Worlds of Arthur: Facts and Fictions of the Dark Ages

Paperback | May 22, 2014

byGuy Halsall

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King Arthur is probably the most famous and certainly the most legendary medieval king. From the early ninth century through the middle ages, to the Arthurian romances of Victorian times, the tales of this legendary figure have blossomed and multiplied. And in more recent times, there has beena continuous stream of books claiming to have discovered the 'facts' about, or to unlock the secret or truth behind, the 'once and future king'. Broadly speaking, there are two Arthurs. On the one hand is the traditional 'historical' Arthur, waging a doomed struggle to save Roman civilization against the relentless Anglo-Saxon tide during the darkest years of the Dark Ages. On the other is the Arthur of myth and legend - accompanied by ahost of equally legendary people, places, and stories: Lancelot, Guinevere, Galahad and Gawain, Merlin, Excalibur, the Lady in the Lake, the Sword in the Stone, Camelot, the Round Table. The big problem with all this is that 'King Arthur' might well never have existed. And if he did exist, it is next to impossible to say anything at all about him. As this challenging new look at the Arthur legend makes clear, all books claiming to reveal 'the truth' behind King Arthur can safely beignored. Not only the 'red herrings' in the abundant pseudo-historical accounts, even the 'historical' Arthur is largely a figment of the imagination: the evidence that we have - whether written or archaeological - is simply incapable of telling us anything detailed about the Britain in which he issupposed to have lived, fought, and died. The truth, as Guy Halsall reveals in this fascinating investigation, is both radically different - and also a good deal more intriguing.

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King Arthur is probably the most famous and certainly the most legendary medieval king. From the early ninth century through the middle ages, to the Arthurian romances of Victorian times, the tales of this legendary figure have blossomed and multiplied. And in more recent times, there has beena continuous stream of books claiming to ha...

Guy Halsall has taught at the universities of London and York, where he has been a professor of history since 2003. His early specialism was in the history and archaeology of the Merovingian period (c.450-c.750), and he has since published widely on a broad range of subjects: death and burial, age and gender, violence and warfare, bar...

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Kobo ebook|Dec 20 2007

$36.39 online$47.24list price(save 22%)
see all books by Guy Halsall
Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pagesPublished:May 22, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198700849

ISBN - 13:9780198700845

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Table of Contents

PrefacePart I: Old Worlds1. The Story of 'King Arthur'2. The Matter of Arthur: the Traditional Narrative3. Swords in the Stones: the Archaeology of Post-Imperial BritainPart II: Present Worlds4. The Antimatter of Arthur: Reassessing the Written Sources5. Continuity or Collapse? The End of Roman Britain6. Beyond Brooches and Brochs: Rethinking Early Medieval British ArchaeologyPart III: Mad Worlds7. Red Herrings and Old ChestnutsPart IV: New Worlds?8. The Matter of Arthur: Changing the Framework9. Rethinking the Anglo-Saxon Migration and Setttlement (1): When Did the Anglo-Saxons Come to Britain?10. Rethinking the Anglo-Saxon Migration and Setttlement (2): The Nature and Scale of the Migration11. Fifth and Sixth Century Politics in Britannia12. The End of the 'World of Arthur'Further ReadingIndex

Editorial Reviews

"[Guy Halsall] has produced a brilliant portrait of Britain in the 5th and 6th centuries, drawing on literary and archeological sources to challenge almost every orthodoxy of the age. Those who desire a surprisingly witty, intellectually rigorous and historically captivating journey deep intothe crucible of medieval Britain will enjoy this book immensely." --Dan Jones, Sunday Times