Forrester Roberts
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King Arthur

Dark Age Warrior to Mythical Archetype

Merlin the magical shape-changer never contrived a more striking transformation than the change time has wrought on Arthur - that rough and ready Celtic commander, enthroned forever now as the doomed king of a medieval never-never land, clinging to shining ideals in a gathering dark.

King Arthur

For a few brief years perhaps, he held back the pagan invaders whilst the Celtic church in Wales was busy sending forth missionaries to found churches and monasteries in dark-age Europe. Alas! their gentle brand of Celtic Christianity, which had grown so naturally out of paganism, was not to last. Behind the Saxons rolled the Church of Rome and Celtic Christianity was shouldered out. Their missionary saints soon became a distant memory. Even so, Arthur and his band of warriors were not forgotten. Something about their bearing was remembered by the invaders after they were overwhelmed. They took them to their hearts, romanticised their image and adopted Arthur as their own. He became the prototype for generations of Englishmen. Their ideal suffused and empire. The legends that gathered around him filled a treasure house with poetry, music and artistic inspiration. Even today he continues to inspire; for the King who gave rise to so many stories has become almost divine; a fragment of the old gods dressed up in medieval finery.

Rome had come like the ‘Sorcerer's Apprentice’ and chopped up the old broom, but the broom sprang to life again; an army of smaller figures with an aura of magic around them. For Arthur and his many-faceted warrior knights reflect timeless aspects we feel in ourselves. Their problems strike responsive chords in all of us; chords that echo far beneath the veneer of society and reach down to our ancient pagan roots.

Underneath the shining armour of respectability, the rough hewn old warriors are still there in every one of us, only like the well worn stones of a riverbed, they have taken on a fine polish with the passing years. Deep within, Arthur and his knights lie slumbering still, unchanged beneath our ever changing surface, waiting for our call.

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