It was time of high adventure and romance. Knight would seek out adventure, hoping to test skills, mettle and prowess as a warrior.

A knight would also try to win the love of lady or damsel, either by rescuing her from adversary or demonstrating his skills in a jousting tournament.

Courtly manner was considered to be almost as important with the ladies, as well as the knight's use of the sword and lance.

The time of King Arthur represents the Golden Age of Chivalry.




In Timeless Myths, the Age of Chivalry deals with retelling a collection of popular tales of King Arthur.

The collection of tales and romances about King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table became known to the French as "La Matiere de Bretagne" or the "Matter of Britain" (as oppose to the legend of Charlemagne in the "Matter of France").

The earliest sources of the legend come from Celtic storytellers in Wales and Brittany, between 7th and 10th century BC. However, it wasn't until the early 12th century, when Geoffrey of Monmouth who gave us the first full account of Arthur that made this legendary king into a household name. Writers after Geoffrey come from Wales, England, France and Germany, between 12th and 16th century; the writers from these countries became the major contributors of Arthurian legend. Legend of Arthur can even be found in Italy, Spain and the Scandinavia.

Since there were many accounts on the life of King Arthur, I have divided this into two main parts: those of the Early Tradition and the Alternative Accounts. The Early Tradition relied on three sources from Geoffrey of Monmouth, Wace and Layamon.

While the Alternative Accounts relied on various sources from Vulgate Cycle and Post-Vulgate Cycle, and from the writers, such as Chretien de Troyes, Robert de Boron, and Sir Thomas Malory. Since the alternative version is larger and varied greatly, I had to divide this into several pages. I had named the early life of Arthur on this alternative version, Legend of Excalibur. The Alternative Tradition also includes the Vulgate Cycle — Lancelot, Queste del Saint Graal, and Mort le roi Artu. (See Vulgate Cycle.)

The Vulgate Cycle or Lancelot-Graal prose cycle introduced a new change to the legends, that of love of Lancelot for Queen Guinevere and a new version of the Grail quest. These two events would ultimately bring about the downfall of Arthur's kingdom.

While another page also deal with the quest for the Holy Grail. There are many versions of the Grail quest. There are two different traditions about the Grail. Those stories that have Perceval as the hero, and the other, more later tradition that has Galahad as the new Grail hero. I will deal with both traditions in separate pages.

The Knights' Tales retell several other stories where Arthur takes a less active role. These stories deal with the adventure of individual knight. It included the stories of the "Knight of the Lion", "Erec and Enide", "Gawain and the Green Knights", and the most popular medieval romance of them all — "Tristan and Isolde".



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Round Table and the Holy Grail
Manuscript illumination, c. 1400



Other useful information includes:

  Fact & Figures:
   Historical Background
   Arthurian Court
   Enchanted Objects
   Faithful Companions
  Genealogy
  Bibliography (Arthurian sources)

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Life of King Arthur  |  Vulgate Cycle  |  Grail Legend  |  Tales of the Knights  |  Sir Gawain  |  Tristan and Isolde

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