To reclaim Arthur, we must first indentify him and the source of information from which he is first mentioned and the events and dates of his life.
Gildas 6th-century Brythonic Cleric He is one of the best-documented figures of the Celtic Christian church in the British Isles during this period. His renowned learning and literary style earned him the designation Gildas Sapiens (Gildas the Wise) his history sets the time of Arthur's contemporaries, at that time. In 545c is when he wrote De Excidio Britanniae, after which they called him, Gildas Sapiens After Alcuin called him the wisest of the Britons, this became the usual name for Gildas. The name was also mentioned by Caradog of Llancarfan, when he described Gildas mediating between Melwas and Arthur, which might have been another possible origin of the epithet.
Arthur is first mentioned by Taliesin the warrior poet who wrote the poem Y Gododdin around about 604. Arthur is immortalized in the verse:
He charged before three hundred of the finest.
He cut down both center and wing.
He excelled in the forefront of noblest host. He gave gifts of horses from the herd in winter.
He fed black Ravens on the rampart of a fortress.
Though he was no Arthwyr.
It was transcribed from Welsh in to latin between the 8th and 13th century. In their book The Legacy of King Arthur, Chris Barber and David Pykitt make a very convincing case for the establishment of whom and where Arthur came from.
(Page 12)The Key to the identity and realm of King Arthur is the simple fact that the Glamorgan and Gwentian princes of the 6th century held territory not only in south Wales but in what is now Cornwall and Brittany. These lands became main field of Arthurs influence and as result is the very places where he is best remembered.
The earliest reference to Arthur as a king is can be found in the Vitae Cadoci (Life of St Cadoc), which was completed between 1073 and 1086 by Lifris or Lifricus of Llancarfan, who was the son of Bishop Herewald of Llandaf. It is important document for it to proceeded Geoffrey of Monmouths Historia Regum Britanniae by two generations.
There is a relevant passage in the Vita Cadoci which mentions a grant of land known as Cadoxton-juxta-Neath by a certain King Arthmael to St Cadoc in 530c:-
When the islands became unsafe (What is now Flatholm and Steepholm in the Bristol Channel) ,owing to the pirates who infested the estuary of the Severn making landing places, St Cadoc was obliged to look for some other place of retreat.
He found one on the banks of the river Neath. He sent gifts to King Arthmael, who thereupon made a grant of this spot, now known as Cadoxton-Juxta-Neath, to St Cadoc.
Their argument places Arthur according to the genealogy contained in the book of Llandaff, the king who was reigning over Morgannwg and Gwent at this time was Athrwys ap Meurig ap Tewdrig.
According to the genealogy contained in the book of Llandaf, the king who was reigning over the Morgannwg and Gwent at the time was Athrwys ap Meurig ap T ewdrig. Lifris thus provides us with evidence that Athrwys and Arthmael is one and the same person.
(Page 14) Thomas Carte, writing in 1747, obviously agrees with Sir William Dugdale for e comments that there is little room to doubt but that Arthruis, King of Gwent, who granted the land of St Kinmark to Bishop Comereg, was the Arthur in Question.
Writing twenty eight years later, the Rev John Whitaker in the History of Manchester (1775), names Arthur as king of Gwent with his court at Caerwent. In the second volume(p.34) Whitaker writes: Arthur was the Arth-uir, a great man or Sovereign of the Silures proper and therefore the denominated King of Gwent, the Venta Silurum of the Romans, and the British Metropolis of the nation; The Arth-uir is obviously a variation of Arthwyr-title given to Arthur, meaning the Bear Exalted.