When Was King Arthur in Scotland?

I went hillwalking not many days ago up to Arthur’s Seat above the city of Edinburgh.  The 251 meter high dormant volcano is situated in the middle of Holyrood Park and is probably my favorite place in Edinburgh so far.

I’m sure part of it is the name.  I spent two years researching and writing a 130 page monstrosity of a thesis on the subject of King Arthur, particularly involving his Celtic and Anglo-Saxon influences.  I have come to enjoy the Arthurian legends almost as much as I love old Celtic myths.

Almost there... but not really

The funny thing about Arthur is that no one can really agree on whether he was real or not.  The historians will go deeply into the discussion of potential “Arthur” figures and claim that he is either a conglomerate of many men, perhaps a Roman soldier, or no one at all.  That’s historically speaking. A literary person like me will wax eloquent on the fact that Arthur transcends historical reality and has become a sort of overshadowing presence in the minds of authors, poets, songwriters, and cultures as a whole throughout the centuries, so whether he was a living, breathing man (or three men, as the case may be) at any point becomes irrelevant.  And then the rest of the populace watches Monty Python and the vast number of Arthur films, shrugs, and enjoys the entertainment that has sprung from his widespread fame.

I could imagine King Arthur standing here, looking all royal and awesome, surveying his kingdom...

For a king who doesn’t seem to have really made a huge impact historically, though, he does seem to show up in the most unlikely of places.  I can visit a country that really has very little to do with Arthur, historically or literarally, and find a very splendid hill, rising up above a great city, named for the king. Obviously there is some dispute over whether or not the hill is really, truly originally named for Arthur or if it is derived from something else (killjoys).  But the fact remains that Arthur just keeps showing up.  It bears some consideration.  Perhaps another walk up that hill will do the trick.

And that is my very brief thought for the day.


About Melissa

generally in love with things Celtic, mythological, fantastic, sharp and pointy, cute and fuzzy, intellectual, snarky, cheerful, or some combination thereof. Such things as sarcastic bunnies wielding claymores might come to mind...

Posted on September 27, 2011, in History, King Arthur, Lantern Hollow Press Authors, Melissa Rogers, Scotland, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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