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that they were laid in a morass wherein were red and white dragons or maggots in deadly contest.
Then the boy said, "Ambrosius is my name ... my father was aRoman consul, and this shall be my fortress." Then Vortigern left the castle to Ambrosius, and also the government of all the east of Britain, and went with his Druids to the land of Gwynnwesi, in the north, and built a fortress there, which city is named Caer Gwrtheyrn.1 The fable is foisted in clumsily, and.is incoherent. The boy's father is known. Ambrosius knows it, his mother does not. All we can make out of it is that Vortigern seems to have thrown himself on the still strong Pagan element among the Britons, and to have sought the death of Ambrosius, who headed the Romano-British party, and that he was defeated.
The Caer of Ambrosius is near Beddgelert, and is called Dinas Emrys, on a height, and contains foundations of a number of cytiau.
After the expulsion of Gwrtheyrn from the position of Pendragon or chief, Ambrosius assumed it, and obtained considerable success against the Saxons and Jutes.
The Welsh accounts make Ambrosius son of Cystennin, whom they derive from Cynan Meiriadog,2 brother of Elen, wife of Maximus ; and they make Cystennin Gorneu the brother of Aldor, or Audroen, father of Emyr Llydaw, the ancestor of a noble army of Saints who drifted about between Armorica and South Wales. They make, moreover, Emrys, or Ambrosius, brother of Uthyr Bendragon, the father of Arthur.3
Much confusion has arisen among the Constantines. The name seems to have been greatly affected by the Britons or Romanised Britons. There was a Constantine who was a common soldier in the Roman army stationed in Britain, who assumed the purple in 407, and was put to death in 409 ; consequently it is not possible that this can have been the Constantine, father of Ambrosius and of Uthyr. If there be any reliance to be placed on the Welsh pedigrees, much disturbed and vitiated by Geoffrey of Monmouth's fabulous narrative—then the father of Ambrosius Aurelianus was Cystennin Llydaw, or Bendigaid, a petty prince of Armorica.4
1 Irish Nennius, ch. xix; Latin Nennius, cc. xl-xlii.
2 Geoffrey's Brut, ed. Rhys and Evans, p. 126; the thirteenth century Mostyn MS., 117 (Evans, Report on Welsh MSS., i, p. 63).
3 Geoffrey's Brut, ibid., p. 126; Triads in Red Book of Hergest inMabinogion, ed. Rhys and Evans, p. 298.
4 The Welsh pedigrees attribute to Maximus and Helen a son named Constantine. Perhaps this was the Tyrannus.
Professor Hugh Williams sums up all that we can obtain from Gildas concerning Ambrosius Aurelianus. (1) He was a Roman, a member of one of the few old aristocratic families then remaining in Britain. (2) His ancestors had worn the Imperial purple; he may have been a descendant of some tyrannus who had assumed the title of Augustus in Britain. (3) He was a vir modestus, which implies kindness of disposition with unassuming manners; the mention of this quality goes far to prove that the information had come to Gildas from some one personally acquainted with the victorious leader. (4) His descendants, grandchildren probably, were intimately known to Gildas.1
Bede 2 merely reproduces what was said by Gildas. There is no mention in the pedigrees of Ambrosius having been married and having a family, and it would be in accordance with the character of the man as sketched by Gildas, that in his old age he should become a monk. If so, then he may perhaps be regarded as the traditional founder of Amesbury. Camden, in his Britannia, so regards him, and as having died at Amesbury.3
Dr. Guest conjectured that Ambrosius was the father of Owain Finddu, who is usually given as a son of Maxen, and he tries to identify him with the Natan-leod of the Chronicle, who was killed in 508, but the attempt is not successful.
The monastery, according to Camden, contained three hundred monks, and was destroyed by "nescio quis barbarus Gormundus." This Gormund was Gorman, son of Cormac Mac Diarmid, king of the Hy Bairche, who in the middle of the sixth century destroyed Llanbadarn Fawr and other churches, and did much havoc in Britain. Geoffrey of Monmouth converted him into a king of Africa.
Nicolas Roscarrock enters him as "S. Ambrias, Abbot, Confessor, founder of Amesbury, which was destroyed by Gormund; there were three hundred monks in the monastery." He does not give the day on which the founder of Amesbury was culted.
1 De Excid. Brit., p. 60.
2 Hist. Eccl., i, c. 16.
3 "Ambresbury, i.e. Ambrosii vicus . . . ubi antiques quosdam Reges sitos esse historia Britannica docet, et Eulogium ibi trecentorum monachorum coenobium fuisse refert, quod nescio quis barbarus Gurmundus diripuit . . . Ambrosius Aurelianus qui nomen fecit, Romano imperio jam prope confecto, purpuram, ut P. Diaconus testatur, in Britannia induit, patriae labenti suppetias tulit, . . . et tandem collatis in hac planitie signis, animam patriae reddidit." Britannia, 1594, p. 186.
In Crantock village, Cornwall, according to Dr. Oliver's Monasticon (p. 438), a chapel dedicated to S. Ambrusca formerly stood in the churchyard; and an ancient covered well, dedicated to the Saint, existed near the village. The well has been destroyed, and a modern villa called S. Ambrose occupies the site; the water still rises, and is led by a pipe to supply a drinking fountain beside the road. Old people remember the Holy Well in its original position. On the further side of the road is a boggy meadow in the midst of which is the site of the chapel.
Who was S. Ambrusca? Whether Dr. Oliver has given the name correctly, which is by no means certain, as he was not always accurate, we are unable to say. She may have formed one of the company of S. Carantoc. Her name does not occur in any Welsh or Irish or Breton Calendars. The root of the name is ambhr, strong.
S. AMO, see S. ANNO
S. AMPHIBALUS, Confessor
"The authority for the Life of S. Amphibalus is the account of the Martyrdom of S. Alban [which see). But Capgrave in his Nova Legenda Anglice gives a separate account of him, extracted from the Vita S. Albani printed in the Acta SS. Boll., Jun. v, p. 131.
The story has been already given under the heading of S. Alban. Gildas, in De Excidio Brit. (c. xi),1 relates that Alban of Verulam, having given hospitality to a confessor of Christ flying the pursuit of the soldiery, was so touched by the grace of God, that he presented himself before the persecutors in the sacerdotal vestment of the confessor, and suffered martyrdom in his room.
The story in Bede (Hist. Eccl., I, vii) is not an amplification of the words of Gildas, but taken from original Acta. The vestment in Gildas is vestes, in Bede caracalla. Till Geoffrey of Monmouth
1 Ed. Hugh Williams, for the Cymmrodorion Society.
wrote his fabulous history, the name of the confessor was unknown, and this writer conferred on him the name of Amphibalus.1
William of S. Albans, in his Life of SS. Alban and Amphibalus, written between 1166 and 1188, pretends that he made use of a Saxon Life of the two saints, but acknowledges that he was indebted to Geoffrey for the name of Amphibalus.
Amphibalus is, however, the name of a vestment or chasuble, and it has been conjectured that Geoffrey called the Confessor after the habit which he surrendered to Alban. But M. J. Loth 2 has pointed out another and more probable origin. "It seems to be certain," says he, " that the passage which so lightly led him into error is found in the Epistle of Gildas. In that, one reads almost at the beginning, in the Imprecatio against Constantine, king of Damnonia, that, among other crimes committed by him, he had done this ;' in duarum venerandis matrum sinibus, ecclesise, carnalisque, sub sancti abbatis amphibalo, latera regiorum tenerrima puerorum vel praecordia crudeliter duum . . . inter ipsa sacrosancta altaria nefando ense hastaque pro dentibus laceravit.'"
Geoffrey had read the passage above, and the conjecture is changed to certainty when one looks at lib. ix, cap. iv, of his History. There we read: "Et (Constantinus) prcedictos filios Modredi cepit: et alterum juvenem Gwintonia in ecclesiam sancti Amphibali fugientem ante altare Trucidavit; alterum vero Londoniis in quarumdam fratrum ccenobio absconditum, atque tandem juxta altare inventum crudeli morte afficit."
What Gildas wrote was that Constantine had killed the royal youths under the garb of a holy abbot. Then Geoffrey, mistaking one letter, reading in fact "sancti abbatis Amphibali," for "sancti abbatis amphibalo," converted Amphibalus into a personal name.
Matthew of Westminster (1377) says that "Amphibalus hastened into Wales, to become a martyr there," but his testimony is of no value, and Amphibalus is wholly unknown in Wales.
The day of S. Amphibalus is that of his Translation, June 25. In 1178, a certain Robert Mercer, of Redburn, pretended that he had seen S. Alban in a vision, who pointed out to him the spot where Amphibalus and his companions lay, and told him that the time had come when they should be treated with due honour.
Accordingly a search was made at the spot indicated and the bodies of Amphibalus and nine companions were discovered and translated with great devotion by the Abbot Simon to the church of the monastery. There can be no doubt entertained that the whole was a fraud. Perhaps Mercer came on an old cemetery at Verulam and invented the dream to explain the discovery.
1 Hist. Brit., cap. v, 5.
* J. Loth, Saint Amphibalus, in Revue Celtique, vol. xi (1890), p. 348.
The story of the transaction is told by Matthew of Paris and Roger Hoveden, and in the Gesta Abb. S. Albani. It is an unpleasant revelation of roguery. It followed soon after the invention of the Eleven Thousand Virgins at Cologne and was stimulated by it. In 1155, Gerlach, abbot of Deutz, was excavating an old burial ground, and for eight years went on manufacturing forged tombstones for "Virgins" whose bones he found, and to help out the fraud an hysterical nun, Elizabeth of Schonau, was induced to announce revelations concerning these remains of the dead. She died in 1165, and a greater rogue, the Blessed Hermann Joseph, continued the revelations.
This digging up of relics on a large scale created much excitement, and the Abbot Simon of S. Albans, by the assistance of Mercer, got up an "Invention" of his own.
S. Amphibalus occurs on June 25 in the Additions of the Canterbury Calendar (Arundell MS. 155), and in the S. Alban's Calendar of the thirteenth century (MS. Reg. 2, B. vi). He is in the Martiloge of Whytford, and in the MS. Calendar of Nicolas Roscarrock.
S. AMWN DDU, Confessor
Amwn the Black was a son of Emyr Llydaw, son of Aldor.1 Amwn quitted the district about Vannes,2 which had for some time been colonised by immigrants from Britain. Already in 461 the Britons were settled about the mouth of the Loire. In that year a British bishop, Mansuetus, attended the Council of Tours.3
His see is not mentioned, but he probably came thence, where we find Britons in considerable numbers not much later. In 470 the British colonists under their King Riothimus came to the assistance of the
1 In the earlier genealogies of the Welsh Saints, e.g., those in the thirteenth century, Peniarth MSS. 16 and 45, and Hafod MS. 16 (c. 1400), his name always occurs as Annun Ddu, the Welsh assimilation of Antonius. There was an Annun ab Ceredig, uncle to S. David (Cambro-British Saints, p. 275). Amwn probably = Ammonius.
2 Graweg, for Broweroc, see note 3, p. 155.
3 Labbe, Sacrosancta Concilia, tom, iv, p. 1053.