KING ARTHUR: Man or MythTONY SULLIVAN Book Number: 91583 Product format: Hardback
Beginning in Roman Britain, evidence is laid out in chronological order: the Venerable Bede, the Historia Brittonum, the Welsh Annals, the Anglo-Saxons, Saints' Lives, the History of the Kings of Briton by Geoffrey of Monmouth, the French Romances, and Welsh Legends, the Brittany Connection, Genealogies and Kings, and the name Arthur itself are discussed with archaeological and other evidence, maps and tables. We see how the legend of King Arthur has evolved over time, through the emergence of concepts such as Camelot, Excalibur and Merlin. Details are drawn from a range of sources including the Gallic Chronicles and the 10th century Annales Cambriae, and Gildas. The work differs from other books on the subject as it compares the possibility of Arthur being purely fictional against the likelihood of him being a real historical figure, with a list of possible suspects. The first mention of Arthur around AD830 placed him 300 years earlier than contemporary evidence as it appeared. Most of the theories for Arthur place him in the period AD450-550, but we will start our journey from the last days of the Western Empire as we go through the evidence to look for a war leader or king fighting battles across Britain and possibly in Gaul. The case for an historical Arthur is a picture of a nobler time and golden age, a force for civilisation after the end of Roman Britain, fighting against invading barbarians. For a time he held back that tide and after his victory at the Battle of Badon at the start of the 6th century, there was a generation of peace which lasted until his death and the steady advance of the Anglo-Saxons and we have much older Welsh legends and poems to support this. The reader can make up their own final assessment. 246pp, maps.
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Bibliophile price: £11.00