The Discovery of King Arthur Author:Geoffrey Ashe, in Association with Debrett's Peerage Attempts to find the truth about the man (if any) behind the legend of King Arthur have been going on for some years. The search has disclosed interesting facts, and it has also led to sharp disagreements. By the early 1980's, among professional scholars, it seemed to have reached a dead end. I believe I have been lucky enough to find a way t... more »hrough, and press on to a fruitful outcome. It not only gives Arthur a firmer status in history, it makes him more interesting---more like his legend---than appeared probable a few years ago.. It reveals why he became the kind of figure he did, what shaped the image which had so strange a rebirth in a President. It also reveals how he embodied a more general hope, familiar in the world where he reigned, and not wholly unfamiliar today.
The long delay in running Arthur to earth has been due to the nature of the problem he poses. Medieval authors who gave him his literary grandeur fitted him, loosely, into what they claimed was the history of Britain some centuries earlier. Not much of this history as they tell it stands up in the light of present knowledge. It is mostly legend, as Arthur himself is. So the few historians who have looked for him swept the medieval accounts aside, and searched in other and older records. But that search can take us only so far. A convincing answer calls for a different approach. Arthur's legend itself must be brought back into the investigation and taken seriously. It must be sifted for clues. The right questions to ask are not the direct ones. Who was Arthur? 0r Did he exist? but Where did the legend come from? and What facts is it rooted in? If we line up the legend side by side with history, as we know it today, the problem can be solved. It also solves itself.« less