I fully understand that most what is written about king Arthur is shrouded in myth, many stories having been written several centuries after his time period.

Most material I found focuses on the stores themselves, or mentions the geopolitical landscape but without containing enough information to build a realistic image of a domain a 6th century king or warlord or whoever the Arthurian legends were originally based on, could have had in that area.

What I'm interested in, is how much area he could probably have controlled, the number of towns, villages, castles, and a rough estimate of the population. If written material is scarce from that time period, and what we have usually doesn't focus on these kinds of information, what can we infer from what we know about typical kingdoms, lifestyle, economy, etc. of that time period?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Pieter Geerkens, CGCampbell, TheHonRose, Steve Bird, Mark C. Wallace Sep 9 '16 at 8:31

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  • If you want to edit the question to make it clear that you aren't interested in the historical/mythological figure himself, but what the territory for such a person would look like, that seems reasonable. But I'd suggest specifying exactly what kind of real-world person you are talking about. As I mentioned in my answer, just saying "like King Arthur" could mean anything from 0 to an Emperor. – T.E.D. Sep 9 '16 at 0:33
  • @T.E.D. King Arthur in popular consciousness is neither a 0 nor an Emperor, so when most people talk about king Arthur they don't mean either of your extreme examples. And people who know a bit of history, they imagine a 6th century local warlord or small king, not the 15th century late medieval or renaissance plate armor wearing, stone-castle dwelling ruler of whole Britain. So I would argue mentioning his name in the title and in the question can make sense. – vsz Sep 9 '16 at 3:13

As this question goes over, we are most likely not talking about a historical figure here. There are no contemporaneous sources testifying to his existence.

As a mythological figure, it depends greatly on which myths about him you credit. In the very first story he graced, Historia Brittonum, he was a mere military commander, which means he likely ruled little or no territory at all.

At the other extreme, Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae depicted him as a proper Emperor, ruling over France, the British Isles, and Iceland.

  • 3
    ...and in Monty Python's Holy Grail, he was "King of the Britons", which I believe was meant to include the entire island of England. However, there appeared to be areas where the peasants did not acknowledge his rule, opting instead for an "anarchosyndicalist commune". – T.E.D. Sep 8 '16 at 22:00
  • From your answer to the linked question it seems that you subscribe to the viewpoint of "we have too few sources about that person, so I'll take this fact as a definitive proof that no historical person with such a name could ever have existed". You have all the right to have that viewpoint, but it should be irrelevant to this question. Please don't look just at the title alone. What I am mostly interested in, is what a typical kingdom in that place and time period looked like. Instead, you answered with the two most extreme interpretations of the historical figure. – vsz Sep 8 '16 at 22:43
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    @vsz - No, and I find it very disingenuous to ascribe words to a person in quotes which they never said, (and in my case is nearly the polar opposite of what I actually said). It has nothing whatsoever to do with quantity. The problem is the sources that mention him are very inferior from a historigraphical context. We have much better near-contemporaneous records that should mention him if he existed (they mentioned the major participants), and didn't. Of the pro and con arguments for his existence, the pro argument is the one that stretches credulity the most. So I applied Occam's razor. – T.E.D. Sep 9 '16 at 0:23
  • @T.E.D. There is a possibility that Riothamus was the actual historical figure behind Arthur. I posted a new answer today on the question in your first link. – SeligkeitIstInGott Jul 14 '17 at 5:14

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