Geplaatst in King Arthur

King Arthur did exist but he was from Yorkshire, not Cornwall

British historian Adrian Grant believes the legendary leader was born in Barwick-in-Elmet, not Tintagel

A British historian claims to have found evidence that King Arthur really did exist – and was born near Leeds in Yorkshire, and not Tintagel in Cornwall.

Adrian Grant, 70, believes the legendary leader was born around 475AD in the kingdom’s capital, Barwick-in-Elmet, a once sprawling stronghold.

His theory disputes the folklore tale that Arthur was conceived at Tintagel – and challenges academics who believe he is just a myth and never existed. 

The conclusion is the result of a six-year research programme which Adrian embarked upon because of a reviewer’s comment about his last book.

He set out to prove or disprove Arthur’s existence by critically examining 12 major battles he is believed to have fought in during the Arthurian campaign.

But instead he uncovered what he says is the truth about the legend – and also claims to have debunked several myths along the way.

Arthurian legends have often been depicted in songs, paintings, Welsh and Irish folk tales, poems, books and in more recent times television and film.

It has previously been accepted among many historians that the Arthurian legend was a “satirical and mythologising” tale told by bards as entertainment.

However, retired high school teacher Adrian says his research proves “beyond any doubt” that Arthur was real.

He sought empirical evidence from 9th and 10th century extant texts like Historia Brittonum and the Annales Cambriae, and from British monk, Gildas The Wise writings.

Legend has it that Arthur was conceived at Tintagel in the 12th century when King Uther Pendragon used Merlin’s sorcery to appear like the Duke of Cornwall, the husband of Igraine, Arthur’s mother.

But Adrian believes Arthur was the son of Masgwid Gloff, a 5th-Century king who ruled over the kingdom of Elmet – a region located in what is now the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Arthur was born, he says, in around 475AD in the kingdom’s capital, Barwick-in-Elmet, a once sprawling stronghold.

Today, the village – seven miles east of Leeds city centre – has just under 5,000 residents.

His family castle would have stood on or near to Hall Tower Hill, an existing mound and ditch once home to an Iron Age fort.

Adrian said: “I think I have uncovered the truth. The key thing to uncovering the truth is to understand the lie, the nature of the lie and why it was told.

In the case of Arthurian legend a lot of it is not lies but satirical. A lot of Arthurian legend might be the tales told by bards as entertainment.

What you have in the legend is first of all, satire and second of all mythologising which takes place after Arthur’s death.

My understanding is, one of the reasons why it was confected was English kings wanted an heroic ancestry to match the likes of Charmalane.

They wanted an alternative hero in which they could claim descent.”

At the age of 15, Arthur was chosen by the chiefs of the ‘Hen Ogled’ or ‘Old North’ – the kingdoms of northern England – as their Pendragon, or Commander-in- Chief.

He was tasked with uniting the region’s armies and defending Brittonic lands to the south of the Antonine Wall from the Picts and Scots.

Arthur, who was never made king, developed exceptional military prowess and led 12 successful battles against the Picts and Scots before his death at the battle of Camlann in around 537AD.

Until now, Arthurian experts believed the battles – if they ever took place at all – were 
fought against the Anglo-Saxons, and not against the Picts and Scots.

The Historia Brittonum, or ‘History of the Britons’, penned by a Welsh monk called Nennius in around 830AD, and the 10th-Century Annales Cambriae, which chronicled events across Britain, are both said to support his conclusions.

This study was conducted with a view of separating fact from fiction and history from legend,” added Adrian.

Previous researchers have approached the matter in a completely different way. They have made assumptions that have turned out to be unwarranted.

I decided to approach the matter in an inverse way. For example, I started by identifying who Arthur was fighting against.

There are lots of reasons why they concluded he was fighting the anglo-saxons, I’m not ruling out that he may have done at some stage but 12 battles took place in Scotland against the Scots and Picts.

“The thing is you have a limited time scale. The first battle was in 495AD and the legend says that Arthur was selected at the age of 15.

That leaves you with a date between 475AD and 480AD as to when he was born.

We have a very small window and you have an individual with the right name and that fits all the necessary questions, there is nobody else so therefore that’s him.”

His study and conclusions appear in new book Arthur: Legend, Logic & Evidence, which is out this week.

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Merlin trail aims to conjure up visitors

A new trail uncovering the “true story” of Merlin hopes to attract visitors to southern Scotland.

It covers more than 30 sites in Dumfries and Galloway, the Scottish Borders and up into the central belt.

It has been developed by the Arthur Trail Association to encourage people to learn about what it calls the “real man” behind the legend.

It coincides with the launch of a permanent exhibition at Moffat Museum looking at the area in the Dark Ages.

A website for the trail has also been set up.

The magician Merlin is a key figure in Arthurian legend with many different versions of his story being told.

Robin Crichton, of the ATA, believes the mythical character is based on a real-life figure with strong connections to what are now southern Scotland and northern England

“Merlin was a man of learning which is a translation of the word druid,” he said.

“If you say druid you think of people in white frocks dancing around but he was a man of learning and one of the last great druids of the old religion.”

Research has led the Borders-based author and filmmaker to conclude that Merlin was the head of a clan based near Gretna which was annihilated by rivals in a bloody battle.

He believes that caused him to flee into the Southern Uplands, then part of the Caledonian Forest.

‘International legend’

“They say Merlin went mad with the horror of the slaughter, he took to the Caledonian Forest, fled north and holed up in a cave on Hartfell just outside Moffat where he lived for 10 years avoiding capture and living off what the forest could provide,” he said.

“That was a very, very hard life he was half-starved half the time.”

Mr Crichton is dismissive of counter-claims to Merlin’s story from Wales, Cornwall and France.

“Merlin was a Welsh speaker and Welsh was the language of the whole of southern Scotland at the time that he lived,” he said.

“But with the invasions of the Angles and various others the stories got shipped to Wales for safe keeping – they developed in Wales, they were borrowed by the Normans who relocated them to Cornwall, they were then relocated to France, to Brittany.

The south of Scotland theory was advanced by Nikolai Tolstoy in his book The Quest for Merlin 30 years ago.

“I think most people do agree that the earliest Merlin legend definitely belongs to this part of the world,” he said.

Regional archaeologist Andrew Nicholson also said Dumfries and Galloway had a case for links to Merlin.

“I think that Dumfriesshire as a whole has not only a good claim for Merlin, there are links that could be put through to Arthur as well, which is part of the Merlin story,” he said.

“It is certainly as good a claim as anywhere else.

“We have enough connections in the region to suggest that elements of the Merlin story undoubtedly did originate in this region.”

‘Boost tourism’

Mark Turner, who runs Solway Tours, described it as a “fantastic opportunity” to bring more people to the area.

“There are opportunities for this type of story to be told and I think there is a market out there across the world for these types of stories,” he said.

Mr Crichton also believes that is the case.

“In Brittany there is a Merlin trail which is purely the legend – that gets 150,000 visitors a year. This can do better than that,” he said.

“It can really boost cultural tourism because it is a totally international story.”

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Old Religion

The Old Religion is the magic of the Earth itself. It is the essence which binds all things together. It will last long beyond the time of men.

— Kilgharrah
The Old Religion is a term used to describe the formerly pervasive customs and practices of Camelot, and potentially Albion on a wider scale. The Old Religion is a form of extremely powerful magic notably followed by the Druids


The Old Religion describes the customs and way of life belonging to the magic users of the kingdom. It is based on the philosophy of a sacred balance between all people, creatures, and elements of the universe which must be eternally preserved. At the heart of the religion is the balance between life and death itself.

History and Practices

In the times of the Old Religion the High Priestesses would gather on Samhain Eve on the Isle of the Blessed where they could sacrifice a living human being to tear the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead. They also used dark magic to summon from the depths of the Underworld the Fomorroh, a creature they revered which would allow them to take over the minds of their enemies, binding them to their will.

During their war with ancient kings, the High Priestesses of the Old Religion took the blood of a serving girl and mixed it with the blood of a snake, thereby creating powerful monsters that wrought destruction upon male enemies. However, the Lamia proved to be more dangerous than their creators imagined; the High Priestesses lost control of them and the Lamia continued to kill, unwilling and unable to stop.

Following the practice of the Old Religion, in the event of an unjust death being brought to one of their own, the Druids would construct shrines to appease and bring rest to restless and tormented spirits, but if this shrine were to be disturbed, the troubled spirit would possess the individual who did so and seek revenge for their death.


The Old Religion describes the customs and way of life belonging to the magic users of the kingdom. It is based on the philosophy of a sacred balance between all people, creatures, and elements of the universe which must be eternally preserved. At the heart of the religion is the balance between life and death itself.

The structure of the Old Religion remains unknown, but brief revelations indicate that it was lead by the High Priests and High Priestesses, who were among the most talented and dedicated practitioners of magic. Of great significance to the Old Religion is the Isle of the Blessed, a place at which numerous feats of magic occurred.The Old Religion is structured and remains unknown.

Known High Priests and High Priestesses

  • Nimueh – a very powerful witch who was killed by Merlin. †

  • Morgause – a sorceress smuggled to the Priestesses as an infant. †

  • Morgana – a very powerful witch and also a High Priestess of the Triple Goddess and last of her kind. †

  • Alator – a Catha warrior and High Priest of the Old Religion. †

Significant Entities 

The Cailleach – the gatekeeper to the Spirit world – is an immortal being who appeared after Morgana sacrificed Morgause on the Isle of the Blessed, thus tearing the Veil between the living world and the Spirit world. The Cailleach appeared to take no side, simply demanding payment where it was due and revealing prophetic information to both Morgana and Merlin.

The Triple Goddess – is presumably the main deity of the Old Religion, though her role is not expanded upon.


The Old Religion? Is that something you were taught?”
“It’s not something you can learn. Either it’s a part of you or it isn’t.
— Merlin and Balinor[src]

Despite the ban of magic in Camelot, followers of the Old Religion still existed. A significant minority of these people appeared to use dark magic with the intent in acting revenge on the king due to the loss of loved ones during the Great Purge. Among these were Edwin MuirdenTauren and his band of renegade sorcerers.

Other notable followers were Gaius, though he relinquished the practices of the Old Religion while still maintaining a great respect and knowledge of it. The Great Dragon and other surviving sentient magical creatures are examples of creatures who continue to sustain the Old Religion.

Known Followers:

Thomas Collins †

Gregor Muirden †

The Fisher King †

Tauren †


The route of “Old Religion” is not specifically mentioned in either the show or the legends. Historically, the Old Religion appears to be a reference to the Celtic religion that existed in Britain prior to the Roman invasion during the 1st century AD. Like the Old Religion in the series, it had a complex system of gods, mythology and religious leaders, who appear to have been the druids. The religion more or less died out after the adoption of Christianity by the Roman Empire. Subsequently the British developed their own version – Celtic Christianity. This may be the “new religion” within Albion.

The three figures of the Triple Goddess are usually described as “The Maiden Huntress”, “The Mother Goddess” and “The Death Crone”, each of which symbolises both a separate stage in the female life cycle and a phase of the moon, and often rules one of the realms of earth, heavens and the underworld.

In the legends Arthur’s religion varies. Some retellings describe King Arthur as a pagan king, very toleranttowards differing religions as Merlin is often referred to as being a druid. Arthur would also have both pagans and christians in his army. In other versions, Arthur is seen as having Christian leanings, sometimes influenced by his wife, Guinevere, to the extent where he threatens and eradicates the existence of paganism in Britain.
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According to legend, the Glastonbury Tor is the The Isle of Avalon, burial site of King Arthur

Glastonbury Tor is a conical hill in Glastonbury,

Glastonbury Tor is a conical hill in Glastonbury, England, which is topped by a 14th-century roofless St Michael’s Tower. One of the most famous landmarks in Somerset, it is known as one of the most spiritual sites in the country.

Excavations on the Tor have revealed some Neolithic flint tools and Roman artifacts, indicating use since ancient times. The terracing on the side of the hill, if man-made, may also date from the Neolithic era.

The first monastic Church of St. Michael that stood on Glastonbury Tor was probably destroyed in the major earthquake of 1275. The church was rebuilt in the 14th century, and only the tower still stands today.

Its pagan beliefs are still very much celebrated. Rich in legend and mythological associations, Glastonbury Tor may have been a place of ancient ritual, and it was certainly a place of pilgrimage for Catholics in medieval times. Since at least the 12th century the Glastonbury area was frequently associated with the legend of King Arthur, a connection promoted by medieval monks who asserted that Glastonbury was Avalon.

The Tor seems to have been called Ynys yr Afalon (meaning “The Isle of Avalon”), and identified with King Arthur since the alleged discovery of his and Queen Guinevere’s neatly labeled coffins in 1191, recounted by Gerald of Wales. The remains were later moved and lost during the Reformation. Many scholars suspect that this discovery was a pious forgery to substantiate the antiquity of Glastonbury’s foundation and increase its renown. The Isle of Avalon was considered the meeting place of the dead, and the point where they passed to another level of existence.

The sides of the Tor have seven deep, roughly symmetrical terraces. Their formation remains a mystery with many possible explanations. One explanation is that they may have been formed as a result of natural differentiation between the layers of lias stone and clay used by farmers during the Middle Ages as terraced hills to make ploughing for crops easier. Other explanations suggested construction of defensive ramparts. Iron Age hill forts including the nearby Cadbury Castle in Somerset show evidence of extensive fortification of their slopes. Another suggestion, proposed by Geoffrey Russell in 1968, is that the terraces are the remains of a three-dimensional labyrinth that guided pilgrims up the sacred hill.

Archaeological excavations during the 20th century sought to clarify the background of the monument and church, but some aspects of their history remain unexplained.

Geplaatst in King Arthur

Angel Coulby

Zij is naast een geweldige actrice ook nog bijzonder mooi.

Het is niet dat ik de TV serie Merlin leuk vind, mooi vind, omdat zij daar in mee speelt. Om eerlijk te zijn: dat help wel natuurlijk. Maar ik vind se serie Merlin gewoon heel mooi. Een soort inspiratie bron voor me. De serie dan te verstaan.

Zij, Angel Coulby, is geboren op 30 augustus 1980 en is een Engelse actrice. Zij is vooral bekend geworden als Guinevere (Gwen) in de BBC TV serie Merlin.

Ze is geboren en op gegroeid in het Noorden van Londen. Later verhuisde zij zich naar Edinburg voor haar studie aan de Queen Margaret University.

Dat zij 62 aflevering in Merlin speelde als Queen Gwen, tussen 2008 en 2012. Verbaast eigenlijk niemand.

Van een smidse dochter en bediende tot Queen Guinevere. Ze hadden geen betere actrice kunnen nemen als Angel Coulby.

En als je zie in hoeveel films ze al heeft gespeeld, dan begrijp je pas dat je met een natuurtalent te maken heb.

Helaas, en zo blijk het allemaal te gaan ………. ze heeft rollen geaccepteerd waar ze haar borsten moest laten zien, maar waarom zo’n goede actrice ook nog geheel bloot moet gaan en een ander kan binnen gluren, vergeef ik haar maar.

Dat doet niets af aan haar acteer talent. Het is niet mijn ding.

Nu heb ik een hulp, die maar zo,n beetje 1x per maand bij me komt. Zij heeft een baan bij de hulp instantie Aafjes, waarin zij bepaalde dingen kan en mag doen. Voor al die hulp kom ik, god dank, niet in aanmerking. Ik hoef niet te spuiten, te zwachtelen met liften en zo geholpen worden.

En of er nu de duivel mee speelt, weet ik niet. Maar iedere keer als ik naar die serie wederom kijkt, komt zij wel even. En je mag dan een keer raden wat ze dan zeg?: heb jij alleen maar Merlin op DVD om naar te kijken.

Dus het word tijd voor me, dat ik weer naar Merlin kijkt, Dan kom zij weer (hahaha)

Geplaatst in King Arthur

James Mallory Merlin


Tovenaar Des Koning

Een book heb ik hier nog nooit besproken, maar eens moet de eerste keer zijn.

Van de week was ik in een tweedehands winkel, ik kocht daar iets, en toen zag ik voor slechts 1 euro dit boek staan.

Sinds mijn ongeluk een jaar of 6 geleden, heb ik de grootse moeite om iets te lezen. We doen het wel, maar waar het eigenlijk over gaat, weet ik veel. Toen ik dit boek zag staan, maakte ik een uitzondering.

Een ieder weet wel dat ik een grote fan van Robin Hood, The Musketeers en King Arthur. En als je bij King Arthur komt, kom de automatische in contact met de tovenaar Merlin. De 5 seizoenen van Merlin kijk ik dan ook regelmatig en met veel plezier.

Ik heb maar dvd’s/films die zowel met Merlin als met King Arthur te maken heeft. Dus toen ik dit boek zag staan, twijfelde ik geen moment. Thuis gekomen dat het geschreven was naar aan leiding van de de mini serie die ik op onderstaande link, al besprak.

Rutger Hauer speelde in 1998 mee in deze serie (2 DVD’s).

Toch is het vreemd om een boek te lezen waarvan je de twee delige serie al zo vaak heb gezien. Je heb zo de neiging om bepaalde beelden op te roepen.

Maar het is in ieder geval leuk om er een boek over gelezen te hebben.

Geplaatst in King Arthur

Prince Valiant: Vol 14: 1963-1964 – The Arthurian Plot Slowly Thickens

King Arthur’s Children, Raised in Twenty-First Century, Time Travel Back to Camelot

April 29, 2017 by childrenofarthur

The Ring of Morgana by Donna Hosie is the first volume in The Children of Camelot Series. As most of my readers of this blog know, in my book King Arthur’s Children (2010) I predicted that the trend to continue to create children for King Arthur to carry the Arthurian story forward would continue and this novel is further indication I was correct. In fact, it was published in 2014, the same year I began publishing my five-volume The Children of Arthur historical fantasy series, detailing King Arthur’s descendants from the sixth to twenty-first centuries.

Hosie’s novel is in some ways similar but in others very different to my own series. It also begins in the twenty-first century. We are introduced to sixteen-year-old Mila Roth and her ten-year-old sister, Lilly. They live in Wales in a house called Avalon Cottage, which is rumored to be haunted. The truth, though, is that Mila and Lilly’s parents have some secrets they’ve been keeping from their daughters, including that they possess a mysterious sapphire ring. I won’t go into the full details of the plot (spoiler alert though that I will give quite a bit away), but basically, Lilly gets ahold of the ring, puts it on her finger, and it begins to make her deadly sick. This situation results in numerous secrets coming out, including that Mila and Lilly’s dad is King Arthur and their mother, although she goes by the name Sam, or Lady Samantha, is apparently really Morgana, a Gorian priestess.

So yes, we have another novel with King Arthur having daughters. What is interesting from here on is that Morgana is the mother of two girls. As the novel progresses, there is no indication that Morgana is the mother of Mordred, as is more typical in Arthurian fiction. Mordred is referenced in the novel (he’s already dead), but it is never stated that he is in any way related to Arthur or Morgana. (Here I should point out that this novel was written after Hosie wrote her The Return to Camelot Trilogy, which I have not read, but which seems to be a prelude to this novel. Consequently, certain details of this book’s plot I may have not understood as thoroughly as if I had read that series first—I was unaware at the time I bought this book that it was linked to Hosie’s earlier series.)

In order to save Lilly, it is necessary for the Roth family (why did Hosie choose that name? It’s not Welsh) to travel back in time to Camelot. Here I think is the only real fault of the novel. Hosie has her characters travel back in time one thousand years—this date is preposterous to me because it would suggest they go back to the year 1014 A.D., give or take a few years. They arrive in the kingdom of Logres at Glastonbury and then travel to Camelot. This year is about 500 years too late. In 1014, Ethelred the Unready was King of all of England and a Saxon king. The novel states that Mila was born during the Battle of Mount Badon, the traditional date of which is 516 and when King Arthur and his Welsh/Celtic contemporaries would have likely lived. A few other historical oddities exist in the novel in terms of some of the name choices—Mila’s aunt is named Natasha and she’s married to Bedivere—Natasha is a Russian name. No one in medieval Britain would have had that name. (Plus, Bedivere is an English version of the Welsh Bedwyr, which I used in my own novels.) Some of the other name choices are equally odd.

In any case, the family arrives back in medieval Logres. Along with them comes Mila’s best friend, Rustin. I mention him, although he’s not related to Arthur, because he plays a significant role in the plot and the sequel book Quest of the Artisan will apparently focus on Rustin, who enjoys woodworking and becomes known as the Artisan in this novel.

The plot now revolves around Merlin trying to heal Lilly while the family reside at Camelot—ruled by Guinevere, who is in love with Lancelot. (The romance dynamics of the novel seem to assume the reader read the earlier series since I never figured out how Arthur and Guinevere must be married, yet he lives in the twenty-first century with Sam/Morgana). Guinevere is childless as usual, but she is very gracious to Arthur and his daughters, who until now have lived in the twenty-first century since it’s apparently safer for them there.

It turns out that Mila must do battle with Nimue in order to save Lilly—this also relates back to themes in the earlier novels—apparently Nimue had some sort of romantic crush on Arthur that caused trouble.

In the end, Mila succeeds and Lilly is healed, and then everyone returns to the twenty-first century, but Rustin is unhappy and decides to figure out how to return to Camelot.

One final point of interest in terms of treatments of King Arthur and his children should be mentioned here. Mordred is dead at the time of the novel. However, he has a son, Melehan, who is about Rustin and Mila’s age and is under the care of Sir Gareth (presumably his uncle). Melehan is traditionally the name of Mordred’s son, which usually would make him King Arthur’s grandson (in my own Children of Arthur series, I used the alternative spelling Meleon; there he is the son of Mordred and grandson of Arthur and Morgana). Mordred does not seem to be related to Arthur in this novel so that means Melehan is not one of Arthur’s descendants.

The novel closes with Melehan traveling to the twenty-first century to meet Mila and tell her he has much to tell her about Rustin and the others back in Camelot, leaving the ending open for a sequel.

I’ll conclude by saying that I thought The Ring of Morgana a very readable and interesting novel. I especially enjoyed the realistic depiction of Mila and her teenage friends in Wales. The build-up of Mila learning the truth about her family and background were all well-done. I admit I was less interested in Mila’s battle with Nimue to save her sister than in the other parts of the novel, but overall, it is one of the better Arthurian novels I have read in recent years and should appeal to young adults as well as anyone who enjoys a more science fiction/time-travel type of Arthurian novel. Those who are diehard fans of historical fiction and a more traditional Arthurian storyline will find it less appealing.

Stay tuned for a future blog about the novel’s sequel, Quest of the Artisan, and perhaps more blogs about The Return to Camelot trilogy.

Geplaatst in King Arthur

Arthur and the Kings of Britain

by Miles Russell 

Howard Wiseman’s Reviews >

(I read this as a google-play e-book.) Russell is an archaeologist. I quite liked his earlier book “Bloodline”, a somewhat revisionist history about the first 150 years of relations between Romans and Britons (c.50 BCE – 100 CE), based on the contemporary histories, and archaeological finds.

This book obviously grew out of his interest in that same period, but is far less satisfactory. The bulk of the book is a reëxamination of the 12th Century Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain) by Geoffrey of Monmouth, which covers the period c.1200 BCE to c.700 CE. That book is widely regarded as almost entirely fiction, composed by Geoffrey himself. But Russell claims that most of it is actually based on lost British sources from the period mentioned above, c.50 BCE – 100 CE. This is an extraordinary claim, as there is no hint of any such records(*) and nor do native legends of this type survive from any of the illiterate tribes that Rome conquered anywhere in Europe, as far as I’m aware. 

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Unfortunately, the evidence Russell provides is extraordinary only for its flimsiness, given his academic background. His methodology is that of pseudo-historian, or, one might even say, that of the conspiracy theorist:

* Far too often, ideas that begin as “Could it be …” questions in one chapter become facts by the next chapter.

  • Every mention of Cornwall (to take an example) by Geoffrey becomes, for Russell, a mention of the Catuvellauni from the area north of London. There is no justification for this other than it fits his preconceived hypothesis. The same sorts of claims are made of other place names.

  • * King Cunobelinus (to take an example), according to  Russell, appears with multiple different names in multiple different centuries in Geoffrey’s narrative. Similar claims are made for just about every important Briton in the historical record in Russell’s period of interest, c.50 BCE – 100 CE. I am no linguist, but I know enough to tell that Russell is no linguist either, as he gives no scholarly analysis of how each of these numerous name transformations could occur.

  • * No rigorous argument (involving postulated specific texts with transmission histories) is given to explain how Geoffrey could have ended up with so many distorted versions of genuine legends from more than 1000 years earlier. 

Russell also makes claims beyond that early period e.g. that the Saxon Aelle was actually the Romano-Briton Ambrosius Aurelianus, and that Arthur “cannot have existed”, which are equally baseless. For the reader looking for an introduction to Geoffrey of Monmouth’s pseudohistory, and its relation to real history, I suggest Geoffrey Ashe’s “Kings and Queens of Early Britain”. It is not only better written and more entertaining; it is also a far better guide to the actual value of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s work as history. For the reader interested in the period when Rome came to rule Britain, stick to Russell’s earlier book. In both cases, steer clear of this one. 

(*) A few similar legends do appear in the 9th Century Historia Brittonum, but this is not surprising since Geoffrey almost certainly did use this as one of his sources.

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Ultraviolet light reveals hidden text in ancient book of Arthurian stories

Scholars in Wales have discovered that parts of one of the most important books in Welsh history was erased and some of the texts on its animal-skin pages overwritten. The book is titled The Black Book of Camarthen and includes Arthurian stories, Christian prayers and poetry.

In passages that were not erased, Merlin, Arthur, Cuchulainn, Uther Pendragon, the hero Gereint, the poet Taliesin, Cyridwen, Fairy King Gwyn ap Nudd and other figures of Dark Ages legend, myth and tall tale make appearances in the 750-year-old, 54-page book. It is the oldest known surviving book entirely in the Welsh language and has some of the earliest references to Myrddin (Merlin) and Arthur.

The verse portrays Arthur and Myrddin (Merlin) before they were king and wise counselor to kings, respectively. In one poem, Arthur is a supplicant to enter the court of a king. Myrddin is a wild man driven mad in battle and extolling the virtues of trees.


Professor Paul Russell and Myriah Williams of the Cambridge Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic told Past Horizons that a man who owned the book in the 16 th century, probably Jaspar Gryffyth, erased verse, doodles and marginalia that had been added to the manuscript over the centuries as it changed hands.

Using photo-editing software and ultraviolet light to examine the vellum pages, the scholars revealed poetry that is unknown in the Welsh canon. The poems are fragmentary, but they hope with further analysis they can read the text, which they think is the ending of a poem on a preceding page and a new poem at the bottom of the page.

Past Horizons quotes Williams as saying:

The margins of manuscripts often contain medieval and early modern reactions to the text, and these can cast light on what our ancestors thought about what they were reading. The Black Book was particularly heavily annotated before the end of the 16th century, and the recovery of erasure has much to tell us about what was already there and can change our understanding of it “

In text that was not erased, the Black Book contains the oldest known poem about Arthur. He seems to be the leader of a band of warriors seeking entrance to the court of a king. He tries to persuade a king to allow him to enter by extolling the virtues of his heroes:

Arthur distributed gifts,
The blood trickled down.
In the hail of Awarnach,
Fighting with a hag,
He cleft the head of Paiach.
In the fastnesses of Dissethach,
In Mynyd Eiddyn,
He contended with Cynvyn;
By the hundred there they fell,
There they fell by the hundred,
Before the accomplished Bedwyr.
On the strands of Trywruid,
Contending with Garwlwyd,
Brave was his disposition,
With sword and shield;
Vanity were the foremost men
Compared with Cai in the battle.
The sword in the battle
Was unerring in his hand.
They were stanch commanders
Of a legion for the benefit of the country- Bedwyr and Bridlaw;
Nine hundred would to them listen;
Six hundred gasping for breath
Would be the cost of attacking them.
Servants I have had,
Better it was when they were.

This is a translation of Old Welsh into modern English. The book can be read, except for a few chapters, at the Celtic Literature Collective . “Currently housed at the National Library in Wales, the Black Book of Carmarthen (Peniarth MS 1) is a manuscript dating to the middle of the thirteenth century. It is believed to have been the work of a single scribe at the Priory of St. John in Carmarthen,” says the Celtic Literature Collective introduction to the book.

In the prayer “ A Skillful Composition ,” the writer expresses how impossible it is to convey in language the power of God. An excerpt:

A skillful composition, the pattern being from God,
A composition, the language, beautiful and pleasant, from Christ.
And should there be a language all complete around the sun,
On as many pivots as there are under the seat,
On as many winged ones as the Almighty made,
And should every one have thrice three hundred tongues,
They could not relate the power of the Trinity.

The Celtic Literature Collection says of two poems attributed to Merlin, “The poems are often attributed to Myrddin, as one of his ‘prophetic’ poems made during his madness in Celydon.” Merlin had a “wild man” phase before he became the wise counselor of four British kings, though it’s possible Scottish stories of Lailoken were attached to Myrddin in the Middle Ages.

As a source for Myrddin as a wild man of the woods, the webpage Arthuriana : Myrddin/Merlin names several poems, including “ The Apple Trees ” and “ The Dialogue of Myrddin and Taliesen ” from the Black Book of Carmarthen . The webpage states:

In most of these poems the subject – who is either named as Myrddin or is generally assumed to be him – is portrayed as a Wild Man of the Woods living in Coed Celyddon (the ‘Caledonian Forest’), where he has fled to after losing his reason (‘wandering with madness and madmen’) in the northern battle of Arfderydd, fought between rival chieftains c. 573 A.D.; with this lapse into madness Myrddin is said to have acquired the gift of prophecy. The antiquity of these traditions is however suspect, at least in their attachment to Myrddin. In Scottish sources there is a virtually identical tale of a Wild Man to that summarized above, but in these he is named Lailoken rather than Myrddin.”

Past Horizons calls the book a labor of love and says, “Despite its value today, the Black Book of Carmarthen (so called because of the color of its binding) was not an elaborate production, but rather the work of a single scribe who was probably collecting and recording over a long period of his life.”

Geplaatst in King Arthur

Who Was King Arthur Really?


Posted on April 25, 2015 by Nu Christ

Who was King Arthur, the mysterious Celtic king, who defended the post-Roman England against the Saxon invaders without leaving any historic records?

who-was-arthur-reallyThe origin of the name Arthur or Arturus is as obscure as his life. It’s an artificial word that can be linked to meanings like bearman, or king. Some etymologists suggest that it could also stem from the Latin name Artōrius. According to Latin Gematria, Arturus adds up to 106, the same value as the Hebrew for the phrase Yah’s messenger (MLAKYH), counselor or emperor (MLYKV), and the phrase He praises God (YHLLAL). These associations give us a first clue that King Arthur wasn’t a king-king, but a metaphor for someone or something else.

King Arthur’s Father Uther Pendragon

Uther Pendragon means The Terrible, the Head of the Dragon (Uther stems from the Welsh uthr, meaning terrible). Since ancient times, the dragon symbolizes the raw, bodily life-power that animates living beings. In the East the dragon-power or snake-force is known as Kundalini.

Stepping on the dragon’s head is a metaphor for controlling the dragon-force and engaging it in the great work – the spiritualization of personality (the chariot). The control over the dragon-force is also illustrated by the Pentagram, the symbol of white magic.


The upper most tip represents the human soul (as well as spirit or ether) and the lower four tips the four elements. Everything is fine as long as we are on top of the four elements. Otherwise the elements push us around and the Pentagram turns into a symbol of black magic. That’s when the dragon gets a head and it seems that the elements have intelligence and power over our soul.

Some Mary and Fortuna statues step on a serpent’s head. These women symbolize a pure and balanced mind. The control of the dragon-force is also illustrated in Tarot card 8, (the red lion is the same thing as the serpent force). Tarot card 8 shows that strength (the Secret of All Spiritual Activities) is a matter of habit (the woman represents subconsciousness) and love (the wreath of roses formed like the number eight).

So, who was Uther Pendagron? Uther stands for our (terrible) ego or immature self-consciousness. In it’s natural state, our ego is competitive and cunning; hence, it doesn’t surprise that Uther was a warlord. As the head of the dragon he employed the life-power for selfish ends.

Uther died on the battlefield when he was challenged by Odin in disguise. This has a deeper meaning too: since God (Odin) is everything, every adversary (karma) is Odin in disguise.

On a side note: The 20th lunar mansion, Ardra, is ruled by the dragon’s head. People born in this lunar mansion may be attracted to black magic, sorcery, exorcism, crime, and can have a cunning inclination.

King Arthur’s Childhood

If Uther symbolizes a selfish ego, what does his son Arthur stand for?

Arthur was conceived without Uther’s knowledge, who died before he could receive the good news. Arthur grew up under the patronage of a foster father – Merlin, the famous wizard. Successors are supposed to take their parent’s legacy to a new level, so, Arthur stands for a spiritually awakened self-consciousness. He hadn’t perfected the great work yet, he had just seen the light and realized that there is more to life than justconquering and ruling.

In this respect, Arthur compares to Israel. Israel means He-Who-Shall-Rule-As-God-Rules. Israel is a promise: perform the great work and you will be in control like God (Israel began the great work and Jesus Christ perfected it).

On a side note: covenant means promise too, it’s God’s promise to give us a splendid life after we accomplish the great work.

Merlin, The Hierophant

Merlin was not just a Celtic wizard, he stands for wisdom in general, as well as the sixth sense (intuition), and the small inner voice – the priest whisperer. He is pictured in Tarot card 5 as the hierophant or instructor of mysteries.

Are you surprised by the fact that Merlin already instructed and assisted the selfish Uther? Don’t be. We are always guided, however, materialistic our agenda. Mind that Jesus Christ began as Jesus, the Nazarene, and Nazareth means guided-one.

Merlin had the gift of the third eye. Once, a Celtic king tried to build a mountain fortress, but the mountain kept shaking and the building collapsing. Deep inside the mountain, Merlin saw two dragons – a white and a red one – living in a subterranean pool. These two were continuously quarreling and kept the mountain shaking. Superficially, this was  interpreted as the Celtic-Saxon war that kept troubling the kingdom of England; however, the red and white dragon could also be taken as the two sidekicks of Kundalini, the male and female forces winding around the spine through the nadis Ida and Pingala. The depth of the mountain is the base of the spine sometimes referred to as an abyss.

On a side note: The Old Testament equivalent of Kundalini is Leviathan. Leviathan means coiled or twisted. The Wikipedia article gives thirty-four quotes, mainly from Job 41. Mind this one: Can you pull in the leviathan with a fishhook or tie down his tongue with a rope? The fish-hook is Tzaddi, the letter associated with Tarot card 17, The Star, which signifies – among other things – meditation.

On a second side note: the red and white dragon may also represent the white (2nd) and red (3rd) stage of the great work.

On a third side note: the first picture Merlin and the Knight hints at Tarot card 7, the Chariot. The chariot represents personality, the sphinxes the senses, the (invisible) reigns the mind and the charioteer the Higher Self. Why is there also a knight in that picture? The knight is the ego (King Arthur), like Arjuna and Chrishna in the Bhagavad Gita.

Uther’s Sword

Whoever takes the sword will perish by the sword. – Jesus Christ.

Since Uther didn’t know that he had a legal heir when he died on the battlefield, he couldn’t appoint Arthur as his successor and therefore drove his sword into a rock, leaving it for the rightful heir to draw it out and claim kingship.

In spiritual psychology, the sword symbolizes the intellect (the mental ability to differentiate). The intellect is tempered through experiences – that’s Uther’s heritage. The sword in the rock, however, is a beautiful Alchemical image: the rock signifies the Philosopher’s Stone, the universal substance, or First Matter. Pulling the sword out of the stone means to discover the First Matter and that event is known to kick off the great work.

On a side note: in the Norse mythology of Siegfried his father Siegmund draws the sword out of a tree trunk (the Tree of Life).

Arthur was fifteen when he claimed the sword and kingship. 15 is an important number in Hebrew Gematria, since it’s the number of Yah – a short-form of Jehovah. Yah and Jehovah are associated with Chokmah (wisdom) and Hod (splendor), the 8th Sephirah, the latter signifying intellectual comprehension of wisdom. This is Israel’s state of mind, a person who is performing the great work – such a person has already an intellectual grasp of spiritual truths, but hasn’t achieved a full realization or gnosis yet.

Noteworthy, 15 is also the number of Abib (ABYB), the month of Exodus, which signifies the departure from a materialistic lifestyle (Egypt and the pharaoh – Uther) and the embarkation on the spiritual journey – the great work.


I didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword. – Jesus Christ.

Naturally, our intellect is separative and often deluded. As Einstein said: We should take care not to make the intellect our god. It has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.

In its natural state, the intellect can be equaled with Satan, the Slanderer and Mother of Lies and yes, Satan is an inner demon – an unregenerated intellect as Jung put it.

As long as we are like Uther, caught in a separative state of mind, we use our intellect mostly to analyze or destroy. And this holds true for a long time while we are already performing the great work. We tend to knock down our spiritual roadblocks, instead of working on our weaknesses. That’s why Uther’s sword didn’t last. When King Arthur met Lancelot, he destroyed the sword by stubbornly trying to subdue one of his personal traits (Lancelot is likely to signify Scorpio and sexuality).

King Arthur received a new, regenerated intellect in the form of Excalibur. The earliest form of Excalibur, Caladfwlch (Welsh), means Hard Lightning. Mind that both – steel and lightning – are associated with the planet Mars and Tarot card 16, The Tower. Later, Caladfwlch metamorphosed into Caliburn (meaning to cut steel) and became Excalibur in the French version of the King Arthur’s myth. The Latinization of Excalibur, Caliburnus, has some interesting Gematria in store for us. Caliburnus adds up to 108, as does the Hebrew for to grasp, to hold (AZQ) – that’s the intellect again. The second interesting association is the Hebrew for to be sharp as well as to be gold (spelled ChMS). The latter hints at the intellect’s ambivalence and its transformation into Mercury, the Universal Solvent (that’s Alchemy).

The sword bearer was a woman known by various names. The two most important are Nimue and Vivienne. Nimue was a water goddess. This links back to the Gematria of Caliburnus, since 108 is also the value of MNHYG, meaning driver. MNHYG is used in the phrase MNHYG H’AChDVTh, Driver of Unities or Driver of the Chariot (we are back to the first post picture). This is the title of the 13th path on the Tree of Life, the path of Gimel, connecting Kether and Tiphareth, the Father and the Son. Gimel is the letter of Tarot card 2, the High Priestess. Have a look and you won’t have difficulties understanding who Nimue is.

On a side note: Nimue or the High Priestess is also the clue to the spiritual meaning of Christ’s virgin birth. Mind that the literal meaning of knight is Christ-awakened-being (Israel or King Arthur).

On a second side note: 108 is also the value of MYNCh, which are the waters of Noah giving a clue to the meaning of the deluge in the context of the great work. The water of the deluge originates in the robe of the High Priestess, the deluge is shown in Tarot card 20, Judgment.

Vivienne, the Lady of the Lake, gives us a bigger picture since she had been Merlin’s spouse. When he was young, Merlin had fallen in love with Vivienne and transferred all his wisdom to her. Viviane (ab)used her powers to imprison Merlin. The stories differ in describing Merlin’s trap, sometimes it’s a spiral crystal tower suspended in the air, sometimes a tree trunk, and sometimes beneath a stone. This story  is a beautiful allegory of Chokmah’s and Binah’s interaction on the Tree of Life. Binah receives and encapsulates the life-power that she receives from Chokmah into her substance. As she does so, she creates the World’s Light, the heavenly substance from which all universes were created, formed, and made.

This concurs with Genesis 1.2-3 where Elohim’s waters receive the Spirit and produce the world’s light. Mind that one of Binah’s title is the Great Sea, meaning she is the mother of Vivienne, the Lake Lady. Why is Vivienne Binah’s daughter? Because Binah is concerned with creation and Vivienne with evolution. Accordingly, Excalibur is the sword of evolution. Excalibur wasn’t drawn out of the stone (the First Matter), but out of the water, the heavenly substance, which is known as the Kingdom of Heaven (Jesus), the Stone of the Wise (Alchemy) or the Sacred Grail (the King Arthur myth).


On a side note: the relationship between God Mother (Binah) and Vivienne provides a clue to the understanding of the two Shekinah – the heavenly and earthy.

Jesus’ Two Swords

Uther’s sword is the sword of creation. Creation proceeds by continuous division, starting with God (in the beginning Elohim separated the heaven and earth), and carries on until the appearance of the infinite kaleidoscope – the physical universe.

The sword of creation is sacred, but can become destructive in the affairs of humans. That’s the sword by which we will perish in case we take and keep it.

Excalibur, on the other hand, is the sword that Jesus brought instead of peace, but mind that he didn’t mean people, but rather ignorance and selfishness. Excalibur is destructive too, but only to wrong thinking and negative feeling. It is wielded by the woman in Tarot card 11, Justice, who eliminates and cuts away all errors until only truth and love remains. Noteworthy, the Astrological connection of Tarot card 11 is Libra, which rules the kidneys, who eliminate bodily waste.

Having said all this, these two swords are still one and the same (understanding). There aren’t two swords only two way of using it. This is shown by the Gematria of 67, which includes Binah, zain (ZYN, sword), but also the Latin Jesus.

King Arthur’s Kingship

The word King rings a clear bell in the ears attuned to Qabalah. It’s a title of Tiphareth, the sixth Sephirah, which is the sphere of Adam and Christ, who symbolize the One Self of mankind. Mind that in a spiritual context, King Arthur didn’t become king. With the help of Excalibur and the High Priestess he became aware of his true identity and resurrected the Inner Christ, who reclaimed his kingship over personality. This is the true meaning of the Second Coming of Christ.

His kingdom is, of course, Malkuth (literally kingdom), which signifies either the physical universe or the physical body.

King Arthur and Queen Guinevere

King Arthur’s wife and queen was Guinevere, which means White Enchantress, or Fair Fay. In Qabalah, both queen and bride refer to Malkuth, in particular, the matter from which the physical universe and body are made. Accordingly, Guinevere wasn’t a woman-woman, but rather the First Matter. On the Tree of Life, she rules Yesod, the Purified Intelligence – that’s where Guinevere’s fairness comes in. Mind that fair has various meanings, such as white, pure, just, bright, beautiful, and benign.

On a side note: the side story of Guinevere becoming the lover of Lancelot, the greatest knight, hints at the secret relationship between Mars and Venus. Mind also that Yesod is the seat of the regenerative powers of the world – the Mars force.

King Arthur’s Kingdom

The capital of King Arthur’s kingdom (the physical universe or physical body) was Camelot. The etymology of Camelot is obscure as well. Taken as a Latin word, it adds up to 61, offering the following Geometrical associations: gen (γην, Greek for earth), materia (Latin for substance), and the adown (ADVN, the Hebrew for master or lord.). Adonai is the name under which God rules Malkuth, the physical universe.

But the Gematria of 61 also hints at the physical body, since it embraces the terms NVH (Hebrew for home or habitation) and aniy (ANY, the Hebrew for I or myself), symbolizing our self-consciousness – that which inhabits and rules the body.

Camelot stood besides a river, downstream from a place called Astolat. Not much is said about Astolat, except that it was the home of the fair maidenElaine. Taking the word downstream as a clue, Astolat would be Yesod as well. The downwards stream is mezla, the Influence, that originates in Kether and flows through all Sephiroth and paths. Mezla turns into a four-fold stream when it flows into Malkuth. This rhymes with the four-fold river that flows out of the Garden of Eden (likely to be Yesod as well).

Camelot was surrounded by large plains and forests (Yesod’s fertility), and owned a magnificent cathedral, referring to the fact that the human body is God’s temple. In this respect, Camelot is Kether of Malkuth (Yekhidah, the Indivisible).

When the great work is accomplished, Camelot will descend and turn the body into the New Jerusalem, a city that isn’t in need of a temple anymore, since it can host God and Christ. The New Jerusalem was described as a cube with twelve gates, which signify the twelve zodiacs. Analogue, the center of Camelot was the king’s court that hosted the Knight’s Round Table of twelve seats (just like Jesus’ twelve disciples).

The Sacred Grail

The Grail Quest is an allegory of the great work. It’s a complex subject and deserves a blog post on its own. Interesting for this post is the fact that the Sacred Grail healed King Arthur’s illness that caused him and the entire kingdom (Malkuth, the body) to deteriorate. When the Sacred Grail was found and brought to King Arthur, he had a vision and exclaimed that the king and his kingdom are one. This refers to the Alchemical secret that the First Matter (Yesod or Malkuth’s substance) is identical with mankind (the Cosmic Christ) – that’s the same thing as the affinity between Christ and the Sacred Spirit.

King Arthur’s Death

King Arthur died in a battle fighting his son Mordred, who was either his nephew (and knight) or his son conceived by his sister Morgan Le Fey in incest. In a spiritual context, incest isn’t a big deal, even Biblical patriarchs committed a lot of incests without God complaining. Why is this so? Because we are talking about the marriage of forces and powers, not people.

Anyways, Mordred was a cunning person and therefore represents our selfish ego that tries to usurp personality as long as it exists (same as Uther). It continuously fights back while we perform the great work (even Solomon was still fallible).

King Arthur’s final battle indicates an important milestone of the great work: when constructive and destructive mental forces assimilate each other into a spiritual state of mind – beyond good and evil. Another mystical description of this battle is Ragnaroek, the dawn of the gods, during which ambivalent gods kill each other to give way to a new world. The death of King Arthur and Mordred is paralleled by the duel between Heimdallr, the god of wisdom, and Loki, the mischievous god prankster (the intellect).

King Arthur’s After-Life

After King Arthur died, he migrated to Avalon – the legendary Celtic island. Avalon is derived from the Welsh afal, meaning apple. It has titles like the Island of the Blessed or Fortunate Island, since its fruits and crops grow magically and abundantly. The queen of Avalon was Morgan Le Fay. She was one of nine sisters – and yes we are back to Yesod, the ninth Sephirah on the Tree of Life (Avalon and Astolat may be two alternative names for the same realm).

On a side note: Morgan Le Fay was both King Arthur’s antagonist and rescuer (she healed him from his wounds, and she’s hugging him in the picture). This hints at the secret relationship between the Redeemer and Adversary, we elaborated in this post

Why All This Secrecy About King Arthur?

Well, at the time the King Arthur myth was fabricated, it was quite dangerous to promote spirituality, except in the forms that were sanctioned by the church. It is quite likely that Jesus Christ’s esoteric tradition found a temporary haven in British monasteries, remote from Italy and the Vatican. And it is likely too that the secret custodians of the great work wrapped the Arthur myth in chivalric storylines in order to catalyze its distribution (chivalric stories and songs were very much in fashion that time). They would do the same thing a few centuries later, by creating the Tarot and distributing ageless wisdom disguised as playing cards.

King Arthur’s Return

A couple of stories indicate that King Arthur didn’t die during his last battle, but was brought to Avalon to heal from his wounds. Supposedly, the king that was and shall be, is waiting there to return to Britain in the time of its greatest need – just like Jesus Christ – and bring back the Golden Age.

In a psychological context, King Arthur returns every time a baby is born. Each one of us is born as a King or Queen Arthur. Every one of us will, one day, see the light and draw the sword out of the stone. And when we work hard enough on our spiritual career, we will also receive Excalibur from the High Priestess and send out our twelve knights (twelve zodiacs) to seek the Sacred Grail.

In a spiritual context, King Arthur stands for the savior or liberator. But don’t think the Messiah (Christ) is a person. It’s  a power, an inner power to be precise. And as such it returns a few times every day to knock at the door of your mind, hoping you will allow more spirituality to enter into your mind and life.

Featured image attribution: “Merlin and the Knight” by Unknown engraver – The Rose, 1847, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

(1) “Idylls of the King 15″. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

(2) “Beguiling of Merlin” by Edward Burne-Jones – Scanned from Wildman, Stephen: Edward Burne-Jones: Victorian Artist-Dreamer, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1998, ISBN 0870998595. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –

(3) “Ladyofthelake1″ by Alfred Kappes – Taken from English Wikipedia at [1]. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

(4) “Merlin And Vivien by Speed Lancelot” by Speed Lancelot (1860-1931) – The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights, 1912., 9th edition. Ed. Sir James Knowles, K. C. V. O. London; New York: Frederick Warne and Co., 1912. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

(5) “Idylls of the King 3″ by Gustave Doré – Enid, by Lord Alfred Tennyson. London: Edward Moxon & Co., 1868. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

(6) “How Mordred was Slain by Arthur” by Arthur Rackham – The Camelot Project Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

(7) “Frank William Warwick Topham Voyage of King Arthur and Morgan Le Fay to the Isle of Avalon 1888″ by Frank William Warwick Topham (1838-1924) – Sotheby’s New York, 27. Januar 2012, N08826, lot 652. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons