Whether it be the Scottish Arthur or the Arthur of Welsh or English legend, we try to present information in an interesting way. Although Malory's English version of the great French romances was popular, there were increasing attacks upon the truthfulness of the historical framework of the Arthurian romances – established since Geoffrey of Monmouth's time – and thus the legitimacy of the whole Matter of Britain. ", Arthur and his retinue appear in some of the Lais of Marie de France, but it was the work of another French poet, Chrétien de Troyes, that had the greatest influence with regard to the development of Arthur's character and legend. The Historia Brittonum, a 9th-century Latin historical compilation attributed in some late manuscripts to a Welsh cleric called Nennius, contains the first datable mention of King Arthur, listing twelve battles that Arthur fought.  Indeed, the first modernisation of Malory's great compilation of Arthur's tales was published in 1862, shortly after Idylls appeared, and there were six further editions and five competitors before the century ended. Additionally, the complex textual history of the Annales Cambriae precludes any certainty that the Arthurian annals were added to it even that early.  Arthur's role in these works is frequently that of a wise, dignified, even-tempered, somewhat bland, and occasionally feeble monarch. Arthurian legend, the body of stories and medieval romances, known as the matter of Britain, centring on the legendary king Arthur. Legends disagree on how Arthur became king, though most involve his famous sword, Excalibur. This patronym is unattested, but the root, *arto-rīg, "bear/warrior-king", is the source of the Old Irish personal name Artrí. In 1233 AD, Richard of Cornwall, the younger brother of King Henry III, traded three … Storyline.  Thus Richard Blackmore's epics Prince Arthur (1695) and King Arthur (1697) feature Arthur as an allegory for the struggles of William III against James II. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017) cast and crew credits, including actors, actresses, directors, writers and more. A new code of ethics for 19th-century gentlemen was shaped around the chivalric ideals embodied in the "Arthur of romance". , This interest in the "Arthur of romance" and his associated stories continued through the 19th century and into the 20th, and influenced poets such as William Morris and Pre-Raphaelite artists including Edward Burne-Jones.  Artorius itself is of obscure and contested etymology, but possibly of Messapian or Etruscan origin. The Worthies were first listed in Jacques de Longuyon's Voeux du Paon in 1312, and subsequently became a common subject in literature and art.  Pre-eminent among these was Alfred Tennyson, whose first Arthurian poem "The Lady of Shalott" was published in 1832. Arthur was a legendary king of ancient Britain . Other early Welsh Arthurian texts include a poem found in the Black Book of Carmarthen, "Pa gur yv y porthaur?"  Chrétien's work even appears to feed back into Welsh Arthurian literature, with the result that the romance Arthur began to replace the heroic, active Arthur in Welsh literary tradition. See. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login).  Finally, Geoffrey borrowed many of the names for Arthur's possessions, close family, and companions from the pre-Galfridian Welsh tradition, including Kaius (Cei), Beduerus (Bedwyr), Guenhuuara (Gwenhwyfar), Uther (Uthyr) and perhaps also Caliburnus (Caledfwlch), the latter becoming Excalibur in subsequent Arthurian tales. Ciro Santoro, "Per la nuova iscrizione messapica di Oria", Ciro Santoro, "La Nuova Epigrafe Messapica "IM 4. The Welsh prose tale Culhwch and Olwen (c. 1100), included in the modern Mabinogion collection, has a much longer list of more than 200 of Arthur's men, though Cei and Bedwyr again take a central place.  Powys's earlier novel, A Glastonbury Romance (1932) is concerned with both the Holy Grail and the legend that Arthur is buried at Glastonbury.  It is not even certain that Arthur was considered a king in the early texts.  However, while names, key events, and titles may have been borrowed, Brynley Roberts has argued that "the Arthurian section is Geoffrey's literary creation and it owes nothing to prior narrative. King Arthur is a 2004 historical adventure film directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by David Franzoni.It features an ensemble cast with Clive Owen as the title character, Ioan Gruffudd as Lancelot and Keira Knightley as Guinevere, along with Mads Mikkelsen, Joel Edgerton, Hugh Dancy, Ray Winstone, Ray Stevenson, Stephen Dillane, Stellan Skarsgård and Til Schweiger. However, this may not say anything about the origin of the name Arthur, as Artōrius would regularly become Art(h)ur when borrowed into Welsh. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and modern historians generally agree that he is unhistorical. He then defeats the Picts and Scots before creating an Arthurian empire through his conquests of Ireland, Iceland and the Orkney Islands. The story of King Arthur displayed on a PowerPoint.  The romance tradition did, however, remain sufficiently powerful to persuade Thomas Hardy, Laurence Binyon and John Masefield to compose Arthurian plays, and T. S. Eliot alludes to the Arthur myth (but not Arthur) in his poem The Waste Land, which mentions the Fisher King. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Erec and Enide and Cligès are tales of courtly love with Arthur's court as their backdrop, demonstrating the shift away from the heroic world of the Welsh and Galfridian Arthur, while Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, features Yvain and Gawain in a supernatural adventure, with Arthur very much on the sidelines and weakened. Bradley's tale, for example, takes a feminist approach to Arthur and his legend, in contrast to the narratives of Arthur found in medieval materials, and American authors often rework the story of Arthur to be more consistent with values such as equality and democracy. It was first published in 1859 and sold 10,000 copies within the first week. King Arthur Legend by imagex . The historian John Morris made the putative reign of Arthur the organising principle of his history of sub-Roman Britain and Ireland, The Age of Arthur (1973). King Arthur.  Social changes associated with the end of the medieval period and the Renaissance also conspired to rob the character of Arthur and his associated legend of some of their power to enthrall audiences, with the result that 1634 saw the last printing of Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur for nearly 200 years. The old notion that some of these Welsh versions actually underlie Geoffrey's Historia, advanced by antiquarians such as the 18th-century Lewis Morris, has long since been discounted in academic circles. There are many different versions of the stories that make up the Arthurian legend. C. A. Coates, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Sites and places have been identified as "Arthurian", A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Bibliothèque nationale de France [French National Library], "The Historicity and Historicisation of Arthur", "Early Medieval Tintagel: An Interview with Archaeologists Rachel Harry and Kevin Brady", "The Egyptian Maid, or, The Romance of the Water-Lily", "Arthuriana: Studies in Early Medieval History and Legend", Arthuriana: The Journal of Arthurian Studies, published by Scriptorium Press for Purdue University, US, "John Dee, King Arthur, and the Conquest of the Arctic", The Camelot Project, The University of Rochester, The Heroic Age: A Journal of Early Medieval Northwestern Europe, Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain, Locations associated with Arthurian legend, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=King_Arthur&oldid=989622135, Characters in works by Geoffrey of Monmouth, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia indefinitely semi-protected pages, Wikipedia indefinitely move-protected pages, Articles containing Cornish-language text, Articles with Encyclopædia Britannica links, Wikipedia articles with Trove identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 20 November 2020, at 01:59. In the 21st century, the legend continues to have prominence, not only in literature but also in adaptations for theatre, film, television, comics and other media. The historical Arthur would have lived during the chaotic period following Rome's withdrawal from Britain. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The most widely accepted etymology derives it from the Roman nomen gentile (family name) Artorius. ("What man is the gatekeeper?"). The latest research shows that the Annales Cambriae was based on a chronicle begun in the late 8th century in Wales. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/topic/King-Arthur, King Arthur - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Arthur - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). The Legend of King Arthur on a PowerPoint. Growing out of the chaos of … 4.2 17 customer reviews. One stanza praises the bravery of a warrior who slew 300 enemies, but says that despite this, "he was no Arthur" – that is, his feats cannot compare to the valour of Arthur. No one knows exactly where the legends originated from or whether Arthur was based on a real king.  Nonetheless, as Norris J. Historians cannot confirm King Arthur’s existence, though some speculate that he was a real warrior who led British armies against Saxon invaders in the 6th century. In Latin texts by the chroniclers Gildas (6th century) and Nennius (9th century) and in the Welsh Annales Cambriae, study accounts of Arthur's exploits and death in battle. According to medieval fictional writers, King Arthur was a powerful British ruler who fought and defended his empire from being invaded by … Introduction.  Furthermore, the revival of interest in Arthur and the Arthurian tales did not continue unabated. Early traditions of abduction and infidelity follow Guinevere, who in some stories was carried off by Arthur’s rivals and in others had an adulterous affair with the knight Lancelot. Arthur flees and is raised in a brothel, knowing very little of his birthright. Recent studies, however, question the reliability of the Historia Brittonum..  In some Welsh and Breton tales and poems that date from before this work, Arthur appears either as a great warrior defending Britain from human and supernatural enemies or as a magical figure of folklore, sometimes associated with the Welsh otherworld Annwn. 16, I-III" di Ostuni ed nomi" in, Wilhelm Schulze, "Zur Geschichte lateinischer Eigennamen" (Volume 5, Issue 2 of, Online translations of this poem are out-dated and inaccurate.  Arthur's status as the king of all Britain seems to be borrowed from pre-Galfridian tradition, being found in Culhwch and Olwen, the Welsh Triads, and the saints' lives. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. ", Legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, "Arthur Pendragon" redirects here.  This work is an imaginative and fanciful account of British kings from the legendary Trojan exile Brutus to the 7th-century Welsh king Cadwallader. The Round Table .  While it is not clear from the Historia Brittonum and the Annales Cambriae that Arthur was even considered a king, by the time Culhwch and Olwen and the Triads were written he had become Penteyrnedd yr Ynys hon, "Chief of the Lords of this Island", the overlord of Wales, Cornwall and the North. The so-called "Arthur stone", discovered in 1998 among the ruins at Tintagel Castle in Cornwall in securely dated 6th-century contexts, created a brief stir but proved irrelevant. The stories are a combination of history, myth , romance, fairy tale, and religion. On Uther's death, the fifteen-year-old Arthur succeeds him as King of Britain and fights a series of battles, similar to those in the Historia Brittonum, culminating in the Battle of Bath. The Legend. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a 2017 epic fantasy action adventure film directed by Guy Ritchie who co-wrote the film with Joby Harold and Lionel Wigram from a story by Harold and David Dobkin, inspired by Arthurian legends. Several historical figures have been proposed as the basis for Arthur, ranging from Lucius Artorius Castus, a Roman officer who served in Britain in the 2nd or 3rd century, to sub-Roman British rulers such as Riotamus, Ambrosius Aurelianus, Owain Ddantgwyn, and Athrwys ap Meurig.  These modern admissions of ignorance are a relatively recent trend; earlier generations of historians were less sceptical. Many faery women thread together the stories of … The figure of King Arthur that we are familiar with today is derived from Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae (which translates as History of the Kings of Britain ). Sites and places have been identified as "Arthurian" since the 12th century, but archaeology can confidently reveal names only through inscriptions found in secure contexts.  Similarly, the most popular Arthurian tale throughout this period seems to have been that of Tom Thumb, which was told first through chapbooks and later through the political plays of Henry Fielding; although the action is clearly set in Arthurian Britain, the treatment is humorous and Arthur appears as a primarily comedic version of his romance character. Arthur and his warriors, including Kaius (Kay), Beduerus (Bedivere) and Gualguanus (Gawain), defeat the Roman emperor Lucius Tiberius in Gaul but, as he prepares to march on Rome, Arthur hears that his nephew Modredus (Mordred)—whom he had left in charge of Britain—has married his wife Guenhuuara (Guinevere) and seized the throne. The 9th-century Historia Brittonum also refers to this tale, with the boar there named Troy(n)t. Finally, Arthur is mentioned numerous times in the Welsh Triads, a collection of short summaries of Welsh tradition and legend which are classified into groups of three linked characters or episodes to assist recall. Lacy has observed, whatever his faults and frailties may be in these Arthurian romances, "his prestige is never—or almost never—compromised by his personal weaknesses ... his authority and glory remain intact. But the stories have remained a … In his work, Geoffrey traces the ancestry of the Britons all the way back to the Trojans. T. H. White's novel was adapted into the Lerner and Loewe stage musical Camelot (1960) and Walt Disney's animated film The Sword in the Stone (1963); Camelot, with its focus on the love of Lancelot and Guinevere and the cuckolding of Arthur, was itself made into a film of the same name in 1967. Released in 2017, Legend of the Sword starred Charlie Hunnam as a streetwise Arthur, who discovers his royal lineage by pulling a sword from a stone and leads a rebellion against the evil King Vortigern (Jude Law). Arthur returns to Britain and defeats and kills Modredus on the river Camblam in Cornwall, but he is mortally wounded. The legend possibly originated either in Wales or in those parts of northern Britain inhabited by Brythonic-speaking Celts. " Geoffrey makes the Welsh Medraut into the villainous Modredus, but there is no trace of such a negative character for this figure in Welsh sources until the 16th century.  How much of Geoffrey's Historia (completed in 1138) was adapted from such earlier sources, rather than invented by Geoffrey himself, is unknown. There is clear evidence that Arthur and Arthurian tales were familiar on the Continent before Geoffrey's work became widely known (see for example, the Modena Archivolt), and "Celtic" names and stories not found in Geoffrey's Historia appear in the Arthurian romances.  Perhaps as a result of this, and the fact that Le Morte D'Arthur was one of the earliest printed books in England, published by William Caxton in 1485, most later Arthurian works are derivative of Malory's.. These details have often been used to bolster confidence in the Historia's account and to confirm that Arthur really did fight at Badon. The textual sources for Arthur are usually divided into those written before Geoffrey's Historia (known as pre-Galfridian texts, from the Latin form of Geoffrey, Galfridus) and those written afterwards, which could not avoid his influence (Galfridian, or post-Galfridian, texts). The legend of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table.  Also important are the references to Arthur in William of Malmesbury's De Gestis Regum Anglorum and Herman's De Miraculis Sanctae Mariae Laudunensis, which together provide the first certain evidence for a belief that Arthur was not actually dead and would at some point return, a theme that is often revisited in post-Galfridian folklore.  These works were the Estoire del Saint Grail, the Estoire de Merlin, the Lancelot propre (or Prose Lancelot, which made up half the entire Vulgate Cycle on its own), the Queste del Saint Graal and the Mort Artu, which combine to form the first coherent version of the entire Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum Britanniae, written between 1135 and 1139, brought Arthur European fame. On the one hand, he launches assaults on Otherworldly fortresses in search of treasure and frees their prisoners. The origin of the Welsh name "Arthur" remains a matter of debate. Morgana, also called Morgaine or Morgan, is a staple figure of the Arthurian legend. Epic battles and quests in pursuit of strange creatures.  In the Life of Saint Cadoc, written around 1100 or a little before by Lifris of Llancarfan, the saint gives protection to a man who killed three of Arthur's soldiers, and Arthur demands a herd of cattle as wergeld for his men. Arthur's name also occurs in early poetic sources such as Y Gododdin.. For other uses, see, Modern scholarship views the Glastonbury cross as the result of a probably late-12th-century fraud. Download Donate to author . , Partly in reaction to such theories, another school of thought emerged which argued that Arthur had no historical existence at all. As Norris J. This is a world which has inspired an overwhelming amount of literature, film, music, dance and other works of …  Clemence Dane's series of radio plays, The Saviours (1942), used a historical Arthur to embody the spirit of heroic resistance against desperate odds, and Robert Sherriff's play The Long Sunset (1955) saw Arthur rallying Romano-British resistance against the Germanic invaders. , Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, completed c. 1138, contains the first narrative account of Arthur's life. However, in the following years they were forced back into Cornwall and Wales. The familiar literary persona of Arthur began with Geoffrey of Monmouth's pseudo-historical Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), written in the 1130s. This renewed interest first made itself felt in 1816, when Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur was reprinted for the first time since 1634.  Chrétien was thus "instrumental both in the elaboration of the Arthurian legend and in the establishment of the ideal form for the diffusion of that legend", and much of what came after him in terms of the portrayal of Arthur and his world built upon the foundations he had laid.  Some scholars have suggested it is relevant to this debate that the legendary King Arthur's name only appears as Arthur or Arturus in early Latin Arthurian texts, never as Artōrius (though Classical Latin Artōrius became Arturius in some Vulgar Latin dialects). I used this for a year 3 class for our Myths and Legends literacy unit. Although Malory's English version of the great French romances was popular, there were increasing attacks upon the truthfulness of the historical framework of the Arthurian romances – established since Geoffrey of Monmouth's time – and thus the legitimacy of the whole Matter of Britain. King Arthur. The Arthurian legend is a group of stories about Arthur , a legendary king in ancient Britain. They have captured people’s imagination for many hundreds of years. The fact of the matter is that there is no historical evidence about Arthur; we must reject him from our histories and, above all, from the titles of our books. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and modern historians generally agree that he is unhistorical. While it was not the only creative force behind Arthurian romance, many of its elements were borrowed and developed (e.g., Merlin and the final fate of Arthur), and it provided the historical framework into which the romancers' tales of magical and wonderful adventures were inserted. A great victory was won at Mons Badonicus (a site not identifiable) toward 500: now it was Saxons who emigrated, and the British lived in peace all through the…. An alternative version of the King Arthur legend. Cette police est gratuite pour un usage personnel. Even so, he found little to say about a historical Arthur. Britain would be occupied until 410 CE when the last troops were withdrawn to the continent to defend the weakened Western Roman Empire, but Rome had been pulling its garrisons out of Britain for decades prior to this time.  The second is that the pre-Galfridian Arthur was a figure of folklore (particularly topographic or onomastic folklore) and localised magical wonder-tales, the leader of a band of superhuman heroes who live in the wilds of the landscape. (For a fuller treatment of the stories about King Arthur, see also Arthurian legend.). The most significant of these 13th-century prose romances was the Vulgate Cycle (also known as the Lancelot-Grail Cycle), a series of five Middle French prose works written in the first half of that century. The Annales date this battle to 516–518, and also mention the Battle of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut (Mordred) were both killed, dated to 537–539. The writer claimed that the island of Britai… Arthurian literature thrived during the Middle Ages but waned in the centuries that followed until it experienced a major resurgence in the 19th century. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword piles mounds of modern action flash on an age-old tale -- and wipes out much of what made it a classic story in the first place. In the view of historian Thomas Charles-Edwards, "at this stage of the enquiry, one can only say that there may well have been an historical Arthur [but ...] the historian can as yet say nothing of value about him". Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... King Arthur, illustration by N.C. Wyeth for the title page of, …and the shadowy figure of Arthur began to turn the tide by the use of cavalry against the ill-armed Saxon infantry.  The revived Arthurian romance also proved influential in the United States, with such books as Sidney Lanier's The Boy's King Arthur (1880) reaching wide audiences and providing inspiration for Mark Twain's satire A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889). , The popularity of Geoffrey's Historia and its other derivative works (such as Wace's Roman de Brut) gave rise to a significant numbers of new Arthurian works in continental Europe during the 12th and 13th centuries, particularly in France. Gaul is still held by the Roman Empire when it is conquered, and Arthur's victory leads to a further confrontation with Rome. Although the themes, events and characters of the Arthurian legend varied widely from text to text, and there is no one canonical version, Geoffrey's version of events often served as the starting point for later stories. , Up to c. 1210, continental Arthurian romance was expressed primarily through poetry; after this date the tales began to be told in prose. Created: Jun 20, 2012 | Updated: Sep 9, 2014. King Arthur, Guinevere, and Sir Lancelot did not really exist, but their names conjure up a romantic image of gallant knights in shining armour, elegant ladies in medieval castles, heroic quests for the Holy Grail in a world … Problems have been identified, however, with using this source to support the Historia Brittonum's account.  However, Arthur's diffusion within modern culture goes beyond such obviously Arthurian endeavours, with Arthurian names being regularly attached to objects, buildings, and places. Updated May 26, 2020. King Arthur was a mythical king in the mythology of Great Britain.He lived in the medieval times, in his famous castle, Camelot.He possessed a sword known as Excalibur, given to him by the Lady of the Lake.. King Arthur is a fabled ruler of Sub-Roman Britain who defended his kingdom from the Anglo-Saxons, and a popular fictional character in modern literature. Perceval, although unfinished, was particularly popular: four separate continuations of the poem appeared over the next half century, with the notion of the Grail and its quest being developed by other writers such as Robert de Boron, a fact that helped accelerate the decline of Arthur in continental romance. Preview. The legend of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table is the most powerful and enduring in the western world. in Gothic > Medieval 143,019 downloads (37 yesterday) Free for personal use. , The consensus among academic historians today is that there is no solid evidence for his historical existence. Who were the ‘faery women’ of Arthurian legend?  Arthur himself played a minor role in some of these works, following in the medieval romance tradition. The historical basis for King Arthur was long debated by scholars. The Badon entry probably derived from the Historia Brittonum. How the Legend Developed .  Chrétien wrote five Arthurian romances between c. 1170 and 1190. , In addition to these pre-Galfridian Welsh poems and tales, Arthur appears in some other early Latin texts besides the Historia Brittonum and the Annales Cambriae.  Geoffrey Ashe is one dissenter from this view, believing that Geoffrey's narrative is partially derived from a lost source telling of the deeds of a 5th-century British king named Riotamus, this figure being the original Arthur, although historians and Celticists have been reluctant to follow Ashe in his conclusions.  The historian David Dumville wrote: "I think we can dispose of him [Arthur] quite briefly.  Similar incidents are described in the medieval biographies of Carannog, Padarn, and Eufflam, probably written around the 12th century. King Arthur, also called Arthur Pendragon, was a legendary British leader who, according to medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the late 5th and early 6th centuries.