Arthur and Kingship as Represented by the Historia Regum Britanniae of Geoffrey of Monmouth

Majed Kraishan, Wasfi Shoqairat


The present study investigates the representation of King Arthur in the Historia Regum Britanniae of Geoffrey of Monmouth (1343–1400). In doing so, it concentrates on specific historical context – early Anglo-Saxon England – and a specific form of authority – Anglo-Saxon kingship. The intention of the study is to show how Geoffrey of Monmouth used historical chronicles, not only for cataloguing the stories of various rulers of the island, but also for creating and shaping a single leader who can unify the kingdom.

The study claims that the ideal kingship constructed around the figure of King Arthur in the Historia involved a re-orientation of some of the more conventional norms of kingship; the heroic qualities of martial prowess, generosity and morality are quite essential in every conception of an ideal king. Geoffrey’s conception of this ideal king was largely influenced by his personal aspirations, some of which have been outlined in the introduction of this article. The remaining parts of this study offer a historical as well as a literary analysis of the text, addressing the main qualities of kingship that were articulated in the text.

All translated quotations from Historia Regum Britanniae are taken from Geoffrey of Monmouth, History of Kings of Britain, translated by Lewis Thorpe (London, Penguin Book, 1966). The Latin text consulted was Geoffrey of Monmouth, Historia Regnum Britianniae, Vol. 1, Bern, Burgerbibliothek, Ms 568, ed. Neil Wright (Cambridge; D.S. Brewer, 1984).

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World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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