Skip to comments.Tale Of (King) Arthur Points To Comet Catastrophe
Posted on 04/21/2006 4:39:40 PM PDT by blam
TALE OF ARTHUR POINTS TO COMET CATASTROPHE
From The Times, 9 September 2000
BY NICK NUTTALL
Arthur: myth links him to fire from the sky
THE story of the death of King Arthur and its references to a wasteland may have been inspired by the apocalyptic effects of a giant comet bombarding the Earth in AD540, leading to the Dark Ages, a British scientist said yesterday.
The impacts filled the atmosphere with dust and debris; a long winter began. Crops failed, and there was famine, Dr Mike Baillie of Queen's University, Belfast, told the British Association for the Advancement of Science. There was now overwhelming evidence from studies of tree rings of a catastrophic climate change at that time, he said.
Dr Baillie, who is based at the university's school of archaeology and palaeoecology, said studies of Irish oaks showed that the climate suddenly became inhospitable around AD540. Other researchers had discovered the same narrow rings on trees in places such as Germany, Scandinavia, Siberia, North America and China. "For all these trees to show the same rings at the same time means it must have been a profoundly unpleasant event, a catastrophic environmental downturn, in AD540, which is in or at the beginning of the Dark Ages."
The tightly bound rings are consistent with fierce frosts that would have devastated agriculture and made a malnourished population more vulnerable to the plague of 542, which killed millions. Plague-carrying rats and pests would have been looking for sustenance, thus hastening the spread of the disease.
Dr Baillie said that there were several theories as to the explanation. One was that a vast volcano had erupted and pumped huge amounts of dust into the atmosphere. Yet such a volcano "would have been out of all proportion to ones we see in recent times", he said, adding that the geological records bore no trace of it.
The other theory, he said,was that huge fragments from a giant comet had hit the Earth, causing violent explosions and a dramatic cooling of the planet. "My view is that we had a cometary bombardment - not a full-blown comet, or we would not be here, but parts of a comet."
Dr Baillie said the hypothesis was supported by studies by astronomers and astrophysicists including Mark Bailey, of the Armagh Observatory, Victor Clube, of Oxford University, and Bill Napier, formerly of the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh. They had calculated that there was a strong likelihood that the Earth suffered a cometary bombardment between 400 and 600, based on records of high meteor shower activity. They had linked it with the break-up of the comet Biela.
It was hoped that scientists in Greenland would analyse ice cores for signs of cometary dust. They were soon to carry out chemical analysis for tree rings for similar clues.
Dr Baillie urged historians to examine the records for writings that may record the events. "You can read about the Justinian plague in conventional history books but you cannot read about the cometary bombardment. The trees single out an episode which can be best described as catastrophic, and it isn't there in written history."
There was, however, some support buried in mythological writings and other works. Roger of Wendover had referred in 540 or 541 to a "comet in Gaul so vast that the whole sky seemed on fire. In the same year there dropped real blood from the clouds . . . and a dreadful mortality ensued".
Dr Baillie also cited the death of King Arthur, which is dated to 537, 539 and 542 in various works, as establishing possible links with fire from the sky and destruction. Dr Baillie said that Arthur was linked in old Irish with CuChulainn, the sky god, who in turn was linked with the Celtic bright sky god Lugh variously described as "bright as the setting sun, comes up in the west, and of the mighty blows".
"The Arthurian stories with their Celtic antecedents of bright sky gods and 'wasteland' come with traditional dates for Arthur's death."
Dr Baillie said that the myths hinted strongly at a bombardment as the causes of an environmental downturn.
Copyright 2000, The Times Newspapers Ltd.
bump for later read.
The hit song of 540 was "The knights around the table go round and round."
It's hard to talk about King Arthur because it's hard to seperate the legend from the fact. Apparently, there was a King Arthur in real life.
Last I heard, Arthur was fictional. Perhaps he went up to ride the comet's tail.
Now, over that, the close approach of a comet would pretty well explain why the death rate in France was much higher than in Italy, Spain or Brittain.
Hmmmm. Or else the French couldn't find enough white flags fast enough.
Things change. People move in. German tribes wander about. All sorts of stuff.
Arthur.....the original Applewhite?
Blam, is there any actual written record to back up what the tree rings seem to indicate?
We dine well here in Camelot
We eat ham and jam and Spam a lot
We're Knights of the Round Table
Our shows are formidable
But many times we're given rhymes
That are quite unsingable
We're opera-mad in Camelot
We sing from the diaphragm a lo-o-o-o-t
In war we're tough and able
Between our quests, we sequin vests
And impersonate Clark Gable
It's a busy life in Camelot I have to push the pram a lot
i have seen 2 or 3 references to bizarre weather, including the one quoted in the article. Obviously the problem is that there isn't much of anything written from western europe surviving in this time frame, AFAIK. If the contemporary reference quoted in the article is authentic or believed to be authentic, it is certainly a rather chilling description. Not without reason are comets considered an evil omen in ancient culture - the description of a sword or star huge in the sky is something that would have been passed down for millenium in some convoluted form, I would think.
I wonder if the hypothetical comet would have been like the siberian comet 100 yrs ago or an ocean impact (tidal waves, none recorded?). The lack of any crater from such a recent event is notable.
The article leaves open the issue of the greenland cores being drilled and examined for this, but surely some greenland cores dating this far back have already been drilled.
If anyone did, I would suspect it would be the Chinese.
I don't understand the question. Ask it another way.
"Dr Baillie said that there were several theories as to the explanation. One was that a vast volcano had erupted and pumped huge amounts of dust into the atmosphere. Yet such a volcano "would have been out of all proportion to ones we see in recent times", he said, adding that the geological records bore no trace of it."
The book Krakatoa by Simon Winchestor does suggest that this event was an eruption of the same volcano. I don't remember all the details but he was pretty convincing. I really recommend the book btw.
Nice double entendré...
Some say the whole thing with Merlin was about the comet.
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