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Legends of Arthur and Britain

Updated on October 10, 2014

The Stirring Tales of King Arthur of British Legend

The Legend of Arthur is used by each generation to reflect changing views on the world. The Legend changes and grows as each society changes and grows.

Arthur, be he Celtic Warrior, Romano-British General, Scottish Nationalist or Christian King is still the most widely known figure from the semi-mythical past. Call him myth, call him folklore, call him what you will. To me he is the stuff of faraway childhood, a voice from forgotten ancestors, a Hero.

There was not one Arthur, but many. There was an historical Arthur, or, if you prefer, a folkloric or mythological Arthur who came to be mistaken for a living person

The World of King Arthur

Arthur starts in Wales - A man for all seasons

The story of Arthur has lived on for almost fifteen hundred years and that story has shifted to suit whoever was telling the tale.

In his earliest form in Welsh literature, Arthur appears almost entirely mythical. He consorts with giants and other mythological creatures, and, when fatally wounded in battle, is carried to a type of Underworld, there to sleep.

From this beginning he has become a legendary British leader who led the defense of Britain against the Saxon invaders in the early 6th century.

Arthurian literature thrived during the Middle Ages but waned in the centuries that followed until it experienced a major resurgence in the 19th century.

Today, the legend lives on, both in literature and in adaptations for theatre, film, television, comics and computer games.

How I first met Arthur

In The Boy's KIng Arthur

My first meeting with Arthur was in my early childhood, in a collection of exciting tales of knights, damsels, tournaments, jousts, mysterious warriors in green, hard-faced heroes throwing gauntlets and lovely ladies throwing gloves. The book was The Boy's King Arthur.

It was an edited version of Thomas Malory's Morte D'Arthur and you can read Volume 1 of the original classic at Electronic Text Centre, University of Virginia Library

I wonder now who chose this book for me or if it originally belonged to my brother. Whatever, wherever it came from, I have been besotted with Arthur ever since.

The Boy's King Arthur: Sir Thomas Malory's History of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table
The Boy's King Arthur: Sir Thomas Malory's History of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table

This is the book that started my lifelong fascination with Arthur. I wish I still had my copy, it's a collectible now.

 

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Characters from the Tales of King Arthur

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I read The Crystal Cave in 1970, and that was just the first time. Mary Stewart brings to life a fantastical but realistic Merlin, in an spellbinding portrayal. You may think you know this powerful wizard from the tales of King Arthur but, until you discov...

What's your opinion on King Arthur?

Was Arthur a real figure?

See results

© 2008 Susanna Duffy

Send a message to Arthur

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    • profile image

      SheldonBole 

      5 years ago

      King Arthur and Robin Hood, legends on opposite "ends" but cut from the same cloth...

    • profile image

      msseiboi 

      6 years ago

      I have seen the movie by the name of King Arthur, which was a great movie...

      Great and insigtful lens...

    • Aquavel profile image

      Aquavel 

      6 years ago

      I too have always loved the legends of Arthur. I didn't realize that the legend of King Arthur was made of several people. Makes perfect sense. Beautiful lens & magical images. (Love the bridge!)

    • profile image

      Agapantha 

      9 years ago

      Arthur lives!

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