Monthly Archives: December 2017

The Chisper Effect 9 : The Mandylion

Continuing the weekly serialization of


Damian Beeson Bullen’s


In which a number of the world’s greatest mysteries are finally solved


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Chapter IX

I would like to declare that the ultimate object of veneration upon which the legends of the Holy Grail are based is not, in fact, the cup used at the Last Supper, but rather a ‘Turin Shroud’ like piece of material which sported the so-called image of Jesus Christ. Our first port of call is an obscure 6th century manuscript from Georgia, which reads; ‘but I climbed Holy Golgotha, where the Lord’s cross stood, and collected in the headband and a large sheet the precious blood that had flowed from his holy side.’ Here we have the blood of Christ being stored for posterity in a piece of linen, & in our modern days scholarship has begun to promulgate the idea that into the fabric of the burial shroud of Jesus was imprinted a bloody image of his crucified corpse. Certain members of this niche academy have then connected the bloody shroud to an ancient image of Jesus known as the Mandylion; while a handful more have pointed out that all of this could be the basis into which is rooted the legend of the Holy Grail. Richard Hayman, for example, in his Holy Grail and Holy Thorn: Glastonbury in the English Imagination (2003) writes of the 12th century creator of one of the earliest grail stories we possess, Robert de Boron, that he had perhaps, ‘heard of the Holy Mandylion & substituted it for a cup in the Grail story.’  Seven years prior to this, in his 1996 paper, Joseph of Arimathea, the Holy Grail and the Turin Shroud, Dan Scavone postulates how the Mandylion was also both the Turin Shroud AND the Holy Grail. After investigating the matter myself, I have ascertained that these scholars were beating about the right bush, but had never dove headlong into the thorns, where the Grail has been waiting all along. The truth to the matter is tangled up in layers of both proper history & later medieval romancing, thus the best thing to do is to present the information in chronological order, beginning quite surprisingly with the death of the apostle Thomas, who for some reason was known as the ‘Didymus,’ or twin, of Jesus.

downloadOur quest begins in India & its most southerly state, sun-kissed Tamil Nadu. From mornings of gorgeousness to those soul-searing sunsets, Tamil Nadu is a wonderful place in which to freely wander; body, mind and soul. Alright, there are still beggars all over the shop and women cleaning the streets, but everybody else seems to be getting on harmoniously in some kind of casteless happiness. During my investigations into the Jesus Jigsaw, I had visited Tamil Nadu on the trail of possible southern avatars of Ashvaghosha. From my studies in the north I swooped down to Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, arriving on a train known as the Thirukural Express. This rather elongated name is actually the most sacred text of the Tamils – the Kural of Thiruvalluvar. Hardly anything is known about its author, but the experience of reading or hearing those brief nuggets of wisdom which form the Kural really do invoke a Christian mantra. One of the first western scholars to describe the poetical wisdom contained in the Kural was RT Temple, who declared it to be, ‘one of the grandest productions of man’s brain, much of which bears so strange a resemblance in thought to the Sermon on the Mount. It has accordingly been argued ere this, with much show of probability that the teachings of the gospel influenced the nameless weaver of Mayilapur.

Thiruvalluvar’s legendary home in the Chennai suburb of Mylapore was renamed St Thome by the Portuguese, with Father Henry Hosten recording, ‘the first Portuguese historians say … that St. Thomas built his ‘house,’ meaning his church, on the site where a Jogi had his temple.’  A connection between Thomas & Thiruvalluvar cannot be ruled at out, but we shall leave identifying the link for another day. For now, let us focus on the long standing tradition that states Saint Thomas was martyred at Mylapore in 68 AD. The 7th century patriarch of Jerusalem, Sophronius, describes how Thomas preached; ‘the gospel of the Lord to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Carmanians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians, and the Magi. He fell asleep in the city of Calamina of India.’ Calamina philochisps into Cholamandalam, the ‘Realm of the Cholas,’ an Indian dynasty who ruled over the coastal regions of Tamil Nadu. That Thomas died at Chennai, the chief city of Cholamandalam, is commemorated locally to this day, with the tradition that Thomas was martyred in the suburb of Mylapore . Having aroused the hostility of the locals, the saint is said to have been chased to the site of the modern-day St Thomas’ Mount, & was there brutally slain. A text, thought to be by Hippolytus, describes the killing, with Thomas being, ‘thrust through in the four members of his body with a pine speare at Calemene, the city of India, & was buried there.’


The apocryphal Acts of Thomas describe that after his murder at Mylapore, the body of Thomas was wrapped in, ‘beautiful robes and much and fair linen’ before being ‘buried in a royal tomb.’ Two centuries after the burial, the remains of Thomas were removed from India, to be relocated in the Christian west at the ancient Syrian city of Edessa. An anonymous text known as ‘The Passio’ describes the circumstances behind the removal of the bones;

The Syrians begged of the Roman emperor Alexander, then on his victorious return from the Persian war against Ardashir, and petitioned that instructions should be sent to the princes of India to hand over the remains of the deceased Apostle to the citizens. So it was done; and the body of the Apostle was transferred from India to the city of Edessa

We have here reached a significant moment of chispological diversion, for the remains of Thomas were stored in a royal citadel known as the ‘Britio Edessenorum.’ This gives us our first credible link to the Grail legend, for a thousand years later the transchispering recollections of the Thomas relics being stored in the Britio Edessenorum transmogrified into a legend that Joseph of Arimathea had taken the holy cup of Christ to Britain. Support for this particular chisper comes from a mention by the Venerable Bede of the so-called King Lucius of Britain, who never actually existed, but was in fact  Agbar Lucius IX of Edessa, who dwelt in the Britio Edessenorum. This has not stopped thousands of people searching for the Grail through Joseph of Arimethea’s supposed connection to Glastonbury; but as I have stated earlier in this book, when a factochisp is based on a philochisp it becomes extremely difficult to ascertain the truth, & with such a huge passage of time as that which has enveloped the grail legend, we should not wonder why it has never been found.


In the centuries following the removal of  the Thomas relics to Edessa, a piece of material called the Mandylion showed up in the city. Also known as the Icon of Edessa, it was said to bear the face of Jesus, whose twin, we must remember, was Thomas. The key premise here is that alongside the bones brought from India in the casket, there was also brought the burial shroud of St Thomas, upon which an imprint of his body had been left behind by the blood pouring out of his four lethal wounds. Seeping into the fabric of the cloth, a shadowy vision of Thomas would remain which would one day become mistaken for that of Jesus himself. That the Icon arrived in Edessa alongside the remains of Thomas can be observed through just a single philochisp. Firstly, let us analyze a 4th century hymn by Saint Ephraem of Syri, a curious piece pitched from the perspective of the Devil;

The merchant brought the bones: nay, rather! They brought him. Lo, the mutual gain! ‘But the casket of Thomas is slaying me, for a hidden power there residing, tortures me.

The merchant who brought the remains of Thomas to Edessa is given a name in an early Syrian ecclesiastical calendar, when for the third of July it records; ‘St. Thomas who was pierced with a lance in ‘India’. His body is at Edessa having been brought there by the merchant Khabin. The 4th century church historian Jerome gives this merchant a slightly different name in an alternative setting; ‘Judas Thomas the Apostle, when Our Lord sold him to the merchant Hâbbân that he might go down and convert India.’ Habban now transchispers easily into a certain Hannan, who was said to have painted a picture of Jesus for the King of Edessa. The tale appears in a text known as the Doctrine of Addai;

When Hannan, the keeper of the archives, saw that Jesus spoke thus to him, by virtue of being the king’s painter, he took and painted a likeness of Jesus with choice paints, and brought with him to Abgar the king, his master. And when Abgar the king saw the likeness, he received it with great joy, and placed it with great honor in one of his palatial houses.

To summarize, the remembrance of Khabin/Habban bringing the bloody, image-imprinted shroud of Saint Thomas has here morphed into the story of a man called Hannan painting a picture of Jesus, This is a classical philochisp-fueled factochisp operating in the most outrageous of truth-stretching fashions, & when information is as garbled & regurgitated as in this case, only confused accounts remain. In the middle of this messy swamp, however, lies the true source of the Icon of Edessa, being the blood-stained burial linen of Jesus’ so-called twin. According to an anonymous 7th century Greek text, the Acts of Thaddaeus, we are told how the image of Jesus was imprinted on a ‘tetradiplon,’ which translates as ‘doubled in four,’ suggesting the shroud of Thomas was folded up, with the head image being displayed in some sort of protective case.

The question we must now ask ourselves is however did King Arthur become involved in a quest for the Mandylion? The answer lies in connecting King Pelles, the British possessor of the Grail, with Edessa. As I showed in the last chapter, Pelles is a philochisp of Liberalis, the father of the Grail-seeking Peredur, also known as a Gothic warrior called Pharas the Herulian. This leads us to a rhotacismic philochisp of Liberalis into a 6th century Byzantine Goth called Liberarius. In 525, this one-time chief Magister of Thrace found himself in charge of Edessa, with the Chronicle of Pseudo-Zachariah Rheto describing him as; ‘Liberarius the Goth, a harsh governor, who was nicknamed ‘The Bull-Eater.


The epithet, I believe, comes from Liberarius once possessing the wonderful dining-set that was dug out of the earth in today’s Western Romania, near Nagyszentmiklós, in 1799. The hoard consists 23 pieces of golden plates, cups & bowls amounting to about ten kilos of pure gold, with some of the plates baring images of bull. One plate has a peculiar inscription which also mentions bulls. The inscription’s language is unknown, but an orthographical date can be ascertained through the shape of the omega – whose middle vertical line appears higher than its round sides, a typical feature of 6th century Greek inscriptions. A transliteration of the inscription reads;

 Boila zoapan finished this bowl, which Boutaoul zoapan made suitable for hanging up

We can here make two connections to the Arthurian theory I am slowly building. First, the treasures were found in the very regions in which Justinian settled 4,500 Heruli, near the fortress of Singidunum (modern Belgrade). Secondly, Boutaoul could actually be Sir Bedivere, one of Arthur’s oldest knights, for his name derives from Beado-Wulf. Support of the babel-chain comes in this lovely & obscure corner of Arthuriana given by Big Geoff;

When he had seated all according to rank, Kai arose, with a thousand men to serve from the kitchen, with a robe of yellow ermine about him, — and such wore each one of them; and then arose Bedwyr, Arthyr’s chief butler, with a thousand men adorned with the like garments, to pass the yellow mead in innumerable gold and silver cups.

In the very year that Liberarius was governor of Edessa (525), Evagrius records how the city had been; ‘inundated by the waters of the Skirtus, which runs close by it; so that most of the buildings were swept away, & countless multitudes that were carried down by the stream perished.’ Among the buildings ravaged by the rising waters was the city’s cathedral, in which the Mandylion was normally housed, and it is clear a new home was needed. This furnishes the perfect backstory for the removal of sacred relics from the city, under the mantle of their conservation. All we need to do is to put the Mandylion is the luggage of Liberarius, then sail him to his estate in the north of Britain where he appears as Liberalis & Pelles. A tentative connection can be first made through St Serf. In the last chapter we saw how the Latin ‘Liberalis’ & the Greek ‘Eleuther’ were different names for the same man. This leads us to the vita of Serf, a Scottish saint said to be the son of a certain King Eliud of Canaan, who could well have been Liberarius, governor of Edessa. Another possible presence of Liberarius in the north of Britain is recorded by an obscure reference to a 6th century figure called Librarius, who appears in the vita of Saint Samson of Dol.

Now it came to pass that on a feast-day they went together to church, & there, among the many people to be discussed, they heard a discussion concerning a certain Librarius who lived in a remote land to the north… and it came to pass that at length, at the end of the third day when the fatigue of the journey was over, they reached the place where master Librarius had his dwelling, & there found the aforesaid master sitting with much people discoursing much on particular cases

The end of this passage, with Librarius acting in the capacity of a lawman, mirrors strongly a man of such weight of authority as the Byzantine Liberarius. Presuming he had taken the Mandylion to Britain, I believe our sticky-fingered ex-governer at some point received an order straight from the top; could the Monks of Saint Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai desert please have the Mandylion sent to them in order to copy the image of Jesus for the benefit of Christendom. The 12th-13th century French romances tell us that Peredur & Bors received the grail in Britain from a certain King Pelles & his son, Eliezer, at their court in Corbenic. What has happened here is a case of genflation, that is when an author receives into his hands two different names of the same personage, & places them together as kindred. In this striking instance, Pelles stands for Liberalis & Eliezer stands for Eleuther. Before being taken to Corbenic, the grail was kept at a place called Galaort. That Galla Law (bottom right) was Galafort is suggested by the presence  of a very ancient church dedicated to St Mary at neighbouring Monklowden, which is mentioned as being present at Galafort in the romances. We have already seen how Liberalis/Eleuther was a man of the north, & his realms could well have encompassed the south Edinburgh area,  especially when we hear of a certain ‘Liberton’ just a few miles north of Penicuik.

IMG_20141017_124150Examining the medieval French romances in which the story of the Arthurian quest for the holy cup first appears, we may observe how the principle heroes, Sir Peredur & Sir Bors, took the grail from Britain to a place in the east called Sarras. This place remains unidentified, but the Estoire del Saint Graal gives us a an important clue;

 They left the wood and set out their way, traveling until they arrived at a city called Sarras, between Babylon and Salamander. From this city came the first Saracens

 The Babylon as found in in medieval texts generally refers to the Egyptian capital city of Cairo, but Salamander is as yet an unidentified place. The text does tell us, however, that Sarras was the homeland of the Saracens, which tribe is placed in the Sinai Peninsular of Egypt by the 6th century Byzantine historian, Procopius.

 As one sails into the sea from there, the Egyptian mountains lie on the right, extending toward the south; on the other side a country deserted by men extends northward to an indefinite distance… This coast immediately beyond the boundaries of Palestine is held by Saracens, who have been settled from of old in the Palm Groves. These groves are in the interior, extending over a great tract of land, and there absolutely nothing else grows except palm trees. The Emperor Justinian had received these palm groves as a present from Abochorabus, the ruler of the Saracens there, and he was appointed by the emperor captain over the Saracens in Palestine

The romances tell us that the Grail was taken to a hilltop castle in the middle of a wasteland, a fantastic match for St Catherine’s fortified monastery as it rises over the deserts of Sinai. Saint Catherine’s still stands oasis-like to this day, in the middle of the Sinai desert of Egypt, by the very place where Moses received the Ten Commandments. The monastery was built at some point during the reign of Justinian (527-565), with impenetrable walls & sturdy buildings surrounding the Church of the Transfiguration. The monks of Saint Catherine’s were expert copyists of Christian relics; & we possess by them one of their earliest painted copies of the Mandylion. Known as the Christ Pantocrator, its foundation layer is 6th century, while the image contains iconography pointing directly to the reign of Justinian. The image of Jesus it contains would become the standard from the 6th century onwards; before this time Jesus had appeared different almost every time he had been depicted, but the Pantocrator Christ would unify the vision of Jesus for the Faith. Before the 6th century, the image of Jesus Christ had always been one of a clean-shaven, Apollo-like youth.

A mosaic dating to the 4th century AD, depicting Christ as a typical clean shaven, Greco-Roman youth. Eermans Handbook of History of Christianity (1977)
A mosaic dating to the 4th century AD, depicting Christ as a typical clean shaven, Greco-Roman youth. Eermans Handbook of History of Christianity (1977)

A hint that the Mandylion had once been housed at Sinai is contained in certain 14th century murals painted by the Knights Templar within churches across Cyprus. In the Church of Panagia Phorbiotissa at Asnou, the Mandylion is depicted as suspending over two visions: of Moses receiving the laws & the Burning Bush, both of which events occurred at Sinai. The church also contains images of Christ’s transfiguration, another event thought by biblical scholars to have occurred at Sinai, & to which miracle St Catherine’s Monastery was originally dedicated. In the deliciously informative book ‘Approaching the Holy Mountain,’ edited by Sharon Gerstel, we are told; ‘take the famous tenth century diptych showing the disciple Thaddeus & King Abgar who receives the Mandylion… A row of monastic saints below make makes it probable that the two wings of what may have been a tryptich are regions to be seen within the localism characteristic of Sinai.’ The same book also records how a 6th century abbot of St Catherines, St. John Climacus created a piece of art called ‘The Ladder of Divine Ascent’ in which; ‘the tablets have been transformed into two of the most venerated images of Christ in the Byzantine world, the Mandylion (an imprint of the saviour’s face on cloth) & its arch copy, the keramion, a miraculous reproduction on a tile… what is shown is a transfiguration, the metamorphisis of the stones into the living face of Christ which can also be seen behind & between the Mandylion & Keramion in a ghost-like sketch on blue ground.’


The Pantocrator Christ was the result of the Mandylion’s time in Sinai, & after the monks had finished their work, the icon was returned to Edessa before 544. In that year, according to the 6th century Syrian scholar Evagrius, it was miraculously used to ward off a Persian siege of the city.

In this state of utter perplexity, they bring the divinely wrought image, which the hands of men did not form, but Christ our God sent to Abgarus on his desiring to see Him. Accordingly, having introduced this holy image into the mine, and washed it over with water, they sprinkled some upon the timber; and the divine power forthwith being present to the faith of those who had so done, the result was accomplished which had previously been impossible: for the timber immediately caught the flame, and being in an instant reduced to cinders, communicated with that above, and the fire spread in all directions.

It is clear that the Mandylion contained the imprint of a complete man. In the 7th century, members of the Christian sect known as the Nestorians were living in Edessa, whose archbishop, Gewargis Silwa, described the Mandylion as, ‘an image of his adorable face & his glorified incarnation.’  While Andrew of Crete, in the early 8th century, describes ‘the imprint … of the bodily [somatikou] appearance” of Christ.‘ A similar description of a full-length Mandylion was made in the 8th century when, according to the Codex Vossianus, a canvas imprint of Christ’s complete body was being kept in a church in Edessa. A certain Smera states, ‘King Abgar received a cloth on which one can see not only a face but the whole body.’ Two centuries later, on the 15th of August 15, 944, the Mandylion appeared in Constantinople to a fanfare as keenly celebrated as a triumph of the Ceasars. The archdeacon & referendarius of the majestic Hagia Sophia cathedral, Gregory,  gave an eyewitness account of the Mandylion, describing how the image, ‘was imprinted only by the perspiration of the agony running down the face… embellished by the drops from his own side…. Blood & water there, & here the perspiration & figure.’ It is not difficult to imagine such an imprint as being made not long after the scene of carnage that was Saint Thomas’ murder in Tamil Nadu, when sultrified sweat would have mixed with fresh-wrought blood & left a pictorial remembrance on his burial robes, especially when Archdeacon Gregory continued that the image of Christ, ‘was imprinted only by the perspiration of the agony running down the face of the Prince of life as clots of blood drawn by the finger of god…… & the portrait… has been embellished by the drops from his own side.’

The sacred Mandylion would soon be nestling alongside many other sacred Christian relics in the Byzantine version of London’s Tate gallery – the Theotokos of the Church of Our Lady of Pharos. The Fourth Crusader, Robert de Clarie, recorded an inventory of the chapel’s precious relics, being; ‘within this chapel were found many precious relics; for therein were found two pieces of the True Cross, as thick as a man’s leg and a fathom in length. And there was found the lance wherewith Our Lord had. His side pierced, and the two nails that were driven through the midst of His hands and through the midst of His feet. And there was also found, in a crystal phial, a great part of His blood. And there was found the tunic that he wore, which was stripped from Him when He had been led to the Mount of Calvary. And there, too, was found the blessed crown wherewith He was crowned, which was wrought of sea rushes, sharp as dagger blades. There also was found the raiment of Our Lady, and the head of my Lord Saint John Baptist, and so many other precious relics that I could never describe them to you or tell you the truth concerning them.’ The idol would remain in Constantinople until 1204, when the Byzantine capital was sacked during the 4th Crusade by treasure-hungry Crusaders. In the year following the theft, Theodore Angelos wrote to Pope Innocent III;

The Venetians partitioned the treasures of gold, silver, and ivory while the French did the same with the relics of the saints and the most sacred of all, the linen in which our Lord Jesus Christ was wrapped after his death and before the resurrection. We know that the sacred objects are preserved by their predators in Venice, in France, and in other places, the sacred linen in Athens

Here we have a direct mention of the Mandylion, or sacred linen, being moved at least as far as Greece. The ‘French’ were the Knights Templar, of which number a certain Othon de la Roche was known as the ‘Lord of Athens. It is almost certain the Mandylion was Othon’s possession in Athens in 1204, after which it made its eventual way to the Templar heartlands in the south of France. Its destination can be properly detected by following certain clues found in the earliest writers of the Grail story, all of whom were connected to the Templars. Where Robert de Boron said the secret of of the Grail was taken to the ‘Vales of Avaron,’ we are led, not to Avalon – an errant transchisper – but to the Aveyron department, to the north & west of Montpellier. A second author, Wolfram von Eschenbach, then placed the Grail in France at a certain Montsalvat, adding its guardians were the ‘Templiesen.’ This leads us quite succinctly to the charming village of Montsalvy, in the department of… wait for it…. Aveyron (the red territory below).

url carte-index

Wolfram’s Grail was a bit weird actually, some kind of precreation gemstone which fell out of Lucifer’s crown after God pitched him out of Heaven. What matters most for us, however, is where Wolfram located the Grail – he definitely knew something about something. Some of his source material came through a certain Kyot of Provence, a gentle philochisp from Guiot of Provins, who was a well-known troubadour from the Champagne area of France. That Guiot participated in the fourth crusade puts him bang on the spot to know what happened to the Mandylion after its removal from Constantinople. According to the romances, the Holy Grail was said to have been kept in a castle, & there are indeed the ruins of an early medieval castle towering over Montsalvy to this day, upon the vista-laden Puy de l’Arbre. That this castle goes by the lovely name of Mandalrulfen provides our investigation with an amazing semantic match for the Mandylion. The area also has a connection to the very French Sir Lancelot du Lac, who first appears in the Grail Romances of the late 12th century. It is quite possible he is based upon a top Templar of that time called Alain Martel, from the Lot region of France, which gives us; (A)Lain ce Lot. The town of Martel is only 40 miles from Montsalvy, where – fascinatingly – the Puy de L’Arbre was once known as the Lancelot du Lac-esque, Puy de Lake.

Let us now acknowledge the esoterix behind Mandalrulfen castle once playing host to a secret Templar ceremony in which the Mandylion formed the climax of a series of iconic revelations. Think masonic lodges & grandmasters, hoods on-heads & stuff like that. The word ‘grail’ actually derives from the Latin ‘gradalis,’ which translates as ‘by degrees.’ This phrase describes the gradually unfolding exhibition of divine objects during the Grail ceremony, a ritualistic procession where a series of ‘holies’ were brought before the initiate, concluding with a vision of ‘Jesus’ as found on the Mandylion. One of the earliest Grail romances, the Grand St. Graal, lists many of these holies;

A sacred dish of blood
Nails of the Crucifixion
The Cross
The vinegar sponge
A scourge
A man’s head,
Bloody swords
Christ himself
A bloody lance head
A red man


All of these objects would have been stolen from the Theotokos of the Church of Our Lady of Pharos in Constantinople at the same time as the Mandylion. Among them is a dish, which would soon acquire the factochisp of it being the vessel used by Christ at the last supper, & the subsequent creochisp into it being the Holy Grail. In reality it was only a minor object during the Grail ceremony, of which the Mandylion took the central & climactic stage. In recent years Dr. Barbara Frale, unearth’d a vital piece of evidence in the Vatican archives, unearthing a 1287 description of a Templar ceremony made by a certain Arnaut Sabbatier. Conducted somewhere in the south of France, with only a few witnesses in attendance, Arnaut was shown a long piece of linen cloth sporting a bearded man, then was asked to kiss its feet. This was the last time on record in which the Mandylion was seen in France, for it seems to have vanished during the fall-out of the Papal persecution of the Templars in 1307. Spearheaded by the French king Philip IV, on Friday 13th of that year all the top Templars were arrested, then executed upon the grounds of torture-drawn confessions for mostly made-up misdemeanors. The Pope & the King then claimed vast tracts of Templar lands for themselves, along with all their deposited finances, which of course was a completely unpredictable bonus. The surviving Templars, eager to save their most precious relics, spirited the Mandylion out of France via the seaport of La Rochelle. Legend has it that some of the treasures were taken to Scotland, where in 1314 members of the order were fighting in the Scottish army at the Battle of Bannockburn. They were said to have originally landed on the Isle of May, in the Firth of Forth, which leads naturally to the River Esk & on to the village of Temple. Founded on lands given to the order by David I of Scotland in 1127, Temple was home to the main Templar receptory in Scotland. To this day, a local proverb tells us that at Temple;

Twixt the oak and the elm tree
You will find buried the millions free


At this junction, I would like to kill two academic birds with a single stone; the first of these theories is that the Turin Shroud was once the true burial garb of Christ; while the second is an idea that the Turin Shroud was also the Icon of Edessa. The truth, as I understand, is that the Mandylion contains the imprint of St Thomas, while the Turin Shroud is simply a medieval copy of the Mandylion. Carbon dating of the Turin Shroud was performed by the Vatican in 1988, after which Cardinal Ballestrero announced the linen was woven into existence at some point between 1260 & 1390.


These dates neatly coincide with the Turin Shroud’s first official appearance in the possession of the de Charneys, a noble French family & founders of the church at Lirey, near Troyes, where the ‘Holy Winding Sheet,’ was first put on display. The earliest reactions to the Charney shroud, made by two local bishops, was that it was nothing but a painting, with Bishop Henri de Poitiers adding that he even knew ‘the artist who had painted it.’ His statement was later confirmed in a 1390 memorandum composed by Bishop Pierre d’Arcis, who declared the shroud had been ‘cunningly painted.’

Presupposing that the Mandylion was in Scotland after 1307, let us examine the movements of Sir Geoffrey de Charney, the founder of the church at Lirey. He was Europe’s most admired knight at the time, a wielder of many honors & a possessor of much social power. We can place him quite distinctly in Scotland on two separate occasions, when the Chronicles of Froissart state he was on good terms with many of Scotland’s noblemen;

Mctray Duglas and the erle Morette knewe of their comynge, they wente to the havyn and mette with them, and receyved them swetely, sayeng howe they were right welcome into that countrey. And the barons of Scotlande knewe ryght well Sir Geffray de Charney, for he had been the somer before two monethes in their company: sir Geffray acquaynted them with the admyrall, and the other knyghtes of France

 The simple idea is this. On encountering the Mandylion on his first visit to Scotland, Sir Geoffrey de Charney returns the next year with his best painter to copy the image. The mention of the ‘erle Morette,’ ie the Earl of Moray, is significant for at the time of de Charney’s visit to Scotland, Isabella, the sister of John Randolph the third Earl, had married into the ‘Dunbar’ clan of Lothian & Berwickshire, a family of stalwart Knights Templars with whom we may assume the Mandylion had been sequestered. The presence of the icon in Lothian is suggested by a rare depiction among the cornucopian carvings of Rosslyn Chapel, only a few miles from Temple. There is a sculptured tableau in the chapel, atop a pillar cornice, on which a headless figure holds up a piece of material sporting the very face of Christ. That the Mandylion was kept at Rosslyn would help to explain the mystery behind the chapel’s steps, which are said to have been worn down by pilgrims who had traveled to Rosslyn from northern Spain. It is likely that this circumstance is connected to the Sudarium of Oviedo, said to be the face cloth used in the burial of Christ. A modern writer, Mark Oxley, records; ‘folklore recounts how pilgrims in their thousands traveled there after completing the arduous trek to the shrine of St James of Compostela.’ A pilgrim, after seeing the Sudarium, would have dearly wanted to complete the set, so to speak, by travelling to Scotland & Rosslyn in order to see the other material visually associated with the death & resurrection of Christ.

The Mandylion at Rosslyn
The Mandylion at Rosslyn

The building of Rosslyn Chapel officially commenced in 1446, directed by a local nobleman, Sir William Sinclair. In fact, he had been employing a group of builders & masons since 1441 – perhaps to build a secret underground chamber, or a tunnel to his castle? To this day, perhaps, in a secret compartment of the chapel’s crypt, or possibly wrapped around the body of one of the buried Templars, the Mandylion is still hidden at Rosslyn. Was it the very ‘secret shown to us’ which Marie Guise mentioned in a letter after visiting the chapel in 1546. For the moment, all we may do is speculate, for Historic Scotland controls the site & any excavatory work is strictly forbidden. In the Scotsman newspaper (27th July 2000), local project director, Stuart Beattie, says;

 We are not in the business of being grail hunters at the moment, although I think there are members of the trust and a lot of the public who would like to see invasive investigations. The immediate priority is to focus on conservation work, and then perhaps the trust might turn its attention to more esoteric matters


Next Wednesday, 03/01/18

Chapter 10

Shakespeare’s Grand Tour


chisp cover


Chapter 1: The Exodus
Chapter 2: The Aryan Invasion
Chapter 3: The Mahabharata
Chapter 4: Agastya
Chapter 5: The Picts
Chapter 6: Brunanburh
Chapter 7: The Young Shakespeare
Chapter 8: Shakespeare’s Blossom
Chapter 9: The Badon Babel Tree
Chapter 10: The Saxon Advent



chisper_effectChapter 1: Chispology 
Chapter 2: Princess Scota
Chapter 3: The Ithica Frage
Chapter 4: The Jesus Jigsaw
Chapter 5: Asvaghosha
Chapter 6: Dux Bellorum
Chapter 7: Dux Pictorum
Chapter 8: The Holy Grail
Chapter 9: The Mandylion
Chapter 10: Shakespeare’s Grand Tour
Chapter 11: The Dark Lady
Chapter 12: The Ripper Gang

The Chisper Effect 8 : The Holy Grail

Continuing the weekly serialization of


Damian Beeson Bullen’s


In which a number of the world’s greatest mysteries are finally solved


(Register with Completely Novel to…)



Chapter VIII

Finding the Holy Grail is, well, the Holy Grail of historical mysteries. According to later Arthurian tradition, & the chisper widely believed by modernity, the Grail was a wine-filled cup utilised by Jesus at the last supper. The truth, however, is somewhat quite different. Analyzing the complex collection of chispers that surround the Grail has been the most taxing of tasks, but the solution is at hand. We must begin at the end of 2011, when I made what I thought to be rather an important discovery concerning an obscure old stone standing in a sleepy corner of Scotland known as the Yarrow Glen. For over thirteen centuries the stone had been slowly eroding beneath the sod, the ancient secrets it kept fading into obscurity. Two hundred years ago it suddenly surfaced, a five-foot long block of solid greywhacke disturbed from its earthy slumbers by a farmer’s ploughing of the moor. The discovery was made at Whitehope farm, just outside the pretty village of Yarrow, nine miles to the west of Selkirk in the heathy heart of the Scottish Borders. Of the find area, George Eyre-Todd declared; ‘previous to 1808 the neighbourhood of the glebe was a low waste moor, with some twenty large cairns upon it, in which, when opened, were found some heaps of fine yellow dust and the head of an antique spear. About three hundred yards further to the west, when the strath was being broken in by the plough, a large flat stone was laid bare. It contained a Latin inscription, rudely engraved.’

This exciting & curiously inscribed stone was taken for examination at the nearby home of the Duke of Buccleugh, Bowhill House. Eminent antiquarians hurried to examine the stone, including luminaries such as Sir Walter Scott, Dr. John Leyden & Mungo Park. Following its perusal, the stone was returned to its home on the moor, but placed erroneously in an upright position. In its original position it had  led horizontally on the ground, whereby standing it bolt upright we visitors must now bend our necks sideways in order to read the much-weathered inscription. On doing so we find a Latin memorial, scoured out of the rock in large scraggly capital letters.




The accepted translation reads;

This is an everlasting memorial.
In this place lie the most famous princes
Nudi and Dumnogeni
In this tomb lie the two sons of Liberalis.

The stone marks a burial ground for two Christian princes of the fifth to sixth centuries AD – but which two? Their deaths seem to have been attached to a major battle, for a great deal of burial tumuli & memorial stones had been erected at the site. The Statistical Account of Scotland 1845 describes;’ on Dryhope Haugh, there stood a large cairn called Herton’s Hill, in the midst of which, when the stones were removed about thirty years ago, to enclose the surrounding field, some urns were found, besides a coffin found of slabs, & containing ashes. There may still be seen to the westward of Altrie Lake, on rising knolls, five considerable tumuli, probably remains of the ancient Britons.’ At the end of the 19th century, yet more remains were unearthed, with William Angus recording, ‘cart loads of bones are said to have been unearthed to the west of the church & put upon the glebe lands.’ The identities of the men who gave life to those bones are long lost to us now, except, of course, for the two princes of the stone.


In the New Year of 2012 I thought I had it all figured it all out, & telephoned the Southern Reporter, a newspaper based in Selkirk. They enjoyed my ‘discovery’ enough to actually publish the story (Jan 7th 2012). That I was described as a ‘hobby historian’ shows that at this point in my studies – which I began seriously in 2010 –  I had not yet established the core ideas of Chispology.

AN Edinburgh hobby historian is claiming the Yarrow Stone marks the grave of King Arthur, writes Sally Gillespie.

Self-styled literary archaeologist Damian Bullen says academic consensus has the Liberalis Stone as the burial ground of two Christian princes of the fifth to sixth centuries AD. And one of those he believes was King Arthur.

Mr Bullen, 35, said: “When we strip away the mediaeval romancing of our legendary king, we are left with genuine nuggets of historicity. One of them is the stone at Yarrow which I am convinced is his grave marker.”

It has been reported that the famous regent died with Medrawt (said to be his nephew Mordred) during “the strife of Camlann”. Camlann means “crooked glen” which Mr Bullen says is “a perfect match” for the river bends in the Yarrow Valley near the Liberalis Sonte.

Ploughing in the area three hundred years ago revealed a large flat stone inscribed in Latin.

Mr Bullen says: “Academic consensus states that the site was a burial ground for two Christian princes of the fifth to sixth centuries AD – but which two? At first glance it seems that Prince Nudos and Prince Dumnogenus were the sons of King Liberalis, but there is more to these names than meets the eye.”

He looked up “liberalis” and “nudus” in the 1968 Oxford Latin Dictionary from which he believes the former means gentlemanly and argues: “Calling our two princes, ‘sons of Liberalis,’ would be a poetic way of saying that they were very noble princes.”

Nudus, he says, implies loss of all one’s material possessions.

“In the context of a burial chamber, the word nudus is surely used as a deterrent to would-be grave robbers of the future.”

He further claims: “Moving on to the second prince, Dumnogenus, the whole key to the Yarrow Stone and its significance to British history is revealed. The word is actually made up of two components, Dumno and Genus. Genus – descent, birth, origin – with implication of high or noble descent – nationality, race, nation. The genus element means ‘born of,’ as in our modern word ‘genes.’ This makes the two princes ‘born of the Dumno’. This has to be the Dumnonii, a tribe of ancient Britons, whose lands encompassed Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset.

“This knowledge renders the inscription as, ‘Here lie two famous and very noble princes of Dumnonia, buried without possessions’ Of all the princes of antiquity who have heralded from this region, there is one who stands head and shoulders above all the rest – King Arthur! That he died with a family member – Mordred – fits the inscription on the Yarrow Stone completely.”

He says the monks of Glastonbury where Arthur is currently believed to be buried, made the story up to raise money.

“When we look deeper into the initial discovery (of Arthur’s coffin), we learn that the abbey was, at that time, in deep financial trouble. A few years before the discovery, in 1184, the monastic buildings and church of Glastonbury had been burnt to the ground. Money was needed, and with the relics of saints being big business at the time, these wily monks ‘found’ the bones of Saint Patrick. Widespread belief in an Irish burial site soon put paid to that particular claim, and the bones of Saint Dunstan ‘discovered,’ not long after were dismissed as swiftly. By 1189, with Richard the Lionheart pressing the churches for financial assistance to aid his crusade, the monks were getting desperate. How fortuitous it was, then, that the bones of King Arthur were unearthed the next year.

“As seems likely, the monks of Glastonbury had made the whole thing up, meaning the search for Arthur’s grave is back on.”

Other clues to support his theory, he says, are the “crooked” element of Camlann being echoed in a hill overlooking the river called Crook Hill and the moor on which the stone was found having the name Annan Street, which he says is a possible shortened form of Camlannan. He continues: “There is a ‘Dead Lake,’ near Yarrow bridge, which local tradition says was the final resting place of warriors slain in battle. It could well be the lake in which Arthur ordered his knight Bedivere to throw Excalibur into as he lay dying.”

And Mr Bullen says: “There is a real likelihood of a battle having taken place at Yarrow. In the area one finds a host of Cath- names – Cath is Brythonic for battle – such as Cat Craig, Catslackburn, Catslack Knowe and Cat Holes.”

He notes there are battlefield burials in the area and he believes Arthur’s corpse was the well-preserved skeleton found on Whitehope Farm in the mid-19th century but which was gradually lost to curio-seekers.

And from letters dating back to the period, Mr Bullen also thinks King Arthur’s skull may be in the vaults of a local museum.

“It seems Arthur was buried near Selkirk. I’m convinced of this and until we find another site in a crooked glen, where two princes of Devon or Cornwall are buried side by side, and surrounded by the bodies of many warriors, I shall remain so.”

Asked to comment on Mr Bullen’s hypothesis, a spokesperson for Historic Scotland said: “The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) records indicate that ‘the Yarrow Stone was set up to mark the grave of two British Christian chieftains. It dates from the early 6th century and falls into place in the early Christian series more richly represented in Wales and Cornwall.’ As such, we certainly believe it is of national importance.”

A couple of days later I was studying in the National Library of Scotland, when an email dropped into my inbox with an urgent message to contact a certain Niamh Andersson by telephone. It turns out she worked at Deadline News, an Edinburgh based company which feeds stories to the nationals. Thinking ‘why not’ I walked down to the place to give them a few more details about me & my studies, and they also took my photo. The following morning I went to my local newsagents, bought a copy of the Daily Record & found my face staring up at me. The Record is more a national tabloid, and I was quite tickled to see how an off the cuff mark in the Southern Reporter story had creochisp’d into the headline;


From here the story shot round the twittersphere and opened up a great deal of debate onto whether I was right or wrong. Certain Arthurians who have written books about their version of King Arthur reacted swiftly, dismissing my findings as rubbish. Now, I am always readily ready to admit when I am wrong about something, and in this instance I was definitely wrong about the Yarrow stone marking the burial ground of King Arthur. In the last chapter I showed he was buried at Inchyra, which leaves us with the unanswered question of, ‘just who were the two Dumnonian princes buried at Yarrow?’ The answer comes quickly, for where the Jesus College genealogies have a certain Pheredur as a king of Dumnonia (after King Cador), we may observe in the Triads & the Annales Cambrae the same figure – & his brother Gwrgi – in action in the Borders, fighting at the Battle of Arfderydd, near Longtown in Cumbria, in 573. That they later died at the same time – thus realizing the historical background of the Yarrow stone – is given by the Annales Cambrae, when in 580 AD; ‘Gwrgi and Peredur – sons of Elifert – died.’ The circumstance of their deaths is given in the Triads, when among  ‘Three Faithless Warbands’ of Britain, we may observe;

The War-band of Gwrgi & Peredur, who abandoned their lord at Caer Grue, when they had an appointment to fight the next day with Eda Great-knee; & there they were both slain

Caer Grue has never been identified, but could well be Din Guarie on the Northumbrian coast, upon which site the magnificent castle of Bamburgh was built. This location is supported by a passage in the Historia Brittonum, which shows how Urien of Rheged, who at that time was the ruling ‘lord’ of Gwrgi & Peredur, was besieging Angle-held Lindisfarne, the Holy Island across the waters from Bamburgh;

Theodoric (Athelric’s brother) fought vigorously against Urien & his sons. During that time, sometimes the enemy, sometimes the Cymry were victorious, & Urien blockaded them for three days & three nights in the island of Lindisfarne.

Reading between the lines, it seems that during the three-day siege of Lindisfarne, Gwrgi & Pheredur ‘abandoned their lord,’ Urien, and took a day’s march to Yarrow in order to fight Edda Great Knee. This man appears in the Historia Brittonum (chapter 63), as Adda, the father of Theodoric & Athelric. The battle’s victor is unrecorded, but numbering the rather large amounts of Dark Age burials in the locality we know that Yarrow was once an epic scene of carnage. Among the casualties, we may now presume, were Gwrgi & Peredur,  whose father’s name appears in MS Harleian 3859h; ‘Gurci ha Peretur mepion eleuther.’ The name Eleutherius translates out of the Greek into ‘liberty,’ which in Latin is our very own ‘Liberalis.’ We may support this name-change elsewhere, for the very same transchisper occurs within two copies of an Irish text known as ‘The Expulsion of the Dessi,’ in which ‘Luthor‘ would be extracted from ‘Eleuther.’

 Nine men of Luthor… from whom are the Luthraige (Laud 610)

Nine men of Liber… from whom are the Luburige (Rawlinson B 502)

In another manuscript, known as the Boneddy y Gwyr Gogledd, or in English as ‘The Descent of the Men of the North, Eleuther becomes Eliffer. The text in question is essentially a series of Dark Age genealogies, originally made in the late 6th century. Two of the pedigrees are of particular interest to our grailquest.

Gwrgi & Peredur are the sons of Eliffer of the Great Retinue son of Arthwys

Gwendoleu & Nudd & Chof the sons of Ceidyaw son of Arthwys, son of Mar son of Keneu son of Coel.

At this point we should acknowledge how Arthwys of the  ‘Boneddy y Gwyr Gogled,’ is the same man as King Arthur. To do so, we must compare the names of three of the Boneddy’s consecutive kings to three consecutive kings given by the Pictish lists;

ARTHwys——-CEIdyaw —– GwenDOLEU

GARTHnach —- CAIltram ————- TALORg

Securing the King-Arthur-is-Arthwys connection shows how the Arthwys-Eleuther-Peredur lineage reinforces the presence of Dumnonian princes in the Yarrow inscription. With the name ‘Nudi’ being given in the same context as ‘Dumnogeni,’ it is likely that the princes are being described as belonging to the ‘Nud.’ Judy Shoaf, the American administrator of the now closed down Arthurnet forum, not long after I offered my solution to the Holy Grail when she publicly ridiculed me by posting, ‘none of Damo’s posts has ever included a single assertion that is useful to the study of Arthurian literature or of history… his  work is moronic, and of interest only for its spectacular ignorance & I have decided not to shame him by sending it to anyone,’ she confirmed my linguistic supposition of the Yarrow inscription in a private message. Notice Judy’s initial instinct was ‘I thought you must be wrong,’ a sentiment shared by most of academia when faced with work from outwith the dusty cloisters of academe.

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.

Searching for the source of the ‘Nudi,’ there is  a mention of such a man in that very era, when an ‘Edeyrn, son of Nudd’ is seen fighting at Badon in the Dream of Rhonabbwy. This name transchispers elsewhere into Yder, son of Nut (Wace) & Hiderus filius Nu (Big Geoff).  In the last chapter I showed how Uther Pendragon appears as Uudrost in the Pictish King List. Other versions of the list gives him the name-variant of Hydrossig, in which we can detect both Yder & Hiderus . This allows us to construct a family tree showing Pheredur as descended from a figure called King Nudd, & so was definitely Nudi.

       Nud   =   Nut

           {}           {}

      Hiderus = Yder = Hydrossig = Uudrost


                                           Arthwys =  Garthnach


                                          Eleuther = Liberalis




With Yder/Ederyn being present in the Pictish King List, it seems likely that the name Nudd is a retraction of Neithan, or Nechtan, the name of several Pictish kings. In the far north of Scotland, in Keiss Bay, there is a stone is carved with NEHTETRI, while in Latheron we have an Ogham inscription which reads; DUV NODNNATMAQQNAHHTO, i.e.  Duvnodnat son of Nahhto. In Aboyne  a stone is carved with NEHHTVROBBACCENNEVV MAQQOTALLUORRH, ie Neht <robba> Ceneu, son of Talorc (or Tallorcen, Talorgeu). The connection to Ceneu is intriguing, for this king appears in the Men of the North genealogies, as in;

Gwrgi & Peredur are the sons of Eliffer of the Great Retinue son of Arthwys son of Mar son of Ceneu son of Coel

We also have a fascinating chispological pattern presented by the Nehht-Vrobba combination, which creates two babel-chains that lead to Nectonius & Wrip, as given in the Pictish Chronicle’s;

So Nectonius the Great, Wirp’s son, the king of all the provinces of the Picts, offered to Saint Brigid, to the day of judgement, Abernethy, with its territories … Now the cause of the offering was this. Nectonius, living in a life of exile, when his brother Drest expelled him to Ireland, begged Saint Brigid to beseech God for him. And she prayed for him, and said: “If thou reach thy country, the Lord will have pity on thee. Thou shalt possess in peace the kingdom of the Picts.

Things are seeming so very real here, and it is through ‘Edeyrn, son of Nudd that the topsoil of a long buried layer to the Arthurian mythomeme may be scraped away. In the Rhonabwy poem, Ederyn is seen leading a ‘pure black troop’ of Danish warriors, which points us directly to the Scandinavian Heruli, of whom Tacitus writes, ‘not only are they superior in strength to the other peoples I have just mentioned, but they minister to their savage instincts by trickery and clever timing. They black their shields and dye their bodies, and choose pitch dark nights for their battles.’ The arrival, or rather return, of the Heruli to Scandinavia was recorded by the 6th century Byzantine historian, Procopius, who stated that roundabout the year 500 AD, after, ‘crossing many lands, they arrived at the land of the Dani, and then by crossing the sea they arrived on the island of Thule.’ The exact location of Thule is disputed, from Sweden to Iceland, but it definitely places the Heruli in the furthest fringes of NW Europe in which Scotland plays a prominent geographical part. A first hint that they came to Britain can be seen in the ‘Boneddy y Gwyr Gogledd,’ where Arthwys was succeeded by a certain ‘Mar.’ This gives us a solid semantic match to Maehren, the name of a Herulian kingdom whose denizens were known as ‘Marings’ as attested by buck foundle in Pannonia opposite the mouth of River March.

We can definitely observe a Herulian presence in the Pictish King list, where Galalan Erilich ruled from 507 to 519, between Drest Gurthinmoch & King Arthur’s brother, Drest. The epithet ‘Erilich’ is a match for the Herulian ‘Erilaz/Erilar,’ as found on ten runic inscriptions across Scandinavia, dating between 450 & 550. That Herulians could become Pictish kings suggests some kind of ancient tribal bond, & just as Tacitus recorded that Herulians ‘dye their bodies,’ so too does Herodian describe the Picts; ‘they tattoo their bodies with coloured designs and drawings of all kinds of animals; for this reason they do not wear clothes, which would conceal the decorations on their bodies.’ It is also becoming clear that the concentric circle appearing on a shield-painting of the Herules Seniores as found in a medieval copy of Notitia Dignitatum (below left) – a census of the Roman military dated to the beginning of the 5th century AD – is identical to those carved into numerous Pictish stones, usually in pairs. Indeed, the Pictish stones were for a long time attributed not to the Picts, but were given a Scandinavian origin. The ‘Sculptured Stones of Scotland,’ for instance, printed for the Spalding Club, states, ‘in the greater number of instances where any tradition exists, they are still called ‘Danish Stones.’

circ heru

The Pictish symbol stones began to spring up in Scotland in the 5th & 6th centuries, the very period when the southern Heruli were returning to their northern homelands. The Pictish symbols have never been deciphered, but it is undeniable that another Scandinavian element to appear among the Pictish symbols is the lightning-like Sowilaz, the rune for sun which can be seen running through a pair of Herulian concentrics in the symbol known to scholars as the ‘z-rod & double-disc (above right). This combination of Sowliaz & Herulian also turned up in 1840, when a piece of bone called the Lindholm Amulet was found in Skåne, Sweden, whose runic inscription reads, ‘I am (an) erilaz, I am called Sawilagaz.’ The name Sawilagaz translates as, “the one of the Sun (Sowilo).’ We may also notice the presence of the Sowilaz in the Boneddy y Gwyr Gogledd’s,

Dunawd & Cherwyd & Sawyl High-head (penuchel) are the sons of Pabo the Pillar of Britain son of Arthwys son of Mar son of Keneu son of Coel

The Lindholm Amulet

The Heruli were numbered among the Gothic tribes, & evidence for their presence in 6th century Britain comes during the siege of Rome in 537, the same conflict to which King Arthur was marching before he turned about-face in the Alps in order to deal with Mordred’s treachery back in Britain. The siege would last for over a year, when in 538 the Ostrogoths & the Byzantines, led by Belisarius, would come to an amicable agreement & end the siege completely. It is in an exchange of letters between the leaders at that time that helps us to  scrape off a little more top-soil from the 6th century Herulian strata of British history. Procopius records;

And the barbarians said: “We give up to you Sicily, great as it is and of such wealth, seeing that without it you cannot possess Libya in security.”

And Belisarius replied: “And we on our side permit the Goths to have the whole of Britain, which is much larger than Sicily and was subject to the Romans in early times.

We have already seen in the last chapter how Arthur had visited Jerusalem. That King Arthur fought in the Byzantine forces is corroborated archeologically by the Byzantium-originated Tintagelware, & also this wonderful passage from Culhwch & Olwen, the oldest Arthurian tale, which shows how Arthur fought military campaigns far from the shores of Britain;

Then Glewlwyd went into the Hall. And Arthur said to him, “Hast thou news from the gate?”“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; and I was in the battle of Dau Ynyr, when the twelve hostages were brought from Llychlyn. And I have also been in Europe, and in Africa, and in the islands of Corsica, and in Caer Brythwch, and Brythach, and Verthach; and I was present when formerly thou didst slay the family of Clis the son of Merin, and when thou didst slay Mil Du the son of Ducum, and when thou didst conquer Greece in the East.” I have been in Caer Oeth and Annoeth, and in Caer Nevenhyr

The sites of many of these places have been lost to modernity, but there is enough to show that Glewlwyd was campaigning in Byzantium & beyond. India the Great is India itself, while India the Lesser was Ethiopia. There are also mentions of Africa, Sicily (Salach), Greece & the islands of Corsica. All these places were theaters of action for the Byzantines, especially during Justinian’s Reqonquista in the 520s & 530s.  We know about the Byzantines driving Godas out of Sardinia, for example, and also fighting the Hymarites in Arabia (Lesser India) in 530. The crucial section for Arthuriana is when Glewlwyd tells Arthur I was present… when thou didst slay Mil Du the son of Ducum.’ Mil Du, son of Ducum, was a Jewish warlord called Dhu Nawas who was defeated in the Yemen in 527. This gives us an interesting insight into Arthur’s lost years – between Badon in 516 & his accession to the Pictish throne in 529 – when at one point he was fighting for the Byzantine armies in the Arabian peninsular!

Wherever Arthur went he left a trail, but as the name Peter differs according to which language it is uttered in (French = Pierre, Danish = Pedyr), so too was Arthur’s name different in varying regions. Add to this the oral corruptions & scribal mistakes that abounded through the barely literate Dark Ages, then as we shall see Arthur’s name & identity kaliedoscoped into manifold splinters. One variant was Arthwys, which leads to a certain…

….Erythius/Erythrios. According to the Chronicle of John Malalas, he held the title of Patricius in the Byzantine empire, in 527. The very same title was found in connection with Arthur on a seal at Westminster last seen in the 16th century. In his preface to Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, William Caxton writes, ‘in the Abbey of Westminster, at St. Edward’s Shrine, remaineth the print of his seal in red wax closed in beryl, in which is written “Patricius Arthurus, Britannie, Gallie, Germanie, Dacie, Imperator.”‘ The mention of Dacia is most relevant here, being a Byzantine District to the North of Thrace. Erythios is said to have been a patrician alongside a certain Ateneos/Aetherius, who could well be Ederyn/Eleutherius, etc.  According to John Bishop of Nikiu’s Chronicle, the two patrician tried to convince Emperor Justinian to adopt Mazdakism in order to conquer Asia. We also know thar Erythius’ wife was sentenced to death for being a Manichean in 527, a possible motive for Arthur abandoning his Byzantine political life & heading to Scotland. The Chronicle of John of Malalas tells us;

At that time many Manicheans were punished in every city, among those punished was the wife of the senator Erythrios & other women as well.


But what about the Grail? According to the Arthurian romances, composed mainly in French about 1200 AD, we read how the Grail was transported to the Grail castle, somewhere in the Middle East by Sir Peredur & Sir Bors. I believe that the name of Sir Bors is a philochisp of Bouzes, one of the Gothic generals of Vitalian. A first mention of him was made in 528, when he appears as the joint duke of of Phoenice Libanensis (to the east of Mount Lebanon) together with his brother, Coutzes. That Bouzes was Sir Bors is also supported by Mallory’s ‘Morte D’Arthur,’ which states that Bors died fighting the Turks in the Middle-East. This connects with Bouzes’ own disappearance from history, when in 556 he was last recorded as defending Nesus on the River Phasis. Most importantly for our investigation, in 530 A.D. Procopius places Bouzes alongside a certain ‘Pharas the Herulian’ at the Battle of Dara.

The extremity of the left straight trench which joined the cross trench as far as the hill, which rises here, was held by Bouzes with a large force of horsemen and by Pharas the Herulian with three hundred of his nation… In the late afternoon a certain detachment of horsemen… came against the forces of Bouzes and Pharas. And the Romans retired a short distance to the rear… And again Bouzes and Pharas stationed themselves in their own position…Then Pharas came before Belisarius and Hermogenes, and said:”It does not seem to me that I shall do the enemy great harm if I remain here with the Eruli; but if we conseal ourselves at this slope, and then the Persians have begun the fight, if we climb up this hill and suddenly come upon their rear, shooting from behind them, we shall in all propability do them the greatest harm.” Thus he spoke, and, since it pleased Belisarius and his staff, he carried out this plan.

Seeing Bouzes & Pharas the Herulian together suggests that Pharas may have been Peredur, a notion we may support by picking apart the variant names – Pheredur & Parzival – in order to identify the correct phonetics contained in ‘Pharas Eril.

PH: The ‘ph’ of Pheredur

AROS: The ‘arz’ of Parzival

ER: The ‘ur’ of Pheredur

IL: The ‘al’ of Parcival

History supports the connection, for a 14-year sojourn by Peredur in Constantinople, given in the medieval Welsh tale Peredur son of Efrawg, finds a tally in Pharas the Herulian’s membership of the Byzantine armies. Pharas’ epithet means he belonged to the Herulians, who were in the 6th century fighting as foederati in the Byzantine legions. He may even have been related to Galanan Erilich. It is interesting to observe that in the description of Pharas made by Procopius we get someone who sounds very much like one of the pious Knights of Arthur’s Round Table, as in, ‘energetic and thoroughly serious and upright in every way, although he was an Erulian by birth. And for an Erulian not to give himself over to treachery and drunkenness, but to strive after uprightness, is no easy matter and merits abundant praise. But not only was it Pharas who maintained orderly conduct, but also all the Erulians who followed him.’

The Järsberg runestone
The Järsberg runestone

According to the romances, the Grail was actually in Britain at some point, in the hands of a certain British King called Pelles. As we can see from the following babel-chain, the ‘Pelles’ name contains the core etymological elements as that of Liberalis, who we have ascertained was the father of Pheredur.


We may connect Liberalis with the Herulians thro an inscription found on a runestone near Kristinehamn, in Varmland Sweden. Known as the Järsberg Runestone, the text reads; ‘…ubaz am I called. Raven am I called. I, the eril, write the runes.’ 
The runestone is damaged, & it is possible that ‘ubaz’ is actually the
 ending of a different word. Another runestone, from Skärkinds,
Östergötland, & dated to the same era gives us ‘leubaz.’

Returning to the Grail, it was said to have been kept at a place called Galafort, which points to a fortification near the Gala River in the Scottish Borders, in the relative vicinity of Yarrow. We will find out how it got there in the next chapter, but for now let us note how it was removed from Galafort to ‘Corbenic,’ castle. This was evidently somewhere in Northumberland, for the region was once given the name Bernicia by the invading Angles, named after their ancestral King, Benic or Bennoc, as appearing in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

 547 : This year Ida began his reign; from whom first arose the royal kindred of the Northumbrians. Ida was the son of Eoppa, Eoppa of Esa, Esa of Ingwy, Ingwy of Angenwit, Angenwit of Alloc, Alloc of Bennoc, Bennoc of Brand, Brand of Balday, Balday of Woden

In Bamburgh castle with the kids

The capital of Bernicia was Bamburgh castle, a place well worth visiting for its fabulous castle, the wonderful tick-tack exhibitions within its sprawling walls & the lungbursting views of the North Sea. It feels that the Grail Castle actually stood on nearby Holy Island, on whose lands the 7th century Christian settlement of Lindisfarne upsprang. One medieval description of a visit to the castle states, ‘Gawain rode out to sea along a narrow causeway for a long way before reaching the castle.’ This is an exact match for the approach to Holy Island at Lindisfarne, a tidal causeway many tourists have underappreciated when swigging back that sweet & tasty mead made by the red-nosed local monks, thus stranding themselves in a tipsy stupor on the island.

The chief object of this chapter has been to show how the legendary finder of  the legendary Grail was a real person, and thus if the legendary finder of the Grail was real then… well, you get the picture. We have also ascertained he was a British king of Herulian blood, who would appear in the Byzantine annals as fighting in one of the auxiliary foedarati regiments alongside the Byzantine legions. Acknowledging such a pan-Continental existence for Peredur puts into perspective how, according to the romances, he was given the Holy Grail at Corbenic in Britain, after which he would take it to a place called Sarras, situated somewhere in the Byzantine East. This leads us to an extremely fascinating collection of factochisps which have muddled up the origins & the outcome of the Holy Grail no end. It is time for a comprehensive study of the Mandylion…


Next Wednesday, 27/12/17

Chapter 9

The Mandylion


chisp cover


Chapter 1: The Exodus
Chapter 2: The Aryan Invasion
Chapter 3: The Mahabharata
Chapter 4: Agastya
Chapter 5: The Picts
Chapter 6: Brunanburh
Chapter 7: The Young Shakespeare
Chapter 8: Shakespeare’s Blossom
Chapter 9: The Badon Babel Tree
Chapter 10: The Saxon Advent



chisper_effectChapter 1: Chispology 
Chapter 2: Princess Scota
Chapter 3: The Ithica Frage
Chapter 4: The Jesus Jigsaw
Chapter 5: Asvaghosha
Chapter 6: Dux Bellorum
Chapter 7: Dux Pictorum
Chapter 8: The Holy Grail
Chapter 9: The Mandylion
Chapter 10: Shakespeare’s Grand Tour
Chapter 11: The Dark Lady
Chapter 12: The Ripper Gang

The Chisper Effect 7 : Dux Pictorum

Continuing the weekly serialization ofchisper_effect

Damian Beeson Bullen’s


In which a number of the world’s greatest mysteries are finally solved


(Register with Completely Novel to…)



Chapter VII

In the last chapter we witnessed the supporting evidence for King Arthur’s historicity in the far south of Britain. Since his birth at Tintagel his fame has fanned out to every corner of the British Isles, swelling among folk memories & clinging hardily to topographical features. Scotland, especially, enjoys a vivid Arthurian tradition; there is a Loch Arthur near Dumfries, there is Ben Arthur above Loch Lomond, there is the great mountain of Arthur’s Seat at Edinburgh, while Stirling enjoys its own Round Table & a curious construction known as Arthur’s Oven. By analyzing the battle-list in the Historia Brittonum we can easily identify at least two consecutive battles fought by Arthur in Scotland. The seventh of the twelve battles was sited in the ‘Coit Celidon,’ i.e. the wood of Caledonia, the Roman name for Scotland. It is into this very wood that the wizard Merlin fled following the battle of Ardderyth in 573, and where, according to John of Fordun, he was murdered by shepherds at Drumelzier. The Caledonian Wood was once an epic affair, spreading mile after mile of foliage between Hadrian’s Wall & the Firth of Forth, & is thus too vague a reference point to locate the actual battlefield with any precision. Contrarily, we can state quite positively that Arthur’s eighth battle was fought in a singular & identifiable place in Scotland.

The eighth battle was at the fortress of Guinnion, in which Arthur carried the image of holy Mary ever virgin on his shoulders; and the pagans were put to flight on that day. And through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and through the power of the blessed Virgin Mary his mother there was great slaughter among them


In a recension of the Historia Brittonum known as Vatican Reg.1964., there is a wonderful piece of handwritten scholia attached to this battle by a tenth-century scribe called Marc the Anchorite;

For Arthur proceeded to Jerusalem, and there made a cross to the size of the Saviour’s cross, and there it was consecrated, and for three successive days he fasted, watched, and prayed, before the Lord’s cross, that the Lord would give him the victory, by this sign, over the heathen; which also took place, and he took with him the image of St. Mary, the fragments of which are still preserved in great veneration at Wedale, in English Wodale, in Latin Vallis-doloris. Wodale is a village in the province of Lodonesia, but now of the jurisdiction of the bishop of St. Andrew’s, of Scotland, six miles on the west of that heretofore noble and eminent monastery of Meilros.


Astonishing stuff! We have been given a pin-point location for an Arthurian battlefield; a literary arrow aiming straight at Stow-in-Wedale in the Scottish Borders between Galashiels and Edinburgh. The fortress of Guinnion should then be Craigend Fort, two thirds of a mile to the north of Stow, whose grassy remnant of today barely does justice to what was once an impressive 900-foot high hill-fort. That a West Country Arthur was fighting this far north – & further, as we shall soon see – can be understood through the processes of the Chisper Effect. We begin by looking at an antique text known as the Pictish King List: only a handful of copies have survived the rigors of time, but they all contain pretty much the same sequence of kings, albeit with subtle variations in name spellings & reign lengths. The Picts were an ancient Scottish tribe who the Romans just could not conquer, building instead Hadrian’s Wall in order to keep them out of the Empire. Of the variant lists of their kings, the reigns given by the 14th century Poppleton Manuscript can be safely cross-referenced with dates found in the Irish Chronicles. Of these, the Annals of Clonmacnoise give us our first solid date, being;449: Drust mc Erb, K. of Pictland, died.’  Taking this as our starting point, let us examine the Poppleton King List, beginning with Talore, the successor of Drust McErb.

Year Crowned                       Reign-length

(449) Talore son of Aniel   (4)
(453) Necton Morbet son of Erip   (24)
(477) Drest Gurthinmoch   (30)
(507) Galalan Erilich   (12)
(519) Two Drests – son of Girom
———————— son of Uudrost

Drusts reign 5 years together / Drest son of Girom rules solo 5 years

(529) Garthnach son of Girom   (7)
(536) Cailtram son of Girom   (1)
(537) Talorg son of Muircholaich   (11)
(548) Drest son of Muniat   (1)
(549) Galam Cennaleph   (1)
(550) Galam Cennaleph and Bridei together   (1)
(551) Bridei son of Mailcon (30)

The final date of 581 (551+30) given as the end of King Bridei’s reign matches an event recorded in that same year by the Annals of Tigernach;

 581AD : The death of Bruide son of Maelchú, king of the Picts

In terms of reign-lengths, the Poppleton List can be certified as authentic, & looking through it with a keen chispological eye focusses our attention on a certain Garthnach, son of Girom. He was the ruler of the Picts between 529 & 536 & his parent’s name, like so many others scattered through the king lists, is non-especial. However, let us now look at Girom’s name as it appears in alternate versions of the Pictish King List, a cross-table in which philochisps are simply running riot;


Gygurn: Bodleian ms Lat misc c.75

Gigurnus: Scalacronica, Corpus Christi College


If we simply drop the Gs, we are left with a fellow called Arthnach son of Ygurn/Igurnus, which even the most skeptical of scholars must recognize as an incredible fit for Arthur son of Igerne. It has been a long, long time since anyone spoke Pictish; the phonetical rules of its language have been forgotten forever, expect in a few places where Pictish place-names still linger to this day, such as ‘aber’ for river-mouth & ‘pitt’ for portion of land. That the Picts placed a guttural ‘g’ before the vowels of their proper names is a distinct possibility, & if this is somehow not the case, then it must only be a massive coincidence that Garthnach son of Gygurn lived in the exact same period as Arthur son of Igerne, giving up his throne only a year before Arthur’s death at Camlann. Instead, I would prefer to praise the inherent abilities of the Chisper Effect, including the process of identifying semantics & etymologies of lost languages, a quality which can only enrich the work of future scholars.


If Garthnach & Arthur were one & the same individual, we are left with the not insignificant problem of transporting a Cornish Arthur onto the Pictish throne. The likeliest & most legal explanation is that Igerne/Gygurn was a Pictish princess, as – according to the venerable 7th century Northumbrian monk, Bede – the nature of Pictish kingship was matrilineal;

 The Picts, accordingly, sailing over into Britain, began to inhabit the northern parts thereof, for the Britons were possessed of the southern. Now the Picts had no wives, and asked them of the Scots; who would not consent to grant them upon any other terms, than that when any difficulty should arise, they should choose a king from the female royal race rather than from the male: which custom, as is well known, has been observed among the Picts to this day.

We know next to nothing about the power politics of 6th century Britain, even less about the Pictish system, but the idea of Igerne being both Duchess in the West Country & a princess of Pictland is not at all far-fetched,  for dynastical alliances between royal houses is a common feature that continues to this day. Britain’s reigning monarch, for example, Queen Elizabeth II, is married to a Greek, while in the age of Victoria, her many children married into most of the noble houses of Europe. We must also recall from the last chapter how a Pictish name, Drystan, appeared on the Fowey Stone only a few miles from Tintagel as the son of King Mark of Cornwall (see image above). Collating & examining the supporting evidence, & beginning with the latest piece chronologically, Arthur’s connection to Pictland seems to be behind the poetical words of Gruffud ap Meredudd ( fl. 1352-1382 ), who wrote of an ‘Arthur of the highlands, hill country of Prydein,’ where Prydein is the Welsh term for Pictavia. We may confirm this this by correlating the ‘Caw of Prydein’ as given in the Old Welsh tale, Culhwych &  Olwen, with the vita of Saint Gildas, which describes King Caw as, ‘the king of Scotia… the noblest of the kings of the north.’


Two centuries prior to Gruffud ap Meredudd, the 12th century French historian, Lambert of Saint-Omer, describes Arthur quite specifically as a Pictish war-leader; ‘Arthur, Dux Pictorum, ruling realms of the interior of Britain, resolute in his strength, a very fierce warrior, seeing that England was being assaulted from all sides, and that property was being stolen away, and many people taken hostage and redeemed, and expelled from their inherited lands, attacks the Saxons in a ferocious onslaught along with the kings of Britain, and rushing upon them, fought valiantly, coming forward as leader in twelve battles.’  Lambert also presents a second Picto-Arthurian tally with, ‘there is in Britain, in the land of the Picts, a palace of the warrior Arthur, built with marvelous art and variety, in which the history of all his exploits and wars is to be seen in sculpture.‘ This palace may have been at Rhynie, deep in the pretty Cairngorms, whose place at the heart of Pictavia is attested by a large number of Pictish Symbol stones found in the vicinity. A definite Arthurian connection to Rhynie comes through Tintagelware, which had fanned out throughout Britain to a series of high-status sites such as South Cadbury & Longbury Bank in the Dyfed parish of Penally. The latter should well have been the capital of Arthur’s Menevian ‘Throne’ as given in the Triads, & I would now like to remind the reader of the northern realm ascribed to Arthur in the same Triad, ‘Penrhionyd in the north,’ whose name easily transchispers into Rhynie.



Just as Cadbury was home to a grand timber feasting hall; & just as at the ‘high-status’ Longbury Bank in Dyfed, Ewan Campbell & Alan Lane suggest ‘there is tenuous evidence for at least one large timber building,’ so have archeologists uncovered the post-holes & plank slots of a timber feasting hall at Rhynie. It was erected in the immediate vicinity of a Pictish symbol monolith known as the ‘Craw Stane,’ one of three fortified Pictish enclosures  found in recent years at Rhynie, a ‘Royal Mile’ full of timber buildings, defense ditches based on the Roman style & wooden palisades… perhaps the bona fide capital of the Dux Pictorum.


The Tap o Noth


In the Welsh language, ‘Pen’ means ‘summit or peak,’ which renders Penrhionyd as meaning ‘Peak of Rhionyd.’ Above Rhynie towers the far-seen Tap o’ Noth, Scotland’s second highest hillfort, complete with impressive triple-ringed defense-works. Cast in such a majestic setting it is well worth a trip to Rhynie, a remarkably compact & pretty village whose residents go about their business quite unaware that they are breathing the same pure & mountain air as Arthur did during his seven-year stint as King of the Picts. There was even found, in 1978, a Pictish stone with an image of a bearded man with a pointy nose, who is wearing a head-dress, sporting a kilt & wielding a double-headed axe. Known as the Rhynie Man, it was taken from Rhynie & placed in the foyer of Aberdeenshire council’s HQ. It is rather a stretch of the imagination to consider it an image of Arthur, but it may be the nearest pictorial image we possess of how the true Arthur would have appeared to his Caledonian contemporaries.

More support for a Pictish Arthur begins with another glance at the King List, where we encounter a certain ‘Drest Gurthinmoch’ as ruling the Picts between 477 & 507. The Gurthinmoch element is the most important here, for when we take another look at Arthur’s northern court as given in the Tribal Thrones Triad…

 Arthur the chief lord in Penrhionyd in the north,
And Cyndeyrn Garthwys the chief bishop,
And Gurthmwl Guledic the chief elder

…we can satisfactorily identify ‘Gurthmwl’ with Gurthinmoc.

It makes perfect sense that when Arthur – the chief lord – became the Pictish King in 529, Gurthmwl/Gurthinmoc would have been described as a ‘chief elder.’ He had been a Pictish King himself, ruling for a good thirty years, & combining this nugget with the cornucopia of solid proofs I have provided leads us to only one conclusion… Arthur was at least half Pictish!


Returning now to the Pictish ordnance of Arthur, three years after the Battle of Badon, in 519, an otherwise un-sourced brother of Arthur, Drest son of Gygurn, became King of the Picts. What is interesting here is that at one point Drest shared his throne with a certain Drest, son of Uudrost, whose name transchispers into…


It seems probable that the two Drests were actually the same man, genflated into the list as individual sons of his mother & father. Either way, the presence of Uther in the King List, & his appearance beside Igerne, pretty much seals the deal that Garthnach was Arthur. Coming to the Pictish throne in 529, he would be king for only seven years, being succeeded in 536 by ‘Cailtram,’ who appears in Arthuriana as Sir Kay. That same year, according to Big Geoff, Arthur had begun a march on Rome, which we may attach to the historical siege of that city by the Ostrogoths that commenced in March 537. According to Big Geoff, after campaigning in France (in 536) Arthur went on to winter in the same country. The following year, with the summer coming on, Big Geoff describes that after departing for Rome in the old Hannibal style, Arthur; ‘had begun to climb the passes of the mountains, when message was brought him that his nephew Mordred, unto whom he had committed the charge of Britain, had tyrannously and traitorously set the crown of the kingdom upon his own head, and had linked him in unhallowed union with Guenevere the Queen in despite of her former marriage.’ The war which followed is quite succinctly described in the Annales Cambrae;

 537 AD The Strife of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut fell

The location of this ‘deadly battle’ has never been established to satisfaction, but it seems certain it was somewhere in the north parts of Britain, where the Triads place both Picts & Scots at the battle, as in; ‘three Dishonoured Men who were in the Island of Britain: The third and worst was Medrawd… When Medrawd heard that Arthur’s host was dispersed, he turned against Arthur, and the Saxons and the Picts and the Scots united with him to hold this Island against Arthur.’ There is also a passage in the Old Welsh tale, The Dream of Rhonabwy, in which a certain Iddawg places the battle in the Pictavian ‘Prydyn.’

I was one of the missionaries in the Camellian battle between Arthur and Medrawd his nephew… I was named in Iddawg Cordd Britain. And because of this the ranks of the troops were distributed at Machman. But, however, three nights before the end of the Camell battle I drove them out and I came to Lech Las in Prydyn to eat.

Both Machman & Lech Las are unknown to modernity. Of these, Machman, certainly feels like Clackmannan, a town just to the east of Stirling. Named after the pre-Christian ‘Stone of Mannau,’ it would have been the perfect location-beacon upon which Arthur’s armies would have assembled before Camlann. The other site, Lech Las, may well be the etymological root of Glasgow, from the lechlas-to-chlas pilochisp, which we may support by Glasgow being one of the very few Christian sites in 6th century Scotland.  But I digress too far. Returning to the battlefield at Camlann, solid Scottish remembrances of the battle can be found in the 16th Bcentury Scottish history by the very erudite Hector Boece;

In that deadly battle more than twentythousand Scots and Picts, together with King Modredus and a great host of the nobles of both nations. About thirty
 thousand of the Britons and their Bretagne auxiliaries died, including King Arthur and Modredus’ brother Gawanus, whowas so loyal to Arthur that he fought against his brother that day.

This passage contains a lovely piece of information that adds peripheral support to Arthur’s historicity. The mention of ‘Bretagne auxiliaries’ finds a correlation in a ‘legio bretonum’ mentioned in the The Life of Saint Dalmas of Rodez (c.800 A.D.) who were stationed ‘Ultralegeretanis,’ or ‘beyond the Loire.’ Of its date, ‘all one can conclude for sure,‘ opines Australian scholar Howard M. Wiseman, ‘is that the incident took place between 534 or 541.’ During Arthur’s continental adventures in the year before Camlann, he is seen campaigning heavily in Burgundy, & may have been the very leader of the ‘legio bretonum‘ as mentioned in the vita.

Returning to Boece, when adding to the casualty list at Camlann, he tells us, ‘furthermore, there died Caimus, Gwalinus, and
 nearly the entire British nobility.’ We should take particular notice of the demise of a certain Caimus. This man, I believe, was the same fellow as Arthur’s successor to the Pictish throne, CailtramAccording to the King List, Cailtram ruled the Picts for only a year, ending his short stint on the throne on 537, heavily supporting the Cailtram to Caimus babel-chain. Another northern king to die in 537 was Comgall, king of the Scots, as given by the Annals of Tigernach;

 537 - Comgall, Domangart’s son, King of Scotland, fell in the 35th year of his reign

By this use of the word ‘fell’ we must come to the conclusion that Comgall died in battle – in the very same year as our seismic battle at Camlann. The ‘gall’ element of his name also philochisps into Gwalinus; & one cannot help but feel that when Boece places Caimus & Gwalinus side-by-side in death, he is referring to them as the kings of the Picts & the Scots. On the other hand, it is difficult to believe that these two monarchs would have marched their armies all the way to Cornwall, where Camelford is thought by some to be the site of Camlann. This Cornish legend is more of an unsupported factochisp based upon a philochisp, a common error in historical investigations. Looking for the ‘Camellian battle‘ in the north, however, brings us to a possible philochisp found in the Pictish heartlands at Carmyllie, near Dundee – & one that may be supported by a definitive local tradition.


Travelling to the edge of the parish, & ascending the ridge over the gentle Vinney water, one may see the village of Dunnichen in the valley below. It is to the north of that sparklingly pretty townlet, in the gently undulating agricultural landscape of East Mains, that a memory of the battle of Camlann remained long in the folkspeech of the natives, where a transchispering whisper of an Arthurian battle having taken place there refused to fade into nothingness. In the second statistical account of Scotland (1845), the Rev. Mr Headrick records, ‘a confused tradition prevails of a great battle having been fought on the East Mains of Dunnichen, between Lothus, King of the Picts, or his son Modred, and Arthur King of the Britons, in which that hero of romance was slain.’ An Arthurian battle at Dunnichen is hinted at by a clear topographical reference in the locality; of which John Stuart-Glennie declared, ‘a rock on the north side of the hill of Dunbarrow, in Dunnichen parish (in the adjoining county of Forfar), has long borne, in the tradition of the country, the distinguished name of Arthur’s Seat.’  Was this hill the site of Arthur’s camp at the battle of Camlann?

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Archeology has proven that a substantial conflict had been fought in the locality. A Pictish stone was dug up on East Mains, of which instance Headrick observes in 1833’s Statistical Account that, ‘a good many years ago, there was turned up with the plough a large flat stone, on which is cut a rude outline of an armed warrior’s head and shoulders; and not many years ago, the plough also uncovered some graves in another part of the same farm. These graves consisted of flat stones on all sides. They were filled with human bones, and urns of red clay with rude ornaments upon them ; the urns being filled with whitish ashes. By exposure to the air, the bones and urns mouldered to dust.‘ To this information, Andrew Jervise adds (PSAS II, 1854–7), ‘on the lands of Lownie also, (the original property of the Auchterlonies) & in the King’s muir adjoining, a variety of ancient graves have been now and then discovered.’  Also at Dunnichen was found one of the most remarkable symbol-stones in the Pictish pantheon. It had been dug up in 1811 in a field named ‘Chasel’ (Castle) park at East Mains, & moved to the church yard at Aberlemno. One side of this wonderfully carved stone shows a battle in full swing, presumably between the long-haired Picts & what appears to be helmet-wearing Saxons. Camlann was fought on an international scale, a great civil war in which Mordred obtained military assistance from the Saxons, with the Triads telling us; ‘the three disgraceful traitors who enabled the Saxons to take the crown of the Isle of Britain from the Cambrians… The second was Medrod, who with his men united with the Saxons, that he might secure the kingdom to himself, against Arthur; and in consequence of that treachery many of the Lloegrians became as Saxons.’

We also have an account of Guinevere being imprisoned in the locality after the battle. Hector Boece, following, ‘Vairement, Tergotus, and other reliable writers of our national history, because they record things more truthfully, without the tales of itinerant minstrels,’ writes that after the Battle of Camlann, Guinevere was taken to a hill-fort in Perthshire. In May 2014, I decided to investigate the matter for myself, writing it up in the following blogpost;


Queen Guinevere’s Grave

May 16, 2014

 It has been quite a week. Only the other day I made the first inroads into the previously unfathomable mysteries of the Voynich manuscript, then yesterday I began my initial forays into the academic minefield that are the Pictish symbols. These enigmatic images are found on memorial stones & bits of jewelry across northern Britain, & their true meaning has remained a mystery. Speculation has abounded, but with no Pictish literature to speak of, nothing has ever been able to be properly verified. A lovely clutch of them can be found at a place called Meigle, so two days ago I secured the company of my friend Victor Pope (& his plus one free bus pass) & head off into Scotland in search of a Pictish stone. Our journey took us from Edinburgh, over the red-iron leviathan that is Queensferry Bridge, an experience which reminds me of crossing the Goan river estuaries. From there we trundled through Dumfermline & the western reaches of Fife, before arriving in the gorgeous, stately Tayside town of Perth. Changing busses, we now set off east in the direction of Dundee, along the lush stretch of undulating Green that is the Strathmore.


After passing through Coupar Angus, the bus veered north-east for a while & took us to the exquisitely compact & cute townlet of Alyth, over which stands the earthy remains of a majestic Pictish hill-fort. Full of Arthuriana, the 16th century Scottish historian Hector Boece writes that following the disastrous battle of Camlann, in which Arthur met his doom, Guinevere was taken to Alyth;

On the following day, the British camp was ransacked. In it were discovered Arthur’s consort Queen Guanora, and no few men and women of noble blood. Furthermore, ample spoils were collected and shared out among the victors in the traditional way. The Scots were allotted wagons decorated with precious British ornamentation, horses of noble appearance and speed, arms, and the captive nobles, while Queen Guanora, illustrious men and women, and the rest fell to the Picts. These were led to the Pictish district of Horestia, to Dunbar, which was then a very stoutly fortified stronghold (in our days, the name of the place endures, although nothing of the fort save some traces). There they were detained and spent the rest of their lives in wretched servitude.

The bus then trundled on another 3 miles, dropping me & Vic off at Meigle. We had an hour to spend there, the purpose of the visit being to check out the collection of Pictish stones found in the village churchyard & gathered together inside a small, yet atmospheric museum. Luckily, Vic’s plus one bus pass got us in half-price (£2.25 each) & we had a jolly good time checking out the marvelous carvings of a long-dead race. Outside the church there is also the famous ‘Vanora’s Mound,’ said to be the grave of Guinevere herself. The New Statistical Account of Scotland 1845, tells us; ‘Like other places of the same kind, it is the scene of innumerable legends, which agree in representing it as the residence or prison of the infamous Vanora or Guinevar, who appears in the local traditions under the more homely appellation of Queen Wander, and is generally described as a malignant giantess,’ while Boece adds, ‘the most ornate of these is that of Queen Guanora, as we are advised by its inscription. There is a superstition in that district that women who tread on that tomb henceforth remain as barren as was Guanora.’

The connection between the mound & the grave comes from a massive symbol stone at whose center stands a figure in a dress being torn apart by lions – local folklore suggests this is Guinevere being attacked for getting it on with Mordred. Other scholars think it might likely to be the biblical Daniel, who also got torn apart by lions & appears elsewhere in Pictish imagery. Anyway, that is our starting block; two separate traditions placing Guinevere in the vicinity of Meigle. The thing is, the reason I’d hauled ass up into this pretty corner of Scotland was that I had a different idea as to the location of Guinevere’s grave. So me & Vic jumps on a bus three miles down the road to Newtyle, chomping on a bridie as we went, from where we began a six mile hike back to Coupar Angus through fields full of May flowers & buzzing insectry. Across the Strathmore the Grampians began their epic journey north to the Moray Firth, with pockets of snow still skipping the tallest peaks in the distance.


About two miles into the walk, Vic & I came across a tall Pictish stone known as the ‘Keillar Stone.’ It stands on an ancient burial mound, with a clear view across Strathmore to the hillfort at Alyth, & is a really special location indeed. Of the stone, in 1875 William Oliphant described it as an; ‘old and striking monument, making the spot on which it stands historical, though no syllable of the history has come down to us.‘ In 1856, John Stuart-Glennie reported there was a ‘graveyard’ under the stone as in;

The tumulus on which it is placed is formed of earth and stones, and several cists containing bones have been found in it. Ancient sepulchral remains have also been dug up in various parts of the adjoining field.

Of the mysterious Pictish symbols on the stone, the presence of a rimmed mirror & comb combo seems to reflect the eternal female predilection for making themselves beautiful. In the 7th century, Bede records Pope Boniface sending the combo to a Saxon Queen, called Ethelberga. In Bede’s account, he reprints the Pope’s letter to the queen in its entirety, an extract of which reads;

We have, moreover, sent you the blessing of your protector, St. Peter, the prince of the apostles, that is, a silver looking-glass, and a gilt ivory comb, which we entreat your glory will receive with the same kind affection as it is known to be sent by us.

To finish my post I would just like to hypothesise upon a possible factochisp that had taken in the locality. It is true that Guinevere & her fellow nobles were taken in captivity to Alyth, where ‘they were detained and spent the rest of their lives in wretched servitude.’ On their deaths they were buried at the Keillar stone, but over the passage of time, the local tradition that Guinevere was buried in the area, was accidentally shifted to the Vanora Mound at nearby Meigle.



Back in 2017, one final clue to Camlann’s siting at Dunnichen lies in a long-lost church which once stood in the village. Known as St Causnan’s Chapel, the name is a chispological degeneration of Saint Constantine, Arthur’s kinsman, who received the kingship of the Britons on the field of Camlann itself. Big Geoff tells us, ‘even the renowned King Arthur himself was wounded deadly, and was borne thence unto the island of Avalon for the healing of his wounds, where he gave up the crown of Britain unto his kinsman Constantine.’ This crucial passage introduces us to the concept of Avalon, or ‘the Isle of Apples,’ one of the most mysterious & magical places in British mythology. An alternative name, ‘Afallach,’ is given in the Triads.

 Three Dishonoured Men who were in the Island of Britain: There took place the Battle of Camlan between Arthur and Medrawd, and was himself wounded to death. And from that (wound) he died, and was buried in a hall on the Island of Afallach

According to legend, Arthur sailed to Afallach to be treated for his wounds by Morgan Le fey & her nine maidens. The Somerset idyll of crankpots, fine scrumpy & quaint, old streets that is Glastonbury has for a long time staked a claim to its being the Arthurian Avalon, even going so far as to fake Arthur’s grave at the back-end of the 12th century. In 1190, an ancient coffin was ‘discovered,’ by the monks of Glastonbury, in which was found a woman’s bones with the hair still intact. Another coffin was unearthed underneath her, which was found to contain a man’s bones. This being removed, they subsequently found a third coffin upon which a lead cross had been placed, which bore the inscription, ‘Here lies the famous king Arthur, buried in the isle of Avalon.’  On opening the third coffin, they found large & sturdy bones, which the monks transferred with suitable honour and much pomp into a marble tomb in their church. They also declared that the other two coffins contained the bones of Guinevere, & waited for the tourists to pour in.

Looking deeper into the initial discovery, we learn that the Abbey was in deep financial trouble. A few years before the discovery, in 1184, the monastic buildings & church of Glastonbury had been burnt to the ground. Money was needed, & with the relics of saints being big business at the time, these wily monks ‘found’ the bones of Saint Patrick. Widespread belief in an Irish burial site soon put paid to that particular claim, & the bones of Saint Dunstan ‘discovered,’ not long after were dismissed just as swiftly. By 1189, with Richard the Lionheart pressing the churches for financial assistance to aid his crusade, the monks were getting desperate. How fortuitous an occasion it was, then, that the bones of King Arthur were unearthed the next year!

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As seems likely, the Monks of Glastonbury had made the whole thing up, meaning the search for Arthur’s grave is back on. With Camlann being fought at Dunnichen, common sense tells us we are looking for an island with orchards somewhere in the vicinity. There is such a place; for as long as anyone can remember a rich & fertile tract of land in Perthshire called the Carse of Gowrie has flourished with that Fruit of Eve, the apple. The Carse still retains the pleasant moniker of ‘the Garden of Scotland,’ whose once sprawling historic orchards have dwindled to only five wee woods in the modern age; Bogmiln, Inchyra Farm,  Muirhouses, Newbigging & Templehall. In days long gone, a holy Pictish community once prospered in the vicinity of Inchyra Farm, as attested by a tall cross slab discovered at St Madoes, which is now in the Perth Museum. The following account is from the New Stat. Acct. [Statistical Account]. ‘In the churchyard there is a very beautiful specimen of that class of monument called Runic from their imagined Norse or Danish origin. They are somewhat prevalent in this part of Scotland other specimens being found at Abernethy, Mugdrum, Dupplin, Fowlis Wester and DunKeld. There is not anything Known about their history origin or object; and although they were long supposed to have some connection with events took took place during Danish incursions those who have lately comparing them and investigating their their characters begin to think that there is more reason for linking them with the introduction of Christianity into this Country. The St. Madoes Stone is about 7 feet in length and in width about 3′ at bottom and 2½ at top. Its thickness is 8 inches.’ Here again we see how the Pictish Stones were considered to be of Scandinavian – ie Herulian – origin.


Just on the edge of St Madoes we come to Inchyra House, a place of great significance to our investigation on account of two particular Dark Age relics, which placed side-by-side very much invoke the idea that Inchyra was once Avalon. The first is a Pictish grave, discovered by ploughing in 1945, & situated 100 meters south of Inchyra House. The remains were covered by a large decorated flat slab lying flat over a cairn of forty-nine water-rolled stones. This may well be Arthur’s, for the Triads say he was buried in, ‘a hall on the Island of Afallach.’ The skeletal remains, which included the upper part of a skull, an arm bone and shoulder socket, were later respectfully re-buried without a closer examination. The second relique can still be seen an arrow shot from Inchyra House; the once prominent conical tumulus known as the Witch Knowe. Roundabout the year 1830 a gardener called James Powrie, removed several cartloads of stones, urns and numerous calcined bones. That the remians were buried at the ‘Witch Knowe’ provides a solid link to the attepted magical healing of Arthur after Camlann. It seems quite casual to just slip in the fact that Arthur may have been buried in the grounds of Inchyra, but further evidences suggest as much. An antique Welsh poem called Pa Gur has Arthur up to all sorts of obscure deeds in even obscurer places, including;

In the hall of Awarnach
Fighting with a hag
He cleft the head of Paiach

Here we have a clear philochisp for the Hall of Afallach. If this was at Inchyra, then of course the ‘Witch Knowe’ connects with the ‘Hag’ at Awarnach. That Arthur was buried in the area can also be ascertained through the following babel-chain;


According to a poem known as the Stanzas of the Graves, found in the 13th century ‘Black Book of Carmathen, among a comprehensive list of the burial sites of ancient Welsh heroes we read; ‘Anoeth, the grave of Arthur. In the vicinity of Inchyra we can also place Arthur’s ‘nurse,’ Morgan Le fey. Constructing a babel-chain around her name leads us to St Madoes, the village by Inchyra House. In the chain we encounter a variant of Madoes – Madianus – & the name of yet another Dark Age female sorceress, Modron.


In Celtic mythology, Modron was the daughter of Avallach, whose husband was a certain Urien of Rheged with whom she sired a prince called Owain. Likewise, Morgan Le fey was said to be the wife of King Urien of Rheged, with whom she sired a certain Prince Owain. The two are clearly the same woman, with the philochisp occurring during the transference of Modron’s legend to Brittany, where the figure of Morgan Le fey first prospered in folk-tales & literature.


Fifteen centuries ago, the alluvial flood plain that is the Carse of Gowrie was a patchwork of many islands, including Inchyra, whose phonetic ‘inch’ stems from the Gaelic name for ‘small island.’ The land upon which the Witch Knowe was raised does rather feel like it was in the island in the past, about a football pitch’s worth. From this place, & on crossing the Tay estuary, one comes to quaint Abernethy, the capital of the southern Pictland. The town even gets a mention in the Pictish King List, as in, ‘Nectonius the Great, Wirp’s son, the king of all the provinces of the Picts, offered to Saint Brigid to the day of judgement, Abernethy, with its territories.’ The vocal, local folklore of Abernethy relates how back in the 6th century Saint Brigit sent nine maidens to the town from Ireland. Their healing skills would have been among the best in Dark Age Britain, & transporting the mortally wounded Arthur to their bosom after Camlann would have been the best option at the time. In his Vita Merlini, Big Geoff describes the nine sisters of Avalon in a classic creochisp based upon Saint Bridget’s maidens at Abernethy;


There nine sisters rule by a pleasing set of laws those who come to them from our country. She who is first of them is more skilled in the healing art, and excels her sisters in the beauty of her person.  Morgen is her name, and she has learned what useful properties all the herbs contain, so that she can cure sick bodies…. And men say that she has taught mathematics to her sisters, Moronoe, Mazoe, Gliten, Glitonea, Gliton, Tyronoe, Thitis; Thitis best known for her cither.  Thither after the battle of Camlan we took the wounded Arthur, guided by Barinthus to whom the waters and the stars of heaven were well known.  With him steering the ship we arrived there with the prince, and Morgen received is with fitting honour, and in her chamber she placed the king on a golden bed and with her own hand she uncovered his honourable wound and gazed at it for a long time.  At length she said that health could be restored to him if he stayed with her for a long time and made use of her healing art.  Rejoicing, therefore, we entrusted the king to her and returning spread our sails to the favouring winds.

Unfortunately for Arthur, his wounds turned out to be outwith the pale of even the abilities of Morgan Le fey, & so Death came & claimed him. That he was buried in a ‘hall’ in the future grounds of Inchyra House certainly feels right, & I began to investigate the matter further. What I discovered was something quite beautiful which all but confirms, in chispological terms, that Arthur was once buried under that ornate Pictish slab & its 49 water-rolled stones discovered at Inchrya in 1945.


One sleepless night during the writing of this book, as I stared at the ceiling in my bedroom, I was picturing the stone & the Ogham letters inscribed into it. While ruminating on the matter further I came to the conclusion that; if I was right, & Arthur was buried at Inchyra, the Ogham inscription on the stone might mention Arthur, Uther or Igerne in some capacity. A wee google later & the pdf was on my screen of a 1959 paper on the Inchyra Stone by written by Robert Stevenson. To my sleepy joy, the Ogham inscriptions appeared, as transliterated by FT Wainwright. Of their academic accuracy, Stevenson wrote; ‘Professor K.H.Jackson, who examined the stone along with us, is in general agreements.’ The first inscription reads…


…in which one can see Anoeth, as in the babel-chain;


It is the inscription on one of the stone’s edges that gives us the winning ticket;


In the Welsh tradition, Igerne is given the name Eigr, & thus in the Ogham inscription above we can quite positively see the names of Arthur’s legendary parents;

UHTU                     AGE

Uther                       Eigr

That the philochisps of Arthur’s burial site at Anoeth & the names of both of his parents appear on a single stone are just two more of the many ‘coincidences’ that paint Inchyra as the original Avalon. This means simply that King Arthur was – & still is – buried in the grounds. It was not the first time I had found Arthur’s grave, however, for back in my early days as a trainee chispologist I had deciphered another dark-age inscription, & come to the conclusion that Arthur & Mordred had been buried in a romantic glen in the Scottish Borders. It turned out I was wrong, but what I didn’t realise at the time was instead of finding Arthur, I’d actually found the guy who’d found the Holy Grail…


Next Wednesday, 20/12/17

Chapter 8

The Holy Grail


chisp cover


Chapter 1: The Exodus
Chapter 2: The Aryan Invasion
Chapter 3: The Mahabharata
Chapter 4: Agastya
Chapter 5: The Picts
Chapter 6: Brunanburh
Chapter 7: The Young Shakespeare
Chapter 8: Shakespeare’s Blossom
Chapter 9: The Badon Babel Tree
Chapter 10: The Saxon Advent



chisper_effectChapter 1: Chispology 
Chapter 2: Princess Scota
Chapter 3: The Ithica Frage
Chapter 4: The Jesus Jigsaw
Chapter 5: Asvaghosha
Chapter 6: Dux Bellorum
Chapter 7: Dux Pictorum
Chapter 8: The Holy Grail
Chapter 9: The Mandylion
Chapter 10: Shakespeare’s Grand Tour
Chapter 11: The Dark Lady
Chapter 12: The Ripper Gang

The Chisper Effect 6 : Dux Bellorum

Continuing the weekly serialization ofchisper_effect

Damian Beeson Bullen’s


In which a number of the world’s greatest mysteries are finally solved


(Register with Completely Novel to…)



Chapter VI

Cupbearer, fill these eager mead-horns, for I have a song to sing. Let us plunge helmet first into the Dark Ages, as the candle of Roman civilization goes out over Europe, & an empire finally falls. The Britons, placid citizens after centuries of the Pax Romana, are suddenly assaulted on three sides; from the west sailed the Irish, from the north marauded the Picts &IMG_20171205_130923870_BURST000_COVER_TOP from across the North Sea the Anglo-Saxons slammed into the eastern coasts. For almost a century the situation was getting a tad desperate, until a great hero would rise up from the ranks & lead the Britons to victory. This man, who turned back the invading tide for the duration of his lifetime, was the world famous figurehead, King Arthur. With him we arrive at the world’s greatest collection of creochsips, factochisps, philochisps, & just about every other musterable kind of chisper there is.

The actual existence of King Arthur is a seemingly never-ending hot potato of academic contention. In the early 12th century, William of Malmesbury writes of the ‘warlike Arthur… of whom the trifling of the Britons talks such nonsense even today; a man clearly worthy not to be dreamed of in fallacious fables, but to be proclaimed in veracious histories, as one who long sustained his tottering country, and gave the shattered minds of his fellow citizens an edge for war.’ It is because of those ‘fallacious fables’ that the historicity of Arthur is so strenuously debated, pickling many an academic head & producing a series of ‘Arthurs’ that jump about through time like Doctor Who in his Tardis. Recent scholarship of the most defeatist fashion places him in the same bracket as UFOs & the continent of Atlantis, with Guy Halsall stating, ‘I wish that Arthur had existed but that I must admit there is no evidence – at any rate none admissible in any serious court of history.’ This is essentially a case of ‘we cannot solve the puzzle therefore the puzzle is unsolvable.’


The thing is there is just too much of an Arthurian tradition for it all to be dismissed as fiction. To find the answers we will have to embark on a Dark Age detective story; it won’t be like Agatha Christie or anything, where a bunch of middle-class grannies & well-educated toffs wander round posh hotels acting all guilty. Instead, we shall undertake our very own Grailquest to find the nuggets of genuine evidence left behind by King Arthur, who was a man, according to William of Malmesbury; ‘worthy to be celebrated, not by ideal fictions, but by authentic history.’ His legend is the primary myth of the British Islands whose name still resonates in every corner of the planet. As time dissolved memories of the historical Arthur, the traces of his famous happenings remained etched in the fabric of time. Clues include mentions in the vitas of seven saints; a crucial passage in the Historia Brittonum made by a ninth century monk, Nennius; while two centuries later, Geoffrey of Monmouth created his fluid Arthurcentric chronicle, the History of the Kings of Britain. Arthur, & many other characters associated with his legend, also turn up numerous times in the archaic poetry of the Welsh. By cross-referencing all this literary information against the archeological record, we are actually quite able to paint quite a detailed picture of Arthur & his times. Exist he must, & we are just about set to prove it.

We begin our investigation with Arthur’s paternal uncle, a certain Ambrosius Aurelanius, said to be the brother of Arthur’s father, Uther Pendragon. He is remembered as a king among the kings of Britain, whose name scattered across the country, from the Humber estuary in the north, to Amesbury in the south, which in the ninth century was know as Ambresbyrig, ‘the burh of Ambrosius’. We know a little about his backstory, being a 5th century Roman general who led Brythonic opposition to the first furious waves of Saxon invaders. We learn of this in the writings of a 6th century cleric called Gildas, whose De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae (On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain) is the oldest British history to survive the rigors of time. It relates how the Britons, ‘took arms under the conduct of Ambrosius Aurelianus, a modest man, who of all the Roman nation was then alone in the confusion of this troubled period by chance left alive. His parents, who for their merit were adorned with the purple, had been slain in these same broils.’ From this one statement we glean several concrete facts about Arthur’s uncle;

Ambrosius was a Roman: His surname Aurelianus means he belonged to the high-status Aureli gens, an ancient Plebian family. By the 5th century AD, the Aureli had broken into numerous sub-branches, including the Cottae, Oristedes & the Symmachi.

He was one of the last true Romans to remain in Britain: That the Romans stayed behind in positions of power after the departure of the legions is confirmed by a chronicle known as the Bern Codex; ‘in the year 409, Rome was taken by the Goths, and from that time Roman rule came to an end in Britain, except for some, who were born there, and who reigned for a short time.’ The actual length of time meant by the Codex is vague, but we may conclude that the island-born Romans had control over Britain for only a single generation.

His parents were members of the Roman aristocracy: They were probably of senatorial or consular rank on account of them being ‘adorned with the purple,’ i.e. wearing purple-bordered togas.

His parents had been slain in Britain: Gildas describes the plight of the native Britons; ‘the miserable remnant, being taken in the mountains, were murdered in great numbers.’ According to Geoffrey of Monmouth – whom we shall from now on call Big Geoff – the mother of Ambrosius was a daughter of the king of Dyfed (Demetia) in SW Wales; ‘they told them that none knew his father, but that his mother was daughter of the King of Demetia, and that she lived along with the nuns in St. Peter’s Church in that same city.’ This seems to indicate that Ambrosius’ father died before his mother.


The next record of our man comes from the 9th century Historia Brittonum, in which we read; “What is your name?” asked the king (Vortigern); “I am called Ambrose,” returned the boy; and in answer to the king’s question, “What is your origin?” he replied, “A Roman consul was my father.’ From this we can glean certain new facts with which to flesh out Ambrosius;

Ambrosius was born in the 440s: Chronologically, the passage above occurred after the arrival of the Saxons in England, dated by Gallic Chronicle to before 442. This connects with a passage in the medieval English chronicle made by Roger De Hovedon; ‘In the year of grace 464, the Britons sent messengers into Brittany to Aurelius Ambrosius and his brother Uterpendragon, who had been sent there for fear of Vortigern, beseeching them to come over from the Armorican country without delay, to drive out the Saxons and king Vortigern, and take the crown themselves. As they had now arrived at man’s estate, they began to make preparations of men and ships for the expedition.’ If Ambrosius had  just arrived at his ‘man’s estate’ by 464, then we can see him being born at some point in the mid 440s.

The father of Ambrosius was a Roman consul: At this period, the Roman empire elected two consuls every year, one for the western empire based in Rome, & the other for the eastern empire in Constantinople. Looking through the consular list of Rome kept by Cassiodorus, we find three consuls who bore the name Aurelianus in the 5th century. The first is far too early (Aurelianus, consul 400) & likewise the third is far too late (Quintus Aurelius Memmius Symmachus, consul 485), which leaves only one possible candidate for an Aurelian consul. His name was Quintus Aurelius Symmachus, a member of the Symmachi branch of the Aureli gens, & the consul for the Western Empire in 446 AD. Throughout my chispological surveys I have often been surprised at how much historical information has been missed by many centuries of serious scholarship, but this particular nugget seems so obvious its perpetual non-discovery defies belief. When our oldest historians tell us that a certain man was the son of a Roman consul, common sense dictates we flick through a list of Roman consuls just as we moderns flick through a telephone directory!

Although purely conjectural, we can deduce the motivation behind Quintus’s naming of his son, for the author Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius (mostly called Ambrosius) dedicated his work ‘De differentiis vel societatibus graeci latinique verbi’ to Quintus. Was this a literary sign of the endearing friendship that drives men to name their children after their greatest friends? Indeed, it seems Macrobius was close to the entire family, for he also wrote about Quintus’ grandfather – also called Quintus Aurelius Symmachus – in his famous ‘Saturnalia.’ This Quintus had been a loyal supporter of the British-based Roman emperor Magnus Maximus. Apart from lands in Britain, he also had estates in Italy, Sicily & Mauritania (West Africa). He was also a distinguished author, but little of his work has been translated into English. It is possible that through his connections with the British-based Magnus Maximus he may have even held lands in Britain, but this is pure speculation.

In the same year that Quintus was the western consul, the Eastern Empire came for the third time under the jurisdiction of Flavius Aetius. To him was sent, according to Gildas, a desperate letter from the British, reading; ‘to Aetius, now consul for the third time: the groans of the Britons… The barbarians drive us to the sea; the sea throws us back on the barbarians: thus two modes of death await us, we are either slain or drowned.’ Gildas then quite curtly says that the Romans ‘could not assist them.’ At first it seems strange that the western ends of the Empire would make a plea for help to the eastern consul – but knowing now that Quintus died in the Gildasian ‘broils’ which beset the native Britons, we can make sense of the quandary. The refusal of Aetius may have been based along the lines of, ‘if one consul died in Britain fighting the Saxons, why should I, it all sounds rather too dangerous for my liking & I’m gonna have to pass, thanks.’


We must now look at another passage by Nennius, in which Ambrosius appears as a boy in south Wales; ‘the king (Vortigern) sent messengers throughout Britain, in search of a child born without a father. After having inquired in all the provinces, they came to the field of Aelecti, in the district of Glevesing, where a party of boys were playing at ball. And two of them quarrelling, one said to the other, ‘boy without a father, no good will ever happen to you.’ It is here made apparent that Quintus was slain before the birth of his son Ambrosius, which must have taken place after 446 in order for Quintus to be remembered as a consul. We also discover Ambrosius was living in the kingdom of Glevesing, or Glywysing, a coastal sub-kingdom between the modern-day cities of Swansea & Cardiff. This location leads us to a contemporary of Ambrosius – Saint Paul Aurelian. His vita, written by Wrmonoc, tells us;

Saint Paul, surnamed Aurelian, the son of a certain count named Perphirius, who held a position of high rank in the world, came from a province which is in the language of the British race, because a section of it is regarded as an island, is called Penychen

Penychen was one of the cantrefs of Glywysing, placing another nobly-born Aurelian in the very area where the young Ambrosius grew up. With matching home regions & surnames, & the fact that the name ‘Perphirius’ means ‘clad-in-purple,’ it is highly likely that they were related. It is by placing the boy Ambrosius in Glywysing that we may finally begin to unravel the truth behind his legendary status as the uncle of Arthur. I conject at this point that after losing his consular father, Ambrosius was adopted by a certain king called Glyws, the ruler of Glywysing. In a medieval manuscript known as Jesus College 20,  among the sons of ‘Glois,’ let us now observe an obscure figure known as Amroeth of Margam;

 Ewein vab keredic. Pedroc sant. Kynvarch. Edelic. Luip. Clesoeph. Sant. Perun. Saul. Peder. Katwaladyr. Meirchyawn. Margam Amroeth. Gwher. Cornuill. Catwall. Cetweli. Gwrrai. Mur.


Amroeth is a treblechisp away from Ambrosius. We must first shorten the source name to Ambros, secondly we take away a ‘b’ – Amros – & finally we change the ending, giving us Amroeth. This suggests three different modes of transmission have occurred, with the last one happening in the 14th century, when the Jesus College genealogies were assembled in Middle Welsh. As for Margam, on the borders of Penychen, it was one of seven cantrefs into which the kingdom of Gylwysing divided on the death of Glyws. A number of early Christian crosses inscribed with Roman names were found about Margam, dating from 450AD, firmly supporting a Romano-British presence in the same small area in which Ambrosius was brought up.

Looking at the Jesus College genealogy, if the legends are correct, then Arthur’s father Uther Pendragon should be among the names as a brother of Ambrosius… but it is not. There is, however, a certain Peder, to whom we can positively attach the site of Arthur’s birth, Tintagel, a Dark Age sea-fortress guarding  the northern coasts of Cornwall. The  key evidence begins with Big Geoff. The guy is recognized as the godfather of Arthuriana, but unfortunately gets a lot of stick from historians, & I can see why. His work is all over the shop, a patchwork quilt of historical flashbacks knitted together in any old fashion… but every now & again he hits the nail right on the head. In the case of Arthur’s birth, he describes a certain Duke Gorlois of Cornwall & his wife, Igerne, the mother of Arthur. Duke Gorlois was not Arthur’s father, however, the honour going instead to Uther Pendragon, who with the help of the wizard Merlin, tricked Igerne into sleeping with him. The story, as told by Big Geoff, is the nearest thing we have to Arthur’s birth certificate;

Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, was there, with his wife Igerne, that in beauty did surpass all the other dames of the whole of Britain. And when the King espied her amidst the others, he did suddenly wax so fain of her love that, paying no heed unto none of the others, he turned all his attention only upon her… At last, committing the siege into charge of his familiars, he did entrust himself unto the arts and medicaments of Merlin, and was transformed into the semblance of Gorlois… They then went their way toward Tintagel, and at dusk hour arrived at the castle. The porter, weening that the Duke had arrived, swiftly unmade the doors, and the three were admitted. For what other than Gorlois could it be, seeing that in all things it seemed as if Gorlois himself were there? So the King lay that night with Igerne.


To many, the birth of Arthur at Tintagel is nothing but an old wives tale wrapped up in a fanciful piece of mythmaking, garnished with a slice of magical nonsense. The problem is, most of what we know about Arthur is the creation of medieval writers who added all the romantic trimmings; such as Excalibur, lofty-towered Camelot, the Knights of the Round Table & that most mystical wizard of the court, Merlin. No wonder people nowadays find it hard to believe that he was ever a real person, & all these negative vibes about his actual existence is upsetting the tourist board of Cornwall no end, whose Arthurian tradition is a real money-spinner. Tintagel receives thousands of visitors a year, all wanting to see the place where Arthur was born, but their ears are beginning to ring with the voices of a growing number of media-influenced skeptics scoffing, ‘he doesn’t exist, you know’ or, ‘he is actually Scottish, you know.’ For the sake of the Cornish Tourist Board, & for good old honest truth, it is time to put all that errant & nonsensical speculation to bed.

More than eight centuries after Big Geoff penned his history, a lovely piece of epigraphical evidence turned up at Tintagel itself, when a massive grass-fire raged across its promontory in 1983.  Once the fire had scorched its business, the foundations of several dark-age buildings were uncovered on the promontory, one of which yielded in 1998 an extremely interesting piece of broken slate known now as the Artognou Stone. Upon it was found scribbled a sample of sub-roman ‘graffiti’ that shall prove to be the key to unlocking the mysteries of King Arthur. 

Artognou Slate



Peter Coliavi made this Artognou

When I saw the letters A-R-T,’ declared the archeologist who found the slate, ‘I thought, uh-oh.’ One can imagine the excitement that rippled out from Tintagel that summer, the discovery sending historians & linguists scrambling to identify what the word Artognou meant, with the ‘gnou’ element getting everybody all confused. A few possibilities were mentioned, but no-one got anywhere really – the connection to Arthur was deemed unproven & the whole thing slowly forgotten. The thing is, the slate is broken off at just the place where ‘Artognou’ ends, meaning the word could well have contained more letters. It is all a case of thinking outside the box, or in this case outside the dark-age slate. So I started chucking some of our 26 noble glyphs at the inscription & found that by adding a single letter ‘s,’ we gain the word ARTOGNOUS,’ or ‘Artogenous,’ a Latin word meaning ‘of the gens/family of Arto.’ The slate’s inscription should then be rendered as;

Paterni Coliavi made this, of the family of Arto

Moving quietly along this line of investigation, we need to find somebody called Paterni who was related to Arthur. Looking through the historical notices, a solid candidate turns up in the 7th century Life of Saint Turian. This vita was thought lost until 1912, when it was unearthed by Tabbe Duin in the Public Library of Clermont, France, whose archaic nomenclature suggests a very early date of composition, c.700AD. In chapter five of the vita, a virgin named Meldoch speaks to King Graddalon about his seat in heaven being;

A place destined from him in the kingdom of god, close to Constantine, a king beyond the sea, the son of Peterni, of Cornwall

We gain a full account of this Constantine’s religious life & martyrdom in the 16th century Aberdeen Breviary, a great tome of a book which contains short lives of the saints upon their particular saint’s days. The March 11th entry for St Constantine confirms that his father was ‘Paterni Regis Cornubie,’ i.e. Paterni, the king of Cornwall, a perfect match to the Paterni of the Artognou Stone. According to Big Geoff, it was a Constantine who succeeded to the high kingship of Britain after the Battle of Camlann, when; ‘even the renowned King Arthur himself was wounded deadly, and was borne thence unto the island of Avalon for the healing of his wounds, where he gave up the crown of Britain unto his kinsman Constantine.’ If Constantine was Arthur’s ‘kinsman’ then surely his father, the Cornish Paterni, would also have been related to Arthur, which makes Paterni clearly ‘Artogenous!’ The evidence for Arthur’s existence has been there along, but it is only by peering through the kaleidoscopic lens of chispology can it be seen with any true clarity. As for the second name – Coliavi – it can be connected to the Arthurian Birth Certificate through the following babel-chain, where only a hyperthetical ‘Cleve’ has no record in the annals.


We have already seen how Ambrosius was brought up in Glevesing, a name which philochisps into Glywys as given in the Life of Saint Cadog. Written shortly before 1086 by Lifris of Llancarfan, we read; ‘there reigned formerly on the borders of Britain, called Dimetia, a certain regulus, named Glywys, from whom all the country of that district, in all the days of his life, was called Glywysyg.’ The name Glywys is a clear philochisp of Big Geoff’s Gorlois, the husband of Igerne, tho’ in this instance Duke Gorlois is the son of Glywys, i.e. Peder son of Glois. Untangling such threads leads to the conclusion that Arthur was a half, or perhaps step-brother to Constantine, & that Ambrosius Aurelianus – as the adopted brother of Peder son of Glyws – was indeed Arthur’s uncle in a rather roundabout way quite reminiscent of the fractured family units of the 21st century. For example, my own half-sister’s children class as proper cousins my wife’s two daughters from her first marriage.


Another direct connection between Peter & Arthur comes through a lineage of the Kings of Dyfed – i.e. South-West Wales in the Pembrokeshire region – a region which possesses a number of Arthurian references in folklore & topography.



The last king given appears as the Goidelic ‘Votecorigas‘ the ‘Protector’ (the G/C & V are philochisps between Old Welsh & the Latin languages) on a 6th century memorial stone found in Dyfed itself. The name is given in the Ogham script of the Irish, but is also inscribed in tandem on the stone as the Latinized ‘Voteporigis.’ This man would then be Vortipori, one of five British kings admonished by Gildas in the De Excidio. The ‘tyrant‘ of Dyfed, Gildas writes an open letter to him stating, ‘though the end of life is gradually drawing near… to crown all thy sins, dost thou, when thine own wife had been removed and her death had been virtuous, by the violation of a shameless daughter.’

We have seen already how the mother of Arthur’s step uncle, Ambrosius Aurelianus, was a princess of Dyfed. Another Arthurian connection to the region can be found in the vita of Saint Padarn (480-550), whose monastery was at Aberystwyth, we are told; ‘when Padarn was in his church resting after so much labour at sea, a certain tyrant, Arthur by name, was traversing the regions on either side, who one day came to the cell of saint Padarn the bishop.’  That Arthur became a ruler of this lovely corner of the island, known as Menevia in the Dark Ages, is also recorded in a medieval Welsh text known as the Triads of the Island of Britain. This collection of brief triplets contains an enormous amount of historical details, including a great many nods to Arthuriana, which are still being analyzed & harvested for their fruits. One of the most important of these triads depicts Arthur as ruling in three separate areas of the island; at Kelliwic in Cornwall; in Dyfed; & in a later-to-be-ascertained ‘Penrhionyd,’ somewhere in the north of Britain.

Three Tribal Thrones of the Island of Prydain

Arthur the Chief Lord at Menevia, and David the chief bishop, and Maelgwyn Gwyned the chief elder.

Arthur the chief lord at Kelliwic in Cornwall, and Bishop Betwini the chief bishop, and Caradawg Vreichvras the chief elder.

 Arthur the chief lord in Penrhionyd in the north, and Cyndeyrn Garthwys the chief bishop, and Gurthmwl Guledic the chief elderI

It seems the historical King Arthur is slowly, but surely, emerging from the mists. Some of the best evidence dwells deep within the pages of a single book given the rather mundane title of MS Harleian 3859 h. This lovely tome’s arrival into the public domain occurred in 1753, when the Duchess of Portland, Margaret Cavendish Bentinck, sold her family library to the United Kingdom for £10,000. She was one of the Harleys, a family of book-loving antiquarians that had over the years collected more than 7,000 manuscripts, 14,000 charters and 500 rolls. Among this rich seam of literary jewels such is Harleian 3859h, a beautifully illuminated book that when it comes to deciphering the Matter of Britain is something of a Rosetta Stone; for it contains two of the oldest historical documents to mentions King Arthur. One of these, the Annales Cambrae, is stuffed full of brief & fascinating entries which record the most memorable moments in Dark-Age Welsh history, with a few non-Welsh happenings chucked in for good measure. I shall now present the most informative entries given for the 6th century, in which we see the historical King Arthur mentioned in two separate entries. Both of these place him at a battlefield; the first being Mount Badon (516) & the second in which he was slain at the fatal fight at Camlann (537).

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516: The Battle of Badon, in which Arthur carried the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ for three days and three nights on his shoulders and the Britons were the victors.

537: The battle of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut fell: and there was plague in Britain and Ireland.

547: The great mortality in which Maelgwn, king of Gwynedd died. Thus they say ‘The long sleep of Maelgwn in the court of Rhos’. Then was the yellow plague.

565: The voyage of Gildas to Ireland.

570: Gildas wisest of Britons died.

573: The battle of Arfderydd between the sons of Eliffer and Gwenddolau son of Ceidio; in which battle Gwenddolau fell; Merlin went mad.

580: Gwrgi and Peredur sons of Elifert died.

The Annales Cambrae terminates its entries towards the end of the tenth century, & we may assume that it was roundabout the year 1000 that the chronicle was originally assembled. Even older than this text, however, is the Historia Brittonum, in whose preface we read;

I, Nennius, a disciple of the holy Elbodugus have taken the trouble to write down some excerpts which the idleness of the people of Briton had caused to be throne aside… I, however, have made a heap of all that I have found, both of the annals of the Romans & of the chronicles of the holy fathers, & from the writings of the Irish & of the English & from the information handed down by the old men of our people.

This tells us that Nennius added nothing of his own research to the HB, which should be considered a 9th Century compendium of earlier writings, whose final notices are dated to the 7th century. As for Arthur, he turns up in only one place towards the end of the text (Chapter 56). This passage is our oldest officially recognised mention of our boy, who appears in a passage known to historians as the ‘Battle-List.’ Here, we encounter an Arthur who is not a king, but a Romanesque ‘Dux Bellorum,’ or battle-leader, who wins twelve military victories against the Saxon invaders of Britain. Once the Romans had abandoned the island, the notion of defence had devolved onto the tribal leaders once more, a fractious state of affairs which allowed the Saxons to gain major footholds in the east of Britain. Four centuries of life under the Roman yoke had had the most pernicious effect on the Brythonic character. Once a hardy & industrious race, the acquisition of Roman wealth had produced its natural effects; employing it in gratification of their appetites & in coarse, sensual pleasures. It is no wonder they were conquered so easily by a relative handful of Saxons, that grandly significant bouleversement of the British islands which would eventually create the nation we know as England, & from this the de facto lingua franca of the globe. Long before then, however,  Arthur would stem the tide during his lifetime. Alas, the names of Arthur’s battle-sites are shrouded in mystery, & it does not help matters when each of the numerous recensions of the Historia offers a slightly different version of the list. In order to simplify matters for the reader, I have synthesized them into a single account;

At that time, the Saxons grew strong by virtue of their large number and increased in power in Britain. Hengist having died, however, his son Octha crossed from the northern part of Britain to the kingdom of Kent and from him are descended the kings of Kent.

Then it was, that the magnanimous Arthur, with all the kings and military force of Britain, fought against the Saxons in those days, but Arthur himself was the Dux Bellorum. And though there were many more noble than himself, yet he was twelve times chosen their commander, and was as often conqueror.

His first battle was at the mouth of the river which is called Glein. His second, third, fourth, and fifth battles were above another river which is called Dubglas and is in the region of Linnuis. The sixth battle was above the river which is called Bassas. The seventh battle was in the forest of Celidon, which the Britons call Cat Coit Celidon. The eighth battle was near the fortress of Guinnion, in which Arthur carried the image of holy Mary ever virgin on his shoulders; and the pagans were put to flight on that day. And through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and through the power of the blessed Virgin Mary his mother there was great slaughter among them. The ninth was at the City of Legion, which is called Cair Lion. The tenth battle was waged on the banks of a river which is called Tribruit. The eleventh battle was fought on the mountain which is called Agnet. The twelfth was a most severe contest, when Arthur penetrated to the hill of Badon in which there fell in one day 960 men from one charge by Arthur; no one but the Lord affording him assistance. In all these engagements the Britons were successful. For no strength can avail against the will of the Almighty.

And while they were being defeated in all the battles, they were seeking assistance from Germany and their numbers were being augmented many times over without interruption. And they brought over kings from Germany that they might reign over them in Britain, right down to the time in which Ida reigned, who was son of Eobba. He was the first king in Bernicia, i.e., in Berneich.

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It was Arthur’s now legendary prowess with a weapon which earned him overall command of the native resistance armies. Victorious on a dozen battlefields, by the 12th century all of the locations were forgotten, with Henry of Huntingdon declaring, ‘in our times the places are unknown.’ For the chispologist, solving the Arthurian battle-list is one of the greatest challenges there is, but what we can glean from the Historia’s information is when Arthur was active. The passage gives us two concrete dates on which to fix the Arthurian period, for the Battle-List has been sandwiched between two events verifiable through an early English history known as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle;

 488: This year Esc succeeded to the kingdom; and was king of the men of Kent twenty-four winters.

Esc was the son of Hengist, the death of whom opens the Twelve Battles chapter in the HB, as in ‘Hengist having died, however, his son Octha crossed from the northern part of Britain to the kingdom of Kent and from him are descended the kings of Kent.’  Common sense tells us that Esc (a variant name for Ochta) would have inherited the throne upon the death of Hengist, anchoring the early book-end of the Arthurian era in 488.

547: Ida began his reign; from whom first arose the royal kindred of the Northumbrians. Ida was the son of Eoppa, Eoppa of Esa.’

We are here presented with a direct match to the Battle-List’s final sentences, as in; ‘they brought over kings from Germany that they might reign over them in Britain, right down to the time in which Ida reigned, who was son of Eobba.’ The succession of Ida forms the later book-end of the Arthurian period, which we can now assume took place between 488 & 547. The Annales Cambrae support these dates; by stating Arthur died at Camlann in 537 we narrow things by ten more years, resulting in a final timespan of 488-537.


This same half a century is almost a perfect match for certain shards of broken pottery, coins & glasswork found chiefly at Arthur’s birthplace. Known as Tintagelware, they are reliques of goods imported to Britain from the Byzantine Empire during the 5th & 6th centuries.  Only last year, archeologists unearthed 150 new pieces & also revealed  a series of metre thick ‘palace walls.’ The chief Brythonic export at that period would have been tin (the Greeks referred to Britain as the Cassiterides or tin-islands), while  in return oil & wine poured into the island, contained in the painted clay jars that would one day become the fractured pieces of Tintagelware. According to archeologist Rachael C Barrowman, there was only, ‘a comparatively brief importation from the Mediterranean lasting from c.AD 475-c.AD 550 at the most.’ Large quantities of Tintagelware has also been discovered at South Cadbury hillfort in Somerset, a site long associated with Arthurian tradition. A 16th century traveler & writer called John Leland recorded; ‘at the very south ende of the chirch of South-Cadbyri standith Camallate, sumtyme a famose toun or castelle, upon a very torre or hill, wunderfully enstrengtheid of nature, to the which be 2. enteringes up by very stepe way: one by north est and another by south west… The people can telle nothing ther but that they have hard say that Arture much restorid to Camalat.’ South Cadbury is an impressive hill fort in Somerset, a worthy Camelot indeed, & also the site of a grand timber feasting hall thrust up by some powerful leader round about the year 500 AD. The name has its origins in a certain Cador, whom the monk Lifris, in his ‘Life of Saint Carantoc,’ has ruling side-by-side with Arthur in the West Country; ‘in those times Cato and Arthur were reigning in that country, dwelling in Dindraithov.’ It is by no great leap of faith to include South Cadbury into a royal system established in the Arthurian period, where palaces & feasting halls were filled with, & placed upon, goods imported from the Mediterranean.


There is one problem that must be overcome. The crux of the case of the Antiarthurians, as I like to call them, is the date given by the Annales Cambrae for the Battle of Badon (516) being plunged into all manners of disrepute by modern scholarship. This rather erroneous supposition begins by misunderstanding a passage in St Gildas, in which is mentioned the ‘siege of Badon Hill’ (obsessio montis Badonicus); ‘from that time on now the citizens, now the enemy, were victorious … right up until the year of the siege of Badon Hill, almost the last, not the least, slaughter of the villains, and this the forty-fourth year begins (as I know) with one month already elapsed, which is also that of my birth.’ This means quite simply that Badon was fought in the year in which Gildas was born, & 44 years before he set his pen to paper. If the the Annales Cambrae are accurate, he would have written the above passage roundabout the year 560. This means that in that period, there should exist a certain king called Maglocune,  another of five British kings admonished by Gildas alongside Vortipor.

And likewise, O thou dragon of the island, who hast deprived many tyrants, as well of their kingdoms as of their lives, and though the last-mentioned in my writing, the first in mischief, exceeding many in power, and also in malice, more liberal than others in giving, more licentious in sinning, strong in arms, but stronger in working thine own soul’s destruction, Maglocune


The aforementioned modern scholarship had searched through the 6th century for a man who sounded like Maglocunus, & opted for the Annales Cambrae’s Maelwgyn, King of Gwynedd, who died in 547. To support their erroneus babel-chain, they completely ignored the evidence of the Annales Cambrae, & declared that Badon must have been at least fought 44 years earlier – i.e. before 503. Instead, let us retain complete trust in our ancient sources, & begin to look for a Maglocunos as described by Gildas, around the year 560.

Firstly, let us reinforce the 516 birth-date with what we know about Gildas from other sources. His 9th century vita, written by an anonymous Monk of Rhuys, has Gildas returning from a pilgrimage to Rome & Ravenna before he was thirty. According to the excellent study by W. Julian Edens, Saint Gildas and the Pestilent Dragon (Heroic Age 6 ) 2003); ‘the war-time conditions in the western Mediterranean and in Italy delimit three periods when Gildas’ pilgrimage could be made… the presence of pestilence in Rome during Gildas’ pilgrimage makes the interval 540-541 the more likely window.’ The Rhuys Life also shows Ainmericus, the High King of Ireland between 565 & 569, asking Gildas to restore church order, confirming the Annales Cambrae entries for Gildas;

 565: The voyage of Gildas to Ireland

570: Gildas wisest of Britons died.

The Rhuys life connects Gildas to the existence of a leader called Conomerus. At this point in the vita, Gildas is in Brittany where he; ‘at the request of brother monks who had come to him from Britain, ten years after he had departed from the country, wrote a short epistolary book, in which he reproved five of the kings of that island who had been ensnared by various crimes and sins. Now there lived in these days, in the upper parts of that country, a certain tyrant whose name was Conomerus, a man allured by a perverse credulity and a diabolical crime’ The death of Conomerus soon follows in the vita, which leads us to Count Conomor of Poher,  whom the French historian Gregory of Tours has dying about 560. Chispologically, the two names match, for Conomorus is a simple inversion of Maglocune, both of which translate as ‘Majestic Hound.’ There is also a very significant factual match, for both Conomerus & Maglocune are said to have committed what appears to be an identical crime. According to the ‘Life of St Samson of Dol,’ Conomerus killed his own wife & then murdered a certain King Jonas in order to marry Jonas’ widow – an exact sequence of events attributed to Maglocune by Gildas;

For contempt is thrown upon thy first marriage, though after thy violated vow as a monk it was illicit, yet was to be assumed as the marriage of thine own proper wife; another marriage is sought after, not with anybody’s widow, but with the beloved wife of a living man; and he not a stranger, but thy brother’s son. On this account, that stiff neck, already weighted with many burdens of sins (to wit, a double daring murder, the killing of the husband above named, and the wife that was for a time regarded by thee as thine), is bent down through the extreme excess of thy sacrilegious deed, from lowest crimes to still lower.


As for the Gildasian description of Maglocunos being the ‘dragon of the island, who hast deprived many tyrants, as well of their kingdoms as of their lives,’ Brittany is definitely not an island, & we must assume that the British mainland is intended. Not unsurprisingly, another text places Conomerus across the English Channel at Cornwall, where the Breton monk Wromnoc describes a certain King Mark of Cornwall, otherwise known as ‘Quonomorius,’ who ruled over peoples speaking four different languages. These would be;

Gallo : The Latinized language of Brittany spoken in the sixth century. Big Geoff called Conomerus ‘Chinmarchocus,’ & had him ruling Treguier, near Lannion. In the vicinity stands an Dark Age hill-fort called Ruvarq, which translates into English as ‘Mark’s Hill.’

Brythonic : A Celtic language spoken by the native Britons of Cornwall. According to the vita of Samson of Dol, Conomerus was a usurper in Brittany, an ‘external judge,’ after whose defeat & death a certain Iudalus took over his lands in Dumnonia. This old Brythonic kingdom covered the modern West Country counties of Cornwall, Devon, Wiltshire & Somerset. Also important is a 6th century memorial stone found at Fowey in Cornwall, near Castle Dore, said to be the fortress of King Mark. In a medieval Arthurian text known as the Prose Tristan, Castle Dore is said to be sited on the lands of Lancien, which transchispers into the medieval manor of Lantyan on which the stone was found. On it is inscribed ‘Drustanus son of Conomori,’ a relationship confirmed by the Triads of the Island of Britain, which consider a ‘Drystan son of March’ as one of the ‘Three Peers of Arthur’s Court.’ The name Drustan is actually Pictish, ie the Dark Age tribe which dwelt in Scotland,  which leads us to Mark’s next language.

Pictish : Maglocunus easily philochisps into Bede’s Meilochon, elsewhere spelt Máelchú, the father of the great Pictish King Bridei as given in the chronicles. Meilochon’s powerful status in the north is reflected through his daughter Domlech’s marriage to Aedan, King of Dalriada, whose son became a Pictish king. There are also Pictish symbol stones found at Trusty’s Hill in Dumfries & Galloway, whose origin could be from the same Drustanus of the Fowey stone, for only a few miles away stands a Dark-Age hillfort called The Mote of Mark.

Old Norwegian : The Dream of Rhonabwy tells us that Prince Mark led a group of men from Llychlyn – i.e. Scandinavia – at the Battle of Badon, turning up as; ‘the men of Norway, led by March, son of Meirchyawn.’ Big Geoff also places him among the Nordic lands (& Ireland) with; ‘Malgo, one of the comeliest men in the whole of Britain, the driver-out of many tyrants, redoubted in arms, more bountiful than others and renowned for prowess beyond compare, yet hateful in the sight of God for his secret vices. He obtained the sovereignty of the whole island, and after many exceeding deadly battles did add unto his dominions the six neighbour islands of the Ocean, to wit, Ireland, Iceland, Gothland, the Orkneys, Norway and Denmark.

The conquest of these widely scattered regions confirms the Gildasian descripton of Maglocune as being the ‘dragon of the island,’ who dispossessed ‘tyrants’ of their kingdoms. This combined evidence suggests that Maglocunus was never Maelgwyn Gwynned, but was instead the famous King Mark of Cornwall. Otherwise known as Conomerus, he would have ruled a pan-ocean empire from Norway to Brittany. All this correlates sweetly  with one of the medieval Welsh Triads which state that ‘March ap Meirchiawn’ was one of the ‘three seafarers of the island of Britain.’ With that, the case for Arthur’s existence should be closed, & all it took was to create a hyperchisp – a hypothetical chisper – that turned ‘Artognou’ into ‘Artogenous,’ to set the ball rolling, since which occasion all the evidence has slotted into place as easy as leaves grow on a tree.


Next Wednesday, 13/12/17

Chapter 7

Dux Pictorum


chisp cover


Chapter 1: The Exodus
Chapter 2: The Aryan Invasion
Chapter 3: The Mahabharata
Chapter 4: Agastya
Chapter 5: The Picts
Chapter 6: Brunanburh
Chapter 7: The Young Shakespeare
Chapter 8: Shakespeare’s Blossom
Chapter 9: The Badon Babel Tree
Chapter 10: The Saxon Advent



chisper_effectChapter 1: Chispology 
Chapter 2: Princess Scota
Chapter 3: The Ithica Frage
Chapter 4: The Jesus Jigsaw
Chapter 5: Asvaghosha
Chapter 6: Dux Bellorum
Chapter 7: Dux Pictorum
Chapter 8: The Holy Grail
Chapter 9: The Mandylion
Chapter 10: Shakespeare’s Grand Tour
Chapter 11: The Dark Lady
Chapter 12: The Ripper Gang