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Lundy, Isle of Avalon

Arianrhod

   Lundy, Isle of Avalon         Gods, Saints and Heroes

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Arianrhod

Arianrhod (Celtic) lives with her three sisters Gwen or Gwennan , Maelen  and Elen on Caer Sidi, also known as Caer Arianrhod . ( Caer Sidi is an island in the sea with an otherworldly tower, identified by many authorities with Lundy. )

It is possible in these names to see an echo of  Guinevere (Gwen), of Morgan (Maelen) and a glimpse of the ever elusive Elen. The four sisters seem to share some of the attributes of   dawn or moon goddesses. The tale of 'Math, the son of Mathonwy' from the 'Mabinogion' mentions Arianrhod as the sister of Gwygion.  Triad 35  names her father as Beli.

Arianrhod and her sisters feature in Malory's  account of  how Lancelot falls asleep beneath an apple-tree and becomes enchanted by the three queens.

Arianrhod has also been equated with, Argante ( Morgan le Fay ); and with Ariadne - (Greek). 

The Corona Borealis is known in welsh as 'Caer Arianrhod.' 

The Greek goddess Ariadne is also linked with this constellation

 

The derivation of 'Arianrhod' is not certain. Most authorities agree that the words 'rhod' or 'rath' mean fortress  or tower. 'Arian' is less certain, one possible meaning is silver; giving 'silver tower' or 'silver fortress'. 

Another more recent theory suggests that the name 'Caer Arianrhod' could be derived from from an early Christian settlement on Lundy.

 

 

Arius 

 

In the early fourth century Arius, a presbyter in Alexandria, started a theological dispute with  orthodoxy. His premise was quite simple  - that Jesus was wholly mortal, was in no sense divine, and in no sense anything more than an inspired teacher. The teachings of Arius gained great support  throughout most of the fourth and fifth centuries. According to the authors of 'The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail ' ...during most of the 5thC.every bishopric in Western Europe was either Arian or vacant'

During the fourth and fifth centuries archaeological and other evidence tells us there were important Christian communities in the south west, including one on Lundy, and we know from the writings of St. Patrick, among others, that the Arian controversy had spread to these areas.

Caer Arianrhod = 'Arian + tower' could simply have been the name of an early Christian community on Lundy holding 'Arian' beliefs.  

A meaning subsequently lost as the church tried to eradicate all traces of the Arian controversy.

 

 

related pages

Round Towers on Lundy
 
Irish Towers

 

 

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