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This is probably because a good number of the stories originated not in Britain, but in Brittany — or, as it was known then, Armorica or Aermorica, where belief in ancient deities and the faery race lived on. These faery tales became interwoven with stories of chivalry beloved by the courtly circle. Within the courtly circle these stories were told by roving troubadours — poets who learned dozens of Arthurian tales by heart.

In c Geoffrey of Monmouth named nine sisters in his Vita Merlini as the rulers of the enchanted island of Avalon. Though this may sound odd to us today, many of the women in enclosed orders were learned, and since learning was frequently equated with magic, thus Morgan came to be considered a sorceress.

All knights of the Round Table are said to have gone forth in search of the sacred vessel after it appeared at Camelot during Pentecost [a feast celebrated each year on the 50th day after the Great and Holy Feast of Pascha Easter and 10 days after the Feast of the Ascension of Christ]. Of those who went forth only three succeeded in their quest to find the grail: the saintly knight Sir Galahad, the simple Sir Percival, and the honest, plain-spoken Sir Bors.

Love stories feature a great deal in the Arthurian world. But another story, originating in France, became one of the best known of the Arthurian tales: the love story of Lancelot and Guinevere. But Lancelot hesitates for a moment, and when Guinevere learns of this this later on she spurns him as not worthy of her affections.


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With the king reluctantly forced to attack Lancelot, the way was left open for Mordred to attack Camelot. War broke out after Lancelot staged an armed rescue of Guinevere, condemned to death for her treasonous love for the great knight. With the hasty return of the true king to Britain, a final battle took place at Camlann.

Arthur killed Mordred, but suffered a wound that seemed likely to kill him — though in the end he was taken to Avalon to be healed. A mysterious hand rises from the water and seizes the sword, drawing it under. It was small enough that during a particularly lavish court so many barons and nobles came that "not a tenth of them could be lodged in the city of Camelot, and the others found shelter in the meadowland, which was wide and beautiful, in tents and pavilions," translation by Rupert Pickens.

The church of St. Stephen apparently contained a large burial ground as numerous knights are mentioned as being interred there. Indeed, Camelot saw more than its share of wars in the Vulgate stories. The city's defenses were formidable, surviving a war against the Saxons and another invasion in which Cornishmen aided the Saxons. The text says that Arthur held court in a castle or a tower as it's sometimes called furnished with a main courtyard, bedrooms, areas for feasting and, apparently, the Round Table.

The castle is close enough to a body of water so that in one story Arthur could see a boat coming into Camelot holding what turned out to be a dead maiden. While tournaments are held frequently, the people of Camelot also enjoyed other, less-violent, forms of recreation. In one story, Lancelot gives King Arthur a fine chess set, knowing that Queen Guinevere is a good player. According to one story, an inscription was found saying that the quest for the Holy Grail a quest discussed at length in the Vulgate must begin years after the resurrection of Jesus.

8 Facts About King Arthur, The Warrior King of Arthurian Legend - HistoryExtra

This gives a rough date for when King Arthur supposedly ruled Camelot. The most famous aspect of Camelot is certainly its Round Table, and the Vulgate cycles discuss in detail how King Arthur came to possess it. According to the text, it was a wedding gift from Guinevere's father, King Leodagan of Carmelide, after Arthur asked for her hand in marriage. At the time, there were already knights out of who were members of the table.

This led Arthur to ask the magician Merlin to choose the remaining members to bring it to full complement, emphasizing that each must be chivalrous. When they were assembled, Merlin said that from "now on you must love one another and hold one another as dear as brothers, for from the love and sweetness of this table where you will be seated there will be born in your hearts such a great joy and friendship that you will leave your wives and children to be with one another and to spend your youth together," translation by Martha Asher.

The names of the knights were engraved on their chairs. Merlin left one chair, called the "perilous" chair vacant, to be filled by a great knight who would turn out to be Galahad, the son of Lancelot at a time when the quest for the Holy Grail begins. Galahad is also responsible for pulling a sword from a stone that is meant to be pulled by the strongest knight in the world. Needless to say, as the story goes on there are many deaths and members of the Round Table are replaced after they perish.

By the end of the saga, after the death of King Arthur, nearly every Knight of the Round Table is dead.

‘King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table’ is so terrible it’s great

In the Vulgate cycles, there appear to be two sides to Camelot. On the surface, the leaders of the city are pious; the king attends mass regularly, and makes the sign of the cross when he hears bad news. Chivalry is essential, and vespers, a form of evening prayer, are held regularly. At times, battlefield enemies are even buried with honors.

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