Spreading the Knowledge!

Friday, August 5, 2011

King Arthur...the Centurion?

I can honestly say that no figure in history makes a better romance hero than King Arthur himself. My opinion of course, but it's been a lifelong romance with me.

Nevermind the sad ending Sir Thomas Malory gave the whole crew, history might have been kinder to Arthur and his rag tag crew of knights.

One take on the historical basis for Arthur centers on a Roman centurion from the 2nd century named Lucius Artorius Castus. The information available to historians today is based on inscriptions on a sarcophagus and plaque located in Podstrana, on the Dalmation coast.

"...with the power of the sword..."

Centurions typically achieved their rank after 15-20 years of service, though some were directly commissioned based on personal valor or ties to powerful politicians.

According to this version, Artorius served in Syria, Judea, and Budapest before becoming Prefect of the Legion in Britain, a position normally achieved as a 50 to 60 year old man. Artorius held this post as a young man and served as third in command of the garrison.

In the Roman-based telling of his life, Artorius fought Sarmations in Eastern Europe and this exposure to their unique fighting style led him to leading the command of a number of Sarmastions at Ribchester (then Bremetennacum), campaigning north of Hadrian's wall. Artorius led these Sarmation knights against the Caledonians who overran the wall in 183-185.

(The story was inspiration for the 2007 epic "King Arthur" with Clive Owen, though they placed Arthur and his knights in 6th century Britain and made the invaders Saxons. Creative license and all...)

Artorius' standard was a large red dragon pennant (auxiliary forces did not use the eagle standard), which might explain the Welsh epithet Pendragon.

His exploits were remembered for centuries, generating the figure of the romantic hero Arthur among the Welsh, Cornish, and Bretons, who quite possibly enveloped him into their myths and legends and plucked him out of Roman obscurity in British legend.

Are you a fan of King Arthur? There's one more day left in my very first give away, which includes a copy of my new release "The Centurion's Prize" and a DVD version of "King Arthur," among other great swag. Visit the giveaway details and enter today!

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