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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The Arthur of the March of Wales Helbert, Daniel Glynn 2016

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THE	ARTHUR	OF	THE	MARCH	OF	WALES				by					Daniel	Glynn	Helbert					A	THESIS	SUBMITTED	IN	PARTIAL	FULFILLMENT	OF	THE	REQUIREMENTS	FOR	THE	DEGREE	OF				DOCTOR	OF	PHILOSOPHY			in			The	Faculty	of	Graduate	and	Postdoctoral	Studies		 	(English)							THE	UNIVERSITY	OF	BRITISH	COLUMBIA	(Vancouver)		September	2016		©	Daniel	Glynn	Helbert,	2016									 ii	Abstract:		 “The	Arthur	of	the	March	of	Wales”	explores	the	medieval	Arthurian	legend	through	the	lens	of	the	political	boundary	separating	and	combining	the	English	and	Welsh	people.	This	border,	I	argue,	is	overwhelmingly	responsible	for	the	legend’s	genesis	and	its	most	enduring	features.	This	critical	orientation	breaks	from	the	conventional	organization	and	focus	of	Arthurian	scholarship,	which	has	meticulously	segregated	literary	works	about	Arthur	into	independent	traditions.	These	traditions	forcibly	map	our	modern	conceptions	of	homogeneous	imagined	communities—nation	states	or	linguistic	heritage—onto	literary	texts	which	are	themselves	overwhelmingly	inter-linguistic	and	comparative.	My	study,	instead,	reads	Arthurian	border	works	outside	the	disciplinary	and	nationalistic	boundaries	which	have	been	erected	upon	them.		As	I	argue,	recognizing	the	Anglo-Welsh	border	as	the	preeminent	origin	for	a	substantial	portion	of	the	Arthurian	corpus	is	important	for	how	we	understand	the	wider	manifestations	of	the	legend.	However,	the	implications	of	this	project	reach	beyond	scholarly	tradition.	My	study	details	how	the	Arthurian	legend	and	the	border	serve	similar	cultural	and	political	purposes	throughout	British	history.	Both	Arthur	and	the	Anglo-Welsh	border	are	entities	which	hold	a	mutually	reflexive	position	to	Welsh,	English,	and	Norman	hegemony	and	ideology;	they	simultaneously	shape	and	are	shaped	by	the	evolving	conceptions	of	British	identity	on	both	sides	of	the	border.	Amid	the	clash	of	armies,	the	coexistence	of	peoples,	and	the	clamor	of	courts,	the	Arthurian	border	continuously	revealed	and	unraveled	the	ever-evolving	“truths”	of	British	culture.	“The	Arthur	of	the	March	of	Wales”	is	a	fresh,	interdisciplinary	intervention	in	our	conception	of	the	Arthurian	legend	and	the	national/disciplinary	boundaries	which	have	hitherto	confined	it.		 iii	Preface:	There	are	no	co-authors	or	collaborators	for	this	dissertation.	A	version	of	Chapter	Three	has	been	published	as	“‘An	Arður	sculde	ȝet	cum’:	The	Prophetic	Hope	in	Twelfth	Century	Britain,”	Arthuriana	26.1	(2016):	78-108.																						 iv	Table	of	Contents:	Abstract	..................................................................................................................................................	ii		Preface	...................................................................................................................................................	iii		Table	of	Contents.................................................................................................................................iv		List	of	Figures.........................................................................................................................................v		Introduction............................................................................................................................................1		Shaping	the	March	.......................................................................................................................................4		Prelude:	The	Arthurian	dinas	in	“Marwnad	Cynddylan”.......................................................27		1.	Pure	Fictions:	Early	Arthurian	Border	Literature	and	the	British	Nation..................41		Nennius,	Merfyn	and	the	Border..........................................................................................................44		Vortigern	and	Arthur	in	the	Historia	Brittonum	............................................................................55		“Pa	Gur?”:	Arthur	and	the	Specter	of	Hybridity	on	the	Borders	of	Britain	............................73		Licat	Amr	and	the	Origin	of	the	Border.............................................................................................84			2.	“Alienos	Ortulos”:	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth	in	the	Garden	of	Others..............................97		King	Arthur	and	Insular	Reflections/Refractions.......................................................................109		“Gormes	Sæsneg	”	and	Geoffrey’s	“dulcia	mensis”:	Welsh	Reflections	in	the	Historia	.....126	Norman	Seeds	in	the	British	Garden	...............................................................................................141			3.	“Þrumde	to	are”:	Combining	Culture	and	Prophecy	in	Laȝamon’s	Brut....................150	“his	quiðes	weoren	soðe”:	Prophetic	Authority	in	Anglo-Norman	Britain.........................161		“An	Arður	sculde	ȝete	cum”:		The	Breton	Hope	and	the	Mab	Darogan.................................169		“vppen	Seuarne	staþe”	.........................................................................................................................195				4.	“Gware	dy	chware”:	Playing	Near	the	Edge	in	Fouke	le	Fitzwaryn	and	Breuddwyd					Rhonabwy	...........................................................................................................................................199	Blank	Lands:	Writing	the	Border	in	Fouke	and	Rhonabwy	......................................................208		“Your	Move”:	Dangerous	Games	.......................................................................................................223		Word	Play	.................................................................................................................................................236			5.	“I-medled	to	gidres”:	Arthurian	Border	Identities	in	Sir	Gawain	and	the	Green	Knight	and	the	poetry	of	Iolo	Goch.............................................................................................240		The	Fractured	Arthurian	Identities	of	Iolo	Goch........................................................................250	“I	be	not	now	he	þat	ȝe	of	speken”:	Identity	in	Sir	Gawain	and	the	Green	Knight.............266		Epilogue:	Of	Borders	and	Nations..............................................................................................284			Bibliography:	....................................................................................................................................289		 v	List	of	Figures:	Figure	1:	The	Wonders	of	Britain..................................................................................................48		Figure	2:	The	Battles	of	Arthur......................................................................................................68		Figure	3:	Licat	Amr	and	Ergyng.....................................................................................................94		Figure	4:	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth’s	Dedications	.....................................................................145		Figure	5:	Genealogy	of	Mortimer	Family	.................................................................................260																				 vi	Acknowledgements:		The	analogy	between	dissertations	and	babies	is	an	apt	one,	and,	like	a	real	child,	it	has	taken	a	community	to	raise	this	one.	My	initial	interests	in	early	literatures	and	critical	scholarship	were	sparked	by	my	advisors	at	the	University	of	Virginia’s	College	at	Wise,	Ken	Tiller	and	John	Mark	Adrian.	The	honest	advice	and	scholarly	professionalism	of	Daniel	Mosser	at	Virginia	Tech	encouraged	me	further.	To	Charlene	Eska,	who	has	answered	many	an	eccentric	email	query	over	the	years,	I	owe	my	initial	interest	in	medieval	Welsh	literature	and	the	linguistic	foundations	by	which	to	read	it	in	the	original.	David	Coley	has	never	been	an	official	advisor	to	me,	but	the	quantity	and	quality	of	his	suggestions	certainly	suggest	otherwise.	Patricia	Badir	used	her	role	as	Graduate	Program	Chair	to	fund	my	research,	my	travels	for	research,	and	my	ability	to	pay	rent	while	doing	research.	The	perils	of	UBC’s	bureaucracy	are	impossible	for	any	English	graduate	student	to	navigate	without	Louise	Soga’s	lovely	personality	and	relentless	work.	Of	my	committee:	Jessica	Hemming	has	fielded	many	of	my	esoteric	questions,	loaned	me	many	books	not	available	in	Koerner	Library,	and	was	a	ruthless	and	punctual	reader	of	this	document.	Many	of	my	best	and	worst	ideas	for	this	project	were	spurred	and	spurned	in	the	countless	conversations	I	have	had	with	Robert	Rouse	over	the	years;	his	advisory	role	even	extended	to	driving	us	around	in	circles	through	the	March	of	Wales	in	search	of	Nennius’s	“Wonders	of	Britain.”	And,	without	Siân	Echard’s	sage	counsel,	meticulous	readings	and	brilliant	suggestions,	this	project	simply	would	not	have	been	possible.		My	real	children,	Evan	and	Brenin,	have	been	the	best	distractions	from	this	project	that	I	could	ever	have	asked	for.	My	parents	and	sister,	however,	provided	countless		 vii	babysitting	hours	to	ensure	the	boys	did	not	overdo	their	job.	Finally,	and	most	importantly,	I	owe	my	most	humble	thanks	to	my	best	friend	and	wife,	Tracy,	whom	I	met	in	a	medieval	literature	class	ten	years	ago—since	then,	I’ve	been	unable	to	stop	thinking	about	either.			 1	The	Arthur	of	the	March	of	Wales			Introduction:			 The	characters	of	medieval	Arthurian	literature	rarely	concern	themselves	with	political	borders.	In	Culhwch	ac	Olwen,	Culhwch	travels	from	his	father’s	realm	into	King	Arthur’s	and	later,	accompanied	by	the	Arthurian	war	band,	he	walks	right	up	to	Ysbaddaden	Penkawr’s	castle—all	without	mention	of	the	political	boundaries	which	supposedly	separate	these	areas.	Similarly,	while	it	is	certainly	true	that	Bertilak	rules	a	separate	realm	than	Arthur’s	“Logres,”	Gawain	somehow	manages	to	reach	Bertilak’s	door	without	realizing	he	had	even	crossed	the	border.	Even	when	these	Arthurian	stories	are	mapped	onto	the	landscape	of	real	sovereign	nations,	as	they	so	often	are,	the	thresholds	to	those	sovereignties	are,	in	practice,	permeable.	The	number	of	lands,	countries,	realms	and	nations	(real	or	otherwise)	mentioned	by	Arthurian	writers	is	dizzying—yet	these	political	entities	seem	to	somehow	exist	on	a	fluid	geo-political	plane	and	their	characters	curiously	pass	from	center	to	center	without	ever	having	touched	the	edge.		The	dissemination	and	development	of	Arthurian	literature	has	been	enduringly	reflective	of	these	boundless	and	boundary-less	realms	of	the	Arthurian	dreamscape.	Throughout	the	Middle	Ages—despite	linguistic,	geographic	and	cultural	barriers—no	place	in	Western	Europe	was	without	a	tradition	of	the	king	and	his	knights.	From	its	origins	in	Brythonic	folklore,	the	legend	moved	to	Latin	historiography,	to	romances	in	French,	Middle	English,	and	German,	and	eventually	travelled	to	Italy,	the	Iberian	Peninsula,	Ireland,	the	Nordic	countries	and	even	Greece	before	the	close	of	the	Middle	Ages.	At	that	point,	as	we	are	well	aware,	the	arbitrary	boundaries	which	sunder	the	medieval	from	the	modern	proved	similarly	futile	in	containing	the	Arthurian	legend.	Since		 2	then,	Arthur	has	broken	the	generic	bonds	of	romance	and	history	to	be	featured	in	operas,	novels,	Tennysonian	idylls,	films,	television	series,	and	even	comic	books.		However,	despite	this	elemental	fluidity	of	the	Arthurian	legend,	we	have	endeavored,	obstinately,	to	map	homogeneous	imagined	communities—be	they	nation	states	or	a	linguistic	heritage—onto	Arthurian	texts	which	are	themselves	overwhelmingly	inter-linguistic	and	comparative.	Even	as	we	continually	demonstrate	their	flexibility	and	range,	we	insistently	segregate	Arthurian	texts	along	nationalistic	and	disciplinary	lines,	creating	culturally	distinctive	“Arthurs”	for	each	supposedly	homogeneous	community.	Nowhere	is	this	practice	more	glaring	than	in	the	titles	to	the	critically	rich	volumes	of	Arthurian	scholarship	published	through	the	Eugène	Vinaver	Memorial	Trust:	The	Arthur	of	the	English,	The	Arthur	of	the	Welsh,	The	Arthur	of	Medieval	Latin	Literature,	etc.	These	works	are,	appropriately,	a	mainstay	on	the	Arthurian	scholar’s	bookshelf	and	I	have	no	qualms	with	the	goal	which	they	each	successfully	achieve	on	an	individual	basis—providing	a	cogent	introduction	to	Arthurian	literature	in	medieval	Europe	from	a	manageable,	discipline-specific	range	of	texts.	However,	their	meticulous	division	is	representative	of	a	problematic	structural	misconception	prevalent	in	Arthurian	scholarship	writ	large:	that	Arthurian	literature	can	be	neatly	segregated	by	language	and	culture.		The	following	study	is,	in	part,	a	reaction	to	that	misconception.	Though	it	might	seem	counterintuitive,	the	curious	“lack”	of	borders	in	and	for	Arthurian	literature	which	I	mention	above	stems	in	large	part	from	the	role	that	one	particular	border,	the	March	of	Wales,	played	in	the	development	of	Arthurian	literature	from	its	origins	through	the	fourteenth	century.	Arthurian	literature,	on	a	macroscopic	level,	is	essentially	about	a		 3	society	coming	to	terms	with	itself;	a	society	slowly	recognizing	the	limits	of	its	values	and	the	value	of	its	limits.	The	border	between	England	and	Wales—the	most	persistent	“limit”	in	all	of	the	British	Isles	and	in	most	of	Europe—was,	of	course,	an	appropriate	community	to	spur	such	an	introspective	and	versatile	legend.		The	border	origins	of	the	Arthurian	legend	has,	to	varying	degrees,	been	recognized	and	emphasized	by	interdisciplinary-minded	scholars	over	the	past	three	decades,	and	it	is	high	time	for	a	comprehensive	study.1	Recognizing	the	sweeping	borderlands	of	the	March	as	the	preeminent	origin	for	a	substantial	swath	of	the	British	Arthurian	corpus	is	important	for	how	we	understand	the	wider	manifestations	of	Arthur	in	the	European	Middle	Ages	and	beyond.	As	the	substantial	number	of	texts	which	derive	from	this	border	especially	(and,	to	a	lesser	degree,	other	European	borders)	overwhelmingly	demonstrates,	Arthurian	literature	is	not,	by	and	large,	a	tradition	derivative	of	centralized,	grassroots	homogeneous	communities;	it	is	a	tradition	from	the	edge,	as	it	were,	and	our	approaches	to	categorizing	that	tradition	should	more	openly	reflect	its	peripheral	origins.	However,	the	texts	I	cover	in	the	following	chapters	have	more	in	common	than	geographic	proximity	and	an	origin	in	cultural	diversity;	and	the	connections	I	draw	among	them	are	not	only	important	for	rethinking	the	way	scholars	combine	and	divide	Arthurian	texts.	Focusing	our	critical	attention	on	Arthurian	texts	from	the	border	over	the	course	of	the	Middle	Ages	also	reveals	the	significant	role	which	Arthur	and	the	border	played	in	their	construction	of																																																									1	Of	the	many	scholars	I	cite	in	the	footnotes	below	who	read	Arthurian	literature	with	an	eye	toward	the	interdisciplinary	environ	of	the	border,	I	will	briefly	note	this	study’s	debt	to	two	book-length,	postcolonial	readings	of	Arthur	with	a	keen	eye	on	the	border:	Patricia	Ingham’s	Sovereign	Fantasies:	Arthurian	Romance	and	the	Making	of	Britain	(Philadelphia:	University	of	Pennsylvania	Press,	1995)	and	Michelle	Warren’s	History	on	the	Edge:	Excalibur	and	the	Borders	of	Britain	(Minneapolis:	University	of	Minnesota	Press,	2000).	I	respond	to	their	work	more	fully	in	Chapters	2	and	5,	and	in	Chapters	2	and	3,	respectively.			 4	the	evolving	cultural	consciences	of	the	sovereign	nations	which	surrounded	the	border	and	intervened	in	its	history.		For	almost	as	long	as	there	has	been	a	border	between	England	and	Wales,	there	has	been	an	Arthurian	legend	to	complement,	inform	and	interrogate	the	interactions	of	the	communities	invested	in	that	border.	The	effects	of	the	Arthurian	legend	on	these	border	communities—on	what	it	means	to	be	Welsh	or	English,	on	proper	rule	and	rebellion,	on	heritage,	on	the	very	idea	of	“Britain”—has	not	yet	been	fully	appreciated.	Long	before	and	after	those	evocative	material	substrates—Offa’s	dyke,	the	River	Severn,	the	Bristol	Channel—came	to	represent	the	peripheries	of	Saxon	incursion,	or	the	extent	of	Welsh	sovereignty,	or	the	edge	of	aristocratic	privilege	for	the	Norman	people,	the	Arthurian	legend	embodied	the	punctum	of	British	cultural	and	political	ideation	in	the	Anglo-Welsh	border.	The	societies	which	sought	to	shape	the	extent	and	influence	of	their	culture	on	the	border	were,	more	often,	shaped	by	that	border	and	the	Arthurian	texts	which	emanated	from	it.		The	Arthur	of	the	March	demonstrates	that	cultural	identity	does	not	end	at	the	border;	rather,	it	is	at	the	border	where	“Britain”	truly	begins.		Shaping	the	March	This,	then,	is	the	simple	premise	to	which	each	of	the	following	chapters	in	this	study	ultimately	returns:	that	Arthurian	literature	from	the	border	served	as	a	figurative	extension	of	the	border	itself.	Arthur	helped	to	delineate,	define	and	decimate	the	cultural	constructions	of	British	sovereignty,	of	a	cross-channel	Norman	Empire	and	a	resurgent	political	populism	in	Wales.	That	is	not	to	say,	of	course,	that	Arthur’s	approximation	of	the	border	displays	anything	in	the	realm	of	consistency	over	the	medieval	period;	the	use	of	Arthur	in	border	literature	is	as	varied	as	the	March	itself.	Arthur	represents,		 5	contradictorily,	a	“pure”	British	ethnicity	in	the	face	of	hybridity	for	Nennius	and	a	culturally	amalgamated	resurgent	threat	from	the	border’s	past	for	Laȝamon.	Arthur	is	a	veritable	“dinas”	[fortress]	of	border	defense	in	“Marwnad	Cynddylan”	and	a	giant	satire	of	a	pompous	and	dangerous	border	lord	in	Breuddwyd	Rhonabwy.	Despite	the	contradictions,	however,	Arthur	is	consistently	employed	as	an	appendage	and	a	surrogate	of	the	border	writ	large.		My	readings	approach	these	texts	as	polytemporal,	as	both	actors	within	the	cycle	of	literary	text	and	historical	circumstance,	and	as	artistic	entities	which	may	outstrip	those	circumstances.	Thus,	the	readings	of	Arthurian	literature	and	the	Anglo-Welsh	border	which	follow	are	two-fold	in	their	approach:	first,	each	reading	represents	an	important	encounter	among	cultures	in	the	March	of	Wales	which	begets	an	Arthurian	literary	creation.	Second,	each	reading	represents	a	unique	and	often	failed	attempt	to	define	the	immaterial	border	by	drawing	connections	between	the	intangible	concepts	of	the	border	and	corporeal	constructs	of	that	border	in	the	Arthurian	text:	a	fortress	in	the	Prelude,	a	river	in	Chapter	One,	a	garden	in	Chapter	Two,	a	historical	book	in	Chapter	Three,	a	game	board	in	Chapter	Four,	and	a	ditch	in	Chapter	Five.		Though	each	text	in	this	study	represents	Arthur	as	an	extension	of	the	Anglo-Welsh	border,	the	“border”	and	“Arthur”	represented	in	each	set	of	texts	is	thoroughly	unique	to	the	particular	time	frame	which	engendered	it.	It	is	appropriate,	therefore,	before	embarking	on	a	critical	journey	spanning	several	centuries,	texts,	definitions	and	redefinitions	of	the	border,	to	trace	the	evolution	of	that	boundary	over	the	course	of	the		 6	Middle	Ages.	A	full	history	of	the	border	is	not	necessary	to	appreciate	this	narrative	arc,2	but	a	brief	overview	of	some	of	the	parameters	of	how	the	border	persisted	and	changed	over	the	course	of	the	Middle	Ages	will,	I	hope,	give	readers	a	sense	of	both	the	protean	nature	of	the	area	and	its	consistent	importance	in	insular	history	and	insular	Arthurian	texts.3		In	one	sense,	the	Anglo-Welsh	border	is	easy	to	define;	its	appearance	on	modern	maps	and	from	the	perspective	of	Offa’s	Dyke	Path	is	much	the	same	as	it	was	throughout	most	of	the	Middle	Ages.	From	the	far	south,	where	the	muddy	River	Severn	spits	its	impressive	Bore	into	the	Bristol	Channel,	the	border	threads	its	way	between	the	Malvern	Hills	and	the	Black	Mountains	to	the	Dee	Estuary	and	the	(former)	wilderness	of	Wirral.	The	land	that	nestles	this	undulating	border	throughout	its	length	is	simultaneously																																																									2	For	a	more	complete	history	of	the	border,	from	which	my	own	following,	abbreviated	version	draws,	see	Max	Lieberman’s	recent	works	on	the	March	in	the	central	Middle	Ages,	The	March	of	Wales	1067-1300:	A	Borderland	of	Medieval	Britain	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	2008),	The	Medieval	March	of	Wales:	The	Creation	and	Perception	of	a	Frontier,	1066-1283	(Cambridge:	Cambridge	University	Press,	2010).	R.R.	Davies	works	are	still	very	useful	for	both	the	central	and	later	Middle	Ages:	Lordship	and	Society	in	the	March	of	Wales:	1282	–	1400	(Oxford:	Clarendon	Press,	1978);	The	Age	of	Conquest:	Wales	1063-1415	(Oxford:	Oxford	University	Press,	1987);	The	First	English	Empire:	Power	and	Identities	in	the	British	Isles	1093-1343	(Oxford:	Oxford	University	Press,	2000).	Brock	Holden’s	“Lords	of	the	Central	Marches:	English	Aristocracy	and	Frontier	Society,	1087-1265	(Oxford:	Oxford	University	Press,	2008)	is	also	helpful.	For	border	relations	in	the	early	Middle	Ages,	Wendy	Davies’	Wales	in	the	Early	Middle	Ages	(Leicester:	Leicester	University	Press,	1982)	and	K.L.	Maund’s	Ireland,	Wales,	and	England	in	the	Eleventh	Century	(Woodbridge:	Boydell	and	Brewer,	1991)	are	excellent	sources.	And,	though	it	is	at	times	dated,	and	is	conspicuously	a	product	of	early	twentieth-century	Wales’	nationalist	movement,	Sir	John	Edward	Lloyd’s	A	History	of	Wales	from	the	Earliest	Times	to	the	Edwardian	Conquest	(London:	Longmans	Green	and	Co.,	1911)	is	nonetheless	a	must	for	anyone	interested	in	the	subject.		3	A	quick	caveat	before	proceeding:	Though,	as	I	argue,	Arthurian	literature	in	the	March	is	an	especially	important	factor	in	the	changing	concept	of	the	border	throughout	the	medieval	period,	it	is	one	piece	of	a	much	larger	conceptual	puzzle.	Therefore,	the	narrative	arc	I	trace	over	the	next	pages	and	throughout	this	study	is	best	characterized	as	one	of	many	narratives	of	the	medieval	March	of	Wales.			 7	prohibitive	and	well-worn—a	testament	to	its	role	in	curbing	thousands	of	armed	invasions	(on	both	sides)	and	also	providing	shelter	and	sustenance	for	humans	since	the	Neolithic	age.4			The	border	as	a	political	entity	is,	in	a	sense,	a	vignette	of	the	British	Middle	Ages	at	large,	since	its	predominant	conceptions	and	most	important	roles	in	history	and	culture	align	nicely	with	the	major	events	of	the	British	Isles	which	fell	between	late	Antiquity	and	the	early	Reformation.	Before	the	medieval	period,	there	seems	to	have	been	no	substantive	political	differences	in	the	lands	east	and	west	of	the	Severn	during	the	Roman	occupation	of	Britain:	the	Cornovii	tribe	inhabited	much	of	what	would	eventually	become	Cheshire,	Pengwrn	(Shropshire)	and	Powys	while	the	(future)	southern	border	was	straddled	by	the	Silures	and	Dobunni	tribes.5		The	regression	of	the	Romans	and	the	intrusion	of	the	Angles	and	Saxons	into	the	area	is	a	time	largely	lost	to	history—but	linguistics	tells	us	that	this	was	when	the	initial	concept	of	the	Anglo-Welsh	border	was	formed.	Mercia,	the	predominant	kingdom	for	a	long	period	of	the	Anglo-Saxon	Heptarchy,	embodies	in	its	name	the	first	conception	of	a	“border”	between	the	Britons	and	the	English:	“Mercia”	is	a	Latinization	of	AS	mearc	[border],	which	would	eventually	bequeath	its	root	to	the	fully	Latin	“Marchia	Wallia”,	then	morph	into	the	Anglo-Norman	“Marche”	and	eventually	revert	into	Middle	English																																																									4	The	various	long-barrow	tombs	of	the	Neolithic	period	found	in	the	southern	border	area	and	across	southern	Wales	and	south-east	England	are	apparently	designated	as	the	“Severn-Cotswold	Tombs”.	See	Glynn	E.	Daniel’s	classic	study,	The	Prehistoric	Chamber	Tombs	of	England	and	Wales	(Cambridge:	Cambridge	University	Press,	1950).		5	Locations	of	the	tribes	of	pre-Roman	Britain	are	vague	and	vary	according	to	source,	but	most	modern	conjectures	are	based	on	Ptolemy’s	second	century	map	of	Britain.	See	Barri	Jones	and	David	Mattingly,	An	Atlas	of	Roman	Britain	(Oxford:	Oxbow	Books,	1990):	p.	46.				 8	“March”—an	etymologic	path	blazoned	with	markers	of	major	political	changes	in	medieval	insular	history.		It	is	typical	to	regard	the	Saxon	progression	throughout	the	West	Midlands	that	created	the	“mearc”	as	a	militaristic	push	by	the	Saxons	in	a	consistently	westward	linear	trajectory	which	ultimately	ended	at	the	Severn	for	geographic	reasons—almost	like	a	several-hundred-mile-long	shield	wall	edging	the	Britons	ever	westward	until	mountains	scared	off	further	progress.6	The	reality,	however,	was	far	less	clean	and	comprehensive	and	much	more	telling	about	the	complex	border	relations	that	resulted	some	years	later.	After	establishing	large,	politically	dominant	settlements	in	northeast	and	southeast	Britain,	the	Saxons	intermittently	branched	west,	settling	piecemeal,	and	often	peaceably,	in	areas	with	low	populations	of	Britons.7	Interestingly,	many	of	the	initial	Anglo-Saxon	settlements	were	in	sub-prime	farming	areas,	and	with	little	to	no	access	to	pasture;	this	is	a	likely	indication	that	the	Saxons	initially	settled	in	deference	to	British	authority	in	the	Midlands.8	Indigenous	Britons	were	slowly	but	effectively	surrounded	by	Saxons	and—contrary	to	the	narratives	of	early	Anglo-Saxonists9—certainly	intermixed	voluntarily	with	the	Saxons	and	left	a	largely	untold	influence	on	Saxon	culture,	likely	including	the																																																									6	A.	S.	Esmonde	Cleary	provides	a	more	subtle	representation	of	this	view	of	the	Adventus	Saxonum	in	The	Ending	of	Roman	Britain	(London,	Batsford,	1989),	pp.	131–61.	7	Bryan	Ward-Perkins	presents	a	very	helpful	overview	of	the	field	and	various	models	for	settlement	in	“Why	Did	the	Anglo-Saxons	Not	Become	More	British?”	English	Historical	Review	115.462	(2000):	513-533.	Also,	see	Jenny	Rowlands,	Early	Welsh	Saga	Poetry:	A	Study	and	Edition	of	the	Englynion	(Cambridge:	D.S.	Brewer,	1990):	p.	138.	n.89.		8	Nick	Higham	"From	sub-Roman	Britain	to	Anglo-Saxon	England:	Debating	the	Insular	Dark	Ages,"	History	Compass	2.1	(2004):	10.		9	Edward	Augustus	Freeman’s	racist	and	(now)	inflammatory	description	of	the	“Teutonic”	Saxon	heroic	destruction	and	sexual	enslavement	of	Britons	to	establish	a	“great	and	free”	people	is	one	of	the	best	examples	of	this	rhetoric.	See	his	Old	English	History	for	Children	(London:	Macmillan	and	Co.,	1869):	esp.	27-29.				 9	conversion	of	the	Hwicce	and	Magonsaetan	Saxons,10	the	mixed	heritage	in	the	royal	lines	of	Northumbria	and	Wessex,11	in	literature,12	and	on	the	English	language.13	Certainly,	the	incursions	of	Germanic	pagans	throughout	the	West	Midlands	into	areas	long	ruled	by	Romanized,	zealously	Christian	Britons	was	predominantly	aggressive	and	forced	mass	emigrations	of	Britons	into	modern	Wales,	Cornwall,	Brittany	and	Northwest	Spain.	Gildas’s	invective	against	the	British	elite	who,	he	argues,	enabled	those	sweeping	conquests	is	a	staunch	testament	to	the	effectiveness	of	Saxon	aggression	and	the	prevailing	antagonism	between	the	peoples	during	that	period.	However,	we	should	remember	that	Gildas’s	De	Excidio	et	Conquestu	Brittaniae	is	also	the	sole	surviving																																																									10	Patrick	Sims-Williams	is	the	authority	on	this	topic,	Religion	and	Literature	in	Western	England:	600-800	(Cambridge:	Cambridge	University	Press,	1990);	esp.	54-114.	See	also	Steven	Basset,	“How	the	West	Was	Won,”	Anglo-Saxon	Studies	in	Archeology	and	History	II	(2000):	107-18.		11	For	British	elites	in	the	Wessex	line	of	kings,	see	R.	Coates,	“On	Some	Controversy	surrounding	Gewissae/Gewissei,	Cerdic	and	Caewlin,”	Nomina	xiii	(1989-90),	1-11.	Nennius,	among	others,	mentions	the	marriage	of	Oswiu	of	Northumbria	to	Rhianfellt	of	Rheged,	Historia	Brittonum:	c.	57.		12	Though	exchange	in	literary	themes	and	ideas	in	the	early	period	is	undeniable,	scholarship	in	this	field	is	small,	largely	owing	to	the	philological	skills	required	to	engage	in	such	a	study.	Nonetheless,	there	are	some	examples:	Sarah	Lynn	Higley,	Between	Languages:	The	Uncooperative	Text	in	Early	Welsh	and	Old	English	Nature	Poetry	(University	Park:	Pennsylvania	State	University	Press,	1993);	Dorothy	Ann	Bray,	“A	Woman’s	Loss	and	Lamentation:	Heledd’s	Song	and	The	Wife’s	Lament”	Neophilologus	79.1	(1995):	147-154.	And	the	field	is	steadily	growing:	Lindy	Brady’s	forthcoming	monograph,	The	Welsh	Frontier	in	Anglo-Saxon	Literature,	sounds	as	though	it	will	be	especially	helpful.		13	Linguistic	evidence	for	English	borrowing	from	the	various	stages	of	Brythonic	languages	is	a	diverse	field	with	strong	opinions	on	either	side;	but	the	evidence	for	at	least	piecemeal	influence	from	Brittonic	to	Anglo-Saxon	and	the	various	regional	dialects	it	became	is	growing.	For	instance,	the	number	of	Celtic	loan	words	discovered	in	Old	English	dialects	is	slowly	but	steadily	increasing:	see	Andrew	Breeze,	“A	Celtic	Etymology	for	Old	English	deor	‘brave,’”	in	J.	Roberts,	J.L.	Nelson	and	M.	Godden	ed.	Alfred	the	Wise	(Cambridge:	Cambridge	University	Press,	1997):	esp.	1-4.	And,	we	must	remember	that	loan	words	are	only	part	of	the	linguistic	evidence:	see	Markku	Filppula,	Juhani	Klemola	and	Heli	Paulasto,	English	and	Celtic	in	Contact	(New	York:	Routledge,	2008)	who	note	several	extra-lexical	grammatical	features	of	Present	Day	English	and	Old	English	which	owe	to	contact	with	insular	Celtic	languages.			 10	testament	to	that	period	and	Gildas	is	writing	with	desperate	political	goals	in	mind,	namely	to	procure	assistance	from	the	still	Romanized	and	Christian	continent,	which	had	been	much	more	successful	in	repelling	pagan	invasions	in	the	decades	prior	to	Gildas’s	writing.	There	is	another,	largely	unrecorded	side	to	this	story.	Had	all	politically-minded,	sub-Roman	Britons	shared	Gildas’s	providentialist	characterization	of	British	culture,	the	border	would	have	been	much	further	west—if	it	existed	at	all.	Fortunately	for	the	future	generations	of	the	Welsh,	other	leaders	pursued	alternative	means	of	resistance.	Cadwallon	ap	Cadfan	of	Gwynedd,	the	infamous	tyrant	of	Bede’s	partisan	history	who	conquered	Northumbria	and	killed	its	king	and	heir,	Edwin	and	Osfrith,	had	allied	himself	with	other	Englishmen	for	the	task:	the	still-pagan	Mercians	on	the	border.	Though	this	alliance	seems	very	odd	in	a	broad	historical	framework,	as	Rowland	points	out,	“at	this	period,	the	chief	threat	to	Wales	was	seen	as	Northumbria,	not	Mercia.”14	Gwynedd’s	recurring	propensity	throughout	the	medieval	period	to	exacerbate	internecine	strife	in	England	was	one	of	the	most	effective	and	enduring	strategies,	as	it	ensured	that	English	armies	largely	stayed	on	their	side	of	the	border.		Though	Gwynedd’s	link	with	Mercia	was	short	lived,	as	I	discuss	below,	the	alliance	between	Powys	(the	easternmost	Welsh	kingdom)	and	Mercia	that	arose	during	this	period	seems	to	have	been	a	different	kind.	Perhaps	this	alliance,	like	that	of	Gwynedd	and	Mercia,	began	as	one	of	convenience	and	political	necessity	since	Powysian	rulers	were	similarly	keen	on	promoting	warfare	among	the	English	kingdoms;	but	the	alliance	nonetheless	persisted	into	the	eighth	century	and	it	heralded	numerous	military	successes.	The	Powys-																																																								14	Early	Welsh	Saga	Poetry,	129.			 11	Mercia	alliance	defeated	the	Northumbrians	in	the	heart	of	Mercian	territory	at	Lichfield	and	in	the	heart	of	Powysian	territory	at	Oswestry	before	a	collective	invasion	of	Northumbria	ultimately	failed	at	the	Battle	of	Winwaed	(655).	Though	this	alliance	between	Powys	and	Mercia	may	seem	strange	considering	later	developments,	it	nonetheless	ensured	the	stability	and	endurance	of	the	border	throughout	the	early	Middle	Ages.		 As	I	discuss	in	the	Preface	below,	it	is	during	the	heyday	of	this	alliance	that	a	Powysian	poet	wrote	the	poem	“Marwnad	Cynddylan”	and	penned	the	first	surviving	reference	to	a	tradition	of	Arthur.	The	poem,	a	seventh-century	“death	song”	of	a	border	king,	Cynddylan,	who	died	in	defense	of	the	alliance	and	the	border,	was	probably	the	inspiration	for	the	ninth-century	cycle	of	poems	called	Canu	Heledd—in	which	the	sister	of	King	Cynddylan,	Heledd,	poignantly	describes	the	physical	and	emotional	toll	the	loss	of	the	British	territory	of	Pengwrn	(Shropshire)	took	on	the	Welsh	border	community.	Arthur	is	mentioned	in	this	precursor	poem—a	brief	and	fleeting	allusion—as	a	comparison	to	the	vicious	Powysian	warriors	who,	allied	with	Mercian	pagans,	died	attacking	Northumbria.	The	mere	presence	of	this	allusion	to	Arthur,	perhaps	centuries	before	any	other,	recommends	the	border	community	as	the	preeminent	wellspring	of	the	Arthurian	legend	we	know	today.	Furthermore,	as	more	and	more	of	the	peculiar	cultural	and	political	context	surrounding	the	poem	becomes	clear,	it	is	apparent	that	the	poem,	and	the	Arthurian	reference	therein,	are	advancing	the	political	agenda	of	border	relations	in	the	seventh	century—a	theme	Arthurian	border	writers	would	continue	to	revisit	for	centuries	after	the	poem.		 12	The	alliance	between	Mercia	and	Powys	temporarily	broke	however,	some	time	after	Northumbria’s	defeat	of	Mercia,	and	the	eighth	century	saw	incursions	into	Powys	by	Mercian	armies.15	The	invasions	were	initially	successful	but	the	Saxons	were	rebuffed	and	expelled	relatively	quickly,	though	they	did	manage	to	hold	on	to	Pengwrn/Shropshire.	Evidence	from	the	Pillar	of	Eliseg,	which	was	erected	in	the	mid-eighth	century,	indicates	that	the	titular	hero	of	the	monument,	Elisedd	ap	Gwylog,16	reclaimed	the	rest	of	the	“heriditatem	Pouos”	[inheritance	of	Powys]	from	the	raiders	and	“in	gladio	suo	parta	in	igne”	[won	with	his	sword	and	fire	(?)].17	It	was	perhaps	this	overwhelming	rebuff	by	Powysian	armies	which	prompted	the	initial	constructions	of	the	famous	defensive	earthwork	under	King	Offa	of	Mercia	in	the	later	eighth	century.	Though	it	was	undoubtedly	antagonism	which	inspired	Offa’s	Dyke,	it	must	have	been	a	very	stagnant	antagonism	by	the	late	eighth	century,	since	such	a	massive	project	would	have	required	substantial	resources	and	manpower—precious	commodities	in	an	open	conflict.	As	Joan	and	Harold	Taylor,	drawing	from	archeological	and	historical	sources,	so	succinctly																																																									15	F.M.	Stenton	notes	that	the	evidence	for	Welsh	raiding	in	Felix’s	Life	of	St	Guthlac	may	indicate	that	it	was	Powysian	factions	who	initially	broke	the	alliance	in	the	first	quarter	of	the	eighth	century.	See	his	“Foreword”	to	Offa's	Dyke:	a	Field	Survey	of	the	Western	Frontier	Works	of	Mercia	in	the	Seventh	and	Eighth	Centuries	AD	(London,	1955);	xx-xxi.	It	would	not	be	until	Aethelbald’s	reign	of	Mercia	(716-757)	that	full-fledged	war	broke	out	between	Mercia	and	Powys.	See	also	Rowland,	Early	Welsh	Saga	Poetry,	138.		16	“Eliseg”	is	almost	certainly	a	mis-transcription	of	the	insular	form	of	the	letter	“d;”	Elisedd	ap	Gwylog’s	first	name	is	also	spelled	“Elise.”	See	P.C.	Bartrum	(ed.),	Early	Welsh	Genealogical	Tracts	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	1966):	123;	also	Lloyd’s	History	of	Wales:	169,	349.		17	Though	the	Pillar	of	Eliseg	stands	today,	overlooking	Valle	Crucis	Abbey	near	Llangollen,	Denbigshire,	the	text	inscribed	on	it	is	now	too	faded	to	read.	Thankfully,	however,	much	of	it	was	visible	to	Edward	Lhuyd	in	1696	and	he	recorded	it.	I	have	quoted	his	recording	from	N.	Edwards,	“Rethinking	the	Pillar	of	Eliseg,”	Antiquaries	Journal	89	(2009):	143-177.	Most	of	the	pillar	is	dedicated	to	a	genealogy	of	Powysian	kings	which	Owain	Wyn	Jones	has	recently	called	an		“oversimplification”	of	much	more	contested	dynasties	and	represents	“official	history	in	its	most	sanitized	form.”	See	“Herditas	Pouoisi:	The	Pillar	of	Eliseg	and	the	History	of	Early	Powys,”	Welsh	History	Review	24.4	(2009):	41-80;	45	and	56.			 13	characterize	the	construction,	any	work	of	that	magnitude	could	have	only	come	to	fruition	during	“a	period	of	prolonged	peace.”18	This	‘defensive	barrier’	might	be	more	appropriately	understood	as	a	particularly	stout	fence	between	two	disaffected	but	peaceful	neighbors,	at	least	in	its	original	construction.	The	last	centuries	of	the	pre-Conquest	period	saw	intermittent	bouts	of	conflict	and	calm	between	the	Britons	and	Saxons	on	the	border.	As	Wessex	rose	to	become	the	predominant	English	kingdom	and	the	Mercian	military	became	preoccupied	with	defending	its	southern	strongholds,	the	southern	border	area	saw	significant	settlement	by	Saxons	in	the	Severn	Estuary	and	beyond.	As	I	discuss	in	Chapter	One,	much	of	this	settlement	was	peaceful	and	an	intermixed	and	thoroughly	unique	community	developed	in	the	eastern	portions	of	Gwent	and	Brechyniog	and	in	the	west	of	Hereford	and	Shropshire.	Areas	like	Ercyng/Archenfield	intermittently	employed	English	and	Welsh	bishops	and	collaborated	on	local	government	matters,	including	(at	least	in	one	case)	a	unique	collaborative	system	of	law	codes.	We	have	documentary	evidence	of	mixed	Anglo-Welsh	marriages	among	the	aristocracy,	and	we	can	safely	assume	a	wide	degree	of	intermixture	among	the	much	more	numerous	portion	of	the	population	who	inevitably	escape	documentary	records.		As	has	been	the	case	so	often	in	history,	the	reactions	to	this	intermixture	and	im/emigration	ranged	widely	among	the	contemporaries	who	witnessed	and	experienced	it.	Famously,	the	Welsh	monk	Asser	was	supportive	of	Saxon	political	and	cultural	influence	in	southern	Wales,	and	wrote	a	contemporary	biography	of	King	Alfred	of	Wessex.	Tellingly,	Asser	states	that	his	decision	to	go	into	King	Alfred’s	circle	was	largely	based	on	a																																																									18	Joan	and	Harold	Taylor	“Pre-Norman	Churches	of	the	Border,”	Celt	and	Saxon:	Studies	in	the	Early	British	Border	(Cambridge:	Cambridge	University	Press,	1963):	210-257;	226.			 14	hope	of	protection	for	southern	Wales	from	northern	Welsh	kings:	“Sperabant	enim	nostri,	minores	tribulationes	et	iniurias	ex	parte	Hemeid	regis	sustinere...	si	ego	ad	notitiam	et	amicitiam	illius	regis	qualicunque	pacto	pervenirem”	[They	were	hopeful	to	suffer	fewer	tribulations	and	injuries	on	the	part	of	King	Hemeid...	if	I	were	to	come	to	the	knowledge	of	that	king	{Alfred}	and	make	some	kind	of	agreement].19	It	is	easy	to	see	how	Asser	and	other	southern	Welsh	would	have	welcomed	the	cosmopolitanism	and	possibilities	for	further	security	that	the	loosening	of	border	tensions	brought.		As	I	detail	in	Chapter	One,	“Pure	Fictions:	Early	Arthurian	Border	Literature	and	the	British	Nation,”	Nennius	and	the	author	of	the	Welsh	poem	“Pa	Gur?”	are	representative	of	a	much	more	negative	reaction	to	influence	and	intermixture	with	Saxons	on	the	border.	By	consolidating	and	homogenizing	local	border	folklore	and	history,	and	by	developing	a	novel	conception	of	both	Vortigern	and	Arthur,	these	authors	create	and	propagate	a	myth	of	British	ethnic	purity	and	cultural	superiority.	They	imagine	Arthur	as	a	mediator	of	racial	and	cultural	boundaries,	as	an	entity	which	delineates	and	defines	the	ultimately	collapsible	differences	between	Saxons	and	Britons	on	the	border.				 As	the	English	formed	an	(often	uneasy)	alliance	among	the	former	states	of	the	Heptarchy	in	the	tenth	and	eleventh	centuries,	there	were	several	attempts	on	the	Welsh	side	for	a	similar	unification.	These	attempts,	such	as	that	by	King	Merfyn	Frych	discussed	in	Chapter	One,	were	predominantly	unsuccessful.	However,	the	gleaming	exception	to	this	rule	was	Gruffydd	ap	Llywelyn	in	the	eleventh	century,	who	exerted	an	enormous	influence	over	all	constituent	parts	of	Wales,	and	is	described	in	both	English	and	Welsh	accounts	as																																																									19	William	Henry	Stevenson,	ed.,	Asser’s	Life	of	King	Alfred	(Oxford:	Clarendon	Press,	1904):	65-66.	My	translation.		 15	the	‘King	of	all	Wales.’20	Gruffydd	intervened	often	in	border	affairs	and	breathed	new	life	into	the	centuries-past	Mercian	alliance,	as	I	discuss	further	in	Chapter	Three.	Gruffydd	assisted	Earl	Ælfgar	of	Mercia	to	regain	his	dominion	after	having	been	exiled	from	his	kingdom	by	King	Edward	twice,	in	1055	and	1058,	and	afterward	married	the	Ælfgar’s	daughter,	Ealdgyth.21	A	decade	later,	princes	Bleddyn	and	Rhiwallon,	half-brothers	of	the	(then	dead)	Gruffydd,	were	allied	with	Edwin	and	Morcar,	sons	of	Earl	Ælfgar,	in	a	violent	insurrection	against	the	Normans	along	the	border	in	the	years	following	the	Conquest.22			 We	would	expect	this	alliance	to	dissipate	after	the	Normans	established	a	substantive	rule	in	Mercia	and,	from	the	perspective	of	broad	political	history,	it	did.	However,	as	I	demonstrate	in	Chapter	Three,	“‘Þrumde	to	are’:	Combining	Culture	and	Prophecy	in	Laȝamon’s	Brut,”	the	memory	of	those	connections	between	Saxon	and	Welsh	border	inhabitants	in	opposition	to	the	Norman	incursions	survived	throughout	the	twelfth	century.	This	chapter	follows	the	curious	construction	of	Arthurian	prophecies	from	Welsh	poetry	and	Norman	historiography	in	Laȝamon’s	resolutely	Middle	English	poem.	By	“beating	together”	motifs	from	Welsh	political	prophecy,	English	heritage	and	anti-Welsh																																																									20	1063	entry	in	Anglo-Saxon	Chronicle	MS	D:	“kyning	ofer	eall	Wealcyn.”	The	Anglo-Saxon	Chronicle:	MS	D,	(ASC-D)	ed.	G.P.	Cubbin	(Cambridge:	D.S.	Brewer,	1996).	Brut	y	Tywysogion	entry	for	1054:	“Grufud	vrenhin	y	Brytanyeit.”	Brut	y	Tywysogion	or	Chronicles	of	the	Princes,	ed.	Rev.	John	Williams	ab	Ithel	(London:	Longman	Green,	Longman,	and	Roberts,	1860):	44.	21	Ealdgyth,	the	granddaughter	of	Lady	Godifu	(Godiva),	is	an	intriguing	figure	who	has	thus	far	escaped	the	interests	of	social	historians.	After	Gruffydd’s	assassination	in	1063,	Ealdgyth	was	remarried	to	the	man	leading	the	invasion	of	Wales	which	prompted	Gruffydd’s	death,	Harold	Godwinson.	Ealdgyth	was,	of	course,	soon	to	be	widowed	again	at	the	Battle	of	Hastings.	At	that	point	she	disappears	from	the	historical	record.		22	See	John	of	Worcester	entries	for	1070-1072.	The	Chronicle	of	John	of	Worcester,	Volume	III	ed.	and	trans.	P.	McGurk	(Oxford:	Oxford	University	Press,	1998.):	10-20;	Orderic	Vitalis,	The	Ecclesiastical	History	of	Orderic	Vitalis	Volume	II,	ed.	and	trans.	Marjorie	Chibnall	(Oxford:	Oxford	University	Press,	1990):	(256-258);	ASC-D	entry	for	1072	(p.	91);	and	Peter	Rex,	The	English	Resistance:	The	Underground	War	Against	the	Normans	(Gloucestershire:	Tempus,	2004):	116-119.		 16	Norman	historiography,	Laȝamon	creates	a	thoroughly	unique,	multicultural	version	of	the	Arthurian	legend	which	encourages	a	violent,	anti-colonial	hope	for	change.		 Though	it	would	not	be	known	until	much	later,	the	death	of	Gruffydd	ap	Llywelyn	in	1063	as	a	result	of	war	with	King	Harold	of	England	was	Wales’	first	defeat	in	their	war	with	Normandy	for	control	of	the	border	some	years	later.	While	alive,	and	allied	with	Mercia,	Gruffydd	was	capable	of	maintaining	a	staunch	control	over	the	more	exposed	areas	of	Wales	on	and	near	the	border.	The	power	vacuum	and	internecine	strife	which	followed	his	death,	however,	meant	that	these	areas	were	the	first	to	succumb	to	Norman	colonization	in	the	later	eleventh	century.23	William	fitz	Osbern	and	his	followers	extended	the	southern	border	well	into	traditional	Welsh	territory	in	Gwent,	Brycheiniog,	and	Morgannwg.	Eventually,	William’s	gains	would	be	extended	to	all	of	Deheubarth	by	his	followers	and	all	of	southern	Wales	would	succumb	to	various	iterations	of	Norman	rule.	Roger	de	Montgomery	edged	into	eastern	Powys	in	the	central	borderlands	and	the	northern	border	along	the	Dee	Valley	saw	significant	advances	by	Hugh	de	Avranches	and	Robert	de	Rhuddlan,	a	soldier	memorably	characterized	by	Rees	Davies	as	“the	exemplar	of	the	swashbuckling	Norman	warrior.”24	As	a	result,	Venedotian	independence	shrank	further	behind	the	geographic	shields	of	Snowdonia	and	the	Menai	Strait	and	the	Anglo-Welsh	border	became	the	March	of	Wales.	The	March,	being	more	dangerous	and	far	removed	from	the	political	and	military	centers	of	the	Norman	empire,	necessitated	a	unique	legal	status	within	that	empire.	The	“Lex	Marchia,”	along	with	the	domineering	personalities	of	the	Marcher	Lords	who	wielded	it,	meant	that	Norman	influence	on	the																																																									23	Lieberman	describes	this	process	in	detail,	especially	as	it	pertains	to	the	central	border	area,	see	Medieval	March	of	Wales,	56-101.		24	Age	of	Conquest,	30.			 17	Anglo-Welsh	border	would	be	more	far-reaching	and	enduring	than	previous	short-term	conquerors.25				 Laȝamon’s	reaction	to	the	continued	presence	of	these	conquerors—much	like	Nennius’s	reaction	to	the	Saxons—represents	a	particularly	partisan	approach	to	the	increasingly	complex	border	tensions	in	the	twelfth	century;	one	that	hearkens	back	to	the	pre-Norman	days	even	while	consciously	incorporating	Norman	sources.	As	I	discuss	in	Chapter	Two,	“‘Alienos	Ortulos’:	The	Arthurian	Border	and	the	Garden	of	Others,”	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth	“cultivates”	a	somewhat	more	inclusive	and	elusive	reflection	of	the	March	of	Wales	in	his	internationally	renowned	Historia	regum	Brittaniae.	Picking	up	on	Geoffrey’s		metaphor	for	his	text	as	an	“hortus”	[garden],	as	a	figurative	space	where	readers	can	reflect	upon	historical	truths,	my	reading	discloses	the	calculated	ambiguity	of	Geoffrey’s	version	of	the	Arthurian	legend.	By	seducing	the	self-reflexive	gaze	of	both	conqueror	and	conquered	in	the	March	of	Wales,	Geoffrey	is	able	to	skirt	political	pigeonholing	and	propel	the	Arthurian	legend	to	an	international	phenomenon.		Geoffrey,	of	course,	had	good	reason	to	appeal	to	both	the	Norman	and	Welsh	lords	in	the	border	country,	as	I	discuss	in	my	reading	of	his	work.	Though	it	is	the	Norman	Marcher	families	who	are	best	remembered	for	their	insubordination	and	independence,	Welsh	border	lords	were	similarly	problematic	for	western	Welsh	attempts	at																																																									25	For	a	general	overview	of	the	Lex	Marchia	see	R.R.	Davies,	“The	Law	of	the	March”	The	Welsh	History	Review	5.1	(1970):	1-30.	For	some	excellent	and	detailed	examples,	see	Sara	Elin	Roberts,	“Legal	Practice	in	Fifteenth-Century	Brycheiniog,”	Studia	Celtica	35	(2001):	307-23;	and	her	edition	and	translation	of	one	of	the	very	few	Welsh	law	codes	to	record	the	effects	of	Marcher	Law:	Llawysgrif	Pomffred:	An	Edition	and	Study	of	Peniarth	MS	259B,	ed.	and	trans.	Sara	Elin	Roberts	(Leiden:	Brill,	2011).				 18	consolidation	and	control.26	This	independence	and	recalcitrance,	of	both	Norman	and	Welsh	lords	on	the	border,	grew	only	more	powerful	in	the	following	century.	Of	course,	Gwynedd’s	ability	to	control	the	turbulent	(and	now	multiple)	territories	of	Powys	had	never	been	consistent	or	comprehensive,	but	constant	war	and	occasional	success	ensured	that	the	various	subsections	of	the	former	kingdom	would	only	occasionally	be	under	Venedotian	sway.	Similarly,	the	Norman	border	lords	only	grew	more	contumacious	in	the	thirteenth	century,	and	their	avowed	independence	of	the	monarchy	of	England	grew	more	defiant.		A	colorful	example	of	this	independence	is	Walter	III	de	Clifford,	a	minor	Marcher	lord	along	the	River	Wye	in	modern	day	Herefordshire.	Some	time	in	1250,	a	royal	messenger	attempted	to	serve	Lord	Walter	with	a	writ	from	the	king.	Though	this	would	be	a	normal	occurrence	in	the	rest	of	the	medieval	world	where	feudal	lord	and	vassal	knight	required	official	written	interaction,	the	March	of	Wales	was	decidedly	not	the	rest	of	medieval	Europe.	Walter	forced	the	messenger	to	chew	and	swallow	said	writ,	including	the	seal,	and	he	subsequently	sent	the	poor	messenger	running	back	to	Westminster	as	a	reminder	to	Henry	that	the	king’s	writ	does	not	run	in	the	March	of	Wales.27	Though	Walter	eventually	paid	for	his	actions—with	money,	not	his	life,	as	would	have	likely	been	the	case																																																									26	On	how	geography	and	connections	with	England	helped	to	make	Powysian	lords	“ambivalent”	see	Davies	Age	of	Conquest,	8.	Davies	also	catalogues	Powys’	rise	to	power	at	the	expense	of	Gwynedd	and	the	Marcher	Lordships	of	the	twelfth-century,	especially	under	Madog	ap	Maredudd,	(see	49-51).	Thirteenth-century	Powys,	especially	in	the	south	(Powys	Wenwynwyn),	continued	to	be	a	thorn	in	the	side	of	Gwynedd,	especially	under	Gwenwynwyn	ab	Owain	Cyfeilliog	(d.	1216)	and	Gruffydd	ap	Gwenwynwyn	(d.	1286)—the	man	who	is	often	blamed	for	the	death	of	Llywelyn	ap	Gruffudd	in	1282.	See	Davies	Age	of	Conquest,	227-236.	It	is	the	consistent	recalcitrance	of	Powys	which	“stood	in	the	way	of	the	unification	of	native	Wales”	according	to	many	“modern	national”	Welsh	historians,	as	Davies	says	(236).				27	Matthew	Paris,	Chronica	Majora	ed.	H.R.	Luard	(Rolls	Series,	1872-83)	V.95.		 19	with	other	individuals—the	incident	reflects	the	“wild	west”	mentality	of	the	powerful	and	dangerous	men	who	presided	over	the	borderlands	in	the	thirteenth	century.		 In	Chapter	Four,	“‘Gware	dy	chware’:	Playing	Near	the	Edge	in	Fouke	le	Fitzwaryn	and	Breuddwyd	Rhonabwy,”	I	demonstrate	how	two	texts	of	border	origin	reflect	and	exacerbate	the	avowed	independence	of	the	border.	Though	these	texts	are,	ostensibly,	of	disparate	origins	and	intent,	they	each	present	the	March	within	a	myriad	of	figurative	conceptions	which	are	strikingly	similar	in	their	tone	and	tenor.	The	border,	to	these	authors,	is	a	liminal	and	unruly	individuated	sphere	where	Arthurian	impersonators	“play”	with	identity,	allegiances	and	the	fate	of	their	peoples.	Though,	as	I	discuss,	these	authors	work	through	differing	conceptualizations	of	the	March	of	Wales,	the	spectral	space	of	the	game	board	forms	a	central	conceit	in	both	works—a	metaphor	for	the	troubled	environment	of	inverted	authority	and	identity	“play”	which	these	authors	and	their	characters	find	themselves	in.		If	the	original	premise	behind	affording	significantly	more	power	to	Norman	Marcher	Lords	was	to	make	quick	work	of	the	Welsh,	then	it	was	painfully	unsuccessful.	The	conquest	of	Wales	was	a	slow	and	piecemeal	affair	for	the	Normans	with	multiple	setbacks	that	took	centuries	to	accomplish—a	wholly	different	affair	than	their	conquest	of	the	English.	Successive	regional	and	multi-regional	rebellions	in	Wales	throughout	the	thirteenth	century	saw	the	extent	of	Welsh	sovereignty	gradually	diminish	into	the	furthest	northwestern	reaches.	The	final	and	definitive	death	knell	came	in	the	wake	of	Llywelyn	ap	Gruffydd’s	second	rebellion	against	King	Edward	I	in	1282.	Edward	thoroughly	and	efficiently	quashed	the	rebellion,	put	Llywelyn’s	head	on	a	stake	outside	the	Tower	of		 20	London,	and	disinherited	the	remaining	Welsh	aristocracy.28	The	“Realm”	of	Wales	thus	became	the	“Royal	Land”	of	Wales—subject	solely	to	the	prerogative	of	the	English	monarchy	and	the	inherited	domain	of	the	heir	apparent	to	the	English	throne	(a	tradition	which	remains	to	this	day).		The	effects	of	this	conquest	on	the	cultural	identity	of	the	Welsh	people	are	difficult	to	overestimate.	They	were	a	broken	people,	now	fully	subject	to	a	“stranger	of	whose	language,	manners	and	laws	they	were	entirely	ignorant.”29	Edward	had	appropriated	not	only	their	land,	dynasties	and	monetary	goods,	but	the	key	components	of	Welsh	identity	and	pride:	he	ordered	“round	table”	tournaments	in	his	newly	conquered	lands	soon	after	victory,	and	took	the	most	prized	relic	in	all	of	Wales,	Y	Groes	Naid	(a	fragment	of	the	True	Cross),	on	a	parade	down	the	streets	of	London.30	As	is	often	the	sad	case	in	history,	it	was	because	of	this	utter	devastation	and	oppressive	colonization	that	a	new	sense	of	cultural	unity	was	formulated	in	the	Welsh	people,	a	unity	that	had	been	notoriously	elusive	in	previous	generations.			Similarly,	England	under	Edward	I	reached	a	newfound	sense	of	national	identity	after	the	Conquest	of	Wales.	The	particulars	of	this	“Englishness”	have	been	subject	to	some	debate.	Maurice	Powicke	sees	Edward	I’s	personality	as	the	primary	factor	in	the	development	of	both	Englishness	and	English	nationalism:	“It	was	in	Edward’s	reign	that	nationalism	was	born.”31	Others,	such	as	Thorlac	Turville-Petre,	have	focused	on	the	role	English	language	and	literature	played	in	the	shaping	of	that	Englishness	in	the	early																																																									28	Davies	Age	of	Conquest,	352	–	358.		29	Brother	John	Peckham,	Registrum	epistolarum	fratris	Johannis	Peckham,	ed.	C.T.	Martin	3	vols	(Rolls	Series,	1882-1885):	II.469-71.	qtd.	in	Davies,	Age	of	Conquest,	352.		30	Davies,	Age	of	Conquest	355-356.		31	Maurice	Powicke,	The	Thirteenth	Century,	1216-1307,	2nd	ed.	(Oxford:	Clarendon,	1962):	528.			 21	fourteenth	century,	when,	according	to	Turville-Petre,	English	became	a	“national	language”.32	More	specifically,	Robert	Rouse	locates	a	characteristic	sense	of	nationalism	in	the	Middle	English	Romances	concerning	the	Anglo-Saxon	period,	and	explores	interrogations	of	English	alterity	in	the	Celtic	and	Saracen	Other	as	pivotal	markers	of	the	development	of	“Englishness”	in	the	early	fourteenth	century.33	Regardless	of	the	specifics,	“Medievalists	agree	that	from	the	thirteenth	century	onward,	discourses	of	the	nation	are	visible	and	can	be	read	with	ease	in	medieval	England.”34		As	I	discuss	in	Chapter	Five,	“‘i-medled	to	gidres’:	Arthurian	Border	Identities	in	Sir	Gawain	and	the	Green	Knight	and	the	Poetry	of	Iolo	Goch,”	the	sense	of	unity	afforded	to	the	English	and	the	Welsh	after	the	1283	Edwardian	Conquest	is	simply	not	applicable	in	the	still	individuated	March	of	Wales	of	the	fourteenth	century.	This	chapter	demonstrates	how	the	fractured	state	of	political	and	ethnic	identity	in	Sir	Gawain	and	the	Green	Knight	and	the	poetry	of	Iolo	Goch	were	mediated	by	the	unique,	mixed	versions	of	the	Arthurian	legend	they	employ.	In	these	works,	both	Sir	Gawain	and	the	poetic	persona	of	Iolo	negotiate	their	competing	allegiances	and	sense	of	border	identity	through	the	multifarious	and	fractured	Arthurian	legend.		The	Marches,	of	course,	continued	to	persist	after	the	fourteenth	century	and	even	after	the	Middle	Ages.	However,	the	fractured	state	of	identity	which	makes	its	poignant,	if	troubled,	manifestations	in	Iolo	Goch’s	poetry	and	Sir	Gawain	is	simply	not	sustainable,	and	the	unique	character	of	the	individuated	culture	in	the	March	ultimately	collapsed.																																																									32	Thorlac	Turville-Petre,	England	the	Nation	(Oxford:	Oxford	University	Press,	1996):	20.		33	Robert	Allen	Rouse,	The	Idea	of	Anglo-Saxon	England	in	Middle	English	Romance	(Cambridge:	D.S.	Brewer,	2005).		34	Geraldine	Heng,	“The	Romance	of	England:	Richard	Coer	de	Lyon,	Saracen,	Jews,	and	the	Politics	of	Race	and	Nation,”	in	The	Post-Colonial	Middle	Ages,	ed.	by	Jeffrey	Jerome	Cohen	(New	York:	St.	Martin’s	Press,	2000):	135-72;	150.				 22	Certainly,	vestiges	of	the	medieval	March	outstripped	even	the	fifteenth	century:	the	piecemeal	system	of	laws	which	was	applied	in	the	March	of	Wales	at	the	behest	of	each	individual	Marcher	Lord	(entailing	a	considerable	amount	of	judicial	power)	was	not	completely	repealed	until	the	Laws	of	Wales	Acts	under	Henry	VIII.35	These	acts	(in	1535	and	1543)	annihilated	the	legal	distinctions	between	Wales,	the	Marches	and	England	with	the	stated	intent	of	bringing	the	territories	“into	amicable	Concord	and	Unity.”36	Though	the	border	is	still	colloquially	referred	to	as	the	“march”	in	parts	of	the	UK,	the	term	is	a	survival	of	language	and	not	of	practice.37	In	almost	all	respects,	the	border	between	England	and	Wales,	like	borders	in	continental	Europe,	now	functions	as	a	linear	political	division,	with	only	the	dual-language	signs	to	mark	your	passage	into	Wales.		Consequently,	the	role	of	the	border	in	British	literature	has	diminished	considerably	since	the	close	of	the	Middle	Ages.	There	have	been	some	complicated	developments	in	the	relationship	between	England	and	Wales	since	the	sixteenth	century,	but	the	number	of	literary	works	to	rise	from	the	persistently	present	border	community	has	been	fewer	than	might	be	expected.	However,	when	the	border	does	come	in	to	the	purview	of	modern	British	writers,	the	effects	are	comparable	to	those	in	the	Middle	Ages,																																																									35	See	R.R.	Davies,	“The	Twilight	of	Welsh	Law:	1284-1536,”	History	51	(1966):	143-164.		36		The	Statutes	at	Large	of	England	and	of	Great	Britain:	From	Magna	Carta	to	the	Union	of	the	Kingdoms	of	Great	Britain	and	Ireland,	Vol.	3,	ed.	John	Raithby	(London:	George	Eyre	and	Andrew	Strahan,	1811).		37	It	is	worth	noting,	if	only	in	a	footnote,	the	situation	of	a	one	Mark	Roberts,	UK	businessman.	In	1997,	Roberts	acquired	the	title	“Lord	Marcher”	for	the	district	of	Magor	(directly	across	the	channel	from	Bristol)	and	sought	to	oust	the	Crown	from	the	public	lands	in	his	district	due	to	the	legal	distinction	afforded	to	Marcher	Lords.	He	was	unsuccessful,	but	it	was	not	until	2008	that	the	Crown	nullified	his	supposed	jurisdictional	privilege	by	legally	claiming	“squatters	rights”	on	the	lands.	See	Graham	Tibbetts,	“‘Lord	of	the	manor’	Mark	Roberts	loses	case,”	The	Telegraph	Feb	21,	2008,				 23	and	it	is	clear	that—at	least	within	literature—there	is	some	degree	of	continuity	of	thematic	function	for	the	March	of	Wales	into	the	modern	era.		For	instance,	at	the	dawn	of	the	twentieth	century,	A.E.	Housman	penned	a	volume	of	poetry	from	the	perspective	of	a	quintessential	“Shropshire	Lad,”	Terence	Hearsay.	Housman,	a	Worcestershire	and	Oxford	fellow	in	the	years	before	writing	the	collection,	was	none	too	familiar	with	Wales	or	even	Shropshire	itself;	indeed,	he	curiously	waited	until	he	was	nearly	finished	with	the	volume	to	visit	the	county	for	the	first	time.38	Perhaps	this	decision	was	for	the	betterment	of	his	theme,	which	paints	a	fatalistic,	carpe	diem,	“God	save	the	Queen”	brand	of	nationalism	onto	the	inhabitants	of	a	“half-imaginary,”	pastoral	Shopshire.	Though	most	of	the	poems	invoke	a	lyrical	pessimism	with	a	lively	backdrop	of	English	rural	life,	“Poem	XXVIII	–	The	Welsh	Marches,”	attempts	to	reconstruct	a	more	historically-informed	border	identity:		In	my	heart	it	has	not	died,		The	war	that	sleeps	on	Severn	side;		They	cease	not	fighting,	east	and	west,		On	the	Marches	of	my	breast.		Here	the	truceless	armies	yet		Trample,	rolled	in	blood	and	sweat;		They	kill	and	kill	and	never	die;		And	I	think	that	each	is	I.”		The	speaker	imagines	himself	as	a	descendent	of	a	inter-ethnic	rape—“Couched	upon	her	brother’s	grave	/	The	Saxon	got	me	on	the	slave,”	and	melodramatically	laments	the	sins	of																																																									38	See	Dinah	Birch,	“A.E.	Housman,”	Oxford	Companion	to	English	Verse,	7th	ed.	(Oxford:	Oxford	University	Press,	2009):	501.			 24	his	brutish,	conquering,	Saxon	patriarch:	“When	shall	I	be	dead	and	rid	/	Of	the	wrong	my	father	did?	/	How	long,	how	long,	till	spade	and	hearse	/	put	to	sleep	my	mother’s	curse?”39			 Here,	as	in	the	rest	of	the	Shropshire	Lad,	Housman	projects	a	quaint	sentimentality	onto	Terence	in	order	to	approximate,	from	a	distance,	how	Housman	thinks	an	Englishman	on	the	border	should	feel.	How	could	one	live	beneath	the	“vanes	of	Shrewsbury”	Castle—knowing	that	the	land	had	been	taken	by	force,	knowing	the	history	of	bloody	wars	and	sanctioned	atrocities,	knowing	the	nineteenth-century	results	of	the	“endless	ill”	of	English	colonialism—and	not	harbor	a	faint	sense	of	inherited	guilt?40	Though	we	must	admit	that	Housman’s	sentimental	concerns	are	a	projection	(a	predominantly	inaccurate	projection),	they	touch	a	certain	chord	with	the	rest	of	the	English	people,	who	do	not	have	a	border	nearby	to	remind	them	that	all	English	people	tread	on	conquered	ground	from	birth	to	death.			 A	counter	example,	from	a	few	decades	later	and	from	the	other	side	of	the	River	Severn,	was	penned	by	a	poet	who	actually	lived	on	the	border	of	England	for	much	of	his	life:			 Eryr	Pengwern,	penngarn	llwyt	heno...		 We	still	come	in	by	the	Welsh	gate,	but	it’s	a	long	way		To	Shrewsbury	now	from	the	Welsh	border....	Despite	our	speech	we	are	not	English,...	We	are	not	English...	Ni	bydd	diwedd	Byth	ar	sŵny	delyn	aur.																																																										39	A.E.	Housman,	A	Shropshire	Lad	(1896),	ed.	Stanley	Appelbaum	(Mineola:	Dover	Publications,	1990):	19-20.		40	“High	the	vanes	of	Shrewsbury	gleam,”	is	the	first	line	of	Housman’s	poem.			 25	Though	the	strings	are	broken,	and	time	sets	The	barbed	wire	in	their	place,		The	tune	endures;	on	the	cracked	screen	Of	life	our	shadows	are	large	still	In	history’s	fierce	afterglow.41		This	poem	by	R.S.	Thomas,	appropriately	titled	“Border	Blues,”	is	the	first	in	his	1958	collection,	Poetry	for	Supper.	Here,	and	throughout	the	collection,	Thomas	elicits	his	characteristic	Anglo-phobic	brand	of	Welsh	separatism.	As	with	Housman,	history	hangs	heavily	over	the	Welsh	border	dweller,	who	imagines	himself	walking	along	the	modern	border	with	St.	Beuno	and	“Talking	in	Latin	and	old	Welsh.”	However,	unlike	Housman’s	Shropshire	lad,	Thomas’s	character	is	weighted	down	not	by	a	heritage	of	mixture	but	by	a	palpable	sense	of	disdain	for	the	English	on	the	border.	As	when	he	and	Beuno	are	wrenched	back	into	modernity	by	some	approaching	English	women:	“a	volley	of	voices	struck	us;	I	turned,	/	But	Beuno	had	vanished,	and	in	his	place	/	There	stood	the	ladies	from	the	council	houses:	Blue	eyes	and	Birmingham	yellow	/	Hair	and	the	ritual	murder	of	vowels.”	The	disdain	Thomas	holds	for	the	English	and	the	Anglo-Welsh	mixture	in	the	land	of	his	espoused	ancestors	is	in	many	ways	comparable	to	that	of	Nennius	many	centuries	prior.		 However,	as	is	evidenced	by	the	piecemeal	snippets	of	Welsh	scattered	throughout	the	poem	and	his	recurrent	denial,	“we	are	not	English,”	Thomas	is	personally	harrowed	by																																																									41	R.S.	Thomas,	Poetry	for	Supper:	New	Poems	(London:	Rupert	Hart-Davis,	1958):	1-3.	The	two	lines	in	Welsh	translate	to:	[Eagle	of	Pengwern,	grey-crested	tonight]	and	[Forever,	never	ending	is	the	sound	of	the	golden	harp];	they	are	from	Canu	Heledd,	the	ninth-century	englynion	which	laments	the	loss	of	Pengwern/Shropshire	to	the	Saxons,	and	Y	Delyn	Aur,	a	nineteenth-century	Christian	hymn,	respectively.	They	are	not	translated	in	the	original.		 26	centuries	of	English	cultural	hegemony.	He	held	a	conspicuous	distaste	for	the	poetic	language	he	had	mastered	(“despite	our	speech	we	are	not	English”),	and	would	not	learn	Welsh	until	much	later	in	life.42	The	vestiges	of	centuries	of	a	consuming	English	colonialism	was,	ironically,	one	of	the	most	poignant	ranges	of	color	on	Thomas’s	poetic	palette.	Broken	and	belittled,	but	more	often	merely	ignored,	the	conquered	Welsh	“shadows”	on	Thomas’s	border	nevertheless	loom	large	in	the	“fierce	afterglow”	of	British	history.			For	both	Housman	and	Thomas,	the	experience	(real	or	imagined)	of	the	border	is	important	for	the	sense	of	identity	being	constructed	in	each	of	their	poems.	The	Anglo-Welsh	border	which	they	come	in	contact	with	is	certainly	different	from	the	one	which	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth	playfully	approximated	in	his	history;	and	their	reactions	to	that	contact	certainly	differ	from	the	anti-centrist	embrace	of	the	border	by	writers	such	as	the	Fouke	author	and	Iolo	Goch.	However,	their	works	demonstrate	that	living	on	the	edge	of	a	society	can,	almost	counter-intuitively,	enrich	and	embolden	one’s	own	cultural	consciousness;	the	experience	of	the	Anglo-Welsh	border	serves	to	reify	these	poets’	confidence	that	their	place	on	their	respective	sides	of	that	border	is	appropriate.	That	notion	of	the	border	as	generative	of	English	and	Welsh	culture	demonstrates	a	certain	sense	of	continuity	between	this	literary	March	of	Wales	and	the	medieval	March	I	expose	in	the	following	chapters.	The	March	looks	back	into	England	and	Wales	from	the	edge,	as	it	were,	delineating	not	merely	the	confines	of	the	countries	but	the	complexion	of	their	cultural	characteristics.																																																											42	Byron	Rogers,	The	Man	Who	Went	into	the	West:	The	Life	of	R.S.	Thomas	(London:	Aurum	Press,	2006):	312.			 27	Prelude:	The	Arthurian	dinas	in	“Marwnad	Cynddylan”		Maured	gymined	a	weli	di	hyn	Yd	lysg	fynghalon	fal	ettewyn...	ni	ellynt	fyn	nwyn	brodir	am	buiad	gwell	ban	vythin	canawon	artir	wras	dinas	degyn.		[Greatness	of	battle!	Can	you	see	this?	Even	now	my	heart	a	burning	torch...		I	used	to	have	brothers,	it	was	better	when	they	lived	Whelps	of	Arthur	the	strong,	a	mighty	fortress]43			 “Marwnad	Cynddylan”	is	a	very,	very	old	poem	in	terms	of	British	Literature.	Though	it	is	associated	with	the	ninth-century	cycle	of	poems	called	Canu	Heledd,	this	particular	“marwnad”	[death	song/	elegy]	dates	to	the	seventh	century	and	is	likely	the	precedent	and	inspiration	for	Canu	Heledd.	To	contextualize	the	uncommon	vintage	of	this	poem,	we	should	point	out	that	it	precedes	all	English	examples	of	literary	texts	except	(possibly)	the	absolute	earliest	datings	of	“Caedmon’s	Hymn”	(660)	and	all	Latin	works	except	Gildas’s	De	Excidio	et	Conquestu	Brittaniae	(547).44	In	terms	of	Welsh-language																																																									43	The	text	is	from	Rowland,	“Marwnad	Cynddylan”	Early	Welsh	Saga	Poetry,	174-178;	ll.	42-46.	The	translation	is	my	own,	but	with	reference	to	Rowland’s	(175-179)	and	the	notes	in	Ifor	Williams’	edition,	“Marwnad	Cynddylan,”	Bulletin	of	the	Board	of	Celtic	Studies	6	(1931-33):	134-41.	44	Gildas’s	erudite	and	literary	prose	is	dated	to	before	547	since	one	of	the	princes	he	castigates,	Maglocanus	(W.	Maelgwn),	is	recorded	as	dying	in	that	year	in	the	Annales	Cambriae.	See	Antonia	Gransden	Historical	Writing	in	England:	c.	500	to	c.	1307	(Routledge:	London,	1996):	1.	The	date	of	Caedmon’s	hymn	is	subject	to	some	debate,	and	there	is	a	school	which	places	it	after	Bede;	however,	the	generally	assumed	date	is	between	657	and	680.	See	R.D.	Fulk,	A	History	of	Old	English	Meter	(Philadelphia:	University	of	Pennsylvania	Press,	1992):	61.			 28	poetry,	some	sections	of	Y	Gododdin	(but	not	all)	may	be	contemporary	to	“Marwnad	Cynddylan”	or	slightly	earlier—but	that	is	a	matter	of	some	debate;	the	famous	Arthurian	reference	in	Y	Gododdin	is	probably	much	later	than	“Marwnad	Cynddylan.”45	This	is	not	to	say	that	our	copy	of	the	poem	which	is	preserved	in	Aberystwyth,	National	Library	of	Wales	MS	4973	and	the	later	copies	made	from	that	manuscript	are	the	same	text	which	was	originally	composed	in	the	early	Middle	Ages;	the	orthography	and	spelling	have	been	inconsistently	modernized	by	subsequent	copyists	and	it	is	missing	an	unknown	amount	of	text	from	before	and	possibly	after	the	fragment	which	has	been	preserved.	Nonetheless,	all	editors	of	the	poem	agree	that	“The	metre,	vocabulary	and	contents	are	all	consistent	with	a	seventh-century	date	for	the	poem.”46		 Though	editors	are	in	agreement	as	to	the	date	of	the	poem,	there	is	some	disagreement	regarding	the	reference	to	Arthur,	quoted	above.	The	manuscript	reads	“artir	wras,”	which—like	much	of	the	poem—is	nonsensical	without	editorial	emendation.	Most	of	the	scholars	who	work	on	this	poem	have	confirmed	Sir	Ifor	William’s	original	emendation	of	the	line	to	“Artur	fras”	[Arthur	the	strong],47	including	Rachel	Bromwich,																																																									45	Debates	on	the	dating	of	Y	Gododdin	have	raged	for	nearly	two	centuries	of	scholarship	and	I	will	not	try	to	summarize	all	the	details	of	that	ongoing	debate—which	are	only	tangentially	related	to	the	task	at	hand—in	a	footnote.	Perhaps	the	safest	characterization	of	the	general	scholarly	consensus	is	by	that	of	T.M.	Charles-Edwards,	who	notes	that	while	some	of	Y	Gododdin	dates	back	to	the	seventh	century	(the	A	text),	much	of	it	was	not	composed	until	the	ninth	century	(the	B	text).	The	stanza	which	refers	to	Arthur	is	part	of	the	B	text.	See	T.M.	Charles-Edwards,	“The	Authenticity	of	the	Gododdin:	A	Historian’s	View”	in	Rachel	Bromwhich	and	R.B.	Jones	Astudiaethau	ar	yr	Hengerdd,	Studies	in	Old	Welsh	Poetry	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	1978);	and	his	“The	Arthur	of	History,”	in	Rachel	Bromwhich	et.	al.	The	Arthur	of	the	Welsh	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	1991):	15-32,	15.	However,	cf.	John	Koch,	The	Gododdin	of	Aneirin:	Text	and	Context	from	Dark-Age	North	Britain	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	1997),	who	considers	the	Arthurian	reference	authentic	to	the	early	seventh	century.		46	Rowland,	Early	Welsh	Saga	Poetry	181.		47	See	Williams,	“Marwnad	Cynddylan,”	136.			 29	A.O.H.	Jarman,	Brynley	Roberts,48	R.G.	Gruffydd,49	John	Koch,50	and	Thomas	Green.51	Jenny	Rowland,	however,	in	her	edition	and	translation	of	the	poem	in	Early	Welsh	Saga	Poetry,	hesitantly	proposes	a	non-Arthurian	emendation	of	the	line	to	“arddynfras”	[strong-handed].	However	(as	the	question	mark	that	Rowland	includes	in	her	translation	indicates)	even	she	is	not	totally	convinced	by	her	reading.	It	is	important	to	recognize	that	many	portions	of	this	text,	including	this	one,	are	subject	to	debate	and	(barring	the	discovery	of	new	manuscript	evidence)	are	not	likely	to	be	solved	unequivocally.				 In	a	work	this	early,	interpretation	can	be	hindered	by	(among	other	issues):	linguistic	evolution	of	the	Welsh	language,	scribal	emendation,	references	to	historical	circumstances	and	characters	which	are	not	otherwise	attested,	and,	as	always,	the	intentionally-obscure	artistry	prized	among	the	Cynfeirdd.52	We	should	certainly	approach	the	reference	to	Arthur	with	caution,	but—put	simply—the	line	in	question	makes	sense	as	an	early	reference	to	Arthur.	As	I	discuss	in	more	detail	below,	the	reference	fits	with	our	understanding	of	the	legend	in	the	earliest	of	its	iterations.	Heroic	comparisons	to	Arthur	are	commonplace	in	Welsh	praise	poetry	a	few	centuries	later	and	there	is	little	reason	to																																																									48	In	their	“Introduction,”	The	Arthur	of	the	Welsh,	5.		49	R.G.	Gruffydd,	Bardos	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	1982):	5.		50	John	Koch	"The	Celtic	Lands",	in	Norris	Lacy,	Medieval	Arthurian	Literature:	A	Guide	to	Recent	Research,	(New	York:	Garland,	1996):	239–322.		51	Thomas	Green,	Concepts	of	Arthur	(Chalford	Stroud:	Tempus,	2007):	53-54.		52	The	Cynfeirdd	[Early	Bards]	are	the	earliest	iteration	of	Welsh	poets	and	include	Taliesin,	Aneirin,	the	poets	of	the	Llywarch	Hen	cycle,	and	the	authors	of	the	earliest	Myrddin	poems;	the	poet	of	“Marwnad	Cynddylan”	is	not	named.	The	intentional	obscurity	of	the	Cynfeirdd,	memorably	satirized	at	the	end	of	Breuddwyt	Rhonabwy,	has	been	described	a	number	of	ways	by	Welsh	literary	scholars.	My	personal	favorite	is	the	description	by	Sir	Edward	Anwyl	in	Young	Wales	(1897)	“Their	impulse	was	to	dart	down,	as	it	were,	upon	some	vivid	thought	like	a	hawk	upon	its	prey,	and	then	to	record	it	in	the	strongest	and	tersest	possible	language...	with	practically	no	regard	for	coherence	in	our	sense	of	the	term.”	(qtd	in	John	Jay	Parry	“The	Court	Poets	of	the	Welsh	Princes”	PMLA	67.4	(1952):	511-520;	515.)		 30	suspect	that	the	multitude	of	those	texts	were	not	drawing	on	an	earlier,	established	literary	tradition.	We	should	not	be	surprised	to	find	evidence	of	the	Arthurian	legend	in	a	poem	from	a	time	period	when	the	Arthurian	legend	was	definitively	in	circulation	and	when	the	reference	is	contiguous	with	our	expectations	of	the	legend	during	that	time	period.		To	understand	how	the	Arthurian	reference	is	functioning	thematically	in	the	poem—and	in	the	early	Anglo-Welsh	border	community	from	which	this	poem	hails—we	must	first	get	a	sense	of	the	peculiar	political	circumstances	surrounding	the	poem.	The	poet	himself	even	recognizes	his	own	rather	unusual	political	predicament:		a	feddyliais		myned	i	fenai	cyn	nim	bai	fais?			carafi	am	eneirch	o	dir	kemeis			gwerling	dogfeiling	Cadelling	trais		Ef	cuiniw	ini	uuyf	im	derw	llednais		o	leas	Cynddylan	colled	annofais”		[did	I	think	/	to	go	to	Menai	though	I	had	no	ford?	I	love	him	who	greets	me	from	the	land	of	Cemais	/	Prince	of	Dogfeiling,	scourge	of	the	Cadelling	/	I	shall	grieve	until	I	am	in	my	modest	oak	{ie.	coffin}	because	of	the	death	of	Cynddylan].53		The	poet	feels	conspicuously	‘out	of	place’	on	Anglesey,	the	other	side	of	the	Menai	Strait	than	his	homeland.	He	repeats	the	sentiment	in	the	following	stanza	“ei	feddyliaw	/	myned	i	fenai	cyn	nim	bai	naw”	[did	I	think	of	going	to	Menai	though	I	can	not	swim!].54																																																										53	ll.	6-11.		54	ll.	12-13.			 31	Of	course,	Ynys	Môn	(Anglesey)	was	no	farther	from	the	Welsh	mainland	in	the	seventh	century	than	it	is	today,	and	some	parts	are	within	500	meters	from	shore	to	shore.55	For	this	Powysian	poet,	however,	the	strait	is	a	palpable	symbolic	division,	a	geographic	representation	of	the	political	and	social	distance	between	Powys	and	Gwynedd.	This	mournful	remembrance	of	a	dead	Powysian	King	(Cynddylan)	addressed	to	the	King	of	Gwynedd	(the	“prince	of	Dogfeiling”)	being	sung	far	away	from	Powys	(in	Cemais,	on	Ynys	Môn)	is	conspicuously	incongruous	with	its	setting.			 This	strange	situation	begs	for	an	explanation.	Generally	speaking,	bards	were	not	“loaned	out”	from	kingdom	to	kingdom	and	this	is	long	before	the	times	when	poets	would	require	multiple	patrons	so	far	apart	from	one	another.	If,	as	is	the	case	with	this	particular	poet,	the	bard’s	patron	had	died,	it	would	seem	reasonable	that	the	bard	would	seek	to	transfer	his	talents	to	the	next	ruler	either	within	the	dynasty	or	to	another	ruler	altogether.	That	motivation	does	not	seem	to	be	driving	this	poet.	Though	the	poet	is	amiable	enough	with	Gwynedd’s	king,	he	is	obviously	not	trying	to	win	his	patronage.	As	Rowland	emphasizes,	that	task	would	require	“A	complete	panegyric,”56	and	it	would	certainly	not	include	an	elegy	pledging	eternal	allegiance	to	a	dead	king	of	Powys.	A	partial	explanation	of	the	poet’s	curious	rhetorical	situation,	and	his	brief	employment	of	the	Arthurian	legend	in	the	poem,	may	be	found	by	considering	the	events	which	led	to	Cynddylan’s	untimely	death,	which—even	though	they	are	ostensibly	the	poet’s	primary	topic—are	never	made	manifestly	clear	in	the	poem.																																																										55	Theoretically,	one	could	wade	across	the	Menai	Strait,	and	many	probably	have,	but	at	the	parts	of	the	Strait	where	it	gets	low	enough	to	wade	at	low	tide,	the	water	is	extremely	swift.		56	Early	Welsh	Saga	Poetry,	135.			 32	We	know,	from	this	poem	and	from	other	sources,	that	Cynddylan	was	a	Powysian	lord	who	was	allied	with	Penda	of	Mercia	against	the	Northumbrians	in	various	engagements.	An	alliance	between	the	still-pagan	Saxons	and	Welsh	people	on	the	border	(who,	one	assumes,	knew	that	it	was	the	recent	ancestors	of	those	pagan	Saxons	who	were	responsible	for	the	loss	of	British	rule	east	of	the	Midlands)	is	at	odds	with	the	ethnically	and	religiously	charged	war	painted	by	history.	Perhaps	it	was	merely	convenience	or	their	common	enemy	in	Northumbria	which	incited	the	alliance	rather	than	any	sense	of	cultural	or	social	correspondence,	but	the	alliance	was	nonetheless	made	and	it	dominated	seventh-century	insular	politics.	We	are	given	snippet	information	in	this	poem	about	three	of	the	battles	in	which	Cynddylan	was	involved:	One,	on	the	“doleo	taw”	[dales	of	the	River	Taf	(?)];	two,	“Caer	Luitcoed”	[Lichfield];	and	three	“tra	Thren”	[beyond	the	River	Tren].57	We	also	know	from	other	sources	that	Cynddylan	was	at	the	famous	641	battle	of	Maes	Cogwy	(AS.	“Maserfeld”)	near	Oswestry	(then	in	the	heart	of	Powys),	in	which	King	Oswald	of	Northumbria	was	killed.58	Of	the	first	battle,	“doleo	taw,”	very	little	is	known.	There	are	a	number	of	potential	sites	for	the	“River	Taf,”	including	one	near	Cardiff.59	Most	of	the	rest	of	Cynddylan’s	career	was	concerned	with	matters	further	north	and	east,	but	there	are	also	numerous	precedents	for	the	more	northern	Welshmen	dropping	into	Gwent	and	Dyfed	uninvited.	The	poem	merely	indicates	that	Cynddylan	won	that	particular	battle,	wherever	it	was,	and	took	a	vast	amount	of	cattle	as	his	winnings.																																																										57	“Marwnad	Cynddylan,”	ll.	38,	48,	and	22,	respectively.		58	Rowland,	Early	Welsh	Saga	Poetry	125.		59	For	river	names	with	this	same	root,	see	R.J.	Thomas,	Enwau	Afonydd	a	Nentydd	Cymru	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	1976):	177-178.	See	also,	Rowland,	Early	Welsh	Saga	Poetry,	132.			 33	The	second	battle	in	Lichfield,	modern	day	Staffordshire,	is	similarly	unattested	elsewhere.	However	the	poem	provides	somewhat	more	information	about	this	engagement,	as	it	appears	to	have	been	particularly	successful	for	Cynddylan.	Given	that	Lichfield	is	in	the	heart	of	Mercian	territory,	it	has	often	been	assumed	that	this	battle	constituted	a	break	in	the	Mercia-Powys	alliance.	Rowland,	however,	convincingly	demonstrates	otherwise	in	her	reading	of	the	historical	background	of	the	poem.		Of	the	unnamed	but	defeated	enemies	of	Cynddylan’s	host	at	Lichfield,	the	poem	tells	us	that	“nis	noddes	myneich	llyfr	afael”	[They	were	not	saved	by	the	book-grasping	monks].	Since	Penda	was	an	avowed	pagan,	it	makes	little	sense	why	the	poet	would	mention	the	lack	of	protection	afforded	him	by	monks.	Penda	was,	actually,	more	open	than	previous	generations	of	Mercian	kings	to	Christianity	(Bede	notes	that	he	even	permitted	Christian	missionaries)	and	there	is	even	some	sparse	evidence	that	a	community	of	British	Christians	remained	near	Lichfield.60	However,	even	if	this	is	the	case,	there	is	little	reason	to	hypothesize	that	this	community	of	British-Christian	remnants	or	Northumbrian-Christian	missionaries	would	be	predisposed	to	protecting	a	pagan	king.	If,	on	the	other	hand,	the	enemy	at	Lichfield	was	an	invading	Northumbrian	army	with	an	optimistic	ecclesiastical	mission	in	tow,	then	the	poets’	comments	make	more	sense.	In	that	case,	a	scornful	dismissal	of	protection	by	monks	would	be	a	stinging	jab	at	the	Northumbrians	who,	as	Rowland	says,	“seem	to	have	had	a	strong	sense	of	their	spiritual	superiority	over																																																									60	From	Bede,	“Nec	prohibuit	Penda	rex,	quin	etiam	in	sua,	hoc	est	Merciorum,	natione	uerbum,	siqui	uellent	audire,	praedicaretur”	[King	Penda	did	not	prohibit	the	preaching	of	the	word,	among	his	people,	that	is	the	Mercians,	if	they	were	willing	to	hear	it.]	Bede,	Ecclesiastical	History	of	the	English	People,	ed.	Bertram	Colgrave	and	R.A.B.	Mynors	(Oxford:	Clarendon	Press,	1969):	III.XXI.	My	translation.	Evidence	of	continuing	British	Christians	at	Lichfield	in	the	seventh	century	is	postulated	by	Jim	Gould,	“Letocetum,	Christianity	and	Lichfield	(Staffs.),	Transactions	of	the	South	Staffordshire	Archeological	and	Historical	Society	14	(1972-3):	30-31.			 34	the	pagan	Mercians	and	heretical	Welsh.”61	Cynddylan’s	victory	at	Lichfield	in	the	heart	of	Mercian	territory	was,	then,	most	likely	a	continuation	of	the	Powys-Mercia	alliance	against	Northumbria	which	had	previously	been	successful	at	Oswestry,	in	the	heart	of	Powysian	territory.	The	third	engagement,	and	most	likely	the	one	that	resulted	in	Cynddylan’s	death,	is	given	as	“tra	Thren	tir	trahawg”	[beyond	the	River	Tren	in	the	haughty	land].62	“Beyond	the	Tren”,	as	Rowland	notes,	is	“conventional	for	beyond	the	border	of	Powys,”	and	so	could	conceivably	be	anywhere	which	is	not	Powys.	However,	the	poet	also	tells	us	that	“saith	gant	rhiallu	in	y	speidiawd	/	pan	fynnwys	mab	pyd	mor	fu	parawd”	[seven	hundred	royals	were	{Cynddylan’s}	assembly	/	when	the	son	of	Pyd	requested,	how	willing	he	was].63	This	is	a	clear	indication	that	Cynddylan	was	in	alliance	with	Penda,	“the	son	of	Pyd,”	for	this	battle,	and	therefore	the	“tir	trahawg”	[haughty	land]	they	are	invading	must	be	Northumbria.	The	most	likely	candidate	for	such	an	engagement	is	the	Battle	of	Winwaed	(655),	in	which	Penda	died	and	Northumbria	recovered	the	momentum	which	it	had	lost	after	sustaining	so	many	defeats	at	the	hands	of	the	Powysians	and	Mercians.64	The	deaths	of	Penda	and	Cynddylan	would	thus	represent	a	strong	setback	for	the	Mercia-Powys	alliance.			Another	important	person	who	came	to	this	battle	was	the	King	of	Gwynedd,	Cadafael	ap	Cynfeddw.	Nennius,	among	other	sources,	remembers	Cadafael’s	role	in	the	loss	of	the	battle	to	be	particularly	important:	“solus	autem	Catgabail	rex	Guenedotae	regionis	cum	exercitu	suo	evasit	de	nocte	consurgens,	quapropter	vocatus	est	Catgabail																																																									61	Rowland,	Early	Welsh	Saga	Poetry,	134.		62	“Marwnad	Cynddylan,”	l.	22.		63	“Marwnad	Cynddylan,”	ll.	27-28.		64	Roland,	Early	Wesh	Saga	Poetry,	135.		 35	Catguommed.”	[But	Cadafael	alone,	King	of	Gwynedd,	rising	up	in	the	night,	escaped	with	his	army,	wherefore	he	is	called	Cadafael	Cadomedd].65	Whether	Cadafael’s	pre-dawn	retreat	actually	caused	Cynddylan	and	Penda	to	lose	the	battle	and	their	lives	is	not	clear,	but	later	chroniclers	certainly	thought	that	to	be	the	case.	The	epithet	given	to	him	after	his	retreat,	“Cadomedd”	[battle-decliner],	is	particularly	poignant	since	it	plays	off	of	his	given	name,	Cadafael	[battle-seizer].		This	is	an	especially	important	context	to	consider	in	any	interpretation	of	“Marwnad	Cynddylan.”	Cadafael	Cadomedd,	the	leader	who—correctly	or	not—was	given	the	blame	for	the	defeat	of	the	Powys-Mercia	alliance	at	Winwaed,	would	have	been	the	very	recent	predecessor	of	the	Venedotian	king	this	poet	is	addressing.	The	death	of	Cynddylan	and	his	men	had	been	a	crushing	blow	to	Powys	and	(though	Powys	still	held	its	territory	and	maintained	some	hope	of	recovery)	it	is	easy	to	see	why	Powys	would	seek	out	opportunities	to	praise	the	benefits	of	the	alliance	to	other	Welsh	kingdoms.	Indeed,	the	defeat	of	that	alliance	eventually	resulted	in	the	rejuvenation	of	the	Northumbrian	juggernaut,	the	subjugation	of	Mercia,	and	more	losses	in	the	Brythonic-speaking	kingdoms	of	the	Old	North.	Though	this	poem	comes	from	before	those	events	are	made	fully	manifest,	they	were	certainly	on	the	visible	horizon.		Though	Rowland	is	right	when	she	says	that	the	poet’s	intent	is	“to	remind	Gwynedd	of	its	former	alliance	with	Cynddylan	and	Penda,”	the	tone	and	tenor	of	the	poem	suggest	to	me	something	more	than	an	oblique	“reminder.”	This	poem	is	a	powerful	call-to-arms,	a	desperate	plea	for	Gwynedd	to	recognize	that	a	cross-border	alliance	may	mean	the	very	existence	of	the	Britons.	Cynddylan	and	his	men	are	the	poet’s	personification	of	both																																																									65	Nennius,	Historia	Brittonum,	ed.	Theodor	Mommsen	in	Chronica	Minora	Sec.	IV,	V,	VI,	VII,	iii,	Monumenta	Germaniae	Historica,	AA	xiii	(Berlin	1898):	147-222;	ch.	65.	My	translation.			 36	the	immense	success	alliance	with	Mercia	could	bring	and	a	lucid	foreshadowing	of	what	would	result	from	its	demise:	“a	chyn	eithuiue	yno	im	bro	fy	hun	/	nid	oes	vn	car	neud	adar	iu	warafun”	[and	though	I	went	back	to	my	country	/	not	one	warrior	is	left	that	the	birds	have	refused.]66		Personification	and	foreshadowing	are	not	the	only	tools	in	this	poet’s	repertoire,	either.	Though	we	must	admit	that	“Marwnad	Cynddylan”	pales	in	comparison	to	the	rich,	somber	imagery	of	the	later	Canu	Heledd	cycle,	the	poem	nonetheless	has	its	moments	of	literary	merit.	One	of	the	more	striking	devices	that	the	poet	employs	to	evoke	the	complex	range	of	emotions	he	feels	towards	Cynddylan	is	the	stark	antithesis	of	seemingly	contrasting	sentiments	throughout	the	poem—often	with	little	or	no	transition.	The	two	primary	themes	and	sentiments	juxtaposed	in	the	poem	are	“mawred”	[greatness,	grandeur,	sublime	glory]	and	“hiraeth”	[a	deep,	painful	nostalgia	and	yearning	for	home].67		For	instance,	when	the	poet	recalls	the	glory	days	of	Cynddylan’s	feasts,	“mor	wyf	gnodaw	/	pob	pysg	a	milyn	yd	fydd	teccaw”	[How	accustomed	I	am	to	the	finest	of	fish	and	beasts!],	he	is	detailing	the	specifics	of	Cynddylan’s	“mawred”	by	describing	the	generosity	he	employed	as	a	host	and	leader.	Praising	the	generosity	of	a	lord	is,	of	course,	a	recurring	theme	through	heroic	poetry	in	many	languages.	However	in	the	very	next	line	the	poet	remembers	other	warriors	who	attended	the	feasts	with	him,	warriors	who	are	now	dead:	“i	drais	a	gollais	gwir	echassaw,	/	Rhiau	Rhirid	a	Rhiadaw”	[To	violence	I	lost	men	most																																																									66	“Marwnad	Cynddylan,”	ll.	67-68.	My	translation	of	the	last	phrase	“neud	adar	iu	warafun”	is	loose;	“gwarafun”	[forbid,	grudge,	to	refuse]	implies	a	sense	of	restraint	and	seems	to	be	a	reference	to	carrion	birds	eating	the	bodies	of	the	warriors—a	frequent	image	in	Old	Welsh	poetry.	Rowland	translates:	“whom	birds	do	not	restrain.”	67	My	labels	for	these	sweeping	emotions	are	drawn	from	the	poem	itself:	“Maured	gymined”	[Grandeur	of	battle]	opens	each	section	of	the	poem	and	the	poet	describes	himself	as	“hiraethawg”	[full	of	sorrow]	in	line	nineteen.	Similar	juxtapositions	of	emotional	themes	are	prevalent	throughout	the	Old	Welsh	corpus.			 37	brave,	/	Rhiau,	Rhirid,	and	Rhiadaw.]68	The	memory	of	the	fine	foods	upon	the	tables	sits	uneasily	with	the	memory	of	the	fine	men	who	shared	that	food	with	him	and	then	died	on	the	battlefield.	This	is	the	poet’s	“hiraeth,”	an	untranslatable	concept	approximated	by	English	“sorrow”	or	“homesickness;”	it	is	a	deep	and	wretched	sadness	and	longing	for	home	or	something	that	is	unchangeable.	The	antithesis	of	these	two	sentiments	is	obviously	appropriate	for	any	poem	which	mourns	the	loss	of	a	great	battle	leader;	but	within	the	unique	political	circumstances	of	this	poem,	the	juxtaposition	also	approximates	the	glorious	potency	of	a	border	alliance	and	the	terrible	repercussions	of	a	failure	to	maintain	that	alliance.		The	reference	to	Arthur	in	“Marwnad	Cynddylan”	is	a	further	feature	of	this	emotional	juxtaposition	and	political	intricacy:	“ni	ellynt	fyn	nwyn	brodir	am	buiad	gwell	ban	vythin	/	canawon	artir	wras	dinas	degyn”	[I	used	to	have	brothers,	it	was	better	when	they	lived,	/	Whelps	of	stout	Arthur,	the	mighty	fortress].69	Arthur	straddles	the	poet’s	sense	of	mawred	and	hiraeth—he	represents	both	the	glorious,	heroic	past	and	yet	is	also	a	reminder	that	that	past	glory	is	lost,	forlorn	on	a	distant	Northumbrian	battlefield.	The	Arthurian	legend,	even	in	this,	our	earliest	example,	is	a	requiem	to	the	glory	days	of	yesteryear	and	is	tinged	with	a	sad	nostalgia.			The	Arthur	that	this	poet	refers	to	is	contiguous	with	the	other	examples	of	him	in	this	earliest	iteration	of	the	legend.	The	“artir	fras”	of	“Marwnad	Cynddylan”	is	much	like	the	example	from	Y	Gododdin,	where	a	warrior	who	kills	more	than	300	men	in	a	single	rush	is	compared	to	Arthur:	“gochore	brein	du	ar	uur	/	caer	ceni	bei	ef	arthur”	[He	fed	dark																																																									68	“Marwnad	Cynddylan,”	ll.	35-36.		69	ibid.	ll.	45-46.			 38	ravens	on	the	walls	of	the	fortress,	though	he	was	no	Arthur.”]70	Arthur	in	these	texts	is	a	superlative	example	of	superhuman	military	prowess,	a	paragon	of	warrior	society.	Furthermore,	and	importantly,	both	examples	mention	Arthur	without	further	description	or	explanation.	Brief	asides	like	these	are,	of	course,	tantalizing	and	disappointing	for	modern	Arthurian	scholars,	but	they	are	also	an	indication	that	Arthur	was	widely	enough	known	to	preclude	an	elaborate	introduction	or	elucidating	details.		The	epithet	applied	to	Arthur,	“dinas	degyn”	[mighty	fortress/defender],	deserves	further	comment.	In	a	sense,	this	is	an	extension	of	Arthur’s	association	with	superlative	military	prowess	mentioned	above,	but	it	also	accords	with	later	constructions	of	Arthur	as	a	“defender”	figure.	Perhaps	the	most	famous	example	of	this	construction	is	Triad	37,	which	describes	the	uncovering	of	the	magical	head	of	Bendigeidfran,	a	mythical	Welsh	king	whose	head,	so	long	as	it	was	interred	beneath	the	White	Hill	of	London,	was	supposed	to	prevent	Saxon	invasions:	“Ac	Arthur	a	datkudyavd	Penn	Bendigeituran	o'r	Gvynnvrynn.	Kan	nyt	oed	dec	gantav	kadv	yr	Ynys	honn	o	gedernit	neb,	namyn	o'r	eidav	ehun”	[And	Arthur	uncovered	the	head	of	Blessed	Bran	from	the	White	Hill,	because	it	was	not	right	to	him	that	the	Island	should	be	defended	by	anyone’s	strength	but	his	own].71	Similarly,	in	Vita	Cadoci,	Arthur	defends	the	father	of	Saint	Cadoc,	Gwynllyw,	at	the	border	of	Brycheiniog	and	Gwynlliog—but	only	after	Gwynllyw	swears	ownership	over	the	land:	“...	Tum,	Arthuro	sociisque	eius	armatis,	in	hostes	Gundleii	irruunt,	eosque	uersis	tergis	cum	magna	confusione	at	patrium	solum	fugauerunt.”	[Gwynllyw	replies,	‘God	being	witness,	also	all	who	best	know	of	the	Britons,	I	avow	that	I	am	the	owner	of	this	land.’	...																																																									70	Ifor	Williams,	Canu	Aneirin	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	1938):	sec.	52.	My	translation.	71	Trioedd	Ynys	Prydein:	The	Welsh	Triads,	ed.	Rachel	Bromwich	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	1978):	Triad	37r.	My	translation.			 39	Then	Arthur	and	his	companions	being	armed	they	rushed	against	the	enemies	of	Gwynllyw	and	made	them	turn	their	backs	and	flee	in	great	confusion	to	their	native	soil.]72	Though	Arthur’s	military	prowess	has	been	employed	by	authors	in	a	number	of	ways	over	the	years,	the	conception	of	him	as	a	mighty	(and	perhaps	at	times	misdirected)	“defender”	is	recurring	enough	to	distinguish	it	as	a	core	formulation	of	his	legend.73		It	must	be	noted,	however,	that	the	sense	of	“homeland	defense”	the	poet	is	praising	here	is	not	the	most	straightforward	version	of	that	concept.	These	are	not	warriors	who	died	attempting	to	hold	off	the	Saxon	horde	from	entering	their	villages;	they	are	not	seventh-century	versions	of	American	minutemen,	taking	up	arms	as	a	final	effort	to	repel	the	English	from	attacking	their	families.	Cynddylan	and	his	men	died	in	a	much	more	complex	and	abstract	form	of	defense:	allied	with	pagan	Saxons	while	deep	within	enemy	territory.	As	we	have	seen,	there	is	certainly	a	legitimacy	to	conceptualizing	Cynddylan’s	alliance	with	Mercia	and	attacks	against	Northumbria	as	defensive—as	preemptive	strikes	to	thwart	inevitable	future	incursions—but	it	must	have	been,	nonetheless,	a	strange	pill	for	the	poet’s	Venedotian	audience	to	swallow.		This	is	why	“dinas”	is	such	an	effective	(if	slightly	reductive)	concept	to	attach	to	both	Arthur	and	Cynddylan’s	men’s	actions.	Though	the	word	is,	here	as	elsewhere,	employed	as	a	metonym	for	military	defenses	in	general,	“dinas”	is	most	specifically	a	“fortress”,	that	clear-cut	and	tangible	brick-and-mortar	or	wood-and-dirt	inhabitable	barricade	which	repels	foe	and	shelters	friend.	By	invoking	Arthur	as	a	“mighty	fortress”	in	a	description	of	Cynddylan’s	alliance	with	pagan	Mercians	and	failed	invasion	of																																																									72	Lifris	of	Lancarfen,	Vita	Sancti	Cadoci,	Vitae	Sanctorum	Britanniae	et	Genealogiae,	ed.	and	trans.	A.W.	Wade-Evans	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	1944):	26-28.		73	Thomas	Green	elaborates	further	on	the	conception	of	Arthur	as	a	defender	figure	in	his	chapter,	“The	Nature	of	Arthur:	A	Mighty	Defender?,”	in	Concepts	of	Arthur:	93-150.		 40	Northumbria,	the	poet	maps	an	remarkably	solid	material	substrate	onto	a	very	fluid,	immaterial,	and	perhaps	controversial	concept	of	“defense”	and	“the	border.”		It	is	here	where	we	find	the	most	demonstrable	continuity	between	this	Arthur	of	“Marwnad	Cynddylan”	and	the	Arthurian	legend	which	rises	in	border	writing	over	the	next	seven	centuries.	The	political,	historical	and	cultural	contexts	of	Arthurian	border	literature	would	shift	dramatically	over	the	following	centuries	and	the	legend	of	Arthur	would	exponentially	expand	from	this	snippet,	fleeting	glimpse	into	its	nascent	state.	However,	like	the	later	Arthurian	border	works	this	study	examines,	“Marwnad	Cynddylan’s”	use	of	the	Arthurian	legend	is	clearly	derivative	of	the	intricate	systems	of	cultural	contact	and	conflict	along	the	border,	and	it	is	clearly	being	harnessed	to	influence	the	cultural	and	political	environ	of	a	neighboring	sovereignty—in	this	case,	Gwynedd.	Moreover,	even	in	this,	the	earliest	and	one	of	the	tersest	example	of	border	writing,	we	can	see	the	Arthurian	legend	being	employed	as	a	simplified	version	of	an	otherwise	immensely	complex	border	phenomenon;	the	convoluted	construction	of	“defense”	the	poet	is	advocating	here	is	made	demonstrably	simpler	and	more	straightforward	by	his	association	of	them	with	the	Arthurian	legend.	As	we	shall	see	in	the	next	chapter,	the	tendency	of	using	Arthur	to	“simplify”	a	complex	version	of	border	“defense”	would	persist	well	past	the	seventh	century.								 41	1)	Pure	Fictions:	Early	Arthurian	Border	Literature	and	the	British	Nation		 [T]he	very	idea	of	a	pure,	‘ethnically	cleansed’	national	identity	can	only	be	achieved	through	the	death,	literal	and	figurative,	of	the	complex	interweavings	of	history,	and	the	culturally	contingent	borderlines	of	modern	nationhood.”	–Homi	Bhabha,	The	Location	of	Culture.74	 		 At	some	point	in	the	twelfth	century,	when	the	eastern	and	southern	portions	of	Wales	were	being	colonized	by	Norman	barons	and	their	armies,	there	developed	a	distinction	in	political	documents	between	these	mixed	areas,	called	“Marchia	Wallia,”	and	the	areas	of	the	northwest	which	remained	“Pura	Wallia.”	That	distinction	has	carried	on	in	modern	critical	histories	of	Wales,	and	one	can	trace	in	the	maps	that	invariably	accompany	these	critical	histories	the	lurking	encroachment	of	the	Marchia	as	the	Pura	shrinks	tighter	and	tighter	behind	the	shield	of	Snowdonia	and	the	Menai	Strait.75	Strictly	speaking,	these	labels	are	supposed	to	be	legal	and	jurisdictional	ones:	Pura	Wallia	is	governed	by	the	Welsh	princes	and	Marchia	Wallia	is	a	conglomerate	of	Englishries	and	Welshries	with	various	governance	and	unique	legal	systems.76	One	can	extrapolate	from																																																									74	Homi	Bhabba,	The	Location	of	Culture	(Abingdon:	Routledge,	1994):	7	75	Lieberman,	in	his	The	Medieval	March	of	Wales:	The	Creation	and	Perception	of	a	Frontier,	1066-1283	(Cambridge:	Cambridge	University	Press,	2010),	esp.	18-20,	details	the	evolution	of	these	terms	in	legal	documents	of	the	twelfth	and	thirteenth	centuries.	See	also,	R.R.	Davies,	Conquest,	Coexistence,	and	Change	(Oxford:	Clarendon	Press,	1987):	213,	272.	Roger	K.	Turvey	describes	the	slow	invasion	in	detail,	and	provides	a	series	of	maps	showing	the	regression	of	Pure	Wales	in	“Conflict	or	Coexistence:	Marchia	Wallia	and	Pura	Wallia”	in	his	The	Welsh	Princes:	The	Native	Rulers	of	Wales,	1063-1283	(Abingdon:	Routledge,	2002):	39-64.		76	From	the	Magna	Carta:	“tunc	inde	fiat	in	Marchia	per	judicium	parium	suorum,	de	tenementis,	Angliae	secumdum	legem	Angliae,	de	tenementis	Walliae	secundum	legem		 42	this	visual	and	verbal	rhetoric,	however,	that	there	was	once	a	time	of	pre-Marchia,	when	all	of	Wales	was	Pura—cleanly	segregated	from	the	Saeson	who	stayed	to	the	east	of	Offa’s	Dyke.	The	development	of	the	Marchia,	then,	figures	forth	the	beginning	of	the	end	of	Pura	Wallia.			 The	truth,	however,	is	that	Wales	and	the	Welsh	have	never	been	“pure”;	their	language	and	their	lineage	betray	the	influence	of	the	Latin	tongue	and	Roman	culture	from	well	before	any	Saxons	set	foot	on	the	island,	and	archeological	evidence	suggests	strong	influences	from	Norse	settlement	and	trade	in	the	north-west	and	Irish	settlement	throughout	the	country.77	Even	ignoring	these	“exceptions”,	there	is	no	evidence	that	the	various	tribes	of	pre	and	sub-Roman	Britain	or	the	petty	kingdoms	that	followed	had	any	sense	of	contiguous	history	or	unity	with	one	another.78	If	they	were	linked	in	some	grand	ethno-linguistic	or	racial	heritage,	they	certainly	did	not	recognize	it	at	the	time.	“Pure	Wales”	is,	and	always	has	been,	a	nostalgic	construction	projected	upon	a	largely	indeterminate	swath	of	history	in	the	“olden	days”.			In	this	chapter,	I	trace	an	early	attempt	to	develop	this	sentiment	of	ethnic	and	political	“purity”	in	the	historical	depiction	of	Wales	by	Nennius	in	the	Historia	Brittonum																																																									Walliae,	de	tenementis	Marchiae	scundum	legem	Marchiae.”	[Thus	let	it	be	judged	in	the	March	by	the	judgments	of	their	peers;	For	tenements	of	England	according	to	the	English	Law,	for	the	tenements	of	Wales	according	to	Welsh	Law,	for	tenements	of	the	March	according	to	the	Law	of	the	March.”]	Select	Charters	and	Other	Illustrations	of	English	Constitutional	History,	ed.	William	Stubbs	(Oxford:	Clarendon,	1913):	303.		77	See	Wendy	Davies,	Wales	in	the	Early	Middle	Ages	(Leicester:	Leicester	University	Press,	1982).			78	Indeed,	Gildas	refers	to	Vortipori	(king	of	Dyfed)	as	the	“Demetarum	tyranne,”	[tyrant	of	the	Demetians]	reflecting	the	continuation	of	‘tribal’	strife	in	the	sub-Roman	era.	See	Gildas,	Gildas:	the	Ruin	of	Britain	and	Other	Works,	ed.	Michael	Winterbottom	(Chichester:	Philmore	and	co.	ltd.,	1978):	c.31.			 43	and	other	border	writers	roughly	contemporary	with	him.79	Through	the	historicization	of	Welsh	folklore	and	especially	the	Arthurian	legend,	the	Historia	Brittonum	is	the	earliest	and	most	formative	work	to	propagate	this	myth	of	political	and	cultural	purity	and	is	a	central	pillar	in	constructing	the	imagination	of	Wales	as	a	nation.	I	argue	that	the	most	important	influences	and	motivations	for	Nennius’s	rhetorical	work	are	not	found	in	the	political	environment	of	the	Venedotian	court	(as	some	have	recently	emphasized),	but	in	the	mixed,	cosmopolitan	culture	of	his	home	region	in	the	southern	border	area.	Nennius’s	Historia	and	his	Arthur	are	productions	of	and	primarily	for	the	political	environment	of	the	Anglo-Welsh	border.	By	reading	Nennius	and	some	of	his	contemporaries	from	the	perspective	of	border	culture,	I	am	not	solely	claiming	an	early	and	important	Arthurian	work	for	the	border	region.	Instead,	I	want	to	gesture	towards	a	rearticulation	of	that	implicit	and	ubiquitous	nationalist	narrative	I	presented	in	the	opening	of	this	chapter:	that	the	creation	and	growth	of	the	mixed,	troublesome	Marches	was	a	later	development	which	eventually	strangled	the	previously	omnipresent	and	real	idea	of	Wales	and	Welsh	culture	as	a	“pure”	entity.	Instead,	by	examining	the	contexts	of	Nennius’s	writing	and	his	ingenious	alteration																																																									79	It	has	fallen	out	of	fashion	to	refer	to	the	author	of	the	Historia	Brittonum	as	Nennius.	David	Dumville	has	strongly	argued	for	a	disassociation	of	the	Nennian	prologue	(which	he	identifies	as	a	later	corruption)	and	the	Historia	Brittonum.	Peter	Field,	in	contrast,	has	disagreed	and	connects	the	author	of	the	Historia	to	a	“Ninnius”	living	in	modern	day	Breconshire.	See	David	Dumville,	“The	Historical	Value	of	the	Historia	Brittonum,”	Arthurian	Literature	6	(1986):	1-26;	and	P.J.C.	Field,	“Nennius	and	his	History,”	Studia	Celtica	30	(1996):	159-165.	I	base	my	decision	to	refer	to	the	author	as	“Nennius”	on	neither	of	their	conclusions.	“Nennius,”	to	me,	is	a	convenient	placeholder	for	a	distributed	system	of	author	functions	and	various	communities	of	production.	Though	calling	him	“the	author	of	the	Historia	Brittonum”	ultimately	accomplishes	the	same	goal,	such	constructions	sever	the	work	from	its	historical	scholarship	both	good	and	bad.	It	is	the	same	as	if	we	were	to	cease	referring	to	“the	author	of	Piers	Plowman”	as	William	Langland	because	there	is	an	ambiguous	(some	might	say	precarious)	relationship	between	that	name,	the	person(s)	“William	Langland”	refers	to,	and	Piers	Plowman	itself.			 44	and	homogenization	of	sources,	we	can	see	that	Nennius’s	pure,	unified	British	nation	is	primarily	a	reaction	to	the	cultural	environment	of	the	mixed,	troubled	border	area.	In	short,	Pura	Wallia	owes	as	much	of	its	artificial	construction	to	Marchia	Wallia	as	it	does	to	its	imagined	deconstruction.	Nennius,	Merfyn	and	the	Border	“It	is	precisely	his	ignorance	and	his	stupidity	which	caused	him	to	jumble	together	good	and	bad	materials	without	amalgamating	them	into	a	single	whole,	and	each	successive	commentary	on	the	evolution	of	his	curious	book	makes	it	more	possible	to	sort	out	the	different	elements	of	which	it	is	composed.”		Such	is	the	assessment	of	Nennius	in	the	1936	by	Robin	George	Collingwood,	a	towering	figure	in	twentieth-century	historical	philosophy,	British	history,	and	sub-Roman	British	archeology.80	Collingwood’s	deserved	reputation,	and	the	reputation	of	the	Oxford	History	of	England	series	his	assessment	of	Nennius	was	published	in,	meant	that	Collingwood’s	assessment	of	and	approach	to	Nennius’s	writings	would	be	followed	by	researchers	for	decades	afterward.	Nennius	was	viewed	as	artless,	brutish,	and	dangerous	to	the	historian	because	of	his	lack	of	objectivity	and	clarity;	his	text	is	a	“jumble”	of	“good	and	bad	materials,”	which	he	makes	no	distinction	between.	It	is	the	task	of	the	modern	critic	to	pick	apart	his	text	to	find	the	hidden	layers	of	truth	about	the	“Dark	Ages”	of	Britain.	Nennius	himself	is	the	sad	imitation	of	proper	(English)	historiography	(ie.	Bede),	and	apparently	is	capable	of	writing	without	aim	or	intent.			 Thankfully,	this	approach	to	the	Historia	is	fading	from	scholarly	assessments	of	the	work,	and,	rather	than	attempting	to	mine	the	Historia	Brittonum	for	‘accurate’	reflections																																																									80	Robin	George	Collingwood	and	John	N.L.	Myres,	Oxford	History	of	England:	Roman	Britain	and	the	English	Settlements	(Oxford:	Clarendon	Press,	1936):	329.			 45	of	sixth-century	Britain,	recent	critics	have	been	very	successful	in	framing	the	Historia	within	the	political	milieu	of	ninth-century	British	politics.	David	Dumville,	David	Howlett,	and	Nick	Higham	have	been	particularly	important	in	establishing	a	more	fruitful	environment	for	the	interpretation	of	this	text	and	its	references	to	the	Arthurian	legend.81	Instead	of	an	aimless	compilation	of	historical	materials,	it	has	emerged	that	the	Historia	Brittonum	was,	instead,	written	by	a	single	author	who	may	or	may	not	be	the	monk	Ninnius	of	the	Breconshire	region.82	Though	precisely	who	this	author	is	will	remain	impossible	to	confirm,	the	largely	unknown	figure	we	have	chosen	to	label	“Nennius”	is	writing	with	a	perceptible	personal	background	for	perceptible	political	purposes.		 As	has	become	more	and	more	apparent	from	recent	criticism,	much	of	these	political	purposes	can	be	tied	to	the	reign	of	King	Merfyn	Frych	of	Gwynedd,	titled	in	the	Nennian	prologue	as	“Meruini	regis	Britonum.”	Though	Dumville	has	cast	doubt	on	the	connection	of	the	prologue	to	the	original	work,	he	has	nonetheless	verified	that	the	work	was	composed	near	the	beginning	of	Merfyn’s	reign	and	is	connected	to	Merfyn’s	larger	political	influence.83	As	Nick	Higham	has	summarized,	“there	should	be	little	doubt	that	his	text	was	written	expressly	for	Merfyn	and	his	circle.”84	All	the	historical	records	point	toward	Merfyn’s	reign	as	being	a	major	turn	in	the	British	political	infrastructure.	Merfyn	seized	control	of	Gwynedd	in	825	after	a	very	turbulent	historical	period;	in	the	decades	prior,	Gwynedd	had	been	embroiled	in	an																																																									81	Dumville,	“Historical	Value;”	David	Howlett,	Cambro-Latin	Compositions:	Their	Competence	and	Craftmanship	(Dublin:	Four	Courts	Press,	1998);	and	Nick	Higham,	King	Arthur:	Mythmaking	and	History	(London:	Routledge,	2002).		82	See	Dumville,	“Historical	Value”;	and	Field	“Nennius	and	his	History.”			83	See	David	Dumville,	“Some	Aspects	of	the	Chronology	of	the	Historia	Brittonum,”	Bulletin	of	the	Board	of	Celtic	Studies	25	(1972-74):	439-45.		84	Higham,	King	Arthur	122.		 46	internal	strife	between	the	sons	of	King	Rhodri	Molwynog	(Hywel	and	Cynan),	a	devastating	attack	by	Coenwulf	of	Mercia	(who	was	taking	advantage	of	that	strife).	Furthermore,	upon	Cynan	ap	Rhodri’s	death,	the	400	year-old	paternal	line	of	Maelgwn	Gwynedd	and	Cunedda	had	officially	ended.85	It	is	unlikely	that	Merfyn	would	have	been	able	to	hold	the	throne	based	on	his	pedigree	alone:	his	claim	was	based	on	his	maternal	line	rather	than	paternal	(his	mother	was	the	daughter	of	Rhodri	Molwynog)	and	there	were	almost	certainly	other	contenders	to	the	crown.	It	would	have	taken	an	impressive	personality	and	a	considerable	show	of	force	to	maintain	this	claim,	but	Merfyn	was	nonetheless	successful	in	establishing	a	new	dynasty.	Soon	after	he	took	control	of	Gwynedd,	he	repelled	the	Mercian	incursions	and	married	the	daughter	of	King	Cadell	of	Powys,	allying	the	two	powerful	kingdoms.86	Nennius,	also,	seems	to	be	part	of	Merfyn’s	wider	plans	to	establish	connections	throughout	Wales.	All	evidence	suggests	that	Nennius	is	not	from	Gwynedd,	but	from	the	south-eastern	border	area,	most	likely	in	Gwent	around	the	River	Severn	delta	region.	As	evidenced	by	Figure	One,	it	is	within	this	area	that	Nennius	describes	over	half	of	the	wonders	in	his	mirabilia	section,	and	most	of	the	remaining	ones	are	within	a	short	travelling	distance	from	this	central	location.	The	few	wonders	that	are	located	a	considerable	distance	from	Gwent	(in	Ireland,	Scotland	and	Gwynedd)	lack	the	detail	and	personal	familiarity	that	we	can	perceive	in	his	descriptions	of	the	core	group.	As	Andrew	Evans,	John	Nettleship	and	Steven	Perry	have	recently	argued,	Nennius’s	description	of																																																									85	See	Lloyd,	A	History	of	Wales:	230-231.	Cunedda	is	probably	a	historical	construct	(Higham,	King	Arthur	125),	but	he	was	obviously	a	historical	construct	by	the	9th	century	as	well.	This	means	that	Nennius	would	have	seen	Hywel	and	Cynan	as	Cunedda’s	final	descendents	and	Merfyn	as	“new	blood”	despite	modern	questions	of	the	antiquity	and	historicity	of	“Cunedda’s	line”.		86	Lloyd,	A	History	of	Wales	323-24.			 47	Lake	Lliwan	(wonder	six)	can	be	linked	with	some	interesting	geographic	features	in	the	Caerwent	area	not	far	from	the	border.87	For	two	of	the	wonders	in	Gwent	and	Ergyng,	Nennius	explicitly	notes	his	personal	familiarity:	“Nam	ego	probavi	et	vidi,”	“Et	ego	solus	probavi.”88	This	is	not	something	he	does	for	the	few	wonders	he	locates	outside	of	the	border	area	for	the	obvious	reason	that	he	does	not	have	that	familiarity	with	them.	As	Nick	Higham	has	said,	the	wonders	in	Gwynedd	were	likely	“added	rather	hastily...	to	avoid	causing	offence	among	Gwynedd’s	ruling	elite.”89	It	is	important	to	note	that	this	area	(the	region	of	Gwent,	Brycheiniog	and	Glywysing)	was,	in	fact,	the	only	area	Merfyn	and	his	descendents	were	unable	to	establish	sovereignty.90																																																										87	Andrew	J.	Evans,	John	Nettleship	and	Steven	Perry,	“Linn	Liuan/Llyn	Llyw:	The	Wondrous	Lake	of	the	Historia	Brittonum’s	de	Mirabilus	Britanniae	and	Culhwch	ac	Olwen,”	Folklore	119	(2008):	295-318.		88	Nennius,	“Historia	Brittonum,”	ed.	Theodor	Mommsen	in	Chronica	Minora	Sec.	IV,	V,	VI,	VII,	iii,	Monumenta	Germaniae	Historica,	AA	xiii	(Berlin	1898):	147-222,	ch.	59,	60.	89	Higham,	King	Arthur	153.		90	T.M.	Charles-Edwards,	“Wales	and	Mercia,	613-918,”	ed.	Michelle	Brown	and	Carole	A.	Farr	in	Mercia:	An	Anglo-Saxon	Kingdom	in	Europe	(London:	Continuum,	2001):	89-105.			 48			Figure	1:	The	Wonders	of	the	Historia	Brittonum.	My	map	is	drawn	from	and	only	slightly	differs	from	that	given	by	Higham,	Mythmaking	and	History,	154.	The	Tomb	of	Amr,	discussed	below,	is	number	13	on	the	map.		 Higham	similarly	locates	Nennius	to	“the	more	cosmopolitan	interface	between	southern	Wales	and	England”	in	Gwent	or	Brycheniog,	and	also,	interestingly,	cites	Asser’s		 49	departure	for	the	English	King	Alfred’s	court	a	few	decades	later	as	a	“pressing	[parallel].”91	Certainly,	Asser’s	move	from	St.	David’s	to	Wessex	offers	an	important	comparison	to	Nennius’s	move	to	Gwynedd;	but	the	political	motivations	behind	these	moves	could	not	be	further	apart.	One	of	the	primary	reasons	Asser	gives	for	seeking	an	alliance	with	Wessex	was	Dyfed’s	continual	conflict	with	northern	Welsh	kings:	“Sperabant	enim	nostri,	minores	tribulationes	et	iniurias	ex	parte	Hemeid	regis	sustinere...	si	ego	ad	notitiam	et	amicitiam	illius	regis	qualicunque	pacto	pervenirem”	[They	{my	companions}	were	hopeful	to	suffer	fewer	tribulations	and	injuries	on	the	part	of	King	Hemeid...	if	I	were	to	come	to	the	knowledge	of	that	king	{Alfred}	and	make	some	kind	of	agreement].92	As	history	(and	the	Mabinogi)	has	taught	us,	attacks	on	Southern	Wales	from	the	north	were	typical	throughout	the	Middle	Ages.	Asser’s	hope	to	garner	protection	from	Wessex,	though	unsuccessful,	was	a	reasonable	approach	to	mitigating	the	inter-British	conflict.	Nennius,	however,	was	attracted	away	from	southeastern	Wales	to	Gwynedd	for	much	different	reasons	than	Asser’s	flight	to	Wessex.	Merfyn	was	a	powerful	ruler	who	unified	Gwynedd	after	prolonged	turmoil	and,	by	establishing	strong	political	ties	to	Powys	and	eventually	to	Dyfed,	he	had	demonstrated	his	ability	to	unite	British	kingdoms	rather	than	divide	them.	Whereas	Asser	hoped	to	protect	St.	David’s	even	if	it	exacerbated	inter-Briton	conflict,	Merfyn	sought	to	ally	all	the	kingdoms	in	opposition	to	the	growing	Wessex	hegemony.	Nennius’s	stylization	of	Merfyn	as	“regis	Britonum”	is	certainly	an	exaggeration,	but	it	is	an	exaggeration	of	hope	rather	than	sycophancy;	only	a	united	Wales	led	by	a	powerful	king	could	hope	to	contend	with	the	growing	Mercian/West	Saxon	dynasty.	As																																																									91	Higham,	King	Arthur:	122.	92	William	Henry	Stevenson,	ed.,	Asser’s	Life	of	King	Alfred	(Oxford:	Clarendon	Press,	1904):	65-66.	My	translation.		 50	Higham	and	others	have	emphasized,	it	is	important	that	we	recognize	Merfyn’s	political	aims	within	Nennius’s	history;	the	conception	of	a	contiguous	British	state	with	a	shared,	illustrious	history	present	in	the	Historia	Brittonum	was	a	vital	construct	for	realizing	the	ambitions	of	this	upstart	king	and	the	hopes	of	this	talented	writer.		However,	as	I	will	argue	here,	the	emphasis	on	Venedotian	politics	in	the	Historia	Brittonum	has	been	somewhat	overstated.	Merfyn	did	not	write	the	Historia	Brittonum,	and	the	work’s	primary	influences	derive	not	from	the	secluded	cultural	environment	of	ninth-century	Gwynedd—which	the	author	was	largely	unfamiliar	with—but	from	the	legends	and	stories	of	the	borderlands.	Furthermore,	his	wider	inclusive	and	unifying	gestures	are	not	directed	towards	the	areas	of	Wales	already	under	Merfyn’s	control,	but	towards	areas	where	British	culture	and	British	political	allegiance	are	perceived	as	threatened—Gwent,	Brycheiniog,	and	Ergyng	in	particular.	Nennius’s	emphasis	on	the	“omnibus	Brittanicis	regionibus,”	“omnes	homines	gentis”	and	“omnes	reges	Brittanicæ	gentis,”	should	be	read	as	directed	towards	the	border	rather	than	the	relatively	secure	culture	of	Gwynedd.93	To	properly	situate	this	work	and	its	revision	of	the	Arthurian	legend,	it	is	imperative	we	recognize	that	the	political	ambitions	of	Merfyn’s	Gwynedd	are	being	shaped	by	the	cultural	perspective	of	Nennius’s	border.				 For	much	of	the	early	Middle	Ages,	Gwynedd	was	largely	secluded	from	the	Saxon	powers	to	the	east;	the	Powysian	buffer	zone	and	the	significant	terrain	obstacles	prevented	long-term	English	influence	in	the	area.	In	southeastern	Gwent,	Brycheiniog,	and	Ergyng,	by	contrast,	prolonged	contact	with	the	cultural	Other	was	a	given.	Furthermore,	despite	the	bellicose	rhetoric	of	distant	kings	like	Merfyn,	everyday	existence	in	a																																																									93	Nennius,	Historia	Brittonum,	ch.	14,	48.				 51	multicultural	mixed	zone	like	the	southern	Anglo-Welsh	border	meant	that	prolonged	contact	was	often	peaceful	and	occasionally	collaborative.	Aristocrats	married	across	the	border	regularly,	and	we	can	assume	that	cross-border	marriage	was	common	among	the	lesser	classes	as	well.		In	one	particularly	interesting	case,	we	find	an	Edwin	son	of	“Eanneawn”	involved	in	a	legal	dispute	in	a	Hereford	“scirgemot”	[shire	meeting],	where	he	attempts	to	claim	some	of	his	mother’s	family	land	in	Herefordshire.	This	is	likely	the	Welsh	aristocrat	Edwin	ap	Einon	who	(as	his	English	name	“Edwin”	and	the	location	of	his	mother’s	lands	suggest)	was	probably	the	product	of	one	of	these	cross-border	aristocratic	marriages.94	This	mixed	heritage	does	not	seem	to	have	hindered	Edwin’s	political	ambitions	either,	as	he	is	noted	to	have	risen	successfully	within	the	southern	Welsh	dynasty.95	Later	in	his	life,	Edwin	would	ravage	the	lands	of	Maredudd	ab	Owain	with	the	help	of	Saxon	warriors;	perhaps	these	Englishmen	were	even	his	family.96	Given	the	flexibility	of	inheritance	laws	in	Wales	compared	to	England,	it	is	perhaps	less	surprising	that	Edwin	was	able	to	rise	in	politics	on	the	western	side	of	the	border.	However,	it	is	striking—and	telling—that	he	is	attending	a	“scirgemot”	(an	emphatically	Anglo-Saxon	tradition)	in	England	in	order	to	acquire	English	land	on	his	mother’s	side.	Welshmen	could,	and	did,	own	land	in	England,	but	the	prospect	of	a	Welshman	taking	an	Englishman’s	land	through	a	maternal	connection	seems	far-fetched.97	Edwin’s	claim	was																																																									94	See	George	Molyneaux,	“The	Ordinance	concerning	the	Dunsæte	and	the	Anglo-Welsh	Frontier	in	the	late	tenth	and	eleventh	centuries,”	271-272		95	See	D.E.	Thornton,	“Maredudd	ab	Owain	(d.	999):	the	Most	Famous	King	of	the	Welsh,”	Welsh	Historical	Review	18	(1996-97):	567-591;	581-2.		96	Thornton,	“Maredudd	ab	Owain,”	582-585.				97	The	Laws	of	Ine	from	Wessex,	for	instance,	describe	the	various	wergilds	for	Welshmen	depending	on	their	social	status,	relationship	with	the	king,	and	property	ownership.	For		 52	unsuccessful;	but	as	George	Molyneaux	says,	“it	is	unlikely	that	he	would	have	raised	it	had	he	thought	it	hopeless.”98	There	must	have	been	at	least	some	degree	of	precedent	for	his	situation.		In	the	ecclesiastical	realm,	it	is	apparent	that,	on	the	whole,	southeastern	Wales	had	a	far	more	cordial	relationship	with	Canterbury	and	York	than	did	St.	David’s	or	other	Welsh	areas.99	In	one	instance,	the	Bishopric	of	Herefordshire—in	the	English	nation—was	deputized	to	a	Welsh	clergyman	in	the	eleventh	century	after	the	reigning	English	bishop	became	disabled.100	The	Bishop	of	Ergyng/Archenfield—also	technically	in	the	English	nation—in	924	was	a	Welshman,	Cyfeiliog.	When	he	was	captured	by	Vikings,	it	was	the	English	king	of	Wessex	and	Mercia,	Edward	the	Elder,	who	paid	Cyfeiliog’s	ransom.101	In	an	area	of	the	world	where	much	of	the	laity	would	be	of	English	and	Welsh	background,	and	would	have	linguistic	capabilities	in	both	languages,	this	sort	of	cordial	administrative	interchange	is	completely	understandable.	Welsh	people	certainly	lived	in	Herefordshire	and	throughout	southwest	England	throughout	the	Anglo-Saxon	period.	As	far	north	as	Gloucestershire	there	is	evidence	of	land	being	rented	to	Welshmen	by	English	landlords	in	the	tenth	century.102																																																										instance,	a	Welshman	holding	at	least	five	hides	of	land	was	worth	600	shillings.	See	F.L.	Attenborough,	ed.	The	Laws	of	the	Earliest	English	Kings	(Cambridge:	Cambridge	University	Press,	1922):	45.		98	Molyneaux,	“The	Ordinance	concerning	the	Dunsæte,”	Anglo-Saxon	England	40	(2012):	249-72;	271.	99	Evidence	for	the	relationship	between	the	southern	border	area,	Canterbury	and	York	is	examined	in	detail	by	Wendy	Davies,	‘The	Consecration	of	Bishops	of	Llandaff	in	the	Tenth	and	Eleventh	Centuries’,	BBCS	26	(1976),	53–73.	100	Anglo-Saxon	Chronicle	(C),	1055	and	by	John	of	Worcester	II.578	(1055).	101	Gelling,	West	Midlands,	114-116;	Molyneaux,	272.		102	Molyneaux,	“The	Ordinance	concerning	the	Dunsæte”	272		 53	This	long-term	contact	and	interchange	between	the	English	and	the	Welsh	on	the	border	resulted	in	some	very	interesting	cultural	and	historical	developments.	As	I	discuss	in	more	detail	below,	the	border	population	in	Ergyng	(an	area	Nennius	notes	his	personal	familiarity	with)	collaborated	extensively	with	the	Saxons	in	judicial	and	ecclesiastical	affairs,	and	even	shared	jurisdictional	rule.103	Other	border	inhabitants,	however,	such	as	Nennius	and	the	author	of	“Pa	Gur	yv	y	Porthaur?”	(hereafter	“Pa	Gur?”),	were	viscerally	reactive	to	such	collaboration,	and	worked	to	counter	what	they	perceived	as	a	slow	dilapidation	of	native	culture.			Specifically,	Nennius	is	drawing	from	his	border	experience	to	create	an	artificial	conception	of	a	“pure”	Wales	with	a	contiguous	history	wholly	unified	against	the	evil	Saxons	in	the	east.	Of	course,	“Pure	Wales”	did	not	actually	exist	in	Gwynedd	or	anywhere	else,	but	only	by	creating	a	historical	precedent	could	that	historical	precedent	be	repeated.	To	do	so,	Nennius	is	drawing	from	and	actively	adapting	conceptions	of	the	“British”	and	“Saxons”	developed	in	his	sources,	most	importantly	in	Gildas’s	De	Excidio	et	Conquestu	Brittaniae	and	Bede’s	Historia	Ecclesiastica	Gentis	Anglorum,	but	also	from	folklore	and	legendary	material	he	encountered	on	the	border.		It	is	not	that	the	“Britons”—as	an	individuated	ethnic	group—is	a	new	concept	for	Nennius.	Gildas’s	“Britons”	are,	like	the	Israelites	he	so	often	compares	them	to,	a	‘whole’	people.	However,	Gildas’s	Britons	are	also	depraved	and	divided,	“nunc	deo,	interdum	civibus,	nonnumquam	etiam	transmarinis	regibus	et	subiectis	ingrata	consurgit”	[“ungratefully	rebelling...	now	against	God,	now	against	its	own	countrymen,	sometimes																																																									103	See	below,	41-43.	Nennius	notes	his	personal	familiarity	with	Ergyng	in	Ch.	73,	“et	ego	solus	probavi”;	see	below,	40-52,	for	more	commentary	on	Nennius	and	Ergyng.				 54	even	against	kings	from	abroad	and	their	subjects”].104	They	are	also	without	a	venerable,	contiguous	history.	The	time	before	Roman	rule	is	dark,	dangerous	and	better	left	in	silentio:	“et	tacens	vetustos	immanium	tyrannorum	annos”	[“I	shall	be	silent	on	the	long	past	years	when	dreadful	tyrants	reigned”].105	Gildas’s	Britons	have	no	history,	little	heritage	worth	mentioning	and	all	ideas	of	Britain’s	past	must	be	derived	from	foreign	sources.106	The	conception	of	“the	British”	and	“British	history”	received	by	Nennius	is,	thus,	largely	a	construction	of	absence	and	division.	The	British	race	is	largely	dispersed	and	governed	by	tyrants,	and	they	have	no	history	of	their	own	to	build	upon.		Bede	is,	perhaps	surprisingly,	slightly	less	pessimistic	on	the	subject	of	the	Britons.	He	praises	their	early	adoption	of	Christianity	in	Book	I	and	he	clearly	admires	and	respects	St.	Alban	and	other	(highly	exceptional)	British	Christians.107	However,	he	is	quick	to	note,	and	exaggeratedly	castigate,	their	supposedly	wholesale	adherence	to	the	Pelagian	Heresy,108	he	regularly	refers	to	them	as	barbari,109	and	he	wrongly	condemns	them	for	their	failure	to	convert	the	Anglo-Saxons.110	As	Robert	Hanning	noted	some	years	ago,	Bede’s	particular	and	specific	condemnations	of	the	British	are	less	damning	than	his	subtle	allusions	and	macroscopic	vision	of	history.	Bede	presents	the	British	people	as	akin	to	the	superseded	Jew	in	Christian	history:	“the	Scots	and	the	Britons	are	equated	with	the																																																									104	Gildas,	The	Ruin	of	Britain	and	Other	Works,	ed.	and	trans.	Michael	Winterbottom,	(Chichester:	Phillimore	and	co.	ltd,	1978):	Sec.	4.1.	105	Gildas,	4.3	106	Gildas	mentions	the	lack	of	native	sources	about	Britain	in	Sec.	4.4.		107	Bede,	Ecclesiastical	History	of	the	English	People	(HE),	ed.	Bertram	Colgrave	and	R.A.B.	Mynors	(Oxford:	Clarendon	Press,	1969):	I.4,	7	108	HE	I.10	109	As	in	HE	III.2,	3;	IV.2.		110	HE	III.28.	For	British	Christian	influence	in	the	West	Midlands,	see	Patrick	Sims-Williams,	Religion	and	Literature	in	Western	England:	600-800,	esp.	54-86;	Also,	for	an	updated	discussion,	see	Steven	Basset,	“How	the	West	Was	Won,”	Anglo-Saxon	Studies	in	Archeology	and	History	II	(2000):	107-18.			 55	old	law.”111	W.	Trent	Foley	and	Nick	Higham	have	recently	expanded	and	qualified	Hanning’s	broad	characterization,	and	identify	specific	verbal	echoes	from	the	Bible	in	the	Historia	Ecclesiastica	that	paint	“the	Britons	predominantly	as	perfidious	Jews.”112		Nennius,	by	contrast,	presents	the	Britons	as	rich	with	history	and	accomplishments;	he	describes	the	descent	of	their	kings	from	the	illustrious	patriarch	and	conqueror	Brutus,	whom	he	locates	both	within	Roman	History	and	Christian	genealogy.113	And,	though	he	does	not	wholly	neglect	the	occasional	bouts	of	strife	and	civil	war	among	the	Britons,	there	is	never	a	question	that	they	are	one	contiguous	people	who	controlled	the	whole	island	of	Britain	and	will	control	it	again	in	due	course.	Nennius’s	self-conscious	construction	of	historical	presence	and	cultural	unity	in	contrast	to	his	sources	is	the	first	and	most	important	formulation	of	a	pan-British	political	identity	and	a	foundational	historical	infrastructure	for	a	British	nationalist	imagination.	It	is	only	through	this	unified	identity	and	historical	infrastructure	that	cultural	segregation	along	the	border	and	united	opposition	to	the	Saxons	could	materialize.			Vortigern	and	Arthur	in	the	Historia	Brittonum		 The	central	tenet	of	the	Historia	Brittonum	is	articulating	the	(ultimately	collapsible)	differences	between	the	Briton	and	the	Saxon	and	emphasizing	the	perils	of	cultural	and	ethnic	integration.	In	doing	so,	Nennius	is	anticipatory	of	Homi	Bhabha’s	fundamental	concept	of	the	creation	of	the	colonial	subject—a	term	he	uses	to	refer	to	both	colonizer																																																									111	Robert	Hanning,	The	Vision	of	History	in	Early	Britain	(New	York:	Columbia,	1966):	70-83,	82.		112	W.	Trent	Foley	and	Nicholas	J.	Higham,	“Bede	on	the	Britons,”	Early	Medieval	Europe	17.2	(2009):	154-185,	169.		113	Nennius,	III.10,	17.			 56	and	colonized:	“the	construction	of	the	colonial	subject	in	discourse,	and	the	exercise	of	colonial	power	through	discourse,	demands	an	articulation	of	forms	of	difference—racial	and	sexual.”114	Colonial	discourse	inscribes	onto	the	subjected	body	that	which	the	body	politic	wishes	to	control;	the	construction	of	physical	and	material	alterity	is	foundational	to	the	formulation	of	a	fictional	and	ideological	cultural	identity.		The	figure	of	Vortigern	(Guorthigirn)	is	pivotal	to	this	rhetorical	tenet.	Though	Nennius	does	not	create	Vortigern	ex	nihilio,	he	extensively	reconstructs	and	contextualizes	the	legendary	ruler	from	his	received	sources	to	create	a	new	and	dangerous	exemplum	for	border	inhabitants.	From	a	macroscopic	historical	perspective,	Nennius	casts	Vortigern	as	the	direct	personification	of	a	fundamental	transitional	moment	of	British	history,	the	Adventus	Saxonum.	Nennius	also	articulates,	through	Vortigern’s	character,	the	appropriate	and	inappropriate	social	and	political	responses	to	Saxon	culture.	Vortigern’s	character	reveals	to	us,	somewhat	surprisingly,	that	the	Saxons	are	not	the	most	dangerous	enemy	to	the	Britons;	much	more	destructive	is	the	Briton	who	eschews	British	culture	to	accommodate	English	incursion.		The	legend	of	Vortigern’s	invitation	to	the	Saxons	is	one	that	had	been	present	in	Welsh	folklore	and	history	for	some	time	before	Nennius’s	writing.	Though	he	does	not	directly	use	his	name,	Gildas	records	the	first	ever	mention	of	Vortigern	in	his	description	of	the	council	which	convened	to	determine	a	solution	to	the	Pictish	and	Scottish	incursions	into	British	territory:115		tum	omnes	consiliarii	una	cum	superbo	tyranno	caecantur,	adinvenientes	tale	praesidium,	immo	excidium	patriae	ut	ferocissimi	illi	nefandi	nominis	Saxones	deo																																																									114	Bhabha,	Location	of	Culture,	96.	115	Some	MSS	do	include	Vortigern’s	name,	just	not	the	authoritative	ones.			 57	hominibusque	invisi,	quasi	in	caulas	lupi,	in	insulam	ad	retundendas	aquilonales	gentes	intromitterentur.	“Then	all	the	members	of	the	council,	together	with	the	proud	tyrant,	were	struck	blind;	the	guard	–	or	rather	the	method	of	destruction	–	they	devised	for	our	land	was	that	the	ferocious	Saxons	(name	not	to	be	spoken!),	hated	by	man	and	God,	should	be	let	into	the	island	like	wolves	into	the	fold,	to	beat	back	the	peoples	of	the	north.”		Notice	that	the	“superbo	tyranno”—a	thinly	veiled	pun	on	Vortigern’s	name	(a	combination	of	*wor-	[over,	super],	and	*tigern	[king,	chief])116—is	acting	in	accordance	with	a	council	and	is	doing	so	for	honorable,	if	misguided,	purposes.	The	quote	from	Isaiah	which	follows	this	section,	“stuiti	principes...	taneos	dantes	pharaoni	consilium	insipiens”	[“the	silly	princes	of	Zoan...	giving	foolish	advice	to	Pharoah”],117	even	implies	that	Gildas’s	Vortigern	is	a	victim	of	poor	counsel	rather	than	his	own	incompetence.	In	Gildas’s	account,	neither	Vortigern	nor	the	council	could	have	known	that	the	Saxon	mercenaries	would	turn	on	them.	Vortigern	is	“infausto”	[unfortunate,	unlucky,	ill-fated]	rather	than	sinful	or	evil:	“primum	in	orientali	parte	insulae	iubente	infausto	tyranno	terribiles	ifixit	ungues”	[“On	the	orders	of	the	ill-fated	tyrant,	they	first	of	all	fixed	their	dreadful	claws	on	the	east	side	of	the	island.”]118			 This	is	the	image	of	Vortigern	that	Nennius	inherited.	A	very	similar	portrayal	was	repeated	by	Bede,	with	the	expected	reminder	that	the	Saxons	were	a	divine	punishment																																																									116	See	Kenneth	Jackson,	“Varia:	2.	Gildas	and	the	Names	of	the	British	Princes,”	Cambridge	Medieval	Celtic	Studies	3:	30-40.			117	Gildas,	23.1.		118	Gildas	23.4.			 58	upon	the	Britons,119	and	again	repeated	in	the	Anglo-Saxon	Chronicle	without	further	invective.120	The	Anglo-Saxon	Chronicle	even	notes	that	six	years	after	Vortigern’s	ill-advised	invitation,	Vortigern	personally	opposed	the	Angles	in	battle:	“Her	Hengest	7	Horsa	fuhton	wiþ	Wyrtgeorne	þam	cyninge,	in	þære	stowe	þe	is	gecueden	Agelesþrep.”121	It	is	important	to	recognize	that	this	section	of	the	Chronicle	is	being	composed	after	the	Historia	Brittonum	and	with	no	implication	of	having	consulted	it,	further	supporting	the	contention	that	the	differences	in	Nennius’s	account	were	likely	introduced	by	him,	rather	than	drawn	from	another	source	as	has	been	traditionally	supposed.122	It	is	safe	to	say	that	neither	Bede	nor	Gildas	would	have	been	likely	to	shy	away	from	condemning	Vortigern	for	being	particularly	sinful	if	they	were	so	inclined.		 Nennius’s	description	of	the	arrival	of	the	Saxons	is	significantly	different.	The	Saxons	are	not	sought	out	by	a	council	as	mercenaries,	but	arrive	unexpectedly	in	the	southeastern	portion	of	the	island.	Also	unexpectedly,	they	are	kindly	welcomed	by	Vortigern	despite	their	obviously	heathen	practices:	“Guorthigirnus	suscepit	eos	benigne,	et	tradidit	eis	insulam,	quæ	in	lingua	eorum	voacatur	Tanet”	[Vortigern	received	them	kindly,	and	he	delivered	unto	them	an	island,	which	in	their	language	is	called	Thanet.].123	Eventually,	it	is	revealed,	Vortigern	agrees	to	provide	the	Saxons	with	provisions	in	exchange	for	their	military	assistance	with	the	Picts,	but	the	Saxons	become	too	numerous																																																									119	HE	I.31.		120	Cambridge,	Corpus	Christi	College,	Parker	Library	MS.	173,	f.	4v.	Accessed	via	Parker	Library	on	the	Web.		121	ibid.	f.5r.		122	The	first	entries	in	the	Parker	Chronicle,	quoted	above,	is	understood	to	be	the	oldest	version	of	the	Chronicle	and	is	typically	dated	the	890s.	See,	for	instance,	Thomas	Bredehoft’s	broad	overview	of	the	textual	history	of	the	Anglo-Saxon	Chronicle	in	the	Introduction	to	his	Textual	Histories:	Readings	in	the	Anglo-Saxon	Chronicle	(Toronto:	University	of	Toronto	Press,	2001):	3-13.		123	Nennius,	III.31.			 59	for	Vortigern	to	support.	The	evil	and	crafty	Hengist	devises	a	plan	to	prevent	being	expelled	by	the	Britons;	he	convinces	Vortigern	to	allow	him	to	send	for	more	Saxon	ships	to	fight	the	Picts,	and	with	those	ships	Hengist	brings	a	surprise:		“et	in	una	ciula	ex	eis	venit	puella	pulcra	facie	atque	decorosa	valde,	filia	Hencgesti.	Postquam	autem	venissent	ciulæ,	fecit	Hencgistus	convivium	Guorthigirno	et	militibus	suis,	et	interpreti	suo,	qui	vocabatur	Ceretic,	et	puellam	jussit	ministrare	illis	vinum	et	siceram,	et	inebriati	sunt	et	saturati	nimis.	Illis	autem	bibentibus,	intravit	Sathanas	in	corde	Gurthigirni	ut	amaret	puellam,	et	postulavit	eam	a	patre	suo	per	interpretem	suum,	et	dixit,	‘Omne	quod	postulas	a	me	impetrabis,	licet	dimidium	regni	mei.’		[and	in	one	of	the	ships	there	came	a	very	elegant	girl	with	a	beautiful	face,	the	daughter	of	Hengist.	And	after	the	arrival	of	the	ships,	Hengist	made	a	feast	for	Vortigern	and	his	men,	and	also	his	interpreter	who	was	called	Ceretic;	and	he	ordered	the	girl	to	serve	them	wine	and	strong	drink,	and	they	became	exceedingly	drunk	and	satiated.	And	while	they	were	drinking,	Satan	entered	into	Vortigern’s	heart	and	he	loved	the	girl,	and	he	asked	her	father	for	her	through	his	interpreter,	and	said,	“All	that	you	ask	of	me	you	shall	obtain,	unto	half	of	my	kingdom.]124		The	price	of	Hengist’s	daughter	is	the	county	of	Kent,	which	is	ceded	without	the	knowledge	of	the	currently	ruling	British	lord	of	that	region.	Vortigern’s	kindly	acceptance	of	the	Saxons	(“suscepit	eos	benigne”)	and	his	friendly	carousing	eventually	leads	to	the	inevitable	sexual	desire	for	the	Saxon	maiden.	Vortigern	is,	of	course,	already	married,	so																																																									124	ibid.	III.37.			 60	his	marriage	to	the	pagan	princess	would	have	been	troubling	for	Christian	readers	on	a	number	of	levels.		Nennius’s	modifications	to	this	story	run	considerably	deeper	than	religious	moralizing,	however.	His	revisions	to	the	story	are	reflective	of	a	much	deeper,	psychosomatic	aversion	to	Saxon	culture	and,	more	importantly,	its	lurking	potential	for	the	corruption	of	British	culture.	Gildas’s	Saxons	were	another	vague	scourge	upon	the	Israelite	Britons	for	their	sinfulness;	they	are	hardly	distinguishable	in	Gildas’s	narrative	from	the	Picts	or	the	Scots	or	even	from	the	pestilences	sent	by	God	to	punish	the	tyrants	and	their	people.	The	Saxons	of	the	Historia	Brittonum,	by	contrast,	represent	an	evil,	crafty,	and	sexually	provocative	Otherness;	they	are	Satan’s	temptations	personified:	“intravit	Sathanas	in	corde	Gurthigerni”	[Satan	entered	into	Vortigern’s	heart].			Vortigern’s	accommodation	of	the	Saxon	enemy	and	his	sexual	interest	in	their	women	is	the	first	of	the	long	list	of	sins	that	Nennius	attributes	to	him.	After	taking	Hengist’s	daughter	to	bed,	the	king	takes	the	Saxon	chieftain	as	personal	advisor	as	well:	“Et	dixit	Hencgistus	ad	Guorthigirnum,	‘Ego	sum	pater	tuus,	et	consiliator	tui	ero...’”	[And	Hengist	said	to	Vortigern,	‘I	am	a	father	to	you,	and	will	be	your	advisor...”].125	The	Saxons	arrive	in	droves,	colonizing	the	east	and	north	while	Vortigern	falls	deeper	and	deeper	into	sexual	depravity	and	sin:	“Jam	super	omnia	mala	adjiciens	Guorthigirnus	accepit	filiam	suam	uxorem	sibi,	et	peperit	ei	filium”	[Now	adding	more	evils	over	those	already	present,	Vortigern	took	his	own	daughter	to	wife,	and	she	bore	him	a	son].	The	incestuous	relationship	with	his	interracial	daughter	is	an	extension	of	Vortigern’s	sexual	desire	for	the	Saxon	princess,	which	is	in	itself	a	further	extension	of	his	kindly	reception	of	Saxon																																																									125	Nennius,	III.38.		 61	settlement.	To	use	a	modern	metaphor,	Nennius	depicts	the	toleration	of	Saxon	culture	in	any	form	as	the	gateway	sin	to	more	and	more	deleterious	sins	against	one’s	soul	and	one’s	culture.		In	place	of	Gildas’s	“infaustus	tyranno,”	Nennius	has	created	a	character	of	more	color	and	depth	upon	whom	we	can	lay	the	entirety	of	the	blame	for	the	loss	of	British	sovereignty.	Instead	of	a	military	miscalculation	by	an	unfortunate	king	and	his	counsel	(Gildas),	or	merely	the	figure	who	happened	to	be	on	the	receiving	end	of	a	long	overdue	punishment	against	the	collective	Britons	for	their	sins	(Bede),	Nennius	presents	us	with	an	evil	tyrant	who,	for	his	lack	of	loyalty	to	his	people	and	a	deviant	sexual	attraction	to	the	racial	Other,	gave	away	his	kingdom.	The	Britons,	as	a	whole,	are	not	to	blame	for	the	misdeeds	of	this	one	man.	Indeed,	Nennius	tells	us	that	the	remainder	of	the	Britons	despised	Vortigern	for	his	interactions	with	the	Saxons	and,126	as	the	prophecy	of	the	boy	Ambrosius	to	Vortigern	explicitly	states,	that	the	righteous	Britons	will	eventually	retake	sovereignty	of	the	island:		“et	postea	gens	nostra	surget,	et	gentem	Anglorum	trans	mare	viriliter	dejiciet”	[And	after	a	time	our	people	shall	rise	and	manfully	cast	out	the	English	nation	to	the	other	side	of	the	sea].127		It	is	important	to	further	recognize	that	Nennius’s	rhetoric	reaches	beyond	historiographic	causality;	Vortigern	is	not	just	a	convenient	figure	to	place	the	blame	upon	for	the	loss	of	British	sovereignty.	Vortigern’s	downfall	is	a	cautionary	tale	to	Nennius’s	ninth-century	readership:	Britons	who	accommodate	the	Saxons,	who	receive	them	“benigne,”	who	intermarry	and	mix	with	their	culture,	are	more	dangerous	to	British	culture	than	the	Saxons	themselves.	Though	it	is	framed	within	the	legendary	stories	of																																																									126	See	Nennius,	III.48.		127	ibid.,	III.42.			 62	kings	in	fifth-century	Britain,	it	is	not	hard	to	discern	from	his	narrative	an	implicit	reference	to	the	ninth-century	people	who	live	on	the	border	and	accommodate	Saxon	settlement,	who	intermarry	into	Saxon	families	and	formulate	political	alliances.	This	“kind	reception”	is	intrinsically	dangerous	to	the	conception	of	a	pure	Wales	that	Nennius	is	formulating	and	to	the	longevity	of	Welsh	independence.		As	Higham	has	pointed	out,	Nennius’s	primary	literary	mode	is	in	doubling	and	exempla;	our	bad	example	of	Vortigern	must	be	countered	by	good	examples.128	This	is	accomplished	most	directly	by	St.	Germanus,	who	repeatedly	castigates	Vortigern	for	his	sexual	depravity	and	tyranny.129	However,	Germanus	is	not	British,	and	the	author	is	not	satisfied	with	providing	a	single	positive	counter	to	this	wholly	depraved	King.	As	Higham	discusses	in	detail,	St.	Patrick	is	the	spiritual	antithesis	to	Vortigern’s	Christian	backsliding,	and	Nennius	strongly	infuses	his	character	to	resemble	a	Moses-like	prophet	and	religious	leader	for	the	Britons.	Politically	and	militarily,	however,	the	strongest	antithesis	Nennius	provides	to	Vortigern’s	weakness	and	his	accommodation	of	the	Saxon	scourge	is	the	British	kings’	“dux	bellorum,”	Arthur.		As	has	been	widely	recognized,	the	Arthur	of	the	Historia	Brittonum	is	not	a	king	himself,	but	is	a	military	leader	of	the	collective	kings	of	Britain,	a	supreme	general	of	sorts,	who	defeats	the	Saxons	in	twelve	legendary	battles	across	Britain.	At	one	of	these	battles	he	slays	960	men	in	one	attack	and	at	another	he	carries	the	image	of	the	Virgin	Mary	on	his	shoulder.	In	his	tantalizingly	short	description,	Nennius	provides	us	with	only	a	few	clues	as	to	his	conception	of	the	Arthurian	legend.	However,	it	is	obvious	that	Nennius	is	articulating	a	novel	version	of	Arthur	to	serve	a	rhetorical	point	his	subjective	history.																																																									128	Higham,	King	Arthur,	136.	129	See	Nennius	III.39,	47.			 63	Though	Nennius’s	use	of	Arthur	in	a	historical	context	(rather	than	folkloric/legendary	context)	is	unprecedented,	the	Arthur	that	Nennius	deploys	remains	familiar	to	us	in	many	respects.	In	the	Battle	of	“monte	Badonis”	(here	attributed	to	Arthur	for	the	first	time),	Nennius	tells	us	that	“corruerunt	in	uno	die	nongenti	sexaginta	viri	de	uno	impetu	Arthur;	et	nemo	prostravit	cos	ipsi	solus”	[nine-hundred	and	sixty	men	fell	in	one	day	from	one	charge	by	Arthur;	and	no	one	struck	them	down	except	he	alone].	A	single	person	killing	960	men	in	one	charge	is	a	pretty	impressive	feat,	and	one	that	we	can	safely	describe	as	hyperbolic.	Such	hyperbolic,	superhuman	feats	are	to	be	expected,	however,	of	the	Arthur	which	Nennius	has	gleaned	from	his	depiction	in	legendary	texts.	Perhaps	most	familiar	is	the	famous	Arthurian	passage	of	Y	Gododdin,	where	a	man	who	kills	300	soldiers	and	singlehandedly	takes	down	the	center	and	the	wing	of	the	enemy	formation	and	is	still	not	the	equal	of	Arthur:	“ceni	bei	ef	Arthur...”	[though	he	was	no	Arthur...].130		This	superhuman	tradition	is	well	established	in	Arthurian	legends	from	the	border	area	as	well.	As	I	discuss	in	the	Prelude	to	this	study,	the	reference	in	“Marwnad	Cynddylan”	to	Cynddylan’s	sons,	who	were	responsible	for	numerous	Saxon	deaths	in	the	West	Midlands	and	along	the	border,	as	being	the	“canawan	Artir”	[whelps	of	Arthur]	is	a	fitting	example.131	The	superhuman	Arthur	depicted	in	Gereint	Filius	Erbin,	where	Arthur	is	located	in	Langport,	Somerset,	(not	very	far	from	Nennius’s	home	area)	has	a	similar	depiction	of	this	superlative	warrior:	“Enllogporth	y	gueleife	y	arthur	guir	deur	dymynint	adur	ameraudur	llyw	iaudi	llawur.”	[In	Llongporth	I	saw	Arthur	and	brave	men	who	cut																																																									130	Ifor	Williams,	Canu	Aneirin	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	1938):	sec.	52.	My	translation.	131	“Marwnad	Cynddylan,”	l.46.	See	my	Preface	27-40	for	a	fuller	reading	of	this	allusion.			 64	down	{their	enemies}	with	steel;	the	emperor,	the	conductor	of	strife].132	In	all	of	these	early	Arthurian	border	references,	Arthur	is	depicted	as	brutally	violent	and	possessing	superior	military	strength—therefore	killing	960	men	by	himself,	in	one	charge,	is	in	keeping	with	this	tradition.	In	other	respects,	however,	Nennius’s	Arthur	(much	like	Nennius’s	Vortigern)	is	a	much	more	expansive	and	grandiose	character	than	in	the	legendary	tradition	Nennius	had	received.	For	the	first	time	Arthur	is	depicted	as	serving	a	national	political	role,	as	a	military	leader	of	British	kings:	“Arthur	pugnabat	contra	illos	in	illis	diebus	cum	regibus	Brittonum,	sed	ipse	dux	erat	bellorum”	[Arthur	fought	against	them	{the	Saxons}	in	those	days	with	the	kings	of	Britain;	but	he	was	their	leader	of	battles].	Much	has	been	made	of	the	description	of	Arthur	as	“dux	bellorum.”	Higham	has	made	a	strong	case	for	Nennius	drawing	the	reference	from	Judges	1.1:	“post	mortem	Iosue	consuluerunt	filii	Israhel	Dominum	dicentes	quis	ascendet	ante	nos	contra	Chananeum	et	erit	dux	belli”	[After	the	death	of	Joseph,	the	children	of	Israel	said	to	the	Lord:	who	shall	go	up	before	us	against	the	Canaanites	and	be	our	leader	in	battle?]133	This	lends	credibility	to	Higham’s	comparison	of	the	Historia’s	Arthur	with	the	Biblical	Joshua,	and	the	verse	seems	perfectly	acceptable	to	me	as	the	direct	source	for	the	phrase.			Yet,	the	description	of	Arthur	as	“dux	bellorum”	is,	first	and	foremost,	an	expansion	of	Arthur’s	traditional	military	role	discussed	above.	He	is	consistently	represented	as	a	superior	warrior	and,	as	the	reference	to	him	as	“amherawdyr”	[emperor]	in	“Geraint”																																																									132	“Gereint	Filius	Erbin”	in	J.	Gwenogvryn	Evans,	ed.,	The	Black	Book	of	Carmarthen	(Pwllheli:	Series	of	Welsh	Texts,	1906):	71-73,	72.9.	My	translation.	We	should	note	that	although	“llongborth”	is	generally	taken	to	refer	to	Langport,	Somerset,	it	literally	translates	to	“ship	harbor”	and	thus	does	not	necessarily	refer	to	that	particular	coastal	community.	133	Vulgate	Judges	1.1		 65	implies,	as	an	effective	military	leader	as	well.	Nennius	is	just	conceptualizing	that	established	military	leadership	role	on	a	national	scale.	More	important	to	the	description	(though	it	is	discussed	much	less	frequently)	is	Arthur’s	role	as	a	leader	of	the	collective	“regibus	Brittonum”.	This	depicts	him	as	a	unifying	figure—or	at	least	a	product	of	unification—	in	which	the	disparate	rulers	of	Britain	are	drawn	together	to	defend	against	the	incessant	onslaught	of	Saxons.	Such	a	unification	is,	of	course,	a	fantasy—the	various	kings	and	kingdoms	of	Britain	had	never	been	thus	united—but	it	is	a	fantasy	with	an	important	rhetorical	point	for	Nennius:	such	military	unification	in	opposition	to	the	Saxons	had	happened	before	and	could	happen	again.		Another	much-debated	section	of	the	Historia’s	depiction	of	Arthur	is	the	list	of	battles	ascribed	to	him	and	his	kingly	conglomerate.	Arthur	and	the	kings	of	Britain	win	twelve	battles	before	the	overwhelming	numbers	of	invading	Saxons	saturate	the	eastern	part	of	the	island.	Many	of	these	battles	have,	if	not	a	historical	precedent,	at	least	a	precedent	within	written	tradition	and	a	few	have	prior	associations	with	Arthur.	Most	of	them,	however,	will	remain	the	fuel	for	speculative	analyses	for	generations	of	scholars	to	come.		The	locations	which	Nennius	ascribes	to	these	battles	are	important	enough	for	the	present	topic	that	I	will	touch	on	them	briefly—though	there	remains	a	great	deal	of	speculation	and	debate	concerning	the	locations	of	these	battles.	Although	some	of	the	locations	are	easily	perceptible,	as	I	discuss	below,	others	are	shrouded	in	mystery	and	have	resisted	our	attempts	to	nail	them	down.	Though	scholars	will	doubtless	continue	in	their	attempts	to	locate	all	the	battles	on	this	list,	the	more	exotic	and	obscure	place	names	for	the	battles	seem	to	me	to	be	best	contextualized	by	a	similar	Arthurian	battle	list	given		 66	by	Glewlwyd	Gavaelvawr	in	Culhwch	ac	Olwen:	“mi	a	uum	gynt	yg	kaer	se	ac	asse	yn	sach	a	salach	yn	lotor	a	ffotor,	mi	a	uum	gynt	yn	yr	india	uawr,	a	r	india	vechan...”	[I	went	once	to	Kaer	Se	and	Asse,	in	Sach	and	Salach,	in	Lotor	and	Fotor,	I	went	once	to	India	the	Great,	and	to	India	the	Minor...].134	Perhaps	some	of	the	locations	Nennius	mentions,	like	those	mentioned	by	Glewlwyd	in	Culhwch,	are	supposed	to	be	unrecognizable	and	exotic	because	they	articulate	range	breadth	and	an	international	rapport	for	the	Arthurian	legend.	Three	of	these	locations,	depicted	in	Figure	Two,	are	relatively	safe	to	put	on	a	map,	so	long	as	no	geographic	coordinates	are	requested.	The	site	of	four	of	the	battles	is	given	as	“Linnuis”:	“secundum,	et	tertium,	et	quartum,	et	quintum,	super	aliud	flumen,	quod	dicitur	Dubglas,	et	est	in	regione	Linnuis”	[the	second,	third,	fourth,	and	fifth	were	fought	over	the	river	which	is	called	Dubglas	and	is	in	the	region	Linnuis].	As	many	linguistic	scholars	have	noted,	this	is	pretty	clearly	related	etymologically	to	the	region	of	Lindsey;	both	“Linnuis”	and	the	Anglo-Saxon	“Lindsege”	are	derivative	of	the	reconstructed	pre-Old	Welsh	name	for	the	region,	*Lindēs.135	The	seventh	battle	is	given	in	the	far	north:	“Septimum	fuit	bellum	in	silva	Celidonis,	id	est,	Cat	Coit	Celidon”	[The	seventh	battle	was	in	the	Caledonian	forest,	that	is,	the	Battle	of	the	Caledonian	Forest].	This	battle	is	most	likely																																																									134	Culhwch	and	Olwen:	an	Edition	and	Study	of	the	Oldest	Arthurian	Tale,	eds.	Rachel	Bromwich	and	D.	Simon	Evans,	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	1992):	28.	My	translation.	Here	is	Sioned	Davies’	translation	of	the	complete	list:	“I	was	once	in	Caer	Se	and	Asse,	in	Sach	and	Salach,	in	Lotor	and	Ffotor.	I	was	once	in	India	the	Great	and	India	the	Lesser.	I	was	once	in	a	battle	of	the	two	Yyrs	when	the	twelve	hostages	were	taken	from	Norway.	And	I	was	once	in	Europe,	I	was	in	Africa,	and	the	islands	of	Corsica,	and	in	Caer	Brythwch	and	Brythach	and	Nerthach.	I	was	once	there	when	you	killed	the	warband	of	Gleis	son	of	Merin,	when	you	killed	Mil	Du	son	of	Dugum.	I	was	once	there	when	you	conquered	Greece	in	the	east.	I	was	once	in	Caer	Oeth	and	Anoeth,	and	in	Caer	Nefenhyr	Nawdant:	fair	kingly	men	did	we	see	there—but	I	never	in	my	life	saw	a	man	as	handsome	as	the	one	who	is	at	the	entrance	to	the	gate	this	very	moment.”	Sioned	Davies,	trans.,	The	Mabinogion	(Oxford:	Oxford	University	Press,	2007):	182.		135	See	Green,	Concepts	of	Arthur,	210.				 67	the	same	battle	of	Triad	84	and	the	Book	of	Taliesin	poem	“Kat	Godeu”	where	it	is	said	the	trees	rose	up	to	fight.136	The	last	easily	locatable	battle	site	mentioned	by	Nennius	is	close	to	home	for	him:	“Nonum	bellum	gestum	est	in	Urbe	Legionis”	[the	ninth	battle	was	waged	in	the	City	of	the	Legions].	Though	technically	“Urbe	Legionis”	could	be	any	city	previously	associated	with	Roman	legions,	the	most	obvious	contender	is	Caerleon	since	“Urbe	Legionis”	is	a	direct	translation	of	“Caer	Llion,”	and	the	area	was	referred	to	as	“Cair	Legeion	guar	Uisc”	in	Nennius’s	day.137																																																									136	Triad	84,	Teir	Oergat	Ynys	Prydein	[Three	Futile	Battles	of	the	Island	of	Britain],	in	Rachel	Bromwich,	ed.	and	trans.,	Trioedd	Ynys	Prydein,	3rd	edition	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	2006):	217-222.	Marged	Haycock	provides	an	edition	and	translation	of	the	poem	from	the	Book	of	Taliesin	in	Legendary	Poems	from	the	Book	of	Taliesin	(Aberystwyth:	Cambrian	Medieval	Celtic	Studies,	2007).	For	this	battle’s	link	with	the	battle	mentioned	in	the	Historia	Brittonum	(suggested	first	by	Ifor	Williams,	confirmed	by	Haycock	and	Bromwich)	see	Bromwich,	218-9.		137	See	Hywel	Wyn	Owen,	The	Place	Names	of	Wales	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	2015):	19.			 68		Figure	2:	Three	of	the	battle	locations	in	Chapter	56,	Historia	Brittonum.		 No	matter	where	the	rest	of	these	sites	might	be	located,	if	at	all,	it	is	apparent	from	the	spread	of	these	known	sites	that	Nennius	is	representing	Arthur	and	his	kingly	companions	as	having	fought	in	some	very	widely	separated	areas	of	Britain.	Much	in	contrast	to	the	divided	and	oppressed	Britons	of	Gildas,	Nennius’s	Britons	fight	as	a	collective	whole	and	are	able	to	defend	themselves	from	the	Saxons	in	all	areas	of	Britain.	Arthur	is	no	longer	a	local,	generic	superhuman	warrior	figure	tied	to	particular	legendary	stories;	he	is	a	unifying	figure	which	all	of	the	British	people	can	claim	as	an	important	portion	of	their	heritage	and	who	was	worthy	to	follow	into	battle	in	all	the	extremities	of	the	kingdom.			 69	Perhaps	one	of	the	most	interesting	alterations	that	Nennius	has	made	to	the	figure	of	Arthur	in	his	work	is	his	depiction	of	him	at	the	Battle	of	Guinnion:		“Octavum	fuit	bellum	in	castello	Guinnion,	in	quo	Arthur	portavit	imaginem	Sanctæ	Mariæ	perpetuæ	virginis	super	humeros	suos,	et	pagani	versi	sunt	in	fugam	in	illo	die,	et	cædes	magna	fuit	super	illos	per	virtutem	Domini	nostri	Jesu	Christi,	et	per	virtutem	Sanctæ	Mariæ	virginis	genetricis	ejus”	[The	eighth	battle	was	at	the	castle	of	Guinnon,	in	which	Arthur	carried	the	image	of	the	perpetual	virgin,	the	Blessed	Mary,	on	his	shoulders;	and	the	pagans	were	put	to	flight	on	that	day,	and	through	the	power	of	our	Lord	Jesus	Christ,	and	through	the	power	of	Blessed	Mary	the	virgin,	there	was	great	slaughter	among	them.]138	In	one	sense,	this	is	a	pretty	typical	medieval	depiction	of	a	Christian	army	defeating	a	pagan	army	and	gloating	about	their	ideological	superiority.	Nennius	reinforces	the	recent	heathenness	of	the	Saxons	compared	to	the	historical	Christianity	of	the	Britons	and	attributes	the	victory	to	divine	judgment.			 The	suggestion	has	been	made	by	some	scholars,	largely	on	account	of	this	depiction,	that	the	Arthurian	section	of	the	Historia	is	derivative	of	a	poem	in	Old	Welsh;	and	that	theory	has	been	compelling	for	multiple	generations	of	scholarship	on	the	Historia.139	If	that	is	in	fact	the	case,	then	arguments	about	Nennius’s	role	in	shaping	the	Arthurian	legend	in	this	chapter	become	muddled	in	equivocations	about	what	Nennius	is																																																									138	Nennius,	III.56.		139	See	H.	Munro	Chadwick	and	Nora	Chadwick,	The	Growth	of	Literature	(Cambridge:	Cambridge	University	Press,	1932);	Thomas	Jones,	“The	Early	Evolution	of	the	Legend	of	Arthur,”	Nottingham	Medieval	Studies	8	(1964):	3-21;	Rachel	Bromwich,	“Concepts	of	Arthur,”	Studia	Celtica	10-11:	163-81;	and	Kenneth	Jackson,	“Once	Again	Arthur’s	Battles,”	Modern	Philology	43:	44-57.			 70	repeating	and	what	he	is	introducing	to	the	legend—which	would,	of	course,	be	difficult	to	impossible	to	parse	apart.		Such	equivocations	are	unnecessary,	however,	as	recent	scholarship	on	Nennius	has	largely	determined	the	Old	Welsh	poem	theory	to	be	untenable.140	Indeed,	the	theory	is	largely	contingent	on	two	specific	notes	and	some	other	very	broad	assumptions:	note	one)	the	battle	names	in	some	cases	seem	to	rhyme,	and	the	language	may	be	reminiscent	of	Old	Welsh	poetic	structure;	note	two)	the	seemingly	unusual	depiction	of	Arthur	carrying	the	image	of	Mary	on	his	shoulders	is	supposedly	made	clearer	by	an	assumed	scribal	error	of	Old	Welsh	“iscuid”	[shoulder]	for	“iscuit”	[shield].			 One	has	to	admit	the	attractiveness	and	ingenuity	of	the	scribal	error	theory.	It	is	attractive	because	it	speaks	to	our	long-standing	desire	to	uncover	more	of	an	Old	Welsh	poetic	tradition,	which	we	know	existed.	It	is	also	a	facet	of	our	perpetual,	institutionalized,	and	somewhat	ironic	privileging	of	the	medieval	vernacular	over	medieval	Latin.	However,	it	has	been	largely	the	appeal	of	this	theory,	its	undisputable	creativity,	its	longevity,	and	the	authority	of	its	proponents	that	have	kept	it	upheld	rather	than	the	quality	of	its	argument.	Oliver	Padel	has	demonstrated	that	there	is	little	reason	to	assume	a	shield-cover	would	be	any	more	acceptable	a	medium	for	the	Virgin	Mary’s	image	in	the	ninth-century	than	a	banner	or	a	tunic	(both	of	which	would	be	displayed	on	the	shoulder).141	‘Reminiscent’	Old	Welsh	poetic	structure	should	not	be	a	surprising	find	within	a	text	by	a	Welsh-language	author	of	imaginative	literature	living	in	the	ninth-century.	I	think	we	can	safely	assume	he	would	have	been	familiar	enough	with	that	structure	for	it	to	find	its	way	into	his	own	writing.	Place	names	have	common	endings	across	many	languages	(Celidon,																																																									140	See	Higham,	King	Arthur	146	and	Green,	Concepts	of	Arthur	19-21.		141	Oliver	Padel,	Arthur	in	Medieval	Welsh	Literature	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press).			 71	Guinnion;	Legionis,	Badonis;	Germania,	Brittania,	Beornicia);	the	fact	that	they	rhyme	is	merely	evidence	that	they	are	supposed	to	look	like	place	names,	not	that	they	are	from	a	poem.		Also,	we	should	note	that	this	theory	is	largely	a	development	of	the	implicit	assumptions	that	A)	there	was	a	historical	Arthur	who	fought	in	battles	and	had	poems	written	about	those	battles	and	B)	Nennius	is	haphazardly	compiling	materials	from	existing	sources	rather	than	composing	a	rhetorically-driven	historical	tract.	Both	of	those	assumptions	are	problematic,	to	say	the	least.	Though	it	is	impossible	to	disprove	this	theory—it	is	based	on	some	creative	speculation,	not	actual	evidence	to	disprove—I	think	it	best	to	put	it	aside	and,	per	Ockham’s	razor,	accept	that	Nennius	composed	the	section	himself	as	the	better	explanation.		The	emphasis	on	the	location	of	the	image	of	the	Virgin	Mary’s	image	on	Arthur’s	person	has	taken	attention	away	from	some	of	the	more	interesting	implications	that	Arthur’s	association	with	this	particular	icon	might	have.	There	are	a	number	of	religious	figures	Nennius	might	have	chosen	for	Arthur	which	would	cast	him	in	a	more	militaristic,	vengeance-of-Our-Lord	light;	Mary	is	a	far	from	obvious	choice.	Even	if	Nennius	had	simply	chosen	a	cross	for	the	warrior’s	arms,	the	notion	that	his	campaign	was	divinely	sanctioned	would	have	been	sufficiently	relayed.	This,	indeed,	was	the	choice	of	the	tenth-century	annalist	of	the	Annales	Cambria	who,	“plagiarizing	heavily”	from	the	Historia	Brittonum,142	substituted	both	the	battle	and	the	icon	to	be	more	recognizable:	“LXXII.	Annus.	Bellum	Badonis,	in	quo	Arthur	portavit	crucem	Domini	nostri	Jesu	Christi	tribus	diebus	et	tribus	noctibus	in	humeros	suos	et	Britones	victores	fuerunt”	[Year	516:	The	Battle	of	Badon,	in																																																									142	Higham,	King	Arthur,	202.			 72	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.]143		Nennius’s	choice	of	the	Virgin	Mary	as	Arthur’s	emblem	is	an	important	one	and	it	serves	his	rhetorical	positioning	of	Arthur	in	two	particular	ways.	Firstly,	the	cult	of	the	Virgin	Mary	was	highly	popular	throughout	Wales.	As	Jane	Cartwright	notes	in	her	study	on	female	spirituality	in	Medieval	Wales,	“there	were	far	more	churches	and	holy	wells	dedicated	to	Mary	in	Wales	than	any	other	Saint.”144	These	sites	stretch	from	Anglesey	to	St.	David’s,	all	along	Offa’s	Dyke	and	everywhere	in	between.	Furthermore,	as	Richard	Barber	argued	some	years	ago,	the	particular	brand	of	Mariolatry	Nennius	is	employing	here	(evident	in	his	title	for	her	as	“sanctae	Mariae	perpetuae	virginis”)	was	becoming	particularly	popular	in	Wales	in	the	ninth	century.145	The	Virgin	was	an	important	saint	to	all	of	Wales;	had	Nennius	used	another	saint,	it	might	seem	as	though	Arthur	was	partial	or	particular	to	a	region	which	was	associated	with	that	saint.	Christ	and	the	Virgin	are	safe	choices,	in	this	respect,	because	it	is	impossible	to	regionalize	them;	they	are	too	important	for	Christianity	as	a	whole.		More	important,	however,	is	the	Virgin	Mary’s	emphatic	and	long-standing	association	with	sexual	and	racial	purity.	To	Nennius	(and	to	many	others),	Mary	is	the	“perpetuæ	virginis,”	meaning	that	she	was	not	simply	a	virgin	during	the	Immaculate	Conception,	but	she	also	remained	a	virgin	during	the	birth	of	Jesus	and	throughout	her																																																									143	E.	Faral,	La	légende	arthurienne:	Études	et	documents,	le	plus	anciens	textes	(Paris:	Libraire	Ancienne	Honoré	Champion,	1929):	45.			144	Jane	Cartwright,	Feminine	Sanctity	and	Spirituality	in	Medieval	Wales	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	2008):	9.	It	should	be	noted	that	most	of	these	dedications	can	only	be	traced	back	to	the	eleventh	century;	this	is	not	necessarily	because	they	were	not	associated	with	the	virgin	before	then,	but	because,	as	Cartwright	notes,	tracing	dedications	back	earlier	than	that	is	“notoriously	difficult.”	145	Richard	Barber,	The	Figure	of	Arthur	(London:	Longman,	1972):	101-03.			 73	marriage	to	Joseph.	Mary,	possibly	even	more	than	Jesus,	is	Purity	personified.	Nennius’s	association	of	her	with	Arthur	suggests	that	this	purity	is	similarly	relative	to	Arthur	and	to	Arthur’s	campaign	against	the	Saxons.	Mary,	and	all	that	she	stands	for,	are	the	utter	antithesis	to	Vortigern’s	sexual	depravity,	miscegenation,	and	weakness;	her	ethnic	and	sexual	cleanliness	enable	Arthur’s	success	against	the	defiling	and	debasing	Saxon	culture	and	the	threatening	mixed	culture	of	the	border.				“Pa	Gur?”:	Arthur	and	the	Specter	of	Hybridity	on	the	Borders	of	Britain		Because	of	the	sui	generis	nature	of	the	Historia’s	depiction	of	Arthur,	it	has	historically	been	difficult	to	find	texts	of	its	era	to	compare	Nennius’s	Arthur	to.	Since	Nennius	depicts	Arthur	as	a	historical	‘battle	leader’	rather	than	a	folkloric	superhero	or	rambunctious	war-chief,	explicit	connections	between	the	Historia	Brittonum	and	Culhwch	ac	Olwen,	Preiddeu	Annwfn,	and	the	Saints’	lives	are	difficult	to	articulate.	As	I	have	argued,	this	is	largely	because	Nennius	is	engaged	in	a	novel	reorientation	of	the	Arthurian	legend	and	much	of	British	folklore;	he	is	transitioning	it	from	a	dispersed,	regionalized,	inter-competitive	tradition	(as	seen	in	Culhwch	ac	Olwen,	etc.)	into	a	national,	unified,	historical	context.		However,	there	is	at	least	one	other	early	Arthurian	text,	“Pa	Gur?”	of	the	Black	Book	of	Carmarthen,	to	which	some	explicit	and	implicit	connections	with	the	Historia	can	be	made.	Like	the	Historia,	“Pa	Gur?”	depicts	Arthur	fighting	in	battles	across	far-flung	areas	of	the	British	world	and	being	overwhelmingly	successful	in	those	battles.	One	of	the	battles	mentioned	in	“Pa	Gur?”,	“Tryfrwyd,”	has	been	long	suspected	to	be	the	same	battle	mentioned	by	Nennius	for	Arthur’s	tenth	victory:	“Decimum	gessit	bellum	in	littore		 74	fluminis,	quod	vocatur	Tribruit.”146	Furthermore,	due	to	the	consistency	of	the	portrayal	of	the	Arthurian	legend	in	this	poem	with	other	texts	from	the	region	and	references	to	geography	in	southeastern	Wales,	“Pa	Gur?”	is,	like	the	Historia,	most	likely	derivative	of	the	southeastern	border	area	in	the	early	to	central	Middle	Ages.147	It	is	not	simply	the	origin	of	the	poem	near	the	border	or	its	unique,	direct	correspondence	with	the	Historia	which	mark	it	as	relevant	to	the	current	study,	however.	“Pa	Gur?”	is	a	text	which	explores	many	‘boundaries’,	both	literal	and	figurative,	and	is	primarily	concerned	with	the	figures	who	inhabit,	regulate	and	utilize	those	boundaries.	“Pa	Gur?,”	I	argue,	much	like	the	Historia	Brittonum,	is	responding	to	a	deep-seated	cultural	concern	with	encroaching	Saxon	culture	and	the	development	of	a	mixed	culture	on	the	border.	Much	like	Nennius,	the	“Pa	Gur?”	poet	is	nostalgically	recalling	a	fictional	Arthurian	past	when	such	threats	of	intermixture	were	met	with	overwhelming	and	successful	resistance.		The	poem	stages	a	dialogue	between	Arthur	and	Glewlwyd	Gafaelfawr,	a	porter	who	is	associated	with	Arthur	in	other	works.148	Arthur	is	seeking	access	for	himself	and	his	warband,	but	Glewlwyd	is	resistant	to	their	entry:	“Pa	gur	yv	y	porthaur.	Gleuluid	gauaeluaur.	Pa	gur	aegouin.	Arthur.	A	chei	guin.	Pa	imda	genhid.	Guir	gorev	imbid.”	[what	man	is	the	porter?	Glewlwyd	Gafaelfawr	{great-grasp}.	What	man	asks	it?	Arthur.	And	Cai																																																									146	Nennius,	III.56.		147	Patrick	Sims-Williams,	“Early	Arthurian	Poetry”,	in	The	Arthur	of	the	Welsh,	ed.	Rachel	Bromwich	et.	al.	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	1991):	33-72,	39.	Dating	this	poem	is	difficult,	but	it	was	probably	written	between	900	and	1100.		148	Glewlwyd	Gafaelfawr	is	known	from	Culhwch	ac	Olwen	as	Arthur’s	porter,	and	as	one	of	the	“Tri	Gwrthniviad	Varhoc	oedd	yn	Llys	Arthur”	[Three	Irresistible	Knights	{who}	were	in	Arthur’s	Court],	see	Bromwhich,	TYP	268.	See	also	Bromwich,	TYP	361-362	for	further	elaboration	on	the	character.			 75	the	pure.	What	goes	with	you?	The	best	men	there	are.]149	To	where	Arthur	is	seeking	access	and	precisely	why	his	own	porter	will	not	give	him	that	access	does	not	seem	to	be	a	major	concern	for	this	poet.	The	setting	is	a	traditional	one	with	numerous	analogues	in	other	Welsh	tales	and	scholars	have	primarily	viewed	this	initial	dialogue	as	a	convenient	stage	to	address	more	pressing	poetic	concerns,	namely	the	lively	recount	of	Arthur’s	war-band’s	achievements.150		Though	the	lucid	descriptions	of	the	war-band’s	heroism	and	the	terrifying	enemies	they	encounter	are,	indeed,	the	primary	topic	of	this	poem,	Arthur	and	the	porter’s	interaction	provides	a	metaphorical	framework	for	those	achievements.	Arthur	is	refused	access	unless	he	can	“gwared”	[reveal/vouch]	for	his	companions,	and	it	is	upon	this	request	that	Arthur	enumerates	their	various	achievements:	“Ym	ty	ny	doi	onys	guaredi.	Mi	ae	guardi.	athi	ae	gueli.”	[‘In	(this	place)	you	will	not	come	unless	you	reveal	them.’	‘I	will	reveal	them,	and	you	will	see	them’].151	Green	has	argued	that	the	use	of	“gwared”	here	is	a	reference	to	Arthur’s	ability	to	turn	things,	including	people,	invisible	with	a	magical	mantle	named	Gwenn	mentioned	in	other	texts.152	Such	an	enigmatic,	folkloric	reference	is	certainly	within	the	general	style	and	tone	of	“Pa	Gur,”	but	I	think	we	should	emphasize	that	Arthur,	as	a	narrative	persona,	is	accomplishing	a	figurative	revealing	in	this	poem	as	well.	The	doorway,	like	a	border,	is	a	symbolically	transitory	area;	Arthur	must	reveal	his	war-band	as	appropriate	figures	for	passage	from	the	‘outside’	(dark,	distant,	Otherly)	to	the	inside	(familiar,	protected,	privileged).	The	parallel	poetic	framework	of	opposing	and																																																									149	“Pa	Gur?”	ed.	Evans	The	Black	Book	of	Carmarthen,	p.94,	ll.	1-3.	My	translation	150	Among	other	examples,	Culhwch	ac	Olwen,	Peredur	vab	Effrawg,	and	Nennius,	III.32	all	have	porter	scenes.		151	“Pa	Gur?”,	ll.	4-5.		152	Green,	Concepts	of	Arthur	81-82.		 76	conflating	Arthur	and	Glewlwyd	the	porter	demonstrates	that	they	are	serving	very	similar	metaphorical	roles:	they	are	liminal,	regulatory	figures,	responsible	for	keeping	that	which	belongs	outside	from	getting	inside.		This	role	is	expanded	in	the	descriptions	of	the	battles	which	Arthur	and	his	war-band	fight.	Unlike	the	contemporary	portrayal	of	the	Arthurian	war-band	in	Culhwch,	who	kidnap	giants’	daughters	with	playful	alacrity,	the	war-band	of	“Pa	Gur?”	seem	to	approximate	a	weightier	role.	These	men	are	sage	advisors,	“affivyon”	[wizards?],	and	wise	counselors,	“duif	y	cufil”	[weighty	in	counsel],	rather	than	the	raucous	buccaneers	who	accompany	Arthur	in	Culhwch.153		Importantly,	the	Arthurian	war-band	of	“Pa	Gur?”	is	described	as	the	line	of	defense,	and	specifically	the	line	of	defense	in	traditional	border	regions:	“Oet	rinn	vy	gueisson	in	amuin	ev	detvon....	Oetin	diffreidauc	ar	eidin	cyminauc.”	[strong	were	my	servants	in	defending	their	rights...	they	defended	Edinburgh	on	the	border.]154	Edinburgh	is	a	border	of	classical	Britain,	the	longstanding	stronghold	of	Brythonic	people	against	the	Picts	and	later	the	Saxons.155	As	in	the	Historia	Brittonum,	Arthur	is	depicted	as	a	defensive	perimeter	to	the	British	people,	fighting	in	far	flung	borders	of	the	British	past.		After	a	general	appraisal	of	many	members	of	his	war-band,	Arthur	notes	some	of	his	own	accomplishments	and	describes	the	nature	of	the	enemies	that	his	war-band	defends	the	British	from:		Arthur	ced	huarhei.	Y	guaed	gouerei.		In	neuat	awarnach	in	imlat	ew	agurach.																																																										153	“Pa	Gur?”	94.6,	94.10.		154	ibid.,	94.8	–	95.1.		155	See	Kenneth	Jackson,	The	Oldest	Scottish	Poem:	The	Gododdin	(Edinburgh:	Edinburgh	University	Press,	1969):	70-80;	also	Sims-Williams,	“Early	Arthurian	Poetry,”	41.			 77	Ew	aguant	pen	palach.	inatodev	dissethach.		Ym	minit	eidin	amuc	a	chinbin.	Pop	cant	id	cuitin.	Id	cvitin	pop	cant	rac	beduir	bedrydant.		Ar	traethev	trywruid.	in	amvin	a	garvluid.		Oet	guychir	y	annuyd	o	cletyw	ac	yscuid.	[Arthur	was	only	playing	but	he	made	the	blood	flow.	In	the	Hall	of	Awarnach	while	fighting	with	the	witch.		He	split	the	head	of	Palach	in	the	place	of	Disethach.	On	Mount	Eidin	(Edinburgh)	he	battled	the	dog-heads;	by	the	hundred	they	fell.	They	fell	by	the	hundred	before	Bedwyr	the	Perfect.	On	the	banks	of	Tribruit,	fighting	with	(Gwrgi)	Garwlwyd.	He	was	furious(?)	in	nature	of	his	sword	and	shield.]156	Again	we	find	Arthur	and	his	closest	companions	fighting	in	Edinburgh	on	the	border.	Similarly,	the	Battle	on	the	Tribruit	is	here	associated	with	Bedwyr,	though	earlier	the	poet	had	told	us	that	“Neustuc	manauid	eis	tull	o	trywruid”	[Manawydan	{son	of	Llyr}	brought	back	shattered	spears	from	Tribruit],	and,	as	noted	previously,	the	battle	is	explicitly	connected	with	Arthur	in	the	Historia	Brittonum:	“Decimum	gessit	bellum	in	littore	fluminis,	quod	vocatur	Tribruit.”157	Though	we	cannot	confidently	assign	a	specific	locale	to	Tribruit,	in	the	north	with	Edinburgh	and	Northumbria	seems	a	plausible	speculation.	In	all	references,	however,	it	is	consistently	a	battle	on	a	river,	which	connects	it	to	anthropological	conceptions	of	boundaries	if	not	to	an	actual	political	boundary.																																																										156	“Pa	Gur?”,	95.3-12.		157	ibid.,	94.11;	Nennius	III.56.			 78		 The	form	and	function	of	these	enemies	are	important	to	our	understanding	of	the	conception	of	the	Arthurian	legend	in	this	poem.	Arthur’s	battle	with	a	witch	recalls	depictions	of	him	in	other	Welsh	literature,	such	as	in	Peredur	where	he	kills	the	witches	of	Gloucester	and,	more	relative,	in	Culhwch	where	Arthur	is	tasked	with	fighting	a	witch	in	the	“North”	to	collect	her	blood.158	Later	in	the	poem,	the	deaths	of	nine	more	witches	are	attributed	to	Cai	in	the	unidentified	region	of	Ystawingun	(Sims-Williams	suggests	Porth	Ysgewin	in	the	south-east	border	region).159			 The	reference	to	the	monster	of	“Dissethach”	is	much	more	difficult	to	nail	down.	The	line	is	vague	in	that	it	might	reference	Arthur	‘splitting	the	head	of	Palach,’	as	I	translate	above,	or	it	may	be	a	reference	to	a	fuller	name,	as	in	“he	pierced	Penpalach	in	the	dwelling	of	Disethach.”	“Pen”	is	often	incorporated	into	names	(ie.	Pendragon)	and	it	is	often	a	title,	as	in	“chief”;	though	in	this	case	“pen”	and	“palach”	are	distinctly	separate	words	in	the	manuscript.160	“Palach”	does	not	occur	elsewhere	as	a	name,	but	the	plural	of	the	word,	“pelechi”,	is	used	to	gloss	the	L.	“clauæ”	[clubs]	in	the	Cambridge	Juvencus	Manuscript	(Cambridge,	University	Library	MS	Ff.4.42).161	Especially	since	Cambridge	Juvencus,	like	“Pa	Gur?”,	seems	to	be	derivative	of	South	Wales	(and	possibly	near	the	border)	in	the	tenth	century,162	“cudgel”	or	“club”	is	an	appropriate	base	for	the	name																																																									158	Historia	Peredur	vab	Efrawc,	ed.	Glenys	W.	Goetinck	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	1976)	and	Culhwch	ac	Olwen,	ed.	Bromwich.		159	“Pa	Gur?”,	95.6-7.	160	“Pa	Gur?”	is	contained	in	the	Black	Book	of	Carmarthen:	Aberystwyth,	National	Library	of	Wales,	Peniarth	MS	1,	f.	47v	–	49r;	the	reference	to	“pen	palach”	is	on	48r.	Consulted	online	at		161	J.	Loth,	Vocabulaire	Vieux-Breton	(Paris:	F.	Vieweg,	1884):	202.	Loth	glosses	this	as	“haches”	[axes],	but	as	Lloyd-Jones	points	out,	“cudgels”	or	“clubs”	is	the	more	typical	gloss	of	“clava”.	See	J.	Lloyd-Jones,	“Welsh	‘Palach’,	etc.,”	Ériu	16	(1952):	123-31.			162	The	location	of	the	south	east	border	area	for	the	Cambridge	Juvencus	is,	of	course,	not	definitive;	that	speculation	is	based	on	some	interesting	glosses	of	Anglo-Saxon		 79	“Palach.”163	Lloyd-Jones	also	notes	that	“pal”	is	the	base	of	many	Brythonic	lexemes	related	to	beating	(W.	paladr	[spear])	and	digging	(W.	palu	[to	dig],	Br.	pâl	[spade]).	The	ending	“-ach”	has	a	few	potential	meanings,	but	the	one	that	seems	most	applicable	to	here	is	the	common	derogative	suffix	(compare	“corrach”	[dwarf],	gwrach	[hag],	and	“dynionach”	[contemptible	people]).164			 Given	this	linguistic	context	and	the	variety	of	enemies	encountered	by	the	war-band,	identifying	Palach	as	a	giant	is	an	attractive	speculation:	medieval	giants	are	commonly	associated	with	cudgels	or	clubs	(as	opposed	to	more	chivalric	weaponry),	and	attaching	a	derogative	suffix	gives	an	appropriate	sense	of	distaste	that	one	should	have	for	giants.	Furthermore,	giants	are	a	common	supernatural	enemy	and	are	not	otherwise	represented	in	the	poem,	despite	the	obvious	attempt	to	depict	the	Arthurian	warband	fighting	a	wide	range	of	folkloric	enemies.165			 Arthur’s	battle	with	the	“cinbin”	[dog-heads]	of	Mount	Eiden	is	less	obscure,	as	it	is	clearly	relative	to	the	wider	Classical	and	medieval	tradition	of	the	Cynocephali,	dog-headed	men,	often	depicted	in	the	Far	East.	With	these	vague	dog-headed	warriors	we	can	also	connect	the	enemy	Arthur	and	Bedwyr	encounter	at	Tribruit	two	lines	later,	“Garvluid”	[“rough-grey”].	This	is	almost	certainly	a	reference	to	Gwrgi	Garwlwyd	of	Triad	32,	one	of	the	“Teir	Mat	Gyflauan”	[Three	Fortunate	Slaughters]:	“A	Diffydell	mab	Dysgyfdawt	(a	ladawd)	Gwrgi	Garwlwyt.	A’r	Gwrghi	hwnnw	a	ladei	gelein	beunyd	o’r	Kymyry,	a	dwy	bob																																																									orthography	in	the	MS.	See	Myriah	Williams,	“Cambridge	Juvencus	(MS	Ff.4.42)”	on	the	Cambridge	University	Digital	Library.		163	Sims-Williams	uses	this	translation.		164	GPC,	s.v.	“-ach2”.		165	I	am	indebted	to	both	Charlene	Eska	and	Paul	Russell	for	their	advice	on	the	linguistic	possibilties	of	“palach”—though	the	circumstantial	and	purely	hypothetical	suggestion	that	he	might	be	a	giant	is	my	own	hesitant	speculation.			 80	Sadwrn	rac	(llad)	y	Sul	vr	un”	[And	Diffydell	son	of	Dysgyfdawd	who	slew	Gwrgi	Garwlwyd	{‘Rough	Grey’}.	That	Gwrgi	used	to	make	a	corpse	of	one	of	the	Cymry	every	day,	and	two	on	each	Saturday	so	as	not	to	{slay}	one	on	Sunday.”166	We	can	deduce	from	Gwrgi’s	name,	a	combination	of	“gwr”	[man]	and	“ci”	[dog],	and	his	epithet,	“rough-grey”	(probably	a	reference	to	his	appearance),	that	Gwrgi	is	a	similar	creature	to	the	“cinbin”	[dog-heads]	Arthur	fights	on	Mount	Eidyn.167			 The	last	enemy	mentioned	before	the	poem	breaks	off	unfinished	is	the	famous	Cath	Palug	[Palug’s	Cat]	who	is	confronted	by	Cai	and	the	Arthurian	war	band	on	the	Isle	of	Anglesey.	We	are	told	that	“Nau	ugein	kinlluc	a	cuyt	ei	in	y	buyd”	[nine	score	warriors(?)	fell	as	its	food]	before	the	war-band	attacked	it.168	This	monster	also	has	precedence	in	Triad	26,	where	she	is	said	to	have	been	born	of	Henwen	the	swine	and	thrown	into	the	sea.	Cath	Palug	survives,	of	course,	and	is	cited	as	one	of	the	“Deir	Prif	Ormes	Mon	a	uagwyt	yndi”	[Three	Great	Oppressions	of	Môn,	nurtured	therein].169				 The	areas	where	the	Arthurian	war-band	encounters	these	enemies	are,	all	in	all,	pretty	typical	locations	which	might	host	military	engagements	at	any	time	in	history:	islands,	straits,	rivers,	and,	importantly,	political	borders	and	boundaries.	However,	given	the	figurative	framework	of	the	poem	(at	a	doorway)	and	the	nature	of	the	monsters	Arthur	is	engaging,	the	author	may	have	also	chosen	the	locations	because	they	are	characteristically	“liminal”	topographic	features—they	entail	folkloric	associations	with																																																									166	Bromwich,	trans.,	TYP,	73-74.		167	Bromwich	summarizes	the	scholarly	discussion	and	general	consensus	that	Gwrgi	is	some	type	of	werewolf	in	TYP,	385.	Sims-Williams	directly	compares	this	enemy	to	the	“cinbin”	in	“Early	Arthurian	Poetry,”	42.		168	“Pa	Gur?”	ll.	87-88.		169	“Tri	Gwrdueichyat	Enys	Prydein”	[Three	Powerful	Swineherds	of	the	Island	of	Britain],	Bromwich,	TYP	50-58;	26	WR,	l.25.			 81	physical	and	metaphysical	transgression	and	transition.170	It	is,	indeed,	these	figurative,	metaphorical	boundaries	that	Arthur	is	enforcing	in	the	poem:	witches,	giants,	werewolf	figures,	and	monstrous	cats	born	from	pigs	are	monsters	of	“hybridity,”	to	use	Bhabha’s	terminology.	They	are	paradoxically	assimilative	and	disjunctive	and	are	representative	of	the	cultural	assimilation	and	disjunction	that	characterizes	political	boundaries.	The	poet	imagines	these	disruptive,	hybrid	enemies	on	the	far-flung	boundaries	and	borders	of	the	British	past,	but	they	are	the	manifestation	of	his	psychosomatic	obsession	with	hybridized	culture	and	mixed	bodies	on	the	Welsh	border	he	comes	from.			 These	terrifying	enemies,	especially	the	witches,	dog-heads,	and	giants	derive	their	monstrosity	from	being	part-human	and	part	Other;	they	complicate	the	artificial	conceptions	of	racial	and	sexual	purity	being	literally	enforced	by	Arthur	and	figuratively	enforced	by	the	author.	As	Bhabha	describes	this	“paranoid	threat	from	the	hybrid,”	it	is	troubling	to	segregationist	rhetoric	and	ethnic/sexual	control	“because	it	breaks	the	symmetry	and	duality	of	self/other,	inside/outside.	In	the	productivity	of	power,	the	boundaries	of	authority—its	reality	effects—are	always	besieged	by	‘the	other	scene’	of	fixations	and	phantoms.”171	The	elision	of	these	clear,	pure	boundaries	of																																																									170	The	early	seminal	discussions	on	“liminality”	are	Arnold	van	Gennep,	Les	rites	de	passage	(Paris:	Émile	Nourry,	1909);	and	The	Rites	of	Passage,	(London:	Routledge	and	Paul,	1960).	van	Gennep’s	concepts	are	followed	and	greatly	expanded	by	Viktor	Turner,	“Betwixt	and	between:	the	liminal	period	in	rites	de	passsage,”	Forests	of	Symbols:	Aspects	of	the	Ndembu	Ritual”	(Ithaca:	Cornell	University	Press,	1967):	23-59;	and	The	Ritual	Process:	Structure	and	Antistructure	(New	York:	Penguin,	1969).	A	sample	of	further	developments	of	the	concept	as	it	concerns	developments	in	medieval	Britain	can	be	found	in	A.	Woodcock,	“Liminal	Images:	Aspects	of	Medieval	Architectural	Sculpture	in	the	South	of	England	from	the	Eleventh	to	the	Sixteenth	Centuries,”	British	Archaeological	Reports,	British	Series	386	(2005);	Hilda	Davidson	(ed.),	Boundaries	and	Thresholds:	Papers	from	a	Colloquium	of	the	Katharine	Briggs	Club,	(Woodchester:	Thimble	Press,	1993);	John	Carey	“Time,	Space,	and	the	Otherworld”	Harvard	Celtic	Colloquium	7	(1987),	1-27.		171	Bhabba,	The	Location	of	Culture	165-166.			 82	Welsh/English/human/Other	is	a	direct	threat	to	the	author’s	imagination	of	an	artificial	cultural/racial	unity.			 The	narrative	mode	and	poetic	style	employed	by	the	author	of	“Pa	Gur?”	to	articulate	this	threat	is	wholly	different	from	Nennius’s	mode	and	style—and	their	differences	move	far	beyond	language.	Nennius	is	working	within	a	historical	narrative	tradition	directly	tied	to	the	wider	European	and	Christian	concepts	of	history	and	eschatology,	cultural	continuity	and	change,	progression	and	denigration,	morality	and	sin,	and	the	translatio	imperii.172	“Pa	Gur?”,	on	the	other	hand,	is	founded	in	a	tradition	of	battle	songs	and	praise	poems,	monster	tales	and	marwnaddau,	folklore	and	praise	englynions,	epic	lists	and	epic	boasts.	These	works	are	of	essentially	different	conventions	and	I	do	not	want	to	overly	conflate	their	individual	traditions;	such	differences	speak	to	the	astounding	diversity	of	literary	practices	along	the	border.			 Yet,	nonetheless,	it	is	equally	important	to	recognize	that	these	two	writers	from	the	south-eastern	border	region	both	display	a	visceral	aversion	to	cultural	assimilation	and	hybridity—a	complementary	aversion	which	is	more	comprehensible	when	their	similar	origins	are	considered.	Nennius’s	Vortigern—his	sinful	sexual	depravity	and	passive	intermixture	with	the	Saxons—finds	his	metaphorical	reciprocation	in	the	dog-heads	and	witches	of	the	“Pa	Gur?”	poet’s	ancient	northern	borders.	Both	Vortigern	and	these	hybrid	monstrosities	are	a	direct	threat	to	British	political	sovereignty,	as	it	is	made	abundantly	clear.	But	they	are	more	pointedly	threats	to	the	conception	of	“Britishness”	as	a	contiguous	and	pure	entity.	The	imaginary	destruction	of	these	threats	allows	for	a	fantasy	of	recapturing	that	purity	and	reinforcing	cultural	segregation	along	the	border.																																																										172	Howlett,	Cambro-Latin	Compositions,	explores	Nennius’s	connections	to	wider	European	traditions	in	more	detail.			 83	Furthermore,	it	is	not	the	final	result—the	eventual	destruction	of	the	overtly	sexual	and	racial	hybrid	threat—which	is	productive	for	these	nationalizing	motives.	The	process	of	directing	rhetorical	and	physical	violence	at	these	threats	is	the	only	real	production,	here.	The	hybrid	scapegoats	incur	the	purgative	calumnies	of	the	remaining	population	because	the	remaining	population	are	themselves	plagued	by	a	lack	of	cultural	purity.	The	process	of	identifying	and	vilifying	hybridity	artificially	segregates	the	hybrid	from	the	remainder	of	the	population.	The	rhetorical	tenets	of	these	literary	works	are	not	a	means	to	an	end;	alleviating	the	forces	which	elide	fantasies	of	national	coherence	is	an	unattainable	end.	Their	means	are	the	end:	by	creating	a	literary	fantasy	of	a	hybrid	scapegoat	which	is	segregated	from	an	equally	fantastical	“pure”	British	culture,	these	authors	are	creating	a	perception	of	pre-existing	‘mixed’	and	‘pure’	entities.	Though	this	perception	is	a	false	one—cultural/racial	purity	in	any	sense	is	unattainable	in	this	context—this	perception	is	the	only	stable	bastion	of	shared	history	and	potential	unification.	Historical	and	legendary	imaginative	writing	are	the	only	solid	foundations	of	national	unity	and	nationalism.			 It	is	also	important	to	recognize	that	both	of	these	authors	imagine	Arthur,	and	Arthurian	literature,	as	the	primary	response	to	these	impending	threats	of	hybridity.	Though	they	have	drawn	their	conception	of	this	warrior	from	the	legendary	lore	local	to	the	border	area,	they	rearticulate	his	role	as	representative	of	a	collective	British	populace,	wholly	intent	on	segregating	that	which	has	been	assimilated,	on	dis-integrating	(and	disintegrating)	the	blurred	lines	of	mixture	in	favor	of	clean	division	of	peoples	and	cultures.	It	is	not	simply	that	this	use	of	Arthurian	literature	is	from	the	border—it	is	the	border.	Both	Arthur’s	literary	figure	and	figurative	Arthurian	literature	are	being		 84	articulated	as	performing	cultural	and	political	actions	that	the	border	is	supposed	to	perform	yet	is	failing	to	do	so:	segregating,	separating	and	defining	the	peoples	and	their	cultures	as	two	wholly	separate	nations.			 These	works	represent	some	of	the	earliest	and	most	extensive	articulation	of	this	use	of	the	Arthurian	legend	as	a	border	entity.	Their	development	of	the	Arthurian	legend	on	the	border	is	vitally	important	to	the	reuse,	revision	and	reaction	to	these	concepts	explored	in	later	Arthurian	border	literature.	These	poets	have	not	created	this	conception	of	Arthur	in	a	vacuum,	however.	The	connection	of	the	Arthurian	legend	to	the	border	region	is	one	that	reaches	back	centuries,	further	back	than	any	other	region’s	use	of	Arthur.	As	I	discuss	in	the	preface,	the	reference	to	Arthur	in	the	border	text	“Marwnad	Cynddylan”	is	probably	the	earliest	surviving	written	reference	to	the	legend	and	the	casual	nature	of	the	reference	indicates	that	the	legend	was	widely	known	in	the	northern	border	area	almost	two	centuries	before	Nennius’s	writing.	In	the	following	section,	I	reconstruct	another	early	connection	of	Arthur	and	the	border.	This	connection	is	possibly	one	of	the	sources	for	Nennius	and	the	“Pa	Gur?”	poet’s	conception	of	the	Arthurian	legend	on	the	border—one	that	is	directly	relative	to	the	rhetorical	conceits	developed	in	their	more	expansive	surviving	works.			Licat	Amr	and	the	Origin	of	the	Border		Est	aliud	miraculum	in	regione	quæ	vocatur	Ercing.	Habetur	ibi	sepulchrum	juxta	fontem	qui	cognominatur	Licat	Anir,	et	viri	nomen,	qui	sepultus	est	in	tumulo,	sic	vocabatur.	Anir	filius	Arthuri	militis	erat,	et	ipse	occidit	eum	ibidem,	et	sepelivit.	Et	veniunt	homines	ad	mensurandum	tumulum;	in	longitudine	aliquando	sex	pedes,		 85	aliquando	novem,	aliquando	quindecim.	In	qua	mensura	metieris	eum	in	ista	vice,	iterum	non	invenies	eum	in	una	mensura;	et	ego	solus	probavi.	[There	is	another	wonder	in	the	region	which	is	called	Ercing.	A	tomb	is	located	here	next	to	a	spring	which	is	called	Licat	Amr;	and	the	name	of	the	man	who	is	in	the	tomb	was	called	thus:	Amr.	He	was	the	son	of	Arthur	the	soldier,	and	Arthur	killed	him	and	buried	him	in	this	place.	And	men	come	to	measure	the	tomb;	in	length	sometimes	it	is	six	feet,	sometimes	twelve,	sometimes	fifteen.	In	whatever	measurement	you	find	it	one	time,	another	time	you	will	not	find	it	the	same	measurement—and	I	myself	have	tested	this.]		Nennius’s	onomastic	description	of	this	spring	is	relatively	familiar	within	Arthurian	studies,	since	it	contains	an	early	description	of	Arthur	and	one	of	the	very	few	references	to	Arthur’s	children.	Indeed,	this	particular	child	is	only	mentioned	in	one	other	text,	as	I	discuss	below.	“Licat	Anir”	is	not	particularly	different	from	the	other	wonders	that	Nennius	describes:	it	is	a	strange	topographical	feature	which	can	be	explained	by	etymology	and	foundational	narrative.	This	portrayal	of	Arthur	is	commonly	read	along	side	of	the	description	of	Arthur’s	dog’s	footprint,	Carn	Cabal,	in	the	previous	wonder,	and	both	are	understood	as	being	a	more	“folkloric”	portrayal	of	Arthur	than	in	the	history	section	of	the	Historia	Brittonum.173	Because	there	has	been	little	other	context	revealed	for	this	wonder,	most	of	our	assumptions	about	it	derive	from	extrapolating	information	from	the	names	Nennius	uses.																																																											173	Green,	Concepts	of	Arthur	71.			 86	“Licat”	is	a	Latinization	of	the	Old	Welsh	“Llygad”,	which	translates	to	“eye”.	“Anir”,	similarly,	is	a	Latinization	of	Amr,	and	might	also	have	an	ocular	stemma	(amrant	[eyelid],	amrantun	[nap],	amrantiad	[instant;	‘blink	of	an	eye’]).	Some	scholars,	however,	have	suggested	a	back-formation	of	the	name	from	the	River	Gamber	for	Amr’s	name.174	Regardless	of	the	“real”	etymology	of	Amr,	the	tradition	that	Nennius	records	is	clear:	“Licat	Anir”	is	an	anthropomorphic	and	etymological	metaphor	for	an	important	topographical	feature	of	the	local	landscape:	the	origin	of	the	River	Gamber	is	“Amr’s	Eye,”	from	which	a	stream	of	tears	continually	springs.			 Embedded	within	this	miraculum	description	is	an	otherwise	unattested	story	of	Arthur	and	his	son,	Amr:	“Anir	filius	Arthuri	militis	erat,	et	ipse	occidit	eum	ibidem,	et	sepelivit.”	The	story,	like	Arthur’s	hunt	of	Twrch	Trwth	in	the	description	of	“Cairn	Cabal,”	is	alluded	to	rather	than	recited	in	full;	so	we	must	assume	that	the	tale	would	have	been	familiar	enough	to	have	some	currency	even	across	large	geographic	areas	of	Wales.	Although	the	finer	points	of	this	story	will	remain	largely	unknown	to	modern	readers	(barring	new	discoveries),	I	argue	it	is	possible	to	tentatively	reconstruct	some	of	the	broader	elements	of	the	tale	and	gesture	towards	some	of	its	general	implications.	Part	of	Nennius’s	point	in	the	Mirabilia	section	is	tying	known	stories	to	a	particular	place	(“ipse	occidit	eum	ibidem,”	my	emphasis),	therefore	it	is	important	to	consider	the	region	in	which	Nennius	locates	Licat	Amr.	Ercing	[W.	Ergyng,	OE.	Archenfield]	is	in	the	southwestern	portion	of	modern-day	Herefordshire	and	was	an	independent	Welsh	kingdom	in	the	early	medieval	period.	After	Anglo-Saxon	incursions	into	the	area	in	the	eighth	century,	the	Welsh	control	over	the	area	became	questionable—but	not	negligible.																																																									174	Higham,	King	Arthur	89,	153.			 87	Ergyng	was	no	longer	wholly	part	of	Wales,	but	neither	would	it	be	wholly	a	part	of	England	until	well	after	the	medieval	period.175	The	Domesday	Book,	for	instance,	presents	landowners	in	the	wider	area	as	being	“in	Herefordscire	7	in	Arcenefelde	7	in	Walis,”	which	implies	Archenfield’s	individuation	from	either	“Herefordscire”	or	“Walis.”	This	individuation	must	have	had	some	tax	benefits	as	well,	because	Archenfield	section	was	not	hidated	and	pays	no	geld	in	the	Domesday	Book.176			 Evidence	for	distinguishing	this	area	from	both	Wales	and	England	at	an	even	earlier	date	is	present	in	an	Anglo-Saxon	law	code	deriving	from	Ergyng/Archenfield,	“The	Ordinance	Concerning	the	Dunsæte.”177	This	intriguing	document,	which	might	date	from	anywhere	between	the	early	ninth	century	to	the	eleventh	century,	suggests	a	large	degree	of	cooperation	and	peaceful	coexistence	between	the	Saxon	and	Welsh	communities	in	the	area,	even	to	the	point	of	cooperative	self-government.178	As	with	any	community,	there	are	practical	concerns	for	dealing	with	theft	and	unaccompanied	travel;	the	ordinance	states	that	these	legal	issues	were	to	be	governed	by	an	equally	weighted	committee	of	English	and	Welsh	“lawmen”:																																																									175	The	termination	of	their	official	mixed	designation	would	have	been	the	1535	and	1543	Laws	of	Wales	Acts.	See	Raithby	and	Strahan,	ed.,	The	Statutes	at	Large.		176	Domesday	Book,	ed.	J.	Morris	et	al.,	35	vols	(Chchester:	Phillimore	1975-86):	179b	and	181a.	177	That	Archenfield	is	the	area	in	question	in	the	“Ordinance”	is	the	general	consensus	among	legal	and	political	historians.	See	Liebermann,	“Die	Angelsächsische	Verordnun	über	die	Dunsæte,”	Archiv 102 (1899): 267-96, esp.	289-94;	Gelling,	West	Midlands	in	the	Early	Middle	Ages,	114;	M.	Fordham,	“Peacekeeping	and	Order	on	the	Anglo-Welsh	Frontier	in	the	Early	Tenth	Century,”	Midland	History	32.1	(2007):	1-18,	esp.	6-7;	George	Molyneaux,	“The	Ordinance	Concerning	the	Dunsæte,”	251-252.		178	Dating	the	Ordinance	is	a	tricky	subject	matter	for	historians.	Some,	such	as	Gelling,	West	Midlands,	pp.	113-19	and	F.	Noble,	suggest	the	ordinance	itself	was	written	down	in	its	current	form	in	the	10th	century,	but	was	based	on	a	much	earlier	agreement.	Liebermann’s	original	dating	of	the	mid-tenth	century	has	been	followed	by	most,	but	has	recently	been	called	into	question	in	favor	of	a	much	later	date	by	Molyneaux,	who	discusses	this	in	detail,	“The	Ordinance	Concerning	the	Dunsæte”	252-254.			 88	3.2)	XII	lahmen	scylon	riht	tæcean	Wealan	7	Ænglan:	VI	Englisce	7	VI	Wylisce.	3.3)	Ðolien	ealles	ðæs	hy	agon,	gif	hi	woh	tæcen;	oððe	geladian	hi,	þæt	hi	bet	ne	cuðon.	[3.2)	12	Welsh	and	English	lawmen	shall	determine	the	right	(judgment):	6	English	and	6	Welsh.		3.3)	Let	them	suffer	the	loss	of	all	that	they	own	if	they	judge	wrongly;	or	exculpate	themselves	if	they	know	no	better.]179	The	document	seems	to	incorporate	at	least	some	elements	of	Welsh	law,	especially	in	the	triplet	time	frames	described	in	the	body	of	the	text.180	However,	because	both	Anglo-Saxon	and	Welsh	legal	systems	are	built	around	similar	foundations	(both	are	status-based	and	compensatory	systems),	it	is	difficult	to	judge	the	full	extent	of	English/Welsh	legal	borrowing	in	the	document.	As	George	Molyneaux	has	recently	argued,	there	are	strong	reasons	to	view	the	“Ordinance”	as	“a	compromise,	which	combined	English	and	Welsh	customs.”181		 Such	a	situation	largely	contradicts	the	broad	political	brushstrokes	made	by	historians	that	characterize	the	relationship	between	the	Saxons	and	the	Welsh	in	this	time	period	as	being	solely	characterized	by	conflict	and	conquest.	The	people	in	Archenfield/Ergyng	lived	in	close	quarters	with	one	another,	combined	legal	traditions,	and	shared	administrative	responsibilities	and	ecclesiastical	offices.182	Small	border	communities	such	as	this,	where	people	and	customs	intermixed	peaceably	for	centuries,																																																									179	Felix	Lieberman,	ed.,	Gesetze	der	Angelsachsen,	Vol.	1	(Halle:	Max	Niemeyer:	1903):	374-379.	My	translation.		180	Molyneaux,	“The	Ordinance	Concerning	the	Dunsæte”	270.	See	also	Sara	Elin	Roberts,	The	Legal	Triads	of	Medieval	Wales	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	2007).		181	Molyneaux,	“The	Ordinance	Concerning	the	Dunsæte,”	270.		182	Gelling,	West	Midlands,	114-116;	Molyneaux,	“The	Ordinance	Concerning	the	Dunsæte,”	272.			 89	are	probably	much	more	prevalent	than	our	history	books	suggest—everyday	life	rarely	makes	the	historical	record.			 The	area	is	also	particularly	important	to	the	current	topic	since	it	is	just	to	the	north	of	Gwent	and	the	Severn	estuary	where,	as	I	have	argued,	we	should	locate	Nennius	prior	to	his	relocation	to	Gwynedd	and	Merfyn	Ferch’s	court.	Nennius	emphasizes	his	own	personal	familiarity	with	this	site,	“et	ego	solus	probavi”—something	he	does	for	only	one	other	wonder,	which	is	nearby	in	Gwent.183	This	is	an	area	and	context	with	which	the	author	is	intimately	familiar	and	which	has	considerably	shaped	his	understanding	of	Wales,	the	border,	and	Arthur.			 Of	Amr	himself,	however,	we	have	little	other	record.	Of	the	entire	medieval	Welsh	corpus,	there	is	only	one	other	mention	of	him:	as	one	of	the	“mackwy”	[squires]	in	Arthur’s	court	in	the	much	later	romance	Geraint:	A	phan	doeth	y	dyd	drannoeth.	deffroi	a	orugant.	A	galw	aoruc	arthur	ar	y	gweisson.	A	gadwei	ywely.	Nyt	amgen.	pedwar	mack6y.	Sef	rei	oedynt.	Cadyrieth	uab	portha6r	gand6y.	Ac	amhren	uab	bedwyr.	Ac	amhar	uab	Arthur.	a	goreu	uab	Custennyn.		[And	when	came	the	following	day,	they	woke.	And	Arthur	called	on	the	chamberlains;	no	less	than	four	squires	guarded	{Arthur’s}	bed!	This	is	who	they	were:	Cadrieth	son	of	the	porter	Gandwy,	and	Amhren	son	of	Bedwyr,	and	Amhar	the	son	of	Arthur,	and	Goreu	son	of	Custennyn.]184																																																									183	Nennius,	72.		184	The	text	is	adapted	from	the	Rhyddiaith	Gymraig	project’s	transcription	of	Oxford,	Jesus	College	MS.	11,	f.190v:	col.	1,	ll.	39-45;	the	translation	and	emphasis	are	my	own.	See	Diana	Luft,	Peter	Wynn	Thomas	and	D.	Mark	Smith,	eds.,	Rhyddiaith	Gymraeg	1300-1425,				 90		The	later	romance	writer	portrays	Amr	as	one	of	four	gweisson	[attendants,	servants]	who	dress	Arthur	and	tend	to	his	personal	quarters	(“Agadwei	ywely”).	He	is	not	given	the	official	legal	title	for	heir	apparent	(edling),	so	we	might	assume	that	Arthur	has	another	son	filling	that	role.	Though	being	a	chamberlain	might	seem,	from	our	modern	perspective,	to	be	a	demeaning	role,	it	is	actually	one	of	deep	intimacy	with	the	king	and	would	have	been	appropriate	for	such	a	well-born	youth.185	The	fact	that	Arthur	has	four	chamberlains	is	merely	indicative	of	his	exaggerated,	imperial	and	imperious	status.	At	the	very	least,	this	later	reference	tells	us	that	Amr/Amhar	was	considered	to	have	been	in	Arthur’s	good	graces	for	a	portion	of	his	legend.186		 At	present,	we	have	a	man,	Amr,	who	was	at	one	point	legally	recognized	and	honored	as	Arthur’s	son	and	who	at	some	later	point	was	killed	by	Arthur	in	a	region	widely	recognized	as	being	culturally	intermixed.	Arthur	then	takes	the	time	to	bury	Amr	in	the	same	spot	as	his	death,	which	might	imply	a	sense	of	regret	for	his	deed	or	a	lingering	fondness	for	Amr;	otherwise,	why	not	leave	the	body	for	the	birds?	From	these	known	portions	of	the	story,	I	argue	that	we	can	tentatively	reconstruct	some	of	the	primary	plot	elements	through	the	comparative	folkloric	tradition.	I	postulate	that	the	story	of	Arthur	and	Amr	which	Nennius	references	is	a	common	Indo-European	folk	motif	whereby	a	father	and	son	engage	in	fatal	combat	because	of	a	tragic	misrecognition	and	the	survivor	buries	the	other:	Thompson	Motif-Index	number	N731.2.187																																																									185	Charlene	Eska	helped	me	pick	apart	the	legal/courtly	issues	in	this	reference—for	which	I	am	most	grateful.			186	This	is	under	the	assumption	that	the	twelfth-century	writer	of	Geraint	knew	more	of	Amr’s	legend	than	do	we.	I	think	this	is	a	reasonable	assumption,	but	he	may	very	well	have	gleaned	the	reference	from	the	Historia	Brittonum	himself	and	backfilled	from	there.		187	Stith	Thompson,	Motif-Index	of	Folk	Literature:	a	classification	of	narrative	elements	in	folktales,	ballads,	myths,	fables,	mediaeval	romances,	exempla,	fabliaux,	jest-books,	and	local		 91		 Though	there	are	no	Welsh	analogues	I	am	aware	of,	there	are	plenty	within	the	Irish	and	Germanic	traditions.	The	story	of	Cú	Chullainn’s	fatal	conflict	with	his	son	Connla	is	a	fitting	comparison:	Cú	Chulainn	fathers	Connla	on	the	Scottish	female	warrior,	Aífe,	and	instructs	her	to	send	the	boy	to	Ireland	and	find	him	when	he	is	of	age.	When	the	precocious	seven-year	old	crosses	the	sea	by	himself,	shooting	great	birds	down	from	the	sky	with	a	sling,	the	men	of	Ulster	see	him	as	a	threat	and	call	upon	Cú	Chulainn	to	fight	him.	Cú	Chulainn	is	warned	that	it	might	be	his	son,	but	he	ignores	this	advice	for	the	honor	of	Ulster.	He	does	not	recognize	the	half-Scottish	half-Irish	boy,	and	kills	him.	When	Connla	is	mortally	wounded	he	reveals	his	identity,	and	Cú	Chulain	becomes	remorseful	and	buries	him.188			 Another	analogue	which	is	important	for	comparison	to	Arthur/Amr	story	is	from	the	Old	High	German/Old	Saxon	Hildebranslied.	In	this	particular	sequence,	it	is	the	father,	Hildebrand,	who	is	returning	from	foreign	lands—specifically	he	had	gone	to	the	Huns	to	escape	the	wrath	of	King	Odoacer:	“forn	her	ostar	geweit,	floh	her	Otachres	nid”	[Long	ago	he	departed	to	the	East,	he	fled	Odoacer’s	hate].189	When	he	returns,	Hildebrand’s	son	Hadubrand	challenges	him	to	single	combat	because	he	suspects	he	is	a	Hun.	Hildebrand	offers	golden	arm-bands	from	Atilla	to	stop	the	fight,	but	Hadubrand	suspects	treachery:																																																									legends	v.	1-6	(Bloomington,	Indiana	University	Press,	1955-58).	The	most	famous	example	of	this	motif	is	the	Persian	story	of	Sohrab	and	Rostam	from	the	tenth-century	Persian	epic	poem,	Shahnameh,	by	Ferdowsi.	In	regards	to	Nennius,	other	scholars	have	mentioned	Amr’s	potential	connection	to	this	wider	folk	tradition,	but	the	implications	of	that	connection	have	yet	to	be	fully	articulated.	John	Koch,	“The	Celtic	Lands,”	Medieval	Arthurian	Literature:	A	Guide	to	Recent	Research,	ed.	Norris	Lacy	(London:	Routledge,	1998):	1888	and	Ruairí	Ó	hUiginn,	“Cú	Chulainn”	in	Celtic	Culture:	Aberdeen	Breviary	Celticism	vol.	1,	ed.	John	T.	Koch	(Santa	Barbara:	ABC	Clio,	2006):	507.		188	I	am	summarizing	the	story	from	Kuno	Meyer,	ed.	and	trans.,	“The	Death	of	Conla”	Ériu	(1904):	115-21.	Meyer’s	dates	the	version	he	translates	to	the	ninth	century.		189	“Hildebranslied,”	ed.	Ulrich	Harsch,	Bibliotheca	Augustana:	Bibliotheca	Germanica:	accessed	May	2,	2016:	l.	18.	The	translation	is	mine.		 92	“Mit	geru	scal	man	geba	infahan,	ort	widar	orte.	Du	bist	dir,	alter	Hun,	ummet	spaher;	spenis	mih	mit	dinem	wortun,	wili	mih	dinu	speru	werpan”	[With	spear	shall	man	receive	such	a	gift,	point	against	point.	You	are	a	cunning	old	Hun,	ever	scheming;	luring	me	with	your	words,	you	will	cast	your	spear	at	me.]190		 Hadubrand’s	accusation,	“Du	bist	dir,	alter	Hun”	[you	are	a	cunning	old	Hun],	pointedly	addresses	the	primary	friction	in	all	of	these	folktales:	the	friction	between	the	intimate	blood	bond	of	a	father	and	son	(a	privileged	link	in	patrilineal	society)	and	the	perceived	dissolution	of	that	bond	by	cultural	assimilation	or	estrangement.	In	their	own	distinct	manner,	each	iteration	of	this	folk	story	manifestly	speaks	to	a	pervasive	fear	of	intermixture,	of	becoming	unrecognizable	and	dangerous	by	estrangement	or	miscegenation.	The	overriding	moral	is	that	the	bonds	of	blood	cannot	always	abrogate	the	bonds	of	an	imagined	ethnically	and	culturally	contiguous	community.	Cultural	assimilation,	ethnic	integration,	hybridity	and	homogenization	are	the	primary	causes	of	each	wholly	avoidable	misrecognition	and	tragedy.				 Given	the	origins	of	Nennius	near	these	culturally	mixed	portions	of	the	Anglo-Welsh	border	and	the	emphatic	localization	of	this	particular	legend	in	an	area	like	Ergyng	/Archenfield,	we	can	draw	some	valuable	implications	from	Nennius’s	deceptively	simple	mirabilia	tale.	Much	like	the	Goidelic-language	areas	of	the	North	Irish	Sea	and	the	Germanic-language	areas	on	the	continent	in	the	early	Middle	Ages,	the	Anglo-Welsh	border	is	an	area	of	prolonged	contact	and	assimilation;	that	assimilation	is	seen	as	threatening	or	disturbing	to	some,	and	this	particular	folktale	speaks	to	the	perceived	consequences	of	those	threats	well	before	Nennius	produced	the	Historia	Brittonum.																																																									190	ibid.	ll.	37-40		 93	We	are	left,	however,	with	some	questions	about	Nennius’s	reference	to	this	particular	version	of	the	story:	What	was	the	immediate	cause	for	conflict	between	Arthur	and	Amr?	Was	Amr,	like	Hildebrand,	returning	from	a	long-term	immersion	in	another	culture?	Or,	like	Connla,	was	Amr	the	product	of	ethnic	mixing?	Whatever	the	cause	of	the	conflict,	Nennius	is	quite	clear	on	the	outcome	of	their	confrontation:	Arthur	fought	Amr,	killed	him,	and	buried	him	in	an	area	that	contemporary	readers	would	recognize	as	“mixed”	and	belonging	to	neither	England	nor	Wales.		Also	embedded	within	Nennius’s	description	of	Licat	Amr	is	an	origin	story	of	the	River	Gamber	in	modern-day	Herefordshire.	Scholars	have	debated	whether	the	name	“Amr”	predates	the	naming	of	the	spring	or	whether	“Amr”	is	derivative	of	the	river	to	which	his	name	is	now	associated,	but	the	legend	to	which	Nennius	refers	is	clear:	there	was	no	spring,	and	therefore	no	River	Gamber,	until	Arthur	killed	Amr	and	buried	his	body	in	this	location.	As	shown	by	Figure	2,	the	River	Gamber	is	one	of	the	larger	tributaries	to	the	Wye	and	neatly	divides	Ergyng/Archenfield	into	two	similarly	sized	sections:	the	land	between	the	Gamber	and	the	Wye	to	the	northeast	and	the	land	between	the	Gamber	and	the	Monnow	to	the	southeast.	The	Wye	flowing	through	Hereford	was	perceived	of	as	the	“border”	between	England	and	Wales	in	the	early	Middle	Ages	and	the	River	Monnow	to	the	south	was	considered	the	border	in	the	later	Middle	Ages—it	is,	in	fact,	now	the	current	border.	It	is	not	unreasonable	to	assume	that	in	the	constant	fluctuations	of	resettlement	and	property	transfer,	the	River	Gamber	was	once	considered	a	boundary	separating	English	and	Welsh	communities	in	the	Ergyng/Archenfield	area	before	their	eventual	integration.			 94		Figure	3:	Herefordshire	Map,	16th	Century.	1637	drawing	by	Christopher	Saxton	(my	emphasis).			A	boundary	river	miraculously	formed	from	the	death,	interment	and	metaphorical	tears	of	a	culturally	misrecognized,	mixed	or	otherwise	identity-troubled	character	would	be	a	rather	poignant	folk	story.	If	that	is	the	case,	then	Amr’s	tragic	misrecognition	by	Arthur—a	misrecognition	possibly	caused	by	ethnic	mixing	or	cultural	estrangement—literally	creates	the	imagined	geographical	and	political	entity	which	is	intended	to	enforce	widespread	recognition	and	segregation.	A	lost	folk	story	of	the	sort	suggested	would	speak	to	an	already	present	angst	over	the	elision	of	cultural	clarity	resulting	from	long-	 95	term	contact	on	the	border	and	a	fantasy	of	controlling	that	cultural	elision	and	assimilation	through	geo-political	segregation.	Though	such	segregation	fantasy	was	not	to	come	to	fruition—Ergyng/Archenfield	would	remain	mixed	for	some	time—it	was	effective	in	another	sense:	the	seeming	inability	to	control	the	mixed	border	regions	instigated	a	reactionary	conception	of	cultural	and	ethnic	purity	and	unity	developed	by	Nennius	and	the	“Pa	Gur?”	poet	some	years	later.			 If	we	accept	this	reconstruction	of	Amr’s	legend,	we	have	three	separate,	pre-Norman	imaginative	Arthurian	works	composed	on	the	Anglo-Welsh	border	which	depict	Arthur	as	a	defender	of	British	“purity”.	These	compositions	are	essentially	attempts	to	define,	both	by	force	and	imagination,	the	ideological	constructs	which	allow	a	culture	to	demarcate	itself	into	a	contiguous	community.	Arthur	and	the	border	are	both	demiurgic,	originative	forces	behind	the	creation	of	a	false	collective	consciousness	which	is	intrinsic	to	a	primeval	British	nationalism.	The	concept	of	Pura	Wallia,	which	is	later	portrayed	as	the	precursor	and	victim	to	an	encroaching	Marchia	Wallia,	is	actually,	and	ironically,	derivative	of	mixed	border	culture	and	Arthurian	literature.		 Nennius’s	description	of	Licat	Amr	speaks	to	this	process	in	some	very	subtle	but	revealing	ways.	His	narrative	of	going	to	measure	the	tomb	and	never	being	able	to	arrive	at	a	consistent,	containable	measurement	is	something	of	a	poignant	metaphor	about	the	role	of	Arthurian	literature	and	the	March	of	Wales	in	medieval	identity	construction.	The	Nation	State,	the	Anglo-Welsh	border,	and	the	Arthurian	legend	are	all	imaginary,	ideological	constructions	constituted	by	materialist,	epistemological	thought.	Arthur	and	the	border	do	not	actually	exist	but	are	ideological	constructs	which	are	generative	of	and	generated	by	the	ideological	subjects’	material	conditions	of	existence.	Because	the		 96	ideological	subjects	assume	Arthur/Border/Britain’s	existence,	it	is	product/producer	of	material	consequences:	manifestos,	dykes	and	the	dead	bodies	of	nationalist-driven	wars.	The	metaphysical	fantasies	of	ideology	are	inextricably	linked	to	causes	and	consequences	in	the	physical	world.	This	description	of	Licat	Amr	is	one	such	formative	link,	or	an	attempt	at	a	link.	Here	and	throughout	the	Historia,	Nennius	attempts	to	inscribe	the	unearthly	deeds	of	the	glorious	past	onto	the	physical	earthen	relics	which	surround	him	and	his	readers.	On	one	level,	he	is	inscribing	the	legend	of	Arthur’s	filicide	onto	a	rocky	hole	and	spring	in	southwest	Herefordshire.	On	another	level,	however,	he	is	attempting	to	inscribe	the	legend’s	moral	and	the	ideological	construct	of	a	pure	Wales	into	the	physical	persons	surrounding	that	rocky	hole	and	spring.			 Just	as	Amr’s	tomb	changes	size	every	time	Nennius	returns,	however,	these	ideological	apparatuses	are	ultimately	immeasurable	and	uncontainable.	We	cannot	consistently	quantify	the	causes	and	consequences	of	ideological	constructs	upon	actual	existence.	Nennius’s	attempts	to	control	and	deter	the	hybrid	bodies	which	erupt	his	cleanly	segregated	and	wholly	unified	Wales	eventually	prove	unsuccessful.	The	border	culture	of	the	following	centuries	grew	even	more	integrative	and	individuated	despite	his	and	others’	resistance.	The	miscegenation	and	mixing	he	castigates	would	increase	exponentially	with	the	advent	of	Norman	culture.	Furthermore,	as	we	will	see	with	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth’s	use	of	the	legend	in	the	twelfth	century,	the	extent	to	which	the	Arthurian	legend	would	come	to	represent	intrinsic	features	of	Anglo-Welsh	border	culture	would	grow	far	beyond	the	original	boundaries	delimited	by	Nennius.			 			 97	2)	“Alienos	Ortulos”:	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth	in	the	Garden	of	Others		“Rogatu	itaque	illius	ductus,	tametsi	infra	alienos	ortulos	falerata	uerba	non	collegerim,	agresti	tamen	stilo	propriisque	calamis	contentus	codicem	illum	in	Latinum	sermonem	transferre	curaui.	Nam	si	ampullosis	dictionibus	paginam	illinissem,	tedium	legentibus	ingererem,	dum	magis	in	exponendis	uerbis	quam	in	historia	intelligenda	ipsos	commorari	oporteret....	tua	receipias	ut	sub	tegmine	tam	patule	arboris	recubans	calamum	muse	mee	coram	inuidis	atque	improbis	tuto	modulamine	resonare	queam.”	[So	I	began	at	{the	Archdeacon	of	Oxford}	Walter’s	request	to	translate	that	book	into	Latin,	content	with	my	own	lowly	style	and	not	seeking	to	gather	gilded	expressions	from	other	writers’	gardens.	It	would	certainly	annoy	my	readers	if	I	attempted	to	render	the	original	in	flowery	speech,	since	they	would	dwell	more	on	unraveling	my	words	than	on	understanding	the	history	itself...	{receive	this	history	while}	reposing	under	such	spreading	boughs	and	far	from	the	presence	of	the	jealous	and	craven,	shall	I	be	able	to	play	the	reeds	that	truly	belong	to	you,	my	muse,	in	perfect	measure.]191																																																												191	The	Historia	Regum	Britannie	of	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth	I:	Bern,	Burgerbibliothek,	MS.	568,	(Bern	MS)	ed.	Neil	Wright	(Cambridge:	D.S.	Brewer,	1984).	I	am	utilizing	the	Wright	edition	rather	than	the	more	recent	standard	edition	by	Reeve	(Woodbridge:	Boydell	and	Brewer,	2007)	because	I	am	particularly	interested	in	the	Bern	MS	as	representative	of	Geoffrey’s	final	emendations	of	some	important	sections	of	his	text;	in	particular	I	highlight	the	dedicatory	epistle	to	King	Stephen	and	the	epitaph	at	end	of	the	Arthurian	section,	discussed	below.	Here	and	throughout	this	chapter,	I	have	primarily	used	Michael	Faletra’s	translation	of	the	Bern	MS,	but	(where	noted)	I	have	occasionally	emended	his	translation	to	punctuate	certain	facets	of	my	own	argument;	Michael	Faletra,	The	History	of	the	Kings	of	Britain	(Peterborough:	Broadview,	2008):	41.		 98		 Despite	his	attestations	of	humility,	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth’s	oft-cited	dedicatory	epistle	is	an	efflorescence	of	rhetorical	finery.192	This	preface	to	his	astoundingly	popular	History	of	the	Kings	of	Britain	is,	in	and	of	itself,	a	study	in	the	stylistics	of	political	patronage	and	the	medieval	humility	topos.	In	the	extensive	study	of	this	dedication,	scholars	have	largely	concentrated	on	the	political	complexity	of	Geoffrey’s	appeals	for	patronage	and	Geoffrey’s	tantalizing	reference	to	a	“Britannici	sermonis	librum	uetustissimum”	[very	ancient	book	in	the	British	language].193	In	the	following	analysis	of	Geoffrey’s	presentation	of	King	Arthur	and	the	Welsh/Norman	reactions	to	this	presentation,	I	also	address	the	importance	of	this	“codicem”	and	the	ramifications	of	his	various	appeals	to	benefactors	by	framing	the	Historia	within	the	cultural	and	political	atmosphere	of	the	twelfth-century	March	of	Wales.	I	argue	that	by	emphasizing	this	work’s	origin	and	early	reception	along	the	Anglo-Welsh	border,	we	can	greatly	enhance	our	understanding	of	its	literary	and	political	complexities.	However,	I	first	want	to	draw	attention	to	Geoffrey’s	seemingly	odd	and	generally	ignored	characterization	of	his	text	(and	the	sources	for	his	text)	as	being	a	“garden.”																																																									192	This	is,	even	as	he	expressly	rejects	that	rhetorical	tradition	which	had	typically	been	tied	to	a	providentialist	historical	reading;	see	Kellie	Robertson,	“Geoffrey	of	Monmouth	and	the	Translation	of	Insular	Historiography”	Arthuriana	8.4	(1998):	42-57.		193	Important	readings	of	the	dedication	include	(but	are	not	limited	to)	Siân	Echard’s	“Who	History?	Naming	Practices	in	the	Transmission	of	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth’s	Historia	regum	Britannie,”	Arthuriana	22.4	(2012):	8-24;	Wright,	“Introduction”	to	Bern	MS:	pp.	ix-liv;	Paul	Dalton,	“The	Topical	Concerns	of	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth’s	Historia	Regum	Britannie:	History,	Prophecy,	Peacemaking	and	English	Identity	in	the	Twelfth	Century,”	Journal	of	British	Studies	44	(2005):	688-712;	Michael	Curley’s	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth	(New	York:	Twayne	Publishers,	1994):	p.	9;	Michelle	Warren’s	History	on	the	Edge:	Excalibur	and	the	Borders	of	Britain	(Minneapolis:	University	of	Minnesota	Press,	2000):	p.29;	and	Martin	Shichtman	and	Laurie	Finke’s	“Profiting	from	the	Past:	History	as	Symbolic	Capital	in	the	Historia	Regum	Britanniae,”	Arthurian	Literature	12	(1993):	1-35.		 99	In	describing	the	composition	of	his	book,	Geoffrey	claims	that	he	has	not	gathered	“falerata	uerba”	from	the	“alienos	ortulos”	for	his	own	garden	of	text,	but	has	instead	maintained	his	own	“agresti...	stilo”	of	“calamis.”	Geoffrey’s	very	words,	of	course,	belie	the	very	claim	they	make,	as	each	word	germinates	and	fertilizes	the	elaborate	style	which	he	has	supposedly	weeded	out:	“agresti”	is	typically	translated	as	“rustic”	or	“humble”,	but	its	etymological	roots	connect	it	to	the	agrarian	“alienos	ortulos”	Geoffrey	has	sworn	off.	His	“propriisque	calamis”	simultaneously	inhabits	the	worlds	of	botanical,	musical,	and	historical	development:	a	calamus	is	literally	a	“reed”	or	“cane”	but	by	synecdochic	extension	is	also	a	“pen”	and	a	“flute”—the	reeds	which	lace	the	reflecting	pools	of	Classical	pleasure	gardens	are	thus	the	instruments	of	narrative	composition	and	the	musical	performance	of	that	narrative.194	Moreover,	he	imagines	piping	this	history	to	the	patron	in	just	such	an	enclosed,	arboreal	pleasure	garden,	safe	from	detractors	and	critics.	The	garden	is	both	a	metaphor	for	Geoffrey’s	history	and	a	metaphor	for	the	idyllic	and	ideal	reception	of	that	history.			 It	becomes	apparent	in	his	dedication	that	Geoffrey’s	garden	does	not	merely	serve	ornamental	purposes	but	is	to	enable	and	encompass	a	certain	transformative	potential:	“Opusculo	igitur	meo,	Stephane	rex	Anglie,	faueas	ut	sic	te	doctore	te	monitore	corrigatur	quod	non	ex	Gaufridi	Monemutensis	fonticulo	censeatur	extortum	set	sale	minerue	tue”	[Therefore,	Stephen,	King	of	England,	accept	my	little	book	and	let	it	be	set	aright	by	your	learning	and	probity	so	that	it	may	no	longer	be	considered	the	work	of	Geoffrey	of																																																									194	For	an	overview	of	Roman	pleasure	gardens	with	special	emphasis	on	the	waterways	see	Katherine	Wentworth	Rinne’s	overview	of	the	Gardens	of	Lucullus	in	Aquae	Urbis	Romae:	The	Waters	of	the	City	of	Rome	(Charlottesville:	Institute	for	Advanced	Technology	in	the	Humanities,	1998-2014).			 100	Monmouth	but	instead	the	product	of	your	own	sagacity.]195	Stephen	is	not	simply	to	read	Geoffrey’s	work	for	his	own	pleasure	and	edification,	but	is	to	correct	it	(corrigatur)	and	create	it	into	his	own.				 It	is	easy	to	dismiss	Geoffrey’s	appeal	to	Stephen	as	political	unctuousness.	Given	Geoffrey’s	direct	proscription	of	British	historical	writing	to	other	historians	at	the	end	of	his	work,	I	think	any	argument	that	Geoffrey	somehow	actually	desires	or	expects	Stephen	to	take	up,	read,	correct	and	then	subsume	the	book	to	his	own	authorship	is	untenable.196	Furthermore,	and	as	I	discuss	in	much	more	detail	in	the	final	section	of	this	chapter,	this	dedication	was	originally	addressed	to	Robert	of	Gloucester	and	he	has	retained	all	parts	of	the	dedication	except	identifying	features	of	Stephen.	However,	despite	being	disingenuous	flattery	of	the	highest	order,	the	offer	does	touch	upon	a	larger	truth	of	Geoffrey’s	work:	reading	history	is	never	a	passive,	inert	process	but	effects	changes	in	both	the	reader	and	the	reading.	Kings	and	histories	possess	an	interlinked	metamorphic	potential,	and	the	figurative	space	of	the	garden—natural	yet	unnatural,	controlling	yet	controlled,	safe	yet	subversive—is	an	apt	metaphor	for	that	potential.		 By	framing	the	political	reception	of	his	work	in	garden	terminology,	Geoffrey	is	both	anticipating	future	literary	gardens	(January’s	garden	in	Chaucer’s	“Merchant’s	Tale”	comes	to	mind	as	particularly	fraught	with	dichotomy	and	subversion)	and	recalling	past	ones.	In	particular,	Geoffrey’s	attention	to	metamorphosis	and	an	important	“codicem”	resonates	strongly	with	the	garden	Saint	Augustine	wandered	into	when	he	was	at	the	height	of	his	internal	turmoil.	Plagued	with	his	continuing	struggle	with	sin	and	secularity,	Augustine	throws	himself	“sub	quadam	fici	arbore”	[beneath	a	certain	fig	tree]	in	the																																																									195	Bern	MS.	3.		196	See	Bern	MS.	208.			 101	garden	which	is	adjacent	to	his	house,	vehemently	petitioning	God	for	guidance.197	Immediately	after	a	heartfelt	supplication,	Augustine	hears	a	small	child’s	voice:	“Et	ecce	audio	vocem	de	vicina	domo	cum	cantu	dicentis	et	crebro	repetentis,	quasi	pueri	an	puellae,	nescio:	‘tolle	lege,	tolle	lege.’	Stamique	mutato	vultu	...	nihil	aliud	interpretans	divinitus	mihi	iuberi	nisi	ut	aperirem	codicem	et	legerem	quod	primum	caput	invenissem.”	[And	behold—I	hear	a	voice	from	the	adjacent	house,	I	do	not	know	if	it	is	a	boy	or	girl,	singing	some	words	repeatedly,	one	after	another:	‘Take	it,	read	it;	take	it,	read	it.”	Immediately	my	face	changed...	I	interpreted	it	as	nothing	less	than	divine	intervention,	commanding	me	to	take	up	the	book	and	read	the	first	section	I	came	upon.]198	Augustine	does	precisely	this,	of	course,	and	the	verse	of	the	Bible	he	reads	(Romans	13:13-14)	provokes	the	lifelong	conversion	of	his	soul	to	superior	Christian	living.			 I	draw	attention	to	this	passage	in	the	Confessions	because	it	helps	to	illustrate	the	symbolism	implicit	in	Geoffrey’s	own	textual	gardens.	Augustine	goes	into	the	garden	to	reflect	upon	his	soul	and	to	find	answers	to	his	metaphysical	queries;	the	garden	and	the	book	enable	and	assist	in	the	internal	reflection	necessary	for	a	miraculous	transformation.	Prostrating	oneself	to	God	beneath	a	fruit	tree	in	a	garden	is,	of	course,	entirely	appropriate:	a	garden	is	where	humankind	lost	the	Earthly	Paradise	through	sin,	and	only	by	reflecting	upon	that	Original	Sin	can	Augustine’s	own	sins	be	reprieved	so	that	he	may	gain	Paradise	proper.	However,	Augustine’s	garden,	as	all	gardens,	is	multivalent—it	is	the	Garden	of	Eden,	yes,	but	it	also	recalls	the	garden	of	Confessions,	Book	II	where	Augustine	stole	some	pears	for	fun,	an	act	he	singles	out	as	particularly	reprehensible	because	of	its																																																									197	Augustine,	Confessions,	ed.	Carolyn	J.B.	Hammond,	Loeb	Classical	Library	(Cambridge:	Harvard	University	Press,	2014):	VIII.28.	My	translation.		198	ibid.,	VIII.29.			 102	lack	of	motive.199	The	ambiguity	of	Augustine’s	garden—being	representative	of	sin	and	salvation,	of	past	and	future,	of	personal	and	universal—is	the	primary	quality	which	enacts	its	metamorphic	ability.	Gardens	are	intentionally	constructed	as	liminal	and	reflective	spaces,	spatially	individuated	for	their	transformative	potential;	they	are	a	simulacrum	of	N/nature,	innerspaces	of	reflection	which	are	themselves	endless	chains	of	symbolic	reflections.			 Much	like	gardens	and	historical	books,	Geoffrey’s	March	of	Wales	is	a	place	of	reflection	and	transformative	potential.	In	one	sense,	its	entire	existence	is	a	consecutive	series	of	reflections:	borders	have	no	primary	“Form”—they	are	modeled	upon	a	model	which	has	no	original.	We	associate	the	Anglo-Welsh	border	with	the	Severn,	with	the	Monnow	and	with	Offa’s	Dyke,	but	the	March	is	only	a	reflection	of	these	natural	and	artificial	physical	divisions	in	the	sense	that	the	March	is	a	reflection	of	previous	borders	where	rivers	and	dykes	were	used	as	physical	divisions.	In	an	Aristotelian	understanding,	the	“matter”	of	the	border	material	is	not	separable	from	the	form	which	precedes	it,	but	the	form	is	itself	modeled	off	of	other	forms.200	It	is	the	symbolic	meanings	attached	to	these	endless	series	of	multivalent	physical	objects	which	creates	any	sense	of	“border-ness.”	As	Henk	van	Houtum	says	in	his	meta-critical	consideration	of	European	borders:	“a	line	in	the	sand	is	not	always	a	limit,	as	well	as	a	border	is	not	always	a	line	in	the	sand.	A	line	is	geometry,	a	border	is	interpretation.”201																																																										199	ibid.,	II.9-14.	200	On	the	unique	developments	of	materialist	philosophy	in	the	Middle	Ages	and	their	distinction	from	Cartesian	dualism,	see	Kellie	Robertson,	“Medieval	Materialism:	A	Manifesto,”	Exemplaria	22.2	(2010):	99-118.		201	“The	Mask	of	the	Border”	in	Ashgate	Research	Companion	to	Border	Studies	ed.	Doris	Wastl-Walters	(Surrey:	Ashgate,	2011):	49-62;	p.50.			 103		 However,	to	say	that	a	border	is	a	reflection	without	a	model	is	not	the	same	thing	as	saying	that	it	is	not	real	or	that	it	is	somehow	ineffectual.	On	the	contrary,	the	March	of	Wales	is	even	more	of	a	productive	and	transformative	space	than	a	Classical	pleasure	garden;	it	is	an	exemplum	par	excellence	of	Baudrillard’s	“hyperreal”	or	Foucault’s	“heterotopia”.	A	garden	is	a	place	of	individual	reflection,	whereas	the	March	of	Wales	is	the	insular	garden	of	reflection	for	British	hegemony,	British	nationalism	and	British	identity.	Geoffrey’s	Historia,	and	especially	his	emphasis	on	and	use	of	the	Arthurian	legend,	plays	a	key	role	in	constructing	this	more-than-real	space	of	identity	negotiation	by	exposing	and	undermining	the	multifarious	potential	of	self-identification	with	Arthur	and	historical	power.	It	is	important	to	emphasize,	however,	that	though	Geoffrey’s	gardenic	history	does	indeed	provide	reflective	spaces	for	both	the	Norman	colonist	and	Welsh	rebel,	the	reflections	engendered	by	the	Historia	are	inherently	misrecognitions.	To	construct	their	reflection	and	fantasized	identity	in	Geoffrey’s	history,	they	must	read	and	recognize	selectively,	ignoring	both	the	evidence	for	contrary	interpretation	and	Geoffrey’s	more	macroscopic	articulation	of	the	bleak	cyclicity	of	secular	historiography.			 My	designation	of	Geoffrey’s	Historia	as	a	‘reflective	space’	is	by	no	means	a	new	notion.	Siân	Echard	has	repeatedly	emphasized	the	Historia’s	place	within	the	“Mirror	for	Princes”	genre	and	scholars	such	as	Fiona	Tolhurst	and	Paul	Dalton	have	aptly	demonstrated	the	ways	in	which	Geoffrey	is	self-consciously	reflective	of	the	shifting	political	ideologies	of	his	day.202	Geoffrey’s	own	claim	that	he	decided	to	pursue	his	project																																																									202	See	Echard,	Arthurian	Narrative	in	the	Latin	Tradition	(Cambridge:	Cambridge	University	Press,	1998):	35.	Fiona	Tolhurst,	“The	Britons	as	Hebrews,	Romans	and	Normans:	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth’s	British	Epic	and	Reflections	of	Empress	Matilda,”	Arthuriana	8.4	(Winter	1998):	69-87;	Paul	Dalton,	“The	Topical	Concerns	of	Geoffrey	of		 104	as	a	flippant	and	random	whim—“Cum	mecum	multa	et	de	multis	sepius	animo	eruoluens	in	hystoriam	regum	Britannie	inciderem”	[Tossing	around	a	great	many	ideas,	I	set	my	mind	on	the	history	of	the	kings	of	Britain]—has	been	largely	ignored	by	critics	for	good	reasons.203			 However,	though	scholars	largely	agree	that	Geoffrey’s	work	is	a	reflection	of	the	political	atmosphere	of	his	time,	the	subject	and	subjectivity	of	the	politics	he	reflects	is	far	from	conclusive.	Being	“of	Monmouth,”	a	town	in	the	March	of	Wales,	and	composing	a	largely	glowing	history	of	the	ancestors	of	the	Welsh	people	has	inspired	some	to	paint	Geoffrey	as	a	patriotic	“Welshman”	(or	of	another	Brythonic	persuasion—namely	Breton	or	Cornish),	who	is	writing	a	history	of	the	British	out	of	a	sense	of	proto-nationalistic	ethnic	sympathy.204	His	wide	familiarity	with	British	folklore,	important	genres	of	Welsh	literature	(the	Triads,	political	prophecy,	etc.),	and	with	the	Welsh	language	(though	to	what	degree	remains	uncertain),	indicate	that	Geoffrey	actively	‘researched’	his	subject	matter	and	that	he	shows	indisputable	signs	of	fondness	for	that	subject	matter.		Nonetheless,	it	is	also	undeniable	that	parts	of	Geoffrey’s	history	lend	themselves	well	to	the	Anglo-Norman	political	agenda	in	Wales	and	the	Marches.	Though	Geoffrey	undeniably	revels	in	the	glorious	and	unparalleled	power	and	magnanimity	of	the	British	kings	and	people,	his	description	of	the	descendants	of	these	kings	and	peoples	is	hardly	complimentary:																																																										Monmouth’s	Historia	Regum	Britannie:	History,	Prophecy,	Peacemaking	and	English	Identity	in	the	Twelfth	Century,”	Journal	of	British	Studies	44	(2005):	688-712.		203	Bern	MS	1.		204	See	A.O.H.	Jarman	Sieffre	o	Fynwy	(Caerdydd:	Gwasg	Prifysgol	Cymru,	1966);	Brynley	Roberts,	“Geoffrey	of	Monmouth	and	the	Welsh	Historical	Tradition,”	Nottingham	Mediaeval	Studies	20	(1976):	29-40;	and	Karen	Junkulak,	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	2010).			 105	Supradicta	namque	mortalitas	et	fames	atque	consuetudinarium	discidium	in	tantum	coegerat	populum	superbum	degenerare	quod	hostes	longius	arcere	nequiuerant.	Barbarie	etiam	irrepente,	iam	non	uocabantur	Britones	sed	Gualenses,	uocabulum	siue	a	Gualone	duce	eorum	siue	a	Galaes	regina	siue	a	barbarie	trahentes.	Degenerati	autem	a	Britannica	nobilitate	Gualenses	numquam	postea	monarchiam	insulae	recuperauerunt.		[The	above-mentioned	death	and	famine,	as	well	as	their	usual	internal	strife,	made	this	proud	people	degenerate	so	that	they	could	not	ward	off	the	enemy	any	further.	As	the	barbarism	encroached	upon	them,	they	were	no	longer	called	Britons	but	Welsh,	called	Welsh	after	either	their	king	Gualo,	or	their	queen	Galaes	or	else	drawn	from	their	barbarism.	Degenerated	from	their	nobility	as	Britons,	the	Welsh	never	recovered	kingship	over	the	island.]205	With	his	characteristic	history-by-nomenclature,	Geoffrey	narrates	the	damning	renaming	of	the	Brythonic-speaking	people	of	Western	Britain	from	the	Britones	to	Gualenses,	from	‘British’	to	‘Welsh’.	The	etymological	parallel	of	wealh	[AS	‘foreigner’]	and	barbarie	[L	‘non-Roman/Greek’]	that	Geoffrey	implies	here	is	largely	accurate	in	one	sense,	but	he	overlays	the	etymology	with	accusations	of	barbarity/depravity.				 Some	scholars	have	been	able	to	work	around	such	comments	by	stressing	Geoffrey’s	“outsider”	position	within	Anglo-Norman	political	circles	and	downplaying	the	“real”	implications	of	such	comments.	Monika	Otter,	for	instance,	sees	Geoffrey	as	theoretical	and	playful	in	his	historiography,	and	says	he	does	not	have	“much	invested	in																																																									205	Bern	MS,	sec.	207.	My	translation.		 106	the	referentiality	of	his	narrative,	its	ties	to	historical	reality.”206	John	Gillingham	suggests	that	though	this	particular	passage	is	suggestive	of	Anglo-Norman	colonial	rhetoric,	we	should	remember	that	the	condemnation	essentially	just	returns	the	Welsh	to	the	status	of	their	Trojan	ancestors	after	they	had	been	pummeled	by	the	Greek	army:	they	are	savages,	roaming	in	the	wilderness	without	a	nation.	As	Gillingham	puts	it,	“what	their	ancestors	had	done,	the	Welsh	could	surely	do	again.”207			 On	the	other	hand,	other	scholars	have	been	less	willing	to	defend	Geoffrey	from	accusations	of	colonial	rhetoric.	Michael	Faletra	has	repeatedly	and	consistently	stressed	the	teleology	of	Geoffrey’s	history	and	argues	that	Geoffrey’s	history	perpetuates	“textual	myths	of	innate	defeatedness—and	the	inevitable	defeatability—of	the	British	people.”208	Though	Echard	emphasizes	the	playful	complexity	with	which	Geoffrey	articulates	his	novel	version	of	historiography,	she	also	notes	the	judgmental	implications	of	Geoffrey’s	teleological	mode:	“throughout	the	Historia,	the	Britons	are	shown	to	be	incapable	of	achieving	a	lasting	peace;	the	story	of	Arthur,	at	once	their	greatest	king	and	their	most	tragic,	may	indicate	that	the	root	of	the	problem	is	to	be	found	somewhere	in	the	Britons																																																									206	Inventiones:	Fiction	and	Referentiality	in	Twelfth-Century	English	Historical	Writing	(Chapel	Hill:	University	of	North	Carolina	Press,	1996):	p.80.	See	also	Valerie	I.	J.	Flint,	“The	Historia	Regum	Britanniae	of	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth:	Parody	and	Its	Purpose.	A	Suggestion”	Speculum	54	(1979):	447-468.	207	“The	Context	and	Purposes	of	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth’s	History	of	the	Kings	o	f	Britain,”	in	The	English	in	the	Twelfth	Century:	Imperialism,	National	Identity	and	Political	Values	(Woodbridge:	Boydell,	2000):	p.	31.		208	Michael	Faletra,	“Narrating	the	Matter	of	Britain:	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth	and	the	Norman	Colonization	of	Wales.”	Chaucer	Review:	A	Journal	of	Medieval	Studies	and	Literary	Criticism	35,	no.	1	(2000):	60-85;	82.	See	also	his	review	(and	confirmation)	of	this	argument	in	his	Wales	and	the	Medieval	Colonial	Imagination:	The	Matters	of	Britain	in	the	Twelfth	Century	(New	York:	Palgrave,	2014):	19-54.			 107	themselves.”209	Geoffrey’s	Britons	might	have	once	been	glorious,	but	the	present	state	of	the	Welsh	race	is	a	different	matter	altogether.			 It	would	be	helpful	to	this	debate	if	we	separate	the	largely	assumed	biographical	details	of	Geoffrey’s	life	from	the	more	easily	comprehensible	details	of	Geoffrey’s	history.	No	matter	what	ethnicity	Geoffrey	might	be,	his	history	is	unequivocally	a	product	of	the	March	of	Wales	and	the	cultural	interchange	which	had	been	going	on	there	for	centuries	beforehand.	It	is	from	this	perspective—not	that	of	his	Welsh	subjects	or	his	Norman	patrons—that	Geoffrey’s	history	is	told.			 Aspects	of	Geoffrey’s	border	perspective	have	already	been	noted:	Michelle	Warren	sees	the	“simultaneously	nostalgic	and	prospective”	Historia	as	a	product	of	Geoffrey’s	border	confusion.210	Warren	explains	that	at	times,	such	as	the	passage	mentioned	above,	Geoffrey	is	caught	up	in	admiring	and	justifying	Norman	colonial	expansion	while	at	other	times	he	feels	pressured	to	condemn	such	expansion;	he,	like	his	text,	is	the	product	of	postcolonial	ambiguity.	In	Warren’s	description,	amid	contradictory	political	pressures,	Geoffrey	ultimately	becomes	confused:	“Geoffrey	cannot	decide...	between	Welsh	self-identification	and	outside	judgment,	or	between	the	conquered	English	and	the	conquering	Normans.”211	Warren’s	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth	alternates	allegiances	in	his	text	in	the	same	manner	as	the	land	alternates	ownership	in	the	contested	warzones	along	the	border.			 Similarly,	Patricia	Ingham	notes	the	inconsistencies	of	Geoffrey’s	text	and	situates	his	endeavor	as	inhabiting	a	contested	space	between	the	Anglo-Norman	colonial	model	and	Welsh	heritage.	However,	for	Ingham,	unlike	Warren,	Geoffrey’s	“ambiguity”	is	not	the																																																									209	Echard,	Arthurian	Narrative,	52.		210	Warren,	History	on	the	Edge:	51	211	ibid.	50.			 108	product	of	confusion	but	of	“political	canniness:”	by	appealing	to	a	“diverse	and	fractured	audience”	Geoffrey	is	able	to	skirt	political	pigeonholing	and	achieve	a	wide	readership.212	Provocatively,	Ingham	draws	our	attention	to	the	dynamic	parallels	between	Geoffrey’s	project	and	Merlin’s	prophetic	speech	to	Vortigern.	The	prophecies	are	derivative	of	a	very	anti-colonial	prophetic	tradition	in	Wales	and	are	unequivocally	contrary	to	Vortigern	(the	invasive	and	ineffectual	king).	Nonetheless,	the	prophecies’	“divergent	interpretations”	were	contested	by	both	colonial	Anglo-Normans	and	colonized	Welshmen.	Geoffrey’s	“oppositional	discourse”	suggests	a	“subtle	relation	between	Monmouth’s	Anglo-Norman	patrons	and	Welsh	resisters	of	Anglo-Norman	rule	...	[which]	explains	in	part	the	long-lived	popularity	of	Geoffrey’s	text.”213				 I	agree	with	Ingham	that	Geoffrey	is	engaged	in	a	conscious	“double-speak”	of	sorts	and	that	Merlin	is	an	appropriate	character	to	compare	with	Geoffrey’s	larger	project.	Geoffrey	is	able	to	appeal	to	multiple	Anglo-Norman	patrons—often	with	distinctly	different	political	agendas—while	also	providing	a	space	for	Welsh	resistance	to	the	Anglo-Norman	colonial	model.	As	I	argue,	Geoffrey’s	historical	book	and	the	borderland	culture	from	which	it	arises	are,	like	gardens,	spaces	of	transformative	reflection	for	both	country	and	culture,	for	sponsor	and	subterfuge,	for	monarch	and	malcontent.	However,	every	recognition	engendered	by	the	reflective	spaces	of	Geoffrey’s	Historia	and	the	March	of	Wales	is	inherently	a	mis-recognition;	the	images	reflected	and	refracted	back	upon	the	reader	must	be	mis-read	and	mis-recognized	in	order	for	these	transformative	points	to	transpire.	As	the	Lacanian	subject’s	méconnaissance	(their	misrecognition	of	themselves	in																																																									212	Patricia	Claire	Ingham,	Sovereign	Fantasies:	Arthurian	Romance	and	the	Making	of	Britain	(Philadelphia:	University	of	Pennsylvania	Press,	2001):	36,	39.		213	Ingham,	Soveriegn	Fantasies	39.			 109	the	Imago	of	the	mirror)	enables	their	entry	into	the	symbolic	realm	(language),	so	too	does	Geoffrey’s	consciously	constructed	series	of	misrecognitions	enable	symbolic	negotiation.	Nationalism,	Empire,	and	collective	identity	are	all	imaginary	and	arbitrary	concepts	of	the	symbolic	realm	which	are	being	questioned,	constructed	and	hardened	in	the	March	of	Wales	and	the	Historia.	So,	if	all	readers	are	compelled	by	Geoffrey	to	engage	in	a	“national	fantasy”	of	“totam	insulam,”	as	Ingham	suggests,	it	is	because	they	have	missed	his	larger	point.214	Very	much	like	Merlin	indeed,	Geoffrey	sees	a	larger	historical	truth	than	the	immediate	recipients	of	his	discourse	are	willing	to	admit:	the	fantastic	reflections	of	insular	unity	and	historical	sovereignty	that	the	Historia	enables	his	readers	to	narcissistically	indulge	in	are	always	as	transient	as	the	kings	who	construct	them.			King	Arthur	and	Insular	Reflection/Refractions		 Midway	through	his	narrative	on	the	reign	of	King	Arthur,	after	Arthur’s	army	has	ousted	the	Saxons	from	the	island	and	defeated	the	French	in	their	own	country,	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth	indulges	his	readers	in	a	long	and	unprecedented	description	of	a	feast	in	the	ostentatious	court	of	(what	would	eventually	become)	the	border	city	of	Caerleon.	There	is	a	long	list	of	notable	attendees,	a	description	of	the	processions	and	ceremonies,	and	notes	to	the	styles	of	dress	these	ancient	noble	Britons	were	prone	to.	Then,	as	if	he	has	suddenly	noticed	that	his	descriptions	are	derailing	the	flow	of	the	narrative,	Geoffrey,	uncharacteristically	(though	not	without	precedence)	interjects	himself	into	the	history	to	unveil	what	we	are	given	to	understand	is	his	larger	‘point’	in	the	long	description	of	the	British	court:																																																										214	ibid.,	40.		 110	Ad	tantum	etenim	statum	dignitatis	Britannia	tunc	reducta	erat	quod	copia	diuiciarum,	luxu	ornamentorum,	facecia	incolarum	cetera	regna	excellebat.	Quicunque	uero	famosus	probitate	miles	in	eadem	erat	unius	coloris	uestibus	atque	armis	utebatur.	Facete	etiam	mulieres	consimilia	indumenta	habentes	nullius	amorem	habere	dignabantur	nisi	tertio	in	milicia	probatus	esset.	Efficiebantur	ergo	caste	et	meliores	et	milites	pro	amore	illarum	probiores.	[Britain	had	at	that	point	attained	such	a	state	of	dignity	that	it	surpassed	all	other	kingdoms	in	its	courtliness,	in	the	extravagance	of	its	fineries,	and	in	the	polished	manners	of	its	citizens.	Every	individual	knight	of	fame	and	virtue	in	the	kingdom	bore	a	livery	and	arms	of	a	unique	color.	The	women	of	those	days	had	a	similarly	high	style	of	dress.	And	those	ladies	would	only	grant	their	love	to	a	man	who	had	thrice	proven	his	worth	in	battle.]215	I	am	not	aware	of	a	more	fundamental	encapsulation	of	the	chivalric	idealism	with	which	we	associate	the	courtly	literature	of	the	High	Middle	Ages.	The	magnanimous	rule	of	a	powerful	king	and	the	military	valor	of	his	chosen	peers	have	a	‘trickle	down’	effect	on	society	at	large:	the	ladies	are	chaste,	the	knights	more	valorous	for	the	female	chastity,	and	the	court	embodies	a	superlative	ideal	that	can	be	emulated	around	the	world.	The	nobles	dress	well	and	the	citizens	even	excel	in	good	manners.		 Scholarship	on	the	Arthurian	section	has	tended	to	stress	the	ways	in	which	Geoffrey’s	Arthur	appeals	to	the	values	of	Anglo-Norman	aristocracy.	As	Maureen	Fries	describes	it,	“Geoffrey’s	Arthur	even	eclipsed	Charlemagne”—not	an	easy	task	given																																																									215	Bern	MS,	157.			 111	Charlemagne’s	popularity	in	the	twelfth-century	francophone	world.216	More	recently,	Faletra	has	emphasized	the	distinctions	between	the	Arthurian	court	depicted	in	this	passage	and	the	“rough-and-tumble”	Arthurian	worlds	of	Welsh	texts	like	Culhwch	ac	Olwen,	Preiddeu	Annwfn,	“Pa	Gur?”	and	the	Historia	Brittonum.	For	Faletra,	the	conscious	departure	away	from	these	models	is	reflective	of	Geoffrey’s	intended	audience,	his	intent	on	edification,	and	his	colonial	agenda:	“Geoffrey’s	King	Arthur...	embodies	Anglo-Norman	modernity.”217	The	Arthurian	Britons,	then,	are	an	anachronistic	allegory	for	Anglo-Norman	aristocracy.	Geoffrey	is	constructing	a	political	reflection	of	the	ruling	class	and	is	exaggerating	that	reflection	in	order	to	inspire	his	readers	to	attain	a	superlative	ideal.	 	 It	would	be	grossly	inaccurate,	however,	to	suggest	that	such	a	superlative	depiction	of	courtly	perfection	were	an	accurate	reflection	of	the	Anglo-Norman	elite	in	the	twelfth	century;	so	we	must	assume	that	this	scene	is	a	reflection	of	how	they	wished	to	be	seen	or	is	a	reflection	of	an	ideal	which	they	might	emulate.	Such	is	the	assessment	by	Fries	who,	correctly,	points	out	that	such	Arthurian	idealization	did	not	stop	with	the	Normans:	“[Arthur]	served	as	however	partial	a	corrective	to	the	vices	not	only	of	the	Anglo-Normans	but	of	other	English	dynasties	in	centuries	to	come.”218	The	Arthurian	court	is	a	glorified	exemplum,	structured	to	be	the	fantasized	object	of	desire	for	Anglo-Norman/English	aristocracy.		Though	not	inaccurate,	this	line	of	thought	has	had	the	cumulative	effect	of	oversimplifying	Geoffrey’s	political	negotiations	here.	The	scholarly	emphasis	on	this	correlation	between	Geoffrey’s	Arthurian	world	and	Anglo-Norman	politics	logically	begs																																																									216	Maureen	Fries,	“The	Arthurian	Moment:	History	and	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth’s	Historia	regum	Britannie,”	Arthuriana	8.4	(1998):	87-99,	98.		217	Wales	and	the	Colonial	Imagination,	43		218	“The	Arthurian	Moment,”	98.			 112	the	question:	why	must	idealized	reflections	of	courtly	superiority	only	be	relative	to	English	dynasties?	Are	we	to	assume	that	attributing	courtly	superiority	to	the	ancestors	of	the	Welsh	princes	would	be	somehow	unappealing	to	Welsh	readers?	Are	the	Welsh	of	the	twelfth	century	not	similarly	prone	to	the	desires	for	Eurocentric	superiority	and	high-medieval	chivalric	identity?			 On	the	contrary,	the	Welsh	were	in	fact	voracious	readers	of	“courtly”	literature,	as	their	early	translations	and	adaptations	of	French	Romance	suggest.	Boeve	de	Hamptoun	and	Amis	et	Amiles	were	translated	rather	early	in	Wales,	as	was	the	Chanson	de	Roland.219	By	the	fourteenth	century	Perlesvaus	had	been	translated	into	Welsh,	and	that	adaptor	shows	familiarity	with	the	prose	Lancelot	text	as	well.220	A	more	genteel	and	“modern”	Arthurian	world	is	similarly	present	in	the	very	early	cognates	of	Chrétien	de	Troyes’	romances:	“Owain,	neu	Chwedyl	Iarlles	Y	Ffynnawn”	(“Yvain,	le	Chevalier	au	Lion”),	“Geraint	mab	Erbin”	(“Eric	et	Enide”),	and	“Peredur	mab	Efrawg”	(“Perceval,	le	Conte	du	Graal”).221	Though	it	is	not	clear	whether	these	tales	are	derivative	of	Chrétien	or	whether	they	and	Chrétien’s	tales	are	derivative	of	a	similar	source,	their	presentation	of	the	Arthurian	court	in	a	similarly	refined	courtly	environment	to	Chrétien’s	speaks	to	the	appeal	of	that	environment	to	twelfth-century	Welsh	readers.	The	English	would	do	well	to																																																									219	Katherine	Hurlock	discusses	various	dates	of	these	romances	in	Wales	and	the	Crusades	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	2011).	220	See	Ceridwen	Lloyd-Morgan,	“Romances	in	Welsh,”	in	John	Koch’s	Celtic	Culture:	A	Historical	Encyclopedia	(Santa	Barbara:	ABC-Clio,	2006):	pp.	1528-29.		221	I	use	the	term	“cognate”	to	abstain	from	what	I	see	as	the	yet	unresolved	debate	on	the	production	history	of	these	texts.	See	Susan	Aronstein,	"When	Arthur	Held	Court	in	Caer	Llion:	Love,	Marriage,	and	the	Politics	of	Centralization	in	Gereint	and	Owein".	Viator	25	(1994):	215–28;	R.L.	Thomson,	"Owain:	Chwedl	Iarlles	y	Ffynnon"	in	The	Arthur	of	the	Welsh:	The	Arthurian	Legend	in	Medieval	Welsh	Literature,	ed.	Rachel	Bromwich	et.	al.	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	1991):	159–69;	Kristen	Lee	Over,	Kingship,	Conquest,	and	Patria:	Literary	and	Cultural	Identities	in	Medieval	French	and	Welsh	Arthurian	Romance	(New	York:	Routledge,	2005).			 113	note	that	the	Welsh	jumped	on	the	“courtly	literature”	bandwagon	decades,	and	in	some	cases	centuries,	before	any	of	these	works	were	translated	into	Middle	English.			 Furthermore,	it	is	not	as	if	these	concepts	are	wholly	“imported”	into	Wales	through	French	literature—as	they	undoubtedly	were	for	the	Anglo-Normans.	The	courtly	environment	glorified	in	the	Gogynfeirdd	(“Rather	Early	Bards”)	praise	poetry	complements	Geoffrey’s	descriptions	of	the	Arthurian	court	in	some	interesting	ways.222	The	border	poet	Cynddelw	Brydydd	Mawr,	who	was	roughly	contemporary	to	Geoffrey,	composed	over	3,000	lines	of	verse	mostly	in	praise	of	the	(exaggerated)	fabulous	courts	and	military	deeds	of	the	rulers	of	Powys	and	Gwynedd.	Cynddelw’s	praise	of	the	Welsh	courts	combines	the	eerie	imagistic	visual	poetry	of	the	Cynfeirdd	(“Early	Bards”)	with	the	elaborate	courtly	displays	of	noble	power	typical	of	the	wider	European	literary	tradition:		“Am	hirvryn	hivraisc	eryr;		Am	Havren	hyuryd	gwen	gwyr.		Ar	llaw	ywein	hael	hawl	dilin	gwrualch		Y	mae	gorvlwch	eurin;		Anrydet	gwymp	arwet	gwin;		Anrec	brivdec	breyenin....	Nis	arvait	llew	o	dan	lloer	Gwaew	crwm	yn	dyt	trwm,	trwy	fwyr		gwan	fysc	,	yn	eurwysc	yn	aer.”	[On	Long	Mountain	the	eagle	is	grand;	On	the	Severn	the	men	are	pleasant	and	fair.																																																										222	The	Gogynfeirdd	range	from	1087	to	about	1300,	coming	after	the	Cynfeirdd	(“Old	Bards”)	and	before	the	Beirdd	y	Tywysogion	(“bards	of	the	princes”).			 114	In	the	hand	of	generous	Owain,	who	pursues	his	privilege	with	manly-pride	There	is	a	golden	goblet;		Fine	honor	it	is	to	bear	wine,	The	prized	gift	of	kings....		There	is	not	a	lion	under	the	moon	to	harm	him	On	the	day	of	battle	his	lance	is	bent	in	terror	{dealing}	Swift	strikes	in	his	golden	tunic	in	war.]223	Cynddelw	here	lavishes	praise	on	Owain	Cyfeiliog’s	court	by	praising	the	wine	and	food	offered,	by	praising	Owain’s	lavish	golden	tunic	or	chainmail	and,	as	always,	by	emphasizing	the	generosity	of	his	host.	Much	as	Arthur’s	magnanimity	has	a	‘trickle	down	effect’	on	his	court,	so	are	Owain’s	men	“gwen”	[fair]	and	“hyfryd”	[pleasant]	as	a	reflection	of	Owain’s	rule.		These	are,	of	course,	are	much	the	same	features	which	Geoffrey	finds	cause	to	praise	in	Arthur’s	court.	Without	doubt,	Geoffrey’s	description	of	the	Arthurian	court	is	a	bit	more	classicizing	in	tone	than	the	descriptive	spaces	of	the	Gogynfeirdd	poets	(the	games	of	the	Pentecost	celebration	recall	Vergil’s	description	of	Anchises’	funeral	games	as	much	as	they	allude	to	medieval	jousting	tournaments);	and	Geoffrey	is	also	much	more																																																									223	Text	from	Edward	Anwyl,	ed.,	The	Poetry	of	the	Gogynfeirdd,	vol.	3	of	The	Myvyrian	Archaiology	(sic.)	of	Wales	(Denbigh:	Gee	and	Son,	1807):	58-59.	My	translation.	The	poem	is	titled	in	the	edition	as	“Englynion...	Y	Ewein	Kyueilyawc”	[Englynion	to	Owain	Cyfeiliog],	nephew	of	Madoc	ap	Maredudd	and	ruler	of	southern	Powys	from	1147	to	1195.	The	“Long	Mountain”	of	the	first	quoted	line	is	to	the	east	of	Welshpool.	The	“eagle”	of	the	second	line	is	a	reference	to	Owain.			 115	accessible	in	terms	of	diction	and	allusions	than	his	Welsh	contemporaries.224	However,	“high	medieval”	courtly	culture	is	of	equal	value	in	both	of	these	traditions.		Though	Arthur	does	not	feature	as	prominently	in	the	Gogynfeirdd	poetry	before	Geoffrey’s	Historia	became	inordinately	popular	in	the	later	twelfth	century,	Arthur	is	still	part	and	parcel	of	the	Gogynfeirdd’s	stock	of	positive	legends	they	use	to	compliment	princes.	See,	for	example,	Cynddelw’s	praise	of	Madoc	ap	Maredudd’s	warriors	upon	Madoc’s	death	in	1160:	“Teulu	madawc	mawrglod	mur	/	Mal	gawr	toryf	teulu	Arthur”	“The	warband	of	Madog,	a	greatly-praised	wall	(of	defense),	/	Like	the	battle	cry	of	Arthur’s	warband.”225	Similar	to	the	praise	of	Cynddylan	some	centuries	previous,	Arthur	and	his	warband	are	epitomized	as	a	superlative	of	defense	and	Madoc’s	accomplishments	in	that	task	are	favorably	compared	with	Arthur.	Cyddelw	was	not	the	only	poet	of	the	twelfth	century	to	favorably	compare	Madoc	to	Arthur.	Gwalchmai	ap	Meilyr	(who	may	very	well	be	named	after	Arthur’s	famous	nephew,	rendered	into	English	as	“Gawain”)	also	memorialized	King	Madoc	in	Arthurian	references:	“Arthur	gadernyd	/	Menwyd	medrawd	/	Madawg”	[The	strength	of	Arthur	and	the	intelligence	of	Medrawt	(had)	Madoc].226	Although	this	poem	was	written	not	long	after	Madoc’s	death	in	1160,	the	unambiguously	positive	comparison	of	Medrawt	to	Madoc	indicates	that	Gwalchmai	is	surprisingly,	but	almost	certainly,	uninfluenced	by	Geoffrey	or																																																									224	Geoffrey’s	accessibility	in	diction	and	allusion	over	the	Gogynfeirdd	applies	even	to	Welsh	readers	of	Geoffrey,	either	through	the	original	Latin	or	the	Brutiau	y	Brenhinedd,	discussed	below.	The	Gogynfeirdd	were	trained	for	many	years	in	replicating	the	language	of	the	earlier	poets,	and	prized	difficult	linguistic	constructions	and	highly	allusive	imagery;	see	John	Jay	Parry’s	overview	of	the	genre	in	“The	Court	Poets	of	the	Welsh	Princes”	PMLA	67.4	(1952):	511-520.	225	Myv.	Arch.	44.	My	translation.		226	ibid.	35.	My	translation.		 116	Wace—otherwise	a	comparison	to	Medrawt	would	be	very	inappropriate	for	a	praise	poem	indeed.227	Make	no	mistake,	after	Geoffrey’s	Historia—and	the	vernacular	revisions	by	Wace	and	Laȝamon—became	more	widely	read	in	Wales	towards	the	end	of	the	twelfth	century,	references	to	Arthur	in	Gogynfeirdd	poetry	considerably	spiked.	Llywarch	ab	Llywelyn	(c.	1160	–	1220),	for	instance,	refers	to	Arthur	in	about	a	third	of	his	(relatively	extensive)	corpus,	and	he	was	writing	before	Geoffrey’s	text	was	translated	into	Welsh.	Many	of	these	references	show	direct	influence	from	Geoffrey,	while	others	still	appear	to	be	referencing	the	older	tradition.	As	I	discuss	further	in	Chapter	Five,	in	reference	to	Iolo	Goch	in	the	fourteenth	century,	the	competing	traditions	and	versions	of	the	legend	provided	a	complex	stockpile	of	“Arthurs”	for	praise	poets	to	choose	from.	Geoffrey	demonstrably	influenced	that	genre,	but	the	Historia	seems	to	have	amplified	rather	than	introduced	that	practice.228																																																										227	Medrawt	has	been	associated	with	the	Arthurian	legend	since	at	least	the	tenth	century	Annales	Cambria,	but	Geoffrey’s	story	of	him	is	the	first	to	record	the	character	in	unambiguously	negative	terms—as	the	captor/lover	of	Gwenevere	and	the	usurper	of	the	throne.	The	Annales	merely	report	that	at	the	Battle	of	Camlan,	“Arthur	et	Medraut	corruere”	[Arthur	and	Medraut	fell]—the	authors	give	no	indication	as	to	the	causes	of	the	conflict	nor	do	they	even	imply	that	the	two	are	fighting	against	each	other.	“Breuddwyd	Rhonabwy”	hints	at	a	similar	alternate	background	to	the	conflict,	and	places	the	blame	for	the	fight	squarely	on	intentional	translator	error—not	adultery	or	a	coup—which	opens	up	the	potential	for	early	positivist	readings	of	Medrawt.	For	the	Annales,	see	E.	Faral,	La	légende	arthurienne:	Études	et	documents,	le	plus	anciens	textes	(Paris:	Libraire	Ancienne	Honoré	Champion,	1929):	45;	for	“Rhonabwy,”	see	Breudwyt	Ronabwy	allan	o’r	Llyfr	Coch	o	Hergest,	ed.	Melville	Richards	(University	of	Wales	Press,	1948).	I	discuss	the	intentional	mistranslation	in	Breuddwyd	Rhonabwy	further	in	Chapter	Four.		228	It	is	difficult	to	judge	precisely	when	and	how	the	Historia	began	to	really	influence	the	Court	Poets.	Cynddelw,	for	instance,	mentions	Arthur	at	least	twice	more	in	his	later	poetry	(ca.	1200).	Once	in	a	poem	about	Llywelyn	ap	Iowerth,	and	once	in	a	religious	poem.	The	poem	to	Llywelyn,	which	catalogues	and	describes	his	battles,	comparing	his	patron	to	“Arthur	gynt	ffuyr	luchynt	fflam”	[Arthur	of	yore,	the	gleaming	flame	of	terror]—an	epithet	which	seems	to	fit	better	with	the	pre-Galfridian	tradition,	though	it	is	certainly	not		 117	These	compliments,	as	evidenced	by	Gwalchmai	and	Cynddelw,	are	rarely	substantial	and	are	depictions	of	Arthur	which	are	broadly	represented	in	other	Welsh	texts.	As	in	earlier	references	(Y	Gododdin,	“Marwnad	Cynddylan,”	etc.),	the	Gogynfeirdd’s	Arthur	is	generally	a	point	of	comparison	for	superlative	military	heroism	and	homeland	defense.	Geoffrey’s	layering	of	that	superlative	heroism	with	overtones	of	chivalric	idealism	is	certainly	innovative	to	the	typical	twelfth-century	depiction	of	him	in	Welsh	language	literature,	but	it	is	far	from	aberrant	to	the	tradition	at	large.	The	presentation	of	Arthur	as	a	magnanimous	warrior	king	with	a	stately	court,	replete	with	love	poetry	and	noble	dress,	is	perfectly	consistent	and	complementary	to	the	types	of	anachronistic	comparisons	Welsh	princes	would	have	been	used	to.			 It	is	also	important	to	point	out	that	there	are	certain	aspects	of	Geoffrey’s	portrayal	of	Arthur	which	would	have	been	particularly	compelling	for	a	Welsh	audience.	Most	obviously	(though	interestingly	often	ignored)	is	the	fact	that	Arthur	is	the	ancestor	of	the	Welsh	nobility	who	might	be	reading	the	Historia.	Anachronistic	political	allegories	aside,	if	Arthur	might	be	representative	of	what	Faletra	calls	“Norman	modernity”,	or	might	be	representative	of	the	twelfth-century	Welsh	princes,	as	I	suggest	above,	he	is	most	directly	representative	of	Geoffrey’s	conception	of	the	fifth-century	British.	Undoubtedly,	Geoffrey’s																																																									antithetical	to	Geoffrey’s	Arthur	(Myv.	Arch.	63,	my	translation).	However,	in	a	later	poem	which	Oliver	Padel	has	written	about,	Cynddelw	mentions	Arthur	as	a	powerful	but	also	fleeting	king	in	a	list	of	other	major	kings	and	heroes:	“Rybu	erthyst	yn:	rybu	Arthur	gynt;	/	ryb	amgyfrawd	gwynt,	gwan	tra	messur.	/	Rybu	Ull	Kessar;	keissyassei	Fflur	/	y	gan	ut	Prydien,	prid	y	hesgur.”	[“We	have	received	a	lesson:	Arthur	existed,	once;	he	was	a	whirlwind,	attacking	beyond	measure.	Julius	Caesar	existed;	he	had	sought	Flora	from	the	lord	of	Britain—dearly	he	claimed	her”]	(Myr.	Arch.	68,	Padel’s	translation).	Cynddelw	also	mentions	Bendigeidfran	mab	Llyr	and	Hercules	in	this	section.	As	Padel	argues,	representing	Arthur	as	a	powerful	emperor	seems	more	Galfridian	(though	cf.	the	previous	reference	in	“Geraint	Filius	Erbin”	to	Arthur	as	“ameraudur”	[emperor]).	See	Oliver	Padel,	Arthur	in	Medieval	Welsh	Literature	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	2000):	41.				 118	nostalgic	admiration	for	the	glory	days	of	British	imperial	rule	contrasts	with	his	characterization	of	the	current	state	of	Welsh	“barbarity”—but	nostalgic	admiration	is	admiration	nonetheless,	and	such	sentiments	do	not,	to	my	mind,	pigeonhole	him	as	a	colonial	advocate.	Lamenting	the	contemporary	state	of	Welsh	rule	in	favor	of	their	heroic	(Arthurian)	predecessors	in	Welsh	literature	of	the	twelfth	century	was	at	least	common	enough	for	the	author	of	Breuddwyd	Rhonabwy	to	satirize	such	nostalgia	in	the	following	century.229			 Also,	the	description	of	the	splendor	of	the	Arthurian	court	in	the	Historia	quoted	above	is	preceded	by	a	long	list	of	the	attendees	to	the	Pentecostal	celebration	which	would	have	particular	appeal	for	a	Welsh	audience.	The	first	part	of	the	list	catalogues	the	(largely	invented)	nobility	and	ecclesiastical	elite	from	far-flung	areas	of	the	world	while	the	second	part	of	the	list	purports	to	name	the	“dignitatis	heroes”	who	also	attended	the	feast:	“Donaut	Mappapo,	Cheneus	Mapcoil,	Pederur	Maheridur,	Grifud	Mapnogoid,	Regin	Mapclaud,	Eddelein	Mapcledauc...”	and	the	list	goes	on.	This	exhaustive	list	of	warriors	and	kings	who	accompany	Arthur	is	consciously	modeled	on	the	epic	catalogue	of	Arthur’s	warriors	Culhwch	invokes	in	Culhwch	ac	Olwen:	“Ae	hasswynaw	awnaf	ar	dy	uilwyr...	A	Chubert	mab	Daere,	a	Phercos	mab	Poch,	a	Lluber	Beuthach,	a	Choruil	Beruach,	a	Gwyn	mab	Esni,	a	Gwynn	mab	Nwyfure,	a	Gwynn	mab	Nud,	ac	Edern	mab	Nud”	[I	invoke	her	by	the	names	of	your	{Arthur’s}	warriors...	By	Cubert	son	of	Daere,	and	Ffercos	son	of	Poch,	and	Lluber	Beuthach,	and	Corfil	Berfach,	and	Gwyn	son	of	Esni,	and	Gwyn	son	of	Nwyfure,																																																									229	I	discuss	the	satirical	aspects	of	Rhonabwy	more	extensively	in	Chapter	Four.				 119	and	Gwyn	son	of	Nud,	and	Edern	son	of	Nud.”230	For	the	wider	European	audience	of	the	Historia,	the	warrior	list	Geoffrey	includes	merely	demonstrates	Arthur’s	fame	and	influence,	or	perhaps	it	vaguely	recalls	epic	catalogues	in	the	Aeneid.	For	a	Welsh	audience,	however,	the	list	entailed	a	more	culturally	appropriate	allusion	to	this	famous	catalogue	of	warriors	in	Culhwch.	Furthermore,	as	this	brief	selection	of	Geoffrey’s	catalogue	demonstrates,	these	heroes	are	very,	very	Welsh,	replete	with	the	patronymic	“map”	in	each	name.	Geoffrey	has	probably	derived	these	names	from	contemporary	genealogical	material	which	we,	unfortunately,	no	longer	have	access	to.	The	fact	that	they	are	Welsh	names	is	not,	in	and	of	itself,	particularly	unusual—Geoffrey	uses	Welsh	names	throughout	the	Historia.	Rarely,	however,	are	they	preserved	in	their	original	but	are	instead	Latinized	for	clarity:	“Gwenhwyfar”	becomes	“Guenhuuaram”	and	“Gwalchmai”	becomes	“Gualguanus.”	As	Faletra	describes	the	list,	the	Welsh	names	of	the	heroes	who	accompany	Arthur	at	his	pinnacle	of	greatness	“stand	naked,	unadorned	with	Latin	declensional	endings.”231	They	are	an	unambiguous	reminder	that	the	“Arthurian	British”—for	all	their	similarities	with	the	Norman	elite—are	emphatically	a	Welsh	race.			 Certainly,	as	Faletra	and	others	have	emphasized,	the	Arthurian	courtly	celebration—and	indeed	Arthurian	courtliness	at	large—can	be	allegorically	matched	with	the	Anglo-Norman	ruling	class.	The	Arthurian	section	is	an	important	space	of	reflection	for	rule	and	empire,	for	historical	precedence	and	cultural	identity	and	the	Normans	of	the	twelfth	century	would	certainly	put	that	imaginative	space	to	use.	However,	Geoffrey’s																																																									230	See	Culhwch:	30-31.	“Ae	hasswynaw	awnaf	ar	dy	uilwyr:	A	Chubert	mab	Daere,	a	Phercos	mab	Poch,	a	Lluber	Beuthach,	a	Choruil	Beruach,	a	Gwyn	mab	Esni,	a	Gwynn	mab	Nwyfure,	a	Gwynn	mab	Nud,	ac	Edern	mab	Nud.”		231	Faletra,	Wales	and	the	Medieval	Colonial	Imagination	30-31.			 120	Arthurian	garden	is	a	multi-faceted	reflective	space	and	the	Historia	provides	similarly	seductive	appeals	to	his	Welsh	audience.	Let	us	not	forget	that	this	Pentecostal	celebration	(a	moment	which	would	continue	to	be	recognized	as	the	climax	of	Arthurian	society	in	literature	long	after	Geoffrey)	is	only	possible	after	both	the	Saxons	and	the	French	have	been	thoroughly	defeated	for	the	foreseeable	future.	I	find	it	hard	to	imagine	a	more	attractive	fantasy	for	a	Welsh	audience	in	the	twelfth	century.			 It	is	precisely	this	fantasy	of	insular	control	by	which	Geoffrey’s	narrative	ensnares	the	narcissistic	gaze	of	both	the	Welsh	rebel	and	Norman	colonist,	but	in	order	for	the	subject	to	confirm	their	self	images	they	must	misread	and	de-contextualize	the	rest	of	Geoffrey’s	narrative.	To	bask	in	a	positive,	self-confirming	reflection	of	themselves	as	Arthurian	Britons,	the	Welsh	and	Normans	must	both	either	ignore	the	aspects	of	Arthur’s	rule	and	British	practices	which	are	unsavory	or	consider	them	as	explicit	criticisms.		If,	as	Faletra	argues,	“King	Arthur	constitutes	one	of	the	major	points	of	access	within	the	Historia	for	Anglo-Normans,	and	Arthur	thus	stands	as	a	useful	measure	of	the	text’s	overall	ideological	sympathies,”	then	Geoffrey	encodes	some	distinctly	detrimental	descriptions	of	the	Normans’	ideological	sympathies.	For	all	his	magnanimity,	he	is	a	vicious	imperialist	and	openly	states	that	“extollens	se	quia	timori	cunctis	erat”	[“he	rejoiced	at	being	universally	feared”].	He	invades	sovereign,	Christian	nations	not	because	he	has	a	hereditary	right	or	because	God	has	given	him	a	justifiable	mandate,	but	because	“subdere	desiderabat”	[“he	desired	to	subdue	{them}”].232	As	Daniel	Donahue	has	pointed	out,	Geoffrey’s	Arthur	has	“a	lack	of	ethics”	and	his	rashness	almost	leads	to	the	entire																																																									232	Bern	MS.,	153-154.			 121	annihilation	of	his	people.233	Similarly,	Michael	Curley	sees	Arthur’s	reliance	on	force	over	other	diplomatic	means	as	the	primary	catalyst	in	the	ultimate	downfall	of	Britain.234	Though	the	Normans	might	find	a	model	and	precedent	for	their	cross-channel	Empire	and	their	refined	courtly	environ	in	Arthur’s	Britain,	they	must	either	ignore	his	unsavory	drive	toward	self-destruction	or	regard	it	as	rather	disparaging	criticism.		 For	the	Welsh	to	find	a	glowing	panegyric	to	their	race	and	heritage	in	Geoffrey’s	Arthurian	Britons,	a	reflection	Geoffrey	seduces	them	into,	then	they	must	needs	ignore	the	implicit	criticisms	that	Geoffrey	scatters	throughout	his	narrative—criticisms	Geoffrey	introduces	long	before	his	description	of	their	current	state	of	“barbarity”	discussed	above.	For	instance,	when	Arthur	decides	to	stake	his	war	on	France	in	a	single-combat	match	with	their	ruler,	Frollo	(a	brash	decision	that	“risks	[Arthur’s]	followers’	lands”	as	Donahue	suggests),	the	Britons	are	portrayed	as	unruly	and	untrustworthy.235	When	Frollo	cuts	Arthur’s	horse	out	from	under	him,	the	British	army	nearly	breaks	the	truce	which	had	been	agreed	upon:	“Britones	ut	regem	prostratum	uiderunt,	timentes	eum	peremptum	esse	uix	potuerunt	retineri	quin	federe	rupto	in	Gallos	unanimiter	irruerent”	[When	the	Britons	saw	their	king	lying	on	the	ground	they	feared	that	he	was	dead	and	could	hardly	hold	back	from	breaking	the	truce	and	rushing	headlong	upon	the	Gauls.]236	It	is	only	because	Arthur	happens	to	get	up	that	the	Britons	decide	to	maintain	their	political	agreement.	The	French,	for	their	part,	obey	the	truce	to	the	letter	and	upon	Frollo’s	death	they	immediately	hand	the	city	over	to	their	new	brash	and	brutal	king.																																																									233	Donahue,	“Darkly	Chronicled	King”	p.	144.	234	Curley,	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth	(New	York:	Twayne,	1994):	p.	88-89.		235	Donahue,	“Darkly	Chronicled	King,”	145.	236	Bern	MS,	155.		 122		 One	of	the	most	important	and	debated	points	of	Arthurian	subjectivity	in	the	Historia	is	the	conclusion	of	Arthur’s	reign.	Upon	discovery	of	his	nephew	Mordred’s	treachery,	Arthur	goes	back	to	Britain	to	assault	the	traitor	and	reclaim	his	lands.	After	heavy	losses	on	both	sides,	Arthur	and	Mordred’s	armies	come	together	for	the	final	fight	and	Arthur’s	assault	on	his	nephew’s	bodyguard	results	in	Mordred’s	demise.	The	battle	continues,	however,	and	Geoffrey	reports	to	us—without	so	much	as	climactic	fight	scene—that	Arthur	has	been	wounded	in	the	battle:		Set	et	inclitus	ille	rex	Arturus	letaliter	uulneratus	est;	qui	illinc	ad	sananda	uulnera	sua	in	insulam	Auallonis	euectus	Constantino	cognato	suo	et	filio	Cadoris	ducis	Cornubie	diadema	Britannie	concessit	anno	ab	incarnatione	Domini	.dxlii.	.	Anima	eius	in	pace	quiescat.		[However,	even	the	illustrious	King	Arthur	was	mortally	wounded.	He	was	carried	away	to	be	healed	of	his	wounds	on	the	isle	of	Avalon	and	gave	the	crown	of	Britain	to	his	kinsman	Constantine,	son	of	Duke	Cador	of	Cornwall,	in	the	year	of	our	Lord	542.	May	his	soul	rest	in	peace.]237		Without	emotion	or	comment	even,	our	(now)	sober	historian	reports	the	termination	of	his	most	famous	and	magnanimous	king	and	the	transference	of	his	Empire	to	Constantine.238	Though	we	know	that	the	story	must	end	at	some	point,	Geoffrey	denies	his	readers	closure	and	explanation.	What	is	this	Avalon	place,	and	is	Arthur	ever	coming	back?																																																									237	Bern	MS.,	178.	The	epitaph	is	found	only	in	the	Bern	MS.		238	See	Echard,	“	‘But	Here	Geoffrey	falls	silent’:	Death,	Arthur,	and	the	Historia	regum	Britannie”	in	The	Arthurian	Way	of	Death:	The	English	Tradition,	ed.	Karen	Cherewatuk	and	K.S.	Whetter	(Cambridge:	Boydell	&	Brewer,	2009).			 123		 On	the	one	hand,	Geoffrey	does	not	actually	describe	the	death	of	Arthur	here.	Arthur	never	makes	a	noble	death	speech	or	receives	the	ceremonial	burial	that	other	British	kings	do.	Instead,	Geoffrey	defers	that	finality	by	telling	us	that	Arthur	is	going	to	Avalon	to	have	his	“sananda	uulnera”	[wounds	healed].	“Sananda”	is	(by	itself)	unambiguous:	if	Arthur’s	wounds	are	“sananda”,	then	they	are	eventually	going	to	be	‘sanaverunt’,	and	Arthur	will	be	alive	and	able	to	return.	In	the	Vita	Merlini,	Geoffrey	also	touches	upon	the	idea	that	Arthur	manages	to	survive	the	Battle	of	Camlan	through	a	journey	to	a	supernatural	island.	In	that	text,	Merlin	provides	us	with	the	name	of	the	fairy	healer,	Morgen,	and	gives	us	an	update	of	sorts	on	his	recovery	process,	telling	us	that	Arthur	will	need	to	stay	much	longer	with	Morgen.239	In	these	provocative	pronouncements,	Geoffrey’s	description	of	Arthur’s	end	lives	up	to	his	foreshadowing	of	it	in	Merlin’s	prophecy:	“exitus	eius	dubius	erit”	[his	end	will	be	uncertain].240			 This	notion	that	King	Arthur	is	being	healed	of	his	wounds	on	the	island	of	Avalon	and	will	one	day	return	to	forcibly	remove	the	Saxon/Norman	invaders	from	Britain	is	a	concept	known	as	the	Breton	Hope.	As	a	political	concept,	it	has	a	complicated	history	in	twelfth-century	Britain.	There	is	a	thimbleful	of	evidence,	mostly	deriving	from	a	stray	line	in	the	Englynion	y	Beddau	that	describes	the	task	of	finding	Arthur’s	grave	as	an	“anoeth”	[heroic	task],	that	a	section	of	the	British	population	held	on	to	this	belief.	It	seems	more	likely	that	the	call	for	a	messianic	return	of	past	kings	(which	did	exist	in	Welsh	prophecy)	is	better	understood	in	figurative,	political	terms	rather	than	supernatural:	anti-colonial	Welsh	writers	throughout	the	medieval	period	yearned	for	a	strong,	dynamic	leader	akin	to																																																									239	See	Geoffrey	of	Monmouth,	Life	of	Merlin:	Vita	Merlini,	ed.	and	trans.	Basil	Clarke,	(Cardiff:	University	of	Wales	Press,	1973),	ll.	933-55.	240	Bern	MS,	112.			 124	those	in	their	past	who	could	unite	the	disparate	elements	of	Welsh	society	(and	often	the	wider	Celtic	speaking	world)	in	order	to	reclaim	political	sovereignty	in	Britain.	The	notion	of	a	ubiquitous	belief	in	the	actual	King	Arthur’s	return	is	the	result	of	caustic	exaggeration	by	other	Anglo-Norman	historians	such	as	William	of	Malmesbury	and	William	of	Newburgh.241	Nonetheless,	a	metaphorical	return	by	an	“Arthur-like”	figure	who	could	lead	the	Welsh	to	victory	over	their	Norman	rulers	is	a	powerful	and	surreptitious	notion—one	might	even	say	it	is	akin	to	treachery	on	Geoffrey’s	part.		 Yet,	in	the	very	same	sentence	that	Geoffrey	toys	with	an	insurrectionist	idea	of	a	powerful	British	king	lying	in	wait,	poised	to	re-take	the	island	of	Britain	from	the	Normans,	he	mentions	that	Arthur	was	lethally	(letaliter)	wounded,	and	then	he	subsequently	gives	Arthur	an	epitaph:	“Anima	eius	in	pace	quiescat”	[May	his	soul	lie	in	peace].	Many	supernatural	events	are	scattered	throughout	the	pages	of	Geoffrey’s	history,	and	it	would	not	be	egregiously	unusual	if	Geoffrey	were	to	wholly	invest	in	the	idea	of	a	political	messianic	deliverer	of	the	Welsh	people;	he	has	certainly	been	more	generous	with	the	notion	than	other	Anglo-Norman	historians	in	the	twelfth	century.	This	epitaph	however,	which	only	occurs	in	the	Bern	MS,	allows	Geoffrey	to	distance	himself	from	a	politically	divisive	issue.			 A