King Arthur

King Arthur

King Arthur is a legendary historical figure known for many things but was most famous and best remembered for his great leadership, chivalric order, and the Knights of the Round Table.

According to medieval stories and legends, King Arthur was the son of King Uther and Igraine, who was then married to Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall.
King-Arthur

King Arthur

King Uther was desperately smitten by Igraine and while the Duke was out to war, King Uther slipped into Igraine’s bed and committed an adulterous, treacherous act of disguising himself as her husband. It was then that young Arthur was conceived.

The Legend of King Arthur

Several stories abound the existence of this eminent king and most of them mostly agreed on one thing that *King Arthur is one of the greatest rulers of Britain.

Legends, myths, and folklore tell several tales of how this Celtic king became a warrior who killed witches, giants, and monsters, and a knight who led a group of courageous men who lived a gallant existence, and had heroic adventures and daring exploits, and eventually became a great ruler.

Nevertheless, these tales are mainly folklore and literary artwork, particularly from Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain) a collection of stories chronicling the lives of the kings of Britons.

Illumination of a 15th-century manuscript of Historia Regum Britanniae showing king of the Britons Vortigern and Ambros watching the fight between two dragons.

Furthermore, King Arthur’s historical existence has been debated by most modern scholars and historians. It also appears that King Arthur was claimed by almost every Kingdom in the 6th century.

Several men were named Arthur during this time, some even born to royal families in Britain. However, despite attempts to unveil his real identity, it appears that most of these men were merely named in his honor.

King Arthur Lancelot

King Arthur and Lancelot

King Arthur & The Round Table

One of the things that Arthur was also known for is the celebrated “round table", which has a story to tell on its own. According to an Arthurian legend called the Vulgate Cycle, the person responsible for the construction of the popular table was Arthur’s father, King Uther Pendragon.

Winchester Round Table

Winchester Round Table

This was created after hearing Merlin’s tales about St. Joseph Arimathea and the Holy Grail. The table was then given as a gift to Leodegrance of Cameliard, Guinevere’s father.

The Knights of the Round Table and the Holy Grail

When Arthur married Guinevere, the round table was given to him as a dowry. King Arthur and his knights simply met at the round table. This famous round table was first mentioned in Roman de Brut.

It explained that King Arthur established an order to prevent disagreements among the knights over seating precedence, which had been a common cause of bickering among knights, according to some Arthurian literature. And since it is a circular table, there is no designated head and everyone who sat at the table was treated as an equal.

King Arthur & the Knights of the Round Table

In order to become a Knight of the Round Table, one must be chivalrous enough and has to commit himself to an oath to uphold the rules that were given to him. There were many different stories about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and each story suggests a different number of knights that comprised the group.

Who were the Knights of the Round Table?

No one knows exactly how many knights there were in the order but one of the most consistent is the Winchester Round Table which has 25 knights.

  1. King Arthur
  2. Sir Bedivere
  3. Sir Bleoberis
  4. Sir Bors de Ganis
  5. Sir Brunor le Noir
  6. Sir Dagonet
  7. Sir Degore
  8. Sir Ector de Maris
  9. Sir Galahad
  10. Sir Gareth
  11. Sir Alymere
  12. Sir Gawain
  13. Sir Kay
  14. Sir La Cote Male Taile
  15. Sir Lamorak
  16. Sir Lancelot du Lac
  17. Sir Le Bel Desconneu
  18. Sir Lionell
  19. Sir Lucan
  20. Sir Mordred
  21. Sir Palomedes
  22. Sir Pelleas
  23. Sir Percivale
  24. Sir Safer
  25. Sir Tristram de Lyones
King Arthur Knights Round Table

King Arthur and the Knights of the round table

King Arthur and Guinevere

How Arthur met the love of his life is yet another story. Guinevere was the daughter of King Leodegrance, who sought Arthur’s help in a battle against Rience. Some stories say that Arthur saw Guinevere first while they were marching past the castle to meet the King’s enemies and the beautiful princess stood by the wall to watch his father’s allies.

Guinevere

Guinevere

Arthur fell in love with her in an instant and some stories suggest that Arthur’s determination to win the battle against the King’s enemies sprung from his love for the King’s daughter, whom he asked to marry after he had won the war.

The White Knight Jousting

White Knight is a title which the famed Arthurian knight, Sir Lancelot, used until he discovered his actual name.

On the other hand, King Leodogran had a few hesitations about granting the knight’s request for his daughter’s hand. However, one of the most popular medieval romantic stories is Guinevere’s disastrous love affair with Sir Lancelot, King Arthur’s Chief Knight, which led to King Arthur’s demise.

Lancelot and Guinivere

Lancelot and Guinivere had an extramarital affair which was discovered and brought to King Arthur’s notice. King Arthur gave the order for the Queen to be burned at stake

King Arthur & his Sword Excalibur

Now, we all know that young Arthur was the one who pulled out the sword from a stone magically enchanted by Merlin, the magician who said that whoever draws the sword out of the stone will become king and contrary to popular belief, the sword in the stone was “Excalibur".

King Arthur Excalibur

King Arthur and the famous sword Excalibur

According to French Romancers, Excalibur was Arthur’s second sword, which he acquired through the help of Merlin. It appears that Merlin was afraid Arthur would fail in battle and so he took him to a magical lake, where the Lady in the Lake gave the King an unbreakable sword with a scabbard enchanted to magically protect him in battle.

King Arthur and the famous sword Excalibur

King Arthur and the famous sword Excalibur

King Arthur and Camelot

In 12th century French literature, Arthur was said to have reigned in Great Britain and Camelot was the name of the castle in the capital of his kingdom. Although certain locations in Britain have been associated with it, modern scholars consider Camelot as a fictional location and still debate its existence.

Camelot

Camelot Legend of King Arthur

Was King Arthur a Real Person?

It is interesting to note that sometimes, there is a very thin red line between historical facts and fiction. But what’s more interesting are the treasures you will find in these various facets of literature. Now, whether King Arthur is real or not, does not really matter.

Myth or no myth, the life of this great king teaches many lessons love, faith, and courage are a few of them. What is more admirable about King Arthur is his high regard for equality among the Knights of the Round Table and the virtue of chivalry, which may be a dying quality as of late.

Medieval-Legends-and-Myths-King-Arthur

Equality will probably be a never-ending battle. But chivalry should not be dead, even for those who do not believe that King Arthur was a real person.

The Romance of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table (Calla Editions) Hardcover – November 16, 2016

Learn More about King Arthur at Wikipedia