back to article King Arthur was English 'propaganda', French claim

French historians are risking a visit by gunboats bearing the white ensign after declaring King Arthur an English legend promoted for "political reasons". That's according to the organisers of "King Arthur: A Legend in the Making" - a forthcoming conference and exhibition at Rennes university which will "provide ample evidence …


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  1. Neil


    There's about as much evidence for King Arthur as there is for that Jesus fellow. And both claimed they'd be back one day. Let's see who gets here first; my money's on the Brit!

    Incidentally, Bernard Cornwell wrote a pretty decent version of the King Arthur story. It's called The Winter King.


  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does it really matter?

    Who cares if its historically accurate or not, it might be, might not be. I like the story as its a good one, it works well alongside Disney and other family movies. So it makes for a nice feel good story. So the reality is irrelevant.

  3. Peter Bradley


    Ummm. English king? Fighting the Saxons?

    Her general thesis is possibly correct, but I think she is confusing Britain and England. Is she American? The French don't usually confuse "les anglais" and "les brittaniques" in my experience.

    Greetings from sunny Wales.

    And a flame for all those second homes ...


  4. michael

    of corse it is

    all miths are made for a reasion most miths have verry little truth in them most miths "change" as time gose on (most history as well) and for a lot of the past 2000 years we have been at war with france so they are a logicle target

  5. Clive Galway

    Why not just say "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries"?


  6. Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to History 101

    The same can be said of just about ANY historical figure. Including, I'm sure, any number of French ones.

    Le duh.

  7. Richard Conyard

    Arthur English?

    I'm glad that the study was so correct as to put Arthur in the Saxon / English camp!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    "Arthur was an English King who united all of the Britons - in the British Isles and in Brittany - against the Saxons."

    Saxons = English, some historian. Paris, because there's no Britney icon (Brittany - geddit?)

    Coat please.

  9. jimbarter

    This is a title

    he wasn't a mith, he was a mithter...

    /coat, for obvious reasons.

  10. Darren B

    Why are spokespeople nearly always aptly named

    So in this corner of France we have Ms Toulouse, the other day on the TV there was a feature about allotments and they spoke to a Mr Onions.

  11. J F W Richards

    Arthur Not English at all

    As we can see from the article Arthur, if he was anyone, was British but by no means English. The English were the Angles and Saxons he was trying to hold off.



  12. Caff



    Is your spelling a throwback to the time of the knights of the round table?

  13. Paul


    Hate to be a pedant, but The Winter King was about King Alfred, not Arther, who did exisit. Still a dam good book though (alont with the rest of the Uthred & Arther books).

  14. Peter W


    are you drunk?

  15. TeeCee Gold badge

    Arthur as mythical propaganda.

    I can understand the French thinking this. I mean, an alleged English warrior King who *didn't* take a small and heavily outnumbered army to France and kick the crap out of them?

    Obviously a myth.

  16. Mike Fortey


    "for a lot of the past 2000 years"

    About 150 of them, at most... unless I'm forgetting something.

  17. josiefatboy
    Thumb Up

    the authorian legend was created by a Frenchie anyways

    For those interested in it, a certain Geoffrey of Monmouth is widely credited with promulgating the Authurion legend. his reason was to promote the Norman conquest as the final victory of the Britons against the hated Saxon invader. In that way the Normans sought to protect and cement their conquest by portraying it as the final chapter in a age long fight twixt the Saxon invader and the native Briton. Indeed a lot of William the Conquerors soldiers came from Brittany an area populated by the Britons following the Saxon takeover of England in the 700s.

  18. Michael O'Malley

    Irish King Arthur?

    Ironically, the film Excalibur was made in Ireland.

    Odd that Arthur is seen as an English hero. If Arthur existed, he was a Briton, and would have talked a Celtic language like Irish or Welsh, and would have shared their culture. He would have fought the Angle and Saxon ancestors of the English, and he would view most English as descendants of invaders who had stolen the land of his people

    So all you Anglo-Saxons, if Arthur ever returns, better book your tickets back home to where you came from. The Irish and Welsh will be taking over. Please switch off the power, and leave your keys in the latch.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    She should be more concerned about...

    Robin of Locksley, a good and proper God-appointed Anglo-Saxon rightful nobleman who stood up against those bloody barbarian frogs like Guy of Gisbourne who had invaded and stolen their land.

    Robin Hood is the *real* propaganda.

  20. Test Man

    Re: of corse it is

    God the spelling in your message is so terrible, I find it really difficult to tell what you're trying to say.

  21. Eman Tsal

    English culture?

    Arthur fought to keep you lot out - fat lot of good it did!

    This French person is probably just upset at the Outrageous Accents of the Frenchies in Monty Python's Holy Grail.

  22. Simon Elliott
    Black Helicopters

    He was a British, not English

    Calling Arthur an English king is like saying Cornwall is part of England.

    Onen Hag Oll

  23. Francis Davey
    Thumb Down

    very odd

    Yes, it does seem rather odd to suggest that the English made up a folk hero whose most important exploit was to beat them up and prevent them from dominating England for a century.

  24. Roger Garner

    Go watch Stargate...

    ... Arthur and Morgan Le Fay feature in the final series of SG1. Therefore they must be real.

    Silly French... dont they watch TV? ;-)

    Mines the one with the shoulder harness with P90 strapped to the front.

  25. Marc Savage

    Oi, Hands off our legends

    Looks like Arthur, KING OF THE BRITAINS will have to return from Avalon in this our greatest time of need.

    mumble grumble....bloody foreigners... grumble.

  26. System 10 from Navarone
    Paris Hilton


    Maybe we should point out that their "Joan and her big French Arc" stories aren't very believable either. The bloody cheek.

    Paris because there's no Helen Mirren image.

  27. Steve

    Staking a claim?

    "However, Toulouse mercifully stopped short of staking a French claim to Arthur, admitting: "It would be out of the question for us to say that.""

    It would be out of the question because anyone born in Brittany would be Brittish! We just need to kick out those treasonous French republicans who are occupying the land and get it back under the rule of the legitimate monarch.

    Once more unto the breach...

    I think they're just pissed because all of their kings were limp-wristed fops.

  28. anarchic-teapot

    @Peter Bradley

    "The French don't usually confuse "les anglais" and "les brittaniques" in my experience."

    Horseapples. Oh, and one T and two N in "britanniques".

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Michael - congratulations!

    I crown you King of Dyslexia.

  30. Tim

    Another famous Myth

    What it rerally comes down to is belief. Do you believe King Arthur existed? I can think of another myth that is even older that Billions believe in of which there is no real proof, only a single book.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Wasn't real either, so ner.

  32. Roger Stenning

    It's 'cause they're jealous!

    Let's face it, the Frogs have no decent legends of their own, so they're reduced to snide sniping from afar (evil grin)

    You get a frog to challenge the mythology of this reasonably fair country of ours in a decent traditional English Pub, and the frog'll wind up being used for Longbow target practice that very day, Sunday or not (VERY evil grin)!

  33. Anonymous Coward

    @ michael

    Learn how to spell, it's 'myths' not 'miths' and 'logical' not 'logicle'!

  34. M7S

    The French may or may not be correct, but why bring this up now?

    Various theories abound, including that he was a Roman official (but of "local" ancestry) trying to preserve the remains of civilisation when the rest of that Empire contracted. I am surprised however that the French are digging this up now. Perhaps the Horn of Roland hasn't been blowing much recently either or they just think the Entente Cordiale is something you mix with the Cointreau.

  35. Lloyd

    Erm, Translation required

    Could someone please tell me what exactly that michael chap (4th post) is trying to say? One can only assume that someone's let management near the internet and they're running rampant with "reasions" for "miths", although that may be illogicle (sic).

    As alien as a spell checker.

  36. Dean

    Bloody tealeafs

    They steal our words, our football chants and now our myths!

    100 years, not enough.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    That was brilliant, do it again. Also, you appear to have correctly spelled "years"; please try harder. B+

  38. Norbury

    Next you'll be telling me...

    That there's no solid archaeological evidence of the Green Knight.

    Mine's the one on the side of that horse.

  39. Peter Labrow

    Leave King Arthur alone!!!

    So what, Napoleon was a midget and and Joan of Arc was gay. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries. Take that, Frenchies.

  40. Alan

    French Taunter

    You don't frighten us, English pig-dog! Go and boil your bottoms, son of a silly person. I blow my nose on you, so-called Arthur-king, you and your silly English K...kaniggets

  41. Les Matthew
    Thumb Up


    The spelling is a bit hit and mith.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wave my private parts at your aunties.

    Given that almost all references to King Arthur are from novels (including Chrétien de Troyes, who added much of the legend) rather than histories I don't anyone can track down a real Arthur. He gets dragged out as a fantasical character to add weight to someones story in the same way as Robin Hood. A far better national hero, in my opinion, would be Hereward the Wake, he after all fought the French.

  43. Philip Bune

    French what more needs to be said

    Those darn Frencies are at it again, Just because they are cultural inept bunch they feel teh need to try & lambaste this fine country's heritage.

    Invade France again we could do with a few flags to put our red cross of St George onto. they have loads of those white flags they are always waving.

  44. pastamasta


    "Hate to be a pedant, but The Winter King was about King Alfred, not Arther, who did exisit. Still a dam good book though (alont with the rest of the Uthred & Arther books)."

    Irony, anyone?

  45. Anonymous Coward

    He was a Briton...

    ie a Cymric/Cornish chief, they never said he was English. What they said was he keeps getting ressurected by the English for political purposes, which is ironic since he isn't English etc etc. Common misperception, that. Like Boudica - I read a thread about Mel Gibson's upcoming Boudica movie, and someone said "Finally a pro-English movie from Gibson"... erm.. except Boudica, like Arthur, was a Briton, 500 years before the Saxons came in, 1000 years before there was notion of an "English". Heck, if the Saxons had came in Boudica's time she would have fought them too.

  46. Gerard Krupa
    IT Angle

    King Arthur's legend is just as credible... Jeanne D'Arc being commanded by God.

  47. Steven Jones


    What's worse than being a pedant, is being an incrorrect one. Bernard Cornwell's book is a novel about King Arthur. Of course King Arthur was a mythical figure - just as to whether there is a real character it is based on, who knows, If he did exist, he would have probably been Romano-British and dated from the days when there was no such country as England (or Scotland, or Wales for that matter - or at least as currently constituted). The irony here is that it was the work of French romantics in the 12th century that laid the basis of many of the current myths and not a few Hollywood films. Tinsel town knows a good yarn when it comes across it, and has never been known to allow inconvenient historical facts, or a lack of them, to get in the way.

  48. Mark

    Re: It's 'cause they're jealous!

    No, they do have their own heroes. Like Joan of Arc. Who they burned at the stake as a witch. Uh... Ok, forget that one...

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The French may or may not be correct, but why bring this up now?

    The French are about to take over EU presidency (for 6 months only, or so they claim) - the Irish have just voted no => "I fart in your general direction".

  50. Dangermouse

    @all slating Michael's "speelong"...

    I do believe the chap has mentioned in a previous post that he is, in fact, dyslexic. I feel compelled to highlight this because, I too, was guilty of bringing the poor man down a peg or two over his ability to murder the English language before I found out.

    Unlike the septics, of course. They murder the English language at will. Rather like Iraq, in fact.

  51. Anonymous John

    I for one,

    welcome our Once and Future Overlord.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The ruddy gall of those French ...

    If that's not a call to arms, then what is? Damned contemptible froggies.

    "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more .......... Follow your spirit, and upon this charge; Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'"

  53. Steve Renouf
    IT Angle

    English? Saxons were Germanic

    @ "English?

    By Anonymous Coward"

    "Saxons = English, some historian"

    Errr... No. At that time they weren't yet English - Saxons = German. They subsequently were assimilated into what became the "English". (a mixture of Angle, Briton, Saxon, Nordic, etc..

    "In 409 a major Saxon invasion took place in Britain without the Roman army to repel them."

    IT? Well, because they didn't have IT in them thar days of yore....

  54. Joseph Gregory

    Tour de France

    Perhaps it is time for another tour of France.

    Crecy, Agincourt, Normandy, and Rennes.

    Simply rolls off the tongue.

  55. Andy G

    @ Clive Galway

    I know... what if ... we built this big wooden badger . . .

  56. Tim99 Silver badge


    Yes, but their propaganda may not have been that good. William (The Conqueror) was a Norman, and they were the same group as the Vikings, so perhaps they, as Aryan race, would have more in common with the Angles and Saxons?

    Mines the one with the thumbed copy of Godwin's Law in the pocket...

  57. Pondlife

    Who cares what she thinks?

    She's French.

  58. /etc
    Thumb Down

    Up to a point

    "The event's curator, Sarah Toulouse, explained [claimed]: 'King Arthur is a mythical character who was invented at a certain point in history for essentially political reasons. ...' "

    I'm inclined to think that Henry II arranged to have the remains of Arthur's burial that were "found" at Glastonbury in the 12th century found; and if he did then it seems likely that his reasons were "political".

    Google "henry ii arthur glastonbury" for more on this event.

    I guess that this is important for the invention of the modern Arthur. So, broadly speaking, I suppose she's accurate.

    However, "a sop to English nationalists" seems to be stretching things a little: should we call Henry II an "Englishman" or would "a Norman King with lands in what are now various different countries" be a more accurate designation?

  59. Gildas

    Bernard Cornwell, pah!

    Given that all that is really known is that there could well have been a successful war leader called something a bit like Arthur, but that it seems he might have made a few political enemies and not made it into the history books, you might as well just enjoy the stories.

    The Bernard Cornwell trilogy about Arthur isn't bad, but I'd recommend Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliffe - it's a cracking read, only bringing in snippets of the very earliest stories about Arthur. Worth reading if you can find a copy.

  60. Anonymous Coward

    Ahhh, bless those Celts

    You can always rely on them to have a balanced point of view about anything. It comes from having chips on both shoulders.

    Now for a list of glorious liberating heroes of France:

    Churchill, Patton, Monty, etc, etc.

    I'll get my's the one made of chain mail and hanging next to my longbow.

  61. Tom Turck

    Why so popular in France then?

    Perhaps Ms Toulouse could explain why King Aurthur and his all-star Celtic warrior band is so popular in medieval France...extremely popular among the troubadours and ruling elite of medieval France...I mean if it is just English propaganda..... Many suggest that the French medieval troubadours are the main reason the stories survive today....

  62. Gordon Pryra


    Asterix WAS real.

    He had potions and a fat mate

    The French couldnt make that level of complexity up!

  63. David Woods

    Native Britons

    Although the British isles saw great cultural changes during the Celtic, Roman, Saxon and Norman invasions, genetic studies show less dramatic shifts in population than some may imagine.

    Essentially, the elites changed and imposed their culture. We Britons are still mainly from the same stock that originally colonised after the last ice age...

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just like a Frenchie...

    Wow, one badly researched article is all it takes to set Brits at each others' throats! I bet the French wish they'd known that a few hundred years back.

    As for Arthur's ethnicity, well he obviously wasn't English, but he was hardly a Celt in the romanticised gaelic mould either; as (if he existed) he was probably a Romano-Christian Briton and would probably have been rather insulted to be lumped with the (still heathen at the time) Irish and the barbarians from north of The Wall.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Don't be hard on him, he's probably a Frenchman who wants to be British. A phrase with silk purse and pigs ears come to mind.

  66. Michael O'Malley


    In fact, Jeanne d'Arc was burned by the English. Not the French.

  67. Cat


    The Winter King series is about Arthur sub titled "A Novel of Arthur: The Warlord Chronicles".

    The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, The Lords of the North, Sword Song are about Alfred.

    Not that in the grand scheme of things it matters but before putting someone down why not check a book site to confirm you facts or you end up looking silly.

  68. Snert Lee

    Quid Pro Quo

    And how do they explain the Merovingians?

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shock Headlines!

    Exclusive: Legend already universally acknowledged to be a legend is, in fact, a legend!

    Also, see page 2 for amazing evidence concerning Pope's secret Catholic beliefs, and page 6 for ursine arboreal toiletary tendencies shocker!

  70. Lukin Brewer

    Fun with history.

    Since everyone's mentioning Arthur fighting the Saxons, here is a suggestion that my late history teacher made regarding the legend of the sword in the stone.

    "Saxum" is Latin for rock. "Saxo" is the dative or ablative form of "saxum". Words derived from these crop up in most European languages.

    Now, most of the chroniclers and scriptorians responsible for the surviving historical accounts of Dark Age Britain had an interesting quirk in their scripting. Sometimes they would abbreviate a word, and indicate that they had done so with a diaresis (umlaut / two dots) above the final letter.

    Now, imagine you were, say, Geoffrey of Monmouth or Sir Thomas Mallory or anyone else with a degree of literacy and an imagination. You're looking at an old chronicle of dilapidated condition and uncertain authorship. What interpretation might you give to the following:

    [then King Arthur pulled the sword from the] saxö

    Arthur pulled the sword from the Saxon? It's highly likely he did a lot of that sort of thing, what with having stuck the swords into them in the first place. But pretty mundane for all that.

    Arthur pulled the sword from the stone...? Now *that* image has *definite* possibilities for storytelling. Epic potential, indeed. And as we all know, everyone likes a good story.

  71. This post has been deleted by its author

  72. Big_Boomer

    English? British?

    No such thing. We are all mongrels.

    Celt, Roman, Briton, Viking, Angle, Saxon, Norman are just a few of the "races" we owe our heredity, culture, and language to.

    That's why all those Nationalist types make me laugh so much.

    Under their immigration rules, their own ancestors would be banned from entering the country. <LOL>

    As for King Arfur, of course he existed, and he knew a LOT about Swallows.

  73. Stone Fox

    @ Simon Elliott

    Ummm, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but cornwall IS part of England.

    you can ponce around pretentiously with your pretent language trying to be cheap immitation welshmen but at the end of the day they threw us out, the cornish didn't. The closest you have to rulership is local council of English power.


    I remember reading something interesting recently that's only just been disclosed after the mandatory 50yr diplomatic secrecy clause. At the end of the 2nd world war france offered to surrender their sovereignty to join the UK, (mainly for defence purposes) but were told they simply weren't good enough to be English.

    In response to this they asked to join the commonwealth, and were rebuffed even for that!

    Ever since that little bombshell came to light there's been growing anti-english sentiment in france apparently and this is just the latest petty manifestation.

    Ultimately we all know why the french wanted the channel tunnel built - if the Germans invade again they can be in London with their hands up that much faster.

  74. Ben


    Been dyslexic myself I found it very easy to read your post, I found it to be phonetically correct and above all consistent. For people who like to point out spelling mistakes on 3 sentence comment posts, leave your name and address your more than welcome to read through my 35,000 word thesis and point them out you would be doing me a favour.

    Back on topic, the french are probably right, but then again the legend of King Arthur probably doesn't have the same leverage on nationalism as it once did.

  75. Dean

    You english thieves...

    Arthur is the french hero derived from the town Harfleur. Harfleur is the base version of "Arthur Fleur", who the english poached as Arthur Fowler and made famous in the epic legend "the Enders of the East". Arthur Fleur is a cock-ney and as we all know the cock is the national symbol of France.

    PS You also stole our most famous insult the raised two fingers, but we French do it better, we put both hands in the air! Ha, so there...

  76. Stephen Coshott

    Morgan Le Fay

    I was impressed with her as well, although I was more impressed with that film were Helen Mirren got her kit off.

  77. teacake

    Oooh, misread that...

    "Bootnote: I recently introduced my daughter to John Boorman's magnificently silly Excalibur..."

    I misread that as "I recently introduced myself to John Boorman's magnificent daughter."

    Boorman's daughter - Katrine - played the part of Igrayne in the film and was, to this impressionable teenager at the time, really rather magnificent in the role.

  78. Chris Griffiths

    They'll... claiming the Pimpernel next.

    Yep, mine's the red one next to the guillotine...

  79. Mike Moyle
    Thumb Down


    "Arthurian legend has continually been updated, often as a sop to English nationalists..." like those ardent English nationalists Marie de France and Chretien de Troyes...

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Wasn't the first "arthurian" novel written in French? I mean if that was to be British propaganda it must have been quite a plot - to hire Chrétien de Troyes in France so he could come up with an appropriate story. Wow....

    Don't you see - you (the British) and they (the French) are just a couple of quarrelling brothers.

  81. Donald Miller

    How many Lego kiniggates

    can dance on a pin-headed Frenchman?

  82. StopthePropaganda

    Cultural Warfare

    attack your enemies from all fronts-attack their stories, their economies, their culture...anywhere you can do something to reduce his pride in his land. Of course, doing whatever it takes to shore up your own.

    Nice to see the creation of the European Union has done so much to civlize Europe and remove all those prejudices...everyone bursting at the seams to slaughter each other since european history was first written down. Hell, it's been 50 years since you could go and rampage across your neighbors' lands for Fatherland and Conquest-guess the EU consortium process didn't satisfy the bloodlust...

    What's next? Italian scholars working to prove that no clever group of British thieves in Cooper Mini's robbed a bank and escaped thru sewers while dressed as football fans? hell, there's already folks last year trying to "deconstruct" the Battle of Britain..

  83. pctechxp

    least we know

    Arthur (if he existed) is not French as he is definitely not a cheese eating surrender monkey!

  84. Matthew Saroff

    Ummm...He Might Be Roman

    There is a school of thought that believes that Arthur was a Roman, and that Avalon was in fact what we now call Avignon, France.

  85. Chris
    Paris Hilton

    French legends

    Let's not forget Charlemagne as long as we're talking about legendary national kings.

    Paris is where?


  86. Diane Miller

    "reduce his pride in his land"

    I'm not British, so perhaps I'm not entitled to an opinion, but I honestly can't imagine anything the French could say that would - or should - affect the average Brit's pride in his land. Consider the source, and all.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Hey! I have a degree in this so I must be right...

    Arthur was not English, a king, or even one person, but he was/is infinitely cooler than any French-type person.

    Hic Jacet Arthurus Rex Quondam Rexque Futurus

  88. Anonymous Coward


    Scuse me while I go and change my armor!

  89. Dave Bell

    The most famous Frenchman...

    ...was a Corsican.

    Maybe they should claim Bonnie Prince Charlie?

  90. Art Hawkes

    Boudicca et al

    Boudicca and her two daughters were raped by the Romans and in revenge she attacked, amongst other places, Colchester and London, successfully. According to extant Welsh records there were two Arthurs, sometimes spelt Athrwys, one active in the south the other in the north but several centuries apart. The Scots were from Ulster and entered south west Britain, around Glastonbury (very topical!). What we now call Scotland was then Caledonia.

    V gwir y erbyn y byd - as Boudicca might have said.

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Has some decent mares in it-- unlike the usual Hollywood tripe where the wranglers can't handle them.

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Huh, the defacto book on Arthur is...

    Nicholas Seare's Rude Tales & Glorious (The bawdy retelling of the Arthurian legends). Being "The true and unexpurgated story of king Arthur and the knights of the round table". Out of print now, but it's got some splendid swear words, e.g.

    Pawky, adj. Sly or clever. Scots employ the term to describe a national characteristic which they find pertly attractive and which the English find a damned nuisance.

    Pissette, n. Penis.

    Cullions, n. Testicles.

    Quop, v. To throb or beat.

    Fleak, n. A most pejorative term for a woman, suggesting a penchant for horizontality not mitigated by a penchant for cleanliness.

    Brilliant Read!

  93. Avalanche

    Inferiority complex

    Do the English have an inferiority complex in comparison with French? Somehow you guys always feel the need to demean the French... I find it rather odd.

  94. Kanhef

    Reality is irrelevant

    If you look at the original legends – not the modern books or movies, which are flat-out wrong for the most part – it's the lessons and morals in them that are important, regardless of whether or not any of it actually happened. (The best versions are those by Malory, Tennyson, and T.H. White)

    If some 'King Arthur' did exist, it would have been in the 5th/6th century, at the end of the Roman Empire. So he would have had a Latin name (Artos, perhaps) and fought like a Roman footsoldier, not 14th century cavalry.

  95. Paul

    @Cat and the rest.

    Yep. Sorry. I looked on Amazon, who have the wrong info on one of the versions. I have now got home and checked. Sorry.


    I take it you are not English or French (I am sorry if im wrong) but a big part of it is that the Englich and French have been at war for about the past 2000 years, but are also very closely related, so there is alot of baggage between us.

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    they can't help it

    first they say Arthur was french. next they'll be telling us terry of the woods (Thierry des Bois) isn't a rip off of Robin Hood.

  97. anarchic-teapot

    @Michael O'Malley

    No, it was the French burned Joan of Arc. If, in fact, she was burned. There appears to be evidence she survived and married a noble in 1436.

    This is fun.

  98. Faceless Man

    @Stephen Coshott

    "...I was more impressed with that film were Helen Mirren got her kit off."

    Sorry, you'll have to narrow it down for me a bit more.

  99. Alphabet Soup

    Arthur English

    As English as they come:

    Mines the one in the Grace Brothers fitting room.

  100. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    I might have expected it....

    "Do the English have an inferiority complex in comparison with French? Somehow you guys always feel the need to demean the French... I find it rather odd."

    Avalanche, assuming you're American, don't you exhibit a similar trait...?

    "Who cares if its historically accurate or not, it might be, might not be. I like the story as its a good one, it works well alongside Disney and other family movies. So it makes for a nice feel good story. So the reality is irrelevant."

    Aha! Another American, with their quaint view of history. The one where they single-handedly broke the Enigma codes and saved the world! Rambo 'won' the Vietnam war - who's going to win the Iraq war for you?

  101. Herby

    Verification is pretty easy, if you ask me...

    Mr. Peabody, where are we going today?

    Sherman, crank up that Wayback machine to around 473 AD. In a Castle, somewhere in the British Isles.

    You mean we're going to see the RoundTable?

    Well, we're not going to get Pizza!

    Wonderful device that Wayback Machine!

  102. JD

    Ah, French vs English

    An Englishman is having breakfast, in Paris, one morning (coffee, croissants, bread, butter and jam) when a Frenchman, chewing bubble-gum, sits down next to him. The Englishman ignores the Frenchman who, nevertheless, starts a conversation.

    Frenchman: "You English folk eat the whole bread??"

    Englishman (in a bad mood): "Of course."

    Frenchman: (after blowing a huge bubble) "We don't. In France, we only eat what's inside. The crusts we collect in a container, recycle it, transform them into croissants and sell them to England." The Frenchman has a smirk on his face.

    The Englishman listens in silence.

    The Frenchman persists: "Do you eat jam with the bread??"

    Englishman: "Of Course."

    Frenchman: (cracking his bubble-gum between his teeth and chuckling).

    "We don't. In France we eat fresh fruit for breakfast, then we put all the peels, seeds, and leftovers in containers, recycle them, transform them into jam, and sell the jam to England"

    After a moment of silence, The Englishman then asks: "Do you have sex in France?"

    Frenchman: "Why of course we do", he says with a big smirk.

    Englishman: "And what do you do with the condoms once you've used them?"

    Frenchman: "We throw them away, of course."

    Englishman: "We don't. In England, we put them in a container, recycle them, melt them down into bubble-gum, and sell them to France."

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But they're French...

    Who gives a shit about what they say? I'm sorry but I have a difficult time accepting anything a "French Historian" says as factual.

  104. kain preacher

    By Dodgy Geezer

    Aha! Another American, with their quaint view of history. The one where they single-handedly broke the Enigma codes and saved the world! Rambo 'won' the Vietnam war - who's going to win the Iraq war for you?

    I 've never heard that it was the Americans that broke the enigma. I guess I missed US history class when they said bletchley park was myth.

    Um its widely held believe that US lost Vietnam . Some take a different view and said that we left after getting a piece treaty, and that it was the so call democratic Vietnamese government that lost to the North.

    of course mr Geezer you are being disingenuous, any American reading this site would know the role of bletchley park.

  105. Anonymous Coward

    Who needs a Wayback machine?

    >Sherman: You mean we're going to see the RoundTable?

    >Mr. Peabody: Well, we're not going to get Pizza!

    Gee, here in my part of Sunny Southern California (tm), (and maybe elsewhere), there's a pizzeria chain of that name. Why else would one go to Round Table?

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The gunboat era is drawing to a close.

    "French historians are risking a visit by gunboats bearing the white ensign..."

    In the unlikely event the gunboats can beg, borrow, or steal enough fuel to leave the jetty. And that their captains think it wise to face the greatly superior French navy.

    As for King Arthur being mythical, well - so is Asterix! So there!

  107. James Anderson


    This is jist p*ss poor history.

    There is no evdence of any saxon invasion. There may have been some disputes between the soft toffee nosed romanised Britons and there new neighbours.

    The Saxions were invited in as hored muscle and having arrived established thriving trading links with the mainland Germanic peoples which filled the vacuum left by the collpased Roman trading system.

    The Saxons no more "invaded" England than the Scots, although they both largely took over the governance of the forler Roman colony.

  108. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Dangermouse

    Lets assume you actually meant septics - because that's funny. If you meant sceptics, that's just hilarious.

  109. Steve

    @ Carl Zetie

    Been done. See, C. Capelli et al.: A Y Chromosome Census of the British Isles, Current Biology, vol. 13, 979-984, 27 May 2003.


  110. Al Iguana


    although the earliest Arthur legends were of Briton/Welsh origin, it is the French troubadours that popularised the story, embellished it, made it into the structure that later became popular with English authors. So the Arthur of shining armour and chivalry and jousting etc was a French invention (albiet the tale of an "English Knight"). Which is fair enough, since the "English" after 1066 were ruled by the French anyhow.

    Arthur was/is an anti-Saxon (therefore Anti-English) hero, kind of like William Wallace was in later years. Can you imagine some Wallace being portrayed as some heraldic English king? Scotland would launch the nukes lol. Its time the Welsh reclaimed him from all this mediaeval knightly nonsense. Oh yeah, and while we're at it we'll have our Boudica back too. Diolch.

  111. Anonymous Coward

    Sword in the Stone

    As mentioned in Men at Arms the Terry Pratchet book. It isn't the bloke that pulls the sword from the stone you should make King, you should find the guy that put it in there...

    Also, I'm not familiar with the whole Joan of Arc story, why did they burn her? Was it because she broke with tradition and was a successful warrior and didn't surrender?

  112. Barry Lane

    Anglo Saxon Chronicles

    Don't ask me the year - I'm old but I wasn't there, honest - but the only historical namecheck for any guy called Arthur was in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles. These dated from the post-Roman days - something like 523 AD, but don't quote me - and a single entry had it that "and Arthur won the battle at Badon". No mention of who Arthur was, whose jeans he wore, nothing. Or "rien", for Ms Toulouse. As for the location of Badon, well, it ain't on my sat nav.

    If this battle actually took place, and if it took place during the Roman occupation of Britain, Arthur was likely to have been a Romanised Brit who was perhaps a tribal leader on the side of his Roman masters. Face it, if you lived in a country that had been occupied by Rome for 400 years or more, you'd have been a Roman too. The Romans were getting attacked all over the empire by the early 400 ADs and it was the same here in Blighty.

    The Bretons of France and the people of Cornwall spent much of their lives nipping across the Channel; there are, I'm told, similarities between the Breton and Cornish languages - again, don't quote me; I can hardly cope with English. What is called Brittany only became a part of France in comparatively recent times. The legend of Arthur, Arcturus or Billy-Bob, call him what you will, is known and loved in Britain, France and many other places. In some cases, Johnny Foreigner has even tried to purloin the yarn and make it his own, the cad.

    Furthermore... Oh, all right, I'll get my blouson.

  113. KarlTh

    @Neil et al.

    Has anyone noticed a parallel to Godwin's Law here? Just as Godwin's Law states that the probability of one side comparing the other to the Nazis approaches 1 as a discussion progresses, it is an unfailing Register Law that the probability that one of the resident militant atheists will take a totally irrelevant, and generally completely unoriginal, swipe at religion also approaches 1 as the comments progress.

    It's also rather boring.

  114. michael

    @ every boady who @ed me

    yes I am dyslexic quite servley actuley but I beleve that this should not prvent me from making fun of other pepol on the internet I in fact have a dream I have a dream of a world where pepol reguardless of there disbilities age or mental status can post reduiclus comments and make fun of pepol I have a dream of a world where everyone can understand pepol and where comments like "u r a toal l00ser WTF r u sm0king" are exepted english and resoned arguments about file shareing are conducted in comets no longer then 5 words each

    I also like poking fun of things

    (translations of this speach into english are avaible on request)

  115. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This may be overly pedantic...

    ...but 'Roman' wasn't a race.

    The citizens, and soldiers, of the Roman Empire were from all reaches of Europe.

    The ethnicity of any 'Romans' in Britain is therefore uncertain.

  116. Barry Lane

    Uberpedantic indeed, sirrah!

    "This may be overly pedantic...

    By Anonymous Coward

    Posted Tuesday 1st July 2008 09:44 GMT

    ...but 'Roman' wasn't a race.

    The citizens, and soldiers, of the Roman Empire were from all reaches of Europe.

    The ethnicity of any 'Romans' in Britain is therefore uncertain."

    Roman wasn't a race, you're right. Many of the Roman troops that invaded England under Claudius were German, of course, so work that one out. Rome was the place all roads pointed at on most legionnaire's Chariot-Navs, of course. It was the Romanisation of Britain that changed it all and that continues to affect us today.

    Anyway, woss this got to do with IT?

  117. Anonymous Coward


    The thing is that Neils comment was the third one made, so it doesn't take that long for the obvious comparison between potentially mythical figures to be made.

    Why do you describe Atheists at militant? Does putting across a point that is at odds with your own beliefs make someone militant?

    If it bothers you then just turn the other cheek and walk away...

  118. Colin Jackson


    "The Britons?? Who are they then?"

  119. KarlTh


    I don't describe atheists as militant, except for militant ones. One definition of militant could be "uses a discussion of King Arthur to have an irrelevant pop at religion"

  120. Francis Offord

    The ignorant Frogs go too far

    When will those odious Frogs learn that King Arthur was more then the Arthurian Legend. Burn our Lamb, stop our convoys of beef, drown us in wine and dump the inefficiency of their farmers but do not mess with King Arthur. I shall personally acquire the Excalibur and decimate the feeble minded morons who pretend to be our equals. Come out of the dark ages and let us become TRUE members of Europe by declaring our independance from these peasants. Give us a leader of his standing and place them where they belong.

  121. Anonymous Coward

    Well, French is just derivative of English anyway...

    For an entertaining take on the linguistic history of Europe and what it suggests about the pattern of population migration between (roughly) pre-history and Dante, I heartily recommend:

    The History of Britain Revealed: The Shocking Truth About the English Language

    As the lurid title suggests, it's a damned funny book but a surprisingly good argument.

  122. bobbles31


    I would hardly describe "militant" as posting a religious Joke on el Reg.

    I would describe militant as "someone taking it on themselves to try and moderate a public board, because someone said something they disagree with."

    And the comparison between Christianity and king Arthur is a fair one. Both men existed so far back in history that any knowledge of them is completely distorted by the numerous chroniclers through the ages. I can barely remember what Tony Blair looks like, and he's only been gone a year. As for what he did, he could have put babies on spikes for all I know.

    Mines the flowing white robe and fetching thorn hat.

  123. KarlTh


    1. It wasn't a joke, it was a dig, and a fairly standard dig.

    2. Who said I was moderating anything? I merely commented on an observation I'd made.

    3. If this were the place, I could point to significant differences between King Arthur and Jesus, but it's not.

  124. Paul


    Some punctuation might help.

    Im Dyslexic to, but I learnt two things along time ago.

    1) Punctuation, nomater how bad, helps

    2) People who are not dyslexic do not realise that spell checkers are the work of Satan, and if you use them they will change the words without you realising you are now using the wrong word rather than a guess.

  125. Anonymous Coward


    Yep, there are significant differences. One was bloke who was good with metal tools, knocked about with 12 mates, got betrayed by one of them and then disappeared to return when needed. The other was Jesus...

    If you don't want to have a flaming debate then don't start it, if this isn't the place then don't bother posting the only comment that takes offence at a simple quip....

  126. Steve Wedge

    Fetchez la vache!

    mine's the black & white leather one...

  127. Tom Thomson

    @Art Hawkes

    "V gwir y erbyn y byd - as Boudicca might have said."

    If her tribe was the Iceni, not the Eponi, why would she have a "p" language instead of "c" one? Or did the Romans translate (not just transliterate) proper nouns?

  128. Mark

    Re: This may be overly pedantic...

    Or, as any fule kno:

    "People called Romanus, they go the house?"

  129. Lars

    Be nice to the French

    You lot better be nice to the frogs. After all when the UK fully embraces the totalitarian police state you guys need a place to flee to.

    (any spelling errors are due to english not being my native language I deeply appologise to any nimwits that it might offend)

  130. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "I can understand the French thinking this. I mean, an alleged English warrior King who *didn't* take a small and heavily outnumbered army to France and kick the crap out of them?"

    Ahem, TeeCee, then why did England lose the 100 Years' War and get kicked out of France altogether? Because the history lessons you had (or those you remember) focused exclusively on Crecy, Poitiers, and Agincourt - the three big battles the English did win.

  131. Norman Bowring

    Tales of Camulod

    I've read all(most) all of what's above and was surprised to find that there was no mention of what I consider, in my humble opinion, to be the best of the series of books on the Arthurian Legends - The Camulod Chronicles.

    This is a series of 8 or 9 books, starting with "The Skystone" which covers the period of British history from roughly the departure of the Roman legions (scuttling back east in an eventually vain attempt to save Rome from the hordes from the north and east) up to the time of Arthur, Merlyn, Guinevere, Lancelot et al.

    They were written by a Scot (no less) who had the good sense, some 40 years age, to do what all good Scots do - emigrate to Canada and (thankfully) educate all those squabbling Beefeaters and Frenchies! They also organised and managed (for the Maudits Anglais) all those lands that had been opened up by all those fun loving (I mean fur loving) Frenchies who were beavering along and shooting rapids - and any animal that had a furry coat! (Mlle. Bardot - notez bien QUI, au début, voulait tuer tous ces petits animaux adorables - y-compris des phoques!)

    His name is Jack Whyte. (Remember - he's Scottish - which explains why he can't spell!)

    I digress!

    The body of work is extremely well written, amazing in it's scope and intriguing in its blending of historical fact, legendary figures and well known historical or legendary events to the extent that you can't tell one from t'other.

    For those of you who have an interest in this type of work I can say, having read most of the books which have been mentioned above in these comments on... er... (Oh dear! What were these comments about now? I can't remember!), this series is superior to them all.

    For those of you who have no interest - this is a good place to start!

    To have a look at the author and his works you would do well to visit the following site.

    I hope you enjoy them. I certainly did - as did all those to whom I have recommended the series.

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