In this lavishly illustrated and rich survey, Christopher Snyder examines the historical realities and impact of the Arthurian legends on history and the arts. The backdrop to the legends is accompanied by a discussion of the Celtic and Roman legacies in Europe. Medieval texts and the latest archaeological discoveries are then used to piece together a picture of the 5th and 6th centuries, when medieval authors believed Arthur to have reigned as king or champion of the Britons.
Snyder shows how contemporaries viewed Arthur and this enigmatic period of history, and how history gave way to legend. He traces the development of Arthurian literature in medieval Europe, moving from Britain and France to Germany where writers like Wolfram von Eschenbach brought the stories of the Grail and Tristan into association with Arthur. The book also offers a unique look at: the impact that Arthur had on European chivalry and monarchy; the 19th-century revival of interest in Arthur; 20th century adherents to the myth of Camelot; and Arthurian websites.