By Matt Schwoebel (an amateur historical Arthur scholar/enthusiast)

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Friday, July 16, 2004

5. Arthurian Period

 
When did Arthur exist?  The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which only reports English victories or draws, has a wide gap from the 490’s to the 540’s excepting a few minor victories in coastal Wessex.  This was the two generations of prosperity and relative peace that Arthur earned.  The movie places him in the 440’s and 450’s A.D. (if memory serves one of the early scenes with Lancelot was in 432 A.D. and the main action was at least 15 years later).  It only represents the time period immediately before and after the Battle of Badon early in Arthur’s career.  Actually, there were relatively few Anglo-Saxons in Britain during the 440’s-450’s A.D. and they were in the southeast of England (the Jutes under Hengist & Horsa in Kent), not in the north of Britain (see points 3, 4, & 6). 
           

Arthur’s titanic confrontation with the Anglo-Saxons at the battle of Mons Badon (Badon Hill) is usually dated around the year 496 A.D.  The monk Gildas rants about the leaders of his time degenerating into civil war and strife between fellow Britons.  Based on the historical figures he writes about including Maelgwyn of Gwynedd, Gildas’s letter is usually dated in the 540’s A.D.  Gildas writes that he was born in the year of Badon and was in his forties at the time of his letter.  If anything, some scholars place Arthur twenty years later with Badon being dated at 516 A.D. 
           

There were other semi-historical leaders of the post-Roman Britons before Arthur – primarily Owain (a shadowy figure), Vortigern, Uther Pendragon (Arthur’s father?), Vortimer, and Ambrosius Aurelianus (Emrys).  A date for Arthur in the 440’s or 450’s does not account for enough time between the separation of Britannia from Rome (see point 6) and Arthur’s reign.  
 

Go To 6. Late Roman History

3 Comments:

Blogger Matt said...

Someone cared enough to read and leave a tactless comment. Some people have intellectual pursuits, unlike others.

August 21, 2006 at 12:40 PM  
Anonymous flattop_62 said...

Outstanding information. I was very interested. Read the whole thing! Thank you.

September 1, 2008 at 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lancelot's early scene is set in 452, movie is set in 467

July 24, 2009 at 6:30 AM  

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