The session covered:
A number of theories which support the argument that an historical Arthur did exist.
We looked at seven of them
1/. John Morris/Leslie Alcock
Arthur was a late C5th/early C6th Romano British war leader from the Celtic Gododdin people who fought the Picts and Scots in the north and later moved south west to fight the Saxons.
2/. Graham Phillips/Martin Keatman ref ‘King Arthur: The True Story’, 1992
Arthur was the grandson of the Gododdin Chieftan Cunedda. He migrated from the north sometime in the C5th and had his HQ at the old Roman town of Wroxeter. Arthur being a nickname meaning bear.
3/. Fran & Geoff Doel and Terry Lloyd ref ‘Worlds of Arthur’, 1999
Arthur was associated with the Kingdom of Dumnonia in the south west.
4/. Geoffrey Ashe
He was a Romano British war leader originally called Riothamus
This Arthur took an army from Britain into Gaul to fight the Visigoths on the behalf of Rome.
5/. Alistair Moffat ref: ‘Arthur and the Lost Kingdoms’, 1999
Arthur was a Gododdin war leader based in the north who fought the Picts, Scots, Angles, Saxons and the British kingdom of Strathclyde, had a one off battle in the south at Badon and the battle of Camlann was located at the western end of Hadrian’s wall.
6/. C S Littleton & L Malcor ref : ‘From Scythia to Camelot’, 1994
Arthur’s name was Lucius Artorius Castus a Roman general who is recorded as commanding a troop of Sarmatian mercenaries. These were from the Russian Steppe Lands, north of the Black Sea. This theory has the dates as much earlier than the others at around 175 AD.
7/. Howard Reid ref: ‘Arthur the Dragon King’, 2001
Arthur was a king of the Alan peoples who originated from the Eurasian Steppes (Scythia). Mid C5th he moved his people to Armorica (Brittany) where he fought rebellious Celtic tribes on the behalf of Rome. The C5th ‘Life of Germanus’ records a meeting between Eothar and the Bishop Germanus.
We also looked at what it would mean if he was not real and was always a mythological figure. He may have started as a god/warrior hero and been given a human persona. This has happened before as we have seen in the Celtic Warrior hero tradition.
The story of Arthur as well as being popular in Britain also exists in Northern France, Germany and Continental Europe. He appears in Grail Myths. Where might the myth have come from? Possible European connections are shown in theories 4, 6 and 7. For example Arthur is in the myths and legends of the Alan people. In Scythian legends Nart Saga Tales there is a mythical figure called Batraz. His mother was a frog by day and beautiful woman by night, he grew at a phenomenal rate, he had a magic sword, killed a giant, had a chalice of truth. Wounded in his final battle he cast his sword into the sea and the legend is that he is not gone.
There is a lot of information available on the internet by using simple searches on the writers’ names or the topic. Some books are still in print others are available second hand.
John Morris ‘The Age of Arthur: A History of the British Isles from 350 to 650’,
Leslie Alcock ‘Arthur’s Britain: History and Archaeology A.D. 367-634’
Graham Phillips/Martin Keatman ‘King Arthur: The True Story’, 1992
Fran & Geoff Doel and Terry Lloyd ref ‘Worlds of Arthur’, 1999
Geoffrey Ashe ‘The Discovery of King Arthur’
Alistair Moffat ‘Arthur and the Lost Kingdoms’, 1999
C S Littleton& L Malcor ‘From Scythia to Camelot’, 1994
Howard Reid ‘Arthur the Dragon King’, 2001