The Twelve Pillars of the Pictish Arthur

Its Boxing Day morning & so I thought I’d work on a wee belated Christmas gift to the world. This is the assimilation of all my research on the Pictish King Arthur & presentation in a singular place, basically to stymie any deflection of what is emerging as a very real truth. Each piece of research I am constructing as a metaphysical pillar on which my theory shall stand. There’s plenty of them, & I believe that any antiarthurians out there must demolish at least half of them to ensure my theory’s demise. This, however, is never gonna happen because, & without further ado, of the following…

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1: The Name Garthnach

picts

A historical figure called Garthnach son of Gygurn certainly sounds like Arthur son of Igerne, with the latter being the traditional famous mother of King Arthur. Evidence for the Arthur-Garthnach  philochisp comes in the form of  Artúr mac Aedan, King of Dalriada – ie the Irish Scots of Kintyre. Where Artúr is named as Aedan’s son in Adomnan’s Life of Columba, elsewhere The History of the Men of Scotland records: ‘Aedan had seven sons – two Eochaids, Eocho Bude, and Eochaid Find, Tuthal, Bran, Baithíne, Conaing, and Gartnait.‘ There’s no Arthur in the latter list, but there is a Gartnait, & we may presume they are the one & same person.

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2:  The Dates Fit

The following wee chronicle contains an extract from the Pictish King List – names & reign lengths – found in the 14th century Poppleton Manuscript, anchored on & intertwined with historical notices in very old chronicles. In the Poppleton, Gygyrnus appears as Girom, which would have thrown many scholars off the scent, but it is clear from other recensions of the PKL that Girom & Gygurnus are the same. My concluding interpretation of the data is that Arthur/Garthnach became king of the Picts in 529 & gave it up in 536, a year before dying in battle Camlann.

 449: Drust McErb, King of Pictland, died (Annals of Clonmacnoise)

(449) Talore son of Aniel – 4
(453) Necton Morbet son of Erip – 24
(477) Drest Gurthinmoch – 30
(507) Galalan Erilich – 12

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. (Annales Cambraie)

(519) Two Drests – son of Girom
son of Uudrost
5 together / 5 Drest son of Girom on own
(529) Garthnach son of Girom – 7
(536) Cailtram son of Girom – 1

537: The battle of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut fell. (Annales Cambraie)

(537) Talorg son of Muircholaich – 11
(548) Drest son of Muniat – 1
(549) Galam Cennaleph – 1
(550) Galam Cennaleph and Briduo together – 1
(551) Bridei son of Mailcon – 30

581: The death of Bruide son of Maelchú, king of the Picts. (Annals of Tigernach)

(581)  Gartnart son of Bomelch

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3: Pictish Matrinlineal Succession

The last king in the above list, Gartnart, was the same man as Arthur son of Aedan, showing that Bomelch was his mother. The Pictish succession of kings was matrilineally focussed, with the Venerable Bede recording in the early 8th century;

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.

Such a matrilineal regal-flow begins with Cunedda, who appears in the PKL as Canutulahina. Nennius places Cunedda in Scotland, in Manau Gododdin, whose successor, Ceretic, transchisowrs into the PKL’s Wradech.  Between them & Arthur/Garthnach, the list is as follows;

Canutulahina
Wradech uecla
Gartnaich-diuberr
Talorc son of Achivir
Drust son of Erp
Talorc son of Aniel
Necton morbet son of Erip
Drest Gurthinmoch
Galanan erilich
Drest son of Gygurnus
Drest son of Uudrost
Garthnach son of Gygurnus

According to Jesus College genealogy number seven, Cunedda Wledig had two daughters, Tegid and Gwen. The latter then marries a certain Amlawdd Wledig, so the matrinlineal Pictish royal line should flow through their children. Another genealogy in Peniarth MS 177 shows their daughter to be a certain Eigr, otherwise known as Eigyr, Igraine or Ygerne. This woman, of course, is the father of King Arthur, & the only conclusion we can make now is that Cunedda was King Arthur’s great grandfather.

Cunedda Wledig / Canutalahina
Gwen = Amlawdd Wledig
Eigr / Gygurnus
Arthur / Garthnach

The PKL gives even more confirmation. The St Andrews version of the Gurthinmoch is Gormot. This name philochisps into a certain, ‘Gormant,’ who the medieval Welsh tale Culhwch and Olwen describes as ‘Gormant son of Rica (brother to Arthur on his mother’s side, his father the chief elder of Cornwall),’ where again we see another Igerne-linked figure connected to the Pictish throne.

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4: The Dux Pictorum

If Arthur was a Pictish king, then surely somebody would have  mentioned it somewhere. Luckily someone did, even before Big Geoff. His name was Lambert of Saint-Omer, who in his early 12th century Liber Floridus  states not only that Arthur was a Dux Pictorum, but that he also has a palace in Pictavia. It was this clue that me logically look for Arthur in the Pictish King List in the first place, using the old open a phone book method which shines with effervescent simplicity!

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

There is a palace, in Britain in the Picts’ land, of Arthur the soldier, built with wondrous art and variety, in which may be seen sculpted all his acts both of construction and in battle.

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5: Rhynie

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The Royal Pictish centre being excavated in recent years at Rhynie, Aberdeenshire, is given as Penrhionyd in one the Welsh Triads.

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 elder

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. A definitive Arthurian connection to Rhynie comes through Tintagelware, which had fanned out throughout Britain to a series of high-status sites such as South Cadbury in Somerset & also Longbury Bank in the Dyfed parish of Penally, situated within another of Arthur’s ‘Tribal Thrones.’ 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 archeaologists uncovered the post-holes & plank slots of a timber feasting hall at Rhynie.

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6: Uther Pendragon

That a Pictish name, Drust or Dustan, was found on a 6th century memorial stone is Cornwall has always puzzled scholars. Yet, by placing a Pictish Arthur in the same locality clears things up a touch. We do so by the following famous passage…

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.

This story, as told by Big Geoff, is the nearest thing we have to Arthur’s birth certificate. Big Geoff’s history is essentially a collection of facts, or almost facts with a chisper or two, about which are composed tales of aventure & exciting battles to please a twelfth century audience. In this case he knew that Arthur was born in Tintagel of Igerne & Uther, but Arthur’s father was also known as Gorlois. To reconcile the two truths he created a magical phantasy which no doubt went down well in the early medieval feasting halls, that Merlin turn’d Uther into Duke Gorlois. The evidence comes in a poem by Taleisin called the Death Song of Uther Pendragon, in which Uther declares himself to be called Gorlasser, a philochisp of Gorlois. The poem is set in North Britain and begins;

Am I not with hosts making a din?
I would not cease, between two hosts, without gore.
Am I not he that is called Gorlassar?
Have I not been accustomed to blood about the wrathful,
A sword-stroke daring against the sons of Cawrnur?
I shared my shelter,
a ninth share in Arthur’s valour

To this mix we must add the figure of Hydrossig/Uudrost, who appears in the PKL right before Garthnach as the parent of one of the two Drests, with the other parent being Gygurn. Uther to Uudro is an easy chisper to spot and we may conclude definitively that Uudrost and Gygurnus are the Pictish philochisps of Uther and Igerne.

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7: Scottish Battles

There are plenty of traces of Arthur in the topography of Scotland, & we can also link several sites to the ‘Battle-List’ of the Historia Brittonum, with the clearest one being, ‘The seventh battle was in the forest of Celidon, which the Britons call Cat Coit Celidon.’ This ‘cat,’ or wood, was situated all across the Scottish borders, between Hadrian’s Wall & the Firth of Forth. Arthur’s eighth battle, ‘near the fortress of Guinnion,’  is given a precise site by the Vatican rescension of the Historia, Stow-on Wedale in the Scottish Borders.

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.

Arthur’s eleventh & twelfth battles were fought in the Lothians. ‘The eleventh battle was fought on the mountain which is called Agnet,refers to Edinburgh. The locality of Mount Agned is given by Big Geoff, who chips in with, ‘Ebrauc also built the town of Alclud & the settlement of Mount Agned which is now called the castle of the Virgins & the Hill of Sorrows (Montem Dolosorum), facing Albany.‘ That Edinburgh was known as the Castle of Maidens back in Geoff’s day is proven in a papal bull of 1237, which names Holyrood as the ‘Monastery of the Holy Rood of the Castle of the Maidens.’ This battle is also mentioned by the Pa Gur poem which describes

On the heights of Eidyn
He fought with cynocephali
By the hundreds they fell
To Bedwyr’s four-pronged spear

The mention of the ‘heights of Eidyn’ in Pa Gur suggest a battle was fought all across Edinburgh’s seven hills. Arthur’s fighting in the Edinburgh area is remembered in quite a distinctive way. On approaching the city, the happy traveller will first notice from afar the wild & gigantic ruin of an ancient volcano. This compact & heathy wilderness is known as Holyrood Park, whose chief height is a soaring 800-foot high, lion-like edifice called Arthur’s Seat. As we have already seen, an Arthur’s Seat in an area could well be attributed to a siege conducted by Arthur himself. In the half-French, half-German, Latin-loving dialect known as Middle-English the word ‘sege’ possessed two very different meanings, the latter of which opens the case wide open; A chair or throne / A  siege. Thus Arthur’s Seat could well be a memorial of King Arthur beseiging Edinburgh rock!

The final battle, Badon, is sited in the county of East Lothian, to the East of Edinburgh. Its modern day name is Lammer Law, after which the Lammermuir Hills are named. It lies only a few miles from Traprain Law, which has been firmly connected to King Loth, one of Arthur’s kindred in the older traditions. On the lower slopes of Lammer Law there are three hillforts; The Witches Knowe, Kidlaw & The Castles. Flowing around the latter goes the Dambadam Burn, which transchispers into Dun Badon, & also the ‘the siege of Mount Badamor’ variant of the battle’s name as given by the medieval Scottish chronicler, John of Fordun. This system of defences guarding Lammer Law does come alive in the mind when reading the phrase, ‘Arthur penetrated to the hill of Badon.’

From Badon we come to Bothan, the ancient name of the parish of Yester, which the Lammer Law forms a part. In the Transactions of the Antiquarian & Field Naturalists’ Society (1963/v.IX), James Bulloch writes of Yester church’s chispering dedication to Saint Bathan;

In the course of the centuries this church acquired a spurious dedication because of the similarity of its name to St. Bathans on the southern slope of the Lammermuirs. Even in the late Middle Ages the name Bothans became transformed into St Bothans but there is clear evidence that the original dedication was to Saint Cuthbert. It is told in the Lanercost Chronicle that in 1282 the woodwork of the choir of the church of Bothans in Lothian was being carved at the expense of the rector, ‘in honour of Saint Cuthbert, whose church it is.’

From Bothon/Bodon we come to Boderia (also Bodotria), which is the name given by Ptolemy for the Forth estuary. With Lammer Law being the largest ‘mountain’ in East Lothian, & that it overlooks the Forth, then it should well have been called Mount Boderia in the 2nd century AD, transchispering to Badon by the Arthurian era. Also relevant is the name ‘Mur nGuidan’ given to the Forth by the ‘Irish Tractate on the Mothers of Saints.’ So just as the Gododdin derided from an earlier Bodotria, so the name Guidan would have evolved out of Buidan.

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8: Sir Kay

In 536, Arthur was replaced on the Pictish throne by his brother, Cailtram son of Girom.,  who would rule only for a single year, succeeded by Talorg son of Muircholaich . The name Cailtram immediately resonates with ‘Keidyaw,’ who succeeded Arthwys in one of the lineages in the Descent of the Men of the North, which reads;

Gwendoleu & Nud & Cof, sons of Keidyaw, son of Arthwys

With Talorg’s entry into the Pictish pantheon, we gain confirmation to Arthwys of the Descent of the Men of the North as being King Arthur. To do so, we must compare the names of three of the Descent’s consecutive kings to three consecutive kings given by the Pictish lists;

ARTH-wys – GARTH-nach

CEI-dyaw – CAI-ltram

Gwen-DDOLEU – TALOR-g

It would seem that Cailtram/Keidyaw was the man behind the later Sir Kay of medieval Sir Kay of Arthurian romance.  Nah then, is it only a fabulous coincidence that Big Geoff describes Arthur leaving Britain in the year before Camlann, ie 536 AD? is it only a coincidence that Hector Boece  describes a certain noble leader called Caimus as dying at Camlann?

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9: The Battle of Camlann

A positive connection to the Dunnichen area being the site of the fatal Battle of Camlann is  given in the Second Statistical Account of Scotland’s account, which 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.’ This correlates with the Annales Cambraie’s ‘537: The Strife of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut fell.

 

ans_carmyllie

There is the definite Cam like’ ‘Carmyllie,’ which Dunnichen parish neighbours. The name has a clear resonance with the ‘Carmellie’ battle given in the Old Welsh tale, The Dream of Rhonabwy, in which a certain Iddawg places the battle near 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.

In late antiquity, the Welsh word Llan and its variants (Breton: lan; Cornish: lann; Pictish: lhan) was applied to the sanctified land occupied by communities of Christian converts. The typical llan was defended by a circular or oval embankment with a protective stockade. An Iron age llan can be found in the parish of Dunnichen, Angus, on a hillfort called Dumbarrow, confirmed by the Statistical Account of Forfarshire’s, ‘this Fort seems to have been built of dry stone in a circular form.’ Dumbarrow has clear Arthurian connections, with the Old Statistical Account of Scotland (1791) describing ‘a rock on its north side is still called Arthur’s Seat,’ while Alexander Warden in the third volume of Angus or Forfarshire, tells us, ‘The Hill of Dumbarrow (anciently Dunberach), in the parish, disputes with the Hill of Barry, near Alyth, the honour of having been the prison of Arthur’s frail Queen, Guanora.’

dun 3

Archaeology 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.’

aberk1

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. Its now in Dundee, actually, its a replica that stands at Aberlemno – but its still pretty cool. 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.

The parish saint of Dunnichen is Constantine, & alongside the church dedicated to him, there was also a ‘St Causnan’s Well,’ whose pure fine spring was renamed as the Camperdown Well to commemorate the battle of Camperdown. According to Big Geoff, Constantine succeeded to the high kingship of Britain after the Battle of Camlann, & on its very field, Arthur; ‘gave up the crown of Britain unto his kinsman Constantine.’

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10: Avalon

The Welsh Triads tell us, ‘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.‘ The name Afallach translates as ‘apples’, & with Camlann being fought at Dunnichen, common sense tells us we are looking for an island with orchards somewhere in the vicinity. 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.

Fifteen centuries ago, the alluvial flood plain on which the Carse is situated was a patchwork of many islands, including Inchyra, whose phonetic ‘inch’ stems from the Gaelic name for ‘small island.’ Inchyra House is a place of great significance to our investigation. A Pictish grave, disturbed by ploughing in 1945, was discovered 100 meters south of the house. The remains were covered by a large decorated flat slab lying flat over a cairn of forty-nine water-rolled stones. This seems to 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.

Arthur's Tomb, Inchyra
Arthur’s Tomb, Inchyra

On analysing a 1959 paper on the Inchyra Stone, by Robert Stevenson, the Ogham inscriptions leapt out at my mind like striking panthers. 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, ‘INEHHETESTIE.’ We can here see the word Anoeth, as in the babel-chain, ‘Anoeth-Inohhet-Inehhet.’ The true meaning of the name Anoeth is not yet understood to satisfaction, but it is given by the poem’ The Stanzas of the Graves’ as the actual burial site of Arthur.

Another inscription on one of the stone’s edges gives us the winning ticket;

UHTU-O-AGED

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 help us to paint Inchyra as the original Avalon. This means simply that King Arthur was – & still is – buried in the grounds.

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11: Gleissiar of the North

 We have previously connected Uther Pendragon with a certain Gorlasser, another reference to whom is found in the Welsh Triads

 Three Brave Men of the Island of Britain: Gruddnei, and Henben, and Edenawg. They would not return from battle except on their biers. And those were three sons of Gleissiar of the North, by Haearnwedd the Wily their mother.

Here Igerne or Ig-Haearn, appears as ‘Haearnwedd the Wily.’ It comes as no surprise to see how the Triads’, ‘Gruddnei’  philochisps into Gartnait, a common alternate name for Garthnach as given in the lists. Conjecturally, this suggests that Gleissiar’s other sons, Henben & Edenawg, are the two Pictish Drests who ruled before Garthnach/Arthur.

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12: Camelot

dun 7

It makes sens that the fortress of Camelot was situated near the immortal battlefield of Camlann. The ‘elot’ afifx is found only a few miles to the south of Dunbarrow, where the River Elot – Elliot these days – rises in a moss called Diltymoss, and, after a course of about eight miles, falls into the North Sea at Arbirlot. Hard by its headwaters stands Dunhead, a fortification covered by dense deciduous woodland, situated on a steepsided promontory at a confluence of the Elliot Water, between two ravines, one of which contains the Black Den & the other the Den of Guynd. In 1754, Melville made a rough sketch-plan of the site, describing it as ‘the entrenchment on Down Head Hill near Arbilot.’

dun 6
Camelot is the ‘earthwork’ on the map

The First Statistical Account refers to the recent demolition of a “druidical temple” in the parish, & the finding of a “Pictish crown” at Black Den, a forested ravine linked to the Guynd Den.

A few years ago the remains of a religious house in the parish, whose ruins had been revered for ages, were taken down. And though we cannot say at what time, or by what person, it was built, yet from the accounts given of it, we have reason to believe that it had been a druidical temple. It is reported, with much confidence, that a crown of one of the kings of the Picts, was found in the Black-den of this Parish, by a quarryman, about the beginning of the present century

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CONCLUSION

I’ve left a lot of cool stuff out with this write up, but I wanted to be as clear & concise as possible. As I’ve studied the Pictish Arthur over the years, its been amazing to see & erect each solid proof on which to support the theory. To me, on Boxing Day 2019, its a no brainer, a series of coincidences so uncanny that they just have to be the truth. I mean, there’s a guy in the Pictish King Lists whose name sounds like Arthur & whose mother’s name sounds like Arthur’s mother. Not only that, he gives up his throne a year before Camlann – 536 – just like Arthur, & the guy who succeeds him – Cailtram – rules for a single year suggesting he was the Caimus who died at Camlann. Another incredible coincidence is that Arthur ruled in the north at a place called Pen Rhionyd, & there is a dark age Pictish fortress at Rhynie… it just goes on & on…

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