Arthur, Cerdic, and the Formation of Wessex

Arthur, Cerdic, and the Formation of Wessex

By: John C. Rudmin, 864 Chicago Av, Harrisonburg, VA, 22801
Joseph W. Rudmin, Physics Dept., James Madison Univ., Harrisonburg, VA, 22807
(First submitted for publication in Oct 1993)

VII. A Detailed Comparison of the Career of Cerdic with Geoffrey's Arthur

   We now compare the life of Arthur, as described by Geoffrey of Monmouth, with that of Cerdic as suggested by various sources.

 

Geoffrey's Arthur Cerdic (Vreichvras) Source
Arthur means Strength of Arm Vreichvras means Strongarm Harper Dict. & Morris
Illegitimate son of Uther and Igerna, the wife of Gorlois (Gorlois = Guor Elessa?) Illegitimate son of Isaive. Father is Eliavres or Elessa Legends & Genealogies
Involved with wizard Merlin Father a wizard--Llyr Merini Legends
  Vortigern's interpreter Nennius
Campaigns against Saxons in Yorkshire, and drives Saxons into the Caledonian Wood. Then traps the Saxons in the forest, and blockades them by felling trees to make a fence. Campaigns in northern Britain with Octha & Ebessa Geoffrey
  Extends the campaign to the Orkneys and all around Pictland Nennius
Geoffrey's victor at Bath. Nennius's victor at Badon Hill. Gildas says Badon Hill ca. 500. Most scholars believe Badon in Southwest Britain. Cerdic dominated Southwest Britain ca. 500 as evidenced by the pedigrees of the kings of Glamorgan, Gwent, and Wessex. legends and genealogies of Vreichvras
Returns to Dunbarton and starts to exterminate the Picts and Scots, but abandons this in the face of entreaties by the clergy. There is an emphasis here on Dunbarton. This may have been due to a confusion of Cerdic with Ceredig of Dunbarton.  
Goes to York, marries Guenevere, raised in the household of Cador Duke of Cornwall. Marries Guignier, sister of Cador, prince of Cornwall Legend of Caradoc Vreichvras
Conquers Ireland and Iceland. Someone named Ceredig gathered a fleet and ravaged the coast of Ireland around the year 450. This is about the date of the last Irish raids on Britain. St. Patrick's Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus
Spent nine years subduing Gaul and held court in Paris. Reigned at Nantes in some stories. Spent 25? years in Gaul and ruled at Nantes and Vannes. Legends of Cardoc Vreichvras
Reigned for five years in Glamorgan. Dynastic founder of the kings of Glamorgan. Genealogies
Defeated and slew the emperor of Rome [No Roman Emperor was slain by a Briton after Magnus Maximus in 383.]  
Died fighting his nephew Modred, who married Guenevere and rebelled. Medrot was Cerdic's grandson. Guenevere would have been much too old to marry him.  
Traditionally associated with Winchester (Malory's Camelot) Ruled at Winchester.  
   Little commentary is needed on the above comparison chart. Nearly every element in the story of Arthur, which COULD be historical, was also an element of Cerdic's career. Personal names and relationships from the legends match well. Differences generally appear to be due to Geoffrey's purposes, such as Arthur's royal parentage. It is reasonable to conclude that Arthur is Cerdic.

John C. Rudmin, 864 Chicago Av, Harrisonburg, VA, 22801
Joseph W. Rudmin, Physics Dept., James Madison Univ., Harrisonburg, VA, 22807
(First submitted for publication in Oct 1993)

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