King Arthur in a Dress, With Saints

Monty-Python-and-The-Holy-Grail-monty-python-16538792-845-468This week’s column at the Register is about appearances of King Arthur in the lives of saints:

Nine different hagiographies show us a figure quite different from the one depicted in legend. TheLives (known as Vitae) of the Welsh saints are as obscure as their subjects. Written in the 11th and 12th century long after the deaths of their subjects, their value as historical documents is nugatory, but their insight into medieval piety and attitudes about the past at the time they were written is valuable. There is a common strand binding five of these Lives: the monastery of Llancarfan, founded Glamorgan by St. Cadoc. This hive of hagiographic activity was basically aVita factory. Biographies from Llancarfan include those of Ss. Gildas, Cadoc, Illtud, Carannog, and Padern, all of which mention King Arthur, often in a less than flattering light.

Read the rest.