Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Review: A Brief History of King Arthur by Mike Ashley

This is called A Brief History because it's basically half of the larger volume "The Mammoth Book of King Arthur" by the same author. It essentially analyzes the historical basis for King Arthur whereas "Mammoth" also explores possible identities of other major characters from the Arthurian legend as well. It is only "brief" in comparison to "Mammoth" because trust me, there is nothing truly brief about this. It is a very detailed, very in depth look at the time period in which Arthur must have existed (if he did) and all the possible individuals who may have been the inspiration for Arthur, which may have been one or a combination of historical leaders.

It essentially defines Arthur as the victor of the Battle of Badon and then goes about narrowing down the likely date for Badon and analyzing which historical figures lived during this time period and might have contributed to the legend of Arthur.

It's very interesting and worth reading but the nature of the subject matter makes it not very easy to follow if you're not already familiar with the historical sources, events, and figures from this time period. Don’t take this on lightly but do take it on if you're interested in the historical basis for the legend of King Arthur.

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