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AVALON (/ˈævəˌlɒn/ ; Latin : _Insula Avallonis_, Old French _Avalon_, Welsh : _Ynys Afallon, Ynys Afallach_; literally meaning "the isle of fruit trees") is a legendary island featured in the Arthurian legend . It first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth 's 1136 pseudo-historical account _ Historia Regum Britanniae _ ("The History of the Kings of Britain") as the place where King Arthur
King Arthur
's sword Excalibur
Excalibur
was forged and later where Arthur was taken to recover from his wounds after the Battle of Camlann . Avalon
Avalon
was associated from an early date with mystical practices and people such as Morgan le Fay .

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology * 2 In Arthurian legend

* 3 Connection to Glastonbury
Glastonbury

* 3.1 Other locations for Avalon
Avalon

* 4 See also * 5 References

ETYMOLOGY

Geoffrey of Monmouth referred to it in Latin as _Insula Avallonis_ in the _Historia_. In the later _ Vita Merlini _ he called it _Insula Pomorum_ the "isle of fruit trees" (from Latin _pōmus_ "fruit tree"). 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 _aball_ or _avallen(n)_, "apple tree, fruit tree" (cf. _afall_ in Modern Welsh , derived from Common Celtic *abalnā). It is also possible that the tradition of an "apple" island among the British was influenced by Irish legends concerning the otherworld island home of Manannán mac Lir and Lugh
Lugh
, Emain Ablach (also the Old Irish poetic name for the Isle of Man
Isle of Man
), where Ablach means "Having Apple Trees" – derived from Old Irish _aball_ ("apple")—and is similar to the Middle Welsh name Afallach, which was used to replace the name Avalon
Avalon
in medieval Welsh translations of French and Latin Arthurian tales. All are etymologically related to the Gaulish root *aballo- (as found in the place name Aballo/Aballone, now Avallon in Burgundy
Burgundy
or in the Italian surname Avallone) and are derived from a Common Celtic *abal- "apple", which is related at the Proto-Indo-European level to English _apple_, Russian _яблоко_ (_jabloko_), Latvian _ābele_, et al.

IN ARTHURIAN LEGEND

_ La Mort d'Arthur_ (The Death of King Arthur) by James Archer (1860)

According to Geoffrey in the _Historia_ and much subsequent literature which he inspired, Avalon
Avalon
is the place where King Arthur
King Arthur
is taken after fighting Mordred at the Battle of Camlann to recover from his wounds. Welsh , Cornish and Breton tradition claimed that Arthur had never really died, but would inexorably return to lead his people against their enemies . The _Historia_ also states that Avalon
Avalon
is where his sword Excalibur
Excalibur
was forged. Geoffrey dealt with Avalon
Avalon
in more detail in _ Vita Merlini _, in which he describes for the first time in Arthurian legend the enchantress Morgan le Fay as the chief of nine sisters (Moronoe, Mazoe, Gliten, Glitonea, Gliton, Tyronoe, Thiten and Thiton) who live on Avalon. Geoffrey's description of the island indicates a sea voyage was needed to get there. His description of Avalon
Avalon
here, which is heavily indebted to the early medieval Spanish scholar Isidore of Seville (being mostly derived from the section on famous islands in Isidore's famous work _ Etymologiae _, XIV.6.8 "_Fortunatae Insulae_"), shows the magical nature of the island: The island of apples which men call “The Fortunate Isle ” (_Insula POMORUM quae Fortunata uocatur_) gets its name from the fact that it produces all things of itself; the fields there have no need of the ploughs 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.

By comparison, Isidore's description of the Fortunate Isles reads: "The Fortunate Isles _(Fortunatarum insulae)_ 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. Hence the mistake of pagans and the poems by worldly poets, who believed that these isles were Paradise because of the fertility of their soil. They are situated in the Ocean, against the left side of Mauretania, closest to where the sun sets, and they are separated from each other by the intervening sea."

In medieval geographies, Isidore's Fortunate Islands were identified with the Canaries .

CONNECTION TO GLASTONBURY

Around 1190, Avalon
Avalon
became associated with Glastonbury
Glastonbury
, when monks at Glastonbury
Glastonbury
Abbey claimed to have discovered the bones of Arthur and his queen. The works of Gerald of Wales
Wales
make the first known connection: What is now known as Glastonbury
Glastonbury
was, in ancient times, called the Isle of Avalon. It is virtually an island, for it is completely surrounded by marshlands. In Welsh it is called _Ynys Afallach_, which means the Island of Apples and this fruit once grew in great abundance. After the Battle of Camlann, 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 _Ynys Gutrin_ in Welsh, that is the Island of Glass, and from these words the invading Saxons later coined the place-name 'Glastingebury'.

Though no longer an island in the twelfth century, the high conical bulk of Glastonbury
Glastonbury
Tor had been surrounded by marsh before the surrounding fenland in the Somerset Levels
Somerset Levels
was drained. In ancient times, Ponter\'s Ball Dyke would have guarded the only entrance to the island. The Romans eventually built another road to the island. Gerald wrote that Glastonbury's earliest name in Welsh was _Ineswitrin_ (or _Ynys Witrin_), the Isle of glass, a name noted by earlier historians which suggests that the location was at one point seen as an island. The discovery of the burial is described by chroniclers, notably Gerald of Wales
Wales
, as being just after King Henry II 's reign when the new abbot of Glastonbury, Henry de Sully , commissioned a search of the abbey grounds. At a depth of 5 m (16 feet) the monks were said to have discovered a massive treetrunk coffin and a leaden cross bearing the inscription: _ Leaden cross inscribed with Arthur's epitaph. from Camden , Britannia_ (1607) _Hic jacet sepultus inclitus rex Arturius in insula Avalonia._ ("Here lies entombed the renowned King Arthur
King Arthur
in the island of Avalon").

Accounts of the exact inscription vary, with five different versions existing. The earliest is by Gerald in "_Liber de Principis instructione_" c. 1193, who wrote that he viewed the cross in person and traced the lettering. His transcript reads: "Here lies buried the famous King Arthur
King Arthur
("Arthurus") with Guinevere ("Wenneveria") his second wife in the isle of Avalon". Inside the coffin were two bodies, who Giraldus refers to as Arthur and "his queen "; the bones of the male body were described as being gigantic. The account of the burial by the chronicle of Margam Abbey says three bodies were found, the other being of Mordred . In 1278, the remains were reburied with great ceremony, attended by King Edward I and his queen, before the High Altar at Glastonbury
Glastonbury
Abbey, where they were the focus of pilgrimages until the Reformation .

The story is today seen as an example of pseudoarchaeology . Historians today generally dismiss the authenticity of the find, attributing it to a publicity stunt performed to raise funds to repair the Abbey, which was mostly burned in 1184. Long before this William of Malmesbury , a historian interested in Arthur, said in his history of England "But Arthur’s grave is nowhere seen, whence antiquity of fables still claims that he will return." As William wrote a comprehensive history of Glastonbury
Glastonbury
_De antiquitae Glatoniensis ecclesie_ around 1130 which discussed many pious legends connected to the Abbey, but made no mention of either Arthur's grave or a connection of Glastonbury
Glastonbury
to the name Avalon, stating firmly it was previously known as _Ineswitrin_, this raises further suspicions concerning the burial. It is known for certain the monks later added forged passages to William's history discussing Arthurian connections. The fact that the search for the body is connected to Henry II and Edward I, both kings who fought major Welsh wars, has had scholars suggest that propaganda may have played a part as well. Gerald, a constant supporter of royal authority, in his account of the discovery clearly aims to destroy the idea of the possibility of King's Arthur's messianic return: "Many tales are told and many legends have been invented about King Arthur
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 fairy-tales have been snuffed out, and the true and indubitable facts are made known, so that what really happened must be made crystal clear to all and separated from the myths which have accumulated on the subject."

The burial discovery ensured that in later romances, histories based on them and in the popular imagination Glastonbury
Glastonbury
became increasingly identified with Avalon, an identification that continues strongly today. The later development of the legends of the Holy Grail and Joseph of Arimathea by Robert de Boron interconnected these legends with Glastonbury
Glastonbury
and with Avalon, an identification which also seems to be made in Perlesvaus . The popularity of Arthurian Romance has meant this area of the Somerset Levels
Somerset Levels
has today become popularly described as THE VALE OF AVALON. In more recent times writers such as Dion Fortune , John Michell , Nicholas Mann and Geoffrey Ashe have formed theories based on perceived connections between Glastonbury
Glastonbury
and Celtic legends of the otherworld and Annwn in attempts to link the location firmly with Avalon, drawing on the various legends based on Glastonbury
Glastonbury
Tor as well as drawing on ideas like Earth mysteries , Ley lines and even the myth of Atlantis
Atlantis
. Arthurian literature also continues to use Glastonbury
Glastonbury
as an important location as in _The Mists of Avalon
Avalon
_, _A Glastonbury
Glastonbury
Romance _ and _ The Bones of Avalon _. Even the fact that Somerset
Somerset
has many apple orchards has been drawn in to support the connection. Glastonbury's connection to Avalon
Avalon
continues to make it a site of tourism and the area has great religious significance for Neopagans , Neo-druids and as a New Age community , as well as Christians. Hippy identification of Glastonbury
Glastonbury
with Avalon seen in the work of Michell and in Gandalf\'s Garden also helped inspire the Glastonbury
Glastonbury
Festival .

OTHER LOCATIONS FOR AVALON

In medieval times suggestions for the location of Avalon
Avalon
ranged far beyond Glastonbury. They included on the other side of the Earth at the antipodes , Sicily
Sicily
, and other unnamed locations in the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
.

In more recent times, just like in the quest for Arthur's mythical capital Camelot
Camelot
, a large number of locations have been put forward as being the real "Avalon". Geoffrey Ashe suggests an association of Avalon
Avalon
with the town of Avallon in Burgundy
Burgundy
, as part of a theory connecting King Arthur
King Arthur
to the Romano-British leader Riothamus who campaigned in that area.

SEE ALSO

* Mythology portal

* Annwn - the Welsh otherworld * Agharta * Atlantis
Atlantis
* Baltia * Brittia * Hyperborea * Lady of the Lake * Shambhala
Shambhala
* Shangri-La
Shangri-La
* Thule
Thule
* Tír na nÓg

REFERENCES

Citations

* ^ Matasović, Ranko, Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic, Brill, 2008, p. 23 * ^ _A_ _B_ Koch, John. Celtic Culture:a historical encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO 2006, p. 146. * ^ Savage, John J. H. "Insula Avallonia", Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 73, (1942), pp. 405–415. * ^ Nitze, William Albert, Jenkins, Thomas Atkinson. Le Haut Livre du Graal, Phaeton Press, 1972, p. 55. * ^ Zimmer, Heinrich. Bretonische Elemente in der Artursage des Gottfried von Monmouth, Zeitschrift für französische Sprache und Literatur, Volume 12, 1890, pp. 246–248. * ^ Marstrander, Carl Johan Sverdrup (ed.), Dictionary of the Irish Language, Royal Irish Academy, 1976, letter A, column 11, line 026. * ^ Hamp, Eric P. The north European word for ‘apple’, Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie, 37, 1979, pp. 158–166. * ^ Adams, Douglas Q. The Indo-European Word for 'apple' Again. Indogermanische Forschungen, 90, 1985, pp. 79–82. * ^ Berthelot, Anne, “Apprivoiser la merveille”, in: Mélanges en l’honneur de Francis Dubost, Paris: Champion, 2005, pp. 49–66. * ^ " Vita Merlini Index". _sacred-texts.com_. Retrieved 1 April 2016. * ^ Barney, S., Lewis, W.J., Beach, J.A., Berghof, O (eds.), The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville, Cambridge University Press, 2006, p. 294. * ^ Tilley, Arthur Augustus, Medieval France: A Companion to French Studies, Cambridge University Press, 2010, p. 176 * ^ Sobecki, Sebastian I., The Sea and Medieval English Literature, DS Brewer, 2008, p. 81. * ^ O'Callaghan, J., Kagay, D., Vann, T. (eds), On the Social Origins of Medieval Institutions: Essays in Honor of Joseph F. O'Callaghan, BRILL, 1998, p. 61. * ^ McClure, Julia, The Franciscan Invention of the New World, Springer, Nov 30, 2016, p. 66. * ^ "Two Accounts of the Exhumation of Arthur\'s Body: Gerald of Wales". _britannia.com_. Retrieved 1 April 2016. * ^ Allcroft, Arthur Hadrian (1908), _Earthwork of England: Prehistoric, Roman, Saxon, Danish, Norman and Mediæval_, Nabu Press, pp. 69–70, ISBN 978-1-178-13643-2 , retrieved 12 April 2011 * ^ Carley, James P. (2001), _ Glastonbury
Glastonbury
Abbey and the Arthurian tradition_, D.S. Brewer, p. 316, ISBN 978-0-85991-572-4 * ^ Modern scholarship views the Glastonbury
Glastonbury
cross as the result of a probably late 12th-century fraud. See Rahtz 1993 and Carey 1999 . * ^ O. J. Padel , "The Nature of Arthur" in _Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies_ 27 (1994), pp. 1–31 at p.10 * ^ Glastonbury
Glastonbury
in Norris J. Lacy, Editor, The Arthurian Encyclopedia (1986 Peter Bedrick Books, New York). * ^ Rahtz 1993 * ^ "Two Accounts of the Exhumation of Arthur\'s Body: Gerald of Wales". _britannia.com_. Retrieved 1 April 2016. * ^ John Ezard. "Treadmill in the Vale of Avalon". _the Guardian_. Retrieved 1 April 2016. * ^ "Glastonbury: Alternative Histories", in Ronald Hutton, Witches, Druids and King Arthur * ^ Avalon
Avalon
in Norris J. Lacy, Editor, The Arthurian Encyclopedia (1986 Peter Bedrick Books, New York). * ^ Geoffrey Ashe (1985), _The Discovery of King Arthur_, London: Guild Publishing, pp. 95–96, (p95) In Welsh it is _Ynys Avallach_. Geoffrey's Latin equivalent is _Insula Avallonis_. It has been influenced by the spelling of a real place called Avallon. Avallon is a Gaulish name with the same meaning, and the real Avalon
Avalon
is in Burgundy—where Arthur's Gallic career ends. Again, we glimpse an earlier and different passing of Arthur, on the Continent and not in Britain. (p. 96) Riothamus too led an army of Britons into Gaul, and was the only British King who did. He too advanced to the neighbourhood of Burgundy. He too was betrayed by a deputy ruler who treated with barbarian enemies. He, too, is last located in Gaul among the pro-Roman Burgundians. He, too, disappears after a fatal battle, without any recorded death. The line of his retreat, prolonged on a map, shows that he was going in the direction of the real Avalon. (p. 96)

Bibliography

_ Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica_ article _AVALON _.

* Rahtz, Philip (1993), _English Heritage Book of Glastonbury_, London: Batsford, ISBN 978-0-7134-6865-6 . * Carey, John (1999), "The Finding of Arthur’s Grave: A Story from Clonmacnoise?", in Carey, John; Koch, John T.; Lambert, Pierre-Yves, _Ildánach Ildírech. A Festschrift for Proinsias Mac Cana_, Andover: Celtic Studies Publications, pp. 1–14, ISBN 978-1-891271-01-4 .

* v * t * e

King Arthur
King Arthur
and the Matter of Britain

KEY PEOPLE

* King Arthur
King Arthur
* Constantine * Sir Ector * Gawain
Gawain
* Gorlois * Queen Guinevere * Igraine
Igraine
* Iseult
Iseult
* Lady of the Lake * Lancelot * King Lot * King Mark * Merlin
Merlin
* Mordred * Morgan le Fay * Morgause * Percival
Percival
* Tristan
Tristan
* Uther Pendragon

Knights of the Round Table

* Aglovale * Agravain * Bagdemagus * Bedivere * Bors * Breunor (La Cote Mal Taillée) * Calogrenant * Caradoc
Caradoc
* Dagonet * Dinadan * Elyan the White * Erec * Gaheris * Galahad
Galahad
* Gareth
Gareth
* Geraint
Geraint
* Griflet * Hector de Maris * Hoel * Kay * Lamorak * Leodegrance * Lionel * Lucan * Maleagant * Morholt * Palamedes * Pelleas * Pellinore * Safir * Sagramore * Segwarides * Tor * Urien
Urien
* Ywain
Ywain
* Ywain
Ywain
the Bastard

OTHER CHARACTERS

* Sir Balin * Sir Balan * King Ban * Claudas * Culhwch
Culhwch
* Dindrane * Elaine of Astolat * Elaine of Corbenic * Fisher King * Galehaut * Hellawes * Black Knight * Green Knight * Red Knight * Lohengrin * Emperor Lucius * Olwen * Questing Beast
Questing Beast
* Rience * Tom Thumb

OBJECTS

* Excalibur
Excalibur
* Holy Grail * Round Table * Siege Perilous

PLACES

* Astolat * Avalon * Brocéliande (Paimpont ) * Caerleon
Caerleon
* Camelot
Camelot
* Celliwig * Corbenic * Glastonbury
Glastonbury
* Logres * Lyonesse * Sarras * Tintagel
Tintagel

IN MEDIA

* Books * Films * Various media

TOPICS

* Battle of Badon * Battle of Camlann * Dolorous Stroke * King Arthur\'s family * Historicity of King Arthur
King Arthur
* King Arthur\'s messianic return

* v * t * e

Geoffrey of Monmouth

WORKS

* _ Prophetiae Merlini _ (c. 1135) * _ Historia Regum Britanniae _ (c. 1136) * _ Vita Merlini _ (c. 1150)

TRANSLATIONS

* _ Roman de Brut _ * Layamon\'s _Brut_ * _ Brut y Brenhinedd _

CHARACTERS

* Aeneas
Aeneas
* Saint Alban * Albanactus * Alhfrith of Deira * Allectus * Ambrosius Aurelianus * Amphibalus * Andragius * Archgallo * Archmail * King Arthur
King Arthur
* Arvirargus * Ascanius * Augustine of Canterbury * Aurelius Conanus * Bedivere * Beldgabred * Beli Mawr * Belinus * Bladud
Bladud
* Bledric ap Custennin * Bledudo * Brennius * Brutus Greenshield * Brutus of Troy * Budic II of Brittany * Cadfan ap Iago * Cadoc * Cador * Cadwaladr * Cadwallon ap Cadfan * Camber (legendary king) * Cap of Britain * Capetus Silvius * Capoir * Caracalla
Caracalla
* Caradocus * Carausius
Carausius
* Cassivellaunus * Catellus * Catigern * Cherin * Claudius
Claudius
* Cledaucus * Clotenus * Coel Hen * Coilus * Conan Meriadoc * Constans II (usurper) * Constantine the Great * Constantine III (Western Roman Emperor) * Constantine (Briton) * Constantius Chlorus * Cordelia of Britain * Corineus * Cunedagius * Cunobeline * Danius * Saint David
Saint David
* Digueillus * Diocletian * Dionotus * Dunvallo Molmutius * Ebraucus * Edadus * Edern ap Nudd * Edwin of Northumbria * Eldol * Eldol, Consul of Gloucester * Elidurus * Eliud * Enniaunus * Estrildis * Eudaf Hen * Ferrex * Fulgenius * Gawain
Gawain
* Gerennus * Goffar the Pict * Gogmagog (folklore) * Goneril * Gorboduc * Gorbonianus * Gorlois * Gracianus Municeps * Guiderius * Guinevere * Guithelin * Gurgintius * Gurguit Barbtruc * Gurgustius * Gwenddoleu ap Ceidio * Queen Gwendolen * Helena (empress) * Helenus * Hengist and Horsa * Hoel * Humber the Hun * Iago ap Beli * Idvallo * Igraine
Igraine
* Ingenius of Britain * Jago of Britain * Julius and Aaron * Julius Asclepiodotus * Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
* Sir Kay * Keredic * Kimarcus * Kinarius * Latinus * Lavinia * Leil * Leir of Britain * Locrinus * King Lot * Lucius of Britain * Lucius Tiberius * Lud son of Heli * Maddan * Maelgwn Gwynedd
Maelgwn Gwynedd
* Magnus Maximus * Mandubracius * Queen Marcia * Marganus * Marganus II * Marius of Britain * Mempricius * Merianus * Merlin
Merlin
* Millus * Mordred * Morgause * Morvidus * Myrddin Wyllt * Nennius of Britain * Octa of Kent * Oenus * Oswald of Northumbria * Oswiu of Northumbria * Owain mab Urien
Urien
* Penda of Mercia * Peredur * Peredurus * Pir of the Britons * Porrex I * Porrex II * Publius Septimius Geta * Quintus Laberius Durus * Redechius * Redon of Britain * Regan (King Lear)
Regan (King Lear)
* Rhydderch Hael * Rience * Rivallo * Rud Hud Hudibras * Runo * Sawyl Penuchel * Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus
* Silvius (mythology) * Sisillius I * Sisillius II * Sisillius III * Son of Gorbonianus * Taliesin
Taliesin
* Tasciovanus * Trahern * Turnus * Urianus * Uther Pendragon * Venissa * Vespasian
Vespasian
* Vortigern
Vortigern
* Vortimer * Vortiporius * Wulfhere of Mercia * Ywain
Ywain
* Æthelberht of Kent * Æthelfrith of Northumbria
Æthelfrith of Northumbria
* Œthelwald of Deira

TOPICS

* Avalon * Battle of Arfderydd * Battle of Badon * Battle of Camlann * Battle of Guoloph * _ Brut y Tywysogion _ * Crocea Mors * Excalibur
Excalibur
* Lailoken * List of legendary kings of Britain * List of legendary rulers of Cornwall
Cornwall
* Logres * Matter of Britain * Molmutine Laws * Nennius * Riothamus * River Malvam * Siege of Exeter (c. 630) * Locations associated with Arthurian legend * Treachery of the Long Knives * Trinovantum * Trojan genealogy of Nennius * Walter of Oxford

* WIKIQUOTE * WIKISOURCE TEXTS

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