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Eldol

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Eldol appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae and most works based on it as the Count of Gloucester and a great enemy of Hengist. Eldol is brother to Bishop Eldad of Gloucester.

According to Wace and Lawman, Eldol is Earl of Gloucester. Historically, from 1122 to 1347, when there was Lord of Gloucester, he was always an earl. From about 1385 to 1397, Gloucester became a dukedom and, when the title was granted, remained so save for 1397 to 1399.

Story of EldolEdit

Eldol Escapes from Hengist’s Slaughter of the BritonsEdit

According to Geoffrey, when the Britons were being slaughtered by the Saxons at the Cloister of Ambrius, Eldol seized a wooden stake which he used as a weapon. According to Wace, Eldol found the stake lying at his feet, brought to the council by person unknown. According to Lawman, Eldol seized this weapon from a churl who was bearing it on his back.

Eldol, in his fury, broke the limbs and smashed in the skull of everyone he could reach, killing at least seventy men, before he escaped and made his way back to Gloucester. Wace adds that Eldol first found his horse. Lawman has Eldol kill fifty-three men, find his horse, ride back to Gloucester, and then with his men, provision and garrison the city.

Eldol Addressed by AmbrosiusEdit

At the siege of Genoreu, Aurelius Ambrosius speaks a long tirade to Eldol about Vortigern’s evil deeds. Lawman does not have Ambrosius make this speech to Eldol specifically, but after the speech, Ambosius appoints Eldol his steward,

Eldol Beheads HengistEdit

Before the battle of Caer Conan, Eldol states openly his hated for Hengist, recalls the slaughter at the Cloister of Ambrius, and expresses the wish to fight hand-to hand with Hengist. Eventually the two meet in battle but seem equally matched. Lawman relates that each of them cleavs in twain the shield of the other. Then, seeing Duke Gorlois of Cornwall approach, Eldol is energized and seizes Hengist by the nasal of his helm and throws him down and drags him among his own men.

According to Wace, Eldol’s men cry to him to behead Hengist, but he says that Hengist must have proper justice and has him fettered and turned over to Ambrosius who imprisons him. Lawman tells that it is Eldol who, when he turns Hengist over to Ambrosius, urges Ambrosius to let Ambrosius’ attendants play with the captive and shoot him with arrows. Ambosius ignores this, only saying words of praise for Eldol’s deed.

When the Britons have won the field, the following day, at a council, Eldol’s brother, Bishop Eldad, advises that Hengist be slain. Therefore Eldol tales his sword, marches Hengist out of the city, and beheads him.

For different versions of the end of Hengist, see Hengist#Death of Hengist.

Some Name VariationsEdit

LATIN: Eldol; FRENCH: Eldof, Elduf; ENGLISH: Aldolf, Aldulf; WELSH: Eidol, Eidiol, Eldiol.

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