From Winston S. Churchill, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples. Vol 1: The Birth of Britain. London: Cassell and Company Ltd, 1956: p. 46:
True or false, they [the Arthurian legends] have gained an immortal hold upon the thoughts of men. It is difficult to believe it was all an invention of a Welsh writer. If it was he must have been a marvellous inventor…
They cannot tell when in this dark period he lived, of where he held sway and fought his battles. They are ready to believe however that there was a great British warrior, who kept the light of civilisation burning against all the storms that beat, and that behind his sword there sheltered a faithful following of which the memory did not fail. All four groups of the Celtic tribes which dwelt in the tilted uplands of Britain cheered themselves with the Arthurian legend, and each claimed their own region as the scene of his exploits. From Cornwall to Cumberland a search for Arthur’s realm or sphere has been pursued….
In this account [i.e. Churchill’s] we prefer to believe that the story with which Geoffrey delighted the fiction-loving Europe of the twelfth century is not all fancy. If we could see exactly what happened we should find ourselves in the presence of a theme as well founded, as inspired, and as inalienable from the inheritance of mankind as the Odyssey or the Old Testament. It is all true, or it ought to be; and more and better besides. And wherever men are fighting against barbarism, tyranny, and massacre, for freedom, law, and honour, let them remember that the fame of their deeds, even though they themselves be exterminated, may perhaps be celebrated as long as the world rolls round. Let us then declare that King Arthur and his noble knights, guarding the Sacred Flame of Christianity and the theme of a world order, sustained by valour, physical strength, and good horses and armour, slaughtered innumerable hosts of foul barbarians and set decent folk an example for all time.
Well, he was initiated as a druid, after all.
Reminds me of that dialogue between Jesus and Paul in The Last Temptation of Christ. You know the one:
Paul — who we recognize as the Zealot Saul who killed Lazarus — preaches to a handful of villagers. Standing straight, radiating confidence, he speaks with the evangelistic fervor of a born-again Christian.
I used to be a sinner. The worst
sinner. I did everything. Whored,
drank, murdered. I killed anyone who
violated the Law of Moses. Then, I
was struck by a burning light and a
voice called to me, ‘Saul, why are
you persecuting me? Why are you
against me?’ ‘Who are you?’ I said.
‘Jesus,’ the voice said, and he gave
me my sight. I opened my eyes and I
was baptized and became Paul. I bring
the good news to every country.
Jesus comes closer, the Angel by his side.
I bring this news. About Jesus of
Nazareth. He wasn’t the son of Mary,
he was the son of God. His mother
was a virgin. The angel Gabriel came
to earth and put God’s seed in her
womb. That’s how he was born. He
took on our sins, he was tortured,
crucified — but three days later he
rose again and was taken up to heaven.
Death was conquered, praise God!
Death was conquered, sins were
forgiven and the Kingdom of Heaven’s
now open to everyone.
Jesus can restrain himself no longer. He calls out:
Did you ever see this resurrected
Jesus of Nazareth? I mean, with your
No. But I saw a blinding flash of
light and I heard his voice.
You’re a liar!
His disciples saw him. They were
hiding in an attic with the doors
locked when suddenly he appeared.
Only one, Thomas, wasn’t convinced
but he put his fingers in his wounds
and gave Jesus some fish, which he
(to people around him)
He’s a liar!
Disgusted, Jesus turns and walks away. His angel follows.
In the background, Paul comes after him.
Jesus feels Paul’s footsteps drawing closer. He’s about to
explode. Suddenly, he turns on his heel, grabs Paul by the
shoulders and shakes him violently.
You’re a liar! I’m Jesus of Nazareth.
I was never crucified. I never came
back from the dead. I’m a man like
everyone else. Why are you spreading
What are you talking about?
I’m the son of Mary and Joseph, who
preached in Galilee. James and John,
the sons of Zebedee, were my
disciples. We marched on Jerusalem,
they brought me before Pilate, but
God saved me.
Jesus’ Angel doesn’t like this conversation; he tugs violently
at his sleeve. Jesus shoves him aside. Paul takes Jesus around
a corner where they won’t be seen.
No he didn’t!
Now I live like a man. I have a
family. I eat, work, have children.
Do you understand what I’m saying?
Don’t go around the world spreading
these lies about me.
Because, I’ll tell everyone the truth.
Now it’s Paul’s turn to explode.
Look around you! Look at these people.
Do you see the suffering and
unhappiness in this world? Their
only hope is the Resurrected Jesus.
I don’t care whether you’re Jesus or
not. The Resurrected Jesus will save
the world — that’s what matters.
The world can’t be saved by lies.
I created the truth. I make it out
of longing and faith. I don’t struggle
to find truth — I build it. If it’s
necessary to crucify you to save the
world, then I’ll crucify you. And
I’ll resurrect you too, whether you
like it or not.
I won’t let you. I’ll tell everyone
Shout all you want. Who’ll believe
you? You started all this, now it
can’t be stopped. The faithful will
grab you and call you a blasphemer
and throw you in a fire.
No, that wouldn’t happen.
How do you know? You don’t know how
much people need God. You don’t know
what a joy it is to hold the cross,
to put hope in the hearts of men, to
suffer, to be killed — all for the
sake of Christ. Jesus Christ. Jesus
of Nazareth, Son of God. Messiah.
Jesus is listening intently now.
Not you. Not for your sake.
I’m glad I met you. Now I can forget
you. My Jesus is much more powerful.