The Mystery of King Arthur's Origins
This video is sponsored by ExpressVPN, go to www.expressvpn.com/cambrianchronicles and find out how you can get 3 months free!
King Arthur is one of the most famous figures in all of history, whether you're familiar with Lancelot, or the Holy Grail, or Guinevere, or Excalibur, or the Knights of the Round Table, you've likely heard at least SOMETHING about King Arthur.
Very few people are aware of his actual origins, though. A statistic that is not helped by the terrible coverage of the subject, both online and in the real world.
In this video, I hope to shine a proper light of the Medieval origins of King Arthur. We'll see how Chretien's story developed from fiction written by Geoffrey of Monmouth. We'll see how Geoffrey adapted King Arthur from figures found in Welsh Mythology. We'll see how the mythologies of Wales shifted and moulded King Arthur to fit whatever story they were trying to tell, and we'll see how Wales in the 9th century developed one of the most famous historical figures of all time.
And maybe we'll discover who this "Arthur" really was, who inspired this character, and if he was ever a real person.
0:00 - Introduction
0:49 - Arthur, Roi de Bretagne
1:47 - Arthur, Rex Brittania
5:55 - Ceni bei ef Arthur
9:36 - Arthur, Dux Bellorum
20:40 - Arthur, Pendragon
Geoffrey of Monmouth (1966). The History of the Kings of Britain. Translated by L. Thorpe. Penguin Books.
Giles, J.A. (1848). Six Old English Chronicles. London: Henry G. Bohn.
Vitae Sanctorum Britanniae et Genealogiae. ed. A. W. Wade-Evans. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1944. https://www.maryjones.us/ctexts/padarn.html
Ingram, J. (1912). The Annals of Wales.
Bromwich, R., Jarman, A.O.H., Roberts, B.F., Huws, D. and Charles-Edwards, T. (2008). The Arthur of the Welsh. 2nd ed. University of Wales Press, pp.1–33.
Davies, J. (2007). A History of Wales. London: Penguin, pp.46, 56-58, 66, 119-120, 130, 214, 248.
Grigg, E. (2009). ‘Mole Rain’ and Other Natural Phenomena in the Welsh Annals: Can Mirabilia Unravel the Textual History of the Annales Cambriae?. The Welsh History Review, 24(4), pp.15–17.
Higham, N.J. (2002). King Arthur: Myth-Making and History. Routledge., pp.74–216.
Higham, N.J. and Ryan, M.J. (2013). The Anglo-Saxon World. Yale University Press, pp.63-69.
Higham, N.J. (2018). King Arthur: The Making of the Legend. Yale University Press, pp.1-76, 149-248.
Johnes, M. (2019). Wales: England’s Colony? Parthian, pp.116–129.
Maund, K. (2006). The Welsh Kings. 3rd ed. The History Press Ltd, pp.18-23.
Bartrum, P.C. (1993). A Welsh Classical Dictionary: People in History and Legend up to about A.D. 1000. The National Library of Wales, pp.29-32.
Stephenson, D. (2019). Medieval Wales c.1050-1332: Centuries of Ambiguity. 1st ed. University of Wales Press, p.121.
© OpenStreetMap contributors, licensed under CC BY-SA: https://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright
Music by © Chris Zabriskie - CC BY-SA 4.0
and, 'Kawaii' by Bad Snacks
Images from, and of:
Hollar and Saxton's, H. L. Thomas's, T. Kitchen's, Jean Baptiste's Britain, Brittany, and Europe, Saxon's Cornwall, Walker's Ireland, de Vaugondy's Galliarum, Tennyson's Arthurian works, Der Schwarzwald, Temple of Elephanta, Conwy Castle, Abbey Crucis: CC0, via the British Library.
Arthur and the Nine Worthies: CC0, via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Chrétien: CC0, via the Bibliothèque nationale de France
Henry IV: CC0, via the Rijks Museum
Coats of Arms, Brut y Brenhinedd, Cambriae Typus, Flag of Wales, Laws of Hywel Dda, Macsen Wledig, History of Cambriae, Pennant's Wales: CC0, via the National Library of Wales
The Bard, Tryfan, Snowodon, Chepstow, St David's Head, Caernarfon Castle: CC0, via the Yale Center for British Art