Darrell J. Pursiful

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On the Trail of King Arthur in South Wales

A recent post at the Celtic Myth Podshow highlights stories of King Arthur from Blaenau Gwent in South Wales.

The Arthur of medieval Welsh literature – be it in Welsh or in Latin – is the archetypal Celtic hero – a rough, vigorous, splendidly barbarian figure fighting boars and serpents, witches, dog-headed warriors and other dreaded enemies. He is often seen in conflict with the Church, and echoes the values and life-style of the Heroic society of the “Dark Ages”. We can forget the Round Table, damsels in distress, tournaments and the glittering Christian emperor until much later… The Latin Historia Brittionum (“History of the Britons”) – conventionally attributed to Nennius (1)– was originally composed c. 829/30 A.D. (2) and attached to it are a series of Mirabilia or “Wonders”: There is another wonder in the country called Ergyng. There is a tomb there by a spring, called Llygad Amr; the name of the man who is buried in the tomb is Amr. He was a son of the warrior Arthur, and he killed him there and buried him. Men come to measure the tomb, and it is sometimes six feet long, sometimes nine, sometimes twelve, sometimes fifteen. At whatever measure you measure it on one occasion, you never find it again of the same measure, and I have tried it myself. (3)

Several legends are then summarized. Very interesting!



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