Downton and Cerdic 519 AD
Birthplace of King Arthur's Kingdom of Wessex and England
by Michael Alwyn Slade
Copyright 2010 ©
Born around 430 AD. Llyr Merini is Celtic for Wizard of the Seas.
So much can be unravelled by the simple method of our Celtic ancestors who gave people relevant memorable nicknames.
Llyr is seen as a trader post Roman yet of Romano Brit stock. His father is Cunedd Duke of Gloucester and he grows up in the Borders. The borderlands of Wales of his time were a fluid land of floating boundaries and territories. At a time when it could be more productive raiding your neighbour than working hard for yourself and then being raided by him. The Romans introduced discipline and were effective in its day to day administration. They needed to ensure that they were providing provisions and metals and munitions to support the empire and to keep all the trade links and a degree of peace to provide secure crops of grain and production of iron copper tin and silver.
Llyr inherited the skills if not the backing of Empire. His father Cunedd would have been instrumental in his training in his instruction and introduction to warfare and justice that he and his relatives would be instrumental in keeping order. The raids of Irish and Welsh into their hinterland would need experience and warrior skills. Trade routes across Wales and to Ireland were controlled and contributed to taxes.
Llyr Merinis' brother was an Ambrosius Aurielanus who went on to follow his father at Gloucester and indeed had the implicit backing of the surviving Roman Empire now esconced to France but still a major important importer of all goods from Britain. AA became the senior Romano Brit by sheer force of character and forging stronger alliances across the country. Llyr Merini went on to secure the trade and export links to Ireland and beyond to the continent from the West hence the Wizard of the Seas. Being a successful sailor was no mean feat and enabled a leader to operate fleets to all manner of centres with the entrepreneurs of the time and with merchant adventurers ruling the day.
The day came when family involvement was needed in the South. Some senior officials would be weakened by local battles, family feuds and seaborne raiders. Saxons, normally employed as mercenaries for the Brits were not averse to rising up against their employers and any weakening of the respected trade routes would have effects further up the chain. Llyr Merini was to evolve as probably the most important person in the chain with his experience in handling men and fleets along and all across the South coast and the continent. Vortigern mostly based from Canterbury was the Dux Bellorum of this time pulling all the British strings together.
Eventually Llyr Merini is seen to be in charge of a local Kingdom based at Winchester inland from Ham Ton (Southampton), Twyn Ham, Pool and with influence from Caent down to Cornaille where he would have close friendships with family and friends alike. This would involve him in organising armies in support of friends and indeed of maintaining a militia that enabled him and his nobles to traverse his kingdom safely. Taxes would need to be collected, discipline and justice seen to be fair for a kingdom to thrive. Most important borders and shores would have to be defended from incursion.
The name Merini of the Seas will be noted for a certain key character from legend of the period, one Merlin - a wizard. Merlin would indeed have been a man of great quality even mystery in his time. His skills would have been widespread even "legendary". His wife appears to be Gwen from his homeland but wives could well be duplicated in these days of military friction. Sons were needed in number to provide the key heirs the soldiery and kingships for the future. Daughters were needed for inter-marriage with adjacent kingdoms.
Llyr Merini is documented as having travelled to Tin tagel in Cornaille on a visit to cement relations with another brother the Duke of Cornwall. It resulted at a later date in his return and a young baby boy is entrusted to his care. It seems that the mother, Igraine, was a tremendous beauty and seems that they leave with her son into the care of Llyr Merini! Llyr Merini diplomatically placed her with one of his key knights Ector a cousin originally from France who politically needed pastures new. Ector was possibly the royal aeldor at Downton a centre of Llyr Merini's inland operations co-ordinating a dozen or more local strongholds and linking with as many adjacent strongholds of hopefully friendly alliance.
It was obviously convenient for the young boy not to be seen daily at nearby Winchester and the boy grew up as if a brother to Ectors boys Kay and Aelwyn. All were to be professionally groomed for future royal duties. The boy was known as Cerdic. In later years he was to attract a series of Celtic nicknames and Romano British titles as was prevalent in those times. It seems that in later times scribes found it difficult to separate one from another not surprising when one special man could attract more than a dozen names from the far frontiers of France across Wales even to Ireland and as far as Northumbria and Scotland. A key warrior would be in demand across a country even countries where his success would be the stuff of history and legend, even in his own time. His name would go before him and his very presence would attract forces to his side. Success breeds success.
Llyr Merini would need to provide a succession of leaders and his key youngsters would be trained in as many skills as they could absorb. Language, Warriorship. Weapons handling, Diplomacy Justice even Religion. The more they absorbed the greater potential leader they of course could become. Most was taught hands on, the youngsters travelling with their mentors wherever they went. Many a young teenager was soon the equivalent of an experienced man. All aspects of society were best covered whenever needed by any a ruling court with one of their own. This concept was taught right through the Roman occupation and was a key representation of the success of the Roman Empire. Llyr Merini would been one of the few families that would live in the Roman cities and villas - they were from Romano British stock. The cities though were crumbling through disuse and local Motte and Bailey castles were being rebuilt and forming the centre of communities.
One aspect of the Roman Empire that was improved upon was the Celtic occupation with respecting the family needs to provide the right man for the right job. No good an old man fighting a new threat. Better a majority vote amongst key family around the region co-operating to agree a key man to lead them in times of threat. A sailor for the sea threat, A diplomat for neighbours incursions. Thus was the round table incorporated as the physical interpretation of the best interests and actions of the group as a whole. The Round Table would have seats for as many as needed for a threat. A local threat may involve no more than say 10 aeldors whereas a serious cross country altercation would attract the immediate interest of 30 or more aeldors. Whatever the threat of the moment it was found that this was the more successful way to progress their futures.
Llyr Merini, a natural leader would have been seen as a natural choice for most actions except the smaller local frictions better conducted by a local leader. Llyr Merini would be responsible for supporting similar operations across the country much of the time co-ordinated by Ambrosius Aureleanus. AA was however called to a major rebellion in France and in taking with him a large contingent of Celtic royals and a mostly Saxon mercenary force he left the mood in Britain a trifle leaderless and this deteriorated gently but surely over several years as he tried to juggle and influence the two empires.
Llyr Merini's Celtic name was possibly Elesa.
Llyr Merini's wife was Igraine
Llyr Merini's son was Cerdic, Arthur.
Llyr Merini died around 480AD
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