Talk:Lucius Artorius Castus

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Comment about first mention of Artorius as Arthur[edit]

Kemp was not the first person, who suggested that Artorius was Arthur - the first Latin chronicle to manetion the name "Arthur" is The History of the Brions (Historia Brittonum)which is believed to have been compiled about 800 by a Welshman named Nennius. This work was written in Latin, but many scholars feel that Nennius based his details about the Twelve Battles of Arthur upon native Welsh sources. Artorius is a Roman gens name, though it might also be Celtic in origin, coming from artos viros (bear man. Historically he was perhaps a fifth -or sixth-century chieftain or general, though he is not mentioned by any contemporary historian. One argument says that he is to be identified with the Celtic king Riothamus, but legend would seem to suggest that he is, rather, a composite figure, combining the attributes and achievements of more than one person. However, the first complete, coherent narrative of the life of King Arthur appears in the fanciful eleventh-century HISTORIA REGUM BRITANNIAE (History of the Kings of Britain). This work combined the works of Nennius and Welsh folklore to give the Arthurian legends known today, along with many of the major characters and events.

sources: A Companion to Arthurian & Celtic Myths & Legends by Mike Dixon-Kennedy, Sutton Publishing Limited, 2004 - The Romance of Arthur -an anthology of medieval texts in translation, Garland Publishing, Inc. New York & London 1994 by James J. Wilhelm (ed.) The Northon Anthology -English Literatur - 7th. ed. W.W.Northon Company, 2001

"Not mentioned by any contemporary historian"[edit]

This is disingenuous. Arthur wasn't mentioned by contemporary historians because there weren't any. Gildas is the only British writer of the period whose work survived, and he was not a chronicler but a polemicist, who mentions hardly any individuals by name.

Added new primary sources (the LAC inscriptions), removed hypothetical biographic entries[edit]

The article had too much in it that was derived from the overly inventive biographical sketch presented by Linda Malcor in her Heroic Age articles. I feel it is best to stick closely to the inscriptions themselves and not delve too much into hypothetical reconstructions of the man's life....otherwise, we are writing fantasy and not history. Cagwinn (talk) 03:12, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Need to post accurate information[edit]

Removed etymological speculation on the names Artorius and Arthur because they were not factual Cagwinn (talk) 03:15, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Cagwinn, you have made great improvements to the article, thanks for all the work. As you suggest, this could profitably be used to rework the relevant section of the Historical_basis_for_King_Arthur. I do suggest that Linda Malcor has made enough of a splash in the limited world of Arthurian studies to justify a small section on the Arthurian interpretation here. If I can dig out her book and find the time I might give it a try.Richard Keatinge (talk) 07:21, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Just be careful with how you present her views on the subject - it is my opinion that her work is error-ridden and sloppy (when I follow up on her sources I often find that she has either misquoted or misrepresented what they actually say) and that her biography of Artorius is primarily a work of fiction (she has a way of asserting as fact - without qualification - things that are neither mentioned nor even implied in the inscriptions). Cagwinn (talk) 17:10, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

I'll just add my voice here; this is obviously a big improvement over the previous version, checking the diffs, well done :-) I'm adding it to my watchlist so I can keep an eye on it. A couple of points which jump out at me are as follows. First, Linda Malcor's work does need fuller reference in the last section if nowhere else, if only because it has had (IIRC) good academic reviews as well as bad and has had a degree of influence: most of those who come to this page will probably be familiar with it and so it needs to be here (one can, of course, legitimately cite scholarly disagreement with her conclusions, Arthurian and otherwise), Second, there are a couple of places where we may need to be careful to avoid accusations of 'original research' by editors, bearing in mind the stated aims and policies of wiki. So, for example: "It should be noted that the regional names Armoricani or Armorici are not attested in any other Latin inscriptions, whereas the country Armenia and derivatives such as the ethnic name Armenii and personal name Armeniacus are attested in numerous Latin inscriptions." This has no reference but I feel it probably needs one, otherwise it is simply the editor's assertion, which is potentially problematical: is there a page of database results or similar that could be used in lieu of a published discussion which makes this point? Would that count, wiki-policy-experts?? In any case, good work Cagwinn :-) Hrothgar cyning (talk) 08:41, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
My comments on the fact that Armorici/Armoricani are not attested on any other inscription and that there are numerous attestations for "Armenian" names in Latin inscriptions are based on my own searches of the Clauss-Slaby (EDCS) and Heidelberg databases; I am certain that these facts have been mentioned in print, but I will need to hunt down the exact references. Should I just link to the EDCS in the meantime?Cagwinn (talk) 01:16, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
For me, a link to the database (or better, a results page/pages, if possible?) would work for the present as it is merely a factual matter, Of course, IMHO you ought to probably write your objections to the Malcor etc interpretation up for a journal so that they can be easily cited ;-P Cheers, Hrothgar cyning (talk) 12:48, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
Chris, links to the databases sound good anyway. Do they offer a search URL that we can click on (and you can give as a ref) which makes it immediately clear that there are lots of Armenians and no Armoricans?Richard Keatinge (talk) 07:06, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
The EDCS can be searched here: - to search for any inscriptions mentioning either Armorici or Armoricani, simply type "armoric" in the "Suchtext 1" field and hit return; for inscriptions mentioning "Armenian" names, enter " armeni" (with a space before the initial "a" so that you only search for words beginning in "A-" and filter our words such as Parmenion, etc. The Heidelberg database, which is linked to the EDCS by the way, is located here: - I am not certain of the proper way to cite search results from databases such as these - they don't generate results pages that you can hotlink to.


Some great work here, but this really needs a reference - of course, if it was done by an editor, we have a problem. Dougweller (talk) 08:15, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

My original translation was my own, which I checked against several others (including Birley's and Malcor's). I have replaced it with Birley's, as it is one of the most recent and more accurate than some others.Cagwinn (talk) 17:05, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Ok, thanks. Sorry to be a pain, but... Dougweller (talk) 14:20, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

I visited the site in Podstrana last summer, and I didn't see any sign after the "M" of "ARM", but also in the photos of the good work of Christopher Gwinn I can't see any sign...To put an "E" pasted to the "M" is certainly wrong. there was surely a gap with the following letter. It could be "E" or "O". We have several examples of troops from Britannia fighting in Gaul and in Armorica (Clodius Albinus, Magnus Maximus, Constantinus III, and others), any other examples of troops from Britannia fighting in Armenia. (Antrinc) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:07, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

The fact remains that the first modern scholar to document the stone, F. Carrara, transcribed the word with a ligatured -ME-; we may never know for sure if Carrara's reading was correct (unless another, more complete inscription is found making mention of the expedition), but the stone surely has been moved around a bit since the mid-19th century and has been exposed to the elements, so it's very possible that the stone has suffered some damage since Carrara first examined it. The pictures that I have seen (and I am very jealous that you have seen the stone in person) make it look as if the stone is broken along the right-hand stroke of the M, precisely where the ligatured E would have fallen; I don't see any extra space here after the M, but obviously I have not seen the stone from all angles.Cagwinn (talk) 01:02, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
To address another point mentioned above, the Ala I Britannica was sent to Cappadocia in 114 AD to take part in the Parthian war of 114-116. An inscription mentioning one of the unit's soldiers was discovered at Nicopolis (now Piurk) in Amrnenia. Castus' inscription does not say that troops were pulled from Britain for his expedition - only that he lead legiones....Britanicimia, which may be a stone cutters error for Britan(n)ici(a)nia (or maybe the form is correct and it is just some otherwise unattested name?), if the latter, we may note the form is very similar to that of the ala I Flavia Britannica/Britanniciana (a unit that was once stationed - before Castus' time - in Britain [for which they got their name], but stationed in central Europe for most of the 2nd-3rd centuries AD) - the same unit that was sent to Cappadocia in 114 - and a detachment was later sent to the East again in 252, to fight in Trebonianus Gallus' Persian war. During this same time period, the Res Gestae of Shapur mentions a Roman Caesar committing injustice in Armenia.Cagwinn (talk) 02:52, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for your intersting and precise answer. If you look the photo, as I could see on the original, when the vertical line of M go down, there is an evident gap, in the space where you put the upper line of hypotetical E. It could be E, but not ligatured.About the Ala I Flavia Britannica, I note that it was stationed in Pannonia, closer to the east part of the empire. But it was one Ala, maybe 1000 cavalrymen; on the Artorius' inscription we read that he was dux of two or three legions, or of legions and alae: more or less 11,000 or 17,000 men. the fact that he was Praefectus in Britannia just before to be dux...Britani..rum suggests that his army came from Britannia. And to move such an army on the opposite side of the empire was surely very dangerous for the security of Britannia.Not so dangerous to move troops on the other shore of the Channel, where we have evidences of the so-called "bellum desertorum" in the time of Commodus (relatiive of gens Artoria, being descendant from Marcus Artorius Geminus, through his grand-grandson Barea Sura and his daughter Marcia Furnilla, mother of Ulpius Traianus). Sorry if I am for the moment uncapable to log me in, my name is Antonio Trinchese from Rome —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:08, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
I don't see any gap to the right of the M - all that I see is the rounded edge where the stone has been broken. A dux legionum was in command of combined vexillations drawn from the legions of a province (see "Roman officers and frontiers", by David John Breeze, Brian Dobson, Franz Steiner Verlag, 1993, p. 180), so I don't think that he commanded nearly the number of troops that you suggest. Just because he was in Britain immediately before becoming dux, does not mean that these troops were necessarily drawn from Britain (though, I will admit that they could have been). Has it been demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that Commodus was related to the Artorius gens? It seems to me that this might be speculative, but I am happy to be corrected. Anyway, the if it is true, the connection seems rather distant and there is no way to prove that LAC's family was closely related to that of Marcus Artorius Geminus (if at all!).Cagwinn (talk) 16:58, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

Actually I saw the plaster casts of the inscription: the original is now in the Museum of Zagreb to be studied. epigraphists and scientists could give a more sure interpretation and datation. About relation of Commodus with gens Artoria, see "Sepulcrum Marci Artori" by Silvestrini, Francesca, Roma 1987. There is a genealogy from Marcus Artorius Geminus (son of Marcus Artorius Asclepiades, physician of Augustus) to the two daughters of Barea Sura, Marcia and Marcia Furnilla, one wife of Titus and the other mother of Traianus, based on epigraphic evidences. And from the sister of Traianus, Marciana, if I'm not wrong, we go to Aurelius and Commodus. The tomb of Artorius Geminus, with the inscriptions, is in the National Museum of Rome, but it's called "Tomba dei Platorini", for the first attribution to Sulpicius Platorinus, probably a relative of Geminus. I don't know if LAC was a direct descendant of MAG, but he's one of the more prominent figure bearing that nomen in the age of the empire, after Caius Artorius Bassus, Marcus Artorius Priscus Vicasius Sabidianus, Marcus Artorius Rufus and before Lucius Artorius Pius Maximus. I saw on the tomb of Geminus the same symbols on the tomb of Castus, but it is not a prove that is the same family, they were of common use. Near the inscription of Castus, there is another inscription, of a certain Cania Ursina. The island in front of the tomb, Braç in croatian or Brazza in italian, was called in the roman time Brattia or Brettia, an alternative name used also for Britannia; what a coincidence! Why do you think that the third inscription about LAC is doubtful? It was read in Rome between XVIII and XIX century, and moved to the Louvre, probably in the napoleonic age. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:04, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

Photographs of the inscription are supposed to have been published in Medini, Julian, "Provincija Liburnija" (Diadora, v. 9, 1980, pp. 363-436). X. Loriot, who is a proponent of the *Armenios reading (with ligatured ME) has seen these photographs and did not remark on there being any space to the right of the M (only that there was no longer any trace of Carrara's ligatured E). Thank you for the information on Commodus - it still remains for us to prove, however, that LAC's family was of the same branch of Artorii (impossible to say, barring the discovery of new inscriptions) and that LAC lived during the reign of Commodus (I still prefer a 3rd century date for LAC). I hope that the results of the new examination of the inscription will be published soon. I know that Dr. Loriot is planning on studying it again, as well. As far as the third inscription is concerned, because there is seemingly no other information on it, I can't say for certain if we have here our LAC, or some other man of the same name.Cagwinn (talk) 22:53, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

Too much[edit]

In my view there's too much original research and assertion here, and the article needs to be heavily abbreviated. In addition, I would suggest that the posited link between LAC and Arthur is far too remote to be given as much air time as this article does and should be more qualified in the text. I'd love to give some of my own hypotheses, but I will shut up. Deipnosophista (talk) 19:38, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

What specific sections contain original research? The LAC-Arthur comparison chart is added because there is a great deal of interest in this among students of Arthurian legend - now, I happen to think that the connection is spurious, but it is a matter of some discussion among scholars these days and deserves to be dealt with here. Cagwinn (talk) 01:56, 4 April 2012 (UTC)