Geoffrey Ashe, the author of A Guidebook to Arthurian Britain, Avalonian Quest, and The Quest for Arthur's Britain, is a historian and chairman of Debrett's Arthurian committee.
Myths, legends, and literary mysteries mix with maps, relics, and historical facts in The Discovery of King Arthur. Scholars, students, and general readers of all ages have wondered—for centuries—about whether Britain was ever really ruled by an Arthur who held court at a place called Camelot. In this book, the distinguished scholar Geoffrey Ashe offers convincing proof that King Arthur not only existed, but was more like the Arthur of legend than historians have previously suspected.
In this exciting study, drawing upon myriad sources both literary and historical, Ashe traces the legend of King Arthur to its roots in the twelfth-century chronicles of Geoffrey of Monmouth. He then illustrates that a great deal of Geoffrey's history, which set out ot depict events and persons of fifth-century Britain, was based on fact. After challenging previous assumptions about where Arthur's court and other remnants can be found, Ashe identifies the real King Arthur and provides powerful evidence to support his theory.
Riothamus, an actual fifth-century British monarch, is the figure whom Ashe painstakingly identifies. But his study also investigates the histories behind other Arthurian phenomena, such as the key concepts of knighthood and chivalry. Throughout the book, the swep and grandeur of a tumultuous era in British and European history is vividly recounted as Ashe describes the origins and development of the Arthurian legend—a legend that seems to grow ever more enchanting and spellbinding.
"Ashe is not the first historian to conclude that a real British ruler lurks behind the fantastic extravagances of Arthurian legend, but he is the first to locate a plausible and historically recorded candidate for the honor. He makes a good case for his man, and his account of tracking the fellow down is as intriguing as a detective story."—The Atlantic
"As Ashe eloquently illustrates . . . the true importance of Arthur (and Camelot) does not reside in a possible fifth-century monarch . . . The power of Arthurus Rex lies in humanity's need to believe in the possibility of such a figure's returning to lead the race into a redemptive golden era. So long as mankind does not vanquish the possibility of that occurrence, the once and future king will always be with us."—Los Angeles Times
"[Ashe] is a very readable historian . . . [Recommended] for YA libraries with bright students who have an interest in King Arthur or this period."—Dorothy Solomon, Voice of Youth Advocates