by Frontier Publishing
& Adventures Unlimited Press.
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ancient settlements of Traprain Law, Eildon Hill North, Yeavering
Bell and in later years Edinburgh’s Castle Rock are testimony
to an Iron Age society that combined religious and social order
with kingship – in Edinburgh’s case surviving into
Despite the absence of written records, the story of the Celtic
tribe known as the Gododdin and their immediate ancestors is echoed
in the folklore and rituals that continued into the 19th century,
whereby worship of the solar deity Lug (or Lleu) was remembered
in huge bonfires lit on these ancient hill-tops. To conform to
Christianity, it was moulded to fit the life of St Kentigern,
a native of Traprain Law, a descendant of Lot, the king who gave
his name to the Lothians.
of the Gods brings to life a hidden dimension of the history and
the landscape of a region which bartered its uniqueness with the
Romans (and was thus officially not “conquered” by
the Romans), a land that holds a unique “mound of creation”,
on which it was believed that the Gods – and particularly
the sun god – had descended. The Gododdin incorporated the
enigmatically shaped hills of the region into their mythology
and thus brought the landscape to life, in which hills became
temples, accentuated by megalithic monuments, marking key dates
in the religious calendar.
part of the landscape would open the key to discover Arthur’s
Camelot. The Gododdin had realised that a 90-degree triangle was
formed by linking their three main sites: Traprain Law, the Eildon
Hills and Yeavering Bell. The Gododdin worshipped this “sacred
aspect” of the landscape and made it to form the boundary
of their territory – remains of which are still visible
in the course of the A1, originally a Roman road, whose path remains
just outside this border.
The three locations were pivotal sites in the battles of “King
Arthur”. As such, he is able to show that “Camelot”,
the magical kingdom of Arthur, is none other than the area of
the Gododdin, a land that was overrun at the same time as the
“mythical” Arthur lost his kingdom. The twelve battles
of Arthur all occurred around this sacred territory.
of the Gods looks towards the forgotten history of the Lothians
and the Borders, most of which can still be seen, but the importance
of which was lost.
records of this ancient tribe being almost nonexistent, it was
quite a task for Coppens to piece together their history, social
mores and beliefs but he's done an admirable job. [...] This fascinating
overview, with a section of b&w photographs of landscape features,
is a reminder that having a 'sense of place' is intrinsic to having