Geoffrey of Monmouth

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Geoffrey of Monmouth
Cotton Claudius B VII f.224 Merlin Vortigern.jpg
Bornc. 1095 [1]
Diedc. 1155 (aged around 60)
Notable work
History of the Kings of Britain

Geoffrey of Monmouth (c. 1095 – c. 1155) was a clergyman and writer. He was probably born in Wales. He was made the bishop of St Asaph on 21 February 1152.

Around 1136 he wrote Historia Regum Britanniae in Latin, translated as History of the Kings of Britain. It is a mythical history which included the first account of King Arthur, Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table.

Stories about in Geoffrey's book helped to make Arthur a popular character. Shakespeare consulted Geoffrey's book when he wrote King Lear and Cymbeline.

As early as 1190, William of Newburgh wrote "it is quite clear that everything this man wrote about Arthur and his successors, or indeed about his predecessors from Vortigern onwards, was made up, partly by himself and partly by others".[2]

References[change | change source]

  1. Arthurian Figures of history and legend: A biographical dictionary: "Geoffrey of Monmouth (floruit 1112–1139/ lifespan circa 1095–1155)".
  2. Quoted by Thorpe in Geoffrey of Monmouth. The History of the Kings of Britain. Translated, with introduction and index, by Lewis Thorpe. London: Penguin Books, 1966, p. 17. ISBN 0-14-044170-0