Gildas the Wise

One the last things I researched before I started my Phantammeron novels was a series of very old Latin texts. These old manuscripts were written in Britain right after the Romans left the island around 410 AD.

It’s a long story, but basically Britain had fallen into chaos after the last Roman Consuls and legions left Britain. Infighting between small lords in kings took over, such that a single corrupt king ruled large parts of what is now southern and middle England. His name was Vortigern, though that name is likely a generic name for ‘tyrant’.

It’s Vortigern who brought over the Saxons that would later invade and destroy the old Celtic Britain – the people that were my ancestors that survived in parts of Wales and Scotland after the 6th century when the Roman’s left.

Why have I been reading strange ancient history from jolly old England? Well, a large part of my fascination with the post-Roman collapse is the fact the story of a supposed King Arthur comes from that period.

Its theorized now that if there was a Battlefield Arthur, or historical King, that if there were any record of him it would have appeared around 490-510 AD, which is when his supposed final siege of Mt Badon occurred, where he basically gathered up all the remaining Celts and Brits and defeated the Saxons, the Germanic-European invaders that the former Vertigern had brought over as mercenaries to defeat his rivals in England.

It was Vortigern that let loose these foreigners by giving them land rights in Kent. That would later form the bulwark of the Anglo-Saxon armies that would eventually defeat the Britons by 600 AD, pushing them back into Wales, and whose kings and genetic lineage would form the England we know today. And this is where Gildas comes in.

Gildas was just a monk who wrote what’s called the ‘De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae’, or the RUIN OF BRITAIN. He set down this strange record of the state of Britain in 544 AD following the defeat of the Saxons when a period of peace in Britain occurred following a long period of war with the invaders. What is amazing about his tale is it not only describes a King Arthur-like hero who defeated the invading armies and kept the Saxons at bay by 500 AD, but it describes an odd 50 year declining Britain since that great victor at ‘Badon’. Goldas claimed all the previous gains from this victorious age were destroyed by the current generations in power by 544 – the date the Excidio was written.

If this hero that Gildas describes was our historical Arthur, then it was Arthur’s children and grandchildren that destroyed what their noble father had built through their own immorality and corruption. And that is what Gildas was warning us about…beware the acts of evil and immoral leaders!

Strangely, what he describes is America today in 2020. It would also fit exactly a post-Kennedy Camelot era in 1963, followed by 3 generations that destroyed our ‘grandfather’s country’, just as Gildas described the cultural and political leadership in the Britain of his age.

He describes three war lords in Briton and their sins – their lecherous lives, murderous ways, conniving struggles for power and influence – and how they brought their kids into their political dark power struggles. It sounds so much like America today and the darkness of our current America, one where all the money scandals, foreign influence, and power struggles going on in our sad country right now have followed a slow decline of America since the 1960’s when a drug addicted, violent history took over this country.

How history repeats itself…..

My point in reading Gildas is to show that history repeats the temptations of Mankind. His time is our time. America too, like old Britain before it, has been destroyed by greedy, immoral men and women. But this country was also once a moral, forward-looking kind, generous society of people. In our case, 50 years ago, we had such a country. Young people born after 1980 have no idea what came before, its beauty and ugliness. And so they are doomed to repeat the same mistakes.

Like Gildas, we also stand perplexed by the heroics of our grandparents, yet the baffling destruction and dismantling of our government and our institutions by immoral leaders today. Gildas describes how in 3 generations the heroic efforts of the previous generations to save and protect their country was halted by evil leaders descended from those men since that Camelot age. And we too are witnessing same story unfold.

What is truly perplexing is what came after Gildas. What he predicted would happen, did happen the… the complete burning and obliteration in 570 of most of England by the invaders. So what Gildas describes in the immoral generations he witnessed set up his Celtic country to be destroyed a mere 30 years later.

Which leads me to questions about our present time is this: Are we too in decline, dismantling all that is left that is good in this country? In our government? Is America and our government being destroyed in the same way by tyrants and the current group in power? Many global leaders today certainly fit such a scenario. We shall see. If so, maybe America will be invaded and destroyed 30 years from now through our own evil, greed, and immorality. l certainly hope that is not the case.

But my real question is this: Will we have our own Gildas or chronicler to share with a future historian our own mistakes that led to our own demise, if what history suggests becomes our fate?

– the Author

Created May 24, 2018, 10:18 PM

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