Did King Arthur Really Exist?

Did King Arthur Really Exist?

The hero of a king that pulled the sword from the stone, backed by a round table full of dedicated knights…and a mysterious wizard named Merlin.

We’ve all heard the stories, but are they based on actual events – did King Arthur really exist?

A handful of historians now believe that the fabled king was nothing more than a fabrication that was created to boost the morale of the English troops at the time…

But not all historians go along with this…and neither do I…


The Fabled King

The medieval legend and fabled king, who led British forces, and his group of elite knights into battle against Saxon invaders in the early sixth century.

His campaigns were apparently so successful, he ended up running rule over England, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and Gaul.

But was King Arthur actually a real person, or simply a Celtic tale that was passed on through the generations?

The Fabled King

Arthur first appeared in the writings of a famous Welsh historian named Nennius. He listed 12 battles that the famous king was supposed to have won, against all odds.

Experts point out that a lot of these battles came from poetry at the time, and it would near enough be impossible for one leader to have attended all of these battles over the time period.


The Myth Becomes a Legend

After Nennius’s time, numerous Welsh writers drew on his work and built up this great and magnificent king. Arthur soon spread across the Welsh borders and the Celtic world, and snowballed after the Norman conquest of 1066.

In the 12th century, Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote the first life story of Arthur and published it in a book named History of the Kings of Britain.

The Myth Becomes a Legend

This story covered the king’s famous sword Caliburn (later known as Excalibur), his head knight named Lancelot, Queen Guinevere and the mysterious wizard Merlin.

Geoffrey of Monmouth claimed that the book was based on a lost Celtic manuscript that only he was allowed to read…


The Holy Grail

French poet Chrétien de Troyes decided to give Arthur’s exploits a more spiritual angle by introducing The Holy Grail into his quests.

This ‘ultimate’ quest was described in a series of romances penned by the poet.

So, did King Arthur really exist?

Well one thing is for certain – his myth is certainly powerful. Apparently, Henry VIII and Queen Victoria used the famous King’s exploits for political purposes. On top of that – Hollywood loves to cover his story in big budget movies.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Please leave them in the comment section below.

10 comments on “Did King Arthur Really Exist?

    1. So sorry for the delay Fred – been on the road for the last fortnight and I’ve stocked up a load of unanswered comments!
      Oh yes – love The Holy Grail! 🙂

    1. Used to watch it with my dad in the 80’s!!!
      No, I’ve been all over the shop the last few weeks – I’m well behind with replying to the comments (which is terribly rude of me!). Getting there and should be caught up by tomorrow 🙂

  1. So other than loving the fantasy of the story, do you believe King Arthur was real?  At you kinda implied that you didn’t believe he was only a myth and later on…well, you sort of conceded perhaps he was.  That being said, I loved remembering all the movies and plays dealing with King Arthur that I’ve seen over my lifetime…all the way up to President Kennedy’s time in office being referred to as Camelot.  Thanks for stirring up those old memories!

  2. Other than in movies and stories, I have never ever bothered to find out if he was real indeed. We are all suckers for hero’s tales and like you mentioned, who knows King Arthur was created to boost the morale of the English soldiers. That’s a plausible explanation. And even if he did exist, the heroics tales that learned have all been grossly exaggerated. But personally, I don’t mind that. We all need heroes – whether as real people or simple as a figment of our imagination. You know what? As kids we use to believe in The Phantom (the ghost who walks) and even today, some of my not-so-young friends joke that if you ever get lost in the deep jungles of Congo, Phantom will come to your help. And I believe that too 🙂

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