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Lundy, Isle of Avalon

Evolution of the legends

      Lundy, Isle of Avalon         Historical Stuff

Write to the Russian embassies around the world and tell them that what they have done is wrong  -


'Many a hermit, anchorite, and venerable figure in religious garb who crosses our path in Arthurian romance may be legitimately suspected of being a god or goddess in disguise.' - Loomis

'In the consideration of names in the ( Arthurian ) romances, one has to keep in mind always the possibilities of manuscript corruption. The number of new names in these works that have come into existence in this manner is enormous.'    p11 from J.D.Bruce,'Evolution'.. 

Evolution of the legends

'The transmission of Arthurian names is constantly affected by oral and scribal corruption as well as by simple misunderstanding - a fact generally assumed by, if not always admitted, by most scholars.'


'Even scribes who were competent, trained and alert sometimes made mistakes. Sometimes, though as we have seen they changed the text because they thought it was supposed to be changed. ....  for example, when they came across a passage that appeared to embody a mistake that needed to be corrected, possibly a contradiction found in the text, or a mistaken geographical reference, or a misplaced scriptural allusion.' - Bart D. Ehrman - Misquoting Jesus 

'The modern licence claimed by novelists and short story writers to use their imaginations as freely as they please prevents students of mythology from realising that in North western Europe, where the post classical Greek novel was not in circulation, story-tellers did not invent their plots and characters but continuously retold the same traditional tales, extemporizing only when their  memory was at fault. UNless religious or social change forced a modification of the plot or a modernisation of incident. Almost all were explanations of ritual or religious theory, overlaid with history.'  Robert Graves; The White Goddess 

Written records of the past have come down to us after being written and rewritten laboriously by hand, in the days before paper, before pens, before electricity, before glass windows. Is it so surprising that we get variation and changes in the succeeding versions. And one of the alterations is the substitution of the capital of Britain for what became, to English eyes, an insignificant little island in the far west.

 Less discussed is the way that each generation has retold and moulded the myths in their own image. To the audience of the first flowering of Arthurian Romances, (the majority of which were written in the fifty years surrounding 1200), Arthur stood for those same ideals that took Richard the Lionheart on the crusades. When Malory wrote the classic English version of the myth, ‘Le Morte d’Arthur.’ in the fifteenth century the heroes wear current dress. Arthur the King wears the armour of a fifteenth century monarch. In Victorian times Tennyson’s epic poem, the Idylls of the King,  portrayed Arthur and his companions as the epitome of the square jawed English Victorian hero. Modern writers see in Arthur’s kingdom a lost golden age, a place where all that is good and honest and chivalrous fight against evil and corruption, only to be overwhelmed. The legends of Arthur’s return and the dawning of a new golden age casts echoes all over western Europe. Arthur and his companions sleep on the island of Sicily, under Mount Etna, as well as under English hill forts and Scottish hills. 


Because of the many prarallels in their stories Morgan Le Fay and Morgause ( similarity of names, their betrayal of Arthur, their sons ( Owain and Mordred ) both Arthur's heirs, serve and rebel against Arthur - one at the Battle of Camlann and one At the Battle described in the Dream of Rhonabwy) may represent an example of a story diverging from and then being reincorporated as two stories into the Arthurian cycle.

Morgan le Fay = Morgause =  Modron = Matrona = Argante = Morrigan

Owain = Mordred = Mabon


Scribal errors and confusion

white isle = ynys Witrin. The result of equating white and wit

morgan -> Argante  The result of the M being missed off


Geographic Names

"In the 420s, the government of Roman Britain enlisted Saxons, or English, barbarians from Germany to strengthen their defences; but in the 440s the English rebelled. Half a century of bitter fighting destroyed the Roman economy and technology of Britain, but the British won the war, under the leadership of Arthur who restored the forms of Roman Imperial government. The empire of Arthur lasted for some twenty years and on his death fragmented into a large number of small independent successor states. The English were contained within substantial defined reservations until they rebelled for a second time, at the end of the sixth century. In a generation they subdued most of what is now England; thenceforth the independent native British were confined to the west, and were called Welsh, a word that in old English meant 'foreigners'." - John Morris; The Age of Arthur

 'we ought to look into how it is that the Cistercian Estoire del Saint Graal claims that he was buried 'at the  Abbey of Glais in Scotland.' This is not as contradictory as it seems, for at the time of Joseph's death the Scots Gaels had not settled in the Western Highlands (Dalriada) but constituted a tribal population of Northern Ireland (Ulster) who had infiltrated the south-west of Britain. The West Country areas settled by the early Scots were often referred to as Scotland ( Land of the Scots) when the far north of Britain was called Caledonia. Furthermore, the word glais - so common in old scots names - comes from the Irish Celtic, and means 'stream', 'rivulet'.'  - Gardner - Bloodline of The Holy Grail p176

Modern Wales was known as 'North Wales'; while the south-western peninsula, modern Cornwall/Devon, was called 'South Wales.' the Scots lived in present day Ireland, the Irish were settled in the south-western part of present day Wales, Devon and Cornwall. Five hundred years later, documents from the later 9th and 10th C. refer to an area settled by the Irish in the Southwest of England as Scotland. Geoffrey of Monmouth refers to Pembrokeshire as Ireland.


England ( Angle Land ) refers to present day Eastern and South-Eastern England.  The Land settled by the Angles, Saxons, Jutes and other Germanic invaders/ settlers. Saxony and Jutland are of course in Germany and Denmark.

Norway is a confusion of Llychlynn which first meant ' the fabulous land beneath the lakes or waves of the sea' (Rhys) (Arthurian Legend,II). but when the Norse sea raiders began to ravage the coasts it became the name for the land of fiords or Norway.

Spain was used by later christian scribes and historians as a rationalization for the 'Otherworld' of earlier mythology


Intentional Alterations


In a note to her translation of The "Names of The Island of Britain," a pre tenth century Welsh document which has come down to us as part of the Welsh Triads the noted authority Rachel Bromwich says;- 'It is difficult to account for this name ('Ynys Weir') as referring to the Isle of Wight 'Ynys Weir' was an old name for Lundy island but it would be impossible to group Lundy with Anglesey and Man as a 'rac ynys' ('important island') and she then substitutes the Isle of Wight for Lundy in her translation



"The "Somerset" Arthur of written sources was introduced with a clear political purpose in the 12th century." from 'Arthur, King in the West.

"To see it as a gross deception is to mistake the age and the men, for at it's heart was a need to establish the abbey of Glastonbury as the undisputed cradle of Christianity in England. Where other monasteries used saints  to attract support, Glastonbury finally and successfully chose a popular hero and then allied him with the mystery of the grail." from 'Arthur, King in the West.


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Place names
Ynys Witrin



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