King Arthur: Myth-Making and History

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This seminal new study explores how and why historians and writers from the Middle Ages to the present day have constructed different accounts of this well-loved figure.

N. J Higham offers an in-depth examintaion of the first two Arthurian texts: the History of the Britons and the Welsh Annals. He argues that historians have often been more influenced by what the idea of Arthur means in their present context than by such primary sources

King Arthur: Myth-making and History illuminates and discusses some central points of debate:

* What role was Arthur intended to perform in the political and cultural worlds that constructed him?
* How did the idea of King Arthur evolve?
* What did the myth of Arthur mean to both authors and their audiences?

King Arthur: Myth-making and History is fascinating reading for anyone interested in the origins and evolution of the Arthurian legend.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'This thought-provoking volume is worth reading' - Guy Halsall, THES

'Higham's survey is an admirably measured and wide-ranging contribution.' - Ecclesiastical History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415213059
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 6/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

List of figures
Introduction 1
I A King out of Time: Arthur in the twentieth century 10
Arthur comes of age 26
Arthur in the spotlight 31
II The Genesis of Arthur 38
Being 'British': The political and ideological context 39
Alternative ideologues and British authority 59
Prototype Arthurs 74
Bears and gods 80
III Contested Histories: Anglo-Saxons and Britons c.730-830 98
Bede and the Britons 98
Welsh-Mercian interactions 102
Reclaiming the past: Writing British history in the early ninth century 116
The Historia Brittonum: Authorship and purpose 119
Britons, Trojans and Romans 124
Vortigern and the Adventus Saxonum 128
St. Patrick and Arthur 136
Arthur and the Old Testament 141
Arthur's battles 144
The image of Arthur 150
The English historical framework 157
Conclusions 164
The Pillar of Eliseg 166
IV Text in Context: The Annales Cambriae c.954 170
England, Wales and the Vikings 171
Heroic poetry 174
Y Gododdin 180
Asser 185
The Armes Prydein 188
The Annales Cambriae 193
V The Rise and Fall of the 'Historical' Arthur 218
The Arthurian legend to c.1100 218
Arthur as cultural icon 221
Arthur as royal cult 226
Arthur in question 235
The fall of King Arthur 239
VI Postscript: The Rhetorical Arthur 267
Bibliography 275
Index 296
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