Real Name: Artorius (Arthur is the modern pronunciation and spelling)

Occupation: King of Camelot (410-465 AD) , former squire

Legal Status: Citizen of Ancient Britain in the Fifth Century AD

Identity: The general populace of Earth is unaware of Arthur’s existence except as a semi-historical character.

Other Aliases: Artur (alternate spelling)

Place of Birth: Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, England

Place of Death: Camlann in Cornwall, England

Marital Status: Separated

Known Relatives: Conaan (paternal great-great-great grandfather, deceased), Urbien (paternal great-great-grandfather, deceased), Solomon (paternal great-grandfather, deceased), Constantine (paternal grandfather, deceased), Amlawdd (maternal grandfather, deceased), Gwert (maternal grandmother, deceased), Uther Pendragon (father, deceased), Igraine (mother), Maines, Pandragon, Aurelius Ambrosius (paternal uncles), Duke Elise (maternal uncle), Percival (cousin, "Percy"), Ector (foster father), Kay (foster brother), Guinevere (wife), Genievre (sister-in-law), Leodegrance (father-in-law), Mordred (son by Morgause), Borre (son by Lyzianor), Adeluf, Amr, Arthur the Little, Gwydre, Ilinot, Llacheu, Loholt, Morgan the Black, Patrick the Red, Rowland  (sons, not all in wedlock), Ellen, Gyneth, Melora (daughters, not all in wedlock), Anna (alleged twin sister), Morgause, Morgan Le Fay, Elaine (half-sisters), Lot, Nentres, Uriens (brothers-in-law), Gawain, Agravaine, Gaheris, Gareth, Ywaine, Galeshin (nephews), Soredamors, Alteria, Clarissant (nieces), Hoel (cousin), Aeneas, Constantinus, Bran (ancestors, deceased), Llyr, Aphrodite (ancestors)

Group Affiliation: Leader of the Knights of the Round Table

Base of Operations: Camelot (now part of modern Somerset County, England)

First Appearance: (historical) Historia Brittonum by Nennius, (modern - 1955) Black Knight Comics #1

History: King Arthur is the son of Uther Pendragon, brother of Aurelius Ambrosius, and son of King Constantine of Britain. In the years of upheaval after the Roman withdrawal, Britain had become an island of small, squabbling kingdoms. Aurelius Ambrosius tried to unite the small kingdoms against their common enemies such as the Irish, the Picts and the Saxons. Uther Pendragon followed him in his quest, but, prior to this, it was the business of Vortigern who had slew Constantine and assumed his throne, who supposedly invited the Saxons into Britain, to aid in repelling the invasions of the Picts. When Vortigern's people and most notably his sons objected to the presence of the Saxons, they saw how Vortigern favored them over his own people, and they attempted to expel the Saxons. Hengist and Horsa, the Saxon leaders descended from Odin, Lord of the Asgardian gods, objected and fighting broke out. Vortigern tried to make peace, but at a peace-making meeting, Hengist and his Saxons pulled daggers from their boots and turned on the unarmed Briton lords and petty kings, and slew them all. At this point, Vortigern either conceded his lands to Hengist in exchange for his life, and was allowed to live with the horror of what he had wrought and was spared and set free to flee to Wales.

In Wales, Vortigern began construction of a castle that failed to see completion. As soon as it neared an end to its construction, its foundations fell apart under it. Vortigern finally consulted his magicians, and they told him he should find a boy without a father, and kill him and incorporate his bones and blood into the foundations of the castle. Vortigern sent out messengers, who came to a town called Kaermerdin (modern Camarthen) and there they saw some lads playing by the town gate. A sudden quarrel broke out between the two lads, whose names were Merlin and Dinabutius. As they argued, Dinabutius announced to Merlin of being of royal blood and of Merlin never having had a father. Having found what they sought, the messengers dragged the boy back with them to Vortigern.

Merlin objected to being killed, of course, and when confronted with his death, he called liars out of Vortigern's great magicians, and promised to solve the problem of the castle foundations himself. Within a vision, he told Vortigern that the foundations fell every night because there was a pool beneath the earth they were lain on. Beneath the pool were two dragons sleeping that awoke to fight. Whenever the two dragons awoke, they would began to fight. Merlin began to prophesy:

"Alas for the Red Dragon, for its end is near. Its cavernous dens shall be occupied by the White Dragon, which stands for the Saxons that you have invited over. The Red Dragon represents the people of Britain, who will be overrun by the White One..."

Merlin proceeded to warn Vortigern that the vision was a sign that he would not last as King of Britain. Aurelius Ambrosius, the son of the man that Vortigern had betrayed to assume the throne, would come to drive out the Saxons and to kill Vortigern. Merlin then departed Vortigern's doomed presence and went to Aurelius Ambrosius and became his chief advisor, who succeeded in all the things that Merlin had prophesied that he would, such as driving out the Saxons and indeed, killing Vortigern. Aurelius Ambrosius now succeeded Vortigern as King of Britain.

(c. 395 AD) During the reign of Aurelius Ambrosius, a comet appeared in the sky. Shortly thereafter, an agent of one of Vortigern’s sons poisoned Aurelius and Uther Pendragon assumed the throne. Merlin told Uther that the comet had signified his rise to power, and Uther continued to drive back the Saxons, and once victorious, he began to call for a wife who would provide him an heir to the throne. Unfortunately, his eye settled upon a woman who was already married, Igraine, Duchess of Tintagil, wife of Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall. It was not long before Uther and Gorlois went to battle over the woman, and once again, the island was at war. Uther and Gorlois fought for some time before Uther cornered Gorlois in Cornwall near Tintagel Castle. The night before they were about to have the final battle, Uther demanded of Merlin that he have Igraine. Merlin agreed for a price to be named at a future date, and Merlin disguised Uther as Gorlois by using Spellcraft (sorcery) and sneaked him into the castle. Igraine received Uther thinking he was her husband. She became pregnant with Arthur by Uther, and the next day, Uther took the field and killed Gorlois in battle. Igraine became Uther's wife not long after.

Arthur was not raised by his mother and father, nor along side his half-sister, Morgan, the child from his mother's first marriage. He was instead taken and given by Merlin to be fostered by Sir Ector, and raised alongside Ector’s son, Kay. In the meantime, the island fell to warring once more for not all who were loyal to Aurelius were so taken with his brother. Uther, constantly embattled, grew ill with the stress of his wars, and his health began to fail. By the time Arthur was a young man Uther was near death.

(c. 410 AD) Uther eventually died without ever seeing his son, and the island was left without a king. All the great lords of Britain turned out for a tournament whose victor would become the next King. Kay, newly knighted, fought in the tournament, and Arthur acted as his squire. As they left their lodgings one morning for the tournament field, Arthur in his excitement forgot Kay's sword. As they approached the field, Kay asked Arthur where it was, and when they found out that Arthur had forgotten it, he sent the boy back to fetch it with all due haste. Arthur, trying to be as quick as possible, came across, Excalibur, a sword in a stone in the courtyard of an abbey and without a thought, he ran up, grabbed the sword, pulled it out, and ran back to Kay. Kay was surprised at Arthur's speed. He looked suspiciously at the sword and was amazed. He recognized it as the sword in the stone. He showed it to his father, who eventually got the truth from both Kay and Arthur that Arthur had pulled it from the stone. Written on the sword was "whosoever shall pull me from the stone shall be the next King of Britain." Ector called an end to the tournament, and showed the lords of the realm the sword that his foster son had pulled from the stone. Various tests were imposed, but eventually it became clear that Arthur had indeed pulled the sword from the stone and was to be the next King of Britain. Arthur was reunited with Igraine his mother who became the Queen Mother of Britain.

Young King Arthur was faced with difficulties from the beginning. He had to drive the Saxons back. In order to do this, though, he needed to unify the petty kings of Britain to fight the Saxons. He also had to develop an effective fighting force, and somewhere along the way, get married. Arthur went on advice from Merlin, his adviser, that the unification of the petty kings was as easy as forming a Round Table where everyone was equal in the eyes of the King and had a voice in the affairs of the realm, or as difficult as beating the rebellious leaders into submission. After this was accomplished, the united forces of Romano-Celtic Britain began the long and arduous task of fighting the Saxons. Twelve Battles of Arthur documented the long, uphill struggle to free the island or at least to drive back the Anglo-Saxon invaders. The battles ended with the climax of the Battle of Badon in which Arthur is said to have worn the banner of the Virgin Mary on his shoulders for the first time.

After the Battle of Badon came peace, and Arthur began to look about him for a wife. His eye fell on Guinevere, but they did not meet before their marriage, and Lancelot, Arthur's most trusted knight, went to fetch her and bring her back to Camelot. Along the way, they happen to romance each other and fell in love with each other. This courtly romance was doomed from the beginning just as time of peace finally settled on the land.

(413-415 AD) The early part of Arthur's reign was filled with strange and mysterious events as Arthur accepted Christianity into Britain and began to overlook the ancient Celtic rites of his ancestors. The knights were kept busy with numerous quests such as those with the White Stag, the Loathly Lady and the Green Knight. There were such diversions as Culhwch and Olwen and in between times there were mundane events such as tournaments to keep everyone entertained as well. At the same time, Arthur’s evil half-sister, Morgan le Fay, was plotting her brother's demise. Morgan went to great lengths to end Arthur's reign. Morgan's plots ranged from creating a False Excalibur to stirring up jealousy between the King and Lancelot and as far as employing her nephew Mordred, by her sister Morgause and Arthur, to manipulate against him. From youth, though, Mordred often confused Morgan with his mother and even at times thought of her as his one true mother although their relations at times may have bordered on incestuous.

(415-428 AD) Arthur continued wars against Roman invaders and slew the Roman Emperor Lucius in battle. From afar, Arthur called himself the Emperor of Rome, but affairs in Britain restrained him to Camelot and he never once received the chance to cement his victory over the Romans.

(428 AD) As Arthur aged, Camelot went into decline. The evil work of Morgan began to take over the once glorious kingdom; the knights became mean, lost their chivalry, turned to in fighting between themselves. Merlin, in an effort to save Camelot, suggested a grander quest than any of the others he had previously created, and told the Arthur to send his knights to quest for the Holy Grail. The Grail, which brought healing and eternal life, would be the key to lifting the Arthur's spirits and bringing his health back, and thus also the health of the realm. The knights scattered to the four corners of the earth. Perceval was caught in a wasteland belonging to a maimed king; Galahad, the most innocent of knights, the only man pure enough to sit in the Perilous Seat, vanished on his quest; and flawed Lancelot several times came close to finding the grail but always failed. The Grail was never brought to Camelot, but later legend claims it was misplaced somewhere near London, becoming known as the Nanteos Cup.

Morgan became credited for disposing of Merlin by manipulating Nimue, Merlin’s lover. Nimue had wished to acquire all of Merlin's powers and secrets and went to great lengths to seduce him, and steal his powers while he whispered in his sleep. Morgan had provided Nimue a spell that would make Merlin hers forever, but the spell imprisoned them both in a crystal cave under an oak tree. She eliminated Merlin for herself on Morgan's behalf.

Meanwhile, far from court, Morgan had raised her son to despise Arthur and sent him to his father when he reached adulthood. If his heritage were found out, it would make Arthur look bad, at the very least; at best, Mordred would work to bring about the fall of Arthur. The court of Camelot had declined substantially in morals during Mordred's childhood and adolescence, and a general malaise surrounded Arthur. Mordred would at that point only be aiding in the inevitable. Mordred became a mortal caught between the desires of his parents. He noticed the relationship between Guinevere and Lancelot from the start and tried to discredit both Arthur and Lancelot to create a niche for himself. When he found out that Lancelot and Guinevere have gone off on a tryst together, Mordred called together some of his father’s loyal knights and had them barge in on the lovers, having them both taken prisoner. Lancelot managed to escape. Arthur arrived on the scene from negotiating and fighting wars. The decision is made that Guinevere must be executed for her treachery upon his return. Guinevere is led to the stake to be burned for adultery; Arthur looks on, stone-faced while Lancelot swoops in on his horse, rescues her, and runs away with her to the Joyous Gard (his castle), where they live for some time until she enters a nunnery. Arthur has no time to get her back, either by wooing or warfare for on the horizon is war.

(461-465 AD) Arthur is attacked in waves by Romans, Goths, Saxons, Picts, French, Irish and by rebellious subject kings seizing upon the vulnerability of Camelot. It had in a sense already fallen for in the betrayal between Arthur and Lancelot and in the deterioration of the moral values of the men in charge of guarding the once grand kingdom. The last battle, The Battle of Camlann, marks the fall of Arthur. Mordred turned against Arthur in this battle wielding Excalibur and a false scabbard while Arthur wielded a false Excalibur and a false scabbard. Recognizing his true sword, Arthur slew Mordred, but the battle took a toll on his overtaxed abilities. With his dying breath, he requests Sir Bedivere, his most trusted confidant, to take Excalibur and toss into far off Lake Benoye and return and proclaim what he sees. Bedivere concealed Excalibur expecting it to be passed on to the next King of Britain and returned to tell Arthur on how it sank in the waters. Realizing that Bedivere had not complied with his wishes, Arthur compelled him to follow his last wishes. Bedivere commences to Benoye and tosses away Excalibur as a hand rises from the waters, salutes him three times and departs under the water. As Bedivere describes these details, Arthur knows his desires have been met. Bedivere stays with Arthur through the night and at dawn came nine women dressed like queens, the daughters of Arawn, the Celtic god of the dead. Bedivere was frozen at the sight of them. They tenderly lifted the dying king from his rough bed on the ground and bore him off to his just reward for the honored dead. Bedivere was anxious to see where they were going and followed as quickly as he could. It was as though lead weighted his feet, and he did not catch up with them until the nine queens had loaded Arthur onto a barge and had sailed halfway across the lake with the freed Merlin showing the way to Avalon. However, according to tradition, Arthur's body only lays in wait in the Preseli Hills of Modern England, waiting for the time when England will need him again.

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 250 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Brown

Strength Level: King Arthur possessed the normal human strength level of a man of his size, height and build who engages in extensive regular exercises.

Known Superhuman Powers: None

Abilities: King Arthur is credited with being one of the greatest mortal kings of Earth. He was a proficient, wise and just ruler and a capable swordsman, horseman and strategic leader in time of war. He was a benevolent and charismatic persona tempered by the wisdom and magic of Merlin himself.

Weapons: Arthur's foremost weapon was the sword Excalibur (also spelled Excaliber or Excalibre). Forged and enchanted by the Lady of the Lake herself, it could pierce or cut through any substance and its scabbard ensured its wearer would never lose blood. Wielded by Arthur, it was a most proficient and capable weapon.

Comments: Most of King Arthur’s list of relatives here comes from the book, “The Arthurian Companion – Second Edition” by Phyllis Ann Carr (Copyright 2001). Others listed here come from “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Arthurian Legends” by Ronan Coghlan (Copyright 1991) and “Celtic Myth and Legend” by Mike Dixon-Kennedy (Copyright 1996).

King Arthur’s ancestry is obviously festooned with a number of both historical and fantastic personages. Various writers and documenters purport both his mother and father claimed the Celtic sea-god, Llyr, as well as ancestry and lineage back to the Roman conquest of Britain by the descendants of Aeneas of Troy. Roman Emperor, Constantius, Emperor of Rome (c.265-337 AD) and Votadini Ruler Cunedda (c.430 AD) appear as ancestors of Igraine. There is one curious name, which appears in the ancestry of Uther Pendragon: his great-great-grandfather, Conaan (not to be confused with the Cimmerian barbarian of the Hyborian Age), father of the Celtic Chieftain, Urbien. It is not clear from the collection of names if this is supposed to be the same Conaan who is grandfather of the vizier and magician, Merlin.

On the other hand, most of these names must be taken with a grain of salt because dating the lifetimes of Arthur’s ancestors with known dated events and personages connected to them (such as Constantinus, St. Brigid and Joseph of Arimathea) would suggest a lifespan of seventy to eighty years for the majority of them. The typical lifespan for men in the Fifth Century AD was only about fifty!

In Arthurian legend, there is no clear indication that Excalibur was the sword in the stone since it was supposed to been created by the Lady of the Lake. However, a movie version (Merlin, 1996, starring Sam Neil) accounts for this by claiming Uther Pendragon first wielded Excalibur after Merlin received it from the Lady of the Lake and that Uther became unworthy of it. Merlin then forged it into stone and endowed it that only the true king of Britain could wield it. While this account seems very likely, it’s not part of the actual legend.

Last updated: 02/11/07


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