18th August 2014
Pericles; the Christian Dark Age; Bletchley Park; Syria/Iraq & Arthur and ‘Merlin’
We were ticking along quite nicely. We started by building cities and then we had the age of Pericles and then the age of the Antonines: things were looking good.
But then Christianity became powerful and we all but stopped.
The real reason the historical Arthur, Arthur Mac Aedan (c.559-596CE) and the historical ‘Merlin’, Lailoken (c.540-618CE) are really important is that they were among the last men standing, holding a torch for the Old Way, when, in effect, the music stopped.
The Old Way of Pericles, Arthur and 'Merlin' et al was to engage with life and learning.
The new Christian way was obsessed with death and the imposition of ‘revealed truth.’ This was (to quote 1066 And All That) not a good thing.
The real Dark Age began when Christianity came to power. The beginning of the end of this Dark Age came with the renaissance of learning that came with the… well, er... the Renaissance.
The historical Arthur and ‘Merlin’ were marchmained to suit the book of those in authority. In Bletchley Park, the Second World War code-breaking centre, they used 'cribs' to crack codes. These 'cribs' gave them a way into codes' secrets.
The history, as opposed to the legend, of Arthur and ‘Merlin’, while interesting of itself, is also a crib that can help us to see what happened in the past - how Christianity crushed life and learning.
There is, however, no need to bother with all this: if you want to see what life is like when religion becomes powerful, you don’t have to look back to the past, you need only look at Syria/Iraq today.
14 August 2014
Image of… well, today (I have given up waiting a week)
The battle of Bassas.
The 6th of the twelve legendary Arthur-battles listed by Nennius in the 9th c. was the battle of Bassas.
Search online for Bassas and you will see that no one has a real clue where this battle was fought: certainly no one has identified a battle-site that with an historical Arthur attached, far less a battle-site that comes with a sensible geographical and/or historical context.
Arthur, Arthur Mac Aedan, won the Scots civil war, in a guerilla campaign, in the mid-570s. He then defeated the Picts in the four Douglas campaigns, before invading the land of the Picts and defeating them again, at their capital Carpow (near modern Perth).
The Roman emperor Caracalla, whose real name was Bassianus, built a bridge at Carpow, circa 209 CE.
Bassianus’ bridge at Carpow gave its name to the battle that came to be called Bassas.
Bassas, the 6th of Nennius' Arthur-battles, was history until it became a legend, and now it is history again.
A real Arthur set in a real geographical and historical context: that is that, as far as Bassas is concerned - unless you know better.
The Carpow-Bassas bridge is commemorated in the coin shown in the gallery of this website.
To see this coin – go to gallery – click top right of any image to move to next image - click on any image to enlarge it.
10 August 2014
Image of the week – Iona-Avalon – Forty Two Words
It is said the average number of words people read per on-line page is 42, and then they move on, and so…
The legendary Arthur was buried on Avalon, an island set in the western sea. The historical Arthur, Arthur Mac Aedan was buried in his family burial ground on the island of Iona, an island set in the western sea. That is that.
See the very spot where Arthur, Arthur Mac Aedan, was buried - click Gallery on this website – click top right of any image to get ‘next’, click 'next' to see the next image – click on any image to enlarge it.
Of course, the total number of words above is 115 and so most people will not have got as far as the ‘western sea’: to those who have made it to the end - well done.
4th August 2014
Image of the week - JFK & Arthur's battlefield of Badon/Badden/Boadan
Imagine you discovered who killed JFK and told someone else, only to be asked – Is there some doubt about it?
That is what finding Merlin and finding Arthur is like: most people are unaware that (if Arthur and Merlin existed) they have been lost to history.
Well, not any more.
Last week’s image was of the stone from which Arthur, Arthur Mac Aedan, took a sword in 573CE (no magic was involved).
This week’s image is of the battlefield of Badon. The legendary Arthur’s battle of Badon was fought by the historical Arthur, Arthur Mac Aedan, one mile from the place where Arthur, Arthur Mac Aedan, took a sword in 573CE.
To appreciate that (until now) there has been some doubt about the site of the battle of Badon you will have to do a little work. You will have to search on line for King Arthur and the Battle of Badon. If you do this you will see that no one knows where the battle of Badon was fought (not until now). No other possible site comes with either a name on the ground or an historical Arthur, far less with both in the same place at the same time.
To see the relevant image you will have to do a little work. You will have to click a few times on Google Maps. Go to Scotland, Argyll, and look north of Lochgilphead along the A816 road, and you will see the farm of Badden clearly marked.
In the 6th c. the lands of Baodan lay along the line of what is now the Badden Burn (stream).
Not only does Scotland have a Badon/Badden/Baodan on the ground (smack bang next to the place where an Arthur took a sword from a stone) it has an historical Arthur too.
Nope...unless you know better.
PS For the avoidance of doubt, Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated JFK, Duh!
30th July 2014
Image of the week - The stone from which an Arthur took a sword
The sword Arthur is said to have taken from a stone is usually said to have been stuck in the stone, which is silly; although in the 2004 film King Arthur the sword was sticking out of a grave, which is even sillier.
In reality, in history, in Scotland, in 574CE Arthur, Arthur Mac Aedan, placed his foot in the footprint cut into the stone summit of the hillfort of Dunadd, Argyll, and was given a sword to hold (just as the Queen was given a sword to hold at her coronation). When Arthur Mac Aedan stepped out of the footprint cut into the stone, holding the sword, he, literally, took a sword from a stone.
No magic sword, no magic stone, just a real event that provided the foundation upon which the famous fictional story is based.
An photograph of the stone of Dunadd, which is still there to be seen, is in the Gallery of this website.
Click on Gallery - Click on image to enalrge - click top right to move to next image.
22nd July 2014
…unless you know better.
Only Scotland has an Arthur and a ‘Merlin’ in its history – unless you know better.
Scotland has Arthur Mac Aedan, an undoubted historical figure who died in the late 6th century.
The 12th century Vita Merlini Silvestris has ‘Merlin’ in a specific place and time: “On a certain steep crag, which rises on the other side of the Molendinar burn, overlooking Glasgow…” in the late 6th c. (This crag and this burn are still there to be seen.)
Images of this crag can also be seen in this website’s Gallery.
The stories of Arthur and ‘Merlin’ we know today originated in Scotland and that is that – unless you know better.
Stephen Fry says -
“The only reason people do not know much is because they do not care to know. They are incurious. Incuriosity is the oddest and most foolish failing there is.”
I wrote Finding Merlin and Finding Arthur because I was curious.
I knew there was an historical 'Merlin' in 573 and an historical Arthur in 574, and I wondered if they were connected.
It seemed so obvious, I thought, there has to be a connection - and, as it turned out, there was.
PS The evidence for an historical 'Merlin' in 573 is generally accepted as good evidence when it suits the traditional view but this same evidence suddenly becomes suspect when it does not.
Warner Bros. & 'King' Arthur
Warner Bros. is about to make a series of Arthur films set… when and where?
I don’t know.
It may be they will set these films in the right time and place, the 6th century of Arthur Mac Aedan, or, as is usually the case, in no particular time, in no particular place, and with no particular Arthur.
Go with the facts? Go with the legend?
Why not go with both?
Because the status quo is comfy (albeit, the status quo will soon be redundant).
Now, if Warner Bros. could say, for the first time ever, based on a true story...
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times says, ‘There’s enormous irony [in Finding Merlin] in saying that the two key figures in a bedrock English tradition are Scotsmen.’
That is not quite what I say – I say, in both Finding Merlin and Finding Arthur, that while Arthur, Arthur Mac Aedan, was a Scot, the man called Merlin was a Briton.
Still, I can’t complain because the Los Angeles Times goes on to say that I apply ‘as rigorous an exegesis as you might find in John Meier’s scholarship on the historical Jesus…[and] what emerges… is a fascinating picture of the British Isles after the Romans.’
Click on an image to see it enlarged.
30th June 2014
I just finished reading Finding Merlin yesterday and the day before, I ordered Finding Arthur which arrived last night. I just finished it tonight - couldn't put it down. Both of them are absolutely wonderful and very well worked out. An enormous amount of detective work and dedication.
I can see you are not enamored with the church and it's methods past and probably present and neither am I. So, I'd just like to say well done for speaking your mind on that front.
Can I ask one question? [this Q was asked and answered].
We should take a leaf out of the Church method of working and now flood the market with books about the Scottish Arthur! Only this time they will be factual.
Thanks very much for an excellent read.
13th May 2014
Name: J***** K P***
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Message: Hello, my name is J***** and I am very interested in your books and your research. I too am a Merlin seeker and scholar though my interests are a bit more magical that yours are I think :) I'm planning a UK pilgrimage for 2015 that should eventually turn into a book about my spiritual journey in the path of Merlin and I have added a lot of sites to visit that I hadn't know previously thanks to your book and blogs...
Thanks and keep up the good work!
J***** K P***
San Francisco, CA
29th April 2014
I finished the book last week. I really enjoyed it and thought that your arguments were very well presented and followed a logic that would be difficult to argue with. I have recommended the book to some of my Irish colleagues who have an interest in Irish history.
8th April 2014
Name: r** d*****
Email Address: email@example.com
Message: just read "finding arthur" - now need to locate a copy of "finding merlin" - fine job of grounding the arthuriad in the people and places of the times. "arthur" and "aneirin" being use names/nicknamesmakes perfect sense...
11th April 2014
C***** C****** S******
I am writing regarding the book, Finding Merlin. My 14 year old daughter recently checked the book out from our local library. She loves the book but found that the title is misspelled on the slipcover/spine.
When she's done with this book she's going back for Arthur.
[On the cover of the USA Edn. Merlin is spelled 'Merln' - a glitch got us - such is life. Adam Ardrey]
7th April 2014
I'm finishing up Finding Arthur and I wanted to tell you that I love it. Re: literary triplets (269), this is a common occurrence in Native American tale telling and I suspect probably quite common in most oral traditions. Repeating important items three times is a way to effectively teach the listener.
24th February 2014
L**** on For Argyll (On-line news)
From someone who had read Finding Arthur -
"...all references to battles, place names, Iona and especially to Merlin, make such sense. It all seems obvious. I am now a firm believer that the real Arthur lived and fought in Argyll (as well as other areas in Scotland)..."
Audio Book of Finding Merlin - Audible Books UK 2013.
The only image of an Arthurian battle-site (Bassas) is now in the Gallery.
Photographs of Camlann (Arthur's last battle) and Avalon are now in the Gallery. (Click on them to see them big.)
The legendary Arthur is commonly presented as a Christian English King when, in reality, he was an historical figure, a man of the old way of the druids, a Scot and a warlord. Merlin too lived in history: he was the preeminent druid of the 6th century. Unlike Arthur, Merlin was too closely associated with the old ways of the druids to be Christianised and so he was 'made safe' by Christians who presented him as an old, avuncular, somewhat scatter-brained figure.
Merlin’s twin-sister, the equally important Gwyneth, known as Languoreth (The Golden One), the Lioness of Damnonia and the Swan-necked Woman, was all but written out of history, simply because she was a woman. Typical!
For 1,500 years the Christian Church and its temporal partners-in-power deleted historical evidence and fabricated a legend that, literally, suited their book.
There is an alternative.
In the film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) it was said, "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."
The alternative is to print both.
No one cares about anyone else’s family history (and quite right too): and so it was that when I was researching my family name, Ardrey, I looked where no one else had looked and found what no one else had found.
I already knew that the earliest reference to Merlin had him at the battle of Arderydd, fought on the Scotland-England border in 573CE, and that the very next year the historical figure Arthur Mac Aedan was based at the hillfort of Dunardry [sic] in Argyll.
Adam Ardrey is an advocate living in Glasgow, Scotland with his wife and three children. Finding Merlin is his first book.
29th January 2014
I was so pleased by your prompt... reply to my e-mail!... it is a rare rainy day here in southwest Florida... my husband and I have traveled to Glasgow, Edinburgh and the border country of Scotland several times over the years on pheasant "shoots" and love the country and the people. J** was saying just last evening that we should travel back to Scotland and see a different part of the country (Argyll and the Highlands?)... J***
28th January 2014
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Message: I bought and read the new US edition of this book on the advice of our clan (MacTavish) association... I... did find a compelling and well-researched case for the historic basis of a real-life... Merlin of late sixth century Glasgow, and ample evidence that the real Arthur was a Manau Scot and not from southern England as the authors of conventional retellings of the legends would have it.
A masterful historical detective job, cutting through centuries of political and religious propaganda to unveil the truth behind the myths.
A must-read for Arthur, Merlin and Camelot buffs.
24th January 2014
"This was brilliant: "... the Old Way engendered individuality, and so disputation, both of which are good for humanity and bad for those in charge". I loved this book and am fortunate to have travelled to many of the Arthurian places in Scotland described in it."
3rd January 2014
Dear Mr. Ardrey,
I read Finding Merlin last year and have just finished Finding Arthur. Rather, I should say that I listened to them as I am blind and I rely on my Kindle Text to Speech facility. It struggles a bit with Celtic names but I was able to follow most of your arguments. I have long believed that any historical figure behind the Arthur legends was probably based in Scotland and I am delighted that your efforts have produced a viable candidate. I must say that your overall arguments have persuaded me that you are probably correct. I must congratulate you on such a difficult and well –argued investigation...
2nd January 2014
Name: E S******
Email Address: email@example.com
Message: Reading your book at the moment very interesting. Take a look at assessment online concerning Knappers farm at Drumry near Clydebank. Excavated in 1937 and thought to be the miniature Stonehenge in wood, unfortunately the war stopped work and then it was destroyed by the building of the A82 road. Some of the items found are in Hunterian Museum.
2nd January 2014
Name: T** McG*****
Hi Adam. Got your latest book for Christmas and still in the midst of reading it. I have always been a bit 50/50 about Arthur MacAedan but I find finding Arthur very convincing. Your highlighting of Arthur being airbrushed out of history then rebranded for the Christian establishment really hits the mark and we can see modern parallels in the way the right wing establishments in the UK and USA constantly discredit and attack anything they see as being left wing through misinformation and downright subterfuge. Just shows, things don't change much. The template of Arthur's world is now starting to fit into its proper location thanks to the work of writers like yourself who are who are hacking through 1500 years of establishment b******. I must check out Dunardey next time I am up in Knapdale.
Thoroughly enjoying your book. T**.
If you haven't gotten and read "Finding Arthur" you're missing out on one of the great detective stories of the times!
Got the book yesterday and I am reading in my spare time...can't put it down. David Carroll sold me on a Scottish Arthur....and your book is right along those lines. Thank you for the hard work and research!
21st November 2013
…I greatly enjoy reading history books... Your first book really interested me as I fish on the… water between Drumelzier and Dawyk and had never realised until reading your first book that any of the references to Merlin in the area had any veracity. The key thing in your books for me is the encouragement to get out there and have a look for yourself… your books have got me… looking at the landscapes differently. My kids also love your books and we were recently on top of the Meldon Hills questioning why we have so little information on these places... your books are important as they provide a very different perspective to the hum drum stuff that's regurgitated in most books... I also think that people should own up to where their perspectives come from - so again your writing is very clear on the different ways that people have tried to create a fixed story to meet their own ends. The exciting thing is that you have opened up so many different avenues - some of your arguments are more convincing than others but this is as it should be…