Cyclopaedia 14: King Arthur

Cyclopaedia 14: King Arthur

Welcome to Cyclopaedia 14: King ArthurCyclopaedia is a monthly article on the InnRoads Ministries website as part of the Resources series.  I remember watching Disney’s The Sword in the Stone as a kid and getting my first glimpse into the legends of King Arthur. Then over the years I watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail with great laughter and eventually the amazing Excalibur, which started me down the path of so many memorable 80s fantasy films. With a last name of Knight, it is not surprising that I have always had a fascination with Knighthood and Chivalry, which have led me time and time again back to the Arthurian legends. The tales of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, Merlin and Morgan le Fey, and the Quest for the Holy Grail inspire so much storytelling. So, don your armor and mount your steed. We seek the Holy Grail!

If you have questions about this article or topics you would like me to consider researching for future Cyclopaedia articles, please leave a comment below.


Overview

King Arthur…the man, the myth, the legend. How do you view him? Is he just a king of Britain known for defeating the Saxons? Or is he a powerful knight become king supported by a mystical sword, a great wizard, and a cadre of knights? Did he receive the sword Excalibur from the Lady in the Lake or pull it from a stone? Was Merlin a great wizard who offered counseling and advice to young Arthur? Did his Knights of the Round Table seek the Holy Grail?

The Arthurian legends conjure up so many amazing medieval, romantic, and fantasy stories. The history and stories of Arthur and his retinue gained international interest in the 12th century via the Historia Regum Britanniae written by Geoffrey of Monmouth. His writings were built upon earlier poems and legends that spoke of the human and supernatural exploits of Arthur, Merlin, and his knights. Since then writers, historians, archaeologists and film makers have been fascinated by the Arthurian myths.

The Arthurian myths cover more than just King Arthur himself. Stories abound of the famed exploits of his knights such as Lancelot, Sir Gawain, Tristan, and the Black Knight. Tales of romantic intrigue, court politics, and forbidden love with Guinevere at the heart and soul of the kingdom. And what about Merlin? Was he merely a wise counselor or a powerful wizard in conflict with the likes of Morgan le Fey and her son Modred? And who can overlook the legends of the great Excalibur, sword of kings. Was it truly offered by the Lady in the Lake? Is it the same sword as was in the stone? Will King Arthur one day return to Great Britain to rule again?

At its core, the Arthurian mythos focuses upon romance, chivalry, intrigue, and adventure. It has become the spark of creativity for many. The Arthurian tale offers historians and archaeologists, storytellers and alternate history buffs, game designers and films writers a plethora of source material to keep them occupied for centuries to come.

Did King Arthur Really Exist?

The history, legends, and stories of King Arthur don’t answer that question. Some state as a fact his existence in history, while others view him only as a romantic character in literature. Archaeologists and historians do not even agree, and continue to write papers and books about possible historic references and origins of the King Arthur mythos. Most commonly, King Arthur is viewed as a…

  • 5th Century Soldier
  • 6th Century Romano-British Leader
  • Forgotten Welsh King
  • Folklore Hero
  • Forgotten Celtic Deity
  • Mythological Creation
  • Poetic Creation
  • Fictional Creation

Following are sources of information pertaining to King Arthur to assist prospective game masters, game designers, writers, and storytellers in knowing where to start their research.

 

ARTICLES

Guinevere: Unchristian, Invisible, Unvictorian
By Hobbs, Vivian
Source: The Negro educational review. 55, no. 4, (2004): 161-174

King Arthur in History and Legend
By Williams, Mary
Source: Folklore Vol. 73, No. 2 (Summer, 1962), pp. 73-88

Medieval McGuffins: The Arthurian Model
By Lacy, Norris J.
Source: Arthuriana, v15 n4 (2005): 53-64

The Origins of the Arthurian Legend
By Ashe, Geoffrey
Source: Arthuriana, v5 n3 (1995): 1-19

The Use of History and Archaeology in Contemporary Arthurian Fiction
By Snyder, Christopher
Source: Arthuriana, 19, no. 3 (2009): 114-122

 

BOOKS

 

The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights
By Steinbeck, John

Black Knight comic
By Lee, Stan and Maneely, Joe

Camelot – musical script
By Lerner, Alan Jay and Loewe, Frederick

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
By Twain, Mark

Eric and Enide
By Chrétien de Troyes

The Fall of Arthur
By Tolkien, Chris and Tolkien, J.R.R.

Grail Quest
Brennan, James Herbert

Hawk of May (Down the Long Wind Trilogy)
By Bradshaw, Gillian

Here Lies Arthur
By Reeve, Philip

Historia Regum Britanniae
By Geoffrey of Monmouth

Idylls of the King
By Tennyson, Alfred Lord

Le Morte d’Arthur/The Whole Book of King Arthur and of His Noble Knights of the Round Table
By Malory, Thomas

The Lost Tomb of King Arthur: The Search for Camelot and the Isle of Avalon
By Phillips, Graham

Merlin
By Robert de Boron

The Mists of Avalon
By Bradley, Marion Zimmer

The Once and Future King
By White, T.H.

The Oxford Guide to Arthurian Literature and Legend
By Lupack, Alan

Prince Arthur/King Arthur
By Blackmore, Richard

Prince Valiant comic
By Foster, Hal

Ruan
By Bryher

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
By Tolkien, J.R.R.

The Sword in the Stone: Magical Story of Young King Arthur
By White, T.H.

Taliesin (The Pendragon Cycle)
By Lawhead, Stephen R.

Vulgate Cycle
By Arthur Unknown

 

GAMES

Artus – Tabletop Game
Britannia – Tabletop Game
Camelot: The Build – Tabletop Game
Camelot: The Court – Tabletop Game
Conquests of Camelot – Computer Game
Dark Age of Camelot – Computer Game
Excalibur – Tabletop Game
GURPS Camelot – RPG
Knights of the Round Table – Computer Game
Monty Python Fluxx – Tabletop Game
Monty Python and the Holy Grail CCG – Tabletop Game
Mordred – Tabletop Game
Pendragon – RPG
Quest for Camelot – Computer Game
Shadows Over Camelot – Tabletop Game
Sonic and the Black Knight – Computer Game
Tomb Raider: Legend – Computer Game

 

CINEMA

The Adventures of Sir Lancelot – TV
Arthur of the Britons – TV
Black Knight
Camelot
Camelot – TV
Code Geass – Anime
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Excalibur
Fate/stay night
First Knight
The Fisher King
Guinevere Jones – TV
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Isolde
King Arthur
Knights of the Round Table
Lancelot du Lac
The Legend of Prince Valiant – Cartoon
The Librarians – TV
Merlin – TV mini series
Merlin – TV
The Mists of Avalon – TV mini series
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Prince Valiant
Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Stargate SG-1: Seasons 9 and 10 – TV
The Sword in the Stone
Sword of the Valiant – The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Tristan and Isolde

 

LOCATIONS

Amesbury Abbey
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amesbury_Abbey

Broceliande Forest
http://www.travelfranceonline.com/fontaine-de-barenton-broceliande-forest/

Cadbury Castle
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadbury_Castle,_Somerset

Celliwig
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celliwig

Dozmary Pool
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dozmary_Pool

Eildon Hill
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eildon_Hill

Glastonbury Abbey
http://www.glastonburyabbey.com/king_arthur_avalon.php

International Arthurian Society – Branch Meetings/International Congress
http://internationalarthuriansociety.com/

Mount Etna
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Etna

Tintagel Castle
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintagel_Castle

Winchester Castle – The Round Table
http://www3.hants.gov.uk/greathall/roundtable.htm

 

PEOPLE

Aneirin
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Chrétien de Troyes
Sir Gawain
Geoffrey of Monmouth
Green Knight
Guinevere/Gwenhwyfar
Lancelot du Lac
Thomas Malory
Merlin
Modred/Mordred
Morgan le Fay/Morgana
Robert de Boron
Stephen Lawhead
Arthur Pendragon
Taliesin
Alfred Lord Tennyson
T.H. White


I hope you find these resources informative and inspiring for your adventures, storytelling, or game design.

Stay Creative!

T.R. Knight

( If you would like to save this list of resources as a convenient PDF for later reference, you can find that HERE )

 

Knight BusinessWHO IS T.R. KNIGHT?
He is a freelance editor, proofreader, and writer in the game industry. He is also a Husband and Caregiver to his wife Angie, Father of Twins Emily and Rachel, Foodie and Hobby Chef, and IT Director at Taylor University. You can learn more about T.R. at his blog http://www.freelanceknight.com.

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