Evidence of Arthur

Fixing the Legendary King in Factual Place and Time


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About the Book

Making use of the methodology developed in his Origins of Arthurian Romances (McFarland, 2012), the author explores the question of King Arthur’s existence in several original approaches to the subject. Examining the extant literature and other evidence, the author searches for the truth of the who when and where of King Arthur. These explorations are grouped into historicity, geography and the years in which he flourished. The conclusion is that Arthur was indeed an historical entity and the author places him in a specific area and narrows the time frame of his period of activity.

About the Author(s)

Flint F. Johnson is an independent scholar whose academic areas of interest include post–Roman British history, Heroic Age Greek and Norse history, and the cultures existing before the first river valley civilizations. He lives in Hudson, Wisconsin.

Bibliographic Details

Flint F. Johnson
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 256
Bibliographic Info: 4 photos, 4 maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7681-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0628-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Source Abbreviations vii

Preface and Acknowledgments 1

Introduction 3

Part One : Historicity

1. The Historicity of Arthur: The Evidence in Traditional Form 13

2. The British Arthur: An Elusive Hero 21

3. The Heroic Age Phenomenon 28

4. Fionn macCumhail and Arthur 37

5. Arthur and the Superbus Tyrannus 42

6. Drutwas 50

7. The Bards of the Fifth, Sixth and Early Seventh Centuries 54

8. Conclusion: The Historicity of Arthur 62

Part Two : Geography

9. Introduction to a Study of Arthur’s Geography 67

10. The Geographical Influence of Geoffrey of Monmouth 71

11. Arthur, the Vitae and Glastonbury Abbey 78

12. Arthur’s Geography in the ­Pre-Galfridic Tradition 87

13. Arthur’s Men in the Early Welsh Sources 97

14. Culhwch ac Olwen and the Location of Arthur 105

15. Arthur in the Romances 116

16. ­Carlisle-Camelot: A New Option 126

17. The Location of Arthur 133

Part Three : Floruit

18. The Chronological Tradition 137

19. The Romanitas of Arthur’s Era 143

20. Bardic Chronology 147

21. Caradoc of Llancarfan 152

22. Gildasian Chronology 154

23. Arthur’s Expanding Orbit 164

24. Rough Archaeological Dates for Arthur 169

25. The Development of the Historical Horizon 173

Conclusion 179


A: The Location of Gildas 185

B: The Transformation of Praise Poetry into Medieval Romances 188

C: Origins of All Proper Nouns in Culhwch ac Olwen 189

D: The Dating of Badon 203

Notes 205

Bibliography 232

Index 241