After the Romans

In the difficult years leading up to the Roman withdrawal from Britain, the imperial system began to dissolve and in 367, the island was under attack by three barbaric nations at the same time. From across the North sea, after a long lull, came the Jutes and Saxons - fierce, tricky Teutonic warriors in long boats, carrying short swords, bows, lances and round wooden shields. Their homeland

being Schleswig-Holstein and along the German coast. In the north, bands of Picts scrambled past the garrison and over the wall. Bearded, tattooed and armed with slings. In the west, the shores were harassed by Irish tribes whom the Romans called Scots, after one of their chief groups which had not yet settled in Caledonia.

Raids had occurred before, but never in such force and never in concert. Towns were cut off. Roman authority was not fully restored until 369, and the social order did not recover even then. But most of the Britons who had a voice in public affairs still saw themselves as members of the Imperial Roman world and they had no wish to give up this heritage and merge totally into outer darkness.

The question was whether they could survive. During the next hundred years, by a strange, zigzag process, Britain was to achieve her unparalleled status as a Roman land detached from Rome, holding out against the Barbarians.

Unluckily, our chief witness to this process, and almost our only native one, was an irritating monk named Gildas, Somewhere about 545, he wrote a diatribe against the rulers of Britain in his day.

Gildas dates the essential break as far back as 383, when the Roman army in Britain repeated the York coup of 306 by proclaiming its own Emperor. Flavius Petronius Maximus was Spanish; but he probably had a British wife, and the revolt was largely a movement of Britons in protest against government corruption and its weakness in the face of continuing barbarian threats.

Maximus asserted his claim throughout Western Europe. He captured Rome with a force which included Britons, many of them, it would seem, rashly withdrawn from the Wall. Unlike Constantine, he failed to progress beyond Italy. In 388, he was defeated and killed by the Emperor of the Eastern Roman empire, Theodosius. His memory lives on in the traditions of later ages as Prince Macsen, (The new leaders were known as Gwledig and Maximus himself, Prince Mascsen was the first Gwledig hero of Welsh and Cornish folklore. Nennius or rather the document he transcribes when writing of the British war effort around the year 500, introduces Arthur as a man without dynastic rank. ‘There were many more noble than he,’ Then comes the sketch of Arthur’s campaigns.

After Maximus, Roman power was never completely re-established. Administration devolved on the regional councils or civitates, which soon had to cope with assaults from both sides and in 410, these regional councils, in effect, declared British independence. They wrote to Emperor Honorus saying that they were still in the Empire, but not as subjects. He replied with a vague message telling them to look to their own safety, and leaving the question of sovereignty in the air. Towards the middle of the fifth century, Prosper, a Gaulish chronicler, still contrasts the ‘Roman’ island of Britain with the ‘barbarian’ island of Ireland.

From The Quest for Arthur’s Britain Edited by Geoffrey Ashe

The history of Wales and Britain in the wake of the Romans is beset by a monumental lack of plausible written documentation. In other words, it is incredibly hard to say for certain what happened. With that disclaimer established, the kingdom of Powys incorporated the lands of the Cornovii tribe and those of the royal family of Gwryheyrnon, while the former lands of the Silures became the foundation of the Kingdom of Gwent.

One of the British leaders after the departure of the Romans was Vortigern (Gwyrtheryn of Welsh legend), who may have been a native of the Welsh borders, certainly the kings of Powys claimed him as an ancestor.  It was Vortigern who is blamed for inviting Saxon mercenaries into Britain to help him maintain order particularly in the north of Britain in the period following the departure of Roman troops in 410. When the money ran out to pay them, these mercenaries started to rebel and over the course of several decades took control of large sections of Britain from the indigenous British, starting on the east and south east coast and working up, down and across the island of Britain.

One of the leaders of British resistance to the Germanic tribes we now call Saxon, Angles or English, was Ambrosius (Emrys Wledig of Welsh legend)  Ambrosius is likely to have come from either the Roman or British aristocracy with Roman military experience and there is some suggestion that he was a rival of Vortigern.

Ambrosius is closely associated with the legends of Arthur. Some scholars have argued that he was Arthur, others that Arthur was a war leader for Ambrosius. Ambrosius/Arthur or a similar Romano-British leader or amalgam of leaders marshaled the British forces against the Anglo-Saxons on behalf of a number of British tribal leaders.

Grayham Phillips and Martin Keatman write in their book;

King Arthur - The True Story:

‘When the literary and archaeological evidence is pieced together, it seems that by the time the rampage eventually ceased, the Saxon influence extended over much of South-East England.  But within a few years there was a stalemate, for the Chronicle list no battles between 465 A.D. and 473 A.D.  When fighting recommenced it was an even match for the next twenty years.  From Gildas and Bede we learn that the man who led the Britons at this time was Ambrosius Aurelianus, the son of a roman official’. Possibly even from a landed Roman family. Additionally, his parents died during the Saxon onslaught.

There is evidence that after the legions departed in 410 AD. Emperor Honorius appointed a senior official to represent Roman interests in Britain. In the Notitia Dignitatum, the Roman register of imperial officers, there is reference to the Comes Britanniarum (Count of the Britons) a new position created shortly after 410 A.D. This officer appears to have been a commander of an auxiliary field force despatched to Britain during the second decade of the fifth century.  The Comes Britanniarum could well have been Ambrosius’ father.

The Comes Britanniarum must have been removed in 418 A.D. for the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle says that in that year the britons overthrew the last of the Romans. Thereafter, according to Gildas, the British  established their own republic. Unfortunately, Britain soon fell into disorder, resulting in the rise of Vortigern by 425 A.D. From what we can ascertain from nennisus, at this time the consul’s son, Ambrosius , found asylum in a sympathetic province.

After the Romans had departed two factions emerged, one standing for an independent Celtic Britain, the other wishing to continue as part of the Empire: the nationalists and the imperialists.

Such a division of interests is reflected in archaeological finds from the period. Although a large part of Britain reverted to pre-roman tribalism, Roman civilisation persisted in some areas. There was also a major religious division: the Catholics supported by the imperialists and the Pelagianists supported by the nationalists. 


‘William of Malmesbury records that Arthur had fought alongside Ambrosius against the Angles, who we know from the archaeological evidence occupied the northern part of East England.  From Nennisus we learn that Arthur fought against the Saxons when Hengist died and Hengist’s some Octha retreated from the North. As the Chronicle places the death of Hengist in 488, it seems that this was when Arthur took over the leadership of the British forces from Ambrosius.

Some time around AD 496 the advance of the Saxons was halted in the nick of time before they cut off the Britons’ in the north and south, perhaps following a battle called Mons Badonicus (Mount Badon), most probably near Bath. (Little Solsbury Hill).  Although the specifics details of the battle are not known, and even its reality is questionable, archaeological evidence has shown that the Saxons were pushed back for about fifty years, and some left Britain to settle on the Continent again.

There is evidence that a man called Owen Ddantgwyn (Thanquin) ruled at Viroconium Corniovorum (near Wroxeter) at the beginning of the sixth century. He was one of the war lords in Britain at that time and who is credited with the re-building and fortification of Viroconium, what had once been the fourth largest city in Roman Britain. He could be the leader referred to by his battle name Arthur. In common with other war lord leaders Owen Ddantgwyn took the name of an animal. In his case the bear. From the P-Celtic word for a Bear, Arth and the Latin name for a Bear Ursus, the battle title of Owen Ddantgwyn may therefore have been Arthursus, later being shortened to Arthur.

Viroconium was the civitas or administrative centre of the Cornovii tribe. A tribe that the Roman administration of Britain had uniquely allowed to make and even carry arms. Also the Cornovii were also the only British Celtic tribe or civitas during the Roman occupation of Britain with a military commitment. The Notitia Dignitatum lists a unit called the Cohors Prima Cornoviorum consisting of a few less than five hundred, stationed at a fort called Pons Aelius guarding  the first bridge from the sea over the river Tyne built on the instructions of Emperor Hadrian at what had been the eastern end of the wall, until it was extended to ‘walls end’. The site of the Roman fort is under the Norman castle keep at Newcastle upon Tyne.

The fact that the Cornovii were the only indigenous Celtic tribe in Britain to serve in the Roman army in their own country is significant. Normally, and it makes sense, Roman authorities deployed auxiliary troops recruited in foreign lands to serve in other foreign lands. The Cohors Prima Cornoviorum were stationed at the fort, Pons Aelius at the eastern end of the wall (Newcastle upon Tyne) from the mid third century until the early fifth century. It may be that they joined Flavius Petronius Maximus when he asserted his claim throughout Western Europe, capturing Rome in 455 with a force which included Britons, many of them, it would seem, rashly withdrawn from the Wall. Maximus became Emperor of the Western Empire for two and a half months until he was killed defending Rome from their successful sacking of Rome.

In 410 when the Roman legions were withdrawn from Britain and the auxiliary troops were disbanded, taken with the legions to other parts of the empire or at least ceased to be paid by Rome, the few forces left must have been very sought after.

No one is sure what type of auxiliary unit the Cohors Prima Cornoviorum were, light cavalry, infantry or other type. A Cohort of  a little less than 500 men were often a specialist fighting unit or special forces. They must have been good to have been called Prima and chosen as the only native Celtic British troops to be deployed in Britain.

Owen Thanguin was reputedly buried at Bath church. A 10th century poem relates that it was built on the site of an ancient fortified settlement of about one acre. The Church of Bassa is where one of Arthur’s sites is said to be.

For more    ‘The Legend of Caractacus’ by Alex Byles.    Click here

For more    ‘On the Trail of King Arthur‘ in Shropshire.     Click here

I like to imagine the following:-

After serving in the Roman army, defending Britain and the norther frontier of the empire, from Pictish raids from north of Hadrian’s wall for a few years, the Prima Cohort Cornoviorum auxiliary troops lost their job, their pay and were abandoned by Roman administration as it withdrew from Britain.

The Cornovii Cohort of about five hundred soldiers and their wives and children possibly two thousand in all, did not wish to leave Britain to serve in other parts of the empire and were offered employment with other ex-Roman army auxiliaries by the local British chief to continue to protect northern Britain for perhaps another fifty years.

Over time the ex-Roman auxiliaries from Saxony what is now northern Germany and the Angles and Jutes from the region that is now Denmark that had remained in Britain decided to take over. Outnumbered the native British, the Cornovii Cohort withdrew and joined forces with other Britton’s north of Hadrian’s s wall in norther Britain, possibly the Selgovae tribe who inhabited the central region of what we now call the Scottish borders, to help protect this rich and fertile land from Pictish raiding parties from the north of the Antonine wall.

I see these professional soldiers, possibly highly mobile special forces, such as mounted infantry or light cavalry, re-grouping and joining their P-Celtic cousins whom they once fought.

As time went on and realising another growing threat of Anglo-Saxon expansion into Britain it was decided by the senior centurion of the cohort or pilus prior to split the Cohort into five special units each led by a junior centurion.

Each Roman legion had its Eagle or aquila standard, but a cohort did not have a standard or genius of its own. However each century within a Cohort did have a unique standard. A Cohort is regularly described as the principal tactical unit of the Roman army, ideal for binding together resistance from individual Celtic tribes against raiding parties and eventual Anglo-Saxon expansion.

I see one unit raising an army with the P-Celtic British tribes from the border region operating in the area north of Hadrian’s wall up to the rivers Clyde and Forth that had previously been joined by the Antonine Wall

Another in Chester (Deva) on the east coast and north Wales also able to protect against Irish invaders from the west and against the Anglo-Saxons from the east.

Another in Wroxeter (Viroconium Corniovorum) protecting the Cornovii homeland against the Anglo-Saxons from the east and the Seven river estuary and South Wales coast against Irish invaders from Ireland, keen to get control of the silver and gold mines.

Another in Somerset, based at South Cadbury near Glastonbury guarding the South and Southwest approaches.

The fifth and last on the north coast of the far south-west peninsular of Celtic Britain at Tintagel protecting north Devon and what was to become Cornwall, (possibly named after the Cornovii soldiers from the wall. See The Morris theory link to Cornwall.) against Irish invaders keen to get control of the lucrative tin and silver mines.

In the book ‘The lost tribes of Britain’ Alistair Moffat argues a strong case for the main fight to defend Britain from Scottish and Pictish raiders from the north,  The Irish from the west and the Angles and Saxons from the east, being from the north of Britain in the area above Hadrian’s wall to Wales and the Welsh borders around Cheshire and Shropshire.

The North of Britain up to the Pictish / Scottish border.

The Antonine Wall.

Shortly before and after the end of Roman rule in Britain.

Britannia was valuable and the Roman emperors knew it and guarded it against raiders such as the Irish, Picts, Scots, Angles, and Saxons.

The British Gododdin tribe lived in the West Borders region with Scotland, and the Selgovae in the east. This area, between Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine Wall was called, Valehtia by the Roman administration. At the end of the 4th century Valehtia was considered an extension of the Empire. This meant the local tribes, (the Gododdin, Strathclyde and Rheged) became Roman citizens.

The Picts who lived north of the Antonine Wall, outside of the Empire had been the curse of Britannia for generations. Roman forces struggled to contain them, despite stationing more troops in Britannia than any other Roman province. In 342, trouble was severe as the Picts mounted heavy raids throughout the old territory of the Selgovae, burning the Roman outpost forts of High Rochester, Bewcastle and Risingham. As a result, in 343 the Roman administration entrusted the Gododdin tribe with the task of containing the Picts, establishing a military regiment known as the ‘Areani’, the situation, however, continued to worsen.

In 367 AD, a remarkable event took place. In what the Romans called ‘The Barbarian Conspiracy’, the Picts from the north, the Scots from the west and the Franks and Saxons from Europe attacked Britannia and Gaul simultaneously. It seemed as if the ‘Areani’ had been bribed not to report the build-up of forces. Leading these raids was the Atecotti tribe. In old P-Celtic this means ‘The old peoples’, who came from Caithness, Sutherland and the north and western Isles. They spoke not P or Q-Celtic and may have used Ogham script to write. Apart from some names, the rest of their texts are unintelligible to us.

‘The Barbarian Conspiracy’ came to a head in 368 AD and in

395 AD, because of their treachery, a man known as Theodosius was sent to Britannia and abolished the ‘Areani’. He decided not to re-occupy the outpost forts north of Hadrian’s wall.

He reorganised Roman army in Britain into three sections, each under the control of a different officer.

The first and most senior was the Dux Britanniarum which meant ‘The Commander of the British’. Organised into 14 units, all but 3 were stationed east of the Pennines in Durham and Yorkshire. Three units were a new type of cavalry regiment that operated independent of infantry.

The second section, under the command of the Dux ‘Leader and Commander’, was the entire garrison of Hadrian’s Wall. A record known as the ‘Notitia Dignitatum’ written in 375 lists each fort and its occupants, including the ‘Prima Cohort Conoviiorum’ made entirely of British Cornovii axillary troops. This Cohort was stationed at the fort of ‘Pontus Aleas’ that guarded the first and most important bridge over the river Tyne at what is now Newcastle.

The third section in the south of Britain was the ‘Comitatenses of Britain’ under the leadership of the Count Litorus Saxonica which meant the Count of the Saxon shores.

Shortly after 367, Hadrian’s Wall was strengthened and re-garrisoned having been largely abandoned due to overwhelming attacks. Theodosius took three of the four original tribal groupings, which had grown into the kingdoms of Strathclyde, Gododdin and Rheged and set professional soldiers in charge of their mostly independent cavalry troops.

Before the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 AD, many different Celtic tribes populated all parts of Britain. This was the Iron Age and Britain had been divided and ruled for years by Celtic tribal chiefs, most of whom maintained defended enclosures on the tops of prominent hills known as hill forts.  Most were status symbols, not easily defended and designed to impress and establish ownership and command of tribal lands. These British Celts were purer than their continental cousins, having been cut off on the islands of Britain for several thousand years since the end of the last Ice-Age when sea levels rose forming the British Isles. Living in what we now call Britain they spoke an early form of Welsh known as P-Celtic. Other Celtic tribes in the regions now known as Scotland, Ireland and mainland Europe spoke a different dialect known as Q-Celtic. In Scotland, north of what we now call the borders, and above a line from Glasgow across to Edinburgh, there was another tribe called the Picts who spoke an even earlier Celtic dialect of which little is known as it was never written down. The Picts were so called by the Romans as they painted designs on their bodies. (Latin. Picturatus - painted)

By 100 AD most of Britain’s Celtic tribes had been de-militarised by the Roman administration and were no longer living in defended hill-top villages. These ‘civilised’ Celts became known as ‘Romano British’ and were mainly farming the land for a living, selling their surplus produce in newly created market towns or directly to the Roman administration, Some were Artisans or craftsmen, who lived in villages surrounding these market towns.

A fine network of Roman cobbled roads connected all parts of central Britain. Only the far southwest peninsular (Devon and Cornwall) and the Welsh uplands were left alone to their pre-Roman Celtic ways.

The Roman army, supported by Continental or Middle Eastern auxiliary troops maintained order and protected the economy that was flourishing on the island of Britannia. On the whole, Britannia was at peace. The growing market economy meant wealth and the ability to pay the taxes levied by the Roman administration, that also paid for the occupying army.

On what are now the Welsh borders (Clwyd, Powys, all of Shropshire, most of Cheshire and parts of Staffordshire) lived a tribe known as the Cornovii. To the east were the Catuvellavni and to the south the Dobunni. Most Cornovii land was hilly and at that time the terrain was covered by light scrub that was easily cleared. For these reasons it was widely settled from the Stone Age and again when the ice receded at the end of the Ice Age about 10,000 years ago.

The first mention of the Cornovii people occurs in the writings of the Roman, Claudius Ptolemaells (or Ptolemy) in the 2nd Century AD. The Cornovii had many hill forts, one of the largest being ‘The Wrekin’ in Shropshire. This overlooked the site of their later Romano-British tribal capital Viroconium Corniovorum. The town of Mediolanum (now Whitchurch in Shropshire) became another Cornovii Romano-British settlement and its street plan suggests a small walled town.

Cornovii lead and silver mines on Shelve Hill in Shropshire were likely to have been controlled from the nearby Roman fort of ‘Levobrinta’ at Forden Gaer, Powys. ( Later possibly as a civil concern they were perhaps administrated from the nearby villa at Linley, near the village of More.

For further information see the book ‘The Cornovii’ by Graham Webster.

The Cornovii were defeated by the Romans in 46 AD, at a decisive battle at their Wrekin hill fort. This appears to be the only fight that the Cornovii put up. However, after that defeat, the Cornovii quickly settled down and readily adopted the Roman way of life under the watchful eye of the 10th legion. They adopted an urban style of living in a new town of Viroconium Corniovorum, in the shadow of the Wrekin, developed from the Roman fort originally built to subdue the Cornovii.,

In 200 AD when the XXth. Legion were transferred from Viroconium Corniovorum (Wroxeter) to establish another fort that later developed into the new Roman town of Deva (Chester), the Cornovii took over the protection of the Viroconium Corniovorum which was destined to become the fourth largest city in Roman Britain after Londinium (London), Camulodunum (Colchester), and Verulamium (St Albans).

When the Xth. Legion left, The Cornovii were distinguished as the only British tribe ever awarded the position of a Civitas. This allowed the tribe to manufacture and carry arms to defend the city.

There are records of Cornovii auxiliary soldiers and their involvement in campaigns in the Roman record known as the ‘Notitia Dignitatum’. There is one great indicator that the Cornovii were considered as a great warrior tribe - the fact that they were also the only Civitas to have a Roman Legion named after them, The ‘Cohors Primae Corniovorum’ were stationed in the 3rd century at the fort of Pontus Alias on Hadrian’s Wall, at a site north of the river Tyne (Newcastle upon Tyne). Pontus Alias guarded the first crossing point on the river from the estuary.

What happened to the ‘Cohors Primae Corniovorum’  after Britain was left to administrate and defend itself? No one really knows. Did they go with Constantine III to their deaths in Gaul? Did they remain as paid mercenary troops defending the north from continuing attacks by the Scot and Pictish border Revers (Raiders) that had been the bane of Roman Britain for so long?

Did some return to their tribal region on the borders of Wales and help form the backbone of what was to become the Powysian Kingdom? Did some, (as accepted, but not proven by Professor Morrison), migrate to the southwest peninsular of Britain and defend the local tribes and rich tin mining industry against invasion by the Irish? and as the ‘Morrison theory maintains that they eventually give their name to the region know known as Cornwall (Cornovii of the Wall)?

The end of Roman rule

After the end of Roman rule in Britain (circa 410) Viroconium Corniovorum, the civitas of the Cornovii tribe (now Wroxeter) witnessed a substantial rebuilding programme in timber, with a covered market place for local Romano-British craftsman. After this period of stability, owing to the relentless expansion of Anglian power in the British midlands, the Cornovii tribe fell under the rule of the Kingdom of Pengwern and was later consumed by the neighboring Anglo Saxon Mercia after 642.

The indigenous Cornovii people may have continued to reside in the area, perhaps referred to as ‘Wrekensaete’, under Mercian rule. Wrekensaete approximates in P-Celtic to ‘Wrekin-dwellers’, keeping their city of Viroconium going until the early 6th Century, a full two hundred years after Roman influence left Britain.

One thing is sure; the north of Britain continued to be raided by the Irish and the Picts long after Roman rule ceased. The tribes in prosperous central and southern Britain had been de-militarised for so long that they had to employ foreign mercenaries such as ex Romano-Angle and Romano-Saxon auxiliaries, who had also been part of the Roman army in Britain and on the continent of Europe. Unfortunately this was going to rebound on them as the British chiefs ran short of money to pay them and their numbers grew to a level that enabled them to take control. This was the so-called Anglo-Saxon invasion, or rather, take-over.

The frontier region of northern Britain was known by the Romans as Valehtia and had not been civilized. The Celts from Wales and certainly the Cornovii were of one race speaking the common language of P-Celtic, sometimes referred to as ‘Old Welsh’. The region was wild and relatively un-prosperous, with little employment compared to other parts of Britannia. The indigenous people were still militarised, some being trained by the Romans and were familiar with Roman discipline and military tactics.

Constant raiding from Ireland in the west and Scotland in the north resulted in the area of Britain between Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine wall (had led to the region being established by the Prefect Quintitius Clemens as ‘Valehtia’) being strategic in the defense of mainland Britannia.

The Romans established treaties with the indigenous Valehiia tribe, Damnonii tribe, as well as the Selgovai tribe in the east and the Gododdin tribe in the west, but had never fully subdued them. Certainly the Pictish tribes were never brought to heal and continued to raid, steal and pillage down as far as Chester and even London at times.

The Selgovai and the Gododdin were British and spoke P-Celtic (not Q-Celtic as the Irish, Scottish, Angles and Saxons did).

The P-Celtic language set them apart from the Scottish tribes. They were kinsmen (or Cumrie) of all Britain and probably had no problem joining forces with their brother P-Celts against the growing number of threatening interlopers.

Certainly the first and oldest threat was from the border raiders (Reavers) and the Irish who were an established threat well before the Romans, Angles, or Saxons. This meant that Valehtia in the north of Britain was most probably the first battleground for the new Celtic confederation.

Alistair Moffatt’s book ‘Arthur and the lost Kingdoms’ explores the possibility that the Arthurian legends were first established in the far northern territory of Valehtia. Skilled independent Romano-British cavalry was a development of the Sarmatian cavalry introduced to Britain by the Romans. They were just what was needed to turn the tide against less disciplined Q-Celtic speaking warriors who mainly fought on foot, perhaps with a few chariots. Especially interesting is the fact that the Sarmatian cavalry horses may have been considerably more intimidating, their horses being substantially larger or at least more powerful that the native British ponies. They may also have had substantially greater endurance.

The Sarmatians.

Up to the 5th century, Sarmatians cavalry units were stationed in Britain as part of the Roman army. Before long the Romans began to copy the Sarmatian style of lance cavalry, and by Hadrian’s reign (117 to 138) one of the main varieties of Roman horsemen were those who carry the ‘contus’ lance attacked in the manner of the Sarmatians.

Other innovations, thought to have been adopted by the Romans from the Sarmatians include the ‘Draco’ (or screaming dragon) standard and perhaps the spangenhelm which was a strap on combat helmet. It is quite possible that the ‘horned’ saddle was also influenced by Sarmatian tradition.

According to Littleton and Thomas (1978), the legend of King Arthur, the prototypical knight of high medieval literature, was directly inspired by the presence of Sarmatian type cavalry in Britain.

By making good use of the still existing Roman road network, decaying Roman forts and re-occupied hill forts, this well- organised and efficiently led confederation, stood a good chance of turning the tide, as the limited dark-age accounts seem to suggest.

Alistair Moffatt pieces together a strong case that the area known as Valehtia was the starting point of the only successful campaign to be mounted in Britain against these raiding or occupying interlopers.

By translating P and Q Celtic place names and throwing new light on some significant but rare accounts written some years later by Bede, Gildas and Geoffrey of Monmouth, Moffat hypothesises that  Arthur, or at least the Arthurian legend may have originated in the Tweed valley and the borders region of Valehtia. Roxborough castle, still evident by the later city of Kelso, mat well have been pivotal in this.

Following the adoption of Sarmatian cavalry by the Roman army, capable of operating on their own, an entirely new strategy developed in this frontier country, Cavalry horses had to be bred, trained, fed and protected and the Romans established new types of forts especially for their new cavalry.

The confederation built on this strategy and it is likely that Roxborough castle was their main base. Strategically positioned near the north/south Roman road called Dere Street, (built by the Romans to connect York to the northern frontier), Roxborough preceded Kelso as a well defended base. Its unique position on an easily defended piece of land between the rivers Tweed and Teviot, that merged at the junction pool, was the perfect spot. The castle mound at one end commanded views over many miles in each direction and overlooked the 200 yards of flat ground beneath this provided protected access to the land that offered space for secure housing, farming and grazing for horses.

Moffatt also suggests that, of the twelve battles recounted in the Arthurian legends, most could well have been fought in these border regions. He recounts that the unique use of cavalry against warriors who mainly fought on foot, is assisted by choosing the right ground on which to fight. Rivers and river crossings offer many advantages to fast moving, well-trained cavalry. By looking for such places, and unraveling P and Q Celtic place names and written accounts, Moffatt’s book ‘Arthur and the lost Kingdom’: has pinpointed several likely locations, of the twelve battles.

I note from Alistair Moffat’s book

The first battle was said to have been at the mouth of a river, known as Glen. A river of this name is in Northumberland and runs into the river Till, which runs into the river Tweed. Firmly at that time in the territory of the Goodwin nearby their stronghold fortress of Yeavering Bell, only 15 miles from Bamburgh to the east and a few miles from Roxbrough to the west. I have visited the spot and it is only one day’s ride from Roxbrough, the hill fort of Yeavering Bell offered safe overnight accommodation with protected grazing for the horses.”

The second, forth and fifth battles were beyond another river called Dubglas (Douglas), in the region of Linnuis. Dubglas is P-Celtic for ‘Dark River’. Moffat tells us that there is a river Douglas that flows into the River Clyde near Lanark, and even a village named Douglas and a castle Douglas guarding the only safe route from the north. It may be here, in the area between the Firth of Forth and the river Clyde, where Arthur halted the Pict and Scot raiders in this brilliant campaign.

The sixth battle was beyond the river known as Bassus. Little evidence exists to locate a river of this name at that time in northern or even middle Britain.”

The seventh battle was in the woods of Celidon, pronounced ‘Cat Coit Celidon’. Most likely in the Ettrick Forrest to the west of Selkirk in the heartland of the Selgovae tribe in the border region of Valehtia. Moffat questions the identity of the enemy who fought against Arthur in this battle. Rather than the Angles, he suggests that it must have been the Picts. He recounts a rare piece of Dark Age archaeology, which definitely locates the site of a battle of around 500, at Yarrow Kirk. Eight miles west of Selkirk, hard by the river of the same name, there is a stone bearing a remarkable description. Very weathered now and difficult to read, the Yarrow stone carries these words:

Hic memoria perpetua

In loco insignisimi principes Nudi Dumnogeni.

Hic iacent in tumulo duo filii Liberalis.

Which translates as:

This is the everlasting memorial

In this place lie the most famous princes Nudus and Dumnogenus.

In this tomb lie two sons of Liberalis.

Taken from RCAHMS, Selkirkshire (1957)

The area around the Yarrow Stone also remembers an ancient battle and to the south-west by a crook in the river, there is a marshy area long known as the ‘Dead Lake’. Tradition holds that was a mass grave for the rank and file warriors killed in the same action that claimed Nudus and Dumnogenus. In 1803 the local landowner decided to exploit the land and removed several barrows, under which were found hundreds of bones that disintegrated into white dust when exposed to the air. The local priest, a keen gardener, used the white dust to fertilise his garden by the church.

Near by, on the ridge overlooking the battlefield is an old cottage named ‘Warriors’ Rest’, with another stone marker.

At Yarrow Kirk one can see the Yarrow stone, along with other stone markers and ‘Warriors Rest’ cottage in a line on the hill overlooking the river. The terrain suits cavalry against foot soldiers. There is a flat flood plain that is mostly well drained, close to a river crossing, which is no longer used now. However, Arthur’s opponents were Picts who also had cavalry, albeit on ponies and some chariots, his victory may have been hard fought, this may have claimed the lives of two P-Celtic princes, who sound like Damnonians from Strathclyde along with other warriors buried in a place that people remembered.

Arthur’s battle of Celidon wood is the only battle in the Nennius that no one disputes. Just as in the epic poem ‘The Gododdin’, written in Edinburgh by Aneirin (ca. 600), Arthur has his earliest literary reference and put in his right place: as a leader of battles, a cavalry general who led the coalition army of the P-Celtic kingdoms of the Old North, the Cymry.”

The eighth battle was at the stronghold of Guinnion, in which Arthur carried a likeness of Holy Mary everlasting Virgin on his shield, and the heathens were turned in flight on that day and there was a great slaughter upon them because of the goodness of our Lord Jesus Christ and the goodness of the Holy Virgin Mary his mother.”

The ninth battle took place in the City of the Legion. Possibly York, the old headquarters of army command - north and where the Sixth Legion had been based for 200 years. Another possibility is Chester, where the Roman Amphitheater had been converted into a defensive stronghold, as had others on mainland Europe.”

The tenth battle took place on the banks of a river, which is called Tribruite.”

The eleventh battle was fought on a hill known as Agned, or in another version of the Nennius text, Agned is replaced by Bregion, which is P-Celtic for Bremenium (an important outpost fort on Dere street, north of Hadrian’s Wall, near the hamlet of Rochester on the A68 north of Otterburn). Impressive walls remain from the fort of Bremenium in what is now called High Rochester, a mile or so up a lane from the hamlet.”

One can visit the remains of the fort and walk the walls surrounding the area of the fort, now the village green and within the walls are several later dwellings that are still lived in by folk who enjoy a quiet yet beautiful place to live. Dere Street passed close by the east gate of the fort. There is an interesting walk down to the banks of the River Rede in the valley below. Arthur and his Gorgons could have remained hidden whilst waiting, in the protection of the old fort, for a Saxon raiding force to travel north up Dere street from their base at York.

The twelfth battle was at Baden Hill in which Arthur destroyed 960 men in a single charge on one day, and no one rode down as many as he did by himself.”

The most popular place to locate the Battle of Badon Hill is a mile or so north of Bath. Nennius, writing in the 800s, seems to say in his Historia Brittonum that Bath and Badon are the same place. The Romans called the city ‘Aquae Sulis’ (the waters of Sul) but it is possible that the post-Romans knew it as Badon.

The word ‘the’ in early British was indicated by the syllable ‘dd’, just as today Gwynedd is pronounced Gwyneth, so Badon may have been pronounced Bathon. It is difficult to know whether this sort of logic points to the truth, or is simply clutching at straws. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle mentions the capture of Bath in 577, under the name Baoanceaster. The city did lie in a desirable strategic position and would have been a likely target of the Saxons. The place held religious significance for the British as well. The battle is referred to as that of Badon Hill and it has been suggested that Mount Badon is one of the hills on the outskirts of Bath, with Little Solsbury Hill as the most popular suggestion.”

“And in all these battles Arthur emerged the victor”. (Nennius, Historia Britonium, in John Norris

The suggested battle sites as well as Roxborough castle can be visited. At the castle one can walk the perimeter of the protected grazing area for the cavalry horses, brood mares, and foals. Alistair Moffat could well be on to something as the Cornovii military connection (with both this area in the north, the Welsh border country and the southwest peninsular of Devon and Cornwall) all seems to fall into place.

Historians and enthusiasts will have to make up their own minds; few records exist from the so-called ‘dark ages’ or are likely to be found. However our understanding and insight into these times is getting better and better. Alistair Moffat’s book, ‘Arthur and the lost kingdoms’ and other books well-written and researched on the subject, offer fascinating insights and stimulate thought as to what happened in those times and how they may have potentially included some of the Cornovii tribe Romano Roman trained soldiers and connected with the Pendred family’s past.

For more: -

‘Arthur and the lost Kingdom’by Alistair Moffatt   

‘The Legend of Caractacus’ by Alex Byles.    Click here

‘On the Trail of King Arthur in Shropshire’

King Arthur - The True Story    by Graham Phillips & Martin Keatman

After Baden, the British had a period of about fifty years of peace. Many of the Saxons returned to the continent or at least stayed in the east and southeast of Britain.

Even though the Briton’s had the upper hand, they seem to have made no attempt to assimilate their halted opponents. This, in the Dark Ages, would have meant primarily a Christian mission. The British Church failed to launch one. It did evangelise the Picts and the Scots but left their third enemy, the Anglo-Saxons alone.

Britons, in general, were willing to let the teutonic pagans go to perdition. Pope Gregory sent St. Augustine from Rome to Kent to convert the Angles and the Saxons. He invited the Welsh clergy to join him in the mission and they refused. From then on  they were isolated from Rome.

During the 540s Gildas’s ‘Complaining Book’ wrote his ‘Liber Querulus de Excidio ct conquest Britanniae’. The book does reveal a considerable survival of Roman learning, but the mind that harbors it is old fashioned and backward looking, with an aroma of being out of date. Gildas declares that Mount Badon put an end to foreign but not civil wars. For a while, evidently, these wars were mainly local affrays, and the Britons on the whole flourished.

Gildas’s post-Badonic phase of prosperity and order supplies the basis for the legend of Arthur’s reign. However, when a generation grew up that had not been involved in the struggle, they took the peace for granted,

Britain’s moral and political cohesion began to dissolve. Rulers ignored the danger from outside and the social order succumbed to feuds, fragmentation and irresponsibility. The battle of Camlann may have been the first serious breach, though Gildas does not mention it. He does murkily disclose the first step in a well-recognisable process. Arthur’s Britain, unable to maintain a united front, broke up into three regions (sub-Britain) none of which saved more than a fraction of the full heritage.

Very gradually the term ‘British’ became less apt to the Celtic people than the term ‘Cymry’ meaning ‘fellow countrymen’ An ethnic bond, instead of a claim to the island of Britain. The Anglo Saxon word ‘Welsh’ meant foreigners.

A sort of Northern Wales stretched from the Pennines into Scotland, with its terminus just beyond Dunbarton. Whilst

the peninsula from Somerset to Lands End with its scattered islands was known as West Wales. Within these areas there were further divisions.

In the 540’s, when Gildas writes, a much longer extent of Britain exists.


According  to  some  modern  scholars,  the  history  of  these  Sarmatian  mercenaries  is  the  background  of  the  Arthurian  legend.  Arthur’s  warriors  are  described  as  knights.  Some  scholars  believe  that  this  description  is  due  only  to  the  fact  that  in  the  time  of  Geoffrey of  Monmouth,  every  hero  had  to  be  a  knight. But  this  view  is  rather  superficial  and  incorrect  because  there  is  clear  evidence  that  in  the  5th-6th  centuries, the  Romano-Britons  had  a  strong  heavy  cavalry,  which  probably  was  their  main  military  striking  force.  The  cataphract (heavy  armored)  Sarmatian  cavalrymen  were  in  fact  the  first  knights  of  the  European  history,  the  founders  of  European  Chivalry  according  to  the  most  popular  view.

The  Sarmatian  armies  included  among  other  types  of  combatants,  many  cataphract  cavalrymen  protected (like  their  horses)  with  nearly  full-length  metal  armor  (usually  scale  armor).  They  also  included  many  horse-archers  and  horse-spearmen  without  any  cuirass.  The  cataphracts  fought  mainly  as  lancers  with  a  long  heavy  spear  (like  the  subsequent  European  knights) as  their  main  offensive  weapon.  They  were  also  carrying  a  composite  bow,  a  long  sword  and  a  dagger.  The  familiar  to  us,  figure  of  the  Late  Medieval  European  knight  was  created  when  the  East  Germanics  (Goths,  Vandals,  Burgundians),  the  Suebi  Germanics  (Marcomanni,  Longobards/Lombards,  Quadi)  and  the  Romans  adopted  the  full  Sarmatian  cavalry  equipment.  The  decimation  of  the  Roman  army  by  the  Gotho-Sarmatian  cavalry  at  the  battle  of  Adrianople  in  378  AD,  established  the  dominance  of  the  knight  (cataphract)  during  the  Middle  Ages.  The  Normans  of  Northern  France  were  the  ones  who  shaped  the  final  form  of  chivalry.

At  this  point,  Ι  have  to make  a  remark  on  the  origins  of  the Normans. The  Normans  are usually  described  by  the  modern  historians as  the  descendants  of  Danish  Vikings , but  in  reality  they had  little  to  do  with  them. Danish  ancestry  was  in  fact  very  limited  among  the  Normans. They  were  mainly  the  descendants  of  the  Latinized  Gauls (specifically Aulerci  and  Belgae/Belgians) of  the  mouth of  the  Seine  who  adopted  a  Scandinavian  national  name (Normans,  meaning  the  People  of  the  North) mainly  for  propaganda  purposes  and  also  a  few  Scandinavian  elements  of  culture and  warfare.  The  primary  historical  donation  of  the  Danes  to  the  Normans  was  the  complete  independence  of  Normandy  from  France  and  the subsequent  “making”  of  the  Norman  national  identity.  Another  racial  component  of  the  Norman  people  were  the  Sarmatian  Alans,  as  we  shall  see  below.

Returning  to  the  Arthurian  Era,  in  Britain,  the  “knights”  of  Arthur  probably  consisted  of  Latinized  and  Celtisized  or Romano-British descendants  of  the  Sarmatian  mercenaries,  and  of  Celtic  cavalrymen  who  fought  in  the  Sarmatian  way.  The  Iazyges (Iazygae)  of  Bremetennacum  are  mentioned  in  the  early  5th  century  as  “the  army  of  the  Sarmatian  veterans“.  They  probably  survived  until  then  as  a  national  entity,  even  speaking  Latin  instead  of  their  native  Iranian  language.  Furthermore,  almost  all  of  the  Sarmatians  of  the  Roman  Empire  were  already  Latinized  linguistically.  It  is  also  certain  that  many  Alans  (the  most  populous  Sarmatian  tribe)  settled  in  Britain  as  mercenaries.  Some  modern  scholars  have  theorized  that  the  modern  British  personal  name  Alan  and  the  French  or  generally  Neo-Latin  Alain/Alen  come  from  the  Alans.  When  members  of  this  people  settled  en  masse  in  western  Europe  and  were  assimilated  by  the  natives,  they  turned  their  national  name  to  a  personal  name:  Alanus  in  Latin (modern  Alan, Allen, Alain, Alen).  Large  groups  of  Alans  settled  as  local  aristocracies  in  Northeastern  Spain,  Northern  Africa,  Northern  Gaul  (giving  their  name  also  to  the  region  of  Alencon),  etc.

In  the  10th  century, the  Normans  fully  adopted  cataphract  warfare  from the  local  cavalrymen  of  northern  France.  The  latter  had  adopted  it  from  the  Alan  nomads  who  settled  in  their  region  centuries  ago  and  they  were  partly  their  ancestors.  The  Normans  won  the  battle  of  Hastings  (1066)  using  in  reality  the  ancient  nomadic  tactic  of  feigned  retreat,  executed  by  the  left  wing  of  the  Norman  cavalry.  That  wing  was  manned  by  Breton  Celt  cavalryman (of  Northwestern  Gaul),  who  were  partly  of  Alanic  origin.  The  commander  of  the  left  wing  was  the  Count  of  Brittany,  Alan  the  Red (redhead),  a  name  possibly characteristic  of  his  origin.  Considering  the  Count’s  red  hair,  it  should  be  noted  that  some  Chinese  and  European  chronicles  describe  the  Alans  of  the  Central  Asian  Sarmatian  homelands,  as  having  largely  blond  or  red  hair.  But  the  Celts  are  also  frequently  red-haired  and  in  fact  they  have  the  largest  rate  of  redheads  in  Europe.

A  representation  of  a Draconarius, a Roman  standard-bearer of  the  Late  Empire, by  the  British Historical  Association Comitatus. He  holds the  banner  of  the  Dragon  which the  Roman  army  bequeathed  to  the  Romano–British  army  who  confronted  the  Anglo-Saxons. The  dragon  was  a  Saka/Sarmatian  symbol (and  banner), adopted  from  China  to  the  Roman  Empire.

The  standard  of  the  dragon  used  by  Arthur’s  army,  was  a  Saka/Sarmatian  symbol,  adopted  from  China  to  the  Roman  Empire.  The  Sarmatian  cavalrymen  brought  with  them  their  ‘national  banner’,  the  Dragon,  made  as  an  airbag  mounted  on  a  wooden  shaft.  The  standard  of  the  dragon   had  a  metal  head  and  red  fabric  body,  which  was  swelling  when  the  wind  was  entering  it  through  the  dragon’s  jaws  (which  happened  at  the  galloping  of  the  horse).  This  banner  and  the  arms  and  armor  of  the  Sarmatians  and  their  horses  are  strikingly  similar  to  most  of  the  respective  characteristics  of  Arthur  and  his  knights, as  they  are  described  in  the  Medieval  sources. The  Romano-Briton  army  had  adopted  them  from  the  Late  Roman  army,  which  however  had  adopted  them  from  the  Sarmatians.

The annomination or ‘last name’  Pendragon  of  Uther  (Arthur’s  father  from  whom  he  inherited  it)  is  rather  Romano-Sarmatian  as  well.  Pendragon  is  analyzed  in  Brythonic  Celtic  as  ‘ap-(en)-dragon’  meaning  the  “son  of  the  dragon“,  referring  to  the  Sarmatian  standard.  In  essence  it  means  “he  who  fights  under  the  banner  of  the  dragon“,  a  nostalgic  remembrance  of  the  Sarmatian  cavalry  which  formerly  protected  Britannia  from  the  invaders.  Generally  speaking,  the  symbol  of  the  Dragon  has  an  important  role  in  the  Arthurian  legends.

The  name  of  Lancelot,  an  important  knight  of  Arthur  coming  from  Gaul,  has  been  analyzed  as  “Alan-s-Lot”  which  means  “the  Alan  of  Lot”  (a  river  of  Gaul).  The  majority  of  Arthur’s  friends  and  enemies  (Merlin,  Morgana,  Bors,  Mordred  etc.)  have  personal  names  of  Celtic  etymology,  e.g.  the  name  Morgana  is  the  female  equivalent  of  Morgos  or  Morgol,  an  ancient  Celtic  wizard-god.  But  specifically  the  names  Percival (Parsifal)  and  Balin  (Arthur’s  companions)  have  satisfactory  Iranian  etymologies.  The  Sarmatian  language  was  Iranian.  According  to  another  theory, the  name  “Balin”  comes  from  a  phonetic  corruption  of  the  national  name  of  the  Alans (B-Alan). Furthermore,  Balin’s  brother  was  called  Balan.

The  proponents  of  the  Sarmatian  theory  on  the  origins  of  the  Arthur’s  Epic  Cycle,  attach  its  origins  in  a  distant  saga  of  the  Sarmatians  which  they  “transplanted”  in  Britain.  Judging  by  the  nomads  of  the  medieval  and  modern  times,  it  is  certain  that  the  Scythians,  Sarmatians,  Huns  and  other  nomadic  peoples  had  a  highly  developed  epic  tradition.  The  great  Western  European  epics (the  Epic  Cycles  of  Nibelungen,  Dietrich, Arthur  etc.)  were  based  on  the  lives  of  heroes  of  the  5th  century  AD,  the  exact  period  of  high  dispersion  of  Sarmatian  and  Hunno-Sarmatian  tribes  in  western  Europe.  From  the  same  nomadic  saga  source  probably  comes  the  German  epic  poem  Waltharious,  the  English  Parsifal  (Perceval, Parzival)  and  the  Anglo-French  Sir  Balin.  The  last  two  heroes  originally  had  their  own  epic  poems  which  later  were  integrated  together  with  their  heroes  into  the  Arthurian  Epic  Cycle.

The  same  applies  to  other  heroes  or  knights  of  the  same  Cycle,  who  are  originating  from  the  epics  of  other  peoples.  For  example,  Tristan,  a  well-known  knight  of  the  Round  Table,  comes  from  the  integration  of  the  Pictish  epic  of  Dunstan  in  the  Arthurian  Epic  Cycle.  Dunstan  was  an  historical  person,  a  hero  of  the  Caledonian  Picts,  who  managed  to  check  temporarily  the  Scots  who  had  invaded  his  country (coming  from  Ireland).  But  the  Scots  finally  conquered  Pictland,  thus  establishing  Scotland.  Dunstan  was  a  Northern  British  ‘equivalent’  of  Arthur.  It  should  be  emphasized  that  Parsifal  and  Balin  are  the  only  heroes  of  the  Arthurian  Cycle  whose  names  have  Iranian  etymology.  Additionally,  a  medieval  chronicle  mentions  that  Parsifal  was  Lancelot’s  son (and  therefore  brother  of  Galahad)  who  has  an  Alanic  name  as  we  have  seen.

The  aforementioned  hero  Waltharious  is  described  in  his  epic  as  being  armed  “in  the  way  of  the  Pannonians‘,  i.e.  bearing  two  swords.  The  oldest  populations  of  Pannonia  were  mixed  Northern  Illyrian,  Celtic  and  Iranian  (Cimmerian  and  Scythian).  During  the  Early  Medieval  Great  Migration  of  Peoples,  the  country  had  a  Sarmatian  ethnic  majority.  We  have  seen  that  Pannonia  was  the  homeland  of  the  Iazyges  of  Britain.  It  is  probable  that  the  arming  “in  the  way  of  the  Pannonians’, with  two  swords,  was  a  typical  Sarmatian  habit.  Indeed,  archaeologists  are  discovering  in  the  Sarmatian  tombs,  gold  plates  almost  always  in  pairs,  which  come  from  sword-sheaths.  This  evidence  confirms  that  the  Sarmatian  warrior  carried  two  swords.  The  important  thing  is  that  Parsifal  and  Sir  Balin  are  described  as  also  bearing  two  swords  each.  After  Balin’s death,  one  of  his  swords  is  nailed  to  a  marble  or  a  rock  by  Merlin.  We  shall  see  that  the  medieval  references  of  swords  that  are  nailed  to  earth  or  rock, are  directly  related  to  the  Sarmatian  religion.



Additionally,  Parsifal  and  Balin  are  heroes  associated  with  the  search  of  the  Holy  Grail.  The  presence  of  the  Holy  Grail  Legend  in  the  Arthurian  Cycle,  is  usually  considered  to  be  related  to  the  sacred  pots  and  sacred  boilers  and  craters  of  the  ancient  Celtic  religion.  This  scenario  is  very  likely.  Nevertheless, the Sakas (ancestors  of  the  Sarmatians) and their  Scythian  brethren,  as  evidenced  by  their  tombs,  used  special  ceremonial  craters  and  boilers  to  burn  opium  on  hot  stones  at  their  rites  and  inhale  the  smoke  “screaming  of  joy”  as  the  Greek  Herodotus  describes  in  his  History.

These  Iranian-Sarmatian  elements  of  the  figures  of  Parsifal  and  Balin  enhances  the  likelihood  of  the  Sarmatian  origin  of  their  ‘personal’  Epics,  as  well  as  the  same  origin  of  the  general  Legend  of  Arthur  and  his  Knights  of  the  Round  Table.  The  Hungarian  epic  Anna  Molnar  and  the  Turkish  Targhyn  have  certainly  the  same  nomadic  origins.  The  name  of  the  hero  Targhyn  has  the  same  etymology  as  the  aforementioned  “Pendragon”  of  the  Arthurian  Cycle.

Arthur’s  legend  mentions  the  existence  of  two  “magical  swords”.  The  one  was  the  sword  of  Uther,  Arthur’s  father,  which  was  nailed  to  a  rock.  Arthur  was  proclaimed  king  when  he  dragged  it  off  the  cliff,  while  the  other  candidates  for  the  throne  had  failed.  It  is  characteristic  that  the  Sarmatians  worshiped  their  main  deity  in  the  form  of  a  sword  nailed  to  earth  or  rock.  The  second  “magic  sword”  of  the legend  is  the  famous  Excalibur,  which  Arthur  received  from  the  “Lady  of  the  Lake”.

The  episode  of  Excalibur  is  almost  identical  to  the  reports  of  ‘magic  swords’ in  the  saga of  Batradz, a  hero  of  the  Ossetians  of  the  Caucasus,  and  also  in  the  episode  of  Krabat’s  death  which  is  included  in  a  popular  history  of  the  modern  Sorbs  of  Eastern  Germany.  The  modern  Ossetians  are  the  last  surviving  Sarmatians,  being  descendants  of  Alans.  They  are  divided  among  the  Russian  Federation  and  Georgia  (Autonomous  Republics  of  Northern  and  Southern  Ossetia  respectively). The  Sorbs,  a  people  of  a  few  tens  of  thousands  which  is  surrounded  by  millions  of  Germans,  are  Slavs  but  they  bear  a  Sarmatian  tribal  name.  The  same  applies  to  the  Serbs  of  Serbia  and  other  former  Yugoslavian  republics,  brethren  of  the  Sorbs  of  Germany. The  Serbs/Sorbs  and  the  Chrovates  (Croats)  were  originally  Sarmatian  tribes  which  became  the  leaders  of  many  hitherto  unorganized  Slavs,  whom  they  enrolled  in  their  tribal  ‘federations’ (unions).  Their  population  were  much  less  than  the  population  of  their  Slavic  ‘partners’, therefore  they  were  Slavicized  and  formed  the  “State  ancestors”  of  the  modern  Serbs  and  Croats.  The  northern  branch  of  the  Sarmatian  Serbs/Sorbs  lived  in  the  Slavic  Lusatia  (in  modern  East  Germany),  leading  their  Slavic  vassals.  The  Germans  conquered (reconquered  in  reality  this  ancestral  Germanic/Teutonic  land)  and  Germanized  the  Sorbian  territory  during  the  Late  Middle  Ages,  therefore  only  a  few  tens  of  thousands  of  Sorbs  are  left  in the  21th  century  in  this  “Northern  Serbia”. The  Sorbs  retained  the  epic  poems  of  their  old  Sarmatian  aristocracy,  among  them  the  saga  of  Krabat’s  death.

According  to  Geoffrey,  Arthur  halted  the  Anglo-Saxon  invasion.  Nennius  mentions  that  he  made  it  by  giving  twelve  victorious  battles  against  them.  Archaeology  confirms  the  repel  of  the  barbarians  who  did  not  conquer  any  new  Briton  territories  for  more  than  50  years.  German  archaeologists  also  found  that  a  number  of  disappointed  Anglo-Saxons  returned  to  their  homelands  where  they  re-founded  their  villages.  However,  the  battles  that  Arthur  gave,  are  often  identified  by  scholars  in  locations  covering  almost  the  entire  Great  Britain.  Some  researchers  question  the  validity  of  Nennius’  reference,  because  they  believe  that  Arthur  could  not  move  his  army  as  rapidly  as  was  necessary  in  such  large  distances.  Those  researchers  are  probably  wrong.  It  is  almost  certain  that  the  core  of  the  army  consisted  of  cavalrymen  and  horsemen.  The  Sarmato-British  cavalry  of  the  Arthurian  period  was  not  as  heavily  armored  as  the  primeval  Sarmatian  because  its  horses  were  unarmored.  There  were  no  cataphracts  in  that  period, only  heavy  cavalry.  But  the  Sarmato-Briton  cavalry  could  cover  large distances  in  high  speed  in  order  to  reach  any  place  of  the  former  Britannia  where  the  Germanic,  Irish  or  Pict  raiders  appeared   suddenly,  and  fight  them.  Moreover,  Arthur  or  the  Duke  or  king  that  he  represents,  could  move  quickly  his  infantry  as  well,  taking  advantage  of  the  excellent  Roman  roads  of  Britain.  Although  the  Roman  administration  had  left  since  the  early  5th  cent.,  the  roads  remained  in  a  good  condition  and  they  consisted  an  important  military  advantage  of  the  Britons  against  their  enemies,  because  the  natives  knew  very  well  these  roads.  They  could  also  ambush  the  invaders. After  all,  the  Romans  had  constructed  those  roads  mainly  for  military  use.


Information to be aded on not maintaining the breed of cavalry horses and battle trained soldiers. By 550 the Anglo-Saxons were on the move again and with no cohesive British force the Anglo-Saxons eventually took control of Britain, creating England.