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Monday, 4 November 2013
  King Arthur is a popular source of myth and legend. This book looks to investigate the truth behind the legend. The overall conclusion is not that surprising, that he probably did not exist as there is no contemporary evidence that he did.

I found this conclusion to be fairly unsurprising, Great Britain has no written documents from the era and so the evidence is drawn from myths written hundreds of years latter. The "sources" we have are largely works of fictions that were not written for an audience look for a historic truth, but more a way of reinterupting the past based on their values. The lack of primary sources is a major issues from within Britain is a major issie, as is the lack of any mention from European sources of a Great British King. Moreover there is a lack of monuments or coinage with King Arthur. There is basically a lack of any evidence for a real King Arthur.

I found this book a bit dull as it contained nothing on King Arthur that really surprised me. The tone of the book is very much a rebuttal of arguments for the existence of King Arthur. The problem is that if you arrive at it with an awareness that King Arthur is not real then you probably find the book convincing, but unsurprising.

The book is strongest when it looks at how the Saxon, Jutes and Angles may have arrived in Britain. There were not waves of invaders that pounded the Roman-Celtic peoples back into the sea, but instead it was a more gradual process of migration with the accommodations and alliances forming between those already occupying the land. 

A big problem with this book is the author seems to adopt a slightly aggressive tone. It is also rather academic in tone and so is not an easy read. This would be more forgiveable if there were more interesting insights, but I felt that I did not really learn a great deal from the book.