According to ancient legends, Arthur was the son of British King, Uther Pendragon. He was given to Merlin the magician when he was only three days old and grew up not knowing his real identity. When he pulled the famous sword from a stone he discovered his true destiny; to become the High king of Britain. The brave adventures of the Knights of the Round Table are also legendary; especially their quest for the Holy Grail. Names like Guinevere, Lancelot and Galahad and places like Avalon and Camelot, are still associated with a glorious golden age of magic, romance and adventure.
To find the first mention of Arthur we need to go back to a text called Historia Britonum, written in 830. He is described as a brave warrior who fights in lots of battles, but there is little magic in his story. Characters like Merlin and Guinevere and the magic sword Excalibur appear for the first time in 1136, when Arthur’s life is told in The History of the Kings of Britain, written by the monk Geoffrey of Monmouth. His story was a magical mixture of legend and history that helped to make Arthur Britain’s most famous hero.
Illustration by Paolo D’Altan, taken from Tales from Camelot, by Victoria Heward, Green Apple Life Skills, Step 2 (A2/B1).