Author Topic: Nennius' Arthurian battle list a work of "late Antiquity"?  (Read 391 times)

Duncan Head

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Nennius' Arthurian battle list a work of "late Antiquity"?
« on: January 02, 2019, 10:50:38 AM »
https://www.academia.edu/36949126/The_Two_Shoulders_of_Arthur_Late_Antiquity_and_the_Battle_List

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An evidence-based examination of Chapter 56 of the Historia Britonum (Arthur’s so-called battle list) suggests it has most in common with the world of late antiquity. The work differs in almost every other respect from Welsh heroic age poetry. Arthur’s command of Britain’s kings, the images on his ‘shoulders,’ and the sacral number of battles all argue for a context from the time  of Orosius and Gildas.
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Holly

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Re: Nennius' Arthurian battle list a work of "late Antiquity"?
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2019, 11:53:08 AM »
thanks Duncan. An interesting read and topical/timely in therms of the number of books I have on the go at the moment centred around this time period. I can see Pace's reasoning and there is some value in what he postulates but he makes an awful lot of assumptions 'as fact' including the existence of Arthur in this treatise. Its an argument partly based on sand. Assumptions about the existence of Arthur, an apparent lack of scepticism of the authors' motives (and their 'truthfulness') in the texts examined and a general acceptance of circular arguments that have gone before. Interestingly though I did find the discussion on the shoulder/shield argument quite illuminating and well argued. Funnily enough, there are related arguments ongoing about a village I used to live in called Portskewett. Some people favour Port(a/h) yscuit as the root etymology (sheltered harbour), some Port(a/h) yscuid (harbour with a shoulder of land) or even Port(a/h) yscoed (harbour below the wood). Knowing the lay of the land and surrounding areas, all three are possible!   
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Duncan Head

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Re: Nennius' Arthurian battle list a work of "late Antiquity"?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2019, 01:33:16 PM »
but he makes an awful lot of assumptions 'as fact' including the existence of Arthur in this treatise. Its an argument partly based on sand.

I'm not sure that I can see that assumption in the article at all. There seems to be no assumption of a historical Arthur, as opposed to "Arthur within the ABL" (or at times Arthur within other literary contexts).
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Holly

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Re: Nennius' Arthurian battle list a work of "late Antiquity"?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2019, 02:25:42 PM »
Probably just me so apologies if I sound a little cautious about Pace's work. I just read it that he speaks about Arthur as though he exists though you are right to point out that the overall treatise is to see if there are links between the sources regarding Arthur which isnt necessarily the same thing 
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Anton

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Re: Nennius' Arthurian battle list a work of "late Antiquity"?
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2019, 12:34:05 PM »
Pace can be very strange but Gidlow, who is interesting, noted years ago that the Battle List was unlikely to originate in a Brythonic or Old Welsh poem.  If memory serves he spends a few pages on it and thinks the original was written in Latin and subsequently translated. 

I'd be interested in knowing Koch's opinion but so far as I know he is yet to pronounce on it.  Having said the it might be in his Celtic Encyclopedia-if it is I'll report back.
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Re: Nennius' Arthurian battle list a work of "late Antiquity"?
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2019, 04:26:44 PM »
So would I Stephen!

This debate rages in and out about 'Nennius' all the time so its sometimes difficult to separate out the strands as well you know. If it is from Gildas' time we would still need to exercise caution as it could still be legendarium based even though much closer to the approximate timeframe. Some argue for the adventus to be much earlier and therefore for one of the 2 possible arthur eras to be earlier than Gildas. Even the 40 year 'Gildas' timeframe is under suspicion from some
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Anton

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Re: Nennius' Arthurian battle list a work of "late Antiquity"?
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2019, 12:00:54 PM »
Well Dave, that was worthwhile.  Koch favours Thomas Jones's view that the names of the battles in Old Welsh preserve the rhyme scheme of the original poem with Baddon being integral to the original and not later lifted from Gildas and inserted in the Historia Brittonum.  Koch makes the point that this means Old Welsh poetry places Arthur at Baddon before HB did.  Interesting stuff.

Totally off topic but also interesting is the news that the Silchester Ogham stone which Dark thought to be a hoax is confirmed by recent re excavation to be genuine.

Speaking of Dark, Koch's introduction to Cynan in Three Welsh Poems seems to me to give us a look at how Dark's Martinian Revolution might have presented itself.
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