Pendragon: The Definitive Account of the Origins of Arthur

Overview

The Arthur portrayed in popular literature and the romances of old is a figure far removed from the warrior remembered in the early writings and traditions of his own people. The original story of Arthur belongs to the Dark Ages, a time of chaos and war, when his people were forced to retreat to the western reaches of their territory. Their oppressors sought to strip them of everything—their lands, their lives, even their history. Tales of Arthur’s exploits were reworked to fit a new political agenda and then ...

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Overview

The Arthur portrayed in popular literature and the romances of old is a figure far removed from the warrior remembered in the early writings and traditions of his own people. The original story of Arthur belongs to the Dark Ages, a time of chaos and war, when his people were forced to retreat to the western reaches of their territory. Their oppressors sought to strip them of everything—their lands, their lives, even their history. Tales of Arthur’s exploits were reworked to fit a new political agenda and then circulated across medieval Europe, the real origins of the legend obscured. But in his native land the truth survived.
Using half-forgotten sources and clues hidden in the ancient Welsh landscape, historians Steve Blake and Scott Lloyd lead us on an adventure every bit as exciting as the legend itself. Arthur’s family tree is traced, his warriors named, and his battlegrounds pinpointed. Blake and Lloyd reveal that Arthur was not the shining Christian king of popular romance—not even, in fact, a king at all—but a fearsome figure known to his followers as, simply, the "Leader of Battles.” And they shed new light on one of the greatest mysteries of British history: the location of Arthur’s final resting place.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592289691
  • Publisher: Lyons Press, The
  • Publication date: 8/1/2006
  • Pages: 332
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Authors Steve Blake and Scott Lloyd are the founders of the Centre for Arthurian Studies at the North East Wales Institute and advise and promote one of the world’s leading collections of Arthurian material, housed in Flintshire Library HQ.

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Read an Excerpt

In sixth-century Britain there were no knights in shining armor, no jousting, and no great military organization that enabled campaigns with huge armies such as are portrayed in the pages of Geoffrey of Monmouth. Arthur belonged to a time when a war-band of 300 was considered impressive, a time when the war cries of Briton, Pict, Scot, and Saxon echoed across the West, and when the drumming of horses' hooves and the chink of chain mail heralded death and destruction. This was not a time of all-conquering Continental campaigns ... but one of civil war, invasion, and constant raiding.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii
List of Illustrations ix
Introduction 1
1 The Quest for Arthur 5
2 The Birth of a Legend 31
3 The Keepers of Tradition 47
4 The Genealogy of Arthur 79
5 Some Geographical Problems 111
6 Arthur's Battles 140
7 Arthur the Warlord 167
8 The Lost Saga of Camlan and the Death of Arthur 181
Epilogue: The Untold Story of Arthur 205
Appendix 1 The Warriors of Arthur and Other Characters Associated with him in the Earliest Welsh Sources 211
Appendix 2 The Heartland of Arthur's Warriors 225
Appendix 3 The Source Materials 256
Notes 273
Bibliography 293
About the Authors 299
Useful Addresses 300
Index 302
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