The History of the Kings of Britain

“The History of the Kings of Britain” is Geoffrey of Monmouth’s great work of fiction

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I watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail last night.

This is pretty clever considering TV won’t be invented for about 450 years…but hey, I’m writing a blog as well so I’m guessing that you are giving me a little “licence.”

It’s bloody funny. If you haven’t watched it, then it’s a staple on Netflix. 

“It’s nothing more than a flesh wound etc, etc”

Anyway… this got me thinking about The History of the Kings of Britain by Geoffrey of Monmouth.

As you do.

Geoffrey was a monk/priest/bishop who appeared in ecclesiastical records all over Wales and England just after the Norman conquest.

He was also an author.

Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote a famous book, “The History of the Kings of Britain.”

He weaved in stories of Brutus of Troy, the alleged first king of Britain (no I bet you didn’t know that), Cadwaladr the Welsh king and the invasion of Julius Caesar and the Romans.

This text was considered one of the first real “History” books.

A textbook to study from. Something for students to learn the past from.

Then in the late Tudor period, someone finally realised it was…..well……a load of bollocks.

Much of the text was written about a certain King… called Arthur.

Not only King Arthur, but also his Knights who did incredibly brave things and then got burned up around a huge round table in the evening.

Of course, neither Arthur or his fabled knights of the round table were real.

And yet for centuries, it was assumed that they were.

Geoffrey had written a wonderful little book that he had basically made up from the top of his head.

It was a bloody good story and people bought into it in bucket loads. I mean why wouldn’t you? Brave Sir Lancelot doing terribly brave deeds the length and breadth of the country.

Before“The History of the Kings of Britain”, Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote a different book about a wise man called Merlin. He weaved Merlin into the Arthur story… he gained a little more magic that way.

Over the centuries different writers took Geoffrey’s little book and wrote more stories about the wonderful King Arthur and his Knights.

In the 13th Century stories emerged about Arthur and his Quest for the Holy Grail.

And thus the Pythons had their material and the Knights of Ni demanded a Shrubbery.

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