I’m not really sure what the point of this Associated Press story, “King Arthur’s Legend Lives on at Tintagel” is. It’s being listed in the Travel section at USA Today and CNN.com, so I guess the point might be, “Hey, look at this castle. Maybe you’d like to go there,” but the story doesn’t really include the sorts of details that you’d need to plan a vacation there–like, what airport is nearby or who organizes tours of the area–so it can’t be that, exactly. The more pragmatic side of me suspects that the point is, “Hey, I have a brochure for Tintagel and a deadline. What a coincidence.”
Since I’m currently revising my chapter on Geoffrey of Monmouth, I was fully primed to unleash my inner medieval pedant on this fluff piece. Of the maybe six or so claims about the Arthurian legend, only maybe two are fully correct. But really, who wants to read me crowing about minor inconsistencies?* Instead, read me lamenting the cruel fate that has me chasing down footnotes hour upon hour when I could be phoning in articles like this for a major news organization.
And since I’m not going to make a full post about it, let me put it in here. The About.com guy really has to be stopped.** I can understand listing this blog as European History Blog of the Week. There are 52 weeks, and probably only 57 European History Blogs. But even my minor little two paragraph post about King Arthur managed to land on About.com’s Medieval History blog summary on April 4. April 4 must have been a real slow news days for the Middle Ages, what with their having been over for nearly six-hundred years.
*For example: the article says that in Geoffrey’s Historia, Merlin demands Uther give him Arthur to raise in secret. But that doesn’t actually occur until Robert de Boron’s version of the story, about 50-60 years post-Geoffrey. Geoffrey tells us nothing about Arthur’s childhood. See how interesting that is? It’s definitely worth scrolling down to read this footnote.
**This just in: the About.com guy is a girl named Melissa Snell. For some reason, she always refers to me by my verboten real life name, instead of my mysterious internet handle, so I thought I’d return the favor.