Mike Aquilina

Was King Arthur a Church Father?

Tuesday April 25th 2006, 10:42 am

Just wanted to see if you were paying attention … Well, that’s not all I was doing. I also wanted to place Arthur correctly in history, if indeed he was an historical figure. The best and most influential of the legends of the Holy Grail were written down in the Middle Ages, and their authors decked them out with all the trappings of a medieval court — medieval customs, armor, weaponry, and so on. Hollywood has picked up on this, and most of the Arthur flicks have dressed him in the mail of the medievals.

But if Arthur was, once upon a time, a real-life British warlord, as at least one early history indicates he was, then he lived not in the thirteenth century but in the fifth. It was in the age of the Fathers that he “bore the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ on his shoulders” in battle. He was a contemporary of Benedict, not Aquinas. And his piety would have had a style more accurately called patristic than medieval.

What does all that have to do with the Holy Grail? More than Dan Brown or Monty Python would have you believe. Buy The Grail Code to find out. You’re invited, too, to find out on your own, by visiting GrailCode.com and immersing yourself in one of the best and best-organized online libraries of Arthurian lore. As I say this, I bow to my co-author, Chris Bailey, from whom so many of these good gifts come.