The Holy Kingdom: Quest for the Real King Arthur

Rating: ★★★★★

Unlike so many books published on Arthur and Britain’s prehistory, this is an accessible and comprehensive read. Casual criticism is less than fair when it is clear how much research has gone into this work. To fully understand the theories of Baram Blackett and Alan Wilson you have to go on and read the more detailed books. If you are in a position to visit any of the sites in South Wales discussed, you will be impressed by their interpretation. Apart from the chapters on Arthur, the discussion on Roman Britain and Wroxeter, the origins of Mercia, and Christianity in Britain, are refreshing and thought provoking. I noticed that the spurious arguments about the name Antun etc. are discussed. In any case, we all know how fluid spelling was in the pre printing era. I fully agree with the authors concerning the neglect of early Welsh history, and not just because I live in Wales.

It must be obvious that when so many writers say ‘British history’, they exclude most except English. I do believe that in order to establish a new theory, and of necessity I assume in so doing you have faith in the need to do so, the theory has to defend itself. There seems little to be gained by a simultaneous assault on established ‘truth’, less evident in this earlier book. Samuel Johnson noted, ‘Antiquity, like every other quality that attracts the notice of mankind, has undoubtedly votaries that reverence it, not from reason, but from prejudice. Some seem to admire indiscriminately whatever has long been preserved, without considering that time has sometimes cooperated with chance..’ (Preface to Shakespeare). This seems very true of the usual explanation of Arthurian myth, as well as so much that is blindly accepted today.

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