Did King Arthur really exist? The Reign of Arthur takes a fresh look at the early sources describing Arthur's career and compares them to the reality of Britain in the fifth and sixth centuries. It presents, for the first time, both the most up to date scholarship and a convincing case for the existence of a real sixth-century British general called Arthur. Where others speculate wildly or else avoid the issue, Gidlow, remaining faithful to the sources, deals directly with the central issue of interest to the general reader: does the Arthur that we read of in the ninth-century sources have any link to a real leader of the fifth or sixth century? Was Arthur a powerful king or a Dark Age general co-cordinating the British resistance to Saxon invaders? Detailed analysis of the key Arthurian sources, contemporary testimony and archaeology reveals the reality of fragmented British kingdoms uniting under a single military command to defeat the Saxons. There is plausible and convincing evidence for the existence of their war-leader, and, in this challenging and provocative work, Gidlow concludes that the Dark Age hypothesis of Arthur, War-leader of the Kings of the Britons, not only fits the facts, it is the only way of making sense of them.
Christopher Gidlow is the Live Interpretation Manager of Historic Royal Palaces. He specialises in bringing history to life at the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace and the Banqueting House Whitehall. He is also responsible for interpretation on the project to open the Georgian Kitchens of Kew Palace to the public. He is a director of the International Museum Theatre Alliance (Europe).
A life-long enthusiast for the Arthurian legends, Christopher describes being told by his primary teacher that they might have a basis in fact as 'like learning there really was a magic wardrobe with talking animals on the other side!' He has been investigating the history of Dark Age Britain ever since. He is the author of 'The Reign of Arthur - from History to Legend' and the recently published 'Revealing King Arthur - Swords, Stones and digging for Camelot'. The first book concentrates on the written sources, while 'Revealing King Arthur' looks at the archaeological evidence and the ways archaeologists have responded to potential links to the legends. He also wrote 'Life in A Tudor Palace', which takes the reader through the daily routine of Henry VIII's great houses.
Christopher attended Oriel College Oxford, where he specialised in Medieval history. His thesis, on the Papal call for a crusade against the Ottoman Turks after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 revealed that the Popes had funded Dracula and been instrumental in overthrowing Henry VI. He went on to receive an MA in Archaeology and Heritage from Leicester University. His dissertation 'Digging for Myths' looked at attempts to link legends to archaeology.
Christopher lives by the sea in St Leonards with his wife and three children. He writes his books on his daily commute into London!