandrillo-yn-Edeirnion (WATU). Caer Dathal is
presumably Caer Dathyl in Arfon mentioned in the Mabinogi branch of ‘Math’ (WM 81, RM 59). On the site see W.J.Gruffudd, Math vab Mathonwy, 1928, pp.343-4; PKM p.251.

* There is a town called Eleirch (now Elerch) on the Afon [E]Leri in Ceredigion.  The wife of Ceredig son of Cunedda, my candidate for Arthur, is one Meleri, or 'My Eleri', which I've suggested is the divinized form of the river.

**I would add that there is an Afon Iaen in Montgomeryshire.


Math son of Mathonwy is ‘Bear son of the Tribe of the Divine Bear.”  This alone would be enough reason for Caer Dathal/Dinas Emrys to have become associated with Arthur in legend (as arth = “bear”).  In the Roman period, Dinas Emrys was in the territory of the Ordovices or “Hammer-fighters.”  We might assume a bear deity was worshipped here prior to the advent of the Irishman Dathal. 


But as Ceredig and his father came from Ireland, might there have been a legendary Irish bear hero who may have inspired or influenced the bear worship of the princes of Ceredigion?  Is it possible, perhaps, that the Afon Arth was named such by the Irish settlers themselves?

Most students of early Irish history (or heroic mythology) are familiar with the king Art ("Bear") son of Conn.  This 2nd century high-king of Ireland was famous in story ( But more importantly, he is brought into close connection with one Tadg son of Cian.  And Cian is the eponymous founder of the Ciannachta, to whom Cunedda belonged.


"Ciannachta Breagh and Fir Arda Cianachta

The annals record for 226, Cormac mac Art, king of Ireland, defeated the Ulster forces under Fearghus Duibhdeadach with the assistance of Tadg (or Teige), son of Cian. For this service the king bestowed on Tadg a large territory in Magh Breagh which extended from the Liffey (in Dublin) northwards to Drumskin in Co. Louth. Tadg's descendants were called Cianachta, "the race of Cian", from his father and the territory was afterwards known by this name. The sons of Tadgc mac Céin (of the 3rd century) were Condla (a quo Ciannacht) and Cormac Gaileng (a quo Sil Cormaic Gaileng). The ancient territory of Fir Ard Cianachta in modern co. Louth became known as the barony of Ferrard."

Could Art son of Conn, the great benefactor of Tadg son of Cian, have somehow been brought into connection with the Afon Arth?  Should the bear-names in the Ceredigion genealogy be seen in this light?

Lastly, we should consider the etymologies for the three remaining bear-names in the Ceredigion royal pedigree.  Artbodgu or Arthfoddw is 'Bear-Crow'.  While the name may seem odd, we must remember that Artbodgu's father was Bodgu, making Artbodgu the 'Bear of the Crow.'  Artgloys or Arthlwys is 'Beautiful or Holy Bear' and Arthgen (perhaps the most interesting of them all!) is 'Bear-Born' or 'Born of the Bear.' Arthgen's father is named Seissil.  Is Arthgen's human mother here being referred to as a bear?  Bear in Welsh poetic usage can be a metaphor for a warrior, so we cannot always be sure that a bear-name necessarily derives from an association with the sacred river.  Still, the most logical explanation for Arthgen is that he was thought of as being born from the mother goddess that was the Afon Arth.

In the nebulous period following the Roman withdrawal from Britain, religion was surely not so black and white as we would like to think it was. There must have been an admixture of pagan and Christian among some individuals and groups.  The worship of Christ and a sacred river may not, for awhile at least, have been seen as mutually exclusive.  We have instances of pagan gods and goddesses being 'converted' into Christian saints, of churches being built atop temples, of pagan holy wells being co-opted by their Christian successors.  Folk beliefs are often a curious amalgam of the supposedly extirpated pagan religion and Christian practice. Pagan myths or, at least, motifs, were faithfully copied and preserved by Christian scribes.  Ancient Celtic tales were transmogrified by troubadours and writers into chivalric romance.  Given that all this is demonstrably true, perhaps it is not too difficult to provisionally accept the idea that Arthur and his bear-named descendants had, indeed, worshiped the Afon Arth.



Some time ago I posted a blog article on a radical idea, i.e. that the crippled boy in the c. 446-7 A.D. story of St. Germanus and Elafius ( = Elesa, father of Cerdic), as found in Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, was a reference to Arthur/Artorius (or Artri/Arthri).  Now that I've completed THE BEAR KING, which promotes Cerdic of Wessex as the Arthur, I thought I would go ahead and offer this up once more.

Here is the text and modern English translation of the relevant portion of Constantius’s Vita of St. Germanus:

[21] NEC multo interposito tempore nuntiatur ex eadem insula Pelagianam peruersitatem iterato paucis auctoribus dilatari; rursusque ad beatissimum uirum preces sacerdotum omnium deferuntur, ut causam Dei, quam prius obtinuerat, tutaretur. Quorum petitioni festinus obtemperat. Namque adiuncto sibi Seuero, totius sanctitatis uiro, qui erat discipulus beatissimi patris Lupi Trecasenorum episcopi, et tunc Treuiris ordinatus episcopus, gentibus primae Germaniae uerbum praedicabat, mare conscendit, et consentientibus elementis, tranquillo nauigio Brittanias petit.

Interea sinistri spiritus peruolantes totam insulam Germanum uenire inuitis uaticinationibus nuntiabant; in tantum, ut Elafius quidam, regionis illius primus, in occursu sanctorum sine ulla manifesti nuntii relatione properaret, exhibens secum filium, quem in ipso flore adulescentiae debilitas dolenda damnauerat. Erat enim arescentibus neruis contracto poplite, cui per siccitatem cruris usus uestigii negabatur. Hunc Elafium prouincia tota subsequitur; ueniunt sacerdotes, occurrit inscia multitudo, confestim benedictio et sermonis diuini doctrina profunditur. Recognoscunt populum in ea, qua reliquerat, credulitate durantem; intellegunt culpam esse paucorum, inquirunt auctores, inuentosque condemnant. Cum subito Elafius pedibus aduoluitur sacerdotum, offerens filium, cuius necessitatem ipsa debilitas etiam sine precibus adlegabat; fit communis omnium dolor, praecipue sacerdotum, qui conceptam misericordiam ad diuinam clementiam contulerunt; statimque adulescentem beatus Germanus sedere conpulit, adtrectat poplitem debilitate curuatum, et per tota infirmitatis spatia medicabilis dextera percurrit, salubremque tactum sanitas festina subsequitur. Ariditas sucum, nerui officia receperunt, et in conspectu omnium filio incolumitas, patri filius restituitur...

Chapter XXI

Meanwhile evil spirits, flying over the whole island, made known through the involuntary prophecies of their victims the coming of Germanus, with the result that one of the leading men in the country, Elafius by name, came hurrying to meet the holy men without having had any news of them through any regular messenger. He brought with him his son who had been crippled in early youth by a grievous malady. His sinews had withered and the tendons of the knee had contracted and his withered leg made it impossible for him to stand on his feet.

The whole province came along with Elafius. The bishops arrived and the crowds came upon them unexpectedly. At once blessings and the words of God were showered upon them. Germanus could see that the people as a whole had persevered in the faith in which he had left them and the bishops realized that the fallings-away had been the work only of a few. These were identified and formally condemned.

At this point Elafius approached to make obeisance to the bishops and presented to them his son, whose youth and helplessness made his need clear without words. Everyone felt acutely for him, the bishops most of all, and in their pity they had recourse to the mercy of God. The blessed Germanus at once made the boy sit down, then felt the bent knee and ran his healing hand over all the diseased parts. Health speedily followed the life-giving touch. What was withered became supple, the sinews resumed their proper work, and, before the eyes of all, the son got back a sound body and the father got back a son...

When I read the description carefully of Elafius's son's lameness, I happened to think of the following words (from Lewis and Short's Latin dictionary):

arto (not arcto ), āvi, ātum, 1, v. a. 1. artus, draw or press close together, to compress, contract (not found in Cic.).
I. A.. Lit.: omnia conciliatu artari possunt, * Lucr. 1, 576: “libros,” Mart. 1, 3, 3; Col. 12, 44, 2: “vitis contineri debet vimine, non artari,” Plin. 17, 23, 35, § 209: “angustias eas artantibusinsulis parvis, quae etc.,” id. 3, 6, 13, § 83.—
B. Trop., to contract, straiten, limit, curtail: “fortuna humana fingit artatque ut lubet, i. e. in angustias redigit,” Plaut. Capt. 2, 2, 54 Lind.; Liv. 45, 56: “tempus,” to limit, circumscribe, Dig. 42, 1, 2; 38, 9, 1: “se,” to limit one's self, to retrench, ib. 1, 11, 2 al. —
II. In gen., to finish, conclude, Petr. 85, 4.—Hence, artātus , a, um, P. a., contracted into a small compass; hence, narrow, close; and of time, short: “pontus,” Luc. 5, 234: “tempus,” Vell. 1, 16.

artus , ūs, m. id., mostly plur. (artua, n., Plaut. Men. 5, 2, 102; quoted in Non. p. 191, 12.—Hence, dat. acc. to Vel. Long. p. 2229 P. and Ter. Scaur. p. 2260 P. artibus; yet the ancient grammarians give their decision in favor of artubus, which form is also supported by the best MSS.; cf. arcus.—The singular is found only in Luc. 6, 754; Val. Fl. 4, 310, and Prisc. p. 1219 P.).

I. A.. Lit., a joint: “molles commissurae et artus (digitorum),” Cic. N. D. 2, 60, 150: “suffraginum artus,” Plin. 11, 45, 101, § 248: “elapsi in pravum artus,” Tac. H. 4, 81: “dolorartuum,” gout, Cic. Brut. 60, 217.—Sometimes connected with membra, Plaut. Men. 5, 2, 102: “copia materiaï Cogitur interdum flecti per membra, per artus,” in every joint and limb,Lucr. 2, 282; 3, 703 al.; Suet. Calig. 28; cf. “Baumg.-Crus., Clavis ad Suet.: cernere lacerosartus, truncata membra,” Plin. Pan. 52, 5.—
B. Trop., the muscular strength in the joints; hence, in gen., strength, power: πιχαρμεον illud teneto; nervos atque artus esse sapientiae, non temere credere,” Q. Cic. Petit. Cons. 10.—More freq.,

II. The limbs in gen. (very freq., esp. in the poets; in Lucr. about sixty times): cum tremulis anus attulit artubus lumen, Enn. ap. Cic. Div. 1, 20, 40 (Ann. v. 36 Vahl.); so Lucr. 3, 7; cf. id. 3, 488; 6, 1189: “artubus omnibus contremiscam,” Cic. de Or. 1, 26, 121: dum nati (sc. Absyrti) dissupatos artus captaret parens, vet. poet. ap. Cic. N. D. 3, 26, 67: “copia concita per artusOmnīs,” Lucr. 2, 267: “moribundi artus,” id. 3, 129 al.: “rogumque parari Vidit et arsurossupremis ignibus artus, etc.,” Ov. M. 2, 620 al.: “salsusque per artus Sudor iit,” Verg. A. 2, 173; 1, 173 al.: “veste strictā et singulos artus exprimente,” and showing each limb, Tac. G. 17: “artusin frusta concident,” Vulg. Lev. 1, 6; 8, 20; “ib. Job, 16, 8.—Of plants: stat per se vitis sine ullopedamento, artus suos in se colligens,” its tendrils, Plin. 14, 1, 3, § 13, where Jahn reads arcus.

artus (not arctus ), a, um, adj. v. arma, prop.
I.fitted; hence,

I. Lit., close, strait, narrow, confined, short, brief: “exierunt regionibus artis,” Lucr. 6, 120: “claustra,” id. 1, 70; so id. 3, 808: “nec tamen haec ita sunt arta et astricta, ut ea laxarenequeamus,” Cic. Or. 65, 220: “artioribus apud populum Romanum laqueis tenebitur,” Cic. Verr. 2, 1, 5: “nullum vinculum ad astringendam fidem jure jurando majores artius essevoluerunt,” id. Off. 3, 31, 111: “compages,” Verg. A. 1, 293: “nexus,” Ov. M. 6, 242: “artostipata theatro,” pressed together in a contracted theatre, Hor. Ep. 2, 1, 60: “toga,” a narrow toga without folds, id. ib. 1, 18, 30 (cf. exigua toga, id. ib. 1, 19, 13): “nimis arta convivia,” i. e. with too many guests, who are therefore compelled to sit close together, id. ib. 1, 5, 29 et saep.—Hence, subst.: artum , i, n., a narrow place or passage: “ventus cum confercit, franguntur in artomontes nimborum,” Lucr. 6, 158 Lachm.: “multiplicatis in arto ordinibus,” Liv. 2, 50; so id. 34, 15: “nec desilies imitator in artum,” nor, by imitating, leap into a close place, Hor. A. P. 134.—

II. Trop., strict, severe, scanty, brief, small: “sponte suā cecidit sub leges artaque jura,” subjected himself to the severity of the laws, Lucr. 5, 1147: “Additae leges artae et ideo superbae quasqueetc.,” Plin. 16, 4, 5, § 12: “vincula amoris artissima,” Cic. Att. 6, 2: artior somnus, a sounder or deeper sleep, id. Rep. 6, 10: “arti commeatus,” Liv. 2, 34; Tac. H. 4, 26; cf.: “in artocommeatus,” id. ib. 3, 13: “artissimae tenebrae,” very thick darkness, Suet. Ner. 46 (for which, in class. Lat., densus, v. Bremi ad h. l., and cf. densus) al.—So, colligere in artum, to compress, abridge: “quae (volumina) a me collecta in artum,” Plin. 8, 16, 17, § 44.—Of hope, small, scanty: “spes artior aquae manantis,” Col. 1, 5, 2: ne spem sibi ponat in arto, diminish hope, expectation, Ov. M. 9, 683: “quia plus quam unum ex patriciis creari non licebat, artior petitioquattuor petentibus erat,” i. e. was harder, had less ground of hope, Liv. 39, 32; and of circumstances in life, etc., straitened, distressing, wretched, needy, indigent (so in and after the Aug. per. for the class. angustus): “rebus in artis,” Ov. P. 3, 2, 25: “artas res nuntiaret,” Tac. H. 3, 69: “tam artis afflictisque rebus,” Flor. 2, 6, 31; so Sil. 7, 310: “fortuna artior expensis,” Stat. S. 5, 3, 117: “ne in arto res esset,” Liv. 26, 17.—Adv.: artē (not arcte ), closely, close, fast, firmly.

I. Lit.: “arte (manus) conliga,” Plaut. Ep. 5, 2, 29: “boves arte ad stipites religare,” Col. 6, 2, 5: “arte continere aliquid,” Caes. B. G. 7, 23: “aciem arte statuere,” Sall. J. 52, 6: “arte accubare,”Plaut. Stich. 4, 2, 39.—Comp.: “calorem artius continere,” Cic. N. D. 2, 9, 25: “artiusastringi,” Hor. Epod. 15, 5: “signa artius conlocare,” Sall. C. 59, 2: “artius ire,” Curt. 4, 13, 34: “artius pressiusque conflictari,” Gell. 10, 6.—Sup.: “milites quam artissime ire jubet,” Sall. J. 68, 4: “artissime plantas serere,” Plin. 12, 3, 7, § 16.—

II. Trop.: “arte contenteque aliquem habere,” Plaut. As. 1, 1, 63; id. Merc. prol. 64: “arte etgraviter dormire,” soundly, Cic. Div. 1, 28, 59: “arte appellare aliquem,” briefly, by shortening his name, Ov. P. 4, 12, 10: “artius adstringere rationem,” Cic. Fat. 14, 32: “abstinentiamartissime constringere,” Val. Max. 2, 2, 8.—

III. Transf.: “arte diligere aliquem,” strongly, deeply, Plin. Ep. 6, 8; so also id. ib. 2, 13.

arthrītis , ĭdis, f., = ρθρτις,
I.a lameness in the joints, gout (in pure Lat., articularis morbus), Vitr. 1, 6.

From Greek ρθρον, arthron "joint," from PIE *ar(ə)-dhro-, suffixed form of root *ar- "to fit together."

The reader will note that these words contain among their meanings "joint", "contract", "lameness" and the like. The lameness of the boy was due in part to the contraction of the tendons of the knee joint.

Could it be that the author of the vita had not derived his story of lameness from the eponym Gewis, but from the name Arthur/Artorius (or Artri/Arthri)?  These names could well have been wrongly etymologized by drawing on Latin words like artus and arto.  In this way Arthur was thought to mean a boy whose knee joint had suffered contraction of the tendons.

The idea is not as crazy as it sounds.  Professor Stefan Zimmer, in his paper ‘The Name of Arthur’, includes among the formal possibilities for explaining the name Artorius the following:

“Artorius as a genuine Latin formation may belong to the word family of ars ‘art, skill, craftmanship’, and be a derivative of artus, -ūs (masculine substantive) ‘structure, joints’, or, less likely, from artus (adjective) ‘structured, tight’. Artorius might have been a substantivized adjective meaning ‘joiner’ (not necessarily in the restricted sense of the modern English word).”

Professor Joseph Pucci, one of the world’s top experts in Late and Medieval Latin, said in response to my query on this issue:

“I think it is possible for a Latin author to connect the name Arthur to the Latin words you discuss. That sort of etymologizing, in fact, strikes me as foundational to the way early medieval thinkers on language and/or literate people thought about the relationship of words to ideas. Two sources that might be useful: Robert Maltby, A Lexicon of Ancient Latin Etymologies, which will give a sense of this sort of thinking in an earlier context (earlier for your interests); the other is a contemporary, and perhaps more immediately useful, source: Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae, in many editions and several translations, including English.”

Professor Gregory Hayes, another expert in Late and Medieval Latin, added:

“Medieval writers are pretty flexible when they start etymologizing and it wouldn't surprise me to see one connecting the name Artorius with artus (noun or adj.), if there was some advantage to be gained in a particular context by doing so.”

In support of the idea that a word or name in a saint’s life could be used to concoct a story, please see the following blog post on my identification of St. Germanus’s famous Hallelujah Battle:

If this confusion of the name Arthur/Artorius (or Arthri/Artri) for the Latin artus or similar did happen, then Cerdic son of Elafius/Elesa was quite possibly Arthur! This would appear to be in direct conflict with my idea that Cerdic is Ceredig son of Cunedda.  Kenneth Sisam (supported by David Dumville) attempts to prove that Elesa is a derivative of Aloc/Alusa from the Bernician pedigree.* If so, there is no need to find a Celtic prototype for Elesa/Esla.

Of course, if this is true, then the very early St. Germanus story would have to be dependent on the Anglo-Saxon genealogy that grafted Aloc/Alusa onto the Gewessei line of descent.

*As written, Elafius is a Latin name derived ultimately from Greek elaphos, ‘hind, stag.’  A son of Ceredig son of Cunedda is named Hyddwn, from Welsh hydd, ‘stag, hart.’  He was the grandfather of St. Teilo of the stags. It is possible, then, that Elesa is not from Aloc/Alusa, but is a corruption of Elafius, itself a Latin translation for Hyddwn. I've conclusively shown that the Gewissei pedigree runs backwards in the English sources, and so the Elesa presented to us as the father of Cerdic of Wessex would actually be the latter's son. 



A lot of ink has been spilled on the subject of the actual location of Arthur's Kelliwic (or Celliwig) - including by the present author.  But I was never completely satisfied with any of the identifications offered, so have decided to treat of the place once more.

There are many good sources which treat of the several candidates for Kelliwic.  One of the best is Oliver J. Padel's "Some Souther-Western Sites With Arthurian Associations" in THE ARTHUR OF THE WELSH (ed. Rachel Bromwich, A.O.H. Jarman and Brunley F. Roberts).  I refer my readers to that excellent study, as it is not my intention to rehash such material here.

In Triad 1, we are told that the chief bishop of Kellewic is Bytwini/Bitwini/Betwini (modern Bedwenni).  Some have thought this merely W. bedwenni, 'birches', a sort of pun on the meaning of Kelliwic.  But others (including Bromwich) have made a connection with Bodmin, the etymology of which is discussed by Ekwall as deriving from Cornish bod, 'house, dwelling', and either meneich, 'monks' or menehi, 'monsastery.'  The chief elder of Kelliwic in Cornwall is Caradoc Freichfras - which is extremely odd, as this particular Caradoc belong to central and, perhaps, SE Wales.

What I decided to do was to see if there might be any Caradoc place-names at or near Bodmin which could have been wrongly related to the Welsh Caradoc.  There are, in fact, two such places. One is Tregardock roughly between Tintagel and Bodmin.  The other is Craddock Moor near Minions on Bodmin Moor.  Either or both could have been fancifully linked to Caradoc Freichfras.

The other clue to Kelliwic's whereabouts comes from Geoffrey of Monmouth's HISTORY OF THE KINGS OF BRITAIN.  He converts Kelliwic into Silchester. The following passage from John Koch's CELTIC CULTURE: A HISTORICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA discusses Silchester in the context of Kelliwic:

Celliwig in Cernyw (Kernow/Cornwall). The latter name appears to be a combination of celli ‘wood’ and gwig, probably meaning ‘settlement’ < Latin v¼cus. There have been various attempts at identifying the place, including proposals for Calliwith near Bodmin, the hill-fort at Castle Killibury, the hill-fort near Domellick (Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Dimilioc), a place in Cornwall called Cællincg and also Cællwic in Anglo-Saxon sources (possibly modern Callington). In 1302, two men were accused of murdering a Thomas de Kellewik in west Cornwall, but this is the only occurrence of this Cornish name that seems to correspond exactly to Welsh Celli Wig. In considering this unresolved question, it is important to remember that the region name Cernyw in Culhwch, and in early Welsh tradition in general, was more extensive than the modern county. It is also not impossible that early Welsh sources sometimes mean the old tribal lands of the Romano- British civitas of the Cornovii in what is now Shropshire (Welsh swydd Amwythig) and Powys, though a conclusive example of such a meaning for Cernyw has yet to be found. A suitably important sub-Roman place with a philologically workable name would be Calleva (Silchester), the fortified centre of the civitas of the Atrebates, which continued to be occupied and free of Anglo-Saxon settlement into the 5th century, but Silchester is nowhere near either Cornwall or the Cornovii.

We have evidence of a sub-Roman Irish presence at Silchester.  This presence is discussed in “An Age of Tyrants: Britain and the Britons, A.D. 400-600” by Christopher A. Snyder (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998).  The ogham stone found at this city is described on the following Web page:

(; and see below).

However, Geoffrey gives away what he or his source believed to be the real Kelliwic by placing St. Mawgan (Maucanus) at "Silchester." There are two Mawgan sites in Cornwall.  One is across from Gweek on the Lizard Peninsula, a candidate for Kelliwic.  But there is no significant hillfort or Roman site at this place that could have been thought of as belonging to the great Arthur.  The other is St. Mawgan and the Vale of Mawgan only a dozen kilometers or so west of Bodmin. 

The river at St. Mawgan, as it happens, has a source at the major hillfort of Castle an Dinas, as stated here in the Wikipedia article:

“The River Menalhyl (Cornish: Dowr Melynheyl, meaning river of the estuary mill) is a river in Cornwall, England, that flows through the civil parishes of St Columb Major and Mawgan-in-Pydar. Its length is about 12 miles and it flows in a generally north-west direction. The name comes from the Cornish words melyn meaning mill and heyl meaning estuary - estuary mills. The name was recorded as Mellynheyl in the 19th century, but it had been known as Glyvion.

The source of the river's longest branch is near Nine Maidens, about 2 miles to the north of St Columb,50.447°N 4.943°W, at a height of approximately 490 feet above mean sea level. The Menalhyl enters the sea at Mawgan Porth on the north coast of the county, 50.465°N 5.027°W.

Tributaries to the river include one that rises between the village of Tregonetha and Castle an Dinas, and one whose source is south-east of Tregatillian. A smaller river, from Talskiddy, joins the Menalhyl a short distance from its mouth.

The river flows through the settlements of St Columb (the north part of the town, known as Bridge), St Mawgan and Mawgan Porth. Its valley, from St Columb downstream, is called the Vale of Lanherne; it is wooded for much of its length and is popular with walkers.”

This is one of only two possible Kelliwics in the Bodmin region.  Here are some good sites describing this monument:

Very near the town of Bodmin itself is another remarkable Cornish fortification: Castle Canyke.

This fort is near some Callywith place-names.

I would mention that in "The Dialogue of Arthur and the Eagle", Eliwlad son of Madog son of Uther is placed in the wooded Glynn of Cornwall - and it is here that we find the Madoc/Madog place-name nicely displayed.

Given this contrast and comparison of the Welsh Triad and Geoffrey of Monmouth, I can now say with some confidence that Castle Canyke is almost certainly the Kelliwic of Arthur.

Incidentally, Castle Canyke is quite close to the River Camel, Geoffrey of Monmouth's choice for the site of Camlan.  The etymology of Camel is Cornish Cambull, identical with Welsh cam + pwll, 'crooked stream.'  It is not related to Camlan as either *Cambolanda or *Camboglanna, except in so far as the first elements of these place-names are the same. 

In addition, there is Tremodret, 'Modred's farm', in Roche (a Domesday manor) only a dozen kilometers southwest of Castle Canyke. 

A couple of caveats, though; as the name Arthur could have been construed as containing W. arth. 'bear', it may be that his being placed in a fort called the 'forest grove' was merely an instance of poetic license.  For where else would the bear be, if not in the woods? 

Also, how much weight can we put on the claim that Arthur was at Kelliwic in Cornwall when he is also (in the Triads) said to have been prince in Dyfed (perhaps a reference to the later Arthur son of Pedr) and in the Rhinns of Galloway?  In other words, the idea was to supply Arthur with three courts, each controlling a third of Britain.  Interestingly, these courts are all in the far west of the country - a fact which doubtless expresses the condition of the Welsh once most of the rest of the country had been overrun by the English.

Finally, Arthur was traditionally placed in Cornwall because he had been wrongly attached to the Dumnonian royal genealogy.  



In my book THE ARTHUR OF HISTORY, I had treated briefly of the Arthurian battles of the Welsh poem ‘Pa Gur.’  But what I neglected was the fairly obvious point made by the poem's placement of the 'vythneint' ("predatory birds", a metaphor for warriors) at Elei (valley of the River Ely in Glamorgan).  Why might this placement be so important?

Because one of them, viz. Mabon son of Modron, is called the servant (guas/gwas) of Uther Pendragon.

There is an implied sense in this passage that I failed to pick up on in the past.  Simply put, if Mabon is of Elei and he is the servant of Uther, then might we not infer that Elei belonged to Uther?  In other words, Mabon was the servant of Uther at Elei.  If this is not what is meant, then it if difficult to explain why it was felt necessary to tell us that Mabon was Uther's servant in this particular context.

So what, exactly, is in Elei?  Well, there is the impressive Caerau hillfort (, an oppidum of the Silures tribe.  Unfortunately, there is no evidence that this site continued to be inhabited after the Roman invasion and consolidation of the region.

However, just south of Caerau and only a couple of kilometers from the Ely River is the Dinas Powys hillfort.  The story here is completely different.  We have ample evidence for early medieval use (  It "may have been established as late as the Roman period."

Now, of course, we have to be careful here.  Mabon is a god - not a human servant.  And the 'Pa Gur' is replete with battles against monsters and supernatural entities.  These contests range all over Britain, and so are quite fabulous in nature.  What weight, therefore, can we place on an oblique reference pertaining to Uther's residing at Dinas Powys in Ely?

There is nothing in and of itself that is marvelous about Dinas Powys - other than the fact that it was occupied during the Arthurian period.  The real question becomes "Why would the poet have placed Uther there?"

One possible reason might be that the Cadoxton River runs at the eastern foot of the hillfort.  This stream bears the name of St. Cadog, whose late 11th century (?) VITA includes a story about Arthur.  Still, Arthur is nowhere in the Life said to be related to Cadog. 

It would appear the only thing that can be said about Uther at Dinas Powys is that at the time of the composing of the 'Pa Gur' a tradition may have existed which knew of this hillfort as the fortress of Arthur's father.  If this tradition is historically sound, then the 'Pa Gur' preserves the only extant notice of Uther's geographical whereabouts.

For a nice summary of the excavations at and theories regarding Dinas Powys, see

In the VITA of St. Illtud (cousin of Arthur), once the saint has visited the king's court he travels to King Pawl Penychen.  Penychen was that part of Glamorgan between the Thaw and the Taff, wherein is situated Dinas Powys.

Illtud the soldier, b. c. 470 A.D. - eventually to become the famous St. Illtud - ended up becoming Pawl’s military commander.  There is the strong possibility that Pawl's fort was Dinas Powys in Penychen.

A surprise awaited me when I looked into St. Illtud in more detail.  He was referred to as 'farchog', "knight", and filwr, 'soldier/warrior', as well as  'princeps militie' (militum princeps) and magister militum ( 

Chapter 2 of the VITA SANCTI ILTUTI calls the living Illtud "miles magnificus."  We may compare this with Uther [Pen]dragon (where dragon has the usual metaphorical meaning of “warrior”):

W. uthr

fearful, dreadful, awful, terrible, tremendous, mighty, overbearing, cruel; wonderful, wondrous, astonishing, excellent. 


splendid/excellent/sumptuous/magnificent/stately; noble/eminent; proud/boastful

But, even better, at the end of his VITA we are told of a 'terrible soldier/warrior', who though of a heavenly nature and left unnamed, is plainly the returning spirit of the old soldier Illtud, out to retrieve his stolen bell:

From the Life of St. Illtud:

In meridiana autem hora, dum rex quiesceret in tentorio campestri in planicie affixo, diuidereturque maxima predatio, uisum est regi quod quidam terribilis miles suum pectus lancea perforasset, atque post perforationem nemini uisum. [...] Timoratus imperauit sacrilego exercitui reddere Deo et sanctissimo Iltuto totam predationem, promittens deinceps emendationem, atque in honore eiusdem sancti edificauit templum, et seruentibus in templo concessit in quo stetit territorium. Hec emendation tamen profuit suo spiritui, recessit enim ab hoc seculo die propter nequitie uindictam.

At the hour of noon, while the king rested in a field-tent put up on a plain, and the immense booty was being divided, it seemed to the king that some terrible soldier had pierced his breast with a spear, and after the piercing he was seen of none. […] Full of dread he bade his sacrilegious army to restore to God and to the most holy Illtud all the plunder, promising thereafter amendment, and in honour of the same saint he built a church, and to those serving in the church he granted territory in which it stood. This amendment, however, profited his spirit, for he departed from this life on the ninth day as punishment for his wickedness (VI, §25).

We may thus place Illtud as the terrible warrior at Dinas Powys - the same place Uther [Pen]dragon, the Terrible [Chief-]warrior, is placed in the 'Pa Gur.'

[NOTE: Uther Pendragon appears to originally have been called simply Uther Dragon. We know this is so by looking more closely at the guide-title of the ‘Uther Pen’ poem.  After receiving false or conflicting or just plain confusing information on this from several sources, I finally asked Dr. Maredudd ap Huw, Manuscripts Librarian, Department of Collection Services at the National Library of Wales.

Dr. Huw’s response, in full:

“Firstly, I confirm that there is no ellipsis indicated in the manuscript, and that the gloss (or more correctly guide-title) reads 'mar. vthyr dragon.'

Secondly, on looking at the manuscript, it appears that the guide-title is written by the main scribe to inform the rubricator, who subsequently added the abbreviated title. The red ink of ‘n’ in ‘pen’ appears to cover the letter ‘d’ of ‘dragon’.

I regret that I am not in a position to speculate as to why the rubricator did not follow the exact wording offered by the scribe in the guide-title.”

This last is an important observation. The rubricator (called such because he used red ink) wrote ‘marvnat vthyr pen.’ for the main scribe’s ‘mar. vthyr dragon.’]

But how can Illtud be Arthur's father?  The Welsh sources insist he was Arthur's cousin.  Their mother's were said to be sisters, both daughters of Anblaud (later Amlawdd) Wledig of Ercing, a character whom Brinley F. Roberts regarded as fictitious:

“Anlawdd Wledig seems to be a function rather than a person. He is an ‘empty’ character ... who exists merely so that his daughters may be the mothers of heroes who are all, therefore, cousins of Arthur.”  (see P.C. Bartram’s A CLASSICAL WELSH DICTIONARY)

Illtud's father was Bicanus of Letavia/Llydaw, not here Brittany, but instead probably a designation for the Vale of Leadon between the Wye and the Severn, bordering on Anblaud’s Ercing. The River Leadon (early forms Ledene, Leden, from OBrit *litano-; cf. Welsh llydan) contains the same Celtic root as Llydaw.
Bicanus is merely a clever hagiographical pun.  Brittany was called 'Little Britain', Latin Britannia Minori or, in Welsh, Brydain Fechan.  Thus 'Bicanus' or Bychan is not the name of Illtud's father, but merely the 'little' descriptor borrowed from the territorial designation Brydain Fechan. 

According to the ever-unreliable Geoffrey of Monmouth, Uther came to Ercing from Brittany. Illtud's wife Trynihid is also said to have been from Brittany.

Illtud is not said to have had any children.


Pawl Penychen's brother Gwynllyw, who features largely in the Life of St. Cadog in connection with Arthur, was also described as terrible in a military sense.  From the Life of St. Gwynllyw:

Deinde regressi sunt onerati ad naues [...] Dum hinc inciperent uela erigere [...] uidebant unum terribilem equitante die et nocte, et persequentem illos ex omni parte. Eques iste terribilis sanctus erat Gunlyu, qui celitus missus fuerat, ut obsisteret sacrilegis.

Then they returned to their ships burdened […] When from this place they began to hoist sails […] they saw a single being, one terrible, riding day and night, and pursuing them on every side. That terrible rider was holy Gwynllyw, who had been sent from heaven to withstand the sacrilegious ones
(VGu §12).

However, Gwynllyw's territory lay east of the Taff, while that of Pawl extended west of that river.  Gwynllyw, therefore, did not rule from Dinas Powys.


Another argument in favor of seeing Uther Pendragon as Illtud is found in a comparison of an early elegy poem and a passage from Geoffrey of Monmouth’s HISTORY OF THE KINGS OF BRITAIN.

The poem in question, the MARWNAT VTHYR PEN or 'Death-Song of Uther Pen[dragon]', is best treated of through Marged Haycock's recent translation. This is what Professor Haycock has in her notes to Line 7 of this elegy:

 7 eil kawyl yn ardu G emends kawyl > Sawyl, the personal name (from Samuelis
via *Safwyl). Sawyl Ben Uchel is named with Pasgen and Rhun as one of the
Three Arrogant Men, Triad 23, as a combative tyrant in Vita Cadoci (VSB 58);
and in CO 344-5. Samuil Pennissel in genealogies, EWGT 12 (later Benuchel),
Irish sources, and in Geoffrey of Monmouth. Other Sawyls include a son of
Llywarch, and the saint commemorated in Llansawel: see further TYP3 496,
WCD 581 and CO 104. Ardu ‘darkness, gloom; dark, dreadful (GPC), sometimes
collocated with afyrdwl ‘sad; sadness’ (see G, GPC).

Initially, I refused to get too excited about Uther calling himself a 'second Samuel' (the first, presumably, being the Biblical prophet of that name).  I mean, this was, after all, an emendation.  However, I asked Welsh language expert Dr. Simon Rodway of The University of Wales about the authority who made this emendation - one that was accepted by Haycock herself.  Our discussion on this matter ran as follows:

"Geirfa Barddoniaeth Gynnar Gymraeg, by John Lloyd-Jones

Cited several times by Marged Haycock in her edition of the Uther poem, and  she adopts many of his emendations.

A trustworthy, well-respected source, in your opinion?  Or is his work somewhat outdated or even obsolete?"

"It’s a very good piece of work, which I often use. It’s much more comprehensive than GPC [Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, 'Dictionary of the Welsh Language']."

Such an unqualified, professional academic opinion of Lloyd-Jones changed everything!

As for how the error could have occurred, Dr. Rodway suggested the following scenario:

"It can’t be a case of miscopying a letter, but it could be eye-skip - when a copyist’s eye skips inadvertently to another nearby word resulting in an error.  In this case, he would have eye-skipped to the preceding line's 'kawell' to get the /k-/ fronting what should have been 'sawyl'.  Was not an uncommon error, so quite plausible.  Also, kawell and kawyl are unlikely to be the same word.  The poets avoided repeating words in consecutive lines. In cases where this does occur (v rare) it could be scribal error."

I had tried to use this information to connect Uther Pendragon with Sawyl Benisel (later Ben Uchel) of the North.  Such an attempt ultimately proved nonviable.

But just recently I reread the ever-unreliable Geoffrey of Monmouth, whose work cast a long shadow - even upon what had been preexisting Welsh tradition concerning Arthur.  And I was astonished to encounter this episode:

CHAP. VII.—Hengist is beheaded by Eldol.

AURELIUS, after this victory, took the city of Conan above-mentioned, and stayed there three days. During this time he gave orders for the burial of the slain, for curing the wounded, and for the ease and refreshment of his forces that were fatigued. Then he called a council of his principal officers, to deliberate what was to be done with Hengist. There was present at the assembly Eldad, bishop of Gloucester, and brother of Eldol, a prelate of very great wisdom and piety. As soon as he beheld Hengist standing in the king's presence, he demanded silence, and said, "Though all should be unanimous for setting him at liberty, yet would I cut him to pieces. The prophet Samuel is my warrant, who when he had Agag, king of Amalek, in his power, hewed him in pieces, saying, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. Do the same to Hengist, who is a second Agag." Accordingly Eldol took his sword, and drew him out of the city, and then cut off his head. But Aurelius, who showed moderation in all his conduct, commanded him to be buried and a heap of earth to be raised over his body, according to the custom of the pagans.

This Eldad(us) of Gloucester is Illtud of Glywysing (Glywys being the eponym of Caer Gloyw or Gloucester).  He is here likening himself to the Biblical Samuel, Sawyl in Welsh.

Combined with everything else I've come up with that seems to show Uther = Illtud, this apparent correspondence of the Elegy's 'eil Sawyl' or "second Samuel" with Illtud appearing symbolically as a 'second Samuel' is truly remarkable.


As we’ve seen, Illtud's title is used as the subject name of an elegy in the Book of Taliesin.  In that poem, the warrior is compared with Arthur - much as another warrior is compared with Arthur in “The Gododdin.”  Again, from Haycock’s translation of the “Marwnad Uther Pen”:

“nawuetran yg gwrhyt Arthur.
Arthur has a [mere] ninth of my valour.

14 nawuetran yg gwrhyt Arthur Nawuetran ‘ninth part’ with yg gwrhyt understood as ‘of my valour’ (gwryt ~ gwrhyt). Arthur has a ninth part of the speaker’s valour. This seems to have more point than ‘I have shared my refuge, a ninth share in Arthur’s valour’, TYP3 513, AW 53. Gwrhyt ‘measure’ is not wholly impossible — ‘one of the nine divisions [done] according to the Arthurian measure/fathom’, etc., or ‘a ninth part is in [a place] called Arthur’s Measure or
Span’, the latter like Gwrhyt Kei discussed TYP3 311, and other Gwryd names discussed G 709-10. The phrase is exactly the same as in §18.30 (Preideu Annwfyn) tra Chaer Wydyr ny welsynt wrhyt Arthur.”

Geoffrey (or his source) was familiar with this poem.  He assumed a relationship between Uther and Arthur that did not really exist.  This allowed him to use the Uther title as Arthur's father's name.  He also employed the gorlassar descriptor applied to Uther in the MARWNAD UTHER PEN to conjure Gorlois.  It is likely that Geoffrey did not know Arthur = Ceredig son of Cunedda.  He simply lacked a record of Arthur's father's name. Furthermore, he may not have known Uther Pendragon was merely a Welsh rendering of Latin title used for Illtud.  Uther thus at some point obviously took on an independent existence.

If we can lay the blame for Uther being made Arthur’s father in the lap of Geoffrey or his source, then Ceredig could still have been an actual son of Cunedda.  And, historically speaking, Uther Pendragon/Illtud would have absolutely nothing to do with Arthur.

I've come to this conclusion because I'm as certain as I can be that Ceredig son of Cunedda/Cerdic of Wessex is Arthur.  I cannot reconcile this with Illtud as his father.  So I can only assume that Uther Pendragon as a title for Illtud was wrongly utilized by the myth-makers as the father of Arthur.

I had once thought we were dealing here with a propaganda shift – and we may still be, at least in part.  In other words, while the Irish or Hiberno-Irish Arthur/Ceredig was doubtless quite famous during his time, having fought for the High King of Wales against British enemies to the southeast while in league with the Saxons, a future generation (as evinced in the account on Arthur found in the HISTORIA BRITTONUM) wanted to “re-invent” him, making him out to be the British champion against the English.  The author of the HB, therefore, chose to use the Arthur title/name, rather than Ceredig.  In essence, the same man was intentionally split off into two different personages. 

There was also clearly an attempt in the Welsh sources to separate out Illtud the warrior from Illtud the saint.  The “Marwnad Uther Pen” is the best example of this process.  In Geoffrey’s work, Eldol fulfills the martial function, leaving his brother Eldadus free of the blemish of violence. 



Over the past several years, I've written a handful of articles on Ambrosius Aurelianus, a geographically and temporally dislocated figure in early British legend. Yet despite the evidence I've presented, Arthurian scholars, professional and amateur alike, continue to mistake him for a real personage of 5th century Britain. The idea that he might even be Arthur is still out there. I feel, therefore, that it is time for a summary treatment of this supposed military hero.

The easiest way for me to do this is to itemize the points of my argument.

1) The name of A.A. matches perfectly that of the fourth century Governor of Gaul (whose territories included those of Britain) and his famous son, St. Ambrose. Vortigern's grandfather Vitalinus is said to have fought A.A. at Wallop in Hampshire. Such a battle reference puts A.A. well before Vortigern and negates the possibility that A.A. was a boy during Vortigern's reign.

2) St. Ambrose and his father lived at Trier on the Moselle. The Campus Elleti in Wales where
Vortigern's men are said to have found the boy A.A. comes from a Welsh place-name Maes Elleti
(see the Book of Landaff’s palus Elleti, apparently in the parish of Llanilid) and this is plainly a substitute for the Moselle (Mosella/Mosellae).

3) Dinas Emrys is a relocation for Amesbury, the latter thought (wrongly) to contain the name of Ambrosius. Dinas Emrys was placed in Eryri because this mountain range was fancifully connected to the Welsh word for eagle, and both St. Ambrose and Magnus the Tyrant (easily confused with Vor-tigern) are known to have been at Aquileia, a place-name that could have been incorrectly linked with the Latin word for eagle.

4) Trier was in Gallia Belgica, 'Gaul of the Belgae', and A.A.'s Wallop in Hampshire was in the ancient tribal territory of the British Belgae. Gallia could be used in medieval sources for both Gaul and Wales.

5) A.A. is said to have been given Dinas Emrys and the western kingdoms of Britain by Vortigern.
This is impossible, as Gwynedd belonged to Cunedda and his sons (or other Irish before them; Cunedda’s grandson Cadwallon Llawhir is said to have taken Arfon and Mon from the Irish, for example). Obviously, a mistake has been made here for Amesbury, which was inside of what was to become Wessex, the kingdom of the West Saxons.

6) Ambrosius’s digging up of the two dragon-containing vases of Dinas Emrys (originally funeral urns holding the cremated remains of chieftains) has its parallel in St. Ambrose’s exhumation of the two pairs of saints Gervasius and Protasius and Nazarius and Celsus.

7) A.A appears to have been identified in folk belief with the god Lleu, styled Lord of Gwynedd, who was himself identified by the Welsh with the god Mabon. The Campus Elleti ballgame story is paralleled in the Irish story of Mac Og, the 'Young Son', the Gaelic version of Mabon.

8) A.A. was further identified with Merlin (Myrddin), himself possibly a form of Lleu or an avatar of that god. Geoffrey of Monmouth places Merlin at the springs of Galabes, his transparent attempt at the Guoloph/Wallop of the hero Ambrosius.

9) The real name of Dinas Emrys appears to have been Caer Dathal (see Appendix IX above)

In conclusion, the Ambrosius Aurelianus who first appears in the pages of Gildas is a purely legendary figure, based on the known historical Ambrosii of the Continent. He was mistakenly transferred to Britain during the normal course of folklore development, largely due to a confusion of place-names. Once there he was conflated with the god Lleu. We have no reason to believe that either Ambrosius - father or son - ever set foot on British soil. To concoct some famous war-leader of the Britons who happened to have been named after one of the Ambrosii is to ignore points 1-9 above.



The legendary King Arthur is a magnificently glamorous figure.  Like pretty much every scholar out there, I was first attracted to this archetypical hero through my exposure to Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur or, at least, its adaptations.  At the time, Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table were creatures of fantasy and represented desirable if unattainable ideals.  It was only much later that I became aware of the fact that at least Arthur himself may have been a real, living person.  This revelation had a profound impact on the way I perceived the entire Arthurian mythos.

Eventually, after I became imbued with the knowledge of various disciplines a college education bestowed upon me, I dared to wonder if I might find the historical Arthur. Upon investigating the possibility, I was both delighted and disappointed to find that many had preceded me in such an endeavor.  And although a few of these intrepid (or foolish?) sleuths were far more qualified than I would ever be to properly deal with the question of Arthur’s historicity, very little progress had been made in solving the mystery.  What I did discover was a plethora of nonsense theories based on ignorance or wishful thinking or both.

But could I do any better? How much would I have to learn first?  How many blind leads would I follow, and how many dead ends would I arrive at?  Was this quest going to be relatively quick or would I be at it for years?  Maybe a lifetime? Would it become something obsessive that ended up dominating any nonessential, impractical aspects of my life?  And was it really, in any sense, important?  What possible value would the discovery of a historical Arthur have for us?

In this modern age of youth Snapchat addiction, I’m afraid I can’t provide any positive answer to the last couple of questions.  In fact, I was chagrined to read an analysis of the recent major box office flop KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD.  One of the reasons listed by the author of that piece for the film’s failure was that people no longer cared about King Arthur. And beyond this, their education was now so universally deficient that most had no idea who even the legendary Arthur was!  The professional academics had long ago forsaken Arthur as a historical entity.  This left only a handful of isolated and distinctly fringe independent Arthurian enthusiasts (present company included) to carry the torch and to give a damn.

So I have no excuse to offer for my dogged determinism in this regard.  I have pursued a historical Arthur out of selfish interest alone.  Sure, there may be an Arthurian Cult lurking out there who might find my work to be of some interest, even if they (as is all too often) vociferously disagree with my findings. But its membership is rather insignificant and declining.  Given enough time – say, the passing of the current generation – and it will be extinct.

Montaigne said “Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.”  This is especially true of Arthur.  For years I’ve wrestled with those who started out with a preconceived belief and then went forward to prove that belief.  One also thinks of St. Augustine, who said “I believe, so that I may know.”  My credo has always been instead, “I know, so that I may believe.”  And this shift in emphasis, this different mode of thinking, has run me afoul of a great many close-minded or, frankly, crazy individuals.  The New Age and Neopagan communities, while well-meaning, have done their fair share of obfuscating the truth.  I’ve flirted with their intoxicating world view more than once, but have always found their tenets and practices to be unwarranted and unjustifiable.

As if all that were not bad enough, I have already been accused of diminishing, nay, dismantling the great King Arthur. In seeking to make him a real historical person, I’ve inadvertently stripped him of his magical, otherworldly nature or, perhaps worse yet, have so denigrated him as to remove him entirely from the Hall of Pagan or Christian Worthies.  I’ve shown him to be a man, and not necessarily a respectable one at that.  From the Savior of Britain to a mercenary-federate fighting against Britons, I’ve brought him full circle. To add insult to injury, I’ve made him into an Irishman or, only somewhat less detestable, a personage of mixed Irish and British ancestry.
Should I apologize for doing so?  Well, the part of me that so badly wanted to believe in the Savior of Britain says YES.  I mean, go read my first book, THE ARTHUR OF HISTORY.  I so badly wanted to subscribe to the notion that Arthur had, for a while, stemmed the tide of barbaric Germanic invasion that I was willing to overlook the nagging questions I could not answer – questions which I alluded to in the Introduction to this book. This is the level to which our own personal biases or subconscious drives or nationalistic or religious/spiritual tendencies or whatever will take us.

Yet when I admitted to myself that I was wrong in my first book, when I managed to overcome the constraints of ego, I simply had to go on.  I could not accept the shortcomings of my own prior arguments, and I could not abide a defeatist posture. There was only one thing to do:  go once more on an Adventure into the Perilous Forest.  Surely I had missed something, either out of ineptitude or willful resistance. The Grail was to be found, and not just in a dream.  I would not be quiet this time as it passed before me in the grand progression.

This book is a result of that Adventure.  A letting go, a trusting in Fate or Providence as a guiding force, a traversing of the trackless waste in no particular direction whatsoever.  At the end of the movie INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, we learn that the Grail is not some spectacular jeweled golden cup. Instead, it is the simple, rather crude wooden cup of a carpenter’s son.  The Arthur I have revealed herein is like that.

Was he any less stalwart than his romance counterpart?  Surely not.  The latter is the stuff of myth and fantasy.  The former is a real man, driven by all the usual needs of a leader trying to preserve his people.  We tend to glorify the desperate.  Heroic actions, at root, are generally brought about by those seeking a better life elsewhere.  Who are we to say that a British Arthur credited with staving off the Saxon invasion for a generation is somehow superior to an Irish-descended Arthur who carved out a kingdom for himself in Wales and managed to keep it by fighting battles in southern England in alliance with the Saxons for the British high-king?  This is all a matter of perspective.  What the British lose, the Irish and the Welsh gain.  And, in what is perhaps the most profound irony, the English gain by it also.  For was it not Ceredig the Bear-king who spear-headed the foundation of Wessex?

I feel I can now rest content with having done everything in my power to reveal a truly viable candidate for a historical King Arthur.  Indeed, I have no remaining compulsion to again set forth on an Adventure in that Perilous Wood.  What fellow Arthurians make of my work I cannot predict.  It is entirely up to them what to make of “my Arthur”, as opposed to their own Arthurs.  For as we all know, and too well, there are a legion of Arthurs out there, and doubtless many more to come.