Contributions are always welcome. Feel free to add anything that might be relevant to Arthurian Studies. Feel free to be more or less cheeky than I have been.

1st Century BCEEdit

1st Century CEEdit

2nd Century CEEdit

3rd Century CEEdit

4th Century CEEdit

5th Century CEEdit

This era is most commonly pointed to, and thought to be by scholars , the lifetime of Arthur if he ever existed. This is the era of the British Isles independence from a crumbling Roman empire, and the subsequent onslaught of invasions by the Picts, Scots, Angles, and Saxons . The abandonment of Roman support left the remains of their armies and the peasantry to gather into small warlord alliances to fend for themselves, afterthrowing off completely the administration Rome had placed them under. Laycock (Britannia the Failed State, 2008 ) has investigated this process of fragmentation and emphasised elements of continuity from the British tribes in the pre-Roman and Roman periods to the kingdoms that formed in the post-Roman period. A perfect place for a Romano-British leader to come into fame and legend for the surprise success of fending off the barbarians.

6th Century CEEdit

  • Roman Empire has collapsed and Europe splits into small Germanic kingdoms squabbling for power.
  • 12 Battles of Arthur are reported to have taken place by Nennius in Historia Brittonum in the 9th century CE[1] .
  • British Isles begin to be (peacefully) invaded and settled by the Saxons alongside the Celts for protection against other invaders.
  • Arthur is recorded to have lived and died throughout the century. [2]

[1]Fletcher, Richard (1989). Who's Who in Roman Britain and Anglo-Saxon England. Shepheard-Walwyn. p. 112.

[2]Britannia Staff Article, "Arthurian Timeline,", 2007

7th Century CEEdit

· Y Gododdin[1] by Aneirin is composed in Old Welsh. A series of 99 elegies about men who fell in the Battle of Catraeth[2][3] in the northern kingdom, which may be the earliest recorded text[4] with mentions of Arthur. The poem indirectly mentions Arthur after glorifying one of the warriors:

He fed black ravens on the rampart of a fortress Though he was no Arthur Among the powerful ones in battle

In the front rank, Gwawrddur was a palisade[5]

The battle in the poem is debated[6] to have occurred in the early-mid 6th century[7], keeping Arthur in the post-Romano-British period.


[1] Charles-Edwards 1991, p. 15; Sims-Williams 1991. Y Gododdin cannot be dated precisely: it describes 6th-century events and contains 9th- or 10th- century spelling, but the surviving copy is 13th-century.

[2] Jackson, Kenneth H. 1969. The Gododdin: The Oldest Scottish poem. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 0-85224-049-X [3] Jarman, A. O. H. (ed.) 1988. Y Gododdin. Britain's Oldest Heroic Poem. The Welsh Classics vol. 3. Gomer. ISBN 0-86383-354-3

[4] Ford, David N. "References to a Real King Arthur." Britannia: British History and Travel. Britannia, LLC, 2007. Web. 06 May 2011. <>.

[5] Jarman, pg. 64

[6] Turner, Sharon. 1803. A vindication of the genuiness of the ancient British poems of Aneurin, Taliesyn, Llywarch Hen and Merddin, with specimens of the poems. E. Williams.

[7] Koch, John T. 1997. "The Gododdin of Aneurin: text and context from Dark-Age North Britain." Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 0-7083-1374-4

8th Century CEEdit

The only mention of Arthurian history in the 8th century is The Doctor's trip to Arthur's World , where he is mistaken for the wizard Merlin and helps Arthur defeat Mordred and Morgaine . The real Merlin, a future incarnation of the Doctor, then takes takes Arthurs body and Exalibur in a dimension-hoping space ship to bury them at the bottom of Lake Vortigern near Cadbury.

9th Century CEEdit

Nennius Historia Brittonum is debated to have come into publication at the end of this century. Many historians believe that the Historia was composed for Merfyn Frych ap Gwriad, king of Gwynedd (r.c. 825-844) in the 4th year of his reign, probably sometime between 828 and 830.[1][2] The text contains only the mention of the 12 Battles of Arthur (chapter 56), and the story of Vortigern and Ambrosius as clues to his real existence at some point in history. Sites for the 12 Battles are vaguely described geographically and most cannot be identified. The few that can do not have any other association in Welsh history with Arthur as a warrior or leader. Some scholars have theorized that Nennius was pulling the information from a lost 5th century poem for the battles about great Welsh victories due to the rhythm and rhyme of the site names.[3]

The tales of Arthur in Historia Brittonum are exemplified on by later Arthurian authors, such as Geoffrey Monmouth, making it the greatest modern source for Arthurian origins.

[1] Dumville, D.N. (1974). "Some aspects of the chronology of the Historia Brittonum." Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies 25.4. 439-45.

[2] Higham, N.J. (2002). King Arthur: Myth Making and History. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

[3] Green, Thomas (2007). Concepts of Arthur. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Tempus.

10th Century CEEdit

The 10th century began the height of Arthur's medieval popularity. There were two texts that contributed to this sudden rise in fame, the Annales Cambriea and the Preiddeu Annwfn. These two texts both originated in Wales, both circulating throughout the 900s and claiming to come from source material that is lost to the modern world.Edit
The largest contributor to that by far is the Annales Cambriae , which compiled chronicles of Wales, Ireland, Cornwall, England, Scotland, and other surrounding areas. The Annales contains two stories of Arthur, one of which involves Mordred (Medraut), and another involving Merlin (Myrddin). The debate rages on still whether this is proof that Arthur was a real person at some point in history or not. Historians opposed to this theory say that the insertion of those stories or those names could have been arbitrarily placed in the Annales towards to the end of the century when the legends were extremely popular. Edit

Centering on historical battles, the Annales inserts Arthur living around 515-580 AD. The first entry he is mentioned in is the Battle of Badon, where he supposedly carried Jesus' cross for three days and three nights[1], securing the Britons victory against the Anglo-Saxons.[2] Arthur's presence in this battle was already documented in the Historia Brittonum, however the only other account of this battle that is contemporary has no mention of Arthur in it.[3][4] In any case, many scholars argue that the two accounts of Historia and Annales trump the singular account and are evidence that Arthur fought in the Battle of Badon.[5] Others argue that the two accounts are too similar in style and that Annales is simply a copy from Historia Brittonum.[6]

The second tells of Arthur's fatal battle with Mordred in Strife of Camlann. The Annales Cambriea is the first text to record this battle where Arthur and Mordred perish and is mostly believed to be legendary. The sight and year of the battle is not certain, and other later accounts are variations of the Arthur versus Mordred conflict. Edit
Merlin's descent into madness after the Battle of Arfderydd concludes the Arthurian stories. The historical account gives no mention of Arthur, but the bard Myrddin is reported to have fled into the forest and gone mad after watching his king Gwenddoleu ap Ceidio die in battle before him. Many scholars conclude this is the basis for Merlin’s character in the myth.[7] Edit
The Preiddeu Annwfn is an early medieval Welsh poem found in the Book of Taliesin, dated to have been written around the early 10th century.[8] The 60 line poem depicts King Arthurs travel to the Welsh otherworld of Annfwn or Annwn, and contains many aspects that historians and scholars have theorized to be the origin of the Grail myths. Links between the two stories are minimal, mostly occurring in small details such as the magic castles that hold the cup and the initial tragedy as a result of leaving or ignorance. Both stories do share similar themes and imagery, which is the main argument for their relationship.[9]Edit

[1] Green, Thomas (2007). Concepts of Arthur. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Tempus, pg. 26Edit
[2] Ashe, Geoffrey, From Caesar to Arthur pp.295-8Edit
[3] R. Ernest Dupuy and Trevor N. Dupuy, The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History From 3500 B.C. to the Present, Fourth Edition (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1993), 193.Edit
[4] C. Warren Hollister, "The Making of England to 1399", Eighth Edition (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001), 31.Edit
[5] Green pg. 31Edit
[6] Green pg. 28Edit
[7] Tolstoy, Nikolai (1985) The Quest for Merlin.Edit
[8] Lacy, Norris J. (1991). "The Spoils of Annwfn (Preiddeu Annwfn)." In Lacy, Norris J., The New Arthurian Encyclopedia, p. 428. New York: Garland.Edit

[9] Loomis, Roger Sherman (1991). The Grail: From Celtic Myth to Christian Symbol. Princeton.

11th Century CEEdit

  • Mabinogion written. Maybe.
  • 1019 - Legenda Sancti Goeznovii is written, providing one of the earliest non-fantastical tales about Arthur and his conquests. This account goes back to the Vortigern legend of Historia Brittonum when the Saxons come settle in the land by invitation of the king for protection against other invaders but instead oppress the Britons themselves. Arthur rises up against their tyrrany to become the new king of Britain and bests all other invaders and territories around Gaul until he dies.
  • 1096-1099 - First Crusade. Jerusalem Regained.

12th Century CEEdit

13th Century CEEdit

  • (early in the century) - Robert de Boron (Joseph of Arimathea) flourishes.
  • (First quarter of the century) Wolfram composes his Parzival. Everything gets way cooler.
  • 1215 - The game-changing Fourth Council of the Lateran happens. Confession reinforced! Marriage redefined (and brought under closer church control)! Joachim of Flore is a heretic! Jews and Moslems have to wear special garments!

14th Century CEEdit

  • 1343? - Geoffrey Chaucer born.
  • 1350 - The White Book of Rhydderch (Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch), containing part of the Mabinogion, written.
  • ~1382-1410 - The Red Book of Hergest (Llyfr Coch Hergest), containing part of the Mabinogion, written.
  • (late in the century) - Cotton Nero A.x (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight) written.

15th Century CEEdit

  • 22 August 1485 - Battle of Bosworth Field. Richard III agrees to disastrous kingdom/horse swap. Henry, Early of Richmond, invents the Tudors, gets deal with HBO. Renaissance begins at 4:17 PM.
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