The Castle of Maidens

Edinburgh Castle is so old that its founding is shrouded in myths and legends. Some of these are Arthurian, although the site of the castle has apparently been defended since at least the Bronze Age.

Morgan Le Fay
Some historians claim that the first name of Castle Rock was Alauna, meaning “rock place”, found in the Ptolemy’s map of the 2nd century.

Since 1350, there have been many stories and legends about Castle Rock and Edinburgh Castle. There is a source in the Orygynale Cronykil by Andrew of Wyntoun, that the previous name of Edinburgh Castle was “Maiden’s Castle”, which was found by a legendary King of the Britons, Ebraucus. This name occurs frequently up until the 16th century.

In the 17th century, it was believed that the “maidens” were a group of nuns who were replaced with clerics after they’d been ejected from the castle, but this story has been ignored by historians since the 19th century. Other historians connect the name with the Arthurian legend “Cult of the Nine Maidens”, in which it is said that the site once held a shrine to one of the nine sisters, the powerful enchantress Morgain la Fee.

There is one general reference for Castle Rock and it goes back to the early Middle Ages. The reference was found in the epic Welsh poem I Gododdin where Castle Rock is called “the stronghold of Eidyn”. It consists of a series of elegies about the King Mynyddog Mwynfawr of the Brittonic kingdom of Gododdin and his warriors who died in a battle at Catraeth in 600 AD.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not surprising. One of my personal hobbies is finding castles or old fortifications in Germany and Austria and playing "what else was there?" I can guess right about 7/10 of the time, just by looking at the surrounding landscape and having a general knowledge of the regional archaeology. "Location, location, location."


PS. The German philosopher's book on immigration is no longer available for sale to the US. I'm still trying to find a source, since ILL is not turning up anything either.