EBK Activity Sheets


Written Evidence that Arthur was Real.

  • Historians argue a lot about whether Arthur really existed.
  • Most historians think that Arthur did exist because he is referred to in books written not long after his death. This is supposed to have been in the early 6th century.
  • About AD 600, a famous bard (a poet who sung to his audience), named Aneirin, wrote a poem called ‘Y Gododdin’ (an area of Scotland called Lothian today). It was about a big battle in Yorkshire between the Romano-British and the Saxons. In it, he says that one of the British warriors was a great hero but he was not as good as Arthur.
  • In the late 8th century, Welsh monks (possibly at St. Davids) started keeping a calendar of what happened in each year. From books they had which no longer exist, they also filled in details of earlier years. The calendar is called the ‘Welsh Annals’.
  • In their calendar, the monks said that Arthur won the Battle of Mount Badon in AD 516 and he died fighting with or against a man named Medrod in AD 537. However, they may have made a mistake with the exact dates.
  • About AD 829, a monk named Nennius wrote a book called ‘The History of the Britons’. He wrote down what he had read in older books. He gives details of 12 battles which Arthur fought against the Saxons. One of these was the Battle of Mount Badon. He also mentions the grave of Arthur’s son which was a famous tourist attraction!
  • However, only a single book called ‘The Ruin & Conquest of Britain’ survives from the time when Arthur was alive. It was written by a monk named Gildas.
  • Unfortunately, he does not mention Arthur. He does mention the Battle of Mount Badon. He also mentions several British ‘tyrants’ (a king who ruled a small region).
  • One of the ‘tyrants’ was named Cuneglasus. He also used the nickname, the “Charioteer of Din Arth”. Din Arth is a Welsh phrase which some people say, in English, means the “Fort of Arthur”.

Click to find out: Who was Arthur?

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