Heretic Emperor: The Lost History of King Arthur
Copyright © V M Pickin 2005
Book 1 - The Controversy
Chapter 3 - National Myths
Demonstrates the political use of history and its effect on Arthur’s acceptance as an historical character. Opens with the real problem historians have with Arthur: you cannot have a Golden Age king in a Dark Age. Traces the use of Geoffrey’s Arthurian Empire as a justification for imperialism by England’s rulers up to the English civil war, and its substitution at the Enlightenment with the Roman Empire as model and justification. Shows contemporary Dark Age historians continued adherence to the Enlightenment perspective and its loaded terminologies, which define Arthur’s period as one of political and cultural degeneration. Observes that the current historical consensus depends on a single text, Gildas’ sermon - and no-one is asking why only one text survives from Arthur’s period.