|Merlin and Arthur as imagined by cartoonists; a very literal 'Arthur-figure.'|
After only a few years, other writers were busy making their own variations based off of Monmouth’s text The history of the King of Britain. Waus, a Norman Frenchmen, was one such writer who wrote A Verse History of the Kings of England. Writing during a time when literacy in the medieval world was at around ten percent, Waus was part of that French group of writers who would help push the Arthurian narrative forward.
It is during the 12th century that we can trace the Arthurian legend with some precision. (1) Waus makes a translation into Old Northern French rhyming Octoslavic couplets; (2) after 1189, Lockman reworks Waus’s text into English alliterative verse, giving the public its first comprehensive account of King Arthur as English. What is important here is that the historical Arthur fought against the Germanic English tribes, the Anglo-Saxons, being of Celtic-Romano descent. And yet in Waus’s text we see the opposite, of Arthur depicted, somehow, as English. (Perhaps reminding contemporary readers of Hollywood’s tendency to whitewash historical figures by hiring White actors to portray non-white figures)