The Future of History

Friday, 9 September 2011

Written in the Stars

In the book, I explain how Arthur got his name. 

Not to go into too much detail, it came from a Greek myth which happened to replicate the circumstances in which he was conceived.  In the myth, a 'Most Beautiful' priestess was seduced by naughty old Zeus and gave birth to a boy.  She was then turned into the likeness of a bear.  When the boy was old enough to go hunting, and came close to killing his bear-like mother without realising who she was, Zeus elevated them both up to the heavens.  The mother became Ursa Major, the Great Bear.  The boy became a nearby star, a red giant whose name meant 'Bear-Guardian'.

This myth inspired the name of Arthur (from the Welsh arth, meaning 'bear', and gwr, 'man' or 'husband') - the Bear-Guardian star having reached its zenith at the moment he was conceived.

I also explain in the book why Arthur's father was referred to in a poem, composed immediately after his death, as Gorlassar.  The name can be translated as 'Blue-flame', 'Bright-blue' or 'Super-blue'.

For the next few nights, a supernova will be visible over the constellation of Ursa Major.  In Britain, people with binoculars ought to be able to see it.  It looks like a pale blue disc.

Now, call me superstitious, but I find it a little exciting that a 'Super-blue' light will appear above the Great Bear on the weekend that I shall be finishing my ARTHUR revisions.  After all, Arthur's people paid a great deal of attention to astronomy.  His father's accession as king was heralded by a comet in the sky, and cosmological events allow us to work out the exact date and time of Arthur's burial.

So, forgive me if I feel a little light-headed.  After all, it's not often that your efforts are flagged up in the firmament.  I'll be looking at that blue light over the Bear tonight and saying a quiet thank you.

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