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A knight with magical knowledge. When Guignier, wife of Caradoc Briefbras, lost her Breast when aiding her husband, Aarlardin supplied a magic shield boss which provided a golden breast. He married Arthur's grand-niece, Guigenor. # 156 - 153
Greek tradition makes Abaris a priest and servant of Hyperborean Apollo. He rode on a golden arrow as Apollo's messenger and visited Pythagoras, who received and initiated him. It is possible that he represents a holy man or druid from Britain. # 258 - 454
ABLAMOR OF THE MARSH
A knight who possessed a white hart which was killed by Gawain and Gaheris. In retaliation, Ablamor killed two of their greyhounds. This led to combat with Gawain who was on the point of killing him when his lady threw herself between them and Gawain killed her instead. Horrorstricken by this, Gawain did not kill Ablamor. # 156
The innermost of three concentric circles representing the totality of being in the Cymric cosmogony - the stage of struggle and evolution. # 562
See: STONE OF ABUNDANCE.
A Gaulish knight, of whom Morgan was enamoured. He was hunting with Urien and Arthur when they were separated from their companions. They came upon a vessel where they settled down for the night. To his astonishment, Accolon awoke in a field where he was given Excalibur and told he would have to use it in a fight. His opponent turned out to be Arthur. Neither recognized the other. Arthur had been given a fake Excalibur and at first it looked as though Arthur would lose the contest, but the Lady of the Lake appeared and magically caused Excalibur to fall to the ground. Arthur then seized it and defeated Accolon but, when the King discovered that Morgan had set up the whole affair, he assured Accolon he would not be punished. However, Accolon had sustained a mortal wound in the fight. (The Matthews # 454, call him Accalon of Gaul, and let Merlin intervene with the Excalibur, both have Malory as source, though) # 156 - 418 - 454
In SIR PERCEVAL OF GALLES, Acheflour is Arthur's sister and Perceval's mother. Thinking her son had been killed she went mad and lived in the woods. Perceval found her. She recovered her sanity and went to live with him and Lufamour. # 156
An ancestor of Perceval. # 156
The son of Taliesin, he was noted for his wisdom; he was slain by Llongad rwrm Fargod Eidyn. # 156 - 346
As the only poisonous snake in the British Isles the adder has a reputation for wisdom and sly cunning. The amulets said to have been carried by the druids, 'gloine nathair' (the glass of the serpent), were really adder stones.
It was an adder which caused the Battle of Camlan; while the armies of Mordred and Arthur were drawn up during a parley in which the battle might have been averted, an adder darted out from the scrub, so startling one of Arthur's men that he drew his sword to slay it. Taking the flash of his sword as an instance of Arthur's treachery, Mordred's army attacked. In the Highlands, the adder or serpent is supposed to represent the CAILLEACH'S power, which Brigit defeats with her lamb. See: SAMHAIN, and OIMELC. # 225 - 389 - 454
The name of a number of persons mentioned in Rauf de Boun's PETIT BRUT. The first two were kings before Arthur's time. The third was a son of Arthur. # 156 - 221
Visits to a strange Land and experiences among a strange race constitute a substantial part of Celtic mythology, and, as in modern fiction, a whole class of tales are known as 'adventures'. But whereas the adventures of fiction are concerned with escapades among the natives of distant lands or planets in this world, the adventures of mythology are experienced among the mysterious denizens of a supernatural world. In this the Celt is no exception. The prodigies of Asia, Africa, and native America may be sufficient to excite the imagination of modern man, but for the inhabitants of those continents, no less than for the ancient Celts, the adventures worth recording are adventures in another 'dimension', and the only journeys of real significance are journeys between this world and the world beyond. #548
AED MAC LIR
(a moc leer) Son of Aobh. He was turned into a swan by his stepmother, Aoife. # 454
(a slôn) King of Tara ca. AD 600. # 166
AED THE FAIR
(aid) (FINN) Chief sage of Ireland; author of VOYAGE OF MAELDUN. # 562
(ay'da) 1. Dwarf of King Fergus mac Leda; 2. Royal suitor for Vivionn's hand; Vivionn slain by Aeda. # 562
The father of Prydein from whom Britain took its name in Welsh tradition. (There are also a number of Aedds referred to in Irish mythology.) # 156
(ay) The son of Eochail Lethderg, Prince of Leinster, who was playing Hurling with his young companions when he was carried into a Brugh, or palace, of Fairyland by two Sidh-women who were in love with him, and held captive there for three years. At the end of this time Aedh escaped and made his way to St Patrick, and begged him to free him from the fairy dominion. Patrick took him in disguise to Leinster to his father's court, and there restored him to humanity and freed him from the timeless life of the fairies. This account from SILVA GADELICA (pp 204-20) is one of the earliest stories of captives in Fairyland. See: TIME IN FAIRYLAND. # 100 - 504
Roman count, ruler of Gaul AD 461-4. Jacques de Guise (14th century) claims Arthur flourished when Aegidius ruled Gaul. Philippe de Vignelles (16th century) suggest that Aegidius was in frequent contact with Arthur. # 31 - 156
Custom of the priestess of Earth at Ægira, in Achæa, ere prophesying.# 562
(ay'ee) Plain of Aei, where Brown Bull of Quelgny meets and slays Bull of Ailell. # 562
Saxon King of Sussex who, with his sons Cymen, Wlencing and Cissa, defeated the Britons at Cymenes ora (AD 477). He fought against them once more near Mearc Raedesburna AD 485 and captured Anderida (modern Pevensey) about the year AD491 According to Bede, he held the title Bretwalda (Britain-ruler), indicating a primacy among the Saxon kings. S. G. Wildman suggests he probably led the Saxons at Badon; he was certainly flourishing at a time when he might have been a leading adversary of an historical Arthur. # 156 - 729
In Greek mythology, the son of Anchises, by the goddess Aphrodite (Roman Venus). He was a member of the Trojan royal family and, according to Virgil, made his way to Italy after the fall of Troy, becoming an ancestor of the Emperor Augustus. Geoffrey of Monmouth asserts that he was an ancestor of the ancient British kings and Dryden specifically says that he was an ancestor of Arthur himself. # 156 - 194
The Hosts of the Sidhe or Hollow Hills. The inhabitants of the Otherworld. They were thought to ride out on the eves of the four great fire festivals: Samhain(31 October), Oimelc (31 January), Beltaine (30 April), and Lughnasadh (31 July), when they had communion with earthly folk. Yeats wrote of them as 'The Hosts of the Air'. See: DAOINE SIDHE. # 128 - 711
Umbrian deity. # 562
Deity mentioned by Lucan. # 562
# 156: A legendary Welsh monster which was overcome by Peredur (Perceval) who had been given a stone by the Empress of Constantinople which rendered him invisible to it (#346). Arthur himself killed an afanc at Llyn Barfog #717. Another tale tells how Hu Gadarn may have been invented by Iolo Morgannwg (1747 -1826), who claimed that Hu Gadarn had led the Britons to Britain from Sri Lanka. As to the nature of the afanc, it seem s to have had manipulative skills, as the one encountered by Peredur could throw spears. In modern Welsh AFANC means a beaver; the mystical creature certainly had watery connections. The cognate Irish word ABHAC (dwarf) is derived from AB, modern ABHA, a river; J.Vendryes claims it originally signified a spirit inhabiting waters. - # 454: A primeval monster which dwelt in the Llyn yr Afanc on the River Conwy in North Wales. It was sometimes thought to be in the shape of a beaver and dragged people into the depths of the lake. Finally it was lured to sleep in a maiden's bosom. # 104 - 156 - 346 - 454 - 693 - 717
Primitive population of Great Britain and Ireland, evidence of language suggests. # 562
The site of one of Arthur's battles, mentioned by Nennius. Some manuscripts give the name Breguoin instead. See CASTLE OF MAIDENS. # 156
Nemed's father. # 562
A son of Lot and Morgause, brother of Gawain. He married Laurel, the niece of Lionors and Lynette. He knew of the adultery of Lancelot and Guinevere and arranged for them to be found in compromising circumstances. He was slain by Lancelot, either when the pair was discovered or when Lancelot rescued Guinevere after she had been condemned to death. # 156 - 418
# 156: The ruler of Camelot in the time of Joseph of Arimathea. # 454: In the 'Grand Saint Greal', a thirteenth-century Arthurian romance, Agrestes is described as the King of Camelot in a time long before Arthur. As a pagan he persecuted Josephus, son of Joseph of Armathea and guardian of the Grail, and was punished by madness and death. # 156 - 418 - 454
King of Dyfed (South Wales) around the year AD 500, in the traditional time of Arthur. Gildas thought him a good king. He may have liberated Dyfed from the Irish dynasty of the Uí Liatháin which had previously ruled there. He may have been one of Arthur's commanders. See DEMETIA. # 156 - 484
According to various Grail romances Aguigrenons was the General of King Clamadex, an evil monarch who entrapped many Grail Knights. Perceval finally overcame Aguigrenons when he defended the maiden Blanchfleur, and eventually sent both he and his master to Arthur's court. # 454
(d. 651) Monk of Iona and Bishop of Lindisfarne. He was an Irishman who came to England and helped Oswald in the evangelization of Northumbria. He was on Inner Farne when he saw the burning of the royal castle of Bamburgh by pagan King Penda. Aidan prayed for the wind to change and it did so. His spiritual successor was Cuthbert who saw Aidan's glorious ascent to heaven. His symbol is the torch and his feast-day is 31 August. # 454
Wife of Oscar, grandson of Fionn mac Cumhail; she died of grief after Oscar's death when he fell at the battle of Gabhra, and was buried on Ben Edar (Howth). # 562
(eefa) Princess of Land of Shadows; war made upon Aife by Skatha; CuChulain overcomes by a trick; life spared conditionally by CuChulain; bears a son named Connla. According to one version she was sister to Scathach and daughter of Ardgeimm. # 562
(el-yach) Fortress in Co. Donegal, where Ith hears MacCuill and his brothers are arranging the division of the land. # 562
(il'bé) Famous hound of Mac Datho. # 166
# 562: (el'yill) 1. Son of Laery, treacherously slain by his uncle Covac. 2. Brother of Eochy (Eochaid) Airem; he desired Etain desparately. 3. King of Connact; Angus Og and Fergus seeks aid of Ailill. Assists in foray against province of Ulster. White-horned Bull of Ailill, slain by Brown Bull of Quelgny; make seven years' peace with Ulster; hound of mac Datho pursues chariot of Ailill; slain by Conall. # 454: King of Connacht, husband of Medb, (see Maeve or Maev). He owned a great bull Finnbennach (Whitehorn), causing his wife to be jealous and covert the Donn Cuailuge (Brown One), a bull owned by an Ulsterman. This precipitated the great cattleraid in which both Ulster and Connact came to blows. Ailill was no match for his wife, who took her lovers indiscriminately, but he was responsible for the death for one of them - Fergus mac Roigh. Ailill himself was slain by Conall Cernach at the instigation of a jealous Medb after she found him lying with a maiden on May Day. # 367 - 454 - 548 - 562
Of the sept of the Owens of Aran; During a foray into another territory, he raped a nun where Maeldûn was conceived. Ailill Edge of Battle were slain by reavers from Leix. # 562
(el-yill olum) King of Munster; ravishes Ainé and is slain by her. # 562
In the Irish romance, VISIT OF GREY HAM, a woman of the Otherworld who had a tendency to turn into a deer. She took Arthur and his men away to marry various Otherworld wives, wedding Arthur himself. In this work, Ailleann is given an interesting family tree as shown. The Family Tree of Ailleann - King of Iceland | Ioruaidh | Daire, King of the Picts = Rathlean Ailleann. # 156
AILLEN MAC MIDHNA
A fairy musician of the Tuatha de Danaan who came every year at Samhain Eve (All-Hallow Eve) out of Sidhe Finnachaid to Tara, the Royal Palace of the High King, playing so marvellously on his timpan (a kind of belled tambourine) that all who heard him were lulled asleep, and while they slept he blew three blasts of fire out of his nostrils and burnt up the Hall of Tara. This happened every Samhain Eve for twenty-three years, until Finn of the Fianna conquered Aillen and killed him (Silva Gadelica, vol.II, pp 142-44). He conquered him by himself inhaling the fumes of his magic spear, whose point was so venomous that no one who smelled it could sleep, however lulling the music. # 100 - 504
(aw-ne) A love-goddess, daughter of the Danaan Owel; Ailill Olum and Fitzgerald her lovers; mother of Earl Gerald; still worshiped on Midsummer Eve; appears on St. John's Night, among girls on the Hill. # 454: A goddess who seems to have functioned as a type of Sovereignty in south west Ireland. She gave her name to a sidhe dwelling in Munster, Cnoc Aine. She is variously described as the wife or daughter of Manannan mac Lir. - Later folk tradition tells of Gearoid Iarla (Earl Gerald of Desmond, 1338-98) who encountered Aine bathing in a river and raped her. The first earl of Desmond was called 'Aine's king' and Gerald himself 'the son of fair Aine's knight'. Gerald was said to have disappeared in the form of a goose, after a lifetime building up his reputation as a magician. This legend shows how active the myth of Sovereignty was persisting right into the medieval era. # 100 - 454 - 505 - 548 - 562
(in'gen) Son of Nera and a fairy woman; owner of the cow bred to the Dun of Cooley. # 166
(in'le) Brother of Naisi (Naoisi); Son of Usnech; Lover of Deirdriu. # 454 - 562
A widow and her little boy lived in a cottage near Rothley. One night the child was very lively and would not go to bed when his mother did. She warned him that the fairies would come and fetch him if he sat up too late, but he only laughed and went on playing. She had not long blown out the candle when a lovely little creature jumped down the chimney and began to frisk about in front of the boy. 'What do they ca' thou?' he said fascinated. 'Ainsel,' she answered. 'And what do they ca' thou?' 'my ainsel,' he answered, cannily, and they began to play together like two children of one race. Presently the fire got low and the little boy stirred it up so vigorously that a cinder blew out and burnt little Ainsel on the foot. She set up a yell quite dis-proportionate to her size, 'Wow! I'm brent!' 'Wha's done it? Wha's done it?' said a dreadful voice from the chimney, and the boy made one leap into bed as the old fary mother shot down on to the floor. 'My ainsel! My ainsel!' said the little fary. 'Why then,' said her mother, 'what's all this noise for: there's nyon to blame!' And she kicked Ainsel up the chimney. # 100
Contraction in Gaelic of the ancient Celtic term 'Aird Righ' meaning High King. # 383 p 37
The word means dream or vision and is, in modern Irish, a woman's name,but in the many Irish tales bearing this title, the dreamer experiences a vision of a Speir-Bhean or vision-woman whose beauty leads him into closer communion with the Otherworld. A great many poets of the eighteenth century wrote Aisling poems, in which a fair woman is found wandering in powerty and distress. She represents the land of Ireland itself, oppressed under the English yoke. # 438 - 454
The son of Brons and Enygeus, who did not marry and was made ruler of his brothers and sisters. In the Didot Perceval he was Perceval's father. he was told by the Holy Spirit that he would be the father of the Grail King (# 185-# 604). He is also said to be a son of King Pellinore. # 454: Alain le Gros. In one story he fed a multitude from a single fish and was afterwards known as the Fisher King. He also built the castle of Corbenic to house the Hallows of the Grail. # 156 - 185 - 454 - 604
The captain of Arthur's guard in Dryden's opera KING ARTHUR. His name was presumably taken from Albanact, son of Brutus, in Geoffrey of Monmouth, and from whom Albany or Scotland is named. # 156 - 454
Albion: The primal archetype of the Celtic world. Albion in its origin was the Form of forms, the original pattern for all that flowed into creation of the unique and magnificent wonder known as the Celtic spirit. - The Otherworld (Albion) did not have a historical foundation, but the historical world (the Britons of old called their island Alba) had an Otherworldly foundation. See also: PRETANI. # 454: The name of Britain before Brutus landed from Troy (See also: TROY). William Blake personified Albion as a giant, associating him with Cronos, in his poetical and artistic works. # 74 - 243 - 383 p 146 ff - # 454 - 455 p 144
A squire, brother of Iseult and companion of Tristan. Later known as Lantris, he was killed when he attempted to rescue his sister from Mark. # 156
A giant who ruled the ancient city of Sarras, according to the PROPHÉCIES de MERLIN. He had attained his eminence by killing the previous ruler. The folk of Sarras would not desert him, even when the city was menaced by Crusaders under King Richard of Jerusalem. He defeated four champions of the Crusaders and after this a truce ensued, followed a month later by Alchendic's baptism. # 156
The old name for Dumbarton. Hoel, King of Brittany and Arthur's ally, was besieged there by the Picts and Scots until Arthur came to relieve him. # 156
In Welsh tradition, Merlin's mother, daugther of a nobleman of South Wales. # 156 - 211
A tree associated with several pagan gods, the alder represented the letter F (fearn) in the druidic tree alphabet. It was known in medieval legend as the tree of the Erl King, or alternatively as the tree sacred to the god Bran, brother of Branwen who kept the Cauldron of Regeneration.
Thus the tree stood for the idea of resurrection. It bore the same significance in the Odyssey. The beginning of the Celtic solar year was marked by the alder tree. In the territory of Celtic druids there used to be a tribe known as Arverni, 'People of the Alder'. # 701
An elevation in Cheshire. According to a folktale, a farmer of Mobberley once had his horse purchased by a wizard for the use of a king and his knights who were slumbering beneath the Edge. The story was told by Parson Shrigley (died 1776) who maintained the events had occurred about eighty years before his time. In a rhyming version by J. Roscoe the king was identified as Arthur. The story was utilized by Alan Garner in THE WEIRDSTONE OF BRISINGAMEN (1960). # 156
King of Brittany, he sent his brother Constantine, Arthur's grandfather, to rule the Britons at their request. # 156 - 243
Gawain's niece. In the 'Didot Perceval' she sent Perceval a suit of red armour and persuaded him to take part in a tournament at Arthur's court from which he had hitherto refrained. Thus disguised he carried all before him and won a place at the Round Table. # 185 - 454
ALEXANDER THE GREAT
King of Macedonia 336-323 BC. He conquered the Persian Empire and died at Babylon.
Alexander was much celebrated in medieval romance. In PERCEFOREST he is an ancestor of Arthur as the result of an affair with Sebille, the Lady of the Lake in his time. In 1991 a literally work about Alexander the Great was published in Denmark. It was claimed to have been channeled from Aron, which is the name of Alexander in the spiritual world, to the publisher and coauthor, Margrethe Clara Grace. The works three volumes describe the life of not only Alexander the Great, but even all the incarnations he have lived since, ending in our time as no less than the American pop-singer Elvis Presley. The work might be ahead of its time, as only few copies were sold in Denmark and so far it hasn't been translated into other languages. # 156 - 198 - 257
King of Terre Foraine and one of the Wounded Kings. After being baptised by Alain le Gros he attempted to look into the Grail and was struck down for his temerity. He is healed when the Grail is achieved. # 454
ALFRED THE GREAT
(849-900) King of Wessex. He repulsed the Danes. It was while hiding in the marches of Somerset on the Isle of Athelney that he was supposed to have burnt the cakes. He also had a vision of the Virgin at whose feet he cast a jewel as a offering. In 1693 such a jewel was found, inscribed 'Alfred had me made'. (This is now housed at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford). Alfred codified laws, established the first real navy and was the translator of Boethius: 'CONSOLATIONS OF PHILOSOPHY'. He and Arthur are the two heroes who bracket that period called, by historians, the Dark Ages. Their two careers were concerned with the defence of Britain in battle and its civilization by means of the gentle arts. # 454
Called 'the Beautiful Pilgrim'.Daughter of Ansirus le Pilgrim, one of Lancelot's many cousins. She helped Alisander le Orphelin escape from the castle of Morgan le Fay and afterwards married him. She always kept her face veiled, suggesting she was of more than mortal beauty. It was when she was unveiled that Alisander fell in love with her. # 454
The King of Spain, a follower of Lucius. He was killed fighting against Arthur, during the latters campaign against the Romans (# 243). His name probably originated from Moorish influence in Spain in the Middle Ages. # 156 - 243
The Byzantine emperor who, in CLIGES, married Fenice with whom, unfortunately, Cligés, his nephew was in love. Alis is a form of Alexius, a name borne by a number of Byzantine emperors. # 156
ALISANDER THE ORPHAN
# 156: Son of Baldwin, Mark's brother, by his wife Anglides. Mark had murdered his father. He was imprisoned by Morgan Le Fay but Alice the Beautiful Pilgrim helped him to gain his freedom and they subsequently married. Alisander was welcomed at Arthur's court. And from the Matthews(#454) we read this: He never reached Camelot and was numbered among Mark's knights. # 156 - 418 - 454
ALL HALLOWS EVE
The time of year when the boundaries between this world and the next weaken and the dead rise and walk amongst men. A time of year hallowed back into the distant past, honoured as Samhain, the new year. A time of year hallowed by both the followers of the Christ and those who still kept faith with the older, wilder gods. A time of power. A time of death. # 582, vol. 3, p 150
ALLEN, HILL OF
In Kildare; Finn's chief fortress. # 562
(ol'møø) (ol-en) Principal seat of Finn mac Cumaill; now the Hill of Allen 5 miles north-east of Kildare. # 166
King of Northgalis. He went to war with Amoraldo, King of Ireland, who was supported by Lancelot. Tristan supported Alois. In due course, through the interventions of Guinevere and Iseult, the two leaders were reconciled. # 156 - 238
Through all the sources consulted in making this encyclopaedia there does not seem to be a standard spelling for the places and peoples in the myths and historical events, which, of course, considering time and localities where it was written down, is not even a perfectly natural function but also inevitably. In this work, however, the editor have tried to mention several alternatives and place them properly beside the name chosen. But in addition to that, it might be helpful to the reader to have a list of the most often used names in Celtic tradition together with their alternate spellings. Below you will find a collection of some of these names, but we must emphasize that the alternate spelling-form is by no means less correct than the chosen form, and is brought only to clear the possible confusion if the same person's name or a place-name is spelled quite differently. See Alternate Spelling.
A cruel and avaricious king who lived before the times of Arthur, but whose actions determined much of the later quest for the Grail. Together with his followers, he raped the damsels of the wells and stole their golden cups. In Arthur's time, the descendants of these damsels and knights, lived deep in the forest. Behind this story is a powerful myth of otherworldly women, representing the Sovereignty of the land, who guard the Hallows of Britain but whose guardianship is eroded and usurped, causing the Wasteland. Only the finding of the Grail can heal the land. # 454 - 461
A knight of Mark who accused his royal master of treachery. Trial by combat ensued, in which Mark proved the victor. # 156
Human sacrifices abolished by Amasis I. # 562
# 562: Son of Dôn; In 'Culhwch and Olwen', Amathaon is the only one who can do the ploughing task, and he will not. # 454: He is described as a wild husband-man, and in the poem attributed to Taliesin, the 'Cad Goddeu', where he fights his brother, Gwydion, against the Arawn, king of Annwn. The modern Welsh for farmer is still 'amaethwr', but we can only speculate as to the original nature of Amaethon, who may indeed have fulfilled the function of a patron of agriculture. # 104 - 226 - 259 - 454 - 562
The name of a famous race of warrior women in Greek mythology. Medieval legend claimed they were, in origin, Goths who, under Marpesia, formed an army of women and travelled to Africa by way of the Caucasus. It was only to be expected that they would surface from time to time in Arthurian romance. Thus, Tristan the Younger rescued their queen from the king of the Idumeans. They fought with Gawain and their queen was slain by the Crop-eared Dog. The MORTE ARTHURE says they were subjects of Arthur's foe, Lucius. In Spencer's poem THE FAIRIE QUEENE their queen, Radigund, was killed by Britomart. # 81 - 156
According to Nennius, this was the fatherless child whom Vortigern intended to sacrifice. Geoffrey of Monmouth, however, maintained that Ambrosius the child was identical with Merlin and distinct from Ambrosius Aurelius. Nennius in fact contradicts himself by saying Ambrosius was a Roman consul's son. His career, as outlined by Geoffrey, is as follows: when his brother, King Constans of Britain, was murdered by Vortigern he was smuggled to Brittany, whence he returned to Britain with his brother, Uther, anxious to seize the throne from the usurper. He laid siege to Vortigern's tower and burnt it down, thereby causing Vortigern's death. He defeated the Saxons and then had their leader, Hengist, killed. Paschent, Vortigern's son made war against him and had him poisoned by a Saxon, Eopa. According to the fifteenth-century poet, Rhys Goch Eryri, his head was buried beneath Dinas Emrys. That Ambrosius was a genuine historical character is not in doubt. Gildas, who calls him Ambrosius Aurelianus (certainly the most correct form of his name) claims he began the fighting that eventually ended the Saxon attacks. It has even been suggested that he is the original of Arthur, though Geoffrey of Monmouth says that he is his nephew. # 32 - 156 - 243 - 494
A knight in Lovelich's MERLIN whose existence is due to a misunderstanding by the author who thought the French phrase oiseau au brai was a personal name. # 156
A queen whose kingdom had almost entirely been conquered by Roaz. Arthur sent Wigalois to aid her. See LAR. # 156 - 746
(am ORG in, or OY ar gin) Milesian poet, son of Miled, husband of Skena. His strange lay, sung when his foot first touched Irish soil; his judgment, delivered as between the Danaan's and Milesians; chants incantation to land of Erin; Amergin the Druid, gives judgment as to claims to sovranty of Eremon and Eber; Ollav Fôla is compared with Amergin. THE JUDGMENT OF AMERGIN: The Milesian host, after landing, advance to Tara, where they find the three kings of the Danaans awaiting them, and summon them to deliver up the island. The Danaans ask for three days' time to consider whether they shall quit Ireland, or submit, or give battle; and they propose to leave the decision, upon their request, to Amergin. Amergin pronounces judgment -"the first judgment which was delivered in Ireland." He agrees that the Milesians must not take their foes by surprise - they are to withdraw the lenght of nine waves from the shore, and then return; if they then conquer the Danaans the land is to be fairly theirs by right of battle. The Milesians submit to this decision and embark on their ships. But no sooner have they drawn off for this mystical distance of the nine waves than a mist and storm are raised by the sorceries of the Danaans - the coast of Ireland is hidden from their sight, and they wander dispersed upon the ocean. To ascertain if it is a natural or a Druidic tempest which afflicts them, a man named Aranan is sent up to the masthead to see if the wind is blowing there also or not. He is flung from the swaying mast, but as he falls to his death he cries his message to his shipmates: 'There is no storm aloft.' Amergin, who as poet - that is to say, Druid - takes the lead in all critical situations, thereupon chants his incantation to the land of Erin. The wind falls, and they turn their prows, rejoicing, towards the shore. But one of the Milesian lords, Eber Donn, exults in brutal rage at the prospect of putting all the dwellers in Ireland to the sword; the tempest immediately springs up again, and many of the Milesian ships founder, Eber Donn's among them. At last a remnant of the Milesians find their way to shore, and land in the estuary of the Boyne. # 562
AMERGIN MAC EIT
(ov'ar gin moc at) An Ulster warrior; husband of Findchoem, Conchobar's sister. # 166
Known as the Grail King/Fisher King in Wolfram. The son of the Grail King Frimutel, he was wounded in the scrotum by an envenomed spear while jousting. He was carried into the presence of the Grail where he awaited the coming of the questioner (Perceval) who would ask the question about the Grail and thus restore him to health. Amfortas is called Anfortas in Wagner's opera Parzival. His name may be derived from Latin infirmitas. # 156 - 748
The son of Joshua and an ancestor of Arthur in the pedigree of John of Glastonbury. Father of Castellors. # 156
According to Welsh sources, the father of Igaine (Eigyr), the mother of Arthur. Amlawdd is also credited with being the father of Goleuddydd and Rieingulid who were, respectively, the mothers of Arthur's cousins, Culhwch and Illtyd. Amlawdd's wife was called Gwen. The word Wledig is a title meaning, roughly, 'chief', perhaps used as a Celtic translation of the Latin title Protector. # 156
Gauls described by Ammianus Marcellinus. See: GAULS. # 562
Father of Conall of the Victories. # 562
In the TAVOLA RITONDA, the son of Marhaus. He was made a knight by Tristan. In due course he ascended the throne of Ireland and became involved in a war with King Alois of Northgalis. Tristan supported Amoroldo, Lancelot supported Alois. However, Iseult and Guinevere brought about a rapprochement between the two knights. Amoroldo was eventually slain by Lancelot. The name Amoroldo is Italian for Marhaus, and the name is used for both father and son. # 156 - 238
According to Nennius, the son of Arthur, probably identical with Amhar, son of Arthur mentioned in the MABINOGION. The form Amr is preferable to Anir, which is also found. Nennius says that Arthur killed him at Archenfield and that he was buried under a mound called Licat Anir. # 156 - 494
The son of Bedivere. # 156
The chaplain to Guinevere, he had originally been chaplain to her father. He eventually became an anchorite. # 156
King of Macedon, defeated and exiled. # 562
Icenian warrior goddess of Victory, propitiated by Boudicca in her campaigns against the Romans. She was worshipped in a sacred grove. Boudicca released a hare as part of the rite of propiation. # 446 - 454
Resident at Mark's court, he was a cousin of Tristan on whom he spied, eventually betraying him and Iseult to Mark. He hailed originally from Lincoln. # 454: In some versions he is credited with the murder of Tristan, but is himself slain by Bellangere le Beuse, together with all those who had plotted Tristan's death. # 156 - 418 - 454
The patron of Scotland. Brother of Simon Peter, and fisherman of Capernaum. He became an apostle and tradition says he was martyred in Achaia by being crucified on a decussated or saltire cross. He was said to have given the Pictish army a vision of this cross at the battle of Athelstoneford between King Angus of the Picts and King Athelstan of the Angles. However, it is fairly clear that Andrew was foisted upon Scotland as its patron when the old Celtic and Culdee centres of Dunkeld and Abernethy were superseded by the new bishopric of St Andrew's. His feast-day is 30 November. # 454
The daughter of King Cador of Northumberland. On her father's death her uncle, Ayglin, tried to get rid of her by marrying her off to someone unsuitable, but she thwarted his designs by escaping and marrying Kay. With Arthur's support she was all set to overthrow her uncle but then the people of Northumberland forced him to surrender before any violence could occur. # 156 - 712
(an OI rin).
The mother, by Arthur, of Tom a' Lincoln. # 156 - 668
ANGHARHAD GOLDEN HAND ANGHARAD
The lover of Peredur (Perceval) in the MABINOGION. At first she refused to be his lover and he promised never to speak to any Christian until she changed her mind. Lady Guest, in her edition of the MABINOGION, suggests that her epithet indicated generosity. # 454: She may possibly be a much older Celtic deity, who like so many of her kind has dwindled to a minor role in Arthurian romance. See: PERCEVAL. # 156 - 346 - 438 - 454
Mother of Alisander the Orphan. After her husband's murder by King Mark, Anglides raised her son secretly. # 156 - 243
The daughter of Prester John, she eloped with Tom a' Lincoln. Their son was the Black Knight. She abandoned Tom and later murdered him, but he was avenged by the Black Knight. # 156 - 668
# 676: The most widespread ideas among the British today about the Anglo-Saxons have become set in a fixed pattern which does not always re-flect the true reality. It has been suggested that we would come nearer the truth if we could think of them as Celtic-Saxons, and, as far as religious affinities go, that would be more accurate.
Many of the leading members of the Irish/Scottish Celtic Church in Iona and Lindisfarne bear Saxon names such as Cuthbert and Chad, and were probably descendants of those Saxons who were initially invited to the Northeast by the Romans in order to help them quell the invading hordes of Picts and Scots who were making the country untenable by the legions. By the time that the Roans had completely withdrawn, the Saxons had intermarried with the Britons and settled down to farm the new lands. The violent pirate invaders, forerunners of the Viking raiders were quite another matter. # 562: Wace's French translation of "Historia Regum Britaniæ" translated by Layamon into the Anglo-Saxon language. # 562 - 676
King of Ireland and father of Iseult. His name seems to be genuinely Irish in origin, a form of Oengus. Surprisingly, at the time in question, a King Oengus is thought to have been reigning at Cashel, in the south of Ireland. There may be some confusion with the Scottish king Auguselus in Geoffrey; this name is also found in the form of Anguisel, Angwish, and Agwisance. See: ANGWISH. # 156 - 243 - 418
(een us) 1. A Danaan deity. 2. Son of Aed Abrat; brother of Fann; a messenger sent to invite CuChulain to the Fairy World. See also: ANGUS OG. # 166 - 562
ANGUS MAC OG AENGUS OR OENGUS
# 562: Son of the Dagda, Irish god of love; wooes and wins Caer. Dermot of the Love Spot bred up with Angus Og, and is revived by him; father of Maga; Dermot and Grania rescued by magical devices of Angus; Dermot's body borne away by Angus. # 454: Angus mac Og / Aengus / Oengus. God of youth. His mother was Boann. He was called Mac Og (or the Young Son) after his mother's words, 'Young is the son who was begotten at break of day and born betwixt it and evening', referring to his magical conception and gestation. He was fostered by Midir. - An eight-century text, 'Aislinge Oenguso' (The Dream of Angus), tells how he was visited by an otherworldly maiden, Caer Ibormeith in his sleep and conceived such a love for her that he fell ill until he found her, with the help of Bodb. She was in the form of a swan one year and assumed human shape the next. He found her at Loch Bel Dracon at Samhain, together with 149 other girls all in swan-form, with silver chains between each pair. Angus also assumed the form of a swan, and together they circled the lake three times, singing sleep-music so profoundly moving, that everyone in the vicinity fell asleep three days and nights. They returned to his otherworldly palace, Bruig na Boinne (New Grange, Meath). W. B. Yeats' poem THE SONG OF WANDERING AENGUS is a retelling of this event. Because of his magical birth, he had power over time. When the mounds of the Sidhe were being distributed between the Tuatha De Danann, he arrived late and demanded to spend a day and night in the dwelling of the Dagda. This was granted, but on the following day when he was asked to leave, he said, 'It is clear that night and day are the whole world, and it is that which has been given to me.'
Variants state that Angus was given the sidi of Bruig na Boinne in place of his mother's husband, Elcmar. He was the foster-father of Diarmuid.
See also: OENGUS, THE DREAM OF. # 96 - 166 - 416 - 454 - 562
(or Agwisance) King of Ireland and father of Iseult of Ireland. He seems to have fought against Arthur on the side of the rebel kings at the beginning of Arthur's reign. He later became a companion of the Round Table. Mark of Cornwall owed him allegiance and it was on account of Tristan's coming to dispute this, at which time he also killed Anguish's brother the Morholt, that Tristan first saw Iseult. See: ANGUISH. # 418 - 454
A French province which was conquered by Vortigern and given to Hengist. Kay, Arthur's seneschal, was its first count. In Wolfram, Herzeloyde was its queen. # 156
Found on Megalithic carvings. The symbol of vitality or resurrection. # 562
(An'luan) Son of Maga; rallies to Maev's foray against Ulster. Conall produces the head of Anluan to his brother Ket (Cet). # 562
See: PERIGLOUR. # 676
In Geoffrey, the full sister of Arthur. Geoffrey seems confused about whom she married; he says she wed Lot, but also that she married King Budic of Brittany. L. A. Paton quotes a source which says she was also called Ermine and that she married Budic while her sister married Lot (# 516). Miss Paton wonders if she is to be identified with Morgan. The possibility that she was derived from the Celtic goddess Anu cannot be ruled out (# 243)..# 156 - 243 - 516
# 156: A sorceress who got Arthur into her power as she wished him to be her lover, but he would not comply. She was about to have him slain when Lancelot, tipped off by Nimue, rescued him and killed Annowre. # 454: A sorceress of the Perilous Forest who desired Arthur. She succeeded in enticing him into the forest, but when he refused her she plotted his death, inviting various knights to kill him. Nimue, hearing of this, brought Tristan to the place where Arthur was held captive, just in time to kill two knights who had beaten him. The King himself slew Annowre, who had tried to steal Excalibur. The whole story may well be a variant of Morgan le Fay's plot to entrap Arthur with the help of her lover Accalon of Gaul. # 156 - 454
# 156: See also ANNWN. The Celtic Otherworld. An early Welsh poem, PREIDDEU ANNWFN, tells how Arthur led a raid there, apparently to carry off the cauldron to be found in that region. The narrator of the story is Taliesin, one of those who took part in the expedition. Those involved sailed overseas in the ship Prydwen to reach their goal. They reached the fort or city of the Otherworld, called by a number of names (Caer Rigor, Caer Siddi, etc.), but only seven returned. The language of the poem is obscure. The expedition of Arthur to Ireland in CULHWCH may be another version of this story, Ireland being substituted for the Otherworld. It is not impossible that the original story told how Arthur obtained Excalibur from the Otherworld.
# 562: (an noon) Corresponds with Abyss, or Chaos; the principle of destruction in Cymric cosmogony.
# 454: The British Underworld, ruled over by Arawn. Unlike the Classical or Christian Underworld or hell, Annwn is not considered to be a place of punishment or eternal lamentation; it is rather a place of ancestral power which mortals may visit, and from which the Wild Hunt rides out. # 156 - 260 - 454 - 562
(an noon - or - ann oo in) See: ANNWFN.
(an OOV an)
Impossible tasks. # 439
Mananan's magical sword. # 562
Lover of Gawain and sister of King Vergulaht of Ascalun in Wolfram. # 156 - 748
An Irish bishop, secretary to Merlin in Continental romance. # 156 - 238
The mother of the gods in Ireland. The twin hills near Killarney in Munster are named the Paps of Anu after her. She is identical with Danu, in being the ancestress of the Tuatha de Danaan. Eleanor Hull (#328) suggests tentatively that Anu is the same person as Aine, the mother of Earl Fitzgerald, to whom fires were lit at Midsummer, and who was the guardian of cattle and a health-giver. Anu is known to be one of the Dea Matronae of Ireland and was a goddess of fertility. Hull regards her as a local goddess, and rejects the suggestion that she has any connection with Black Annis of the Dane Hills in Leicestershire, though she thinks its possible that Dana and Anu are the same. # 166 - 328 - 454 - 548
The first wife of Lir. Mother of Fionuala, Aed, Conn and Fiachna. # 454
(ay) See: AEDH.
A woman of the Sidhe at Craig Liath in Munster. She was the tutelary spirit of the O'Briens, though in later years she was considered to be more like a banshee since whoever hears the music of her magical harp does not long survive the experience. She was the mistress of Dubhlainn. # 454
(EEF ay) Lir's second wife; she felt an extreme jealousy to her stepchildren and after her spells against them, she was punished by Bôv the Red. # 454: 1. The woman-warrior who was Scathach's rival. CuChulain defeated her in combat and begot her with child. When she heard that he had married Emer, she planned her revenge. She raised his son, Conlaoch, in every skill and laid three geasa or prohibitions upon him: that he should never give way to anyone, that he should never refuse a challenge, and that he should never tell anyone his name. 2. The foster-daughter of Bodh Dearg. She married Lir becoming the step-mother of her sister's children, Fionuala, Aed, Conn and Fiachra. She turned them into swans, destined to roam the world for 900 years. She was turned into a witch of the air, destined to sweep the winds till doomsday by Bodh Dearg. # 166 - 267 - 454 - 562
(ain-barr) # 562: Mananan's magical steed. - # 454: It could travel on either land or sea and was later ridden by the god Lugh during his quest for the Sword of Light. # 454 - 562
# 562: Celtic equivalent, Lugh. Magical services in honour of Apollo, described by Hecatæus; regarded by Gauls as deity of medicine. See also: LIANES - # 454: Originally a Thracian god, Apollo was associated with the northern land of Hyperborea, where he was said to winter every year. Diodorus Siculus and others supposed that this northern region was analogous with Britain.
Apollo was originally god of music, archery and hunting, as well as being a herdsman. These are also the attributes of Mabon or Maponus. Apollo's temple was identified by Diodorus as Stonehenge. Apollo was also taken up by the Romans during their occupation of Britain. Archaeological evidence suggests that Apollo's cult was already well-established under the native form of Maponus. There is a dedication to Apollo Cunomaglus or Hound-Lord, stressing his early associations rather than the later classical attributes. Apollo was also patron of Troy - the mythical origin of the British.
# 258 - 454 - 562
One of three peoples inhabiting Gaul when Cæsar's conquest began. # 562
Dolmens equal to those known from the Celtic countries found in Arabia. # 562
The home of the giant Rience (Ritho), also called Mount Aravia, nowadays known as Snowdonia. # 156
# 562: (a ROWN) A king in Annwn; appeals to Pwyll for help against Hafgan, and exchanges kingdoms for a year with Pwyll. Annwn corresponds with Abyss or Chaos; the principle of destruction in Cymric cosmogony. # 156: The name Arawn is used to translate Auguselus, the brother of Urien, in a Welsh version of Geoffrey. THE TRIADS also makes mention of an Arawn, son of Kynvarch. In Welsh tradition Arawn was the name of the king of Annwfn, but it may also have been the name of Urien's brother in Welsh legend before Geoffrey wrote his HISTORIA. # 454: God of the Underworld, Annwn. He appears in PWYLL, PRINCE OF DYFED as a huntsman, pursuing a white stag with a pack of red-eared hounds. He is frequently challenged by other would-be claimants for his title, 'Pen Annwn' or Head of Annwn, two such stories involve Hafgan and Amatheon. He gave pigs - originally underworld animals - to Pwyll in return for having rid him of Hafgan. He seems to cede place, seasonally, to another in order to retain his position and so is closely related to the other South Welsh God of the Underworld, Gwynn ap Nudd, who engages in a similar seasonal contest. # 104 - 156 - 272 - 439 - 454 - 562
The father of the two woman warriors who taught CuChulain, Scathach and Aoife. His name means 'High Power'. # 454
ARD MACHA ARMAGH
Emain Macha now represented by grassy ramparts of a hill-fortress close to Ard Macha. It enshrines the memory of the Fairy Bride and her heroic sacrifice. # 562
(ard ree) (High King) Dermot MacKerval, of Ireland. # 562
An uncle of Arthur, mentioned in French romance. Brother of Naisi, who was the lover of Deirdriu. # 156 - 562
CuChulain places withe round pillar-stone of Ardcullin. When the host of Maev came to Ardcullin, the withe upon the pillar-stone was found and brought to Fergus to decipher it (it was cut in Ogham). There was none amongst the host who could emulate the feat of CuChulain, and so they went into the wood and encamped for the night. A heavy snowfall took place, and they were all in much distress, but next day the sun rose gloriously, and over the white plain they marched away into Ulster, counting the prohibition as extending only for one night. In the Irish bardic literature, as in the Homeric epics, chastity formed no part of the masculine ideal either for gods or men. # 562
Ath Fherdia, which is pronounced and now spelt 'Ardee'. It is in Co. Louth, at the southern border of the Plain of Murthemney, which was CuChulain's territory. The name of the little town of Ardee, as we have seen, commemorates the tragic death of Ferdia at the hand of his 'heart companion,' the noblest hero of the Gael. # 562
# 156: The Queen of Avalon, an elf, to whom, according to Layamon, Arthur went after his last battle. It has been suggested that she was a form of the British goddess Arianhrod.
# 454: The name is possibly a corruption of Morgan le Fay (i.e. Morgante)# 156 - 454 - 697
When Merlin was a boy (according to Italian romance), he prophesied that this man would be hanged, drowned and burned. Argistes set fire to Merlin's house. The fire spread to his own, so he rushed to the well, but the chain entwined itself about his neck. As he was in the well, people threw in burning rafters. Thus he died in the way Merlin had foretold. # 156 - 238
In Y SAINT GREAL, the Welsh version of the Grail story, another son of Elaine, the mother of Galahad. # 156 - 740
An ancestor of Lot. # 156 - 344
# 628: (aree AN rod) Arianrhod appears in Welsh Celtic mythology as one of the major characters. The key to the nature of this goddess is that she is a weaver, in control of the interactions of human lives and of the matter of creation itself. In Irish tradition we find that the goddess of the Land of Erin may manifest as a weaver. # 562: Sister of Gwydion; proposed as virgin foot-holder to Math; Dylan and Llew sons of Arianrhod. See also: ARGANTE.
# 454: Mistress of the otherworld tower of initiation. Caer Sidi, where poets learn starry wisdom and where the dead go between incarnations. She appears in the story of MATH, SON OF MATHONWY as the daughter of Don and sister of Gwydion. When Math loses his footholder, she applies for the post. This involves a magical test of virginity by which she steps over Math's wand. On doing so, she gives birth to two infants: Dylan, and the premature Llew, whom Gwydion scoops up, incubates and raises as his protégé. - Having been so shamed before the whole court, Arianrhod lays a geise upon Llew: that he shall have no name, no arms and no human wife. All three prohibitions are overcome with the help of Gwydion's magic. The sub-text of the story and earlier references suggest that both her children were incestuously conceived with Gwydion her brother, or by Math, her uncle. The Corona Borealis is named Caer Arianrhod in Welsh - the self-same constellation which is associated with Ariadne, a Greek resonance of Arianrhod. # 272 - 439 - 454 - 562 - 628 p 84 ff
# 156: In Malory, a cowherd who raised Tor, son of King Pellinore, whom he believed to be his own child. In French romance, he was a king and the real father of Tor. # 454: He went on to become an excellent knight of the Round Table. Aries is probably the only character in the entire Arthurian saga who was of humble origin. # 156 - 243 - 454
Aristotle knew that the Celts dwelt 'beyond Spain', that they had captured Rome, and that they set great store by warlike power. # 562
Invisible dwelling of Lir on Slieve Fuad in County. # 562
According to FLORIANT ET FLORETE this country was ruled in King Arthur's time by King Turcans. Actually, in this period Armenia was ruled by Persian representatives or by leaders who were in revolt against Persia, such as Shapur of Ravy (AD 483-84) See PARMENIE. # 156
In Wolfram, Arthur's mother who was rescued by Gawain from the clutches of Klingsor. # 156 - 748
One of the Twenty-four Knights of Arthur's Court. See also: ALEXANDER THE GREAT. # 104 - 156
The sword of Lancelot. # 454
Evidence of Celtic characteristics, regarding Arrian. If these ancient references to the Celts could be read aloud, without mentioning the name of the race to whom they referred, to any person acquainted with it through modern history alone, he would without hesitation, name the Celtic peoples as the subject of the description which he had heard. # 562
# 156: In the Irish romance entitled CAITHREIM CONGHAIL CLAIRINGNIGH (edited by P. M. McSweeney and published by the Irish Texts Society), the son of Arthur. In other Irish material, this Art was the son of King Conn of the Hundred Battles, a legendary character, perhaps a god in origin, who was thought to have reigned in prehistoric times (also called Aoinfhear). # 454: The son of Conn Cetchathach. He was banished from Ireland at the request of his step-mother, Becuma, but returned to reign in his father's absence. Becuma desired him secretly, but challenged him to a game of fidchell (a chess-like game) in which the stake was to be the wand of Cu Roi. Art won and forced Becuma to obtain this. He won the second game and had to go on a perilous quest for Delbchaem, daughter of Coinchend. He overcame giants, hags and the warrior-woman, Coinchend herself, to win Delbchaem. # 156 - 188 - 439 - 454
ART SON OF CONN, THE ADVENTURES OF
Art son of Conn of the Hundred Victories, referred in the ADVENTURES OF CONNLA THE FAIR, was one of the early traditional kings of Ireland, his reign extending from AD 220 to 254. As a usual thing the material regarding traditional kings is later in time of composition than the material of the Ulster cycle. This story, however, although it appears in a late manuscript, has all the appearance of belonging to the Old-Irish tradition. In this, as in several other stories dealing with the early kings, there is a rather strong emphasis on the legal and governmental system of ancient Ireland. Superstitions regarding the kingship, curious ideas about the influence of the moral and physical state of the monarch upon that of his people, the custom of human sacrifice for the good of the country - all these make the material of this selection especially interesting to the student of early Irish social history. Here, as in numerous other romantic tales included in the above mentioned work, we encounter the motif of a visit to the fairy world, the Land of Promise, the Land of Youth. Conn and Art are regarded as contemporaries of Finn mac Cumhal. # 166
A god in Celtic mythology who occupies the place of Gwydion. # 562
This personage occurs for the first time in Geoffrey where, as Artgualchar, he is described as an earl or count of Guarensis (Warwick). Richard Grafton, in his Cronicle at Large (1569), says he was a Knight of the Round Table and first Earl of Warwick. Spencer says he was the son of King Cador of Cornwall and bore the arms of Achilles. Spencer further tells us that he married Britomart, the warrior maiden, daughter of King Rience. # 156
(arthir) Legendary King of Britain, the traditions and literary compositions about whom form the subject matter of the following: 1. The name Arthur may be a form of Artorius (# 401), a Roman gens name, but it is possibly of Celtic origin, coming from 'artos viros' (bear man) see Welsh 'arth gwyr'. Bruce also suggests the possibility of a connection with Irish 'art' (stone) (# 178).
2. Life. Arthur is not mentioned by any contemporary and his historicity cannot be regarded as certain. Milton (History of England) reckoned him a fiction, but Gibbon (Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire) felt there might be substance behind the legend. Modern opinion tends to echo Gibbon. The earliest mention of Arthur is in the GODODDIN (sixth century) of Aneirin, but it is possible that the line alluding to Arthur may not have formed part of the original. Nennius (early ninth century) links Arthur's name with a succession of battles but does not describe him as a king, saying that he came to the aid of various British rulers.
An outline of the hero's life is given by Geoffrey of Monmouth (twelfth century) in his HISTORIA REGUM BRITTANIAE. Just how much of this life was Geoffrey's invention and how much was culled from traditional material is uncertain. He tells us that King Arthur was the son of Uther and defeated the barbarians in a dozen battles. Subsequently, he conquered a wide empire and eventually went to war with the Romans. He returned home on learning that his nephew Mordred had raised the standard of rebellion and taken Guinevere, the queen. After landing, his final battle took place.
The saga built up over the centuries and Celtic traditions of Arthur reached the Continent via Brittany. Malory (fifteenth century) produced a huge Arthuriad that many would regard as the standard 'history' of Arthur. In this, we are told of Arthur's conception when Uther approached Igraine who was made, by Merlin's sorcery, to resemble her husband. The child was given to Ector to be raised in secret. After Uther's death there was no king ruling all England. Merlin had placed a sword in a stone, saying that whoever drew it out would be king. Arthur did so and Merlin had him crowned. This led to a rebellion by eleven rulers which Arthur put down. He married Guinevere whose father gave him the Round Table as a dowry; it became the place where his knights sat, to avoid quarrels over precedence. A Magnificent reign followed, Arthur's court becoming the focus for many heroes. In the war against the Romans, Arthur defeated the Emperor Lucius and became emperor himself. However, his most illustrious knight, Lancelot, became enamoured of Guinevere and an affair between them followed. (See LANCELOT). While Arthur was in Brittany to fight Lancelot, he left his natural son, Mordred , in charge. (Mordred was also his nephew, the result of an unwittingly incestuous affair between Arthur and his sister Morgause.
Arthur had been unaware of the incestuous nature of the intrigue because he was ignorant of his own parentage.) Mordred rebelled and Arthur returned to quell him. This led to Arthur's last battle on Salisbury Plain, where he slew Mordred but was himself gravely wounded. (In Welsh accounts, the site of this battle is called Camlann.)
Arthur was then carried off in a barge, saying he was heading for the vale of Avilion (Avalon). Some said he never died, but would one day return. However, his grave was supposedly discovered at Glastonbury in the reign of Henry II (1154-89). One of the most mysterious aspects of Arthur's reign involves his relationship with Morgan Le Fay. In Malory she is the sister but, when Geoffrey mentions her in the VITA MERLINI, he seems to know nothing of the kinship, nor does he mention any enmity between them. This seems to be a later development. It has been suggested that Arthur was originally her lover and only latterly her brother, but such a suggestion is unsupported by evidence.
Whether Morgan is in origin identical with Arthur's sister (Anna in Geoffrey) cannot be decided with certainty. In THE MISTS OF AVALON by Marion Zimmer Bradley, (1982), Morgan is the sister with whom Arthur unknowingly commits incest - this is not implausible. Morgan's enmity towards Arthur is generally taken to spring from the fact that Arthur's father, Uther, killed her father, Gorlois. The actual status or title of Arthur is also uncertain. He is usually styled a king, sometimes an emperor and, in Rosemary Sutcliffe's novel SWORD AT SUNSET (1963), he is represented as turning Britain into the last vestige of the Western Roman Empire.It is certainly not impossible that he did so.
Nennius does not speak of him as a king but as Dux Bellorum (leader of wars), a title which suggests he held a Roman-invented designation such as Dux Brittaniarum (leader or 'duke' of the Britons). Apart from his title, the question of where Arthur functioned also arises. Various persons have favoured the view that he was a leader in the north, in the south-west, in Wales or throughout Britain, but the truth of the matter is that we cannot be certain. Nennius list of battles does not really help, as some or even all of them may not have been originally associated with Arthur.
3.DATE. The date of Arthur's death is given by Geoffrey as AD 542. Malory places his life in the fifth century. Geoffrey Ashe puts forward the argument that Arthur is, at least to some extent, to be identified with the historical Celtic King Riothamus. If this is so, he would have flourished in the fifth century. It is not impossible that the legendary Arthur is a composite of a number of persons so called, living at different times.
4. SURVIVAL. Arthur's survival after death was believed in by many Britons who awaited his return. He was thought to have journeyed to Avalon (a Celtic paradise) or to be lying asleep in a cave somewhere, awaiting arousal. The finding of his possible grave at Glastonbury did not extinguish these beliefs.
5. ATTRACTION OF THE LEGEND OF ARTHUR. We must consider the allure of Arthur's saga and why he is so widely known when compared with other national heroes, such as the Russian Ilya Muromets, the Serbian Prince Marco, etc. To some extent the lines of transmission assisted the legend. It was originally adopted from the Bretons by their neighbours, the Normans, who travelled far and wide and took it with them. But another factor is the magical echoes of the legend that convey a sense of the mysterious, the otherworldly, the intangible that is absent elsewhere and which renders them unique.
See: ACHEFLOUR, ACCOLON, AEGIDIUS, AENEAS, CADOC, FFYNNON CEGIN ARTHUR, GIANT OF ST MICHAEL'S MOUNT, GREAT SPIRITS SPRING, GWYDDBWYLL, PARIS, SEVEN KINGS OF CORNWALL, TY-NEWYDD STANDING STONES. # 30 - 156 - 178 - 401 - 562
ARTHUR KING, AND CONGHAL CLáIRINGHNEACH
The Arthurian and Celtic traditions are so inseparable that the editor gladly include some Arthurian material in the Celtic Reader. Notable among this is 'King Arthur and Conghal Cláiringhneach' where we return to the curiously different world of the Irish Arthurian tales. A very different picture of Arthur is to be found herein than we are used to, but nearer, for all that, to the possible Celtic origin of the greatest of all heroes. # 455 pp 255 and 268 ff
ARTHUR, THE LITTLE
In the PROSE TRISTAN he is an illegitimate son of Arthur whose mother had been raped by Arthur. He supported Arthur against his Cornish and Saxon foes and went on the Grail Quest. # 156 - 712
Nennius gives us a series of battles in which Arthur led the British side. There is no certainty that any of the battles were originally associated with Arthur. They are listed as follows: 1. At the mouth of the River Glein. There are two English rivers called Glen, either of which might be the site (# 401). 2-5.The River Douglas in Linnuis. 6. On the River Bassus (location unknown). 7. At Cat Coit Celidon in the north, the region called Silva Caledoniae (Wood of Scotland) in Latin. 8. At Guinnion (location unknown). 9. At the City of the Legions, identified as Chester (called Urbs Legionis in Latin). 10. At the River Tribuit (possibly in Scotland). 11. At Mount Agned (K. H. Jackson suggests High Rochester for this). In one tenth-century manuscript it is called Breguoin, but there may be confusion here with a victory ascribed elsewhere to Urien of Rheged. 12. Badon. # 26 - 156 - 401
The name sometimes given to the Otherworld in which heroes were summoned to rest after their labours. It recalled Arthur's sojourn in Avalon. # 454
A cave on Anglesey where Arthur was thought to have taken shelter during his strife with the Irish. His treasure may have been hidden in a cromlech, surrounded by stones, which once stood there. The treasure was said to be guarded by supernatural creatures. # 156
Nennius tells us that, at the battle of Guinnion, Arthur had an image of the Virgin Mary on his shoulders. The ANNALES CAMBRIAE claim that Arthur carried the cross on his shoulders at Badon. At Stow in Scotland the Church of St Mary at Wedale once had what were believed to be fragments of the image of the Virgin Mary that Arthur wore. # 156 - 483 - 494
A Roman temple (second century AD) near Falkirk, Scotland. It was pulled down in 1743, but the dovecote at Oenicuick House, close at hand, was build as a replica of it. N. L. Goodrich (# 255) argues that the temple was used by Arthur and was the original of the Round Table. Interestingly, a suburb of Falkirk is called Camelon. # 156 - 255
Some French priests were shown this in 1113. While it cannot be identified with certainty, it undoubtedly lay west of Exeter. King's Oven on Dartmoor has been suggested as its site. # 156
1. A stone in Gower, Wales. It is said that, on his way to his final battle, Arthur removed this stone from inside his shoe and flung it into the distance. The stone landed at Cefn-y-Bryn.
2. A stone at Dorstone (Herefordshire) from which Arthur was said to have drawn Excalibur. There is a confusion here; Excalibur was not the original sword in the stone. It is also said that Arthur is buried beneath the stone. # 156
A Country Durham earthwork, said to contain treasures guarded by the ghosts of Arthurian warriors. # 156 - 753
A constellation of the Plough. # 454
ARTHUR, THE HISTORICAL KING
From KING ARTHUR - THE TRUE STORY, M. Keatman and G. Phillips tells us: 'Having traced the life and times of the real King Arthur, we close in on the historical figure himself, piecing together the evidence to reveal the flesh and blood warrior behind the legend.
1. The most likely date for Arthur's death coincides precisely with the abandonment of Viroconium about 520. This is the generally accepted date for Cuneglasus becoming king of Powys, and Maglocunus becoming king of Gwynedd, a time when the two kingdoms split apart. Since Viroconium was under no threat from the Saxons for decades to come, the only explanation for the abandonment of the city for a more defendable site is a threat from the adjoining kingdom of Gwynedd.In other words, Cuneglasus was preparing to defend himself against the threat from Maglocunus. Internal feuding breaking out at this time is not only evidence for Arthur's demise, but also suggests that Cuneglasus and Maglocunus were his rival successors.
2.Arthur appears to have been the son of the Head Dragon, the leader of the Votadini in the 480s and king of both Gwynedd and Powys. The Head Dragon seems to have been Cunedda's son, Enniaun Girt, who according to the genealogies is the grandfather of Maglocunus and Cuneglasus, both of whom became kings in their own right. If Enniaun Girt was Arthur's father, then Arthur must have been the father of either Maglocunus or Cuneglasus.
3. Since Maglocunus was by far the most powerful of the two kings, then perhaps Arthur was Maglocunus' father, named in the genealogies as Cadwallon Lawhir. However, on reading Gildas we discover that Maglocunus did not succeed from his father, but from his uncle. From the genealogies we discover that his uncle was Cuneglasus' father.
4. The name of this Dark Age warlord survives in a list of genealogies, compiled around 955 from earlier monastic records and now attached to the ANNALES CAMBRIAE in a manuscript indexed 'Harley 3859' in the British Library. The genealogy reveals that Cuneglasus' father was called Owain Ddantgwyn.
5.All the available evidence indicates that Owain Ddantgwyn was the historical figure who assumed the title Arthur. He ruled in the same place and at the same time as the research has located King Arthur. He ruled Gwynedd and Powys simultaneously, and was thus the most powerful ruler in Britain at the time of the battle of Badon, in which Arthur led the British to their most important victory of the era. Arthur almost certainly means the Bear and Owain Ddantgwyn was the father of Cuneglasus, whom Gildas refers to as the 'charioteer of the Bear's stronghold'.
6. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Arthur was mortally wounded at the battle of Camlan while attempting to quash a revolt led by his nephew. Although this nephew is called Modred, the legend may have sprung from the real-life Maglocunus who, according to Gildas, aquired his kingdom by overthrowing his uncle. Since Gwynedd and Powys formed a united kingdom prior to the succession of Maglocunus in Gwynedd, the border land between the two kingdoms is the logical site for a battle in which Maglocunus severed his kingdom of Gwynedd from the kingdom of Powys.
7. A bleak and remote valley about five miles to the east of Dolgellau in Central-West Wales is actually called Camlan. It is surely beyond coincidence that the only location in Great Britain ever known to have been called Camlan is and strategically situated in the border area of the kingdoms of Gwynedd and Powys as they existed in the early sixth century. Not only is Camlan the name given to Arthur's last battle by Geoffrey of Monmouth, but the ANNALES CAMBRIAE also record Arthur's death at the battle of Camlann. # 524
(In Welsh: Arderydd) The scene of a battle fought about the year AD 575 in which Rhydderch Hael defeated Gwenddolau. Merlin is said to have taken part in the battle - traditions vary as to the side he was on - and to have lost his sanity because of a vision he saw in the sky there. # 156 - 242
For the majority of modern readers who have not made any special study of the subject, the mention of early British legend will inevitably call up the glories of the Arthurian Saga - they will think of the fabled palace at Caerleon-on-Usk, the Knights of the Round Table riding forth on chivalrous adventure, the Quest of the Grail, the guilty love of Lancelot, flower of knighthood, for the queen, the last great battle by the northern sea, the voyage of Arthur, sorely wounded, but immortal, to the mystic valley of Avalon. But as a matter of fact they will find in the native literature of medieval Wales little or nothing of all this - no Round Table, no Lancelot, no Grail-Quest, no Isle of Avalon, until the Welsh learned about them from abroad; and though there was indeed an Arthur in this literature, he is a wholly different being from the Arthur of what we now call the Arthurian Saga. # 562
'Historia Regum Britaniæ.' Arthurian Saga in Brittany.
# 156: A territory which, in the Arthurian period, was largely inhabited by an immigrant population from Britain. In Geoffrey, the Breton royal family was closely related to the British. He tells us that the Breton kingdom was founded when the Roman emperor Maximianus (properly called Maximus, reigned AD 383-88) bestowed the crown on Conan Meriadoc, a nephew of Octavius, elsewhere called Eudaf, King of Britain. When the British wanted a king, Conan's successor, Aldroenus, gave them Constantine, his brother. Constantine was Arthur's grandfather. In the Arthurian legend, King Hoel of Brittany was said to be Arthur's relation and ally. Traditionally, this Hoel reigned from about AD 510-45. See also: SOLOMON. # 156 - 562
ARTHURS, SUCCESSION OF
B. Le Poer Trench in his book, MEN AMONG MANKIND (1962), argues that there was a series of Arthur's hereditary priests of the Great Goddess, and that the last was identical with Arviragus. He accepts the identification of Arthur with Arviragus which J. Whitehead (# 726) proposed. # 156 - 726
# 156: A personage who became known to history because of an obscure refer-ence by the Roman writer Juvenal, made between the years AD 80 and 90, in which Arviragus appears as a British opponent of the Romans. Geoffrey makes him a king of Britain who succeded his brother Guiderius who had been killed in Claudius's invasion of Britain (AD 43). Peace was established between Claudius and Arviragus, the latter marrying Claudius's daughter, Genvissa. Later, Arviragus revolted, but peace was restored through Genvissa's good offices. Elsewhere Arviragus was thought to have given Joseph of Arimathea the famous twelve hides of land in the Glastonbury locality. G. Ashe thinks Arviragus may have been a local prince in the Somerset area who maintained his independence after the Claudian conquest. I. H. Elder identifies him with Caratacus, while E. Ratcliffe and J. Whitehead all argue that Arviragus, Caratacus and Arthur were different names for the same person. See: ARTHURS, SUCCESSION OF, and MARINS. # 24 - 156 - 243 - 542 - 726
King of the Golden Pillar. # 562
A substitute for Rowan as a protection against fairies. Odd and even ash keys (seed-pods) were often used in divination. # 100
Aspen was the letter E, (eadha), in the druid's tree alphabet. # 701 p 461
A River. See: SURLUSE. # 156
In the BRETA SOGUR (the Scandinavian version of Geoffrey of Monmouth's works), an island on which Arthur died. # 156
Dwelling place of Elaine the White who died of love for Lancelot. The name may come from Alclud, the old name for Dumbarton, through an intermediary Asclut. In Malory it is Guildford (Surrey). See: SHALOTT. # 156 - 418
Persian deity. From the root as (meaning to be) formed the Persian Asura-Masda (l'Esprit-Sage). # 562
(ah) A ford. # 166
See: BAILE ATHA CLIATH.
ATH CLIATH CUALANN
(DUBLIN) See: PLACE NAME STORIES.
(àh loo'in) Now Athlone on the Shannon. # 166
(a-huch) This, which means 'monster' or 'giant', is a general term for those most unpleasant creatures which haunted lonely lochans or gorges in the Highlands, such as Luideac, the Rag, a female demon who haunted Lochan Nan Dubh Bhreac in Skye and slew what men she could catch; or the Bocan, which can assume a variety of monstrous shapes; or the Direach of Glen Etive, with one hand out of his chest, one leg out of his haunch and one eye out of the front of his forehead, almost identical with the Fachan. # 100
(ath-nur'char) The Ford of the Sling-cast. The river-ford where Ket slings Conall's "brain-ball" at Conor mac Nessa. # 562
In the shady area of early Welsh history, he may have been King of Gwent when his father, Meurig, was King of Glenvissig. He is identified by Blackett and Wilson (# 72 - 73) with the Arthur of legend, but he probably lived in the seventh century. # 72 - 73 - 156
# 156: In the writings of Plato, the name of an island which sank beneath the Atlantic Ocean. Some have argued that Plato was recounting a genu-ine legend, while a different body of opinion has contended that the story is a moral fable.
According to Gareth Knight some occultist maintain that Merlin originally came from Atlantis. The same is said of Igraine. # 454: Legendary continent of great magical power, said to have existed in the Atlantic Ocean, and to have been inundated by water because of the corrupt practices of its priesthood. - The mythology of Britain is shot through with traces of this legend. Inundations and incursions by the sea occur frequently along the western sea-bord of the British Isles, while the Breton legend of the legendary city of Ys is a reflection of this legend. Atlantis represents a primal or otherworld tradition which fell through misuse of power. Legend and esoteric tradition state that survivors of Atlantis colonized parts of Britain, becoming the nucleous of its priesthood.
See also: PREHISTORIC BRITAIN, THE RIDDLE OF. # 156 - 374 - 445 - 454 - 608
The high mountains of northwest Africa are called the Atlas Mountains, a name that has not been transposed to Greece. There has in the past been considerable speculation as to why a 'Greek' god should give his name to a region so far away from Greece, but it is perfectly understandable now that archeological research has proved that 3,000 years ago Celtic peoples were living not only in the south of Spain, but also in the north of Morocco. This explains why the mountains on either side of the Strait of Gibraltar are called the Pillars of Hercules - they were named after the god that was particularly revered in this region - and confirms, if further confirmation were necessary, that the Greek gods were Celtic. Although the name of the Atlas Mountains was not transposed to Greece, the Homeric names of other Iberian mountains were. Examples are Espartero/Sparta, Mount Ossa, east of Lisbon, which gave its name to the Ossa Mountains in northern Greece and, probably, the Sierra Bermeja in Spain, which has become Mount Parnassus in Greece. # 730
(agh-iski) The water-horse. This is the same as the Highland EACH UISGE. Yeats, in IRISH FAIRY AND FOLK TALES (#364), tells us that the aughiska were once common and used to come out of the water - particular it seems, in November - and gallop along the sands or over the fields, and if people could get them away from the fields and saddle and bridle them, they would make the finest horses. But they must be ridden inland, for if they got so much as a glimpse of salt water they would gallop headlong away, carrying their riders with them, bear them deep into the sea and there devour them. It was said also that the untamed aughiska used to devour mortal cattle. # 100 - 364
In Geoffrey, he is designated the King of Scotland. He was Urien's brother, possibly called Arawn in Welsh tradition. He supported Arthur in his Roman campaign but, on his return, fell by the hand of Mordred. See ANGUISH.# 156 - 243
See: AMBROSIUS AURELIUS.
According to Geoffrey, the king who ruled Britain after Constantine, Arthur's successor. Gildas, a contemporary, makes Aurelius Conan and Constantine local kings, calling him Ayrelius Caninus and saying that he enjoyed war and plunder. # 156 - 243
Discovery of pre-Roman necropolis in Austria, where relics developed in La Tène culture were found. # 562
(avagdhoo) Son of Tegid Voel and Ceridwen; he was the most illfavoured man in the world. To compensate for his lack of beauty, Ceridwen began to boil a 'cauldron of inspiration and science for her son, that his reception might be honourable because of his knowledge of the mysteries of the future state of the world.' She put Gwion Bach to stir the cauldron. But one day towards the end of the year three drops of the magic liquor flew out of the cauldron and lighted on the finger of Gwion, who put his finger in his mouth, and immediately became gifted with supernatural insight. He saw that he had got what was intended for Avagddu, and he saw also that Ceridwen would destroy him for it if she could. So he fled to his own land, and the cauldron, deprived of the sacred drops, now contained nothing but poison, the power of which burst the vessel, and the liquor ran into a stream hard by and poisoned the horses of Gwyddno Garanhir which drank of the water. Whence the stream is called the Poison of the Horses of Gwyddno from that time forth. # 562
# 156: William of Malmesbury maintains that Avalloc lived in Avalon with his daughters. Avalloc is also found in Welsh pedigrees in which he is the father of the goddess Modron; he was evidently a god himself in origin. He is found in Arthurian romance as Evelake. # 454: Avallach - Afallach. The father of Modron. King of the otherworldly kingdom of Avalon. # 104 - 156 - 439 - 454
# 562: Land of the Dead; bears relation with Norse Valhall; it is later identified with Glastonbury. # 156: The Island to which Arthur was taken after his last battle to be healed of his wound. Geoffrey calls it Avallo in the HISTORIA and insula pomorum (island of the apples) in the VITA MERLINI. It is often seen as having a connection with apples because of the similarity of its name to various Celtic words deno-ting that fruit: Old Irish ABALL, Middle Welsh Afall, Middle Breton Avallenn, Celtic Avallo. It has also been connected with Avalloc, evidently originally a god who, according to William of Malmesbury, lived there with his daughters. The present form of the name may have been influenced by the Burgundian place name Avallon. One school of thought suggests that it comes from Irish Oileán (island). It was perhaps originally a Celtic paradise. It was said to produce crops without cultivation, to be ruled by Guingamuer, Morgan's lover, or by a king named Bangon. In PERLESVAUS, Guinevere and Loholt died before Arthur and were buried there. Avalon was then identified with Glastonbury, probably because Arthur's grave was supposedly found at Glastonbury in the reign of Henry II and, as tradition had had him borne away to Avalon, the two were considered the same. However, because of the first syllable in Glastonbury's name, some may have thought it identical with Caer Wydyr, the Fort of Glass, another name for Annwfn.
Another tradition claims that a man named Gkast or Glasteing found his eight-footed pigs here under an apple tree, and called it Insula Avalloniae. Not all tales suggested that Avalon was identical with Glastonbury. According to OGIER LR DANOIS (a medieval French romance with some Arthurian content), it lay near the Earthly Paradise. In the Spanish medieval poem LA FAULA it seems to be considered an oriental isle, for the narrator tells how he was carried to the East on the back of a whale and arrived at an island where Arthur and Morgan were still alive. That Avalon seems to have had a connection with the pagan Celtic religion is supported by the fact that, in the VITA MERLINI, Morgan is described as the chief of nine sisters living on the island, just like the nine Celtic priestesses able to turn into animals, heal the incurable and prophesy the future, who lived on the Gaulish isle of Sena, according to the Roman writer Pomponius Mela. It is also noteworthy that, in Irish mythology, the name of the island over the seas belonging to the sea-god Manannan was Emhain Abhlach. # 24 - 63 - 112 - 156 - 242 - 558 - 562
Features in a legend of Merlin as a girl who disguised herself as a squire and became the senechal of the Emperor of Rome calling herself Grisandole q.v. One day the Emperor had a dream in which he saw a sow with a crown on its head. He was told that only a wild man living in the woods nearby could explain the meaning of the dream. Grisandole found the wild man, who also took the shape of a stag, and this was Merlin. He explained that the sow with tha crown was the Empress, and that her twelve squires were in fact youths. She was summarily burned at the stake and Grisandole, revealed as a young woman, then married the Emperor! # 454 - 481
An alternative name for Avalon, used by Malory and in modern times by Tennyson, who calls it 'the island-valley of Avilion'. The idea that it was a valley is found in both Malory and Ralph Higden's POLYCHRONICON (fourteenth century). # 156
Duel between CuChulain and Ferdia causes waters of Avon Dia to hold back. # 562
The power and knowledge from the Good-God Dagda, given as a breath through a dying Phantarch as a kiss to the one he, or in fact the Dagda has chosen as successor as Chief Bard of the Druids. The awen is the breath of the Dagda which guides and instructs, and which sets a bard apart from other men. # 383 p 250 ff