of the Britons
and his famous
the true version according to
and the learned few.
There seems little doubt that the name Arthur derives from the Roman name Artorius.
King Arthur was of the period (c520 AD) that followed Roman rule in Britain, known by some as 'The Dark Ages.'
Camulodunum, the ancient British name for Colchester, was an important British settlement with special religious significance to the Celtic Britons. Indeed it was to here that the Romans came when they invaded in AD43 and made it their base. They fortified their camp with a stone wall, much of which stands today and would have been very much in existence in Arthur's day.
Camelot has been represented as among the most important of several cities where Arthur held court. Nearly all the others were large towns of Roman Britain, Chester, York, Gloucester and others, set down in their medieval spelling. Camalot, the more usual early form of the name is therefore plainly a medieval spelling of the Latin name of a large Roman town in Britain. The only town with such a name is Camulodunum or Colchester as it is now named.
Colchester had obvious advantages as a political centre in reconquered Britain. It was well sited to observe and to intimidate the two most formidable English territories, East Anglia and Kent. Easy roads linked it with the British north and west and shipping from its harbours might reach Europe without approaching too closely the coast of English Kent. Contact with Europe at the time of Badon, was very important, for then the struggle of Goth, Roman and Frank had not yet finally decided the fate of Gaul. Clovis and Frank permanently turned Gaul into France, thus leaving nothing Roman in northern Europe to comfort the British. The collapse of a central authority in Britain ended the need for a political centre and Colchester lost its advantage.
Colchester would have been a frequent residence for Arthur but his was not a government that could rule from a single capital.
According to the Welsh chronicler Nennius, writing in the late 8th and early 9th centuries, Arthur commanded a combined British force against the marauding Saxons, defeating them at Mount Badon in 518 and being mortally wounded at Camlan in 537. The Cambrian Annals record Arthur's death as 'the Battle of Camlann, where Arthur and Medraut fell' placing it some 21 years after Badon. The only other record of a 5th or 6th century Medraut, makes him the heir of a southern dynasty, and perhaps locates his son in Suffolk.
Surely, modern day Colchester must have the best claim of all to being the location of Arthur's Camelot, together with all the associated magic and mysticism that has occupied the daydreams of young and old ever since.
Forget the spurious claims of places in the West Country such as Glastonbury, Cadbury Hill, Tintagel and the like. and the romantic medieval writers, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Sir Thomas Malory, and their ilk.
They have all sought to attach themselves, with no proof whatsoever, to the magnificence of
King Arthur of the Britons
(see 'The Age of Arthur' by John Morris)
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