Monday, 9 March 2009

Arthurs Battles

The Battle of Camlannis is King Arthur's final battle, in which he is mortally wounded by his his nephew Mordred. The story recalls that Arthur and his forces were away in Europe fighting (according to earlier sources) Emperor Lucius or (according to later sources) fighting Lancelot. When Arthur landed back in England, a series of battles ensued that climaxed with the Battle of Camlann. Both Arthur and Mordred are mortally wounded in this battle, but Arthur's army triumphed in the end.
While Camlann, Arthur's last battle, is not part of the battle list, it was a battle that was fought in Britain. The battle of Camlann is first mentioned in the Annales Cambriae (ca. 960-980). The name Camlann has a number of possible locations. It is said to have taken place by a river, and the prefix Cam means crooked. The battle probably took place, then, near a crooked river.
Slaughter Bridge in Cornwall. Wace, like Geoffrey, speaks of this site in Cornwall as being the final battle Fort Camboglanna (Castlesteads) on Hadrian's Wall. This was one of several Hadrian's Wall forts that saw heavy fighting during the Caledonian invasion. It does not fit with the earliest historic references which refer to Cornwall. Welsh area around Cader Idris. Cader Idris means the Chair of Idris (a legendary giant). The mountain ridge lies near the town of Dolgellau, but its only connection to the Battle of Camlann are the nearby Camlan and Gamlan rivers. Gamlan River is very near the Camlan valley and Cader Idris, also in mid Wales. River Allen runs through the town of Bridge of Allen, just north of Stirling in Scotland. If you accept that Arthur was Scottish, this is a possible site of the final battle. Various stories differ on how the battle started. Geoffrey of Monmouth's account is of a normal battle--both sides lined up and then charged into battle. In many other sources, though, the battle is set of by misunderstanding. Malory makes the beginning of the battle a complete misunderstanding: A knight is bitten by an adder, he draws his sword to kill the snake, and when others saw his drawn sword a battle resulted by mistake.
Nennius records that King Arthur fought twelve major battles. The texts of Nennius (AD 796), the Easter Annals, and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle point to where these battles were geographically, but as in most things to do with King Arthur, there is room for debate as to where events really took place.
This list is believed not to be chronological. And the rhyming names in Nennius' original work, indicates that he probably took his list from a rhyming-poem. Nennius could well have taken names from a number of unrelated sources.
Some scholars believe that the Roman commander, Lucius Artorius Castus, and King Arthur point to them being the same person when you examine this battle record.
Nennius' list is
Battle 1. On the river Glein.
Battle 2, 3, 4 and 5. On the river Dubglas in the region of Linnuis.
Battle 6. On the river Bassas.
Battle 7. In the wood of Celidon/Cat Coit Celidon.
Battle 8. At castle Guinnion.
Battle 9. In the city of the Legion
Battle 10. On the river Tribruit
Battle 11. On Mount/Hill/Rock Agned or Breguoin
Battle 12. At Mount/Hill/Rock Badon.
Then there is the final battle
Camlann, King Arthur's final battle
Camlann, King Arthur had his final battle, in which he is mortally wounded, does not appear in Nennius


Bynbrynman said...

There was no 'England', there was no 'Scotland', neither was there a France. Arthur, whoever you take him to be, was a Briton. There was an article in the 'Daily Mail' a few years ago with Scottish, Welsh, Cornish and French claimants to his story, this modern look on things obscures the fact that the Britons inhabited the land from Glasgow to Nantes and after the Romans departed, had to fight off the Germanic tribes, who eventually became the English and French

Eric said...

Suggesting that Arthur was a "Briton" in such definite terms when so little is definitely known of his cultural identity or ethnicity is not advised. It should be pointed out that most of the Brythonic rulers (the Kings of Briton) were not themselves ethnically Britons. It is also exceedingly rare - although exceptions can be found - to have Arthur described as a Briton. A man who seems to command Britons, as part of a coalition, yes, but this is not automatically the same thing.

To make matters even muddier - Anglo Saxon Kings were often described as "Britons." One was even hailed as "the Glory of Britain" - as he marched off to war with other Brythonic tribal leaders.

In other words, the designation as a "Briton" is not specific enough to rule out much of anyone - and could include Romans, Welsh, Angles and Saxons.

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