Several new parchments found in the Bristol Central Library originating from the medieval ages indicate that the story of King Arthur may not be what we think it is. According to all accounts, King Arthur from Camelot is said to have led British forces into battle with the Saxons, which invaded during the sixth century, including his “Knights of the Round Table.”
According to History, while there are several accounts of what happened, no one has been able to confirm independently that he existed in real life, but a recent discovery may change that. Seven pages of parchment found recently, all of which are fragmented, handwritten, and bound into different books printed in Strasbourg from 1494 to 1502, indicate a different story, and one that shows he is potentially real. The books resided in the University’s “special collections library,” inside of a four-volume edition of works from Jean Gerson, a French reformer and scholar.
The way they’re written gave rise to the thought that they come from what’s called the Vulgate Cycle, or Lancelot-Grail Cycle, an Old French text sequence. Also, because of the way the pages are bound into the books, researchers believe they were bound in the 16th century after making their way to England.
Sadly, the binding processes appear to have damaged a few of the pages. According to Dr. Leah Tether:
“We believe that the process of lifting the pastedowns led to one leaf becoming irreparably damaged, and so it was simply disposed of. The other leaves do in fact have significant damage from the same process, so whilst this is conjecture, it seems plausible. Because of the damage to the fragments, it will take time to decipher their contents properly, perhaps even requiring the use of infra-red technology.”
Dr. Tether said what’s really significant about the parchments is that the story they tell is different from other versions; especially the English version on which our current understanding of King Arthur is based.
The version told on the parchment is much more colorful and detailed, said Dr. Tether. Of the English version, she said that:
“It’s significant because the English version of that would have been based on a version that we haven’t already found.”
She also said that:
“We are all very excited to discover more about the fragments and what new information they might hold.”
Everyone is at least a little familiar with the story of King Arthur and the Sword in the Stone. If you’re not, then let us catch you up: he’s the King from Camelot who pulled THE sword from the stone when he was a boy.
Although, while many people believe that the infamous sword was the Excalibur, it wasn’t. In fact, the sword Arthur pulled from the stone was named Caliburn. He didn’t receive the Excalibur until much later in life.
Some people believe King Arthur was simply a story the Celtic people told their children to inspire them. Historians had yet to find rock-solid evidence that he was a real person from history to date. At least until recently, that is, because according to new evidence, King Arthur may have been a real live person, complete with his Knights of the Roundtable.
The only surviving contemporary work about the Saxon invasion doesn’t mention his name – not even once. It did, however, write about Gilda, a Celtic monk, and the historically known Battle at Mons Badonicus [Badon Hills], which took place circa 500 A.D.
In fact, King Arthur only finally shows up in writings penned by Nennius, a Welsh historian, a few hundred years after the Celtic Monk did. According to Nennius’ work, King Arthur fought 12 battles, but this would be almost impossible for any one man to do alone, according to History.
Many people see the King Arthur story as a fairytale, but little do they know that the story was based on the real-life King and a real-life sword in a stone. Maybe now we’ll finally find out if the stories are true or not.