Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Medieval Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Otto Grundler

Second Advisor

Dr. Larry Syndergaard

Third Advisor

Dr. Frederick Suppe

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This study looks at both medieval chronicles and romances--the primary sources of Arthurian legend--to seek mutual influences between the politics of the Plantagenet Empire and Arthurian legend. The authors of the works used in this study performed within the sphere of the Plantagenet Empire, during the time period with which this study concerns itself. Secondary sources provide background information, such as the historical, literary, and cultural milieu surrounding the primary works, archaeological and linguistic evidence, and current scholarly debate.

From the evaluation of the primary sources and their historical framework, several aspects of Arthurian legend emerge which have connections with Plantagenet politics. The Arthurian genre, having its beginning in the Celtic Revival encouraged by Norman encroachment, reached its full flower during the Plantagenet era. The portrayal of Arthur as emperor in these works both fed and reflected the importance of empire to Plantagenet kingship. King Arthur also served as a model of courtly and chivalric kingship by which the Plantagenet kings were often measured. Finally, the questions surrounding Arthur's death and burial or reputed immortality proved to be a politically charged topic during the Plantagenet era.