The New International Encyclopædia/Arthur (duke)
ARTHUR (1187-1203). Duke of Brittany, grandson of Henry II. of England and nephew of Richard I., Cœur-de-Lion, who, in 1190, declared him heir to the English throne. He was proclaimed king by the nobles of Anjou, Touraine, and Maine, on Richard's death in 1199, although the English barons decided in favor of John, Richard's younger brother. He was knighted by Philip II. of France, and invested with Brittany and the French possessions appertaining to the English crown. In the same year, John landed in Normandy. In support of Arthur, Philip took the field against him. Soon, however, Philip's unscrupulous conduct gave offense to the Angevin friends of Arthur, and in 1200 a peace was concluded between John and Philip. In 1202 war again broke out. Poitou rose in insurrection against England, and Arthur, who had marched to besiege the castle of Mirabeau, was taken prisoner. He was removed in 1203 to Rouen, where he mysteriously disappeared — drowned in the Seine, some said, by John's own hands. The story of Arthur appears in Holinshed. Shakespeare, in King John, used Holinshed as a basis, but supplemented the old chronicle with imaginative details of his own. See John.