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The Battles of King Arthur (Hardback)

P&S History > British History > Anglo-Saxons & Vikings P&S History > Royal History

By Tony Sullivan
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 288
Illustrations: 32 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399015301
Published: 26th May 2022

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The ninth century Historia Brittonum is the first source that mentions Arthur and lists twelve battles, including the famous Badon Hill. Much ink has been spilt debating the identity and location of Arthur. This book will demonstrate that some of the battles can indeed be located with some confidence. Rather than fit a specific theory as to his identity the battles are placed in the fragmenting provincial, political and military context of the late fifth and early sixth century Britain. At a time of rapid changes in cultural identity and a significant increase in Germanic material culture and migration.

These battles might be expected to be found along borders and in zones of potential conflict. Yet this is not what is discovered. In addition the simplistic idea of Romano-Britons holding back invading Anglo-Saxons is found wanting. Instead we discover a far more nuanced political and cultural situation. One with increasing evidence of continuation of land use and the indigenous population. The most Romanised and urbanised regions of the south and east are the very areas that experienced the arrival of Germanic settlement. The conclusion gives the reader a new insight into what sort of man Arthur was and the nature of the battles he fought.

As an historian and writer, Tony Sullivan has a genuine flair for the kind of narrative storytelling style that is accessibly informative for both academia and the non-specialist general reader. Informatively enhanced for the reader with the inclusion of Maps, Illustration, Tables, nine pages of Notes, a five page Reference and Bibliography, and a three page Index, "The Battles of King Arthur" is a unique and seminal study that is unreservedly recommended for community and academic library British Medieval History & Biography collections.

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Midwest Book Review

Fact or fiction. That has been the debate about King Arthur. Did he exist and if he did what was he like? Were his exploits based in flights of fancy or was there a historical base to them. This book attempts to set the record as straight as it can be with lots of research from modern as well as ancient sources. Naturally, some of the material that has been handed down from that time or shortly thereafter is both scarce and suspect.

But what the author does very effectively is he looks at the world in which Arthur would have existed. He looks at the transition from Roman to Romano-British and then the various influxes of other people, both peacefully and not. He spends a lot of time on the various Germanic tribes and their impact on what Britain would become. It is fascinating. It also shows how little man has changed in the millenia. Our weapons may be different as are our lives. We are, however, driven by the same wants and needs.

For the reader who loves the minutiae and maps, there is plenty of substance. It is also interesting for the reader who prefers the bigger picture. Four purrs and two paws up.

NetGalley, Susan Johnston

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I would recommend this book to everyone who is interested in history and in particular King Arthur and associated myths and legends. A well researched book on the time period concerned as well as the many battles he fought in with very plausible locations for these battles. He explores the tribes in Britain at the time and the politics involved in changing culture..

NetGalley, Lional Jones

This has been a thoroughly good book to read very informative, detailed and in some places surprising. On a subject that is often full of debate and discussion, the author Tony Sullivan separates the fact from the fiction and bases match of his arguments on evidence and detail and in the vast majority of cases backs it up with very good detailed evidence and source information. I think I reviewed Tony Sullivan's previous book on King Arthur and thoroughly enjoyed that too, I really enjoy his straight-to-the-point writing and detail which comes across very clear and factually. As a bit of a sceptic about King Arthur in the past I have found after reading these books that I am becoming more and more of a believer in King Arthur and the Legend. I have noticed that I am due to review Sullivan's book on Gladiators, which having read this King Arthur book I am really looking forward to reading the book about Gladiators I would most certainly recommend this book not only to historians but also the fans of legends and myths.

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The History Fella

I like the style of writing of this author and I was interested in this book. It's another interesting and well researched book.
Learned something new in a pleasant way.
Recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Having read "King Arthur: Man or Myth?", I jumped at the chance to read and review "The Battles of King Arthur", by the same author. I love the way Tony Sullivan has presented this book, with clear lines between what is fact and what is possible. The writing is very good, too. This is a must-read for any King Arthur fans. There is one idea that truly excited me, and if you want to know what it is then you'll have to read it yourself!

NetGalley, Dawn Lewis

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Mr Sullivan has written a most profound book on who was Arthur and what were his deeds in the far past of Britain. I was amazed at the information and scope of experiences that Arthur and his followers experienced. What is even more fantastic about this book is that it actually makes use of records and lots of theories ad puts them together in a fascinating story! The list of Arthurs battles is impressive. To be honest I never understood what or how such a person could perform in so many battles and seem to be nothing more than a legend. After reading this exceptional work I understand why he fought and what we know about the battles. Fans of Arthur and history buffs will love this as well as anyone looking to understand Britain of long ago.

NetGalley, Patrick Carmen

The ninth century Historia Brittonum is the first source that mentions Arthur and lists twelve battles, including the famous Badon Hill. Much ink has been spilt debating the identity and location of Arthur. This book will demonstrate that some of the battles can indeed be located with some confidence. Rather than fit a specific theory as to his identity the battles are placed in the fragmenting provincial, political and military context of the late fifth and early sixth century Britain.

As a history lover, King Arthur is one historical figure that I knew very little about prior to reading this book. So I was delighted to be granted my wish to read an advanced review copy of ‘The Battles of King Arthur’ by Tony Sullivan, who has written several books on King Arthur. It’s a wonderful trip back in time and very interesting to read a non fiction account of a figure who is so popular in myths and legends! I will definitely be checking out Tony Sullivan’s other books. I’d recommend this to anyone who is a lover of history or for anyone who, like myself, went into the book quite unfamiliar with the legendary King Arthur. A wonderful read.

NetGalley, Carrie M Lack

About Tony Sullivan

Tony Sullivan lives in South East London with his wife and three children. His first book, King Arthur: Man or Myth? was published in 2020. Three further books followed in 2022: The Battles of King Arthur investigating the famous battle list from the Historia Brittonum; The Real Gladiator, looking at the historical reality behind the 2000 film; and The Roman King Arthur?: Lucius Artorius Castus, which dismantles the Artorius-Arthur theory and places this historical Roman officer in the reigns of Severus and Caracalla.

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