Despite popular imagery, King Arthur had absolutely nothing of what we consider medieval England. He was supposed to be a key figure in driving back the Saxon invasions of the fifth-plus centuries, which I should like to point out is right smack in the middle of the time period commonly considered the fall of the Roman Empire.
That's right, King Arthur is practically Roman era, forget about all that Knightly Chivalry nonsense.
Oh, this reddit post about the hypothetical armor King Arthur might've worn looks like it might be fun; I haven't read it yet but here's the link anyway. https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/3rzrt5/what_armour_would_king_arthur_have_worn/ #history
@InspectorCaracal assuming a contemporary of Charlemagne; maille, but lots of it given social class. There’s a description of Charlemagne which lists out that he actually has a shirt, helmet, greaves, and a round shield (splint protection for arms or legs isn’t unlikely).
@Leucrotta Charlemagne was significantly later
@InspectorCaracal my impression is that most of the popular stories that were recorded about him originated from the 10th-15th centuries. e.g. i have a copy of the mabinogion that dates the welsh version of the lady of the well to sometime between 1382 and 1410
@InspectorCaracal (and as such have the flavor of the era they were told to the scribes)
@chr I would say little of the earliest influential works about King Arthur that we still have were "told to scribes"; Geoffrey of Monmouth, for example, was basically considered to have fabricated his entire "History", despite its lasting influence on both historical writing and the Arthurian legend.
@InspectorCaracal well, the ones that were oral traditions, anyway
@chr this is absolutely correct and where the imagery comes from
Most of the main works of the Arthurian mythos were written in the late medieval/early renaissance period and were heavily idealizing earlier eras based on their contemporary context, or making sociopolitical commentary about their contemporary society. Later works written when the printed word was more accessible often heavily referenced these works and carried that medieval influence and spread it into the public consciousness.
@InspectorCaracal what i think i was trying to say is i don't think most people think of him as a real person (i certainly thought he was entirely fictional) so it may be more surprising to learn he existed at all than to learn he was a contemporary of the roman empire
@chr Well, yeah. I mean. He likely didn't exist, but the Arthurian legend is *actually set* back then. >.> His whole thing was that he drove the Saxons out of England and united the English under him.
@chr So you wind up with this imagery of events that are set in like the 6th century wearing like 12th century armor
Personally, I'd love to see more treatments of the late-medieval lore done in the style of when the Arthurian legends are actually set, but I recognize the difficulties stemming from no one really knowing what that style is... <.< It would be a lot of making up stuff and guesswork based on other regions of the former Roman Empire at similar times and what little evidence from the era people have managed to find.
I mean, I am not a historian or anything but like... Clovis I, y'all, look. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clovis_I Fifth century, leader uniting the country after the fall of Rome, first King of France, spread Christianity...
Imagine looking at your own not-nearly-so-impressive cultural lineage and being like, "you know what WE need? We need a lineage of Heroic Kings. We need a First King that united us, Just Like Them"
oh and your name is Geoffrey and you go and write a History of the Kings of Britain
@InspectorCaracal theres a really awful movie where set in roman times where arthur fights saxons (and picts) but it is genuinely awful
@Daylight I will take your word for it and not look it up. xD
@InspectorCaracal Additionally, since "England" was/is the name of the Anglo-Saxon occupied part of Britain, it couldn't have existed for him to have been part of. If anything, he'd have been anti-english.
Of course, all this assumes that he even existed, of which there is scant evidence. There is, in fact, more real world evidence of Merlin than there is of Arthur Pendragon, which again is minimal to the point of conjecture.
@shivvi Nah I wasn't assuming any of it was real. XD Just talking about the time period the legends are set and the rampant anachronisms in the common conceptions of said legends.
But yeah, considering how Incredibly German the royal ancestry has always been, the cultural politics involved in the whole thing are pretty hilarious.
@InspectorCaracal That's a shame, because post-Roman Britain was actually a fascinating period of history.
@stevefoerster It really is. :D
@InspectorCaracal have you seen the film whose premise is that Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table were basically deserters from the Roman legions? Gold.
@strypey ooooh, no, that sounds interesting
@xrevan86 oh, no, the historical references in that movie were rigorously researched to the greatest of possible accuracy
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