Arthur, King of Britons: From Celtic hero to cinema icon by Daniel Mersey

By Daniel Mersey

King Arthur, essentially the most well known of British kings and one whose identify is synonymous with braveness, chivalry and romanticism. Arthur, King of the Britons, Arthur the medieval legend, Arthur the Celtic warlord, Arthur of the Pre-Raphaelites and Arthur of the movies...would the genuine King Arthur please get up? Daniel Mersey explores the numerous faces, myths and theories surrounding this recognized king.

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Despite this, the Pelagians must have been viewed with some concern for Germanus to be despatched. It is possible that the Pelagians were influential in Britain’s initial break away from the Empire, perhaps indicating that they were a British nationalist group, although this may be overplaying the movements’ real motive, which really might have been as simple as being a different way of worshipping. We simply no longer know. Most importantly, Germanus’ arrival indicates that there were still links between Britain and the continent, and that continental Roman church officials maintained an active interest in Britain after it became independent.

Fifth century Britons were accused by a continental commentator of ‘flaunting their wealth in dazzling robes’, so at least some Britons may have been particularly well suited and booted. Some town dwelling Britons may have more closely followed the latest Roman styles, and the level of contact between the later British nobility and the continent may mean that they continued this trend. Lower class clothing was generally made of wool, whereas upper class clothing made more use of silk. Chequered, striped and spotted patterns were popular, as were a variety of colours, although purple and red may have been reserved for the nobility and royalty.

In all probability, life continued for most people more or less as it had before, with violence and destruction only occurring during periods when ravaging armies passed close by. Urban life certainly continued in cities as such St Albans, Silchester, London and Caerwent, amongst others, where evidence of ongoing occupation has been discovered. Wroxeter, in modern day Shropshire, even went through a phase of rebuilding, although admittedly the new timber buildings of the post-Roman period would not have looked so glorious as the masonry of Roman construction.

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