back to article King Arthur was English 'propaganda', French claim

French historians are risking a visit by gunboats bearing the white ensign after declaring King Arthur an English legend promoted for "political reasons". That's according to the organisers of "King Arthur: A Legend in the Making" - a forthcoming conference and exhibition at Rennes university which will "provide ample evidence …


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  1. Neil


    There's about as much evidence for King Arthur as there is for that Jesus fellow. And both claimed they'd be back one day. Let's see who gets here first; my money's on the Brit!

    Incidentally, Bernard Cornwell wrote a pretty decent version of the King Arthur story. It's called The Winter King.


  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does it really matter?

    Who cares if its historically accurate or not, it might be, might not be. I like the story as its a good one, it works well alongside Disney and other family movies. So it makes for a nice feel good story. So the reality is irrelevant.

  3. Peter Bradley


    Ummm. English king? Fighting the Saxons?

    Her general thesis is possibly correct, but I think she is confusing Britain and England. Is she American? The French don't usually confuse "les anglais" and "les brittaniques" in my experience.

    Greetings from sunny Wales.

    And a flame for all those second homes ...


  4. michael

    of corse it is

    all miths are made for a reasion most miths have verry little truth in them most miths "change" as time gose on (most history as well) and for a lot of the past 2000 years we have been at war with france so they are a logicle target

  5. Clive Galway

    Why not just say "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries"?


  6. Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to History 101

    The same can be said of just about ANY historical figure. Including, I'm sure, any number of French ones.

    Le duh.

  7. Richard Conyard

    Arthur English?

    I'm glad that the study was so correct as to put Arthur in the Saxon / English camp!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    "Arthur was an English King who united all of the Britons - in the British Isles and in Brittany - against the Saxons."

    Saxons = English, some historian. Paris, because there's no Britney icon (Brittany - geddit?)

    Coat please.

  9. jimbarter

    This is a title

    he wasn't a mith, he was a mithter...

    /coat, for obvious reasons.

  10. Darren B

    Why are spokespeople nearly always aptly named

    So in this corner of France we have Ms Toulouse, the other day on the TV there was a feature about allotments and they spoke to a Mr Onions.

  11. J F W Richards

    Arthur Not English at all

    As we can see from the article Arthur, if he was anyone, was British but by no means English. The English were the Angles and Saxons he was trying to hold off.



  12. Caff



    Is your spelling a throwback to the time of the knights of the round table?

  13. Paul


    Hate to be a pedant, but The Winter King was about King Alfred, not Arther, who did exisit. Still a dam good book though (alont with the rest of the Uthred & Arther books).

  14. Peter W


    are you drunk?

  15. TeeCee Gold badge

    Arthur as mythical propaganda.

    I can understand the French thinking this. I mean, an alleged English warrior King who *didn't* take a small and heavily outnumbered army to France and kick the crap out of them?

    Obviously a myth.

  16. Mike Fortey


    "for a lot of the past 2000 years"

    About 150 of them, at most... unless I'm forgetting something.

  17. josiefatboy
    Thumb Up

    the authorian legend was created by a Frenchie anyways

    For those interested in it, a certain Geoffrey of Monmouth is widely credited with promulgating the Authurion legend. his reason was to promote the Norman conquest as the final victory of the Britons against the hated Saxon invader. In that way the Normans sought to protect and cement their conquest by portraying it as the final chapter in a age long fight twixt the Saxon invader and the native Briton. Indeed a lot of William the Conquerors soldiers came from Brittany an area populated by the Britons following the Saxon takeover of England in the 700s.

  18. Michael O'Malley

    Irish King Arthur?

    Ironically, the film Excalibur was made in Ireland.

    Odd that Arthur is seen as an English hero. If Arthur existed, he was a Briton, and would have talked a Celtic language like Irish or Welsh, and would have shared their culture. He would have fought the Angle and Saxon ancestors of the English, and he would view most English as descendants of invaders who had stolen the land of his people

    So all you Anglo-Saxons, if Arthur ever returns, better book your tickets back home to where you came from. The Irish and Welsh will be taking over. Please switch off the power, and leave your keys in the latch.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    She should be more concerned about...

    Robin of Locksley, a good and proper God-appointed Anglo-Saxon rightful nobleman who stood up against those bloody barbarian frogs like Guy of Gisbourne who had invaded and stolen their land.

    Robin Hood is the *real* propaganda.

  20. Test Man

    Re: of corse it is

    God the spelling in your message is so terrible, I find it really difficult to tell what you're trying to say.

  21. Eman Tsal

    English culture?

    Arthur fought to keep you lot out - fat lot of good it did!

    This French person is probably just upset at the Outrageous Accents of the Frenchies in Monty Python's Holy Grail.

  22. Simon Elliott
    Black Helicopters

    He was a British, not English

    Calling Arthur an English king is like saying Cornwall is part of England.

    Onen Hag Oll

  23. Francis Davey
    Thumb Down

    very odd

    Yes, it does seem rather odd to suggest that the English made up a folk hero whose most important exploit was to beat them up and prevent them from dominating England for a century.

  24. Roger Garner

    Go watch Stargate...

    ... Arthur and Morgan Le Fay feature in the final series of SG1. Therefore they must be real.

    Silly French... dont they watch TV? ;-)

    Mines the one with the shoulder harness with P90 strapped to the front.

  25. Marc Savage

    Oi, Hands off our legends

    Looks like Arthur, KING OF THE BRITAINS will have to return from Avalon in this our greatest time of need.

    mumble grumble....bloody foreigners... grumble.

  26. System 10 from Navarone
    Paris Hilton


    Maybe we should point out that their "Joan and her big French Arc" stories aren't very believable either. The bloody cheek.

    Paris because there's no Helen Mirren image.

  27. Steve

    Staking a claim?

    "However, Toulouse mercifully stopped short of staking a French claim to Arthur, admitting: "It would be out of the question for us to say that.""

    It would be out of the question because anyone born in Brittany would be Brittish! We just need to kick out those treasonous French republicans who are occupying the land and get it back under the rule of the legitimate monarch.

    Once more unto the breach...

    I think they're just pissed because all of their kings were limp-wristed fops.

  28. anarchic-teapot

    @Peter Bradley

    "The French don't usually confuse "les anglais" and "les brittaniques" in my experience."

    Horseapples. Oh, and one T and two N in "britanniques".

  29. Evil Graham
    Thumb Up

    @Michael - congratulations!

    I crown you King of Dyslexia.

  30. Tim

    Another famous Myth

    What it rerally comes down to is belief. Do you believe King Arthur existed? I can think of another myth that is even older that Billions believe in of which there is no real proof, only a single book.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Wasn't real either, so ner.

  32. Roger Stenning

    It's 'cause they're jealous!

    Let's face it, the Frogs have no decent legends of their own, so they're reduced to snide sniping from afar (evil grin)

    You get a frog to challenge the mythology of this reasonably fair country of ours in a decent traditional English Pub, and the frog'll wind up being used for Longbow target practice that very day, Sunday or not (VERY evil grin)!

  33. Anonymous Coward

    @ michael

    Learn how to spell, it's 'myths' not 'miths' and 'logical' not 'logicle'!

  34. M7S

    The French may or may not be correct, but why bring this up now?

    Various theories abound, including that he was a Roman official (but of "local" ancestry) trying to preserve the remains of civilisation when the rest of that Empire contracted. I am surprised however that the French are digging this up now. Perhaps the Horn of Roland hasn't been blowing much recently either or they just think the Entente Cordiale is something you mix with the Cointreau.

  35. Lloyd

    Erm, Translation required

    Could someone please tell me what exactly that michael chap (4th post) is trying to say? One can only assume that someone's let management near the internet and they're running rampant with "reasions" for "miths", although that may be illogicle (sic).

    As alien as a spell checker.

  36. Dean

    Bloody tealeafs

    They steal our words, our football chants and now our myths!

    100 years, not enough.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    That was brilliant, do it again. Also, you appear to have correctly spelled "years"; please try harder. B+

  38. Norbury

    Next you'll be telling me...

    That there's no solid archaeological evidence of the Green Knight.

    Mine's the one on the side of that horse.

  39. Peter Labrow

    Leave King Arthur alone!!!

    So what, Napoleon was a midget and and Joan of Arc was gay. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries. Take that, Frenchies.

  40. Alan

    French Taunter

    You don't frighten us, English pig-dog! Go and boil your bottoms, son of a silly person. I blow my nose on you, so-called Arthur-king, you and your silly English K...kaniggets

  41. Les Matthew
    Thumb Up


    The spelling is a bit hit and mith.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wave my private parts at your aunties.

    Given that almost all references to King Arthur are from novels (including Chrétien de Troyes, who added much of the legend) rather than histories I don't anyone can track down a real Arthur. He gets dragged out as a fantasical character to add weight to someones story in the same way as Robin Hood. A far better national hero, in my opinion, would be Hereward the Wake, he after all fought the French.

  43. Philip Bune

    French what more needs to be said

    Those darn Frencies are at it again, Just because they are cultural inept bunch they feel teh need to try & lambaste this fine country's heritage.

    Invade France again we could do with a few flags to put our red cross of St George onto. they have loads of those white flags they are always waving.

  44. pastamasta


    "Hate to be a pedant, but The Winter King was about King Alfred, not Arther, who did exisit. Still a dam good book though (alont with the rest of the Uthred & Arther books)."

    Irony, anyone?

  45. Anonymous Coward

    He was a Briton...

    ie a Cymric/Cornish chief, they never said he was English. What they said was he keeps getting ressurected by the English for political purposes, which is ironic since he isn't English etc etc. Common misperception, that. Like Boudica - I read a thread about Mel Gibson's upcoming Boudica movie, and someone said "Finally a pro-English movie from Gibson"... erm.. except Boudica, like Arthur, was a Briton, 500 years before the Saxons came in, 1000 years before there was notion of an "English". Heck, if the Saxons had came in Boudica's time she would have fought them too.

  46. Gerard Krupa
    IT Angle

    King Arthur's legend is just as credible... Jeanne D'Arc being commanded by God.

  47. Steven Jones


    What's worse than being a pedant, is being an incrorrect one. Bernard Cornwell's book is a novel about King Arthur. Of course King Arthur was a mythical figure - just as to whether there is a real character it is based on, who knows, If he did exist, he would have probably been Romano-British and dated from the days when there was no such country as England (or Scotland, or Wales for that matter - or at least as currently constituted). The irony here is that it was the work of French romantics in the 12th century that laid the basis of many of the current myths and not a few Hollywood films. Tinsel town knows a good yarn when it comes across it, and has never been known to allow inconvenient historical facts, or a lack of them, to get in the way.

  48. Mark

    Re: It's 'cause they're jealous!

    No, they do have their own heroes. Like Joan of Arc. Who they burned at the stake as a witch. Uh... Ok, forget that one...

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The French may or may not be correct, but why bring this up now?

    The French are about to take over EU presidency (for 6 months only, or so they claim) - the Irish have just voted no => "I fart in your general direction".

  50. Dangermouse

    @all slating Michael's "speelong"...

    I do believe the chap has mentioned in a previous post that he is, in fact, dyslexic. I feel compelled to highlight this because, I too, was guilty of bringing the poor man down a peg or two over his ability to murder the English language before I found out.

    Unlike the septics, of course. They murder the English language at will. Rather like Iraq, in fact.


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