The Truth About King Arthur
In our book The Serpent Grail, we had initially explored the Arthurian legends to see what light they could shed on the link between the Grail and the serpent. But we decided we should now spare the time to take a brief look at the history of Britain and the period in which Arthur supposedly lived. Most historians place this period in the fifth century AD, and so this is where we began our historical journey to find the ‘real Arthur’.
In about 402 AD, Stilicho, the Vandal Regent of Rome, needed the remainder of his troops back in Rome to defend the homeland against the invading Goths. This left Britain militarily vulnerable and weak, and by 410 the Anglo-Saxons were mounting a terrible invasion that set the countryside alight. But why did the Saxons delay their invasion? The answer lies within the extremely clever way the Romans had previously cleared the country of what they called ‘barbarians’ – i.e. those people who would have either utilized inside intelligence to assist any invading force or who would have undermined the existing rule.
‘Britain was near to death until Stilicho arrived, and that with the Saxons defeated, the seas were safer and the Picts were broken, thereby making Britain secure.’ So wrote the early Christian poet and historian, Claudian, in 399 AD. Even the Welsh monk Gildas (c.504–570) described how ‘the legions came into close contact with the cruel enemies and slew great numbers of them. All of them were driven beyond the borders and the humiliated natives rescued from the bloody savagery which awaited them.’[i]
For eight years then, between the Romans leaving and the Saxons invading, it appears that Britain enjoyed a brief time of relevant peace. This peace was shattered violently as the Saxons instigated their bloody onslaught in the summer of 410. By winter, the British ‘civitates’ had simply had enough of their Roman pretender, Constantine III, and the old Roman system, and so they decided to go it alone. However, the British message to the Emperor Honorius left open a small in-road just in case they were making a mistake. Britain wanted to stay in the Roman Empire, not as subjects but as allies aiding each other with trade and defence. So Britain became an autonomous state within the Empire, especially after the sacking of Rome by Alaric’s Goths in 410.
This balance of power continued, and in 417 AD the units of Comes Brittaniarum partially reoccupied the Saxon forts along the south-east coast. This British force comprised six units of cavalry and three of infantry, a unique mobile field army whose method of fighting was influenced by the Scythian warrior-élite who had been brought to Britain by the Romans. These Scythians also brought many of the serpent related traditions we have found associated with Arthur – including the worship of Uther/Zeus and the plunging of the blood soaked sword into and out of the ground as an offering.
Following the death of Honorius, Rome suffered badly at the hands of usurpers and the final remnants of the Roman army vanished from Britain. The exact date of their departure is not known, although Nennius, the eighth-century Christian historian, tells us that Vortigern had become King of Britain by 425 AD. This probably referred to the southern regions and those parts of Britain previously held by the Romans. Vortigern, it seems, filled the gaping hole that Rome left behind.
Whether there is any truth in it or not, the Historia Brittonium states that it was Vortigern who invited Hengist and Horsa, the Norse warriors, to settle in Kent, only to later argue and fight against them. The old system of Roman rule finally began to crumble. Vortigern’s answer was to invite yet more foreigners to settle in the country, creating for them settlements called foederati. Was this wise council on Vortigern’s part? It may just have been his only answer, and a Roman answer at that, for the Romans had utilized this settlement procedure themselves. The Romans had also been powerful enough to keep these settlements under control, and had more incentives to offer them in exchange for their loyalty, whereas Vortigern had no other choice. Word had reached him that the Picts and Scots were massing on the borders, and he simply did not have the power to repel them. His tactic was Roman: bring in other Barbarians and get them to fight each other. It seems, however, that rather than settling warrior Barbarians on his coastlines in order to protect Britain, Vortigern opened the floodgates to the land-hungry Saxons. Vortigern was defeated by Hengist in 455, the lowlands were put to the fire and the Britons fled the country, heading for Spain and Armorica. The economy collapsed, and by 461 Vortigern the Great was dead.
There was a recovery of British fortunes a decade or so later, when Ambrosius Aurelianus, thought to be the son of a Roman consul, fought against the Saxons. On Marlborough Downs in Wiltshire there is a huge earthwork, built by a British chieftain between 2900–2500 BC and later used by the Romans and Saxons. Archaeological evidence of battles from this period on this re-used fort clearly show evidence that the Saxons were being repulsed.
It was then the turn of Arthur, who upheld the pride of the British nation through various documented battles. Many historians state that the true Arthur is elusive in the texts of the time, but there are hundreds of Welsh texts that refer to Arthur and which have not yet been translated into English. Not being Welsh scholars, we unfortunately have to leave this task to them, but we should remember that there is more yet to learn.
This history of the fifth-century Britons is interesting, but only partially of interest in our search for the Grail. The Romans had brought the Scythians to Britain; they also brought with them their cultural belief systems. They fought well, and in all probability, aided the Britons with training in their warrior ways.
The memory of these cultural additions seeped into the British consciousness and became British, Celtic, and eventually ‘New Age’. This very real struggle for power and for the defence of the realm was an ideal backdrop to the mystery that is now called the ‘Arthurian cycle’.
There probably was an Ambrosius, an Arthur and a Vortigern, and they doubtless fought great battles and overcame terrible troubles. But would they have understood the idea of the Grail as the ‘serpent people’ would have understood it? We doubt it. Of course, they would have been familiar with stories of a legendary ‘magical substance’ that could help soldiers recover, heal battle wounds, and ‘resurrect’ them in great numbers. This understanding would have come from what they had picked up from the myths which had been encoded with the wisdom of the shamanic ‘serpent people’, otherwise known as the Shining Ones.
This magical substance was ‘mixed’ in the sacred mixing-bowl, and Britain in the fifth century was itself a great and wondrous ‘mixing-bowl’. Cultures from across the known world travelled to it. Exports of British copper, lead, tin, and much more were shipped across Europe and the Mediterranean. There is even evidence that the ancient Egyptians visited our shores and that a Pharaoh’s daughter may well have settled in Ireland. Folklore tradition also tells us that Joseph of Arimathea visited these shores, and owned tin mines in Cornwall – although this we seriously doubt. If traditions such as these are far from truth, we have to ask ourselves, why were these strange tales invented?
If, as it seems, Britain was an important place, or even just as important as say Gaul, then why could Britain not also be the new home to the secret of the Grail? As we have shown in The Serpent Grail, the Grail on the ‘first level’ or venom, is not place specific. It is a secret held by all the civilizations of the globe, called many things, but essentially the same substance.
Philip Gardiner is the Author of The Serpent Grail: The Truth Behind the Holy Grail, Elixir of Life and Philosopher’s Stone. Also The Shining Ones: The World’s Most Powerful Secret Society Revealed, and the forthcoming Gnosis: The Secret of Solomon’s Temple Revealed. He is a researcher, historian and propaganda expert based in the UK. He does Tours via www.powerplaces.com and his websites can be seen at www.gardinerosborn.com, www.serpentgrail.com, www.theshiningones.com and www.philipgardiner.net for more information. To contact the publishers go to www.dbponline.co.uk
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Philip Gardiner is the Author of The Serpent Grail and his websites can be seen at www.serpentgrail.com and www.philipgardiner.net for more information. To contact the publishers go to www.dbponline.co.uk