Tuesday 29 August 2017

#Arthurian Literature ~ The Round Table #myths #legends

The Round Table — the most iconic piece of furniture of all time.

Painting where King Arthur presides at the Round Table with all of his Knights ~ Wikipedia

For something so incredibly large, it remains as obstinately difficult to find as Arthur and his knights.

In 1100c. Robert Wace, a Norman Poet, took it upon himself to translate Geoffrey of Monmouth's, History of the Kings of Briton, from Latin to Norman French. But Wace was a poet, and he did not think it disrespectful to fiddle with the original work. He was, after all, improving upon it. He was sure no one would notice if he added a rather large round table to the tale.

Wace presents his Roman de Rou to Henry II ~ Wikipedia.

"...Because of these noble lords about his hall, of whom each knight pained himself to be hardiest champion, and none would count him the least praiseworthy, Arthur made the Round Table, so reputed by the Britons..."

Robert Wace, Roman de Brut, translated by Eugene Mason

Wace had, with his poetic licence, cemented The Round Table into the legend. And from there on in, The Round Table became a prominent addition to the Arthurian romances that were published in the Middle Ages.

By the time Sir Thomas Malory was languishing in jail and composing his great work Le Morte d' Arthur, The Round Table had been so ingrained into the minds of the populous that a story about Arthur would not be the same without The Round Table in it.

The Round Table, like the stories of Arthur, was elaborated, made into something epic in its description. As the numbers of knights were added to the story, the table increased in diameter. And it became a draw for this mythical time — all the knights wanted to join the Fellowship Of The Round Table. It was the ultimate goal for these young, brave men.

Sir Galahad takes the "Siege Perilous ~ WIkipedia 

But for me, this is the most interesting part. The Round Table became so much part of the legend that suddenly we needed to know where it was. Where could it be? Surely somewhere we would find evidence of The Round Table? I mean a table that size isn't going to be languishing in someone's garage is it...?

I am sure you know what I am going to say next... There have been many places that have been associated with The Round Table. By all accounts, it was once seen at Winchester. Indeed, there is a replica still hanging from the wall at Winchesters Great Hall — although this dates back to Tudor times rather than Arthurian times. I hate to say it, but just like with Camelot, you cannot find something that was never there in the first place.

Winchester Round Table ~ Wikipedia.

However, I do wish those who search for the Round Table all the luck in the world, although maybe you want to start with Robert Wace, Roman de Brut…


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See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx