A prominent scholar explores King Arthur's historical development, proposing that he began as a fictional character developed in the ninth century
According to legend, King Arthur saved Britain from the Saxons and reigned over it gloriously sometime around A.D. 500. Whether or not there was a "real" King Arthur has all too often been neglected by scholars; most period specialists today declare themselves agnostic on this important matter. In this erudite volume, Nick Higham sets out to solve the puzzle, drawing on his original research and expertise to determine precisely when, and why, the legend began.
Higham surveys all the major attempts to prove the origins of Arthur, weighing up and debunking hitherto claimed connections with classical Greece, Roman Dalmatia, Sarmatia, and the Caucasus. He then explores Arthur's emergence in Wales-up to his rise to fame at the hands of Geoffrey of Monmouth. Certain to arouse heated debate among those committed to defending any particular Arthur, Higham's book is an essential study for anyone seeking to understand how Arthur's story began.
N. J. Higham is professor emeritus in history at the University of Manchester. His many works include Ecgfrith: King of the Northumbrians, High-King of Britain; King Arthur: Myth-making and History; and The Anglo-Saxon World. He lives in Cheshire, UK.