There is no doubt that the Arthur stories have captured the imagination of a nation and beyond for hundreds of years.
Was Arthur real?
This is a difficult question to answer. On the face of it, I would probably say no...and I hate saying that....more than you could possibly imagine. There is no account of a King called Arthur in any of the ancient stories of Britain written between the years AD 400 to AD 820. Arthur was supposed to have lived in AD 500. Surely there would have been something written about such a courageous hero? Yes, Bede mentioned a general called Arthur who led the Briton's to victory against the Saxons again and again, but Bede wrote that in AD 731; yet, nothing was written when Arthur lived or the years after his death. Do you not find that strange? I do.
However, that does not mean that he did not exist...I cling to that hope anyway.
There is no way we could prove that he did not exist, just like there is no way to prove that he did.
But what do we know?
The Romans withdrew from Britain in AD 410 and they left the British to fend for themselves. The unity of the country divided and split into smaller kingdoms. And these kingdoms were ruled by very strong and brave characters who were willing to fight to the death to protect what was now theirs. It was certainly the right time for heroes and tyrants.
Maybe there was more than one Arthur. Gildas talks of Ambrosius Aurelianus, the son of a Roman, Bede has Arthur, the greatest general ever. Could it be that with the passage of time, these people and their accomplishments somehow became squashed and moulded into one person? Who knows? That's what I love about Arthur, the possibilities are endless.
See you soon