Re: Re: Badon, Ambrosius, and Arthur

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#17949

Howard
Participant

Hi Jamie,Thanks for the quick reply.  A few comments:1) Yes I listened to the "Sources" episode. I don't know any historians who don't trust Gildas about the existence of Ambrosius and Badon. I guess he could have been a pathological liar, but then why would any of his contemporaries (who would have known it was a lie) have preserved his letter? I think you are going way too far if you say the whole of Gildas is in doubt.2) Gildas DOES associate Ambrosius with a great victory (but that victory is NOT Badon). Gildas has one sentence on Ambrosius' victory, followed by one on Badon. He is summarizing a whole 44-year long struggle in two sentences -- of course the names are not going to be very far apart! Remember your own injunction: 50 years back then (or 44 years in this case) was as long as 50 years now. 3) I really disagree with your assertion that Gildas would have to be off-the-scale nutty to name Ambrosius but not Arthur if Arthur was the victor at Badon. To the contrary, it would have been more surprising if Gildas HAD named Arthur:a) As you know Gildas is *extremely* sparing with names. He names NOT ONE SINGLE BRITON in his entire post-Roman history, until the present generation which he is castigating. Ambrosius, you will note, is expressly called a Roman by Gildas. The Romans are the only praise-worthy people, in Gildas' book. So if Arthur was a Briton (or in fact any ethnicity apart from Roman) we would not expect Gildas to name him.b) As Gildas explicitly says, he chose to write "not of the dangers run by brave soldiers in the stress of war, but of the dangers run by the indolent." How much clearer could he have been?4) You can say that you don't believe in Arthur or Hengist, but then why talk all about the latter and not about the former? I'm no "Arthur freak". I'm not convinced that Arthur definitely existed. But I'm convinced he may well have existed (more likely than Hengest or Horsa). I'm just trying to redress the current academic tend to run 100 miles from anything to do with an historical Arthur. You've already told your listeners that everything is uncertain, so I can't see why you can't mention Arthur in this context.5) I don't know what you mean by "even the idea that his name was Arthur is highly questionable." Who is the "he" we are talking about if his name is not Arthur? The idea that Arthur is somebody else we already know by another name is misguided. The real question is "was the British leader at Badon named Arthur?" and the answer is "That is what the Britons believed three centuries later, and we don't have any other candidates. So he may well have been, but we will probably never know for sure."Howard.

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