GRE Reading Comprehension
One of the most difficult and popular subjects in the study of Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages is the figure of the historical King Arthur. Now popularly remembered as the leader of the Knights of the Round Table, and the basis for one of the most famous cycles in European literature, Arthur arises from a mix of history and legend--a mix which countless scholars have questioned, theorized, and argued. Dated to the early sixth century, much of what is posited about his existence lies in his connection to other, more factually determined events, such as the Battle of Badon Hill, popularly hailed as Arthur's great victory over the Saxon invaders, which is known to have been a historical battle between the Britons and Saxons in the late fifth or early sixth century. The leader of the victorious Britons is, however, uncertain. Literary references to Arthur specifically are from much later texts (and references to him as "King" even later), many of whose reliability is highly suspect, and many of the stories about him are now accepted as borrowed from the deeds of other figures or entirely fabricated. Nevertheless, there are small tidbits of information that point to a popular leader named "Arthur" around the turn of the sixth century; however, the connection of this shadowy figure to the Arthur of legend remains, ultimately, unknowable.
What is the primary purpose of this passage?
- A to give a biography of King Arthur
- B to summarize events at the turn of the sixth century C.E.
- C to examine views of the historicity of Arthur
- D to explain the Battle of Badon Hill
- E to defend the creation of the King Arthur legend
Correct Answer: C