Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία
Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Σάββατο, 17 Οκτωβρίου 2015

Ambrosius Aurelianus - The byzantine leader of Brittain in the legend of king Arthur

Ambrosius Aurelianus, Welsh: Emrys Wledig; called Aurelius Ambrosius in the Historia Regum Britanniae and elsewhere, was a war leader of the Romano-British who won an important battle against the Anglo-Saxons in the 5th century, according to Gildas. He also appeared independently in the legends of the Britons, beginning with the 9th-century Historia Brittonum. Eventually he was transformed into the uncle of King Arthur, the brother of Arthur's father Uther Pendragon, and predeceases them both. mbrosius Aurelianus is one of the few people that Gildas identifies by name in his sermon De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae, and the only one named from the 5th century. Following the destructive assault of the Saxons, the survivors gather together under the leadership of Ambrosius, who is described as: "... a gentleman who, perhaps alone of the Romans, had survived the shock of this notable storm. Certainly his parents, who had worn the purple, were slain by it. His descendants in our day have become greatly inferior to their grandfather's [avita] excellence." We know from Gildas that he was of high birth, and had Roman ancestry; he was presumably a Romano-Briton, rather than a Roman from elsewhere in the empire, though it is impossible to be sure. It also appears that Ambrosius was a Christian: Gildas says that he won his battles "with God's help". According to Gildas, Ambrosius organised the survivors into an armed force and achieved the first military victory over the Saxon invaders. However, this victory was not decisive: "Sometimes the Saxons and sometimes the citizens [meaning the Romano-British inhabitants] were victorious." Two points in this brief description have attracted much scholarly commentary. The first is what Gildas meant by saying Ambrosius' family "had worn the purple". Roman Emperors and Roman males of the senatorial class wore clothes with a purple band to denote their class so the reference to purple may be to an aristocratic heritage. Roman military tribunes (tribuni militum), senior officers in Roman legions, wore a similar purple band so the reference may be to a family background of military leadership. In the church "the purple" is a euphemism for blood and therefore "wearing the purple" may be a reference to martyrdom or a bishop's robe. It has been suggested by historian Alex Woolf that Ambrosius may have been related to the 5th century Romano-British usurpers Marcus or Gratian – Woolf expresses a preference based on nomenclature for Marcus. The second question is the meaning of the word avita: Gildas could have meant "ancestors", or intended it to mean more specifically "grandfather" – thus indicating Ambrosius lived about a generation before the Battle of Mons Badonicus. Lack of information prevents sure answers to these questions. Bede follows Gildas' account of Ambrosius in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, but in his Chronica Majora he dates Ambrosius' victory to the reign of the Emperor Zeno (474–491).The Historia Brittonum preserves several snippets of lore about Ambrosius. The most significant of these is the story about Ambrosius, Vortigern, and the two dragons beneath Dinas Emrys, "Fortress of Ambrosius" in Chapters 40–42. This story was later retold with more detail byGeoffrey of Monmouth in his fictionalized Historia Regum Britanniae, conflating the personage of Ambrosius with the Welsh tradition of Myrddin the visionary, known for oracular utterances that foretold the coming victories of the native Celtic inhabitants of Britain over the Saxons and theNormans. Geoffrey also introduces him into the Historia under the name Aurelius Ambrosius as one of three sons of Constantine III, along with Constans II and Uther Pendragon. But there are smaller snippets of tradition preserved in the Historia Brittonum: in Chapter 31, we are told that Vortigern ruled in fear of Ambrosius; later, in Chapter 66, various events are dated from a Battle of Guoloph (often identified with Wallop, 15 km (9.3 mi) ESE of Amesbury near Salisbury), which is said to have been between Ambrosius and Vitolinus; lastly, in Chapter 48, it is said that Pascent, the son of Vortigern, was granted rule over the regions of Buellt and Gwrtheyrnion by Ambrosius. It is not clear how these various traditions relate to each other, or whether they come from the same tradition; it is very possible that these references are to different men with the same name. The Historia Brittonum dates the battle of Guoloph to "the twelfth year of Vortigern", by which 437 seems to be meant. This is perhaps a generation before the battle that Gildas says was commanded by Ambrosius Aurelianus. At the end of the story in Chapters 40–42, Vortigern hands over to Ambrosius "the fortress, with all of the kingdoms of the western part of Britain." In Chapter 48 Ambrosius Aurelianus is described as "king among all the kings of the British nation". It is impossible to know to what degree he actually wielded political power, and over what area, but it is certainly possible that he ruled some part of England. Léon Fleuriot has suggested Ambrosius is identical to Riothamus, a Brythonic leader who fought a major battle against the Goths in France around the year 470. Fleuriot argues that Ambrosius led the Britons in the battle, in which he was defeated and forced to retreat to Burgundy. He then returned to Britain to continue the war against the Saxons. Because Ambrosius and Vortigern are shown in the Historia Brittonum as being in conflict, some historians have suspected that this preserves a historical core of the existence of two parties in opposition to one another, one headed by Ambrosius and the other by Vortigern. J. N. L. Myres built upon this suspicion and speculated that belief in Pelagianism reflected an actively provincial outlook in Britain and that Vortigern represented the Pelagian party, while Ambrosius led the Catholic one. Subsequent historians accepted Myers' speculation as fact, creating a narrative of events in 5th century Britain with various degrees of elaborate detail. Yet a simpler alternative interpretation of the conflict between these two figures is that the Historia Brittonumis preserving traditions hostile to the purported descendants of Vortigern, who at this time were a ruling house in Powys. This interpretation is supported by the negative character of all of the stories retold about Vortigern in the Historia Brittonum, which include his alleged practice of incest. Ambrosius Aurelianus appears in later pseudo-chronicle tradition beginning with  Geoffrey's Historiae Regum Britanniae with the slightly garbled name Aurelius Ambrosius, now presented as son of a King Constantine. When King Constantine's eldest son Constans is murdered at Vortigern's instigation, the two remaining sons, Ambrosius and Uther, still very young, are quickly hustled into exile in Brittany. (This does not fit with Gildas' account, in which Ambrosius' family perished in the turmoil of the Saxon uprisings.) Later, when Vortigern's power has faded, the two brothers return from exile with a large army, destroy Vortigern and become friends with Merlin. They go on to defeat the Saxon leader Hengist in two battles at Maisbeli (probably Ballifield, near Sheffield) and Cunengeburg.  Hengist is executed and Ambrosius becomes king of Britain. However, he is poisoned by his enemies, and Uther succeeds him. In Welsh, Ambrosius appears as Emrys Wledig (Emperor Ambrose). In Robert de Boron's Merlinhe is called simply Pendragon and his younger brother is named Uter, which he changes to Uter-pendragon after the death of the elder sibling. This is probably a confusion that entered oral tradition from Wace's Roman de Brut. Wace usually only refers to li roi ("the king") without naming him, and someone has taken an early mention of Uther's epithet Pendragon as the name of his brother. Παιντραγκον Παίς-Δράκοντος.
The Battle of Badon (Latin: Bellum in monte Badonis) or Badon Hill (Latin: Bellum Badonis; Modern Welsh: Mynydd Baddon), also less often known as the Siege of Mount Badon (Latin: Obsessio Montis Badonici), was a battle thought to have occurred between a force of Britons and an Anglo-Saxon war band in the late 5th or early 6th century. Chiefly known today for the supposed involvement of King Arthur, it is credited in medieval British and Welsh sources as a major political and military event but seems to have passed unremarked in the Anglo-Saxon chronicles. Because of the limited number of sources, there is no certainty about the date, location, or details of the fighting. The early sources' account that the Saxons were thrown back around this time seems to be borne out by archaeological evidence. Studies of cemeteries (at this point, the Anglo-Saxons remained pagan while the Britons were Christianized) suggest the border shifted some time around 500. Afterwards, the pagans held the present areas of Kent, Sussex, Norfolk  and Suffolk, and the area around the Humber. The Britons seem to have controlled salients to the north and west of London and south of Verulamium in addition to everything west of a line running from Christchurch at the mouth of the Wiltshire Avon north to the Trent, then along the Trent to the Humber, then north along the Derwent to the North Sea. The salients could then be supplied along Watling Street, dividing the invaders into pockets south of the Weald in east Kent and around the Wash.

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