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Arthurian Legends

Mythological figure

King Arthur is a medieval mythological figure who was the head of the kingdom of Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table. It is not known if he existed in real life, although it is thought that he may have been a military commander with ties to Rome who successfully stopped the Saxon invasion between the fifth and sixth centuries. 1)

The History of the Britons

In the 800s, Nennius of Wales wrote The History of the Britons, which became the primary Arthurian text, listing more than a dozen battles and including a prominent warrior fighter, although according to contemporary historical findings such a work by the mythical Arthur was and remains impossible. 2)

Le Morte D'Arthur

Thomas Malory was the first to provide English prose telling of the legend in “Le Morte D'Arthur,” a work published in 1485. 3)

The tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is certainly one of the most famous, but moreover, popular legends of mankind. 4)

Symbol of a feudal lord

As Professor Raluca Radulescu has pointed out, the legend of King Arthur is meant to draw attention to the existence of certain archetypes, or existing irrefutable moral standards, also in politics. Arthur is therefore a symbol of the most appropriate attitude of a feudal lord. 5)

Several narrative lines

The stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table are not coherent whole but form several partially independent narrative lines. 6)

Arthur's father

Uther Pendragon reunites Britain after years of battles. In union with Igerna, he conceives Arthur, whom he gives to Merlin. Arthur grows in obscurity, as the foster son of Sir Hector. 7)

Not just Arthur

Independent series of Arthurian Legends form legends related to the history of Merlin, Tristan, and Isolde or Sir Lamorak. 8)

The Holy Grail

A very important major narrative line is related to the search for the Grail. Courtly and Celtic culture give way here to Christian and Gnostic influences. Only a few knights (Bors, Galahad, Parsifal) corresponding to the new ideal of the holy knight can fulfill the Grail mission. With the fulfillment of the Grail mission, the Arthurian era becomes a thing of the past. 9)

The Mists of Avalon

Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon is one of the most popular modern versions of the Arthurian legends. The Mists of Avalon exposes the conflict between the departed world of Celtic magic and the coming Christianity. 10)

The Lady of Shalott

Alfred Tennyson's most famous poem The Lady of Shalott (1842) tells the story of Elaine of Astolat's love for Lancelot. 11)

Three musical dramas by Richard Wagner

Three musical dramas by Richard Wagner are based on Arthurian legends: Lohengrin (1848), Tristan and Isolde (1859), and Parsifal (1882). 12)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a 1975 British film, is based on the Arthurian legends. 13)

Pre-Raphaelite painting

Arthurian motifs were a popular theme in Pre-Raphaelite painting. 14)

Series of woodcuts

Aubrey Beardsley created a series of woodcuts for Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. 15)

arthurian_legends.txt · Last modified: 2022/08/31 08:29 by aga