Arthur and Adoption

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Statue of King Arthur, designed by Albrecht Dürer and cast by Peter Vischer the Elder, early 16th century


5th or 6th century

King of the Silures or British folk hero

King Arthur was born the son of Uther and Igerna, who was the wife of Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall. He was raised by Sir Ector in secret and became king on Uther's death, proving his right to the throne when he pulled the sword from the stone where Merlin had put it. It is not certain whether he in fact ever existed, but in any case he is one of the great folk heroes of British and Celtic culture. He is first mentioned in the sixth century, in the Welsh poem, "Y Gododdin" by Aneurin. He and his army are said to be sleeping under a mountain somewhere in Britain, to be resurrected at a time of great need.


Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-97 Ashe, Geoffrey. The Discovery of King Arthur. (Garden City: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1985) Barber, Richard. The Figure of Arthur. (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1972) Chambers, E.K. Arthur of Britain. (New York: October House, 1967) King Arthur: A Casebook, edited by Edward Donald Kennedy. (New York: Garland, 1996) Brewer, E. Cobham. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. New and enlarged edition. (1894). Also available at: "The Encyclopaedia of the Celts: Arthur - Awen." Available at: