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KING ARTHUR
11.11.2013, 21:36

Gildas - "On the Ruin of Britain" (De Excidio Britanniae, 25-6; c. 540)
"...that they might not be brought to utter destruction, took arms under the conduct of Ambrosius Aurelianus, a modest man, who of all the Roman nation was then alone in the confusion of this troubled period by chance left alive. His parents, who for their merit were adorned with the purple, kind been slain in these same broils, and now his progeny in these our days, although shamefully degenerated from the worthiness of their ancestors, provoke to
battle their cruel conquerors, and by the goodness of our Lord obtain the victory. After this, sometimes our countrymen, sometimes the enemy, won the field, to the end that our Lord might this land try after his accustomed manner these his Israelites, whether they loved him or not, until the year of the siege of Bath-hill [ed. note: Mount Badon, mons badonicus], when took place also the last almost, though not the least slaughter of our cruel foes, which was (as I am sure) forty-four years and one month after the landing of the Saxons, and also the time of my own nativity."


Bede, the Venerable - "Ecclesiastical History" (Historia Ecclesiae, 731)
"They had at that time for their leader, Ambrosius Aurelianus, a man of worth, who alone, by chance, of the Roman nation had survived the storm, in which his parents, who were of the royal race, had perished. Under him the Britons revived, and offering battle to the victors, by the help of God, gained the victory. From that day, sometimes the natives, and sometimes their enemies, prevailed, till the year of the siege of Badon-hill, when they made no small slaughter of those enemies, about forty-four years after their arrival in England. But of this hereafter. "


Nennius - "History of the Britons" (Historia Brittonum, c. 829-30)
"Then it was, that the magnanimous Arthur, with all the kings and military force of Britain, fought against the Saxons. And though there were many more noble than himself, yet he was twelve times chosen their commander, and was as often conqueror."

 Geoffrey of Monmouth - "History of the Kings of Britain" (Historia Regum Britanniae; c. 1136)
"And even the renowned king Arthur himself was mortally wounded; and being carried thence to the isle of Avalon to be cured of his wounds, he gave up the crown of Britain to his kinsman Constantine, the son of Cador, duke of Cornwall, in the five hundred and forty-second year of our Lord's incarnation."

Gerald of Wales (Giraldus Cambrensis) - "On the Instruction of a Prince" (De principis instructione, c. 1193)
"The memory of King Arthur, that most renowned King of the Britons, will endure for ever...In our own lifetime, Arthur's body was discovered at Glastonbury, although the legends had always encouraged us to believe that there was something otherworldly about his ending, that he had resisted death and had been spirited away to some far-distant spot."

 
David Hume - "The History of England, Volume 1" (1778)
"Cerdic...laid siege to Mount Badon or Banesdowne near Bath, whither the most obstinate of the discomfited Britons had retired. The southern Britons in this extremity applied for assistance to Arthur, prince of the Silures (ed. note: located in southeastern Wales), whose heroic valour now sustained the declining fate of this country. This is that Arthur so much celebrated in the songs of Thaliessin, and the other British bards, and whose military achievements have been blended with so many fables as even to give occasion for entertaining a doubt of his real existence. But poets, though they disfigure the most certain history by their fictions, and use strange liberties with truth where they are the sole historians, as among the Britons, have commonly some foundation for their wildest exaggerations. Certain it is, that the siege of Badon was raised by the Britons in the year 520; and the Saxons were there discomfited in a great battle."



 

 

Edward Gibbon - "The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, Volume 3" (1782)
"Ambrosius Aurelian was descended from a noble family of Romans; his modesty was equal to his valor, and his valor, till the last fatal action, was crowned with splendid success. But every British name is effaced by the illustrious name of Arthur, the hereditary prince of the Silures, in South Wales, and the elective king or general of the nation. According to the most rational account, he defeated, in twelve successive battles, the Angles of the North, and the Saxons of the West; but the declining age of the hero was imbittered by popular ingratitude and domestic misfortunes. The events of his life are less interesting than the singular revolutions of his fame. During a period of five hundred years the tradition of his exploits was preserved, and rudely embellished, by the obscure bards of Wales and Armorica, who were odious to the Saxons, and unknown to the rest of mankind. The pride and curiosity of the Norman conquerors prompted them to inquire into the ancient history of Britain: they listened with fond credulity to the tale of Arthur, and eagerly applauded the merit of a prince who had triumphed over the Saxons, their common enemies. His romance, transcribed in the Latin of Jeffrey [Geoffrey] of Monmouth, and afterwards translated into the fashionable idiom of the times, was enriched with the various, though incoherent, ornaments which were familiar to the experience, the learning, or the fancy, of the twelfth century. Every nation embraced and adorned the popular romance of Arthur, and the Knights of the Round Table: their names were celebrated in Greece and Italy; and the voluminous tales of Sir Lancelot and Sir Tristram were devoutly studied by the princes and nobles, who disregarded the genuine heroes and historians of antiquity. At length the light of science and reason was rekindled; the talisman was broken; the visionary fabric melted into air; and by a natural, though unjust, reverse of the public opinion, the severity of the present age is inclined to question the existence of Arthur."

 Charles Dickens - "A Child's History of England" (1851)
"...and events that happened during a long, long time, would have been quite forgotten but for the tales and songs of the old Bards, who used to go about from feast to feast, with their white beards, recounting the deeds of their forefathers. Among the histories of which they sang and talked, there was a famous one, concerning the bravery and virtues of King Arthur, supposed to have been a British Prince in those old times. But whether such a person really lived, or whether there were several persons whose histories came to be confused together under that one name, or whether all about him was invention, no one knows."

Geoffrey Ashe - "The Quest for Arthur's Britain" (1968)
"The Arthurian Legend, however wide-ranging it's vagaries, is rooted in Arthurian Fact...The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, while it ignores the anglo-Saxon' defeats, sheds a little light by the petering-out of their victories. We get a dim impression of Hengist's Kentish kingdom being driven back into consolidation; of fresh Saxon landings along the south coast, followed by containment; and of near-cessation of advance in mainland Britain from 514 to 547. Archaeology is consistent with a major Saxon retreat early in the sixth century, after a disaster in the region between Reading and Gloucester."

Christina Hole - "English Folk Heroes" (1992)
"In spite of these scanty historical references the fame of Arthur persisted in folk-tale and legend, and has been preserved to us for fourteen hundred years, at first by tradition and bardic songs, and later by the romantic writings of the Middle Ages, which glorified his career and transformed a simple patriot leader of the sixth century into a mighty king, the type and example of all that a Christian knight of the Age of Chivalry should be."


Geoffrey Ashe - "The Discovery of King Arthur, 2nd Edition" (2003)
"Here is a spellbinding, indestructible theme, national, yet transcending nationality. For better or worse it has affected the country where it began. It has survived eclipses and demolitions, and Britain cannot be thought of without it. Yet no conceivable movement or government could entrap it in a programme. That is a comment on the limitations of movements and governments. The undying king is a strangely powerful reminder that there is Something Else. By nurturing that awareness, and a questing spirit, his fame may have its effect on human thinking. It may influence history again, outside movements and governments and not only in Britain."

Category: Literature | Added by: Ann
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