NIGHTBRINGER | The Arthurian Encyclopedia



Bath is a historic city in Somerset, England.

According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, it was founded by King Bladud in the tenth century BC. Geoffrey’s use of Bath as the scene of this decisive battle indicates that he believed Bath to be the location of Badon, the Romans called the city Caer-Badon.

In about 500 AD the Battle of Mons Badonicus may have been situated at Bath where the city was besieged, and King Arthur arrived in time to save the city and defeated the Anglo-Saxons, by killing their leaders Colgrim (Colgrin) and Baldulph (Baldulf). Later, Urbgennius served as the Earl of Bath.

Chrétien names this as one of King Bademagu’s court cities, which affects the geographical placement of the land of Gore. Nennius says that the “Battle of the River Bassas” was Arthur’s third battle against the Saxons, which probably is Bath.

In Arthurian legend, Bath is also sometimes associated with the site of Arthur’s coronation at the fictional city of Camelot.

Bath | 0 to the 9th century AD

Roman Period | 1st – 4th centuries
The Romans recognized the natural hot springs in the area and built a complex of baths and a temple dedicated to the goddess Sulis Minerva. The town, known as Aquae Sulis, became a popular spa destination during the Roman occupation of Britain. The Romans constructed the Great Bath, a significant architectural feature that is still visible today. The complex included changing rooms, a heated room (caldarium), and a cold plunge pool.

Post-Roman Period | 5th – 7th centuries
With the decline of Roman influence in Britain in the fifth century, Aquae Sulis experienced a period of decline. The Roman baths fell into disrepair as Roman infrastructure in Britain deteriorated.

Battle of Deorham | 577
The year 577 is associated with the Battle of Deorham, a significant conflict beetween the Anglo-Saxons and the native Britons in the region. The battle is described in the Annales Cambriae, a Welsh chronicle. The battle is said to have resulted in the capture of three important British strongholds: Gloucester, Cirencester, and Bath. The Anglo-Saxon forces, led by Ceawlin of Wessex, achieved a decisive victory, expanding their control over parts of southwestern Britain.

While Bath is mentioned in connection with the events of 577, the specific details of its capture are not elaborated upon in the historical sources. The battles and territorial changes of this period are complex, and the available accounts are often brief and lack intricate details.

Anglo-Saxon Period | 8th – 9th centuries
Despite the decline of Roman influence, there is evidence to suggest that the site of Bath continued to be inhabited during the Anglo-Saxon period. The hot springs remained a point of interest. The town’s name evolved from Aquae Sulis to variations like Aelle’s Hithe and Bath.

Religious Connection
There are suggestions that the site may have retained some religious significance, possibly with the establishment of a Christian community during the Anglo-Saxon period. It is said Saint David founded a monastery here, but it is more probably by Osric, King of the Hwicce in 675.

See also
Roman Empire | The Legend of King Arthur

Historia Regum Britanniae | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1138
Roman de Brut | Wace, c. 1155