The King Arthur delusion: a case of medieval fake news?

The warrior-king wasn't a historical figure but the product of a Welsh author's desire for Britons to regain lands they deemed rightfully theirs, writes Nick Higham

Our illustration shows King Arthur leading his troops into battle. The legendary warlord's victories over Saxon invaders first appear in a 'history' written in the ninth-century north Wales. (Illustration by Georgie Gozem for BBC History Magazine)

This article was first published in the December 2018 edition of BBC History Magazine

The warrior-king wasn’t a historical figure but the product of a Welsh author’s desire for Britons to regain lands they deemed rightfully theirs

As legends go, it’s got the lot. There’s blood and glory, thanks to our hero, Arthur’s, against-the-odds victories over the Anglo-Saxons on the battlefield. There’s love and betrayal (Arthur’s wife, Guinevere, leaves him for his greatest friend). There’s glamour and chivalry, courtesy of some of the most celebrated knights in literary history. And, of course, there are dragons, wizards and a supernatural sword, all topped off by a quest for an elusive grail with miraculous powers.

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