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Sunday, 4 September 2011

King Arthur

A cult figure of the Middle Ages, King Arthur (d c537)  not only protected England from the invading Saxons and possibly conquered parts of Northern Europe, but also invented chivalry. However his life is too shrouded in legend for any of the details to be certain.

His legendary base, ‘Camelot’, has been tentatively identified as a hill fort at South Cadbury in Somerset.

The first allusion to Arthur is found in the Welsh poem Y Gododdin (about 600).

The fully developed legend appears in the 12th century Historia Regum Brittaniae by the English chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth. Its popularity led to a stream of medieval Arthurian romances, culminating in Le Morte d'Arthur, a collection of Arthurian legends gathered together by Sir Thomas Malory in a single work in the late 15th century.

A 10th century chronicle records the death of Arthur as being in 537.

On Arthur's tombstone according to Sir Thomas Malory was written "Hic Jacet Arthras rex Quondam Rexque futurus". (Here lies Arthur, the once and future king.) The implication being he may come again to reign.
 
Source Hutchinson Encyclopedia RM 2011. Helicon Publishing is division of RM.

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