The Arthur Syndrome

JOHN THURSTON is back and eager to discuss Western Martial Arts, especially relating to its history.


The Arthur Syndrome

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Thu Aug 02, 2007 1:18 pm

Hi All:

Nearly every country seems to have a hero that saved (what they conceive as) their Nation from extinction during what we call the Dark Ages, and, in some cases, much later in time.

Turnbull refers to 'The Bruce" as 'A New Arthur' for Scotland----hmmmm--do we really know how many times Scotland has been invaded and by whom.

Previously mentioned was the invasion of Caledonia by the Scotti, Celts from Ireland. Again, a by product of this "Irish" aggressiveness remains in the story of Tristan and Isolde. The Dark age "Kingdom" of Cornwall does seem to have been the subject of raiders from "ireland' if the concept and word were in existence at the time.

So, now we now why Caledonia is called Scotland and not 'Pictland'.

It seems Charlemagne would be consider the "Arthur" of France. His Empire consisted of presesent day France and considerable portion of present Western germany.

The Empire had, at that time, many brands of Germans, including the Gepids and perhaps many of the races with whom Caesar fought. The French word for Germans (Allemagne) comes from the Tribe called the Allemani.

The word France, of course, is taken from the absolutely teutonic tribe called the Franks.

Thus Charles would have had Franks, Goths, Gepids, Celtic Gauls, Huns, Romanized Gauls, Italian, multi ethinic descendants of the Coloni where the Legion veterans were settled, (thus the name Cologne in Present day Germany) and Belgicae at a very minimum to deal with.,

The Arthur of Ireland was Called Brian Boru. He has a rich history and was King of Leinster in present day Ireland. Dublin itself was held by the Danes.

Brian consolidated Ireland, defeated the Danes at the battle of Clontarf in 1037 only to die in that battle and have his sons "preside' over the disintegration of their Father's united "Ireland".

Arminius is sometime considered the Arthur of Germany because of his distruction of three Casearian/Augustan Legiones in Western Germany in 9 AD. (Legios XVII, XVIII and XIX-to young to have received cognomen)

But the Cherusci, Herman's tribe, liked him little and it is interesting that his own brother, called Flavus, was a Romanized Cherucsi/German and, at least once, had to be physically restrained form attacking his brother during Parleys. Herman died, as I recall, while still on the run. Hugh may corect me on the point.

Germanicus, perhaps as able a General as any Rome produced, recovered the three Eagles lost in the Varian disaster.

Italy's Arthur might well be Giuseppe Garibaldi who united Italy under the house of Victor Emmanuel of Sardinia. One hates to go into modern times, but the holy Roman Empire did not fall quickly. Again, one hates to go into modern times, but Italy remained divided into many 'Kingdoms' dating back to the Dark ages which remained separate until modern times.

Charlemagne himself was Crowned with The Iron Crown of the Lombards.

The Arthur of Judea (called that by the Romans) can well be considered Judas Maccabeus who expelled the 'Successor' forces and rule of the Seleucid Empire.

Perhaps Germany's ttrue Arthur was Otto Von Bismark-perhaps Frederick the Great?

For Spain "El Cid" (Al Sayyid) Roderigo Diaz De Bivar.

For Russia perhaps the mythic hero Ilya Muromets, about whom less is known by me than I might suggest to know about Arthur Himself.

More nations have there Arthurian type heroes, but I wished to put some forward for comment in the hopes that others can suggest heroes of this stature for other nations I do not know about.

Rome itself had several men named "New Fathers of Rome" including Camillus, Marius, and Julius Caesar.

"All Enlightenment Gratefully Accepted"
Posts: 2448
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 1998 6:01 am

Postby Hugh » Tue Aug 07, 2007 8:41 pm

The great Russian hero is Alexander Nevsky, about whom Sergei Eisenstein made a great film and who was the Russian leader who defeated the Teutonic Knights in the "Miracle of the Ice," the battle on Lake Priapus where the ice gave away and the bulk of the Teutonic Knights crashed through and drowned. It was plagiarized in the recent film, "King Arthur," and badly at that. It is interesting to me that the enemy in these stories is not the Mongols who had conquered Russia in the middle of winter but the Germans. The Mongols invaded Russian during winter so that their horses could cross the Russian rivers on the ice!

While the France of Charlemagne was a true mix of many peoples, the base culture was that of the Romanized Franks. Look an their legendary hero, Roland, constantly seeking the armor of Achilles and/or Hector. This was not a Teutonic culture but a more Romance culture, and, above all, a Christian one. One of Charlemagne'e less noble moments was the execution of several hundreds (thousands?) of captive Saxons who had refused baptism.

Who would be the national hero of the various Scandanavian countries? Perhaps Harald Hardraada for Norway except that he led them into such a disaster at Stamford Bridge. None of the Norse leaders were anything like inspiring if you ask me.

As for the Greeks, I have always kind of liked Belisarius. Had he an emperor worthy of his skills, he would have loomed even larger in history than he already has.

For the late Romans, how about Stilicho and Flavius Aetius? Admittedly, Stilicho was a half-Vandal on his father's side and Aetius had spent much of his youth among the Huns, but they both served their Roman masters well until they were murdered by those same masters. Aetius was the leader who beat Atilla at the Catalaunian Fields near what is now Chalons in 451 CE.
Trying to Walk in the Light, Hugh
1 John 1:5
Posts: 595
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2000 6:01 am
Location: Virginia

Good Choice All

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Tue Aug 07, 2007 10:17 pm

I thought I had mentioned Alexander Nevsky. No Matter, a good Choice.

Aetius and Stilicho did not come to mind as the intent was to find 'heros' who (post Romam Empire) plated an Arthurian role in staving off the darks ages and or crating or uniting a fledgeling nation state.

Roland is, perhaps, a brtter choice for France----of perhaps Charles Martel?
I guess I did not make myself clear.

Belisaruis is a good choice for some serving as 'the suffering servant' of a great Empire. Maybe MacArthur might someday be viewed in this manner.

"All Enlightenment Gratefully Accepted"
Posts: 2448
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 1998 6:01 am

Return to Western Martial Arts & History

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests