Dark Age Candles (IV)

(IV)

The Birth of Edinburgh

An Early Edinburgh
An Early Edinburgh

Today I leave Edinburgh for a few weeks, heading back to Lancashire where most of these Dark Age candles are going to be lit. However, before I go I’d like to propose the approximate birth-date of the  city of Edinburgh outwith her castle.

The main difference, I believe, between my personal approach to history & that of many scholars, is that where they spend the majority of their time attacking the sources, I tend to use them. The key is learning how to read a difficult & oblique text, rather than declare it as phantasmagorical & discard it completely. Modern scholars also tend to trust each other’s work a tad too much, putting complete faith in their school & schooling rather than their own abilities. The York historian Guy Halsall summed up the attitude perfectly. After countering his anti-Arthurian stance with some new evidence, he retorted by saying, ‘I’ve looked at your bibliography & you don’t know anything.’ The thing is, my bibliography in the main consisted of primary sources, & his insistence on me not knowing anything was based upon my not quoting from the academic handling of this source material. So, moving on quite regardless, let us now examine these lines from the Book of Carmarthen’s poem, Pa Gur, an intriguing text which highlights some of King Arthur’s obscurer battles.

In the fastnesses of Dissethach,  
In Mynyd Eiddyn,         
He contended with Cynbyn;
 
*

These three lines store a hell of a lot of information. We know that Arthur fought a campaign in Scotland against the Cynbyn – which translates as ‘Dogheads.‘  We know the campaign was fought in Scotland, for Mynyd Eiddyn is Edinburgh, while Dissethach connects to Tig Scathach, & Dun Scathach, the ‘Fort of Scathach’ found on the island of Skye. Scathach is a legendary figure in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology, a Scottish warrior woman whose homelands were Alpae, i.e. Alba. This is the moment where most historians stop their research into the affair. The thing is, we moderns must probe deeper & look for these combinations elsewhere in the records. In this case, there is a great deal of information waiting to burst out of those three wee lines.

Scathach
Scathach

In an earlier post I  showed how King Arthur was a Pictish King, who appears as Garthnach son of Gygyurn in the Pictish King Lists, as in;

Drest Gurthinmoch (472-502)
Galan Erilic (502-517)
Drest son of Gygurn (517-530)
Garthnach son of Gygurn (530-537)
Cailtaine son of Gygurn (537-538)

What interests us here is the name Galan Erilic, who lost his kingship in 517 AD, to be replaced by Arthur’s brother, Drest. Let us now look at another event that happened in that very same year.

517 - 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.

The question is, are the two events connected in some way, did Galan Erilic give up his throne in response to his defeat at Badon.

In the Historia Brittonum’s list of Arthurian battles, the siege at Badon is preceeded immediately by the siege of Mount Agnet – which I & other scholars have shown to have been fought at Edinburgh. I have also shown how the battles of Agned & Badon seem to have been fought in the same year, based upon a Scandinavian warrior known as Yder / Ederyn fighting at both battles.  In light of this, by adding Pa Gur into the mix we begin to see, or rather scry, a campaign fought by Arthur in which Galan Erilich was involved.

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Now comes the juicy part. The epithet ‘Erilic’ means ‘Herulian,’ a dark-age warrior-tribe based in both Scandinavia & SE Europe, the symbol of whom is present on a number of Pictish stones. The exact same symbol as shown above – the Scandinavian rune for sun, the lighting-like Sowilaz, running through a pair of Herulian concentrics  – can be found in Skye, one of only a couple of Pictish stones discovered on the island. It is called the Clach Ard stone, & its presence on Skye provides us with the Herulian angle, to whom we can connect to Galan Eriliz through the name of the majestic Cuillin hills, as in Galan = Cuillin. Indeed, Clach Ard translates as ‘Ard’s Stone,’ & an Arthurian aspect to it may not be ruled out.

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 Loch Coruisk and The Cuillin Hills from Sgurr na Stri in
Loch Coruisk and The Cuillin Hills from Sgurr na Stri in

 

The final piece of the jigsaw comes with the viable connection of the Cynbyn/Dogheads with Galan Erilic.  We begin with a fragment of a stone found in a church wall at the southern shore of the Maelar (Strängnäs) in Sweden, which has inscribed upon it;

.rilaR .wodinR

This connects the Herulians to the wolf-cult of Woden, which also included the Lombards among its devotees. Now let us look at the following passage from the 6th century historian Paul the Deacon; {The Lombards} pretended to have some cynocephapli (that is, men with dog’s heads) in their camp, & circulated among their enemies a rumour that these warriors never tired of fighting, that they drank human blood, & if they could not lay hands on an enemy, sucked their own blood.’  Here Paul the Deacon is referring to the ‘bezerker’ quality of ancient warriors such as the Lombards & the Herulians.

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Conclusion

Combining the evidence, one can see Arthur fighting a campaign roundabout 516/517 in which he defeated at least some Herulians in Edinburgh, Dumbarton (Mount Badon) & Skye. In the aftermath we get the perfect background for Big Geoff’s statement that Ebraucus, ‘built the city of Alt Clud towards Albini, and the town of mount Agned, called at this time the Castle of Maidens.’ The refortification of these two strongholds in the wake of the war would have secured central Scotland for the Arthurians, & with it the first streets of Edinburgh would have been built around Castle Rock – which up until that time had been a mere defence work, which according to the Lancelot-Graal, ‘had been secretly fortified at the time Vortigern married the daughter of Hengist the Saxon.’ This was in the mid-450s, & the fort had seems to have been built upon the Roman ‘Alauna,’ as mentioned by Ptolemy. However, it was after Arthur’s victory against Galan Erilic that a comforting blanket of peace descended on the area, enough for  Eleuther / Ebraucus to build the first version of Edinburgh at some point after those fateful battles of 517AD.

2 thoughts on “Dark Age Candles (IV)

  1. Although i have a different 9 battle sites of HB & PG theory, I always admire reading and following your net posts and info and research and connections.
    What you say abour orthodox academics/Arthurians being too critical/suspicious/rejecting/dismissive/discarding of early sources seems true as i have also found/noticed that (they reject “Nennius”, Herodotus, bible, etc despite new evidences that contrdict their critical theories).
    Some of the things the Arthurians/etc have said/done to you (and to me and to others) is really offensive. Some of your info helped me with some possible discoveries/connections that i may not have found if it wasn’t for that.
    My own opinion/theory about Eidyn/Edinburgh is that Edinburgh is a later/contemporary reminiscent-namesake/mirror-site/analogy of original Dover/Guinnion/Eidyn 2 (&/or Othona/Dubglas/Eidyn 1) battle site(s) in south-east. (The rock, etc is analogous to the cliffs/heights/downs, etc at Dover. There is an Edinburgh Hill at Dover….)

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