A Brief History of King Arthur, Paperback Book

A Brief History of King Arthur Paperback

Part of the Brief Histories series

3 out of 5 (1 rating)


Who was the real King Arthur? What do the historical documents tell us about the Knight of the Round Temple?

It is just a chivalric fantasy? The story of Arthur has been handed down to us by Medieval poets and legends - but what if he actually existed and was in fact a great king in the early years of Britain's story.

Mike Ashley visits the source material and uncovers unexpected new insights into the legend: there is clear evidence that the Arthurian legends arose from the exploits of not just one man, but at least three originating in Wales, Scotland and Brittany.

The true historical Arthur really existed and is distantly related to the present royal family.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: British & Irish history
  • ISBN: 9781849013024

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You'd think reading non-fiction about King Arthur would be right up my street. I've recently got really into reading non-fiction, especially history about the medieval period and Roman rule and so on, and I've always loved and adored King Arthur. But something about non-fiction about him trying to find the "real" King Arthur misses the point, for me. The point of Arthur to me is that he is a dream and an ideal, a symbol, so I have very little patience with people who want to pin him down.<br/><br/>Personal impatience aside, this book covers a lot of options and goes thoroughly into the research. If you are interested in an account of the historical sources of King Arthur, this covers a lot of the different theories -- which made it an easier read for me, since there are little of the whole "I know who the real King Arthur was"; it's more like Mike Ashley offers options which you may believe or not depending on your gut feeling about it or how it slots in with what you already know.<br/><br/>I think that anyone who claims to be sure of who the "real" Arthur was is deluded, but speculation can be interesting. I give the last word to one of the Welsh triads: 'Not wise the thought, a grave for Arthur'.