King Arthur (V–VI centuries)

Arthur

It seems that Arthur was born in the last quarter of 5th century. He was a ruler in Dummonia, which today is named Cornwall, England. He was the son of Uther Pentragon and Igerna. Arthur was entrusted to Ector for being grown up in secret. After Uther’s death, there was not any king in England, but it was said that the person who would have got out Excalibur sword of the stone it had been stuck in, would have become the ruler. Arthur was able to do this and became king when he was only 15. He won many battles and married to beautiful Guinevere. Arthur was helped by one friend, a famous wizard, Merlin, the son of a demon and of a mortal. He coined a round table (other sources say that Guinevere got the table as dowry), where all known famous knights of Arthur stayed, without feeling that one is better than another. But Merlin could not have relieved him of all suffers. Love played tricks to him, thus his beautiful wife fell in love with Lancelot, one of the knights.

Arthur had many fights against Britain’s enemies, becoming the owner of many lands. It is said that he fought successfully against a Roman Emperor, Lucius. After he had returned from the battle, he organized his coronation, followed by glamorous tournaments. The young knights competed in fights with spears or throwing stones. He went to Rome, but he must have returned because his nephew, Modred, took the throne and his wife. Arthur won again, Modred was defeated and the king was seriously wounded. From the fight field from Camlann he was transported to a legendary island, Avalon, a place where were nine fairies who pit him on a golden bed to sleep.

 A text from 11th century tells us that in 516, he joined his forces with those of Ambrosius Aurelianus then he led the British to victory on Baldon Mountain. Arthur, who probably led a group of horsemen, was able to make pedestrians Saxon leave. There were other fights, too, but German tribes penetration could not have been stopped.

In 12th century, chronicler William of Malmesbury asked the King Arthur to be mentioned as one who defended his country. His contemporary, Geoffrey of Monmouth, wrote a successful story which became a legend. He and his adventure novels about the Knights of  the Round Table mention him as a king. Otherwise, he is called a brave leader. Thus, “Culhwch and Olwen” poem from Wales describes him as a great army commander.

539 It is supposed that this is the year when King Arthur died. Legends tell that after his death, Arthur became a raven or a deer, that is why British King Hov from Armonica banned raven killing in 998, and in Wales deer hunting was forbidden.

It is said that Arthur’s tomb would be in a medieval monastery, St Michael in Glastonbury land. In 1184 (during a fire) or 1189 (when Henry II travelled that area), monks dug the land and at 2 meters deep they found a stone slab and a lead cross where was written: “Here lies buried the famous King Arthur, in Avalon island”. Then an oak coffin was found and inside it there were the bones of a huge man, 2.4 meters height, with broken, but also smaller bones and blonde hair. It seems that the existence of Arthur and his beautiful wife’s tomb were confirmed.

 

 

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