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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.


Best Books on the Legend of King Arthur
I've always been fascinated by Arthur, who was the man who inspired such a long- lasting legend? You've heard of the chivalrous knights, of many- towered Camelot, of shining gallantry and of bloody battles beneath the pageantry and pomp. You also...

Where was Arthur's Camelot?
At Camelot, it is said, King Arthur established a brilliant court with the Knights of the Round Table, the greatest and most chivalrous warriors in Europe. The Castle at Camelot, the starting point of the Quest for the Holy Grail, is at the very centre of...

Characters from the Tales of King Arthur

The Worst King of the Britons
Spare a thought for Vortigern. A man who tried to hold his people together in hard times, who miscalculated badly and is remembered in legend as the King who gave Britain away. He is held responsible for the demise of the Britons in the 5th century by invi...

Arthur's Women from Tales of King Arthur
The tales of King Arthur are legendary Stories of his courage and endeavour are passed down through generations, and songs are still sung of Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. But who sings the songs for the Women of Arthur? When the feats are reco...

Tristan and Isolde a Legendary Love Story
Get ready for a love story, an old, old, love story that's lasted for thousands of generations. All the ingredients for a satisfactory narrative are present; the lightning bolt of desire, the inevitable tragedy, ritual sacrifice, the denial of satisfa...

The Many Faces of Merlin
Do you see Merlin as a Disney inspired character, a mentor figure in a spangled cape and magician's hat? Fifty years after The Sword in the Stone, the image of the wizard in a flowing robe and pointy hat remains. All the portrayals of Merlin tie him t...

The Best Book on Merlin Ever
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?

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© 2008 Susanna Duffy

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      SheldonBole 5 years ago

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

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      msseiboi 5 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!)

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      Agapantha 8 years ago

      Arthur lives!