King Arthur was son of the mythical king, Uther Pendragon. He was said to have been born in the 5th century. In the 5th and 6th century, England is conquered by the Saxons from the north western Germany, and later by the Vikings. The country doesn’t become united until the Normans conquer England in 1066. Not long after, England becomes a great power, but the country lacks a worthy history, so English chronicle writers have to make it up.
Today we know Arthur as the legendary king that becomes king by pulling a sword out of a rock and bringing England’s most powerful knights together, at the round table in Camelot. Arthur is for the first time mentioned in a welsh poem from 594. In medieval times, Arthur was looked upon as anything but a myth. In Wales they looked at him as a national hero and the greatest warrior Wales had ever seen, but according to Welshmen he was never a king. It was according to English history writing, on the other hand, that he was praised as the greatest king England had ever seen. No one in the medieval times were in any doubt that Arthur was a historical person that had lived and that even many centuries after his death he still tossed glory over both England and Wales.
In 1138, Geoffrey of Monmouth gave out the book " Historia Regum Britanniae ", The History of The Kings of Britain. The book is about British kings until Arthur’s death. It is mostly about Arthur. The purpose of the book was to create an English national hero, and an honorable English history that could bring people together after years of separation. Throughout the Middle Ages England and France were in conflict with each other. The Frenchmen had national hero in form of Karl the Great that England couldn’t compete against, so Geoffrey hade to fable.
The book became incredibly popular. From the medieval England it is only the bible that has been preserved in more copies. Geoffrey made Arthur the ideal knight of the time. The book was the start of row of knight novels about Arthur and his knights. The first were written in the second half of 10th century and got immediate success all around Europe.
In 1155, the Norman Chronicle writer Wace gave out the novel “Roman de Brut”. He based his story on Arthur but added an important detail, a round table. The table became the symbol on King Arthurs’ justice and his respect for his knights. All of this happened in the same time as the Holy Grail becomes important in Arthur literature. Both parts lead to that Arthur and his knights also began to be looked upon as Christianity’s defenders.
In the 1200s it was very popular to hold Arthur Parties. The guests dressed up as Arthurs knights, were seated at big round tables and the entertainment and menu were copied from the Arthur novels down to each detail. Many People wanted to be just like Arthur, one of them were England’s most successful king in the middle ages, Edvard the 1. (1272-1307). Edvard used a lot of money on tournaments and round-table parties like they were described in the novels. In chronicles that he ordered himself he was often compared to Arthur. When king Arthur ruled, England ruled all of Britain, so when Edvard became king he demanded the neighbor countries.
In 1277 Edvard conquered Wales and then turned to Scotland. In 1296, they conquered Scotland. They carried king Arthurs crown in the tip of the English army.