We find in his life and court a representation of our own dreams and struggles. Why does Arthurian legend fascinate so many people? From the simple fact that each age has retold the story to embody its own values. Arthurs of every age provide motives and meanings significant to there time. The Arthur of legend is much greater than Arthur the real man.
To fully understand the real man Arthur we must take a look at early british history. In 410 AD Alaric captures Rome, who were a long time british protectorate. Now Rome had to call in troops from britian, leaving the celts to defend themselves. The Anglo Saxons, and Jutes saw the opportunity to gain the Celtic land so they attacked. In the late fifth century there was a major battle between the celts and the saxons.
The celtic man who was credited with this victory was named Arthur. The first mention of Arthur in text, was in the collection of her ioc death songs called the Y Gododdin… fed black ravens on the rampart of a fort although he was no Arthur. In that reference it shows that in the ninth or tenth century Arthur was though as the impossible comparison, a superhero of sorts. Names that were used in text during the time of Y Gododdin were real. So, therefore Arthur must have had some historical significance.
Several other texts have been written upon Arthur. The Annales of Cambria e was compiled in the tenth century, and mentions Arthur in two entries. The Battle of Bad on in 516 AD, and the Battle of Caml ann in 537 AD in which Arthur suffered a murderous blow. A twelfth century poet by the name of Chretien de Troyes wrote five books on Arthur; Ericetenide, Climes, Y vain, Persivle, and Lancelot. In Troyes tails the Arthurian society is more important than Arthur himself. Troyes introduces Camelot, the court of Arthur, he also introduces the quest for the holy grail.
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This quest is the most famous of Arthurian legend. Camelot was the symbolism for the riding of perfect politics. Arthur of legend is far more exciting than the real man. Uther pendragon king of britian has no sons to take over rule of his kingdom. Which is quiet the dilemma. Uther is also in love with another mans women.
He summons the great wizard merlin to help him be with her. Merlin agrees if the child concieved as a result would go under his care. Uther met with the lady and months later the child is born. Uther reluctantly gives away his new born son, Arthur. Several years later Uther dies, and there is no one to replace him. Merlin wisely sets up a test with his magic.
To determine the rightfull king. All the great men of Britian gather to achieve the kingship. Whoever shall pull the sword from this stone is the rightfull king of britian. So many men try to pull the sword out of the stone and none succeed. Arthur a young boy pulls the sword out and the people rejoice for the new king.
Merlin tells Arthur that he will need another sword to do battle with. Merlin then takes Arthur to a lake where a hand is coming out of the water holding the great sword, Excalibur, and its she at that shall forever protect Arthur from harm. What is a king without his Queen? Arthur needed one to fulfill his kingdom. He meets Guinevere the fairest lady in all the land.
He falls deeply in love and marries her agains Merlin s great warning. Guinevere s father gives Arthur the round table as a wedding present. Arhtur was very thank full for this, for he was in need of a place to meet with his knights. The round table had no man sitting at its end. That way everyone at the table had a equal position, a perfect democracy. The death of Arthur and the loss of Camelot is a tragic one.
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A lady comes to camelot and Arthur can not resist temptation, he has a son with her. Morgan le Faye his evil half-sister tricked him. The son that came from that trick became one of Arthur s greatest enemies. Merlin warns Arthur again to beware of Mrodrid his own son. Years later Arthur ignores this warning much like he did with Merlin s warning of Guinevere. Arthur lets Mordrid be a knight of the round table.
Lancelot was Arthur s best knight, and most loyal subject. Yet Lancelot fell in love with guinevere. They were caught together and Guinevere as ordered to be burned at the stake, yet lancelot saved her. Arthur went out to punish Lance lto and guinevere and left Mordrid in charge of Camelot. Mordrid proclaimed t himself king. Arhtur shocked returned to take Camelot back.
He did but during the battle he received a deadly blow. Arthur returned to the lady of the lake. Arthur was take to the isle of Avalon. Where he it is said he did not die.
Arthur will return someday, when the days are right, and when britain is in need. 314.