King Arthur: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction

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In today’s day and age, stories are traded all the time, and many times it can be hard to distinguish fact from fiction. However, when a story, approximately 1500 years old has been told and retold, and modified over and over again, the truth, if there is any, can be quite hard to find! This paper will take a look at both the fact and the fiction surrounding who King Arthur was, what he did, and the historical basis for the king. Before exploring the historical truths, it is important that some of the well-known tales, myths and legends are brought into the light. Many stories revolve around themes such as young Arthur pulling the sword out of the stone, the epic love/hate relationship between the wizards Merlin and Morgana, and the valiant conquests of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The Sword in the Stone talks about a young stable boy by the name of Arthur. When his master loses his sword, young Arthur runs back to the city and pulls a sword out of a stone; completely unaware of the significance. When questioned about where he got the sword, he leads his master to the location and upon further investigation by other knights, is proclaimed king. This is a great story, but unfortunately there is no historical evidence to back it up. This particular tale was written and published by T.H. White in 1938 and aimed to be an exciting story while making no attempt to be historically accurate. Historia Regum Britanniae, or in English, History of the Kings of Britain, was written by Geoffrey of Monmouth in 1135. It is regarded by scholars as a pseudohistorical account, having some truth to it, but being grossly exaggerated in various details. Although this piece of work is recognized as being untrustworthy as a source o... ... middle of paper ... ...logy (York, England: Council for British Archaeology) (115): 8. ISSN 1357-4442. "The claims...have no basis whatever in the archaeological evidence" Bruce, Christopher W (1998). The Arthurian name dictionary. Lancelot: Routledge. pp. 305–306. ISBN 978-0-8153-2865-0. "Sir Lancelot Du Lac | King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table." Sir Lancelot Du Lac | King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table. Http://www.kingarthursknights.com/, n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2014. Morris, John (1977). The Age of Arthur: A History of the British Isles from 350 to 650. Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: Phillimore & Co Ltd. Fletcher, Richard (1989). Who's Who in Roman Britain and Anglo-Saxon England. Shepheard-Walwyn. p. 112. ISBN 0-85683-089-5. "Historia Regum Britanniae (work by Geoffrey of Monmouth)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2014.

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