Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Lludd of the silver hand

Having now brought Bladud and Lud to the table, in welsh mythology we find the much earlier warrior king Lludd who as we noted earlier etymologically and historically is the original welsh version of the catholic and Latin Lud.



The Magic spear

H.R.Millar - (1905)


The full title of this high king of Britain was 'Lludd Llaw Eraint' or in Latin English - 'Lud of the silver hand'. Anyone with even a slight knowledge of the Legends and Myths of Britain will notice straight away the silver hand motif, this is one of the strangest of the reoccurring themes that run literally throughout the entirety of the old stories of the Welsh and Gaelic peoples.

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The Welsh legends known as the 'Mabinogi' are the original four tales split into what are known as the four branches - what we know as the welsh 'Mabinogion' is a later collection of stories surrounding these four main narratives. These are the branches or tales of -





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( Whilst Wikipedia is by no-means an authority -
It does serve as a nice intro and it is relatively easy on the eye.)



The collected volume now holds between 9- 20 stories depending on which compilation and compiler you are referring to. The most well known of whom was Lady Charlotte guest who was the first English translator to take on the task. The title 'Mabinogion' was taken from Lady Guest's miss spelling of a word at the end of the last branch of the 'Mabinogi' (the original four tales) , whilst we are not going into an analysis of the welsh legends themselves it does make the point that many 'translators' and authors over the Milena have re-written , re-edited and compiled the indigenous folklore of the old world and quite often blatantly in-accurately.

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The tale in question within the text that speaks primarily of lludd is that of 'Lludd and Llefelys'. The story begins with the two noted characters Lllud and Llefelys - family members of a line of ruling kings who had recently taken back the crown after beating out the invaders with their recently deceased father Beli the great.

Here is another level of the connections between Lud and Lludd - Lud's fathers name was HELI and (as shown above) lludd's father was BELI. So you have lud and lludd , heli and beli.... I think the assumption that these two figures are one and the same is a very obvious one.

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Other linguists , researchers , mythologists and authors have made the connection between Lludd and lud before and seeing as Geoffrey of Monmouth himself said that he translated his Historia from the welsh legends then it comes as no big surprise. However when we take a longer look at the parents of these two fabled kings a far stranger and more powerful underlay starts to peek out from underneath. In the welsh version Beli the great was the Husband of the welsh goddess Dôn. Don is the welsh mirror of the Irish goddess Dana or Danu, both of these goddess's are the supreme mother figure in both of their Pantheons.


Now at this point our study must bridge over to the Irish legends having identified Lludd's mother as Don we can see that the Gaelic culture had their own mirror of all of the welsh characters. To be more accurate it is best to say that the Welsh mirrors the Irish as all scholars of British culture know that the Welsh Language and mythology came trickling down from Ireland. This can be seen in any region of the world with specific groups dialect's and their ultimate origins - the oldest always has the most elemental and principle language (and often the most simple)while at the same time having the most intricate and detailed mythology.

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This simple fact is the primer for the next post in which we will delve into our final mythological cross-over.. This leads us to our most startling discovery in the search for the identity of King Bladud and ultimately the possible origins of the Celtic settlement in the city now known as Bath.


Daniel J.Tatman

Friday, 13 June 2008

THE GOOD KING Lud

As we scan Geoffrey's History we find a character who is of equally important mythological stature and gains more than a couple of paragraphs in the Text. This character is the 'so it seems' well loved good king Lud.


The below statue is supposedly of king Alfred 'the Great' one of the first Saxon kings to bring together the later Anglo-Saxons against the much later invasion from western Europe of their consolidated stolen lands.

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However the masterful poets Wordsworth and Blake both identified the statue as king Lud- this point would carry much weight even without the knowledge of Blake's interest in Druidry and his ultimate placement as high Druid of Britain later in life. The fascinations and connections that Wordsworth held with the 'craft' of many initiatory traditions also play into the overall image of something very important in the observation made by these two highly steeped men.

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(Avebury)

Jerusalem : William Blake

1757-1827



King lud is talked about by Monmouth but if we now focus on place names and scan a map of Britain we find that there are no less than 68 places with 'lud' at their beginning. From Lud , Ludlow, Ludville, Ludhampton, Ludham , Luddington and all the way down to 8 Ludgates leading down in a sweeping line from northern wales to london - the diffusion of the name is wide and you find it right across England , Wales , Scotland and Ireland. There is a place called 'Lud' in the Shetland isles and then a Ludgvan in Cornwall - this king whoever he actually was did alot of travelling or, was thought of so highly that his name spread... like wildfire.

-example-

'LUD' PLACENAMES


Whilst there are numerous places that begin with the name of our selected king it is by no means proof that they were indeed named after him- it is however proof that this name in some way held importance for the whole of Ancient Britain. Lud has no meaning in latin or welsh as a word of it's own - so we must then investigate the roots of this word. As mentioned earlier this word covers the whole of Britain, here is one intriguing example:

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Monmouth describes Lud as a Warrior King Who was fond of hosting lavish feasts and throwing parties - this was on account of him and his fathers re-conquering Britain and removing the presence of the latest invading force. He tells of the rest of the lineage both Pre and Post Lud however these links are some of the most tentative and have not stood the test of 'Historical' time. It is left to another later author (Owain Tanwen) to translate Bladud to B'lladdud in the welsh language and this would then in turn be 'the Ludud' or 'the Lud' in Latin. This gives us a very fresh new angle to look at bath's founding figure from and indeed the dates with which we have become accustomed do not fit the bill.

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In tracking back it seems as though Bladud or B'lladdud WAS the -young- king Lud or in the powerful welsh mythology of the MABINOGION it denoted the boyhood of the legendary warrior king ''Lludd''. This character however is much older than the Lud and Bladud of Monmouths text and has much more importance in the history of ancient Britain. While The legends of wales are known to have been re-written in the periods between 400 and 900 ad - all scholars and Celtic mythologists understand that LLudd is a figure who comes from the murky ancient times of Albion perhaps THOUSANDS of years earlier.




The 400-800 years that separate Lud and Bladud fall away when we note Monmouth's skewing of all the details and chronology when laid up against the outline of the welsh legends - it shows to us that Bladud, Lud and Lludd are in fact the same people.

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In looking at Geoffrey's text we have shown that less than a historian he was an artist- and as such he has kept certain themes and histories whilst fragmenting them throughout the narrative to add progressively to the tale in the style of a true epic . Whilst he was an artist we can also call him rightly a mythologist as he audaciously tried to carry on his Kings of Britain were the Iliad of homer ended ... with the destruction of troy. His contention was that Brutus (a roman name incidentally) an heir to the throne of troy- fled from the destruction and came to Britain and formed Trinovantum or New Troy. This has been shown by hundreds of historians , archaeologists and anthropologists to be false.

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In the next post will shall examine the next king in our line of angled mirrors - the hugely influential and loved welsh warrior king - 'Lludd Llaw Eraint'.


Daniel J.Tatman

Thursday, 5 June 2008

THE EXILE

If we try to work our way back into the Celtic Mythology through the 'Historians' of the late Saxon and medieval periods- in order to find the original birth of bath we have to start with the colourful character of Geoffrey of Monmouth and his mythical King Bladud.



-Bladud in Exile-
Benjamin West
(1807)

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The picture that Monmouth paints is of a Young Welsh prince - who during his late education travels to Greece , to the fabled city of Athens and the site of the ancient and fallen troy to learn from the many teachers and philosophers that inhabit the region. During his studies he falls ill but is taken by four men to a path at the bottom of a low mountainside and is told to follow it to it's end. When he reaches the end of the path he drinks from a hidden fountain high in the the Athenian hills and is momentarily cured, he later travels back from Greece to Britain and returns to his kingdom in Wales.

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After setting up a college of learning on his way back to wales in a place now named Stamford with four mysterious 'philosophers' that had returned with him he alone returns to wales to his throne. When he enters the court after riding for days he pulls back his hood to reveal a small red scar below his eye. The court physician diagnoses him with leprosy and he is banished from the kingdom and sent out as a wanderer in exile with only a group of pigs as company.

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As we can see water was definitely a key motif in the story of bladud - whilst walking in the hills across the Mendips in the area now called somerset he turned a corner and saw a valley cut deep into the landscape, this valley was a sight to be seen- it was surrounded by pale sandstone cliffs and was FILLED with hot clouds of thick steam.

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The clouds came from the natural thermal waters that were coming up from under the ground - a collection of natural springs bringing so much water that they flooded the valley floor and made it an area of rich marsh and bog. In the marsh smooth brown clays had formed and the pigs of bladud rolled in the mud and bathed in the murky green bubbling waters that came up from the heated limestone deep under the earth.

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Bladud's pigs while in the company of the banished prince had been his only companions and as such he had tended to them , and so it followed that during their travels the pigs also contracted the illness of the doomed prince. The day after bathing in the waters bladud went to round up his animals and saw that they had been cured of their affliction !! . He then went back to the springs and rolled in the mud and bathed in the warm waters and steam for (according to Monmouth) a few days.

After this it is said that he returned to his kingdom in wales and became king - then in a token of thanks and memory he built the first Celtic settlement in bath or as it was then known in the welsh period of bladud-
- '' Ca'er Badd'on '' -

The Meadows of Bathing...



This was - and is still now to some extent the accepted story of the founding of bath and this is the story that is plastered all over the city. Especially the museums and the Baths themselves.. (as shown below) But what if there is another side to this story that has (up until now) not been told?. A story that includes the 'Fair folk' , The high Irish kings and their Welsh counterparts. Why on earth would a 'Roman catholic' benedictine prior leave the original British kings out of the story?..


(Bladud - At the roman bath's in Bath)


It is a obvious fact that can be proven time and time again - the early christian historians of the (600 ad to 1600 ad ) period completely re-wrote the western European lineage of kings (and) the stories of old after obtaining the original documents and manuscripts - from the earlier roman 'military' campaigns. They wiped out the presence of powerful women in the tales and tarnished the reputations and images of all of the kings and greats of the isle that the bards sang of. This particular history of '' Ca'er badd'on '' is a much later version of an earlier narrative which included many of the greatest characters in British mythology.

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Whilst the above story is attributed to Monmouth - This is just one of the many fallacies that surround Bath's earliest history, This account does not come from Monmouth but is in fact a slowly built up narrative taken from at least Twelve authors . The original was written in Latin as has four majorly different translations to boot- So if this is the accepted history of the founding of the city then we must throw out this idea as a concrete truth that is laid in stone and start to synthesize other earlier authors and OTHER FIGURES in Geoffrey's own text.

In the next post we shall look at another king mentioned by early 'writers' who strangely has alot in common with the man known as bladud...

Daniel J.Tatman