The origins of King Arthur and the stories that surround him vary across time. The first written copy is from Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), written in the 12th century. The work is considered largely a work of fiction, a kind of dramatization of history if you will. His account of Julius Ceasar’s invasion of Britain, for example, is wildly inaccurate.
Geoffrey’s version has all the main elements most people are familiar with: Arthur’s father Uther Pendragon, the magician Merlin, Arthur’s wife Guinevere, the sword Excalibur, Arthur’s conception at Tintagel, his final battle against Mordred at Camlann, and final resting place in Avalon. It wasn’t until French troubadour Chrétien de Troyes that Lancelot and the Holy Grail made an appearance. In fact, a lot of Troyes’ tales were written from the perspectives of the Knights of the Round Table.
King Arthur vs. Historical Accuracy
Whether or not King Arthur actually existed and if any of Geoffrey’s account is accurate is not up for debate. Historians consider King Arthur to be a part of the Matter of Britain, a collection of literature regarding the subject of Great Britain and the legendary kings and heroes associated with it. The legend of King Arthur was a part of the three great story cycles during medieval times, meaning it was a tale retold often in a variety of literature and oral culture.
Why Is King Arthur So Popular?
Despite being such a great story, King Arthur declined in popularity during the Middle Ages. It nearly faded into obscurity until a resurgence in the 19th century when King Arthur began to appear in contemporary literature like Thomas Hardy and John Masefield’s Arthurian plays.
Since then, the legend of King Arthur has exploded across all media. No one can really pinpoint why King Arthur is so darn popular as opposed to the numerous historical legends with just as many tropes. That said, King Arthur does have the advantage of being especially malleable to a talented storyteller.
If you want to focus on the Christianity flavor, it is easy to center your retelling on Lancelot and the quest for the Holy Grail. If you like mystery and magic, focus on Morgan le Fey and Merlin. If battles and heroic acts are your thing, King Arthur won plenty of battles in Geoffrey’s version. Needless to say, the legend of King Arthur has a little something for everyone to love.
King Arthur – A Little Crossword Fun
Here are some crossword clues and a bit of context to help you remember the answer next time you see it. We all might be vaguely familiar with the tale of King Arthur, but all media retelling the story has a tendency to only use parts of the tale or add their own aspects. As such, a lot of these crossword clues and answers might touch on bits of the tale that are not common knowledge. If your clue isn’t on this list, please follow this link and scroll down to the “similar hints” section.
Crossword Clue ___ Pendragon
UTHER Pendragon is brief at best in the many tales of King Arthur. He is mentioned purely in the context of Arthur’s conception. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth in his work Historia Regum Britanniae, Merlin disguised Uther as his enemy Gorlois, enabling Uther to sleep with Gorlois’ wife, Lady Igraine. When Uther’s troops defeat Gorlois in battle soon after the affair, Uther then marries the Lady Igraine.
As an aside, illegitimate children are a theme in King Arthur stories. For example, Arthur slept with his half-sister Morgen (or Morgause depending on the version being told) and sired Mordred. Mordred, in the usual Greek style, is the one that ultimately killed King Arthur.
Crossword Clue “King Arthur” Composer Henry_
Henry PURCELL lived during the 17th century and was the main composer for King Charles II of England. He wrote many musical masterpieces, one of which was King Arthur or The British Worthy in 1691. Lord Dryden wrote the lyrics to the semi-opera and King Arthur was performed at the Queen’s theatre that same year.
Crossword Clue A Nephew of King Arthur
GAWAIN is the son of Arthur’s half-sister Morgan and King Lot of Orkney.
He is featured often and prominently in quite a few versions of the King Arthur legend, including Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Historia Regum Britanniae, Roman de Brut, De Ortu Waluuanii, Diu Crône, The Awntyrs off Arthure, Le Chevalier à l’épée, and The Weddynge of Syr Gawen and Dame Ragnell. Gawain is largely portrayed as a very honorable and loyal Knight of the Round Table, and closest friend of King Arthur.
It isn’t until Chrétien de Troyes includes Gawain in his Lancelot-Grail prose that Gawain falls from grace. Troyes writes Gawain as a flawed character with usually innocent or honest intentions that rarely come to fruition. Much like the Redcrosse Knight character in Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, Troyes writes Gawain as an allegory for the sin of pride, often valuing material goods over faith in God.
Crossword Clue Boorish Member of King Arthur’s Round Table
The name SIR KAY comes in a variety of spellings depending on the version and who wrote the translation, including but not limited to: Cei, Cai, Kaius, Kay, and Kei. Since all but one are three letters long, it might be best to make sure the connecting words are correct so you can take an educated guess as to which spelling to choose.
The character of Kay in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae is relatively unimportant after he saves Arthur’s life. Kay is also Arthur’s foster brother, though Kay’s lineage depends on the version being told. His attitude is seen as boorish, but harmless until Chrétien de Troyes uses Kay as a foil to the other more honorable and even-tempered Knight of the Round Table.
Crossword Clue Burial Place of King Arthur
Ah, AVALON, my favorite part of the King Arthur legend. Variant spellings of Avalon are usually Avallon or Avilion. The mystical land first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae as with most King Arthur staples.
It is the place where King Arthur acquires Excalibur, the legendary sword Arthur uses to win many battles. Some tales elevate the sword to nigh indestructible, giving it magical capabilities that only Arthur can wield. Avalon is sometimes considered a place where fairies and magicians live (like Morgan le Fay and Merlin), sometimes it is a physical place – usually the former island of Glastonbury Tor.