“Yet some men say in many parts of England that King Arthur is not dead, but has by the will of our Lord Jesu into another place.”
Sir Thomas Malory Le Morte d’Arthur 1470
If Merlin, Guinevere, Morgan le Fay, Launcelot, Galahad, Camelot and The Round Table are stripped away, we are left with a sixth-century military figure who displayed outstanding courage and skill. He inspired other men to join him (perhaps as a powerful cavalry force) to drive back the pagan Saxon invaders when the Romans had abandoned the Romano-British population in the previous century. This marked the beginning of the Dark Ages. Arthur and his men were fighting as patriots and not just for the money paid by local rulers to be protected from the invaders. In twelve decisive battles, Arthur held the Saxons back for some forty years. In the centuries that followed, many fanciful stories about Arthur were added and brought together by Sir Thomas Malory in Le Morte d’Arthur, which he completed in 1470. It was published in 1485 on the first English printing press, introduced by William Caxton.
What if King Arthur were to awaken and slip silently into twenty-first century Britain, concerned still for good to conquer evil – would you believe it? Most great leaps forward in our history take place when people ask the “What if?” question and find the answer.
King Arthur, wakened by a potholer retrieved Excalibur, gathered his knights and then roused Britain from gloom and recession. Once more chivalry was set above self-interest as people rallied to a cause greater than themselves. Refusing to be divided by class or colour, they search for the Holy Grail.
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