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For thousands of years the tales of King Arthurs exploits have enthralled people from all over the world Arthur is undoubtedly one of the greatest legendary figures ever created and he has provided England with a heroic icon a symbol of a glorious past rival to that of say Greece or Rome He has been reborn to the world century after century from the pen and imagination of numerous writers and poets however Arthur can also claim an official history which perhaps sets him apart from other mythological heroes The responsibility for this falls almost entirely upon the shoulders of one wayward genius Geoffrey of Monmouth It is Geoffreys work the Historia Regum Britanniae History of the Kings of Briton became the foundation upon which all later stories of King Arthur were constructed Geoffrey lived in the first half of the twelfth century however very little is known about his early life While his family was probably Welsh it is possible that he was a Breton Geoffrey had been educated under the Norman system and he was fully comfortable in their world but when you get down to it he was a Welshman at heart This affinity for the Welsh made him sympathetic to the plight of the Celtic people still living in Britain In 1151 he moved to London and was made bishop of St Asaph of Wales although the turmoil of the country prevented him from ever taking up his appointment He died in about 1155 The crowning glory of Geoffreys life is the History of the Kings of Britain and it defines among much else the career and life of Arthur It is one of the great books of the Middle Ages and is the source of a number of famous stories including Arthurs Written in Latin it traces the development of Britain from the first king and founder of Britain Brutus through to the golden age of King
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