KING ARTHUR OF BRITAIN
Based upon a horrendously distorted genealogy for King Arthur and his alleged uncle Aurelius Ambrosius, Monmouth constructed a detailed segment titled “Arthur of Britain. Once that genealogy is modified, Ambrosius can be elevated to his proper role during the fifth century.
The romances which followed Monmouth’s History adorned King Arthur with folklore which originated in the centuries before Christ, and carried through to Thomas Malory’s prodigious work, Le Morte D’Arthur.
The primary figure manufactured by Geoffrey of Monmouth is Merlin. At one particular point, Monmouth refers to Aurelius Ambrosius as Ambrosius Merlinus. Shortly thereafter, Monmouth interrupts his segment titled “The House of Constantine” and inserts a totally unrelated section, “The Prophecies of Merlin,” and his narrative thereafter includes Merlin as a character who is only incidentally associated with Aurelius Ambrosius, but is more closely aligned with Utherpendragon. In Monmouth’s manuscript, Merlin and Arthur are not bonded.
Lancelot is another major character who might not have roots in Celtic lore. There is nothing decipherably historical about this individual; he is not included in Monmouth’s text, and isn’t recorded in Arthuriana until the advent of Chretien de Troyes. Roger Loomis avers that the name Lancelot is specifically Welsh, an offshoot of Lug or Lugh. More recently, however, Dr. Linda Malcor theorizes that, like Arthur and Batraz, the name Lancelot has roots not in Celtic lore, but in Alan legend.
Guinevere’s origin is also enigmatic, especially because legend depicts her as having a “twin,” her opposite commonly referred to as the “False Guinevere.” Translator Lewis Thorpe uses the name Guinevere as Arthur’s queen, but acknowledges that Monmouth’s assignation was Ganhumare (Guehuuram, Ganhumaram, Ganhumere) The Tysilio gives the Queen’s name as Gwenhwyfar.
From the time of Chretien de Troyes in the twelfth century to Thomas Malory in the fifteenth, there was such a plethora of legendary figures that it would be a formidable task to give details of each. For the most part, attempting to identify sites as actual or fictional is a futile undertaking; the blending of legend and history have blurred the boundaries.