.......................................All Aboard for Avallon......................
Not so Fantasy Island
Page Under Construction- Will deal with the increasingly likely possibility that King Arthur was in fact the great warlord Riothamus who died in Avallon in Burgundy at the time Arthur is said to have passed away. If this proves to be true, it would mean 'Arthur' is the promethian figure of both English and Flemish history. His death would then mark the end of the Celtic Era and the beginning of the Middle (Latin) Ages for both countries. This would also mean that for the last 1000 years English speakers, like Flemings, have been dreaming of returning to Burgundy.
Riothamus aka Arthur?- N.C. Wyeth
The once and NOT future king- Glastonbury
Modern scholars who think there is a good possibility the Arthurian legends are largely based on Riothamus include Geoffrey Ashe, Leon Fleuriot, and Marilyn Floyde.
Wherever Avalon is, modern scholars unanimously agree it isn't Glastonbury. Glastonbury was arbitrarily chosen by a medieval king needing to quell rumors Arthur was still alive, and by an abbot needing pilgrims to help repair his devastated monastery.
One of the reasons for the link between Arthur and Riothamus is that there is a growing consensus that 'Arthur' was just a nickname for an English king, and that the name means 'Bear' or 'Bear King'.
However, at the time of Arthur's reign, ie. 500-900 B.C., bears in England were near extinction, if not already extinct. It is unlikely that the average Englander would have ever seen one.
So why give a hero the name of an extinct animal? Perhaps because the hero came from the 'place of Bears', ie. the continent of Europe. (This is just a hypothesis and isn't supported by any scholarly papers.)
The "Real" Avallon, Aballo, Avalon in Burgundy
Ile de Avallon- 'Island of Avalon'
Another reason the 'Bear' nickname fits is that the reigns of both Riothamus and Arthur marked a transistion from the Celtic area to the Medieval era. Arthur was mortally wounded by his son, ie. who can be considered to represent the Anglo-Saxons. The death of Riothamus marks the final death blow to Celtic culture by the Romans.
Although Avallon is in the middle of Burgundy, it could well have been called an "Island' in the early Middle Ages. In France, areas bounded by rivers are called "Islands". Paris, with its suburbs, is called "Ile de France, the 'Island of France", because it is surrounded by three rivers.