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  • #101027
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I finally got round to watching King Arthur’s Britain: The Truth Unearthed on catchup last night

    King Arthur’s Britain

    No Arthur – not surprisingly. Disdain for history – subjective apparently. Archaeology – Objective –something of a surprise given the programme said it relies on analysis which is where the subjectivity creeps in.

    A fairly big plug for the ‘No Anglo Saxon invasion, just a nice low level ‘mingling’ with no violence and everyone in lowland Britain suddenly deciding to change language, building styles and culture because it looked nice.

    All the evidence was presented with one interpretation only and some fairly large leaps of faith vice analysis.

    Take one of the killer (sorry!) facts, <2% of the burials from the period analysed show evidence of sharp edged weapon trauma. Apparently this is pretty conclusive proof there was no large scale conflict.

    How many people would you expect to find?

    What about blunt trauma, spear thrusts, solely soft tissue injuries and what type of burials are you unearthing?

    I’m not saying the evidence for the written accounts is overwhelming either but the evidence that exists from the ground, DNA and other scientific evidence of possible origins is open to many interpretations.

    Evidence of European historical interaction for prime agricultural and grazing land suggests standing aside and saying ‘take what you fancy’ is an unlikely response however.

    Worth a watch but keep your (large) bag of salt handy and don’t be swept along by Alice Roberts new hair colour or the flowery rhetoric of those who want to be convinced we all love each other really. The truth may be out there but we don’t know whether we have found it yet.

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by Guy Farrish.
    #101029
    OB
    Participant

    Entirely agree Guy, I turned it off half way through.

    It would be possible to put together an interesting programme called Arthur?  Koch on the textual evidence, Charles-Edwards on the big picture, Jim Storr on evidence of military engineering in the period and Dark on the social structure of post Roman Britain.  Alice could even front it with or without another make over. Doubt that would be commissioned though.

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #101030
    Deleted User
    Member

    lowland Britain suddenly deciding to change language, building styles and culture because it looked nice. .

     

    I’m very interested in the Late Roman Arthur…….but the whole business is 90% fantasy, wild speculation & drawing conclusions from ephemeral information.  Leave “Arthur” out, if you want to make a plausible doco on the period. I haven’t seen this particular show but my expectations would be low in the hope of it being history.

    Just for interest’s sake, I’ll post this:  a reputable historian (I forget who), speculated that by the end of the Empire,  the everyday language of many of the Britons might have been a debased Latin. He thought it possible that with the Romans withdrawing, any cachet of using the language of the former rulers disappeared &  they were ripe to pick up a new tongue (ie Anglo-Saxon) that carried the prestige of the new overlords. Certainly a possibility if impossible to prove.

     

    donald

    #101031
    Tony Hughes
    Participant

    Celtic language survived the Roman conquest in many ‘Romanised’ areas. The proof is in the number of Celtic root elements in landscape features and references in Saxon documents to the survival of their communities and laws.

    I’d love to see how you manage to find any cause of death from a cremated body.

    As usual, you get a ‘set view’ of an historical period or event and constant repetition of it in theses, books and papers until it all changes – for another ‘set view’. It isn’t new, it’s been the same for years. Historians are no less likely than Wargamers to accept ‘we don’t know’ as an answer to any question – look at any internet forum to see the truth in that. Mother nature isn’t the only one that abhors a vacuum.

     

    #101032
    Oh no….
    Participant

    Wot, no signs of religious rituals……….

    I make a point not to watch anything that mentions Arthur. Not a fan of Alice or the peacenik invasive migration theories.

    I like wargaming the “Dark Ages” using Dux Bellorum but not much time for most of the bull that gets linked to Arthur.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by Oh no.....
    #101048
    OB
    Participant

    It has always interested me that no one says we should dismiss Penda from the historical record before discussing Mercia. Penda, as Koch tells us, in Celtic means ‘good in chiefs’-a leading warlord or over lord.  He is today a mysterious figure yet he was undoubtedly important in his time.

    Many in Lowland Britain spoke Celtic and Latin, in the rural districts Celtic predominated.  British Latin was not debased but it tended to be old fashioned.

    The Romans didn’t withdraw or disappear from Britannia the local Imperial elite were expelled during a time of civil war in the Western Empire.  Roman Law ceased to operate, it had to as the Emperor’s writ no longer ran, and was replaced, as Ken Dark tells us, by a resurgence of native Celtic Law.

    Contacts with the Eastern Roman Empire continued and there does seem to have been a major, and successful, evangelical effort by the Christians in Britannia.

    We know quite a bit more about the ‘Age of Arthur’ than a lot of folk think-it’s just not on TV.

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #101049

    Yep.  Sounds like a flawed program to me.  Consider some of the concerns you raise.

    If we accept 2% as the number of “warrior” burials, then we can use that to determine how many burials we might find if all things are constant.  There might have been as many as 2 million people living in Britannia at one time.  Maybe that’s high and maybe that’s low.  But lets go with that for argument’s sake.  Now, 2% of that is 40,000.  That’s a lot of dead people when you consider that most armies of the time probably measured in the hundreds.  The poem Y Gododdin says that the King of Catreath raised an army of just 300 elite warriors to fight the Saxon onslaught.  Even if there was a levy accompanying that, that would probably not be more than about 4  times that number which puts his army under 2000 men.  More likely, it was probably about 1200 Saxons (a broad brush term) vs the men of Gododdin.

    Given that near contemporary sources claim many battles against the Anglo Saxons, I can only guess it was a steady walk backward towards now what we call Wales…the land of the “Foreigner”.

    As for wounds, blunt force trauma would be detectable but spear thrusts would be almost non-existent to the modern forensics since the would is almost always through the flesh and not bone.

    I’m squarely in the camp of Arthur being a title rather than an actual name.  There is a fortress in Snowdonia called “Din Arth” or “Fortress of the Bear.”  Arthur might have some sort of meaning of “Strong Man” so may have been their war leader, high king or warlord.  Most of the other theories I’ve heard over the years were not believable.  Products of wishful thinking.

    Finally, the supporting written work on the subject can probably be examined in about 1 day.  Nennius, Bede and Gildas all shed light on the subject.  Y Gododdin , while hard to read is probably the only “detailed” source of weapons, equipment and fighting style that might have been used during that time in Dark Age Britain.

    Interesting thread on an interesting subject.  One day, someone will make a good, detailed program on the subject….someday.

    John

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    #101061
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I suspect the castle/fortress is the one near Aberarth – Castell Allt Craig-Arth (Dinerth) in Ceredigion not Snowdonia .

    There is a Dinarth Hall near Llandudno but I’m pretty sure that isn’t anything to do with Arthur! 

    The numbers argument above makes sense to me but I have to confess – again – we don’t know.

    It seemed to me that they were trying to find evidence of a massive battle or series of battles like Towton (or Dark Age equivalent) but even then as Anne Curry and Glenn Foard have said:

    ‘Only a handful of mass graves from late medieval battles in Western Europe have been subject to large scale excavation to modern standards. The principal reason is that these, and indeed even early modern battlefield graves, have proven extremely elusive, most being identified by chance.’

    Which seems a more realistic interpretation of the situation.

    I think one of the problems, and I have been as guilty as anyone, is saying ‘Dark Ages’, when really we are dealing with probably several different phases of interaction between incomers and locals, resulting in different types of evidence which we may be lumping together as a single fix. There were probably cautious welcomes – even using them as mercenaries if some stories are believed – which broke down and then fighting and then peace and intermarriage – and then; ‘them **** coming over here nicking our…’ etc and at different times in different places. Lumping it all together and saying it was like Woodstock or the Blitz across the whole country for a generation or 10 generations is probably missing the point.

     

    That’s a bit wishy washy isn’t it? Never going to sell a series on the basis of that.

     

    #101062

    “The numbers argument above makes sense to me but I have to confess – again – we don’t know.”

    Yes.  This.  Probably a more sane explanation than I could deliver.  😀

    I agree with you that it must have happened over several generations.  At least 3 and then some.  410 which is the “Come back Rome!” generation.  430s which is about when St Germanus visited.  450s which is the coming of the Saxons.  500 which is Mount Badon.   520s for Ambush/Battle/Rebellion of Camlan.

    “I suspect the castle/fortress is the one near Aberarth – Castell Allt Craig-Arth (Dinerth) in Ceredigion not Snowdonia ”

    I did a bunch of research of this many years ago so that one day I could be on the History Channel.  😀  Anyway, if memory serves, it was an improved hillfort on the coast in/near Rhos.  This place I think.  I’m not so good with detailed Welsh geography so I may be off with Snowdonia.

    John

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    #101064

    Wup!  Here it is.  Bryn Euryn is the area/mound/something. 😉

    John

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    #101068
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Well there you go – you learn something new every day!

    Ta.

    My mother’s family (some of them anyway) were from Old Colwyn and I walked all round there when I was younger and that never sunk in!

    (Still don’t think Arthur was round there unless he was fighting the Irish rather than the Saxons – but don’t tell anyone!)

    #101072
    Deleted User
    Member

    Celtic language survived the Roman conquest in many ‘Romanised’ areas. The proof is in the number of Celtic root elements in landscape features and references in Saxon documents to the survival of their communities and laws.

    I live near Mount Tibrogargan, just a short drive from Beerwah,  but I certainly can’t speak Gubby Gubby. Local indigenous place names hang on when the dominant language changes. I’m not going to nail my colours to the mast on this one (as neither did the chap who  proposed it) but it is not improbable that a version of Latin was widespread & largely displacing the original Celtic languages in Romanised Britain, much as it was in Gaul.

    donald

    #101078

    Well, I had to Google that one, Ochoin, so there’s my lesson for today!

    The tendency for place-names to hang on was long noticed by philologists, including Tolkien, who named places — in the Shire, for instance — based on it, using some Norse-derived names in the northern areas, and Welsh for Bree, without drawing attention to it, believing that English readers, at least, would,perhaps subconsciously, get a feeling for location.

    He even embedded a little philological joke in “Bree-hill”, as the village of Brill near Oxfordshire contains in its name a combination of two words for “hill”, in two different languages; hence, “Hill-Hill”.

    BTW, he said in a letter that he’d devised a great many more places and names in the Shire, but there wasn’t room for them in the published map.

    #101079
    Deleted User
    Member

    Tibrogargan is one of the  Glass House Mountains (named by Cook).

    https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/climbers-spent-tense-night-clinging-to-mountain-crevice-on-mount-tibrogargan/news-story/f8ae7eba6e2f032bcceeaa34a7cc4d9c

     

    I’ve climbed it a number of times, always in the company of friends who are experienced mountain climbers.

     

    donald

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by Deleted User.
    #101098
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    He even embedded a little philological joke in “Bree-hill”, as the village of Brill near Oxfordshire contains in its name a combination of two words for “hill”, in two different languages; hence, “Hill-Hill”.

    Breedon on the Hill in Leicestershire is one of my favourite place-names for precisely that reason. It includes the British, Old English and Modern English words for hill, so it translates as Hill Hill on the Hill. Clearly, as the dominant language changed and the old meanings were lost, the new dominant language culture appended their own word for ‘hill’ to the name.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/
    https://roderickdale.co.uk/

    #101111
    Tony Hughes
    Participant

    Pendle Hill in Lancashire is the same.

     

     

    #101134

    This travel pamphlet in shows what they think the fort might have looked like.  h  See page 2.  Curious that they went with stone for the walls.  I would have pictured the fort as having earth and timber ramparts with a wooden gate area.  Whatever the case, the fort picture is pretty darned cool.  I want to make one now!

    John

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    #101141

    Golly — looks like the Pythons missed a good routine:

    “D’you mean to say you live at Hill-Hill-Hill-on-the-Hill?”

    “Why no, actually.  My home is at Hill-Hill-Hill-Hill-on-the-Hill.”

    “Don’t like Hills.”

    “I love ’em! I’m moving to Hill-Hill-Hill-Hill-Hill-Hill-. . .”

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