King Arthur by Sir Thomas Malorythe feast of Pentacost all manner of men assayed topull at the sword that wold assay, but none might prevail but Arthur,and he pulled it afore all the lords and commons that were there,wherefore all the commons cried at once, ‘We will have Arthur untoour king; we will put him no more in delay, for we all see that it isGod’s will that he shall be our king, and who that holdeth against it,we will slay him’.
And therewith they all kneeled at once, both rich andpoor, and cried Arthur mercy because they had delayed him solong. And Arthur forgave them, and took the sword betweenboth his hands, and offered it upon the altar where the Archbishopwas, and so was he made knight of the best man there.
The above passage is from LeMmorte d’Arthur : the history of King Arthurand his noble knights of the Round Table, by Sir Thomas Malory, a book thatwas written and published between 1469-1470, during the reign of King EdwardIV. Prior to this document, the exact origins of Arthurian legend are difficult totrace reliably before the twelfth century, when Geoffrey of Monmouth producedthe History of the Kings of Britain, in which he devotes the last third of the bookto King Arthur, with the first two thirds leading up to this climax. AlthoughMonmouth’s history contains passages which can be deemed ‘mystical’ innature, especially in regards to Arthur, the preceding pages leading up to KingArthur’s appearance, read as straight history as opposed to mythical tale. I foundthis not only hard to follow but also hard to swlaoow. I htink it’s all in theinterpeators eyes. Some see the same facts or so-called-facts and read thesame documents of the same time periods and come up with completly differentideas. King Arthur would have lived in the end of the fifth century to thebeginning of the sixth century, with his birth most likely occurring around 470A.D. and his death, as related in the folklore, in the year 539, at the Battle ofCamlan. This means that six hundred years transpired between Arthur’s life spanand any surviving written account, history or folklore, of a king named Arthur.Although the majority of the British population in the fifth and sixth centuries wasilliterate, there was a classically educated, ‘Romanized’ minority that could readand write, as well as a lite…
…te has the ‘right’ types of finds located insoil layers and pottery types to the 5th to 6th century AD. Does this prove thatKing Arthur existed and defended Camelot, and was conceived at Tintagel? No.Does it prove that he didn’t exist and was not at these places? No, it doesn’t.What the archaeological remains do are create a record, a time line based ontangible physical evidence for a mythic, literary figure.
What is important to remember, is that the archaeology of Arthurian sitesis one thing and Arthurian literature is another. The same is true for early’histories’ of King Arthur; they may be based on fact but there was such a timelapse between the actual events and recorded history, that these sources arequestionable at best. These written sources, both fact and fiction, may dissect attimes and compliment the archaeological record, but the characters of Morgainele Fay, Lancelot, Merlin, Guinievere, or even Arthur are not going to be buried inthe years accumulation of soil, waiting to be discovered, to tell us their tales; butthe archaeology of these sites, taken as a key to the factual past of Anglo-Saxonhistory, can be just as fascinating.