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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to GunnLeif Merl I 30VIII (Bret 98)

[All]: Cf. DGB 112 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 145.46-7, 48-9; cf. Wright 1988, 102, prophecy 3): et transmutacio primarum sedium fiet. Dignitas Lundoniae adornabit Doroberniam … Meneuia pallio Vrbis Legionum induetur ‘and archbishoprics will be displaced. London’s honour will adorn Canterbury … St David’s [sic] will wear the pallium of Caerleon’ (Reeve and Wright 2007, 144). London is described by Geoffrey as the seat of an archbishop in Romano-British times (DGB VI: Reeve and Wright 2007, 112-3; cf. Tatlock 1950, 264). The existence of a see of Caerleon and its pre-eminence in Britain before the arrival of the Saxons appear to be inventions on Geoffrey’s part (Tatlock 1950, 264-5, 266). Geoffrey recounts the death of David, archbishop of Caerleon, at Menevia (Welsh Mynyw), subsequently St Davids (Welsh Tyddewi) in DGB XI (Reeve and Wright 2007, 254-5). The prophecy appears to foreshadow the expression of Welsh aspirations to restore this see to the status of an archbishopric (cf. Tatlock 1950, 266, 415; Curley 1982, 220, 223; see II 16 Note to [All]). As noted in Bret 1848-9, two other locations mentioned in Geoffrey’s text, York and Ireland, are not represented in Merl, at least as extant.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Bret 1848-9 = Jón Sigurðsson. 1848-9. ‘Trójumanna saga ok Breta sögur, efter Hauksbók, med dansk Oversættelse’. ÅNOH 1848, 3-215; 1849, 3-145.
  3. Reeve, Michael D., and Neil Wright. 2007. Geoffrey of Monmouth. The History of the Kings of Britain. An Edition and Translation of De gestis Britonum [Historia regum Britanniae]. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  4. Tatlock, J. S. P. 1950. The Legendary History of Britain. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
  5. Wright, Neil, ed. 1988. The Historia Regum Britannie of Geoffrey of Monmouth. II. The First Variant Version: A Critical Edition. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer.
  6. Curley, Michael J. 1982. ‘A New Edition of John of Cornwall’s Prophetia Merlini’. Speculum, 217-49.


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