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The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long bee

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hazelnut01 Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
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The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long bee

Post Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:51 am
Elapsed Time: 00:00
  • Lap #[LAPCOUNT] ([LAPTIME])
    The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long been debated by scholars. One school of thought, citing entries in the History of the Britons and Welsh Annals, sees Arthur as a genuine historical figure, a Romano-British leader who fought against the invading Anglo-Saxons sometime in the late 5th to early 6th century. The other text that seems to support the case for Arthur's historical existence is the 10th-century Annales Cambriae. The latest research shows that the Annales Cambriae was based on a chronicle begun in the late 8th century in Wales. Additionally, the complex textual history of the Annales Cambriae precludes any certainty that the Arthurian annals were added to it even that early. They were more likely added at some point in the 10th century and may never have existed in any earlier set of annals.

    This lack of convincing early evidence is the reason many recent historians exclude Arthur from their accounts of post-Roman Britain. In the view of historian Thomas Charles-Edwards there may well have been an historical Arthur, but that a historian can as yet say nothing of value about him. These modern admissions of ignorance are a relatively recent trend; earlier generations of historians were less skeptical. Historian John Morris made the putative reign of Arthur the organizing principle of his history of post-Roman Britain and Ireland. Even so, he found little to say about a historical Arthur. Partly in reaction to such theories, another school of thought emerged which argued that Arthur had no historical existence at all. Morris's Age of Arthur prompted archaeologist Nowell Myres to observe that no figure on the borderline of history and mythology has wasted more of the historian's time. Arthur is not mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle or named in any surviving manuscript written between 400 and 820. He is absent from Bede's early-8th-century Ecclesiastical History of the English People, another major early source for post-Roman history.
    Some scholars argue that Arthur was originally a fictional hero of folklore-or even a half-forgotten Celtic deity-who became credited with real deeds in the distant past. They cite parallels with figures such as the Kentish totemic horse-gods Hengest and Horsa, who later became historicized. Bede ascribed to these legendary figures a historical role in the 5th-century Anglo-Saxon conquest of eastern Britain.

    Historical documents for the post-Roman period are scarce. Of the many post-Roman archeological sites and places, only a handful have been identified as "Arthurian," and these date from the 12th century or later. Archaeology can confidently reveal names only through inscriptions found in reliably dated sites. In the absence of new compelling information about post-Roman England, a definitive answer to the question of Arthur's historical existence is unlikely.

    According to the passage, Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People contains information that

    A. provides context that would argue against an historical Arthur

    B. undermines the notion of a historical Arthur by furnishing evidence that refutes that King Arthur ever existed

    C. suggests that Bede’s work did not fully account for events between 400 and 820

    D. indirectly supports the existence of an historical Arthur

    E. diverges from most narratives popular during the 12th century

    Official Answer : A

    The contention that Arthur was a mythological figure who had been historicized by being included in accounts of real events is most consistent with which of the following?

    A. The complex textual history of the Annales Cambriae

    B. Thomas Charles-Edwards explanation of the existence of Arthur

    C. The fact that Arthur figures nowhere in any of Bede’s works covering the post-Roman period

    D. The lack of historical documents from the post-Roman period

    E. Bede’s inclusion of totemic horse gods in the history of the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Britain

    Official Answer : E

    Nowell Myres would most likely view the idea of an Arthurian reign as key to the understanding of the history of sub-Roman Briton as

    A. invalid, because it presupposes the existence of a person who most likely never existed

    B. suspect, since it overlooks other factors important to an understanding of sub-Roman Briton

    C. plausible, to some degree, as there was some major historical figure who helped shaped the history of early Briton

    D. unsubstantiated by events described in the Annales Cambriae

    E. vital in determining the authenticity of the historical Arthur

    Answer: (A)
    Myres is vehement in his skepticism towards a historical Arthur (“no figure on the borderline…”). Therefore, he would scoff at the idea of an Arthurian reign. Only, (A) directly says that Myres doubted the existence of Arthur.

    (D) is wrong. Though Myres would agree the Annals of Cambriae do not substantiate the existence of Arthur (after all, no source, according to him, does). Yet, (D) doesn’t logically answer the question.


    It can be inferred that the author dismisses the Annales Cambriae as a reliable source on the historical Arthur on the grounds that

    A. much of the work has been disputed as a valid historical narrative

    B. the references to Arthur are inconsistent with those from the History of Britons and Welsh Annals

    C. the work itself, because of the original author’s bias, may not accurately reflect historical events

    D. Arthur’s purported existence may have come several centuries before the relevant text was written

    E. whether Arthur existed goes beyond the purview of historians

    Answer: (D)
    (A) is tempting, but the passage never mentions that the Annals Cambriae are of questionable validity. The passage only says that the work had a complex history.
    (B) is wrong because the passage never compares the two annals.
    (C) is not supported by the passage. (C) is tricky because it sounds like a reasonable thing someone would say in response to an ancient text.
    (D) is not directly stated in the passage but is implied by, “they were more likely added…annals.”
    (E) is too general for such a specific question. Anyhow, the author of the passage probably would not agree with (E).


    Source : Magoosh



    Last edited by hazelnut01 on Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:59 am; edited 5 times in total

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    Post Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:28 am
    ziyuenlau wrote:
    The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long been debated by scholars. One school of thought, citing entries in the History of the Britons and Welsh Annals, sees Arthur as a genuine historical figure, a Romano-British leader who fought against the invading Anglo-Saxons sometime in the late 5th to early 6th century. The other text that seems to support the case for Arthur's historical existence is the 10th-century Annales Cambriae. The latest research shows that the Annales Cambriae was based on a chronicle begun in the late 8th century in Wales. Additionally, the complex textual history of the Annales Cambriae precludes any certainty that the Arthurian annals were added to it even that early. They were more likely added at some point in the 10th century and may never have existed in any earlier set of annals.

    This lack of convincing early evidence is the reason many recent historians exclude Arthur from their accounts of post-Roman Britain. In the view of historian Thomas Charles-Edwards there may well have been an historical Arthur, but that a historian can as yet say nothing of value about him. These modern admissions of ignorance are a relatively recent trend; earlier generations of historians were less skeptical. Historian John Morris made the putative reign of Arthur the organizing principle of his history of post-Roman Britain and Ireland. Even so, he found little to say about a historical Arthur. Partly in reaction to such theories, another school of thought emerged which argued that Arthur had no historical existence at all. Morris's Age of Arthur prompted archaeologist Nowell Myres to observe that no figure on the borderline of history and mythology has wasted more of the historian's time. Arthur is not mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle or named in any surviving manuscript written between 400 and 820. He is absent from Bede's early-8th-century Ecclesiastical History of the English People, another major early source for post-Roman history.
    Some scholars argue that Arthur was originally a fictional hero of folklore-or even a half-forgotten Celtic deity-who became credited with real deeds in the distant past. They cite parallels with figures such as the Kentish totemic horse-gods Hengest and Horsa, who later became historicized. Bede ascribed to these legendary figures a historical role in the 5th-century Anglo-Saxon conquest of eastern Britain.

    Historical documents for the post-Roman period are scarce. Of the many post-Roman archeological sites and places, only a handful have been identified as "Arthurian," and these date from the 12th century or later. Archaeology can confidently reveal names only through inscriptions found in reliably dated sites. In the absence of new compelling information about post-Roman England, a definitive answer to the question of Arthur's historical existence is unlikely.

    According to the passage, Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People contains information that

    A. provides context that would argue against an historical Arthur

    B. undermines the notion of a historical Arthur by furnishing evidence that refutes that King Arthur ever existed

    C. suggests that Bede’s work did not fully account for events between 400 and 820

    D. indirectly supports the existence of an historical Arthur

    E. diverges from most narratives popular during the 12th century

    Source : Magoosh
    Official Answer : A
    Find it in the text. He is absent from Bede's early-8th-century Ecclesiastical History of the English People, another major early source for post-Roman history. This sentence comes at the end of a discussion in which we're treated to a litany of documents in which Arthur is conspicuously absent, thus providing context for the claim that Arthur was not, in fact, an historical figure. the answer is A

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