In the Arthurian legend, as well as in the historical record, Mount Badon (or Caer Baddon) is the location of Arthur’s last battle that pushed the Saxons back into England for a generation. All the literary sources, including Geoffrey of Monmouth, the last of the historical and first of the mythical, indicate its significance. This is what they have to say:
Nennius: “The twelfth battle was on Badon Hill and in it nine hundred and sixty men fell in one day, from a single charge of Arthur’s, and no one laid them low save he alone; and he was victorious in all his campaigns. ” Writing in 796 AD (Historia Britonum, Page 35)
Annales Cambriae: “The Battle of Badon, in which Arthur carried the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ for three days and three nights on his shoulders and the Britons were the victors.” (Welsh Annals), circa 796. Page 45.
Gildas: “From then on victory went now to our countrymen, now to their enemies: so that in this people the Lord could make trial (as he tends to) of his latter-day Israel to see whether it loves him or not. This lasted right up till the year of the siege of Badon Hill, pretty well the last defeat of the villains, and certainly not the least. That was the year of my birth; as I know, one month of the forty-fourth year since then has already passed.” Writing in 544. (De Excidio et Conquestu Britannie, Pages 27-28)
Bede: “Their leader at that time was a certain Ambrosius Aurelianus, a discreet man, who was, as it happened, the sole member of the Roman race who had survived this storm in which his parents, who bore a royal and famous name, had perished. Under his leadership the Britons regained their strength, challenged their victors to battle, and, with God’s help, won the day. From that time on, first the Britons won and then the enemy were victorious until the year of the siege of Mount Badon, when the Britons slaughtered no small number of their foes about forty-four years after their arrival in Britain.” Writing in 731 AD (Historia Ecclesiastica. Pages 54-55)
And Geoffrey of Monmouth, written in 1136 AD, an excerpt of which can be found here: http://www.lib.rochester.edu/CAMELOT/Badon/monmouth.htm
His version, we have to believe could be wholly inaccurate, if only because most of what else he wrote is a great story, but with little factual basis.
My next post will be on the location of Mt. Badon, which remains a mystery, although there are some interesting clues and possiblities, including a link to the an actual, Welsh site, Caer Faddon.