King Arthur

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Statue of King Arthur, Hofkirche, Innsbruck, designed by Albrecht Dürer and cast by Peter Vischer the Elder, in 1520s

King Arthur was a legendary king in the mythology of Great Britain. He lived in the medieval times, in his famous castle, Camelot. He possessed a sword known as Excalibur, given to him by the Lady in the Lake.

King Arthur is a fabled ruler of Sub-Roman Britain who defended his kingdom from the Anglo-Saxons, and a popular fictional character in modern literature. He won several battles, and had many homes. However, his favourite home was in Camelot. One of the most famous tales of King Arthur is one where he pulls a sword out of a stone, making him King of the Britons.

Youth[change | change source]

It is said that Arthur was magically conceived in Merlin's bay by the wizard Merlin. He is said to have rose up out of the waves and to have floated to Merlin, his protector. His father was a king named Uther Pendragon, who fell in love with Lady Igraine. However when Arthur was born, his mother died; His father followed shortly. After this tragedy, young Arthur was sent by Merlin to live with a knight named Ector when he was still an infant. Growing up, he was teased by his elder brother, Kay. When their mother died, Kay told Arthur about his adoption. Later, he found a gleaming sword stuck in a stone, while looking for a sword for his older brother to use at the knight trials. He was told that the man who could pull it out was the true king and when he succeeded in pulling the sword out, he proved his merit as King and his right to the throne. Therefore, he claimed the title and became King of Britain.

Life as King[change | change source]

Many castles claim to be Arthur's Camelot, but the most likely one is Tintagel Castle, Cornwall. In Camelot sat the famous Round Table, where Arthur, his queen Guinevere, Merlin, Morgan le Fay, Sir Lancelot, Sir Gawain, Sir Perceval and many other knights sat. Arthur and his knights went on many quests including The Quest For The Holy Grail, The Green Knight, The Black Knight and more.

Death[change | change source]

After King Arthur's many adventures, his sword Excalibur was stolen by his son, Mordred. Mordred seized his kingdom and queen, forcing Arthur to fight for what was truly his. They fought for a long time and Mordred hit King Arthur in many places, but in the end it was Arthur who killed Mordred. After this victory, King Arthur was weak and died from losing blood from the wounds received in the battle. As his knights rode back to Camelot, they threw Excalibur into the lake so that it could return to where it came from.[1] One legend is that he never died but will return when the British need him.

Books, Poems and Movies[change | change source]

Many books have been written about him. Most of them involve Merlin, the Knights of the Round Table, Morgan le Fay etc. Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote the first. Alfred, Lord Tennyson visited Tintagel, the mythical Camelot twice and wrote a series of poems about Arthur. One of the best-known books, The Death of Arthur, was written by Sir Thomas Malory. Another tells how he set out to find the Holy Grail, the cup that Jesus drank from at the Last Supper.[2] There are also many movies about him, including Disney's The Sword in the Stone, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and the musical Camelot.

References[change | change source]

  1. "King Arthur." World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.
  2. Reiss, Edmund. "Arthur, King." World Book Student. World Book, 2013. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.