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: www.commons.wikimedia.org

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.

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 skillful 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).

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.

Tales referencing in a way or another 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 following two documentaries try to walk in the footsteps of the mythical King Arthur and throughout his realm:

Documentation sources and external links:


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