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Historicity of King Arthur
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Historicity of King Arthur's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, December 6th, 2006
1:59 pm

I'm intrested in the dark ages, King Arther, Bede, Geoffry Morimouth, and at the moment I'm reading up on Merlin and his prophecies, if anyone is still active in this community or if you know of any still active community could you let me know asap.

Thanks in advance.
Monday, December 5th, 2005
6:14 pm
Posts on the 5th century (amongt other times)
I've done a series of three "nerdy posts" starting on 28 November in my lj that will be followed by more soon, building up to a point when all the jigsaw pieces fit together. I'm not cross posting because there are so many communities that might be relevant and I'd never keep track!

However, you are very welcome, as are any comments.
Wednesday, October 5th, 2005
6:32 pm
Just because I think it's a great book, it doesn't mean I agree with all of it
Mike Ashley's "Mammoth Book of King Arthur" is wonderful, but as I said, I do disagree with some of his interpretations.

Beef no. 1: The Provinces of Roman Britain
Read more...Collapse )

Current Mood: geeky
Saturday, October 1st, 2005
6:40 pm
If you only buy one book about Arthur...
... buy “The Mammoth Book of King Arthur” by Mike Ashley (ISBN 1-84119-249-X)

I nearly didn’t: the title put me off. I mean, that’s the sort of thing you buy for your kids.

Fortunately, I took it off the shelf and looked inside and found time charts, tables of descent and really relevant maps. It has nearly all the detail I have amassed in the last decade or so and more besides, information summarised from the Breton genealogies (including the identification of Riothamus with Iahan Reeth) and extremely well discussed suggested solutions to the dates problems. I don’t always agree with his interpretation - I don’t agree (at least not yet) that Hengist and Horsa were operating in the North - but my word, the facts are there, all conveniently brought together. Variant spellings of names are given, and whenever possible the original form.

The first part deals with the historical aspects; the second deals with the development of the story. A truly excellent book.

Current Mood: enthralled
Tuesday, June 21st, 2005
1:48 pm
Riothamus again
Back in January volterra queried "Johannes Riothamus". I'm sorry not to have got back on this sooner, but it relates to notes I made over10 years ago. I came across them recently, but to my frustration they're not as full as I hoped:

"Armorican Genealogies: John Reith = Riatham = Riothamus (same place, same date); Johannes Riothamus"

It's in the middle of notes made in Senate House, London University and the British Library back when it was still in the British Museum, so it might be tricky to track down where precisely I got hold of it.
Sunday, May 29th, 2005
4:24 am
Can anyone recommend some colleges in the U.S. that offer a decent selection of courses in Arthurian/Celtic literature at the undergraduate level? Bonus points if you can find me a college that also deals with Norse literature.

I'm planning on focusing on medieval comparative literature when I transfer, so that might help you understand what I'm looking for.
Thursday, February 10th, 2005
11:05 am
Would like your input
Hello everybody. I have started a book discussion group called pages_of_avalon Starting Monday we will begin reading Mists of Avalon and work our way together through that book and all of the prequels, in the order that they were written. Posts will be limited only to the discussion of content we are currently reading or have already read. I am hoping to drum up some of you guys who have studied the history behind the acual legend as well as plenty of readers. I welcome all discussion on history and theory behind the legends the book was based on.

Please come join us if you like.


X-Posted to all Arthurian and Marion Zimmer Bradley communities
Monday, December 27th, 2004
2:44 pm
Arthur's Parentage
It's a wet day, I'm bored, I ought to be doing housework but I don't want to, and I feel like stirring things.

Careful reading of Culhwch ac Olwen and the Triads indicates that while a lot is known about Arthur's mother's family, including his uncles and his cousins, we are told absolutely nothing about his father. He is not, in this tradition, Uthyr; he just isn't mentioned. If this was an Anglo-Norman world-view, I would suspect illegitimacy (which is the path the later romances go down) but this is Welsh traditions, which see little details of whether the parties were actually married as somewhat irrelevant. In fact, there are seven forms of marriage, ranging from a feast laid on by the bride's father down to abduction and rape, which leaves a lot of leeway.

My suspicion is that the Welsh sources didn't know, and didn't care about, Arthur's father's family for the reason that his father wasn't a Romano-Brit at all. He has a "foreign" (non-British) name; he has the sort of morals best associated with people like Clovis; he's a poet who hasn't gone through the normal British procedures. My suspicion is that Arthur's father's family was Germanic in origin. After all, most of the best generals in the Roman Army in the 5th century were German stock; Aetius is about the only exception.

Explode if you like, but I'm really more interested in reasoned arguments (preferably with sources) against the idea.

Happy New Year!

Current Mood: mischievous
Wednesday, December 15th, 2004
4:51 pm

Get the latest "Renaissance Magazine" it talks about the potential "Arthur" as being Lucius Artorius Castus and his knights being exiled Sarmatian warriors!

There's so many overlaps, it might be true.


crossposted to
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Get the latest "Renaissance Magazine" it talks about the potential "Arthur" as being Lucius Artorius Castus and his knights being exiled Sarmatian warriors!

There's so many overlaps, it might be true.


crossposted to <lj-user="arthurianlegend">

Current Mood: excited
Thursday, December 9th, 2004
7:02 am
Because it has something to do with The Holy Grail
Now, I've just realised... the name of the English knight in Da Vinci Code was Leigh Teabing, right? Clever, Dan Brown. The name derives from the names of the authors of The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail -- Richard Leigh and Michael Baigent. The surname's an anagram. Very clever. So, do I get a prize? Or is it actually an already widely known fact?

Current Mood: contemplative
Wednesday, December 1st, 2004
8:22 pm
The Enemy (East)
In connection with something I was doing today I jotted down this summary of the Saxon situation in the South:

Phase I: 445-479
Main area: Kent
Intense fighting between 457 and 460
More fighting 470-471
Another battle 478
No further victories
No spread beyond Medway (origin of Men of Kent/Kentishmen split?)

Phase II: 483- ca 500
Main area: Sussex
Anderida sacked in 490s
No further victories
No spread beyond Weald to North

Phase III: 502 onwards
Main area: Wessex
Fighting in area of landings (two or three waves)
Nothing conclusive until 530, when Isle of Wight is taken
First real break-out in 554 (Sarum)
Note mixed Celtic and Saxon names of kings

In other words, the traditional picture of the Saxons flooding in and across the country isn't supported even by the ASC, certainly not for the South of England; and the archaeology tends to bear this out.

Phase I saw a lot of organised fighting, apparently by Ambrosius Aurelianus (the elder, by some reckoning) that took place in three bursts with intervals of 8-10 years between them. The 8 years figure may be an approximation due to the use of Easter Tables, but would not be wildly out, and tradition would retain the idea of longish spells between the fighting. It is also necessary to sort out exactly what was happening with Vortigern and Vortimer; there may well have been conflict between Vortigern and the more Romanised forces.

Phase II starts fairly quietly; possibly there were not many inhabitants on the Sussex coast to be bothered. It is only after about 10 years that the attack on Anderida comes, followed by other fighting, possibly climaxing at Badon. This might have involved Ambrosius Aurelianus (the younger - see above); it is tempting to consider the possibility that he was Count of the Saxon Shore and would have had definite responsibility.

There does not seem to be any evidence that they moved North of the Weald; all the activities seem to take place along the South Coast.

Phase III is a mess. The names are completely untrustworthy apart from Cerdic's immediate family - who have a surprising number of Celtic names; there are at least two waves of invasion, three if Cerdic came in from outside; there is vast uncertainty as to whether or not the leaders of the later waves are related to Cerdic. The only thing that is certain is that apart from a few inconclusive battles nothing really happened until the taking of the Isle of Wight (and some Welsh sources suggest this was partly by agreement anyway). There is no break out from the coastal area until Sarum is taken - in the second half of the 6th century.

OK, the dates are dodgy and at least some of the names are dodgy but the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (as confirmed quite often by Nennius) is about all we have to go by for what was happening in South East England.

I'll come back later with possible interpretations of what was happening, and on what was happeing in the West.
Sunday, November 28th, 2004
11:26 am
King Arthur: A Military History
Does anyone have any thoughts on King Arthur: A Military History by Michael Holmes? I've just started reading it and was wondering what others might think of it.
6:27 pm
Arafel's Guide to Arthurian Resources on the Internet

Hello guys


Here's to let you know that I finally posted that annotated guide to my recommended Arthurian websites as promised some longer time ago. Take a peak if you like :). The links are ordered in the following categories:


Arthurian History – historical research on King Arthur and his time

Arthurian Legend – the classic King Arthur

Arthurian Encyclopedias

Arthurian Texts   online full-text collections

Arthurian Candidates –  the various Arthurian theories presented

The Arthurian-Sarmatian Connection

Arthurian Mailing Lists

Arthurian Links


The category Arthurian Candidates attempts to accommodate most of the existing main theories on the historicity of Arthur. If I missed one please let me know


You can access the guide on my livejournal as part of Arafel's Sarmatian resources. The link is placed as appendix under the Sarmatian FAQ for King Arthur fanfiction writers.


Have fun,


Saturday, November 27th, 2004
5:59 pm
Dark Ages Fanatic
Rather than just post comments on other people's posts, I thought it was about time I introduced myself properly and explained where I'm coming from on Arthur.

A good few years ago I studied archaeology of South East England, which was a very fluid definition as for Prehistory it included Stonehenge and for Post Roman it included South Cadbury. This part of it electrified me: scores of Iron Age hillforts all over the South West refortified in the late 5th century, and new walls and gate built at South Cadbury by a proper Roman trained military engineer nearly a century after the Roman army left Britain.

Naturally, that set me wondering who this man was, and I came up with a hypothesis that, being intellectually more honest than some writers, I felt I could only deal with in fiction ... which is what I have been doing: I've nearly got him there, and the succeeding books are plotted out and started, but it's been a long slog.

In the course of researching it, I found out far more about the so-called Dark Ages than I ever dreamed existing, to the point that I get very emphatic about using the term "Late Antiquity" instead.

I also discovered some very interesting facts about the time around 500. As I mentioned in a comment recently, something very major happened at that date, but it's a bit more peculiar than it looks at first sight.

To start with, most of the late 5th century defences face west, not east - i.e. against the Irish raiders, rather than the Saxons. That's the way South Cadbury faces; that's the direction the beacon on Glastonbury is concerned with. It looks as if that was a very long drawn out campaign, with the battles against Aelle being a short interlude (and a very successful one) followed by a return to focussing on the west.

The other thing I discovered was what an appalling danger Aelle was. To start with he had other kings under him; whatever the precise meaning and derivation of "Bretwalda" this is clearly the case. And secondly, he did something no other barbarian managed to do - not even the Huns: he took a Roman fortified place. Throughout Europe, if people could get behind walls, they were safe. Even Theodoric only defeated Odovacer by reaching a stalemate and offering a peace deal that he betrayed; he couldn't take Ravenna, which was a walled town, not a specially constructed fort. The fact that Aelle took Anderida marked him out as potentially the most dangerous leader in Late Antiquity, certainly since Alaric (and he doesn't count as a barbarian for these purposes - he was a Roman-paid officer who got annoyed when he wasn't given Roman troops to command so didn't have access to the State-run arms factories).

I'll come back some time to who the leader who defeated Aelle was, but if he defeated the greatest barbarian leader, possibly including Attila, he must have been supremely great.

(And, of course, he had a good military engineer!)
Sunday, November 14th, 2004
9:09 am
Introductions and Comments
First of all, greetings and introduction:

I am Uncle Hyena; I live in Waukegan, which is on Lake Michigan just north of Chicago. I was born in 1956 and first read White's "The Sword in the Stone" in about 1965, and have been studying Arthur and the literature around him ever since.

Now... Can anyone tell me when this idea of Arthur's knights being Sarmatians came from? Both my wife and I are pretty well versed in this stuff, and the recent movie was the first time either of us had heard anything about Sarmatia in relation to Arthur. (Quick aside: Was anyone else amused by the fact that the two knights dead on the field at the end of the film were the two heroes created by Chretien de Troyes?) I am assuming that the Sarmatian theory is a relatively new development, as part of an effort to put horses under Arthur's men.

Stuff in my head I would like to hear comment on: If, as seems likely, the historical Arthur was the "Riothamus" who led some sort of military expedition from Britain to western Europe in 469-470, this puts Arthur solidly pre-stirrup, which means if Arthur's men were horsemen at all, they were mounted infantry. This begs the question: When did Arthur's men become "knights"? I am not that familiar with Nennius, but there is little evidence of mounted combat in Geoffry of Monmouth; I am currently suspicious that Chretien turned Arthur's "noble warriors" into "knights".


Uncle Hyena
Friday, November 12th, 2004
11:15 pm
The Quest for Merlin
I went to a bookstore and found a secondhand hardcover copy of Nikolai Tolstoy's "The Quest for Merlin". Haven't read it, but if any of you have read it, can you give comments and sorts?
(And to add to my other promises, I promise to make a short review/synopsis of it once I've done reading it ^___^)
Tuesday, November 9th, 2004
11:09 pm
New livejournal for Sarmatian resouces
Hello everybody!
I hope it is not too OT to barge in and announce the opening of my new livejournal for resources on Sarmatian history and culture, with an extra section for King Arthur fan fiction writers. You can find it at http://www.livejournal.com/userinfo.bml?user=arafel7 . I know several of you have read 'From Scythia to Camelot' by Littleton and Malcor, and while not being a great admirer of this book I do touch on the subject of the Arthurian-Sarmatian theory and the Sarmatian recruits in Britain at times, so maybe you'll find a few of the references useful.

A small warning though: English is not my native language, so I hope spelling and grammar are not too offensive.
Hope you'll like it.
4:30 pm
Hello folks! I'm Pip and I'm new around here. I'm really glad I was wandering today and found you! I've been interested in Arthurian mythology and history for many years and it's always great to find others with a similar interest.

A couple of years ago I came across a book by a journalist by the name of C. Scott Littleton called 'From Scythia to Camelot: A Radical Reassessment of the Legends of King Arthur, The Knights of the Round Table and the Holy Grail'. Imagine my surprise when I showed up at the latest King Arthur movie and there it was before my very eyes! I was impressed! Someone had done his (or her) homework. So here I am all charged up to go hunting for new slants on an old, old story.
Tuesday, October 26th, 2004
10:41 pm
A new member
Hi, I'm a new member. I'm 23 from Indonesia, and am actually a BSc. in biology but I have great interests in history and Arthurian legends+history. In fact, a version of King Arthur and His Knights is one of the books that I read in my childhood that I remember most (and I still have it with me). I'm glad to find this community since it's hard to find other people here who are also interested in Arthurian legends/history.

Anybody has read Adrian Gilbert's Holy Kingdom? What's your opinion about it? If you haven't read it, next time I may post a summary. Right now I'm at my workplace.

Nice to know y'all :)

Current Mood: happy
Tuesday, August 24th, 2004
9:47 pm
Hello to All!
New to the community and thought I'd introduce myself. I'm called Kinrowan and I have an avid love of Arthurian History, been studying it quite a long time now and just recently wrote a curatorial essay on it for my Museum Studies course work.

I posted in my livejournal King Arthur regarding the movie, and added in some sites and whatnot for those wishing to start out on research.

If anyone has sites to add, do tell :) Always interested in more information/ theories.

Current Mood: cheerful
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