King Arthur as depicted on the  Modena Archivolt of probably 1120-40, Modena Cathedral, Italy

Origin of Arthur


Click here for Was there a Real King Arthur ? presentation (slides with commentary). This is loosely based on the essay "Was there a real king Arthur ?" (see below) but includes a lot more general information to introduce the topic.

This site has been set up to present the results of a study both into the origin of the renowned figure of legend and literature 'King' Arthur and other related topics associated with the history of sub-Roman Britain and the many legends that have, or purport to have, their origins in that period.

The study focussed particularly on legendary Christian 'saints' or 'martyrs' , understood as representing the 'Christianisation' of original pagan cults. The study into the origin of the Arthurian legend was originally just a by-product of this.

I have had a series of articles on these topics published in the academic journal, “The Mankind Quarterly” and links are given to these below. However on returning to this study after a gap of more than ten years I feel that I could do much to express my ideas and analysis better than I have so far – so the idea is to re-write much that I have written, changing the analysis little but hopefully expressing it better and making it more accessible. On that basis I have started by writing a short essay which encapsulates the nub of my ideas about the origin of Arthur. The link to this is here:

Was there a real King Arthur ?

Its also my intention to present on this site other work I have done, that I have not had published, in revised or un-revised form. Of course the hope is that all together this will form some kind of coherent whole which will make more sense and be more persuasive than the various parts standing alone

The published articles (bar one) are at:

They are, individually

1/ The British Martyrs Aaron and Iulius
It is really necessary to read this first, in order to make best sense out of:

2/ The Origin of the Legend of King Arthur

3/ St. Alban and the End of Roman Britain


This third item was to be published in six parts but not all of these were published (the first 4 parts were pubished: parts 1,3 and 4, are easily accessible online at - and part 2 slightly more complicated to access elsewhere online. I have put pdf versions of part 2 and the missing parts 4 and 5 onlne myself and they are available below, with the rest.).

The six parts are:
i/ The Sub-Roman cult of St Alban
ii/ Elen of the Hosts.     Also available here
iii/ The Continental Cult of St Alban
iv/ Al- and Albho-
v/ Brittonic Saints and Heroes in 'El-'
vi/ The End of Roman Britain.

The author can be contacted at phil[dott]thornhill[att]originofarthur[dott]com