Writing Conquest examines the ways in which Latin, Old English, and Middle English twelfth-century historical and pseudo-historical texts remembered and reconstructed three formative moments of Anglo-Saxon invasion and resistance…
In literary criticism, awareness of transmission of tales between British and continental literature tends to encourage a view of some Arthurian narratives as more similar in tone, style, and language than they in fact are.
In the Roman de Fergus, a thirteenth-century verse romance in Old French, Guillaume le Clerc considers the consequences of Arthur’s assimilationist expansionism with a more focused attention to cultural difference and personal identity, again centered on the experience of a knight from Galloway, the eponymous
The death of any ruler in the twelfth century, even if it were expected, caused a considerable amount of shock and disquiet amongst those who were left behind.
Even if we cannot accept the claim made by Geoffrey in his introduction that his putative source was ‘attractively composed to form a consecutive andorderly narrative’, he certainly made extensive use ofWelsh genealogies andking-lists.
It is clear to most modern historians who have studied Geoffrey’s Historia that its contents bear little to no resemblance to real events. Even in Geoffrey’s own lifetime many historians condemned the work.
The heroic tales of the legendary King Arthur have survived throughout many centuries. Modern society has learned of this celebrated figure through oral and literary tradition, such as the works of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s pseudo-history Historia Regum Britanniae, Sir Thomas Malory’s romantic epic Le Morte d’Arthur and medieval Arthurian poetry.
Both heroes exist to save their people from doom. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, who authored Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain) in 1136, Arthur ‘led his troops against the Saxons, who were still making trouble in various parts of the country, and after various vicissitudes he defeated them on a hill outside Bath, wielding a wonderful sword called Caliburn’1 (Ashe, ‘Quest’).