King Arthur and Morgan le
in Historical Britain
Most people know the legend of King
Athur from medieval romances. Written in the 1400s, Sir Thomas
Malory’s Morte d’Arthur is the most influential version of
the story. So in novels and movies, King Arthur usually shows up in
medieval plate armor, a perfect Christian knight.
But Malory didn’t make Arthur up.
Historical references to Arthur show up as early as the 9th Century.
And the scholar Geoffrey Ashe makes a compelling case that Arthur was
a British war chief called Riothamus (“High King”) who flourished
around 470 AD, and was last seen around the French town of Avallon.
It’s a time when everything is up for
grabs. The British still think of themselves as Romans. They write in
Latin, and travel on old Roman roads. But the British are divided and
disorganized against the invading barbarian Saxons, who are pushing
them relentlessly westward. Rome can’t help. It pulled its legions
out in 402, and it’s been sacked by barbarian Vandals.
The British are also between religions.
Most British still worship the old pagan gods — including the war
goddess, Morigenos, whom the Irish call the Morrígan. But
Christianity — finally legal in the Empire — is spreading
Ireland is still completely pagan,
except for one or two early monasteries. There are no towns in
Ireland, no roads and no books.
This is the world Morgan lives in. Her
father thinks of himself as a Roman governor, but where does that get
him? The old Celtic British traditions, and the old religion, make
more sense to her than Roman laws. She is a throwback. That is her
strength, and her downfall.
The author has done extensive
historical research on post-Roman Britain, both through written
sources, and traveling to British sites such as South Cadbury Castle
(Camelot), Tintagel, Tara, Emly, and Butser Ancient Farm.
details of daily life in 5th Century Britain and Ireland — except
the magic — are as accurate as possible.
Who is Morgan le Fay?
What is Wiccan magic?
Who is Alex Epstein?
The Circle Cast blog.
The YA Fantasy Guide interviews Alex
Praise for The Circle Cast