Censorship is the last line of defence…
…Yesterday I was finally prevented from posting my studies concerning King Arthur & his period on the international e-forum known as Arthurnet. Its moderator, Judy Shoaf, from the University of Florida, had been growing increasingly exasperated with my discoveries which ended up with her conducting a condescending campaign against me. Continuing on regardless I continued to post my discoveries, countering any counter-arguments tossed at me from the (apparent) best in the field with aplomb. I was just to hot to handle. The crunch moments came in the past week when I posted my discovery of the Holy Grail, on which I suddenly had the plug pulled out on me just as I was about to reveal the truth behind the legend, with our so-called neutral moderator denying me the chance to have my democratic say – & she heralding from the country of liberty herself. Here’s what she wrote at the end of the last post I was allowed to place on Arthurnet.
Damo is just playing games with words. I would point out that using Wolfram as raw material for his games is so productive because Wolfram was likely to play these games himself. He clearly loved inventing names. Flegetanis not only evokes “Fulgentius” (author of a well-known mythography) but even more strongly “Flegeton” or Phlegethon, the flaming river of the classical underworld. Wolfram managed to pack two different mythical-authoritative-scary meanings in one, outdoing for once Damo’s own vigorous inventiveness. I was delighted to find this sentence in the Wikipedia article on Fulgentius: “Fulgentius’ etymologies (while typical of his age) have been recently criticized as being wildly extravagant, arbitrary, and often simply incorrect.” I will try to post a bit separately about why I, as moderator, have allowed Damo, whose theories are wildly extravagant, arbitrary, and often simply incorrect, to continue to post on Arthurnet, and why his writings should not be taken as an accurate guide to anything except his own imagination.’
Quality stuff! There is no intelligent dissemeniation & rebuking of my thoughts here, just outright denial & refusal to broadens one’s capacity for intellectual endeavor. What has happened is that where great minds in the past have failed to discover the truth about Arthur, then it is deemed an impossible task. However, I live in the blossoming age of the internet, when obscure ancient texts are available at the click of a button, & I also live in Edinburgh & its fathomless National Library of Scotland. I understand why Judy doesnt want me to succeed – shes been running Arthurnet for 20 years now, & for some cheeky young(ish) Burnley boy to swagger in & work out every unsolved ‘problem’ seriously decredits the whole purpose of the site, which was to pool ideas & work out who Arthur was. Problem, is after 20 years they got absolutely nowhere, showing that what was need was something along the lines of;
‘Almost always the men who achieve these fundamental inventions of a new paradigm have either been very young or very new to the field whose paradigm they change’
Thomas Kuhn (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions)
I have found Arthur, & I have also found the Holy Grail. It may seem ‘wildly extravagant’ & ‘arbitrary,’ but it was the only way to find the answer! Here’s the nuts & bolts of why I was taken off Arthurnet, & please decide for yourself on whether I am correct or not.
FINDING THE GRAIL
In the early years of the 13th century, two writers gave the location of the castle in which the grail was kept. The first was Robert de Boron – who placed the ‘secret of the grail’ at the Vaus d’Avaron, in the west, erroneously changed by later poets to Avalon in Glastonbury. The second was Wolfram von Eschenbach – who placed the castle in France at a place called Montsalvat, adding the grail was guarded by the Knights Templar. This in turn leads us to a department of France called Aveyron, famous for being a Templar hotbed. Just a mile inside its modern borders we find the charming village of Montsalvy. Today, the grail castle has to be the ruins known as the castle of Mandarulfen at Montsalvy, which in turn leads us to an artifact known as the Mandylion. This was a piece of material which bore the face of Jesus which has been associated with the Holy Grail for a number of years, especially in the work of Dan Scavone.
The Mandylion was taken to France in the wake of the 1204 sack of Constantinople by French crusader knights, & that a castle named after it was built at Montsalvy is strong evidence that that it was indeed the grail. Before Constantinople, the Mandylion was held in the Syrian city of Edessa, where it surfaced in 544 during a siege of the city by the Persians. Two years previously, a Byzantine general was stationed in that very city, whose name was Bouzes. Is it a coincidence that medieval romancers named one of the three grail knights as Sir Bors? Perhaps, but when we observe second grail knight was known by two names – the Gerrman Parsifal & the Welsh Pheredur – & that Bouzes fought in the same army as a certain Pharos the Herulian, we can reconcile both Parzival & Peredur, whose names contain the phonetics of Pharos Eril – the latter epithet being that of the Herulians found on stones in Scandinavia;
PH – The ‘ph’ of Pheredur, the archaic spelling of Peredur
AROS – The ‘arz’ of Parzival
ER – The ‘ur’ of Pheredur
IL – The ‘al’ of Parcival
We should see the name Pharos the Herulian as the trunk of a tree on which the name Peredur is found along the Welsh branch & Parzival along the Teutonic. History also supports the connection, for Peredur’s 14 year sojurn in Constantinople finds a tally with Pharos the Herulian who served in the armies of Byzantium.
The medieval grail legend tells us that Sir Bors, Parcival & Galahad, on discovering the grail, took it to a site on the Egypto-Arabian border where the Saracens dwelt, called Sarras. This points us to the Sinai peninsular, which Procopius tells us was the homelands of the Saracens. So far so good. It is at the foot of Mount Sinai that three years after the Mandylion was seen at Edessa, the Byzantines built a fortified monastery dedicated to the transfiguration of Jesus. This was the grail castle, which was deemed to be in the middle of the wasteland by medieval writers – & we must remember that Sinai is an absolute desert. That the mandylion was moved there is evident from Templar-built churches in Cyprus (the church of panagia phorbiotissa at asnou is the best) which saw the iconography of Mt Sinai – burning bush/10 tablets’ together with the mandylion & images of the transfiguration. Indeed, in the book ‘Approaching the Holy Mountain,’ we are told;
‘Take the famous tenth century diptych showing the disciple Thaddesu & King Abgar who recieves the mandylion, represented in the features of Constantine Porphyogennetos, who had transferred the mandylion from Edessa to Constantinople in 944. A row of monastic saints below make makes it propbale that the two wings of what may have been a tryptich are agions to be seen within the localism characteristic of Sinai.’
St Catherine’s monastery was a repositary for cristian icons – including copies of the mandylion which probably influenced all future images of Jesus. Indeed, one of these, originally made in the 6th century, is touched up in the 940’s just before the mandylion itself is moved to Constantinople. We are also told that the knights found the natives of Sarras had reverted to pagan ways, which matches a description by John, Bishop of Nikiu, describes the peoples about Sinai (in the reign of Anastasius) as; -‘Impious barbarians, who eat flesh & drank blood, arose in the quarter of Arabia & approaching the borders of the red sea, they seized the monks of araite (Rhaithou), & they put them to the sword or led them away captive & plundered their possessions; for they hated saints, & were themselves like in their devices to idolators & the pagans…’
It’s location then helps us solve the mystery of the last of the grail keepers, Galahad, in whose name we can see the phonetics of a welsh Arthurian knight called Glewlwyd as in
Gal = Gl
Ah – Ewl
Ad – wyd
In a poem called Culwhych & Olwen he tells us; ‘Half of my life is past, and half of thine. I was heretofore in Kaer Se and Asse, in Sach and Salach, in Lotor and Fotor; and I have been heretofore in India the Great and India the Lesser.’ Here we see Sarras as Caer Se & Asse, & with Ethiopia being known as Lesser India in antiquity, we can place him in the region of the Red Sea! With Bouzes & Pharos being goths, that it makes sense that Galahad/Glewlwyd was also a Goth, & indeed, in the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire – a gigantic compendium of all the names recorded in those times – there is a Goth who lived at just the right time called Gudahal, which contains all the letters of Galahad, as in;
g u d a h a l
g a l u h a d
If the letters changed over 700 years, through the effect of dark-age chineses whispers – then perhaps certain facts did also. Thus, whhen medieval writers wrote that Galahad was the son of Sir Lancelot, what they meant to say was Galahad was the father of Lancelot, for the Prosopography tells us that Guduhal had a son called Landarit. It is through understanding how names change over time & through languages that I have been able to unravel the knotted woolen ball of the Arthuriana. For example, just look at some of the names given for Guinevere…
Gwenhwyfar – Triads
Guanhumara – Monmouth
Guennuuar – Caradoc
Wenneuereia – Gerard of Wales
To an untrained eye, Wenneuereia & Gwenhwyfar seem totally different, but they are the same woman. The way I see it is that the historian must develop techniques to analyze the changes that incur during the chisper process in order to elucidate a name-change. For example, by isolating rhotacism in a changing consonant to one particular language, although we may have lost the text itself, we can identify at least the language in which the text was written.
After ignoring my protests for a few days, I alerted Judy to my blog, on which she suddenly began to speak again – here’s the blog she sent to arthurnetters – funny as!
From Judy Shoaf, your moderator.
The concern of some Arthurnetters as to the poverty of Damo’s grasp of basic texts and concepts had moved me enough that I held back his latest post. I would like to recap and explain why I have continued to forward his posts to the list, despite the fact that they do not form a contribution to Arthurian scholarship in any way, and if taken seriously as statements of fact would actually form a sort of negative contribution.
To clarify, up front: None of Damo’s posts has ever included a single assertion that is useful to the study of Arthurian literature or of history. If any people on the list have assumed that they did, I apologize to them. My thought was that he was perhaps making a contribution on the creative side.
Damo joined the list, I believe, in January of 2012, with the announcement that he had had a revelation regarding the identity of Arthur as Arthwys, King of the Pennines. Since then Damo has posted abundantly, at least 160 posts. His methodology is roughly as follows:
If it is my idea, it is a good, true idea.
If an assertion fits or can be made to fit my idea, or generates an idea in my mind, it is a fact.
Thus any bit of Wolfram’s Parzival which generates a train of thought in Damo’s mind constitutes a “fact” which he has “proven” to be a valid part of Arthuriana, and even of history. Its factuality is not dependent on whether it actually happened that way, but depends on how well it serves the pattern in Damo’s head.
Damo has always been polite and kept his temper, so far as I can recall. He has never complained when people dismissed his assertions as absurd.
I have posted his comments for almost a year and a half as an example of how King Arthur is still generating fact-free history, as he did for Geoffrey of Monmouth, for the Welsh hagiographers, or for Malory. It seems to me that Damo writes very much in that spirit, as someone who pulls “history” out of the air and then asks us to believe in it, and apparently at least in passing believes it himself.
What has surprised me, given Damo’s obvious abilities, is that he has clearly gone far beyond the possibility of combining his “research” into any coherent whole. He simply wanders along playing the “name game” and asserting that Arthur was here or there, but he seems to have no ambition to write a narrative in which all his assertions and name games would find a place.
Then she wrote privately to me with;
Damo, thank you for resolving my debate with myself re. whether to continue posting your stuff. You have always been polite on the list and I hesitated to block someone who is generally well-mannered, but I think it is time to part ways. Your work is moronic, and of interest only for its spectacular ignorance & I decided not to shame you by sending it to anyone. You said that I censored you. I am censoring you. I am not going to post any more of your stuff on the list.
Basically, as a neutral she was waiting for me to turn rude or whatever, so she had grounds to remove me from Arthurnet. To provoke this she first begen to insult my intelligence, then began to name me as the composer of each post I offered, as in ‘Damo on Merlin, Damo on Montsalvy,’ but this didn’t work either. Finally, she just denied me from posting at the very point I offered a well-researche hypothesis on the location of the grail castle, leaving me no choice to record her unfair & ignorant attitude for posterity. In essence she blinked first & like I said before, censorship is the last form of defence… & somewhere in the middle of all this is the Holy Grail, the discovery of which prompted my removal from a meeting of Arthurian minds. Its a simple case of an upset child taking the ball off me & saying I cant play anymore! Proper kindergarten.
To finish, I would like to quote Judy one last time, who said… ‘None of Damo’s posts has ever included a single assertion that is useful to the study of Arthurian literature or of history.’ This evidently contradicts what she wrote to me concerning my discovery of Arthur’s grave, as in;
‘BTW, I was interested in your idea that Nudus and Dumnogenus are adjectives modifying princes in the Yarrow Stone inscription. I thought you must be wrong, because clearly you don’t know Latin, and this would not work grammatically. BUT I checked the inscription and your suggestion makes sense—the forms have endings in –i which fit the plural “princes” rather than implying names of single individuals in apposition with “princes.” It’s odd that the two words were read as names, but one would expect that a memorial would give the names of the persons involved; perhaps the names were on the other side, which I gather is damaged. However, I guess people who study inscriptions are better qualified than I am to interpret what the words mean in context. The way one figures it out is to look at other memorial stones (or texts) that use these words or a similar structure. (Liberalis, on the other hand, looks like a name, in terms of both grammar and sense… At the same time, the fact that the inscription may have been misinterpreted does not mean that it marked Arthur’s grave!
Here we have an example of the stuck-in-the-sand nature of Arthurian academia. Judy’s initial instinct was ‘I thought you must be wrong,’ a sentiment shared by every other scholar who have been trying to find Arthur through entire lifetimes. However, Judy is a Latin expert & recognized the correctness of my theory. Unfortunately she lacks expertise elsewhere, & can only offer outright denial when presented with unfamiliar territory, tendencies noticed by another guy called S. H. Rosenbaum, who experienced a similar attack. He wrote;
To Judith Shoaf, moderator of Arthurnet;
This is all very interesting and revealing; it seems I am indeed treading on your meme. This pattern of response is similar to others who find their convictions threatened, their arguments untenable. The only recourse is to deny the evidence, state their credo and stop their ears. I highly doubt you will read any of the referenced works, and suspect rightly that you keep to only those authors who agree with your precepts. It is such attitude that has led this subject to naught but dead ends. Or perhaps I have read too many books, or in your view, not the right ones? As for my “free association of ideas”, they are based on the process of elimination, observation, Occam’s Razor and simple reason. This runs counter to the depressing, stagnant state of historical knowledge that relies not on innate curiosity but the easy comfort of consensus. Faced with such un-reason, I will abandon this Arthurian direction and revert to research papers discussing the more intellectual and linguistic aspects regarding Post-Roman Britain. Savor this small triumph, for as others endlessly and pointlessly talk, to no purpose or result, I will be reading anything and everything, exploring new concepts by speaking and writing, and above all else, thinking and learning.
Food for thought!