British historian Guy Halsall to examine the historical roots of King Arthur
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Professor Guy Halsall of the University of York will speak about the historical basis of the legend of King Arthur at 6 p.m. March 13 at Smathers Library Room 1A. An audience question-and-answer session with Halsall will follow.
This event is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere Rothman Endowment.
Halsall will discuss his recent research on King Arthur’s historical period and question some of the fundamental assumptions about the time. The legend of King Arthur is rooted in fifth- and sixth-century Britain, a land divided by small kingdoms ruled by great kings and engaged in war between the resident Britons and the invading Anglo-Saxons.
Many scholars believe that the legend of King Arthur was later pieced together from descriptions of a few British kings who ruled during the time of the Anglo-Saxon migration to Britain. Rethinking what we know about this dark era will not tell us whether King Arthur ever lived, but it may suggest how rulers like him may have acted. This new perspective will also provide insights into why great kings such as Arthur subsequently became legends that are still remembered to this day.
Halsall studied history and archaeology at the University of York, working on the region of Metz (North-Eastern France). He developed work, using written and archaeological sources ,especially cemeteries, to study the social history of the early Middle Ages. His work ranges across death and burial; age and gender; ethnicity and barbarian migration; warfare and violence; humor and literary style. His next book, “Worlds of Arthur,” brings him back to the study of early medieval Britain, where his training as an early medievalist began.
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