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Thread: King Arthur

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    Floating through the net... Member King Edward's Avatar
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    Default King Arthur

    OK Folks Iwant to start a bit of a discussion on King Arthur.

    Who/What was he?

    Is he just a work of fiction from the 15c? Was he a Briton? Saxon? Roman? Some put the tale down to french beginnings so was he even from or did he live in Britain at all?

    I have just seen the film (the new one)and they portray him as a Roman, but most other times i have seen him portrayed it is as a more traditional Knight (such as the film Excalibur), not really seen until Norman times which due to records really put this out of the question.

    I think one thing for sure is if not fully mythical at least a lot of the storys of Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table are part mythical.

    Anyways thought id throw it to the floor hear to see what ideas get bounced around.
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    Records suggest an increase around 500AD in the amount of people names Artor and other varients (Arthur is the English version) suggesting that there was a great leader named Artor around this era (think of the number of JP's born in the Eighties, named for the Pope, who was very popular).

    Probably Welsh/Briton, possibly Romanised. Doubtful he was a Sarmatian Knight. No Lancelot (he was added in the 1300's or something).

    Probably no Round Table, although many Celtic halls did have a round table of sorts.

    If he he did in fact exist, he would have been one hell of a leader as his name has become legend amongst his enemies (the English).

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    Not affiliated with Red Dwarf. Member Ianofsmeg16's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    The Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell, great books and put forth some very good theories (even though he leaves Lancelot etc...in for the stories sake even when they were french invetions)
    Arthur? Was a Briton, fighting against the Saxons, although was he a king?
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    Floating through the net... Member King Edward's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    When you say English do you mean the Britons, Saxons, or Romans residing in Britain?

    It seems the majority of info on him has him as A leader of the Britons rather than an Enemy of them.
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    Shadow Senior Member Kagemusha's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    Quote Originally Posted by ian_of_smeg16
    The Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell, great books and put forth some very good theories (even though he leaves Lancelot etc...in for the stories sake even when they were french invetions)
    Arthur? Was a Briton, fighting against the Saxons, although was he a king?
    Those ar great books indeed.
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    Floating through the net... Member King Edward's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    Looks like i may be off to the bookshop tomorrow :)
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    Saupreuss Member Stefan the Berserker's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    Quote Originally Posted by King Edward
    When you say English do you mean the Britons, Saxons, or Romans residing in Britain?

    It seems the majority of info on him has him as A leader of the Britons rather than an Enemy of them.
    The English are a decendants from the Saxons who invaded Britain, in the welsh language it is even not possible to differ between the terms "English" and "Saxon". The welsh word for both is "Sais", however this leads to some confusion.

    Arthur must have been, if he existed, an famous Warlord who ruled celtic and romanised Britons and fought the invading Saxons.

    Also an interessting question is about the existance of Hengist and Horsa, or Ludeger and Ludegast how they are called in german, which were the Leaders of the Saxons in those tales.

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    Scruffy Looking Nerf Herder Member Steppe Merc's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    The whole idea has great parelles to the Sarmatians, who worshipped swords in the ground, and were the first heavy lancers in Europe. Some also fought in Britian...

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    Saupreuss Member Stefan the Berserker's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    Quote Originally Posted by Steppe Merc
    The whole idea has great parelles to the Sarmatians, who worshipped swords in the ground, and were the first heavy lancers in Europe. Some also fought in Britian...
    However the Sarmatians could have played a role, I don't believe the historical Person Arthur had tough relations to them. It appears to celtic in mind.

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    Scruffy Looking Nerf Herder Member Steppe Merc's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    Well, I think that Arthur was an amalgom (sp?) of people. Then as time when on, the people merged, and their true actions were forgoten, leaving only a mythical figure.

    "But if you should fall you fall alone,
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    Don't worry, I don't exist Member King of Atlantis's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    I saw a thing on the history channel. They siad arthur could be the a roman that had stayed to help britain, and varrious other cletic leaderes. The name arthur probably comes from a great leader who was said to have a banner of the bear, arthur is old-english for bear.


    So in the end he as steppe said he is probably a combination of many people. The movie decided to not only combine the person, but also about four hundred years too.

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    Very Senior Member Gawain of Orkeny's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    The English are a decendants from the Saxons who invaded Britain, in the welsh language it is even not possible to differ between the terms "English" and "Saxon". The welsh word for both is "Sais", however this leads to some confusion.
    I believe the tales of Arthur started in Wales.
    Heres an example of a real Roundtable


    I believe this was Gawains original name Gwalchmei

    But what do I know. Im just a Knight of the Roundtable

    Heres a couple of good links

    Knights of the Roundtable

    The Historicity and Historicisation of Arthur
    Last edited by Gawain of Orkeny; 07-26-2005 at 00:39.
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    Don't worry, I don't exist Member King of Atlantis's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    gawain the tale probably started in whales casue thats were the former britons fled. They were probaly trying to exhault their ancestors by making them into legends.

    the Bretons also had such myths and the used them to boost the moral of their men when they helped invade england with the normans.

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    Very Senior Member Gawain of Orkeny's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    gawain the tale probably started in whales casue thats were the former britons fled. They were probaly trying to exhault their ancestors by making them into legends.
    Thats what I said or meant. By the way they returned with William and took back their lands
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    Don't worry, I don't exist Member King of Atlantis's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    By the way they returned with William and took back their lands
    thats what i said

    I know what you said i was just elabrating on what you said mainly for others than for you.

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    Scruffy Looking Nerf Herder Member Steppe Merc's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    I think that table was made in the 14th century or something, as I've seen it before, with historians saying it couldn't have been Arthur's.

    "But if you should fall you fall alone,
    If you should stand then who's to guide you?
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    Bopa Member Incongruous's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    That table was probaly mad in the late 1400's or 1500's as it has upon it the Tudor rose.

    As for Arthur, he could have been Arthur Pendragon, Pendragon not being a name but a title, also, beacuse the battles he was supposed to have won are so spread out it is likely that he was in charge of an elite cavalry force.
    As for the great stone castle of Camelot it could have easily been an old Roman fortress.

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    Saupreuss Member Stefan the Berserker's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    Quote Originally Posted by Gawain of Orkeny
    I believe the tales of Arthur started in Wales.
    Heres an example of a real Roundtable



    I believe this was Gawains original name Gwalchmei

    But what do I know. Im just a Knight of the Roundtable

    Heres a couple of good links

    Knights of the Roundtable

    The Historicity and Historicisation of Arthur
    However the Welsh and Cornish are decendants from the Population the Saxons expulsed from what is today England it would make Sense, yes. I think there were simply additions to an existing tale.

    As there existed no proffesional research on History the people of the Middleages imagined the Ancient to be equal with their times. For example when you see potraits with Scenes from the Bible where roman Legionaires are beeing displayed aswell, they are drawn like medieval Men-at-Arms. Appears logical for some reason.

    Anything about the person of Arthur himself or the Knights of the roundtable is pure speculation since everybody can proove nothing of it. It is also frequently known that in the timeframe 400 A.D. there had been no Knights, since those develop from Frankish noble Cavallarymen centuries later. The Knights are this way also no way Knights in the direct meaning of the word, because the medieval changed the figures in the tale to be some.

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    Gwledig of the Brythons Member Agraes's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    I have made an article on the historic Arthur, but it is in french !

    http://membres.lycos.fr/paladinceltique/Arthur.htm

    Thought I can give you interesting links :
    - http://panther.bsc.edu/~arthur/index.html
    - http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com
    - http://www.britannia.com/history/cadcast.html
    - http://www.kessler-web.co.uk/History...hurTheKing.htm

    During the late Vth century to the early VIIth century historians record lot of people called Arthur or who can be Arthur, and there is hundred of theories on him.

    Arthur was a Briton, but what were the Britons at this time ? They considers themselves as the last romans, thought the Western Roman Empire end in 476 AD ; and the legions have leaved Britain since 410 AD. They have to face the Picts, the Irish and the Anglo-Saxons : those ones were firstly used as 'foederati', mercenaries against the Picts but they revolted under their leader Hengist the Jut.
    They didn't were as powerful as that until the late VIth century. Britons seemed to have kept them in the South East of Britain for a longtime, under two powerful leaders, heirs of the Roman authority, 'Amherawdyr' (Imperator, here meaning leader of all the clans) or High-Kings, Ambrosius Aurelianus (Emrys Gwledig) and Arthur.
    Thought Romans and Christians, Britons kept a lot of Celtic traditions and institutions, but they didn't consider themselves as 'Celts' (neither do most of Celtic peoples).

    Under Arthur, Britons have settled in Western Armorica, in Gaul, in what will became Brittany.

    Arthur seemed to have won a lot of victories against the Picts and the Saxons, the main was the battle of Badon Hill, in 496 or 516, a victory that stopped Saxon expansion.

    It was only after 550, with the plague and the struggle between the Britons kingdoms that occured the 'second saxon unrest' and the merging of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms : Mercia, Wessex, Northumbria...

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    dictator by the people Member caesar44's Avatar
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    Just a moment , we are talking about a legend here , aren't we ?
    "The essence of philosophy is to ask the eternal question that has no answer" (Aristotel) . "Yes !!!" (me) .

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    Come to daddy Member Geoffrey S's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    A quick interruption, but that Bernard Cornwall trilogy is brilliant and at least makes a decent attempt at explaining parts of the Arthur myth. Loved every second of it.
    "The facts of history cannot be purely objective, since they become facts of history only in virtue of the significance attached to them by the historian." E.H. Carr

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    Gwledig of the Brythons Member Agraes's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    @Geoffrey S : It's one of the best novels I have ever read !

    @Caesar 44 : We are sure of the existence of an Arthur or many Arthur. That we don't know, it is if one of them was the High-King Arthur, heir of Ambrosius Aurelianus (a real historic character !), or if all were only little Kings or Warlords.

    In my opinion (maybe because I'm a Breton and I want to believe in it), a such Arthur have existed. Maybe Im wrong

    Anyway, all of the recorded 'Arthur' were Britons (and romanised), except one : Arthur mac Aedan, the son of Aedan mac Gabrain, King of the Scots of Dal Riada, who was a powerful ally of the northern Britons Kingdoms such as Strathclyde, Gododdin and Rheged at this time (late VIth century).

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    dictator by the people Member caesar44's Avatar
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    Smile Re: King Arthur

    Quote Originally Posted by Agraes
    @Geoffrey S : It's one of the best novels I have ever read !

    @Caesar 44 : We are sure of the existence of an Arthur or many Arthur. That we don't know, it is if one of them was the High-King Arthur, heir of Ambrosius Aurelianus (a real historic character !), or if all were only little Kings or Warlords.

    In my opinion (maybe because I'm a Breton and I want to believe in it), a such Arthur have existed. Maybe Im wrong

    Anyway, all of the recorded 'Arthur' were Britons (and romanised), except one : Arthur mac Aedan, the son of Aedan mac Gabrain, King of the Scots of Dal Riada, who was a powerful ally of the northern Britons Kingdoms such as Strathclyde, Gododdin and Rheged at this time (late VIth century).






    As you know , almost every legend has a true core .
    King Arthur as king David (our hero but probably just a legend with some real basis) .
    "The essence of philosophy is to ask the eternal question that has no answer" (Aristotel) . "Yes !!!" (me) .

    "Its time we stop worrying, and get angry you know? But not angry and pick up a gun, but angry and open our minds." (Tupac Amaru Shakur)

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    Amanuensis Member pezhetairoi's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    I have read in a number of books on passing studies of the Dark Ages that Arthur was not Roman, but rather a Briton inhabiting Roman Britannia at about the time of the decay of the Roman Empire. If I recall correctly there was an event in the late history of the Empire when the Emperor withdrew his legions from Britannia and stated (or implied) that they were from now on on their own. That was when local warlords and powerstruggles arose as people tried to preserve their Romanised culture against the barbarian invasions from Caledonia and Hibernia. The most convincing theory I have seen so far is that there was a Britannic chief (whose name I forget, perhaps he didn't even have a name mentioned) whose domain was somewhere around modern-day York (I don't know, it's definitely just south of Scotland proper today, around the 'neck' of Britain) who fought a series of battles against marauding (that word's an understatement as I understand the account) Picts and eventually drove them back in a climactic battle that ended with the Picts not bothering Britannia proper for nearly 50 years, a miracle in the constantly warring times of Roman-collapse Britain. This was enough for them to enshrine that chief in song, and this was eventually picked up by everyone and embellished into Arthur over the years.

    I am sorry I cannot quote documents to support my theory, because this was years ago, but I definitely clearly remember a campaign map being included in the book (which showed the arrows of army movements, and battle locations). So at the very least there must have been some reconstruction or historical record of this.

    I found the King Arthur movie strange to watch (not certainly not as painful as Alexander and Troy, but only because I didn't know much about Arthurian history) but found it a nice touch that Arthur was wearing armour that looked like a hybrid lorica segmentata in transition to the plate armour that knighthood typically wore. Though if he was just another ordinary chieftain chances are he would be making a switch to chainmail as was everyone else.
    Last edited by pezhetairoi; 07-27-2005 at 06:15.


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    Gwledig of the Brythons Member Agraes's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    that Arthur was not Roman, but rather a Briton inhabiting Roman Britannia at about the time of the decay of the Roman Empire.
    It is the same : Britons are romans citizens. A Roman isn't a people coming from Italy at this time, only a roman citizen. Britons recognised themselves as romans, also after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.

    in the late history of the Empire when the Emperor withdrew his legions from Britannia and stated (or implied) that they were from now on on their own
    It's a bit more complex, damn my poor english ! If I got a better one I will explain you in detail.
    Two romans 'dux bellorum', generals of the legions in Britain land in Gaul with their troops to became the emperors. The first one was Maximus Magnus, in 388 if I remeber well. The second one, a bit later (408 if I remember), was Constantin (not Constantin the great, who was also general in Britain). Later Britons Kings trace their genealogy to those leaders (Maximus became Maxen Wledig).
    In 410, their were no more romans legions remaining in Britain. So the emperor Honorius clamed that Britons had to defend themselves. He didn't say that Britain was no longer a roman province, but he had to much to do on the continent to take care to the island.

    a Britannic chief (whose name I forget, perhaps he didn't even have a name mentioned) whose domain was somewhere around modern-day York
    There was mighty chiefs in the North. North of the Hadrian wall, Britons have two kingdoms : Strathclyde and Gododdin.
    About 450, Coel Hen hold the power in the North, at Eboracum (York) which was the military capital of Britannia. Later was founded there the Kingdom of Ebrauc. One of his kings was named Arthur or Arthwys ap Mor, but was he the great Arthur ? Another famous king of Ebrauc is Peredur ap Ellifer, who became the Perceval of the Legend.
    Other 'knights of the round table' can be founded at this period, such as Urien Rheged and his son Owain (Yvain), Gwalchmai ap Lot (Gawain) king of Gododdin, Gereint ap Erbin of Domnonia, and maybe Llenlleawg of Elmet and his son Gwallawc can be identified as Lancelot and Galahad...

    I know it's a little an 'evhemerisation', a tendance to transform legend into historic trueth, and all those characters don't live exactly at the same period.

    In my opinion, there was a High King Arthur who reign from about 480 to 535, and after him lot of people were called Arthur or Artor, Arthwr, Artorius, Arthwys... all those people contribued to the legend, and so do powerful kings from the late VIth century and later such as Urien Rheged or Peredur...

    Arthur was wearing armour that looked like a hybrid lorica segmentata in transition to the plate armour that knighthood typically wore
    King Arthur movie was a bad movie, historically meaning. Lorica segmantata was no longer wear after the IIIth century AD, and plater armour wasn't wear until the XIVth century.
    Warriors of this period must wear chain mail or scale armor : the lorica hamata and squamata, and must will look like this :





    More at http://www.durolitum.co.uk/imageindex.htm

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    Amanuensis Member pezhetairoi's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    I stand corrected... Very fascinating. I believe that the names jog my memory, and that Arthwys ap Mor was precisely the chieftain stated to have been the hero that became Arthur. It is absolutely possible that history becomes legend, and the other way around--a lot of examples exist, Romulus and Remus and Troy being an example. I think it's entirely plausible, and nice photos, too... do you belong to a reenactment society?


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    Gwledig of the Brythons Member Agraes's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    do you belong to a reenactment society?
    No, there is no darkages re-enactment groups in Brittany (but the Foederati in France, too far from me ).
    Thoose photos are from the re-enactment group Brittania

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    Amanuensis Member pezhetairoi's Avatar
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    very nice... :-P My history lecturer likes to regale my class with stories of his dark days of battle re-enactment that was nowhere near re-enactment (dressing up in leather jerkins and pushing sticks at one another). It is entirely possible though that Arthur is more a conglomeration of myth and legend than one story based on one particular person. It would be possible that in the highly illiterate and superstitious times of the past, filled with suffering, people would want to hold on to the idea of the once-and-future-king that almost took the place of the yearning for eternal salvation in the fashion of Christendom.


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    Default Re: King Arthur

    ive heard a theory that king arthur can has armenian links. in the story he was a general, or a cavalary (heavy cavlary) commander brought from the eastern roman empire. what is intresting to me is the name arthur i think in welsh they say archtur and i think if im not mistaken the banner for arthur was of a bear. Well in armenian arch means bear and sur/tur means sword.

  30. #30
    Mystic Bard Member Soulforged's Avatar
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    Default Re: King Arthur

    Wow has the story of Athur gone so far? Sorry but there's no possibility. The times discribed don't match. There is a period of certain peace and prosperity in britain behind an imaginary line that divides north from south. That's actually the most strong word in favour of an real "Arthur", a leader who united the 12 tribes against the Saxons, won an manteined the peace for 50 years aprox. then the Saxons eated all anyway. The name is an invention (there are records of the standard of the bear, art is the particle used in celtic to describe a bear) appearing as the leader team in some important battles from that period, and there is the songs that the bards song in Hastings, of course on the side of William. But there's nothing more.
    The movie was a freaking but at least it was not as pompous as the musical .
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