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Of Arthur and Merlin

Tintagel Castle

As in most subjects, if something is not fully explained or understood it becomes mysterious and fires both the imagination and the need to know more. For instance, was there ever a leader called Arthur? Was he King of the Britons? Was he a Romano-British warlord? Where was he based? What was his kingdom?

Some scholars point to the rise to power of Aurelius Ambrosianus or Ambrosius as the basis for the legend of King Arthur. This Romano-Celtic chieftain was the grandson of Magnus Maximus and son of Constantine. He was only a boy when his elder brother Constans was killed by his own chief adviser - a certain Vortigern. Vortigern married Severa, daughter of Magnus Maximus strengthening his claim to the throne. Meanwhile Ambrosius was hurriedly taken, with his baby brother Uther Pendragon, to Brittany, to the court of their cousin, Budic I for their own safety.

Nicol Williamson as Merlin in Excalibur (1981)

These days, many many things are fully understood and explained by science, backed up by archaeology. In times gone by, that which was not understood was deemed as magical or mystical. How many people nowadays can put their hand on their heart and say that thay believe in a 'Time of Magic' and a warlock or sorcerer called Merlin (or Emrys). If he ever existed, was he purely a wise man, a physician or astronomer, or something more? What did he do that implied he could fortell the future or change events indicating that he was someone special? We can only wonder at what he may have done.

Who were the Celts?

The Rise of Rome & The Fall of Gaul

The Iron Age Tribes of Britain - 1

The Iron Age Tribes of Britain - 2

The Roman Invasion of Britain

Vortigern and the so called 'Anglo-Saxon Invasion'

Celtic Mythology and Belief

The Timeline of Arthurian Britain   

The Cornish Language


The 'Ancient Sites Directory'

Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro


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