The Knights of the Round Table (Welsh: Marchogion y Ford Gron, Cornish: Marghekyon an Moos Krenn, Breton: Marc'hegien an Daol Grenn) are the knights in the fellowship of King Arthur in the literary cycle of the Matter of Britain, first appearing in literature in the mid 12th century. In this French-derived branch of Arthurian legend, the Knights are an order dedicated to ensuring the peace of Arthur's kingdom following the period of early wars and later undergoing the mystical quest for the Holy Grail. The Round Table at which they meet is a symbol of the equality of all of its members, from sovereign royals to minor nobles.
Various stories present an assortment of knights. They come from all over the Great Britain and abroad, including from distant lands as far as Africa and the Middle East. Their ranks often include Arthur's close and distant relatives such as Agravain and Gaheris, as well as his reconciled enemies like Galehaut and Lot. Several of the most notable ones like Bedivere, Gawain, Kay and Yvain are based on some of the oldest characters associated with Arthur in the Welsh myth. Gawain was also one of those persistently most popular, alongside Lancelot, Percival and Tristan, each of them featured as protagonist or eponymous hero in multiple works of chivalric romance. Other well-known members include Galahad, the most perfect knight in the later tradition wherein he replaced Percival as main achiever of the Grail, and Arthur's traitorous son Mordred.
At the end of Arthurian prose cycles, including in the seminal Le Morte d'Arthur, the Round Table breaks down into warring factions following the revelation of Lancelot's adultery with King Arthur's wife, Queen Guinevere. In the same tradition, Guinevere is featured with her own personal order of young warriors, known as the Queen's Knights.
Furthermore, some of the chivalric romances told of the Knights of the Old Table of Arthur's father and previous ruler, Uther Pendragon, as well as of the members of the original Round Table known as the Grail Table. The latter is described as having belonged to the followers of an early Christian Joseph of Arimathea and centuries later serving as the model for Uther's Round Table that was then given by Guinevere's father Leodegrance to Arthur.
Numbers of members
The number of the Knights of the Round Table (including King Arthur) and their names vary greatly between different versions by different writers. The figure may range from only a dozen through to 1,600, the latter claimed by Layamon. Most commonly, there are between some 100 to 300 seats at the table, often with one seat usually permanently empty (300 was also chosen by Edward III of England when he decided to create his own Order of the Round Table at Windsor Castle in 1344). In many versions, including the today best-known telling from Le Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Malory (following the Vulgate Lancelot), they have over one hundred members, as with 140 according to both Malory (150 in Caxton's version) and Hartmann von Aue. Some sources state much smaller numbers, such as 13 in the Didot Perceval, 50 in the Prose Merlin (the expanded Vulgate Merlin has 250), and 60 in the count by Jean d'Outremeuse, or higher in others, as with an astonishing 366 in both Perlesvaus and the Chevaliers as deus espees.
Some of the more notable knights may include the following:
|Knights of the Round Table|
|Name||Other names||Introduction||Other medieval works||Notes|
|Accolon||Sir Accolon of Gaul||Post-Vulgate Cycle, c. 13th century||Le Morte d'Arthur||Loved by Morgan le Fay, accidentally killed in a duel by Arthur.|
|Aglovale||Agloval, Sir Aglovale de Galis||The Life of Sir Aglovale de Galis||King Pellinore's eldest son.|
|Agravain||Agravaine||Lancelot-Grail, Le Morte d'Arthur||Second son of King Lot (of either Lothian or Orkney) and Arthur's sister Morgause.|
|Arthur||Arthur Pendragon, Arturus, King Arthur||Y Gododdin, c. 7th century||Many||High King of the Britons, ruler of Logres and lord of Camelot.|
|Bagdemagus||Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart, 1170s||Meleagant's father and ruler of Gorre.|
|Bedivere||(Welsh: Bedwyr, French: Bédoier) Bedevere||Pa Gur yv y Porthaur, c. 10th century||Vita Cadoc, Culhwch and Olwen, Stanzas of the Graves, Welsh Triads, Historia Regum Britanniae, Le Morte d'Arthur, numerous others||Returns Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake; brother to Lucan.|
|Bors the Younger||Son of Bors the Elder, father of Elyan the White; Arthur's successor in some versions.|
|Brunor||Breunor le Noir, La Cote Male Taile ("The Badly-shaped Coat")||Knight who wears his murdered father's coat; brother of Dinadan and Daniel.|
|Cador||(Latin: Cadorius)||Historia Regum Britanniae, The Dream of Rhonabwy||Raised Guinevere as her ward, father to Constantine; described in some works as Arthur's cousin.|
|Calogrenant||Colgrevance||Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, 1170s||Le Morte d'Arthur||Cousin to Sir Yvain.|
|Caradoc||(Latin: Caractacus) (Welsh: Caradog Freichfras, meaning Caradoc Strong Arm) (French: Carados Briefbras) (English: Carados of Scotland)||Perceval, the Story of the Grail, the Mabinogion||Rebelled against Arthur when he first became king, but later supported him. Sometimes two characters: Caradoc the Elder (a king) and Caradoc the Younger (a knight).|
|Claudin||Lancelot-Grail, Le Morte d'Arthur||Virtuous son of the villain king Claudas.|
|Constantine III of Britain||Historia Regum Britanniae, c. 1136||Le Morte d'Arthur||Arthur's cousin and successor to his throne; Cador's son.|
|Dagonet||Arthur's court jester.|
|Daniel von Blumenthal||Daniel von Blumenthal, 1220||Knight found in an early German offshoot of Arthurian legend.|
|Dinadan||Prose Tristan, 1230s||Le Morte d'Arthur||Son of Sir Brunor the Senior.|
|Ector||Hector, Antor, Ectorius||Lancelot-Grail, early 13th century||Le Morte d'Arthur||Raises Arthur according to Merlin's command; father to Kay.|
|Elyan the White||(French: Helyan le Blanc)||Son of Bors|
|Erec||Unclear; first literary appearance as Erec in Erec and Enide, c. 1170||See Geraint and Enid||Son of King Lac.|
|Esclabor||Exiled Saracen king; father of Palamedes, Safir, and Segwarides.|
|Feirefiz||Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival, early 13th century||Half-brother to Percival; Arthur's nephew.|
|Gaheris||Le Morte d'Arthur||Son of King Lot and Morgause, brother to Gawain, Agravaine, and Gareth, and half-brother to Mordred.|
|Galahad||Lancelot-Grail, early 13th century||Post-Vulgate Cycle, Le Morte d'Arthur||Bastard son of Sir Lancelot and Elaine of Corbenic; the main achiever of the Holy Grail.|
|Galehault||Galehalt, Galehaut||Lancelot-Grail, early 13th century||A half-giant foreign king, a former enemy of Arthur who becomes close to Lancelot.|
|Galeschin||Galeshin||The Vulgate Cycle||Son of Elaine of Garlot and King Nentres; nephew of Arthur.|
|Gareth||Beaumains||Le Morte d'Arthur, Idylls of the King||Also a son of King Lot and Morgause; in love with Lyonesse.|
|Gawain||(Latin: Walwanus, Welsh: Gwalchmai, Irish: Balbhuaidh)||Culhwch and Olwen, c. 11th century||Conte du Graal, Lancelot-Grail cycle, Prose Tristan,Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Le Morte d'Arthur and many short Middle English romances||Another son of King Lot and Morgause; father of Gingalain.|
|Geraint||Geraint and Enid||Enid's lover.|
|Gingalain||Guinglain, Gingalin, Gliglois, Wigalois, etc., also Le Bel Inconnu, or The Fair Unknown||Le Bel Inconnu||Gawain's son.|
|Gornemant||Gurnemanz||Perceval, the Story of the Grail||Parzival||Mentor of Perceval.|
|Griflet||Girflet, Jaufre||Jaufré||A cousin to Lucan and Bedivere.|
|Hector de Maris||Ector de Maris||Quest du Saint Graal (Vulgate Cycle)||Half-brother of Lancelot, son of King Ban; Bors and Lionel are his cousins.|
|Hoel||(Welsh: Howel, Hywel)||The Dream of Rhonabwy, Geraint and Enid||Son of King Budic of Brittany; father to St. Tudwal.|
|Kay||(Welsh: Cai, Latin: Caius)||Pa Gur yv y porthaur? 10th century||Many||Ector's son, foster brother to Arthur.|
|Lamorak||Prose Tristan, c. 1235||Lancelot-Grail Cycle||Son of King Pellinore, brother to Tor, Aglovale, Percival, and Dindrane; lover of Morgause.|
|Lancelot||Lancelot du Lac, Lancelot of the Lake, Launcelot||Erec and Enide, c. 1170||Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart, Lancelot-Grail, many others||Son of King Ban from France, most famous for his affair with Queen Guinevere, father of Galahad; most prominent Knight of the Round Table in later romances.|
|Lanval||Landevale, Launfal, Lambewell||Marie de France's Lanval, late 12th century||Sir Landevale, Sir Launfal, Sir Lambewell||Enemy of Guinevere.|
|Leodegrance||Leondegrance||Guinevere's father, King of Cameliard.|
|Lionel||Lancelot-Grail, early 13th century||Son of King Bors of Gaunnes (or Gaul) and brother of Bors the Younger.|
|Lucan||Sir Lucan the Butler||Le Morte d'Arthur||Servant to King Arthur; Bedivere's brother, Griflet's cousin.|
|Maleagant||Malagant, Meleagant, perhaps Melwas||Unclear, a similar character named "Melwas" appears in the 12th century Life of Gildas||Lancelot-Grail, Post-Vulgate Cycle, Le Morte d'Arthur||Abductor of Guinevere.|
|Mordred||Modred (Welsh: Medrawd, Latin: Medraut)||Annales Cambriae, c. 970||Many||In the Round Table stories, Arthur's illegitimate son through Morgause.|
|Morholt||Marhalt, Morold, Marhaus||Tristan poems of Béroul and Thomas of Britain, 12th century||Tristan poems of Eilhart von Oberge, Gottfried von Strassburg, Prose Tristan, Post-Vulgate Cycle, Le Morte d'Arthur||Irish knight, rival of Tristan and uncle of Iseult.|
|Morien||Moriaen||Dutch romance Morien, 13th century||Half-Moorish son of Aglovale.|
|Palamedes||Saracen, Son of King Esclabor, brother of Safir and Segwarides.|
|Pelleas||Pellias||Post-Vulgate Cycle, 1230s||Le Morte d'Arthur||In love with Ettarre, later lover of Nimue.|
|Pellinore||Lancelot-Grail, Post-Vulgate Cycle||King of Listenoise and friend to Arthur.|
|Percival||(Welsh: Peredur) Perceval, Parzifal||As Percival, Erec and Enide, c. 1170||Perceval, the Story of the Grail, Lancelot-Grail, many||Achiever of the Holy Grail; King Pellinore's son in some tales.|
|Safir||Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, Prose Tristan||Son to King Esclabor; brother of Segwarides and Palamedes.|
|Sagramore||Sagramor||Lancelot-Grail, Post-Vulgate Cycle, Prose Tristan, Le Morte d'Arthur||Ubiquitous Knight of the Round Table; various stories and origins are given for him.|
|Segwarides||Le Morte d'Arthur, Prose Tristan||Son of Esclabor; brother of Safir and Palamedes.|
|Tor||Le Morte d'Arthur||Son of King Ars, adopted by Pellinore.|
|Tristan||(Latin/Brythonic: Drustanus; Welsh: Drystan; Portuguese: Tristão; Spanish: Tristán) Tristran, Tristram, etc.||Beroul's Roman de Tristan||The two Folies Tristans, Marie de France's Chevrefeuil, Eilhart von Oberge, Gottfried von Strassburg, Prose Tristan, Post-Vulgate Cycle, Le Morte d'Arthur||King Mark's son or relative, Iseult's lover.|
|Urien||Uriens||Historical figure||Welsh Triads||King of Rheged (or Gorre), father of Yvain (Owain mab Urien) and husband of Morgan le Fay.|
|Yvain||(Welsh: Owain) Ywain, Ewain or Uwain||Based on the historical figure Owain mab Urien||Historia Brittonum, Yvain, the Knight of the Lion||King Urien's son.|
|Yvain the Bastard||Ywain the Adventurous, Uwain le Avoutres||Urien's illegitimate son.|
There have been furthermore many others, generally more or less obscure. For instance, Malory's own original episode "Healing of Sir Urry" in the Winchester Manuscript of Le Morte d'Arthur lists also (in addition to many of the above) the following:
- King Anguish of Ireland
- Earl Aristance
- Sir Azreal
- Sir Arrok
- Sir Ascamore
- Sir Balan (brother of Sir Balin, whom he killed by accident in a duel in which both wore helmets and did not know who they were fighting)
- Sir Barrant le Apres (also known as the King With the Hundred Knights)
- Sir Bellenger le Beau
- Sir Belliance le Orgulous
- Sir Blamor de Ganis (brother of Bleoberis)
- Sir Bleoberis de Ganis
- Sir Bohart le Cure Hardy (one of King Arthur's sons)
- Sir Brandiles
- Sir Brian de Listinoise
- Sir Cardok
- Duke Chalance of Clarence
- King Clariance of Northumberland
- Sir Clarus of Cleremont
- Sir Clegis
- Sir Clodrus
- Sir Crosslem
- Sir Damas (reformed co-conspirator of Morgan in the Accolon-Excalibur plot)
- Sir Degrave sans Villainy (fought with the giant of the Black Lowe)
- Sir Degrevant
- Sir Dinas le Seneschal de Cornwall
- Sir Dinas
- Sir Dodinas le Savage
- Sir Dornar
- Sir Drian
- Sir Edward of Orkney
- Sir Epinogris (son of King Clariance of Northumberland)
- Sir Fergus
- Sir Florence (son of Gawain by Sir Brandiles' sister)
- Sir Gahalantine
- Sir Galihodin (not Galehaut, but see Galehaut)
- Sir Galleron of Galway
- Sir Gauter
- Sir Gillimer
- Sir Grummor Grummorson
- Sir Gumret le Petit
- Sir Harry le Fils Lake
- Sir Hebes (not Hebes le Renowne)
- Sir Hebes le Renowne
- Sir Hectimere
- Sir Herminde
- Sir Hervis de la Forest Savage
- Sir Ironside (Knight of the Red Launds)
- Sir Kay l'Estrange (not Kay, Arthur's seneschal)
- Earl Lambaile
- Sir Lambegus
- Sir Lamiel
- Sir Lavain (son of Barnard of Ascolat)
- Sir Lovell (another son of Gawain by Sir Brandiles' sister)
- Sir Mador de la Porte (brother of Gaheris of Karahau)
- Sir Marrok (whose wife turned him into a werewolf)
- Sir Melias de l'Isle
- Sir Melion of the Mountain
- Sir Meliot de Logris
- Sir Menaduke
- Sir Morganor
- King Nentres of Garlot
- Sir Neroveus
- Sir Ozanna le Cure Hardy
- Sir Perimones (brother to Persant and Pertolepe; called the Red Knight)
- Sir Persant
- Sir Pertolepe
- Sir Petipace of Winchelsea
- Sir Plaine de Fors
- Sir Plenorius
- Sir Priamus
- Sir Reynold
- Sir Sadok
- Sir Selises of the Dolorous Tower
- Sir Sentrail
- Sir Severause le Breuse (known for rejecting battles with men in favour of giants, dragons, and wild beasts)
- Sir Suppinabiles
- Earl Ulbawes
- Sir Urry
- Sir Villiars the Valiant
Conversely, the Winchester Round Table features only the knights Sirs Alynore (Alymere), Bedwere (Bedivere), Blubtlrys (Bleoberis), Bors De Ganys (Bors de Ganis), Brumear (Brunor le Noir), Dagonet, Degore, Ectorde Marys (Ector de Maris), Galahallt (Galahault or Galahad), Garethe (Gareth), Gauen (Gawain), Kay, Lamorak, Launcelot Deulake (Lancelot du Lac), Lacotemale Tayle (La Cote Male Taile), Lucane (Lucan), Lybyus Dysconyus (Le Bel Desconneu), Lyonell (Lionel), Mordrede (Mordred), Plomyde (Palomedes), Pelleus (Pelleas), Percyvale (Percival), Safer (Safir), and Trystram Delyens (Tristram de Lyones) for the total of merely 24 (not counting Arthur).
Aglovale de Galis or Agloval de Galles (also Aglaval(e), Agglovale, Aglovan, Aglovaus, etc.) is the eldest legitimate son of King Pellinore of Galis (Wales), introduced in the Vulgate Lancelot. Like his father and several of his brothers including Lamorak, Percival and Tor, he too is a Knight of the Round Table. He is often the favourite brother of Percival, the original Grail Hero.
According to the Post Vulgate Cycle and Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, it is he who first brings Percival to Camelot to be knighted. In the Livre d'Artus, the young Aglovale had his further brothers killed during the Saxon wars by the forces of King Agrippa in their attack on his mother's domain. Aglovale accompanied Gawain and Sagramore in leading an army that defeats the invaders, and personally slays Agrippa but suffers severe wounds. In the Third Continuation of Perceval, Aglovale dies seven years after Percival became the Grail King, causing Percival's retirement to a hermitage to grieve after his beloved brother for his last ten years. In the Vulgate Cycle, Aglovale dies accidentally at Gawain's hand during the Quest for the Holy Grail. However, the Post-Vulgate Queste turns it into a deliberate murder, a part of the Orkney clan's long vendetta for the death of King Lot, assuring that Percival would have avenged his brother if he only knew the culprit. In Malory, Aglovale is mentioned only a few times before he and Tor turn out among the knights charged by King Arthur with defending the execution of Guinevere and both are killed when Lancelot and his men rescue the queen.
Aglovale appears prominently in the Dutch romance Moriaen. In a situation similar to Gahmuret's begetting of Feirefiz in Parzival, Aglovale visits Moorish lands where he meets a beautiful black Christian princess and conceives a child with her. He returns to his own lands, and thirteen years later, his son Morien comes to find him. After a number of adventures, father and son are reunited and both return to Morien's country to take back their rightful lands.
In modern works, Aglovale is the eponymous protagonist of Clemence Housman's 1905 novel The Life of Sir Aglovale de Galis. T. H. White's book The Once and Future King gives him a particularly endearing portrait.
Bleoberis de Ganis is a Knight of the Round Table from Gaul or perhaps Vannes (as Ganis, also Ganes, Gannes, Gaunes, Gaunnes), first mentioned by Chrétien de Troyes in his Erec and Enide as Bliobleheris. He appeared by variants of this name in many works, including as Barant le Apres (Berrant) and Bleoberys in Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur (also Bleoberis, Bleoboris, Bleoheris), as Bleobleheris (also Bliobliheri) and Bleheris in (respectively) the First Continuation and the Second Continuation of Perceval, as two different characters named Bleheris and Blidoblidas in Meriaduec, as two different characters named Bleherris and Blias, lord Bliodas in Of Arthour and of Merlin, as Bleoris in Henry Lovelich's Merlin, as Bleos von Bliriers in Diu Crône, as Bleriz in Povest o Tryschane, as Bliobleherin in Erec, as Bliobleeris in La Vengeance Raguidel, as Bliobleris de Gannes in the French prose cycles (also Biblioberis, Bla(h)aris, Bleob(l)eris, Bleobleheris, Bleosblieris, Bliaires, Blihoble(h)eris, Bliobeheri, Blioberis, Blyob(l)eris; -de Ga(u)n(n)es), as Blioblieris in Le Bel Inconnu and in Wigalois, as Briobris in La Tavola Ritonda, as Pleherin in Tristrant, and as Pliopliheri in Parzival. His name is considered to have been derived from the 12th-century Welsh storyteller known as Bledhericus or Bleheris (possibly Bledri ap Cydifor), who is mentioned in several texts, including being credited by Thomas of Britain and Wauchier de Denain as the original source of their early Arthurian poems. References to the narrative authority of Master Blihis repeat in the Elucidation, in which Blihos-Bliheris appears in character as the final opponent for Gawain.
Bleoberis appears a major character the later romances from the French prose cycles and their adaptations where he is one of the cousins of the hero Lancelot as son of Nestor (de Gaunes), godson of Lancelot's father King Bors, and brother of his fellow Round Table companion Blamo(u)r(e). In the Vulgate Merlin, the Livre d'Arthur, and Arthour and Merlin, Bleoberis fights alongside his brother for Arthur in the wars against the rebel kings at Bedegraine, against the Saxons at Cameliard, and against King Claudas in the Wasteland, the last one earning him his nickname "of the Wasteland" (de la Deserte). In both the Vulgate and Post-Vulgate versions of the Queste, as well as in the Prose Tristan, he participes in the Grail Quest. Malory has him as the lord of Castle of Gannis in Britain. In the Vulgate and the works based on it, Lancelot eventually makes him the duke of Poitiers for his parts in saving Guinevere, after which Bleoberis is one of the leaders of Lancelot faction in their war against Arthur and Gawain. In the Post-Vulgate Mort, he returns to Britain and arrives at Salisbury after the battle to destroy the corpse of Mordred and build the Tower of the Dead. While searching for Lancelot, he meets Arthur's vengeful son Arthur the Less (himself a member of the Round Table as the Unknown Knight), whom he kills in self-defence. Finding Lancelot at a hermitage with the former Archbishop of Canterbury, he joins them. After Lancelot's death, Bleoberis buries his body at Joyous Gard. In Malory, Bleoberis and his brother first live as monks together with Lancelot and the rest of his kinsmen at Glastonbury Tor, then leave on a crusade and together die in battle in Jerusalem.
He also appears as an opponent to overcome for heroes in some stories. In the Prose Tristan, Bleoberis abducts Segwarides' wife from King Mark's court and fights over her against first Segwarides and then the protagonist Tristan. In Wigalois, one of the challenges for try the protagonist Wigalois (Gawain's son, Gingalain) is to defeat Bleoberis, the fierce guardian of the Perilous Ford. Blioblieris is similarly the first adversary conquered by Gawain's son Guinglan in Le Bel Inconnu. In Parzival, Orgeluse's suitor boasts of having him either slain or defeated but spared (depending on interpretation of the text). In Tristrant, he is one of King Mark's vassals and an enemy of Tristan, who dies when the latter brutally brains him with a club during his bloody escape from Mark's court.
Calogrenant, sometimes known in English as Colgrevance and in German (Diu Crône) as Kalogrenant (there are many other variants, including Calogrenan[s/z], Calogrevant, Calogrinant, Colgrevaunce, Galogrinans, Kalebrant, Kalocreant, Qualogrenans), is a cousin to Yvain, and his courtesy and eloquence were known throughout the kingdom. Calogrenant first appears in Chrétien de Troyes' Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, telling a story to a group of knights and Queen Guinevere about an adventure he had in the forest of Brocéliande, where he had heard of a magic spring in those woods which could create a huge storm whenever someone poured its water into a nearby basin. Calogrenant reached the spring and summoned the storm, after which a knight named Esclados attacked him for causing such havoc, and soundly defeated Calogrenant, but did not kill him. Calogrenant's cousin Yvain is upset that Calogrenant never told him of this defeat, and sets out to avenge him, embarking on the adventure that sets up the remainder of events in the romance.
His character has been derived from the Welsh mythological hero Cynon ap Clydno, usually the lover of Owain's sister Morvydd, although in Owain, or the Lady of the Fountain Cynon is stated to be the son of Clydno, possibly connected to Clyddno Eiddin. Roger Sherman Loomis and other scholars speculated that Calogrenant was used specifically as a foil for Kay in some lost early version of the Yvain story. In Chrétien's romance he is presented as everything Kay is not: polite, respectful, and well-mannered. By this theory, his name can be deconstructed to "Cai lo grenant", or "Cai the grumbler", which would represent another opposite characteristic of Kay, who was famous for his acid tongue.
Calogrenant appears later in the Lancelot-Grail cycle as an excellent knight, though his kinship to Yvain is not as clear as in Chrétien. He dies during the Grail Quest while trying to keep Lionel from killing his own brother, Bors. Bors had faced a dilemma over whom to rescue between Lionel, who was getting beaten with thorns by two rogue knights, and a maiden who had just been abducted, and chose the maiden over his brother. Lionel was not pleased by this, and attacked Bors the next time he saw him. A religious hermit tried to intervene, but was killed accidentally in the process, and Calogrenant stepped in. Bors would not fight his brother, and Lionel slays Calogrenant and goes after Bors until God steps in and renders him immobile.
Thomas Malory recounts Calogrenant's death scene in his Le Morte d'Arthur, but also includes another one later in the narrative. Despite dying on the Grail quest, he turns up as one of the twelve knights who help Agravaine and Mordred trap Lancelot and Guinevere together in the queen's chambers. Lancelot has neither armour nor weapons, but manages to pull Calogrenant into the room and kills him, then uses his sword to defeat the rest of Mordred's companions.
Prince Claudin (also Claudine, Claudyne, Claudino) is the son of the Frankish King Claudas of the Wasteland (de la Deserte). He appears in the Lancelot-Grail, the Prose Tristan, the Post-Vulgate Cycle, and Le Morte d'Arthur. His father is a major villain during King Arthur's early reign as an enemy to Arthur's allies Ban and Bors, and so the valiant and noble Claudin fights against Arthur at first. But after Claudas eventually loses in this war and flees to Rome, Claudin surrenders and defects to Arthur, who makes him a member of the Round Table. During the Grail Quest, Claudin is one of the companions of Bors the Younger, Galahad and Perceval in Corbenic.
Elyan the White or Helyan le Blanc (also Elain, Elayn, Helain, Hellaine, Helin; -le Blank, -the Pale) is son of Bors the Younger in the prose romance tradition of Lancelot-Grail. His mother is daughter of British king Brandegoris (an early enemy of King Arthur who later became Arthur's ally against the common enemy of the Saxons but never formally joined him), Claire, who tricked Bors into sleeping with her using a magic ring (the only time Bors broke his vow of chastity). Claire is also half-sister of Sagramore and their shared mother is daughter of the Eastern Roman Emperor.
At the age of 15, Elyan is brought to Arthur's court by Bors and is accepted as a member to the Round Table, where he becomes known as an excellent knight. In the Post-Vulgate Queste and the Prose Tristan, Elyan took a vacant Round Table seat that had belonged to Dragan (Dagarius in Tristan) after the latter knight's death by the jealous Tristan when Dragan became his rival for the love of Iseult while staying with them at Joyous Guard. Like his father Bors and the rest of his family, Elyan later helps his cousin Lancelot rescue Guinevere after their affair is exposed, and then joins him in exile during their war with Arthur. According to the Vulgate Cycle, true to his lineage, Elyan eventually became Emperor of Constantinople.
Elyan should not be confused with Elians (Eliant, Elianz), a Knight of the Round Table from Ireland who then occupied Lancelot's vacant seat in both the Vulgate and Post-Vulgate versions of the Mort Artu. In modern works, Elyan the White was portrayed as Guinevere's brother in the 2008 TV series Merlin; appearing as just Elyan, he was played there by black actor Adetomiwa Edun.
Erec, the son of King Lac features in numerous Arthurian tales (notably the Post-Vulgate Cycle), but he is most famous as the protagonist in Chrétien de Troyes' first romance, Erec and Enide. Because of Erec and Enide‘s relationship to the Welsh Geraint and Enid, Erec and Geraint are often conflated or confused.
In Chrétien's story, Erec meets his future wife Enide while on a quest to defeat a knight who had mistreated one of Guinevere's servants. The two fall in love and marry, but rumours spread that Erec no longer cares for knighthood or anything else besides his domestic life. Enide cries about these rumours, causing Erec to prove his abilities, both to himself and to his wife, through a test of Enide's love for him. He has her go on a long, tortuous trip with him where she is forbidden to speak to him. She breaks his conditions several times to warn him of danger, and after a number of adventures that prove both his love and his abilities, husband and wife are reconciled. When Erec's father Lac dies, Erec inherits his kingdom.
In the Post-Vulgate Cycle and the Guiron le Courteous part of Palamedes, King Lac is himself a Knight of the Round Table. The Post-Vulgate Quest of the Holy Grail tells of Lac's murder by the sons of his brother, King Dirac. Erec is then slain by Gawain before he can attempt to regain his father's kingdom from their rule.
Esclabor (Esclabort, Astlabor, Scalabrone) is a pagan lord of Babylon or Galilee in Arthurian legend. He is the father of Palamedes, Safir, and Segwarides, among others. While visiting Rome, he saves the life of the Roman Emperor, and then goes to Arthur's Logres, where he rescues King Pellinore. Esclabor eventually retires to Camelot, later adventuring with Palamedes and Galahad during the Grail Quest. Shortly after converting to Christianity, an act necessary for the full admission into the brotherhood of Round Table, Esclabor commits suicide from grief upon learning of Palamedes' death by Gawain.
Gaheris of Karaheu
Gaheris, brother of Gawain, should not be confused with a different character of Gaheris de Karaheu (other spellings: Gaharis, Gaheran, Gahetis, Gaherys, Gaheus, Gains, Gareis, Ghaheris; d'Escareu, de Carahan/Car[a/e]heu, de Gaheran/Gahereu, de Karahau/Karehan), also known as the White (li Blans), one of minor Knights of the Round Table and brother of Mador de la Porte. In the Vulgate Lancelot, Gaheris is an unfortunate knight appearing in minor roles, mostly as a prisoner, prior to his accidental death. Gawain saves him from Galehaut, while the mysterious White Knight (that is, Lancelot) previously rescues him from the Dolorous Prison near Dolorous Gard and then again from the Vale of No Return. Later, in the Vulgate Mort Artu, he dies from eating a poisoned fruit that was destined for Gawain by the vengeful knight named Avarlan and was offered to him unknowingly by Guinevere, causing the queen to be accused of his murder until she is cleared of the charge in the trial by combat between Mador and Lancelot.
This episode is also included in the Stanzaic Morte Arthur and in Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur but in these texts the victim is, respectively, either an unnamed visiting Scottish knight or Patrise of Ireland (the poisoner is also renamed by Malory as Pionel). The Italian Tristano Panciaticchiano, where he remains Mador's brother, calls him Giafredi. The story of his death might have been inspired by account of the fatal poisoning of Walwen (the later Gawain) as told in the chronicle Gesta Regum Anglorum.
Galeschin (Galeshin, Galescin, Galessin, Galachin, Galathin, Galescalain, Galeschalains, Galaas, etc.) is a nephew of King Arthur, son of the king's half-sister Elaine and King Nentres of Garlot. He appears in the story of the Dolorous Tower in the Vulgate Cycle, as he and his cousin Yvain attempt to rescue Gawain from the wicked Carados but are taken captive as well; the trio are eventually rescued by Lancelot. Galeschin is referred to as the Duke of Clarence (an anachronism as the duchy of Clarence was not created until 1362). Though mentioned in a few other Arthurian stories, Galeschin's role is ultimately minor. He is further rescued by Lancelot on other occasions, including from the Vale of No Return.
Roger Sherman Loomis derives the name Galeschin from the name Galvariun, found on the Modena Archivolt. He theorises that the name was altered to make it sound more like Galesche, the Old French word for Gaul, and derives the name Galvariun from the epithet Gwallt Euryn, found in Culhwch and Olwen, which he translates as "golden hair".
Gaswain is a recurring character in the French and French-inspired Arthurian romances. He is often associated with the similarly named nephew of King Arthur, Gawain of Orkney, as Gawain's companion or opponent. Like Gawain's own, his character too is considered as derived from that of the original legend's warrior appearing by the name Gwrvan (and variants) in the early Welsh Arthurian tales Culhwch ac Olwen, Peredur fab Efrawg, Preiddeu Annwn, and Trioedd Ynys Prydein.
Within the chivalric romance tradition, he is first found listed as Garravains d'Estrangot among Arthur's knights in some manuscripts of the Old French Erec et Enide, as he listed is by the name Gasouains in the First Continuation of Perceval ou le Conte du Graal, and appears as Gasosin von Strangot in the German Erec. In Les Merveilles de Rigomer, he is Garradains, a knight of Arthur traveling with Gawain on the quest to conquer the Irish queen Dionise's eponymous enchanted castle Rigomer.
In a major role in Diu Crône, Gasozein de Dragoz arrives at King Arthur's court to claim of being the first lover and rightful husband of Guinevere, unsuccessfully demanding her to be returned to him. Gasozein later rescues Guinevere from her brother Gotegrin, who wants to kill her for her infidelity, but then he kidnaps her in turn and nearly rapes her. However Gawain arrives in time, defeats Gasozein in a duel, sends him back to Arthur to revoke his claim, and even arranges Gasozein's marriage with his own sister-in-law Sgoidamur. As the antagonist of La Vengeance Raguidel, Guengasoain (Gasouains, Guengasoains, Guengasouain(s), Guingasoain) is much more villainous antagonist in the story of the eponymous quest by Gawain and Yder to avenge his murder of the noble knight named Raguidel. Here he is a nephew of King Aguissant (Angusel, a brother of King Lot in the Historia Regum Britanniae) and a former captive of the fay sorceress Lingrenote, the lady of the Nameless Castle, who made him her knight and armed him powerful enchanted weapons making him near invincible. He is nevertheless successfully defeated and (having refused an offer to be granted mercy) slain by Gawain with the help by Yder, the latter of whom then marries Guengasoain's daughter Trevilonete.
The plot of Meraugis de Portlesguez revolves around the protagonist Meraugis competing for the love of Queen Lidoine with his friend named Gorvain Cadrut in addition to dealing with Gawain. Gorvain loses Lidoine to his rival, but ends up happily married to one of her maidens, Avice. In Hunbaut, Gorvain Cadrus of Castle Pantelion takes Gawain's unnamed sister hostage, seeking vengeance against him for the death of one of his relatives, but is defeated and taken captive by Gawain. He is then sent by him to Arthur's court at Caerleon as a prisoner (similar as in Diu Crône) and there he eventually becomes a Knight of the Round Table.
In the Vulgate Estoire de Merlin (and the English Of Arthour and of Merlin), the young Gaswain de Estrango(r)t (Gasoain, Gosenain) fights alongside Gawain in the battles against the invading Saxons and his feats as one of the most valiant and lethal British knights secure him the admission to the Round Table. When Gawain wrongly accuses him of treason, he gives Gawain a severe face wound in a trial by combat in front of King Arthur. In the Vulgate Lancelot, noted as "very valorous and a good speaker", he is involved in the adventures of Kay and others. He is with Gawain when they are both captured and imprisoned in the Dolorous Prison until the rescue by Lancelot, who also later frees him from Turquine's captivity on another occasion.
Gornemant of Gohort, also known as Gornemant de Goort or Gurnemans of Gorhaut (among other variants such as Gornemans or Gormans), was Percival's mentor. He is mentioned in a few early romances before achieving prominence in Perceval, the Story of the Grail, in which he instructs the young hero in the ways of knighthood. Gornemant's niece is Blanchefleur, whom Percival later marries after successfully defending her city against attackers. The author Wolfram von Eschenbach also gives him three sons (Gurzgi, Lascoyt, Schentefleurs), as well as a daughter named Liaze, who falls in love with Percival but he declines to marry her.
In French prose chivalric romance cycles, Griflet first appears as a squire and one of King Arthur's earliest allies. He is called the son of Do or Don, and is a cousin to Lucan and Bedivere. When he is knighted, he becomes one of the first Knights of the Round Table. Griflet is one of Arthur's chief advisors throughout his career. According to the Lancelot-Grail Cycle, he was one of the few survivors of Arthur's final battle and was asked by the dying king to return his sword Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake. In Le Morte d'Arthur, however, Sir Griflet is one of the knights killed by Lancelot's rescue party at the execution of Guinevere, making Griflet's cousin Bedivere the knight who casts away Excalibur.
Like many another character in Arthurian Romance, his origins lie in Welsh mythology. In this instance, it is the minor deity Gilfaethwy fab Dôn, who features in Math fab Mathonwy, fourth of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi.
Hector de Maris
Hector de Maris (Ector de Maris, Hestor des Mares) is the younger half-brother of Lancelot and the natural son of King Ban of Benwick and the Lady de Maris; Bors and Lionel are his cousins. He should not be mistaken with Ector, the father of Kay and foster father of Arthur.
Hector's adventures in the name of King Arthur were many and wide-ranging. With Morganore, it was Hector de Maris who welcomed Tristan to Camelot when he was shipwrecked nearby. The two jousted in a friendly competition, but Hector was ashamed to have been beaten by a knight of Cornwall. Other times he was more successful at tournaments, getting the better of both Palomides and Percivale. He, however, failed to defeat Turquine and became one of the knights he imprisoned before being rescued by his brother, Lancelot. He returned the favour by rediscovering the lost Knight of the Lake after his period of insanity and returning him to the court. He is known to have had a long relationship with Lady Perse of the Narrow Borderland, whose fiancé he murdered in order to be with her. Hector later had an affair with the cousin of the Lady of Roestoc, before being reunited with Perse. Hector also participates in the Grail Quest, but he is one of the many knights who prove unworthy of achieving the object. In the Quest du Saint Graal of the Vulgate Cycle, Hector and Gawain are travelling together when they experience a vision of what Jessie Weston called an "unintelligent" variation on the theme of the perilous Black Hand in other romances in the Grail Cycle.
When Lancelot is caught in his affair with Guinevere, however, Hector stands by his half-brother and leaves court with him. He becomes one of the top leaders of Lancelot's faction, participating in the battle to rescue the queen at her execution, and the defence of Lancelot's castle Joyous Guard. Like all his family, he joins Lancelot in France when they are expelled from Arthur's kingdom, and he helps defeat the army led by Mordred's sons after the Battle of Camlann (Salisbury). He then joins his brother at the Archbishop of Canterbury's hermitage, and later dies on a crusade in the Holy Land.
King with the Hundred Knights
The King with the Hundred Knights (Roi des Cent Chevaliers, sometimes the King of the Hundred Knights in English) is a moniker most commonly used for an Arthurian character popular in the Old French chivalric romance tradition, sometimes even exclusively so as it is in Palamedes. As for his proper name, today he might be best known as Sir Barant le Apres (also in the form Berrant), as named later by Thomas Malory, but has also appeared under different names, including Malaguin (among many other variants such as Aguignier, Aguigens, Aguigniez, Aguysans, Alguigines, Angvigenes, Malaguis, Malauguin, Malaguins; not to confused with a Saxon fortress castle named Malaguine) in the Prose Lancelot, followed by Margon in the Third Continuation of Perceval, the Story of the Grail, and by Heraut li Aspres (or Horiaus Le Aspres) in the Prose Tristan, another of Malory's sources for his Le Morte d'Arthur. The legendary figure of Malaguin seems to be loosely based on the historical Maelgwn, an early 6th-century king of Gwynedd known for propagating Christianity in Britain.
His first known appearance is possibly in Lanzelet (a German translation of an unknown French book) as Ritschart, a count opposing King Lot, who is mentioned as having a hundred knights and is later aided by Lancelot. However, his original major role as the "King with the Hundred Knights" from the Vulgate and Post-Vulgate Merlin Continuations (also featured in Malory's compilation) is that of one of the chief rebel leaders opposing the young King Arthur in the battle of Bedegraine (where he actually leads four thousand knights), who then goes over to the victorious Arthur in order to together with him fight the invading Saxons after experiencing a prophetic dream, helping to defeat the pagan Saxons by uniting the peoples of Britain to fight them in God's name. He remains on Arthur's side during Lot's second rebellion, but then fights against Arthur in the service of Prince Galehaut in the Vulgate Lancelot, before again submitting to Arthur's rule and joining the Round Table along with Galehaut, and later taking part in the war against Rome (the chronology is different in Malory). In Lancelot of the Laik, a later Scottish version of the Vulgate Lancelot, the King with a Hundred Knights and Maleginis are two different minor kings under Galehaut.
He is the ruler of the land variably known as Estrangore in the Livre d'Artus alternative continuation of Merlin, Malahaut (or Malehaut and other variants) in the Estoire de Merlin' and the Prose Lancelot, Guzilagne in La Tavola Ritonda, Piacenza in the Italian I Due Tristani, and Tumane in Lanzelet. The Vulgate Lancelot gives him a sister known only as the Lady of Malahaut (Malehaut, etc.), a son named Maranz (Marant, Marauz, Martans, Martant), and a daughter named Landoine (Landoigne). The Prose Tristan and Le Morte d'Arthur mentions him as favourite paramour of the enchantress known as the Queen of North Wales (Morgan le Fay's otherwise capricious and often villainous companion). In I Due Tristani, he marries Riccarda, a presumably also half-giant sister of Galehaut. In the Third Continuation of Perceval, his son is named Cargril(o), who falls in one-sided love with Perceval's cousin Sore Pucelle and the father and son besiege her castle; after Gawain lifts the siege, she avenges the death of her lover whom they had hanged by launching the bound Cargril from a catapult. In La Tavola Ritonda, the King with the Hundred Knights himself dies fighting alongside King Amoroldo of Ireland (an Italian version of Morholt) at the Battle of Lerline in a factional conflict in which Lancelot and Tristan find themselves opposing each other.
Lucan the Butler (also Lucanere de Buttelere, Lucan(s) li Bouteillier, Lucant le Boutellier, Lucas the Botiller, Lucanus, etc.) is a servant of King Arthur and the son of Duke Corneus, a brother of Bedivere and cousin to Griflet. He and his relatives are among Arthur's earliest allies in the fight against the rebel kings such as Lot, Urien and Caradoc, and remained one of Arthur's loyal companions throughout his life.
Lucan was a solid and reliable Knight of the Round Table and one of King Arthur's earliest companions. He took on the post of royal butler – an important position in charge of the royal household rather than a serving man. The duties of a "butler" have changed over time; Lucan was supposed to have been in charge of the royal court, along with Bedivere the Marshal and Kay the Seneschal. He valiantly defended Arthur's right to the throne at the Battle of Bedegraine and against subsequent rebellions. Though he sought adventure, he never came to the fore in Arthurian tales with renowned exploits of his own. He always attended the royal tournaments and was once hurt so badly by Tristram that Yvain had to escort him to Gannes Abbey for medical assistance.
In most accounts of Arthur's death, from the Lancelot-Grail cycle to Le Morte d'Arthur, Lucan is one of the last knights at the king's side at the Battle of Camlann and is usually the last of them to die. Lucan remained loyal to King Arthur throughout the schism with Lancelot and on occasion acted as their go-between. Similarly, he stayed by the monarch's side during Mordred's rebellion and tried to dissuade Arthur from his final attack on his son/nephew, but was unsuccessful and the King received his mortal wound. Gravely wounded himself, Lucan was one of the few knights left at the field of Camlann, along his brother, Bedivere. Worried about looters on the battlefield, Lucan and Bedivere attempt to move the dying Arthur into a nearby chapel for safety, but the strain is too much for Lucan as a severe wound bursts open, spilling out his bowels; he dies from his own wounds just before the king returns Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake and sails off for Avalon. Though the knight Arthur asks to cast the sword into the lake is usually Griflet (Lancelot-Grail) or Bedivere (Le Morte d'Arthur, the Alliterative Morte Arthure, the Stanzaic Morte Arthur), the 16th-century English ballad King Arthur's Death ascribes this duty to Lucan.
Mador de la Porte
Mador de la Porte (French: Mador, Amador; English: Mador, Madore, Madors; Italian: Amadore; Irish: Mado) is a minor Knight of the Round Table in the late Arthurian prose romances. His epithet "of the Gate" (de la Porte) suggests he might have been Arthur's porter; if so, Mador might be equated with Glewlwyd Gafaelfawr ("Mightygrasp") who is Arthur's porter in medieval Welsh tales.
Mador's best known role is in an episode of the Vulgate Mort Artu and consequently on the Stanzaic Morte Arthur and Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, telling the story of his trial by combat duel (jousting followed by sword fight on feet) against the incognito Lancelot, Queen Guinevere's champion for her innocence following the poisoning death of his brother Gaheris de Karahau, which Mador loses (without losing his life on the process) and Guinevere is thus saved from the accusation. Besides the Vulgate Mort Artu and the English works based on it, Mador also appears or is referenced in several other works, including in the Prose Lancelot, in the "Tournament of Sorelois" episode found in some versions of the Prose Tristan and the Prophecies de Mérlin (as well as in Le Morte d'Arthur), in the Post-Vulgate Cycle, in the Guiron le Courtois part of Palemedes, in Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight, in the Sicilian romance Floriant et Florette, and in the Compilation of Rustichello da Pisa. The Vulgate Mort Artu notes him as exceptionally tall and say there was hardly a knight in Arthur's court who was stronger. This is repeated in the Version I of the Prose Tristan, in which Tristan considers him second only to the half-giant Galehault as the biggest and most muscular man he ever met, but nevertheless the incognito Tristan wins a joust to which he was challenged by Mador out of Mador's hatred for the Cornish and his overconfidence in himself, humiliating him greatly. In Le Morte d'Arthur he is also a companion of the young Mordred.
The Livre d'Artus version of the Vulgate Merlin Continuation mentions Madoc li Noirs de la Porte, that is "Madoc the Black of the Gate" among the knights of Arthur who come to the aid of Aglovale to fight against the forces of Agrippe. He may be further identical with the knight Mado who is twice briefly mentioned in the earlier First Continuation of Chrétien's Perceval. One distinctive version of Mador appears the 16th-century Irish Arthurian tale Eachtra Mhelóra agus Orlando (The Adventures of Melora and Orlando), wherein he is the son of the King of the Hesperides and an evil knight in love with Arthur's daughter Melora, however Malora disguises herself as a man and fights incognito as a mysterious knight to defeat Mado and his ally Merlin and save and marry her true love Orlando.
Meliant (variants of the name include Melians and Melyans) is featured in several Arthurian romances.
In the writings by Chrétien de Troyes and Wolfram von Eschenbach, Meliant de Lis is the King of Lis and one of the Round Table. Along with Bagdemagus and Meleagant, Maliant declares war on his foster-father named Tiebaut or Lyppaut after being rejected by the latter's daughter Obie. Gawain, fighting for Obie's sister Obilot, captures Meliant, who then reconciles with Obie in her captivity. A different version of this story, as told by Heinrich von dem Türlin, names him Fiers von Arramis, whom Gawain also forces to surrender to a young lady who is a sister of his beloved (Flursenesephin). In the Livre de Artus, Meliant de Lis marries Gawain's own lover Floree.
In the Vulgate Cycle's Queste, Melians de Danemarche (Denmark, "Dianarca") joins Galahad (who had knighted him earlier), Bors and Percival at Castle Corbenic at the end of the Grail Quest. King Arthur appoints him to the Round Table, but Meliant later sides with Lancelot in the civil war in the Vulgate Mort. In reward for his support, including a role in the rescue of Guinevere, Lancelot makes him one of his earls in his domains on the continent.
There are also other Arthurian characters by this name. For instance, one Meliant (named Brano in the Italian La Tavola Ritonda) is a relative of King Faramon's daughter Belide when she falsely accuses Tristan of rape in the Prose Tristan. In the Vulgate Lancelot, Carados of the Dolorous Tower takes Melyans le Gai's wife as his mistress. Another Meliant from the cycle is an ancestor of Gawain (himself is descended from Peter, an early Christian follower of Joseph of Arimathea) in the Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal. In Perlesvaus, Meliant is an enemy lord of Arthur, allied with the traitorous Kay; he is killed by Lancelot who had previously also slain his evil father.
Morholt (also called Marhalt, Marhault, Morold, Marhaus and other variations) is an Irish warrior who demands tribute from King Mark of Cornwall until he is slain by Tristan, Mark's nephew and defender. In many versions of the legend, Morholt's name is prefaced with a definite article (i.e. The Morholt) as if it were a rank or a title, but scholars have found no reason for this.
He appears in almost all versions of the legend of Tristan and Iseult, beginning with the verse works of Thomas of Britain and Béroul. In the early material, Morholt is the brother of the Queen of Ireland and the uncle of Tristan's future love (both mother and daughter are named Iseult). He comes to Cornwall to collect tribute owed to his country, but Tristan agrees to battle the champion on the remote Saint Samson's Isle in order to release his people from the debt. Tristan mortally wounds Morholt, leaving a piece of his sword in the Irishman's skull, but Morholt stabs him with a poisoned spear and escapes to Ireland to die. The injured Tristan eventually travels to Ireland incognito to receive healing from Iseult the Younger, but is found out when the queen discovers the piece of metal found in her brother's head fits perfectly into a chink in Tristan's blade.
The authors of later romances expanded Morholt's role; in works like the Prose Tristan, the Post-Vulgate Cycle, and Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, he is a Knight of the Round Table before his fateful encounter with Tristan. The prose romances add many more details to Morholt's career; the Post-Vulgate and Malory record his adventures with the young Gawain and Yvain early in King Arthur's reign. In the later versions, Tristan takes Morholt's place at the Round Table when he joins the company himself.
Priamus is a Roman ally of Emperor Lucius in Le Morte d'Arthur. He claims to be descended from Alexander of Africa and Judas Maccabeus. Upon meeting Gawain in The Tale of King Arthur and Emperor Lucius, he betrays Lucius to join forces with King Arthur.
Safir or Safere (Safire, Saphar) is the youngest son of the Saracen king Esclabor in the Arthurian legend. A courageous and loyal knight, he was a popular romance character, showing up in the Prose Tristan and Le Morte d'Arthur, and having his name included on the Winchester Round Table. Two of his brothers, Segwarides and Palamedes, also belong to the Round Table.
Safir appears in many works of Arthurian literature, usually alongside his brother Palamedes. Though he is a younger brother, Safir converted to Christianity some time before Palamedes. In one story, Safir is disguised as Ector de Maris and fights with Helior le Preuse, defeats him, and wins Espinogres' lady. Vowing to defend the lady's honour, Palamedes arrives on the scene, and locks sword with Safir, not realising it is his brother. After fighting for an hour, both are impressed with each other's prowess and skill, and decide to ask the other's identity. Safir is devastated to find that he was fighting with his own brother and asks Palamedes for forgiveness; together, they return the lady to Espinogres. When the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere is exposed, Safir and Palamedes join Lancelot's side in the ensuing civil war between Lancelot and King Arthur. When they are banished to Lancelot's homeland in Gaul, Safir is made Duke of Landok while Palamedes becomes Duke of Provence.
Segwarides (Securades, Seguarades, Segurades, Seguradez) is a liegeman of King Mark, a son of the Saracen king Esclabor, his brothers being the knights Palamedes and Safir. It seems there were originally two characters of this name, but the stories in which they appear fail to differentiate between them.
He is cuckolded by Tristan in the Prose Tristan and Le Morte d'Arthur. Tristan has a brief affair with Segwarides' wife, and wounds the knight after being found out. Tristan encounters Segwarides later on the Isle of Servage. Segwarides forgives the more famous knight saying he "will never hate a noble knight for a light lady" and the two team up to avoid the dangers of the isle. Soon afterwards, Tristan makes Segwarides the Lord of Servage. Segwarides is eventually killed trying to repel Lancelot's rescue of Guinevere from the stake.
Tor appears frequently in Arthurian literature. In earlier mentions Tor's father is King Ars or Aries, but the Post-Vulgate Cycle and Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur say this man is his adoptive father while his natural father is King Pellinore.
In the Post-Vulgate and Malory, Tor is brother to Aglovale, Lamorak, Dornar, Percival, and Dindrane. He is born when Pellinore sleeps with his mother "half by force", and she marries Aries shortly afterward; here Aries is not a king, but a shepherd. Tor and his twelve half-brothers are raised as shepherds, but Tor dreams of being a knight. Finally his parents take him to King Arthur's court, and Arthur makes the boy one of his first knights. Later Merlin reveals Tor's true parentage, and Pellinore embraces his son; neither Aries nor his wife seem offended. Tor distinguishes himself at the wedding feast of Arthur and Guinevere when he takes up a quest to retrieve a mysterious white brachet hound that had come into the court. According to Malory, Tor and his brother Aglovale are among the knights charged with defending the execution of Guinevere and they both die when Lancelot and his followers rescue the queen.
Yvain the Bastard
Yvain the Bastard (Yvain[s] li/le[s] Avou[l]tres, -l'Avoltre, -li Batarz) is a son of King Urien of Gore. He is often confused with his half-brother Yvain, after whom he was named; while the older Yvain is Urien's legitimate child from his wife Morgan le Fay, Yvain the Bastard was sired by Urien on the wife of his seneschal. Le Morte d'Arthur split him into two characters: Uwaine les Avoutres the son of Urien and Uwaine les Adventurous, an unrelated knight.
He is encountered frequently in Arthurian romance as a hearty and sensible warrior. His death comes at the hands of his cousin Gawain during the Quest for the Holy Grail. The two, disguised by their armour, meet and decide to joust, during which Yvain is mortally wounded; it is not until Gawain takes him to a hermitage for his last rites that he realises he has fought, and killed, his own cousin.
Other Arthurian fellowships
The Queen's Knights (Chevaliers de la Roine) are the knights who serve King Arthur's wife Queen Guinevere in the Old French prose cycles. They are also known in French texts like the "Knights of Queen Guinevere" (Chevaliers de la Roine Guenievre, the form used in the Livre d'Artus) and the more elaborate "Valiant Knights of Queen Guinevere" (Chevalier vaillant de la Roine Gueneure). In the Middle English compilation Le Morte d'Arthur, the simple "Queen's Knights" form is used by the author Thomas Malory who also describes them as "a grete felyshyp of men of arms". Members of this group carry only plain white shields, often accompanying the queen and engaging in rivalry against the more experienced Knights of the Round Table. Heroes Gawain and Lancelot are among those who first serve as the Queen's Knights in their youth after being knighted by Arthur, before winning enough honour to be promoted to fill the Round Table when a vacancy occurs. Others include the young Sagramore when he mortally wounds the Knight of the Round Table named Agravadain (unrelated to Agravain), grandfather of Hector de Maris, in defense of his comrades. In Malory's version, Lancelot later rescues a new generation of them when they are captured together with Guinevere by the villain Maleagant (himself sometimes depicted as a rogue member of the Round Table), after the Queen ordered her companions to surrender as for to spare their lives.
Arthur's minor tables
The Post-Vulgate Cycle has two other table-based orders within Arthur's court. The first of these is the Table of Errant Companions (Tables des Compaignons Errans), reserved for the knights errant who are actively seeking adventures while also seeking promotion to the Round Table.
The second one is ingloriously called the Table of Less-Valued Knights (Tables des Chevaliers Moins Prisiés), the members of which (who originally included Percival) are, as its name indicates, lower in their rank and status. This group seems to be derived from the knights of the Watch (the Guard), featured in the Vulgate Cycle's Prose Lancelot and first mentioned by Chrétien in Perceval.
Robert de Boron's Joseph d'Arimathie introduced the Grail Table as a direct precursor to the Round Table, once used by the followers of Joseph of Arimathea, one of the earliest Christians and the original Grail guardian, who had traveled from the Holy Land to Britain generations earlier. In the prose continuations of Robert's poem, their descendants include Lancelot and the Fisher King. Depending on the text from later works, the Grail Table can be again briefly used by the holy knight Galahad (offspring of the union between Lancelot and the Fisher King's daughter) when he and his companions Percival and Bors are served mass after successfully completing the Grail Quest.
Some French and Italian prose romances and poetry feature the original fifty knights of the Round Table from the times of Uther Pendragon, the late father of King Arthur, known in Italian retellings of the Prose Tristan as the Old Table (Tavola Vecchia), contrasting with those of Arthur's Round Table known as the New Table (Tavola Nuova). Their stories include that of Branor the Dragon Knight, "the flower of the Old Table", unsurpassed in his skills even at the age of over 100.
- Kingsman: The Secret Service
- List of Arthurian characters
- Pentecostal Oath
- Siege Perilous
- Fisher King
- Daniel Mersey, Myths & Legends: The Knights of the Round Table, page 4.
- Jennifer Westwood, Albion: A Guide to Legendary Britain, page 314.
- Withrington, John (1993). ""He Telleth the Number of the Stars; He Calleth Them All by Their Names": The Lesser Knights of Sir Thomas Malory's "Morte Darthur"". Quondam et Futurus. 3 (4): 17–27. JSTOR 27870251.
- Theresa Bane, Encyclopedia of Mythological Objects, page 132.
- Christopher W. Bruce, The Arthurian Name Dictionary, page 140.
- Leitch, Megan G; Rushton, Cory James, eds. (2019). A New Companion to Malory. Boydell & Brewer. doi:10.2307/j.ctv136bvg0. ISBN 9781787444447. JSTOR j.ctv136bvg0.
- Thomas Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur, the Winchester Manuscript. Edited and abridged by Helen Cooper, this book was published by Oxford University Press in 1998.
- Martin Biddle, Sally Badham, A.C. Barefoot, Round Table: An Archaeological Investigation, pages 255-260.
- de Troyes, Chrétien (2015). The Complete Story of the Grail: Chrétien de Troyes' Perceval and Its Continuations. ISBN 9781843844006.
- Lancelot-Grail. 2010. ISBN 9781843842385.
- Chinca, Mark (10 April 1997). Tristan. ISBN 9780521408523.
- Loomis, Roger (1949). Arthurian Tradition and Chretien De Troyes. Columbia University Press.
- Armstrong, Dorsey (2006). "The (Non-) Christian Knight in Malory: A Contradiction in Terms?". Arthuriana. 16 (2): 30–34. doi:10.1353/art.2006.0083. JSTOR 27870753. S2CID 162386579.
- Jean Frappier, ed., La Mort le roi Artu, Paris: Droz, 1996, pp 75–6, 291. ISBN 2600001832).
- Loomis (1997), p. 63.
- Bruce, Christopher W. (2013). The Arthurian Name Dictionary. Routledge. pp. 220–221. ISBN 9781136755385. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
- Monaghan, Patricia (2014). The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore. Infobase Publishing. p. 230. ISBN 9781438110370. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
- The Story of King Arthur and His Knights. C. Scribner's Sons. 1909. pp. 45–48. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
- Gantz, Jeffrey; trans. (1976) The Mabinogion. London and New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-044322-3.
- Weston, Jessie L. From Ritual to Romance 1920 Chapter XIII The Perilous Chapel.
- "King Arthur's Death" is a continuation of the ballad "The Legend of King Arthur". See Noble, James (1991). "King Arthur's Death". In Lacy, Norris J. (Ed.), The New Arthurian Encyclopedia, pp. 262–263. New York: Garland. ISBN 0-8240-4377-4.
- Loomis (1997). p. 157.
- Loomis (1997). p. 11.
- Curtis, Renée L. (translator) (1994). The Romance of Tristan, Oxford. ISBN 0-19-282792-8.
- "Le Morte Arthur", Le Morte d'Arthur, De Gruyter, 1975, doi:10.1515/9783111392165-002, ISBN 978-3-11-139216-5
- For example, Chrétien de Troyes' list of knights in Erec and Enide. From Owen, Arthurian Romances.
- Lacy, Lancelot-Grail, volume 4.
- Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur, Book III, ch. IV, p. 83.
- Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur, Book XX, ch. VII, p. 880.
- Malory, Sir Thomas (19 August 1996). Le Morte Darthur. Wordsworth Editions. ISBN 9781853264634 – via Google Books.
- Heinrich Oskar Sommer, The Structure of Le Livre d'Artus, and Its Function in the Evolution of the Arthurian Prose-Romances, page 22.
- Ulrike Bethlehem, Guinevere, a Medieval Puzzle: Images of Arthur's Queen in the Medieval Literature of England and France, page 392.
- Arthurian Interpretations, Volume 3, page 87.
- Phyllis Ann Karr, The Arthurian Companion, page 539.
- Beverly Kennedy, Knighthood in the Morte d'Arthur, page 119.
- Bogdanow, Fanni (19 August 1966). "The Romance of the Grail: A Study of the Structure and Genesis of a Thirteenth-century Arthurian Prose Romance". Manchester University Press – via Google Books.
- Norris J. Lacy, Samuel N. Rosenberg, Daniel Golembeski , Lancelot-Grail: The Old French Arthurian Vulgate and Post-Vulgate in Translation, Volume 10, pages 67-91.
- "Highlights in the Story". www.lancelot-project.pitt.edu.
- Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 15, page 206.
- The Arthur of the Italians: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval Italian Literature and Culture, page 78.
- Chrétien de Troyes; Owen, D. D. R. (translator) (1988). Arthurian Romances. New York: Everyman's Library. ISBN 0-460-87389-X.
- Lacy, Norris J. (Ed.) (1 April 1995). Lancelot-Grail: The Old French Arthurian Vulgate and Post-Vulgate in Translation, Volume 4 of 5. New York: Garland. ISBN 0-8153-0748-9.
- Malory, Thomas; Bryan, Elizabeth J. (introduction) (1994). Le Morte d'Arthur. New York: Modern Library. ISBN 0-679-60099-X. (Pollard text.)
- Loomis, Roger Sherman (1997). Celtic Myth and Arthurian Romance. Academy Chicago Publishers. ISBN 0-89733-436-1.
- Wilson, Robert H. The "Fair Unknown" in Malory. Publications of the Modern-Language Association of America (1943).
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