|Some additional information concerning Arthur’s courts and his household staff.|
|In medieval romances, Arthur didn’t have just one castles, but reside in many, depending on the seasons. Some of these castles are located during the time when the Roman had built fortresses and towns throughout in England, Wales and Cornwall. Others are known to exist only during the time of the Norman period.
According to the Welsh tradition and early Arthurian authors, like Geoffrey of Monmouth, say that the castle of Caerleon in Wales was his capital, not Camelot. The Welsh called it Caer Llion, while Geoffrey called it City of Legions. Geoffrey say that when Arthur established an empire in western Europe, he made the City of Legions as plenary court, which he ruled this empire from. This is also the court, according to Wace, where Arthur had constructed the Round Table.
According to several romances, written by the French poet Chretien de Troyes (flourished in c. 1165-1182), Arthur’s residences dwelled in the castles of Cardigan, Carlisle (Carduel in French) and Camelot.
The first appearance of Camelot in the Arthurian literature, come from Le Chevalier à la charrette (“Knight of the Cart” or “Lancelot”), a medieval romance created by Chretien de Troyes in c. 1175. According to Chretien, Camelot was located not too far from Caerleon. He didn’t mention it as Arthur’s capital, but it was one of the king’s many residences (castles). Camelot didn’t become Arthur’s main castle until in later romances of the 13th century and afterward, in such works as the Vulgate romances (1227-1235).
Scholars, historians and archaeologists have tried to establish the location of Camelot. Most modern experts are in favour of Winchester in Hampshire, though there are some who say it is Caerleon, or Cadbury Castle in Somerset. Because of the similarity in names, some would say it is located in Camelford in Cornwall or Queen Camel in Somerset. Personally, I think that Camelot was just an invention of Chretien de Troyes, which other writers had elaborated.
The main importance of Tintagel, in Cornwall, is that Arthur was born in this castle. However, there was no Roman or post-Roman fortress until the Norman time. There is a Celtic abbey built in the late Roman or early post-Roman period. It was the scene of Arthur’s conception, where Merlin used his magic to allow King Uther Pendragon to seduce Igraine, wife of Duke Gorlois of Cornwall.
Carmarthen was best known for the place where Merlin was born in. It seemed that this is castle Vortigern had tried to build, but kept falling down. Merlin established Carmarthen as his own residence, calling it Caer Myriddin or “Fortress of Myrddin” (Merlin).
Arthur had also resided in Bath, Winchester, London, Cardiff (in Wales), and a whole lot of places throughout England. Some of writers even say that he lived in Brittany.
Below are other notable list of castles, which are not residences of Arthur but does deserve mentioning. These sites were important in medieval times, and some have connection to the Roman Britain times.
|In any medieval kingdom, a ruler usually have a number of staff to serve him, some in the household and others in military capacity. Arthur’s court was no exception to this rule.
Below are small list of Arthur’s personal staff. Most of these staff have a title of their own, and most of them also served as Arthur’s knights.
Among these staff, Ulfin or Ulfius and Sir Brastias had actually first served Uther Pendragon, the father of Arthur, before they served their current king.
Merlin and Niniane were not actually member of Arthur’s staff, but they do act as his advisers on occasion.
Merlin come and goes in Arthur’s court, but when he wasn’t needed, the wizard is never around. Merlin Merlin sometimes act as an adviser or guide to the Arthur’s knights in their adventures. When Merlin is not around Arthur or with any knights, he usually goes to Blaise, his old friend, chronicler and master.
It is only in the Post-Vulgate Suite du Merlin (“Merlin Continuation”, c. 1240) or Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur (1469) that Niniane or Nimue appeared as Arthur’s adviser and protector, after she had confined Merlin. And that was only to disrupt the plots and enchantment of Morgan le Fay against her brother. Niniane had saved Arthur’s life twice.
Another person who is not actually a member of the staff, is the Archbishop of Canterbury. As far as I can tell, the Archbishop have no name.
Arthur also appeared in a few Welsh literature, such as some tales from the Mabinogion and in the Welsh Triads, which supplied different names to the people who served in Arthur’s household. There’s actually a lot more names in this tradition. Most of the name found here, come from various sources.
|Often in Arthurian literature, any feast held at one of Arthur’s castles was usually held on a particular Christian feast day.
Below, is a list of Christian feasts that often used in the legend.
|The canonical hours were used frequently to distinguished the hours of the day in the Arthurian literatures. It was widely used in Western medieval Europe, to mark the divsion of the day. Each of these canonical hour lasted at three hours interval.