Some Notes on Arthur as a Pagan Deity
By Eddie Murray
This talk grew out of a discussion with Stuart McHardy. When Stuart first mooted the idea of his organising a conference on the historical Scottish Arthur, I suggested that at least some mention should be made of the ‘other’ Arthur, and he agreed.
‘And whence came Arthur?’ asked the writer L. Sprague de Camp:
‘The name is that, not of a mortal man, but of a god. The pre-Christians worshipped a god called Artur by the Irish and Artaius by the Gauls. The name has been variously connected with words for “to plough” (Latin , arare), which makes him a god of agriculture; for “bear” (Greek, arktos) which makes him a bear god; for “black,” which makes him a raven god, and so on. In any case Arthur is, like many other heroes, merely a pagan god transformed into a fictional mortal, with the deeds of some real men attributed to him.’