King Arthur - Essay Example

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Apparently, despite the fact that popular lore makes him out to be a Benedictine monk, this does not match up with the actual…
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Geoffrey of Monmouth” by David Nash Ford “Geoffrey of Monmouth” is an essay discussing the life and times of the so d historical figure responsible for many of the King Arthur tales. Apparently, despite the fact that popular lore makes him out to be a Benedictine monk, this does not match up with the actual timeline of his life. For example, some of the landmarks attributed to his life did not exist until centuries after his death. In actuality, he was a teacher at Collegiate Church of St. George in Oxford, and also began his career as a writer there.
One writing that is attributed to Geoffrey is the “Prophesies of Merlin”, which were ancient Celtic verse that Geoffrey translated into Latin and may have embellished. Geoffrey also translated an ancient book titled “History of the Kings of Britian”, which was most likely highly elaborated upon in his hands. This was the first work to cover the life of King Arthur in much detail. It was taken as truth until around the 17th century. Modern historians trace much of the content of Geoffreys “History” to Celtic mythology and other Breton writings, as well as some historical works tying the content back to actual events of the time period.
“Life of Merlin”, another of Geoffreys writings, was both written and placed into the timeline after “History of the Kings of Britian”. However, since Merlin appeared in the original “History” as well, his role was made more mythical by extending his lifespan to an impossible degree. Geoffrey did this in order to make the events in “Life of Merlin” and “History” agree with each other, even though it is most likely that the Merlin from “History” and the Merlin in “Life of Merlin” were two different people.
As a reward for his work, Geoffrey was first named Bishop of St. Asaphs and then Archbishop Theobald. However, he was unable to fill this role well due to the Welsh revolution that was taking place. In addition, he died shortly after being named Archbishop, and was never really able to enjoy being elected to the position.
I selected this reading because it is more interesting for me to learn about real historical figures and the background of the stories than it is to study the life of characters that never existed. Geoffrey of Monmouth is the man responsible for the popularity of the Arthur stories we know and love today; this alone makes him worthy of further study. This reading attempts to be as historically accurate as is possible. There are probably errors, given the scarcity of records that remain about Geoffrey of Monmouth as well as the ways in which popular folklore differs from the historical records, but it seems to be a true account of the mans life.
However, as a historical reading, it is difficult to determine a moral for the story. This essay was written to convey information, not to prove a point or give a moral. About the only moral factor that can be considered is the way in which 17th century scholars were quick to condemn Geoffrey for embellishing and exaggerating the stories of Arthur. It is clear that modern viewpoints make a distinction between “lying” and “fiction” that historical scholars and readers do not. Read More
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