Arthur's identity was first mentioned by the Welsh bard Aneirin in his poem "Y Gododdin", written at the turn of the VI-VII centuries. Describing one of the warriors, the author added to the enthusiastic praise "although he is not Arthur", implying that the hero still does not reach true greatness. In other words, by the beginning of the seventh century, Arthur is already a semi-legendary character from the distant past, whose bravery the greatest warriors can only approach. Scientists have no doubts about the historicity of the king himself – this character is too charismatic to be invented from beginning to end. But researchers of this epic have always been surprised by a number of completely unique symbols for Britain.
Let's say everyone knows the story of the sword in the stone. None of the other Celtic legends have anything like this, but in Russian folklore, more than 10 different characters owned the sword-kladentsom and each extracted it in a specific way, including, for example, taking it out of a stone wall.
Finally, the British historian Howard Reed, who has long been haunted by the symbols depicted on the banners of King Arthur's soldiers, made a surprising discovery. In search of a clue, he studied the collections of various museums and came across identical signs in the archives of the St. Petersburg Hermitage! They were found on graves in the south of Russia.
Meanwhile, back in the second century AD, Tacitus describes medieval knights in such detail as if he used a time machine: metal helmets, armor tightly fitted to various parts of the body, and even chain mail weaving, which allows you to connect various protective plates, preserving the mobility of all joints. Here are just wrote this about the Roman contemporary Sarmatian cataphractarii!
In the reign of Marcus Aurelius, the Empire hired the first detachment of such heavily armed cavalry and subsequently increased its number several times. The Sarmatians, and later the Alans, make campaigns under the command of the Romans throughout the subject European continent, and also serve in Britain. It is their dragon banners that are described in an illustrated Irish manuscript of the late eighth century.
Apparently, the real prototype of Arthur was the Sarmatian leader Eohar, who lived in the V century AD. When the Romans became so weak that they decided to withdraw from Britain, he assisted them in the battles in Gaul, but then chose to return to the island and led the resistance to the German conquest. This information could easily be taken for another pseudo-sensationalism in the spirit of "Russia is the birthplace of elephants", if not for two "buts". First, the version of King Arthur's Russian origin is being developed not by our compatriots who are trying to attach themselves to the proud past of Great Britain, but by the British themselves, who for many centuries have been hard to suspect of being pro-Russian. And secondly, there is plenty of evidence that the inhabitants of the Black Sea region actively participated in the life of medieval Europe.
The sword of Batraz and Sarmatian cataphracts
The most obvious European borrowing is chivalry, as described in the legends of King Arthur. Initially, Roman military science did not attach any importance to cavalry on the battlefield. The traditions of using horsemen in battles date back to the time of the Great Migration of Peoples.
But who did the Europeans look at the weapons and uniforms of heavy knights? Neither the Huns, nor the Goths, nor other Germanic tribes dressed their horses in armor, and they themselves considered speed and maneuverability to be the main protection, which was seriously reduced by heavy armor. It was in the Black Sea region and the foothills of the Caucasus that linguists Scott Littleton and Linda Melko discovered analogs of many Arturian plots. For example, the story of the search for the sacred magic cup of heavenly origin (Grail) and the legend of the sword, which can only be taken in the hands of those who have royal blood.
Even a completely unique story with the hand of the Lady of the Lake, which needs to return the sword back, found an analogue in the Caucasus. The Alan hero Batraz returns his weapon to the sea, and not just drowns, but a mysterious hand also rises from the waves. In other places, analogues of this plot have not been found, so that the connection between Arthur and the peoples of southern Russia can be considered proven.