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A Man Called Arthur: Additional Information

While I did not include the following information in the main paper titled "A Man Called Arthur", I do feel that it is worth sharing.

King Addedomarus

The Name Vellauni

The Senones

Mercury Arvernorix

Avalon and Riothamus

King Addedomarus

During the time of Julius Caesar, to the east of the tribe known as the Catuvellauni lived the tribe known as the Trinovantes (or perhaps, Trinovellauntes). While there isn’t a great deal known about them, there is numismatic evidence that suggests that they had a king named Addedomarus. I believe his name is rather important because one can, like Arvirargus, decompose it into two fragments.

One might, for example, break the name Addedomarus into Addedom Arus, where arus was possibly originally argus (as in Arviurargus) and therefore was a variant of eric (meaning “king”). Another way might be to break the name into Addedo Marus, which would be consistent with the Celtic Aedd Mawr (where Aedd Mawr means “Addedo the Great”).

But there is a third way that his name might be broken down, and it is this third way that is rather interesting. You see, his name could have been Addedon, with either marus or arus or argus tacked onto it. If so, our friend Addedomarus could have been or have inspired the giant known as Ysbaddaden (or perhaps Ysb Addaden) in the Welsh Arthurian romance Culhwch and Olwen. The Cullwch and Olwen romance is one of the oldest of the Arthurian stories. Addedomarus' reign also appears very possibly to have been contemporaneous with our friend Arver’s father or grandfather.

Avalon and Riothamus

Riothamus was said to be a Romano-British military leader in the 5th century who fought against the Goths. He disappeared somewhere near Avallon, France. He has been identified as a possible source of the Arthur character. His name is spelled many ways, including Rigothamus. The name Rigothamus appears to possibly translate as “King of the Thames”, which would suggest that he was a British king.

The town of Avallon, which some believe to be the Avalon of the Arthurian legends, lies thirty two miles from Alesia, the town where Vercingetorix was defeated.

The Name Vellauni

The name Vellauni is rather interesting. Previously I have suggested that the name Vellaun was possibly related to Ver leon, translating as "The Lion of Ver" or "strong lion". However, the name Vellauni has a rather interesting translation using the language I call Olin.

In Olin the name Vellauni can be seen to translate as "movement out of surfaces before location related within". Curiously, that translation appears to describe very accurately, from the Roman point of view, the strategy used by the people of Britain and Gaul against the Romans; Cassivellaunus, like Vercingetorix after him, would go to great lengths to deny the Romans the food and other resources the Romans needed in order to wage war against them. So it seems quite reasonable to believe that the original name was Vellauni and that the name may have eventually been misinterpreted later as Ver Leon.

The name Vellauni or Vellaunus is, in fact, reflected in many other names of historical and pseudohistorical kings within Britain. In addition to Dunvallo Molmutius, Geoffrey of Monsmouth also mentions the name Rivallo, which is Rhiwallon in Welsh (note that rhi is Welsh for "king", indicating that Rhiwallon was king of the Wallon or Vallaun). Geoffrey also mentions the names Idvallo and Cadwallo (which appears as Cadwallon in the Welsh Triads). Even as late as the 11th century AD, one finds the name Llywelyn, where welyn appears possibly to be a form of vellaun. And while the name Wales is usually ascribed to the Saxon word Walha, meaning "foreigner", the origin of the Saxon word is unknown and, therefore, could have arisen from their interactions with the Celtic tribe known to the Romans as the Vellaun.

Also, as previously pointed out, Geoffrey of Monmouth, in his Historia Regum Britanniae, changed the name Cassivellaunus to Cassibelanus. There was also a king of the Catuvellauni tribe known as Cunobelinus. One therefore has very good reason to think that the name velaunus and belinus or belenus represented the same name.

The name Belenus also shows up in two other interesting places. The wife of the Roman god Mars was named Bellona (perhaps a form of Vellaun-a, meaning "female member of the Vellaun"). There was also a Belgian tribe that Caesar battled with on the border near Celtica known as the Bellovaci (perhaps a variant of Vellaun Vocae), and, interestingly, they used the same sort of battle tactics used by Cassivellaunus in Britain and by Vercingetorix in south central Gaul.

The Senones

In his Historia Regum Britanniae, Geoffrey of Monmouth presents two brothers named Belinus and Brennius. They were said to be sons of Dunvallo Molmutius. Regarding Brennius, Geoffrey said that he was originally king of Northumberland and then became the king of the Allobroges, a tribe near present day Lyon, France. It is pretty clear from Geoffrey's account that his Brennius was based on the historical king named Brennus who eventually laid siege to Rome. In fact, before laying siege to Rome, Brennus and his army essentially drove the Umbrians of Northern Italy out of their lands (hence the association with "north umber land"). Geoffery's reference to the Allobroges is also rather important in that the Allobroges controlled most of the Rhone river valley and mountain passes leading into Italy. So if the Senones had crossed the Alps into Italy from southern France, they would likely have passed through the passes controlled by the Allobroges.

The route that the Senones took through the Italian peninsyla was from the region of Tuscany through Umbria, and then to the Marche region, where they established the settlement later known to the Romans as Seni Gallia. Eventually they clashed with the Romans, and their king Brennus then laid siege to Rome. At that time, Rome was a relatively minor city state with a small militia to defend it. Following the siege of the Senones, however, the Romans were quickly motivated to revamp their militia, and, in the process, the Romans started down the "via" that ultimately (and perhaps ironically) led to the formation of the Roman empire--the empire that would one day lay siege to all of Gaul.

As it turns out, there were actually two kings named Brennus. The first king Brennus was the one that led the tribe known as the Senones into northeastern Italy and who later laid siege to Rome. The second king Brennus lived one hundred years later (i.e., third century BC). He led warriors from a confederation of tribes from the region known as Panonia (ooposite the Marche region of the Senones) into Greece, across Thrace and eventually into northwestern Turkey. Interestingly, the tribes that made up the federation were from southern Gaul and were called the Volcae.

Mercury Arvernorix

Julius Caesar observed that the Roman god Mercury was one of the most popular gods in all of Gaul. Archeologists have, in fact, found the name Mercurius scattered throughout France, confirming Caesar's claim. One might easily conclude then that the popularity of Mercury in Gaul was just another case of religious syncretism, where one society (the Celts) simply adopted the god of another (the Romans) for their own use. But the adoption of Mercury by the Celtic people of Gaul was anything but ordinary.

In most cases of syncretism, one society merges another society's diety with one or two of their own. The syncretism is usually due to fairly strong similarities in the characteristics and stories related to the deities being combined. For example, one's own godess of love might gradually merge with another society's goddess of love, particularly if both appear to share similar stories related to unrequited love.

From the archeological evidence scattered throughout France, the "Roman" god Mercury was, in fact, found to be associated with a couple Celtic gods: 326 to be exact! It is almost as if every town and borrough had its own private deity that happened to remind them of Mercury.

But that is just the begining of this curious tale. Of the 326 Celtic deities merged with Mercury, 270 of those blended deities only were ever found once. Again, a strange situation, as though there was some sort of ancient public law in Gaul that forbid writing the name of the same blended deity more than once.

Of course, some of these Mercury-based names did appear more than one. Of the 56 Mercury-based names that were found in more than one location, only 8 appeared in more than five locations. The remaining 48 appeared in five or fewer locations. That seems like a pretty odd distribution for such a widespread phenomena.

There was however one Mercury-based name that was far and away the most frequently occurring of such names. It was Mercurius Belenus. It was found in over 39 different locations.

What is odd about the Mercury-Belenus connection is that nobody today seems to get it. Scholars today tend to connect the Celtic god Belenus with Apollo, not with Mercury. So what was apparently so clear and obvious to the Celts, for some reason, simply goes right over the heads of today's scholars.

Now, if one reads Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic War, one also gets a pretty clear impression that the Romans were not exactly beloved by the people of Gaul. After all, practically every tribe in Gaul united to try to serve the Romans an eviction notice. It seems odd then that, given such warm and cozy feelings between those cultures, the Celts would embrace any Roman god at all.

And then one must also ask, "Why Mercury?". Why was Mercury ranked higher on their syncretism list than, say, Jupiter or Mars? What was it about Mercury that made him so beloved in Gaul?

There is also the strange case of Mercury Arvernorix. According to modern scholars, Mercury Arvernorix was the name of a Celtic deity worshiped by the tribe known as the Averni. Curiously, this deity's name has never been found anywhere in the lands of the Averni; rather, it has been found only in the Rhinelands. One would think that if Mercury Arvernorix was truly a god of the Arverni tribe, his name would have been plastered throughout the lands of the Arverni. Right? But that was clearly not the case.

Clearly, the scholars still have a lot of questions left unanswered. And that, for me, appears to suggest that their basic theory or premise may be in error.

But there is another possible explanation for what is going one here. It is called confusion. Someone may have seen a title (like cwen Arver) and assumed it was a name. "A title?", you ask. To which I respond, "yes, a title".

Long ago, in Britain, one often came across the name Meurig or a variant of Meurig, such as Morgan. Now Meurig was usually the name of someone. But before it was a common name, it was a title. It meant something. And what the title appears likely to have been was Mor Rig, where Mor meant "great" and Rig meant "king". So the combination Mor Rig meant "great king". Note that it appears fairly plausible that the European titles Marquis and Margrave derive from that original title as well.

It also seems likely that other common names derived from Meurig. Perhaps the most common of such names might be the name Mark. Of course, most scholars today will be quick to tell you that the name Mark derived from Mars, the name of the Roman god of war (which is why every other Roman was named Marcus). But these same scholars would be pretty hard pressed to tell you where the name Mars came from. It certainly didn't come from the name of the Greek god of war, Aries, the alleged inspiration for Mars. Rather, it appears more likely to have come from the Etruscan agricultural god named Maris.

But why would a neighbor's agricultural god suddenly be transformed into a god of war? And where did the Etruscan name Maris come from? Could the name Maris and Mars (the name of the next most popular "Roman" god in Gaul) have possibly derived from the name (or title) of a foreign king who threatened Rome militarily, a king of a land with great agricultural resources, such as perhaps Gaul? The Senones of Gaul had, after all, marched through the Etrucsan lands and settled in the region that would eventually come to be known as Marche. And the Romans evolved into the martial state they became famous for only after the Senones laid siege to their city; before that, war was one of the last things on their minds.

So you are now probably wondering what this talk of Mars has to do with the name Mercury?

The answer may be that, like Mars, the name Mercurius seen throughout Gaul was merely another form of Meurig (i.e., meurig urius or meurig oricus).

Consider now, for example, the name Mercurius Belenus. The name Belenus is usually assumed to be the name of a Celtic deity. But, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Belenus was a real king (supposedly from Britain). He and his brother Brennius conquered all of Gaul in the fourth century BC, and his brother did in fact lay siege to Rome. Roman records attest to Brennius' siege, so there is a possibility that the brother named Belenus was just as real.

So if in fact Belenus was, as Geoffrey suggests, the name of a real king (possibly from Britain) who conquered all of Gaul back in the fourth century, then it would not seem terribly surprising to find markers within Gaul with his name on them, particularly if his descendents continued to rule the land three hundred years or so later. Perhaps the name Mercurius Belenus that was found in 39 different locations were really simply markers of important locations associated with this great king named Belenus. If so, then perhaps Belenus was not such a popular Celtic god afterall; merely a popular king.

That might explain this Mercurius Arvernorix fellow as well. Arvernorix, in fact, can be translated as "king of the Arverni" or "king related to Arver". So it would not be very surprising to see "great king" along with "king related to Arver", another great king.