This page brings together all the items in the glossaries of the books in The Arthurian Age series. It includes locations, with their historical and modern names, as well as unusual terms and words. As the series progresses, I will update this page. Each entry has a link to a page related to the topic. I’ve tried to include a variety of sources, and the opinions of the sources may not be the same as mine.
Many of the details here are speculative or disputed to some degree. The history is so clouded, that we can’t know all the details for sure, such as the modern locations for some past names. In these cases, I have picked the best option based on research the input of experts. As always, I’m happy to chat about the topics.
Aletum • Saint-Malo, France
Alt Clut • Ancient stronghold near Glasgow, Scotland, now known as Dumbarton Castle. The political makeup of the region at that time is not well known, nor are the names used, so for the purposes of this story, it is also the name of the “kingdom” that later becomes Strathclyde.
Andecava • Angers, France
Anderida • A city of Regin, near modern Pevensey, East Sussex.
Anglii • Germanic tribe originating in the narrow peninsula of northern Germany and southern Denmark. They come to be know as the Angles, or the Engli, and eventually give their name to England.
Annwn • The “Otherworld” in Welsh mythology. It was a kind of timeless paradise ruled over by Arawn where the “Fair Folk”, Celtic deities, fairies, etc. lived. It eventually became associated with the afterlife. Certain places, such as Glastonbury Tor, were said to have gates to Annwn that mortals might sometimes pass at their peril.
ap • “Son of”, or “Succeeding”; in the time before surnames, people were often identified by their given name and a parent’s name, usually that of the father but sometimes that of the mother. For instance, “Gawain ap Gwyar”. “Ferch” is the term used for “Daughter of”.
Arelate • A city of Gaul, modern Arles, France.
Argentomo • Argenton-sur-Creuse, France
Arian • In Christianity, Arianism is an early concept which asserts the belief that the Son of God did not always exist but was begotten by God the Father. It stood in contrast to the Nicene, i.e. Catholic, belief and was eventually declared heretical. It was widely practised among East Germanic tribes such as the Goths until about the Seventh Century AD.
Artoriani • The name assumed by Arthur’s Guard, originally as a jest, in reference to how Roman legions would name themselves in honor of their sponsoring Emperor.
Aruernis • A city of Gaul, modern Clermont-Ferrand, France.
Aurelianis • Orléans, France
Autissodoro • Auxerre, France. Illtud trains for the priesthood at this city of St. Germanus.
Avalon • Known to Arthurian legend as the mystical isle where Arthur is taken to heal from his wounds, it plays a major role in The Retreat to Avalon, where it is identified as the site of a holy place and salt springs near Avallon, France.
Badon • Mount Badon is the site of a historically attested battle between the Britons and the Anglo-Saxons that was a major defeat for the Anglo-Saxons and seems to have stalled their advance for a generation. The earliest reference to the battle does not mention who led either side, but later Welsh records list Arthur as the British commander. The location is unknown. There are many suggested sites, but the most commonly considered location, Bath, is unlikely, as the current name is derived from its Anglo-Saxon name, Baðum, and Badon is a completely unrelated Celtic word. Considering various clues and strategic reasons, the site of Liddington Castle, Wiltshire, is the location of Badon for The Strife of Camlann.
Barbarian Conspiracy • Towards the end of Roman rule in Britain, a mutiny by the Roman garrison on Hadrian’s Wall coincided with massive, seemingly coordinated, attacks on the lands south of Hadrian’s Wall by Irish, Pictish and Saxon raiders. At the same time, Franks and Saxons attacked Roman cities in northern Gaul. The destruction and disorder lasted a year, sacking and pillaging nearly every settlement and killing or enslaving many Britons. Order was finally restored when Rome sent Flavius Theodosius with a relief force, but the psychological damage would persist.
Berneich • Early name for the north-eastern British kingdom later known as Bernicia under the Anglo-Saxons.
Biturigas • Bourges, France
Biuon • The River Cuckmere, Sussex
Blesum • Blois, France. In The Retreat to Avalon, many of Arthur’s soldiers escaped to this city, said to have been founded generations earlier by British soldiers brought to Gaul.
Blestio • Monmouth, Monmouthshire.
Bretwalda • Anglo-Saxon term for “Wide-Ruler”, their version of an overlord king, like the Briton’s Rigotamos.
Britannia • Roman name for the isle of Britain.
Britons • The collection of Celtic tribes originally inhabiting what is today known as England, Wales, southern Scotland and the region of France known as Brittany.
Brittonic • Also called Brythonic, this is early language of Britons. It would later develop into Welsh, Cornish and Breton. It was closely related to Gaulish and likely Pictish, and less closely to Archaic Irish.
Brue • The River Brue flows past Ynys Witrin (modern Glastonbury) to the sea.
Brycheiniog • A British kingdom in southwest Wales, it is named for Brychan, the son of Irish immigrants who appear to have been given protective control of the area, much like Demetia. When Brychan became king, the realm was renamed in his honour.
Buellt • A small British kingdom in central Wales, formed from the splitting of Vortigern’s ancestral lands among his sons in the Celtic fashion.
Burgundi • An East Germanic collection of tribes who, with Roman cooperation, established a kingdom within the empire, in the western Alps region where modern Switzerland, France and Italy meet. “Burgundii” would signify the people of the Burgundi tribe.
Cadubrega • The name I have given to the ancient hillfort at South Cadbury, Somerset. Not satisfied with the current guesses of origin for the name Cadbury, I learned that “Cadubrega” would translate as “Battle Hill” in Brittonic. The site of a battle between the invading Romans and the Iron Age tribes of the region, it fits the idea of a traditional name passed down by the Britons, eventually converted by the conquering Anglo-Saxons to become Cadbury, today. Archaeologists have found evidence of major refortification and reuse of the site in the late 5th century, leading many to believe this may have been the site of Arthur’s headquarters. Note: “Camelot” was a much later invention of the Arthurian Romances.
Cair • As in “Cair Guricon”. It signified a fortified settlement or stronghold, usually implying stone walls.
Cair Celemion • Silchester, Hampshire
Cair Cerin • Cirencester, Gloucestershire. It was the second largest Romano-British city after Lundein. Its location and prominence makes it a likely home for the Post-Roman Consilium.
Cair Daun • Doncaster, Yorkshire
Cair Draithou • Din Torre, near Dunster, Minehead
Cair Durnac • Dorchester, Dorset
Cair Ebrauc • York, Yorkshire
Cair Gloui • Gloucester, Gloucestershire
Cair Guent • Caerwent, Monmouthshire
Cair Guintguic • Winchester, Hampshire
Cair Guricon • Wroxeter, Shropshire
Cair Legion • Chester, Cheshire. Site of the shrine to the Martyrs, Julius and Aaron.
Cair Ligualid • Capitol of Rheged, modern Carlisle, Cumbria
Cair Lind Colun • Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Cair Maon • Kenchester, Hereford
Cair Maunguid • Manchester, Lancashire
Cair Mincip • St. Albans, Hertfordshire, site of shrine of St. Alban the Martyr.
Cair Pensa uel Coit • Ilchester, Somerset
Cair Regni • Chichester, West Sussex
Cair Sallog • Ringfort preceding the fortress at Old Sarum, Salisbury.
Cair Sul • Bath, Somerset. The current name is derived from its Anglo-Saxon name, Baðum. The Roman name was Aquae Sulis, or Waters of Sulis, an earlier Brittonic goddess. The name used by the Britons of the 5th century is unknown. Some people, including Geoffrey of Monmouth, thought that the Anglo-Saxon name derived from a Brittonic name (and associated the location with the Battle of Badon) but a Brittonic expert explained that this could not be the case, so I have decided on this name for the purposes of The Arthurian Age.
Cair Teim • Cardiff, Glamorgan
Cair Uisc • Exeter, Devon
Calandawst • A harvest holiday celebrated the first day of August.
Calandmei • A holiday celebrating the first day of summer, translated as “First Day of May”.
Caledonia • The Roman name for the area now known as Scotland, at the time being the lands north of Hadrian’s Wall. Also known as Pictavia (Pictland), for the Picts.
Caliburn • Arthur’s famous sword also known as Excalibur, from the Latin Caliburnus. This is a Latin form of the Welsh name, Caledfwlch, “Hard-Breach”.
Callewic • Later called Celliwig, it is the oldest reference to Arthur’s court. It means “Forest Clearing” and was said to be within Cornwall. There are numerous locations suggested. For The Arthurian Age, I have chosen Kelly Rounds, a ringfort in Cornwall.
Cam • The River Cam in Somerset, a tributary of the Gifl (River Yeo).
Camlann • The location of Arthur’s and Modred’s final battle in legend and history, according to the Annales Cambriae. The location is unknown. The name means, roughly, ‘Crooked Enclosure’. Geoffrey Ashe favours a location along the winding banks of the River Cam, not far from South Cadbury Castle (Cadubrega) at Queen Camel, so with no better location, that is the location used in The Strife of Camlann.
Candida Casa • A church and school established by St. Ninian near modern Whithorn, Galloway.
Cantia • Generally comprising the modern region of Kent, it is a region that fell early to the Anglo-Saxons, a story that will be portrayed in Book 3, Three Wicked Revelations.
Carindis • The White Cart Water, a river near Glasgow, Scotland.
Carnyx • A long, S-shaped bronze trumpet used by the Celts at least until the third century. Typically used in battle, it could make distinctive sounds that were reportedly terrifying to those not acquainted with it.
Carra • An early four-wheeled carriage, they were typically small with wooden walls and roof.
Cathures • Glasgow, Scotland
Cedete • From the Strategikon, the military command to fall back in open order.
Celterna Hills • The Chilterns, England
Celts • This is a modern name loosely defining a group of peoples that shared similar languages and cultures but not necessarily ethnicity, mostly centred in Gaul and the British Isles. The people making up the Celtic tribes would not have considered themselves “Celts” or have any shared identity, even within smaller regions like Ireland or Britain. They would have identified themselves by their tribal names or, if part of the Roman Empire and heavily influenced by Roman culture, would have considered themselves Romans. It is only with the end of the Roman occupation and under pressure from outside invasion, such as from Germany or Ireland, that they might have adopted something approaching a shared regional identity, like “Britons”.
Ceredigion • A British kingdom, originally part of Gwynedd, on the western coast of Wales, south of Gwynedd and north of Demetia.
Chauci • A Germanic Saxon sub-tribe that dwelt in the region between the Elbe and Ems rivers, near modern day Bremerhaven, Germany.
Ciannachta • An Irish Celtic tribe to which the character Bachlach belongs.
Chi-Rho • An early Christian symbol, it is formed from the first two letters of the Greek word Christos and looks like a ‘P’ superimposed over an ‘X’.
Civitas • A Roman community administrative unit or territory, often based on tribal regions.
Clut • The River Clyde, in Scotland (also Cluta).
College of Theodosius • Côr Tewdws, Glamorgan, Wales. The oldest school in Britain, it may have been rebuilt on the ruins of an earlier Roman-era school in the late fifth century. Illtud is said to be a founder and its most famous teacher.
Comberos • Quimper, France. Home of Hoel.
Combrogi • A reconstructed Brittonic word for “fellow-countrymen”. At this time, it would apply to the tribe, rather than any sort of nation. It eventually becomes the Welsh “Cymry”.
Comes • The Latin word for “companion”, it was a title of high political or military rank. It would eventually become “Count”. Originally a higher rank than Dux, the Late Roman Empire would use both titles more flexibly.
Consilium • Based on the Roman ‘Consilium Principis’, this is the name I gave to the council of British Kings that tried to maintain a semblance of unity in the former Roman provinces. The Consilium elects and is led by the Rigotamos.
Constantinople • Capitol of the Eastern Roman Empire, modern day Istanbul, Turkey.
Conventus • The annual gathering of the Consilium, midway between the summer solstice and the harvest festival of Calandawst.
Coriios • The reconstructed Brittonic term for a warband.
Cornou • An early name for Cornwall, a sub-kingdom of Dumnein at the time of The Arthurian Age. The people of Cornou were known as the Cornoui.
Cornovii • A British Celtic tribe centred in the Midlands region of modern day Shropshire. The name comes from a Celtic word meaning “horn”. The Roman-Greek explorer Ptolemy documented this tribe, and another Pictish tribe by the same name at the far north of modern Scotland. There are other Roman references to a third tribe of Cornovii in the region of modern Cornwall. References to King Arthur being from Cornwall, such as “The Boar of Cornwall”, may spring from a confusion of medieval writers as to place names based on tribal names. There are good reasons to believe Arthur actually came from the Cornovii of the Midlands, and this will be explored in Book 3, The Three Wicked Revelations.
Corona Graminea • The “Grass Crown” was the highest and rarest of all military awards in the Roman Republic and early Empire. It was presented only by the soldiers of an army saved by the recipient’s efforts.
Crutta • Brittonic form of Welsh crwth, a kind of lyre. In the fifth century it may have had a fingerboard, but would not have been played with a bow, as it was much later.
Currach • Type of boat common to the British isles, made of skins stretched over a wooden frame.
Cyhiraeth • The Welsh version of the ghostly Banshee of Irish legend.
Datlā • The reconstructed Brittonic word for an assembly, meeting, council, court, etc.
Decurion • The Roman term for a cavalry officer in command of a ten-man squadron
Déisi • A term for Irish Celtic peoples who were not tied by kinship, but rather by a sort of vassal-status. The groups may have formed influential quasi-tribes and may have been thought of as a tribe by Britons as they left Ireland to raid or settle western Wales.
Demetia • An early name for the kingdom that would eventually be called Dyfed, located in southwest Wales. The region was heavily impacted by Irish raids and colonization. Legend suggests it given over to an Irish dynasty to protect from further Irish encroachment by Magnus Maximus.
Deva • The River Dee in Northern Wales.
Din • As in “Din Tagell”, this signified a fortified settlement or stronghold, usually implying a ditch and wooden palisade construction.
Din Arth • Hillfort on Bryn Euryn overlooking Rhos-on-Sea, Wales.
Din Eidyn • The ancient stronghold of the Gododdin, now Edinburgh, Scotland.
Din Pendyr • The ancient hillfort of the Gododdin at Traprain Law in East Lothian, Scotland.
Din Tagell • Tintagel, Cornwall
Dolens • Déols, France
Dolus • Dol-de-Bretagne, France
Dumnein • The Briton kingdom originally called Dumnonia in South-West England, centred in the area now called Devon, but including modern Cornwall and part of Somerset.
Dux • Latin for “Leader”, it was a title of high political or military rank. It would eventually become “Duke”. “Dux Bellorum”, an early title attributed to Arthur, meant “Leader of Battle” and might have been the equivalent of “General” in his time.
Ebrauc • Early name for modern York and for the British kingdom it controlled.
Elmetia • A British kingdom, little recorded history remains. It seems to have been one of the last kingdoms to fragment from the Old North, and was in the modern region of the Peak District and east to Doncaster.
Fair Folk • Also called the ‘Hidden Folk’ or the ‘Good People’, these are the legendary magical people that dwelt in the British Isles before humans arrived and they retreated underground or into a mystical otherworld, like Annwn.
Foederati • Foreign tribes bound to Rome by treaty that included military assistance.
Fossa • The Roman road, now called the Fosse Way, linking Exeter (Cair Uisc) with Lincoln (Cair Lind Colun).
Galuth • Gawain’s sword, the name is Hebrew for “Exile”. In book one it was gifted to him by the descendant of British refugees who escaped to Letavia.
Gaul • The name for the region of Europe composed today of France, Luxembourg, most of Switzerland, Northern Italy and parts of the Netherlands and Germany.
Germania • The Roman name for parts of north-western Europe composed today of parts of the Netherlands, Belgium, western and south-western Germany, Switzerland and eastern France.
Gewisse • This was an Anglo-Saxon tribe that lived in upper Thames region around Dorchester on Thames. They appear to be the earliest of Germanic settlements, from late fourth or early fifth century. This date and their settlement in central Britain suggests they were settled in that region to protect a border region between rival British powers. Their name roughly means “The Reliable”.
Gifl • The River Yeo in Somerset.
Glywysing • A British kingdom of southern Wales. The name is said to signify “The People of Glwys” the legendary founder of the kingdom.
Goban • Govan, near Glasgow, Scotland. Site of an early Christian church and cemetery.
Gododdin • The Gododdin were a Brittonic people whose kingdom, later known as Lothian, was centered around the area of Din Eidyn and Din Pendyr. It appears to have been alternately independent or under the control of Alt Clut/Strathclyde in the era after Rome’s withdrawal and before being absorbed by Anglian Bernicia in the 7th century.
Grimm’s Dyke • This is a possible early name for the Antonine Wall, which stretches from the Firth of Clyde to the Firth of Forth in Scotland. It was built by the Romans in 154 AD for the same purpose as the better known and earlier, Hadrian’s Wall to the south. By the 5th Century, the wall had mostly deteriorated to a deep ditch and earthen dyke and the origins had been forgotten by most. In this story, the locals believed it to be created by a giant.
Guent • The early name for the Briton kingdom later known as Gwent in southeast Wales.
Gwynedd • A Briton kingdom in northwest Wales. At it’s founding, it included the region that would later become the kingdoms of Rhos and Ceredigion. It remained a powerful Brittonic kingdom, one of the last to remain independent of England.
Hadrian’s Wall • A massive fortification built by the Romans in the second century. It stretches across the entirety of England, from the North Sea to the Irish sea at roughly the border with Scotland. It was built to deter raiding Britons and Picts from Caledonia.
Hibernian Sea • The Roman name for the Irish Sea. Hibernia was the Latin name for Ireland.
Hispania • The Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula, now composed of Spain and Portugal.
House of Donn • In pagan Irish legend, this was the afterlife, where the souls of the dead gathered.
Humbra • The Humber, a large tidal estuary in northern England.
Icenia • The tribal region of Britain in modern Norfolk and parts of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.
Ides • As in “the Ides of Februarius” . Generally, the middle of every month in the Roman calendar.
Italia • The Latin name for the region of Italy, particularly after the end of the Western Roman Empire.
Iwerddon • The Brittonic name for Ireland.
Kalends • As in “the Kalends of November”. The first day of every month in the Roman calendar.
Latrones • A two-player strategy board game in the vein of chess or checkers, common throughout the Roman Empire.
Leger • The Loire River, France
Lemovis • Limoges, France
Letavia • An early name for the region that would become Brittany, France.
Linnuis • A region named for Lindum Colonia, modern Lincoln. It was under heavy pressure from the Anglo-Saxons, but seems to have maintained British control to the end of the fifth century, and continued British influence under Anglo-Saxon control, possibly as late as the eighth century. In The Arthurian Age, Linnuis is not a kingdom, but remains under the civil magistrate system.
Lundein • London
Magister Militum • The senior military officer of the late Roman Empire, in the West, it became a “Commander-in-Chief”, and often the power behind the throne, or even in opposition to it.
Manau • A sub-kingdom absorbed into the realm of the Gododdin, it was based around the Firth of Forth, including Din Eidyn, modern Edinburgh.
Medici • Roman military term for field medics or doctors, as medical care was advanced enough for there to be much difference.
Namnetis • Nantes, France. The site of a major battle in The Retreat to Avalon.
Nones • As in “the Nones of October”. A number of days before the middle of the month, roughly, the first week of every month in the Roman calendar.
Nouant • A British kingdom in the area of modern Galloway, Carrick, and Dumfries, western Scotland. It appears to have been controlled by Alt Clut, probably through family ties, which is how is portrayed in The Arthurian Age.
Paguis • Early name for the British kingdom later known as Powys in Wales.
Parisius • Paris, France
Pascha • The original term for Easter, based on the Hebrew festival of Passover, from which the date for Easter was originally calculated.
Peryddon • Peryddon was a common name for rivers in Britain, and most river names have changed. In The Strife of Camlann, it refers to the river that flows past Gawain’s fort in Demetia. An ancient Welsh poem called The Stanzas of the Graves says that Gawain’s grave “is in Peryddon, where the ninth wave flows.” This seems to refer to a river with a strong tidal surge, and “the ninth wave” may mean that his grave is where the waves of the tidal surge end. This and other clues suggest that the village of Walwyn’s Castle in Dyfed, Wales, may have been Gawain’s home. The river that flows past the hillfort there was wider and tidal in the past, and Walwyn, another form of Gawain’s name, has an ancient association with the location.
Pictavis • Poitiers, France
Picts • A collection of tribes in what is today Scotland. Little is known of them, though they are thought to be closely related in language and culture to the Britons to their south. Their lands were generally called Caledonia, Pictavia or Pictland.
Pollog • The name for Gawain’s hillfort home in the kingdom of Alt Clut. It means “Place by the small pool” and is the site of a small ringfort within the current Pollok Country Park, near Glasgow.
Redones • Rennes, France. Following the events of The Retreat to Avalon, many of Arthur’s cavalry are led to this city in Letavia to arrange for their return to Britain.
Regin • The region of modern Sussex. Its people were known as the Regni. We don’t know the political make-up of the region between the end of the Roman occupation and rise of Sussex (named for the South Saxons). Based on clues, it is portrayed in The Arthurian Age as still maintaining the civil magistrate system of the Romans.
Rheged • One of the British kingdoms of “The Old North”. A powerful state, it controlled the western half of the region from around Hadrian’s Wall (and further northwest at times), and south to the River Mersey in modern Lancashire.
Rhos • A British kingdom, originally part of Gwynedd, in northern Wales.
Rigotamos • The reconstructed Brittonic term meaning “king-most”, “highest king”, etc. The Latinised version of the term is “Riothamus”. Some believe it is a personal name of a specific historically attested person. Others believe it is a title by which a particular person became known, such as in the case of Temüjin, who would later come to be known only as Genghis Khan (Supreme Ruler).
Ripuari • A branch of the Franks, a Germanic tribe.
Sabrina • The River Severn in Wales and England.
Sali • The other branch of the Germanic Franks. They became dominant with the rise of the Merovingians, the dynasty founded by Merovech, the father of Childeric I.
Saxons • A Germanic tribe first recorded as living near the North Sea coast of what is now Germany and Denmark. The term was often used as a general term for any of the Germanic tribes that raided and settled Britain, including the Angles, Jutes and Franks. Seaxna is the Germanic term.
Scandia • Scandinavia, though not including Denmark.
Scoti • A Celtic tribe from Northern Ireland, they colonised parts of western Scotland, eventually subsuming the Picts and Britons in that region and lending their name to the modern country. Due to their frequent raiding, the name Scoti was often used as a general term for any of the tribes of Ireland by Britons and Romans unfamiliar with the other tribal names.
Stade • (pl: stadia) The Greek and Roman unit of measurement, equaling about 625 feet or 1/8th of a mile.
Stibadium • (pl: stibadia), a Roman, semi-circular, couch arranged around a low table for up to a dozen diners to lounge upon while eating.
Suessionum • Soissons, France; Syagrius’ capital.
Tamesis • The River Thames, England
Tolosa • Toulouse, France; Euric’s capital.
Tor • A geological formation rising suddenly from surrounding flat lands, a term often used for sharp hills in Britain.
Tornai • Tournai, Belgium; Childeric’s capital.
Treveris • Trier, Germany; capital of Arbogast’s realm.
Tuedd • The River Tweed in southern Scotland.
Turma • Latin for “swarm” (plural turmae), this was a cavalry squadron in the later Roman army.
Turonis • Tours, France
Uei • The River Wye, it runs from mid-Wales to the Severn Estuary.
Usa • The River Ouse, Sussex
Vallum • An earthen rampart, often topped by a wooden palisade.
Visigoths • The “Western Goths”, a branch of nomadic East Germanic tribes referred to collectively as the Goths or Gothi. By the 5th century AD, they controlled most of central and south-western Gaul as well as Hispania. Also known as “Vesi” in vernacular Latin. They are eventually overtaken by the Franks.
Wealas • Anglo-Saxon term which meant either “foreigner” or “slave” (often both). It became the English term for Wales and the Welsh.
Wehhacynn • The Germanic name for a tribe of Anglii, meaning “Wehha’s Tribe. Wehha mean’s meadow or marsh. In The Arthurian Age, this tribe has colonized what is modern East Anglia. Wehha, a legendary king of the East Angles, may be Wihstān, a king mentioned in the epic, Beowulf.
Ynys Guidgen • Lundy Island
Ynys Manaua • Isle of Man
Ynys Môn • Isle of Anglesey, Wales. In ancient times, it was the centre of Druidic religion and learning for the Celtic world. The holy shrines and groves were destroyed in the first century by the Romans attempting to eradicate the Druidic religion.
Ynys Witrin • Glastonbury, Somerset, and the Tor.