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10 Interesting Historical King Arthur Fun Facts

Can you separate fact from fiction when it comes to King Arthur? Find out all about the historical figures he's based on in these cool King Arthur facts!

Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:ย  February 8th 2023

How much do you know about the once and future king of the Britons, Arthur? You might know all about his wizard Merlin, his fights with magical creatures and his knights of the round table, but did you know he might also be based on a real person? It's time to find out all about King Arthur with these ten cool historical and mythical facts! And if you liked these, check out more facts here! How about finding out more about British history with these cool Tudor facts? Or maybe you fancy going even further back in time to ancient Egypt to discover everything you ever wanted to know about the god Anubis! You could even find out all about the fatal maiden voyage of the Titanic with these epic Titanic facts!

1. He's Linked With Places All Over Britain

Arthur really was King of the Britons, because he's been linked to places all over the UK! Tintagel in Cornwall, Glastonbury in Somerset, Arthur's seat in Edinburgh, the Orkney Islands, and Snowdonia in Wales are just some of the places Arthur was said to have lived, visited or even been born at! Even the famous Stonehenge monument has a myth linked to Arthur!

2. He May Have Been Based On An Ancient Warrior

Arthur wasn't a real person, but that doesn't mean he wasn't based on a real person. Historians think that there are several historical rulers and kings who could have inspired his legend. Original sources think he may have been a king fighting against incoming Saxon invaders in the 5th century, or even a Roman soldier called Lucius Artorius Castus. The truth is we'll never know for sure, but there are definitely a lot of real life people who could have been the original King Arthur!

3. He Was First Mentioned In The 12th Century

Stories about king Arthur have been around for centuries, and the first mention of him we have in writing is in the Historia Brittonum, a Latin text written about 829 AD (that's roughly 1,200 years ago! His most famous depiction is in the 12th century work Historia Regum Britanniae by Geoffrey of Monmouth, and around that time Merlin first pops up too.

4. Legend Says His Bones Were Found At Glastonbury

According to a story from the 12th century, two Glastonbury monks (back then it was an abbey, not a musical festival) came across a grave which contained bones of a very tall man and a woman, and an inscription claiming they were Arthur and Guinevere. However, some people think this was just a crafty publicity stunt to attract more visitors to Glastonbury (and it worked!). We'll never know what really happened.

5. He's Based In The 5th and 6th Centuries AD

When we think of King Arthur, we often picture big stone castles, ladies with point hats and knight in shining armour. But actually, this image is much closer to how Britain looked in the 12th century, when Arthur was first written about, than the time he was meant to be alive. Arthur supposedly lived in the 5th and 6th centuries. He was much more likely to live in a wooden castle, wear heavy woollen clothing and be fighting or hanging out with the invading Romans!

6. Merlin Might Have Been Based On A Real Person

Merlin might just be the most famous wizard EVER - even more famous than Harry Potter! He's inspired countless wise, bearded mages, like Gandalf, Dumbledore and even Obiwan Kenobi! But was he real? Well, no, he wasn't a real wizard, but there are historical characters who might have inspired him. Apparently he might have been based on a Welsh poet called Myrddin Wyllt, who, according to legend, lived in the woods in Lowland Scotland. Or he might have been inspired by Ambrosius Aurelianus, a Roman-British warrior. He could even be based on a French saint, Saint Martin! Like all myths and legends, we'll never know the truth for sure!

7. Real Royals Have Been Named After Him

Although there was no real King Arthur, there has been a Prince Arthur, who was destined to be King of England. Henry VIII actually had an older brother called Arthur, who was meant to take the throne, but he died young, and so Henry took over his crown (and his wife, Catherine of Aragon). So we could have had a real King Arthur, if history had turned out differently!

8. Camelot Could Be Somewhere In Britain Today

Camelot was supposedly the legendary seat of Arthur, the castle where he, his knights and his court lived. But where exactly was it? There are a few different theories; some people say the castle fortress Caerleon, in South Wales could be Camelot, or it might be located at Tintagel in Cornwall. Other people think that if there really was a real life inspiration for Camelot, it would have been a wooden fort, long since destroyed, since stone castles only really became popular after the Normans invaded in 1066.

9. He Is Meant To Return

Arthur is meant to be King of all the Britons, and its his job to unite them in the darkest time. Legend has it that he's not actually dead, just sleeping, and that one day, when Britain needs him most, he will rise again and defend the country. Well, he didn't come back when they raised the price of Freddos, so we're not holding our breaths, but it's a cool story!

10. He Still Inspires People Today

Even after hundreds of years, King Arthur is still inspiring people today! As well as artists like the Pre Raphaelites, he's inspired dozens of films and TV shows, including the popular BBC show Merlin, the Disney Classic The Sword In the Stone and even Monty Python and the Holy Grail! And that's not even mentioning all the books and plays! Arthur is definitely here to stay as part of Britain's stories.