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Quest for Arthur, The

The Quest for Arthur

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King Arthur of the Britons - the Celtic hero supreme. But was he a king? Where did he come from? Wales? England? In this book Stuart McHardy re-investigates the 19th century idea that Arthur originated in Scotland. Combining interpretation of the earliest written sources with a new approach to the content of orally transmitted traditional tales he has come up with a picture of Arthur unlike any before. Stripping away the later romanticised notions of a feudal king surrounded by fair maidens and jousting knights McHardy takes us back to a 6th century Britain where battle was endemic amongst the tribes and no warrior would follow a man he did not honour. Into this ancient society a new force came that changed things forever. The Romans had long been gone but behind them they left a ticking time bomb that exploded into tribal society changing it forever. That time-bomb was the new religion of Christianity and at the front of the battle against the ancient traditional pagan religion was the war band leader we know as Arthur. Modelling himself on a hero in traditional belief he led the Christian Britons against the pagan alliance of Angles, Picts and Scots - Germanic and Celtic speakers united in arms - who together had regularly attacked the might of Rome for centuries. Much of the fighting took place around the Gap of Stirling, Scotland's battleground from prehistoric times through to the 18th century. Here where the different societies met and mingled Arthur led a crusade that not only led to a change in religion of the native peoples but laid the basis for the development of the later kingdoms of north Britain, and eventually Scotland itself. There was no invasion for Arthur to fight, the Angles and Saxons came slowly, over centuries, but he was leading a crusade - for the new religion against the old. As the language of the Britons drew back into Wales, most of the great tales of the hero went with them, leaving a few handfuls of scattered traditions and placenames around Scotland. Now in the light of recent scholarship, and with new insights into the old pagan religion, McHardy has gathered these scraps together and combined them with the Welsh memories of the Men of the North to paint a picture of Arthur closer to reality than has been possible before now.
Title The Quest for Arthur
Author Stuart McHardy
ISBN 9781842820124
eISBN 9781910000000
Binding Hardback
Author Bio STUART McHARDY might be described as a lad o pairts - writer, musician, storyteller, folklorist, historian, linguist, poet, past president of the Pictish Arts Society, historical adviser to Edinburgh City Art Centre's Quest for Camelot exhibition in 2001/2 - and is known to lecture on many aspects of Scottish history and culture at the drop of a hat, or the pop of a cork. To date, McHardy has had five of his own books published, Scotland: Myth, Legend and Folklore, Strange Secrets of Ancient Scotland, Tales of Whisky and Smuggling, The Wild Haggis an The Greetin-faced Nyaff and Edinburgh and Leith Pub Guide. He introduced and edited the bestselling Scots Poems to be Read Aloud and for 5 years in the 1990s was Director of the Scots Language Resource Centre in Perth. He now lives in Edinburgh with the lovely (and ever-tolerant) Sandra and their talented son Roderick.
Back Cover Text King Arthur of Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table are enduring romantic figures. A national hero for the Bretons, the Welsh and the English alike Arthur is a potent figure for many. This quest leads to a radical new knowledge of the ancient myth. Historian, storyteller and folklorist Stuart McHardy believes he has uncovered the origins of this inspirational figure, the true Arthur. He incorporates knowledge of folklore and placename studies with an archaeological understanding of the 6th century. Combining knowledge of the earliest records and histories of Arthur with an awareness of the importance of oral traditions, this quest leads to the discovery that the enigmatic origins of Arthur lie not in Brittany or England or Wales. Instead they lie in that magic land the ancient Welsh called Y Gogledd, the North; the North of Britain which we now call - Scotland.
Reviews (Stuart McHardy's ) findings are set to shake established Arthurian thinking, which points to the West Country or possibly Wales as his likely resting place. - (The Scotsman, Wed 31st October 2001)
BIC Subject British & Irish history
BISAC Subject HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain
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