Thursday, 29 May 2008

THE BARDIC TALES

When we try to look back to the late days of Celtic Britain we find that we hit a wall, or to be more precise a roman wall that is so vast that it encompasses the History , Spirituality, Land , hearts , minds and lives of the Celtic people -- this rolling red wall was
the roman conquest of the west.



The fog is clearing and the wall has fallen but we are left with bare remnants compared with what was lost. What becomes plain is that there was something in particular that the Romans did not like about these mysterious lands and their free minded occupants. And they felt ...... that THEY should have it --Britain-- that is.

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The main ideas that have been shown to have been prevalent about the Celts amongst the Romans , and in particular the generals and emperors alike - were that the land at the end of the western regions was fit for roman conquest, (which by roman standards was the greatest compliment that could be given to a foreign land) that the Druids must be wiped out and that the peoples themselves should be enslaved and put to work.

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Because of this almost unanimous perception of the Sages of the west the Roman army was tasked with wiping them off the map in every corner of what we know now as Europe. From Germany to Scandinavia , France to Spain and Ireland all the way to Italy - Celtica's trade networks and communication systems were second to none , the entire civilisation was based upon individualisim and as such each area gave it's particular horde of goods, skills and resources.



With their fertile lands , many natural springs and rivers and with the thousands of mines both open cast and tunnel built - the Celts , Gauls , Germanic , Nordic and Slavic tribes were wealthy in many goods and for the most part lived in abundance. With the ships and the freedom to travel the Celt's were trading with people as far south as Africa and Egypt and as far east as China , the variety of goods that have since been discovered is incredible. In every way the roman trading that came forward in it's place was of less variety and lower quality - Slavery tends to do that to production...

There were however two things the Romans had alot of and shipped everywhere - Wine and Oil - now if the Romans had stayed as the Etruscan's and been the worlds best oil and wine distributors everything may have turned out well for the free men of europe but as we know the romans had a very different objective than that of merchants and traders.

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The Romans saw the threat posed by these philosophers and leaders on every level and so designed to not only decimate the lands and populations but also the holy sites , the sacred springs and groves , the Druidic colleges and most importantly the complete remnant of the spiritual body and overall cultural identity of the whole civilisation of Celtica within a couple of generations.

With their wealth of gold the debts of war could be paid by Caesar and he could return to Rome as dictator. The obvious threat that the Indigenous teachers and healers represented was such that they had to be destroyed inevitably , and so just like any game of chess the Emperor made the sufficient moves and set by great provision for the huge amounts of gold , silver and other metals that circulated the Celtic trade routes.



(The battersea shield)

When we look at this period we must not be fooled into thinking that the historical accounts that we are faced with on television hold any truth in the least- the accounts that are given to us are that of the Romans themselves and for anyone with a speck of intelligence it is easy to see that this would be very much like asking a televised American politician about the Iraq war - Not exactly the most impartial voice in the crowd.

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To find some pearls of truth in this pile of empty oyster shells we must then turn to the Storytellers , the Bards , the Ovates and the Druids of the British isles - the indigenous men of wisdom that had guided the island for thousands of years. These stories take Bath's founding back much further in time than 863 bc and do not begin within a man called Bladud.. Or do they ?


Daniel J.Tatman

Friday, 23 May 2008

ORIGINS AND FALSE - HOODS

Having now introduced you to the centre piece of John woods 'Georgian' Bath we will now go back a very long time indeed to the period when the original Celtic settlement was founded.

(Geoffrey of Monmouth)

This is a tangled tale that weaves through many countries and their individual specific legends and mythologies. With such a rich history it is a challenge to know where to begin - so we will pick up the narrative with the Breton-(Brittany) born 'Historian' and part time novelist Geoffrey of Monmoth who not surprisingly lived ... in monmouth on the border between england and wales.



I begin with Geoffrey because quite frankly he is the worst source of all the various pools of knowledge on the subject of the founding and ancient history of bath when compared with his Celtic and even roman contemporaies. His story starts in-between the years of 863 BC and perhaps 500 BC. ( The accounts are sketchy to say the least. ) Monmouth (circa 1100 to 1155) was a benedictine Prior who wrote about baths mythological founder king 'Bladud' in his 'Historia Regum Britanniae' ( The History of t he Kings of Britain). Written in 1136 this history was wildly in-accurate by today's historical standards as many of the figures mentioned cannot be found elsewhere in the field and the chronology is somewhat lacking uniformity (and that's being kind). He wrote that he had learnt of this genealogy from manuscripts of the 'old tongue' that he had obtained from his friend the Archdeacon of Oxford - many people dispute this and did at the time . But in spite of it's faults his work is still considered to be a central part of the 'Matter of Britain'.


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Unfortunately there are not that many other english historians or storytellers that speak of Bladud at length and so apart from Monmouth the references to him are very few and are usually strongly connected to his work anyway. A victorian example 700 years later..


''Bladud built the city of Bath, and dedicated the medicinal waters to Minerva. He was a man of great invention, and practised the arts of magic, till, having made him wings to fly, he fell down upon the temple of Apollo, in Trinovant, and so died, after twenty years’ reign.''
(T.Bulfinch) 1853


-Bulfinch Mythology-
The Age of Chivalry,

And the Legends of King Arthur

by Thomas Bulfinch
(1796-1867)

This rather short and abrupt account shows the kind of detail that has been gone into surrounding 'Bladud' - post Geoffrey of Monmouth, for whilst he changed vast swathes of the narratives of the original tales and made-up other sections that he needed for his own work , there now lies a rather thin veil through which we can see a bristling Celtic mythology aching to be revealed and re-told.

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Now, when we overlay the myths of Ireland, Scotland and Wales with Geoffrey's stories a rather intriguing and alluring pattern starts to take shape. These kings of the Britons that he wrote of were all CELTS and their true identities can be found - this can be done by pulling together the various myths and legends of the original Celtic peoples.

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We will start on this task in the next post..


Daniel J.Tatman
The Kings Circus


-INTRODUCTION-

One of the most enigmatic and baffling of all the architectural features of Bath is 'The circus' - begun in 1754 and finished in 1768 by the infamous bathonian architect John Wood 'the elder' the Latin named 'oval or circle' is one of the modern worlds most respected structural achievements. (The above image was taken with a spherical lens whilst lying down in the middle of the circus)


The following six pictures are of the incredible carvings (or more accurately emblems) around the inner perimeter of the complex facing toward the center. All in all - there are 525 actual emblems , however there is some repetition/mirroring and the number of different emblems used in total is 260. The images are highly alchemical and esoteric in nature and range from the typical symbols of the hermetic schools of the middle age, enlightenment and renaissance periods to the individual coats of arms of the houses owners.

Some say that these symbols are wholly freemasonic in nature however when we take into account that apart from some of the obvious square and compass and plumb and rule motifs that are used we can see that there is actually much more a-foot in this frieze than mere masonry.



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When i looked into this by reading wood's book 'The Origins of Building' i realised that most of the inspiration for - and the majority of direct symbolic motifs which wood incorporated into this 'frieze' were taken from a particular book which was always open on his desk. This book was the (1635) Book of mystical poetry ' A Collection of Embelems , Ancient and moderne' by George Wither. This book along with being a favourite of many of his fellow contemporaries was a gift from wither to the then Royals of England King Charles and Queen Mary.


(Cover)


(Frontspiece)


(below is his dedication to the monarch- and illustrates the point that this individual ~''Wither'' was thought of -quite- highly in his field)


(Dedication)

When you pull all of the many threads together a very interesting picture starts to emerge of Baths quintessential Georgian (or again more accurately palladian) architect John Wood - this part of the puzzle relates to his use of symbols and the origin of his palette so to speak -- however this is only one aspect of one part of one structure.... and... this is a mere preface to the work as a whole - there is much more to come.

Daniel J.Tatman

The Portal...


The Janus Gateway
(To the Queens Bath)


Welcome to my blog. My goal with this site is to grab your imagination and give a vivid impression of the passing of time within in a city with so much going on behind the scenes that it becomes hard not to look around your own environment for similar evidence..


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Having grown-up in bath and also having spent the last 8 years living in the 'Jewel of the west'- I have undergone an in-depth study into the City. This includes it's Mythology , Founding and founders , Fraternal and chivalric orders , Architecture , Lay-out , local celebrities and their history. I hope you will join me in reading between the lines and delving into some of the more obscure and interesting details surrounding this most ancient of somerset cities....


-For those of you who are thinking where is this city bath?-

Bath is a small city in the United Kingdom designated as such by the grand Cathedral in it's centre. The city is within the borders of the county of Bath and North east somerset which is in the South west of England just above the long stretching arm-like peninsula of Cornwall. I hope that if you have never heard of this place before that i can make it as interesting and intriguing as possible. Whilst many feel the subject is well understood - i would like to start this blog with a large and open ended question.


What exactly is a city and... WHAT DOES IT DO TO US ? ()


(Carvings in 'The Circus' - Bath)

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Here is a brief glimpse into the History of Bath - It is presented by the English Private school educated main stream historian that is Simon Schama . Although the imagery is fantastic, bear in mind this is the 'establishment' speaking here - this is exactly what you find in the school History books. Unfortunately we know that the facts that are within the books are not even close to the truth the majority of the time, the most truthful part of most school history books is usually the cover.


video


Yours sincerely


Daniel J.Tatman