He appears in a group of stories that together are known as the Arthurian legend . The Round Table . King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a 2017 epic fantasy action adventure film directed by Guy Ritchie who co-wrote the film with Joby Harold and Lionel Wigram from a story by Harold and David Dobkin, inspired by Arthurian legends. In the 1930s, the Order of the Fellowship of the Knights of the Round Table was formed in Britain to promote Christian ideals and Arthurian notions of medieval chivalry.  In John Cowper Powys's Porius: A Romance of the Dark Ages (1951), set in Wales in 499, just prior to the Saxon invasion, Arthur, the Emperor of Britain, is only a minor character, whereas Myrddin (Merlin) and Nineue, Tennyson's Vivien, are major figures. , Up to c. 1210, continental Arthurian romance was expressed primarily through poetry; after this date the tales began to be told in prose. I used this for a year 3 class for our Myths and Legends literacy unit. They cite parallels with figures such as the Kentish Hengist and Horsa, who may be totemic horse-gods that later became historicised. He incorporates Arthur's father Uther Pendragon, his magician advisor Merlin, and the story of Arthur's conception, in which Uther, disguised as his enemy Gorlois by Merlin's magic, sleeps with Gorlois's wife Igerna (Igraine) at Tintagel, and she conceives Arthur. On the one hand, he launches assaults on Otherworldly fortresses in search of treasure and frees their prisoners. This renewed interest first made itself felt in 1816, when Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur was reprinted for the first time since 1634. Although Malory's English version of the great French romances was popular, there were increasing attacks upon the truthfulness of the historical framework of the Arthurian romances – established since Geoffrey of Monmouth's time – and thus the legitimacy of the whole Matter of Britain.  Myrddin's disappearance at the end of the novel is "in the tradition of magical hibernation when the king or mage leaves his people for some island or cave to return either at a more propitious or more dangerous time" (see King Arthur's messianic return).  Arthur is not mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle or named in any surviving manuscript written between 400 and 820. The story as a whole tells of Arthur helping his kinsman Culhwch win the hand of Olwen, daughter of Ysbaddaden Chief-Giant, by completing a series of apparently impossible tasks, including the hunt for the great semi-divine boar Twrch Trwyth.  It is not even certain that Arthur was considered a king in the early texts.  Other inscriptional evidence for Arthur, including the Glastonbury cross, is tainted with the suggestion of forgery..  Tennyson had reworked the romance tales of Arthur to suit and comment upon the issues of his day, and the same is often the case with modern treatments too. So, for example, the 16th-century humanist scholar Polydore Vergil famously rejected the claim that Arthur was the ruler of a post-Roman empire, found throughout the post-Galfridian medieval "chronicle tradition", to the horror of Welsh and English antiquarians. Arthurian legend tells the stories of Arthur Pendragon, a fictional British king who was the sovereign of the Knights of the Round Table. Sites and places have been identified as "Arthurian" since the 12th century, but archaeology can confidently reveal names only through inscriptions found in secure contexts. Assumptions that a historical Arthur led Welsh resistance to the West Saxon advance from the middle Thames are based on a conflation of two early writers, the religious polemicist Gildas and the historian Nennius, and on the Annales Cambriae of the late 10th century. However these were very troubled times and Merlin, a wise magician, advised that the baby Arthur should be raised in a secret place and that none should know his true identity. Cette police est gratuite pour un usage personnel. Perceval, although unfinished, was particularly popular: four separate continuations of the poem appeared over the next half century, with the notion of the Grail and its quest being developed by other writers such as Robert de Boron, a fact that helped accelerate the decline of Arthur in continental romance. The Badon entry probably derived from the Historia Brittonum. Medieval writers, especially the French, variously treated stories of Arthur’s birth, the adventures of his knights, and the adulterous love between his knight Sir Lancelot and his queen, Guinevere. We went on to plan and write our own adventure stories based on Arthur. New York: Simon and Schuster.  Classical Latin Arcturus would also have become Art(h)ur when borrowed into Welsh, and its brightness and position in the sky led people to regard it as the "guardian of the bear" (which is the meaning of the name in Ancient Greek) and the "leader" of the other stars in Boötes.. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). 30% The legend of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table. Malory based his book—originally titled The Whole Book of King Arthur and of His Noble Knights of the Round Table—on the various previous romance versions, in particular the Vulgate Cycle, and appears to have aimed at creating a comprehensive and authoritative collection of Arthurian stories. Arthur's name also occurs in early poetic sources such as Y Gododdin.. The Legend of King Arthur on a PowerPoint. Camelot. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/topic/King-Arthur, King Arthur - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Arthur - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up).  Gildas' 6th-century polemic De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae (On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain), written within living memory of Badon, mentions the battle but does not mention Arthur. In particular, Arthur features in a number of well-known vitae ("Lives") of post-Roman saints, none of which are now generally considered to be reliable historical sources (the earliest probably dates from the 11th century). , The romance Arthur has become popular in film and theatre as well. Early traditions of abduction and infidelity follow Guinevere, who in some stories was carried off by Arthur’s rivals and in others had an adulterous affair with the knight Lancelot. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... King Arthur, illustration by N.C. Wyeth for the title page of, …and the shadowy figure of Arthur began to turn the tide by the use of cavalry against the ill-armed Saxon infantry. In Latin texts by the chroniclers Gildas (6th century) and Nennius (9th century) and in the Welsh Annales Cambriae, study accounts of Arthur's exploits and death in battle. Some of these are human threats, such as the Saxons he fights in the Historia Brittonum, but the majority are supernatural, including giant cat-monsters, destructive divine boars, dragons, dogheads, giants, and witches.  Furthermore, the revival of interest in Arthur and the Arthurian tales did not continue unabated.  Similarly, Lancelot and his cuckolding of Arthur with Guinevere became one of the classic motifs of the Arthurian legend, although the Lancelot of the prose Lancelot (c. 1225) and later texts was a combination of Chrétien's character and that of Ulrich von Zatzikhoven's Lanzelet. In the view of historian Thomas Charles-Edwards, "at this stage of the enquiry, one can only say that there may well have been an historical Arthur [but ...] the historian can as yet say nothing of value about him".  Arthur's status as the king of all Britain seems to be borrowed from pre-Galfridian tradition, being found in Culhwch and Olwen, the Welsh Triads, and the saints' lives. The end of the Middle Ages brought with it a waning of interest in King Arthur. The so-called "Arthur stone", discovered in 1998 among the ruins at Tintagel Castle in Cornwall in securely dated 6th-century contexts, created a brief stir but proved irrelevant. Marcella Chelotti, Vincenza Morizio, Marina Silvestrini. , Another commonly proposed derivation of Arthur from Welsh arth "bear" + (g)wr "man" (earlier *Arto-uiros in Brittonic) is not accepted by modern scholars for phonological and orthographic reasons. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Vortigern wants Arthur dead, to ensure there is no claimant to the throne. King Arthur is a legendary British leader who is believed to have defeated the Saxons and established an empire over Britain during the 12th century. According to medieval fictional writers, King Arthur was a powerful British ruler who fought and defended his empire from being invaded by … , An alternative theory, which has gained only limited acceptance among professional scholars, derives the name Arthur from Arcturus, the brightest star in the constellation Boötes, near Ursa Major or the Great Bear. The old notion that some of these Welsh versions actually underlie Geoffrey's Historia, advanced by antiquarians such as the 18th-century Lewis Morris, has long since been discounted in academic circles.  In the Life of Saint Cadoc, written around 1100 or a little before by Lifris of Llancarfan, the saint gives protection to a man who killed three of Arthur's soldiers, and Arthur demands a herd of cattle as wergeld for his men. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. In both the earliest materials and Geoffrey he is a great and ferocious warrior, who laughs as he personally slaughters witches and giants and takes a leading role in all military campaigns, whereas in the continental romances he becomes the roi fainéant, the "do-nothing king", whose "inactivity and acquiescence constituted a central flaw in his otherwise ideal society". After twelve years of peace, Arthur sets out to expand his empire once more, taking control of Norway, Denmark and Gaul. , Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, completed c. 1138, contains the first narrative account of Arthur's life. In the early 19th century, medievalism, Romanticism, and the Gothic Revival reawakened interest in Arthur and the medieval romances. King Arthur (Welsh: Brenin Arthur, Cornish: Arthur Gernow, Breton: Roue Arzhur) was a legendary British leader who, according to medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the late 5th and early 6th centuries. The writer claimed that the island of Britai… There is clear evidence that Arthur and Arthurian tales were familiar on the Continent before Geoffrey's work became widely known (see for example, the Modena Archivolt), and "Celtic" names and stories not found in Geoffrey's Historia appear in the Arthurian romances. 3: King Arthur in the Latin Chronicles. As Taylor and Brewer have noted, this return to the medieval "chronicle tradition" of Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Historia Brittonum is a recent trend which became dominant in Arthurian literature in the years following the outbreak of the Second World War, when Arthur's legendary resistance to Germanic enemies struck a chord in Britain. Many elements and incidents that are now an integral part of the Arthurian story appear in Geoffrey's Historia, including Arthur's father Uther Pendragon, the magician Merlin, Arthur's wife Guinevere, the sword Excalibur, Arthur's conception at Tintagel, his final battle against Mordred at Camlann, and final rest in Avalon. This is a world which has inspired an overwhelming amount of literature, film, music, dance and other works of …  The revived Arthurian romance also proved influential in the United States, with such books as Sidney Lanier's The Boy's King Arthur (1880) reaching wide audiences and providing inspiration for Mark Twain's satire A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889).  King Arthur and the Arthurian legend were not entirely abandoned, but until the early 19th century the material was taken less seriously and was often used simply as a vehicle for allegories of 17th- and 18th-century politics. Ciro Santoro, "Per la nuova iscrizione messapica di Oria", Ciro Santoro, "La Nuova Epigrafe Messapica "IM 4.  How much of Geoffrey's Historia (completed in 1138) was adapted from such earlier sources, rather than invented by Geoffrey himself, is unknown. Arthur was the first born son of King Uther Pendragon and heir to the throne.  Although the 'Arthur of romance' was sometimes central to these new Arthurian works (as he was in Burne-Jones's "The Sleep of Arthur in Avalon", 1881–1898), on other occasions he reverted to his medieval status and is either marginalised or even missing entirely, with Wagner's Arthurian operas providing a notable instance of the latter. It is not certain how these legends originated or whether the figure of Arthur was based on a historical person. The 9th-century Historia Brittonum also refers to this tale, with the boar there named Troy(n)t. Finally, Arthur is mentioned numerous times in the Welsh Triads, a collection of short summaries of Welsh tradition and legend which are classified into groups of three linked characters or episodes to assist recall. The legend of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table is the most powerful and enduring in the western world. During this period, Arthur was made one of the Nine Worthies, a group of three pagan, three Jewish and three Christian exemplars of chivalry. As a boy, Arthur is left orphaned after his father, King Uther Pendragon, and mother are killed in a war waged against them by Vortigern, who then assumes the throne. There have been few attempts to define the nature and character of Arthur in the pre-Galfridian tradition as a whole, rather than in a single text or text/story-type. , In the latter half of the 20th century, the influence of the romance tradition of Arthur continued, through novels such as T. H. White's The Once and Future King (1958), Thomas Berger's tragicomic Arthur Rex and Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon (1982) in addition to comic strips such as Prince Valiant (from 1937 onward). Lacy has observed, "The popular notion of Arthur appears to be limited, not surprisingly, to a few motifs and names, but there can be no doubt of the extent to which a legend born many centuries ago is profoundly embedded in modern culture at every level. A less obviously legendary account of Arthur appears in the Legenda Sancti Goeznovii, which is often claimed to date from the early 11th century (although the earliest manuscript of this text dates from the 15th century and the text is now dated to the late 12th to early 13th century). The cycle continued the trend towards reducing the role played by Arthur in his own legend, partly through the introduction of the character of Galahad and an expansion of the role of Merlin.  The first is that he was a peerless warrior who functioned as the monster-hunting protector of Britain from all internal and external threats. , Whatever his sources may have been, the immense popularity of Geoffrey's Historia Regum Britanniae cannot be denied.  Arthur's role in these works is frequently that of a wise, dignified, even-tempered, somewhat bland, and occasionally feeble monarch. Arthur and his warriors, including Kaius (Kay), Beduerus (Bedivere) and Gualguanus (Gawain), defeat the Roman emperor Lucius Tiberius in Gaul but, as he prepares to march on Rome, Arthur hears that his nephew Modredus (Mordred)—whom he had left in charge of Britain—has married his wife Guenhuuara (Guinevere) and seized the throne.  Pre-eminent among these was Alfred Tennyson, whose first Arthurian poem "The Lady of Shalott" was published in 1832. Julius Caesar had first led troops to Britain in 55 and 54 BCE, but the Roman legions arrived in force in 43 CE under the reign of Claudius. Epic battles and quests in pursuit of strange creatures. , The consensus among academic historians today is that there is no solid evidence for his historical existence.