It has been pointed out that there is a
perfectly reasonable etymological link between Camulodunum and Camelot via
the natural contraction from Camulodunum > Camulod > Camulot >
Camelot. There are other reasons that the name Camelot should be
associated with this site even though it may have been later used in
legend to mean other sites. Camulodunum was a capital of Celtic Britain
before the Romans arrived, and remained so until the Romans were forced to seek a better
defensible site, London, after the Boudiccan revolt. The
name means "Camulos' hill-fort", though Camulos was a while
before the Cunobelinus who dealt with the Romans. The
modern name, Colchester, is Saxon and means 'Fort on the River Coln'.
As John Morris pointed out in his 'Age of Arthur', Camulodunum occupies a crucial position
in the geography of Eastern England. It offer access to London and the
Thames corridor via its system of Roman roads, and to the existing Saxon
Shore Forts in Norfolk & Suffolk
(Brancaster, Caistor-on-Sea, Burgh Castle, Walton Castle & Bradwell).
In short, it is the perfect site from
which to defend the region from a sea-born invasion. It is also at the
center of a network of towns with the
prefix 'Am-', which some claim can be derived from Ambrosius Aurelianus,
the post Roman commander of the mid to late fifth century attributed as
the victor at Badon.
Camulodunum was a huge walled Roman city, with room
to garrison a legion, though in
Ambrosius' time more likely one or more cavalry regiments. Sometime during
or after the fourth century, it had some of its gates blocked or reduced
in size to make it easily defensible from attack.