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The Legend of Bladud

Bladud was the legendary founder of Bath and the sacred temple of Aqua Sullis. He is mentioned in Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain and The Life of Merlin, written in the twelfth century. The source of the original legend is obscure.

Lud Hubibras (Bladud), was a British Prince in Celtic times. While at court the Prince contracted the dreaded Leprosy, and was banished and disowned by his father. Before he made his way out of the kingdom his mother took him aside and gave him a golden ring. This was to be the key to his return if he could ever cure himself of the disease.

Everywhere the Prince went he was shunned, he meeked a living as a swineherd until some of the herd also caught the disease. To hide this from his employer, he fled across the river Avon (at a place now called Swineford), and into the land where the city of Bath now stands.

He wandered the area until one day one of the pigs seemed to go crazy and rushed headlong into a black bog in the marshy ground. Bladud struggled to pull the pig from the bog and became covered in the foul smelling mud. When he had finally freed himself and the pig, he found that the pigs skin lesions had disappeared, and where the mud had touched his bare skin he was also cured. He immersed himself fully in the warm mud and became fully cured of the disease.

Finally Bladud returned to Court, where he was welcomed with open arms by his mother, who recognised the ring she had given him so many years before. Bladud ruled wisely as King for twenty years. He founded the city of Bath, and created the temple of Aqua Sullis dedicated to Minerva.

He was said to have been a man of great learning, he studied in Athens and brought much Greek wisdom into Britain. He was killed when a magical experiment went wrong; he built himself some wings, and was flying over New Troy when they gave way and he crashed to the ground.

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Re: The Legend of Bladud

These stories always fascinate me with their motifs of the lost king- a tribal leader who is expected to have great knowledge of the landscape-where the cattle should graze;where the springs of water are good not bad and how to contact the ancestors in I suppose shamanic style rituals. In short they have to be up to the mark and if they are not they are cast out, but only temporarily (the mother has faith and knows he will return. However they can only be recognised because they carry a physical symbol, in other words, they themselves have become so transformed by their learning and abilities, that only the ring identifies them. So he learnt how to cure his tribe of their afflictions(and indeed his own deficieces), by gaining knowledge in the wilderness.Well,that's my interpretation.



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