Did King Arthur really Exist Essay

This essay has a total of 1082 words and 5 pages.


Did King Arthur really Exist





Did King Arthur Truly Exist?


Who was King Arthur? Most people would tell of a great King; a devoted circle of heroic
knights; mighty castles and mightier deeds; a time of chivalry and courtly love; of
Lancelot and Guinevere; of triumph and death. Historians and archaeologists, especially
Leslie Alcock, point to shadowy evidence of a man who is not a king, but a commander of
an army, who lived during the late fifth to early sixth century who may perhaps be the
basis for Arthur. By looking at the context in which the stories of King Arthur survived,
and the evidence pertaining to his castle Camelot and the Battle of Badon Hill, we can
begin to see that Arthur is probably not a king as the legend holds.

While stories about the places that Arthur has lived, visited and fought at are numerous,
attempts at pinpointing many of these sites have been futile. Arthur’s most famous
battle, the Battle of Badon Hill, cannot be ascribed a location. Depending on the
historian, the Battle of Badon Hill could have been located at many different places:
According to Alcock, the battle at Mount Badon took place on a hill near Bath; while Wood
attempts to pin the battle at Liddington castle. If we are unable to be sure of a location
at which a massive battle took place (and indeed, his most famous), how can we be sure
that Arthur truly existed?

Attempts at pinning down Camelot have also proved fruitless. Wood describes the difficulty
in locating Camelot, saying, “A late local tradition connected Arthur with a hill
fort, and when the Camelot Research Committ dug there, they caused a sensation…The
Excavators did not, in fact find Camelot, nor was anything turned up to connect the place
specifically with King Arthur” (51). This serves to highlight not only the fact that
local tradition can skew a story in order to make it more exciting for those hearing it,
but it also helps us see that Camelot may only be fiction. It has proved to be nearly
impossible to find on of the grandest courts in all of England.

Arthurian history is vague to say the least, and written records are not always entirely
factual. The brief Annals of Wales tells two things of Arthur: he fought at Badon, and he
was killed at Camlann in the same battle. These Annals were composed centuries after the
time of Arthur, and were compiled from other, earlier sources. A battle between Arthur
and Medraut (Modred) is recorded for the year 539 AD. This entry was made after Arthur
had already become a legend, and the spelling of the name with an "h" would suggest this,
as the evidence from the earliest reliable sources spells the name without an "h". So it
is reasonable to believe that this is a very late and unreliable entry indeed.
Continues for 3 more pages >>




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