If you’re a history buff, you may have heard of Geoffrey of Monmouth. This 12th-century cleric and scholar is best known for his “History of the Kings of Britain,” which he wrote in Latin around 1136.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – a Latin history book from the 12th century doesn’t exactly sound like the most thrilling read. But trust me, Geoffrey’s “History” is anything but dry and dusty.
In fact, it’s full of all sorts of juicy stories about King Arthur, Merlin the magician, and other legendary figures from British history. Sure, some of the tales may have been embellished or outright invented by Geoffrey, but that doesn’t make them any less entertaining.
For example, according to Geoffrey’s “History,” King Arthur’s father was Uther Pendragon, who disguised himself as Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall, in order to seduce Arthur’s mother, Igerna. And that’s just the beginning of the wild and wacky adventures that fill these pages.
But Geoffrey wasn’t just a spinner of tall tales. He also had a serious purpose in writing his “History.” As a Welshman living in England, he wanted to demonstrate that the British people had a long and proud history that was just as rich and worthy of respect as the histories of the Romans or the Normans.
And, in a way, he succeeded. His “History” was widely read and influential in its time, and it helped to popularize the legends of King Arthur and other figures that still capture our imaginations today.
So, the next time you’re in the mood for a rollicking tale of knights and wizards, give Geoffrey of Monmouth a try. You might be surprised at how much fun a 12th-century history book can be!