The legendary King Arthur’s tale, as most of us have come to know it, has come to us through a series of Disney-like filters. The Arthur we know is a saintly figure and the perfect embodiment of chivalry. The Arthur of the original accounts, however, has some rough edges, and his tale contains some dark corners seldom visited nowadays. Not the least of them is that he was a baby killer – as in he copied King Herod, and ordered the wholesale slaughter of babies in his kingdom. Below are twenty five things about those and other lesser known aspects about legendary figures and tales from history.
The Legendary King Arthur Has Some Pretty Dark Origins
The tale of the legendary King Arthur has entertained and fascinated people for centuries. Unheralded kid gets a magic sword – given him by a supernatural lake woman or wrested from a rock, depending on the version of the tale – and becomes king. Gathers a band of heroic knights who meet around a round table, and they ride off to fight evil, right wrongs, and do chivalrous deeds. And in a nod to affairs of the heart, his wife cheats on him with his best friend. However, that’s the (mostly) wholesome and G-rated version of the Arthurian legend. The earlier and original lore contains some pretty dark R-rated – and even some of whatever is more extreme than X-rated – stuff. For one, Arthur’s very conception occurred in a decidedly violent and non-consensual way.
Arthur’s father, Uther, High King of the Britons, got the hots for the beautiful Igraine, the wife of his vassal Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall. She sensed that, got a bad vibe, and asked her husband to take her back to Cornwall. He does, but that enraged Uther. So he raised an army and besieged Gorlois in one of his castles. For her safety, Igraine was holed up in another castle, but Uther got Merlin the magician to magic him up to look like Gorlois. In that guise, Uther entered Igraine’s castle. She thought he was her husband Gorlois, got it on with him, and Arthur was conceived. While that took place, Gorlois was slain fighting Uther’s armies. The next day, without missing a beat, Uther resumed his true guise, and wed the recently-widowed Igraine. As seen below, that’s not even the darkest tidbit from the Arthurian legend.