“Pleasant to me the sunshine as it glitters on these margins so”
Irish 9th cen. Gloss, a retrospective entry written on the margins of a manuscript. The monastic scriptorum is descripbed as being like a hive of bees, the monks recited the text as they wrote from memory like the buzzing of bees.
“I have heaped together all I have found”
Preface to the start of British history and historical writing by Nennius from his Historia Brittonum.
Being In Time
573 Bellum Armterid
573 the battle of Arfderydd (Arderydd, Erderit, Arderit). A terse entry from a Latin chronicle the Annales Cambriae. The entry is thought to be contemporary with the battle as it gives no further details. i.e. the event was within living memory.
A Further version of the text provides a retrospective gloss on the entry “between the sons of Elifer and Guendoleu son of Keidau in which battle Guendoleu fell and Merlin went Mad”
As A Seed To A Tree
Arderydd becomes the historical horizon of British history the point the British choose as its start.
That sense of time is further altered with the inclusion of Merlin we move from history into the realm of Legend. It also creates the possibility of a further distinct feature of medieval time keeping.
This is not the Merlin modern readers are familiar with but the Merlin of the Welsh. In his madness he flees to the woods and develops the power of prophecy. He will predict the future of Britain and its peoples. The whole of its history is already contained within it at its start.
Merlin like Nennius’s heap seems to act as a unifying principle. History becomes a thing, its later glosses and additions suggest a interest in questions surrounding the of the idea of being in history.