Talk:King Arthur

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Featured article King Arthur is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on January 12, 2009.
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Date Process Result
April 29, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
March 11, 2008 Peer review Reviewed
May 24, 2008 Peer review Reviewed
July 15, 2008 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article

Arthurian fiction overlap[edit]

"This trend towards placing Arthur in a historical setting is also apparent in historical and fantasy novels published during this period."

Footnote: For example, in historical fiction: Parke Godwin's Firelord (1980) and its sequels; Stephen Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle (1987–99); Nikolai Tolstoy's The Coming of the King (1988); Jack Whyte's Camulod Chronicles (1992–97); and Bernard Cornwell's The Warlord Chronicles (1995–97). In fantasy fiction: S. R. Lawhead, Taliesin (Crossway, 1987); N. Tolstoy, The Coming of the King (Bantam, 1988); J. Whyte, The Skystone (Viking, 1992); and B. Cornwell, The Winter King (Michael Joseph, 1995)."

Problem is, I think the line between historical and fantasy fiction tends to be blurred for Arthur books, and the above are no exceptions, though their basic framework is indeed historical. Lawhead is clearly fantasy - he adds Atlantis in the mix. When does the depiction of paganism fall into fantasy? If the pagan gods manifest themselves? That's Tolstoy. What about writers who write in such ways so readers can interpret the magic stuff is not really magic? Cornwell, as I've heard, wrote thus, but online summaries mention curses and spells. What about Mary Stewart? Do we go by established classifications (how others have classified them)? Uthanc (talk) 16:01, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

The point of the sentence is that works of both historical fiction and fantasy fiction (or works that combine elements of the two) tend to place Arthur in a specific historical setting (ie, post-Roman Britain at the time of the Saxon invasions). This distinguishes these works from those based on the romance tradition, such as The Once and Future King and Excalibur, which do not place Arthur in a historical context.--Cúchullain t/c 18:29, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
Oh sorry, I didn't see you were commenting on the citation rather than the sentence. Your right, we don't need to draw a distinction between historical and fantasy fiction here.--Cúchullain t/c 02:46, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
For what it's worth, the Annals of Ulster, page 49, entry U467.3, written in the year AD 467, reads: "Death of Uter Pendragon, king of England, to whom succeeded his son, King Arthur, who instituted the Round Table." The Annals of Ulster are unreliable as an historical source, but this is a definite mention of Arthur complete with surname written at the time he supposedly lived. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:03, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
Actually the Annals of Ulster where compiled in the 15th century, long after Arthur was supposed to have lived. While much of it was taken from earlier annals, this entry in particular is clearly quite late.--Cúchullain t/c 13:39, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

Undone edits to historicity section[edit]

I have undone the recent edits by WikieWikieWikie to the historicity section, as they seem to me to be a retrograde step away from the FA quality standard - concerns include misspellings, what seems to me poor phrasing, non-academic ref used (the dire Celt & Saxon). My feeling is that the revisions (1) need more work before they are inserted into a recent FA, and (2) they need discussion on the talk page e.g. changing the opinion on a 10thC date of addition of the Arthurian annals to the AC from likely to possibly may represent the editors opinion, but the original wording reflected what the work referenced there argues; if there's a change to be made, back it up with a reliable reference which disagrees, perhaps, otherwise it reflects your assessment of the case, not that of the secondary materials we're meant to be summarizing. Other opinions very much welcomed! :-) Cheers Hrothgar cyning (talk) 22:52, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

If you consider Celt & Saxon to be 'dire' I assume you are on the doubters bench, Hrothgar cyning. I did these alterations to attempt to properly balance the article. One in my opinion does tend to agree entirely with the disregardment of the Nennius text, and the idea of corruption of the Annales Cambriae through this author, whom academics in doubt even think may be ficticious himself. Do you mean to say my reference of the Berresford-Ellis text is in some way erronious? You cannot disregard this reference as worthless!WikieWikieWikie (talk) 17:51, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
The article was already finely balanced to try and reflect all viewpoints; I'm not sure what is being achieved here. I realize that you feel historians are rejecting these documents out of "spite" (as you say in a comment near the top of the Talk), but this doesn't mean you should bias the material in the direction of your personal opinions. We're providing a summary of current views -- if you want to disagree with an assessment of the date of the AC Arthur entries, great! But do it but adding a ref from a respectable source that backs up your changes (and write is as a summary of their opinions) otherwise it is surely original research... Cheers, Hrothgar cyning (talk) 21:46, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
The "historicity" section has a definite structure. It begins with the evidence used to argue for Arthur's existence, then moves on to the reliability or otherwise of that evidence, and then to the alternative theories to Arthur's origins. If we are to present all sides, this is really the only order they can be put in. And I would say that Berresford Ellis, a populariser of other people's ideas at best, a regurgitator of long-discredited Celtomania at worst, is indeed worthless as a source. --Nicknack009 (talk) 18:55, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
You can say this although the point at hand here is certainly not controversial. I can see his work does not use too much scholarly discression, although he knows his sources and uses them. This is good enough for him to be seen in the light of achademia.WikieWikieWikie (talk) 19:48, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Ok, let me be clear - I have no interest in keeping what I wrote unchanged, as suggested on my talk. What I am interested in is having an academically respectable article that is free of Original Research, editor opinion and reflects the current best sources of knowledge. Thus I'm persoanlly happy with NickNack's version as a compromise for the minute. It keeps some of the reorganization of text -- which may be a good move: opinions, people, please! -- and removes most of the bias and personal opinion that Wikie is introducing e.g. "though if we consider the fact the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle usually omit defeats of its protagonists, and the written record of the Britons from the areas of present-day Enlgand under their sway at the time in question are practically non-existant, this may not be as clear cut as it sounds." Now, I'm not saying it's major bias, but this is an argument made by the editor: we are not arguing the case, we are presenting the evidence. e.g. John Morris representing a consensus (!!!!!!). e.g. not citing a reference to back up moving the text on the AC date away from what the ref argues, which therefore=Original Research imho :-/ Re: Berresford Ellis, he is -- as was pointed out above -- not an acceptable academic reference, as it is neither scholarly nor even always accurate. I would like to see more opinions on all this from interested editors, before we start damaging an FA... Hrothgar cyning (talk) 21:35, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree with Hrothgar cyning on the approach, though on the specific points he makes his expertise far exceeds mine. I would prefer to see this article reverted to the version prior to WikieWikieWikie's edits and then a discussion take place here on what changes, if any, to make. Specifically regarding the sources: a source that is regarded as unreliable by a consensus of editors on the talk page should not be introduced. I also agree that the material about the bias of the ASC is personal opinion and would need much stronger sourcing to be usable. Mike Christie (talk) 21:55, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

I really am at a loss here then. Its current tone does not beget an impartial article in my opinion though. And for god's sake the Berreford-Ellis reference does not say anything untoward. I know he is entirely ready to accept a historical Arthur upfront and without reprieve. He is I agree a populist writer (yet he is still a scholar with knowledge of the sources). This is not me though (at least not on the Wiki). It is perfectly true there are scant British Celtic sources from the time in question. This befits beneft of the doubt I think, rather than the contrary. And the point on the ASC is valid. I must reitterate the points shown in any evidence here are all only conjectural and must be treated accordingly in line with Wiki standards when there is an unbalance of possibilities on the table. To settle for one argument or another is unaccpetable. I look forward to an unbias section here. WikieWikieWikie (talk) 22:04, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Finally added after three edit conflicts: My rationale for my edits are that there are three positions it's possible to take - (1) that Arthur was a real person as described by the HB AC, (2) that he may have existed but even if so there's nothing we can usefully say about him, and (3) that he never existed. I've tried to arrange the material to give due prominence to all three options. I've also rewritten the intro to be more general and less technical - we don't need to introduce terms like "Galfridian" and "pre-Galfridian" until we get to the relevant section - and a little more chronological. That's a problem the article has generally, referring to topics that aren't introduced until a paragraph or two later. A little ongoing revision is always necessary in an article of this size to incorporate new additions into the flow of the article. --Nicknack009 (talk) 22:13, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Like Hrothgar, I am open to change if it improves the article, but not if it disimproves it (and we had some bad sentence construction added, apart from the spoiling of the sense in places). I am prepared to watch the cut and thrust here first, but after that I'd want to carefully check new versions against old and choose which seem the better. qp10qp (talk) 22:20, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Currently the state of article does befit these points NickNack. In my opinion it does not treat the subject with enough care, although this indifference may be close enough to impartial. It is maybe now overly complex and narrative (if this is the right word). I did like the division of the article into the school of thought form though. This represents the argument for (should be first) the argument against (clearly second) and the compromise between the two at the end was quite appropriate I thought. The ending on the idea we should discard the idea of an historical Arthur is not too good here. Surely words like paucity and agnostic are inappropriate too. We must comment on the evidences, yet as clear-cut as possible. WikieWikieWikie (talk) 22:31, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
I disagree strongly that the article was written with indifference and lack of care: just the opposite—look at the number of books and articles consulted. I'm all in favour of clearer writing, where possible, but there is always a danger of simply being less precise. The article does not endorse the idea that a historical Arthur should be discarded: it quotes historians who say that. If the article takes any view, it is a neutral one, as expressed by "Historical documents for the post-Roman period are scarce, so a definitive answer to the question of Arthur's historical existence is unlikely". qp10qp (talk) 22:47, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Number of points of view may count for something, yet this concensus rests on the theories of people still. It is maybe an inappropriate use of points of view as evidence suitable for reference. Wikipedia should be careful of its consensuses. People are known to be wrong even when they are not alone in their ideas, you know!?! WikieWikieWikie (talk) 13:49, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

For reference, here is the diff between the version prior to recent changes and the current version. Any opinions about what should be left in and what taken out? Mike Christie (talk) 17:23, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

I think Nicknack's version clears up Wikie's concerns that the article is taking a side. It is now even more clear that we are just giving the evidence rather than making a judgement, and saying which scholars are convinced by what. It's not our fault that belief in a historical Arthur is largely restricted to the likes of Ellis and Morris, neither of whom are seen as credible on the topic (I wouldn't mind a quote from Geoffrey Ashe on this, as he is both respected and what we may call a believer). If WikieWikieWikie or anyone else has any specific issues with the current version, he should suggest them here for us to vet. Like others I beleive that an article of this high calibur should not rely on the likes of Ellis to make any point; if something he says is true, it can surely be found in another, more reliable, source.--Cúchullain t/c 16:37, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
Britannia: Conversation with Geoffrey Ashe might provide you with something quoteable.--Alf melmac 18:28, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
I did revert Nicknack's changes to the intro though, as it made some changes that were incorrect - notably, the earlier sources have Arthur as a supernatural warrior, and the later ones have him as a saxon fighter, not the other way around. I also removed the reference to Malory as "canonical" (though I now see this was not Nicknack's wording.) The intro might could be tightened, but this point needs to be made.--Cúchullain t/c 16:35, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
Are you arguing that the likes of The Spoils of Annwn and Culhwch and Olwen are earlier than the Historia Brittonum and Annales Cambriae? I would have thought the opposite is true. The other flaws I pointed out in the intro have also been restored by your revert. And I think Malory, "canonical" or not, is important enough to merit a mention in the intro.--Nicknack009 (talk) 18:02, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
Hrothgar will be able to address this better than me, but there are several references to Arthur which probably predate the Historia Brittonum, and none contain any mention of him fighting the Saxons. Additionally, some works which may be from a later date (such as Preiddeu Annwn and Pa Gur) reference what are clearly much older traditions, and all of these feature Arthur as some combination of folklore figure, supernatural champion, or otherwordly adventurer, but never a Saxon-fighter. Moreover, other than in the HB and works based directly on it (such as The Annales Cambriae), Arthur is not associated with the Saxons in Welsh literature until the Welsh adaptations of Geoffrey. I also don't know if a chronological format is the way to go; the legend developed differently in different places, especially in the wake of Geoffrey.
As to Malory, I don't think he needs to be mentioned if we don't mention the prose cycle tradition he relied on, especially the Vulgate Cycle.--Cúchullain t/c 18:54, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
Cuchullain is correct on the above: the nature of Arthur in the early evidence (and the dating of this) is discussed at length in Padel 1994 and Green 2007b (refs as article bib). On the date of Preideu Annwfyn, for example, it has been argued by a number of researchers (e.g. Koch 1996) that linguistic and orthographic factors combine to suggest an origin in perhaps the eighth century for the poem. Similarly, whilst Culhwch is late, it clearly contains much older stories: thus its tale of the boar hunt not only appears in the E9thC HB, but also seems to be referenced in a probably 7th century praise poem (e.g. Green 2007b). Cheers, Hrothgar cyning (talk) 20:42, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
My main concern right now is the idea neither Berresford-Ellis, nor now Morris are credible references. If we set aside the conclusions they draw, their assessments of the sources are still perfectly reasonable. The reference to Celt & Saxon some here have seen fit to make redundant, states an achademic point of view on the sources, without any conclusion at all. This does not draw a conclusion, it suggests one. If anything it is the use of quotes with a point of view in the presentation of the case we should be wary of here. May I propose we do away with any quotes not from primary sources with a point of view (if there are any), and let the facts stand alone? This is something I think Wikipedians ahould seek to achieve in an article! I as a reader dont want to be told the sources and ideas I trust aren't valid. I dont mind if I am told another point of view. Just as long as Wikipedia doesn't tell me this point of view is the right one and mine is wrong. There are always maybes (????) here!!!!WikieWikieWikie (talk) 03:33, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
Quoting scholars is a reasonable thing to do in order to point the arguments. Scholarship evolves, and certain statements by scholars are worth quoting in the article. In any case, this article does not stick just to the current scholarly consensus but reports earlier views, or else Morris would not even be mentioned. The neutrality policy doesn't mean that all theories are equal, and a good article will represent them in proportion to their significance today. The historicity section used to do that, with Morris restricted to a sentence or two. qp10qp (talk) 11:37, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
We clearly differ on the kind of content we want to see on the Wiki. If care for neutraility and tone is amateur and the (to me at least) slap dash approach Wikipedians generally seem to prefer, I cannot win. This is all wrong. If Wikipedian neutrality does not mean where there is doubt, there is also the benefit of it, and the realms of historical possibility are left to the whims of certain academics, rather than everyone's imagination, of their own accord, it fails at its task to present 'the sum total of human knowledge'. This is a concern I hope I do not stand alone in. I dont think Ill hold my breath though. It stands to reason what it basicly an academic forum will tend to stand by the prevailant POV. I am sure Wikipedia's rules allow this too. Maybe the perfection at least some must seek here will indeed be a work in progress for quite a while. I still feel the article concludes there never was an article, on the basis of the conclusiveness lent to the quotes with a definite criticality of tone. WikieWikieWikie (talk) 13:42, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
Academic scholarship is not about whims. It is about painstaking study and research into archaeology and sources, etc. It is about knowing all the books and articles that contribute to the evolution of scholarship on specific matters. As amateurs (which most of us are), we have not the time nor the ability to mount a challenge to academics, even if we doubt some of their findings. Our task as Wikipedia editors is merely to summarise the existing state of scholarship on a topic, attending carefully to proportion and weight. qp10qp (talk) 14:04, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
Of course proportion and weight. Can you reference for the the publication with the official stance on the measures we must abide by here then. Otherwise it is all opinion of editors. The only way to avert the instillment of conclusions drawn through individual opinion, is the presentation of an argument in balance. If there are possibilities for and against something, these should be lent the proportions and weights of individual casses, rather than to shut the book on one or the other. Futherly, if one case stands as the defendant, and the other as the accusor (in this case: extant texts vs extant texts are null) the defedant must hold the rights of innocent until proven guilty, with the provision of benefit of the doubt. And the jury is not the editors' consensus, it is the individual this encyclopedia is meant to inform, without disinformation. If the jury is told what it is that they must descide, it is an unfair trial and the case is thrown out. WikieWikieWikie (talk) 16:57, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure I'm understanding you correctly, but if you are asking which Wikipedia rules apply then this section of the Neutral point of view policy is likely the one.--Alf melmac 17:11, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
I think WikieWikieWikie is misunderstanding the NPOV policy on this issue. It specifically lays out that Wikipedia is to summarize the findings of the top scholars in the field, not to give equal weight to all viewpoints regardless of standing scholarly consensus. If he were to point out specific issues he has with the text we might be able to correct them.--Cúchullain t/c 00:01, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Explanation of removal of edits to historicity section[edit]

WikieWikie, I have removed your edit to the Historicity section simply on the grounds of bad writing. Compare your opening with the previous one. I'm sorry to be harsh, but in my opinion, your edits reduced the section from a professional to an amateur level of writing.

(Your version)We know there was never really any king of England known as Arthur. What we dont know is whether there is any fact in the fiction. In search of a historical basis for this figure on the borders of fantasy, two early medieval documents stand out, the Historia Brittonum and Annales Cambriae.

(Previous version) Whether Arthur was a historical figure is a matter of controversy in scholarly and popular literature. The argument for his existence is based primarily on two early medieval documents, the Historia Brittonum and Annales Cambriae ...

I have restored the featured-article version of this section, which I believe is a well-written and admirably concise summary. It includes the following, which in my opinion summarises all the different viewpoints briefly and without bias:

This lack of convincing early evidence is the reason many recent historians exclude Arthur from their accounts of post-Roman Britain. 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".[8] These modern admissions of ignorance are a relatively recent trend; earlier generations of historians were less sceptical. Historian John Morris made the putative reign of Arthur the organising principle of his history of sub-Roman Britain and Ireland, The Age of Arthur (1973). Even so, he found little to say of an historic Arthur.[9]

I honestly don't see how that can be beaten.

qp10qp (talk) 12:19, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

I think Qp has a fair point here; I've been sitting on my hands to see where everyone goes with this before voicing my opinion; as I said, I'm happy to see the article improved. However, I do have to say that the last edit by WikieWikie seemed to me a definite retrograde step that reduced the quality of the article and removed a number of useful quotations. On the whole, I think the FA version was well-written, unbiased and provided good coverage of current approaches and scholarship, which is what we're aiming at here, although the Cuchullain/NickNack version is interesting and there are a couple of tweaks I'm tempted to make to the FA version on the basis of it, if we agree to stay with the FA version. Cheers, Hrothgar cyning (talk) 20:56, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
I agree that WikieWikieWikie's version is inferior. Again, I encourage him to bring up specific problems he has with the current text here on the talk page and we can deal with them here. As to the FA version versus the "Cuchullain/NickNack" version, I'm fine either way; I think the FA version is probably superior. I say go ahead and make any improvements you see fit to make, Hrothgar.--Cúchullain t/c 00:01, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

I have made three very small edits. The tone previously was somehow vague yet gave the impression of solid reliability. I don't think there was a historical Arthur but I don't think one who disagrees to be any kind of idiot. With three very slight edits I've made this part of the article less lopsided and slightly more specific and reliable. Gingermint (talk) 02:23, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

King Arthur's 'Death'[edit]

I remember reading in a book when I was young that King Arthur did not die. He is asleep wating to return and lead Britain in it's hour of need (The once and future King, was his title) According to this version of the legend Arthur is asleep under a hill in Winchester (Home of his 'Round Table' in the Great Hall). I understand the hill he is under is 'Sleepers Hill' in the City of Winchester. Can this be added to the dialog?Bettybutt (talk) 04:42, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

See King Arthur's messianic return. qp10qp (talk) 12:27, 24 December 2008 (UTC)


I just had to fix two glaring errors in grammar. How a FA makes it this far with those kind of things in place is beyond me. (talk) 02:32, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

There is nothing wrong with "an" historic but there certainly is with "an" large. --Milkbreath (talk) 02:42, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
"A historic" is a lot more common in modern English and follows modern grammar rules since the "H" is always pronounced now. Although if "an historic" is used more often than "a historic" in the UK then that would be good reason to keep the "an". To the first poster: it's easy for a paid, professional copyeditor to miss one "an" that should be an "a". Plus, this article has been featured for six months and anyone can edit it, what is so hard to understand? LonelyMarble (talk) 07:12, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
A Google UK search for "a historic" results in 502,000 hits; "an historic" results in 421,000. So I would have thought either would do in the UK. I would prefer "an historic" myself on the dubious basis that, if one is in doubt, one should stick to the old-fashioned approach. There is an interesting debate on the issue in the House of Lords, with one school of thought being that one should say "a history", but "an historical..." because of the change of stress from second to first syllable: [1]
45ossington (talk) 17:38, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Language evolves, that's why we don't use "thy" "thee" and "thou" or "ye" anymore. The "old fashioned" version is obsolete. Even in the link given discussing this in the HOL, they're at odds since words like "hotel" aren't pronounced in the French manner anymore in English. As a result, I would think that "an historic" or "an history" are both very much wrong and "a" is the article to use. FWIW. (talk) 16:32, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Missing topics[edit]

Surely this article can't be considered complete without mention of the lady of the lake and the full legend of Excaliburm which would seem to be relevant here rather than needing a separate article. And no mention of media interpretations such as The Sword in the Stone or even the BBC's recent Merlin?? Monkeyhousetim (talk)

British or English?[edit]

Apologies if i'm missing something here, but Great Britain (the island) = England, Wales and Scotland, The United Kingdom was founded in 1707 and includes Northern Ireland, Before this England has a history of fighting Wales and Scotland, So how can a man living in the sixth century be British? - Sureley this is English History

Yes, you are missing something! maybe start at Britons (historical). Johnbod (talk) 10:57, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Don't know exactly how related to Cornwall Arthur is, but he could be Cornish (Kingdom of Cornwall) - long before England came about. --Joowwww (talk) 11:36, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
britain meant just the geographical location and the somewhat homogeneous people that lived there, not a political entity. there was no england until well after the angles, saxons etc arrived, where do you think angle-land got it's name? so to say a pre saxon king is english is absurd--Mongreilf (talk) 17:48, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

For this reason I have changed "King Arthur is a legendary British leader who..." to "King Arthur was a legendary Briton leader who" -- (talk) 12:47, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

British is the adjective for Briton. Johnbod (talk) 17:11, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
But it isn't wrong to say Briton Leader and to say so would avoid any confusion with modern day Britishness. -- (talk) 09:55, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes it would be wrong, as "Briton" is not an adjective. "British", piped to "Britons (historical)", is absolutely right. Ghmyrtle (talk) 13:48, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Fair enough, perhaps we could just say Arthur was "King of the Britons"?-- (talk) 09:44, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
..."legendary leader or king of the Britons.." would be OK (in my view "King" with capital K would be less correct, as it suggests that he actually was, which is not authenticated), but I don't see a problem with keeping the existing wording. Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:14, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
"British" is fine because there would have been many British kings or leaders, not one. British peoples were found from Cornwall up to Scotland and were not, historically at least, united. "King of the Britons" sounds as if there was just one king of all the tribes/territories, which there never was.qp10qp (talk) 17:33, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Good point. Let's leave it as it is. Ghmyrtle (talk) 18:57, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
I see your point, it is quite difficult to word it nice and neatly. I suppose people can always click on British to see the differences between ancient British and modern British.-- (talk) 12:40, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

he was fighting aganst the anglo-saxons so he's def. not english —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:57, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

He was a Brythonic leader, therefor; the modern Welsh, Cornish, Bretons would be the closest link, and definitely not English. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hogyncymru (talkcontribs) 23:54, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

First sentence[edit]

Which is correct?

  • King Arthur was a mythical British leader who, according to medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against the Anglo-Saxon invaders in the early 6th century.


  • King Arthur is a mythical British leader who, according to medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against the Anglo-Saxon invaders in the early 6th century.

To my mind, the first is correct and the second is ridiculous. Others disagree. Ericoides (talk) 18:06, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Using "is" is treating King Arthur as a character of folklore and legend, basically a fictional character, and fictional characters are always talked about in the present tense. Since there's debate whether he actually existed or not, there could also be debate whether to use "was" or "is". However, even if he did exist as a real person, his "legend" would still be talked about in the present tense. Just an observation: it's been "is" since it became a featured article and only changed to "was" today and it seems as a result of vandalism (successive edits: [2] [3]). LonelyMarble (talk) 18:35, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
The same question sprang immediately to my own mind, i.e. three words in, and I thought does Arthur get the present tense because he's mythical, because he's British or because he's a leader. Or maybe because he's a king? My national beliefs aside, I'm still unsure. Martinevans123 (talk) 18:54, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
It's partly the conjunction of "is" and, at the end of the sentence, "in the early 6th century", that jars. But maybe I am funny like that. Ericoides (talk) 18:58, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Is there perhaps a distinction between legendary/mythical figures who had a legendary/mythical death and those, like Santa Claus and Rumpelstiltskin, who did not (and never can)? Martinevans123 (talk) 19:15, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Page Protection?[edit]

Having just looked over the edits made in the two weeks since semi-protection of this page removed, am I alone in feeling that the return of some protection might be justified? The vast majority of the 250+ (!) edits over the past fortnight have either been acts of mindless vandalism, well-meaning but very inappropriate changes to the text, or reverts of the above two categories of changes... Now, I have to say I'm impressed and humbled by the dedication of those who are going out of their way to repair the article and check edits (I try to check at least once or twice a day, but others usually get there before me), but is this really a good use of people's time? Any thoughts? Cheers, Hrothgar cyning (talk) 16:07, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Or it could be volunteered for the flagged revision trial... Johnbod (talk) 16:29, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Hadn't heard of this until you mentioned it - looks interesting.... Cheers, Hrothgar cyning (talk) 21:32, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree that semiprotection would be nice. --Hans Adler (talk) 17:42, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks to Gimmetrow for enabling semi-protection once more :-) Cheers, Hrothgar cyning (talk) 21:32, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Thought I ought to raise this point once again. Semi-Protection lapsed on 27 April and it strikes me that the same issues are back, namely frequent vandalism/useless edits which take up people's time on reverting and give the impression of an unreliable page due to constant churn (even though none of anonymous edits stick). Once again, any other thoughts? Cheers, Hrothgar cyning (talk) 22:45, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
I tried for semi protection recently and it didn't pass because the vandalism wasn't frequent enough.SADADS (talk) 23:24, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

Family Tree Removed[edit]

I've removed the family tree, as it (1) is unsourced and (2) seems unhelpful -- i.e. there are many different family trees possible, this only represents one possible tradition. In addition, such a tree -- if it is useful at all -- seems to me to be most appropriate at the page on King Arthur's family. Issues over inserting genealogies into the article have been raised here before (e.g., and I would continue to think them a bad idea which detract from the article. Any other opinions? Cheers, Hrothgar cyning (talk) 22:15, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

I agree. This tree reflects only one tradition of Arthur's family but it doesn't make that clear. I don't see what's added by including it.--Cúchullain t/c 16:37, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Leslie Alcock's Arthur's Britain[edit]

I've recently acquired a copy of Arthur's Britain (1971), by Leslie Alcock, who was Professor of Archaeology at Glasgow. It has quite a bit of material I'd like to use in various articles, but I was wondering if any of the Arthurian experts who hang out here have an opinion on the quality or reliability of the book. Thanks -- Mike Christie (talk) 13:42, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

I think Alcock is now held in low esteem as a historian, despite his professionalism as an archaeologist. He was too biased in favour of Arthur's historical authenticity, which led him to believe that the site of Cadbury Castle was Arthur's Camelot. By the time he revised the book in 1987, Alcock himself admitted that "Arthur's Britain is no longer a reliable guide to the present state of knowledge, hypothesis and opinion". qp10qp (talk) 16:16, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks -- that's just what I was looking for. Alcock has some detailed discussion of the nature of the source texts, which I think can be used, but I'll stay away from his opinions. Mike Christie (talk) 16:28, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Matter of Britain[edit]

Should there be a mention of/link to Matter of Britain earlier in the article? As it is, it doesn't appear until the seventeenth paragraph. I would have kind of expected something in the lead to the effect of "Arthur is a central figure in the legends comprising the Matter of Britain." I'm asking on the talk page first since this is a FA and in case there was some specific reason not to do this. (talk) 22:12, 25 April 2009 (UTC) Oh, that was me, sorry Vultur (talk) 22:12, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

I was just thinking the same thing, but couldn't think of a good way to phrase it, so thank you. I'll be bold and implement your decision. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 01:51, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Authur's Children[edit]

I do my family's Genealogy and was tracing a line on roots when it lead into 5 sons of Authur and Guinevere. Now I had never heard of the two having one child no less 5. Here are the names Smerviemore ab Arthur (Pendragon) Prince of BRITAIN b. 550 Llacheu ab Arthur Prince of BRITAIN b. 552 Amr (Amhar) Gwydre ab Arthur Prince of BRITAIN b. 554 Cydfan ab Arthur Prince of BRITAIN b. 556 Archfedd ab Arthur Prince of BRITAIN b. 558 Now I've been to several sites and two of these names are found Llacheu, Amhar. I wrote the person who posted these people and am waiting for a reply. The children leading up to them did exist, but fall short of attaching to these children. Please if any one knows of these children I would appreciate the proof —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:51, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

I think if you go back that far in time, you are only talking about legendary genealogies. qp10qp (talk) 16:56, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
My bet is that someone in the past created a lineage that "came from arthur" but I think most of current scholorship does not agree on the if and when of Arthur's existence, much less accrediting children to him. SADADS (talk) 19:57, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
Right. Various literary sources do credit Arthur and sometimes Guinevere with children, but these are of course literary. Attempts to place Arthur in a "line" that continues through the generations are fabrications by much later genealogist and assorted other riffraff.--Cúchullain t/c 20:18, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Thank You so much for your input. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:33, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Arthur's death[edit]

Arthur's death is part of the legend (sleeping under the hill thing). Doesn't another myth said he died at cornwall? If so, his disputed end should be added. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 18 September 2009

Arthur's name[edit]

I made some edits to this section over the past few days because it contained some misinformation (which is nothing new in Arthurian studies - people have been spreading misinformation about the etymology of the name since at least the 13th century [see the Sawley glosses]!!). Most notable is the claim that Arthur can come from Brittonic *Arto-uiros "bear-man"; I know this has become a popular folk etymology online (and in some mass-market Arthurian books), but it is not supported by the sound laws of the Welsh language. A Brittonic *Artouiros would have become *Artuur in Archaic Welsh, which would have normally been spelled *Artgur during the Old Welsh period (when the name is first attested as Artur; compare this to OW "-man" names like Bledgur "Wolf Man" {Ml.W. Bleidwr], Catgur "Battle Man" [Ml.W. Cadwr], Cingur "Dog Man" [Ml.W. Cynwr], Riuelgur [MoW. rhyfelwr "warrior"]), and *Arthwr during the Middle and Modern Welsh period. The fact that the name Arthur is never rhymed with words ending in -wr in medieval Welsh poetry (only with -ur words) and that it is never spelled Arthwr in Middle Welsh texts, prevents us from accepting such an etymology.

I also removed Toby Girffen's musings because, after reading his article, I noticed that it contains numerous errors (for instance, his bogus claim that Latin Artorius means "plowman" - when this is not the accepted etymology of the name [the gentilic name derived from Latin arātor "plowman" was probably Arātrius [also an epithet of Jupiter], but compare also the word arātōrius "fit for plowing", used of oxen and fields] - and his misstatement that Kenneth Jackson reconstructed a Late Brittonic *ur "man" - when Jackson clearly wrote *uur in LHEB). His "bear-man" etymology is bogus, for the reasons that I have just stated, thus it should not be present here.Cagwinn (talk) 03:14, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

The Arthur page itself (which may need a look from the worthies editing here, as does Historical basis for King Arthur) has another theory about Arthur being a devolution from Ambrosius Aurelianus. This is sourced to An Arthurian Triangle: A Study of the Origin, Development, and Characterization of Arthur, Guinevere, and Modred (1984) by Peter Korrel. And Frank D. Reno, author of The Historic King Arthur: Authenticating the Celtic Hero of Post-Roman Britain (1996) and Historic Figures of the Arthurian Era: Authenticating the Enemies and Allies of Britain's Post-Roman King (2000) has a theory that Arthur may not have been originally derived/connected from Artorius or Arth but from the suffix Ardd-, "high", which was pronounced "Arth" and Latinized a bit into Arddus or Arthus. This may have been paired with Rex to become Arddus Rex or Arthus Rex, high king. This then may have mutated into Arthurex and thus Arthur Rex, Arthur being confused as a personal name. All three are on Google Books and I don't have them myself, just learned about them (and their contents) online. Are they valid sources/opinions worthy of inclusion? Uthanc (talk) 03:51, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately, all of these that you mention are pure nonsense etymologies made by psuedo-scholars - they have not been accepted by any serious scholars are not worthy of being added here.Cagwinn (talk) 04:43, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
Are there any scholarly documents that weigh the merits of the various approaches to the name? SADADS (talk) 12:59, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
These are just my thoughts, for what they are worth :-)
On Toby Griffen's 'musings', I have no problem with them being removed, especially as it appears (from checking the old versions of the King Arthur page) that a whole new bit on his theory has been added in at some point which wasn't there when this article passed as a Featured Article (FA). The original ending ran as follows: 'By contrast, a derivation of Arthur from Arcturus might be taken to indicate a non-historical origin for Arthur, but Toby Griffen has suggested it was an alternative name for a historical Arthur designed to appeal to Latin-speakers.' There are two reasons why I would suggest this might be worth restoring: (1) it forms a nice structural pair with the preceding sentence, both emphasising the difficulty of drawing conclusions from any etymology (2) it provides a bare minimum of recognition of Griffen's 'dual-naming' theory, advanced in his Celtic Studies Association of North America paper, which hopefully will satisfy those who might want more from him in here.
On the difficulties with *Arto-uiros, these were actually mentioned briefly in the text with a footnote to Higham's discussion of these; as such, I'm not sure that we need the fuller details to be given in this wiki article, although I do agree with the points made (though the latter objection to the etymology is more convincing than the former, IMHO). These details would seem to me a better fit in the main article on Arthur's name, particularly if we want to avoid an uneven weighting of coverage, i.e. the section on the etymology of Arthur's name was already getting to be overlong in the context of an article on King Arthur and the Arthurian legend as a whole. Of course, if we cut on this basis, we might also want to cut down on some of the pre-existing material on Arcturus in the section while we're here as well, as this seems overkill too.
As I say, just my thoughts. My main concern would be simply to avoid the piece becoming unbalanced and to make sure all statements are properly referenced; it is, after all, an FA and we need to continue to aim at those standards :-) Any other opinions?? Cheers, Hrothgar cyning (talk) 19:36, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
Though I disagree with the content, I have no problem with the restoration of the line 'By contrast, a derivation of Arthur from Arcturus might be taken to indicate a non-historical origin for Arthur, but Toby Griffen has suggested it was an alternative name for a historical Arthur designed to appeal to Latin-speakers' - I mainly object to the endorsement of Arto-uiros as if it is a legitimate etymology.
Concerning the Arto-uiros etymology and scholarly references - this is a very tenacious holdover from the 19th century (the earliest reference that I can find to it is from an article by E.B.W. Nicholson in 1895 - ), i.e. it dates to a full 58 years before Kenneth Jackson's groundbreaking study of the history of the Brittonic languages, "Language and History in Early Britain", which first time collected the rules (and established a chronology) of the Brittonic sound laws (to this day, LHEB remains the standard text on the subject and has yet to be fully superseded). The Arto-uiros etymology has been passed on from generation to generation (though mostly by authors who were not specialists in Celtic linguistics), with almost no critical analysis, so that it now has become received wisdom - a problem that has been exacerbated by the invention of the internet, where out-of-date, erroneous information thrives. Because it is an outdated and inaccurate hypothesis, you will find very few modern Celtic linguists even mentioning it, no less debunking it, which makes it difficult to come up with proper citations for a Wiki entry - but I will see what I can come up with. I can say that a casual survey of some famous modern Celticists reveals that a derivation from Latin Artorius is the most popular etymology (favored, for instance, by Kenneth Jackson, John Koch, Patrick Sims-Williams, Rachel Bromwich).Cagwinn (talk) 21:05, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
I just rechecked Higham, "King Arthur..." and he does go into some of this a bit on page 80 (so I added this reference to the paragraph), referencing a personal communication from the linguist Richard Coates - though Higham misspells the hypothetical Welsh forms that would have developed from *Arto-uiros (for instance, he has Arthguir and Arthwyr where he should have *Arthgur and *Arthwr); he does get the spelling right on p. 74, however, citing personal communications with Coates and Peter Schrijver - both are reputable linguists with top-notch credentials when it comes to Celtic languages - so their opinions carry a lot of weight here. The fact that Higham had to resort to personal communications for this point underscores what I said above - there is little reliable, scholarly information on the etymology of Arthur available in print.Cagwinn (talk) 23:31, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
This name has nothing to do with Thor, the god of later Vikings? Mazarin07 (talk) 23:07, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Modern legend[edit]

I saw a whole paragraph on the 2008 BBC Merlin series had been added. Adding that much about a fairly recent production seemed like WP:Recentism to me, so I cut it down to a sentence. Then I noticed Camelot, both the musical and the film of the musical, was mentioned, but not The Sword in the Stone which also derives from White's The Once and Future King. Since it was made by Disney I reckoned it was worth mentioning, but then I also had to add a bit how that film is about young Arthur/Merlin to match existing information that Camelot is about Arthur/Guinevere/Lancelot.

In short, what stuff can go in this section and what stuff may go out, fitting better in King Arthur in various media or the like instead? Uthanc (talk) 11:04, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

We generally try to regulate the section to just the most well known stuff, but people are fairly consistent about adding their favourite pieces of media to the section. We probably just didn't catch that change when it happened recently. Great job, by the way.SADADS (talk) 14:25, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

New section "Literary Parallels Between King David and King Arthur"- should it remain?[edit]

This new section was added by a user, but it seems like a random mish-mash of Arthuriana from different sources and time periods, forced to fit into the David story...should it remain here or be excised?Cagwinn (talk) 01:15, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

This can be all boiled down to "Arthur has been compared with the Biblical King David" (both are among the Nine Worthies), but where can it be placed? The scholarly sources seem to be legitimate, though the whole section just looks like promotion for a novel. Uthanc (talk) 03:36, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Agree with Uthanc, I notified the editor on his talk page. We should probably do the boiling soon, this is a featured article. The section does seem to add major emphasis on that author.SADADS (talk) 03:41, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Also, Cagwinn has a copy of Higham's King Arthur, Myth-Making and History (see above). If I recall correctly (since I read the book at a library some time ago) he compares Arthur to Joshua, or rather Arthur was presented by Nennius(?) and others as a Joshua-figure for the Britons. Uthanc (talk) 03:47, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, Higham makes several references (pp. 141-150; et al.) to Arthur being depicted as a Joshua-like figure in the Historia Brittonum (and to the British being depicted as the new Israelites).Cagwinn (talk) 18:52, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

As an newcomer to this article, I'd like to suggest perhaps the section could be moved to this talk page for a while, where it could be worked into a section of "Comparisons between Arthur and previous literary figures" to be reinserted in the article when it is completely suitable? Ian.thomson (talk) 03:53, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

== Literary Parallels Between King David and King Arthur ==
A number of historians and researchers (including Geoffrey of Monmouth, Victoria M. Guerin[1], R.A. Shoaf[2] have written about the striking parallels between the lives and characters of Israel's David and Britain's Arthur. Some of the key parallels are listed below:

Merlin Samuel
Became prophet and miracle-worker at a young age Became prophet and miracle-worker at a young age
Enthroned Vortigern and his successor, Arthur Enthroned Saul and his successor, David
Advisor to King; at his death kingdom fell into decline Advisor to King; at his death kingdom fell into decline
Vortigern Saul
Mercy shown to Saxons led to years of warfare and loss of crown Mercy shown to Amalekites led to years of warfare and loss of crown
Uther David
Has husband of Igraine killed, beds her, and conceives next king Has husband of Bathsheba killed, beds her, and conceives next king
Arthur David
Kills giant with one blow to its brow, cuts off head and carries into camp Kills giant with one blow to its brow, cuts off head and carries into camp
Excalibur received from quasi-religious figure, the Lady of the Lake Sword of Goliath received from High Priest Ahimelech
Gathers mightiest knights, famous for superhuman acts of valor Gathers mightiest knights, famous for superhuman acts of valor
Followers include valiant brothers Gawain, Gaheris, and Gareth Followers include valiant brothers Joab, Abishai, and Asahel
Wants to accomplish something beyond military exploits: conceives Grail quest Wants to accomplish something beyond military exploits: to build Temple
Rejected due to his warring ways; privilege granted to one more pure in heart: Galahad Rejected due to his warring ways; privilege granted to one more pure in heart: Solomon
The Love Triangle
Lancelot and Guinevere's affair David and Bathsheba's affair
Gawain and Gaheris push Arthur into civil war with his son, Modred Joab and Abishai push David into civil war with his son, Absalom
The war ends with Modred's death, but the kingdom never recovers The war ends with Absalom's death, but the kingdom never recovers

Guerin and Shoaf's references probably can stay but unfortunately Wilkinson probably cannot.

  • Guerin, M. Victoria. "The King's Sin: The Origins of the David-Arthur Parallel." IN Sharpe, William and Christopher Baswell (eds.) The Passing of Arthur: New Essays in Arthurian Tradition. New York: Garland, 1988.
  • Shoaf, R. A. "The Alliterative Morte Arthure: The Story of Britain's David." Journal of English and Germanic Philology. Champaign, IL. 1982 Apr., 81:2, 204-226.

Also, while this is generally interesting, it can possibly go in the article (or another "sources of and influences on the Arthurian legend" article) in more detail, just not in this format. I think scholars have written that the post-Galfridian Arthurian tales onward were slanted toward a particular audience with figures /events/places symbolizing/alluding to other figures/events/places, for socio-political reasons. So Arthur being a type of Joshua and David is an example of that. ---- Uthanc (talk) 10:14, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Deleted mention of editor's self-published book, it doesn't belong here either as it is irrelevant to the debate and there is no way it could be mentioned in the article. I generally do not like tables like this one as they are basically cherry-picking and synthesis. A short section with some references to authors who actually make the comparison might be relevant somewhere. Dougweller (talk) 19:28, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
[edit conflict]Yes, the text is problematic, but some of the material may be keepable in this or another article. Wilkinson, however, is not a scholar and is thus not useable in this context. The list format is the big problem, not just in the fact that it's a list, but also in that it doesn't indicate which version of the Arthur story is being referenced in each of the little sections; Vortigern, the love triangle, the Holy Grail, Galahad, the Lady of the Lake, etc., do not all appear in most versions. A better way to deal with it would be in a devoted article where individual elements and connections could be discussed individually.--Cúchullain t/c 19:06, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
doesn't that verge on WP:content forking. SADADS (talk) 21:26, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Thought you guys might want to see this Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Timothy S. Wilkinson. This Wilkinson author appears to be self published. SADADS (talk) 21:42, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
It would only be "content forking" if such an article were an attempt to give a "second slant" to the King Arthur article, preferable to those contributing there. But the concern here is surely that the comparison section disproportionately long compared to the rest of the article and would be undue weight if it remained here; that is a legitimate article for a subarticle with more information about literary comparisons. There are by the looks of it enough scholarly sources to justify such a subarticle. TheGrappler (talk) 16:07, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

  1. ^ Guerin, M. Victoria. "The King's Sin: The Origins of the David-Arthur Paralell." IN Sharpe, William and Christopher Baswell (eds.) The Passing of Arthur: New Essays in Arthurian Tradition. New York: Garland, 1988.
  2. ^ Shoaf, R. A. "The Alliterative Morte Arthure: The Story of Britain's David." Journal of English and Germanic Philology. Champaign, IL. 1982 Apr., 81:2, 204-226.


I removed the "Name" section because it is irrelevant to an article discussing the legend of King Arthur. I don't see how the etymology of the name "Arthur" has anything to do with the rest of the article. If one wanted to find out the meaning of the name Arthur, that person could simply search the name. (talk) 19:58, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

If you believe the name section should remain, I guess simply reply here. In my opinion, a more appropriate solution would be to have a link to the name at the bottom of the page, possibly in an "Other Information" section. (talk) 20:24, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
Removing an entire section without any explanation, or attempt to achieve consensus with other editors, can appear to others to be vandalism. In this case, the etymology of the name or term "Arthur" is highly relevant to any discussion of whether a person of that name or title existed, and their role or status. Ghmyrtle (talk) 20:26, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
no Disagree I believe, that since this is a legendary figure, that a bit on the name is acceptable.  A p3rson  20:27, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

no Disagree I concur with A p3rson (talk · contribs), the name section is useful. Immunize (talk) 20:28, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

It is pulled DIRECTLY from the name article. I don't see why a link to the other page is harmful. (talk) 20:32, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

We might as well just copy the information from this article into the other. Maybe it will become a featured article itself, since this section is so cruicial. Well, just imagine it less cynical. (talk) 20:35, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Being someone who has contributed extensively to the section in question, I say it stays. It is a subject that is of great interest to Arthurian enthusiasts and it's perfectly appropriate for it to remain in this article.Cagwinn (talk) 00:40, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

Klng aurther is not complete information and why it is not all about his life!!!


I see that Cagwinn has reverted all my recent changes without explanation. I will explain my reasons for the alterations here. Firstly, the current version presents a narrative in which older historians accepted a basic historicity for Arthur, but more recent ones do not, clearly biassing the article to the view that it issomehow a modern consensus view that Arthur is not historical. I can see very little reason to support the implication that there is any such consensus. Secondly, the current version buries evidence often used to support historicity in the section arguing for a mythical Arthur. One would hardly guess from the current layout that the Battle of Mount Badon is generally accepted as historical, because of its mention by Gildas, and that this fits later texts asserting that Arthur was its victor. The evidence concerning the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is also misleadingly presented, since the ASC hardly ever mentions the names of Brythonic leaders, let alone victorious ones. The facts are complex here, but the structure of the ASC can be used to support the stories concerning Arthur. There is also no discussion of the fact that undeniably historical figures often quickly acquired mythical accretions in Brythonic culture, something that's very obvious in Breton folk history for this period. Paul B (talk) 12:51, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Hi Paul, I'm sorry no one has responded yet. I think one problem with your edits was the use of Castleden as a source. I looked around and found this review of Castleden's book in Folklore by Brynley Roberts, which is pretty critical of some of the methodology and the conclusions and theories. I don't think we should use that source when there are plenty of others available.
On potential bias, I don't believe there's any bias in our presentation; I think we're representing the balance of what the scholars are saying pretty well. We're just indicating who says what and not drawing any conclusions beyond their own. I don't think the article implies that there is consensus that Arthur is unhistorical. I think it implies that there is very little one can say about a historical Arthur, which is true.--Cúchullain t/c 14:38, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Similar legends[edit]

Only to leave note, there's another Celtic legend to mention from a scientific and historic point of view which could have a common origin. It's the Tristan & Isolde legend.

In response to the previous comment... As I don't have much time right now, I will post as me without login... I have read that in recent centuries, the legends of King Arthur and those of Tristan and Isolde have merged. This being a possible source of interest and a possible addition to this article. Ken. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:29, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

Very minor quibble[edit]

Consistency of reference formatting would be nice - we currently have:

  • Green, Thomas (August, 2007)
  • Green, Thomas (2007b)

Perhaps the first one would be better as (2007a), if the second can't be specified by month? TheGrappler (talk) 16:35, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

I'm happy with that. Dougweller (talk) 16:53, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
Given the way that the citation is formatted at the moment (Green, Thomas (August, 2007), "Tom Thumb and Jack the Giant Killer: Two Arthurian Fairytales?", Folklore 118 (2): 123–40), is "2007a" appropriate? I seem to recall that it is usual to put months into journal citations. The problem here is that "notes" says Green (2007a) but the reference section calls it (August, 2007). Not sure what standard practice is in such situations although I am 95% sure that the 2007a/2007b is the correct form of a Harvard reference. TheGrappler (talk) 20:54, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

Arthur's Sarmatian origins[edit]

I have founded some proves (in Middle-age documents) that King Arthur is Sarmatian who came to Britain. Do you know something about this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Blexandar (talkcontribs) 19:25, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

There are no such medieval documents.Cagwinn (talk) 16:01, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
For me the second Google hit for Sarmatian was Historical basis for King Arthur. You can find a lot of detail about the speculations about a possible connection in that article. Hans Adler 16:14, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

Thaks! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Blexandar (talkcontribs) 15:27, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Edit request from, 12 January 2011[edit]

{{edit semi-protected}}

In Section "Name"

"Some scholars have suggested that is relevant to this debate that the legendary King ..."

there is an "it" missing -> that it is relevant (talk) 20:55, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

Already done User:Cagwinn has taken care of it. Thanks for noticing the error! Qwyrxian (talk) 23:56, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

Fringe Scholarship[edit]

Having read the edit history of this article and of the Historical basis of King Arthur article, I wonder if it might be worthwhile having a separate page budded from, or linked to, both articles to cover fringe theories on the subject (properly cited, obviously, not Original Research.) It might save arguments and edit wars - there have been a lot of attempts to insert these fringe theories into the articles, which have been subsequently reversed by other editors.

Bearing in mind the lack of contemporary sources for the period and the problems on interpreting such little evidence as we do have (eg Gildas has been used to both support & deny the historicity of Arthur), virtually any properly-researched theory on Arthur could be correct, and while it is quite right to restrict the main articles to the current mainstream scholars, there could be an argument for providing a linked space for those theories not accepted by the mainstream - there have been so many shifts in mainstream opinion in recent decades that today's mainstream scholarship could very well end up as tomorrow's fringe theory (like poor old Leslie Alcock!)

What do you all think? (If there is consensus on this, can we think of a slightly less derogatory term than 'fringe'?) Butcherscross (talk) 15:04, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

I think the better solution would be to clean up Historical basis for King Arthur. That article is the place to discuss all theories on his historicity, even fringe theories, so long as they are notable fringe theories. Once that article is properly cleaned up, if some sections are too long, we could consider branching off then. But I think it's more likely we'll find that a lot of these theories are not really particularly notable even as a notable fringe idea.--Cúchullain t/c 15:17, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
Cleaning up Historical basis for King Arthur is certainly an idea, though I suspect that whatever is done to the topic will attract a fair amount of arguments, fringe-inspired edits, new-age mystics & edit wars! :-) That's partly why I suggested a 'fringe theories' or 'alternative theories' page, as separate from the main articles, to help keep the main articles clear. As for notability, the subject matter itself - alternative Arthurian theories - would meet notability guidelines. As for the theories listed, they would, presumably, have to be judged for notability on their own merits (maybe along the lines of: have they been published in a widely-available book, or on a well-known and externally-edited website?). For example, I noticed a revert done today on another editor's link to "John Matthew's King Arthur ", on the grounds that it was a fringe theory by a pseudo-historian. I don't know the book concerned, but my suggested 'alternative theories' page could be a place where such references are acceptably posted. Just a suggestion... Butcherscross (talk) 22:10, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
What I mean is, wherever the discussion of a fringe/not-widely-accepted theory is located, it must be sourced to third-party reliable sources to establish that it's verifiable and notable. A number of such theories are certainly notable (such as John Morris' take, and Geoffrey Ashe's Riothamus idea) and are discussed in sources beyond the proponents, even if the source serves to reject them. However, I doubt that such sources exist for a lot of the more obscure theories; if not, they shouldn't be mentioned in Wikipedia.
I think the best place for all theories, even rejected ones, should be at historical basis for King Arthur. A separate page for "fringe" theories would only be necessary if the material became too long for that page. But we won't know if it would be until that page is cleaned up.--Cúchullain t/c 18:23, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
Fair enough, I concede the point! I would volunteer to attempt a clean-up of historical basis for King Arthur myself, but I can see that there are other editors active on the topic with far more knowledge than I have. However I'm happy to lend a hand with the donkey work if someone more experienced fancies taking charge. Butcherscross (talk) 10:09, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
As an interested outsider, I believe it would be better not to try to separate the "fringe theories" into a separate article as it would inevitably lead to controversy and dissent as to which theories should be considered to be "fringe". Ghmyrtle (talk) 11:31, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

hello, I have searched through the Kings of the Britons and this one Riothamus is the only one with this description. He was an "old welsh" speaker by the way and a Briton King- and ruled from Wales.( his welsh name was Rigotomas ). please see King of the Britons rigotomas (riothamus- roman name) ruled from Wales by the way. source Red Book of Hergest- I would just like to add that it was compiled in 1382ad (this book) with writings dating from anything as far back as 100ad I believe. He reigned from Gwynedd (the north) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:02, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

To clarify a few points... Old Welsh did not develop until until centuries after Riothamus' death; its immediate ancestor is usually called Archaic-, Primitive-, or Early Welsh, but even this earlier form of the language did not develop until the 6th century AD. In the mid-5th century Riothamus would have been speaking Late Brittonic - and probably a southwest dialect that more closely related to Old Cornish or Old Breton than to Archaic/Early/Primitive Welsh. The old Brittonic form of his name would have been *Rigotamos (I use an asterisk because this spelling is not attested anywhere), not "Rigotomas". There is no evidence that Riothamus had any connection with the region that was to become Wales and I do not believe that he is mentioned anywhere in the Red Book of Hergest (which certainly does not contain any material dating back to 100 AD!). Cagwinn (talk) 14:12, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

ok cool. doesn't say where he reigned from though? would be good to check that one out. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:46, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

No one knows where he reigned prior to his campaigns in Gaul - it's quite possible that he was a native of the British colonies in Armorica. Cagwinn (talk) 00:09, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

More on his name[edit]

I read a while ago that Arthur was posited to a fusion of Celtic arth + Latin urs. Can we locate any reliable sources on this theory, or is it just a fringe etymology? Bearian (talk) 20:35, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

Do you mean Latin ursus "bear"? This was borrowed into Breton and Cornish as ourz and ors, respectively. It is very unlikely that Arthur is a compound of such a word (which was not borrowed by the Welsh). Cagwinn (talk) 21:39, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

King Arthur as a "composite" character[edit]

There are some historians who consider "King Arthur" to be a composite of multiple real individuals--possibly over multiple periods--with their separate lives and activities folded by oral tradition into a single legendary individual. This idea should be explored, although I'm not the one to do that.

Personally, I find the positing that Arthur either corresponded to a specific individual or no one at all to be a false dichotomy. RobertGustafson (talk) 04:35, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Geoffrey's Arthur—who fights at the HB battles and with Mordred but also invades Rome—is at minimum a composite of two separate people with elements of no-one-at-all (a Briton invading and conquering Denmark and Norway) thrown in for good measure. The question is to what extent tradition folded these people into a single individual and to what extent Geoffrey did it on his own. — LlywelynII 03:30, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

The Arthurian legends[edit]

I came here to try and remind myself of the major legends in the story of King Arthur. It seems to me it might be a good idea to have a new article which gathered these together in approximate order according to the chronology of the stories. Something like a plot summary, but putting together different sources. I think a new article might be best because this article is already rather long. --ImizuCIR (talk) 05:57, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Well, Wikipedia practice is specifically against articles that are nothing but plot summaries. What might be suitable would be an article on the development of the Arthurian legend as a whole, rather than just the character of King Arthur, which would complement this one. It would be quite an undertaking, though!--Cúchullain t/c 12:30, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps what I am imagining would require an impossible act of synthesis. But what I am imagining is an article that tells the stories so that someone who doesn't know the legend might be able to find out, for example, what the 'sword in the stone' legend actually is in its most popular form. And an article where someone like me can go and check whether the plot point that the final battle with Mordred began when a soldier killed a snake is something that is a main part of the legend, or whether it is just in a particular version I remember. Also it would be a handy place to remind myself of any parts of the story I have forgotten. My particular goal here is to introduce the legend to people who don't know it, and at the moment I have to jump around several articles to remember what actually happens. As I say, perhaps it would be a very difficult article to write, requiring a lot of expert input, but I certainly think it's worthy of inclusion.--ImizuCIR (talk) 23:46, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

It's possible it might be best to stick to stories that only include Arthur. If so, it would perhaps be in a similar vein to the 'Knighthood and adventures' section of the Lancelot article.--ImizuCIR (talk) 01:14, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

As I say, plot summary-only articles are specifically against Wikipedia practice. The Lancelot article is not really very good, especially compared to this one.Cúchullain t/c 12:40, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

kings son was wrong to turn on his father. (10:17 29 January 2012) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Baileybee10 (talkcontribs) 03:18, 30 January 2012 (UTC)


German wikipedia claims "Arthur" is Welsh and is thus pronounced, in accordance with Welsh orthography, as ['arθir]... thoughts? -- megA (talk) 14:12, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

They're wrong. He is Welsh; the name derives from Welsh; it is English and is pronounced /-əɹ/, /-ɚ/, or /-əː/. — LlywelynII 03:34, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Clarent[edit]

Clarent should be redirected to Excalibur or Alliterative Morte Arthure. --Asado (talk) 07:52, 24 September 2012 (UTC)


Did Gewisse play a role in the Arthurian legend? Trying to edit a bit here. Also, the area of Hwicce comes to mind along with the Severn Valley (England). (Thanks in advance)

Twillisjr (talk) 16:55, 18 November 2012 (UTC)

So far as I know the only Arthurian connections with the Gewisse is Geoffrey of Monmouth calling Vortigern the "Consul of the Gewisse" (Book VI, Chapter 6). This is an invention of Geoffrey's, and may be based on a corruption of similar names associated with Vortigern in the Historia Brittonum. Additionally, Cerdic is traditionally remembered as the first king of the West Saxons, ie the Gewisse. Some commenters (and a whole lot of fiction) try to tie Cerdic to the Battle of Badon, but there's no evidence for this.--Cúchullain t/c 15:03, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

John Dee, King Arthur, and the Conquest of the Arctic[edit]

See Thomas Green's new article that I added as an EL.[4] It should make an interesting addition to this article. Dougweller (talk) 18:53, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Yes, its an interesting aspect. I have more on this topic. See section 5.2 here. There even is a possible link to medieval portolan charts. But I`m not a specialist in Arthurian legends. I came to this connection from a very different field and quite unexpected. Maybe someone deeper in Arthurian matters has more on it. -- Portolanero (talk) 14:17, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Lucius Artorius Castus[edit]

Because article is semi-protected I cannot edit it. I have proposal. In sentence regarding note [20] can you ad, mention 'Lucius Artorius Castus' with link on wiki article named 'Lucius Artorius Castus'. Thank you — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gsom7 (talkcontribs) 13:24, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Where should the redirect Arthurian point to?[edit]

The redirect Arthurian originally pointed here, then Dbachmann turned it to Matter of Britain, but another user later turned it back here as being more intuitive. I've observed that the way it is currently actually used in the articles I saw fits the link to Matter of Britain better. I'd like to solicit further opinions on this because I have only seen two instances so far overall. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 02:06, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

I think this is easily the best and most informative article on the Arthur legend that we have. "Matter of Britain" is a comparatively obscure subject and the article's focus isn't clear. The term should redirect here in my opinion.--Cúchullain t/c 02:38, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Arthurian should redirect here. There are two related senses: "particularly concerning Arthur" and "related to Arthur". This page is going to be the PRIMARYTOPIC but, if you really find a lot of the users are really looking for other figures, you could put a {{hatnote}} at the top of the page explaining and linking to Matter of Britain or even turn Arthurian into a disambiguation page. — LlywelynII 06:26, 6 February 2015 (UTC)


Now, obviously, Geoffrey performed one of the great piss-takes of world history and made a complete hash of things.

Just as obviously, there were battles between the Britons and Saxons and someone held them off prior to the arrival of Justinian's Plague on the island at the end of Maelgwn Gwynedd's reign. Several sources long prior to Geoffrey name that guy as some form of Arthur... but not Gildas. He's got the Siege of Mt Badon but omits the leader there despite noting its importance and association with his own birth. Easy explanation: from his perspective, it's an unmitigated Good Thing, involvement in which would cast favorable light on someone he's pointedly excoriating elsewhere in the text. Ambrosius/Riothamus, he loved. Maelgwn's uncle—presumably Owain Whitetooth—he praises. Running through the "tyrants of Britain" from DE&CB, §28–33, you've got

Dragon = Maelgwn, king of Gwynedd, lawful son of Cadwallon Longhand but an avunculicidal usurper (of Owain Whitetooth?) presumably owing to his minority at the death of his father (which trad. would have followed Badon)
Bear = Cuneglas, king of Rhos, first cousin of Maelgwn, son of Owain Whitetooth who presumably became high king at Gwynedd in some non-usurping fashion around the time Cuneglas would've been a young warrior, offhandedly praised as a warrior "since the very spring of thy tender youth" but then condemned for war against fellow Christians and for sexual issues before a very long pleading for repentance to God "who gaveth thee many things abundantly"
Leopard = Vortipor, Irish king of Dyfed, son of a worthy father but very old, stained with murders (not battle) and deceit (not valor)
Lion's whelp = Aurelius, king of we-dunno, whose worthy father (Ambrosius?) & brethren were killed young
Lioness's whelp = Constantine, king of Dumnonia, with "no worthy deeds" whatever

Now, but it seems clear to me that the best candidate for epithet-"Arthur" here is Cuneglas ("you bear bear bear driver of the bear car with a bear in it"*), with Aurelius's older brother running a distant second. But while the article suggests Owain, which would have prompted still stronger and more direct invective against Maelgwn ("hewing down the savior of the Britons, ye thankless cur"), and a guy a full century too late, no one seems to have mentioned him. Cuneglas's own page lists him as a candidate, so presumably someone thought of this before me... but no scholarly treatment at all? — LlywelynII 06:26, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

 * Neither here nor there but that makes me think a lot more about the Great Wain/Ursa Major than it does about a funeral procession, let alone pagan religious rituals Gildas would've jumped up and down on him for participating in. Not sure how it would tie in, though... — LlywelynII 08:36, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

Edit: Ah... He's talking about Boötes ("ox-driver of the wagon")... = Arcturus ("bear-guard")... = lord/guard of the "Fort of the Bear" in Rhos. — LlywelynII 09:52, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

Edit: But has anyone made that connection more recently than this guy?[1] (On the bright side, at least Cuneglas has a source for that claim now.) — LlywelynII 10:16, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

Edit: Also, still no reliable source on the complete version of the pun. Anderson shrugged his shoulders when he couldn't think of a "Caer Arth" instead of looking for one that started with "Din ~". — LlywelynII 11:48, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ Anderson, Alan Orr (October 1912). Watson, Mrs W.J., ed. "Gildas and Arthur". The Celtic Review. Edinburgh: T. & A. Constable for William Hodge & Co. (published 1913). VIII (May 1912 – May 1913): 149–165. 


Have changed the images around. Obviously I feel they are generally improvements. If you feel otherwise, just try to remember to

  • Aim to keep up a stations-of-the-cross style format where the images touch upon and provide links to the major articles on Arthurian topics
  • Don't leave badly-sized images and/or badly-formatted captions that cause the text to spill over as orphans on a new line

and, of course, leave some rationale so we don't end up with tugs of war over the issue. — LlywelynII 04:33, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

I do think some of your changes were improvements, but others may not be. You've made so many in such a short period of time that it's hard to gauge right off, but I'll try to give it all a look tomorrow. On another note, I don't think your recommendations are necessary. The point of images is to illustrate this article, not necessarily to link to other articles, and captions are usually for simple explanations of how the image relates to this article, not to provide a "stations-of-the-cross style format". Additionally, captions should be formatted appropriately per WP:CAPTION, but we don't need to worry too much about widows and orphans considering that images will appear differently depending on readers' browsers, set preferences, and devices.--Cúchullain t/c 04:52, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
I made a start at this. Most of Llywelyn's changes are fine, but made it less clear why the images were appropriate for that particular section. That's really what we need to worry about here.--Cúchullain t/c 15:52, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

Thomas Green (Concepts of Arthur author)[edit]

is actually the pen-name of Caitlin Green according to the updated arthuriana website. Now her reference is invaluable for the pre-Galfridian/post-Galfridian stuff, but how do we state this, or should we even? (talk) 04:17, 10 April 2015 (UTC)

Thanks. I have added this information. Dudley Miles (talk) 08:41, 10 April 2015 (UTC)
This got removed. See [] and [] for "nom de plume" citations. (talk) 15:54, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Doesn't look like a pen name. We should just use the names as they appear in the cited works.--Cúchullain t/c 16:23, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, I missed that it literally addresses the name right at the top. Still leaves us the question of what to do. Given that Caitlin is clearly the name used now, we might could just convert all the references to Caitlin.--Cúchullain t/c 16:28, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Caitlin Green describes Thomas Green as a former nom de plume at the second source listed above. I think we need to state that they are the same person in order to avoid confusing readers. Dudley Miles (talk) 17:53, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
I don't see a particular need to draw attention to it. I think it would be better if we either just cite the names as they appear in each source and let readers figure it out, or update the citations and references to the currently used name.--Cúchullain t/c 12:05, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Hengist and Horsa as historicised gods[edit]

BadgerStateHistorian1967 (talk · contribs) has twice removed a passage under "Debated historicity" which compares a proposed historicised mythical Arthur to Hengist and Horsa, considered as "totemic horse gods" who became historicised. Badger's edit summary says "The given source does not make this outlandish claim", although there are three cited sources. This should be discussed rather than just removed again. I don't have access to any of the works cited. Perhaps someone who does can confirm what they say on this subject? --Nicknack009 (talk) 08:57, 18 May 2015 (UTC)

Green's "The Historicity and Historicisation of Arthur" does in fact say that Hengest and Horsa "were Kentish totemic horse-gods historicised by the eighth century", and compares them to Arthur. I have Concepts of Arthur as well and can check it later, though I expect it says similar as it's by the same author. I don't have that particular work by Padel but I can get it, though I don't see a reason to believe that it's been misrepresented either.--Cúchullain t/c 14:17, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks Cuchullain. I think that should satisfy anyone. --Nicknack009 (talk) 19:51, 18 May 2015 (UTC)

Recent edits[edit]

I've reverted a series of recent edits, most of which are minor, but the sheer amount of them are troublesome considering that this Featured Article has been stable for eight years. Some of the changes were not improvements; for instance there's no need to break up the paragraphs. Others were improvements, and I wish I could have left them intact, but the sheer number of changes made that impractical.--Cúchullain t/c 19:07, 21 October 2015 (UTC)

It appears this is happening again, and I've had to revert most of the changes. Dilidor, can you please comment here?Cúchullain t/c 16:40, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

My apologies for overwhelming you with minor adjustments. I tend to mentally edit as I read, and sometimes carry out that mania into practical reality, editing while simultaneously doing research. Alas, I am not familiar with distinctions such as "featured articles" versus ... well, whatever other categories there are--nor am I familiar with accepted protocol or etiquette in such matters. I will endeavor not to offend further. Cordially, Dilidor P.S. I've never posted on a talk page before, and am not even sure that I'm doing it correctly. Hopefully simply editing is the way it's done. ... ah, I see that it requires four tildes. I trust that this is correct now? Dilidor (talk) 19:13, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

Dilidor: Thanks for responding. You can indent your posts with colons (:, ::, etc.) and sign with four tildas, as you discovered. I don't like coming down on all your changes, but Featured Articles are those determined to be the best Wikipedia has produced. This doesn't mean they can't or shouldn't be edited again, but a large number of edits coming in a short period of time can be troublesome.
A lot of your changes were fine, but others had some problems or were just superficial changes. For instance, here, you added the wording "there is clear evidence for..." twice in the same sentence. You also separated the description of Camelot into a parentheses, which comes off as awkward, and you also subdivided paragraphs unnecessarily. On top of breaking up the flow of the text, it makes it harder to see what else you've changed. I'll try to pick through and retain what of your changes I can, but others I'll have to revert again.
I hope this doesn't prevent you from cleaning up other articles, as there are plenty that need your skills. If I can be of other help please let me know.--Cúchullain t/c 20:30, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Some of the paras are much too long actually. But generally I agree many of these were not improvemts. In particular changing "the historian Foo mcFoo" to "historian Foo mcFoo" is poor English, even of the US variety, let alone in British English as here. Johnbod (talk) 20:52, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
Some of the paragraphs might could get split up, but this wasn't the way to do it. For example, in the section on "Tennyson and the revivals", the paragraph was split in the middle of talking about the Idylls of the King instead of finding a natural place to do it. And there's also the technical issue that it obscures what else was changed within the paragraphs, and there seems to have been a lot.--Cúchullain t/c 21:07, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

Arthur a Scottish warlord?[edit]

In an article in Northern History in September 2015, which I added to further reading in this article, Andrew Breeze argued that Arthur was a warlord in the Strathclyde area. His theory seems to have been generally ignored, and dismissed when it is discussed, but in a discussion on the blog of Tim Clarkson, a leading historian of Dark Age Scotland, he says in August 2016 at [5], that "I’m starting to think he may be on the right track in placing the Arthurian legend’s origins in Strathclyde". In September 2016 Breeze published a new article tying Arthur to the volcanic winter of 536-7, caused by a volcano somewhere in the Americas which led to widespread crop failures and famines, and describing Arthur as a Strathclyde cattle rustler who seized meat to save his people from starvation. The theory sounds a bit wild, but both articles were published in Northern History, a respected peer reviewed journal, and Breeze is described by Clarkson as "a renowned philologist who knows a thing or two about Dark Age history". Clarkson says that he has included many of Breeze's locations in a map of Arthur's battles in his new book, Scotland's Merlin, but it is not clear whether he discusses Breeze's claims in the book. I think it is too early to change the Arthur article, but it would be worth adding Breeze's new article to further reading. Any views on this? Dudley Miles (talk) 11:22, 5 October 2016 (UTC)

Probably fine to include in the further reading, but yeah, it's far too early to change the article.--Cúchullain t/c 14:20, 5 October 2016 (UTC)
Breeze is a borderline fringe scholar and his linguistic arguments in this paper (as in most of his papers, to be frank), are not particularly strong. Cagwinn (talk) 22:46, 5 October 2016 (UTC)
Except the Harleian genealogies show that one of Dumnagual Hen's (the King of Strathclyde) descendants was called Arthwys, which is quite close to Arthur (which has led people to believe Arthwys of Ebrauc may be Arthur, though the names are definitely different). UtherPendrogn (talk) 18:02, 28 November 2016 (UTC)

Ancient Scotland was half Brythonic, part of Briton, He was not English and he was not Scottish, he was a Brythonic speaker, today's equivalent is Welsh, Cornish, Breton, different to the Goedelig speaking Scottish/Irish/Mann — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hogyncymru (talkcontribs) 23:58, 8 May 2017 (UTC)


If the name "Arthur" is connected to Artorius, the masculine name of gens Artoria, why are we suggesting only a single member of the gens as a possible Arthur character? Any possible male-line descendant of the gens would also have the name "Artorius". That is how Roman naming conventions went. Dimadick (talk) 07:45, 10 December 2016 (UTC)

By Arthur's day (he would have been born in the mid-to-late 5th century) the Roman tria nomina system (praenomen + nomen gentilicium + cognomen) had broken down, especially in the provinces and among non-senatorial families; on top of that, it became common in this period for old gens names to be used as regular first names. In places like Britain, the older, pre-Roman naming convention of a single first name + patronym remained popular. So, while it is true that the name Welsh name Arthur might come from Roman Artōrius (it works linguistically, but we can't rule out a native Brittonic origin for the name), we can't jump to the conclusion that this Arthur was a member of the gens Artōria. Cagwinn (talk) 18:38, 10 December 2016 (UTC)


At the very top of the lead, there's a floating citation - a reference, to the book The Historic King Arthur, that does not follow any text. It's disappointing to see this in a featured article. Citations should follow text; they're useless if they are left floating in this fashion. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 21:23, 13 December 2016 (UTC)

It was there for 68 minutes before you noticed it... and for 19 minutes after you noticed but did nothing about it. Ghmyrtle (talk) 21:42, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
No point in being rude. I simply wasn't sure of the correct response. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 22:42, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
It was added by an IP who, I suspect, simply didn't know how to add a cite, as he subsequently added it again to support his addition of Lucius Artorius Castus -- but IIRC (the book is at home), Reno never mentions Lucius anyway; the only source I know for that highly dubious theory is Antoine Fuqua's film King Arthur -- hardly a scholarly citation. Had another editor not removed it, I would have. (If anyone is curious, Lucius lived 300 years before Arthur lived - if Arthur did live - and he was the commander of a Roman garrison of horse cavalrymen whose only claim to fame was putting down an uprising in what is now northern France. Making him the historical basis for Arthur is WP:FRINGE, at best.) DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 23:35, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
To be pedantic, Lucius Artorius Castus was briefly the camp prefect (praefectus castrorum) of the Sixth Legion (Legio VI Victrix), whose headquarters in this time period were in York (and this is where Artorius would have served his time). This was an administrative post given to older men (at least in their 40s; most were much older than that) who had successful careers as soldiers (generally drawn from the exclusive ranks of the primipilari, who were head centurions of legions). As camp prefect he was third in command and would only have assumed command of troops in battle in emergency situations - if the Legatus and Tribunus who were above him were either away on mission, or incapacitated/dead. His normal duties would have included the maintenance of the headquarters, ordering of supplies, overseeing the building of local walls and roads, etc. Sometime after this he was called upon to conduct troops to the battlefield (as dux legionum - a temporary title in this time period for men who conducted troops from one region to another) against a nation of people whose name is mutilated on the main Lucius Artorius Castus inscription (which is our only source of information for this mission); the name has traditionally been reconstructed as "Armoricans" (i.e., the tribes who lived in coastal Gaul), but more recent analysis of the inscription suggests that we should read "Armenians". If this is correct, Artorius likely conducted troops from Britain to Armenia to fight in Lucius Verus' Armenian and Parthian war of the early 160s AD. The governor of Britain at this time, Marcus Statius Priscus, was also sent east to act as general of this war. Cagwinn (talk) 00:15, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
Armorica was that region in what is now northern France that I alluded to above. Meanwhile, back at the point: whether it was Armorica or Armenia, designating Lucius as the model for the Arthurian legends is a leap of mind-boggling (il)logical scope. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 16:27, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
And now that I think about it, relocating troops from Britain to Armenia -- 2500 miles as the crow flies, and they didn't have the use of flying crows -- seems a rather inefficient utilization of personnel. But I digress, as usual. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 16:42, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
The connection between Lucius Artorius Castus isn't given much credence, but it has been around a long time, is widely if skeptically covered in reliable sources, and is worthy of receiving encyclopedic coverage. It's a separate question as to whether it should be covered here at the main King Arthur article, or elsewhere. I would say it doesn't belong here, certainly no more than other, more influential theories that we give little to no coverage to. It should be covered at another article.--Cúchullain t/c 16:44, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
It was very common in the Roman era for troops to be moved all over the empire - pulling troops from Britain to fight a war in Armenia is hardly out of the ordinary. Armorica is coastal Gaul (*ari-mor-ica literally means "sea-coastal" in Gaulish). There are no recorded wars against the Armorici (a loose coalition of coastal tribes in pre-conquest Gaul) in the late 2nd/early 3rd century AD; they were already part of the Roman empire and pacified. Armenia, on the other hand, was the scene of several wars in the 2nd and 3rd century - the result of a game of tug-of-war between the Roman and Parthian empires.Cagwinn (talk) 17:28, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
I'm aware that the Romans moved troops around a lot, but surely there were closer outposts -- Rome, for example -- to call upon. Or not. Regarding coverage, Lucius's possible connection to Arthur is mentioned (though inadequately sourced) in the Lucius Artorius Castus article, and that's probably the appropriate place for it, yes? DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 19:39, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
Well, as I mentioned above, in 162 AD the governor of Britain, Marcus Statius Priscus (who had only been in office a short while), was summoned to Cappadocia by co-emperor Lucius Verus in order to lead the Roman forces against the Armenians and their Parthian allies (the Armenian government at this time were actually puppets of the Parthians). It is quite possible that Lucius Artorius Castus accompanied the governor with detachments from the three British legions and, after the successful completion of the war, was awarded with the procuratorship of the newly minted (and short-lived) province of Liburnia. Cagwinn (talk) 20:27, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
I would suggest including a paragraph or two somewhere about historical figures who may have influenced the Arthur legend, including Castus, Riothamus, and whoever else - but I don't think he belongs in a section on whether or not Arthur was himself a historical figure, or in the lead. --Nicknack009 (talk) 22:02, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
I've added my two cents in a section below. Please check it out QuestionWhy (talk) 20:32, 15 December 2016 (UTC)

Lucius Artorius Castus Debate[edit]

A couple things I would like to address here. Yes, I am the one who added the theory and has been reverting it, because I do strongly believe it should be included. Yes, Doctor Joe, you were right in accusing me of being a new member who "does not know how to properly cite." I am new to Wikpedia and I'd be gracious for any help. That being said, however, upon joining the Wikipedia community, I did not realize how harsh I'd be treated. I'm terribly sorry for trying to add new knowledge to an public project I suppose. But, if most higher ranking members are going to revert any edits done by us peons, what's the point of even making Wikipedia public? But I digress. I don't mean to insult an admin, I have a lot of respect for the things you do. Just know that newer members may have good ideas, too. So far, I've found that everything I try to change is considered garbage because it's done by a newer member. This is Wikipedia-an open, public, encyclopedia, free for anyone to contribute to. Not a hierarchy ruled by a small group of people. I'm doing my best to learn and better Wikipedia. Please don't rule out everything I say simply because I'm the rookie.

Onto the actually theory. It was first brought to my attention in an honors level English course, so apparently it does have some historical backing. Upon further research, I've found several articles by historians debating the theory and even found the theory mentioned in the Lucius Artorius Castus Wikipedia article itself. I did have trouble finding what book the theory originated from, and eventually found "The Historic King Arthur" in the form of an e-book and did my best to properly cite it. The Kemp Malone fact comes from the Castus Wikipedia article. I advise you to check it out yourself. Also, to counter your point of not having enough historical backing, none of these theories do. If they did, we would know who Arthur really was. In fact, all the Arthur theories have a disclaimer that says some of the history doesn't match up, including the one at the very top of the article. I don't believe that argument is justifiable, seeing as none of the theories have perfect historical evidence. So, although you may disagree, the Castus theory obviously does have some validity to it. Therefore, I do think it should be included in this article, at the very least for the sake of consistency between the Artorius article and the King Arthur article. I mean, after all, the point of this article is to provide thorough information about King Arthur and his possible historical basis, isn't it? Shouldn't any somewhat valid theory that IS debated by historians be included?

Now, as for placement: I'm open to suggestions. I inserted the theory surrounded by other theories simply because that made sense to me. If someone else thinks it should be included later in the article or perhaps given it's own subheading, I'd be all for it. I do acknowledge that this theory is not as widely accepted as other theories, and therefore maybe shouldn't be so close to the introduction of the article. I'm not trying to cause any hard feelings here at all. I just think that an article about King Arthur should be thorough and include all, somewhat accepted (in the sense of debated theories) information. Thank you.QuestionWhy (talk) 20:30, 15 December 2016 (UTC)

No doubt that the hypothesis deserves a mention here - but I wouldn't describe it as a "valid" one, despite its popularity with non-specialists. We have to be careful not to give undue weight to fringe hypotheses such as this. Cagwinn (talk)
QuestionWhy, I'm sorry you've felt mistreated here. Some of this is just the way Wikipedia works - there are rules against edit warring. Making bold changes is encouraged, but other editors who disagree with what you've added may revert it. If you do get a revert, the best next step is to go to the talk page to discuss the matter (continued reverting can lead to blocks, and nobody wants that). Now that we're here on the talk page, I hope that we can proceed in a more productive manner.
I don't personally think the Lucius Artorius Castus theory is significant enough to the King Arthur legend to include here at the main article. We get into the historicity debate for 6 paragraphs, and I don't think Castus is significant enough to demand weight here, though of course the theory should be discussed at Lucius Artorius Castus and Historical basis of King Arthur. There isn't much to support the theory, many works on Arthur don't mention it (even to dismiss it), and it hasn't gotten as much popular traction as even some of the less plausible theories. If others disagree, however, I'm sure we can come up with a way to include it, and perhaps other similar theories about influences on Arthur. However, if we do, it ought to be based on sources that are up to date and reliable. There are plenty of those and I'm sure we can find suitable ones.--Cúchullain t/c 21:17, 15 December 2016 (UTC)
I must agree with Cúchullain that including him in this particular article violates WP:UNDUE. Unfortunately, the implication in the 2004 King Arthur movie (which I linked above) that there was scholarly support for a link between Lucius and Arthur has drawn more attention to this fringe theory than the gossamer-thin facts of the case seem to merit. To QuestionWhy, my apologies if I offended you, but please note that I did not "accuse" you of anything. Many of my early, overly-enthusiastic edits here were reverted before I became familiar with standard WP procedure, and I learned very quickly not to take it personally, and to check my ego at the sign-in box. That said, don't be afraid to make mistakes. You're not a real Wikipedian until you've made—and learned from—at least 50 of them. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 23:21, 15 December 2016 (UTC)

Cúchullain Fair enough. I still think the theory should be mentioned as it is mentioned in the Castus and Basis of Arthur articles, but I appreciate the class. I'll stand down. Is there any possibility of at least mentioning Castus later in the article, for the sake of consistency and making it easy for readers to find? Possibly add an entire new section briefly mentioning all the "less plausible" theories you mentioned? I don't think more information will be negative in any way, and I believe the King Arthur article is probably more popular than the Basis of Arthur article where Castus is mentioned. I'll leave it to higher-ranking members to decide. ThanksQuestionWhy (talk) 03:14, 16 December 2016 (UTC)

QuestionWhy, if you want to cite a specific source, you can use Template:Citation. It helps you cite the author of the source, its title, the publisher, the place of publication, the year of publication, etc. I appreciate your willingness to actually find sources for your additions. Several rookies just add texts with no sources of any kind. Dimadick (talk) 07:46, 16 December 2016 (UTC)

Template:Citation is designed for use with harv references and can give error messages if used without them. I think it is better to use specific templates such as cite web, cite book and cite journal, which are desgned for the type of source you are adding. Dudley Miles (talk) 13:05, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

Can we go the extra Miles and make sure the old kings are but a shadowy past?[edit]

Ascertain their identity and then terminate their contract albeit decisively. Lord Aaron. Koychui (talk) 00:28, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

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15th Century royal claim & the battle of the dragons[edit]

It would be great if the article could be updated to include Owain Glyndŵr & Henry Tudor's royal claims to the Pendragon heir, Glyndŵr's Privy seal/coat of arms includes a two legged gold dragon whilst Henry Tudor's includes the four legged red dragon welsh dragon, they both appealed to the Welsh people and they found Glyndŵr to be a popular leader, the Tudors were also obviously trying to win over the Welsh people, so Henry competed soon after, due to Henry's successes, the Red dragon stuck with the identity of Wales, if he was unsuccessful and Glyndŵr was successful, the Welsh flag would be much different and that flag would have been in the Union Jack's place.. although, with Henry VIII holding power after the death of his eldest brother Arthur, Prince of Wales (the last English/Welsh royal to be given a Welsh forename), Wales was annexed within England and the Welsh language was condemned.. and the Welsh dragon was dropped from the English coat of arms and from the British flag (as Wales was seen as part of England and therefore did not have a Welsh voice.. until the 1950's onward, although the flag nor royal coat of arms were never updated. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hogyncymru (talkcontribs) 00:29, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

The above was added to the article, however, with references provided, some feel acceptable to remove without fixing or revising the section even though the Welsh flag is evidence on its own, it would be great if more information on King arthur was provided instead of less, you can't change history. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hogyncymru (talkcontribs) 15:31, 5 September 2017 (UTC)

@Daicaregos, Martinevans123, Redrose64, and Ham II: could you help? I tried to add the part about the Welsh flags but my edits were removed but not revised by other editors, the other editors do not want to add to the article. thanks — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hogyncymru (talkcontribs) 10:11, 7 September 2017 (UTC)

Part of the problem was that you put your edits at the top of this page rather than the bottom - so experienced editors here did not see them - and you did not sign them by using four of these: ~ As I replied below, it is your responsibility - no-one else's - to make sure that any edits to the article are of an appropriate high standard. As you didn't do that, they were reverted. Ghmyrtle (talk) 12:43, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
define 'unclear relationship to article subject.', it is pretty clear with what I tried to add that the Welsh flags are directly influenced by King Arthur's dragon, which is why I added it in the first place. but it's ok, I'll just leave this segment in the talk page so that someone else can pick it up.. if they feel like it, I tried to help by adding more info on King Arthur, if that was not good enough, then it is out of my capabilities. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hogyncymru (talkcontribs) 14:18, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Apart from the fact that I hadn't read your comment because you put it in the wrong place (now corrected), statements that start "it is pretty clear that..." are not a basis for discussion unless you can back them up with reliable published sources. Ghmyrtle (talk) 14:51, 7 September 2017 (UTC)

Recent edits (2)[edit]

I have reverted recent edits as the sourcing is unsatisfactory, especially as the article is an FA. The refs are not correctly formatted, no page numbers are given so they cannot be checked, and they appear to be mainly works over 100 years old or popular or self-published works, not modern scholarship. Dudley Miles (talk) 13:22, 5 September 2017 (UTC)

So you're not saying they are incorrect, you're just saying I did not pinpoint exactly where these names came from, does it really matter how old the books are? the whole article is based on the Mabinogi story which is far more ancient so I don't see an issue with using old books, those names were names given to Welsh princes from 5 century to around 13th century, so they are backed by proof.. which are in those books. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hogyncymru (talkcontribs) 15:17, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
Your edits are ungrammatical, inadequately sourced and referenced, and no obvious connection is made with the article subject. If you want to add material to the article it is your responsibility - no-one else's - to ensure that they meet the quality standards, both of content and sourcing, that are required. Ghmyrtle (talk) 15:33, 5 September 2017 (UTC)

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John Cowper Powys[edit]

Hi Dudley Mile, perhaps the notable fact about John Cowper Powys's Porius: A Romance of the Dark Ages is that the Emperor Arthur, is only a minor figure. That is that Powys downplays the idea of the heroic leader and gives Merlin, who prophecies a Golden Age of peace and freedom in the distant future, a central role. Perhaps that is what needs to be said. Thanks for making me think further about this. Anyhow, I'll accept your decision. Also, both the legend of Arthur and the Holy Grail are important in Powys's A Glastonbury Romance. Rwood128 (talk) 19:41, 3 April 2018 (UTC)

  • The basic rule is that works of fiction about a historical character are only notable if they are discussed in a reliable secondary source (not the work itself). That did not apply to your edit, although I see that it did to another book by Powys. However, there are similar problems with much of the modern legend section, and editing and debating with other editors would be far too much work outside my areas of interest, so I will not pursue it further. Dudley Miles (talk) 21:17, 3 April 2018 (UTC)

"perhaps the notable fact about John Cowper Powys's Porius: A Romance of the Dark Ages is that the Emperor Arthur, is only a minor figure." Is this actually notable? I am not an expert on Arthurian literature, though over a few decades I have read several novels and comic books, seen several films and television series, and heard several songs, all based on Arthurian legend. In most of those works, Arthur is either a supporting character, or a minor player. The protagonists (or other major characters) are usually Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin, Mordred, Morgan le Fay, and (less often) someone else from the Round Table.

As noted in our article, there is a tendency since the High Middle Ages to reduce the role of Arthur in Arthurian literature:

  • "Chrétien wrote five Arthurian romances between c. 1170 and 1190. Erec and Enide and Cligès are tales of courtly love with Arthur's court as their backdrop, demonstrating the shift away from the heroic world of the Welsh and Galfridian Arthur, while Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, features Yvain and Gawain in a supernatural adventure, with Arthur very much on the sidelines and weakened."
  • "This series of texts was quickly followed by the Post-Vulgate Cycle (c. 1230–40), of which the Suite du Merlin is a part, which greatly reduced the importance of Lancelot's affair with Guinevere but continued to sideline Arthur, and to focus more on the Grail quest. As such, Arthur became even more of a relatively minor character in these French prose romances; in the Vulgate itself he only figures significantly in the Estoire de Merlin and the Mort Artu."
  • "In the early 19th century, medievalism, Romanticism, and the Gothic Revival reawakened interest in Arthur and the medieval romances. A new code of ethics for 19th-century gentlemen was shaped around the chivalric ideals embodied in the "Arthur of romance". This renewed interest first made itself felt in 1816, when Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur was reprinted for the first time since 1634." ... Arthur himself played a minor role in some of these works, following in the medieval romance tradition." Dimadick (talk) 10:41, 4 April 2018 (UTC)
Many thanks for this feedback. I realise that the following, "Myrddin replaces Arthur as the future messianic saviour," lacks a citation, and perhaps can be described as original research. I'll revise. Rwood128 (talk) 11:05, 4 April 2018 (UTC)