King Arthur: Birth of a Legend

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Part 1: When the Romans Left

Somewhere along the line, as the Angles, Jutes, and Saxons occupied more and more of the territory formerly held by Britons and Welsh, the defenders began to hold the line and even strike back. The Anglo-Saxon takeover of Britain was not as straightforward a triumph as was the Roman conquest of Britain; those defending against the Saxon incursions had some spectacular victories. One of those victories has come to be known as the Battle of Badon Hill.

This battle is written up in many sources of the time and many sources of later times. Nearly all sources agree that it was a decisive victory for the Britons; indeed, no further Saxon invasions occurred for a generation. So the British victory at Badon Hill was significant indeed.

Like so many events from long ago, this event has few details known about it, frustrating historians and others who want to have precise details about such things. Many scholars through the years have put forward many theories of where this battle took place. England doesn’t have a Badon Hill now, and some historians think that England never had a hill named Badon. Some theorize that Badon was really a corruption of Bath (which does still exist) or of Badbury (which also still exists). So this great victory for the Britons over the Saxons has been written up in many sources but without a specific location.

What historians also do not agree on is who led the British forces to that victory. Some sources name Ambrosius Aurelianus, a known war hero, as the commander on the day of the Battle of Badon Hill. Other sources use other names or do not name the commander at all. Still other sources say that the name of the British commander that day was Arthur.

Part 2: So Much Unknown

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