17 March 2014

Sword at Sunset: Dan Lentell of Edinburgh 49 reviews the play


Dan Lentell obviously went to see the play on the same evening we went (26th  February).

' ... Sword at Sunset, based on the best-selling 1963 novel by Rosemary Sutcliff, chronicles the career of Artos from his service as a cavalry commander under his uncle, the British high king Ambrosius, through to his donning of the imperial purple as a later-day Caesar. Incorporating Artos’ seduction by his vengeful half-sister Ygerna; his strategic marriage to Guenhumara; his friendships; his battles; successes and failures, James Beagon’s adaptation would be a very tall order for any company ...'

Now read on.

1 comment:

Zoe Porphyrogenita said...

This may be of interest.

As often noted, Arthur's name contains a word element meaning "bear".

Quoting from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcturus:

Arcturus, Alpha Boötis, the brightest star in the northern celestial hemisphere. Ptolemy called it "subrufa", meaning "slightly red".

Its name derives from Greek: Αρκτοῦρος (Arktouros) and means "Guardian of the Bear", ultimately from ἄρκτος (arktos), "bear" + οὖρος (ouros), "watcher, guardian".

Now, what's really interesting historically is that the commander of the Breton force (5000 strong) that came over with William the Conqueror was Alan Rufus. He was William's chief bodyguard. William's name is derived as: wil = "will or desire"; helm; Old English helm "helmet, protection". So William wanted protection, and Alan provided it.

Alan was buried at the shrine of St Edmund in Bury, Suffolk. His epitaph called him "the flower of the Kings of Britain". His Breton name is Alan ar-Rouz (as in red rose). The epitaph also described him as "rutilans" (radiant golden-red).

Rutilia of the roman family Rutilius Rufus was the mother of Aurelia of the family Aurelia Cotta, who was the mother of the dictator Gaius Julius Caesar.

Ambrosius Aurelianus can also legitimately be called Aurelius Ambrosius, as among the Aurelii, surname and given name can be exchanged: we have learnt this from the inscriptions in the Hypogeum of the Aurelii in Rome.

In summary, whereas Arthur was "slightly red", Alan was "radiant". Alan's efforts (which merit serious study) were the culmination of the hopes of his 5th and 6th century British predecessors.

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