Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Legendary Arthur

The marriage of Arthur and GuinevereThe Marriage of King Arthur and Guinevere

The name Arthur may be (and according to K. H. Jackson certainly is) a form of Artorius,
 a Roman gens name, but, according to J. D. Bruce, it is possibly of Celtic origin, coming
from artos viros (bear man) - see
Welsh arth gwyr (T. R. Davies). Bruce also suggests the possibility of a connection with Irish art (stone).

An outline of the hero's life is given by Geoffrey of Monmouth (twelfth century) in his
Historia Regum Brittaniae - History of theKings of Britain. Just how much of this life 
was Geoffrey's invention and how much was culled from traditional material is uncertain. 
He tells us that King Arthur was the son of Uther and defeated the barbarians in a
 dozen battles. Subsequently, he conquered a wide empire and eventually went to 
war with the Romans. He returned home on learning that his nephew Mordred had 
raised the standard of rebellion and taken Guinevere, the queen. After landing, his
 final battle took place.

The saga built up over the centuries and Celtic traditions of Arthur reached the 

Continent via Brittany. Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur would become what many 
considered the standard 'history' of Arthur. In this, we are told of Arthur's conception 
when Uther approached Igraine who was made, by Merlin's sorcery, to resemble 
her husband. The child was given to Ector to be raised in secret. After Uther's death
there was no king ruling all England. Merlin had placed a sword in a stone, saying
that whoever drew it out would be king. 

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