Appendix 15
Henry Blois is making an implication that Thanet is near to the implied
Island of Alaron or Avalon. He wishes his audience to conflate the two
stating ’Close to this island lies Thanet’. I think considering Henry Blois
objective throughout, which is to construe the Island of Avalon as being
located at Glastonbury, we should understand his mind…. for this on the
surface just seems an ill-informed statement Near to this island lies
Thanet’. Henry Blois knows perfectly well where Thanet is, so why would
he state contrary to Isedore that Thanet is near Alaron? Henry Blois, as we
have seen, is the master of conflation.
His intention is clearly that; from Badon we are to assume Alaron as
commensurate. There are only three traditions or accounts concerning
Joseph of Arimathea which are not from later Glastonbury propaganda. The
first is that Melkin’s prophecy states that Joseph is buried on the Island of
Avalon and gives accurate directions to his burial site, a remarkable
achievement for a man that never existed. The second is that Father Good
makes the statement that Joseph is ‘carefully hidden in Montacute’. Thirdly,
Joseph of Arimathea is held by Cornish tradition to be a tin merchant.
Although we can see that Henry Blois has taken a section from Isidore,
the names of Isidore’s first three Islands, Thanet, the Orkneys and Ultima
Thule, come from a Journal of a voyage made by Pytheas. The island of Ictis
as described by Diodorus from the lost works of Pytheas was an Island to
which tin was transported in large quantities by cart across a tidal sand
spit. By coincidence the island which Melkin’s directions lead to in his
prophecy concerning the Island of Avalon, fits Diodorus’ description as that
which accords with Ictis.
Another coincidence is this same island would also seem to be that
donated by a Devonian King to Glastonbury in 601AD called Ines Witrin
recorded in a charter by William of Malmesbury. Does it not seems strange
that Henry Blois (who we know is the inventor of Avalon) invents Alaron as
a name which links back to Badon and Arthur and implies it is next to
Thanet, given the Pytheas connection.
Henry Blois writing as Geoffrey of Monmouth had no idea where the
Island of Ineswitrin is. Therefore, it became his design to locate it at
Glastonbury, both on account of it being Arthur’s last known location and
the fact that Joseph of Arimathea was buried there (since the substitution of
Ineswitrin for Avalon was made on the Melkin prohecy. Henry attempting
to substantiate his own island invention and its position relative to a known
location? It indicates he does not know the location of Ineswitrin, but, he
knows the location is real, just as he knows the 601 charter is real.
Henry Blois’ motive for writing the section on islands in VM is how he
first associated Glasonbury with Avalon by calling it Insula Pomorum. It is
clear how he manipulates the original text to suit that goal. He leaps from
Bladud and his association to Badon to Alaron and from there to Insula
Pomorum where wounded Arthur was taken. Henry Blois keen to have us
believe Thanet is near Alaron. The reason why Henry should make the
association of Thanet to Alaron; and the reason we should be suspicious of
it being connected to Pytheas’ Island of Ictis, is due to what follows
immediately after the mention of Thanet in the VM:Our ocean also divides
the Orkneys from us. These are divided into thirty three islands by the
sundering flood; twenty lack cultivation and the others are cultivated. Thule
receives its name “furthest” from the sun, because of the solstice which the
summer sun makes there, turning its rays and shining no further, and taking
away the day, so that always throughout the long night the air is full of
shadows, and making a bridge congealed by the benumbing cold, which
prevents the passage of ships.
In Pytheas book, the contents of which Diodorus relates (because
Pytheas book is no longer extant), Pytheas was the first to mention the
Orkneys, Thule, and pack ice. Certainly, Isidore sourced his information
from Pytheas which came through Diodorus or some previous
commentator on Pytheas.
Isidore writes: Thanet is an island in the Ocean in the Gallic (i.e. English)
channel, separated from Britannia by a narrow estuary, with fruitful fields
and rich soil. It is named Thanet (Tanatos) from the death of serpents.
Although the island itself is unacquainted with serpents, if soil from it is
carried away and brought to any other nation, it kills snakes there. Ultima
Thule (Thyle ultima) is an island of the Ocean in the north western region,
beyond Britannia, taking its name from the sun, because there the sun makes
its summer solstice, and there is no daylight beyond (ultra) this. Hence its sea
is sluggish and frozen. The Orkneys (Orcades) are islands of the Ocean within
Britannia, numbering thirty-three, of which twenty are uninhabited and
thirteen colonized. Ireland (Scotia), also known as Hibernia, is an island next
to Britannia, narrower in its expanse of land but more fertile in its site. It
extends from southwest to north. Its near parts stretch towards Iberia
(Hiberia) and the Cantabrian Ocean (i.e. the Bay of Biscay), whence it is called
Hibernia; but it is called Scotia, because it has been colonized by tribes of the
Scoti. There no snakes are found, birds are scarce, and there are no bees, so
that if someone were to sprinkle dust or pebbles brought from there among
beehives in some other place, the swarms would desert the honeycombs.
It is I believe Thanet’s association with Ictis which has attracted Henry’s
attention as Henry thought it was an island from which tin was traded.
Henry may have been aware of the tradition of Joseph of Arimathea as a tin
Merchant as he had taken possession of Looe Island in 1144 in his hunt for
the relics of Joseph of Arimathea. The fact that Joseph of Arimathea was
buried on an Island called Ineswitrin in the original Melkin prophecy, is the
reason Arthur ended up on the mystical island of Avalon and is the reason
for Henry’s seemingly random tract on the various Islands.
Although Thanet is mentioned by Isedore of Seville, Henry
Blois’personal injection is adiacet huic- it lies near here, near Alaron, which
shows he is leading us to some other motive other than just a rework of
Isedore. It is not as if Henry Blois does not know where Thanet is located
geographically which is certainly not near Kaerbadon. It is for this reason
he is keen on splicing in his hidden agenda which appears to beTaliesin
sounding forth with Island Mythology. Henry’s main objective is to conflate
Avalon with Glastonbury and he achieves this by conflation with other
island legends of the Fortunate isles. He changes Isidore's order, of islands
reversing the positions of Thule and the Orkneys and he exposes his devise
as he also reverses the order of the "Gorgades" and the Fortunate Isles. He
has now renamed the Island where Arthur was taken in the HRB called the
Island of Avalon and has led his audience to believe Insula Pomorum as the
same. He conflates an older island legend of the Fortunate Isles with
Glastonbury Tor.
Also by splicing in the fact that Merlin’s madness also stems from apples
he completes the illusory transposition of Avalon to Insula Pomorum.
Taliesin supposedly saying he went with Barinthus to Insula Pomorum with
Arthur leaves no doubt that the Avalon of the HRB needed to be relocated at
Glastonbury. Henry the master of conflation helps us on our way to
Glastonbury with the names of the sisters Glitonea, Gliten, Giton.