> Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2013 12:17:46 +0000
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Maybe, but I'm sticking with Langport. I have no formal education in these
> matters so what I'm about to say is pure speculation but hopefully someone
> with more knowledge than me will add to this. I'll just use bullet points
> for me er, points!
> 1. The Welsh dragon and the Somerset griffon are in fact the same
> creature or maybe Somerset just changed it a little
Absolutely likely! Though of course, that opens yet another interesting debate:
According to Kenneth Jackson, the earliest dated occurrence of the word 'dragon'
in British Celtic is around the mid 2nd c. AD. That is, there is no evidence for the
existence of dragons in British folklore or culture prior to this ('dragonesque'
northern British brooches date from about the same time, but I believe 'dragonesque'
is only a modern scholarly name, coigned for ease of classification. Coincidentally,
though, when Hadrian visited Britain on his 'grand tour' in the 120s, to supervise
the planning of his 'Aelian Wall' (as it now seems to have been named) it seems
that his entourage may have included Sarmatian cavalry (he didn't trust the Praetorian
guard - well, who did!). Anyway, the Dragon standard used by the Sarmatian cavalry
was very quickly adopted by all Roman cavalry regiments from this point on, until it
became ubiquitous - by about the time the first word for a 'dragon' appeared in British.
And during the 3rd c. all infantry ragiments adopted it, too. So in fact, far from the
famous 5th c. 'Arthur' being notable for riding beneath a dragon-standard, it would
have been common throughout all Roman army units in Britain... The standard consisted
of a hollow brass dragon-head, trailing a long windsock (typically red, but purple if it
belonged to the emperor).
> The way I see it is Wales and the South West we probably one entity in pre
> history, hence why the Cornish language is very similar to welsh (or
> Brithonic to be precise)
Absolutely, though the Llongborth poem was written sometime between the 5th & 10th c.
(the oldest extant version is 10th c. I think) so it's in early Welsh (deriving 'Llong' from
Latin 'navis longa', for 'warship'). Langport, on the other hand, is earliest recorded in 10th c.
charters, spelt: 'Langport', referring to the long market in the town, and is in Old English.
Any location used in Old Welsh about a 5th c. battle would use Welsh place-names, as
the Llongborth of the poem seems to be :o)
> On Mon, Dec 30, 2013 at 10:23 AM, Mike Weatherley <
> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > > Date: Sun, 29 Dec 2013 22:40:39 +0000
> > > From: [log in to unmask]
> > > Hi carole
> > > The Parret was once a mighty river probably as large as the
> > > Thames is now, but once sea levels dropped back ?? (add date) then it
> > > stopped being used as commercial river. The other thing worthy of note is
> > > that there is a legendary battle between Arthur
> > > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geraint_son_of_Erbin, at Longborth (long
> > > berth) it is believed that this refers to Langport and in fact in its hey
> > > day, Langport could accommodate 13 tall ships sic.
> > >
> > A more convincing location for Longborth, though, might be Portsmouth
> > harbour.
> > 'Llongborth' in the early Welsh actually means: 'Warship port' (which
> > Portsmouth
> > has been ever since Roman times). Llong is the abbreviated Welsh version
> > of the
> > Latin 'navis longa', literally: 'long-ship', or 'warship' (hence why the
> > later Saxon
> > & Viking warships were so named). Portsmouth harbour was probably known in
> > Roman times as the 'Portus Adurni' of the Notitia Dignitatum (dated c.
> > 430). It may
> > have gone into colloquial early Welsh as the 'warship port' of the poem.
> > There is,
> > of course, a Saxon Shore fort at the top of Portsmouth harbour (hence its
> > listing in
> > the ND) defending the harbour against the most prevalant source of piracy
> > in (what
> > became known as) the 'English Channel' from the 3rd/4th c. onwards. Which
> > provides
> > us with the most likely adversary being faced by Arthur when the poem is
> > set (late 5th c.)
> > Presumably the garrison of the Saxon Shore fort originally provided the
> > manpower for
> > operating the warships, which, from late Roman times, consisted of small,
> > fast galleys
> > for scouting/warning of Saxon pirate-ships/raids. Any consideration of
> > whether Langport
> > or Portsmouth are the more likely candidate must consider that Saxon
> > piracy is attested
> > in the English Channel quite by the 5th c. - much earlier than any (if
> > at all) in the Bristol
> > Channel (which might have threatened the Parret). The Dumnonian peninsula
> > seems to
> > have been in British control/remained unraided until after the Battle of
> > Dyrrham (557)
> > when Cirencester, Bath & Gloucester are claimed to have been captured by
> > the Saxons
> > (presumably from their eastern enclaves overland).
> > Regards & Happy New Year to all,
> > Mike