Excerpt: The Warlike Arthur

8.2     With his decease the Britons’ strength withered away, and their hopes dwindled and ebbed; at this point, in fact, they would have collapsed completely, had not Vortigern’s successor Ambrosius, the sole surviving Roman, kept down the barbarian menace with the outstanding aid of the warlike Arthur. This Arthur is the hero of many wild tales among the Britons even in our own day, but assuredly deserves to be the subject of reliable history rather than of false and dreaming fable; for he was long the mainstay of his falling country, rousing to battle the broken spirit of his countrymen, and at length at the siege of Mount Badon, relying on the image of our Lord’s Mother which he had fastened upon his arms, he attacked nine hundred of the enemy single-handed, and routed them with incredible slaughter. On the other side, the English, through the sport of Fortune’s wheel, made good their wavering ranks by reinforcements of their fellow-countrymen, and more boldly rushed into the fray; so, little by little, as the natives retreated, they spread over the whole island, not without the favouring providence of God, in whose hand is every change of lordship. (Page 27)


William of Malmesbury (Author), R. A. B. Mynors (Editor, Translator), R. M. Thomson (Editor, Translator), Michael Winterbottom (Editor, Translator), Gesta Regum Anglorum v. 1  1998

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