Legendary Monarch. Arthur, it is generally agreed, is based on an actual historical figure from perhaps the 5th or 6th century, active during the period after the Romans left Britain, who was likely a war leader rather than a king. His precise identity is a mystery. The legend, however, has amalgamated numerous sources. The 9th-century work, “Historia Brittonum” mentioned Arthur, and the “Annales Cambriae” cited the victory at Mons Badonicus (Baddon Hill) and the final Battle of Camlann, both of which he was supposed to have led. William of Malmesbury's “Deeds of the British Kings,” written about 1125, also referenced Arthur, as did Henry of Huntingdon in his “History of the English”(c. 1129). The legend of a unifying King of the Britons was resurrected and expanded by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his “De gestis Britonum or Historia Regum Britanniae” (History of the Kings of Britain), written about 1136, giving Arthur's place of birth as Tintagel, Wales and naming him the son of Uther Pendragon. A court writer, Chrétien de Troyes, also expanded the legend to include a quest for the Holy Grail and a French knight. In 1191, monks at Glastonbury Abbey claimed to have discovered a grave holding the remains of a huge man with severe head wounds along side a woman's remains. With them, a lead cross inscribed, “Here lies buried the famous King Arthur with Guinevere his second wife, in the Isle of Avalon.” In an era when such religious houses counted on income from pilgrims to support them, such a find was regarded as immediately suspect. The remains and cross vanished after the Dissolution of the monasteries. Thomas Malory's work “Le Morte d'Arthur,” written in 1486, merged all the various Arthurian stories into one and added the chivalric code and a wizard. It was in William of Malmesbury's work that it was first claimed "...Arthur's grave is nowhere seen, whence antiquity of fables still claims that he will return."
Bio by: Iola