Since the 12th century -- and up to this very day -- tourists venture to Somerset's Glastonbury Abbey to see the grave of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, allegedly buried in the churchyard by 12th century monks who discovered their skeletons in an underground tree-trunk.
The monks were lying.
They had been panicked by the prospect of the waning of their abbey, which had gone from strength to strength as a center for pilgrimages and commerce when it went from being a major glassworks (melting down Roman glass) to the wealthiest monastery in England to the jewel of the Norman conquerors' crown, to a burned-out hulk after a disastrous fire.
The monks feared that the modish crowd would become accustomed to visiting the newfangled Westminster Abbey in stupid old London by the time they got their smoldering rubble rebuilt into a new church, so they invented the grave of a possibly fictional king and queen to get the tourists to come by and spend a penny.
Westminster Abbey won anyway.
With England going crazy for Geoffrey's tales of Arthur, it was a perfect time for the monks to claim a part of that history. Glastonbury was an ancient site—indeed, even Gilchrist confirms that it originated in the fifth century, when Arthur allegedly lived. People bought the idea, and Arthur's grave soon became a lucrative attraction.
As late as the 1950s, archaeologist Ralegh Radford believed that Arthur had been buried there. But Gilchrist told Urbanus that "Radford may have exaggerated his evidence. Reassessment of his excavation records shows that this was merely a pit in a cemetery, dating to sometime between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries.”
Medieval monks invented King Arthur’s grave as an attraction to raise money
[Annalee Newitz/Ars Technica]
Legends of Glastonbury Abbey
(Image: King Arthur's Tomb Sign - Glastonbury Abbey, Dark Dwarf, CC-BY-ND)
Lemmings is one of the best video games of all time, and seemed in the 90s to be on the verge of becoming an explosive media phenomenon. Its tiny animated characters are fab: adorable yet down-to-earth, capable yet doomed, a smorgasbord of sarcastic bite and hurt/comfort neediness. After publisher Psygnosis was bought by Sony, though, […]
Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures recovers the lost history of the young African American women who did the heavy computational work of the Apollo missions, given the job title of “computer” — her compelling book has been made into a new motion picture.
Socialist minister Francis J. Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in the 1890s in an effort to paper over the post-Civil War divisions; to accompany it, he devised the “Bellamy Salute”: “raise your right hand, flip your palm down, point it toward the flag in a salute and recite the words.”
With the iPhone headphone jack having gone by the wayside, we’re excited about the addition of the FRANKLIN Bluetooth Headphones in our store. These headphones are foldable so they’re easy to carry around, but most importantly, they pack impressive sound. Our biggest struggle with Bluetooth headphones is the worry of them dying at the worst moment. This pair lasts an impressive 8-10 […]
Evan Kimbrell, founder of the digital agency Sprintkick, recently released a series of online courses that feature some of the best advice we’ve come across. These courses are well worth your time, and will save you from making many typical mistakes down the line if you ever want to start your own business.With this Business […]
Handy is the most convenient solution we’ve found for booking a house cleaning at the last minute, and they do a really great job. It’s as easy as heading to the site, selecting a date and time that works for you and the number of rooms in your home. We’ve even scheduled emergency cleanings as soon as the following day. […]