In Celtic mythology, Avalon is associated with the afterlife and was even believed to exist outside normal time. Sources claim the island was also the home of the Celtic goddess, Morgan LE Fay.
Pilgrims used to follow the priests and priestesses of the pagan, or old Celtic, religions in a procession up the Tor. According to scholars, a large, male skeleton was found in the coffin, allegedly with a head wound.
The monks’ claim did, however, draw a lot of attention to their abbey, which resulted in an influx of visitors and greater financial support. Historians continue to debate whether Glastonbury is in fact Avalon, but generally the claim is rejected.
The BBC’s Merlin television series is based on the Arthurian legends and mentions the mythical island. The lake was home to immortal winged creatures called Side and one of the few entrances to the afterlife.
Merlin threw the sword, Excalibur, into the lake, where Arthur later retrieved it from the stone. Light workers, spiritual healers, also believe the mystical island represents a path to inner peace or paradise.
Avalon (; Latin : Insula Gallons, Welsh : NYS Fallon, NYS Fallacy ; Cornish: 'Ends Avalon'; literally meaning “the isle of fruit trees”), sometimes written Avalon or Pavilion, is a legendary island featured in the Arthurian legend. It first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's 1136 Historian Begum Britannia (“The History of the Kings of Britain”) as the place where King Arthur's sword Excalibur was forged and later where Arthur was taken to recover from being gravely wounded at the Battle of Reimann.
Since then the island has become a symbol of Arthurian mythology, similar to Arthur's castle Camelot. Avalon was associated from an early date with mystical practices and figures such as Morgan LE Fay.
It is often identified as the former island of Glastonbury Tor, which the later English variant of the legend made the place where King Arthur was taken to his final rest. However, the Welsh, Cornish and Breton tradition believes that Arthur had never really died, but would return to lead his people against their enemies.
Geoffrey of Monmouth referred to it in Latin as Insula Gallons in Historian Begum Britannia (c. 1136). The name is generally considered to be of Welsh origin (though an Old Cornish or Old Breton origin is also possible), derived from Old Welsh, Old Cornish, or Old Breton ball or valley(n), “apple tree, fruit tree” (cf.
Avalon is first mentioned by Geoffrey as the place where Arthur's sword Excalibur (Cliburn) was forged. Geoffrey dealt with the subject in more detail in the Vita Merlin, in which he describes for the first time in Arthurian legend the enchantress Morgan (Morgan) as the chief of nine sisters (Moreno, Maze, Gluten, Guinea, Clinton, Tyrone, Whiten and Triton) who rule Avalon.
The island of apples which men call the Fortunate Isle (Insula Poor quad Fortunate Decatur) gets its name from the fact that it produces all things of itself; the fields there have no need of the plows of the farmers and all cultivation is lacking except what nature provides. Of its own accord it produces grain and grapes, and apple trees grow in its woods from the close-clipped grass.
The ground of its own accord produces everything instead of merely grass, and people live there a hundred years or more. There nine sisters rule by a pleasing set of laws those who come to them from our country.
Many later versions of the Arthurian legend (including the best-known, Le More d'Arthur by Thomas Malory) have Morgan and some other magical queens or enchantresses arrive after the battle to take the mortally wounded Arthur from the battlefield of Reimann (or Salisbury Plain in the romances) to Avalon in a black boat. Besides Morgan (who by this time became Arthur's sister in popular narrative), they sometimes come with the Lady of the Lake among them; other times they may include the Queens of East land, the North gales, the Outer Isles, and the Wasteland.
In the Vulgate Cycle, Morgan also first tells Arthur of her intention to relocate to the isle of Avalon, the place where “the ladies live who know all the magic in the world” (of LES dames sent quit parent tousles enchantment Del mode), shortly before his final battle. In Lope Garcia de Salazar's Spanish version of the Post-Vulgate Roman Du Grail, Avalon (which he also calls the Island of Brazil, locating it west of Ireland) afterwards becomes hidden in mist by her enchantment.
Other times, his eventual death is actually confirmed, as it happens in the Stanza More Arthur, where the Archbishop of Canterbury later receives Arthur's dead body and buries it at Glastonbury. In the telling of Alliterative More Arthur, relatively devoid of supernatural elements, it is renowned physicians from Salerno who try, and fail, to save Arthur's life in Avalon.
Conversely, the Vesta Begum Britannia, an early rewrite of Geoffrey's Historian, states in the present tense that Morgan “keeps his healed body for very own, and they now live together.” In a similar narrative, the chronicle Draco Normanizes contains a fictional letter from King Arthur to Henry II of England, in which Arthur claims that he has been healed of his wounds and made immortal by his “deathless (eternal) nymph sister Morgan on Avalon through the island's miraculous herbs.
In Eric and Enid by Chretien de Troyes, the consort of Morgan is the Lord of the Isle of Avalon, Arthur's nephew named Guinguemar (also appearing in the same or similar role under similar names in other works). In Layamon's Brut, Arthur is taken to Avalon to be healed there through means of magic water by a distinctively Anglo-Saxon redefinition of Geoffrey's Morgan: an elf queen of Avalon named Arrange.
Did Crone says the queen of Avalon is Oneidas, Arthur's aunt and goddess. The Venetian Les Prophecies de Merlin features the character of an enchantress known only as the Lady of Avalon (Dame d' Avalon), Merlin's pupil who is not Morgan and is in fact a rival and enemy of her (as well as of Senile).
Avalon is also sometimes described as a valley since the “Vale of Aaron” in Robert DE Boron's Joseph d’Aromatic. Morgan also features as an immortal ruler of a fantastic Avalon, sometimes alongside the still alive Arthur, in some subsequent and otherwise non-Arthurian chivalric romances such as Tyrant lo Blanch, as well as the tales of Huron of Bordeaux, where the fairy king Oberon is a son of either Morgan by name or “the Lady of the Secret Isle”, and the legend of Gear the Dane, where Avalon can be described as an enchanted castle.
In his La Fault, Guille de Torroella claims to have visited the Enchanted Island (Ill Canada) and met Arthur who has been brought back to life by Morgan, and they both of them are now forever young, sustained by the Grail. In the chanson DE get La Bastille Aquifer, Morgan and her sister Mansion (Marion) bring the hero Reno art to Avalon, where Arthur now prepares his return alongside Morgan, Gawain, Twain, Percival and Guinevere.
Such stories typically take place centuries after the times of King Arthur. Though no longer an island in the 12th century, the high conical bulk of Glastonbury Tor in today's South-West England had been surrounded by marsh before the surrounding Finland in the Somerset Levels was drained.
In ancient times, Porter's Ball Dyke would have guarded the only entrance to the island. Glastonbury's earliest name in Welsh was the Isle of Glass, which suggests that the location was at one point seen as an island.
At the end of 12th century, Gerald of Wales wrote in DE instruction principal : What is now known as Glastonbury was, in ancient times, called the Isle of Avalon.
In Welsh, it is called NYS Fallacy, which means the Island of Apples and this fruit once grew in great abundance. After the Battle of Reimann, a noblewoman called Morgan, later the ruler and patroness of these parts as well as being a close blood-relation of King Arthur, carried him off to the island, now known as Glastonbury, so that his wounds could be cared for.
Years ago the district had also been called NYS Turin in Welsh, that is the Island of Glass, and from these words the invading Saxons later coined the place-name “Glastonbury”. Around 1190, monks at Glastonbury Abbey claimed to have discovered the bones of Arthur and his wife Guinevere.
One popular today, made famous by Malory, claims “Here lies Arthur, the king that was and the king that shall be” (HIC facet Arthur us, Rex quondam, Rescue futures), also known in the variant “the once and future king” (Rex quondam ET futures). The earliest is by Gerald in Fiber de Principis instruction c. 1193, who wrote that he viewed the cross in person and traced the lettering.
His transcript reads: “Here lies buried the famous Arthur us with Wenneveria his second wife in the isle of Avalon (HIC jacket sedulous incites Rex Arthur us cum Wenneveria more SUA second in insula Wallonia). The account of the burial by the chronicle of Mariam Abbey says three bodies were found, the other being that of Mordred ; Richard Barber argues that Mordred's name was airbrushed out of the story once his reputation as a traitor was appreciated.
Historians generally dismiss the authenticity of the find, attributing it to a publicity stunt performed to raise funds to repair the Abbey, which had been mostly burned in 1184. In 1278, the remains were reburied with great ceremony, attended by King Edward I and his queen, before the High Altar at Glastonbury Abbey.
Many tales are told and many legends have been invented about King Arthur and his mysterious ending. In their stupidity the British people maintain that he is still alive.
Now that the truth is known, I have taken the trouble to add a few more details in this present chapter. The burial discovery ensured that in later romances, histories based on them and in the popular imagination Glastonbury became increasingly identified with Avalon, an identification that continues strongly today.
In more recent times, writers such as Dion Fortune, John Mitchell, Nicholas Mann and Geoffrey Ashe have formed theories based on perceived links between Glastonbury and Celtic legends of the Otherworld in attempts to link the location firmly with Avalon, drawing on the various legends based on Glastonbury Tor as well as drawing on ideas like Earth mysteries, La lines and even the myth of Atlantis. Even the fact that Somerset has many apple orchards has been drawn in to support the connection.
Glastonbury's reputation as the real Avalon has made it a popular site of tourism. Having become one of the major New Age communities in Europe, the area has great religious significance for neo-Pagans and modern Druids, as well as some Christians.
Identification of Glastonbury with Avalon within hippie subculture, as seen in the work of Mitchell and in the Gandalf's Garden community, also helped inspire the annual Glastonbury Festival that eventually became the largest musical and cultural event in the world. Medieval suggestions for the location of Avalon ranged far beyond Glastonbury.
They included paradisalunderworld realms equated with the other side of the Earth at the antipodes, as well as Mongrel (Mount Etna) in Sicily and other, unnamed locations in the Mediterranean. Companies Mela's ancient Roman description of the island of Mile DE San, off the coast of Finistère in Brittany, was notably one of Geoffrey of Monmouth's original inspirations for his Avalon.
^ By comparison, Isidora's description of the Fortunate Isles reads: “The Fortunate Isles (Fortunatarum insular) signify by their name that they produce all kinds of good things, as if they were happy and blessed with an abundance of fruit. Indeed, well-suited by their nature, they produce fruit from very precious trees ; the ridges of their hills are spontaneously covered with grapevines; instead of weeds, harvest crops and garden herbs are common there.
It is known for certain the monks later added forged passages discussing Arthurian connections to William's comprehensive history of Glastonbury DE antiquity Glatoniensis ecclesial (On Antiquity of Glastonbury Church), written around 1130. It has been influenced by the spelling of a real place called Avalon.
Isthmus too led an army of Britons into Gaul, and was the only British King who did. He, too, was betrayed by a deputy ruler who treated with barbarian enemies.
The line of his retreat, prolonged on a map, shows that he was going in the direction of the real Avalon.” Citations ^ Metabolic, Rank, Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic, Brill, 2008, p. 23.
^ Savage, John J. H. “Insula Wallonia”, Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. Le Hat Live Du Grail, Phaeton Press, 1972, p. 55.
“Bretonische Elements in her Pasturage DES Gottfried on Monmouth”, Zeitschrift fur französische Space UND Literature, Volume 12, 1890, pp. ^ Camp, Eric P. The north European word for ‘apple’, Zeitschrift fur Celtic Philology, 37, 1979, pp.
Finding Arthur: The True Origins of the Once and Future King. ^ Walter, Philippe; Berthed, Jean-Charles; Italians, Nathalie, eds.
Le Devin audit: Merlin, Nielsen, Soothe: texts ET étude. La Legend Arthurian, étude set documents: Premiere parties: Les plus ancient texts.
On the Social Origins of Medieval Institutions: Essays in Honor of Joseph F. O'Callaghan. ^ Aseguinolaza, Fernando Cab; González, ANFO Again; Domínguez, César, eds.
“The Passing of King Arthur to the Island of Brazil in a Fifteenth-Century Spanish Version of the Post-Vulgate Roman du Grill”. ^ “Alliterative More Arthur, Part IV | Robbins Library Digital Projects”.
' Morgan LE Fay, Empress of the Wilderness': A Newly Recovered Arthurian Text in London, BL Royal 12. C.ix | Michael Women”. ^ “Arrange of Arena Kings: Regional Definitions of National Identity in Layamon's Brut”.
King Arthur's Enchantresses: Morgan and Her Sisters in Arthurian Tradition. ^ All croft, Arthur Hadrian (1908), Earthwork of England: Prehistoric, Roman, Saxon, Danish, Norman and Mediæval, Nab Press, pp.
69–70, ISBN 978-1-178-13643-2, retrieved 12 April 2011 ^ a b “Two Accounts of the Exhumation of Arthur's Body: Gerald of Wales”. Arthurian tradition at Glastonbury in the Middle Ages”, in Carla 2001, pp.
145–59, 316 ^ Modern scholarship views the Glastonbury cross as the result of a late 12th-century fraud. “The Nature of Arthur” in Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies, 27, pp.
^ J. C. Parsons, “The second exhumation of King Arthur's remains at Glastonbury, 19 April 1278”, in Carla 2001, pp. “King Arthur's tomb at Glastonbury: the relocation of 1368 in context”.
^ “Glastonbury: Alternative Histories”, in Ronald Hutton, Witches, Druids and King Arthur. ^ Looms, Roger Sherman Wales and the Arthurian Legend, pub.
Lacy, Editor, The Arthurian Encyclopedia (1986 Peter Bedrock Books, New York). ^ a b Avalon, a place between mythology and the utopia of a lost kingdom”.
' Which I have beholden with most curious eyes': the lead cross from Glastonbury Abbey”. Two Glastonbury Legends: King Arthur and St Joseph of Animated.
The Legendary History of Britain: Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historian Begum Britannia and its early vernacular versions. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Avalon (legendary island).