Friday, May 26, 2017

The Irish Cunedda (A Selection From My Book, THE ARTHUR OF HISTORY)

Posting this because several people have requested to read my argument for Cunedda's origin in Ireland rather than in Manau Gododdin.  Several of my recent articles on Ceredig son of Cunedda as Arthur depend in large part on being able to successfully demonstrate that Ceredig = Cerdic of Wessex.  And to do that, I have to first provide evidence for the true nature of the Gewissae.  So here is the relevant selection from my earlier book, setting out my reasoning for identifying Cunedda as an Irish chieftain and not a Northern British one...

Cunedda

The great Cunedda, called Cunedag (supposedly from *Cunodagos, ‘Good Hound’) in the Historia Brittonum, 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. To prove that this is so, we need to begin by looking at the famous Wroxeter Stone, found at the Viroconium Roman fort in what had been the ancient kingdom of the Cornovii, but which was the kingdom of Powys in the Dark Ages.

The Wroxeter Stone is a memorial to a chieftain named Cunorix son of Maquicoline. This stone has been dated c. 460-75 CE. Maquicoline is a composite name meaning Son [Maqui-] of Coline. The resemblance here of Cunorix and Coline to the ASC's Cynric and his son Ceawlin is obvious. Some scholars would doubtless say this is coincidence, and that the discrepancy in dates for Cynric and Ceawlin and Cunorix and (Maqui)coline are too great to allow for an identification. I would say that an argument based on the very uncertain ASC dates is hazardous at best and that if there is indeed a relationship between the pairs Ceawlin-Cynric and Coline-Cunorix, then the date of the memorial stone must be favored over that of the document.

There is also the problem of Cynric being the father of Ceawlin in the Anglo-Saxon tradition, while on the Wroxeter Stone it is (Maqui)coline who is the father of Cunorix. But such a confusion could easily have occurred simply by reading part of a genealogy list backwards.

While Ceawlin's father Cynric, the son of Cerdic of Wessex in most pedigrees, is capable of being derived quite well from Anglo-Saxon, the name could also be construed as an Anglicized form of the attested Celtic name Cunorix, Hound-king, the latter Welsh Cynyr.

Cerdic (= Ceredig) is not the only Celtic name in the early Wessex pedigree. Scholars have suggested that Ceawlin could be Brittonic.

Cunorix son of Maquicoline, based on an analysis of his name and the lettering employed on the inscription itself, is believed to have been Irish. It should not surprise us, then, to find 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. Drumanagh is the hill of the Manapii and, as such, represents the Manapia in Manapii territory found on the map of Ptolemy. Manapii or Manapia could easily have been mistaken or substituted for for the Manau in Gododdin.

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 Mac Cuilind'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. Obviously, Mac Cuilinn and the Maqui-Coline of the Wroxeter Stone are the same name and hence 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. There were other Irish-founded kingdoms in Wales as well, e.g. Brycheiniog.

Monday, May 22, 2017

A new - but very tentative - identification of Medraut/Modred

Arthur Rackham's Illustration of Mordred and Arthur at Camlann

I long ago successfully etymologized the name Medraut as deriving from Latin/Roman Moderatus. Years ago Professor Oliver Padel agreed with me on this and others have since fallen into line.  But I did not pursue the matter further - until now.

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.

Ambrosius (the 'divine/immortal one'), before he was wrongly identified with Lleu/Mabon of Gwynedd (and later still with Myrddin of the North), was said to have fought a battle at Wallop in Hampshire.  This is not too far north of the battle sites ascribed to Arthur/Cerdic/Ceredig son of Cunedda.  In addition, the Camlann sites in NW Wales are in Gwynedd.

While it may seem a stretch to identify Medraut/Moderatus with the viro modesto who was Ambrosius, it is possible that by the time Arthur had come to the forefront as the chief hero of the Welsh in the work of the 9th century Nennius, someone had found it necessary to "disguise" the fact that the latter had died fighting the former champion of the Britons, the 'last of the Romans.' Alternatively, the 'viro modesto' of Gildas may have been a simple substitution for Moderatus, this last having been mistaken for an adjective rather than a proper name.

We must also remember that the earliest reference to the deaths of Arthur and Medraut - that of the Welsh Annals - does not tell us whether these two chieftains were fighting together against a common foe or against each other.  Chronological problems also occur, especially if we accept my earlier identification of Ambrosius Aurelianus with the 4th century Gaulish governor of that name.  Most Arthurian scholars prefer to see in A.A. someone of the 5th century who had been named after the governor or who was somehow related to him.  I've shown in the past that St. Ambrose, son of the governor, also became confused in some respects with the military leader A.A.

We can only say this much if A.A. really was 'Medraut': the Camboglanna Roman fort at the west end of Hadrian's Wall is out of the running as Arthur's Camlann.  As Arthur was Ceredig of Ceredigion, and Ceredigion bordered on the Camlanns in Gwynedd, and as A.A. became in legend the Lord of Gywnedd (= Lleu/Mabon), the only good candidates for Camlann are those in NW Wales.

A last possibility has only recently occurred to me: that the ruler at Dinas Emrys was originally called Moderatus, and that this name became confused with that of the modest man A.A.  In Welsh tradition (whether due to Geoffrey of Monmouth or not!), Medraut was the son of Lleu - the very god who was anciently claimed as Lord of Gwynedd. So we may have a chieftain named Medraut whose main citadel was Dinas Emrys, and who claimed descent from the god Lleu.  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.

I realize that I've now made the identity of A.A. even murkier.  But I may have at least shed a little more light on who Medraut really was.

In conclusion, I acknowledge the fact that this idea is not very convincing.  Suffice it to say it is an interesting coincidence.



Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Long Graves at Gwanas (site of Arthur's grave in Welsh tradition?)

In a previous blog entry, I discussed the possibility that - at least as far as the Welsh were concerned - Arthur may have been buried at Gwanas in Gwynedd (http://mistshadows.blogspot.com/2016/12/anoeth-bin-u-bedd-arthur-and-caer-oeth.html).

I've subsequently investigated the area in more detail, and have discovered an interesting candidate for the so-called 'beddau hir' or long graves of Gwanas.


Aerial Photo of Enclosure Near Lletty Canol


Lletty Canol Enclosure, Shown in Proximity to Both the Brithdir Roman Fort and Gwanas Moor

The best account of this candidate is found on the COFLEIN site  (http://www.coflein.gov.uk/en/site/54526/details/lletty-canol-possible-roman-signal-station-above-brithdir), which I will here quote in full:

"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.  Caer Oeth and Anoeth would be the Brithdir fort itself. Whether Arthur was thought to have been buried at the fort or at the adjacent funeral monument is not a question we can answer.

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. 





Friday, May 19, 2017

Cerdic/Ceredig/Arthur and the 'Ictian Sea'

Celtic Tribes of Britain

In previous blog entries 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 Britain 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)'

EOCHU:

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."

Coin of Eppilus

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 (http://www.asnc.cam.ac.uk/personalnames/details.php?name=245).

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.  







Saturday, May 13, 2017

COMING SOON: Cerdic/Ceredig/Arthur and the 'Ictian Sea'

Isle of Wight and The Solent

And a side-note on Njal's death at the hands of Eochaid in the surf of the Ictian Sea...


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Cunedda, Carlisle, Durham - and Camboglanna?


Map Showing Camboglanna and Aballava in Relation to Carlisle/Luguvalium

In my book THE ARTHUR OF HISTORY, one of the proofs I supplied for a historical Arthur based on the western end of Hadrian's Wall was the presence of some Roman fort names that seemed to match up very well with famous place-names found in the Arthurian tradition.  Chief among these was Camboglanna (= Camlann?) and Aballava (or Avalana, = Avalon?).  However, my more recent research, which opts instead for an Arthur originating from the kingdom of Ceredigion, made it seem much more likely that Camlann is to be identified with one of the sites of that name in NW Wales.  It seemed possible, therefore, that 'Avalon' was conjured up as the burial place of Arthur because one of the Welsh Camlanns was confused with the Camboglanna fort on the Wall.

An ancient Welsh poem called MARWNAD CUNEDDA, or the "Death-Song of Cunedda", may allow for us to have our cake and eat it, too, in a sense.  In this poem (http://www.celtic-twilight.com/camelot/poetry/taliesin/deathsong_cunedda.htm), Cunedda, father of Ceredig/Arthur, 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.

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.

So, did Arthur die at Camboglanna on the Wall or at one of the Camlanns in NW Wales?  Given that the Welsh Camlanns are just a little north of Ceredigion, it seems logical to at least prefer them over the Roman fort on the Wall.  Welsh tradition insisted from early on the the conflict between Arthur and Medraut was an internecine one.  We might imagine, then, a border dispute between Ceredigion and Meirionydd, or merely aggressive movement of the former into the latter.  Yet we must temper this view with my previous argument for Medraut (Modred, etc.) as a form of the Latin name Moderatus, which was borne by a prefect in the Cumbria region during the Roman period.





Sunday, April 9, 2017

New artwork for my next Arthur book

I will be using this image of the Bootle, Lancashire jet bear for the cover of my new book THE BEAR KING: ARTHUR AND THE IRISH IN WESTERN AND SOUTHERN BRITAIN:



Thursday, March 9, 2017

UPDATE on Aerfen, goddess of the River Dee

In an earlier post (http://mistshadows.blogspot.com/2017/01/st-aaron-goddess-aeruen-and-city-of.html), I suggested that St. Aaron of the City of the Legion was a Christian substitute for the goddess Aerfen/Aeruen of the River Dee.

I've since had confirmation back from the National Library of Wales regarding false claims made concerning this goddess by neopagan writers:


Thus while she is mentioned in early Welsh sources, it is patently untrue that a shrine to her was known of, and that sacrifices were regularly offered to her.  These are stories made up by modern authors which have infiltrated some other more respectable sources and are, therefore, all too often interpreted as facts.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Family of the Real Arthur (Ceredig son of Cunedda)

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.  Here is a page from P.C. Bartram's A CLASSICAL WELSH DICTIONARY:


Gwawl is 'wall' in Welsh.  For Gwawl son of Clud (Clud being an eponym for the Clyde), it designates 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.

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.'  Eleri itself is a Welsh form of the Latin name Hilarius, from hilaris, 'cheerful, merry.'

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 CEREDIG AND MELERI

Of the progeny of Ceredig, we can do nothing better than cite Bartram once again:


To me the most interesting person here is the daughter Gwawr, mother of Gwynllyw.  In a previous post (http://mistshadows.blogspot.com/2016/09/a-curious-coincidence-of-meaning.html), 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.  Gwynllwg was near Caerleon, the site of the City of the Legion where Arthur fought a battle according to the Historia Brittonum, and not far from the trajectus or Tribruit across the Severn where he fought another.

The son Carannog also plays into the story of Arthur, albeit more directly.  He is the saint of that name from the Vita:





Monday, February 27, 2017

Scholars no. 3, 4 and 5 weigh in on my identification of Iusay son of Ceredig with the Gewissae/Gewissei

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."

Sunday, February 26, 2017

FUTURE BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT - "The Bear King: Arthur and the Irish in Wales and Southern England"

The Meigle "Caledonian Bear"

It may take me awhile to get to it (and to finish it!), but I plan a new book on "King" Arthur.  This one will bring together my various posts on a Hiberno-British Arthur whom I've identified with Ceredig son of Cunedda/Cerdic of Wessex.  

My old book, THE ARTHUR OF HISTORY, will remain available here and at Amazon (paper and ebook formats).  It might seem wise to remove this one from sale or from a free blog site, but as it still contains what I feel to be much valuable information, I will suffer its continued existence - even though the new book offers an entirely new and different historical Arthur candidate.   My decision regarding THE ARTHUR OF HISTORY is also partly a matter of intellectual honesty. Over the years I've never been afraid to change my mind when evidence or compelling argument forced me to do so. I do not plan to change that approach now.  If some readers consider me "wishy-washy" as a result, I can live with that.  There is nothing worse than stubbornly sticking with an invalid theory for no other reason than the desire to protect one's ego or scholarly reputation.  

Once again, the production of this next book will be anything but quick.  But if fortune favors me, I will eventually get it done. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Brief update on the hill-fort at Llandewi Aberarth

I've finally heard back from 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."




Saturday, February 18, 2017

More and more positive feedback coming concerning my identification of Iusay son of Ceredig with the Gewissae/Gewissei

In my blog article at http://mistshadows.blogspot.com/2017/02/gewis-gewissaegewissei-and-iusay-son-of.html, I've started adding supportive comments by top Celtic linguists to my case that Iusay son of Ceredig = the Gewissae/Gewissei.

Most of the scholars providing positive feedback are not privy to my various arguments seeking to prove that Cunedda and his sons were of Irish (or Hiberno-British) origin.  They have been queried only on the linguistic aspect of the problem involving an etymology for Iusay.

I will continue to add more material from the scholars as I receive it.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

GEWIS, THE GEWISSAE/GEWISSEI AND IUSAY SON OF CEREDIG SON OF CUNEDDA

Cerdic of Wessex in the film 'King Arthur'

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, 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 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.

NEW FEEDBACK FROM TOP CELTIC SCHOLARS ON IUSAY = GEWISSAE/GEWISSEI (I WILL CONTINUE TO ADD TO THIS SECTION AS I RECEIVE MORE COMMUNICATIONS FROM SENT QUERIES):


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."






Friday, February 10, 2017

ARTHUR SON OF ELAFIUS/ELESA?

In any earlier blog post I suggested that the story of Elafius's crippled son may have derived from a fanciful treatment of the name Gewis.  My idea was, simply put, that a Classically trained monkish writer had "interpreted" Gewis as Greek guois, 'lame.'

The problem with this idea, I just realized, is that in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle genealogy for the Gewessei, Gewis is the father of Elesa (= Elafius).  While there is evidence that the ASC reversed the pedigree for Cunedda and his sons, here is no reason to believe that Elesa was part of this reversal, nor that St. Constantitus of Lyons, who wrote the Life of St. Germanus, made the same mistake.

Here is the text and modern English translation of the relevant portion of the saint's vita again:


Chapter Twenty-Six
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.

Chapter Twenty-Seven
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,
I.to 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: Ἐπιχαρμεῖον 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., = ἀρθρῖτις,
I.a lameness in the joints, gout (in pure Lat., articularis morbus), Vitr. 1, 6.

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?  Either Arthur or Artorius could well have been 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.

Needless to say, this would also mean that Cerdic son of Elafius/Elesa was quite possibly Arthur!

Now, if so, this does bring into question whether Ceredig of Wales was really the son of Cunedda (= Ceawlin of the ASC).  I've already discussed the possibility that some of the sons of Cunedda were actually the sons of other chieftains, but that they were associated with the famous founder of Gwynedd at a later time.  We might even postulate that these "sons" were actually members of Cunedda's teulu.  This word meant not only war-band or retinue, but also "family."

Here are the definitions for teulu from the GPC:

a  Rhieni a’u plant fel uned, pobl sy’n perthyn i’w gilydd drwy waed, priodas, mabwysiad, &c., tylwyth, plant rhywun; llwyth, cenedl; grŵp o bobl sy’n byw gyda’i gilydd mewn un tŷ, tyaid; grŵp o bobl a unir gan glymau cymdeithasol, crefyddol, gwleidyddol, &c., unrhyw grŵp o bethau, organebau, &c. sy’n perthyn i’w gilydd (hefyd fel dosbarthiad tacsonomig rhwng urdd a thylwyth):

(nuclear or extended) family; tribe, nation; household; family (related group of persons, things, organisms, &c., also as taxonomic classification). 

b  Dilynwyr, gweision, neu gymdeithion brenin, &c., gosgordd, gwarchodlu, llu rhyfel; llu, torf, pobl:

royal, &c., retinue, retainers, or entourage, comitatus, bodyguard, household troops, war-band; host, crowd, people. 

Ceredig, therefore, may have been one of Cunedda's retainers, but not actually his son.

Much of this depends, of course, on Elafius/Elesa being Ceredig's/Cerdic's father.  Kenneth Sisam could be right (his case, supported by David Dumville, is very strong), and Elesa could merely be a derivative of Aloc/Alusa of the Bernician pedigree.  My attempt to find a Celtic prototype for Elesa/Esla would be in vain.  But if that 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.




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.










Monday, February 6, 2017

COMING SOON: The Chronologies of Cerdic of Wessex and Ceredig the son of Cunedda

I've recently been told by a certain party that the respective chronologies for Cerdic of Wessex and Ceredigthe 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.  In the next few days I will present this material again here in a new post. Hopefully, this will clear up the matter.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Elesa/Esla and Cerdic of Wessex

Quite a few years ago I was asked why, if Cerdic of Wessex is actually Ceredig son of Cunedda, the former's father is given in the early English genealogies as Elesa.  I had provided the explanation in an essay entitled CUNEDDA AND THE IRISH IN WALES, which I thought lost.  I've now found it posted on an old archived listserv and can provide the relevant selection here:

In the ANGLO-SAXON CHRONICLE, Cerdic's father is named Elesa, his grandfather Esla (a simple metathesis of Elesa) and his great-grandfather Gewis or Giwis, eponymous king of the Gewisse.  But Kenneth Sisam (in his "Anglo-Saxon Royal Genealogies",PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY, 1953) long ago suggested that 

"...Cerdic's pedigree was copied from this part of Ida's, and that Giwis was substituted afterwards to give it a West Saxon coloring. The substitution exactly at ths point might be made because the association of Bernic with Bernicia was obvious. Bernic, who appears only in the pedigree of Ida, is generally    regarded as an eponymous king derived from the name of the Bernicians, and Giwis, who appears only in the pedigree of Cerdic, seems to be derived in the same way from Gewissei, a name for the West Saxons... the original entry may have had Bernic for Benoc, and Alusa (possibly Ealusa or a form nearer Elesa) not Aloc... Aluca (CHRONICLE Aloc)... may have been substituted for Alusa in Cerdic's pedigree... if the framework of Cerdic's pedigree is somehow borrowed from Ida's, his real pedigree was almost certainly unknown."

I would add that his real pedigree may well have been known, but that it was altered to conform with the needs of Wessex political history.

Another listserv I discovered contains similar information:

http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/GEN-MEDIEVAL/1996-02/0823909691

I think that the important article by K. Sisam, "Anglo-Saxon royal genealogies", in Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. 39 (1953), pp. 287-346 (required reading for those who really want to understand some of the processes by which early genealogies were faked), which was recently reprinted in the collection "British Academy Papers on Anglo-Saxon England" (Oxford University Press, 1990), shows that Cerdic's genealogy was, in fact, pretty much "made out of whole cloth". Cerdic's genealogy is interesting because enough manuscripts survive to show some of the stages of the falsification process. What follows is my attempt to outline Sisam's reconstruction of this
process (but read his article for a better explanation).

It started with the pedigree of the kings of Bernicia, which begins Woden, Baeldaeg, Brand, Benoc, Aloc (Alusa in some manuscripts), etc., followed by several more generations until you get to Ida (6th century), king of Bernicia. One early version of the West Saxon genealogy goes Woden, Baeldaeg, Brand, Giwis, Aluca, Cerdic, and the one given by Asser is very similar: UUoden, Beldeg, Brond, Geuuis, Elesa, Cerdic. Thus, in the early stages of the fake West Saxon pedigree, the first five generations of the Bernician pedigree are used, except that Benoc is replace by Giwis, and then Aluca (i.e. Aloc) is made the father of Cerdic. This pretty much kills the idea that the name Elesa is related to the similar Welsh name, for the name Elesa is in fact the name Aloc, "borrowed" from the royal genealogy of Bernicia, and Aloc, if he ever existed at all, would have been a many-generations-removed ancestor of Ida, and would have lived well before the Angles had any Welsh influence. The name "Gewisse" was the early name for the West Saxons, and the name Giwis which was used to replace Benoc was almost certainly invented to explain the name of the tribe, much like "Brutus" was invented explain the name Britain.

- Stewart L Baldwin

Welsh hagiography tells of a certain Caradoc son of ALAOG of NE Wales.  Here is what little we know of this petty chieftain, drawn from P.C. Bartram's A CLASSICAL WELSH DICTIONARY:


While it is tempting to try and relate this personage to Cerdic son of Elesa, he was a contemporary of St. Gwenfrewy (Winifred), who was born c. 575,  Thus he is way too late to be Cerdic of Wessex.

However, many years ago in another now defunct essay entitled ELAFIUS/ELESSA, THE LAME SON AND GREEK GUIOS, I demonstrated a better solution to the problem of Elesa in the genealogy of Cerdic.  

To begin, I had noticed that Elesa bore a striking resemblance to Elafius, a name found in the Life of St. Germanus of Auxerre.  /s/ and /f/ were frequently confused for each other in MSS.  The story of Elafius runs as follows (from http://www.vortigernstudies.org.uk/artsou/constex.htm):

Chapter Twenty-Six

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.

Chapter Twenty-Seven

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.

The crowds were overwhelmed by the miracle and the Catholic faith implanted in them was strengthened in all of them. There followed sermons to the people to confute the heresy, the preachers of which were by common consent banished from the island. They were brought to the bishops to be conducted to the Continent, so that the country might be purged of them an they of their errors. The effect of all this was so salutary that even now the faith is persisting intact in those parts. And so, with everything settled, the blessed bishops made a prosperous journey back to their own country.

It's the lame son here who is vitally important.  Why?  Because there is a Greek word guios, 'lame.' I'm certain some learned monk had chosen to "interpret" Gewis, the eponymous founder of the Gewissei, with this word.  Which would mean, of course, that the lame son of Elafius = Gewis and Elafius = Elesa.  

The Vita sancta Germani was produced by Constantius of Lyon in the 5th century. Thus the source is very early and could well have influenced the compilers of the Anglo-Saxon genealogies.  An Elesa as an immediate descendant of Gewis must assuredly be the correct Celtic form of the name, as the Gewessei were indisputably Irish (or at least in part Hiberno-British).

Scholars have pointed to the name Eliseg of the famous Eliseg Pillar in Powys.  Sometimes the name is also spelled Elisedd.  According to Dr. Simon Talyor of the University of Wales, the name is decidedly Biblical in origin:

"Patrick Sims-Williams (BBCS, 38 (1991), p. 51, n. 1) has argued that Eliseg, Elised are hypercorrect forms of Biblical Elise (who appears as an ancestor of the Welsh in the Historia Brittonum). These forms would thus date from a period after the loss of final /ɣ/ in speech, and occasional loss of final /ð/ (cf. OW triti beside tritid ‘third’, and cf. mini for mynydd ‘mountain’ in Modern Pembrokeshire Welsh). This seems to be generally accepted now: recent publications by John Koch and Thomas Charles-Edwards modernize the name of the king as Elise."

However, in my opinion the Biblical name may represent a substitution for an attested Irish name Ailgesach, Ailgheasach, Ailiosach, at least in the case of Elesa of the Gewessei genealogy.  The name comes from the following word (eDIL listing):

áilgesach
Cite this: eDIL s.v. áilgesach or dil.ie/1008
Forms: álgasach, áilghesach, áilgeasach

adj o, ā (áilges). Also álgasach.

(a) importunate . In name of poet Athairne áilghesach , Ériu xiii 13.13 . ailgesach dunaid ┐ rl. lán eneclann don rig a nailges do gabail de a sloigedh no a ndunaid, O'D. 1618 (H. 5.15, p. 14a).

(b) eager, zealous: ógh alghasach, Gorm. Mar. 29 gl. 5 . ba h-ailgiusach le hA. Serlus d'feicsin, ITS xix 32.14 . is urlum ailgiussach sindi im gach ni uas ail letsu, TTebe 674 . rob onorach ailgiusach leo a scela do cloisteacht, 1829 . oibreacha áilgheasacha na haithrighe, TSh. 1813 .

Note also: áilgeasach ` dysenteric ', Celtica vi 68 .

I have shown in my comparison of the heavily altered Welsh genealogy for Cunedda and that of the original version from the Irish that this Irish chieftain's father Aeternus is a reflection of the name Aithirne of Dun Aithirne, who is the same mythological poet as the Athairne ailghesach in the aforementioned eDIL definition.

Therefore, we can say with a fair degree of certainty (as the Cunedda genealogy as found in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle runs backwards, a fact I have discussed elsewhere) that Elesa = the legendary Aithirne ailghesach.