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King Arthur was a Roman

 
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A Hollywood blockbuster due out this autumn calls for a whole piece of English history and mythology to be reviewed.

Just about as shocking if the headlines reads that King Arthur was a Woman.


Nice timing considering we are all reeling from the high probablity that the real Shakespeare was a woman.
[ July 04, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
 
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Show me Guinevere any time!
 
Tony Alicea
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Seriously now, I did see a recent documentary about the Arthurian Legend and the first thing I learned (excuse my ignorance!) is that it is, well, a legend.

According to the piece, the ideal society (that's what it said) of Camelot may never have happened. Including the Knights of the Round Table.

It also said that there are a few kings in history whose real life story may have contributed to the legend.

Please enlighten me, are there ruins of Camelot? Did it really exist?

My curiosity is officially piqued. I am going now to the Encyclopedia Britannica for more information...
 
Tony Alicea
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BTW (By The Way), during my younger years at the university, I was called "Merlin" by some of my best friends. I don't know if I should say why, ha ha!
[ July 04, 2004: Message edited by: Tony Alicea ]
 
Helen Thomas
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The film claims to be more historically accurate than any other version before. Arthur Castus is a Roman officer with a British mother. He leads a group of heroes the Knights of the Round Table including Lancelot and Bors who come from a far off land called Sarmatia - roughly between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Shipped off to Britain to fight in the Roman legions they have numerous combats with the Woads. Guinevere is a Woad who hail from north of Hadrians Wall led by Merlin a potently mysterious shaman.

Arthur and his men are waiting for their discharge papers but a messenger turns up with 'one last job' for Arthur and the knights. Their task is to resue a Roman family from the wild lands north of the Wall. Among these fugitives is a boy, Alecto , a favourite of the Pope and very possibly a future pontiff.

Guinevere is ruthless in the film.

To say more would give too much away. Wouldn't want to ruin a good film.
[ July 04, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
 
Tony Alicea
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Can't wait to see her (Keira Knightley), I mean it, the movie!
 
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I don't know how a film about King Arthur can claim to be historically accurate when nobody really knows for sure whether Arthur even existed. There are certainly a lot of theories, including the one that Arthur was based on a Roman general.

I think the most likely theory is that Arthur was based on a Celtic (most likely Welsh) warrior who fought against the Anglo-Saxons. As the Welsh migrated to Brittany in France they spread their legends, which eventually got conflated with the chivalric romances popular in France at the time. Eventually Arthur became the King of England, since who in France would know any better, and the legends reached England. This leads to the irony that a figure who fought the English became the basis for a legendary English king.

Robert
 
Helen Thomas
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They used historical consultants who have studied Arthurian legends for over 30 years. That Arthur was Roman has been around for decades. What's new is the Sarmation warriors.

The Sarmations had a similar Lady of the Lake legend and a shamanic leader not unlike Merlin. And a leader wounded in battle who commanded one of his followers to throw his sword into a lake. Even the name Excalibur may have originated from Sarmatia. A tribe who were master smithcraftsmen were known as Kalybes. The oldest name for Excalibur is Caliburn, a word that originates from chalybus( steel) and eburnus (white).

A poem recently come to light dating to within 200 years of Arthur's time speaks of a leader named Arthur born of two nations of Rome and Britain who fought against a terrible enemy on the Wall.

King Arthur trailer

John Mathews (one such historical consultant) has written 2 books: King Arthur and Merlin - �14.99 and �16.99 but I think I'll settle for seeing the movie. You'll find there are lots of historical tidbits beneath the trailer.
[ July 04, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
 
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[Helen]: A Hollywood blockbuster due out this autumn calls for a whole piece of English history and mythology to be reviewed.

I'm confused - are you talking about this King Arthur? That came out in LA a few days ago. The rest of the US gets it July 7, and the UK will get it July 30. Unless you're living in Bulgaria, Greece, or Italy it will be out well before fall. Or is there another movie you're talking about?

The idea that the historical Arthur may have been Roman has been around for a while. Is this really considered shocking in the UK, Helen?

[Robert]: I don't know how a film about King Arthur can claim to be historically accurate when nobody really knows for sure whether Arthur even existed.

It's true that full historical accurace is not possible. However a movie could be more historically plausible than other representations have been so far. Eliminating magic from the story, for example. I don't know how plausible the new movie really is (and I'd note that "more realistic" isn't necessarily "better" anyway, for something like this) but I'm interested to find out.
 
Jim Yingst
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That Arthur was Roman has been around for decades. What's new is the Sarmation warriors.

OK, so what was the title of this thread about again?
 
Helen Thomas
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
That Arthur was Roman has been around for decades. What's new is the Sarmation warriors.

OK, so what was the title of this thread about again?



So I had an entire day to get used to the idea.
Now the legend of the Knights of the Round Table has to be conceded to Sarmatia just as the Elgin Marbles went back to Greece. Nice while we had them. It would also be nice to know if Round Tables were peculiar to Samartia. The Dark Ages in Britain were smelly and tables were long - I think that's why people refered to the Long Hall - in order to fit long tables and keep a fair distance from smelly people- peculiar to this part of Europe I'd say.

Did King Alfred burn the cakes or not ?
 
Helen Thomas
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
[Helen]: A Hollywood blockbuster due out this autumn calls for a whole piece of English history and mythology to be reviewed.

I'm confused - are you talking about this King Arthur? That came out in LA a few days ago. The rest of the US gets it July 7, and the UK will get it July 30. Unless you're living in Bulgaria, Greece, or Italy it will be out well before fall. Or is there another movie you're talking about?

With the weather being what it has lately, I can only think of autumn now. July 30th is the release date here.
 
Tony Alicea
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Release dates of the movie King Arthur (according to the most reliable source):

http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0349683/releaseinfo
 
Jim Yingst
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Yes... If only someone had thought to look this up earlier and post the info... :roll:
 
Tony Alicea
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I'm sorry!
 
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Another shocking revelation. JY's pet snake isn't really a snake it's a frog disguised as a snake.
 
Tony Alicea
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I knew it!
 
Robert Miller
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Whoever the original source for Arthur was, and it is quite possible there are multiple sources that became conflated with each other, the Knights of the Round Table almost certainly was a later addition to the legend. One cannot dismiss the influence of Eleanor of Aquitaine, either. The Lancelot/Guinevere romance was almost certainly of French origin.

One theory I heard about Arthur is that he is the combination of a human warrior and a Celtic deity, both with similar names. Over time they became the same figure.

I'm not sure it makes sense to have a movie about King Arthur without the magic, either.

Robert
 
Helen Thomas
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In the film Guinevere fights in a bitch pack like wolves.
And joy, oh joy, the Samartian's liked to eat at circular tables. If memory serves right members would sit next to each other so that it wouldn't be easy to draw weapons at the table.

Robert : The Lancelot/Guinevere romance was almost certainly of French origin.

There isn't much about the romance in the film apart from a bathing scene.There is also a discernible age gap of about 20 years between Arthur and Guinevere so most of the audience would wish that there was more.
[ July 04, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
 
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I thought it was a round table because it was made from the cross section of a huge tree. Was that in a film?
 
Richard Hawkes
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
It's true that full historical accurace is not possible. However a movie could be more historically plausible than other representations have been so far.

When they portray Arthur and his knights as 4ft tall black-toothed brutes with gammy legs, and all the women as knotty-haired, twisted crones that get knocked up at 13, then maybe we can talk about historical accuracy, or period accuracy anyway Wouldn't be much of a money maker though...
 
Helen Thomas
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[Jim] The idea that the historical Arthur may have been Roman has been around for a while. Is this really considered shocking in the UK, Helen?

Answer honestly, Jim or anyone else. When did you discover that Arthur was a Roman ? I am pretty sure it wasn't general knowledge.
[ July 05, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
 
Richard Hawkes
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Actually its the first time I've heard that particular theory ... but they don't let me out much either
 
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Originally posted by Richard Hawkes:
When they portray Arthur and his knights as 4ft tall black-toothed brutes with gammy legs, and all the women as knotty-haired, twisted crones that get knocked up at 13, then maybe we can talk about historical accuracy, or period accuracy anyway Wouldn't be much of a money maker though...



Indeed. Its strange how Hollywood always seems to portray medieval characters as being tall, clean people with great hair and clean teeth, despite the fact that this is highly inaccurate. Perhaps its to do with getting sponsorship from shampoo companies or something.

The other annoying trait of many films is that they have happy endings. I do like a nice ending every so often, but 90% of Hollywood films have a happy ending, so you can pretty much guess what will happen. Just for once I'd love to see a truly nasty bad guy actually get the girl and give the hero a good kicking.
 
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Originally posted by Helen Thomas:
[Jim] The idea that the historical Arthur may have been Roman has been around for a while. Is this really considered shocking in the UK, Helen?

Answer honestly, Jim or anyone else. When did you discover that Arthur was a Roman ? I am pretty sure it wasn't general knowledge.



Noone's ever discovered that Arthur was Roman. It's just a theory about a possible explanation for a legend, there's as little fact to back it up as any other theory...

There's been theories that Arthur was a Norman invader, a Keltish freedom fighter against the Romans, a medieval knight, John Cleese, Eric Idle and many others.

The most realistic depiction of the Arthurian legend IMO is still Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
It features dirt, violence, disease, stupid noblemen and arrogant French, what more do you want?
 
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:


Noone's ever discovered that Arthur was Roman. It's just a theory about a possible explanation for a legend, there's as little fact to back it up as any other theory...

There's been theories that Arthur was a Norman invader, a Keltish freedom fighter against the Romans, a medieval knight, John Cleese, Eric Idle and many others.

The most realistic depiction of the Arthurian legend IMO is still Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
It features dirt, violence, disease, stupid noblemen and arrogant French, what more do you want?



Wikipedia has some stuff on him:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Arthur#The_Arthur_of_history
so, he may have been Romano-British, which was basically a celt who agreed to the trappings of rome ( sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health... )
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:

The most realistic depiction of the Arthurian legend IMO is still Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
It features dirt, violence, disease, stupid noblemen and arrogant French, what more do you want?


A shrubbery.
 
Helen Thomas
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French director Robert Bresson's "Lancelot du Lac" - "Lancelot of the Lake". Instead of enshrining the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, it dethrones them by revealing Arthur as a weak, ineffectual leader and the Knights as a group of jealous, bickering men who failed to live up to the legends prescribed to them. Chivalry has no place in "Lancelot of the Lake," except as that of a dying ideal.

The French did concentrate on Lancelot - the bravest and most chivalrous knight whose one defect was his love for Guinevere.

"Lancelot du Lac" is the exact opposite of Sir Thomas Malory's "Morte Darthur".
Much more legible

Monty Python's version was pure irreverence..

"Bring out your deaaaad!" [Solemnly]
Woman bashes live cat against a wall in the background....
[ July 05, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
 
Jim Yingst
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Answer honestly, Jim or anyone else. When did you discover that Arthur was a Roman ? I am pretty sure it wasn't general knowledge.

As Jeroen notes, it's far from an established fact. I don't really remember where I first encountered the idea. I didn't consider it particularly shocking, so it didn't embed itself on my psyche or anything. I do recall reading Excalibur by John Jakes and Gil Kane in the early eighties - the young Arthur was known as Artorius. I don't remember if he was supposed to have been considered Roman by birth, or just grew up under some Roman influence (probably the latter).

Like Jeroen, for me Monty Python provides the canonical Arthur legend. Though it occurs to me that there's a missed opportunity here - they could have taken the whole "Big Nose" subplot (errr, very small plot) from Life of Brian and put it into Grail with similar effect. "I'm not a roman mum!"
 
Helen Thomas
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Jim ,

Comic books like Excalibur 3000, Prince Valiant have helped in furthering the serious study of Arthurian legend.Arthurian elements appeared in Dilbert, The Far Side, Frank & Ernest and Hagar the Horrible.

Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court I vaguely remember a not very good film around this tho' the literature looks good.

Asterix may have had occasion to meet King Arthur.(The period seems right).
 
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Originally posted by Joe King:

A shrubbery.



An ancestor of Bush?
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:


An ancestor of Bush?



Niiiiii!
 
Jeroen Wenting
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Originally posted by Joe King:


Niiiiii!



icki icki icki
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:


icki icki icki



Ecky-ecky-ecky-ecky p'kang! Zroop-boing! mrowvm...

 
town drunk
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I recall while thinking of the Aurthor legend while reading Dune. Did anyone else come to that?
 
Jeroen Wenting
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Originally posted by Joe King:


Ecky-ecky-ecky-ecky p'kang! Zroop-boing! mrowvm...



sacrilege. They say the Knights who -until recently- say Ni are fictional!
 
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Originally posted by Helen Thomas:
Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court I vaguely remember a not very good film around this tho' the literature looks good.



Do you mean this film:

http://imdb.com/title/tt0041259/

Bing Crosby, Rhonda Fleming, and Sir Cedric Hardwicke. How could this be a "not very good film"?
 
Helen Thomas
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Also Known As:
Yankee in King Arthur's Court, A (1949) (UK)



Missed that even on any re-runs. It doesn't ring any bells.
The one I meant was done in the last 5 years or thereabouts.

It could be this one :

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Consolidated and Schaeffer Karpf Productions, 1989). NR. Starring Keisha Knight Pulliam. (Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee.)

More likely this one.

A Knight in Camelot (Rosemont Productions and Walt Disney Television, 1998). NR. Starring Whoopi Goldberg. (Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee.)

Teaching the Arthurian Tradition in the Twenty-first Century:
 
Jim Yingst
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Eh, they remake that movie every few years; who can keep them all straight? Yankee, spaceman, rabbit, MacGyver, black woman, black man... Here is a partial list if you're interested.
[ July 07, 2004: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:

sacrilege.



That may well be not a million miles from the truth. The UK government are considering implementing a law to stop people encouraging hatred against particular religions. Some Monty Python fans are worried that it may mean that some loopy people try to ban The Life Of Brian from being shown/sold because it may be seen as mocking christians.

Originally screeched by Brian's mum:

He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy!


[ July 08, 2004: Message edited by: Joe King ]
 
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