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Discussion of Camelon's Arthurian Connection   
By David Nash Ford

C A M E L O N
The Scottish Camelot

Scotland has its own claimant to the title of King Arthur. It also has its own Camelot.

Tradition: In 1695, Gibson recorded that the old Roman Fort of Colania at Camelon, on the outskirts of Falkirk, was:

"A little ancient city, where the common people believe there was formerly a road for ships. They call it Camelot. It may be gathered from history that this was the Palace of the Picts."

About a hundred years previously, George Buchanan had recorded of the same place that "some of our writers falsely imagine (it) to have been Camulodunum". In 1522, Hector Boece had associated Colania with King Cruthneus Camelon of the Picts.

The Theory: In his book, "Arturius - A Quest for Camelot," David F. Carroll sets out his ideas that suggest that the great King Arthur of legend was the historical late 6th century Prince Artuir, eldest son of King Aidan of Dalriada. Carroll believes that Artuir ruled the oppressed Kingdom of Manau Gododdin during his father's Dalriadan reign. He died at the Battle of the Miathi in 582, which Carroll equates with Camlann and places in the same kingdom. What more natural than for this Prince to make his capital at the old Roman Fort of Colania (which Carroll refers to as Ad Vallum) in the centre of Manau Gododdin, a place called Camelot in the past and still called Camelon today? Carroll agrees that Chrétien De Troyes' Camelot was in origin Camulodunum, but that the French poet had taken the name from the mistaken Scottish belief that this was the Latin name for the fort at Camelon. This was probably due to confusion between Colania and the Colonia of Camulodunum (Colchester). It may even have been an assumed connection on Chrétien's part.

Possible Interpretations & Criticism: The main problem with Carroll's ideas is the identification of Arthur himself. Artuir of Dalriada was probably born at least twenty years after the supposed death of the traditional Arthur of legend; though dating any event or lifespan in the Dark Ages is problematic at best. The appeal of the Camelot identification is that it places an historical Arthur in the region where a place traditionally known as Camelot exists. Unfortunately, Artuir's connection with Manau Gododdin is itself uncertain. Carroll's own acknowledgement that Chrétien may have used the name through a complete misunderstanding does, however, have distinct possibilities.

Picture of the North Camp of Ad Vallum © David F. Carroll

Link to: David F.Carroll's Own Web Site

 


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