Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Wolfpack Six

The Battle of Camlann

Recommended Posts

Hello,

Been wondering about this for a while.  Greg Stafford, in the GPC, has Arthur's final battle happening in the year 565 (GPC, p. 374), yet the Annales Cambriae has it at either 537 or 539, about a quarter of a century later.

Did he leave behind any Author's notes or some other source of clues that would explain the discrepancy?  He has clearly treated the subject with passionate, painstaking detail so I can't imagine it to have been done inadvertently.

Thanks,

WP6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Wolfpack Six said:

Hello,

Been wondering about this for a while.  Greg Stafford, in the GPC, has Arthur's final battle happening in the year 565 (GPC, p. 374), yet the Annales Cambriae has it at either 537 or 539, about a quarter of a century later.

Did he leave behind any Author's notes or some other source of clues that would explain the discrepancy?  He has clearly treated the subject with passionate, painstaking detail so I can't imagine it to have been done inadvertently.

Thanks,

WP6

This comes from his adaption of Karr's Arthurian Companion into the basis of the KAP Chronology. Note that later medieval 'histories' put the battle in 542.

In reality, the Arthurian prose romances so thoroughly extended Arthur's reign that the game would be unmanageable if every year had several major events. In the Morte Artu, in fact, Arthur is nearly 100 years old, so it's not just in gaming that the storytellers saw the need to spread things out. That there are (at least) two full generations in Arthur's reign implied by the fact that Lancelot is born after him and Lancelot's son is an adult at the end of the story, in any case. Still, the 'original' prose romance timeline (if you're really curious Fanni Bogdanow did a lot of work on it) has many years dense with action (the Downfall happens in maybe 2 or 3 years max), with periods of inactivity. By extending the timeline Greg could allow for generational play, and by spreading the stories and episodes between years the game goes on a one year = no more than a session or two pattern.

Curiously, the French romances put Arthur in the 5th century rather than the 6th. This is why Karr used a date, given in the Vulgate/Lancelot-Grail Quest, in the 450s for the Grail Quest. Greg added a century to her date.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

This comes from his adaption of Karr's Arthurian Companion into the basis of the KAP Chronology. Note that later medieval 'histories' put the battle in 542.

In reality, the Arthurian prose romances so thoroughly extended Arthur's reign that the game would be unmanageable if every year had several major events. In the Morte Artu, in fact, Arthur is nearly 100 years old, so it's not just in gaming that the storytellers saw the need to spread things out. That there are (at least) two full generations in Arthur's reign implied by the fact that Lancelot is born after him and Lancelot's son is an adult at the end of the story, in any case. Still, the 'original' prose romance timeline (if you're really curious Fanni Bogdanow did a lot of work on it) has many years dense with action (the Downfall happens in maybe 2 or 3 years max), with periods of inactivity. By extending the timeline Greg could allow for generational play, and by spreading the stories and episodes between years the game goes on a one year = no more than a session or two pattern.

Curiously, the French romances put Arthur in the 5th century rather than the 6th. This is why Karr used a date, given in the Vulgate/Lancelot-Grail Quest, in the 450s for the Grail Quest. Greg added a century to her date.

Thanks.  Very good insights.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are some desginer notes in either KAP1 or the Pendragon Campaign (before it was the Great Pendragon Campaign) mwhere Greg gave some reasons for the shift in the timeline. Part of the problem is that the "most appropriate" century to place this is too well documented to fit Arthur in, and so Greg shifted things to a time that was less well chronicled. 

 

Also, depending on which sources you use there are some differences with the dates for some events, typically about a 15 year shift. For instance, some sources give Constatin a ten year reign and have Voertigern coming into power around 427 or so (the HRB seems to follow this), while other sources have Vortigern coming to power later (like in the GPC). History is unclear on this, which is why there is some debate over things like when  (Saint) Germanicus came to Britain and how many times. Saint Patrick chronology is likewise a bit hazy. 

IMO this is what makes The Book of Sires and the GPC so important, as they give us the "true' history, as least from the viewpoint of Pendragon.

If you are trying to fit some real even in, and it doesn't mesh with the official KAP timeline, I suggest looking at the events it is related to and fitting it in accordingly. 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

There are some desginer notes in either KAP1 or the Pendragon Campaign (before it was the Great Pendragon Campaign) mwhere Greg gave some reasons for the shift in the timeline. Part of the problem is that the "most appropriate" century to place this is too well documented to fit Arthur in, and so Greg shifted things to a time that was less well chronicled.  

It is in The Pendragon Campaign (not to be confused with GPC). As you say (and Jeff before you), Greg states that he shifted the dates mentioned in Malory* and Vulgate by a century, from 5th century to 6th century. 

* "It seemeth me said Sir Launcelot, this siege ought to be fulfilled this same day, for this is the feast of Pentecost after the four hundred and four and fifty year;" (Galahad's arrival to Camelot)

However, I think 6th century works much better for Arthur. There is no King Claudas/Clovis of France in early-to-mid 5th century. And perhaps even more importantly, you don't get Vortigern and the Saxons in Anglo-Saxon Chronicle until mid-5th century, too. Which would make Lancelot's Pentecostal comment above contemporary with Vortigern...

And of course, from Annales Cambriae you get the 537 date for the Battle of Camlann.

Now I would have been happy to argue (intellectually) that Greg 'overshot' a bit by just adding 100 years to Lancelot's comment, and it would have, perhaps, been better to fix the date on 537 Camlann and then calculate back from that. The date for the Battle of Badon, if it ever happened, is usually given around 500. If we keep the timeline otherwise the same, this would shorten Arthur's reign from 55 years (510 - 565) to 45 years (492 - 537). A mere 10 year shift, not that bad. He'd still need to be born, so again, assuming the same age at coronation, he'd be born in 474, and Uther would die 476, two years after Arthur's birth (Le Morte: "THEN within two years King Uther fell sick of a great malady."). So you still get Anarchy while Arthur grows up. Aella's arrival would hit 477 nicely, too.

This does crunch Aurelius' and Uther's reigns into rather tight spaces, but this can be good, too, since it would explain why they didn't procreate more: they simply ran out of time.

In HRB, things happen quickly, one thing after another. Paschent makes his first invasion while Uther is getting the stones from Ireland, and then his new attempt with Irish help right thereafter. Not only that, but as soon as Aurelius is poisoned, Octa and Eosa renew their war in the North, and the Battle of Mount Damen happens. Gorlois' rebellion happens like a year after that. From this, we can see that we could actually keep everything the same up to 470 or so, and then have Aurelius die in 471. Mt. Damen can happen in 472, and Gorlois' rebellion in 473. Arthur is born 474.

Not that I feel any urge to have BoSi and GPC rewritten! I am happy with what we have. I am just pointing out that if someone wanted to make their own chronology based on estimated Badon and 537 Camlann dates, it would still be within reason.

Edited by Morien

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Morien said:

* "It seemeth me said Sir Launcelot, this siege ought to be fulfilled this same day, for this is the feast of Pentecost after the four hundred and four and fifty year;" (Galahad's arrival to Camelot)

Actually it is 454 years from the Passion of Our Lord, in 32 AD, so the real date (misunderstood by Karr) was 486. Which is less off.

I have just the Chronology that Morien mentioned on my harddrive but it's based on not on Malory but on the Post-Vulgate and Prose Tristan (and thus makes different assumptions about the order of the parts of the story). It runs from the 470s to c.542; I ignored the 486  date since I didn't want the knights mostly sitting around from 491 to 537/542. One could start Arthur's reign using the GPC, in 490, and end it in 542 by pruning or combining a few quieter years. 490-542 resembles the assumed dates used by late medieval chroniclers: 515-542.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/27/2019 at 11:45 AM, Atgxtg said:

If you are trying to fit some real even in, and it doesn't mesh with the official KAP timeline, I suggest looking at the events it is related to and fitting it in accordingly. 

Thanks.  I'll do some digging around in the sources you mentioned.

Since this is all based on "pseudo-history", I like to see how it matches up with what the few actual sources have to say when things happened and just see how it all fits together.  As much as I enjoy playing the games themselves, I enjoy reading them because I appreciate the creativity that goes into designing them; so I enjoy learning what I can about why the author(s) made the creative decisions that they did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Wolfpack Six said:

Thanks.  I'll do some digging around in the sources you mentioned.

Since this is all based on "pseudo-history", I like to see how it matches up with what the few actual sources have to say when things happened and just see how it all fits together.  As much as I enjoy playing the games themselves, I enjoy reading them because I appreciate the creativity that goes into designing them; so I enjoy learning what I can about why the author(s) made the creative decisions that they did.

A lot of stuff seems to be off by about 15 years. This is because in our pseudo-historical sources, such as the HRB, Constatin rules for ten years, while in the Pendragon timeline he rules for about 25 years. Some things match up, but other events, even supposedly historical ones could have occurred at some unspecified date, or have contradictory dates listed. 

Overall the best approach is probably to set dates for any events you wish to add around other related event in thew chronology.

 

For example the Battle of Guoloph (or Battle of Nether Wallop) is a battle between Ambrosius and Vortigern that supposed to take place sometime around 337-340, but this is far too early in the KAP timeline (Ambrosius is still a child), and would fit in much better around 466-468 in our established timeline (when Ambrosius is fighting Vortigern). So that's about a 30 year shift. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Actually it is 454 years from the Passion of Our Lord, in 32 AD, so the real date (misunderstood by Karr) was 486. Which is less off.

You know, I was thinking about that, but since Greg (based on Karr) said 454, that is what I went with. :)

Late 5th century would be a bit better, but yes, like you say, it would be slightly problematic to have the Grail Quest before Badon and like 50 years before Camlann! Easier to just ditch that date, I agree.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Or just chalk it up to all that Faerie enchantment messing up the timeline.

King Arthur: 426? Wasn't last year 431?"

Faerie Knight: Yes m'lord, but we don't want to rolling on the aging table just yet, soo...

 

Edited by Atgxtg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think, in general, that KAP's timeline holds up very well as a basis for a game, and for making a proper epic, which is what this is all about. 'Historical' Arthurs are liable to rule a much less grand realm and for a much shorter time. Better to have the grandeur and the anachronism, all in all.

The Arthur of even Welsh legend is associating with mainly mid-to-late 6th century heroes, not late fifth century and early sixth century characters. Urien, Owain, Cerdic, Peredur, Rhun and his father Maelgwn, all date to c.530-580. Stripping all that out of the story leaves a pretty bare-bones teulu for him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

12 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

I think, in general, that KAP's timeline holds up very well as a basis for a game, and for making a proper epic, which is what this is all about. 'Historical' Arthurs are liable to rule a much less grand realm and for a much shorter time. Better to have the grandeur and the anachronism, all in all.

I agree. Plus the KAP timeline does managed to mesh and reconcile a good number of contradictory sources into some sort of cohesive, inclusive whole. A GM can mix adventures based on the Welsh Triads, HRB, The Vulgate, Parzival, Tennyson, T.H. White, the films  Camelot and Excalibur, plus actual historical records, and it somehow works.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I agree. Plus the KAP timeline does managed to mesh and reconcile a good number of contradictory sources into some sort of cohesive, inclusive whole. A GM can mix adventures based on the Welsh Triads, HRB, The Vulgate, Parzival, Tennyson, T.H. White, the films  Camelot and Excalibur, plus actual historical records, and it somehow works.

😀That is one great thing about this game, it fits into almost any mode of gameplay you like.

Edited by Hzark10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Hzark10 said:

😀That is one great thing about this game, it fits into almost any mode of gameplay you like.

Yup. That alos helps with "replay-ability". Since every KAP campaign uses the same setting, major characters,  timeline and major events the ability to mix up styles and story elements  helps to ensure that each campaign is still different from the previous.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...