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How Did Religion Influence King Arthur

Powerful Essays
Early Religious Influences on the Tales of King Arthur
While the story of King Arthur of Britain has captivated audiences for hundreds of years, many different versions of this tale have survived through the ages, including Geoffrey of Monmouth’s work, Historia regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), and Sir Thomas Mallory’s epic, Le Morte d’Arthur, among a plethora of others. Both of these accounts of Arthur Pendragon portray him as a valiant king and hero, yet many wonder if his legends, often associated with the roots of the Christian faith, were built more upon Christianity or Celtic Pagan foundations. One problem that many face when trying to discern the religious influences of these stories is the scarceness of historical documents of Celtic Paganism beliefs and practices, as Christianity eradicated the majority of their practices or blended in some of their traditions. Yet, in spite of a lack of resources, enough knowledge of Celtic Paganism still survives that allows many to claim that King Arthur’s tale is either primarily Christian or primarily Pagan. However, it is much more likely that the stories are, in
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They saw death not as a curse or a doomed fate, but as an exciting adventure. Beyond just the Druids attitude towards death, was their perception of what all it would entail. While Christians can interpret the passage in Le Morte d’Arthur about how “some men say… that King Arthur is not dead… and men say that he shall come again” as being a symbolic coming of a greater king, early Celtic Paganism would have seen this as a reference to their belief in reincarnation (Malory 834). In Druidic philosophy, “man could either live here on earth and then elsewhere or be reincarnated again to infinity” (Markale 297). Arthur’s death did not mark the end of his reign, but rather the end of an era of his reign as he was the Once and Future
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