King Arthur and his knights of the round table are more myth than reality, but like all myths, the Arthurian legend grew from seeds of actual events. The popularity of the Arthurian stories among the remaining British after the Germanic influx was likely because of the cultural vindication these stories offered to a people who had been marginalized.
This book surveys current archaeological and historical thinking about the dimly understood characteristics of daily life in Great Britain during the fifth and sixth centuries.
Arthurian legends are immensely popular and well known despite the lack of reliable documentation about this time period in Britain. As a result, historians depend upon archaeologists to accurately describe life during these two centuries of turmoil when Britons suffered displacement by Germanic immigrants.
Daily Life in Arthurian Britain examines cultural change in Britain through the fifth and sixth centuries—anachronistically known as The Dark Ages—with a focus on the fate of Romano-British culture, demographic change in the northern and western border lands, and the impact of the Germanic immigrants later known as the Anglo-Saxons. The book coalesces many threads of current knowledge and opinion from leading historians and archaeologists, describing household composition, rural and urban organization, food production, architecture, fashion, trades and occupations, social classes, education, political organization, warfare, and religion in Arthurian times. The few available documentary sources are analyzed for the cultural and historical value of their information.
• Presents maps and illustrations of Britain during the relevant time periods
• Includes a bibliography of major print and quality internet resources accessible to the public
• Provides an index of key concepts, sites, historic persons, events, and materials
• Contains an appendix on the nature of archaeological evidence
• Covers two centuries of British history for which only fragments of historical documentation exist
• Demonstrates how archaeological finds reveal the realities of past lives
• Describes the times of strife between Britons and Anglo-Saxons that serve as the foundation of Arthurian legend
• Interprets and makes accessible to the general public the major archaeological discoveries of this ancient time period
• Serves as a perfect complement to medieval literature courses