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Britain in the Age of Arthur (Hardback)

A Military History

British History Medieval History Military

By Ilkka Syvanne
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 278
Illustrations: 80
ISBN: 9781473895201
Published: 18th November 2019

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King Arthur is one of the most controversial topics of early British history. Are the legends based on a real historical figure or pure mythological invention? Ilkka Syvannes study breaks new ground, adopting a novel approach to the sources by starting with the assumption that Arthur existed and that Geoffrey of Monmouths account has preserved details of his career that are based on real events. He then interprets these by using common sense and the perspective of a specialist in late Roman military history to form a probable picture of what really happened during the period (roughly AD 400-550). This approach allows the author to test the entire literary evidence for the existence of Arthur to see if the supposed events of his career match what is known of the events of the period, the conclusion being that in general they do. Arthurs military career is set in the context of the wider military history of Britain and Europe in this period and along the way describes the nature of armies and warfare of the period.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I was excited and delighted to see that there was a researcher that put in the work to prove that King Arthur did exist and it was not just a mythical legend that we all knew to grow and love. All of the information presented through the research of Geoffrey of Monmouths account and organized in the fashion that proves his existence Ilkka Syvanne put together was jaw dropping exciting to read that I actually screamed for about five minutes that everyone around me could not understand. I absolutely loved this book cover to cover and it totally made my day and I want to find Ilkka Syvanne and personally thank her for putting this book together.

We will consider adding this title to our Non-Fiction collection at our library. I wish I could give this book infinite stars but I can only give it 5 stars.

NetGalley, Meghan Soderholm

A focus on what happened during what would have been Arthur's reign according to (author focuses on) Geoffrey de Monmouth. A few other sources added in. A interesting look at battles and sieges.

NetGalley, Alexandra Roth

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I genuinely enjoyed this! I haven't picked up a history book in a very, very long time, but I delved into it because the author's viewpoint and analysis of text was so intriguing. I couldn't put it down, though I'll admit it's not one for everyone and there were some small dry parts. Personally, though, one I had a great time reading despite the odd subject matter.

NetGalley, Renee Trenaman

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I am a fan of everything related to King Arthur and was more than happy to read this ARC.
It's full of facts and I learned a lot about this era. The books is well written and well researched.
I think it's a must read if you want to know more about the age when Arthur is supposed to live.
Highly recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

About Ilkka Syvanne

Dr Ilkka Syvanne gained his doctorate in history in 2004 from Tampere University in his native Finland. His doctoral thesis was published as The Age of Hippotoxotai, Art of War in Roman Military Revival and Disaster 491-636 (Tampere University Press, Tampere 2004). He has also written numerous articles on late Roman/Byzantine warfare, and contributed seven entries for Blackwell's Encyclopaedia of the Roman Army (2011). From 2007 to 2016 he was Vice Chairman of the Finnish Society for Byzantine Studies. Dr Syvanne is An Affiliated Professor of the University of Haifa and lives in Kangasala, Finland.

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