O, Ambrosius, Ambrosius! Wherefore art thou Arthur?
Frank D. Reno
Independent Scholar, Boulder, CO
© 2008 by Frank D. Reno. All rights reserved. This edition copyright © 2008 by The Heroic Age. All rights reserved.
Abstract: Littleton and Malcor trace the name Arthur to the second-century Roman Lucius Artorius Castus. There is no King Arthur in fifth-century Britain. This paper is a quest to discover a great fifth-century Briton who can be identified as an "Arthur."
§1. When John Steinbeck began writing The Acts of King Arthur, his goal was to translate Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur into Modern American English.1 Thinking that his quest would be a short-term project, he commented in his letters, "I have a feeling this will go very fast" (Steinbeck 1975, 297). Three years later his attitude had changed:
The field and subject of King Arthur is so huge, so vague, so powerful and eternal, that I can't seem to mount it and set spurs (Steinbeck 1975, 607).
He finished only a segment, which was published twelve years after his death (Steinbeck 1975, 296).
§2. The intimidating magnitude of legends that Steinbeck experienced, however, pales in contrast to the quest of Arthur's enigmatic historicity. Anyone who rejects such a quest has no concept of history, legend, reality or truth. De La Rouchefoucauld reminds us that history never embraces more than a small part of reality and truth, and Jean Markale remarks that we can look for evidence either in history or in legend, for both will give us clues of reality. It is important, therefore, to heed admonitions from unbiased experts who counsel us to accept fault or oversight, and to refrain from rejecting the totality of a manuscript because of its sporadic impurities.
§3. The reality and truth we seek is provided by both history and legend, so both must be considered as a complement to the other, not a contradiction. A modern researcher, therefore, must not assume ancient manuscripts are sacrosanct or free of error. Reality and truth must be extracted to the best of one's ability, and then the researcher is obliged to raise a red flag if he discovers a discrepancy in any manuscript that distorts validity.
§4. Over the centuries, literally thousands of books about the legendary Arthur have been published, while interest in Arthur's historicity has increased only during the last five decades. The earliest manuscript providing sketchy British history was penned by Gildas Badonicus (De Excidio Britanniae) in the fourth decade of sixth century,2 but he writes nothing about a historic Arthur. At the beginning of the seventh century, the bard Aneirin wrote a lament about a fierce battle in which "Gwarwrddur glutted black ravens on the ramparts, but he was no Arthur" (Canu Aneirin LI-LIV), a poetic style meaning that the Celtic chieftain killed many enemies, but he was not as distinguished as Arthur. That terse reference created a conundrum which twisted British history for four centuries.
§5. Like Gildas, the eighth-century historian Bede does not record the name Arthur. The name Arthur resurfaces in the ninth century when Nennius includes in the Historia Brittonum twelve battles fought by this obscure hero (Nennius HB 56). Although the Historia provides valuable information about Roman Britain in the fifth century, it epitomizes the need for the above admonition concerning history and reality. In an enlightening analysis of §56, Leslie Alcock raised a red flag when he uncovered serious distortions of what seemed solid historical facts.
§6. To remain unbiased, the title, "The Campaigns of Arthur," should be stricken because it was added in the 1800s. Alcock writes that the version of Section 56 in The British Historical Miscellany (folio 187A) must begin thusly:
At that time the English increased their numbers and grew in Britain.
On Hengest's death, his son Octha came down from the north of Britain to the
kingdom of the Kentishmen, and from him are sprung the kings of the Kentishmen.
The new segment was then intended to begin with a red drop-capital:
[T]unc arthur pugnabat contra illos in illis diebus cum regibus brittonum sed ipse dux erat bellorum (Alcock 1973, 55, 59).
The blank space in the original suggests that a new topic was to follow; that is, the topic of Hengest and his clan was not linked to Arthur or the battlelist of the fifth century. Additionally, an enlumineur did not insert the decorative "T" for the introductory sentence.3
§7. In addition to the errors Alcock points out, the passage "On Hengest's death . . ." must be changed to "On Horsa's death . . . "4 and Hengest's clan was not Kentish, but East Anglian, the enemies whom Gildas Badonicus refers to as the "orientali sacrilegorum" (Gildas DE 24.1).
§8. These blunders profoundly changed British history. In the Preface to the Historia Brittonum, Nennius apologizes for sounding like a chattering bird or an incompetent judge, writing that he has made a heap of history, and unfortunately in this instance, he did. But he must be regarded as a true amanuensis who used five sources (Nennius HB 1) to compile the history, and must have naively copied an extract mentioning the Arthur from Aneirin's poem, inadvertently setting it in the fifth century.
§9. C. Scott Littleton and Linda A. Malcor are the vanguards who come to the rescue. In From Scythia to Camelot (1994), they identified the Roman commander Lucius Artorius Castus as a praefect of the Sixth Legion, who was assigned to Britain in the late second century. He was probably quartered at Bremetennacum Veteranorum (modern Ribchester), and his mission was, among other things, to protect northern Britain from barbaric invaders. This Artorius is convincingly the Arthur recorded in Aneirin's poem (Littleton and Malcor 1994, 23, 62-63). In two separate articles written in The Heroic Age, Linda Malcor offers solid evidence of several battlesites in the vicinity of York and Hadrian's Wall which should be attributed to Lucius Artorius in the second century (Malcor 1999a and 1999b). Although he was not a king, he was the Roman dux whose identity was misinterpreted in the Historia Brittonum. Monmouth (Geoffrey of Monmouth HKB 6.5-6) perpetuated the error, and just about everyone thereafter followed suit. Finally, the question of Ronald Millar's satire, Will the real King Arthur please stand up? (Millar 1978) has been answered: Lucius Artorius Castus is standing.
§10. The firestorm surrounding Arthur's historicity, however, did not intensify until the twelfth century when three other manuscripts appeared almost simultaneously. The Brut Tysilio, the Book of Basingwerke Abbey, and Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae. Of the three, the first two are fragmented, whereas Monmouth's book is quite detailed, and its alluring attraction over the centuries has created nearly two hundred variants of his manuscript. Monmouth cites his major source as the notorious "very ancient book," but he undoubtedly borrowed Arthur's battlelist from Nennius and extracted material about Hengist, Vortigern, and the story of Ambrosius, all who are historically linked to the fifth century. Then, atypical for someone who claims to be an amanuensis, Monmouth abandons the genealogical "House of Constantine," invents the character of Merlin who is an offshoot of Ambrosius, and embraces the misplaced Arthur. The historic Arthur did not rise from the proverbial ashes of legend because the spate of legends did not appear until after Geoffrey's book; the quest for Arthur of Britain must focus upon an era prior to Aneirin.
§11. Although it is a dreadful sacrilege to utter, it must be done. A historic Arthur cannot be found in the fifth century. Nennius can be exonerated for overlooking the Arthur of an earlier era, but Monmouth's transgression is unforgivable because through his manipulation he distorted history by creating fictitious characters and in the process consigned a great British hero of the fifth century—Ambrosius Aurelianus—to oblivion.
§12. Monmouth's "House of Constantine" is a convoluted segment tainting a crucial era of British history. It must therefore be condemned to the wrecking ball. Only after the air clears can a new house, the House of Constantius III, be constructed for a fresh perspective identifying not Arthur, but Ambrosius.
§13. Monmouth's genealogy, built on a foundation of straw, involves eight figures: 1) Constantine who marries an unnamed 2) Briton wife; 3) Constans, 4) Aurelius Ambrosius, and 5) Utherpendragon who are allegedly their three sons; and 6) Anna and 7) Arthur who are supposedly sired by Utherpendragon. The eighth is a blatant Monmouth creation, Merlin. Constantine5 and Constans are father-son who invade Gaul in 407 and are killed in 411, at least a decade prior to Monmouth's genealogy. Because of the conflation, those two names should be stricken.
§14. Another oddity is that Monmouth did not give a name to Aurelius Ambrosius's brother until much later in the story when Ambrosius is dead and Uther acquires his own name from Merlin's oracle upon seeing a ball of fire in the sky which takes the shape of a dragon. There are no sources which indicate Ambrosius had a brother, and interestingly only the Fates can guess how Anna and Arthur materialized. When Utherpendragon and his mysterious offspring are stricken, only two individuals remain in Monmouth's genealogy—an unnamed Briton wife, and Ambrosius. In the middle of writing "The House of Constantine," Monmouth breaks off his narration and inserts "The Prophecies of Merlin" which has no bearing on British history.
§15. On the other hand, the Roman genealogy begins with the marriage of Constantius III to Honorius's half-sister Placidia, who bears him two children. Associated with British tradition, Gorlois and Ygerna are Duke and Duchess of Cornwall who bear a son named Cador. After Gorlois's death, Utherpendragon and Ygerna have a son named Arthur. Cador and Arthur are half-brothers.
§16. Based upon a theory proposed by R. G. Collingwood (1923, 297-301), Emperor Honorius attempts to reclaim Britain shortly after the birth of Placidia's two children, ostensibly by sending Constantius to the island as Comes Britanniarum. If this premise—as interpreted by the standards of De La Rouchefoucauld—is accepted as truth, then—as Markale claims—we can glimpse reality. In order to trace this phantasmagoric hero Ambrosius through the maze of manuscripts, however, proper names at this point must be replaced by epithets. In many manuscripts, Pendragon is commonly synonymous with Uther or Utherpendragon, but in order to avoid confusion, Pendragon should be used only to identify Ambrosius's father on the island, whose concubine was Ygerna of tradition. Its simplest literal definition is "Head Dragon" or "Chief Dragon." An overzealous Celticist might assume that the former literally means the head of a dragon, but any Welsh dictionary lists pen- as "head, top, end, mouth, or chief." This is an appropriate epithet for Constantius III, since he was Supreme Commander and the cavalry's blazon was a dragon.
§17. Uterpendragon—not Utherpendragon—is an epithet which describes Ambrosius in history, and Arthur in legend. Despite fervent objections by some, Uter is a Latin affix which manifests itself in the English word "uterine," meaning "born of the same mother but by a different father."6 Historically this means Ygerna and Constantius had a son named Ambrosius, not Arthur. In tradition, Ygerna and Gorlois had a son named Cador. Hence, Ambrosius and Cador were half-brothers, not Arthur and Cador. The genealogy for Constantius thus indicates that both Valentinian III and Cador are Ambrosius's half-brothers. This also infers that epithetically, Constantius would have acquired the title of Pendragon on the island, but not on the continent.
§18. For some reason, Monmouth refers to Ambrosius as Merlin. The Historia Brittonum elaborates upon this wizard motif when Ambrosius confounds Vortigern's wizards. A covert suggestion is that Ambrosius, in his early years when he was exiled in Brittany, was sheltered by Druids, and acquired some of their supernatural powers. This would explain why Ambrosius was so feared: he was the son of a Roman consulibus, he was endowed with druidic powers, and he became a competent military leader. In dread, Vortigern gave Ambrosius "his fortress and kingdoms, then fled to the north" (Nennius Historia Brittonum 42). The same sections in the Historia Brittonum tell the story of Emrys, a key epithet which is also used heavily in the Tysilio. It translates to the equivalent of "emperor" or "king."
§19. Riothamus is a crucial figure in continental history who strikes at the core of Arthuriana and requires a more detailed explanation. There are only three brief notices to him recorded. One reference is found in Charles C. Mierow (Mierow 1908 63, 74). The second is noted by translator Ernest Brehaut (Brehaut 1916, 35),6 and the third can be found in Anderson's translation (Anderson 13.35) of Sidonius's poems and letters.7 Leon Fleuriot and James Campbell both regarded Riothamus as an epithet for Ambrosius, the Briton king from across Ocean (Ashe 1987, 53, 113). In The Discovery of King Arthur, Geoffrey Ashe follows Monmouth's fiction trail and claims that Riothamus was an epithet for Arthur, and established his entire case in one short paragraph (Ashe 1987, 113-114). Ashe's case, however, is refuted in The Historic King Arthur (Reno 1996, 286-293 and 2000, 70, 73, 115, 276-277) and can be summarized on five counts:
- Admittedly, Gildas does not call Ambrosius a king, but he does acknowledge him as Roman royalty, and a victor, but Gildas does not even recognize an Arthur.
- Nennius likewise does not call Arthur a king, even in the spurious §56 where Nennius refers to Arthur as a dux bellorum.
- Why Ashe labels Ambrosius's kingship as "legend" is mystifying. Ambrosius is verified by both Gildas and Bede, whereby an Arthur of the fifth century is not. As a copyist, Nennius records that Ambrosius was the great king among all the kings of Britain, and the only interpolated word in that passage is the word "great." In that same passage, Ambrosius had the power to grant kingdoms to Paschent (Nennius 1964, 39 n. 34).
- Ambrosius is not merely a "landholder" as Ashe claims. Although a modern Welsh dictionary defines gwledig as a landholder, the term as it was used implies royalty and rank, exemplified by five independent sources.8
- Indeed, the name Ambrosius does not appear in either history or legend on the continent, but neither does Ashe's Arthur. In the continental manuscripts, the epithet Riothamus is not attached to a proper name but identifies him only as a Briton king from across Ocean, and "king" must be emphasized.
§20. These epithets augment Ambrosius's persona, but none indicate what caused Ambrosius's name to metamorphose into "Arthur." There is one other epithet which might explain the conflation, attached to the constellation Ursa Major. The Greeks identified this constellation with the nymph Callisto, placed in the heavens by Zeus in the form of a bear together with her son Arcas as a "bear warder." There is a tenuous link which scholars have made between Cuneglasus and the "bear rider" in Gildas's manuscript. A number of researchers have latched onto these epithets and created the equation that Arcas translates to the Welsh arth meaning "bear" which became Arctos and other variants.
§21. A close association with Ursa Major is the constellation Bootes (Bo-'ot-eez), whose brightest star, Arcturus, never sleeps or drops below the horizon. Arcturus as an epithet for Ambrosius would emphasize the importance of this great and powerful Briton king. As an aside, perhaps, because the star Arcturus never "sleeps," Arthur became known as the "once and future king who never dies, but is sleeping in a cave, waiting to be summoned once again to human activity."
§22. There are two battles that should be mentioned. The first is the Battle of Badon, erroneously included in the Historia Brittonum under the "Campaigns of Arthur." Based upon the battle's inclusion by Gildas Badonicus and Bede in their manuscripts, it is unequivocally associated with the fifth century, and is, therefore, attached to Ambrosius, not Lucius Artorius Castus. There are three queries worthy of note. The first is, "Who was the Commander?" That is a moot question, for there was no historic Arthur of the fifth century. Yet in spite of evidence to the contrary, a large majority of researchers believe there was an heroic Arthur of the fifth century. Arthur is imprinted everywhere in Britain. He was born in Tintagel; there is a natural profile of him on the cliffs of the peninsula; Merlin's cave is at the base where he and Utherpendragon plotted the seduction of Ygerna; his Round Table hangs in the Great Hall at Winchester; and he was allegedly buried at Glastonbury.
§23. As mentioned above, there are only three brief references about Ambrosius by Gildas Badonicus (Gildas DE 25.3), by Bede (Bede HE 1.16), and by Nennius (Nennius HB 31, 40, 42, 48, 66). The only other connection of Ambrosius Aurelianus to Roman royalty is possibly Lucius Domitius Aurelianus (Gildas DE, 25.3), who ruled from AD 270-275. Regrettably, no other memorabilia of Ambrosius exist.
§24. The second query is, "Where was the battle fought?" The common site selected by a large majority of researchers and scholars is the spa Aquae Sulis. Some of those who are proponents of Bath as the site of Badon defend their claim because of an adjacent "mount," Little Solsbury Hill. From the standpoint of archaeology, however, it can be discounted. W. A. Dowden reported on the excavations of Little Solsbury Camp during 1955 and 1956 and concluded that "the hillfort appears to have been abandoned well before the Roman period, for there is no trace of Roman influence" (Dowden 1957, 28 and 1962, 182).9
§25. Other advocates cite the "Mirabilia" (The "Wonders of Britain") in the Historia Brittonum, Section 67, and accept the italicized segment as a clue that Badon must indeed be Bath, disregarding John Morris's admonition in the Introduction that italics in a manuscript normally suggest an interpolation:
The third wonder is the Hot Lake, where the baths of Badon are, in the country of Hwicce. It is surrounded by a wall, made of brick and stone, and men may go there to bathe at any time, and every man can have the kind of bath he likes (Nennius HB 67).
§26. However, further reading of the "Mirabilia" pinpoints exactly where these "hot baths" are. The "country of Hwicce" mentioned in the third wonder is an ancient territory which was between present-day Stratford-on-Avon and Worcester,10 and the fourth wonder describes the "salt springs found there from which salt is boiled, wherewith various foods can be salted; they are not near the sea, but rise from the ground" (Morris 1980, 40 convert to primary source citation). That "Hot Lake" is over sixty miles north of Bath, at Droitwich Spa, which was known in the fifth century as Salinae South, central Wales.
§27. Why the vicinity of Bath became such a popular choice as Badon is a curiosity. The name Bath as a cognate of Badon (Bathon) is invalid, since the term "Bath" was not used until the sixth century. Leslie Alcock writes:
It is generally considered that the English [Saxons] gave the name Bath to a decayed Roman-spa-town because traces of the Roman hot baths were still visible when the Wessex dynasty captured the area in AD 577. Certainly the English name owed nothing to a Roman predecessor, for the Romans knew the spa as Aguae Sulis, "Waters of the Sul" (Alcock 1973, 70).11
§28. Equally significant is that battles are fought to either protect or capture coveted areas or resources. There were several villas in the vicinity, but not an administrative center, tribal city, or military fortress where a commander would have been strategically headquartered for quick responses to enemy incursions. The tribal city of the Dobunni territory was Corinium (Cirencester), about thirty miles away, and the closest legionary fortress was across the Mouth of the Severn, a trek of at least fifty miles.
§29. Although there are postulations for several other sites (Reno 1996, 140-162),12 The Historic King Arthur claims that The Wrekin, highest hillfort in Britain, was the Badon battlesite (Reno 1996, 162-178). After the legion relocated to Chester, Wroxeter remained the tribal city of the Cornovii territory, and archaeological evidence shows a revival of the city beginning shortly after AD 400 (Webster and Barker 1993, 27-28). The baths, depicted by Ivan Lapper, show that the basilica was as large as a medieval cathedral (Webster and Barker 1993, 6). The city remained an important administrative hub and military post, and the River Severn skirted its walls. Additionally, Wales was Ambrosius's milieu.
§30. The third query is "When was the battle fought?" Gildas gives an explicit chronological calculation, and although his tangled grammatical structure seemingly makes it questionable, the parameters are quite restrictive, especially when considering that the source dates back a stupendous millennium and a half. His date? One month of the forty-fourth year from the year of his birth (Gildas DE 26.1). John Morris set the date at 495 (Morris 1989, 513); Leslie Alcock modified the date from 490 to 499 because of a lunar calibration (Alcock 1973, xvii); Charles Plummer estimated the year as 493 (O'Sullivan 1978, 139); David Dumville cautiously inferred, "At the risk of foolish over-simplification, it was composed around 500+" (Lapidge and Dumville 1984, 83); and Kenneth Jackson wrote that "516 for Badon is probably too late by as much as ten or 15 years," then extrapolates the date of 500 (Jackson 1959, 5). The Historic King Arthur sets the year at 497 because of the two-year variant in resetting the date of Easter (Reno 1996, 74-80). Surprisingly, the range from 488 to 500 is impressive, particularly since the period was plagued by three methods of chronological calibration: the Dionysiac method based upon Christ's Nativity, the Victorius reckoning according to Christ's Passion, and the adaptation of lunar cycles.
§31. The strife at Camlann is Ambrosius's last conflict, recorded in the Annales Cambriae. Like the battle of Badon, there is no consensus about the locale of Camlann or its date. Geoffrey Ashe incisively describes Camlann as "hanging in a void" because there is no other source to verify its reality (Ashe 1987, 85). Despite this, however, Alcock's defense of its authenticity is quite convincing (Alcock 1973, 45-48).
§32. Although there are several locations which have been cited and defended, the Historic Figures of the Arthurian Era (Reno 2000, 220-228) overshadows other probabilities, including Camboglanna on Hadrian's Wall. St. Brynach's Church, in Nevern, Wales, is seemingly inconspicuous and modest, but it bears treasures beyond belief for those interested in the fifth century and Arthuriana. A pamphlet distributed by the vicar, churchwardens and parishioners, independent of any reference to Arthur or the strife of Camlann, offers astounding information which, unbeknownst to them, establishes the most probable site for the strife of Camlann.
§33. A "Walk Round the Outside" is described in this manner:
Celtic Chieftains and Priests were of similar status and it was customary for the chieftain to grant to the Priest a piece of ground as a sacred enclosure or "Llan," a rill of water forming a convenient boundary between them: the water was used also for both sacred and secular purposes. This seems to have been the arrangement at Nevern, with the Chieftain's stronghold on the hill to the west, a boundary provided by the brook Caman and the "Llan" comprising the ground within the wall of the old graveyard (Vicar, et al 1994, 5).
This in itself seems beyond coincidence, sacred ground, separated by a brook named Caman. Caman Llan. Camlann. Not Arthur's last battle, but Ambrosius's.
§34. There are two other artifacts which further strengthen this area as the site for the strife of Camlann. One is called, simply, the Vitalianus Stone, which is to the right of the entry door of the church. It is a:
bilingual stone which may date from the fifth century and be
one of the oldest examples of this type of monument. A sketch in the British
Museum made about 1698 by Edward Lhuyd, Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford,
shows that there has been no change in either the size of the stone or the legibility
of the faint lettering since that date. The inscriptions are:
Latin: Vitaliani Emereto
In Latin and Ogham alike the meaning is "(THE MONUMENT) OF VITALIANUS." EMERETO is unexplained, but is conceivably a territorial adjective. Alternatively it may be a corrupt and ungrammatical derivative of Emeritus, "discharged with honour" (Vicar et al. 1994, 5-6).
§35. This links to Vitalinus (Guithelinus in Welsh) in the Historia Brittonum, first in §49 (Morris 1980, 33) of the genealogies as one of four sons of Gloiu, and the other in §66 (Morris 1980, 39) where there is disagreement between Vitalinus and Ambrosius. Geoffrey of Monmouth uses the Welsh name Guithelinus (HKB 6.2), and Guithelinus is the Archbishop of London who takes Ambrosius and Utherpendragon as his wards after Constantine's death.
§36. The second artifact at the church is the Maglocunus Stone, now installed as a window sill in the church. It is described as:
. . . an irregularly-shaped inscribed stone 62 and one-half inches
long whose inscriptions are considered to be as follows:
Latin: MAGOLCVNI (miscut MAGLOCVVI) FILI CLUTOR
Ogham: MAGLICUNAS MAQI CLUTAR [I]
The meaning of both is "(THE MONUMENT) OF MAGLOCUNUS (MAELGWN) SON OF CLUTORIUS" (Vicar et al. 1994, 2).
§37. It is a safe assumption that Maglocunus ap Clutor would have been an early relative of Maglocunus ap Catgolaun Lauhir, the latter being the tyrant castigated by Gildas Badonicus (Gildas DE 33.1-36.6). Although there are those who ignore the obvious, the answer is not as complex as it seems. Ambrosius Aurelianus fits well into the chronology of this fifth-century era: he is in the locale of his final battle, and Vitalinus is buried at this site. In a rare, isolated moment, Gildas (DE 25.3) praises Ambrosius; Bede (HE 1.16) follows suit; and Nennius extols Ambrosius as the great king among all the kings of Britain (Nennius HB 48).13
§38. John Steinbeck's assessment of Arthuriana was right on target: "The field and subject of King Arthur are huge, vague, powerful and eternal," particularly when legend and history meld for a glimpse of truth and reality. Ambrosius Aurelianus can take a bow and share Briton honors with Lucius Artorius Castus.
1. A version of this paper was presented at the Western States Folklore Society annual meeting, April 20, 2007, at the University of C alifornia, Los Angeles. [Back]
2. Reno (1996, 117-119) suggests that Gildas Badonicus penned the De Excidio circa 541 AD. [Back]
3. Although this at first seems trivial, the separation between the battles of Arthur and Hengist's involvement forfeits Arthur's link to the fifth century, which is Hengist's era, but not Arthur's. [Back]
4. Horsa was slain in the year 455 AD, and after that Hengest succeeded to the kingdom with his son Octha (Garmonsway 1990, 12). [Back]
5. The Briton usurper Constantine was more formally known as Flavius Claudius Constantinus. Constantine the Usurper and his son C onstans, upon whom was bestowed the title of Caesar, appear in Roman history, such as in Arther Ferrill's The Fall of the Roman Empire, (1986, 100-101, 104, 115, 117-119). Constantius III, who was Emperor Honorius's Supreme Commander, captured Constantine, and in transit to Ravenna, the usurper was beheaded. [Back]
6. Ambrosius and Cador are half-brothers. [Back]
7. The importance of Sidonius's letter is that he provides the date of AD 496. See also Reno 1996, 290. [Back]
8. Chambers 1964, 176: wledig, guleticus; Morris 1980, 31 [convert to primary source citation]: Emrys the Overlord; Morris 1989, 206 [convert to primary source citation]: Gwledic, supreme ruler of the land; Morris 1989, 220 [convert to primary source citation]: Gwledic, ruler of a country; Rhys 1996, 104: "It is a significant fact that, with the exception of Arthur, those who seem to have succeeded for supreme power here when the Romans left are always styled in Welsh literature gwledig, instead of being described by a title signifying emperor or the familiar office of king"; Chadwick 1965, 45-46: Emreis, Guletic, "Romanized ruler of south-western Britain"; Gantz 1987, 190 [convert to primary source citation]: Emhyr, "Emperor, perhaps not originally a proper name." [Back]
11. See also Reno 1996, 163. [Back]
12. Other sites include Bowden Hill, Dumbarton Rock, Lothian, Breidden, and a number of Badburys. [Back]
13. Vortigern the king goes in dread of Ambrosius; Ambrosius confronts Vortigern and gains control of "all the kingdoms of the western part of Britain;" Ambrosius was the †great † king among all the kings of the British nation." [Include the primary source ciation] [Back]
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