23rd September 2014
Scottish Referendum and History and a woman
The referendum is over. The people of Scotland did not vote for independence this year.
The thing is; the referendum was not all about politics, far less party-politics; it was also about history. No one who voted in the referendum was unaffected by what had happened in the past, even if it was only what had happened to them in the past - no one was unaware that they were making history.
Why stop now? We can still make history.
The historical figures Arthur Mac Aedan (c.559-596CE) and the man called Merlin, Merlin-Lailoken, (540-c.618CE) were men of Scotland. They were the historical figures who inspired the Camelot legend.
No magic was involved. Nothing supernatural happened in their lives (which is not to say that, just as some people believe in the supernatural today, people did not believe in the supernatural in the 6th-7th centuries).
Just as today filmmakers add CGI to their films to make them more commercial, so too, in the last 1,500 years, storytellers added magic to their stories to make them more commercial.
What started out as history in the north ended up as legend in the south (it had to become legend in the south, because the stories of Arthur and ‘Merlin’ had no real roots in the south).
Time to change things? Time to make history?
Although almost no one knows anything about her the real hero of the stories is, or, at least, should have been Gwyneth, a.k.a Languoreth (The Golden One); the Lioness of Damnonia: the swan-necked woman (Merlin-Lailoken’s twin-sister).
Being a woman she was written out of the picture. It is long since past time to change that.
17th September 2014
The Scottish Independence Referendum and Arthur & Merlin
Tomorrow Scotland gets its chance to vote for independence and, after that, a chance to recover a part of its past.
In the 6th century the warlord Arthur Mac Aedan and the politician, Merlin-Lailoken won The Great Angle War (580s).
This made them famous among Arthur's Celtic-Scots and Merlin-Lailoken's Celtic-Britons.
In the early 7th c. after the Angles captured Edinburgh, British refugees took the stories south and the rest is... well, not history, because it was not history in the south of Britain.
What had been history became legend, the marvelous legend we know today: that legend has now become history again.
After Friday, win or lose, things will change.
12th September 2014
Bassas Coin - Arthur's battle of Bassas
I was kindly received in the 'Coins' department of the British Museum yesterday and shown the 'Bassas Coin' that shows the bridge across the River Tay that gave its name to Arthur's battle of Bassas. An image of this coin is in the Gallery - click on it to see it big.
The coin shows a bridge of boats with men on horses riding over it. The 'head side' shows the Emperor 'Caracalla', who built this bridge - his birth name was Bassianus.
There is no Arthur-connected location for the battle of Bassas in the south of Britain.
The battle of Bassas was fought where the Rivers Earn and Tay meet, near Perth, Scotland.
I have now seen all three copies of the Annales Cambriae; two in the British Library and one in the National Archives, London, England; these include references to Arthur and 'Merlin' and the battle of Arderydd. I have also seen the Arthur-free copy in Exeter Cathedral.
8th September 2014
I will be visiting the British Library, London, on Thursday, 11th September 2014, to see the third of the three surviving manuscripts of the Annales Cambriae that tell of the man called Merlin and the battle of Arderydd.
It was this Arderydd connection with 'Merlin' in 573 CE and the fact that the historical Arthur Mac Aedan was at a hillfort called Dunardry the following year that first got me interested in the legends.
It was, however, only after I found the evidence that enabled me to understand the connection between 'Merlin's' Arderydd and Arthur Mac Aedan's Dunardry that I started writing books about them.
Earlier this year I visited Exeter Cathedral to see its copy of the Annales Cambriae but it turned out the Exeter copy did not start until 1142. My mistake. It was however a enjoyable visit because I met some really friendly people.
I saw the only other two copies of the Annales Cambriae years ago: in the National Archives, Kew, London, and in the British Library. I could have asked to see the British Library's other copy at that time but, for some reason, I didn't think to do this at the time. My mistake. This means I will enjoy my next visit even more.
There is no other game in town
The legendary Arthur was the historical Arthur Mac Aedan (born c.559, died 596 @ Camelon, Falkirk, Scotland)and the man called 'Merlin' was the historical Lailoken, a.k.a. Merlin (born c.540 died c.618 @ Dunipace, Scotland).
(No magic-miracles were involved, indeed Arthur was, as Bernard Cornwall said in his novel of the same name, The Enemy of God. The man called Merlin was also anti-Christian, I mean, well... duh!)
After the Scottish Independence Referendum on 18th September, Scotland will reclaim the legend of Arthur and Merlin and, indeed, a lost century of Scottish history.
If you want to help - contact:
1st September 2014
Religion and Science (and Arthur and ‘Merlin’)
The conventional view, that Arthur and ‘Merlin’ were men of the south of Britain is a quasi-religious belief.
Religion is based on authority.
Most of us were brought up to believe that if Arthur and ‘Merlin’ existed at all, they existed in the south of Britain and most people accept this unquestioningly.
Science is based on evidence.
If we look at the evidence it is clear that Arthur and ‘Merlin’ were men of (what is now) Scotland.
Unfortunately, just like religious leaders, too many Arthurian ‘scholars’ have too much time invested in what they were told when they were children to consider the evidence.
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.
24th August 2014
Adam, finished "Finding Arthur", very, very good! Loved it.
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
21st September 2014
From - email@example.com
...I have seen your excellent website, and looked at your books…amazing! Very well researched and presented! I wish you all the best in your work…a Scottish King Arthur! Well done!
Very best wishes
J***** M. E**** D*******
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…