Tuesday, February 7, 2017

THE CHRONOLOGIES OF CERDIC OF WESSEX AND CEREDIG SON OF CUNEDDA

The Cunorix Stone

I've recently been told by a certain party that the respective chronologies for Cerdic of Wessex and Ceredig the son of Cunedda do not match up.  However, this comes from someone who is not aware of the work I did some years ago on the reversed order of the early Gewessei leaders as found in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

My main bit on Cerdic of Wessex as Ceredig son of Cunedda, of Cynric as son of Cunedda and Ceawlin as Cunedda 'Maquicoline' appeared as a chapter in my book THE ARTHUR OF HISTORY. I've presented this chapter some time ago here in my blog:


Most of my attention has been focused, of course, on showing how the respective floruits of Cerdic of Wessex and the famous Arthur of the HISTORIA BRITTONUM happen to correspond.   I'd not considered the need to "prove" in any conclusive way that the floruits of Cerdic of Wessex and Ceredig son of Cunedda (whom I've identified as Arthur) also coincide.  There were three reasons for my not doing so.  Firstly, the regnal dates of all these sub-Roman or early medieval princes are extremely approximate.  In most cases, we have only a couple of ancient (and some would say dubious) documents to go by.  There exists little or no corroborative evidence from archaeology. Secondly, we are generally restricted to trying to form rough calculations based on the highly unreliable method of counting generations, much as James Ussher counted those in the Bible in order to come up with the age of the world.  A "generation" can be of any length, and trying to average out a sequence of generations is a foolish endeavor.  Thus mathematics, no matter how cleverly applied, cannot resolve such difficulties.  These early genealogies were doubtless manipulated by the royal families who claimed descent from this or that famous ancestor, and we have no way of knowing how many names in any given genealogy originally belonged properly to it.  Some may have been "packed" with additional names at a later date. Members deemed objectionable may have been stricken from the record.  I've elsewhere shown how the Irish genealogies of Hiberno-British dynasties in Wales were heavily altered, mainly by resorting to Latin names that traced back to this or that ancient Roman.  These kinds of genealogies are only reliable in a very broad, general sense.  We cannot depend upon them for purposes of precise dating. Scholars like P.C. Bartram have done their best to produce an approximate timeline for the Dark Age rulers of Wales (primarily through a "guesstimate" of birthdate), but none of them have ever claimed any remarkable degree of accuracy.  And, thirdly, in the case of the pedigrees for Ceredig son of Cunedda and Cerdic of Wessex, the Anglo Saxon Chronicle has made a gross error in reversing a significant section of the Cunedda genealogy.

In Welsh tradition, Ceredig is son of Cunedda.  Cynric is also a son of Cunedda - something we can actually prove IN STONE thanks to the chance survival of a 5th century memorial stone found at Viroconium. This stone is dedicated to an Irish warrior chieftain named Cunorix son of Maquicoline. Cunorix's father Maquicoline is not only one of Cunedda's names in the Irish sources, but the Ceawlin made a son of Cynric in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

While we cannot be sure the sons of Cunedda were actually immediate blood descendants of the founder of Gwynedd (they may all have had separate fathers and then been grouped under the great Cunedda during the development of largely fictional genealogical traditions), what we can be certain of is that the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle narrative is horribly flawed.  And this means, of course, that its chronology for the early Gewessei princes is wholly inaccurate and cannot be used to demonstrate that the floruits of Ceredig son of Cunedda and Cerdic of Wessex were not coterminous.  With a reversed pedigree the events of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle may themselves run strangely backwards (unless the actors in these events replace other battle lords whose names have either not come down to us or who have been temporally dislocated themselves), making it impossible to precisely calculate regnal years.

Other factors bring some of the early battles of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle into question.  I've discussed the Cutha who fights in the region of the Cotswolds as a manifestation of the known goddess Cuda, who gave her name to these hills.  I've also pointed out that the Coinmail of one battle, supposedly a Welsh king, is probably Apollo Cunomaglos.  A more critical examination of the text may well uncover the intrusion of additional nonhistorical elements.

The best that can be said, therefore, is that a comparison of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the Historia Brittonum, as these traditional histories have been preserved for us (never mind the many failed or inconsequential attempts by academics to "revise" the chronologies), presents us with matching chronologies for Cerdic of Wessex and Arthur.  Furthermore, there is indisputable evidence that Cerdic, Cynric and Ceawlin are Ceredig, Cunorix and Cunedda Maquicoline.  Finally, the battles of Cerdic of Wessex and of Arthur, at least up through those of Wihtgarasburh and Castle Guinnion, are English and Welsh names for the same places.










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