Nursery Rhymes

The Real King Arthur

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

The Real King Arthur - Who was King Arthur?
A name that is always associated with the Kings of the Middle Ages is the legendary King Arthur. But if we look at the Timeline of Middle Ages Kings the name of King Arthur does not appear. So where does King Arthur fit in? Who was King Arthur? We also associate King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, with the Code of Chivalry and courtly love.

If King Arthur was not a king in the Middle Ages did King Arthur rule England during the Dark Ages ( 410 AD - 1066 AD )? The name of King Arthur does not appear in records detailing the Dark Ages Kings of England either. So who was the real King Arthur?

King Arthur
The Legend of King Arthur

The Real King Arthur - The One, True King of the Britons
Who was the real King Arthur? The story of the mythical King Arthur of legend could have been based on a number of different figures from the English period of the Dark Ages ( 410 AD - 1066 AD ). The candidates who might have been the real King Arthur are detailed as follows:

Was the Real King Arthur called Magnus Maximus?
Magnus Maximus, Prince Macsen, the Macsen Wledig of Welsh legend who was one of the greatest figures in Britain towards the end of the Roman Empire. General Magnus Clemens Maximus was a Celt. He was the uncle by marriage of the Welsh King, Coel Godhebog,  who is believed to be the Old King Cole of the Nursery Rhyme. Coel Godhebog's daughter married Emperor Constantius Chlorus. The capital of the Roman Empire transferred from Rome to Constantinople in 330AD. The great city of Constantine figures in the legends of the Welsh Royal family. The base of Magnus Maximus, the Macsen Wledig of Welsh legend was Carmarthen or Caernarvon. The legend of Magnus Maximus was used by King Edward I when he designed Caernarvon Castle

Was the Real King Arthur called Ambrosius Aurelianus?
Another candidate for the basis of the real King Arthur may have been a supreme Roman Commander of Britain (the Dux Bellorum) in the late fifth century. This great military leader was called Ambrosius Aurelianus who was the second son of the Emperor Constantine. This Roman name could have been changed over the course of time to Artorius and then Arthur. Was this Roman commander the real King Arthur?

Was the Real King Arthur called Arthnou?
Arthnou was a prince of Tintagel, who ruled Cornwall in the 6th Century. A piece of slate which is called the "Arthur stone" was discovered in excavations at a 6th-Century fortress in Tintagel. The slate states, in Latin, that "Artognou, father of a descendant of Coll, has had this built". The name Artognou could be a derivative of the name of Arthur.

Was the Real King Arthur called Lucius Artorius Castus, a Sarmatian?
Lucius Artorius Castus was a Sarmatian calvalry officer. The 2004 film 'King Arthur" was based on this theory.  A troop of Sarmatian cavalry officers were based in Lancashire, England in 428AD. The Sarmations were skilled fighters and horsemen - they were the equivalent of the knights of the Middle Ages. It is interesting to note that some of the Sarmatian traditions hold remarkable similarities to some of the stories about King Arthur. They revered their Swords ( the sword in the stone legend). The Sarmations carried standards in the form of dragons (used by Arthur and his father Uther Pendragon)

The Real King Arthur
No one knows the identity of the real King Arthur. Perhaps his legend and the myths surrounding his life were based on a combination of elements from the lives of these great men from a bygone era.

The Real King Arthur
Some interesting facts and information about the real King Arthur. Additional details, facts, history and information about famous Medieval Kings of the Middle Ages and important events during their times can be accessed via the Middle Ages Sitemap and the section detailing the life and times of the Kings of the Middle Ages.

Kings in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages Index

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