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History of King Arthur

When you think of King Arthur, you may think of a valiant, honorable leader. Images of Camelot, Excalibur, his wife Guinevere and the Knights of the Round Table, including Lancelot, may come to mind. There are hundreds of tales, legends, and stories surrounding the history of King Arthur, but, surprisingly, we still don’t know whether King Arthur even really existed.

The History of King Arthur is Debated
The accurate history of King Arthur and his legend has been debated by scholars for a long time. There are several schools of thought that believe they have determined with historical accuracy when King Arthur lived and what actions he took or instigated within his lifetime.

One school of thought believes that King Arthur lived sometime during the later 5th century and possibly into the early 6th century. This group of scholars view Arthur to have been of Romano-British origin, building a strong home base somewhere in Wales, Cornwall, or west of what is known today as England. The history of King Arthur according to his school of thought includes fighting against the pagan Saxons, but there is still a great deal of controversy over the extent of his power and its core center.

Even the actual identity of Arthur is debated. Some believe Arthur is correctly identified with King of the Brettones, Riothamus, a historical figure active during the reign of the Roman Emperor Anthemius. Other scholars think that Arthur is actually Lucius Artorius Castus, a 2nd century Roman whose extensive military actions in Britain are of historical significance. Other writers still believe that King Arthur is a figure from the Bronze Age and propose that an Early Bronze Age Arthur would have reined around 2300 BC.

Another school of thought claims that King Arthur is actually a half-forgotten Celtic deity personified or a work of complete fiction, similar to Beowulf. Those that believe Arthur was not based on a real person argue that another Roman Briton of the time led the forces battling the Saxons at the Battle of Mons Badonicus.

The History of King Arthur May Be Just a Legend
It is also possible that people, rulers, and storytellers throughout history have influenced what we seen in the later legends of King Arthur. For instance, Scots king Aedan mac Gabran has a song named Artuir who had a similar history to what we know as the history of King Arthur.

Due to the continual debate among scholars as to the identity of Arthur, it is impossible to have a definitive historical account of his actions and rule. But, the historical legends will continue to live on and evolve, brining a greater sense of magic and mystery to the history of King Arthur and his knights.


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