Friday, April 22, 2011

David and Arthur: A Comparison

I've said this in conversation a few different times, but I've never blogged on it, so here it goes.

No one really knows the origin of the King Arthur legends. I have a theory that the story of King David was morphed and retold throughout the Dark Ages into the legend of the old king of Britain.

Here are some similarities:

David 
  • slayed the giant, Goliath, in a childhood feat of strength
  • anointed by Samuel, a wise prophet
  • head of a group of men called David's mighty men
  • part of a scandalous romance with Bathsheba and one of his mighty men
  • was one with the land; the land thrived/withered when he thrived/withered
  • had a rebellious son, Absalom, who wanted to murder him
Arthur
  • pulled the sword from the stone in a childhood feat of strength
  • mentored by Merlin, a wise magician
  • head of a group of men called the knights of the round table
  • part of a scandalous romance with Guinevere and one of his knights
  • was one with the land; the land thrived/withered when he thrived/withered
  • had a rebellious son, Mordred, who did murder him

Maybe the King Arthur stories were actually stories of David that changed through verbal retelling by a people group with no access to the Bible in their language. Just a theory.

The story of David can be found starting in 1 Samuel in the Old Testament in the Bible. As for Arthur, here's his wikipedia page.
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