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The mystical references to Arthur and his adventures are dated in literature in some form for over 1400 years verifying the enduring appeal of this romantic character Since the beginnings of the English language there have been legends of great heroes The first settlements of Britain produced stories rooted in ancient Celtic and Germanic imagination of the many Arthur is undoubtedly preeminent The earliest known description of Arthurs noble endeavors was written by Gildas ca 490-540 the author of De excidio et conquestu Britanniae makes reference albeit vague to an Arthurian figure however the name Arthur is not mentioned in the story Strayer 564 The full flourish of writings associated with his miraculous feats and victories do not reach a crescendo for several hundred years after Gildas Strayer 564 During the Middle Ages however Arthurian myth was prominent and en vogue and attempts to discover the truth behind the myth have been pursued for generations Arthurs history as Geoffrey Ashe reminds us in The Discovery of King Arthur is more than just a medley of yarns more than just a saga in the romanticism of myth It puts him within a definite period It names definite places and takes him to definite countries 3 It is this fact and the fragmentary often contradictory references of an Arthur the Latin ArturArturius or Artorius from ancient records that lends enough validity to the story to set researchers on the Clodfelter 2 trail of the legendary king However progress has been stymied for a number of reasons and even now we can say little of substance about the man behind the myth A major difficulty facing researchers is that the role of the historian in the Dark Ages was rather flexible a mixture of storyteller and propagandist whose regional traditions personal prejudices and loyalties were bound to greatly influence the nature of its material Coglan 214 In Arthur Richard Barber clarifies this fact and speaks of the
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