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King Arthur:Man or Myth?

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Vamun Tianshu View Drop Down
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  Quote Vamun Tianshu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: King Arthur:Man or Myth?
    Posted: 17-Dec-2004 at 17:13

I can say this,there have been many versions of (King)Arthur's life,whether it be by the Scots,the french,even the english.Was he real?I find maybe,it could be a possibility,but the shudder at Merlin actually having some way to do mystical powers is too exxagerated.The Knights of the Round Table,including Lancelot and Gawain have all been told in folktales,and Guinevere and the betrayal by one of Arthur's loyal knights.Most of these stories have came from french versions of the story,and the story of the sword of excalibur and the holy grail are also shrouded in mystery.I gave this personal thought,and bought several books on King Arthur,including The Sword of the Rightful King,and King Arthur,but they barely have any answers.I have also read poems concerning Sir Gawain and King Arthur,one which was translated by Lord of the Rings Author JRR Tolkien.

What do you think?Did he exist,or is the King made king by a stone and sword just a story to tell to keep people entertained?



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  Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2004 at 17:53

I'm sure they were telling an ancient version of the myth sitting around camp fires as they were assembling Stonehenge.

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  Quote Cywr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2004 at 19:37
Yes and no is the short answer.

There is a historical basis for an Arthur person, may even have had teh same name, but the version of the tale most people have heard of is just that, a tale, with some historicaly based bits, but heavily flavoured with folklore from the middle ages.
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  Quote pytheas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Dec-2004 at 12:29
There is speculation that Arthur is a literarily (is that a word) morphed historical character.  Meaning there were several "real" Arthurs in history that may have inspired a melding of events and people into a rich legend.  Authur is historically linked most with a man named Artorius, of Roman noble lineage.  He, like many Roman-Britons chose to stay in Britannia and protect his home.  His name is truely unknown, however since a study of the name Artorius is connected to the banner of a bear, a family crest that was carried into battles.  So, people referred to him as the Bear.  Many of the stories passed down are either complete fiction written by poets or bards, but I believe, as with ANY legend, we can glean a little historical fact from the misty past.
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  Quote pytheas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Dec-2004 at 12:36
Cywr, Dewi Sant is a very interesting topic of discussion.  Another similarly derived (forgive me if I am stepping on anyone's belief structures, for I am an archaeologist and only want to discuss it in a historical manner) personage.  While I feel that Dewi (Saint Dafydd of Wales) is a valuable study on the mixture between a historical figure and a mythical figure and fits well within the overall topic that can be likened to King Arthur. 
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  Quote Vamun Tianshu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Dec-2004 at 21:31
Many have beleived Arthur to be a Lucius Artorius Castos,a roman-british commander of a roman army who led some Semaltians(I think thats what they're called)to fight the Saxons,like the movie.There has been an archeological find concerning Lucius Artorius that might lead to him being the one in the Arthru tales,as his name in latin is Arthur.However,no sufficient evidence has been discovered in order to confirm he was Arthur.There were many Arthurs,you're right,and folktales have been often to combine the adventures of many Arthurs and combine them into one to make a true hero.

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  Quote white dragon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Dec-2004 at 22:20
i heard on a (history channel show i believe) that camelot didn.t actually exist, and avalon was a place somewhere in southern france/northern italy
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  Quote Cornellia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Dec-2004 at 09:00

Most of the legend, such as Camelot, Lancelot, etc. are later embellishments....later, meaning Medieval period and actually were French additions.

I think there is a kernel of truth in the legend of Arthur but its long since been covered in the subsequent myths and stories that grew up around it.  I'm afraid that it will now be impossible to separate the real story from the myth - if evidence of the real Arthur could even be found.

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  Quote Dawn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Dec-2004 at 11:32
As some others here said the king arthur of tales was mostly a chacter of fiction based on one or many historical figures and highly embeleshed over the years to become the man we know today. IMHO it is not if he was real or not that is the importants but rather what his legands show about the "ideals" of medievil values that he brings to us.    
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  Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Dec-2004 at 11:23

Originally posted by Vamun Tianshu

Many have beleived Arthur to be a Lucius Artorius Castos,a roman-british commander of a roman army who led some Semaltians(I think thats what they're called)to fight the Saxons,like the movie.There has been an archeological find concerning Lucius Artorius that might lead to him being the one in the Arthru tales,as his name in latin is Arthur.However,no sufficient evidence has been discovered in order to confirm he was Arthur.There were many Arthurs,you're right,and folktales have been often to combine the adventures of many Arthurs and combine them into one to make a true hero.

That's the premise for the movie. But in the case of the movie the Roman's departed 50 years earlier, were wearing obsolete armour, helmets not invented for another century and Saxons invading via Scotland

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  Quote J.M.Finegold Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2005 at 13:09
Bah, King Arthur was Lucius Artorius Castus, and there's A LOT of archeological evidence of his existance, such as... actual written sources.  He fought several battles against the Picts and then his major battle which is most famous is Mons Badonicus... I think that after I finish the Punic Wars article I'll do one on him... but that's far in the future.
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  Quote Vamun Tianshu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2005 at 18:39
You know,the roman empire actually ended pretty much a few years earlier than the King Arthur movie,thats as to say the western empire.I kinda liked the idea of Merlin being a briton leader than a magician,it would've totally destroyed the realism of the period.Thats actually true that there was a legend about a centurian who led sarmatian knights into briton,and he actually stood there after the roman abandoned britain.

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  Quote Cywr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jan-2005 at 14:55
Cywr, Dewi Sant is a very interesting topic of discussion.  Another similarly derived (forgive me if I am stepping on anyone's belief structures, for I am an archaeologist and only want to discuss it in a historical manner) personage.  While I feel that Dewi (Saint Dafydd of Wales) is a valuable study on the mixture between a historical figure and a mythical figure and fits well within the overall topic that can be likened to King Arthur.


Hmm, while there is much about Saint David that is indeed pure folklore, much much more is known about the *real* him than is the case of a King Arthur(s?).
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  Quote J.M.Finegold Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jan-2005 at 15:28

Mons Badinicus was ca. 493 A.D., making the fall of Rome twenty years old.  The movie also put the battle in the north, and that was historically innacurate.  The only major battle he fought in the area was Camlann, against the Picts.

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  Quote Dawn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jan-2005 at 15:33

Originally posted by DuxPimpJuice

Bah, King Arthur was Lucius Artorius Castus, and there's A LOT of archeological evidence of his existance, such as... actual written sources.  He fought several battles against the Picts and then his major battle which is most famous is Mons Badonicus... I think that after I finish the Punic Wars article I'll do one on him... but that's far in the future.

 

Have you been watching that movie over and over?

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  Quote Dawn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jan-2005 at 16:03

 good list of possible king arthurs

"
Historical Arthur

Arthur, King of the Britons
Arthur, it seems, is claimed as the King of nearly every Celtic Kingdom known. The 6th century certainly saw many men named Arthur born into the Celtic Royal families of Britain but, despite attempts to identify the great man himself amongst them, there can be little doubt that most of these people were only named in his honour. Princes with other names are also sometimes identified with "Arthwyr" which is thought by some to be a title similar to Vortigern.

Breton King
Geoffrey of Monmouth recorded Arthur as a High-King of Britain. He was the son of his predecessor, Uther Pendragon and nephew of King Ambrosius. As a descendant of High-King Eudaf Hen's nephew, Conan Meriadoc, Arthur's grandfather, had crossed the Channel from Brittany and established the dynasty at the beginning of the 5th century. The Breton King Aldrien had been asked to rescue Britain from the turmoil in which it found itself after the Roman administration had departed. He sent his brother, Constantine, to help. Constantine appears to have been the historical self-proclaimed British Emperor who took the last Roman troops from Britain in a vain attempt to assert his claims on the Continent in 407. Chronologically speaking, it is just possible he was King Arthur's grandfather. Arthur's Breton Ancestry was recorded by Gallet.

Riothamus the King
Geoffrey Ashe argues that King Arthur was an historical King in Brittany known to history as Riothamus, a title meaning "Greatest-King". His army is recorded as having crossed the channel to fight the Visigoths in the Loire Valley in 468. Betrayed by the Prefect of Gaul, he later disappeared from history. Ashe does not discuss Riothamus' ancestry. He, in fact, appears quite prominently in the pedigree of the Kings of Domnone, dispite attempts to equate him with a Prince of Cornouaille named Iaun Reith. Riothamus was probably exiled to Britain during one of the many civil wars that plagued Brittany. He later returned in triumph to reclaim his inheritance, but was later killed in an attempt to expel Germanic invaders. The main trouble with this Arthurian identification is that it pushes King Arthur back fifty years from his traditional period at the beginning of the sixth century (See Ashe 1985).

Dumnonian King
Welsh tradition also sees Arthur as High-King of Britain but tends to follow the genealogies laid down in the Mostyn MS117 and the Bonedd yr Arwr. These show Arthur as grandson of Constantine but, this time, he is Constantine Corneu, the King of Dumnonia. Traditional Arthurian legend records three Kings of Dumnonia during Arthur's reign: Constantine's son, Erbin; grandson, Gereint and great grandson, Cado. Nowhere is there any indication that these three were closely related to Arthur, nor that he had any claim on the Dumnonian Kingdom. Nor is their any explanation as to why a Dumnonian prince would have been raised to the High-Kingship of Britain. Arthur's connection with this area of Britain is purely due to his supposedly being conceived at Tintagel, the residence of his mother's first husband, and buried at Glastonbury, the most ancient Christian site in the country.

Cumbrian King
The Clan Campbell trace their tribal pedigree back to one Arthur ic Uibar: the Arthur son of Uther of tradition. Norma Lorre Goodrich uses this fact to argue that Arthur was a "Man of the North". This idea was first proposed by the Victorian Antiquary, W.F.Skene, and there is some evidence to recommend it, especially the possible northern location of Nennius' twelve battles. Goodrich places Arthur's Court at Carlisle. As the capital of the Northern British Kingdom of Rheged, this seems an unlikely home for Arthur, who was not of this dynasty. Prof. Goodrich relies heavily on late medieval literary sources and draws imaginative conclusions. (See Goodrich 1986 & Skene 1868).

Pennine King
There was a Northern British King named Arthwys who lived in the previous generation to the traditional Arthur. He was of the line of Coel Hen (the Old) and probably ruled over a large Kingdom in the Pennines. Many of Nennius' Arthurian Battles are often said to have taken place in the Northern Britain. These and other northern stories associated with the King Arthur may, in reality, have been relating the achievements of this near contemporary monarch.

Elmet King
Another Northern British Arthwys was the son of Masgwid Gloff, probably a King of the Elmet region of modern West Yorkshire. Nothing is known of this Prince who was exactly contemporary with the real King's traditional period. Though it is unlikely that he held his own kingdom, his exploits may have contributed to King Arthur's story.

Scottish King
The Scots, though fresh from Ireland, also used the name Arthur for a Royal Prince. Artur, the son of King Aidan of Dalriada, was probably born in the 550s. David F. Carroll has recently argued that this man was the real Arthur, ruling Manau Gododdin from Camelon (alias Camelot) in Stirlingshire. Details can be found on the author's web site. (Carroll 1996)


Powysian King
Graham Phillips and Martin Keatman identify Arthur as Owain Ddantwyn (White-Tooth), a late 5th century Prince of the House of Cunedda (more specifically of Gwynedd). Their arguments, however, are wholly unconvincing, and contain many unresolved discrepancies. Owain's son, Cuneglasus (known from Welsh pedigrees as Cynlas) was among the five Celtic Kings condemned in the writings of Gildas. Through a misinterpretation of this account, Keatman & Phillips imply that Cuneglasus was the son of one Arth, ie. Arthur. They further claim that he, and therefore his father, Owain, before him, must have ruled Powys, as this is the only Kingdom un-reconciled with Gildas' Kings. However, Cynlas lived at Din Arth in Rhos. He was not the son of Arth. In traditional Welsh manner the Kingdom of Gwynedd had been divided between his father, Owain, who received Eastern Gwynedd (ie. Rhos) and his uncle, Cadwallon Lawhir (Long-Hand) who took the major Western portion. During this period, Cyngen Glodrydd (the Renowned) was ruling Powys. He was probably the Aurelius Caninus mentioned by Gildas. (See Phillips & Keatman 1992).

Rhos King
A much simpler and thoroughly more convincing thesis from Mark Devere Davies suggests that Arthur may have been Cuneglasus himself. I can do no better than recommend you to the author's website.

Dyfed King
A King Arthwyr ruled in Dyfed in the late 6th century. He was the son of King Pedr ap Cyngar, but little else is known of him. Though he was probably merely named after the great man, it is possible that some of his accomplishments may have become attached to the traditional legend.

Glamorgan King
Baram Blackett & Alan Wilson have theorised that the legendary King Arthur was an amalgam of two historical characters: Anwn (alias Arthun), the British King who conquered Greece and Athrwys (alias Arthwys) the King of Glywyssing and Gwent. Arthun was a son of the British Emperor Magnus Maximus, who lived in the late 4th century. He is better known as Anwn (alias Dynod) and his title of King of Greece is generally thought to be a misreading of his Latin name, Antonius Gregorius. He actually ruled much of South Wales. Arthwys of Glwyssing & Gwent is widely accepted as a seventh century King who lived in South-East Wales. His home in the traditional Arthurian region around Caerleon is part of this man's attraction. Blackett & Wilson argue, not unconvincingly, that he really lived in the early 6th century and that his father, King Meurig was called "Uther Pendragon", a title meaning Wonderful Commander. They also make the important assertion that Arthur lived, not in Cerniw (ie. Cornwall), but in Cernyw (ie. Glywyssing). (See Blackett & Wilson 1980).

St. Arthmael the King
Like Blackett & Wilson, Chris Barber & David Pykitt identify the King Arthur with King Athrwys of Glywyssing & Gwent. However, here the similarity stops, for there are important differences in the identification of people, places and events. Their major addition is the supposition that after Camlann, Arthur/Athrwys abdicated and retired to Brittany where he became an important evangeliser. He was known as St. Armel (or Arthmael) and his shrine can still be seen at St.Armel-des-Boschaux. Their ideas have much to commend them and make compelling reading. (See Barber & Pykitt 1993).

Roman King
It has been suggested, many times over the years, that King Arthur may have been a descendant of one Lucius Artorius Castus: a theme most recently taken up by P.J.F. Turner. Castus was an historical 2nd century Dalmatian general stationed in Britain who commanded the Roman auxiliary troops, known as Sarmations, on an expedition to crush an uprising in Armorica. It is highly unlikely that the two had any connection with each other. (See Turner 1993)."

1995, 1996, 1997 Britannia Internet Magazine, LLC

 

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  Quote J.M.Finegold Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jan-2005 at 18:49

Terry L. Gore, in his Birth of The Arthurian legend, Military History - taking evidence from The Gododding (K.H. Jackson), The Mabinogion (trans. by Jeffrey Gantz) and Nennius:  Bretish History and the Welsh Annals, John Morris (ed.) - suggests that Arthur was actually a Romano-Briton warlod.  The movie has the history totally jumbled and is completely wrong.

Lucius Artorius Castus was Commes Britanniarum, who's lord was Dux (trans. general or leader) Ambrosius.  Ambrosius led the Britons after Vortigern, who took command of the Briton army after the Roman withdrawl from the island in 407.  In 490, some short time after his final victory at Verulanium (St. Albans of today) Ambrosius died and left the generalship of Brittania to Artorius, who's elusive history is best told in Aneirin's (a Welsh court poet) Gododdin, written ca. 600. 

Artorius went on to defeat the main Saxor army at Mons Badinicus.

If you want I can scan in the article and post it up here for you.  And yes, the movie butchers everything.

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  Quote Vamun Tianshu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jan-2005 at 19:50
Even though the movie is inaccurate in every way,I still like the movie.In the case of King Arthur,we'll probably never know who King Arthur was,because in the end,archeological evidence won't solve everything,and even with findings,we might be wrong,because,history is always a mystery,even i the case that we know most of it,which I know isn't true.The Arturian Legends came around in the 12 century,along with past storytellers in the 6,7,and 8th centuries.Unless there is a way to kinda look into the past,not through archeological findings and books,but by our own eyes,there will be no stop to legends untold in history.

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  Quote Vamun Tianshu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jan-2005 at 20:10

Aside from this,I do believe an Arthur existed,for with every folktale and myth,there is some fact behind it.This is the article from Wikipedia that I just recently read.

King Arthur is an important figure in the mythology of Britain. He is the central character in Arthurian legends (known as the Matter of Britain), although there is disagreement about whether Arthur, or a model for him, ever actually existed and in the earliest mentions and Welsh texts he is never given the title "king". Early texts refer to him as dux bellorum ("war leader") and High Medieval Welsh texts often call him amerauder ("emperor"). However, a recent translation of newly discovered documents may have referred to him as a king.

The Arthur of history

Main article: Historical basis for King Arthur

One school of thought believes Arthur to have lived some time in the late 5th century to early 6th century, to have been of Romano-British origin, and to have fought against the Saxons. His power base was probably in either Wales, Cornwall or the west of what would become England, but controversy over the centre of his power and the extent and kind of power he wielded continues to rage.

Some members of this school, most notably Geoffrey Ashe and Fleuriot, have argued for identifying Arthur with one Riothamus, "King of the Brettones", who was active during the reign of the Roman Emperor Anthemius. Unfortunately, Riothamus is a shadowy figure of whom we know little, and scholars are not certain whether the "Brettones" he led were Britons or Bretons.

Other members suggest that Arthur should be identified as one Lucius Artorius Castus, a historical Roman of the 2nd century, whose military exploits in Britain may have been remembered for years afterward.

Another school of thought believes that Arthur is at best a half-forgotten Celtic deity devolved into a personage (citing sometimes a supposed change of the sea-god Lir into King Lear) or a possibly fictive person like Beowulf.

Subscribers to this school of thought argue that another Roman Briton of this period, for example Ambrosius Aurelianus, led the forces battling the Saxons at the battle of Mons Badonicus.

Earliest traditions of Arthur

Arthur first appears in Welsh literature. In a surviving early Welsh poem, the Gododdin, (c. 594) the poet Aneirin (c. 535600) writes of one of his subjects that "he fed black ravens on the ramparts, although he was not Arthur" but this poem as it currently exists is full of interpolations, and it is not possible to decide if this passage is an interpolation from a later period. Possibly of an earlier date are the following poems attributed to Taliesin: The Chair of the Sovereign which refers to "Arthur the Blessed" Preiddeu Annwn ("The Treasures of Heaven") which mentions "the valour of Arthur" and states "we went with Arthur in his splendid labours", and the poem "Journey to Deganwy" which contains the passage "as at the battle of Badon with Arthur, chief giver of feasts, with his tall blades red from the battle which all men remember".

Another early reference to Arthur is in the Historia Britonum, attributed to the Welsh monk Nennius, who is said to have written this compilation of early Welsh history around the year AD 830. In this work Arthur is referred to as a "leader of battles" rather than as a king. Two separate sources within this compilation list twelve battles that he fought, culminating in the battle of Mons Badonicus, where he is said to have single-handedly killed 960 men. According to the Annales Cambriae, Arthur was killed at the Battle of Camlann in 537.

Arthur also appears in the Welsh tale Culhwch and Olwen, a narrative that is usually associated with the Mabinogion. In that work, Culhwch visits his court to seek his help in winning the hand of Olwen. Arthur, who is described as his kinsman, agrees to the request, and fulfills the demands of Olwen's giant father Ysbadden, which includes his hunt for the great boar Twrch Trwth, described at length by the author.

In some of the Welsh biographies of their best-known saints (also called Vitae or the "Life" of a specific saint), Arthur makes a number of appearances: for example, in the Life of Saint Illtud, he is said to be a cousin of that churchman. Many of these appearances portray Arthur as a fierce warrior, and not necessarily as morally impeccable as in later Romances. According to the Life of Saint Gildas, written in the 11th-century by Caradoc of Llancarfan, Arthur killed Gildas' brother Hueil, a pirate on the Isle of Man.

Lifris writes in his Life of Saint Cadoc that Arthur was bettered by Cadoc: Cadoc gave protection to a man who killed three of Arthur's soldiers; Arthur was awarded a herd of cattle from Cadoc as wergeld for his men; Cadoc delivered them as demanded; but when Arthur took possession of the animals, they were transformed into bundles of ferns. The likely original purpose of this story would be to promote popular acceptance of the new Christian faith by "demonstrating" that Cadoc, the Christian leader, had magical powers traditionally ascribed to Druids and of sufficient intensity to outsmart the temporal ruler, Arthur. Similar incidents are described in the late medieval biographies of Carannog, Padern, and Goeznovius.

This may be related to legends where Arthur is depicted as the leader of the Wild Hunt, a folk motif that is also recorded in Brittany, France, and Germany.

Later parts of the Trioedd Ynys Prydein, or Welsh Triads, mention Arthur and locate his court in Celliwig, which is located in Cornwall. Celliwig was identified by older Cornish antiquaries with Callington, but Rachel Bromwich, the latest editor of the Welsh Triads, matched it to Kelly Rounds, a hill fort in the Cornish parish of Egloshayle.

The Arthurian romance

In AD 1133, Geoffrey of Monmouth produced a manuscript called the Historia Regum Britanniae. This work was the mediaeval equivalent of a best seller and helped draw the attention of other writers, such as Robert Wace and Layamon who then expanded on the tales of Arthur. One theory as to why this happened is that after the Norman Conquest of Britain in 1066 there was renewed interest in the Arthurian Legend as described by Edward Gibbon in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:

During a period of five hundred years the tradition of his exploits was preserved, and rudely embellished, by the obscure bards of Wales and Armorica, who were odious to the Saxons, and unknown to the rest of mankind. The pride and curiosity of the Norman conquerors prompted them to inquire into the ancient history of Britain; they listened with fond credulity to the tale of Arthur, and eagerly applauded the merit of a prince who had triumphed over the Saxons, their common enemies. [Chapter 38, Footnote 138]

Thus, according to Gibbon, after the Norman conquerors learned about Arthur through Geoffrey, the once obscure 500 year old Welsh legend went mainstream through the works of Anglo-Norman poet Wace and others creating a unified cultural icon both the new Norman rulers and the native Welsh could rally under the banner of a common enemy the Saxons.

While many scholars believe that Geoffrey is the source for medieval interest in Arthur, at least one scholar, Roger S. Loomis, has argued that many of the tales surrounding Arthur actually come from Breton oral traditions, which were spread through the royal and noble courts of Europe by professional storytellers known as jongleurs. The French medieval writer, Chrtien de Troyes, recounted tales from the mythos during the mid-12th century, as did Marie de France in her narrative poems called lais. In any case, the later stories told by these two writers and by many, many others, appear to be independent of what Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote.

In these versions, which gained popularity beginning in the 12th century, Arthur gathered the Knights of the Round Table (Lancelot, Gawain, Galahad, and others). At his court, most often held at Camelot in the later prose romances, could sometimes be found the wizard Merlin. Arthur's knights engaged in fabulous quests, famously including one for the Holy Grail. Other stories from the Celtic world came to be associated with Arthur, such as the tale of Tristan and Isolde. In the late prose romances the love affair between Arthur's champion, Lancelot, and the Queen, Guinevere, becomes the central reason for the fall of the Arthurian world.

In Robert de Boron's Merlin, later followed by Thomas Malory, Arthur obtained the throne by pulling a sword from a stone and anvil. In this account, this act could not be performed except by "the true king", meaning the divinely appointed king or true heir of Uther Pendragon. This sword was presumably the famous Excalibur and the identity is made explicit in the later so-called Vulgate Merlin Continuation. However in what is sometimes called the Post-Vulgate Merlin Excalibur was taken from a hand rising from a lake and given to Arthur sometime after he began to reign by a sorcerous damsel (confused by post-medieval writers with The Lady of the Lake). In this Post-Vulgate version the sword's blade could slice through anything and its sheath made the wearer invincible.

King Arthur's tombsite at the abbey
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King Arthur's tombsite at the abbey

Arthur was a casualty in his last battle, the Battle of Camlann, which he fought against the forces of Mordred. The Prose Lancelot and the later prose cyclic romances state that Mordred was also a Knight of the Round Table and the child of an incestuous union between Arthur and his sister Morgause. In almost all accounts Arthur was said to be mortally wounded, but after the battle he was taken away to Avalon (sometimes identified with Glastonbury in Somerset, England), where his wounds were healed or his body was buried in a chapel. Some texts refer to a return of Arthur in the future.

The Arthurian mythos spread far across the continent. An image of Arthur and his Knights attacking a castle was carved into an archivolt over the north doorway of Modena Cathedral in Italy sometime between 1099 and 1120. A mosaic pavement in the cathedral of Otranto, near Bari also in Italy was made in 1165 with the puzzling depiction of Arturus Rex bearing a sceptre and riding a goat. 15th century merchants set up an Arthurian hall in his honour in Gdask, Poland.

Retellings of the Arthurian cycle include the works of Gottfried von Strassburg, Wolfram von Eschenbach, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur.

In 1191, monks of Glastonbury Abbey announced that they had found the burial site of Arthur and Guinevere. Their grave was shown to many people, and the reputed remains were moved to a new tomb in 1278. The tomb was destroyed during the Reformation, and the bones lost. The antiquary John Leland reports that he saw the cross found with the remains, and transcribed its inscription as

Hic iacet sepvltvs inclytvs rex artvrivs in insvla avalonia "Here is buried the famous king Arthur in the Island of Avalon".

If Leland accurately reproduced the script of this inscription, then it can be dated to the 10th century. At least one scholar has suggested that the cross was added when Arthur's remains were translated to the Abbey.


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  Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jan-2005 at 20:47

Originally posted by Vamun Tianshu

Even though the movie is inaccurate in every way,I still like the movie.In the case of King Arthur,we'll probably never know who King Arthur was,because in the end,archeological evidence won't solve everything,and even with findings,we might be wrong,because,history is always a mystery,even i the case that we know most of it,which I know isn't true.The Arturian Legends came around in the 12 century,along with past storytellers in the 6,7,and 8th centuries.Unless there is a way to kinda look into the past,not through archeological findings and books,but by our own eyes,there will be no stop to legends untold in history.

Personally I didn't think the movie was a patch on Excalibur. Then again if you've seen Monty Python's Holy Grail it's impossible to see the whole Arthurian legend as anything but absurd in this day and age, they butcher it with satire.

Peasant      "King! Well I didn't vote for you!"

Arthur        "You don't vote for a King, the Lady of the lake held aloft Excalibur and gave it to me and that's how I became King."

Peasant      "You can't base a system of governmet on a farcical aquatic ceremony supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not some watery bint lobbing a scimitar at you."

Personally I think the Robin Hood legend is far superior.

 

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