Thursday, December 29, 2016

ARTHUR'S BREGUOIN (excerpted from previous blog post)

Liddington Castle (Badbury)

Breguoin is, certainly, for the Brewyn of the Urien poems, i.e. the Bremenium Roman fort.  All my attempts to make something else of it have failed.  As Dr. Simon Rodway of the University of Wales succinctly states,

"It's from Bremenium. The <gu> stands quite regularly for /w/, and the oi for the diphthong /ui/ < /e:/, a spelling  which is found elsewhere in Old Welsh. All this is explained quite clearly by Kenneth Jackson. There is nothing controversial about this derivation."

Obviously, if Arthur = Cerdic/Ceredig, and all his other battles were in the South, it makes no sense for him to have fought at Bremenium.  A Welsh glossator had a problem with the name as well, claiming it was for Bregion.  As Jackson and others have made clear, Bregion simply means hills in Old Welsh.  In Middle Welsh this would become Breon (see Peter Schrijver's STUDIES IN BRITISH CELTIC HISTORICAL PHONOLOGY, 1995).  As it happens, we have an excellent - nay, perfect - candidate for Bregion very close to the other battles Cerdic/Arthur was fighting in this region.

Brean in Somerset appears to have preserved the Breon spelling.  Early forms for Brean are Brien, Breen, Broen, Bren, Breon.  And Brean Down boasts a promontory fort, as well as other ancient structures, including a Romano-British temple ( http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=1065575&sort=4&search=all&criteria=brean%20down&rational=q&recordsperpage=10http://pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=191302&sort=2&type=HILLFORT&typeselect=c&rational=a&class1=None&period=None&county=100248&district=None&parish=None&place=&recordsperpage=10&source=text&rtype=&rnumber=).

Unfortunately, the glossator is plainly wrong.  Breguoin does not stand for Bregion.

I think there is a rather simple solution to this problem.  Only several miles north of Bath is the Bury Camp or Bury Wood Camp, a major hillfort:

http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=208476&sort=4&search=all&criteria=Bury%20Wood%20Camp&rational=q&recordsperpage=10


This hillfort is between the By Brook and its two tributaries the Doncombe Brook and the Lid Brook. It is also very near the Roman road known as the Fosse Way.  Now, as it happens, Lid is from OE hlyde, 'loud', and as Ekwall and others have made clear, the meaning was something like "the roaring brook".  Bremenium has the British root *brem- (cf. Welsh bref), and as found in Bremenium was named for a stream near the Roman fort that has the exact same meaning, i.e. it was "the roaring stream."  There is an Afon Brefi and a Roman fort Bremia in the Cardiganshire of Ceredig son of Cunedda.

I would make a case, then, for Breguoin (Brewyn, Bremenium) being a Welsh rendering of the Lid Brook name, and as a hill-name is would stand Bury Wood Camp to the north of the Lid Brook.

A NOTE ON LIDDINGTON CASTLE/BADBURY

Readers of my book THE ARTHUR OF HISTORY and of previous blog entries posted here will be familiar with my comprehensive discussion of the place-name Badon as it relates to OE bathum, 'baths', and to baddan(-byrig).  In brief, there is not a single Celtic linguist who will allow Badon to have come from Baddan-.  All insist the form comes quite regularly from bathum.  

Recently, I made an attempt to derive OE Baddan- (from a supposed personal name Badda, although other ideas have been proposed) from an original Brythonic source.  This effort also failed.  To summarize why Badda/Baddan- can't come from the British, here is what Professor Richard Coates sent me:

"Badda, if borrowed, and if we take the double <dd> seriously, is difficult to link to a Brittonic etymon.

British */t/ > Britt. */d/ would show up as OE /d/, not as a geminate (double).
British */tt/ > Britt. */θ/ would show up as OE */θ/, written with thorn, but never <dd>.
British */d/ > Britt. */ð/ would show up as OE /d/ or /ð/, depending on the period, for which the spelling <dd> is most unlikely.
British */dd/ seems to have yielded simple Britt. */d/ (Jackson LHEB 428, on credu), and would show up as OE /d/, not as a geminate (double).

So I conclude that Badda cannot be of Celtic  origin, particularly because Late British did not have geminate /dd/."

However, I should point out what would otherwise appear to be an odd coincidence.  The Liddington name, as applied to the Badbury/Baddanbyrig hill-fort near Swindon, also means "loud or roaring stream." This would, then, match the meaning of Breguoin just as a fort on the Lid Brook might have done.  In the past I have pointed out that the Barbury or "Bear's Fort" near Liddington/Badbury could be an early English reference to Arthur, as his name was connected by the Welsh with their word arth, 'bear.'  Furthermore, Wanborough near Liddington was in the Romano-British period called Durocornovium.  This place-name contains the same word we find in the tribal name Cornovii and in Cernyw, the Welsh name for Cornwall.  Welsh legend consistently associated Arthur with Cornwall.

It seems inconceivable that Gildas's spelling for Badon - and every subsequent spelling - is incorrect.  Yet it is tempting to see in Agned (Agued), Breguoin and Badon a typical Celtic triad of names all designating the same very important hillfort.  But if this is so, someone much sharper than I am will have to be able to philologically and phonologically demonstrate to the satisfaction of the linguists how Badon could stand for Baddan-.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

FINAL IDENTIFICATION OF ARTHUR'S BREGUOIN BATTLE



For this discovery, please see the following revised blog post:

http://mistshadows.blogspot.com/2016/12/cerdic-of-wessex-and-arthur-comparison.html

Friday, December 16, 2016

CERDIC OF WESSEX AND ARTHUR: A COMPARISON OF THEIR BATTLES

Solsbury Hill-Fort Near Bath

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
Wihtgarasburh
537 - Cerdic dies, Cynric takes the kingship, Isle of Wight given to Stuf (of Stubbington near Port and opposite Wight) and Wihtgar

As 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.

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.

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.

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.

At this point the author of the Arthur battle-list ran out of Cerdic battles.  To complement his list, and bring it up to the necessary Herculean 12, he either had knowledge of Cerdic/Arthur battles not mentioned in the ASC or had to look elsewhere for battle-sites belonging to other combatants. If we accept this as true, then my previous identifications of some of these remaining battles are likely incorrect.

I had mentioned before that the Tribruit/Tryfrwyd appears to represent a Welsh rendering of Latin trajectus.  As it happens, while the Pa Gur battle poem almost certainly puts this crossing-point at North Queensferry opposite Edinburgh, there was a trajectus actually called such on the Severn.  To quote from THE PLACE-NAMES OF ROMAN BRITAIN by Rivet and Smith:

Rivet & Smith, p. 474 :

SOURCE

- AI 4862 (Iter XIV) : TRAIECTUS

DERIVATION. The name is a Latin common noun, 'crossing', perhaps more specifically 'crossing-point' or 'ferry'. There are several Continental examples, and the name survives in modem Maastricht and Utrecht (Holland), etc. The word seems to have been used solely for the Roman transport system, and has nothing to do with possible Celtic names (such as the word which is now Welsh traeth 'sands').

IDENTIFICATION. The reference is probably to the crossing of the Severn; see the discussion in Chapter IV, pp. 177-78.

I would add that in CULHWCH AND OLWEN, a tale found in the medieval Welsh collection known as the MABINOGION, the great boar hunt takes Arthur and his men into the Severn estuary.  And, indeed, the Pa Gur involves Manawydan with the Tribruit battle, while the same personage is said to have been one of the heroes who plunged the boar into the Severn.

If this is the original Trajectus/Tribruit, then the City of the Legion is likely Caerleon, which is directly across from the mouth of the Avon and Bitton, near where the Trajectus fell (see Rivet and Smith, p. 177-178).

Bath must once again be the preferred site for the famous Badon battle.  I made my case in THE ARTHUR OF HISTORY for the name Badon being possible for only two known sites in early Britain: the sacred baths of Aquae Arnemetia or of Aquae Sulis.  Given a 'Southern Arthur', the only candidate for Badon is Bath.  We must elect one of the neighboring hill-forts, e.g. Little Solsbury Hill or Bathampton Camp.  Bath also makes sense given that Tribruit/Trajectus is likely at Bitton or thereabouts on the Avon, only a dozen kilometers or so northwest of Bath.  The English name Bathum, 'Baths', was given precedence by the Christian Gildas because the native Roman period name featured a pagan goddess, Sulis.

Agned is no longer a troublesome name.  While I could strain to make it derive from the Roman name Egnatius, who is attested at Bremenium (see below) in the North, I'm leaning more towards this being a simple error for the word agued, which I also discuss in some detail in my book THE ARTHUR OF HISTORY.  If Agned is from agued, then a description of what was happening at the hill-battle of Breguoin or Bregion was misunderstood as a real place-name.  What Agned actually implied is that the Britons or the Saxons were in 'distress' or found themselves in 'dire straits' at Breguoin or Bregion.

Breguoin is, certainly, for the Brewyn of the Urien poems, i.e. the Bremenium Roman fort.  All my attempts to make something else of it have failed.  As Dr. Simon Rodway of the University of Wales succinctly states,

"It's from Bremenium. The <gu> stands quite regularly for /w/, and the oi for the diphthong /ui/ < /e:/, a spelling  which is found elsewhere in Old Welsh. All this is explained quite clearly by Kenneth Jackson. There is nothing controversial about this derivation."

Obviously, if Arthur = Cerdic/Ceredig, and all his other battles were in the South, it makes no sense for him to have fought at Bremenium.  A Welsh glossator had a problem with the name as well, claiming it was for Bregion.  As Jackson and others have made clear, Bregion simply means hills in Old Welsh.  In Middle Welsh this would become Breon (see Peter Schrijver's STUDIES IN BRITISH CELTIC HISTORICAL PHONOLOGY, 1995).  As it happens, we have an excellent - nay, perfect - candidate for Bregion very close to the other battles Cerdic/Arthur was fighting in this region.

Brean in Somerset appears to have preserved the Breon spelling.  Early forms for Brean are Brien, Breen, Broen, Bren, Breon.  And Brean Down boasts a promontory fort, as well as other ancient structures, including a Romano-British temple ( http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=1065575&sort=4&search=all&criteria=brean%20down&rational=q&recordsperpage=10http://pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=191302&sort=2&type=HILLFORT&typeselect=c&rational=a&class1=None&period=None&county=100248&district=None&parish=None&place=&recordsperpage=10&source=text&rtype=&rnumber=).

Unfortunately, the glossator is plainly wrong.  Breguoin does not stand for Bregion.

I think there is a rather simple solution to this problem.  Only several miles north of Bath is the Bury Camp or Bury Wood Camp, a major hillfort:

http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=208476&sort=4&search=all&criteria=Bury%20Wood%20Camp&rational=q&recordsperpage=10


This hillfort is between the By Brook and its two tributaries the Doncombe Brook and the Lid Brook. It is also very near the Roman road known as the Fosse Way.  Now, as it happens, Lid is from OE hlyde, 'loud', and as Ekwall and others have made clear, the meaning was something like "the roaring brook".  Bremenium has the British root *brem- (cf. Welsh bref), and as found in Bremenium was named for a stream near the Roman fort that has the exact same meaning, i.e. it was "the roaring stream."  There is an Afon Brefi and a Roman fort Bremia in the Cardiganshire of Ceredig son of Cunedda.

I would make a case, then, for Breguoin (Brewyn, Bremenium) being a Welsh rendering of the Lid Brook name, and as a hill-name is would stand Bury Wood Camp to the north of the Lid Brook.

A NOTE ON LIDDINGTON CASTLE/BADBURY

Readers of my book THE ARTHUR OF HISTORY and of previous blog entries posted here will be familiar with my comprehensive discussion of the place-name Badon as it relates to OE bathum, 'baths', and to baddan(-byrig).  In brief, there is not a single Celtic linguist who will allow Badon to have come from Baddan-.  All insist the form comes quite regularly from bathum.  

Recently, I made an attempt to derive OE Baddan- (from a supposed personal name Badda, although other ideas have been proposed) from an original Brythonic source.  This effort also failed.  To summarize why Badda/Baddan- can't come from the British, here is what Professor Richard Coates sent me:

"Badda, if borrowed, and if we take the double <dd> seriously, is difficult to link to a Brittonic etymon.

British */t/ > Britt. */d/ would show up as OE /d/, not as a geminate (double).
British */tt/ > Britt. */θ/ would show up as OE */θ/, written with thorn, but never <dd>.
British */d/ > Britt. */ð/ would show up as OE /d/ or /ð/, depending on the period, for which the spelling <dd> is most unlikely.
British */dd/ seems to have yielded simple Britt. */d/ (Jackson LHEB 428, on credu), and would show up as OE /d/, not as a geminate (double).

So I conclude that Badda cannot be of Celtic  origin, particularly because Late British did not have geminate /dd/."

However, I should point out what would otherwise appear to be an odd coincidence.  The Liddington name, as applied to the Badbury/Baddanbyrig hill-fort near Swindon, also means "loud or roaring stream." This would, then, match the meaning of Breguoin just as a fort on the Lid Brook might have done.  In the past I have pointed out that the Barbury or "Bear's Fort" near Liddington/Badbury could be an early English reference to Arthur, as his name was connected by the Welsh with their word arth, 'bear.'  Furthermore, Wanborough near Liddington was in the Romano-British period called Durocornovium.  This place-name contains the same word we find in the tribal name Cornovii and in Cernyw, the Welsh name for Cornwall.  Welsh legend consistently associated Arthur with Cornwall.

It seems inconceivable that Gildas's spelling for Badon - and every subsequent spelling - is incorrect.  Yet it is tempting to see in Agned (Agued), Breguoin and Badon a typical Celtic triad of names all designating the same very important hillfort.  But if this is so, someone much sharper than I am will have to be able to philologically and phonologically demonstrate to the satisfaction of the linguists how Badon could stand for Baddan-.  

CAMLAN(N)  

Camlann still looks to be one of the sites of this name in NW Wales.  We might presume that Ceredig son of Cunedda was fighting on his home front, rather than in southern England.  The ASC merely says that Cerdic died and does not provide any information about where this happened.  However, there is a Cam River in Gloucestershire we need to take a look at.

The headwaters of the Gloucestershire Cam rise at the great Uley hill-fort (http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=205226).  Uley, of course, is an English name for the place.  According to both Ekwall and Mills, this is from Euuelege, Iwele, Iwelega, 'Yew-wood or Yew-clearing', OE iw-leah.


Uley Bury Hill-Fort

The problem the name Camlann or Camlan poses for many scholars is that, technically, it canmean either Crooked Bank or Crooked Enclosure.  To my knowledge, no one has found a good Brythonic 'Crooked Enclosure' where they could place Arthur's death.  I would propose that if one of the Camlan(n)'s in NW Wales is not the actual site, then we should look to the "enclosure" at the Cam source that is the Uley hill-fort.

Alternately, given that Arthur's Badon = Bath, we should not ignore the Cam Brook (early Camelar, Cameler) very close to that city.  Camlan(n) could have been fought and lost here as well.

No good etymology for Cameler/Camelar has been offered.  I think it is possible we are dealing here with *Cambo-, 'crooked', plus an element now found in Welsh as

llwrw, llwry1 
[H. Wydd. a Gwydd. Diw. lorg ‘llwybr, ôl, trywydd; ffordd, modd, dull’: < Clt. *lorgo- o’r gwr. IE. *lerg- ‘gwastad, llithrig’, cf. Crn. C. lergh, lyrgh, H. Lyd. lerg, Llyd. C. a Diw. lerc’h ‘llwybr, ôl’, Gwydd. C. lerg, Gwydd. Diw. learg ‘llechwedd; maes; llwybr’; am y pâr llwrw, llwry, cf. bwriaf: bwrw, eiry, eira
eg. ll. llyry, a hefyd fel ardd. ac fel cys.
a  Trywydd, ôl, llwybr, ffordd, cyfeiriad, rhawd, gyrfa; yn ffig. dull, modd, ffurf, rhith, tebygrwydd:
track, trail, path, way, direction, course, career; fig. manner, mode, form, semblance.

The Irish cognate of this word is the following, which could have the meaning of RIVER-BANK:

lerg

Cite this: eDIL s.v. lerg or dil.ie/29984

Forms: lerga

(c) Various applications. Shore of sea or lake, river-bank: cota lir lerggae īath nĒremōin, Ält. Ir. Dicht. ii 10 § 3 (.i. co himel mara, 11.13 ). ás (= ós) leirg Locha Lind Formait, TBC 4115 . learga Loich Éirne, Buile S. 92.14 . air leargaidh (?-aibh) Locha Séarchaidh,AU iii 598.8 . ar léirg chúain, Rel. Celt. ii 286.26 . croinn ḟinnleargan an Ḟorghais, TD 3.3 .

The Camelar/Cameler would then be the stream of the 'crooked course' or perhaps even the stream of the 'crooked bank.'  This latter meaning would match that of Camboglanna.  


My heavily (indeed, completely altered) revision of Arthur's (i.e. Cerdic's battles) would look like this on a map:


If I have this right, what does it say about the campaigns of Cerdic/Arthur?

My reading on this shows a pretty clear division between the British kingdom of Dumnonia and the expanding English kingdom of Wessex. What seems odd, in this context, is that the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle tradition insists Cerdic/Ceridig/Arthur was fighting FOR Wessex, or at least for the nascent kingdom of Wessex. Arthur was, in Welsh tradition at least, constantly associated with Cornwall and Devon and part of Somerset. So what are we to make of this?

Clearly, Arthur/Cerdic/Ceredig, the Irish or Irish/Briton mercenary or "federate", was fighting for both the Welsh and the Saxons AGAINST the Dumnonians.  The irony here is incredible, as tradition ended up placing Arthur in the Dumnonian genealogy. But, historically, it does make sense.  There would have been a natural and expected antagonism between the 'high king' of Wales and the ruler of SW England.  With the withdrawal of the Romans, the old antipathies - and territorial ambitions - quickly came to the fore. Irish mercenary sons of Cunedda, including Ceredig or Cerdic, took lands in NW Wales and agreed to serve Welsh overlords in a war waged against Dumnonia. To do so, the Irish mercenaries made a foedus pact with the Saxons who were attacking Dumnonia from the south-central area of England. They also had to address areas which were beyond Saxon control at the time - namely the places to either side of the Severn at which Arthur/Cerdic fought. If we draw a line from the location of the battles mentioned in the ASC to the battles mentioned in the HB, we can quickly grasp the significance of the goal of Arthur/Cerdic/Ceredig.

I admit that this may be far beyond what Arthurian enthusiasts tend to think of when they search for a true, historical Arthur.  Nonetheless, it is the best that I can do, while remaining true to the precepts of analytical honesty.

SEE ALSO http://mistshadows.blogspot.com/2016/12/cerdic-of-wessex-and-arthur-one-more.html

























Thursday, December 15, 2016

CERDIC OF WESSEX AND ARTHUR - ONE MORE TIME!

River Avon Near South Charford, Hampshire

A decade or more ago, myself and others flirted with the notion that the famous founder of Wessex, Cerdic, was King Arthur.  One of the main champions of the Cerdic = Arthur theory is Joseph C. Rudmin, whose paper on the subject may still be found online here:


As Rudmin himself points out, there are a number of problems with the Arthur = Cerdic theory.  I resolved some of them when I showed (see my book THE ARTHUR OF HISTORY, Chapter 1, http://mistshadows.blogspot.com/2016/08/before-king-arthur-ambrosius-cunedda.html) that Cerdic of Wessex was almost certainly Ceredig son of Cunedda.  But I was unable to reconcile the names.  Just how can we prove that Cerdic/Ceredig also bore the name Arthur?

The departure point for our continuing exploration of this subject is once again a comparison of the relevant chronologies. 

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.

The questions I've always asked myself are these: the Arthur of the Historia Brittonum clearly occupies the same time range as that of Cerdic of Wessex.  Both are national heroes, one of the Britons and one of the English.  Was Arthur merely "created" to provide the Britons with a propagandist substitute for the English Cerdic?  But, if so, why would the English have chosen for their kingdom-founding champion a man who was plainly Celtic, in Cerdic's case at least in origin Irish and possibly of mixed Irish-Briton ancestry?

As I've discussed in some detail before, Ceredig/Cerdic was the son of Cunedda, who appears as Ceawlin in the ASC.  This would seem to automatically disqualify Arthur as Cerdic, for as we all know the only father known for the early Arthur was Uther Pendragon.  I've literally chased Pendragon's tail for years, striving always to come up with a satisfactory identification of this most elusive character.  Only the other day did I finally realize that I'd missed something potentially important.

In my book THE ARTHUR OF HISTORY, I opted for what seemed a reasonable approach.  Uther, the Terrible or Horrible, with his epithet Pendragon, was most likely, so I surmised, a poetic designation for Ambrosius.  This war-leader (an anchronistic figure, as it turns out) was the 'dread' of Vortigern and had been brought into close connection with the red dragon of Dinas Emrys.  While this identification appeared to make sense, because of the chronological gap between him and Arthur, I reasoned that Uther Pendragon could not possibly have been Arthur's actual father.

However, as dragons/serpents/snakes are constantly linked to the kingdom of Gwynedd (see my piece THAT PESKY DRAGON http://mistshadows.blogspot.com/2016/10/that-pesky-dragon.html), I thought it would behoove me to look there and see if any other figures were described in the early poems as being "fearful" or the like.  My search yielded two such references.  In the MARWNAD CYNDDYLAN, an unnamed ruler of Gwynedd is said to be the 'terror' (ffraw) of the Cadellings, the dynasty of North Powys.  The second example is far more interesting.  In the MARWNAD CUNEDDA, that great chieftain is said to be the cause of dread/fear/horror (ergrynawr).  We thus have Cunedda, the founder of the kingdom of the dragons, being the fear of those he opposes or attacks.  Cunedda took on the Welsh title of Wledig, 'prince, ruler', and as Ceawlin in the ASC was a 'Bretwalda', or 'ruler of the Britons.'  Such would be sufficient, then, to propose that Uther Pendragon was actually a poetic title for Cunedda himself.

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 on 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 that 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', 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'. Peter Schrijver 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.

Simon Rodway 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 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. Simon Rodway of the University of Wales (https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/cymraeg/staff-profiles/listing/profile/syr), his response was simply "This sounds perfectly plausible."
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 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.  
SEE ALSO http://mistshadows.blogspot.com/2016/12/cerdic-of-wessex-and-arthur-comparison.html

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.  

  














Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Cunedda Haunting My Thoughts Again: Ergrynawr Cunedaf Creisseryd and Cadelling Ffraw

Essay to be posted soon.

 For now, let me say that I have a sure and certain way to make Cunedda into Uther Pendragon. And that my earlier observation that the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle's floruit for Cerdic ( = Ceredig son of Cunedda) exactly matches that of Arthur may be VERY significant. Ceredig of Ceredigion founded the kingdom that includes the Afon Arth at its heartland, as well as the Little Bear tributary and the fort at Dinerth. There are several Arth- names in the early Ceredigion pedigree (see the Harleian MS. version of the Historia Brittonum), showing that the Afon Arth was associated with some kind of bear deity, whose name crept into the princes of the dynasty.

As I know Cunedda father of Ceredig WAS IRISH, there may well be a way to PROVE that the name Arthur was actually a designation of Ceredig/Cerdic.


Stay tuned...

Stay tuned...

Friday, December 9, 2016

Old Notes on Arthur son of Bicoir as THE ARTHUR

[I wrote this many years ago... and only chanced upon it the other day, preserved as a query to members of the Old Irish listserv:

https://listserv.heanet.ie/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0004&L=CELTIC-L&P=64735

I now believe I was onto something, and that work I've done in recent months supports this idea.  Some additional posts relating to this will be coming soon.  For now, I will content myself with bringing this theory back to life for examination by others.]

The Isle of Islay, where Arthur slew the Irish king Mongan


The famous Arthurian battle list of the HISTORIA BRITTONUM is found immediately after mention of Octha's (Octha = Aesc) ascension to the throne of Kent in 488.  Arthur is said to have fought against “them”, and the contextual implication – often ignored – is that the “them” is question are the Kentish Saxons. 

We know of the following 6th-7th century Arthurs, discounting for a moment Nennius's Arthur dux bellorum:

Arthur son of Aedan (or Conaing) of Dalriada
Arthur grandfather of Feradach (mentioned in connection with St. Adomnan,
and thus probably also of Scotland)
Arthur son of Petr (the Irish Petuir or Retheoir)
Arthur son of Bicoir the Briton

What I asked myself, in looking at these various Arthurs, is why one of them would have been placed by the HISTORIA BRITTONUM narrative right after mention of Aesc of Kent and in the southern England of the early Wessex dynasty. No answer revealed itself, until I looked at year entry 625 of the Irish Tigernach Annals:

... Baptismum Etuin maic Elle, qui primus credidit in reghionibus
Saxonum...  Mongan mac Fiachna Lurgan, ab Artuir filio Bicoir Britone
lapide percussus interit.  Unde Bed Boirche dixit

IS uarin gaeth dar Ile,
 do fuil oca i Cind Tire,
do-genat gnim amnus de,
mairbfit Mongan mac Fiachnae.

The translation of the regular entry tells how Arthur son of Bicoir, a Briton, killed Mongan, King of Ulster, with a stone. Immediately prior to the entry on Artuir son of Bicoir we are told of the baptism of Edwin son of Aelle of Northumbria, an event mentioned under the year 627 in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

The poem stanza is translated as follows:

Cold is the wind over Islay;
there are warriors in Kintyre,
 they will commit a cruel deed therefor,
they will kill Mongan, son of Fiachna.

Now, the implication is, of course, that Arthur is from or at least "in" Kintyre, which was part of Dalriada, the later Argyle.  However, compare the Old Irish Cind Tire/Kintyre with the following entry from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which tells of the 457 Crecganford battle featuring Hengist and his son, Aesc.  And bear in mind that it is this Aesc – or Octha, as Nennius calls him - who is mentioned as succeeding to the kingship of Kent just prior to the listing of the Arthurian battles.

Her Hengest 7 Aesc fuhton with Brettas in thaere stowe the is gecueden
Creganford 7 thaer ofslogon .iiiim. wera, 7 tha Brettas the forleton
 Centlond...

What I am proposing is that the Cind Tire of the Artuir passage in Tigernach was interpreted as Cent/"Kent" + Welsh tir (cf. L. terre, "land, earth, country") and equated with the Centlond of the ASC entry for the year 457.  It is also possible that the Elle/Aelle mentioned in Tigernach 625 may have been identified with the much earlier Aelle of Sussex, who is mentioned in the Chronicle just prior to Cerdic.  With Arthur now in Kent, the author of the HISTORIA BRITTONUM appropriated Cerdic of Wessex's battles to further glorify this imaginatively created Dark Age British hero.

The famous Arthur of legend would appear to have originally been Arthur son of Bicoir - if we could get by the grave problem of incorrect chronology.  And if we could get past the fact that Arthur derived from Artorius can only be associated with the York area, and all the battles of Arthur in the Historia Brittonum show a chieftain in northern England and Southern Scotland.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Anoeth bin u bedd Arthur and Caer Oeth ac Anoeth: the Welsh Localization of Arthur's Grave

Slide of RCAHMW colour oblique aerial photograph of Brithdir Roman Fort, taken by T.G. Driver, 17/3/1999.

In my book THE ARTHUR OF HISTORY, I outlined an Arthur who may have been situated along the western end of Hadrian's Wall.  Because there is an "Avalon" Roman fort very near that of Camboglanna on the Wall, I dared to propose that the story of Arthur's being taken to Avalon may have been based on the existence of a very real place.

However, an analysis of the Welsh sources forces us to a Camlann in NW Wales, and provides us with an important clue as the location of Arthur's grave near the fatal battle site.  I emphasize once again that Arthur MAY WELL HAVE BEEN RELOCATED TO WALES FROM THE WALL in Welsh tradition.  The problem with this possibility is the title Uther Pendragon, which seems to belong to the sub-kingdom of Eifionydd in Gwynedd.  Many Arthurian amateur scholars - myself included - have sought to either dispense with Uther entirely or to identify him with various Dark Age British rulers.  The truth is that until he can be firmly identified, there is no real hope of discovering the real Arthur.  The famous Arthur has only one father - Uther.  Without Uther, in a sense, there can be no Arthur.

In the past couple of blogs I've floated the idea that Bicoir, father of a British Arthur in the Irish Annals, is to be equated with Beccurus, found on a stone in Eifionydd, 'the snakes' lair.'  I went further in suggesting the Terrible Chief-Dragon as a title may belong to Beccurus. This title may also be reflected in the 'terrible warrior' who plays a role in the Irish story of the begetting of Mongan.

A localization of Camlann in NW Wales brings up an important point - namely, that Arthur's grave may have been thought to be in this region as well. Although we might first suppose his body to have been interred next to that of his father Beccurus, Welsh tradition points to another place.  

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 and the context suggests this was a sort of death-prison or Otherworld location.

We know where this fort was located: Gwanas, a mountainous region situated exactly between the Welsh Camlanns (see map below).


As it happens, there are two Roman camps in this area, a fortlet at Brithdir and a marching camp at Gwanas-fawr. If, as seems likely, Arthur's 'anoeth' is a poetic (or confused) reference to this fort, then his grave is to be sought either at Brithdir (the most most promising candidate, as the fortlet here is on the Roman road) or at Gwanas-fawr.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

THE SLAYING OF MONGAN SON OF FIACHNA BY ARTUIR SON OF BICOIR: A REVENGE KILLING?


Gesail Gyfarch Stone, Penmorfa, Gwynedd

In my rather meandering and inconclusive blog post THAT PESKY DRAGON (http://mistshadows.blogspot.com/2016/10/that-pesky-dragon.html), I discussed the land of Eifionydd in NW Wales as the home of dragons/serpents.  I tentatively associated these serpents with the ones at both Dinas Emrys and at the Segontium Roman fort.

What had not occurred to me when I wrote this piece was that the Beccurus Stone (http://datingoldwelshhouses.co.uk/library/HHistory-old/HH%20GESAIL%20GYFARCH.pdf, http://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/cisp/database/) is situated in Eifionydd. Why might this be significant?

Long ago, myself and others pointed out the very real possibility that the birth story of Arthur as recorded in Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain was borrowed from that of the birth of the Irish king Mongan.  When I discussed this story I noted the interesting occurrence of a character referred to variously as the 'terrible warrior' or the 'terrible man.' I floated the idea that the Terrible Warrior could be the origin of the Uther Pendragon epithet.  There was, of course, a major problem with this idea: the Terrible Warrior is brought forward as the champion of the Saxons in the battle against Aedan of Dalriada (the father or grandfather of an Arthur) and his ally, Fiachna son of Baetan.

Most authorities hold to the view (and, I think, correctly) that the battle in the Irish story is a reflection of that of the historical conflict of Degsastan.  Now, there is something very odd about the Degsastan battle: no Britons are present.  What happens, though, if for the sake of argument we allow for the Terrible Warrior to be a designation for Beccurus of Eifionydd?

What I'm suggesting is that Beccurus, called the Terrible Dragon (of Eifionydd), i.e. the Terrible Warrior (as 'dragon' in this context is a metaphor for a warrior; see http://geiriadur.ac.uk/gpc/gpc.html), was fighting with the English against the Scots.  Fiachna kills Beccurus - or the Irish king is credited with that killing.  Later, in vengeance for his father's slaying, Arthur son of Beccurus kills Mongan, the son of Fiachna.


Needless to say, this throws completely out of whack the established chronology for the first or "original" Arthur.  It also causes a number of other needed changes in my own theory about him.  For one, Camlann is almost certainly the place I discussed in my book (http://mistshadows.blogspot.com/2016/07/the-arthur-of-history-appendix-iii.html) in NW Wales not far from where the Beccurus Stone is located.

The notion that the Arthur name is to be derived from the Roman name Artorius might now seem to be in doubt.  I've always been haunted by the fact that ALL the historical Arthurs of the 7th century belong to Irish-descended dynasties.  The arth/'bear' connection is doubtless important and if Arthur son of Bicoir/Beccurus belongs to Eifionydd, that he is said in Welsh tradition to have relatives at Caer Dathal (Garn Boduan?) of the bear-god Math son of Mathonwy should also not be overlooked.  I have noted before that the Breguoin/Bremenium battle of Arthur in the Historia Brittonum may have been chosen for the great hero because of the presence there of a Roman period bear-god named Matunus. However, every major Celtic linguist I've checked with insists on Artorius was the origin of Arthur.  None of my proposed alternative etymologies work and the same must be said for etymologies proposed by others. 

I now am distancing myself from my own theory that 'Bicoir', rather than representing Beccurus, may be a corruption of Petuir, a spelling for Pedr/Petrus of Dyfed, who also had a son named Arthur (http://mistshadows.blogspot.com/2016/09/bicoir-father-of-artuir-and-beccurus.html).  If we go in the direction of Bicoir = Pedr, we lose our connection with Eifionydd and the dragons and we could not propose that Bicoir was the Terrible Warrior/Uther Pendragon.  In my essay 'That Pesky Dragon' I mention that Arthur son of Bicoir slays the Irish king Mongan with a dragon stone.  If Bicoir = Beccurus of the snakes' lair that was Eifionydd, we might expect his son to use just such a stone.

 NOTE: The authorship of the Historia Brittonom has been challenged by scholars such as David Dumville.  However, while Nennius cannot be proven to be the author of the text, neither can the traditional attribution be disproven.   One thing, however, does seem fairly certain: the original composition was created in Gwynedd - the very kingdom which contains Eifionydd of Beccurus (http://www.walesher1974.org/her/groups/GAT/media/GAT_Reports/GATreport_681_compressed.pdf).

If Nennius (or whoever the actual author of the HB was) did live in Gwynedd, did he select his own local Arthur, a purely regional hero, to become the propagandist champion of the British against the English?

NOTE 2:  The reading of the Beccurus Stone is uncertain.  Rather than the CIVI for CIVE offered by Rhys, I would tentatively propose CVM (cum).  This would allow for the inscription to be read "Cunalipus's son Cunacus lies here with Beccurus."

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

MOUNT BADON ONE MORE TIME

Buxton in the High Peak, Derbyshire


NOTE: As there are still many proponents of a Badon place-name with a Brythonic etymology - despite the fact that no such Brythonic etymology has been discovered or proposed - I felt it necessary to re-post this blog entry.  The idea is fairly simple, and not in doubt among leading Celticists: the name is British, but is also a British form of an Anglo-Saxon name.  As to why Gildas would have used such a form, well, I have discussed that in this chapter from my book THE ARTHUR OF HISTORY.  Essentially, the place was named for a pagan goddess in the original Brythonic language.  Gildas was a devout Christian, later to become a saint, and as such could not assign a pagan name to the scene of a great British victory against the pagans.  Thus he defaulted to his own people's rendering of the innocuous Saxon word for "Baths".  For those who haven't bothered to read my full treatment of Arthur's Badon battle, I include it here once more in its entirety.

The Twelfth Battle: Mount Badon

Badon is a difficult place-name for an unexpected reason. As Kenneth Jackson proclaimed:

"No such British name is known, nor any such stem." [To be briefly mentioned in the context of Badon is the Middle Welsh word bad, 'plague, pestilence, death' (GPC; first attested in the 14th century), from Proto-Celtic *bato-, cf. Old Irish bath. Some have asked me whether this word could be the root of Badon - to which Dr. Graham I. Isaac, of the National University of Ireland, Galway, responds emphatically, "No, absolutely no. A (modern) W form _bad_ etc. would have been spelt in the W of the ancient period as _bat_ and there can be no connection since _Bad(on)_ is what we find." Other noteworthy Celtic linguists, such as Dr. Simon Rodway of Aberystwyth University, Dr. Richard Coates of the University of the West of England and Professor Ranko Matasovic of the University of Zagreb, agree with Isaac on this point. Matasovic adds: “Professor Isaac is right; since we have references to Badon in Early Welsh sources, the name would have been spelled with –t- (for voiced /d/). The spelling where the letter <d> stands for /d/ and <dd> for the voiced dental fricative was introduced in the late Middle Ages.”]

Graham Isaac has the following to say on the nature of the word Badon, which I take to be authoritative.

His explanation of why Gildas's Badon cannot be derived from one of the Badburys (like Liddington Castle, often cited as a prime candidates for Badon) is critical in an eventual identification of this battle site. Although long and rather complicated, his argument is convincing and I have, therefore, opted to present it unedited:

"Remember in all that follows that both the -d - in Badon and the -th- in OE Bathum are pronounced like th in 'bathe' and Modern Welsh - dd-. Remember also that in Old English spelling, the letters thorn and the crossed d are interchangeable in many positions: that is variation in spelling, not in sound, and has no significance for linguistic arguments.

It is curious that a number of commentators have been happy to posit a 'British' or 'Celtic' form Badon. The reason seems to be summed up succinctly by Tolstoy in the 1961 article (p. 145):

'It is obviously impossible that Gildas should have given a Saxon name for a British locality'.

Why? I see no reason at all in the world why he should not do so (begging the question as to what, exactly, is the meaning of 'British locality' here; Gildas is just talking about a hill). This then becomes the chief crutch of the argument, as shown on p. 147 of Tolstoy's article: 'But that there was a Celtic name ‘Badon’ we know from the very passage in Gildas under discussion'.

But that is just circular: ' "Badon" must be "Celtic" because Gildas only uses "Celtic" names'. This is no argument. What would have to be shown is that 'Badon' is a regular reflex of a securely attested 'Celtic' word. This is a matter of empirical detail and is easily tested; we have vast resources to tell us what was and was not a 'Celtic' word. And there is nothing like 'Badon'.

So what do we do? Do we just say that 'Badon' must be Celtic because Gildas uses it? That gets us nowhere.

So what of the relationships between aet Bathum - Badon - Baddanbyrig? The crucial point is just that OE Bathum and the Late British / very early Welsh Badon we are talking about both have the soft -th- sound of 'bathe' and Mod.Welsh 'Baddon'. Baddanbyrig, however, has a long d-sound like -d d- in 'bad day'. Both languages, early OE and Late British, had both the d-sound and the soft th-sound. 

So:

1)   If the English had taken over British (hypothetical and actually non-existent) *Badon (*Din Badon or something), they would have made it *Bathanbyrig or the like, and the modern names of these places would be something like *Bathbury.

2)   If the British had taken over OE Baddanbyrig, they would have kept the d-sound, and Gildas would have written 'Batonicus mons', and Annales Cambriae would have 'bellum Batonis', etc. (where the -t- is the regular early SPELLING of the sound -d-; always keep your conceptions of spellings and your conceptions of sounds separate; one of the classic errors of the untrained is to fail to distinguish these). 

I imagine if that were the case we would have no hesitation is identifying 'Baton' with a Badbury place. But the d-sound and the soft th -sound are not interchangeable. It is either the one or the other, and in fact it is the soft th -sound that is in 'Badon', and that makes it equivalent to Bathum, not Baddanbyrig. 

(That applies to the sounds. On the other hand there is nothing strange about the British making Bad-ON out of OE Bath -UM. There was nothing in the Late British/early Welsh language which corresponded to the dative plural ending - UM of OE, so it was natural for the Britons to substitute the common British suffix - ON for the very un-British OE suffix -UM: this is not a substitution of SOUNDS, but of ENDINGS, which is quite a different matter. That Gildas then makes an unproblematic Latin adjective with -icus out of this does not require comment.)

To conclude:

1) There is no reason in the world why a 6thcentury British author should not refer to a place in Britain by its OE name.

2) There was no 'British' or 'Celtic' *Badon.

3) 'Badon' does not correspond linguistically with OE Baddanbyrig.

4) 'Badon' is the predictably regular Late British / early Welsh borrowing of OE Bathum.

Final note: the fact that later OE sources occasionally call Bath 'Badon' is just a symptom of the book-learning of the authors using the form.

Gildas was a widely read and highly respected author, and Badon(-is) (from Gildas's adjective Badonicus) will quickly and unproblematically have become the standard book-form (i.e. primarily Latin form) for the name of Bath. Again, all attempts to gain some sort of linguistic mileage from the apparent, but illusory, OE variation between Bathum and Badon are vacuous."

It is thus safe to say that 'Badon' must derive from a Bath name. However, we must not restrict ourselves to the Southern Bath, which makes no sense in the context of a Northern Arthur.

For as it happens, there is a major Northern ‘Bath’ site that has gone completely unnoticed!

In the the High Peak District of Derbyshire we find Buxton. This town had once been roughly on the southernmost boundary of Brigantian tribal territory (thought to lie along a line roughly from the Mersey in the west to the Humber in the east). It was also just within Britannia Inferior (that part of northern Britain ruled from York), whose boundary was again from the Mersey, but probably more towards The Wash. 

In the Roman period, Buxton was the site of Aquae Arnemetiae, ‘the waters in front of (the goddess) Nemetia’. To the best of our knowledge, Bath in Somerset and Buxton in Derbyshire were the only two ‘Aquae’ towns in Britain.

But even better, there is a Bathum name extant at Buxton. The Roman road which leads to Buxton from the northeast, through the Peak hills, is called Bathamgate. Batham is ‘baths’, the exact dative plural we need to match the name Bathum/Badon. -gate is ‘road, street’, which comes from ME gate, itself a derivative of OScand gata. Bathamgate is thus ‘Baths Road’.

The recorded forms for Bathamgate are as follows:

Bathinegate (for Bathmegate), 1400, from W. Dugdale's Monasticon Anghcanum, 6 vols, London 1817-1830.
Bathom gate, 1538, from Ancient Deeds in the Public Record Office
Batham Gate, 1599, from records of the Duchy of Lancaster Special Commissions in the Public Record Office.
 
Buxton sits in a bowl about one thousand feet above sea level surrounded by mountains and is itself a mountain spa. The natural mineral water of Buxton emerges from a group of springs at a constant temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit and is, thus, a thermal water. There are also cold springs and a supply of chalybeate (iron bearing) water. The evidence of Mesolithic man suggests a settlement dating to about 5000 BCE and archaeological finds in the Peak District around the settlement show habitation through the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages to the time of the Romans. 

From the historical evidence we can say that Buxton was a civilian settlement of some importance, situated on the intersection of several roads, and providing bathing facilities in warm mineral waters. In short, it was a Roman spa. Place-names in and around Buxton, and Anglo-Saxon finds in burial mound excavations, suggest a continuing inhabitation of the area and probable use of the mineral waters.

It has long been speculated that we should expect to find a military installation at Buxton. However, subsequent archaeological fieldwork, including excavations, in and around suggested locations at the spa town have singularly failed to establish a military presence. A 'ditch feature' identified initially through resistivity survey and then from aerial photography above Mill Cliff, Buxton, gave rise to the almost confident interpretation of this site as being that of the fort: subsequent evaluation in advance of development, however, has shown that these features were geological rather than man-made, and the absence of Roman finds of any description from a series of evaluation trenches suggests that if Buxton had a fort it was located elsewhere.

Today, the site of the probable Roman baths is covered by the Georgian Crescent building. In this area during the seventeenth and eighteenth century discoveries of lead lined baths, red plaster and building remains were made at some considerable depth in the sediments which surround the area of St Anne's well. In the eighteenth century, Pilkington investigated a mound overlooking the site of the previous discoveries. Here he found a structure which has been interpreted as a probable classical temple - one of only three known from Britain. In the mid-seventies, following the removal of a 20th century swimming pool, a brick structure was exposed and a deposit containing 232 Roman coins, 3 bronze bracelets and a wire clasp ranging in date from the 1st to the end of the 4th century CE was excavated.

This intriguing series of early discoveries lends tangible support to the interpretation of Buxton as the 'Bath of the North', but the character and extent of civilian settlement - and whether this was in association with a military installation or not, remains obscure. A considerable range of small finds, together with occasional glimpses of apparently Roman contexts, from the backgardens of houses has failed to provide a clear sense of the extent of Roman Buxton, let alone a soundly based understanding of its chronology and development. The dating of coinage in the 'votive' deposit from near the Crescent might be seen to indicate heightened frequencies of offerings during the third and fourth centuries. To what extent this might correlate with the development of settlement at Buxton is a matter of some conjecture.

At Poole's cavern, Buxton, excavations between 1981 and 1983 by Peakland Archaeological Society and Buxton Archaeological Society produced a large Romano-British assemblage containing a considerable body of metalwork including coins and brooches, rolls of thin sheet bronze, along with ceramics, a faunal assemblage and burials. The dating of the coins and fibulae point to use between the late 1st and 3rd centuries, with the majority being of 2nd century date. Indeed, reanalysis of the material has suggested that the cave saw its principal period of use between 120 and 220 CE. The excavators appeared to reveal some spatial separation of the coin and fibulae finds from the pottery and faunal remains, although this has been questioned.
 
Discussing the possible character of the use of the site Bramwell and Dalton draw attention to the comparative absence of spindle whorls, loom weights and bone hairpins which might be expected from a domestic site. Instead, they see the evidence as supporting the interpretation of the site as that of a rural shrine or sanctuary.

This too has subsequently been questioned and rejected. Instead, Branigan and Dawley interpret the site as essentially domestic, but with the additional refuse from a metalworker’s activities. They see a link between Poole's Cavern and the growth of Buxton as a spa centre providing a ready local market for small decorative trinkets.

The general trend of the evidence suggests that the Roman site may have consisted of a temple overlooking a set of Roman baths. At Bath we have a clear idea of the layout of a significant bath/water shrine complex which consisted of two major ranges: a temple and a religious precinct, within which lay the sacred spring; alongside this range were a line of three baths within a major building, at one end of which lay a typical Roman bathhouse or sauna. The Bath buildings were lavishly built in a classical style and the whole complex attracted visitors from outside the province.

In essence the Buxton layout mirrors that a Bath: parallel to the spring line is a temple and alongside the springs is a range of possibly Roman baths. As the Buxton temple is two-thirds the size of that at Bath we could assume the Buxton complex was somewhat smaller.

If the grove of the goddess Nemetia continued as an important shrine well into Arthur’s time (and the presence of St. Anne’s Well at the site of the town’s ancient baths shows that the efficacy of the sacred waters was appropriated by Christians), there is the possibility the Saxons targeted Buxton for exactly this reason. Taking the Britons’ shrine would have struck them a demoralizing blow. If the goddess or saint or goddess-become-saint is herself not safe from the depredations of the barbarians, who is?

A threat to such a shrine may well have galvanized British resistence. Arthur himself may have been called upon to lead the British in the defense of Nemetia's waters and her temple grove.

There may be a very good reason why Gildas (or his source, or a later interpolator) may have opted for English Bathum (rendered Badon in the British language of the day). The two famous 'baths' towns were anciently known as Aquae Sulis and Aquae Arnemetiae for the two goddesses presiding over the hot springs. As Arthur is made out to be the preeminent Christian hero, who in the Welsh Annals has a shield bearing the Cross of Christ that he carries during the Battle of Badon, it would not do for the ancient Romano-British name to be used in this context. To have done so would inevitably have referred directly to a pagan deity. Hence the generic and less “connotation-loaded” Germanic name for the place was substituted. This explanation might do much to placate those who insist on seeing Badon as a Celtic name.

And where is the most likely location for the monte/montis of the Baths/Batham/Badon, where the actual battle was fought?

I make this out to be what is now referred to as The Slopes, at the foot of which is the modern St. Ann’s Well, and the Crescent, under which the original Roman bath was built. The Slopes were once called St. Ann’s Cliff because it was a prominent limestone outcrop. The Tithe map of 1848 shows that the upper half of the Cliff was still largely covered in trees. I suspect the spring was anciently thought to arise from inside the Cliff, and that the trees covering it marked the precincts of the nemeton or sacred grove of Arnemetia.

The three days and three nights Arthur bore the cross (or, rather, a shield bearing an image of a cross) at Badon in the Welsh Annals are markedly similar to the three days and three nights Urien is said to have blockaded the Saxons in the island of Lindsfarne (British Metcaud) in Chapter 63 of the HB. In Gildas, immediately before mention of Badon, we have the following phrase: "From then on victory went now to our countrymen, now to their enemies…" Similarly, just prior mention of Urien at Lindisfarne, we have this: "During that time, sometimes the enemy, sometimes the Cymry were victorious…" It would seem, therefore, that either the motif of the three days and three nights was taken from the Urien story and inserted into that of Arthur or vice-versa.

What is fascinating about this parallel is that Lindisfarne or ‘Holy Island’, as it came to be known, was an important spiritual centre of Northern Britain. The inclusion of the three days and three nights (an echo of the period Christ spent in the tomb) in the Badon story suggests that we can no longer accept the view that Arthur's portage of Christian symbols at Badon was borrowed solely from the Castle Guinnion battle account in the HB. Aquae Arnemetiae, like Lindisfarne, was a holy place. Arthur's fighting there may have been construed as a holy act.
 
Supposedly, 960 Saxons were slain by Arthur at Badon. In the past, most authorities have seen in the number 960 no more than a fanciful embellishment on the Annals' entry, i.e. more evidence of Arthur as a ‘legend in the making’. But 960 could be a very significant number, militarily speaking. The first cohort of a Roman legion was composed of six doubled centuries or 960 men. As the most important unit, the first cohort guarded the Roman Imperial eagle standard.
 
Now, while the Roman army in the late period no longer possessed a first cohort composed of this number of soldiers, it is possible Nennius's 960 betrays an antiquarian knowledge of earlier Roman military structure. However, why the Saxons are said to have lost such a number cannot be explained in terms of such an anachronistic description of a Roman unit.

The simplest explanation for Nennius's 960 is that it represents 8 Saxon long hundreds, each long hundred being composed of 120 warriors.

To quote from Tacitus on the Germanic long hundred:

"On general survey, their [the German's] strength is seen to lie rather in their infantry, and that is why they combine the two arms in battle. The men who they select from the whole force and station in the van are fleet of foot and fit admirably into cavalry action. The number of these chosen men is exactly fixed. A hundred are drawn from each district, and 'the hundred' is the name they bear at home. What began as a mere number ends as a title of distinction" [Germania 6]
 
Curiously, in the Norse poem Grimnismal, 8 hundreds of warriors (probably 960) pass through each of the doors of Valhall, the Hall of the Slain, at the time of Ragnarok or the Doom of the Powers.

Osla or Ossa Big-Knife and Caer Faddon

It has often been said that the Welsh Caer Faddon is always a designation for Bath in Avon.

However, at least one medieval Welsh tale points strongly towards the ‘Baths’ at Buxton as the proper site.

I am speaking, of course, of the early Arthurian romance ‘The Dream of Rhonabwy’, sometimes considered to be a part of the Mabinogion collection of tales. Rhonabwy is transported back in time via the vehicle of a dream to the eve of the battle of Caer Faddon. Arthur has apparently come from Cornwall (as he is said to return thither after a truce is made) to mid-Wales and thence to Caer Faddon to meet with Osla or Ossa, a true historical contemporary of Arthur who lies at the head of the royal Bernician pedigree.

As Arthur is said to progress from Rhyd-y-Groes to Long Mountain, he is traveling to the northeast via the Roman road. In other words, he is headed in the direction of Buxton in the High Peak.

While the romance is entirely fanciful, the chronological accuracy in the context of choosing Osla/Ossa is rather uncanny. Furthermore, it is quite clear that in the tradition the author of the romance was drawing from, Caer Faddon is most certainly not Bath. Ossa is known in English sources for being the first of the Bernicians to come to England from the Continent. Under his descendants, Bernicia became a great kingdom, stretching eventually from the Forth to the Tees. In the 7th century, Deira – which controlled roughly the area between the Tees and the Humber - was joined with Bernicia to form the Kingdom of Northumbria.
 
In its heyday, Northumbria shared a border with its neighbor to the south – Mercia – at the River Mersey of ‘Boundary River’. The Mersey flows east to Stockport, where it essentially starts at the confluence of the River Tame and Goyt. The Goyt has its headwaters on Axe Edge, only a half a dozen kilometers from Buxton in the High Peak.

If we allow for the story’s author to have properly chosen Ossa as Arthur’s true contemporary, but to have viewed Northumbria in an anachronistic fashion – i.e. as extending to the River Mersey – then with Ossa coming from Bernicia in the extreme north of England, and with Arthur coming from Cornwall in the extreme southwest - their meeting for a battle at Buxton makes a great deal of sense. In fact, Buxton is pretty much exactly equidistant between the two locations. Ossa would have been viewed as engaging in a battle just across the established boundary.

If I am right about this, the Welsh knew of the ‘Bathum’ or Badon that was Buxton.  Certainly, it cannot have been the Bath in Somerset, as there is otherwise no reason for the Cornish Arthur to have been in central/northeastern Wales while on his way to fight Ossa.