Any student interested in Arthuriana has to start with the work of ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth’. If you understand who ‘Geoffrey’ is then you have a huge head start in understanding how ‘Geoffrey’ composed his HRB and VM and his reasons for doing so.
The evidence from the British annals of Gildas and Bede concerns Ambrosius Aurelianus as a British warlord against the Saxons. ‘Geoffrey’ attempts to conflate this person with Arthur. In ‘Geoffrey’s’ HRB, the name Ambrosius Aurelianus is purposefully conflated with either Merlin or Arthur, purely on the basis that this person in Bede and Gildas is carrying out a campaign against the Saxons which parallels ‘Geoffrey’s’ fictional account of Arthur. Gildas says of Ambrosius Aurelianus: 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 excellence.“ Bede follows Gildas and recounts Ambrosius Aurelius, a modest man of Roman origin and that “under his leadership the Britons took up arms, challenged their conquerors to battle…
It is completely obvious through Tatlock’s work that Henry Blois has constructed most of his history from an array of material continental and insular such as Annales Cambriae, Nennius, Bede, Gildas, Welsh sources, and such continental sources as Sigebert’s Chronicle, Landolfus Sagax, the chanson de geste and many others, which help to substantiate his case as he also follows the Roman annals such as Tacitus to a point.
The only problem with trying to align with known history in the story-line of the Psuedo Historia,(that version composed for Henry Blois’ Uncle); Primary Historia, (that version found at Bec in 1139); the First Variant and the Vulgate versions…. is that it throws up some contradictions which are inevitable when trying to invent new history. Henry, when composing his Psuedo Historia for his Uncle in the period before he had been to Wales and was able to flesh out his Arthurian account, probably adhered to Historical chronology.
But when ‘Geoffrey’ invents a ‘Chivalric’ Arthur and inserts him into history, the strictures of truth and chronology have to be eased. Henry no longer becomes a slave to corroboration, liberalising the story-line from historical sources. He has his protagonist Arthur waging battle scenes in an area known to Henry Blois and certainly not to a Welsh ‘Geoffrey’.
‘Geoffrey’ found a gap in history into which he inserts his Chivalric Arthur from his own imagination giving him his own Norman Values where he inflates, elaborates, mixes chronology, and uses his own family circumstances to invent characters such as King Lear based on his own Father. Henry Blois edges from Roman annals to continental chronicles to inventing his own anachronisms chiming and glancing off genuine history, even using information from contemporary historians such as Malmesbury and Huntingdon as sources, then astounding them with his inventions previously unknown, such as the appearance of Stonehenge etc.
Funnily enough Henry Blois competes in his quest to impress his insular historians and to amaze his Norman contemporaries to show the superiority of ‘Geoffrey’ over every other historian (except maybe Cicero).
Daphne Oosterhout in her Classical sources of the Vita Merlini says: Reminiscences have been used purposefully by Geoffrey to echo works by famous authors that he familiarized himself with during his education. However, it ought to be noted that reminiscences serve to echo another author’s language rather than the content of his work. Consequently, these echoes or copies may be regarded on the one hand as a tribute, and on the other hand as a means for Geoffrey to show off his own knowledge and the breadth of his education.
In truth Henry Blois did want his work to impress. Much of this effort to begin with carried out in the research for the Psuedo Historia destined for his uncle, but also to outdo the plodding Huntingdon and Malmesbury as seen in the HRB.
Oosterhout also goes on to say: As with his other works, the Vita Merlini was used by Geoffrey of Monmouth to try and gain profit from his patron(s). Therefore, it was of the utmost importance to him that he could impress those patrons with both his knowledge, education and literary prowess.
Until scholars can understand that Henry Blois is the author, they will never understand that the author of VM was the wealthiest man in Britain and never set out to impress any patron but composed HRB and the VM because he loved art; but, above everything… the work of a brilliant author was of the greatest worth. See the inscription on the Mosan Plaques.
Obviously Henry Blois has had to stick to historical guidelines to a point but where Arthur is concerned (and a third of his history involves this era), it is questioned by scholars why ‘Geoffrey’ licences himself to divert from following the broad strokes of History in the first two thirds of his book. The reason is because the Dark ages allowed this sort of liberality as there were no Roman Annals just snippets of the mention of Arthur in Saints lives, Nennius etc upon which he let his imagination run wild; and yet, give a sense of condoning the Norman values that his readership empathised with.
The problem has been that most scholars have not recognised that Henry Blois had both continental and insular material from which he inflates and transforms King Arthur from a lowly insular historical warlord to a British King who could at a stretch (given the coincidence of continental chronicles) have been in Gaul. We know King Arthur was not and did not fight with Romans in Gaul but instead King Arthur brushes with what could be passed as real historical persons.
Commentators are agog at ‘Geoffrey’s’ knowledge of continental tribes, geography and history but no scholar has ever contemplated that ‘Geoffrey’ was an aristocratic Norman who had access to just about every Chronicle in Medieval Britain and on the continent. Nor have they contemplated King Arthur’s pageantry, holding court, jousting etc. as mirroring Henry Blois’ own uncle Henry Ist. Honestly, where would a Welsh cleric get such a lofty tone and such imperious knowledge.
So, rather than a cleric from Oxford who would have no sense of warfare, tribes, regions, counties Dukedoms etc. or have the knowledge to stage battles in known geographical locations, unknown to the cleric, but in Henry Blois’ own backyard; it seems obvious that with all the personalised information concerning Henry Blois and his brother Stephen in the prophecies of Merlin that we have covered already, and given that it is understood that both the Merlin prophecies and the HRB were composed by a common author, Henry Blois is undeniably the same as ‘Geoffrey’. But modern scholars such as Wright, Crick, Padel etc. would rather die than admit a life’s work is overturned.
Many have suspected interpolation in Malmesbury’s GR3 and most recognise the first 34 chapters of DA are fraudulently interpolated. No scholar today recognises that the Matter of Britain stems from one architect. Most scholars today have accepted the mire of confusing evidence which exists around Arthur and Glastonbury myth as a haphazard coalescing from disparate sources in history.
A state of bemusement exists because the British annals seem in part to corroborate what all commentators knew was a book of invention written by Geoffrey of Monmouth. Events and fictitious persons were corroborated in part by the DA, GR and the life of Gildas and the conflation and corroboration pervade our three genres under investigation. Modern scholars have not been able to separate fact from fiction nor have they understood the propaganda of Henry Blois. Their modus operandi is to ignore what is blatantly obvious instead of getting egg on their face and frown saying “there’s something about Geoffrey that doesn’t add up…. but what we’ll do is keep saying stuff cos that’s what we do…. but every-time we realise that what we just said contradicts what we said before we will say, it’s only provisional until we change our minds again….and if we get coincidence overload we’ll call it a fortuitous convergence of factors”. This is the state of Modern Medieval scholarship!!!!
Anyway, firstly, let us find how Henry Blois was able to perpetuate his myth of British history. As we know, up until his brother King Stephen died, he was the most powerful prelate in Britain with an endless resource of wealth. Winchester and Glastonbury were both under his control. Winchester hall was part of a palace in London and Henry ran his own judiciary and Jail. Glastonbury was the wealthiest institution in the land by quite a margin at the Norman invasion attested by Doomesday. Winchester was the seventh wealthiest religious house at the time of Domesday. Winchester could be considered the capital of the Old Saxon dynasty. Both Glastonbury and Winchester had some of the oldest records such as Bede, Gildas, and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle etc. with many of the lives of the saints, within their libraries. Henry at Clugny while being educated had access to all continental chronicles. Henry Blois had one other vital key to ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth’s’ success which were scriptoriums with educated monks from around the country who could duplicate copies of the various editions of HRB.
Tatlock, for the most part, set out how Geoffrey of Monmouth’s pseudo-history and fable of Arthur was put together. He recognises fraud and the invention of a pseudo-history in HRB; parts of HRB being corroborated with names like Phagan and Deruvian from Henry Blois’ interpolations found in DA. Tatlock fails to see the connection in Henry Blois. Tatlock covers, like most other commentators, early Grail legend and the works of Chrétien de Troyes and Robert de Boron and fails to investigate how it is that the earliest forms of Grail literature are known to derive from Master Blehis or Blihos giving the anagram H.Blois. Scholarship has failed to recognise Henry Blois as the denominator of our three genres of study under investigation because even when they recognise fraud, little attention is given to motive or context.
‘Geoffrey’s’ HRB is where the ‘chivalric’ Arthurian persona first appears, but Henry has fabricated his pseudo-history and Arthurian epic upon a background of history which sufficiently conflates and parallels events and personages within the British annals that his account seems to concur in part with history.
The portrayal of Arthur in the HRB is entirely of ‘Geoffrey’s’ imagination or so Prof. Stephen Knight seems to think in his critique of Higham’s book ‘Myth-Making and History’. Knight says that:
Geoffrey worked at Oxford, as a scholar and probably teacher, and understood the Norman hierarchy. With unaccountable brilliance he wrote a history of the British Celts that somehow aggrandised the Norman French as well. Following the Historia Brittonum, but with more bravura, his British arrived soon after Aeneas got to Rome, and were led by a Trojan called Brutus. So we are very grand and ancient. He told of centuries of fighting and squabbling, pastimes shared enthusiastically by Celts and Normans, and he also told how the great British leaders, Belinus and his brother Brennius, and indeed after them Arthur, had conquered France and Rome, just the sort of thing a Norman might mull over achieving on a wet night in Winchester.
Well Stephen Knight, think of the Norman of Normans Henry Blois mulling over the HRB in Winchester as author instead of Geoffrey and you are spot on!!! Knight goes on to say:
No-one who wants to think seriously about the weird power of the Arthur myth – rather than about stupid conjectures about where he was born and so on – will be able to operate without a good grounding in the excellent account by Higham, a very honourable exercise in bringing into contact the two elements of his sub-title, `myth-making’ and `history’. The problem with scholars today is that everything is a ‘stupid conjecture’ concerning the Arthur Myth until it is recognised who authored and promulgated the Myth.
Geoffrey Ashe another supposed expert on Arthur and Geoffrey’s HRB asks: where did Geoffrey aquire the knowledge he had, however flamboyantly he played with it? Until these experts stop asking silly questions and accept the author of HRB as a Norman aristocrat named Henry Blois, more ridiculous theories and questions will abound.
However, there does seem strong evidence of a legendary Arthur which supports a previous oral tradition to which William of Malmesbury infers existed but as I cover later is most probably Henry Blois’ interpolation. Pierre Gallais covers this subject and found the name Arthur in many cartuleries from the ninth to the fourteenth century. There is previous evidence of Arthur’s name and reputation and the ‘hope’ of his return before ‘Geoffrey’s’ concoction. If we consider the evidence Huntingdon provides in EAW to this consensus of a recently conquered Briton it is not difficult to grasp the latent wish/hope of the conquered populace.
If the witness of the priests of Laon is anything to go by, where a recorded confrontation breaks out between a party of Cornish folk and one of Herman of Laon’s travelling party, concerning Arthur’s return; it would appear to corroborate such a zeitgeist.
This ‘hope of the Britons’ is conveyed in the De Miraculis S. Mariae Laudunensis whereby nine Laon canons travelling in Cornwall in 1113 to raise money for their church were shown Arthur’s ‘Chair’ and ‘Oven’ and were told they were in Arthur’s country. The account relates that the argument took place in Bodmin. It may be possible that the ‘hope’ of Arthur’s return was not specific to the Breton region and may well have been encountered by Henry Blois on the continent. Tatlock says that: It is important to observe that while Geoffrey’s Historia has nothing avowedly of the Briton hope, the ambiguous way in which he disposes of Arthur, tacitly recognizes it.
If the ‘hope’ had been originally mentioned as part of the storyline in the Primary Historia, Huntingdon would have commented on it while mentioning the hope of the Britons/Bretons to Warin with which he concludes EAW.
The way Arthur is disposed of i.e. ‘Arthur’s end’ is dealt with by Henry Blois’ view of where Arthur dies. Where King Arthur dies is a concept that we can witness in the mind of ‘Geoffrey’ as it evolves over time. This event becomes a location and evolves from Primary Historia, through the First Variant to the Vulgate… ending with the VM. Once Henry has manufactured the grave at Glastonbury, he inserts finally the Vera Historia de morte Arthuri into a copy of the First Variant HRB along with updated Merlin prophecies. Don’t forget in the Primary Historia had the Island of Avalon sprung by way of the muses into Geoffrey’s mind at the time of composition it surely would have been mentioned in EAW.
The ‘hope’ was recognised by the Bretons according to Huntingdon in EAW and if any mention of Avalon had been in the Primary Historia, (from which EAW is composed), one can be certain Huntingdon would have considered mentioning it; at least as part explanation which might have elucidated what actually happened to Arthur. Don’t forget also that Henry Blois had Arthur make his way to the mystical isle because that mystical isle appeared in a document he had seen and there is ample proof which follows that Henry Blois went looking for this Island in reality which magically appears as a feature in the FV in 1144 five years after the Primary Historia was found at Bec
One strong evidence of the ‘hope’ of Arthur’s return or the fact that no-one knows of his whereabouts alive or dead, unknown or lost on another plane, or even a ‘hoped for return’ is tangentially expressed in 1137 before the Primary Historia, had been deposited at Bec. It comes from the words of Marcabru a troubadour regarding the death of William VIII of Poitou in April 1137:
In Castille and towards Portugal, where greetings have never been sent before and may God save them, and towards Barcelona too, since the Poitevin has failed me, I will ever more be lost like Arthur.
Christopher Berard argues that because the Leon episode is not value-neutral it should not be believed but is an interpolation. He goes on to say:
In fact, as I shall show, we have reason to believe that the passage is an interpolation that Herman introduced when composing his account of the Miracula a quarter of a century after the events described in the passage is more judiciously read, not as a witness to belief in Cornwall in 1113, but rather as a testament to the European vogue for Arthurian tales at the time of the Miracula’s composition which coincided with the dissemination of GOM’s Historia.
Whether this is true or not the person most likely to have interpolated the account and has the most to gain from the credence of an Arthur in Cornwall once having existed, is the person who invented the whole account of a Cornish connection to Arthur. For this to seem feasible one would have to know that Henry Blois composed Tristan and Iseult. This was Henry Blois’ first foray into Romance literature and thus he located Arthur in Cornwall also. Will scholars believe this???? No they won’t!!! They will not know that Henry Blois obviously went to Cornwall evident in my elucidation of John of Cornwall’s prophecies. They will not realise Henry Blois visited Looe island in Cornwall. They will not realise Henry Blois has read of the battle of Camlann in the Annales Cambriae and associated the River Camel from this name and thus positioned King Arthur at Tintagel. One has to understand who ‘Geoffrey’ was before you can understand his mind.
Tatlock, probably the only scholar worthy of that accolade regarding Geoffrey, had one stated goal at the outset; to ‘discover what was in Geoffrey’s mind’. The problem was that the mind he was looking for belonged to Henry Blois. Tatlock wanted to understand why Geoffrey had composed the Historia. But without understanding that the bulk of the book was composed for King Henry Ist in its origins (before the Primary Historia appeared) the swamp will get deeper and regardless of all Crick’s efforts of compilation and collation of the different versions of HRB; while she keeps rationalising a false premise that a real ‘Geoffrey’ actually lived, regardless of all the inconsistencies in her erroneous construct, all ”Such conclusions are provisional, of course.”
The Historia was produced essentially so that it could be produced as evidence for queens in Briton prior to the proposed heir inheriting the throne i.e. the Empress Matilda. The other overarching reason for Henry Blois producing the Psuedo Historia was to show that his uncle’s illustrious descent as King of England was from Troy. This equalled the genealogy of his enemy because the king of France had shown of his own lineage from Troy.
Until these facts are accepted, scholars will endlessly ‘burble’ about Geoffrey and his motives as Edwin Pace does. Pace thinks of Matilda as a patron and actually thinks that the HRB’s accounts of four British conquests of Rome would not have found favour with Matilda as former holy Roman Empress. He does not understand the lineage provided to Henry Ist is of the most import and his argument is compensated by establishing the line of Queens which would have been of more importance if Matilda had been crowned. Pace also thinks Geoffrey wrote HRB for the money. Until Henry Blois is accepted as Geoffrey this rubbish will continue.
Anyway, King Arthur finding himself on Avalon was a direct result of Henry’s possession of the Melkin prophecy which gave him the idea of staging Arthur’ on a mystical island that he himself could not locate geographically when trying to locate the grave site of Joseph of Arimathea. The original prophecy of Melkin named the island Yniswitrin not Avallon as JG’s rendition of the prophecy provides. The inclusion of Avalon was a later evolutionary element of HRB and the mystical island was not mentioned in the Primary Historia, found at Bec and so not in EAW also. It is this ‘hope’ which is expressed in Huntingdon’s précis of the Primary Historia in his letter to Warin which clearly shows Insula Avallonis is not mentioned.
So, the death of Arthur, (if there was a tradition) remains a latent point and something ‘Geoffrey’ never wishes to contradict early on by leaving the possibility open when composing Primary Historia where the word letaliter ‘mortally wounded’ is omitted. So as not to dash this tradition or hope, we are left unsure of Arthur’s fate in Primary Historia but more importantly the last known location of his whereabouts.
Once the DA pointed to the position of Arthur’s grave between the two piramides at Glastonbury and Glastonbury had been intonated as the island location in the guise of Insula Pomorum in VM, it becomes obvious that Henry Blois had already manufactured the grave site and consigned Arthur to have died at Glastonbury. Without the express position of where to find the previously manufactured grave-site having been pointed out in DA, no-one would have known where to dig at Glastonbury. I shall discuss this whole escapade of disinterment of King Arthur’s grave in detail while elucidating Gerald of Wales’ account of the unearthing of Arthur.
There is no mention of Avalon until the First Variant and Vulgate HRB where Arthur gave up the crown of Britain unto his kinsman Constantine. The inference is that he died…. but it is not explicitly stated. Again, in the VM, Arthur is delivered to the Fortunate Isle to Morgan, where she said that health ‘could’ be restored to him, if a still living Arthur stayed with her for a long time and made use of her healing art. We know the VM was finalised in 1156-7 and ‘Geoffrey’ is still content to leave what happened to Arthur open-ended but at this period Henry Blois gathers the bits and pieces and decides where to manufacture Arthur’s grave site.
So, if there was this oral tradition concerning the ‘hope’ of Arthur’s return, ‘Geoffrey’ was not going to contradict it…. but employ its force in propagating his book. However, what is not understood by modern scholars is that ‘Geoffrey’ did eventually consign Arthur to death as Henry Blois informed the world where to look for a planted grave in DA.
The DA with 99% of its interpolations composed by Henry Blois only came into the public domain at Henry Blois’ death and was doubtlessly left to Glastonbury abbey as Damerham records with other manuscripts of Malmesbury’s works such as the Ecclesiastical History of the English People. This becomes evident when we cover the DA later on in the investigation.
It should be understood that the concept of a ‘chivalric’ Arthur in Wales is pure invention based upon Henry’s ability to supply a location where contradictory evidence was minimal. Caerleon had Roman remains and Henry Blois knew the lay of the land from his time in Wales in 1136 (as is seen in my discussion on GS). Also, as ‘Geoffrey’ makes clear, he thinks the Welsh are the residue of the Britons in both HRB and the last paragraph of Henry Blois’ life of Gildas and therein is the reasoning why Geoffrey locates Arthur in Wales. ‘Geoffrey’ however, makes a reasonable attempt at pinning down Arthur by approximate date in relation to popes and Roman personages through records from continental chronicles compared with his utter flight of fancy attempting to fix Arthur in Caerleon in his supposed era of history. ‘Geoffrey’ cast a spell on the ninth city named in Nennius, ‘the City of Legion which is called Cair Lion’ and we still should be aware that Arthur’s royal court there with all kings and leaders in subjection is historical piffle. The mention of Urbs Legionum or Caerleon, the Arthurian centre of government, whose glory and importance were entirely fabricated by ‘Geoffrey’ is picked by Geoffrey because of its archaelogical Roman remains and was witnessed by him while in Wales in 1136.
Henry Blois knows the two British annals of Gildas and Bede don’t mention Arthur. His opening sentence in the HRB: Often turning over in my own mind the many themes that might be subject-matter of a book, my thoughts would fall upon the plan of writing a history366 of the Kings of Britain, and in my musings thereupon, it seemed to me a marvel that, beyond such mention as Gildas and Bede have made of them in their luminous tractate, nought could I find as concerning the Kings that had dwelt in Britain before the Incarnation of Christ, nor nought even as concerning Arthur……
366It is odd that no scholar remarks how fortuitous it was that Walter’s supposed book was given to Geoffrey to be merely translated when just such a book covered the subject ‘Geoffrey’ wished to write about. To believe Walter’s book ever existed is fatuous. Scholars have been so easily duped by Henry’s interpolation into Geffrei Gaimar’s work with the production of the confusing epilogue. Henry, as above in the words of ‘Geoffrey’ did originally say he had composed the HRB, but as pressure mounted with people looking for ‘Geoffrey’, Henry invented propaganda that the book was a translation of an existing work rather than his own composition. This is how we can divine that the idea of ‘translation of an existing book’ is the propaganda later as the seditious prophecies were released. We should not forget Henry had earlier declared that he had broken off his ‘composition’ to accomodate Alexander.
Henry Blois knows there is no ‘chivalric’ Arthur in history and the Arthuriad is entirely concocted. As I have maintained, the Arthurian epic was spliced onto an already partially constructed Pseudo-Historia already composed for his Cousin Matilda and his Uncle before Stephen became king.
At the same point in the text in the First Variant Henry Blois employs the Nennius scenario with Vortigern to make the crucial splice to introduce Merlin where initially he had originally spliced the Arthuriad onto the pseudo-history.
This in fact should indicate to the scholars inquiring into the HRB that the Psuedo-Historia as a history from Troy to where Gildas era is integrated…. existed before the un-expanded form of Arthuriana was added which then made the Primary Historia edition. Even this Arthuriad section was expanded upon to the fullness of the Vulgate edition.
At the same point in the text where Henry Blois leaves off following loosely his historical guidelines and leaps off into Arthurian fantasy… at a later stage the Libellus Merlini which had existed separately for a time, could have been integrated into the 1149 First Variant version just after Alexander’s death.
However, this seems unlikely as Huntingdon, who had seen the Primary Historia, but obviously had not had a conversation about Geoffrey in 1139 with Alexander because the prophecies nor the dedication existed at that time in the Primary Historia. There would have been 10 years before Huntingdon died to see this addition. (Huntingdon died 1158).
The question is when did the Alexander splice take place and could the Merlin prophecies have been introduced into HRB without the introductory dedication which gives reasoning behind the break in the text.
My guess is that the First Variant edition which has these attributes i.e. updated prophecies and the Alexander dedication must have had them added to a First Variant edition. Especially concerning the fact that the ‘Sixth in Ireland’ prophecy could only exist after 1155.
The splendour at court, the subject matter of Kings, the battle scenes, the knowledge of the continent, the political intrigue of the prophecies and their concentration for a large part on Henry’s family and the state affairs of coinage and tax and hunting laws, are all considered by our unbending modern scholars to be the concerns of a Welsh cannon living at Oxford. the supposed ‘Geoffrey’ would understandably be versatile in Latin as a cleric but to have a breadth of non scriptural texts to the extent which match ‘Geoffrey’s’ shows the author of HRB did not get a standard or monastical education and from where the ‘haughtiness’ and lofty tone of an aristocrat. Henry was versed in the Greek fables as well as the Latin poets and most scholars today attempt to down-grade ‘Geoffrey’s exposure to these works as a pretentious passing familiarity rather than understanding Henry Blois’ love of all good literature.
‘Geoffrey’, when referring to the 28 bishops in the Primary Historia, supposedly omits to mention the three arch bishops (a note surely to have been mentioned by Huntingdon, if mention of them had originally existed in the Primary Historia). Henry Blois did not omit them and nor did Huntingdon as a churchman forget to include them in his synopsis of the Primary Historia to Warin. Don’t forget the Primary Historia was deposited at Le Bec in 1138.
Until such time it becomes useful to concoct the third metropolitan, the archflamens were not a feature in Henry’s mind in 1138. Henry had assumed the year before the Primary Historia was composed that he would be Archbishop of Canterbury. There was no Metropolitan issue in either the prophecies or Primary Historia in 1138 (if indeed there was a set of prophecies at this date). When Henry Blois was refused his hearts desire of becoming Archbishop of Canterbury, then by 1144 and the advent of FV we see the three archflamens come into play to affect the decision of papal authorities.
Henry Blois’ skill in oratory and rhetoric is evident and is witnessed in his subtle speech at Winchester recorded by Malemesbury in HN. It is these skills throughout the HRB which he uses to graft personas in history such as Aurelius Ambrosius by association onto the Chivalric Arthur:
Next they did betray Aurelius Ambrosius, unto whom, after vowing the most awful sacraments of allegiance, they gave poison as he sat at meat with them at a banquet. Next, they betrayed Arthur, when, casting aside the allegiance they owed him, they fought against him with his nephew Mordred.
Aurelius Ambrosius is made to be Arthur’s uncle and he even marries Arthur’s sister. Henry Blois is associating as closely as possible the only verifiable character in Bede and Gildas who fought against the Saxons, with his fictitious ‘Chivalric’ Arthur. Henry even goes one stage further…. just before he introduces the prophecies, he informs us: Merlin, that is also called Ambrosius.
Anyway, Henry’s most enduring invention was Avallon and this was confirmed to be located at Glastonbury by his greatest fraud which involved the planting of some bones in a grave and the fabrication of a ‘leaden cross’ both to be found in King Arthur’s manufactured grave at some future date . The bogus cross fatuously informs the gravediggers what the location was named (back then when Arthur was interred) and who was in the grave. So, someone who constructed the grave knew it was going to be dug up one day.
It is lucky for those uncovering the grave that the person who deposits Gunevere’s blonde plait and the Gorilla bones had the forethought to let us know on the ‘Leaden cross’ that the place in which the grave is going to be found is called Avalon. Who would of guessed back in the sixth century that the ‘Chivalric’ Arthur was going to be dug up at Glastonbury …or rather Avalon; this proving to all and sundry the book composed by the abbot of Glastonbury now has Avalon situated at Glastonbury. But oh no I have it all wrong because the scholars say Henry De Sully fabricated the grave and ‘Geoffrey’s’ Avalon from the HRB is real because Arthur was discovered there, so let’s just ignore what Gerald of Wales has to say. The blind leading the blind!!!!
Henry de Sully, the abbot at the exhumation who is blamed for the fraud was a relation of Henry Blois. He was named so after William de Sully Henry Blois’ elder brother. His brother’s son was the abbot of Frécamp who died in 1189. Henry Blois’ elder brother William was the count of Sully, so the Henry de Sully at Glastonbury who was the abbot blamed for carrying out the fraud was a relation even though Henry Blois was dead at the time of the disinterment in 1189-90. Henry de Sully the abbot of Glastonbury appointed by Richard Ist cannot be held responsible for providing the supposed relics found in the grave. This was Henry Blois’ doing.
The reader should not forget the inspiration for the name Avallon came from the town in the region of Blois, just like Arthur’s continental battle scene at Autun was chosen from the same region of Blois. Without doubt Henry Blois is the inventor of Avallon and its only promoter in the island’s translocation to Glastonbury from his inspirational mystical island of Yniswitrin named in the Melkin prophecy.
As I have made plain already, Henry Blois had not come up with the name of Avallon in connection with the place of Arthur’s last known location at the time he wrote the Primary Historia, otherwise Huntingdon would have mentioned it…. as Arthur’s possible death on Avalon contradicted the fact that the Bretons thought Arthur still alive. Huntingdon,at least would have given the location from where Arthur might return in EAW if mention of the island had existed in Primary Historia.
There is no mention of Avallon in the Life of Gildas. In 1144, Henry Blois’ agenda does not concern Avallon but Ineswitrin. At that time what is his foremost agenda is trying to assert that Glastonbury is synonymous with Ineswitrin….. so that the 601 charter stands up as a credible witness to Glastonbury’s antiquity.
Tatlock is correct in thinking there was no previous connection between Arthur and Avallon prior to ‘Geoffrey’. Unfortunately, he does not realise the inventor of Avallon is Henry Blois in the guise of ‘Geoffrey’…. who is also the inventor of the Chivalric Arthur persona. It is no coincidence Arthur was disinterred at Avalon and this just happens to be the place where Henry Blois was abbot for 45 years.
The main thrust of this investigation is the effect that the prophecy of Melkin had in determining many factors in the construction of both HRB’s mythical island and the Grail stories template and ‘returning’ Grail to Glastonbury which had been set up as the mythical Island instead of Burgh Island because Henry Blois did not know where Ineswitrin existed geographically.
The confusion when un-peeling the layers of obfuscation in the ‘Matter of Britain’ is contained largely in one seemingly innocuous act: The changing of the name of Ineswitrin on the original prophecy of Melkin and substituting it for Henry Blois’ wholly invented Insula Avallonis. This information finding its way by fortune into a composition called ‘De Regis Arthurii mensa rotunda’ from which JG obtained and recycled the excerpt which now constitutes the Prophecy of Melkin and De Regis Arthurii mensa rotunda’ obviously having been authored by Henry Blois, the original inventor of the Chivalric Arthur.
The fact that this book is only known to have existed at Glastonbury and it mentions Melkin added to the fact that Henry Blois impersonated the name Wace to compose the Roman de Brut (who modern scholars think invented the concept of the ‘Round Table’) will be just too many coincidences for our scholars to get their heads around. It is simpler to deny the above knowing that if they look into the ‘whole’ they will fall in. No, best stay away from the edge and play like children calling to each other referencing each others work as if all predecessors spoke infallible, incontrovertible and hallowed words that must be built upon.
There is no commentator who remarks on the subtlety found in the Life of Gildas which transposes Ineswitrin to Glastonbury simply because no motive is found to disbelieve it and it is recycled again by Gerald of Wales. Yet, modern scholars are aware that the life of Gildas is a fraudulent composition.
The bogus etymology is credulously accepted:
Glastonia was of old called Ynisgutrin, and is still called so by the British inhabitants. Ynis in the British language is insula in Latin, and gutrin (made of glass). But after the coming of the English and the expulsion of the Britons, that is, the Welsh, it received a fresh name, Glastigberi, according to the formation of the first name, that is English glass, Latin vitrum, and beria a city; then Glastinberia, that is, the City of Glass. Caradoc of Nancarban’s are the words; Who reads, may he correct; so wills the author.
We also know the initial propagator of continental Arthuriana and Grail stories is Master Blihis. It is not difficult to understand therefore how the Isle de Voirre appears in continental literature. No-one questioned the implications of Henry’s bogus etymology in Life of Gildas and its bearing on providing a known location (at Glastonbury) for the old 601charter granted by a Devonian King.
Modern scholars accept a fraudulent work without questioning the reliability or existence of the author. They have maintained this position based on the specious colophon in Vulgate HRB which states that Caradoc (the supposed author of the Life of Gildas) is contemporary with ‘Geoffrey’. Now I hope the reader not only sees clearly the extent to which Henry Blois goes to complete his illusion but also, how necessary is this late addition of the colophon to the Vulgate HRB in essentially backdating the HRB and more importantly its seditious prophecies.
Without the 601 charter there was no physical proof upon which to base Glastonbury’s existence in antiquity prior to Augustine in the early days of Henry’s abbacy at Glastonbury. Henry needed to show the church was already old before the Augustinian establishment at Canterbury. This is what the genuine 601 charter did!! For this reason alone, Ineswitrin is changed through clever etymological shophistry in Life of Gildas from an existing genuine island location in Devon (as observed by the decryption of the Melkin prophecy also) donated by a real King in the 601 charter to appear to be synonymous with a fictitious ‘estate’ supposed to exist in the environs of Glastonbury.
Henry Blois was patron to Gerald of Wales until Henry Blois’ death. Henry most surely persuaded and primed the impressionable Gerald of certain facts which Henry himself had invented. Gerald certainly understands Merlin’s prophectical verse suggesting King Henry II invasion of Ireland as a prophetic history, a historia vaticinalis based upon the ‘Sixth in Ireland’ prophecy.
There is evidence which supports that Gerald had also seen the DA before King Arthur’s disinterment. From Gerald’s Liber de Principis instructione c.1193 we get Henry Blois’ full propagandist viewpoint recycled by Gerald:
What is now known as Glastonbury was, in ancient times, called the Isle of Avalon. It is virtually an island, for it is completely surrounded by marshlands. In Welsh it is called Ynys Afallach, which means the Island of Apples and this fruit once grew in great abundance. After the Battle of Camlann, a noblewoman called Morgan, later the ruler and patroness of these parts as well as being a close blood-relation of King Arthur, carried him off to the island, now known as Glastonbury, so that his wounds could be cared for. Years ago the district had also been called Ynys Gutrin in Welsh, that is the Island of Glass, and from these words the invading Saxons later coined the place-name ‘Glastingebury’. Talk about leading every brain dead and naive scholar down the street. Get street wise and understand deception and propaganda!!!
We shall get to how Gerald has complicated the issue of the discovery of Arthur’s body by saying it occurred in the reign Henry II (as opposed to Richard) and we will also get to the importance of the substitution of the name of a genuine island of Ineswitrin in the Melkin prophecy for the name of an invented mythical isle of Avalon when we cover the DA later on and there I will show the proof of how this fact can be reliably established.
If Arthur was not dead, as the ‘hope of the Britons’ suggested, Arthur must exist somewhere. Hence the invention of Insula Avallonis in an evolving HRB after the Primary Historia had been discovered at Bec. Knowing how ‘Geoffrey’ has a template or source for nearly every icon, personage and episode in HRB, the question should be: From where does ‘Geoffrey’ get his inspiration for the mystical island of Avalon? Where does the name come from? Carley and Lagorio have surely closed the door on any student in this era accepting that the prophecy of Melkin is not a fake.
No–one (not even Henry) knew where ‘Witrin’ island was located but Henry Blois had seen mention of Ineswitrin in two documents…. one pertaining to the prophecy of Melkin and the other in the 601 charter. The island of Ineswitrin’s actual existence as borne out by the Melkin prophecy (not the nomenclature of Avallon), is the basis for ‘Geoffrey’s’ inclusion of the fictitious Insula Avallonis in HRB because the prophecy of Melkin existed in Henry’s day. It is vital that current students of ‘Geoffrey’ understand this fact instead of being misled by Carley
The name of Avallon served as a fabricated name to define a location where Arthur may have remained after his battle at Camlann. Generally, before ‘Geoffrey’ the hope of the Britons could have been conceived as Arthur biding his time before his return or even simply that he had not died. The fact that Arthur is connected to a mythical Island called Avallon is entirely of ‘Geoffrey’s’ making. Ferdinand Lot’s (my relation on my father’s side) Avalon, a mysterious island in the western seas which was ruled in Celtic mythology by the God Avaloc is piffle…. since we know Henry has derived the name from the French to
The name of an Island came from the name of the town of Avallon in the county of Blois in Henry’s era, see the map in note 4 (now in the Yonne department in Burgundy). The town of Avallon fell under the control of Henry’s brother Theobald. Aballo appears on the Antonine Itinerary and in the Tabula Peutingeriana. But by the time Henry wrote HRB the town was already referred to as Avallon.
The French town is near where Henry Blois sets Arthur’s continental battle scene…. as it is only 38 miles from Autun. It is also about the same distance from ‘Karitia’ (La Charité), where King Lear’s daughter lived with the King of the Franks. Henry Blois was born c.1101 and spent time as an oblate child at the Benedictine but Cluniac convent of La Charité sur Loire before going to Clugny.
I am sure it is not lost on the reader the implication that the kind-hearted and helpful King of the Franks was based in the region controlled by the Counts of Blois. We may speculate also that King Lear’s story may be based upon the real-life experience of the disgraced father of Henry Blois arriving home from the Crusades to find he was disowned by Henry Blois’ older brother’s and his wife Adela.
The story of Henry’s father’s return is strikingly similar. Henry’s father, who could only be likened to a King, being brought so low into dishonour is coincidentally close to King Lear’s predicament. The only difference is that Henry Blois when impersonating ‘Geoffrey’ has substituted daughters for sons. As we know, Stephen Etienne, Count of Blois died in battle in Ramelah after having returned to the east to redeem his honour. His wife Adela had pressured him to do so to regain the family honour. As William of Malmesbury reports Henry’s father was disgraced for cowardice and most probably shunned by the family as was King Lear.
The concept of the mysterious island of Avallon as expressed in HRB and VM as an icon of Geoffrey’s Arthuriad was directly inspired by Melkin’s prophecy. That document is the only extant part of Melkin’s work (if other works ever existed). Certainly, the real island of Witrin was donated to Glastonbury by a King of Devon and we can see the geometry points to that Island in Devon.
The fact that the ‘Grail’ as an unknown object is formulated on the ‘duo fassula’ from that document and the fact that in the document we are informed a body is awaiting discovery in the future on the island of Ineswitrin… should awaken the interest of scholars. The Melkin prophecy cited the Island as Ineswitrin in its original form alongside another ancient document, the 601 charter which actually names that island. However , as I have explained already, the title name on the Melkin prophecy has been substituted for Insulla Avallonis by Henry Blois. The reader will understand shortly the consequences and reasons for Henry Blois changing this name of Ineswitrin to Avalon on the prophecy of Melkin further on in progression.
The book367 or books which Melkin is said to have composed are no longer extant and probably disappeared in the Fire at Glastonbury. It is the fact that an icon in Melkin’s prophecy i.e. The mystical island of no known location, provided the inspiration for ‘Geoffrey’s’ Insula Avallonis in the HRB.
Certainly, no source book from which HRB might have been translated could possibly exist…. as the whole of HRB with its Merlin prophecies is a medieval composite by Henry.
367John Leland in his Assertio Arturii cited Melkin. He gives information from the extract he has seen of Melkin’s work, stating that Melkin ‘celebrated the name of Gawain’ and that he ‘praised Arthur’. Leland cites a few anecdotes which he purportedly thought Melkin had written. I would suggest (given the relation of the prophecy of Melkin to Henry Blois), that it was Henry Blois who wrote the Arthurian anecdotes in a book. We know ‘Geoffrey’ is in reality Henry Blois who invents the chivalric Arthur in HRB. It seems fair to assume also that there is no mention of Melkin in the DA interpolations by Henry Blois, because he has made a connection to Arthur and Avalon through the ‘De Regis Arthurii mensa rotunda’ and Assertio Arturii. This manuscript which Leland obviously saw is no longer extant but must have been written by Henry Blois.
Henry Blois is responsible for the name change of Ineswitin to Insula Avallonis in the extant copy of the Melkin prophecy recycled luckily by JG. It would be a remarkable coincidence if Melkin’s prophecy with its highly specific data (when the prophecy is decrypted) points out geometrically an island in Devon, if it was not the same as the Island in Devon donated to Glastonbury by the King of Devon. Just think of the chances of the data given in the prophecy coinciding and the geometry pin pointing an island in Devon. Anyone who does not understand this point really does not want to know!!!
What we can learn from this is that Henry in no way changed the wording in the original Melkin prophecy because he knew it was genuine…. and within its wording was encrypted the actual geographical location of Ineswitrin. Henry just inserted the name Insula Avallonis instead of Ineswitrin because (as we shall see), his agenda had changed from wishing to portray Glastonbury as Ineswitrin in 1144 to portraying Glastonbury as Avalon post 1155-7 when he was working on the composition of VM.
Henry Blois must have transcribed the extract ( now found recycled in JG’s Cronica with the substitution of Insula Avallonis) which constitutes Melkin’s prophecy in a work Henry had composed titled ‘De Regis Arthurii mensa rotunda’ supposedly authored by Melkin .
The prophecy which initially pertained to the Island of Ineswitrin now pertains to Avallon and it is Henry Blois who is responsible for this change. This was the Island of which Melkin speaks in his prophecy, where Joseph of Arimathea was buried. Modern scholars have divined quite wrongly that the Melkin prophecy was composed c.1400 when JG mentions it…. recycling information he had obtained from the impostered work of Melkin. Material on Arthur, as Bale and Pits imply, in a book thought to have been written by Melkin i.e. the book titled ‘De Regis Arthurii mensa rotunda’ was obviously composed by Henry Blois. This I believe is where JC sourced the interpolated copy of the Melkin prophecy.
We might now understand the reasoning behind the connection between Joseph of Arimathea and Arthur in Grail literature. Although Henry did not mention Joseph of Arimathea in HRB, he employed the mysterious island posited in the Melkin prophecy as a place (in a concocted episode) which has no basis in history, to which Arthur was taken after the battle at Camblanus.
The inspiration for the battle location is made to coincide with the Annales Cambriae: the strife of Camlann in which Arthur and Mordred fell. It is only later as the primordial author of Grail literature that Henry Blois combines the Island where Joseph was in reality buried i.e. Ineswitrin in Devon. Henry Blois also formulates his most famous motif for Grail literature using the duo fassula (as an icon found in the Melkin prophecy) as a template for the wholly invented icon of the Holy Grail.
The real island of Ineswitrin is Henry’s inspiration and template for the mythical island of Avallonis, the last location Henry puts Arthur in the HRB and VM. The Grail itself is inspired by Melkin’s duo fassula. The Grail’s association with Joseph of Arimathea is derived directly from the Prophecy of Melkin.
Contrary to how most scholars have rationalised the germs of the Matter of Britain, it was Melkin’s work which inspired Henry Blois to compose what were the beginnings of the Grail stories. It was certainly not Grail literature which inspired the invention or myth of Melkin and his prophecy as is thought by scholars today.
I will show in progression that not only the Melkin prophecy existed in Henry Blois’ era and that the mythical island in Melkin’s prophecy was originally called Ineswitrin and is a genuine location in Devon but there is more preliminary evidence to cover before the reader will be able to make a valid judgement whether the Prophecy of Melkin inspired Henry Blois to carry out certain actions.
Melkin’s prophecy was obviously seen by Malmesbury. William, who was cautious, omits reference to a document which to him was unintelligible. One look at the obtuse Latin prophecy and William like modern scholars are at a loss to understand it.
The Melkin prophecy appeared fraudulent as it mentioned Joseph of Arimathea’s sepulchre on the island of Ineswitrin. If Malmesbury had mentioned Joseph of Arimathea’s name in conjunction with Ineswitrin, it would have brought into suspicion the very charter which had the same name of Ineswitrin on it…. on which the antiquity of Glastonbury rested. I hope the reader will understand now the reasoning behind the etymological contortion in Life of Gildas and how necessary it was to establishing an actual location for Ineswitrin, albeit at Glastonbury.
The 601 charter was 500 years old when Malmesbury discovered it and no-one had the faintest idea where Ineswitrin was located, and this would be cause for accusation for those who contested the genuineness of the charter i.e. those who were asserting Dunstan was the first abbot and Glastonbury; the very reason for commissioning the DA in the first instance.
William of Malmesbury must have seen the Melkin prophecy along with the 601 charter, but dismissed the small tract as unintelligible. If the Melkin prophecy had not been seen by the inventive and inspirational mind of Henry Blois at Glastonbury while William of Malmesbury perused the muniments, the Melkin prophecy would have laid dormant on a dusty shelf in the scriptorium to be burnt at Glastonbury in the great fire in 1184.
Instead, it was included in a book about Arthur and the ’round table’, obviously composed by Henry Blois and written under the guise of Melkin’s authorship. This is where J.G. has sourced his version of the Melkin prophecy. Henry Blois has replaced the name Ineswitrin and substituted the name Insula Avallonis in the text of the original Melkin prophecy without changing the text so that this unintelligible yet mystic text now seemed to apply to Insulam Avallonis. Insula Avallonis is a pure concoction from Henry’s HRB; and in my coverage of the VM in Merlin’s monologue, lifted from Isidore’s work, we can see evidence of how Henry Blois is cleverly steering our awareness of this island to be located at Glastonbury.
The point of this exposé is to consider the ramifications of the discovery of a body on an island two thousand years after its burial. Up to the present era there is not one discipline in scholarship which covers the material which enables us to make an informed assessment of where the body of Joseph of Arimathea is buried.
The reader, should accept why there would be no early tradition regarding Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury, as logically, the Island in the Melkin prophecy (before Henry Blois’ era) had no connection with Glastonbury, except that the island of Ineswitrin had been donated to Glastonbury under the name of Ineswitrin in the 601 Charter. This is the island where Joseph of Arimathea is buried today as the Melkin prophecy shows, once the encrypted geometrical instructions hidden in the prophecy have been deciphered.
500 years after the prophecy was constructed and deposited in the archives of Glastonbury, along with a charter confirming the donation of the Island to that monastic institution; Henry’s muses weave what he finds as a puzzle into what we now think is Grail legend. Henry Blois infiltrates its main icon of a mystical Island into Arthuriana in HRB as Insula Avallonis.
The fact that the 601 charter, the Prophecy of Melkin and possibly other works by Melkin witnessed by Leland are all found at Glastonbury should imply a possible connection between them. We should also consider that once Melkin’s prophecy is decoded…. the instructional data found within it, very accurately directs us to an island in Devon which is Burgh Island (as we shall cover shortly) and to which Joseph of Arimathea would have had an association by way of his livelihood as a tin trader.
Not even Henry Blois knew what happened to the historical Arthur, the warlord recorded in some ‘saint’s lives’ and Nennius. William of Malmesbury in his unadulterated version of GR1, does not know where the Warlord Arthur is buried. However, when Henry Blois’ GR3 interpolations were composed c.1143 no grave of Chivalric King Arthur had yet been manufactured at Glastonbury in the graveyard.
Henry Blois develops the position that King Arthur is on this mythical island (or at least that was the last place he was posited to be), and links the ‘hope of the Britons’ to Arthur’s return with Melkin’s mysterious island…. where he has changed the name from Ineswitrin to Avalon. As a consequence of such an action, the Island, where (in the future) Melkin foretold of the discovery of the body of Joseph of Arimathea, is now looked upon as a mythical and non-existent location i.e. Ineswitrin; becoming associated instead with Henry Blois’ invention i.e. the Isle of Avalon.
In reality it is not Arthur that is buried on the island in Devon which used to be known as Ineswitrin in 600AD…. but Joseph of Arimathea. But, through Henry’s efforts to convert Glastonbury into Avalon as part of his ‘second agenda’ (witnessed in DA interpolations), Arthur is latterly discovered on Avalon (now at Glastonbury) where Henry had fabricated a grave to be found in the future after his death, informing everyone where to dig.
‘Geoffrey’ is responsible for the name of Avallon (derived from the Burgundian town) and Henry obtains the mythical Island motif from the prophecy of Melkin. But the existence of Arthur’s island is make believe. However, the existence of Ineswitrin and what is buried on it is an entirely different matter.
Joseph’s body on Burgh Island is the point of Melkin having left to posterity his set of directions in the Melkin prophecy. It is most probably the reasoning behind the Devonian King granting the Island to the Old Church at Glastonbury when the Saxons landed in Dumnonia. The proof of this fact is easy to determine with ‘ground penetrating Radar’ but the stupidity of scholars such as Carley have prevented this taking place by declaring the prophecy of Melkin a fake, while giving the geometrical instructions in the prophecy no credence, which plainly point to Burgh Island.
As I have maintained, Huntingdon’s synopsis of the Primary Historia found at Bec is somewhat different to the Vulgate HRB in storyline. It is hardly likely that Huntingdon in EAW would omit the Island of Avalon as the last place Arthur is seen. Below, Huntingdon summarises for Warin what is found written in the Primary Historia version of HRB:
‘Companions, let us put a high price on our deaths. I will now cut off the head of my Nephew and betrayer with my sword. After that death will be sweet’.
Huntingdon’s ending in his synopsis of the Primary Historia i.e. EAW, relates that Arthur took hold of Mordred’s helmet and severed Mordred’s neck with one stroke of his sword, as if it were a head of corn:
But he received so many wounds in so doing that he (King Arthur) also fell.
Straight after in the text of EAW, Huntingdon continues with no mention of the island of Avalon:
But the Bretons your ancestors, refuse to believe that he (King Arthur) died. And they traditionally await his return. For in his day he was certainly supreme over all men in warfare, liberality and courtesy.368
The synopsis of the Primary Historia i.e. EAW ends without mention of one of the most significant icons later found in the Vulgate text and the First Variant version of HRB, simply because the name Avalon was not recorded in the Primary Historia. If it had been, Huntingdon most certainly would have mentioned it as he too is quizzical about what transpired with King Arthur. If the Bretons did not believe Arthur was dead then where was he seems the obvious question. If it was stated in the Primary Historia that Arthur had gone to Avalon then the obvious solution about if Arthur had died or not would be to locate the island of Avallon?
What scholars have incorrectly deduced is that Huntingdon did not mention Avalon in EAW just as an omission or reduction. If the Bretons were awaiting Arthur’s return from where would he be returning? If Huntingdon is making such a point about the lack of knowledge of Arthur’s circumstance then why not mention the obvious place which might provide answers. It is just plain dim of scholars not to see that the version of HRB that Huntingdon witnessed was not the Vulgate version.
‘Geoffrey’ made use of Huntingdon’s history in constructing HRB. Since Huntingdon died in 1154, logically, one would think, given his initial interest in Galfridus’s early Historia, he would at least have made mention of Merlin, who, modern scholars believe was mentioned in the Primary Historia found at Bec purely because they think a fully expanded Leiden Vulgate copy was that read by Huntingdon. No, No, No, wake up!!! I would even posit Henry Blois as Jacob Hammer’s ‘compilator’, the status imperii judaic because his sources nearly replicate Geoffrey’s and it is attached to the FV destined for a papal audience.
Huntingdon’s history had been in general circulation in the 16 years since he had first clapped eyes and commented on the Primary Historia to his friend Warin. So, it is inconceivable that Huntingdon could have ignored Merlin particularly when both authors (Huntingdon and ‘Geoffrey’) shared a patron in Alexander.369
368Historia Anglorum, Letter to Warin. Diane Greenway. P.581
369It is obvious Galfridus did not seek patronage from Alexander; but in the Vulgate version of HRB (completed after 1155) and after Huntingdon’s death, ‘Geoffrey’ now has the patronage of the recently dead Bishop Alexander.
The fact is, the Primary Historia version was finished and deposited at Bec in the first half of 1138 by Henry Blois and the Alexander dedication was added post 1155 at the finalisation of the Vulgate version. Henry could not base Arthur in Wales without having any idea of its topography or where the Roman ruins existed. If the folios of the description of Wales were not missing from GS, this fact would be easy to establish.
To Huntingdon or Malmesbury, the colophon at the end of Vulgate HRB could present no offence, as they were both dead at the time of publication (now made public). The whole colophon is a ploy and could never fit (all things considered) even in the conventional sense in which scholars have understood an early publication date for Vulgate HRB.
‘Geoffrey’, supposedly still on the career ladder, before he was to become a fictitious bishop, would (if the colophon were a genuine instruction in reality) not wish to inflame controversy with two well established and respected historians one of which supposedly ‘Geoffrey’ himself had a patron in common. Logically, if Huntingdon and Malmesbury were alive the first thing they would do is search out this ancient source book. Of course this never happens and no-one makes a comment about ‘Geoffrey’s’ haughty dismissal of two men who attended councils and mixed with courtiers recording what they witnessed. Both recorded negative press toward Henry Blois and the reason behind the apologia of the GS was to negate the negative impression that these historians had left to posterity about Henry Blois character.
Some commentators on HRB who believe in an early publication date of HRB have assumed this instruction to two historians to be silent, must have appeared as insulting. Henry Blois did not care as he held them both (in reality) in the same disdain; and they certainly had no chance of countermanding his bogus instruction or reacting to ‘Geoffrey’s’ arrogant dismissal because they never saw it.
William of Malmesbury had not toed the line in writing what the monks at Glastonbury had been trying to induce him to include into DA; and Malmesbury had near enough accused Henry Blois’ father in GP of being a liar. Henry Blois would probably have read Huntingdon’s letter to Walter (not Warin), which, as we have covered, leaves no flattering character reference regarding Henry for posterity. In fact, Henry Blois must have looked on Huntingdon as a dullard using parts of ‘Geoffrey’s’ Primary Historia as credible History when he updated his redaction of his own history yet then pretending to provide information on the provenance of Stonehenge where Huntingdon had no solution.
The point of the late colophon into the Vulgate HRB is to reiterate (before supposedly living historians) the fact that ‘Geoffrey’ had a source book which they did not. All this, supposedly before Huntingdon had already used ‘Geoffrey’s’ work as source material in the later redactions of his history.
The other point in producing the infamous colophon in HRB, establishes that the colophon appealed to Malmesbury and Huntingdon while alive (i.e. it establishes that the Vulgate version of HRB had to have been written pre-1143 when William of Malmesbury died). This in effect retro-dated the publication of the prophecies found in the Vulgate HRB. This has the effect confirmed for the weak-minded that Merlin’s prophecy about the ‘Sixth’ invading Ireland is seemingly prophetic along with many other blatantly distinguishable events mentioned in the updated version of the prophecies.
Most importantly, the seditious prophecies which incite the Celts to rebellion against Henry II by reason of logic, must have been written also before Malmesbury died if the colophon is accepted as genuine and present in 1139 Vulgate version. This is impossible. At least Crick recognises that the colophon was a late addition but she still does not realise that it exists in a Vulgate version because the Vulgate version is the latest/most modern edition of HRB. The colophon also made it appear that Caradoc followed on from Geoffrey’s Historia rather than ‘Geoffrey’ terminated his account where Caradoc started. Therefore we can mistrust the interpolated biographical details about Geoffrey found in the Gwentian Brut.
Additionally, the ‘historian’ colophon ostensibly eradicates suspicion that the Life of Gildas had been written by someone posing as Caradoc. Caradoc actually died in 1129. Caradoc is supposedly alive and well by what the colophon infers. Logically, if what the colophon avers is true Caradoc seemingly has to have taken up the task of completing ‘Geoffrey’s’ work, bringing it up to date. Supposedly in one version of the colophon, unbelievably Caradoc was even given the writing tools to accomplish such a task or that is what scholars today foolishly believe falling again for Henry Blois’ propaganda. Even the historicity in the original Psuedo Historia is propaganda meant to give Henry’s uncle as King an exalted and famed lineage to Troy and composed in part to set a precedent for Queens to rule. Typically our expert on the subject Julia Crick says: The story Geoffrey tells is of a kingdom unified from the first , but we cannot accuse him of propagandizing. If she would just grasp that Henry Blois as a Norman has composed the prophecies and the HRB as propaganda because he is the ruling class and the propaganda is supposed to unify the Kingdom.
Anyway this is the point of subtly stating that Caradoc is ‘contemporary’ (my fellow student) so that those who doubted the words found in the life of Gildas could not disprove them on the grounds that Caradoc’s name had been impersonated and argue that Caradoc was already dead when the Vulgate appeared.
In truth, all those supposedly contemporaneous people mentioned in the Vulgate version of HRB, Archdeacon Walter, Alexander, Robert of Gloucester, Stephen, Caradoc, Huntingdon and Malmesbury and the ghost like ‘Geoffrey’ himself were all dead when the Vulgate appeared post 1155.
Who in their right mind would write redundantly ‘my contemporary’; Caradoc could hardly carry out the task of completing the Brut from the source book if he were not able to accept the writing tools as is posited in the colophon. Caradoc was dead and obviously not ‘a contemporary’. Who in their right mind would write ‘a contemporary’ unless it had some polemical point to make i.e. how stupid it would sound if one translated the sense in that ‘Caradoc, he that is living at the same time as me’. Scholars are just dimwitted, probably on account of having ‘learnt’ everything the wrong-way round starting with a false premise and ending with a shrug of the shoulders concluding its all just a ‘fortuitous convergence of factors’.
Henry supposedly has Caradoc writing the continuation of HRB covering the period from 689 to Henry’s own time. This has to be the chronicle Brut y Tywysogion, though no extant medieval copy mentions Caradog as its author but because of Henry’s untruthful colophon we can guess who interpolated Caradoc’s work initially before further continuation of the chronicle after Henry’s death. However, we will see that the original version was a chronicle written by Caradoc of Llancarfan in Latin and Henry Blois interpolated it with propaganda about ‘Geoffrey’.However, I will cover in the section on Caradoc that the original version was a chronicle written by Caradoc of Llancarfan in Latin and Henry Blois interpolated it with propaganda about ‘Geoffrey’. Again linking back to the reasoning behind the untruthful colophon.
So why, if ‘Geoffrey’ is so blatantly caught in the purpose of his obfuscation, do modern scholars like Crick, Curley, Padel and Wright and a host of other incisive commentators on things ’Geoffrey’, still deny the process of backdating and what it achieves for Henry Blois and his HRB Merlin prophecies. Especially when these medieval scholars earn their living pontificating about ‘Geoffrey’. Crick astoundingly says: I should contend that Geoffrey did not perpetrate one of the best Hoaxes of the Middle Ages but that he was an exceptional artist fully governing and not governed by his material. His choice of subject was a brilliant success. Well Julia , his choice of subject was not chosen for any other reason than for Propaganda, the very thing you say he cannot be accused of. Who do you think the hoax is going to benefit most ….The line of Kings trying to establish their right to rule. So, no ,Geoffrey a Welshman from Oxford did not perpetrate a Hoax but guess who!!!! And yes, he was an artist ‘fully governing’. He even admits this by what is written on the Mosan plates.
More to the point, if ‘Geoffrey’ is caught in the lie of insisting he is a contemporary of Caradoc, and Caradoc died in 1129, how is it that the supposed real Geoffrey is like a ghost; who after all the interactions of persons mentioned in HRB like the dedicatees and Alexander, Archdeacon Walter, Caradoc, Huntingdon, and William of Malmesbury, not one of those makes any passing reference to ‘Geoffrey’.
So, if ‘Geoffrey did not exist in reality; Crick would be better employed in researching who in fact did compose the HRB. This scenario simply won’t happen because she can’t unlearn the very theory which defines her and every other scholar researching a supposedly real ‘Geoffrey’.
Crick’s solution to the colophon is: we may surmise that Geoffrey first published the Historia without any reference to other historians, and that, not until his published work was challenged, did he add in a later edition a renewed statement about his sources.
This is the perfect rationale for the colophon’s existence. However, Crick is entirely ignorant of the fact that in essence the Vulgate version (by such an avowal stated in the colophon) is conveniently retro-dated. This then, conveniently makes the seditious prophecies appear to have been composed before Henry II came to the throne.
The colophon is a reaction to criticism of ‘Geoffrey’s’ historicity also, as he covers a huge swathe of history previously unmentioned by earlier authors. The colophon is ‘Geoffrey’s’ response to how such a mountain of material was divulged in the pretence that he did not compile the history but it is merely a translation from an old book.
Yet this then had to be substantiated by interpolating the famous ‘Gaimar epilogue’ into Gaimar’s already composed work, and so it went on. Crick needs to understand the context of why Geoffrey was being challenged… for trying to incite rebellion!!! The colophon acts equally as a propagandist statement regarding the contemporaneity of Caradoc and his separate authorship of ‘Geoffrey’s’ continuation…. which, Caradoc’s work, once interpolated by Henry Blois, further evidences and corroborated that which had been fabricated in HRB and supplies biographical details…. which in effect puts flesh on an otherwise ghost like Geoffrey.
These are the finer points upon which the Blois fraud exists, and which modern scholars have naïvely taken at face value. If Crick really considered the full implications…. does she really believe ‘Geoffrey ‘supplied the materials’ for Caradoc to obediently continue ‘Geoffrey’s’ work? Does she really believe anyone as smart and educated as ‘Geoffrey’ would say ‘Caradoc, he that is living at the same time as me’ i.e. my contemporary. The main boon to backdating, by pretending contemporaneity to Malmesbury (before 1143) makes the Merlin prophecies (which were supposedly in the same book in 1139 according to modern scholars) appear positively prophetical.
If Crick was able to put into context the evolution of the Histroria she would not think the Leiden group of Vulgate texts were the same as the Primary-Historia just because it was documented in 1160 at Bec. Henry probably retrieved the Primary Historia as it could have been composed in his hand or it naturally went to another monastery and was substituted with a more modern Vulgate version. I know Crick does nit-pick at the word ‘Vulgate’ but for me versions of the Vulgate become more modern toward 1155-7. The Vulgate evolved from the First Variant era i.e. from a stemma as equally modern as FV but not designed to please an ecclesiastical readership. Crick will never get her head round that.
If Crick would put things in context the Gaufridus nuper transtulit de Brittannico in Latinum in the Leiden manuscript shows that it is a late copy and could not have been the version Huntingdon saw. Don’t forget there was no ‘Walter’ and no ‘translating’ propaganda in 1139 as Henry Blois was not under pressure to prove he had not authored ‘a made up’ history. Another pointer to this conclusion is the Leiden’s mention of Gaufridi Monimutensis and if she really understood her subject she would know that the ‘from Monmouth’ appellation was only assumed by ‘Geoffrey’ after Henry Blois had seen Ralf’s name on the charters at Oxford; probably after the battle of Wallingford and certainly after Walter had died in 1151… as Walter is a signatory to some of the Oxford charters in common with Ralf and Galfridus.
Nowhere is this backdating more conclusive than in the Orderic interpolation where scholars are silly enough to accept the sentence where King Henry Ist is said to be ‘awaiting his fate’ implying to the weak minded that King Henry I must be still alive when ‘Orderic’ writes in his history concerning the Merlin Prophecies. In effect, if Henry I is still alive and the Sixth King is going to invade Ireland when Henry I is only the third king in the Leonine numbering system supposedly employed by Merlin; then this is truly ‘precience’ and no ‘author in our times’ could possibly be accused of composing such prophecies.
This is the subtlety of the inserted sentence summing up the section of prophecies in Orderic’s interpolation…. which is plainly devised to appear as having existed when King Henry Ist was alive. Henry’s interpolation into Orderic concerning the Merlin prophecies backdates the prophecies to before 1135 just like ‘my contemporary’ put Caradoc outliving ‘Geoffrey’ when Caradoc really died in 1129.
Henry Blois went further in his propaganda. The insistence of ‘Geoffrey’s’ source being an ‘ancient book’ was as concept added to HRB to apportion blame to another author. This concept is cleverly corroborated in the invention of Gaimar’s epilogue which we will get to in the section on Gaimar. We also have at the end of the chronicle called Brut Tysilio370 the following statement: I, Walter, Archdeacon of Oxford, translated this Book from Welsh into Latin, and in my old age I translated it a second time from Latin into Welsh…
We should not forget either, the introduction of another polemically motivated statement by Geoffrey of his intention to translate the ‘book of the exile’ since he progresses from a source book from which the HRB is derived being translated from the British language….. to having been a book in the Briton language derived ex-Brittanica. So, we are surreptitiously conditioned to think if one source derived ex-Brittanica then a book describing the flight of the Britons to Brittany might also chime with ‘Geoffrey’s’ source from which he supposedly translates. Crick and Wright like the rest of Geoffrey’s readership are led to conclusions that are clearly untrue but only if they open their eyes to the fact that Henry Blois is ‘Geoffrey’
370Myvyrian Archaiology. vol. ii
We must not forget Henry’s resources and the abundance of Welsh speaking Latin translators. Henry’s guile is more evident in trying to provide a further re-adjustment of the contemporaneity of himself (Geoffrey) and Caradoc in the said colophon:
The princes who were afterwards successively over Wales, I committed to Caradog of Llancarvan; he was, my contemporary, and to him I left materials for writing that book. From henceforward the Kings of the English and their successors I committed to William of Malmesbury and Henry of Huntington, to write about, but they were to leave the Welsh alone; for they do not possess that Welsh book, which Walter, archdeacon of Oxford, translated from Latin into Welsh; and he narrated truly and fully from the history of the aforesaid Welshmen’.
What sophistry or propagandist intent can be understood from this last colophon only Henry Blois can know? ‘Geoffrey’ supposedly provides the materials to Caradoc. The one thing this implies is that not only does ‘Geoffrey’ appear to condone Caradoc’s continuation, but it also appears as though Caradoc’s work supposedly follows chronologically ‘Geoffrey’s’. This is simply not possible if Caradoc died in 1129!! No-one but Henry Blois would make such a statement as to leave the history of the Welsh alone, because they lack the fictitious book which Archdeacon Walter supposedly gave ‘Geoffrey’.
Henry’s gambit is a direct attempt at making the Vulgate version of HRB and its prophecies appear much older. When will modern scholars grasp this point?
If the intractable scholars accept this point, then they can accept that if Henry Blois is the author of the Arthuriad in HRB, just maybe they could cautiously advance to the next stepping stone of logical deduction which is glaringly obvious. They can then accept the person attested to have propagated Grail legend who has a name like Blois, Master Blehis, Maistre Blohis, Blihos Bliheris, Bleoberis or Blaise. Then conclude its not beyond the bounds of probability that the author of Glastonbury lore found in the DA might be the abbot of Glastonbury. This fact is not established without a multitude of evidences!!
We should not forget either that Giraldus Cambrensis’ Latinised version of the name ‘Bledhericus’ is the ‘famosus ille fabulator’ who had lived “shortly before our time” i.e. in the period 1160-1170 and Henry Blois was his mentor and patron; not to mention the Bliocadran, again, also with the ‘BL’ prefix!!!
Where the Merlin prophecies are concerned, there was suspicion that a modern contemporary was back dating past events so as to make the prophecies appear prophetical. When the historicity of ‘Geoffrey’s’ work came under suspicion, Walter’s source book is introduced as a misdirectional gambit into the Vulgate version. Hence, Walter nor his ‘source book’ are mentioned in the Primary Historia nor the First Variant as these early editions were not widely published nor was Henry under pressure. It is only when the circulation of the Vulgate became more widely exposed and the seditious prophecy was added to the existing prophecies covering events up to the Anarchy that Henry Blois reacted to the suspicion. Henry is scrambling firstly to cover his own authorial tracks and secondly to substantiate the credibility of both the prophecies and the historicity of HRB. He tries to cover himself from being accused of inciting rebellion.
Even Crick realises, thanks to a prompt by Griscom, that the HRB and its prophecies might have been ‘challenged’. If she had understood that the seditious prophecies were composed to de-throne Henry II, then maybe she would realise why Henry has put so much effort toward backdating the text of HRB and to hide the real ‘Geoffrey’.
Caradoc in the life of Gildas supposedly establishes the Arthur and Gildas’ connection with Glastonbury, so one is led to think Caradoc’s continuation of HRB should not be doubted.
‘Geoffrey’s’ word concerning Archdeacon Walter should supposedly not be doubted either…. as Walter in his own words says he has translated the same book from Latin into Welsh (and back again), which, if this were true, one would logically assume that if ‘Geoffrey’ is carrying out the same task…. why is it that Walter is not as famous as ‘Geoffrey’ had supposedly become? The farce is cyclical and has had scholars chasing their tails for 200 years.
Tatlock371 tries to sort this puzzle out concerning Caradoc:
There is no reason why a canon at a loose end should not be received by the Benedictines of Glastonbury.
Much of Caradoc’s Life of Gildas authored by Henry Blois is based upon the Life of St Cadoc genuinely authored by Caradoc. Tatlock recognizes: Gildas has no connection whatever with Glastonbury.
Yet, Tatlock believes Caradoc is writing while at Glastonbury as part of the Officine de faux. Tatlock is also duped by Henry’s clever contrivance that Caradoc is a contemporary of ‘Geoffrey’s’, based on the assertion in the colophon. The naivety in modern medieval scholarship is incredible given the understanding that Life of Gildas and HRB are both visibly concocted accounts.
Until scholars like Tatlock open their minds to the possibility of Henry Blois composing the HRB, ‘opinions’ will not solve the endless pursuit of the match in the haystack. Tatlock thinks Geoffrey was somewhat ignored by the romancers, but if he knew that ‘Geoffrey’ had moved on from the HRB material (and that he did not die) to become chief originator of romance literature as master Blehis….. then genuine meaningful research could be carried out. I’m not saying Crick’s work is a waste of time in all the comparisons of the text but once you know ‘who’ Geoffrey is and the time-line of the versions…. there will be a lot less bemused opinion filling the pages of scholarly tomes.
371J.S.P. Tatlock, Caradoc of Llancarfan p.145
Whether or not Walter was an antiquarian is an unimportant point considering his name also was not employed in the Vulgate version until after his death in 1151 (now made public). The signing of the ‘Galfridus charters’ at Oxford c.1153 after Wallingford is importantly relevant to Henry Blois having had knowledge that Walter had recently expired… because he too is a signatory to a few Oxford charters alongside Galfridus. Thereafter, Walter’s name could be employed retrospectively just as the names of the dedicatees were employed to backdate HRB. We must not be fooled by such personal details about Walter in that he was well read in historical matters and experienced in ‘oratoria arte’ or that he brought the ‘book’ from Brittany.
So, what Henry Blois is up to by signing these charters in Oxford is really creating a mini social circle which, we are supposed to think ‘Geoffrey’ moved in; i.e. knowing personally Ralf and Walter as they are both signatories. Geoffrey is portrayed as an aspirant of greater advancement. Henry Blois is creating the relationship to Bishop Alexander, who after his death, ‘Geoffrey’ pretends to complain at the lack of recognition he received from Alexander, Geoffrey appears to appeal to Robert de Chesney in the dedication of VM. Neither de Chesney or Alexander ever met Geoffrey!!!
‘Geoffrey’ is not translating from a book given to him by Walter, but Henry Blois ends his Primary Historia at the relevant point because Henry has already read a copy of Caradoc’s work. It seems highly unlikely Caradoc had been translated into Latin by Walter as Caradoc’s work as I explain, was initially written in Latin. It can only be Henry who wrote the passage above implying that ‘Geoffrey’ supplied materials to Caradoc to continue where ‘Geoffrey’ had left off.
Caradoc supposedly wrote the Latin Life of Gildas which substantiates the Arthurian episode of the kidnap of Guinevere which is also depicted on the Modena archivolt. The Life of Gildas substantiates Glastonbury’s antiquity in its early contention with Canterbury. The Caradawc or Caradog from the Gwentian Brut or more likely the Caradoc, Duke of Cornwall in HRB may be Henry Blois’ reason for the inscription of Carrado on the Modena archivolt (as he is not mentioned in the Life of Gildas or the Vita Cadoci along with Kai) yet, does appear in the poem as Carados le Grant de la Dolerouse Tour which replicates the Modena engraving. Which preceded the other (poem or engraving) is anybody’s guess but I would say that since Henry Blois had impersonated Caradoc by composing the life of Gildas he wanted as much confusion about this Kidnapp event that had transpired at Glastonbury as people started to drill down to find the elusive ‘Geoffrey’. Don’t forget when Primary Historia and Life of Gildas were composed Henry never felt hunted. It was only after the seditious prophecies were released inquiries were made about ‘Geoffrey’ or as Crick sees it he was ‘Challenged’. The reason there is no record of a ‘challenge’ is that one can do that until a physical person exists to ‘challenge’. Now the penny might drop for the reasoning behind the effort Henry Blois devotes to misdirecting us all!!
Since the only version of the kidnap of Guinevere episode is found in Caradoc’s Life of Gildas…. which Henry Blois himself had written and the event transpires at Glastonbury and the Modena Archivolt was commisioned by Henry; it seems probable, to avoid these coincidences which lead back to Henry Blois c.1155 Henry composed the Carados le Grant de la Dolerouse Tour to deflect from evidences which pointed to him. It is not surprising that this dispute between Melvas and King Arthur is corroborated in the DA where Henry Blois has interpolated the story long after the search for ‘Geoffrey’ had ended and where Gildas is seen as the mediator.
To understand the reasoning behind the construction of the original Pseudo-Historia which then evolved into the Primary Historia found at Bec and its evolution to the First Variant and through a separate stemma to the Vulgate HRB, it is necessary to grasp that initially it was started (the part from Brutus to the point where the ‘Arthuriad’ starts) in Henry Ist time…. while Henry Blois was a young man at Glastonbury c.1128-9.
A small un-expanded Arthuriad was then added to the manuscript which Huntingdon witnessed. At this same point where the prophecies are told to Vortigern by Merlin to explain the mysterious subsidence of the tower, we can see this is Henry Blois’ way of colliding with Nennius’ account to get the introduction of the prophecies into FV (or comparable modern version) long before 1154,(when Alexander died) when at the same point the Alexander dedication is introduced into the Vulgate version after that date. So my thought is that both Merlin and the prophecies were introduced at the same time in FV c.1144-49 by the clever collide of Nennius’ account:
King Vortigern was with this wise men and they said to the king, “Build here a city; for, in this place, it will ever be secure against the barbarians”. This is how Merlin is introduced from one script to another i.e. from Primary Historia to First Variant or the equally modern ‘stemma’ flourishing toward the Vulgate. This is basically why Alfred does not mention the prophecies because they interrupt the story-line of the progression of the History into the Arthuriad. The prophecies are not really what Alfred was concerned with, regardless of the fact that they corroborated the historicity of the engaging chronology of British History.
So, like in the HRB where Vortigern is building a tower; we have in Nennius, the king sent for artificers, carpenters, stone-masons, and collected all the materials requisite to building; but the whole of these disappeared in one night, so that nothing remained of what had been provided for the constructing of the citadel. Materials were, therefore, from all parts, procured a second and third time, and again vanished as before, leaving and rendering every effort ineffectual, Vortigern inquired of his wise men the cause of this opposition to his undertaking, and of so much useless expense of labour? They replied, “You must find a child born without a father”.
This is how ‘Geoffrey’ weaved in his splice making Merlin the product of an incubus and his first set of prophecies, part of the evolving HRB. Only later when Henry wanted to introduce more ’cause and effect’ prophetical ‘seditious prophecies’ and after Alexander’s death did he introduce the Alexandrine dedication.
As I have covered already, the History of the Franks posited their own hereditary descent from Troy. As Crick rightly observes: Geoffrey had given the Anglo- Normans a stake in an increasingly important game: legitimation of political power by appeal to the Heritage of Antiquity.
Yet, typically she skirts over the obvious question: Why would a Welshman want to do that. Why, if she knows the prophecies were composed by Geoffrey…. does he in the early set of prophecies establish the principle which she has just avowed; legitimisation of Stephen as the ‘fourth’ Leonine king.
Why, I wonder, if she doesn’t recognise that the prophecies have been updated does the same person composing the prophecies at a later date contradict that legitimacy to rule: the Lynx (Henry II) that seeth through all things, and shall keep watch to bring about the downfall of his own race, for through him shall Neustria lose both islands and be despoiled of her ancient dignity. Oh, but then one would have to admit that it is Henry Blois composing the prophecies and agree with the reasoning that the seditious prophecies were composed by him; but we are not for bending!!!
Anyway, it is highly probable that Henry Ist, (who was a scholar in his own right), was probably the intended recipient of the Pseudo-Historia, because not only did it set the stage in previous British history for a female monarch as a precedent (which was the contention amongst the Barons about the heir being a queen), but it gave Henry Ist an illustrious lineage as the English King equalling that of the Capetian King. This lineage of legitimacy is embellished in the early prophecies directly to support Stephen as a pre-ordained or fated occupantn of the throne; the Eagle of the third nesting however, not being anointed with the oil. After that, from the first to the fourth, from the fourth to the third, from the third to the second, the thumb shall be smeared with oil. The sixth shall throw down the walls of Ireland,’.Notice how Henry Blois never mentions the ‘fifth’.
Matilda’s prospective rule, most likely accounts for the inclusion of the many Queens posited by ‘Geoffrey’ in HRB. Henry Blois was most probably the ‘someone’ who recounted the Frank’s history to Henry Ist, as recorded by Huntingdon. After that event he set about composing a presentation copy of a glorious history of the island nation of the Britons which I have termed the Psuedo Historia.
It would surely be in Henry Blois’ interest initially to provide his uncle with an equally grand rendition of British history as that of the Franks from Troy. After his research efforts became redundant at the death of Henry Ist in December 1135, we see the advent of the advancement of this work in the Primary Historia deposited at Bec in mid 1138….. not forgetting that Henry Blois spent all of 1137 in Normandy repelling the Angevin advances.
So, Henry Blois probably residing at Bec after having been in Wales in 1136 quelling the rebellion there while his brother was further north dealing with King David, fits the chronology and circumstance of how the Primary Historia appeared at Bec, composed by the anonymous Galfridus Artur. We know from the missing description of Wales in the GS that Henry has been in tsouthern Wales in 1136 and from this experience, then adds the Arthuriad to the Psuedo Historia. This addition of the Chivalric Arthur based in Wales was an un-expanded Arthuriad which becomes part of the manuscript I have termed the the Primary Historia. This was the manuscript Huntingdon was given by Robert of Torigni which had been deposited by Henry Blois in mid 1138.
The crux of how ‘Geoffrey’s’ work of HRB was constructed is that when Henry Blois’ uncle died, the gist of the yet unfinished Pseudo-Historia was remoulded (adding to it the un-expanded Arthuriad), certain features concerning the five British queens which had been included to fulfil a specific and earlier agenda regarding the Empress Matilda as heir to Henry Ist just remained. Otherwise the chronological reshuffle would have been an immense editorial reshuffle. This is the reason for Geoffrey’s Queens in the HRB and has bugger all to do with ‘Geoffrey’ being a feminist. The amount of scholarly Horseshit written with feminism as a premise is voluminous. Of course the Lais of Marie of France are feminist as these were composed by Henry Blois’ nephew’s wife.
As for the motive behind some other preferences, attitudes or allegiances which ‘Geoffrey’ shows, we can only be conjectural. My guess is that links were highlighted with a more prominent connection concerning Brittany when Stephen came to the throne. As to the point of the pro-Brittany stance held in HRB, it seems a little unclear in its motivation…. except for familial ties between the Blois’ and Brittany which I will highlight later.
Trying to divine the motive and what accurately transpired regarding the composition of HRB in context with Henry’s life is witnessed by the ecclesiastical FV as part of his effort to gain Metropolitan status in 1144-49. The HRB is a can of worms….foremost, because Henry Blois is trying to achieve many things at different times and the reader will see that these different agendas are reflected in the original prophecies of Merlin and in the updates of those. Paralleling the HRB with Henry Blois’ circumstances should inclusive of the propaganda provided in HRB where dedicatees are concerned, backdating in general, and of course in ‘Geoffrey’s’ own biographical details in all their mis-directional intentions.
One thing is certainly made plain and is reflected in the contents of DA where in his contradictory interpolations, Henry Blois has actually left evidence of his agendas over time. Likewise though, context has to be applied to understanding the HRB; but our experts are a mile away from that position, refusing even to start on the starting line by recognising Henry Blois is Geoffrey of Monmouth.
Where HRB is concerned, Henry is Norman and his values are difficult to suppress; even in trying to hide his authorship in pretending to be a Welsh ‘Geoffrey’. The appearance of a Welsh ‘Geoffrey’ only transpired after the updated prophecies were added to HRB. Up to and including Alfred of Beverley’s copy of HRB c.1150 no-one mentions the name Geoffrey of Monmouth.
Where the text of the Primary Historia is evolved and expanded then changed to conform more with known historical sources, especially when Henry comes to re-editing the Primary Historia as the First Variant; this alteration is specifically to accommodate a Roman audience. The reasoning behind this is so that the First Variant is to be presented as viable history/proof in Henry’s case for Rome in 1144 granting Metropolitan status to Winchester. The First Variant was tailored toward an ecclesiastical audience at Rome. (This is evident as I cover later in discussing the format of the First Variant).
The Merlin prophecies which started out with innocuous intent, composed to fascinate the contemporary audience with their supposed prescience to see so many relevant episodes which the reader could identify with and which had transpired in their time. They were also composed to confirm that king Stephen was fated to take the crown. Latterly, the updated prophecies become a political invective against Henry II (once the prophecies are updated in 1155), predicting that should the Britons/Celtic tribes rebel against Henry II, the Normans would be defeated. Don’t forget that these seditious prophecies were instigated while Henry Blois was in Clugny after Henry II had confiscated his castles.
What has confused scholars is why the First Variant adheres more historically to the insular, Roman and Continental annals and has a biblical bent. We know the First Variant has an 1155 updated version of the prophecies attached, so we are unable to know in what form it was presented at Rome and what other editorial changes to the prophecies were added which we find in the Vulgate version which were not in the presentation copy for the case of Metropolitan. Overwriting of ‘Geoffrey’s’ genuine editions makes Crick’s task of collation seem to have no elucidatory benefit in discovering a time line for the editions. But it is better, as I have done, to ‘reverse engineer’, to find the reasoning for the differences in the manuscripts. Obviously one can only do this if one starts by accepting a truth which Crick does not.
Henry Blois groomed Eustace, King Stephen’s son (the assumed heir), expecting to have influence over Eustace after Stephen’s death. This was until such time as the truce was made at the end of the Anarchy.
After Henry’s brother Stephen died and Henry II came to the throne, Henry Blois found himself in a difficult position in self imposed exile. It is here we see the concoction of VM and JC prophecies composed as Henry Blois has one last attempt at regaining power by inciting rebellion by predicting an ‘adopted seventh King’.
Once back in England in 1158 and there is no chance of regaining his original power, Henry settles for the aura of Venerable statesman where age had moderated political ambition and his attempt at sedition had failed. With no other cource of action but the acceptance of events this now brought calm.372
372Dom David Knowles, The Monastic Order in England: “When Henry II came to the throne the Bishop of Winchester left the country, not to return until 1158. During the 13 years of life that still remain to him he appeared in a very different character. Age had moderated ambition and brought calm; under the new King there was no room or need for military Bishops; the aims and outlook of the papacy had changed and the generation of Clugny ecclesiastics had almost all passed away. Henry could now fill the role of an elder statesman, the father of the hierarchy. He supported Beckett quietly, but staunchly, as 20 years before he had supported his nephew, William of York, in his day of distress, and he, who 20 years before had been the opponent of the Cistercians of the North, and the object of Bernard’s most violent invective, was now the advocate of the friend of the Cistercians, Gilbert of Sempringham. He was indeed, universally respected, even revered, and the praise of Gerald of Wales who knew him only in these mellow years of generous patronage, has secured his reputation with posterity”.
In 1158 Henry Blois set about the third phase of his authorial edifice which he has left to posterity. This was the updating of the DA with Joseph of Arimathea material and the invention of a new tale which was to be the pinnacle of his inventive mind and muses giving us the origins of Grail literature. The whole Grail edifice which now allowed Henry to compare himself with Cicero was based on a historical truth. This is the truth that I am trying to lead scholars to, but unless they grasp first principles later deductions become impossible to make.
It is an accusation of the scholars today about my investigation that it seems as if I have accounted too many manuscripts to have been composed by Henry Blois. This is utter rot and Henry’s output is way less than that of Cicero to whom he compares himself on the Mosan plates. It must be remembered that when Henry had the Meusan plates fabricated and had composed what needed to be inscribed upon them, he was able to make that comparison of Cicero and himself even though he had used a pen name for Geoffrey once he had settled again in England.
After 1155 when the updated prophecies were published and the rebellion did not transpire, you can be sure people were trying to find ‘Geoffrey’. It is recorded in Gerald of Wales’ Expugnatio Hibernica that Henry II scorns Merlin as he walks over the speaking stone of Llech Lafar and comes to no harm and then saying with venom ‘who will have faith in that liar Merlin’. So we can see that King Henry II is enraged about the seditious prophecies and if Henry Blois were found to be the author it would be trouble for Henry Blois.
Henry Blois had no way of understanding Melkin’s prophecy. He knew it held the key to finding the island of Ineswitrin on which Joseph of Arimathea was buried. Henry was not a fool and knew the 601 charter which referred to the same Island of Ineswitrin was not a fake. Henry came across the prophecy of Melkin at Glastonbury and he re-introduced Joseph of Arimathea a forgotten character from antiquity back into British history. Due to Henry Blois’ muses, Joseph of Arimathea then became the focus of Grail literature along with Henry’s other invention; the ‘Chivalric’ King Arthur.
This is a brief synopsis of Henry’s evolving authorial edifice which culminated in Grail literature and is only mentioned here so that certain previous misunderstandings as to how the three main bodies of literature which constitute the Matter of Britain link up. The connection must be understood by the common denominator of Henry Blois.
I have wished to avert the reader to the direction of where the evidence we are about to cover is leading us in our coverage of the three genres of Arthuriana, Glastonburiana and Grail literature.
If scholars today deny Henry Blois as the author of HRB, it is impossible to see through the affiliations Henry makes, or account for the anachronistic association of Arthur and Joseph and the Grail heroes or understand ‘Geoffrey’s’ seemingly contradictory views in HRB and the Merlin prophecies.
As a ‘Norman’ Henry sees himself and his heritage through his grandfather as a rightful inheritor of the crown in Britain not the (rightful heir) Henry II. The Welsh of his present era he hates and makes it plain in GS and HRB saying they are nothing more than savages. There is a lot of rationalisation of this position as his affiliations stretch as part of the heritage of the emigration of the British (to Brittany) at the Saxon invasion.
Henry Blois entices rebellion of the Celts in the updated Merlin prophecies while he was at Clugny and even predicts Henry II loss of power as the end of Norman rule. Of the Angli and the Saxones when King Stephen is on the throne the Normans are then viewed as saviours.
When Henry composed the Libellus Merlini i.e. the first set of prophecies he sees the Normans as eradicators of the Saxon invaders and holds the same tone as that intonated by both Gildas and Bede i.e on the side of the Britons.
In reality Henry as witnessed in GS, holds in contempt the Scottish, and his view is coloured by King David’s support of Matilda. He is contemptuous that his brother has made a deal with King David three times and each time David has broken his word: Twice he drives him across the frozen regions of the north and a third (time) he (still) grants the mercy that he asks….
We witness Henry Blois anger at this stupidity of judgement in the prophecies of Merlin as above and in text of the GS: And what am I to say of the King of Scotland who was taken for a third time as the story goes, but let go as always, on consideration of a bribe and in grief and weariness could hardly get away to his own country with a few followers?
Canterbury is ignored in the HRB due to the previous disputes Glastonbury monks and Henry had with the Canterbury monks and Osbern. Henry Blois’ enmity with Theobald and the ‘Ass of Wickedness’ (William of Corbeil) are also both treated with distain. Henry does his utmost to promote Winchester as a metropolitan in real life as well as by implication in the Merlin prophecies and by providing adequate proof in the story-line of HRB that in terms of primacy Winchester antedated Canterbury.
Henry Blois’ medieval mind is fascinated by Stonehenge. He has no idea how it came to be there. ‘Geoffrey’ loves to astound by providing bogus anecdotal history and etymology. His cleverness runs throughout HRB where we witness his Mons Ambrii which the contemporary reader would know to be Amesbury. Geoffrey lets his reader deduce the eponym is so called by its proximity to the Giants Dance brought back from Ireland by Merlin Ambrosius and instigated by Aurelius Ambrosius. Here we get a good idea of how ‘Geoffrey’s’ mind works. He obviously knows the lay of the land of the English country and weaves etymology with known geography.
‘Geoffrey’ is not a parochial Welshman; he is a man of state affairs who is well travelled throughout insular Britain and he has an exceptional grasp of historical names of populations on the continent and of course geographical regions. By comparison with many others in Henry’s own era, he travelled extensively on the continent and on errands for his brother or carrying out ecclesiastical duties.
For the description of the Giants Dance for Stonehenge, we only have Henry Blois’ imagination to thank. ‘Geoffrey’s’ twist on Nennius’s slaughter of the Britons and the connection with Stonehenge just highlights his art form. Initially in Huntingdon’s report to Warin there was no miracle: ‘Uter Pendragon, the son of Aurelius, who brought from Ireland the Dance of Giants which is now called Stanhenges’. Henry Blois in his later Vulgate HRB providing an answer to people such as Huntingdon who had commented that ‘none can imagine by what art the stones were raised or for what purpose’.
At the introduction of Merlin into the HRB along with the prophecies, Henry Blois’ resolution as author of the HRB as to how the edifice of Stonehenge appears on the landscape is also weaved into the story-line providing a fascinated audience of the Vulgate Version the solution as to how the monument occurred.
Coincidentally, these may be the giants that Arthur or Brutus fought. The fact Henry has Merlin transfer Stonehenge from Ireland shows also that Henry is aware of Megalithic structures in Ireland. Henry loves to provide solutions in eponyms or myths to things that puzzle him and his audience.
Stone circles were common and therefore, apart from the fact that the stones come from Killaraus mons, they also are provided with an array of bogus detail: For in these stones is a mystery, and a healing virtue against many ailments. Giants of old did carry them from the furthest ends of Africa and did set them up in Ireland at what time they did inhabit therein. And unto this end they did it, that they might make them baths therein when so ever they ailed of any malady, for they did wash the stones and pour forth the water into the baths, whereby they that were sick were made whole. Moreover, they did mix confections of herbs with the water, whereby they that were wounded had healing, for not a stone is there that lacks in virtue of leechcraft.373
Henry Blois has no problem with pure invention, but the state of his mind is anything but pure.374 What is most interesting is that between 1138 when Primary Historia was produced and 1144, when the Anarchy was in full swing and the First Variant was finalised as a presentation copy for Rome; Henry’s pleasure in his private hours was given over to refining an already bogus history with more mythical detail as he wove Merlin into the HRB. It is not a certainty that the First Variant changed that much between 1144 and the second attempt at metropolitan in 1149. However what makes scholars think that Alfred had a Vulgate text is that it is a text as modern as the First Variant but is evolving toward the Vulgate where the First Variant had specific design changes for an ecclesiastical audience.
Until Henry’s brother Stephen’s death in 1154, Henry must have been refining and evolving the text of HRB. Possibly the story-line of the text from this date forward did not change i.e. there were no further expansions. But as we know after this date the prophecies were certainly squewed and updated. From 1154-58 or possibly later, misleading biographical details were infiltrated along with other mis-directional polemic already discussed.
373HRB. VIII. xi
374Macabre scenes are depicted from a bent mind: The Dragon shall bear him aloft, and swingeing his tail shall beat him upon his naked body. Then shall the Giant, again renewing his strength, pierce his gullet with his sword, and at last shall the Dragon die poisoned, entangled within the coils of his tail.
Henry detested Bishop Alexander, Robert of Gloucester, Robert de Chesney and Waleran also, so his dedicatees were more chosen as a guise to hide his authorship than any other reason. However, the city of Gloucester (for reasons in context of the initial unpublished pseudo-historia) is given prominence375 in being founded by Claudius (Claudiocestria)….. or its alternative eponym from Gloius, son of Claudius, where both the dubiously historical Lucius and Arviragus376 are conveniently buried.
375The prominence given to Gloucester is a direct resultant derived from when the original pseudo-history was written to please or endear Henry Blois to family members of King Henry I; so his bastard son’s ducal house (who later became Henry and his brother Stephen’s nemesis) at this period was afforded illustrious provenance from a faux etymology Claudiocestrie.
376We shall see in progression that both Lucius and Arviragus are both embellished false personas invented by Geoffrey/Henry Blois and neither have a genuine place in British History.
Gloucester supposedly had a large See and the bishop Eldadus has a brother who is one of Aurelius’s brave knights who killed Hengist according to ‘Geoffrey’ The Consul Claudiocestrie is given prominence and is distinguished in battle against the Romans. Henry must have known Gloucester well as it is en route travelling into southern Wales. Certainly, the writer of HRB and GS has a good knowledge of southern wales.
The writer of GS is also at pains to tell us that the city of Bath gets its name from ‘a word peculiar to the English language signifying wash place’, but ‘Geoffrey’ in HRB is also cognisant of this as Bladud built the baths. Obviously, Henry knew Bath well as he was in attendance with his brother there in the episode recounted in GS. The invention of Bladud, who was from Badon…. no-one had ever heard of before. Kaer Badum is really introduced at Bath to correlate with Badonicus Mons or Mons Badonis which Geoffrey locates from mention in Gildas, Bede and Nennius and connects to King Arthur’s last battle in ‘Geoffrey’s’ usual conflationary method of association from disparate anecdotal information.
As regards Exeter and Totnes in Devon, we know Henry Blois has knowledge of Uffculme from his early days at Glastonbury and he has been to Plympton as he describes the early morning attack in GS with detail that could only be from an eyewitness being present. The siege of Exeter, Henry Blois was definitely involved in as recounted in GS and Henry probably established Totnes as Brutus’ and Vespasian’s landing as he would have known that it was the highest navigable point on the river Dart. Also, one would probably pass through it on the way to Plympton Plymouth and Cornwall, all of which he visited and travelled.
A certain Judhel of Totnes built the castle and was succeeded by his son. The Cannons of Laon on their journey visited Judhel at Barnstable. We might speculate that given that their travel record bears witness of the contretemps about Arthur, there is a chance of this very tradition being an interpolation, understanding that Laon is close to Meuse and Bec and on the route down to Rome which Henry often frequented.
I am suggesting that in the Cannons of Laon’ travelogue, Henry might have inserted the anecdote in regard to having seen that the earlier travellers passed through Devon; and this might have been done while resting over at Laon. After all, if Henry Blois goes to the extent of promoting his rescue of Guinevere as an engraving on the Modena Archivolt, a simple interpolation would only be a small effort by comparison. Another interest of Henry’s which is also corroborated in GS by his continual mention of their fortifications and construction is Henry Blois’ love of castles. Of the many towns mentioned in HRB, nearly all have early Norman castles.
‘Geoffrey’s’ Saltus Geomagog which is said to be ‘near Totnes’ in HRB, where the Giant is thrown over a cliff by Corineus is probably the cliffs at the entrance to Salcombe on the south coast of Devon (Salgoem) ’as it is still so named’ says ‘Geoffrey’. Salcombe has the giant’s name of Magog spliced onto it and is posited as the location of the wrestling match in HRB. For Henry to know that there are cliffs there on which to base his fight and wrestling scene with the giant and Corineus and the fact that the same location is stated to be near Totnes in HRB; one must assume, Henry has been to those cliffs. This is an important point in that those cliffs overlook Burgh Island.
My point is that later in progression of this investigation the reader will understand that there is definitive evidence that Henry Blois has actively searched for the Island of Ineswitrin after he had discovered Melkin’s document at Glastonbury. He is one of the few people who knows The Island of Ineswitrin is in Devon by the Island’s donation to Glastonbury by the King of Devon. It just so happens that these cliffs mentioned by ‘Geoffrey’ look over Burgh Island. Burgh Island is the Ineswitrin donated in the 601 charter to the old church at Glastonbury and the island to which the geometrical data in the Prophecy of Melkin locates with alarming accuracy as I will show the reader in the section on Melkin’s prophecy.
It is doubtful whether a Welsh ‘Geoffrey’ would be so well travelled, having a good grasp of the geography from the south west of England and all the way to Scotland which obviously the author of GS displays also. Henry Blois is well-travelled from Brittany to Flanders, with highly specific knowledge of the environs of Burgundy and the ports on both sides of the channel. HRB was not written by a parochial Welshman or a cleric at Oxford. The author of HRB knows his geography and is extremely detailed even down to the Aravian Mountains on the French side of the Alps and Salgoem’s proximity to Totnes.
‘Geoffrey’s’ affiliation and the prominence he assigns to the Cornish or Cornwall has been puzzling for most commentators because Gildas, Bede, Nennius do not pay much attention to the South west of England covering Historical events; nor do the Annales Cambriae. This affiliation of Arthur with Cornwall might be more based on the genuine tradition of the Warlord Arthur rather than the totally fictitious chivalric Arthur from Caerleon portrayed in the HRB.
The propensity to things Cornish is based upon mostly Arthurian detail but the question is why has ‘Geoffrey’ after his invention of Arthur’s Welsh base at Caerleon, brought a tradition of Arthur’s southern heritage to the fore. My adeduction is that before Henry Blois went to Wales and before he composed the Primary Historia he had based King Arthur in Cornwall in the Pseudo-Historia composition he had written for his Uncle and Matilda. The reason for this is that Henry Blois’ earliest attempt at Romance literature we now know of as Tristan and Iseult as I will get to later but is based in Cornwall.
The expanded Welsh Arthuriad had been evolved after he had been in Wales in 1136. It is possible there is some substance to Cornwall in association with Warlord Arthur but doubtful. I refer back to the travellers from Leon. There is no substance at all to King Arthur at Caerleon and the reason for the Welsh backdrop is based upon a Welsh and Bardic oral tradition about Myrddin (not specifically about Arthur); but more on memory of old wars of the Britons is to conflate the Roman architecture found there with Arthur’s Welsh base at Caerleon.
Lifris was from Llancarfon and relates episodes about historical ‘Warlord’ Arthur in the Vita Cadoci. There are Roman archaeological remains at Caerleon and so prominence was given to this area as a credible setting for the ‘Chivalric’ Arthur epic set in HRB. The Arthuriana of HRB existed within an area that ‘Geoffrey’ associated with the ancient Britons and Henry had been there and seen the architecture. Given Henry’s interest in architecture and his visits to Rome, he writes of the ruined Roman buildings that Caerleon: passing fair was the magnificence of the Kingly palaces thereof with the gilded verges of the roofs that imitated Rome.377
In reality ‘Geoffrey’ distinguishes his own present hate for the Welsh in GS while at the same time situating the grandeur of the Arthurian court at an obscure Caerleon where there were ancient remains. There is this hate for the Welsh so evidently expressed in both HRB and GS which totally negates a real Geoffrey being from Monmouth and certainly not ‘Brito’.
The conundrum for most commentators on the HRB has been Geoffrey’s contradictory attitude to the insular races and his lack of damnation of the Norman overlords in early set of the Merlin prophecies. In fact, Henry Blois is the Norman overlord!
Henry’s prospective self-‘adoption’ is witnessed in the John of Cornwall prophecies as the seventh King . This is contrasted with his own current hatred for the residue of the remaining Celtic races which through the updated prophecies is trying to incite to rebellion against Henry II. Henry Blois as Merlin the prophet in the late set of prophecies predicts the downfall of Neustria while he is sat on the continent in Clugny.
Geoffrey’s knowledge of the sea ports of France is more than a Welsh cleric living at Oxford could reasonably be acquainted with. Henry Blois writes from experience, knowing intimately Mont St. Michel, Rennes, Tréguier and Kidaleta, journeying through the channel island ports on his many excursions to and fro across the channel.
In Henry Blois’ usual lack of attention to detail regarding distance (to affect an air of a chronicle rather than first hand experience of travel), Henry in HRB has Arthur travel to the small island of ‘Tumbe Helene’ to avenge Hoel’s niece…. knowing full well that Barfleur is 72 miles away. He must have visited Mont St Michel with his uncle or as a monk, but we know he went to Mont St Michel and met Robert de Torigni in 1155 when he fled England.
Alfred of Beverley’s edition of HRB was circulated by Henry Blois’ Nephew c.1147. Alfred of Beverley’s edition has the omission of Arthur’s battle with the giant of Tumba Helene and is not found in EAW either. This indicates to me it is a later expansion of story line and indicates that Henry Blois might have got the inspiration for this new episode on a visit to Mont St. Michel.
Henry certainly knew of Barfleur and may indeed be an indication of why he wrote the poem found in Orderic’s work from which he uses the same expression (fish food) as found in the Merlin prophecies.378
377HRB IX, xii
378See Note 7. If Henry did not write the poem, he certainly had interpolated Orderic and maybe got the expression ‘fish food’ from that poem already in Orderic’s work.
‘Geoffrey’ mentions a few places in Normandy in HRB and includes a Duke of Normandy as well as the Duke of Poitou. The name of Ruteni comes directly from Lucan’s Pharsalia and ‘Geoffrey’ has placed them in Flanders on the basis that the town of Ruthia was in Flanders and Ruthena was a city near Paris. The Ruteni and Moriani seem to be from Flanders, but to avoid detection as author of HRB their provenance is uncertain i.e. not specifically defined. As it happens, his brother Stephen is the Count of Flanders.
However, Gerinus of Chartres, again in Blois lands, is given prominence over the twelve peers of Gaul in HRB. The Allobroges, who are from Burgundy, are prominent, but again, there is no sign or hint of glory for the county of Blois…. where after the battle: Arthur made grant of Neustria, which is now called Normandy, unto Bedevere his butler, and the province of Anjou unto Kay his seneschal. Many other provinces also did he grant unto the noblemen that did him service in his household. Don’t forget when the Psuedo Historia was composed for Henry Ist, his daughter had just married the Count of Anjou. but in 1138 when the Primary Historia was composed, Geoffrey of Anjou supported Matilda in entering Normandy to claim her inheritance. That is the reason Henry Blois is in Normandy in 1138.
However, Arthur’s friends from the Life of Gildas, another of Henry Blois’ compositions, are brought to life. More important, is that Anjou and Normandy, the counties closest to the Blois region, are donated by Arthur to a Seneschal and Butler but the county of Blois is not a gift.
One can be sure that the Blois region is omitted on purpose without being specifically named. Funnily enough, every other province is named; Aquitaine, Brittany, Normandy and Anjou all get mentioned along with Maine. The county of Blois is the only one not glorified by name in HRB (just like Glastonbury is not mentioned). Henry Blois compensates for this by deciding to place the epic continental battle fought by Arthur in Burgundian Blois lands instead.
‘Geoffrey’s’ ease linking continental names is an indicator of his knowledge of the continent citing saints such as St Leodegarius which name he gives to the Consul of Boulogne. Bladud’s son Leir is one of Geoffrey’s greatest triumph’s…. but without an eponym to fascinate his audience he would not feel satisfied; and so, it was Leir who builded the city on the river Soar, that in the British is called Kaerleir, but in the Saxon, Leicester.
The story of King Leir incorporates so many aspects of the human experience and it is parabolic, dealing with empathy and true love. When the story finishes and Cordelia and her husband Aganippus defeat the wicked dukes in Britain and then restore the Kingdom to her father Leir.
When King Leir hits hard times, he goes in search of Cordelia for succour and: Landing at last, his mind filled with these reflections and others of a like kind, he came to Karitia, where his daughter lived…
Henry’s bogus eponym in his favoured region of Blois is La Charité in a supposedly archaic sixth century Latinised form as Karitia. The town of La Charité-sur Loire began as the first of the Cluniac priories on an island site in the Loire. The Priory of La Charité-sur Loire is a Cluniac monastery not far from Clugny, Autun and Langres, in which Henry started his life as an oblate before going to Clugny.
Henry of Blois was rumoured to be Abbot of Bermondsey, a substantial monastery, before becoming Abbot of Glastonbury…. and Bermondsey was a dependent priory of the Cluniac monastery of La Charité-sur-Loire. This may be the reason for ‘Geoffrey’s’ choice of Cordelia’s place of residence with the King of the Franki, Aganippus. Aganippe is best known as a spring on Mt Helicon where we find the Muses of classical Greek literature. Given Henry’s own personal reference in the Meusan plates to Muses, and the refence to them in the preamble of HRB, it seems fair to say Henry is versed in Greek literature as the composer of HRB certainly was also.
In a life of St Folcuinus by the Bishop of Therouanne, a lighthouse is mentioned and Therouanne is only 25 miles from Boulogne. This ‘Turris ordrans’ or tower Odraus Farus is a structure (a tower on which a fire was lit to guide ships through the Dover straights) known to ‘Geoffrey’ in his travels most likely or from the life of St Folcuinus…. but ‘Geoffrey’ fictionalises that it was built by Caesar: He (Caesar) then threw himself into a certain tower he had constructed at a place called Odnea.
‘Geoffrey’ loves to distort names such as Charité to Karitia by trying to Latinize the sound and we can see the same in Geoffrey’s Odnea from Ordrans or ordrensis and ‘Wace’s’ Ordre. The only reason ‘Wace’ made Karitia into Calais was again a case of Henry Blois distancing himself from a suspicion of authorship of Wace’s Roman de Brut; Henry Blois impostors Wace, as I shall get to later.
King Arthur fights ‘Frollo’ on an island outside the city of Paris in front of onlookers. This again shows topographical acquaintance with the lay of the land of a certain island which would in Henry’s estimation have been outside the walls of Paris in Arthur’s day. We could postulate that this would be a difficult presumption for a Welsh ‘Geoffrey’ to make without having eyeballed the topography. More likely the knowledge of a travelled Aristocrat from the continent.
Throughout the HRB ‘Geoffrey’s’ knowledge of regions, cities and towns is not that of a parochial cleric living in Oxford who originated from the Welsh Marches and signs mundane charters around Oxford who has no trace as the Bishop of Asaph excepting the charter evidence.
Henry Blois, as a well-educated, well-travelled and continentally born person has no problem inventing the Basclenses for the Basques and is not favourable to Poitou which is a reflection of his own bias (in 1138) and knows regions such as Guasconia. In this instance of Gascony, Henry Blois loves to Latinize nomenclature giving his readers a sense of the archaic; but also providing recognisable forms for his contemporary Anglo-Norman/continental audience.
When it comes to the author of HRB’s own region of Blois or Burgundy, avoiding suspicion of authorship completely, he refers to his own family’s southern region as the people of the Allobroges. This nomenclature is found in Fulcher of Chartres Historia Hierosolymitana and the eleventh century Chartres cartulary. How would a Welsh Geoffrey know this and why is our author coy about any specific mention of the region known to be that of Blois? The Senones Galli are of course only slightly differentiated geographically from the Allobroges; the distinction though is obvious to the native Henry Blois but it is a distinction to far for a Welsh Geoffrey. Again, the town of Sens is within the Blois region of lands, yet supposedly a Welsh Geoffrey knows and differentiates the areas. All these family lands were held at the time the composition of HRB by his brother Theobald.
‘Geoffrey’s’ Augustodunum is Autun where we find the See of St Leodegarius who we just mentioned. After having lost a skirmish at the river Aube, Thorpe translates wrongly that the city of Autun is on Arthur’s left hand whereas the Latin text has relicta a leava civitate i.e. Langres…. as Arthur is coming down from the imaginary skirmish on the Aube.
It was the fictional Lucius Hiberius who could not make up his mind what to do on his way to Autun and therefore marched his army into Langres for the night. ‘King Arthur’i.e. Henry Blois knew that the quickest way to Autun from Langres for an army was along the Roman road through Dijon. This topographical and geographical knowledge is amazing for a Welsh Geoffrey to divulge.
Why Faral says: Il faut reconnoitre que la Geographie de Geoffrey est assez indècise…is plainly non-sensible in this instance as ‘Wace’ is even clearer about certain facts, indicating that Henry has the picture straight in his mind. The problem most commentators have had is a want to place Siesia in conjunction with a known name rather than employing another of ‘Geoffrey’s’ attributes by giving the valley its eponym by who built the road through it.
The First Variant HRB has Siesia, Siessia or conversely, we find Soissie Sesie in Wace. The HRB version Iis pronounced like ‘Ceasar’. I will show the reader in progression that much material in Wace is specifically squewed to make it appear as if it were not Henry Blois (or Geoffrey) who wrote the Roman de Brut. So, Arthur, leaving the city (of Langres) on his left, he took up a position in a certain valley called Siesia,379 through the which, Lucius would have to pass.380
Henry Blois/ ‘Geoffrey’, had chosen for King Arthur’s pitched battle, a place on the Roman road of the Via Agrippa. We may speculate that it was known locally to the Burgundian inhabitants and to Henry Blois, (a frequent traveller and native), as the ‘Vale of Caesar’.
Tatlock gives two other pieces of relevant information which are more interesting to us since we know it is Henry Blois writing HRB and the Roman de Brut. There was a monastery near Donzy called Sessiacum 36 miles from the Burgundian town of Avallon and about 60miles from Autun. But, even more likely as to the naming by ‘Geoffrey’, since Henry Blois is attempting to use ancient allusions, is a castle called La Sessie which the count of Champagne held of the Roman emperor.381 The fact that a Welsh cleric at Oxford knows that the River Aube flows from the Plateau de Langres seems unlikely. The fact that a Welsh Geoffrey knows the Allobroges382 are the people of the region of Blois i.e. Burgundy…. seems more unlikely, or their distinction from the Senones.
Henry names the location where Arthur cuts off Lucius Hiberius’ forces as ‘Ceasar’s Valley’ or the valley of Siesia. The Via Agrippa is a long Roman road which runs in what is a vast vale and there are hills in the distance on both sides of the Roman road.
379MSS of Wace have Soissie, Suison, Soeefie, which is meant to hide Henry Blois’ previous accurate knowledge of the Roman road which occupies ‘Caesar’s Valley’.
380HRB, X, vi
381Recueil des Histoires des Gaules, X11,322. Henry’s brother was Count of Champagne.
382The Allobroges occur in two periods in HRB and are given exalted status. They and their Duke Seginus befriend Brennius. Arthur subdues them and of course meets the Romans in their territory. Are we to be duped into believing a Welsh cleric in Oxford knows the Burgundian’s archaic name and the topography of the region?
Yet Henry Blois would be fully able to didtinguish the peoples in his family’s region. Fulcher of Chartres refers to the Allobroges in his Historia Hierosolymitana in the eleventh century; a copy of which probably existed at Clugny. How does a Welsh ’Geoffrey’ have local knowledge to differentiate the Allobroges by region from the Senones Galli? How is it that ‘Geoffrey’ has read Orosius? As Tatlock points out, where the Senones Galli really belong is in early accounts of the capture of Rome by the Celts in fourth century BC; just the place where ‘Geoffrey’ uses it. Orosius’ Historia II, 19 tells of the ‘Galli Senones, Duce Brenno’ attacking Rome. Again, we see the source of Henry’s inspiration. The same exploits of Brennus and his Galli Senones are related by Landolfus Sagax which we know is a source ‘Geoffrey’ follows closely in the First Variant. It is not by accident that ‘Geoffrey’ highlights this region in eastern France; but Tatlock unwittingly comments that to his mind ‘there is scarcely reason why it should have been well known in History’. I know that this exposé seems like an ode against scholarship, but it beggars belief that the Abbot of Glastonbury is never implicated as author of HRB given King Arthur’s connection to Glastonbury. Henry Blois has perfect knowledge of the region of eastern France and was in charge of the place where Arthur’s relics were discovered. Master Blehis is reckoned the source for Arthurian and Grail Literature; Glastonbury is not even mentioned in HRB and Joseph and the Grail and Arthur are intricately connected to Glastonbury. The interpolated DA, dedicated to Henry Blois, stipulates the location of Arthur’s grave.
Arthur is envisaged as heading south marching from the North in both the Roman de Brut and the HRB. Arthur has Langres on his left as Henry (‘Geoffrey’) imagines Arthur’s progress down to the Via Agrippa as portrayed in HRB. Henry’s local geographical knowledge understands that if Lucius wanted to get an army from Langres to Autun he would naturally travel on the Via Agrippa. It may not be by accident that Saussy (a small village) is only six miles from the Via Agrippa…. mid-way between Langres and Autun.
Henry Blois portrays a visualised engagement somewhere between Vaux-sous-Aubingny and Dijon. The Roman road runs straight as an arrow in a valley plain for 22 miles from Dijon before turning at Vaux-sous-Aubingny to run perfectly straight for another 14 miles to Langres. Commentators have thought the supposed Welshman ‘Geoffrey’ had spuriously identified a non-existent location. The valley of Siesia is nowhere found in the Roman Annals, but may have been known locally as such in Henry’s time by a native of the region as the Valley of Ceasar due to its remarkably long Roman road.
The important point to make about Henry calling the Valley plain, the valley of Siesia is his purposeful mis-spelling of ‘Caesar’, just as Charité is intentionally corrupted to Karitia….or his knowledge of the village of Saussy.
There are many coincidences to cover like the ‘round table’ appearing at what was Winchester Castle during the last years of Henry’s life. While we are at this juncture and introducing the Icon of the round table by Wace; it is worth noting that ‘Wace’ knows exactly, in his mind, where this battle is taking place and becomes more specific about its topography than the supposed ‘Geoffrey’ who had only just published the HRB (now made public) yet ‘Geoffrey’ is supposedly unaffected by the fact that Wace has versified the contents of HRB.
The big question that scholars have never tackled is why Wace uses a First Variant edition primarily as a template from which to follow the story line to compose his verse; and yet scholars unanimously posit that the First Variant is a later edition of the text of HRB (some saying not even written by ‘Geoffrey’).
Why would Wace employ a later version of text to commence his 5-year project of versifying HRB and then revert to a supposed earlier edition of HRB at the end of his task? And then be published in 1155 the same year I have shown the Vulgate edition emerged.
Even though most commentators believe Wace’s adaptation of HRB is merely transliterating in a more vibrant French octo-syllabic couplet than Geoffrey’s HRB Latin prose; one can deduce that it is the same author who composed both by the simple fact that ‘Wace’ knows exactly the topography also and expands in places where ‘Geoffrey’ remains vague and non-specific.
Henry Blois impersonates Wace to widen his audience into the continent by retelling HRB in colloquial French verse:
Now Langres is builded on the summit of a mount, and the plain lies all about the city. So, Lucius and part of his people lodged within the town, and for the rest they sought shelter in the valley. Arthur knew well where the emperor would draw, and of his aim and purpose. He was persuaded that the Roman would not fight till the last man was with him. He cared neither to tarry in the city, nor to pacify the realm. Arthur sounded his trumpets, and bade his men to their harness. As speedily as he might he marched out from camp. He left Langres on the left hand, and passed beyond it bearing to the right (just as the Roman road bends today at Vaux-sous-Aubingny). He had in mind to outstrip the emperor, and seize the road to Autun. All the night through, without halt or stay, Arthur fared by wood and plain, till he came to the valley of Soissons.
There Arthur armed his host, and made him ready for battle. The highway from Autun to Langres led through this valley and Arthur would welcome the Romans immediately they were come. The King put the gear and the camp followers from the host. He set them on a hill nearby, arrayed in such fashion as to seem men-at-arms. He deemed that the Romans would be the more fearful, when they marked this multitude of spears. Arthur took six thousand six hundred and sixty-six men, and ranged them by troops in a strong company. (Wace)
Henry Blois, impersonating Wace is composing the Roman de Brut for a continental French-Anglo Norman audience under the name of a poet called Wace who had previously published the drab Roman de Rou. As if Wace would ever deny he wrote the Roman de Brut anyway if asked!!! Henry re-names what in HRB was Ceasar’s valley to the valley of Soissons (Soissie, Saoise) in Wace which is a pun of misdirection on Soixant or ‘sixty’s’ to ensure that the author of both manuscripts is never thought to be the same common author. The number appears to be randomly generated by Henry’s muses by mystic association most probably with the 666 from Revelation.383
Henry Blois knows the topography of the region but is vague in HRB when he envisions a spot on the River Aube to camp for Arthur’s troops around Langres; he just passes it to the left of Langres in HRB and the valley is just a place ‘through the which Lucius would have to pass’.
So, logically if Wace is merely copying a dead Bishop’s work (of Asaph), how is it he knows there is a highway between Langres and Autun and also that Langres384 is on a hill with a plain beneath? How does Wace write: Lucius rose early in the morning, purposing to set forth from Langres to Autun his host was now a great way upon the road…. and know that it is 14 miles to the right turn (at Vaux-sous-Aubingny) and the battle is envisaged about 10 miles after that where the bogus army is situated on a hill. How is it both know of the right turn bend in the Roman road? This is the same mind imagining the same fictional battle in the same mind’s eye.
383HRB .X viii. Roman fashion, in the shape of a wedge, so that when the army was in full array each division contained six thousand six hundred and sixty-six soldiers. More probably, the number is a complete invention based upon Isidore’s 6,000 for the size of a Legio.
384‘Geoffrey’ calls Langres Lengrias which was never its name. Henry is affecting an archaic form, but he does refer to Autun as Augustodnum correctly. ‘Geoffrey’s’ knowledge of France and its people and regions in relation to each other is just too informed to be anything other than interested and first hand. None of this is as M. Faral believes, ‘mere ignorant archaic colouring’. Continental regions were known by Henry Blois and personages apportioned fictitiously to them but done to a level of expertise which surpasses the capability of someone from Wales.
The surprising fact that is little mentioned is ‘Geoffrey’s’ and ‘Wace’s’ obvious talent at battle strategy, yet there is an ease with which Henry describes some of the goriest scenes. The Britons have cavalry on the flanks which charge which throw Lucius into disorder the same tactic used at Tinchebrai in 1106, Henry would have heard from his uncle. ‘Wace’ is even better at war tactics than ‘Geoffrey’ and we know Henry fought and witnessed many a pitched battle as is made plain in GS.
The ‘Grim’ details of death on the battlefield in HRB, coughing blood from chest wounds, kicking in the throes of dying are not ‘Geoffrey’s’ the cleric from Oxford’s experience but Henry’s from the battle field. This ability and interest in military strategy is highlighted in GS; and Henry himself had obviously experienced sieges385 and open field battle engagement on many occasions and understands the subtleties of tactical warfare and tactical ruses.386 This again qualifies Henry so much more than a Welsh cleric at Oxford to describe the many strategic battle strategies; especially in a region governed by Henry’s family and forebears and in which he travelled in his youth.
385Henry Blois was in Wales in 1136 at Kidwelly castle fighting against Gwenllian’s forces where her army was routed. She was captured in battle and beheaded. Her son Morgan (a name featured in Wace) was also slain and another son, Maelgwyn captured and executed. ‘Geoffrey’ invented a Briton queen called Gwendoloena to lead the troops in HRB. Should we suppose that Lidelea is Kidwelly (given Geoffrey’s penchant for distorting names) and was it the castle which belonged to the Bishop of Winchester as mentioned in the GS?
386Ironically,Tatlock says: On the whole in warlike matters Geoffrey is well informed and Intelligent for an ecclesiastic and a scholar.
Henry’s Roman vassals in HRB and his geography are supplied by accounts of Crusaders, which probably derive from his Father’s tales, mixed with biblical names. One name stands out as a total invention, Alifatima King of Spain. This is Henry’s invention, as he conjoined the names of Ali and Fatima, Mohammed’s cousin and son in law. This information was probably sourced from his good friend Peter the Venerable who had translated the Koran. Henry’s knowledge of the Moors in Spain would also have provided the background for such an invention. Michael Curley offers that in Geoffrey’s time there was a growing Arab science influence on Western learning, referring to Adelard of Bath’s translation of Mohammed ben Musa al-Khwarizmi, not ever recognising the relationship between Henry Blois and Peter the Venerable.
Logically, we know the Roman de Brut starts at the beginning using the FV as a template and even to that oddity the scholars agree. It is for them now to come round to the understanding that the Vulgate version of HRB followed the FV in terms of composition evolution which is obviated by the fact that Henry starts his versification of the HRB c.1147-50 and finishes following with the Vulgate as a template c.1155. If the scholars view held true, then how is it that Wace must have started plagiarising the HRB before ‘Geoffrey’ died. Isn’t it more sensible knowing that the versed version and the FV and Vulgate were all composed by a common author and to accept the truths that Wace’s expansions and mind’s eye knowledge would only occur if Henry Blois authored all three versions.
Obviously, there was an historical Arthur or there would be no canvas, but the ‘warlord’ Arthur can resemble nothing of the picture painted by ‘Geoffrey’ of the ‘chivalric’ Arthur because his greatness would have been recorded before ‘Geoffrey’ (as Newburgh complains); rather than been anecdotally mentioned in Annales Cambriae, Nennius or William of Malmesbury’s GR I or some accounts of saints lives. Arthur may or may not have been a King of the Britons or merely a rebellious warlord, but the point is… it does not matter to ‘Geoffrey’ as the whole continental battle scene is from Henry’s muses.
Riothamus has been identified as Geoffrey’s template for King Arthur which is probably has some glancing validity as a source for Henry’s muses. This is mainly due to Riothamus’ activities in Gaul, which bear a passing resemblance to King Arthur’s Gallic campaign. Geoffrey Ashe who really gets so much wrong has suggested a link between Riothamus’ alleged betrayal by Arvandus and Arthur’s betrayal by Mordred while abroad. This also may be true knowing how Henry Blois has constructed his Historia.
Loose and desperate for a connection Ashe then proposes that Riothamus’ last known position was near the Burgundian town of Avallon which is rubbish and cannot be substantiated in any source mentioning Riothamus. Ashe of course suggests this is the basis for the Arthurian connection to Avalon which if he had not been misdirected by the generations of commentators before him, he would have realised is a town in Blois and Henry Blois is really Geoffrey of Monmouth. Others have argued that Riothamus is identical to Ambrosius Aurelianus an historical figure in Britain who is mentioned in Gildas as fighting the Saxons who may also have provided Merlin’s name.
The only thing that matters is we know Geoffrey’s account is untrue and if some unscrupulous Bishop can invent such an account…. why should we even believe the slim and doubtful record of the persona of Geoffrey of Monmouth ever having existed. Why is it that commentators are duped into believing what the author of an obviously fraudulent book has wanted to portray to secrete his own personality?
There was never any flesh on Geoffrey’s bones, but what little there appears to be…. was put there by Henry Blois. Once, little regard for the truth is uncovered in the material composition of HRB…. why is it that researchers have naïvely accepted the persona of Geoffrey when even ‘Geoffrey’ contradicts himself saying in one instance he composed the text (referring to a lack of understanding about Kings prior to the Christian era) and in the next breath saying he had only translated the HRB from a book not authored by himself but procured from Archdeacon Walter; with another ridiculous contradiction to swallow in that if Archdeacon Walter had translated the same book from Welsh into Latin and again Latin back into Welsh as witnessed in the Gaimar epilogue (a futile task by anybody’s reckoning), why would ‘ Geoffrey’ be doing the same thing and why isn’t Walter more famous than Geoffrey. Not one of the self professed experts goes near questions like this because then the the whole gravy-train of inaccurate paid opinion would have to stop. What else could they be experts in… because as we have seen their opinions about Geoffrey are worthless and so are they likely to be on any other subject.
Why, when in the early prologue is Geoffrey contemplating writing a book about a subject and then is suddenly at a request of Walter asked to translate a book on exactly that which he had contemplated writing and by huge coincidence has the same name as the main protagonist. Fancy that, having the same name and discovering that a third of the books contents Walter has given Geoffrey has a guy with the same name. Is it just the scholars or is it the water???
Our scholars today force the pieces to fit concerning ‘Geoffrey’ himself, Merlin and Arthur. HRB and Arthur’s exploits recorded in it, are wholly the composition of a fertile yet learnèd mind. The whole of the HRB is constructed by Henry Blois. Does it matter how he constructed it or from which source a certain detail or inspiration came. As long as scholarship strains at every detail yet swallows the flimsiest false premise upon which the persona of ‘Geoffrey’ is built; there will be no resolution to the authorial edifice which Henry Blois’ has composed known as the Matter of Britain. It is with Geoffrey one has to start before moving on to more complex issues but Crick, Wright Culey et al. seem to fall at the first fence.
No-one will ever discover the most important fact which is embedded in the constructed edifice of Henry’s work which is to be found in the Grail literature, as long as scholars disassociate the Josephean Grail from the Arthurian HRB and both of their connections to the Prophecy of Melkin; without making the connection between the prophecy’s association with Avalon and Henry Blois’ association with Glastonbury.
Henry Blois’ authorial edifice covers three main genres; the HRB, Glastonburyana and Grail literature. So, the real importance of a potential present-day discovery that is part of this Matter of Britain will remain undiscovered without understanding that the HRB was constructed by a man who wished to hide his identity.
One will never understand the Matter of Britain if the subject matter is always disassociated. HRB, Glastonburyalia and their connection to Grail legend without the inclusion of Henry Blois as Master Blehis, has become a quagmire of scholastic pontification.
No modern student will ever understand the Matter of Britain if one does not understand that the same person corrupted William of Malmesbury’s works so that aspects which were interpolated into Malmesbury’s works corroborated works authored by Henry i.e Life of Gildas and HRB’s references of Arthur and Avalon. Also, we then find Arthur’s grave was discovered in Glastonbury which in effect Henry had convinced us was commensurate with Avalon in VM and DA.
Once this chicanery is grasped and while understanding the methodology of the construction of HRB and the fraudulence found in the Glastonburyana of DA…. the important implications of the prophecy of Melkin (upon which Grail literature is based); all will remain hidden unless the scholastic community wake up from their stupor.
Henry Blois uses the same methodology employed in HRB (that of mixing fact and fiction) as he does in his precursor to Perlesvaus or Grail book (Sanctum Graal), upon which some subsequent Grail literature is built; and by this method we can see Henry’s muses are aware of Melkin’s prophecy. This will be discussed at length in progression when we investigate the icons of Grail literature and its provenance.
Unless the evolving agenda of Henry Blois is understood by scholars, false assumptions based upon false dating will lead to false conclusions. For example, Tatlock’s credulity is influenced by believing details in Caradoc and DA are derived from different people:
As for Glastonbury, later to loom so large in Arthur’s tradition, he first appears there in this life of Gildas. Should anyone wonder why Geoffrey’s later-written Historia ignores Glastonbury…. this very local legend may have been unknown to him, or he may have had his reasons for not wishing to join the chorus of praise for Glastonbury. Best of all, the Arthur here historically inharmonious with the masterful grandeur of Geoffrey’s Arthur; and anyone who fancies ignoring necessarily proves ignorance has a very different conception of Geoffrey’s personality and purposes from that book.
Just how ‘Right and Wrong’ can one be in a sentence. Although Tatlock refers to the difference between the ridiculous or rebellious figure of Arthur in some of the ‘Saints Lives’ legend, he never suspects that the Life of Gildas and the author of ‘Geoffrey’s’ Arthur are one and the same. He labels any connection between Arthur and Glastonbury as ‘Monk-craft’. ‘Monk-craft’ or the officine de faux as my uncle referred to all Glastonburyana was of a later date and followed what Henry Blois had instigated in DA.
It is my own opinion that Culhwch and Olwen was written after the HRB and has several points in common with the Life of Gildas which Tatlock387 witnesses. As Tatlock points out, there is a commonality to HRB and we cannot be sure of the influence that Henry Blois might have had on Culhwch and Olwen.388
387The legendary history of Britain. P 196-199
388Culhwch and Olwen, has the exaggerated claims made for Arthur. Also, there is a passing mention of campaigns that he had conducted in India, Europe, Scandinavia, Corsica and Greece and Africa. O.J. Padel comments: The difficulty lies in knowing how far this text is independent of Geoffrey’s History. It must follow that since Arthur’s continental campaign is a fabrication by ‘Geoffrey’…. the poem has either been interpolated by Henry Blois or it follows in chronology the HRB.
Henry’s authorial works (the paint of our three genres of study under investigation) was not a hobby or bumbling project for Henry Blois. Some compositions like the Life of Gildas and the specific editing of the First Variant edition of HRB and the interpolations in DA were composed for a specific reason. Later in life when Henry Blois returned from Clugny in 1158 and found his hopes of a Celtic rebellion were never going to come to fruition, he embarked upon an even greater authorial venture of promulgating Grail and romance literature based upon icons found in the Melkin prophecy.
Henry is solely responsible for the embryonic germs of Grail literature and the linking of ‘his’ Arthur to a discovery on a document he had made at Glastonbury concerning Joseph of Arimathea i.e. the Melkin prophecy…. and manufacturing Arthur’s grave to be found in the future and linking Glastonbury to Avalon.
It is sure that there was a ‘warlord’ Arthur with a different character to ‘Geoffrey’s’ in various ‘Saints Lives’ and this is probably why Henry Blois chose the medium of a ‘saint’s life’ as a composition to promulgate his propaganda concerning King Arthur i.e. The Life of Gildas. Especially, since the supposed composer of the Life of Gildas i.e. Caradoc was well known to have written a history. There seems little evidence to support a pre-Arthur tradition in Wales prior to Geoffrey as seen in the older branches of the Mabinogion.
Henry Blois has merely concocted the grandiose myth of ‘Chivalric’ Arthur based upon the slim details in Annales Cambriae and Nennius and ‘saints lives’. Whether the mention of Arthur in Nennius or the anecdotal references in the annals have any substance we will never know, but Henry has done his best with Aurelius and Ambrosius to fit with the Arthur Legend. Henry has employed what scant details existed in insular annals to conflate and confuse to the fullest.
Henry Blois, composing the HRB as Geoffrey of Monmouth makes sure that there is not one mention of Glastonbury in HRB. King Arthur who is connected to Glastonbury in Grail legend; through the Life of Gildas; through the DA and through the manufacture of his Grave is never connected to the prophecy of Melkin found at Glastonbury yet, through interpolation in the DA, and through Henry’s Grail legend, Joseph is now connected to Glastonbury. In reality he never was and it is clear these connections are made through Henry Blois. As we know Joseph of Arimathea’s name in history features because as a tin merchant he visited the Island of Ictis which just happens to be where he is buried i.e. on an Island called Ineswitrin, so named in the British tongue which is today called Burgh Island.
The fact that Phagan and Deruvian, who, as we will cover, are wholly an invention of Henry Blois in the HRB and referenced in the first 34 chapters of the interpolated DA, indicates HRB and the interpolations in DA were written by the same man who first included their names in First Variant; yet they were originally connected to the foundation of Winchester (but I will get to that in progression).
There is more evidence of Henry Blois’ early hand in aggrandising Glastonbury which we shall cover in conjunction with Eadmer’s letter and also latterly concerning Henry’s composition of Perlesvaus in which he ties Arthur and Joseph together together and contrives the myth involving the Ealdechurche in its connection with Joseph, corroborated by the interpolations found in DA.
Henry’s direct involvement with the prophetic work of Merlin as it pertained to his political position as brother of King Stephen and nephew to Henry Ist and latterly how he used these reconstructed prophecies to try to regain political power from Henry II is already explained. Once the reader is satisfied that ‘Geoffrey’ is Henry Blois through evidences I have shown in the text of HRB and shown in the prophecies of Merlin and it is obvious to all that the prophecies substantiate the erroneous historicity of HRB and thus prove a common author; a Pandora’s Box opens up to how the Matter of Britain evolved and why it is that a Chivalric King Arthur was found in a manufactured grave at Glastonbury.
The critical point of this exposé is to show that the myth involving Joseph of Arimathea is in fact a reality and the reason it is assumed a myth is because Henry Blois has mixed fact with fiction, just as we have witnessed ‘Geoffrey’ doing in his composition of HRB.
As long as our most renowned scholars behave like the blind leading the blind, Joseph’s relics will remain on Burgh Island. I refer any scholar who involves himself with research regarding Geoffrey of Monmouth, Medieval Glastonbury lore, or the provenance of the Grail and early Grail literature…. reading this work to the old adage: When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness.’
The light in all three of the genres under investigation is knowing of Henry Blois’ involvement. Those scholars not able to accept Geoffrey of Monmouth was in fact Henry Blois will remain blind!!