Portal:King Arthur

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Arth tapestry2.jpg

Arthur 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 AD. . He appears as the ideal of kingship both in war and peace; even in modern times he has been ranked as one of the 100 Greatest Britons of all times. Over time, the popularity of the stories of King Arthur has captured interest far beyond his being the legendary hero of one nation. Countless new legends, stories, revisions, books, and films have been produced in Europe and the United States of America that unabashedly enlarge on and expand the fictional stories of King Arthur.

The scarce historical background to Arthur is found in the works of Nennius and Gildas and in the Annales Cambriae. The legendary Arthur developed initially through the pseudo-history of Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Welsh collection of anonymous tales known as the Mabinogion. Chretien de Troyes began the literary tradition of Arthurian romance, which subsequently became the Matter of Britain and one of the principal themes of medieval literature. Medieval Arthurian writing reached its conclusion in Thomas Mallory's comprehensive Morte D'Arthur, published in 1485. Modern interest in Arthur was revived by Tennyson in Idylls of the King, and in the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites. Key modern reworkings of the Arthurian legends include Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, T.H. White's The Once and Future King, and Richard Wagner's opera Parsifal.

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The Arthur stone was discovered in 1998 in securely dated sixth century contexts among the ruins at Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, a secular, high status settlement of Sub-Roman Britain. Apparently originally a practice dedication stone for some building or other public structure, it was broken in two and re-used as part of a drain when the original structure was destroyed.

The dating of the stone is arrived at by two methods: firstly, the stone came from a securely stratified context in association with imported pottery of known types dating to the fifth/sixth centuries; secondly, forms of certain letters noted on the slate appear in British inscribed stones from Scotland to Cornwall post-500 and are certainly known elsewhere from 6th century north Cornwall (part of the kingdom on Dumnonia).

A smaller, more lightly incised inscription runs across the surface below. Its Latin inscription reads: PATER COLI AVI FICIT ARTOGNOV. Dr. Charles Thomas recognised Celtic elements in the Latin, for which he considers a likely translation would be Artognou, father of a descendant of Coll, has had (this) constructed. The name "Artognou" could mean "descendant of Arthur," but the arth- element, signifying "bear," appears in many name contexts aside from Arthur. The Tintagel connection made an association with King Arthur irresistible in the popular press.

According to Arthurian legend, first recorded by Geoffrey of Monmouth, King Arthur was conceived at Tintagel Castle. However, as the current Tintagel Castle had not been constructed at the time of Geoffrey's writing, something had to have influenced his placing of Arthur's conception there. Of further note is the fact that, in his History of the Kings of Britain, Geoffrey lists one of Arthur's relatives as Coel Hen (Old King Cole), and a "Coll" is listed on the "Arthur stone". (read more . . . )

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Sir Ywain (also called Owain, Yvain, Ewain or Uwain) is a Knight of the Round Table and the son of King Urien in Arthurian legend. The historical Owain mab Urien, on whom the literary character is based, was the king of Rheged in Great Britain during the late 6th century. Ywain was one of the earliest characters associated with King Arthur, being mentioned in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae. He was also one of the most popular, starring in Chrétien de Troyes' Yvain, the Knight of the Lion and appearing prominently in many later accounts.

He is somewhat unusual in that he remains as Urien's son in virtually all literature he appears in; other characters based on figures from Welsh Arthurian legend lost their original familial connections in continental literature, for instance Sir Kay. Ywain's mother is often said to be Arthur's half-sister, making him Arthur's nephew. This sister is Morgan le Fay in the Post-Vulgate Cycle and Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, but other works name another sibling. He is the nephew of Morgause and King Lot, and cousin to Gawain, Agravain, Gaheris, Gareth and Mordred. He has a half-brother (with whom he is often confused) named Ywain the Bastard, son of Urien and his seneschal's wife, and Welsh texts give him a twin sister named Morvydd. The character Calogrenant or Colgrevance from Knight of the Lion is another important cousin. (read more . . . )

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Arthurian legend - British traditional history Britons of the Southwest - Knights of the Round Table - Medieval legends - Mythological kings - History of Cornwall - Sub-Roman Britain - Sub-Roman monarchs - Welsh monarchs - Welsh mythology - Celtic people

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