Arthur And The Kings of Britain
'Arthur himself, having put on a coat of mail suitable to the grandeur of so powerful a king, placed a golden helmet on his head, on which was engraved the figure of a dragon; and on his shoulders his shield called Priwen ...Then girding on his Caliburn, which was an excellent sword made in the Isle of Avalon, he graced his right hand with his lance'. The Historia Regum Britanniae, or History of the Kings of Britain, was written in around 1136 by Geoffrey of Monmouth and purports to tell the story of the kings of Britain from the settlement of the island by the Trojan Brutus, grandson of Aeneas, through to the seventh century when the Anglo-Saxons had taken control of much of Britain. History of the Kings of Britain was highly popular during the Middle Ages and copies spread across the whole of western Europe, with over 200 manuscripts surviving from the period.
It went on to influence texts into the sixteenth century and was one of the first to weave together the legend of King Arthur as well as the stories of King Lear and Cymbeline, both later immortalised by Shakespeare. Although it purports to be history, History of the Kings of Britain has long been recognised as thoroughly unreliable and considered to be a literary work of national myth instead. In this book, Dr Miles Russell takes another look at Geoffrey of Monmouth's work and argues that there is verifiable archaeological and historical information to be found there, possibly deriving from a lost British source also used by other Dark Age texts.