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Greatest King who ever lived (if he, ya know, ever lived) bio


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Put this up on an Arthur forum I frequent, thought I'd post it here too.  It is my idea of an Arthur Biography, based in history.

Warning:  It may be based in history, but it is not historical.  It is fictional.

468: Concieved by Riothamus shortly before he leaves for the contenent. Ambrosious takes command over the Island.

469: Arthur born in Cornwall, placed in the care of Myrddin.

469-484: These twelve years consist of Myrddin's teaching Arthur to be a "Celtic Champion". He travels Britain visiting the great celtic fighters and having them instruct Arthur. During this time Ambrosious sends and recalls several of his leutenants who are well versed in military history, strategy, and tactics to teach Arthur.

481:  Arthur meets and becomes good friends with Gerient, who is 15.

484: Arthur becomes a low-ranking member of the Ambrosianii, a small group of elite Cavalry on the Saxon Border started by Ambrosious during his war with Vortigern and the Saxons.  A man named Cato (whom Gerient named his son after) is his commanding officer.  Gerient is among the troopers.

485: After a year of riding with the Ambrosiannii, Arthur is brought back to his hereditary kingdom of Triumvirate in Cornwall, where he undergoes the Kingship ritual. This ritual is presided over by Myrddin and the local Bishop. Myrddin alters the ritual somewhat by having Arthur withdraw a sword from the ground immediatly following his removal of his foot from the imprint in the rock (traditional part of the ritual), thus symbolizing that not only is he of the land, but that he is the gaurdian of the land. Due to the smallness and relative unimportance of Triumvirate, this is sparsley attended. However, Ambrosious, Cato, Gerient, and a few others are present. 

485: After being crowned, Arthur immediatly rejoins the Ambrosianni.

487: In the two years since Arthur was crowned he has gained an impressive reputation in the military, both for his proficiency with arms and his skill in planning raids. Due to this Ambrosious puts Arthur in command of his own small group of cavalry. Gerient is included in this group. Over the next few years Arthur quickly starts planning and executing raids into Saxon territory. So effective are they that rumours and stories start spreading about him and many young men not currently part of Ambrosious' forces seak Arthur out, hoping to join his troop. Among them are two best friends, Bedwyr and Cai, who will become his top leutenants, along with Gerient. Ambrosious nicknames this group the Equites. Amborious' own parents had belonged to the Equistrian class, and it was from this that he got his original idea for the cavalry force.

These newcomers swear a loyalty oath to Arthur, not to ambrosious or anyone else. Over the years to come this will be the norm, allowing Arthur to amass an impressive personal Cavalry army.

490: Arthur and his cavalry unit (which is steadily increasing in numbers) head to northern Britain to assist with local Pictish raids. He is successfull. His fame comtinues to grow. Ambrosious is now 72 years old. People begin to speculate on his successor.

491: After a year of fighting with the Picts, Arthur faces the Scotti for a short period of time.

491: Arthur marries Gwenevere. Llacheu and Amr are born. Gwenevere dies in childbirth.

492-497: A major Saxon offensive starts in the South East of Britain. Ambrosious calls for help from all the kings of Britain. Ambrosious himself is no longer capable of leading the armies, and is now more of a symbol of unity than an actual power. Due to his dealing (and defending) people all over the island from a multitude of enemies, Arthur is seen as a unifying force, and the only person all the Kings of Britain trust. With Ambrosious' (Roman) and Myrddins (Celtic) support Arthur is named Dux Bellorum, the Commander-in-Chief of Britains military. Ambrosious himself remains High King. Arthur is incredibly successfull and his legend grows. His personal army, loyal to him, grows exponentially. It is also during this time that Arthurs Equites nickname him "Utr" meaning Wonderfull/Terrible. Wonderfull to his friends, Terrible to his enemies.  He has also been compared to the legendary "Red Ravagers" due to his seeming invincibility in combat.

494: Gereint is killed in battle against Saxon pirates raiding Wales.  Arthur was present.  Merdraut is born.

497: Siege of Baddon Hill. The British troops have been besieged on top of Baddon Hill for several days, and it appears the Saxons will be the victors. However, Arthur arrives leading his Equites (now including Gerients son Cato) and breaks the seige, ending the Saxon power for decades to come. Later in this same year Ambrosious dies of natural causes and Arthur is made High King.  Gildas is born.

498: Heul, older brother of Gildas, declars war on Arthur.

498: Arthur kills Heul. 

499: In order to cement his power following the war with Heul, Arthur marries another Gwenevere.

508: The A kid revolts against Arthur. After crushing the rebbellion Arthur cuts off A's right hand, banashing him from the Island.

512: Cai and Arthur have a falling out. Cai tricks a large number of Arthur troops into thinking he wants peace, and then slaughters them. He bring's A back.

513: Arthur kills Amr in battle, Cai kills Llacheu. Cai's rebbellion is crushed. Merdraut distinguishes himself during this rebellion, Arthur takes him under his wing.

516:  Gildas tells Arthur that he will see to it that no one remembers Arthurs name, as punishment for the death of Heul.

517: Battle of Camlann. Maelgwn arranges an ambush against Arthur, who is his uncle, and Merdraut, Arthur's would-be successor.  Merdraut is killed, but  Arthur and a small number of his Equites escape the ambush.  Maelgwn is enraged that Arthur has escaped, but quickly declares him dead and usurps Arthurs position as High King.  Rumours persist that Arthur survived the ambush and is recovering on an island somewhere.  Maelgwn is a horrible tyrant and is unable to control the other Kings of Britain resulting in a civil war which will continue between various British factions until the Saxons return and capture what is now England.

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Lots of time to kill as my weekend plans are gone.

So, here's the reasoning behind the dates chosen:

468:  Historically, this is the date assigned to Riothamus' leavign to battle the Visigoths on theEuropean mainland.  Therefore, in order to have him be Arthur's father, ARthur would ahve to be concieved before Riothamus left.  The problem is Arthurs birth date is usually assumed to be in the mid 470's, so in order to have Arthur born close to that time, he has to be concieved jsut before Riothamus leaves.

481:  Gerient is a real, hsitorical figure or this period, and is often connected with Arthur.  If Arthur did live then these two would obviously ahve known each other.  Gerient also had the son Cato.  But Gerient died before Baddon Hill in a surprise attack by Saxons in Wales.  Therefore, for Gerient to be old enough to ahve a child before Baddon, and for this son to be old enough to become one of aRthur's most loyal subjects (as is traditionally assumed) Gerient must be a few years odler than Arthur hismelf.

484:  There is no direct proof for the existence of the Ambrosianni, but it is generally agreed on to be the case.  Most military commanders ahd there trops named after them, and it explains well the vast number of towns named after Ambrosious, and the traditions of him fighting everywhere.  As for there being Cavalry, it is the general assumption that Cavalry was the key to the British victories over the Saxons (who had no cavalry).  Again, though, there is no text expressley stating this to be the case.

484:  An early Welsh narrative has him a junior officer under the command of one Cato (who ahs the same name as Gerients son).

485:  In Triumvirate, a small part of Cornwall, there is a cliff with what is called "King Arthurs foot".  It is a size nine imprint of a foot in solid rock.  It was used for the kingship ritual of Triumvirate, representing the King joining the land.  Archeologist Rodney Castledon condisers this to have been Arthurs kingdom.

487:  Cavarly raids by British troops into Saxon territory were probably a regular occurance.  In fact, the cavalry raids became so intense and troubling to the Saxons that they considered stepping anywhere close to a road to be certian death.  Several historians, such as Geoffrey Ashe, claim that it was through raiding that Arthur's fame started to grow and he started to attract his followers, such as Cai and Bedwyr. 

490:  Battles atributed to Arthur occur all over the island of Britain.  He had nothing to do with the vast majority of them.  But his travelling along all the frontiers of the British with his cavalry force would explain not just how stories of him circulated the island, but how he won the respect and trust of the British Kings.

491:  While an object of contention, it is thought that Arthur had two wives, possibly of the same name.  So I had to kill off the first wife.  Having her die giving birth to fraternal twins seemed like a good way to do it (childbirth wasn't exactly safe at the time).  It also helps give reason for Amr's traditional rebellion against his father (blaming both himself and Arthur for the death of his mother, and getting even mroe pissed off when Arthur marries another woman of the same name).  Finally, it helps form the basis for the medival legends of Mordred.

494:  Gerient dies sometime before Baddon, traditionally while fighting beside Arthur, so I picked a date int he middle of the war.

497:  The exact date is unknown.  Some people put it in the mid 490's, other in the 500's.  I picked 497 as it gives time for Arthur to ahve fought other major battles leading up to it, has him fighting this one before being too old.  No one knows whether it was the Saxons or Britains who were besieged at Baddon, but my my having the British besieged and Arthur coming to save them is simply more dramatic and makes for a better story. 

While some argue (and I agree) that Dux Bellorum is simply antoher word for High King, I have used it as simply the commander-in-chief of the military in this bio.  This is to help explain Gildas' claim that Ambrosious was the British leader at Baddon (who would have been damn old if this was true).  So, by leaving Ambrosious a figurehead high king and making Arthur Dux Bellorum (as Nennius says) it helps explains Gildas' wwritings (although a future mention in this bio also helps explain why Gildas ignores Arthur).

498:  Tradition has Heul, older brother to Gildas, as a great warrior who submitted to no man and had an intense dislike of Arthur, going to war against him (athough he is also listed as being among arthurs Knights in Culwch, with the caveat that he submitted to no King, not even Arthur).  Arthur also traditionally kills him, which would make Gildas no friend of Arthur's.

499:  It would be pretty weird for another to marry a second woman of the same name for any other reason. 

508:  Amr traditionally revolts against Arthur.  Different legends have him killing Amr or jsut cutting his hand off.

512:  Cai and Arthur traditionally ahve a falling out, sometiems due to Arthur making a joke at his expense.  In "What man is the Gatekeeper?"  Arthur describes Cai entreatign Arthurs soldiers to peace, and then slaughtering them.

513:  Traditionally, Cai kills Llacheu (who many think was a major part of early Welsh Arthurian narratives and poems).  By bringing Merdreut in now, he is kidn of a surrogate son for Arthur, who just lost both his sons.

516:  An explanation for Gildas' non-mention of arthur (although Gildas ahrdly mentions anyone by name).

517:  Approximately 21 years after BAddon is the Battle of Cammlann.  I have taken Rodney CAsteldons version of the events, as I beleive it to be the most likely.

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