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The Earliest Arthurian Texts: Greek and Latin Sources of the Medieval Tradition (Texts, Translations, and Commentary)
Anderson, Graham

Awarded the Adele Mellen Prize for Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship


This volume offers for the first time a comprehensive collection of all the ancient Greek and Latin sources needed to deal with figures answering to names like Arktouros, Ardus, and Artorius, where the bearers seem to have some kind of ‘Arthurian’ character. It challenges proponents of later British Arthurs to explain or explain away various Classical antecedents to the Arthurian tradition. This collection includes text and translation of over one hundred short texts concerning Arthur-figures, enabling Medieval scholars to examine for themselves the basis for claims of ‘Arthurship’ before the age of the historical Gildas. A detailed commentary is provided to introduce classicists to the Medieval tradition and vice-versa. The new texts raise as many questions as they answer; but for that very reason serious students of Arthurian origins cannot afford to ignore them.


“In this new contribution to Arthurian studies, Dr. Graham Anderson collects, translates and elucidates all the currently available for King Arthur figures already apparent many centuries before the generally recognized Arthur of the fifth and sixth centuries AD ... Professor Anderson’s commentary has performed a signal work in bringing together two legendary epochs that have too long remained apart.” – Dr. Alfred P. Smyth, Professor Emeritus of Medieval History, University of Kent

"... the real value of this book is in making these texts accessible to people who do not have the knowledge of Greek and Latin necessary to read these tales nor access to libraries that stock such obscure sources.” – Dr. Linda Makor, Independent Scholar

“Dr. Anderson’s book is a rich treasure trove of enlightening and often new materials on the subject of the perennial Arthurian legends ... I would recommend this book unreservedly to all who are in any way interested in Arthurian legend and literature, both as teachers, students, and non-academic enthusiasts. Professor Anderson has done an admirable job of assembling these texts ...” – Dr. John Matthews, Independent Scholar

Table of Contents

Foreword by Professor A.P. Smyth
Preface and Acknowledgements
Table of Abbreviations
1 Introduction
2 Texts
a. Arktouros
b. Ardus of Lydia
c. Tristan
d. L. Artorious Castus
e. Analogues
3 Translation
a. Arktouros
b. Ardus of Lydia
c. Tristan
d. L. Artorious Castus
e. Analogues
4 Commentary
a. Arktouros
b. Ardus of Lydia
c. Tristan
d. L. Artorious Castus
e. Analogues
Appendix 1: Ambrosious and Arthur
Appendix 2: Arthur and the Near East
Appendix 3: The Name Guinevere
Appendix 4: Synopses
Appendix 5: New Evidence on Icarius
Select Bibliography
Index of Texts
Index of Scholars

ISBN10:  0-7734-5376-8   ISBN13:  978-0-7734-5376-0    Pages:  408    Year:  2007   

Series: hors série Number: 0

Subject Areas:  Classics, History - Medieval, Literature - Medieval,

Imprint: Edwin Mellen Press

USA List Price: $159.95 UK List Price: £104.95  

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