According to myths, the legendary Celtic King of the Britons, Bladud (also known as Blaiddyd) flew sometime between 863 BC or perhaps 500 BC when he was thought to have ruled.
It doesn’t really matter when he was thought to have flown, because the story is regarded as mythical… not real. In fact, there is no historical evidence Bladud actually existed.
He is first mentioned in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae (The History of the Kings of Britain) written around 1136 AD.
The book describes Bladud as being the son of King Rud Hud Hudibras, which would make Bladud the 10th ruler in line from the first king, Brutus. Brutus, or Brute of Troy, is a legendary descendant of the Trojan hero Aeneas, and is described as the founder of Briton (Britain). Aeneas is also described as one of the founders of Ancient Rome.
As for Bladud, Monmouth’s book says he practiced necromancy, or divination through the spirits of the dead. In every book or movie about demons and devils, necromancy is the evil way the bad guys work.
I’ll get back to the necromancy in a moment.
King Bladud is credited as being the founder of the City of Bath in England. Here’s how that happened.
Like all great fathers, they want the best for their sons – especially those who will inherit a kingdom. To that effect, Bladud was sent by dear old dad to study Liberal Arts in Athens.
But, when his father died, Bladud returned to Briton to become its king. But he was better educated now, as he came back with four philosophers.
One of the things he did was to found a university at Stamford in Lincolnshire, which is supposed to have existed until Saint Augustine of Canterbury had it closed in the 6th century because heresies were being taught there.
Bladud is also supposed to have built Kaerbadum or Caervaddon also known as the City of Bath, after he created the hot springs there by the use of magic – his necromancy.
He created Bath because it was discovered that he had contracted leprosy while studying in Athens. Arriving home – king or no king, he was imprisoned, escaped and went into hiding, finding himself a pig herder at Swainswick.
He noticed that his pigs would, in cold weather, go into an area surrounded by alder trees and wallow in a warm bog.
After much pig watching, Bladud apparently realized that the pigs who used the warm mud were not prone to skin diseases. Since he suffered from leprosy, he bathed in the mud and was cured.
Now cured of leprosy, Bladud could now become king. He then founded Bath, as a tourist area where people could cure what ails them.
OR, if you prefer THIS version of the story, Bladud created the Bath hot springs with his necromancy.
Regardless… if you go to Bath, there are statues of pigs every where. Bath was dedicated by Bladud to goddess Athena… perhaps because his troubles started in Athens.
Despite his success at curing his own leprosy, Bladud is said to have used his necromancy to create wings like a bird for himself… wings he could use to fly.
Unfortunately, on his maiden flight from New Troy to the Temple of Apollo in London he jumped from up high and either plummeted to his death in front of his horrified loyal subjects…
OR, he actually got up into the air and flew… but as he twisted his body in the air, his aerodynamic form was lost along with the ability to maintain his flight, and came crashing down, hitting a wall and breaking his neck in the Temple of Apollo.
For a mythical figure, he sure gets around, as he is supposed to be buried in New Troy.
Still, despite his necromancy and fondness for watching pigs, he couldn’t fly. I don’t suppose it has anything to do with the old adage “When pigs fly…”