It seems that it’s not just Joan of Arc who’s vying for my imaginative attention right now. I’m not sure why I felt the need to look this up to verify, but this year and next are “round number” anniversary years, by tradition, for the legend of King Arthur. According to the Annales Cambriae, 2016 marks 1500th anniversary of the Battle of Badon Hill in 516, and 2017 marks the 1480th anniversary of the Battle of Camlann in 537.
Wait, you’re not plugged into all the Arthurian geekiness? Let me catch you up. The Annales Cambriae is a compiled document from various sources dating back to the 10th century that lists out major events from across all of the British Isles. Most historians seem to agree that the two dates involving Arthur are likely added in there due to the popularity of the legend rather than as actual historical fact, but the tradition holds nonetheless. The Battle of Badon Hill is the legendary battle where Arthur led the Britons to victory over the Saxons, uniting the lands as foretold by prophecy and establishing his rule. The Battle of Camlann is where Arthur faced off against Mordred, killing his bastard son while being inflicted with a mortal wound.
Needless to say, being a geek who loves great stories of the Middle Ages (and as a would-be knight at heart myself), Arthurian legend holds a special place for me. Thing is, I also realize that I’m not especially well-versed in it. I’ve read Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur several times over the years and have enjoyed various other versions of the story in print and on screen, but… well, I dabble by comparison of most in that circle. I know just enough to make me conversational in some of the early evolutions of the story, though admittedly there are few who will converse with me, so it’s not like that matters much on that level. But I know where I’m deficient. And I feel a little bad about it, all things considered.
To correct this, I think while I’m reading my next book on Joan of Arc, I’m going to compile a list of “mandatory” written stories and films and start yet another blog series for this site. You know, because I clearly need another one. *rolls eyes* Obviously any such mandatory list would be subjective. I feel like I’m long overdue to explore this material in a manner befitting my usual standards.