Cover image for King Arthur : myth-making and history
King Arthur : myth-making and history
Higham, N. J.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London ; New York : Routledge, 2002.
Physical Description:
xi, 303 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
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DA152.5.A7 H53 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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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 Britonsand 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 Historyilluminates 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 Historyis fascinating reading for anyone interested in the origins and evolution of the Arthurian legend.

Author Notes

N. J. Higham is Reader in History at the University of Manchester and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries

Table of Contents

List of figuresp. ix
Acknowledgementsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
I A King out of Time: Arthur in the twentieth centuryp. 10
Arthur comes of agep. 26
Arthur in the spotlightp. 31
Conclusionp. 36
II The Genesis of Arthurp. 38
Being 'British': The political and ideological contextp. 39
Alternative ideologues and British authorityp. 59
Prototype Arthursp. 74
Bears and godsp. 80
Conclusionp. 95
III Contested Histories: Anglo-Saxons and Britons c. 730-830p. 98
Bede and the Britonsp. 98
Welsh-Mercian interactionsp. 102
Reclaiming the past: Writing British history in the early ninth centuryp. 116
The Historia Brittonum: Authorship and purposep. 119
Britons, Trojans and Romansp. 124
Vortigern and the adventus Saxonump. 128
St Patrick and Arthurp. 136
Arthur and the Old Testamentp. 141
Arthur's battlesp. 144
The image of Arthurp. 150
The English historical frameworkp. 157
Conclusionsp. 164
The Pillar of Elisegp. 166
IV Text in Context: The Annales Cambriae c. 954p. 170
England, Wales and the Vikingsp. 171
Heroic poetryp. 174
Y Gododdinp. 180
Asserp. 185
The Armes Prydeinp. 188
The Annales Cambriaep. 193
Conclusionsp. 216
V The Rise and Fall of the 'Historical' Arthurp. 218
The Arthurian legend to c. 1100p. 218
Arthur as cultural iconp. 221
Arthur as royal cultp. 226
Arthur in questionp. 235
The fall of King Arthurp. 239
Conclusionp. 264
VI Postscript: The Rhetorical Arthurp. 267
Bibliographyp. 275
Indexp. 296