Was King Arthur A Roman Knight?


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Some historians, beginning with Kemp Malone, have advanced the notion that the legend of King Arthur is based on the figure of Lucius Artorius Castus, a Roman knight who operated in Britain in the second century A.D. The claim is based largely on the similarity of the middle name Artorius to Arthur. Not much is known about Lucius Artorius Castus though he is believed to have brought a group of Sarmatian cavalry soldiers to Britain.

Some tales of Arthur have him campaigning across the English channel into France and even having dealings with the Roman empire, concepts which make little sense in the context of early 6th century Britain, the period during which Arthur, if he existed at all, is most often said to have lived. The notion of cross-channel campaigning and pan-continental interactions makes much more sense in the second century A.D., however, when the Roman empire was still functioning.

The 2004 film, King Arthur, by the director Antoine Fuqua is based on this concept of a Roman Arthur.

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