Magical Camelot and King Arthur *Knights of the Round Table c. 1200

What was Camelot? – Camelot and King Arthur *Knights of the Round Table

Camelot is a legendary castle that is associated with famous King Arthur.

The castle was first mentioned in the 12th century French romance literature.

It was described as the capital of Arthur’s realm and a symbol of the Arthurian world.

According to these stories, Camelot is located in Great Britain but its exact location is unknown. It was seen by many as a fictional location.

Arthur’s court in Camelot was mentioned for the first time in the poem titled ‘Lancelot, and the knight of the Cart’ in 1170s.

Camelot became an important place while interpreting the legends of King Arthur.

In the historical literature where it is mentioned, Camelot is described as surrounded by forests and meadows.

It had the strongest defenses which is why it survived invasions of Saxons as per the legends.

Camelot King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

Camelot and King Arthur – Who was King Arthur?

According to medieval histories, King Arthur was the legendary British leader who defended Britain against Saxon invasions in late 5th and early 6th centuries.

There are various stories, themes and characters made about the legend of Arthur.

King Arthur was best described by the Geoffrey of Monmouth who was a British cleric. He wrote his chronicle ‘The History of the kings of Britain’s which was translated into different languages.

Geoffrey showed King Arthur as the king of Britain who established a vast empire and defeated Saxons.

Also, there are various incidents and events that are mentioned in Geoffrey’s Historia including Arthur’s father Uther Pendragon, the magician Merlin, his wife Guinevere, Arthur’s final battle against Mordred at Camlann, his sword Excalibur and his final resting place in Avalon.

Historicity of King Arthur – Camelot and King Arthur

There are many stories and school of thoughts associated with the historicity of King Arthur.

Historia Brittonum (The History of Britains) is a historical work that mentioned King Arthur and mentioned him as dux bellorum (war leader) rather than a King.

It mentioned various battles that Arthur fought. The twelfth battle was fought on Mount Badon in which 960 men fell from one charge by Arthur but he struck them himself.

In these historical illustrations, Arthur always emerged as a victor. Arthur was also mentioned in Annales Cambriae chronicles in which Arthur is mentioned as carrying ‘the cross of our lord Jesus Christ on his shoulders for three days and three nights’ in the battle of Badon.

In Historia Brittonum, a similar story was depicted in which Arthur carried the image of Holy Mary Virgin on his shoulders in the fortress of Guinnion.

Another school of thought argues that Arthur had no historical existence at all.

Also, Arthur is not mentioned in any Anglo-Saxon chronicle in any manuscript written from 400 to 821.

The Legend of Camelot King Arthur

Although there is very little information available about King Author but different studies agreed that he was a mythological figure and a legendary British King who defeated Saxons.

The 12th century French writer, Chretien de Troyes also added Lancelot and Holy Grail in the legends of King Arthur along with his family. He mentioned Lancelot as the greatest companion and swordsman of Arthur.

He was also one of the Knights of the Round Table in Arthurian legend. Holy Grail is a treasure that holds utmost importance in Arthurian literature.

The medieval tale of King Arthur was full of Christian themes and quest for Christian relic.

The Round Table – Camelot and King Arthur

The Round Table is the famous table of King Arthur in the Arthurian legend.

Around this table, he and his knights congregate. As the name suggests, everyone who sat there had an equal status.

It was first described by Wace in 1155 that followed previous stories and depictions of Arthur.

Its symbolism increased over time and by the end of 12th century, it started representing the chivalric order associated with Arthur’s court, the Knights of the Round Table.

Although the Round Table is not mentioned in the earliest accounts, subsequent Arthurian tales make mention of how he gathered the most distinguished of men to be his knights at the Round Table.

The End of King Arthur

The affair of Lancelot with Queen Guinevere caused a civil war by Mordred and the Arthurian kingdom began to fall apart.

Lancelot killed two knights of King Arthur who had defended the queen.

King Arthur set his forces to France to attack him. While Arthur was away, he heard that his nephew, Mordred, whom he had left in charge of Britain, had seized the throne and married his wife Guinevere.

Arthur returned to Britain and declared a war against him.

In this war, Arthur killed Mordred but was wounded. He gave his crown to his kinsman Constantine and was taken to Avalon to be healed, never to be seen again.

End of Camelot and Round Table

The significance of both the Round Table and Camelot ended after the death of King Arthur.

After the death of King Arthur, King Mark invaded Logres and destroyed Camelot and legendary Round Table.

Camelot King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

Importance of the Arthurian Legend

King Arthur was a mythological figure who was the head of Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table.

Arthurian legend became more popular in the middle ages and experienced a major revival in the 19th century.

By the 21st century, the legend lives on, not only in stories and fiction but in theaters, movies and other media.

In 1930, the fellowship of the round table was formed to promote Christian ideals and Arthur’s chivalry.

There are various Arthurian youth groups in the United States where young girls and boys promote Arthur and his legends.

The modern culture goes beyond Arthur’s endeavors and attached his name to objects, buildings and places.

Camelot became a permanent fixture to Arthur’s legend.

The symbolism of Camelot was written by a British poet, Alfred Tennyson. He wrote up a prose on the castle as one of his earliest writings to give tribute to the castle.

Summary

  • Camelot was a legendary castle where the mythological King Arthur held his court.
  • King Arthur was a legendary British King who defeated Saxons and secured the independence of the Celtic Britons for a period.
  • King Arthur had a Round Table around which he seated his knights.
  • These came to be known as the Knights of the Round Table.
  • According to legend, Arthur was wounded in a final battle with his nephew. After this, his kingdom fell apart, Camelot lost its importance and the Round Table was destroyed.

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