Saturday, 9 December 2017

Bernard Cornwell answers question about King Arthur.


Dear Mr Cornwell;

2017 has been the year of Bernard Cornwell and I've thoroughly enjoyed reading all your Last Kingdom series, watching the Sharpe series on DVD, and I'm presently reading Excalibur.

My question is - Are you aware of the historical research of both Alan Wilson and Baram Blackett? Their research based on the Welsh historical records reveal King Arthur II was a real historical figure, son of King Meurig, son of King Tewdrig. I believe you made the same mistake as Geoffrey of Monmouth by grouping the two King Arthur's into one.

Would you please take only 10 minutes to check out a blog I've written on the subject.

Many thanks, and I look forward to reading as many of your books in 2018 as I've read in 2017.

Yours sincerely,
Matt Taylor
Oh dear. I’m really not sure where to begin!  And if I did make the same mistake as Geoffrey of Monmouth then I’m in excellent company. So, you believe there were two King Arthurs, whereas I believe there was no King Arthur, though there probably was a ‘dux bellorum’ called Arthur or Artur in post Roman Britain. But the truth is, we don’t know. I’m tired of messages claiming that Owain Ddantgwyn or someone else is ‘proved’ to be King Arthur. There is no proof. There is supposition, and until some major archaeological discovery or the appearance of some previously unknown document appears, it will remain supposition. What is true is that the Matter of Britain, that coalesced around the Arthurian stories, is a magnificent, romantic and endlessly inspiring sequence of tales that do not speak to real history, even if they derive from some forgotten historical character, but appeal to some basic human yearning. My own take on them is that they are tales of a lost Golden Age, and that has universal appeal, and to then try and tie down these magical, brilliant, malleable stories to some obscure chieftain or king or warlord, about whom we know next to nothing, is to drain them of meaning. So, although we must disagree, I shall persevere with my mistake!

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