Arthuriana

How would you reconcile the Arthurian legends with real history? Is there a way to euhemerize all the major figures like Gawain, Lancelot, Tristan and Isolde, Palomides, The Green Knight, Morgan le Fey, etc?

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  1. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    It's simple really.

    King Arthur was considered a real historical figure until the 18th century.

    Not based on the later French legends, but based on the early British records and traditions concering him.

    He was considered so real that the claim of the British Empire to eastern north America was based on him and his storied exploits. Read John Dee during the time of her majesty Queen Elizabeth.

  2. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    All rogue Roman generals

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      nah

  3. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    You can’t. There isn’t even any analogy for Arthur let alone minor figures

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Arthur was mentioned by name in several historical chronicles, he's rather obviously a real Romano-British general or usurper who briefly conquered the island and oversaw a period of relative peace. Beyond that, there's not much to work with, but there are plenty of plausible explanations for the stories behind the legendry that don't have to delve into magic and dragons and elves and so forth.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        We don't even know "conquered the island", may have been a provincial governor in a collapsing Roman Britain, may have just been a general or a professional soldier; the earliest sources don't even call him a king.
        "Successful war leader" and "beat the Saxons at Badon Hill" are about all we have for sure, and there are multiple proposed sites for Badon Hill. And I guess "died in 537 at Camlann" though I know people have thrown doubt on even that.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >there was some sort of chief guy thing from sometime around that time, give or take 500 years, who was kind of like arthur, therefore arthur was real

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          >give or take 500 years
          he's pretty easy to place sometime between 490-540 AD

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >people in the 900s wrote about a guy from around the 500s, so any guy from the 500s must be him

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            I imagine it's that Arthur guy the poet Aneirin talked about in Y Goddoddin contemporaneous to the event.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >known from a manuscript from the 1200s
            >only mentions him in passing
            yeah must have been the only arthur to ever live in britain in the subroman period

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            You realize Julius Caesar's De Bello Gallico is only known from manuscripts dated to the 1500s right? Does that mean Caesar didn't exist?

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            is caesars historicity ""based"" on him being mentioned in passing in a random poem only known from a manuscript written 700 years after the fact?

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >written 700 years after the fact
            See, you're mistaking "oldest surviving copy" with "first copy ever made", which is a very low-IQ behavioral trait common to people who mistakenly believe they are very intelligent.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            will you believe me i met dante if i show you a book printed today, but "written" in the 1300s?

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            If you're so invincibly ignorant as to embrace arbitrary absolutist skepticism, then why don't you become a solipsist and doubt the existence of other minds beside yourself? Why not believe that the universe was created 15 seconds ago with the illusion of age and false memories? Eventually one day you'll have to grow up and start having actual sincere beliefs instead of being a self-aggrandizing know-nothing know-it-all.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            y u so pressed about a fairytale character not existing bro

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Don't you have another "magic israelite sky daddy" thread to spam the catalog with

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >arthur = god
            and im the moron?

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            nta

            you're an idiot

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            im not the one making half a dozen threads about a fictional character

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            moron argument.
            Caesar's historicity is proved by both a body of literature beyond the Gallic War and the historical events that are objectively happened, i.e. Gaul becoming Roman.
            There are no contemporary records proving the existence of Arthur, and his deeds not only cannot be proven, most of them are outright fictional.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            no man you gotta trust me, this 13th century manuscript is totally just a copy from a 6th century poem, the only one from the time that mentions arthur, i know it's just in passing but it proves king arthur existed, just like my disney movies

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Are you fricking stupid. Caesars commentaries were probably one of the most read works of the Middle Ages. They went nowhere. Not to mention your argument doesn’t make sense, there are no connections to any real person in early Arthur myth in fact the earliest mention comes over 300 years after the latest possible figure people pretend like might be Arthur died, which of course isn’t equated because it was a tiny mention. Nobody stopped talking about Caesar for centuries, there was no ambiguity as to who he was or mythological Caesar.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >yeah must have been the only arthur to ever live in britain in the subroman period
            actually the name Arthur (spelled as is, no latinizations, no welsh w or y substituted for the u) doesn't appear in the historical record until that time frame, and then a sudden spread of the name throughout Welsh genealogies, as if people were naming their children after a famous figure when the name previously did not exist
            that's why I don't like the phony baloney "Arthur = Arctos or Artorius" rationalizations, when those names clearly existed elsewhere and earlier without seeming influence on this figure

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            I'm fond of the Arthur=Artyrws or whatever theory myself. It fits with the general trend of Welsh bards and elites adopting heros and cultural motifs from the Old North in the 9th and 10th centuries. But given how murky the period is, anything is possible

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Y Gododdin mentions a man named Gwarddur (pronounced Gwarthur) in the same sentence as Arthur, spelled as is. Not Arthwr not Ardwyr not even a Roman ARTHVR let alone ARTVRVS, nothing like that, but a proper uncial Latin U exactly as it's spelled in the present.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Our copies of Y Gododdin were written substantially later than the poem was composed

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        The Historia Brittonum is not a historical chronical and serves as the origin point for almost all of the Arthurian legend.
        Anything prior to it is a mess with no consistency or aspirations to pretend to be realistic.
        And the HB itself is basically a work of religious fanaticism, not grounded in reality.

  4. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Redpill me on Arthurian legend. Best books for it?

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      - Malory, if you're able to deal with the archaic prose and longwinded recitations of pointless tourneys, for a starter; though it excludes a great deal of content that was less popular or relevant in Malory's time, as he focused primarily on the French tradition of Chretien de Troyes and less on the Brythonic tales and Chaucer or the Italian and German poems which were extraordinarily popular and widespread, but rarely translated.
      - Howard Pyle's four volume set if you can find it, though it's not easy to find, and is often found broken up into pieces and never a complete set.
      - John Matthews modern day supplement "The Great Book of King Arthur" details most of the adventures Malory left out, and is presented in his same style though with eminently more readable prose.
      - Bulfinch's Mythology features a comprehensive overview of the Arthurian legends - including the Mabinogion - in The Matter of Britain segment, though it is purely a summarization meant to explain the content to laymen.
      - The very well-researched novels of Rosemary Sutcliff and Gillian Bradshaw do a good job retelling the Arthurian drama in as historical a form as possible, but they are meant to be novels reimagining the scenario, not classical literature.

      I would advise against reading T. H. White's Once and Future King series, it is as pernicious to the Matter of Britain mythos as Mark Twain, but infinitely more subtle in its subversive hostility.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Cool. Thanks anon. I recently finished W&P so I'm thinking of doing a medieval theme for reading.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Supposedly, there was a 2nd century Roman commander, Lucius Artorius Castus, the later legends were based on. As for the 5th or 6th century, that was a man named Ambrosius Aurelianus.

        >but infinitely more subtle in its subversive hostility.
        How so? Thanks.

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          >>but infinitely more subtle in its subversive hostility.
          >How so? Thanks.
          White writes from a modernist revisionist perspective. He was a half-marxist Englishman living in the 1930s whose primary interest was creating propaganda against Hitler. Not that being against Hitler is a bad thing - Tolkien and Lewis hated the Third Reich just as much as Stalin, but you could hardly place them in the same camp as the soviet premier. White was NOT a medievalist; what he wanted was to force the square pegs of medieval trappings into the round holes of 20th century neoliberal social democracy, and chop off the bits that wouldn't fit, and consequently you have the 1930s equivalent of King Arthur speaking in zoomer phone text abbreviations and the "problematic" elements of medieval society and magical fantasism lambasted with "and that's a good thing" comments.
          The musical film Camelot and Disney's Sword and the Stone try to smooth the rough edges off of White's hack job to not be so blatantly politically topical, but the damage is irreparable; you're better off ignoring it.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Thank you for elaborating on that author's work. Many Arthurian fans seem to hold White's version of King Arthur as their definitive version, or even the definitive version, as in the best-told rendition of the legends.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            You seem to know a lot about this. Are you a medievalist?

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >Are you a medievalist?
            Strictly an amateur. The point is, I have an appreciation for medieval (or any point of time in the thousand-plus years of what constitutes the "Middle Ages") values independent of my 20th-21st century sensibilities. White, like Twain, emphatically did not; they were proponents of whig history, i.e. the End of History, in which their respective eras were necessarily the best and most evolved and which all history had been culminating towards and was therefore correct.

            Thank you for elaborating on that author's work. Many Arthurian fans seem to hold White's version of King Arthur as their definitive version, or even the definitive version, as in the best-told rendition of the legends.

            >Many Arthurian fans seem to hold White's version of King Arthur as their definitive version, or even the definitive version, as in the best-told rendition of the legends.
            Because it's the most braindead Hollywoodized melodrama version of the plot, it's as if Ernest Hemingway wrote them. Actually, I won't insult T. H. White by comparing him to a literal mental moron. Disregard that. I'll compare him to Neil Gaiman instead, at least that way I'm able to insult them both evenly. The point is, it ignores almost every theme of the original tales for the sake of soapboxing milquetoast political messages that happen to be extremely palatable to people born in the 20th century, like equality and democracy, words which no one took seriously prior to the 18th century, and makes them the foundation of his work.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Cool. I was going to ask for some medieval lit recs.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            my personal favorite is Aucassin and Nicolette

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >no mention of History of the Kings of Britain by Gregory of Monmouth
        poser tier list

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      The Historia Brittonum is the origin point for Arthur as anyone would relate to him.
      It isn't really light reading, or fun to read at all. But it is effectively the first.

      Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of England is the origin of Arthur from an Anglo perspective.
      It is also not good reading. It is written like an actual chronical of history, which means it sucks.

      Chretien de Troyes modernized Arthur into an actually readable figure, but most of his stuff is still in French, only.
      Interestingly he has a view of Arthur as being more a Breton figure than a Welsh one, in many cases.

      Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur is really the source of modern Anglosphere Aurthurian canon and is probably the earliest source that is actually readable and available easily.

  5. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Anybody ITT read this?

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      yes, it was very good. He put a bit too much emphasis on Nords being the origin for King Arthur (not true in the slightest. Arthur fought against Saxon invaders, he was not one himself), but the rest of the text was good.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >He put a bit too much emphasis on Nords being the origin for King Arthur
        He got it backwards; King Arthur heavily influenced Germanic heroic poetry, as can be seen in the Sigmund/Siegfried dramas of the Nibelungenlied at al which begin to be transmitted shortly after the Arthurian legend starts making rounds.

  6. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    They aren't gods you don't have to euhemerize them. You can read about guys Arthur is based off of but it's a bit like Robin Hood where it might have been multiple figures. Merlin is clearly a druid mixed with a Christianized Odin.

  7. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Most of the figures are probably unrelated and attached later. A good comparison is the legendary version of Theodoric the Great, yes some basic facts match(he ruled in Italy), some facts match his father(service for Attila) but most is just made up or twisted.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      that seems pretty much the same as my opinion of Arthur

  8. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Threadly reminder that the burning of the library of Glastonbury happened.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Never heard of it, what was it and what does it mean that it was burned?

  9. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous
  10. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    It's a mishmash of older Celtic mythos, Real Kings/Knights and Christianity. A way for older myths of the Celtic pagans to survive while blendeding in with christianity and the great figures at that time. The main theme of the legends is about Regeneration (Water/Rebirth/Sophia/Wisdom) and then later in Christian context "Ressurection". There were already similarities between the two and if you view Arthur as a Jesus figure it makes more sense.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Blending in with*

  11. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >Omri/Khomri (king of Israel) dynasty lasts until 722BC when the assyrians conquered and dispersed the people
    >Assyrian documents refer to them as Khumry
    >Khimmirai/Gimmirai/Cimmerians appear in Assyrian records during the reign of Sargon II (722-705BC)
    >Cimmerians are known from Herodotus to be driven westward out of their lands around the Black Sea (modern Crimea takes its name from them) by the Scythians
    >Cimmerians disappear from historical records around 6th century BC
    >Celts spontaneously appear in historical records around 6th century BC
    >Celts exit historical records (or, more accurately, are dispersed into various subgroupings) around 5th century CE
    >Welsh (Cymraegs) appear in historical records around 6th century CE from Celtic origins
    Are these related?

  12. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    pulling a sword from a stone anvil actually means making one in a smithy

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      The original story said the sword was pulled from a tree

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        this would be consistent with the druidic flavour of a lot of the myth

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          I was being a bit tongue in cheek. The sword being pulled from a tree happens in Der Ring Des Nibelungen, Wagner's Ring Cycle, which in turn comes from the eddas. Many would argue they are very distinct works

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            so siegmund would be uther if there was a parallel? and arthur/siegfried

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Yeah I forget which one was the dad in Ring cycle but yeah.
            Listen to the ring cycle and read the wiki synopsis as you go. Worth a shot at least once in your life.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            so chronologically eddas first, then arthurian legend which had french and christian myths added to it and then the ring cycle based on the eddas

            its interesting to see how the myths and legends modulate through time but how their core remains

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Most definitely. The latest addition seems to be LOTR, which draws from Arthurian legend but more heavily from the Eddas. And of course from Christianity by Tolkien's admission

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Another great work in that vein is the 1980 movie "Excalibur". The soundtrack features "Siegfried's Funeral March" from the Ring Cycle. Beautiful movie. I'm watching it with my wife right now

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            ah thats good fun!

            is there any examples of arthurian legend seeping into eastern mythology?

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tale_of_Genji
            Perhaps this. The Arthurian legend is the quintessential "hero's journey"; the motifs reappear everywhere through human history, sort of like archetypical personalities/gods
            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hero%27s_journey

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            My wife is big into these things. She recommends the Mabinogion. I must admit I haven't read it; I'm more into ancient history. Want to work my way into ancient Britain someday and then into arthurian legend.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            The Mabinogion is intertwined with Arthurian legend; Arthur himself and several of his knights (Gawain, Bedivere, Kay, Tristan, and Perceval) are part of its narrative.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Yep, i knew that much.

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