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The first historical reference to a noble warrior named Arthur (using the Latin spelling “Arturius”) was found in the 7th century Scottish manuscript, the Vita Columba.
This work identified Arthur as a “Prince”, who was the “son of King Aidan” (King of the Scots from 574 AD). It recorded that Arthur and his father King Aidan led a coalition of “Briton” (modern UK region) kings who fought the invading Picts and Saxons, and that Arthur never became “King”, as he was “slain… in the battle of the Miathi”. 
The Irish Annals of Ulster reports an almost identical description of the event of the death of Arthur, calling it the “battle of Manann”, fought against the Picts who lived in Miathi. This explains why the same battle was alternatively called the “battle of Miathi” in the Scottish record.
Official royal records of Scotland have revealed that when Columba (a Catholic priest) performed the induction ceremony for the coronation of King Aidan of Dalriada in 574 AD, Aidan’s eldest son was Arthur, indicating that he was born in 559 AD.
The second reference to Arthur in a historical context was in a 9th century Latin text, the Historia Brittonum, which reported Arthur as “dux bellorum” (war commander), fighting “alongside the kings of the Britons” against the invading Picts and Saxons. In this work, the chronological order of the appearance of Arthur in between other dated events indicates the peak of Arthur’s notable activities as during the early to middle 6th century AD. 
The third reference in the historical record to Arthur (using the Celtic spelling “Artuir”) was in the 11th century Irish Annals of Tighernac, which reports: “Death of the sons of Aidan” including “Arthur at the battle of Chirchind, in which Aidan was victorious.” This account confirms that Arthur was the son of the Scottish King Aidan, and that he died in a battle allied with Briton kings fighting against the Picts and the Saxons. 
The fourth reference to King Arthur was found in the 12th century copies of earlier 10th century manuscripts, called Annales Cambriae. These detailed historical chronicles reported his military victory while carrying “the cross of our Lord”. 
Other manuscripts mention that Arthur was appointed “Commander” in 575 AD, at the age of 16. This confirms the interpretation that his first battle would be 576 AD, one year after becoming Commander. That corroborated time frame also confirms the date 589 AD as the approximate year of his death.
The fifth reference to Arthur as a historical figure did not appear until a 12th century Latin text, the Historia Regum Britanniae by Geoffrey of Monmouth, who described the materials as being his Latin translation from “a very ancient book in the Breton toungue” which came “out of Brittany”, suggesting that its source was older Celtic Gaelic writings.  
While the existence of the landmark work Historia Regum Britanniae is part of the historical record, it is not generally considered a chronicle of factual history. These were the first documents to ever call the royal warrior “King” Arthur, although he was actually a Prince. Nonetheless, it is a fact of medieval royal protocols that “King” is technically a “title of office”, and all kings were also princes and often alternately used the title of “Prince”. Certainly, a Prince who was leading a group of kings in battle could fairly be assumed to himself also be a “King”.
Mostly, this work was historically significant because it is attributed with inspiring and leading to most of the later Arthurian legends telling various symbolic tales of “King Arthur” and the Knights of the Round Table, and their Quests for the Holy Grail.
The connection between the historical Prince Arturius Aidan and the legendary “King Arthur” is confirmed by an 8th century manuscript, The Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee. That historical record contains a clear reference to “Morgan” as the daughter of King Aidan, being the half-sister (same word as for ‘sister’) of Arturius. This matches the legendary King Arthur having a sister “Morganna” (the feminine grammar for Morgan as a woman’s name), also known as “Morgan Le Fey” (simply adding “The Fairy” as a title of honour after the same name Morgan).
Arthur Aidan’s mother was reported to be Ygerna del Acqs (better known as “Igrain”), the High Queen of the Celtic kingdoms. Accordingly, Arthur’s grandmother was Vivien del Acqs, the Queen of Avalon and a High Priestess of the ancient Celtic religion. Arthur’s father King Aedan was the son of King Gabran and Lluan of Brecknock, and Lluan was reported to be a direct descendant of the Biblical Joseph of Arimathea, thereby entitling King Aedan mac Gabran to the title of “Pendragon” (which meant “Chief Warrior”, being a King higher than other kings to unite them).
The name “Merlin” was also a title, which meant “Seer to the King”, a position which was reserved for a High Priest of the Celtic religion. One person (of many at different times) who held the title “Merlin” was Emrys of Powys, the son of Aurelius, and Emrys was an elder cousin to King Aedan, Arthur’s father. Arthur did have three brothers, Eochaid Find, Eochaid Buide, and Domingart. Since Arthur was the eldest son and Crown-Prince, however, “Merlin” was assigned to mentor, guide and train Arthur. Therefore, although Arthur was not an only child and not without a living father, the legendary accounts in stories that Merlin “raised” Arthur from childhood is a fair description, which does not contradict the historical record.
These facts placed Prince Arthur Aidan in the unique position of being both ancient Celtic royalty, as well as Biblical and Catholic royalty, simultaneously. This made Arthur the embodiment of balance and reconciliation between the developing Catholicism and the ancient Celtic religion, resulting in their effective “merger” into the medieval form of the “Celtic Church”.
The battle in which Arthur died was variously called the battle “of Miathi”, “of Manann”, “of Chirchind” and “of Camlann”. None of the four historical accounts specify the location, but all of them describe the same royal Arthur leading the same battle against the same invaders, thereby confirming that it happened in the same place. The varied historical references to King Arthur’s death at this battle are reasonably close considering the prevailing practices of mostly “oral history” during that time period, averaging ca.589 AD.
Arthur’s birth in 559 AD, becoming Commander at age 16 in 575 AD, and beginning of active battles at age 17 in 576 AD, would make him 30 years old at the time of his death ca. 589 AD, having a total of 14 years of military experience by that time. That timeline and resulting level of experience would explain how that last battle he led was victorious, despite his being killed in the process.
Therefore, reliable and verifiable historical evidence does establish that in fact, the legendary “King Arthur” was the Celtic Crown-Prince Arturius Aidan of Scotland, ca. 559-589 AD, who facilitated establishment of the Celtic Church which integrated Catholicism with ancient Celtic spirituality.
All of the above facts and references are further supported by the scholarly works of Norma Lorre Goodrich, Ph.D. (1917-2006), Professor Emeritus at Claremont Colleges in California, who is credited with developing the most reliable modern translations of the relevant ancient and medieval manuscripts. As a result of her work, archaeologists have successfully found evidence of several key conclusions on these interrelated topics of the historical figure of Arthur. 
(quoted from http://www.knightstemplarorder.org/templar-king-arthur-holy-grail)
The Cathars were a religious group who appeared in Europe in the eleventh century, their origins something of a mystery though there is reason to believe their ideas came from Persia or the Byzantine Empire, by way of the Balkans and Northern Italy. Records from the Roman Catholic Church mention them under various names and in various places. Catholic theologians debated with themselves for centuries whether Cathars were Christian heretics or whether they were not Christians at all. The question is apparently still open. Roman Catholics still refer to Cathar belief as “the Great Heresy” though the official Catholic position is that Catharism is not Christian at all.
As Dualists, Cathars believed in two principles, a good creator god and his evil adversary (much like God and Satan of mainstream Christianity). Cathars called themselves simply Christians; their neighbours distinguished them as “Good Christians“. The Catholic Church called them Albigenses, or less frequently . Cathars.
Cathars maintained a Church The hierarchy and practiced a range of ceremonies, but rejected any idea of priesthood or the use of church buildings. They divided intoordinary believers who led ordinary medieval lives and an inner Elect of Parfaits (men) and Parfaites (women) who led extremely ascetic lives yet still worked for their living – generally in itinerant manual trades like weaving. Cathars believed inreincarnation and refused to eat meat or other animal products. They were strict about biblical injunctions – notably those about living in poverty, not telling lies, not killing and not swearing oaths.
Basic Cathar Tenets led to some surprising logical implications. For example they largely regarded men and women as equals, and had no doctrinal objection tocontraception, euthanasia or suicide. In some respects the Cathar and Catholic Churches were polar opposites. For example the Cathar Church taught that all non-procreative sex was better than any procreative sex. The Catholic Church taught – and still teaches – exactly the opposite. Both positions produced interesting results. Following their tenet, Catholics concluded that masturbation was a far greater sin than rape (as mediaeval penitentials confirm). Following their principles, Cathars could deduce that sexual intercourse between man and wife was more culpable thanhomosexual sex. (Catholic propaganda on this supposed Cathar proclivity gave us the word bugger, from Bougre, one of the many names for medieval Gnostic Dualists)
In the Languedoc, known at the time for its high culture, tolerance and liberalism, the Cathar religion took root and gained more and more adherents during the twelfth century. By the early thirteenth century Catharism was probably the majority religion in the area, supported by the nobility as well as the common people. This was yet another annoyance to the Roman Church which considered the feudal system to be divinely ordained as the Natural Order (Cathars disliked the feudal system because it depended on oath taking). In open debates with leading Catholic theologians Cathars seem to have come out on top. This was embarrassing for the Roman Church, not least because they had fielded the best professional preachers in Europe against what they saw as a collection of uneducated weavers and other manual workers. A significant number of Catholic priests had become Cathar adherents (Catharism was a religion that seems to have appealed especially to the theologically literate). Worse, the Catholic Church was being held up to public ridicule (some of the richest men in Christendom, bejewelled, vested in finery, and preaching poverty, provided an irresistible target even to contemporary Catholics in the Languedoc). Worst yet, Cathars declined to pay tithes to the Catholic Church. As one senior Churchman observed of the Cathar movement “if it had not been cut back by the swords of the faithful I think it would have corrupted the whole of Europe.”
quoted from: http://www.cathar.info/