King Arthur, the legendary ruler who supposedly led the Knights of the Round Table, may have actually been Scottish, a historian has claimed.
The king is generally thought to have been Cornish, or Welsh, but new research on a Welsh manuscript has suggested that Arthur may have hailed from much further north – Aberdeenshire, to be precise.
Expert Damian Bullen analysed a Trioedd Ynys Prydein (Triads Of The Island Of Britain) manuscript and found a sentence suggesting that Arthur ruled in Rhynie, on the A97 in Aberdeenshire.
The Welsh manuscript says: “Arthur the chief lord in Penrhionyd in the north, and Cyndeyrn Garthwys the chief bishop, and Gurthmwl Guledic the chief elder.”
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Bullen – an expert in historical languages – says the Penrhionyd referred to is actually Rhynie in Aberdeenshire, where he claims Arthur spent seven years as king of the Picts, from 539-526.
Bullen said: “Rhynie is simply littered with Pictish remains, with recent archaeology showing how the site was a significant elite-level Pictish settlement in the Arthurian period.
“In the Welsh language, ‘Pen’ means summit or peak, which renders Penrhionyd as meaning ‘Peak of Rhionyd’.
“Above Rhynie towers the far-seen Tap o’ Noth, Scotland’s second highest hillfort, complete with impressive triple-ringed defence-works.
“It is well worth a trip to Rhynie, a remarkably compact and pretty village whose residents go about their business quite unaware they are breathing the same pure and mountain air as Arthur did during his seven-year stint as King of the Picts.”
Bullen also cites another historical document describing Arthur as "Dux Pictorum" – leader of the Picts.
He states: “In the early 12th century, a French historian called Lambert of Saint-Omer wrote ‘Arthur, Dux Pictorum, ruling realms of the interior of Britain, resolute in his strength, a very fierce warrior, seeing that England was being assaulted from all sides, and that property was being stolen away, and many people taken hostage and redeemed, and expelled from their inherited lands, attacks the Saxons in a ferocious onslaught along with the kings of Britain, and rushing upon them, fought valiantly, coming forward as leader in 12 battles.”
Bullen published the paper, which examines the clues for Arthur’s existence in the names of places across Britain, on the website Academia.
Another historical author, Niall Robertson, last month claimed King Arthur was Scottish.
Writing in The National he said: “The Picts had a place in the legends of King Arthur.
“One of Arthur’s knights was called Tristan, which is derived from the Pictish name, Drust. Another knight was called Gareth, the earl of Orkney.
“King Lot, the father of Mordred, was a king of the Picts.
“Arthur’s closest companion in Welsh folk tales is called Cai, which may be derived from the Pictish name, Cailtram."
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