King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table: Between Fact And Fiction

King Arthur is definitely one of the most enigmatic historical personalities in British history. With his historicity debated amongst many scholars and mere passioned people alike, it is almost impossible to decide whether he actually existed or not. And even if he had existed, was he solely a founding myth or a folklore creation? Questions like this one had been posed countless times in order to verify the historical basis regarding King Arthur’s legend.

‘Piety: The Knights of the Round Table about to Depart in Quest of the Holy Grail’ by Scottish artist William Dyce (1849). Image source: Wikimedia Commons

According to the legend, King Arthur, heir of Uther Pendragon, was the righteous monarch of the Brythonic-speaking Celts prior to the Anglo-Saxon period and the owner of the majestic Excalibur, a magical sword of immense sheer power. His castle, Camelot, was one of the most mesmerising and imposing strongholds of the time (and certainly the fairest in those turbulent, murky, dark times).

It was there that some of his most truthful subjects founded a knightly order that came to be known as the Knights of the Round Table. The most skilful and determined knights of sub-Roman Britain were selected personally by King Arthur in order to congregate at the round table where each held equal status (as the form of the table highlights).

The semi-legendary King Arthur knighting one of his squiers. Image source: www.pixabay.com

From phantasmagorical figures such as the wise wizard Merlin and the ambivalent enchantress Morgan le Fay or the honest and dutiful Lancelot and Percival have been inspiring artists, writers, and filmmakers for centuries. Amongst the most renowned renditions of the legend of King Arthur, there are films such as ‘Excalibur’ (1981), TV series such as ‘Merlin’ (2008–12), satirical parodies such as ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ (1975) or ‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’ by Mark Twain, or alliterative poems such as ‘The Fall of Arthur’ by J.R.R. Tolkien. At the same time, fellow Inklings member Roger Lancelyn Green also wrote ‘King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table‘ published in 1953.

The Gallos, a 2.4 metre-tall sculpture/statue of the semi-legendary King Arthur near Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, strongly associated with the Arthurian legend. Image source: www.pixabay.com

Tales referencing in a way or another actual historical characters that might have well been the real King Arthur abound in medieval literature and can be also traced to Welsh poetry. In the prospect of unveiling the shroud from this ancient legend, the hereby documentary tries to walk in the footsteps of the mythical King Arthur and deep throughout his former realm.

Even though the legendary King Arthur fought against and repelled multiple waves of Anglo-Saxon invaders (i.e. the early medieval English), he subsequently became one of the greatest (if not the greatest) hero of England, as paradoxical and ironical as it might seem from a historical point of view, symbolising English and British resilience at large in the face of adversity and foreign invasions, being a guiding light in both times of peace and war.

His legend was subsequently written down by the Norman conquerors (who also actually brought knighthood in Britain, in true historical regard), drawing on the tales of the Welsh bards on their own bygone valiant monarch, with the ‘first clear image’ of King Arthur being crafted by Welsh Catholic cleric Geoffrey of Monmouth. Prior to the Norman conquest, there were no such knights, in the conventional sense, in early medieval England.

The story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table continue to fascinat people and inspire works of art and populare culture. Image source: www.pixabay.com

Hereby several documentaries/videos on YouTube on the legend of King Arthur (credits go to each and every creator channel for each video below):

Documentation sources and external links:

Liked it? Take a second to support Victor Rouă on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.