King Arthur’s reign is considered to be one of the most famous periods in British history. The legend states that he ruled from the year 516 until 539 when he died at Camelot after being struck down by an evil knight named Mordred who wanted his throne.
The origins of King Arthur and his knights are shrouded in mystery. This is partly because the stories were written down centuries after they were first told, but also because the tales themselves are so varied and contradictory.
King Arthur was born in the late 5th or early 6th century and his birthplace is unknown, althought it was somewhere in the county of Somerset in England. He was the son of King Uther Pendragon (a name meaning “dragon head”) and queen Igrayne (meaning “white boar”). Their relationship was kept secret until Uther’s death from an illness when Arthur was just a boy.
His father was killed by his uncle, King Lot, before Arthur was born. After Uther died, Lot claimed that he had been married to Igrayne and that their son was therefore not eligible to be king. However, a knight named Sir Hector came forward with evidence that he had seen Uther consummate his marriage to Igrayne by magic. He also produced evidence of a sword engraved with Uther’s name that could only be drawn by someone who was truly descended from him. Arthur thus became king at age 15 under the protection of Sir Hector and Sir Kay.