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Encyclopedia > Ambrosius Aurelianus

Ambrosius Aurelianus, called Aurelius Ambrosius in the Historia Regum Britanniae and elsewhere, was a war leader of the Romano-British who won an important battle against the Anglo-Saxons in the 5th century, according to Gildas. According to the Major Chronicle Annals, Aurelianus rose to power in 479. Some scholars have speculated that he was also the leader of the Romano-British at the Battle of Mons Badonicus and as such may have been a historical basis for King Arthur. He also appeared independently in the legends of the Brythons, beginning with the Historia Britonum. Geoffrey of Monmouths Historia Regum Britanniæ (English: The History of the Kings of Britain) was written around 1136. ... The term King of the Britons refers to kings of Celtic Great Britain as recorded by much later authors, including Nennius, Gildas, and predominantly Geoffrey of Monmouth. ... Romano-British is a term used to refer to the Romanized Britons under the Roman Empire (and later the Western Roman Empire) and in the years after the Roman departure exposed to Roman culture and Christian religion. ... The famous parade helmet found at Sutton Hoo, probably belonging Raedwald of East Anglia circa 625. ... Europe in 450 The 5th century is the period from 401 to 500 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian Era. ... Gildas (c. ... Events End of the Song Dynasty and beginning of the Qi Dynasty in southern China. ... Britain, c. ... There is considerable debate among historians about the historical basis of King Arthur. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... The Historia Britonum, or The History of the Britons, is a historical work that was first written sometime shortly after AD 820, and exists in several recensions of varying difference. ...

Contents

Aurelianus according to Gildas

Ambrosius Aurelianus is one of the few people Gildas identifies by name in his sermon De Excidio Britanniae, and the only one named from the fifth century.[1] Following the destructive assault of the Saxons, the survivors gather together under the leadership of Ambrosius, who is described as "a gentleman who, perhaps alone of the Romans, had survived the shock of this notable storm. Certainly his parents, who had worn the purple, were slain in it. His descendants in our day have become greatly inferior to their grandfather's [avita] excellence." We know from Gildas that he was of high birth, and had Roman ancestry; he was presumably a Romano-Briton, rather than a Roman from elsewhere in the empire, though it is impossible to be sure.[1] It also appears that Ambrosius was a Christian: Gildas says that he won his battles "with God's help.[1] According to Gildas, Ambrosius organised the survivors into an armed force and achieved the first military victory over the Saxon invaders. However, this victory was not decisive: "Sometimes the Saxons and sometimes the citizens [meaning the Romano-British inhabitants] were victorious." Gildas (c. ...


Two points in this brief description have attracted much scholarly commentary[citation needed]. The first is what Gildas meant by saying Ambrosius' family "had worn the purple": does this mean that Ambrosius was related to one of the Roman Emperors, perhaps the House of Theodosius or a usurper like Constantine III? This seems unlikely. Roman males of the senatorial class wore clothes with a purple band to denote their class, so the reference to purple may be to his aristocratic heritage. In addition, Roman military tribunes (tribuni militum), senior officers in Roman legions, wore a similar purple band, so the purple may refer to military leadership background in his family. It has also been suggested that "the purple" is a euphemism for blood, and therefore "wearing the purple" may be a reference to martyrdom.[2] This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The House of Theodosius was a Roman family that rose to eminence in the waning days of the Roman Empire. ... Roman coin, with Constantine III portrayed on its face Constantine III (died 411 by September 18) was a Roman general who declared himself Western Roman Emperor in 407, abdicating in 411 (and being killed soon after). ... This article is about the social and political class in ancient Rome. ... Ordinary Magistrates Extraordinary Magistrates Titles and Honors Emperor Politics and Law Tribune (from the Latin: tribunus; Greek form tribounos) was a title shared by 2-3 elected magistracies and other governmental and/or (para)military offices of the Roman Republic and Empire. ...


The second question is the meaning of the word avita: does it mean "ancestors", or did Gildas intend it to mean more specifically "grandfather" — thus indicating Ambrosius lived about a generation before the Battle of Mons Badonicus? The lack of information for this period inhibits accurate answers to these questions. In the Battle of Mount Badon (Latin Mons Badonicus, Welsh Mynydd Baddon) Romano-British and Celts inflicted a severe defeat on an invading Anglo-Saxon army sometime in the decade before or after 500. ...


Aurelianus and the Saxons

Other accounts of Aurelianus

The Historia Britonum preserves several snippets of lore about Ambrosius. The most significant of these is the story about Ambrosius, Vortigern, and the two dragons beneath Dinas Emrys, "Fortress of Ambrosius" in Chapters 40 – 42. This story was later retold with more detail by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his fictionalized Historia Regum Britanniae, conflating the personage of Ambrosius with the Welsh tradition of Merlin the visonary, known for oracular utterances that foretold the coming victories of the native Celtic inhabitants of Britain over the Saxons and the Normans. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Dinas Emrys (Welsh for fortress of Ambrosius) is a rocky and wooded hillock, forming a landmark above the valley floor near Beddgelert in North Wales. ... Geoffrey of Monmouth (in Welsh: Gruffudd ap Arthur or Sieffre o Fynwy) (c. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... This article is about the European people. ... For other uses, see Saxon (disambiguation). ... Norman conquests in red. ...


But there are smaller snippets of tradition preserved in Historia Brittonum: in Chapter 31, we are told that Vortigern ruled in fear of Ambrosius; later, in Chapter 66, various events are dated from a battle of Guoloph (often identified with Wallop, 15 km ESE of Amesbury near Salisbury), which is said to have been between Ambrosius and Vitolinus; lastly, in Chapter 48, it is said that Pascent, the son of Vortigern, was granted rule over the kingdoms of Buellt and Gwrtheyrion by Ambrosius. It is not clear how these various traditions relate to each other or that they come from the same tradition, and it is very possible that these references are to a different Ambrosius. The Historia Brittonum dates the battle of Guoloph to "the twelfth year of Vortigern", by which 437 seems to be meant. This is perhaps a generation before the battle that Gildas says were commanded by Ambrosius Aurelianus. See also Amesbury, Massachusetts. ... Salisbury Cathedral by Constable. ... Builth Wells (Welsh: ) is a town in Powys, traditional county of Brecknockshire, mid Wales, lying on the River Wye. ...


At the end of the story in Chapters 40 - 42, Vortigern hands over to Ambrosius "the fortress, with all of the kingdoms of the western part of Britain." In Chapter 48 Ambrosius Aurelianus is described as "king among all the kings of the British nation." It is impossible to know to what degree he actually wielded political power, and over what area, but it is certainly possible that he ruled some part of England.[1] This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The term King of the Britons refers to the legendary kings of Celtic Great Britain as established by such pseudo-historical authors as Nennius, Gildas, and predominantly Geoffrey of Monmouth. ...


Because Ambrosius and Vortigern are shown in the Historia Brittonum as being in conflict, some historians have suspected that this preserves a historical core of the existence of two parties in opposition to one another, one headed by Ambrosius and the other by Vortigern. J. N. L. Myres built upon this suspicion and put forth the hypothesis that belief in Pelagianism reflected an actively provincial outlook in Britain and that Vortigern represented the Pelagian party, while Ambrosius led the Catholic one. Some later historians accepted this hypothesis as fact and have created a narrative of events in fifth-century Britain with various degrees of elaborate detail. Yet a simpler alternative interpretation of the conflict between these two figures is that the Historia Brittonum is preserving traditions hostile to the purported descendants of Vortigern, who at this time were a ruling house in Powys. This interpretation is supported by the negative character of all of the stories retold about Vortigern in the Historia Brittonum, which include his alleged practice of incest. Dr. John Nowell Linton Myres CBE (27 December 1902 - 25 September 1989) was a British archaeologist and Bodley Librarian at the Bodleian Library in Oxford from 1947 to 1965; and librarian of Christ Church College before then. ... Pelagianism is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature (which, being created from God, was divine), and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without Divine aid. ... Medeival kingdoms of Wales. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ...


Ambrosius Aurelianus appears in later pseudo-chronicle tradition beginning with Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historiae Regum Britanniae with the slightly garbled name Aurelius Ambrosius, now presented as son of a King Constantine. When King Constantine's eldest son Constans is murdered at Vortigern's instigation, the two remaining sons, Ambrosius and Uther, still very young, are quickly hustled into exile in Brittany. (This does not fit with Gildas' account in which Ambrosius' family perished in the turmoil of the Saxon uprisings.) Later, when Vortigern's power has faded, the two brothers return from exile with a large army, destroy Vortigern and become friends with Merlin. The Welsh possibly had traditions of two different Ambrosianii, whom Geoffrey of Monmouth confused. Historical province of Brittany, showing the main areas with their name in Breton language The traditional flag of Brittany (the Gwenn-ha-du), formerly a Breton nationalist symbol but today used as a general civic flag in the region. ...


In Welsh, Ambrosius appears as Emrys Wledig. In Robert de Boron's Merlin he is called simply Pendragon and his younger brother is named Uter, which he changes to Uterpendragon after the death of the elder sibling. This is probably a confusion that entered oral tradition from Wace's Roman de Brut. Wace usually only refers to li roi 'the king' without naming him, and someone has taken an early mention of Uther's epithet Pendragon as the name of his brother. Robert de Boron (also spelled in the manuscripts Bouron, Beron) was a French poet of the late 12th and early 13th centuries, originally from the village of Boron, in the arrondissement of Montbéliard. ... Wace (c. ... Roman de Brut Roman de Brut or Brut is a verse literary history of England of 14,866 lines written in Anglo-Norman by Wace. ...


S. Appelbaum has suggested that Amesbury in Wiltshire might preserve in it the name of Ambrosius, and perhaps Amesbury was the seat of his power base in the later fifth century. Place name scholars have found a number of place names through the Midland dialect regions of Britain that incorporate the ambre- element: Ombersley in Worcestershire, Ambrosden in Oxfordshire, Amberley in Herefordshire, and Amberley in Gloucestershire. These scholars have claimed this element represents an Old English word amor, the name of a woodland bird. However, Amesbury in Wiltshire is in a different dialect region and does not easily fit into the pattern of the Midland dialect place names. If we combine this etymology with the tradition reported by Geoffrey of Monmouth stating Ambrosius Aurelianus ordered the building of Stonehenge — which is located within the parish of Amesbury (and where Ambrosius was supposedly buried) — and with the presence of an Iron age hill fort also in that parish, then it is extremely tempting to connect this shadowy figure with Amesbury. Wiltshire (abbreviated Wilts) is a large southern English county. ... Toponymy is the taxonomic study of toponyms (place-names), their origins and their meanings. ... The Kings Arms, Ombersley (photo by Philip Halling) The village of Ombersley is in the Wychavon District Council area of Worcestershire about 5 miles north of Worcester on the main A449 road to Kidderminster. ... Worcestershire (pronounced ; abbreviated Worcs) is a county located in the West Midlands region of central England. ... Ambrosden is a village in the east of the county of Oxfordshire, south-east of the town of Bicester. ... Oxfordshire (abbreviated Oxon, from the Latinised form Oxonia) is a county in the South East of England, bordering on Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, and Warwickshire. ... Herefordshire is a historic and ceremonial county and unitary district (known as County of Herefordshire) in the West Midlands region of England. ... Gloucestershire (pronounced ; GLOSS-ter-sher) is a county in South West England. ... Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon[1], Old English: ) is an early form of the English language that was spoken in parts of what is now England and southern Scotland between the mid-fifth century and the mid-twelfth century. ... For other uses, see Stonehenge (disambiguation). ... Iron Age Axe found on Gotland This article is about the archaeological period known as the Iron Age, for the mythological Iron Age see Iron Age (mythology). ... A hill fort is a fortified refuge or defended settlement, located to exploit a rise in elevation for military advantage. ...


Aurelianus in fiction

In Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon, Aurelianus is depicted as the aging High King of Britain, a "too-ambitious" son of a Western Roman Emperor. His sister's son is Uther Pendragon, but Uther is described as not having any Roman blood. Aurelianus is unable to gather the leadership of the native Celts, who refuse to follow any but their own race. Marion Eleanor Zimmer Bradley (June 3, 1930 – September 25, 1999) was a prolific author of largely feminist fantasy novels such as The Mists of Avalon and the Darkover series, and a steadfast encourager of equality (and quality) in writing. ... The Mists of Avalon is a 1979 novel by Marion Zimmer Bradley, in which she relates the Arthurian legends from the perspective of the female characters. ... Uther Pendragon (French: Uter Pendragon; Welsh: Wthyr Bendragon, Uthr Bendragon, Uthyr Pendraeg) is a legendary king of sub-Roman Britain and the father of King Arthur. ...


In Alfred Duggan's Conscience of the King, a historical novel about Cerdic, founder of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex, Ambrosius Aurelianus is a Romano-British general who rose independently to military power, forming alliances with various British kings and setting out to drive the invading Saxons from Britain. Cerdic, who is of both Germanic and British descent and raised as a Roman citizen, served in his army as a young man. In the novel Ambrosius is a separate character from Arthur, or Artorius, who appears much later as a foe of Cerdic. Evelyn Waughs Preface to Count Bohemond Alfred Duggans death on 4th April 1964 brought to an abrupt end a literary career of peculiar interest. ... Conscience of the King (1951) is a historical novel by the English author Alfred Duggan. ... A historical novel is a novel in which the story is set among historical events, or more generally, in which the time of the action predates the lifetime of the author. ... Cerdic of Wessex (c. ... Map of the British Isles circa 802 Wessex was one of the seven major Anglo-Saxon kingdoms (the Heptarchy) that preceded the Kingdom of England. ... The toga was the characteristic garment of the Roman citizen. ...


In Stephen R. Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle, Ambrosius Aurelianus (referred to as "Aurelius") figures prominently, along with his brother Uther, in the second book of the series, Merlin. He is poisoned soon after becoming High King of Britain, and Uther succeeds him. Lawhead alters the standard Arthurian story somewhat, in that he has Aurelius marry Igraine and become the true father of King Arthur (Uther does marry his brother's widow, though). Stephen R. Lawhead (born July 2, 1950) is an American writer known for novels, both fantasy and science fiction and more recently his works of historical fiction. ... The Pendragon Cycle is a series of fantasy or semi-historical books based on the Arthurian legend, written by Stephen R. Lawhead. ... The Aurelii (meaning the golden) were a Roman gens. ... A high king is a king who holds a position of seniority over a group of other kings. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... A bronze Arthur in plate armour with visor raised and with jousting shield wearing Kastenbrust armour (early 15th century) by Peter Vischer, typical of later anachronistic depictions of Arthur. ...


In Valerio Massimo Manfredi's The Last Legion, Aurelianus (here called Aurelianus Ambrosius Ventidius) is a major character and is shown as the last loyal Roman, going to enormous lengths for his boy emperor Romulus Augustus, whose power has been wrested by the barbarian Odoacer. In this story, Romulus Augustus marries Igraine, and King Arthur is their son, and the sword of Julius Caesar becomes the legendary Excalibur in Britain. Valerio Massimo Manfredi (born 1943) is an Italian scholar of archaeology, journalist, TV host, mainly famous as historical novelist. ... The Last Legion is a movie made in 2006 and directed by Doug Lefler. ... This article is about the Roman Emperor. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... A bronze Arthur in plate armour with visor raised and with jousting shield wearing Kastenbrust armour (early 15th century) by Peter Vischer, typical of later anachronistic depictions of Arthur. ... Gaius Julius Caesar [1] (Latin pronunciation ; English pronunciation ; July 12 or July 13, 100 BC or 102 BC – March 15, 44 BC), was a Roman military and political leader and one of the most influential men in world history. ... How Sir Bedivere Cast the Sword Excalibur into the Water. ...


Mary Stewart's The Crystal Cave follows Geoffrey of Monmouth in calling him Aurelius Ambrosius and portrays him as the father of Merlin, the elder brother of Uther (hence uncle of Arthur), an initiate of Mithras, and generally admired by everyone except the Saxons. Much of the book is set at his court in Brittany or during the campaign to retake his throne from Vortigern. Later books in the series show that Merlin's attitude toward Arthur is influenced by his belief that Arthur is a reincarnation of Ambrosius, who is seen through Merlin's eyes as a model of good kingship. Mary Stewart (born 12 September 1916 in Sunderland, County Durham) is a popular English novelist, best known for her trilogy about Merlin, which straddles the boundary between the historical novel and the fantasy genre. ... The Crystal Cave is a novel by Mary Stewart. ... Mithras and the Bull: fresco from the mithraeum at Marino, Italy, (3rd century AD) Mithras was the central god of Mithraism, a syncretic Hellenistic mystery religion of male initiates that developed in the Eastern Mediterranean in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC and was practiced in the Roman Empire from...


In Rosemary Sutcliff's The Lantern Bearers Prince Ambrosius Aurelianus of Arfon drives out the Saxons by training his British army with Roman techniques and making effective use of cavalry. By the end of the novel, the elite cavalry wing is led by a dashing young warrior prince named Artos, whom Sutcliff postulates to be the real Arthur. Rosemary Sutcliff (December 14, 1920 - July 23, 1992) was a British novelist, best known as a writer of highly acclaimed historical fiction. ... The Lantern Bearers is a historical adventure novel for children written by Rosemary Sutcliff and published in 1959, with illustrations by Charles Keeping. ...


In Jack Whyte's Camulod Chronicles, Ambrosius Aurelianus is the half-brother of Caius Merlyn Britannicus (Merlin) and helps him lead the people of Camulod (Camelot). Jack Whyte (Johnstone, Renfrewshire, Scotland, 1939) is an author and writer born and raised in Scotland, but living in Canada since 1967. ... Official website for Jack Whyte. ... Gustave Doré’s illustration of Camelot from “Idylls of the King”, 1868 Camelot is the most famous fictional castle associated with the legendary King Arthur. ...


In Stargate SG-1, Ambrosius and Arthur are one and the same. Merlin was an Ancient, fleeing from Atlantis and later Ascends, then comes back in order build the Sangraal, or Holy Grail, to defeat the Ori. Daniel Jackson also comments that it would mean that Ambrosius was 74 at the Battle of Mount Badon. Stargate SG-1 (often abbreviated as SG-1) is a science fiction television series, part of the Stargate franchise. ... In the Stargate fictional universe, Moros was an influential Ancient. ... The Ancients, also known as the Alterans and Lanteans, sometimes calling themselves Anqueetas in their language, are a humanoid race in the fictional Stargate universe. ... Aerial view of Atlantis. ... A holographic representation of the final stage of the Sangraal. ... The Ori (pronounced OR-eye) are characters on the fictional Stargate SG-1 television program. ... Daniel Jackson (b. ... In the Battle of Mount Badon (Latin Mons Badonicus, Welsh Mynydd Baddon) Romano_British and Celts inflicted a severe defeat on an invading Anglo-Saxon army sometime in the decade before or after 500. ...


Notes

  1. ^ a b c d Fletcher, Richard (1989). Who's Who in Roman Britain and Anglo-Saxon England. Shepheard-Walwyn, 15-16. ISBN 0-85683-089-5. 
  2. ^ Gidlow, Christopher (2004). The Reign of Arthur: From History to Legend. Sutton Publishing, 80. ISBN 0-7509-3418-2. 
Preceded by
Vortigern
Mythical British Kings Succeeded by
Uther Pendragon

  Results from FactBites:
 
Ambrosius Aurelianus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1253 words)
Ambrosius Aurelianus (incorrectly referred to in the Historia Regum Britanniae as Aurelius Ambrosius) was a leader of the Romano-British, who won important battles against the Anglo-Saxons in the 5th century, according to Gildas and to the legends preserved in the Historia Britonum.
Ambrosius Aurelianus is one of the few people Gildas identifies by name in his sermon De Excidio Britanniae.
In Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon, Aurelianus is depicted as the aging High King of Britain, a "too-ambitious" son of a Western Roman Emperor.
Dinas Emrys - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (322 words)
While it is of interest to archaeologists because it is an example of a hill fort whose fortifications entirely postdate the Roman period, this hillock is of interest to the greater group of enthusiasts about the legends of King Arthur.
This is the setting of the famous exchange of the warlord Vortigern and the youthful Ambrosius Aurelianus, as told in the Historia Britonum.
Ambrosius laughed at this advice, and instead explained that the hill fort could not stand due to a hidden pool containing two vermes, a word that can be translated as either "badgers" or "dragons".
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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