Bell Ringer #4: Wed. 1/19/11 The story of King Arthur states that in order to establish a fair and just king, a competition was created that whoever could remove a sword (Excalibur) from a stone would become king. If you were a ruler, how would you establish a competition or task to decide who would rule your kingdom? How would you make sure that someone fair, just, and good would claim the throne?
1. Divide your shield into four sections of the same size. 2. Choose two colors for your shield. Sections After you finish: Section 1: write your name and the meaning of your name. Then in this same section draw a picture Section 2: draw a picture representing your future plans/career choice. Section 3: draw a picture that represents something you love (a hobby for example). Section 4: draw something that you believe in. 1. Down or across the center of your shield you should write your motto. For example, your motto might be, "To protect all in my country." Remember, your motto is from the standpoint of a knight. 2. The last thing you need to do is write an explanation of each item on your shield. Write/attach this to the back of your shield.
Who was King Arthur? Despite, or perhaps because of, so many authors’ accounts of King Arthur, it is impossible to discern which Arthur is the real Arthur, or if in fact there is one at all. Some works are considered historical, and some literature, though this distinction is hardly credible since it is based on the author’s societal position during his lifetime. The Authors were rarely specific about Arthur’s life: most did not discuss the time or place of Arthur’s reign. Therefore, much of our information is not factual.
Who was King Arthur? Arthur as presented in the legends was NOT a real person. There was, however, a chieftan named Arthur. Historical Arthur lived in the Dark Ages, at the end of the 5 th and beginning of the 6 th centuries. Literary Arthur comes from medieval times, during the 12 th century.
Arthurian Legends Take place in Great Britain Fictional Legends with many different versions Sir Thomas Malory brought together first collection 12 th and 13 th Century
Holy Grail In Christian mythology the cup used by Jesus during the last supper. In Arthurian legends the hero must prove himself worthy to be in its presence
Siege Perilous Specially reserved seat at the Round Table for the knight who was destined to quest for and return with the Holy Grail Sir Galahad- only knight who sits in it. Fatal to anyone else who sat in it.
Round Table Mystical Table in Camelot Symbol of Unity Given to Arthur by King Lodegreaunce (Guinevere's Father)
Excalibur King Arthur's mythical sword Sword in the stone only drawn by real king.
King Arthur Son of Uther Pendragon + Igraine Raised by Sir Ector Drew the sword in the stone Married to Guinevere
Sir Kay Brothers Arthur and Kay were raised by Sir Ector Kay was Arthur’s foster brother Tried to claim sword in the stone
Sir Gawain King Arthur’s nephew Defender of the poor Ladies man
Sir Lancelot Greatest of King Arthur’s Knights One of the most trusted knights Has an affair with Guinevere
Lancelot Although efforts have been made to connect the character of Lancelot to Celtic mythology, it is generally agreed that Lancelot was a contribution of the French Arthurian romances and medieval chivalric ideals. The role of Lancelot has not been greatly altered and throughout eight hundred years of existence he has never been subject to the same condemnation as Guinevere. This is largely due his portrayal as a 'knight in shining armor' whose only fault is his doomed love for Guinevere. This love enables Lancelot to be tricked into having a child with Elaine, but Lancelot remains devoted to Guinevere, repeatedly saving her from death at the hands of the King. In some accounts, Lancelot is driven mad by his love for Guinevere, and is cured by the Holy Grail.
Sir Galahad Son of Lancelot + Elaine Seat was siege perilous Quest for the Holy Grail
The many faces of Queen Guinevere Despite the version of the story, all agree that she is the wife of Arthur and that she is unable to bear him a child. Welsh tradition presents Guinevere as beautiful, noble and yet tragic, and these characteristics remain in later versions of Arthurian legends. In English accounts she is portrayed as Arthur's treacherous and unfaithful wife. Her inability to give Arthur an heir makes her a failure as a queen and according to medieval values, also a failure as a woman.
Morgan la Fay Said to be the daughter of Arthur's mother, the Lady Igraine, and her first husband, Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, so that Arthur is her half brother (by Igraine and Uther Pendendragon). She has at least two older sisters, Elaine and Morgause, the latter of whom is the mother of Gawain and the traitor Mordred. In many film versions, it is Morgan La Faye rather than Morgause that has the illegitimate child, Mordred, with her brother Arthur.
Sir Mordred Illegitimate son of Arthur (sometimes referred to as nephew) Traitor Takes over Kingdom while Arthur is away Killed in his final battle.
Mordred In early Welsh legends, Mordred is regarded as heroic, rather than as the villain he is later portrayed. Monmouth used this vague impression and created the idea that Mordred was Arthur's evil nephew who betrayed Arthur's trust by stealing his kingdom and his wife. Since then, Mordred has remained the most detestable character in the legend. French romances added that Mordred was also Arthur's illegitimate son, born of an incestuous union with Arthur's half sister, Morgause. Once King Arthur goes off to battle, he leaves Mordred in charge and Mordred uses this opportunity to take Arthur's kingdom. In almost all accounts Mordred is successful in taking over Arthur's kingdom and his skill as a warrior enables him to defeat Arthur in combat, even though he is also mortally wounded in the fight.
The Lady of the Lake aka Vivienne, Elaine, and Nimue gave Excalibur to Arthur
Merlin Wizard in Arthurian legends Said to be responsible for Arthur’s birth King’s Advisor/Mentor We will spend more time discussing Merlin and his background next class!
The Legend Begins… Uther, the High-King of Britain fell in love with the Lady Igraine, but she was already married to Gorlois, the Duke of Tintagel. King Uther decided he must marry Igraine. So he took his army and fought with Gorlois. Gorlois was killed. King Uther married Igraine and they had a son named Arthur. This was a very dangerous time and attacks by Saxons happened a lot. So King Uther gave his baby son to his wizard, Merlin, for safety. Merlin sent Arthur away to be raised in the countryside by Sir Ector. He grew up with his foster brother, Kay. He never knew who his real parents were.
“Whoso pulleth this sword out of this stone and anvil is rightly King of all England” When King Uther died, no-one knew he had a son. So there was lots of arguing about who should be High- King of Britain. Suddenly a mysterious stone magically appeared in the churchyard of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Sticking out of it was a huge sword. There was a message on it. It said that whoever pulled the sword from the stone was the rightful High-King of Britain. Lots of the local kings (or 'tyrants') tried to pull the sword out. It was magically stuck fast though and the arguing carried on.
Who would be King? Years later, Arthur had grown into a fifteen year old lad. It was time for his elder foster-brother, Kay, to go to his first tournament (where knights practiced fighting). So the family went to London. Arthur got into trouble because he had forgotten Kay’s sword. So he went off to look for one. He found the sword in the stone and pulled it out easily. Arthur gave the sword to Kay. Kay noticed the message and everyone wanted to know who had pulled the sword from the stone. At first, no-one believed that Arthur had done it. But he repeated what he had done. Everyone was amazed.
Arthur becomes King Arthur was crowned King but 11 of the local kings would not agree to him being High-King. They did not want to have to do what a fifteen-year-old told them to. They started a rebellion. Merlin the Wizard helped King Arthur to rule Britain. He took him to a magical lake. Merlin’s friend, the ‘Lady of the Lake’ lived there beneath the water. She gave Arthur a magic sword called ‘Excalibur’. Excalibur was kept in a magic scabbard. If you used Excalibur in a fight, you would always defeat your opponent. If you had the scabbard, you would always be protected from being hurt yourself. Arthur led a big army against the 11 rebel kings. There were many battles, but Arthur had Excalibur, so he won. The kings agreed that Arthur should be High-King.
The Land Called Camelot Arthur ruled in peace for many years… Arthur set up his Royal palace at Camelot. When Arthur was a bit older, he married a princess named Guinevere. As a wedding present, her father gave them a huge round table. All the knights in the country wanted to be soldiers for King Arthur. The bravest of them were allowed to sit at the round table. They were known as the ‘Knights of the Round Table’. Because it was round, the positions of all the seats were equal. No-one could say they were more important because they sat at the end. However, the Saxons were still attacking the British.
The Land Called Camelot Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table fought against the Saxons in many battles. They finally defeated them at the Battle of Mount Badon. Everyone was finally happy and felt very safe again. Arthur thought he was doing a better job than the Roman Emperor in Italy. He decided to take his army to Europe. After a lot of fighting, the Emperor agreed to give the western half of Europe to Arthur. Back in Britain, the Knights of the Round Table had lots of adventures. Some rescued princesses. Some fought dragons or corrupt knights. Many of them went to look for a religious cup called the ‘Holy Grail’.
The Betrayal The best and bravest of the Knights of the Round Table was called Sir Lancelot. He was also very handsome and Queen Guinevere fell in love with him. The two would sneak away from the palace to spend time together. King Arthur had no idea what was going on. King Arthur’s nephew was called Mordred (in some stories he was his illegitimate son). He was an evil man. He found out what Guinevere and Lancelot were doing and he told King Arthur. Lancelot ran away, but Queen Guinevere was taken to court. The judges decided she should be burnt to death. Lancelot rescued her and they escaped to Brittany. Arthur took a big army across the English Channel to Brittany. He wanted to punish Lancelot and Guinevere.
Sir Mordred King Arthur left Mordred in charge while he was away in Brittany. As Arthur had no children, Mordred was going to inherit the kingdom when Arthur died; but he could not wait. Mordred told everyone that King Arthur had been killed fighting in Brittany. People believed him and Mordred made himself High-King of Britain. Luckily, Arthur heard about what was going on. He returned to Britain with his army.
Sir Mordred Mordred had given away lots of money and so some people liked him. They helped him put together his own army and start a rebellion (a war against the proper ruler). The armies of Arthur and Mordred fought at the Battle of Camlann. Unfortunately, Arthur did not have Excalibur’s scabbard with him. It had been stolen by his wicked sister, Morgan Le Fay. The battle was so bad that only a few people were left alive at the end. Two of these were King Arthur and Mordred. They fought each other in single combat. Arthur killed Mordred, but was very badly hurt himself.
Le Morte D’Arthur Arthur knew he was going to die. He gave Excalibur to Sir Bedivere. He told him to return it to the magical lake. Bedivere pretended to do what he was told; but he hid Excalibur under a bush instead. Arthur asked Bedivere what happened when he threw the sword into the lake. Bedivere said that it sank. Arthur knew he was lying and told him to go and do the job properly. Bedivere threw the sword into the lake. He saw the hand of the ‘Lady of the Lake’ come out of the water to catch it. Three Queens arrived in a boat and took Arthur away to the Isle of Avalon. It is thought that he died there soon afterwards.
The True Story of King Arthur King Arthur has always been known for his Round Table and retrieval of Excalibur from the Sword in the Stone contest… but what about the other characters who helped him get there? Imagine that an old letter has just been discovered revealing the TRUE story of King Arthur. Write a letter (3-4 paragraphs) from the point of view of a minor character: Morgan, Lady of the Lake, Guinevere, Lancelot, Mordred, Merlin, etc. explaining why you are equally as important to “The Legend of King Arthur.” Remind him how you influenced his story and should be more popular today!