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The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long been debated

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The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long been debated [#permalink]

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New post 06 Apr 2015, 04:50
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Question 2
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Part of New Project-->[url=http://gmatclub.com/forum/new-project-reading-comprehension-review-practice-195318.html]Reading Comprehension!!- Review/ Practice[/url]


The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long been debated by scholars. One school of thought, citing entries in the History of the Britons and Welsh Annals, sees Arthur as a genuine historical figure, a Romano-British leader who fought against the invading Anglo-Saxons sometime in the late 5th to early 6th century. The other text that seems to support the case for Arthur's historical existence is the 10th-century Annales Cambriae. The latest research shows that the Annales Cambriae was based on a chronicle begun in the late 8th century in Wales. Additionally, the complex textual history of the Annales Cambriae precludes any certainty that the Arthurian annals were added to it even that early. They were more likely added at some point in the 10th century and may never have existed in any earlier set of annals.

This lack of convincing early evidence is the reason many recent historians exclude Arthur from their accounts of post-Roman Britain. In the view of historian Thomas Charles-Edwards there may well have been an historical Arthur, but that a historian can as yet say nothing of value about him. These modern admissions of ignorance are a relatively recent trend; earlier generations of historians were less skeptical. Historian John Morris made the putative reign of Arthur the organizing principle of his history of post-Roman Britain and Ireland. Even so, he found little to say about a historical Arthur. Partly in reaction to such theories, another school of thought emerged which argued that Arthur had no historical existence at all. Morris's Age of Arthur prompted archaeologist Nowell Myres to observe that no figure on the borderline of history and mythology has wasted more of the historian's time. Arthur is not mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle or named in any surviving manuscript written between 400 and 820. He is absent from Bede's early-8th-century Ecclesiastical History of the English People, another major early source for post-Roman history.

Some scholars argue that Arthur was originally a fictional hero of folklore — or even a half-forgotten Celtic deity — who became credited with real deeds in the distant past. They cite parallels with figures such as the Kentish totemic horse-gods Hengest and Horsa, who later became historicized. Bede ascribed to these legendary figures a historical role in the 5th-century Anglo-Saxon conquest of eastern Britain.

Historical documents for the post-Roman period are scarce. Of the many post-Roman archeological sites and places, only a handful have been identified as "Arthurian", and these date from the 12th century or later. Archaeology can confidently reveal names only through inscriptions found in reliably dated sites. In the absence of new compelling information about post-Roman England, a definitive answer to the question of Arthur's historical existence is unlikely.


1. According to the passage, Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People contains information that

A. provides context that would argue against an historical Arthur
B. undermines the notion of a historical Arthur by furnishing evidence that refutes that King Arthur ever existed
C. suggests that Bede’s work did not fully account for events between 400 and 820
D. indirectly supports the existence of an historical Arthur
E. diverges from most narratives popular during the 12th century

[Reveal] Spoiler:
A


2. The primary purpose of the passage is to

A. evaluate a historical debate and then take a position
B. discuss two positions on an issue, while disagreeing with both
C. discount evidence arguing against the existence of a historical person
D. suggest that the verification of many historical figures is beyond our ability
E. draw a link between mythical and historical figures

[Reveal] Spoiler:
A


3. The contention that Arthur was a mythological figure who had been historicized by being included in accounts of real events is most consistent with which of the following?

A. The complex textual history of the Annales Cambriae
B. Thomas Charles-Edwards explanation of the existence of Arthur
C. The fact that Arthur figures nowhere in any of Bede’s works covering the post-Roman period
D. The lack of historical documents from the post-Roman period
E. Bede’s inclusion of totemic horse gods in the history of the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Britain

[Reveal] Spoiler:
D


4. According to the author of the passage, John Morris, while expressing little to no skepticism towards the historical Arthur, lends little support to the case of a historical Arthur because he

A. assumes that Arthur was most likely a mythological figure
B. only focuses on events from the early part of Arthur’s life
C. provides a dearth of information pertaining to the life of Arthur
D. has glaring historical inconsistencies in much of his writing
E. unquestioningly accepts that Arthur played a small role in the history of Britain

[Reveal] Spoiler:
C

[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #1 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #2 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #3 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #4 OA

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Re: The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long been debated [#permalink]

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New post 07 Apr 2015, 03:38
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Hi Gnpth
It will be helpful if you post the explanations for Question 1,3 & 4 [EACH ANSWER CHOICE]
I am confused
Thank you
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Re: The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long been debated [#permalink]

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New post 15 Apr 2015, 12:41
Explanations for ques 2 and 3 please !

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Re: The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long been debated [#permalink]

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New post 16 Sep 2015, 03:21
Gnpth wrote:


The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long been debated by scholars. One school of thought, citing entries in the History of the Britons and Welsh Annals, sees Arthur as a genuine historical figure, a Romano-British leader who fought against the invading Anglo-Saxons sometime in the late 5th to early 6th century. The other text that seems to support the case for Arthur's historical existence is the 10th-century Annales Cambriae. The latest research shows that the Annales Cambriae was based on a chronicle begun in the late 8th century in Wales. Additionally, the complex textual history of the Annales Cambriae precludes any certainty that the Arthurian annals were added to it even that early. They were more likely added at some point in the 10th century and may never have existed in any earlier set of annals.

This lack of convincing early evidence is the reason many recent historians exclude Arthur from their accounts of post-Roman Britain. In the view of historian Thomas Charles-Edwards there may well have been an historical Arthur, but that a historian can as yet say nothing of value about him. These modern admissions of ignorance are a relatively recent trend; earlier generations of historians were less skeptical. Historian John Morris made the putative reign of Arthur the organizing principle of his history of post-Roman Britain and Ireland. Even so, he found little to say about a historical Arthur. Partly in reaction to such theories, another school of thought emerged which argued that Arthur had no historical existence at all. Morris's Age of Arthur prompted archaeologist Nowell Myres to observe that no figure on the borderline of history and mythology has wasted more of the historian's time. Arthur is not mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle or named in any surviving manuscript written between 400 and 820. He is absent from Bede's early-8th-century Ecclesiastical History of the English People, another major early source for post-Roman history.

Some scholars argue that Arthur was originally a fictional hero of folklore — or even a half-forgotten Celtic deity — who became credited with real deeds in the distant past. They cite parallels with figures such as the Kentish totemic horse-gods Hengest and Horsa, who later became historicized. Bede ascribed to these legendary figures a historical role in the 5th-century Anglo-Saxon conquest of eastern Britain.

Historical documents for the post-Roman period are scarce. Of the many post-Roman archeological sites and places, only a handful have been identified as "Arthurian", and these date from the 12th century or later. Archaeology can confidently reveal names only through inscriptions found in reliably dated sites. In the absence of new compelling information about post-Roman England, a definitive answer to the question of Arthur's historical existence is unlikely.


1. According to the passage, Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People contains information that

A. provides context that would argue against an historical Arthur
B. undermines the notion of a historical Arthur by furnishing evidence that refutes that King Arthur ever existed
C. suggests that Bede’s work did not fully account for events between 400 and 820
D. indirectly supports the existence of an historical Arthur
E. diverges from most narratives popular during the 12th century
[Reveal] Spoiler:
A


2. The primary purpose of the passage is to

A. evaluate a historical debate and then take a position
B. discuss two positions on an issue, while disagreeing with both
C. discount evidence arguing against the existence of a historical person
D. suggest that the verification of many historical figures is beyond our ability
E. draw a link between mythical and historical figures
[Reveal] Spoiler:
A


3. The contention that Arthur was a mythological figure who had been historicized by being included in accounts of real events is most consistent with which of the following?

A. The complex textual history of the Annales Cambriae
B. Thomas Charles-Edwards explanation of the existence of Arthur
C. The fact that Arthur figures nowhere in any of Bede’s works covering the post-Roman period
D. The lack of historical documents from the post-Roman period
E. Bede’s inclusion of totemic horse gods in the history of the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Britain
[Reveal] Spoiler:
D


4. According to the author of the passage, John Morris, while expressing little to no skepticism towards the historical Arthur, lends little support to the case of a historical Arthur because he

A. assumes that Arthur was most likely a mythological figure
B. only focuses on events from the early part of Arthur’s life
C. provides a dearth of information pertaining to the life of Arthur
D. has glaring historical inconsistencies in much of his writing
E. unquestioningly accepts that Arthur played a small role in the history of Britain
[Reveal] Spoiler:
C



I spent 10 minutes on this passage, but could not answer qs
Is is possible to get paragraph summaries and explainations for each question.
How to attack such passages? in 8 minutes?

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Re: The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long been debated [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jan 2016, 01:54
I do not understand why the correct answer of question number 2 is A.

At the end of the passage there is written that "a definitive answer to the question of Arthur's historical existence is unlikely.". It is not the existence of Arthur that is unlikely, but the answer to the question of his historical existence to be unlikely, as a consequence it seems to me that the right answer is B. Indeed, the author does not take a side, but, by claiming that it is difficult to find the truth, he disagrees with both the positions presented in the passage (pro-Arthur existence vs. con-Arthur existence).

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The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long been debated [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jan 2016, 10:42
Antartide, the text you're citing is exactly where the author takes a position. The position is that we're not going to get a definitive answer about Arthur's existence. It would be hard to disagree with both sides, unless there were two sides both insisting that they could prove their point. On the contrary, the anti-Arthur crowd is simply citing a lack of evidence, rather than saying that they know Arthur didn't exist. This puts the author loosely in this group (in opposition to those who find the documents mentioned in p1 convincing), but we don't need to worry about categorizing. The correct answer just requires us to acknowledge that the author expressed an opinion.
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New post 26 Jan 2016, 12:58
Thank you very much for your reply, I missed the meaning of this passage. The question is really tricky tough.

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Re: The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long been debated [#permalink]

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New post 02 Feb 2016, 06:37
Hi All,

Could anyone share the answer:

Acc to me: D A E E.

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The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long been debated [#permalink]

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New post 01 Apr 2017, 04:40
Gnpth wrote:


The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long been debated by scholars. One school of thought, citing entries in the History of the Britons and Welsh Annals, sees Arthur as a genuine historical figure, a Romano-British leader who fought against the invading Anglo-Saxons sometime in the late 5th to early 6th century. The other text that seems to support the case for Arthur's historical existence is the 10th-century Annales Cambriae. The latest research shows that the Annales Cambriae was based on a chronicle begun in the late 8th century in Wales. Additionally, the complex textual history of the Annales Cambriae precludes any certainty that the Arthurian annals were added to it even that early. They were more likely added at some point in the 10th century and may never have existed in any earlier set of annals.

This lack of convincing early evidence is the reason many recent historians exclude Arthur from their accounts of post-Roman Britain. In the view of historian Thomas Charles-Edwards there may well have been an historical Arthur, but that a historian can as yet say nothing of value about him. These modern admissions of ignorance are a relatively recent trend; earlier generations of historians were less skeptical. Historian John Morris made the putative reign of Arthur the organizing principle of his history of post-Roman Britain and Ireland. Even so, he found little to say about a historical Arthur. Partly in reaction to such theories, another school of thought emerged which argued that Arthur had no historical existence at all. Morris's Age of Arthur prompted archaeologist Nowell Myres to observe that no figure on the borderline of history and mythology has wasted more of the historian's time. Arthur is not mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle or named in any surviving manuscript written between 400 and 820. He is absent from Bede's early-8th-century Ecclesiastical History of the English People, another major early source for post-Roman history.

Some scholars argue that Arthur was originally a fictional hero of folklore — or even a half-forgotten Celtic deity — who became credited with real deeds in the distant past. They cite parallels with figures such as the Kentish totemic horse-gods Hengest and Horsa, who later became historicized. Bede ascribed to these legendary figures a historical role in the 5th-century Anglo-Saxon conquest of eastern Britain.

Historical documents for the post-Roman period are scarce. Of the many post-Roman archeological sites and places, only a handful have been identified as "Arthurian", and these date from the 12th century or later. Archaeology can confidently reveal names only through inscriptions found in reliably dated sites. In the absence of new compelling information about post-Roman England, a definitive answer to the question of Arthur's historical existence is unlikely.


1. According to the passage, Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People contains information that

A. provides context that would argue against an historical Arthur
B. undermines the notion of a historical Arthur by furnishing evidence that refutes that King Arthur ever existed
C. suggests that Bede’s work did not fully account for events between 400 and 820
D. indirectly supports the existence of an historical Arthur
E. diverges from most narratives popular during the 12th century

[Reveal] Spoiler:
A


2. The primary purpose of the passage is to

A. evaluate a historical debate and then take a position
B. discuss two positions on an issue, while disagreeing with both
C. discount evidence arguing against the existence of a historical person
D. suggest that the verification of many historical figures is beyond our ability
E. draw a link between mythical and historical figures

[Reveal] Spoiler:
A


3. The contention that Arthur was a mythological figure who had been historicized by being included in accounts of real events is most consistent with which of the following?

A. The complex textual history of the Annales Cambriae
B. Thomas Charles-Edwards explanation of the existence of Arthur
C. The fact that Arthur figures nowhere in any of Bede’s works covering the post-Roman period
D. The lack of historical documents from the post-Roman period
E. Bede’s inclusion of totemic horse gods in the history of the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Britain

[Reveal] Spoiler:
D


4. According to the author of the passage, John Morris, while expressing little to no skepticism towards the historical Arthur, lends little support to the case of a historical Arthur because he

A. assumes that Arthur was most likely a mythological figure
B. only focuses on events from the early part of Arthur’s life
C. provides a dearth of information pertaining to the life of Arthur
D. has glaring historical inconsistencies in much of his writing
E. unquestioningly accepts that Arthur played a small role in the history of Britain

[Reveal] Spoiler:
C



OFFICIAL EXPLANATION

Q3
While a case can be made for (A)—it’s a bit of a stretch. The Annales Cambriae did have a complex history, which made it likely that Arthur was a fictional person who, over time, became treated as an actual person. But the passage really only says that the complex textual history makes it difficult to determine if Arthur was a real person. (E) is a much more direct answer, because it provides examples of written works in which legendary figures were treated as actual living persons.

(A) See above.
(B) Charles-Edwards says that Arthur may have been a historical figure. This doesn’t relate to whether Arthur was a mythical figure who was treated as an actual figure.
(C) is incorrect. Though Arthur is absent from Bede’s text that doesn’t relate to why he would be accorded human like status in other writings.
(D) is incorrect. Though the passage says that “historical documents…are scarce”, this doesn’t necessarily parallel the fact that Arthur had been historicized.
(E) The answer.

It can be inferred that the author dismisses the Annales Cambriae as a reliable source on the historical Arthur on the grounds that

A. much of the work has been disputed as a valid historical narrative

B. the references to Arthur are inconsistent with those from the History of Britons and Welsh Annals

C. the work itself, because of the original author’s bias, may not accurately reflect historical events

D. Arthur’s purported existence may have come several centuries before the relevant text was written

E. whether Arthur existed goes beyond the purview of historians

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Answer: (D)
(A) is tempting, but the passage never mentions that the Annals Cambriae are of questionable validity. The passage only says that the work had a complex history.
(B) is wrong because the passage never compares the two annals.
(C) is not supported by the passage. (C) is tricky because it sounds like a reasonable thing someone would say in response to an ancient text.
(D) is not directly stated in the passage but is implied by, “they were more likely added…annals.”
(E) is too general for such a specific question. Anyhow, the author of the passage probably would not agree with (E).


Nowell Myres would most likely view the idea of an Arthurian reign as key to the understanding of the history of sub-Roman Briton as

A. invalid, because it presupposes the existence of a person who most likely never existed

B. suspect, since it overlooks other factors important to an understanding of sub-Roman Briton

C. plausible, to some degree, as there was some major historical figure who helped shaped the history of early Briton

D. unsubstantiated by events described in the Annales Cambriae

E. vital in determining the authenticity of the historical Arthur

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Answer: (A)
Myres is vehement in his skepticism towards a historical Arthur (“no figure on the borderline…”). Therefore, he would scoff at the idea of an Arthurian reign. Only, (A) directly says that Myres doubted the existence of Arthur.

(D) is wrong. Though Myres would agree the Annals of Cambriae do not substantiate the existence of Arthur (after all, no source, according to him, does). Yet, (D) doesn’t logically answer the question.

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The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long been debated [#permalink]

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New post 03 Dec 2017, 02:27
Hi Gnpth,

As per explanation provided by hazelnut, the OA of question 3 is E, but the OA provided by you for the same question is D. Would you please check?

Moreover, can you please add the additional two questions that were posted by hazelnut to timer? Can you please provide Official Explanations of these questions?
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The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long been debated   [#permalink] 03 Dec 2017, 02:27
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