I picked up this book while on vacation in British Columbia and read it in its entirety during the vacation.
An enormous number of books have been written about King Arthur and his knights. This book, long out-of-print, is the original and definitive “source book” of the actual textual evidence related to the legend. I’ve read a number of the other books and this one is a “must read” for one interested in the topic. What is most important and significant is simply the rather sparse amount of original and actual writings that refer to Arthur. It is a wonderful study of how myths develop from actual events…meaning that yes, I do accept the actual historical existence of the man who came to be known as King Arthur. Now as for all the knights etc….those are less reliable and much more debatable.
The text is a bit challenging to follow without constant reference to a map of the historical areas of England and France. I decided to do without that constant reference and just be a bit confused by all the place names. Another source of confusion is the translations of place names and persons names from the various dialects that were spoken at those times.
One of the dependable, at least to me, sources of confidence in the stories is that they are told by the bards who lived at the times. I love the bards…..they have been the real keepers of the traditions of the folk everywhere.
From the author: “Normally man attempts to bind the Gods to himself by such devices as sacrifice, ritual tendance and prayer.”
Of special interest are a few direct quotes from the sources that I have been able to locate at http://www.britannia.com/history/arthur/artdocs.html
These full text files are attached:
There are a lot more on the site.