Camelot, Excalibur, The Holy Grail and The Round Table

King Arthur was a legendary British leader of the late fifth and early sixth centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defense of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early sixth century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and his historical existence is debated and disputed by modern historians.

A real person or a folk tale?
King Arthur never existed in real life. There might have been someone called Arturus (or Riothamus) in Britain's distant past, and it is believed he used to live in Camelot. In that time there was no such thing as knightsin-armour. (this is a later addition to the main figure) There are several theories about the location of the 'original' court of Camelot, and although research continues, these are irrelevances: King Arthur and his knights will always be figures of fantasy, and Arthurian legend should be appreciated for what it is: a large and unique body of wonderful early European literature.

The legend says this mysterious kingdom of Camelot was won in a strange contest. Camelot s king had no sons but a beautiful daughter. With Merlin s help he organized a contest , and the prize was his daughter and the kingdom. All the men were asked to pull out a sword that was stuck in a stone. None of them succeded, because Merlin had cast a spell on the sword, so only a really brave and pure hearted man could get it out. The only man brave enough to do this was Arthur, a simple boy, who came from a land far away, feeling a natural call. This is how Arthur fulfilled his destiny and won both the girl and the kingdom. .

Camelot Castle
Arthur s Castle, the place where Arthur and his wife Queen Guinevere had lived happily.

Excalibur or The Sword in Stone

It is said that The Sword in Stone was broken in one of Arthur s battles, and replaced with Excalibur, a lighter but stronger sword. Merlin had as well cast a spell on the second one, to make it invincible.

The Holy Grail
It is also known as the vessel used by Christ at The Last Supper. At the Court of King Arthur, however, it was prophesied that the Grail would one day be rediscovered, so through many adventures and many years, the Knights of the Round Table crossed Britain from one end to another in their search.

Although they finally found the place where the vessel was hidden, none of the knights was worthy to obtain it. After several trials of obtaing the Grail, none of them successful, Galahad, son of Lancelot arrived. He was permitted entry to the Grail Chapel and allowed to gaze upon the great cup. His life became complete and together grail and man were lifted up to heaven.

The Round Table
The Round Table is King Arthur's famed table in the Arthurian legend, around which he and his Knights congregate. As its name suggests, it has no head, implying that everyone who sits there has equal status. The Round Table takes on new dimensions in the romances of the late 12th and early 13th century, where it becomes a symbol of the famed order of chivalry which flourishes under Arthur. The Round Table became the symbol of fellowship, unity and equality.

Whether King Arthur was a real or fictional character, he remains until this day a symbol of bravery, honesty, wits and ambition, an example to look up to.


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