Peter Stewart grew up on Arthurian Legends. Here’s a few little-known facts to get you up to speed. (Bolded facts appear in “Intangible”.)
- Legend has it that Arthur probably lived in Wales, but some versions place him in England, and even France.
- The city of Camelot is set in a region called Carlion.
- The name of the wizard can be spelled “Merlin” or “Merlyn.” The latter was favored by T.H. White.
- The famous queen’s name can be spelled Guinevere (most commonly), or Guenever (nicknamed Jenny), depending on the version. She is described as having black hair and blue eyes.
- Arthur’s dad, Uther, died when Arthur was fifteen. He was raised as a servant, because nobody knew he was Uther’s son until he pulled Excalibur from the stone.
- The older name for Excalibur was Caliburn (as given by Geoffrey of Monmouth).
- According to T.H. White, the sword in the stone bore the inscription: “Whoso Pulleth Out This Sword of this Stone and Anvil, is Rightwise King Born of All England.” Other versions had the sword itself inscribed with “Take Me Up” on one side, and on the other, “Cast Me Away.”
- Arthur’s symbol was that of a single golden dragon (hence his surname, Pendragon, or son of a dragon).
- Lancelot’s castle is called the Joyous Gard, and it is described as having a faintly gold sheen.
- According to the same historian (Geoffrey), Arthur conceived a plan of European conquest much like Alexander the Great, and ruled Briton for thirty-nine years.
- Many of the Arthurian legends in some way relate to the quest for the Holy Grail (sometimes called the Holy Sepulchre)… and in many of them, Arthur himself is not even a central character. Many more refer to quests of his Knights of the Round Table and not to Arthur himself.
- Most versions of the legends hold that Mordred is Arthur’s nephew. T.H. White describes him as “a thin wisp of a fellow, so fair-haired that he was almost an albino: and his bright eyes were so blue… it seemed that there was no part of him which you could catch hold of, neither his hair, nor his eyes, nor his whiskers…”
- The battle in which Arthur died is called alternately the Battle of Salisbury Plain and the Battle of Camlann, depending on which version you’re reading.
- Because Lancelot had betrayed Arthur over the Guinevere affair, he was not present during the Battle of Salisbury Plain. He rushed back to help, but arrived too late – everyone was dead when he got there.
- There were rumors that Arthur and Mordred perished upon one another’s swords.
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