Roman: Alcluith, Alcluithum
Dumbarton is a town located in the West Dunbartonshire, Scotland.
In Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia, Uther Pendragon reclaims it from the Saxons and pacifies it. In Arthur’s time, it was besieged by Picts and Scots. A very ill Hoel of Brittany had to hold off the invaders until Arthur returned from the battle of Bath. Arthur later made Eleden Archbishop of the city.
According to Gaelic tradition, Dumbarton was also the birthplace of Moroie More, the son of Arthur.
In Culhwch and Olwen, Dumbarton is named as the home city of Arthur’s warrior Tarawg.
The name Asclut is thought by some to have given rise to Astolat.
Dumbarton | 400-600 AD
The Kingdom of Strathclyde was a medieval kingdom that encompassed parts of modern-day Scotland and northern England. Its territory extended from the Clyde River (including Dumbarton) in the west to the Derwent River in the east.
The name Alcluith is derived from the British Celtic language spoken by the native inhabitants of the region during the Roman era. The meaning of “Alcluith” is not entirely clear, but it is often interpreted to mean “Rock of the Clyde” or “Clyde Rock.” Acluith was a significant settlement during Roman times, they built a a fort on Dumbarton Rock during their occupation of southern Scotland, known as the Antonine Wall period (around 142 AD). The Antonine Wall was a turf and timber fortification that stretched across central Scotland, just north of the River Clyde, and Dumbarton Rock was a crucial part of this defensive line.
Dumbarton was called “Alt Clut” in the Welsh language, which means “Rock of the Clyde.” It was a significant settlement located on the volcanic rock known as Dumbarton Rock or Castle Rock. The site was chosen for its strategic defensive position, as it overlooked the River Clyde, providing protection and control over the region. Alt Clut was the primary center of power and governance for the Kingdom of Strathclyde. It was ruled by kings, and the area was a political, cultural, and religious hub.
Strathclyde had close interactions with neighboring kingdoms, including the Kingdom of Northumbria to the south and the Kingdom of Dál Riada to the west (which later became part of Scotland). The region had cultural and political ties with both Celtic and Anglo-Saxon influences.
During this period, Christianity began to spread in the Kingdom of Strathclyde. Christian missionaries, such as Saint Patrick and Saint Kentigern, played a significant role in the conversion of the population to Christianity.
From the late eighth century, Viking raids became a recurring threat to coastal regions, including Strathclyde. The Norse invaders launched attacks on settlements along the Clyde River and other parts of the kingdom. The period between 400-600 AD saw a gradual transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages.