Worlds of Arthur : facts & fictions of the Dark Ages

Halsall, Guy

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  • Creator Guy Halsall
  • Format Books
  • Publication 1st ed. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Physical Details
    • xx, 357 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
  • ISBNs 9780199658176, 019965817X, 9780198700845, 0198700849
  • OCLC ocn809617070


  • Broadly speaking, there are two Arthurs. On the one hand is the traditional "historical" Arthur, waging a doomed struggle to save Roman civilization against the relentless Anglo-Saxon tide during the darkest years of the Dark Ages. On the other is the Arthur of myth and legend, accompanied by a host of equally legendary people, places, and stories. The big problem with all this, notes Halsall, is that it is next to impossible to say anything at all about him. The evidence that we have, whether written or archeological, is simply incapable of telling us anything detailed about the Britain in which he is supposed to have lived, fought, and died.


  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 321-339) and index.


  • pt. 1. Old worlds. The story of 'King Arthur' ; The matter of Arthur: the traditional narrative ; Swords in the stones: the archaeology of post-imperial Britain -- pt. 2. Present worlds. The antimatter of Arthur: reassessing the written sources ; Continuity or collapse?: the end of Roman Britain ; Beyond brooches and brochs: rethinking early medieval British archaeology -- pt. 3. Mad worlds. Red herrings and old chestnuts -- pt. 4. New worlds? The dark matter of Arthur: changing the framework ; Rethinking the Anglo-Saxon migration and settlement (1): When did the Anglo-Saxons come to Britain? ; Rethinking the Anglo-Saxon migration and settlement (2): The nature and scale of the migration ; Fifth- and sixth-century politics in Britannia ; The end of the 'World of Arthur.'
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