The Historicity of King Arthur: Fact or Fiction?

TLDR The legend of King Arthur is believed to be based on a Briton king who ruled after the collapse of Roman rule, but there is little historical evidence to support his existence. While the Arthurian legend has been embellished over the centuries, most historians now consider King Arthur to be a work of fiction.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 King Arthur's historicity and existence are explored in this episode of Everything Everywhere Daily.
02:07 Geoffrey of Monmouth's book, Historia Regum Britanniae, is the starting point for the character of King Arthur, but it is neither a work of fiction nor a work of history and contains many inaccuracies.
03:53 The Arthurian legend is believed to be based on a king who ruled in the first or second century after the collapse of Roman rule, and he would have been a Briton, not English, as England and the English did not exist at that time.
05:29 The story of King Arthur was expanded and embellished by various writers over the centuries, including the addition of characters like Lancelot and the quest for the Holy Grail, until Sir Thomas Mallory's "The Death of Arthur" in 1485 combined all the elements into one comprehensive tale.
07:06 The name Arthur may have originated from the Roman family name Artorius, and while there was a Roman military commander named Lucius Artorius Castus, there is little else that aligns with the Arthurian legend.
08:48 The battle of Baden Hill, mentioned in texts before Geoffrey of Monmouth, is a possible connection to the Arthurian legend, with candidates such as Rheothamus, Ambrosius Aurelianus, and Artur MacAden, but after a century of searching for evidence, most historians now believe that King Arthur was likely a work of fiction.
10:36 The legend of King Arthur appears to have no real basis in fact, but it is possible that a future British monarch could choose the name Arthur.
Categories: History Education

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