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Were the Knights of the Round Table real figures

1 byte added, 16:02, 14 May 2019
The Knights of the Round Table
The Round Table was according to the sources a large circular table and was so big that up to 150 knights could be seated at it. The table was round, unlike the typical rectangular version because there was to be no knight who sat at the head of the table. It was a symbol of equality and represented the fellowship of all the knights. According to the Arthurian cycle, the table was a gift to Arthur and his Queen Guinevere from her father, who was also a monarch<ref> Sutcliff, Rosemary. The sword and the circle: King Arthur and the knights of the round table (London, Random House, 2013), p 167</ref>. There were 100 knights in attendance on Arthur but there was room at the table for up to fifty more. As was his custom the ruler of Camelot asked the advice of the magician Merlin, with regard to selecting more knights to bring up it to the full complement. The wizard was to select the knights based on their nobility and their record of chivalry. Merlin assembled the required number and he ordained that they should treat each as brothers. Each knight had their own particular place at the table. One chair was left unfilled and that was to be destined for a great knight, this was ultimately revealed to be Sir Galahad. The number of knights varied from story to story. The group of noble warriors is charged with Arthur with keeping peace in the land, protecting the weak, and they were expected to abide by a stern code of chivalry <ref> Sutcliffe, p 145</ref>. After their formation they slay may dragons and monsters making the land safe and also subdue the enemies of Arthur. The knights vow to go on a quest to retrieve the Holy Grail, the cup from the Last Supper, and their subsequent adventures are portrayed in many medieval works. The quest inspired some great literature such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The works vary but several of the knights, including Galahad, secured the grail. Despite their chivalrous code, the majority of the knights were killed on a variety of battlefields or searching for the grail. The dead were replaced by new members but some sources present them as inferior in character and bravery to the original band. Only a handful of knights survived the terrible Battle of Camlann, which left Arthur mortally wounded. The brotherhood of warriors effectively ended after the battle and the handful of survivors became monks or wanders <ref> Syr Gawayne; a collection of ancient romance-poems, by Scottish and English authors: relating to that celebrated knight of the Round Table (London, J. R. and JE Taylor, 1839)</ref>. There is no more mention of the Round Table, but it was presumably destroyed when Camelot was sacked and razed to the ground by the treacherous King of Cornwall. The stories of the Knights of the Round Table have proven enormously influential and helped to spread ideas of chivalry and courtly-love in the Medieval period.
[[File: Knights Three.jpg|200px|thumb|left|A medieval depiction of the Round Table]]
==Winchester Round Table==
Winchester Castle is one of the greatest castles in England and it played a very important part of English history. It was originally built by William the Conqueror and later rebuilt by Henry II, the ruler of the Angevin Empire. In the Great Hall, there is a round table hanging on the wall. This was reputed to be the original Round Table, of the loyal warriors of Arthur, and around which they agreed to search for the Holy Grail. In fact, this table is not from the period when the ruler of Camelot reigned. It was probably built as part of one of the many ‘round table’ tournaments that occurred in Europe during the Middle Ages. These were tournaments with jousting, ceremonies, and festivities and were based on Arthurian legend. This Round table was probably made on the orders of King Edward I during one such celebration <REF>Morris, Mark. "Edward I and the Knights of the Round Table." Foundations of Medieval Scholarship: Records edited in Honour of David Crook (2009)</ref>.

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