Avalon

The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon by Edward Burne-Jones
La Mort d'Arthur by James Archer (1860)
Lead cross inscribed with Arthur's epitaph, published in William Camden's Britannia (1607)
Glastonbury Tor in 2014
Etna peak above clouds in 2008
Bardsey Island (Ynys Enlli) seen from Aberdaron (Braich y Pwll) in 2009

Legendary island featured in the Arthurian legend.

- Avalon
The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon by Edward Burne-Jones

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Tapestry showing Arthur as one of the Nine Worthies, wearing a coat of arms often attributed to him

King Arthur

Legendary British leader who, according to medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the late 5th and early 6th centuries.

Legendary British leader who, according to medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the late 5th and early 6th centuries.

Tapestry showing Arthur as one of the Nine Worthies, wearing a coat of arms often attributed to him
Arthur defeats the Saxons in a 19th-century picture by John Cassell
"Arturus rex" (King Arthur), a 1493 illustration from the Nuremberg Chronicle
A facsimile page of Y Gododdin, one of the most famous early Welsh texts featuring Arthur
Culhwch entering Arthur's court in the Welsh tale Culhwch and Olwen. An illustration by Alfred Fredericks for a 1881 edition of the Mabinogion
King Arthur in a crude illustration from a 15th-century Welsh version of Historia Regum Britanniae
The Death of Arthur by John Garrick (1862), depicting a boat arriving to take the dying Arthur to Avalon after the Battle of Camlann
During the 12th century, Arthur's character began to be marginalised by the accretion of "Arthurian" side-stories such as that of Tristan and Iseult, here pictured in a painting by John William Waterhouse (1916)
The story of Arthur drawing the sword from a stone appeared in Robert de Boron's 13th-century Merlin. By Howard Pyle (1903)
The Round Table experiences a vision of the Holy Grail, an illumination by Évrard d'Espinques
Arthur receiving the later tradition's sword Excalibur in N. C. Wyeth's illustration for The Boy's King Arthur (1922), a modern edition of Thomas Malory's 1485 Le Morte d'Arthur
Merlin and Viviane in Gustave Doré's 1868 illustration for Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Idylls of the King
King Arthur (holding Excalibur) and Patsy in Spamalot, a stage musical adaptation of the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Many elements and incidents that are now an integral part of the Arthurian story appear in Geoffrey's Historia, including Arthur's father Uther Pendragon, the magician Merlin, Arthur's wife Guinevere, the sword Excalibur, Arthur's conception at Tintagel, his final battle against Mordred at Camlann, and final rest in Avalon.

The Lady of the Lake in Lancelot Speed's illustration for James Thomas Knowles' The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights (1912)

Lady of the Lake

Name or a title used by several fairy-like enchantresses in the Matter of Britain, the body of medieval literature and mythology associated with the legend of King Arthur.

Name or a title used by several fairy-like enchantresses in the Matter of Britain, the body of medieval literature and mythology associated with the legend of King Arthur.

The Lady of the Lake in Lancelot Speed's illustration for James Thomas Knowles' The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights (1912)
Nimue in Howard Pyle's illustration for The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)
Viviane with Merlin in Witches' Tree by Edward Burne-Jones (1905)
The Lady of the Lake finds Lancelot at Tintagel Castle to cure his madness caused by Morgan in a dream vision of Guinevere's infidelity to him. Evrard d'Espinques' illumination of the Vulgate Lancelot (BNF fr. 114 f. 352, c. 1475)
The gift of the sword Excalibur in an illustration for George Melville Baker's Ballads of Bravery (1877)
George Housman Thomas' illustration for The Story of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table, adapted from Le Morte d'Arthur by James Thomas Knowles (1862)
"'Look!', said the Lady Nimue, 'Ye ought to be sore ashamed to be the death of such a knight!'" William Henry Margetson's illustration for Janet MacDonald Clark's Legends of King Arthur and His Knights (1914)
The Passing of Arthur in Andrew Lang's Stories of King Arthur and His Knights (1904)
Llyn Ogwen as seen from the slopes of Pen yr Ole Wen in 2008

They play pivotal roles in many stories, including providing Arthur with the sword Excalibur, eliminating Merlin, raising Lancelot after the death of his father, and helping to take the dying Arthur to Avalon.

Excalibur the Sword by Howard Pyle (1903)

Excalibur

Legendary sword of King Arthur, sometimes also attributed with magical powers or associated with the rightful sovereignty of Britain.

Legendary sword of King Arthur, sometimes also attributed with magical powers or associated with the rightful sovereignty of Britain.

Excalibur the Sword by Howard Pyle (1903)
"Queen Morgana Loses Excalibur His Sheath." Howard Pyle's illustration for The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)
"How Galahad drew out the sword from the floating stone at Camelot." Arthur Rackham's illustration for Alfred W. Pollard's The Romance of King Arthur (1917)

Geoffrey says the sword was forged in Avalon and Latinises the name "Caledfwlch" as Caliburnus.

Oisín and Niamh approaching a palace in Tír na nÓg, illustration by Stephen Reid in T. W. Rolleston's The High Deeds of Finn (1910)

Celtic Otherworld

Realm of the deities and possibly also the dead.

Realm of the deities and possibly also the dead.

Oisín and Niamh approaching a palace in Tír na nÓg, illustration by Stephen Reid in T. W. Rolleston's The High Deeds of Finn (1910)
The 'Land of the Ever Young' depicted by Arthur Rackham in Irish Fairy Tales (1920).

The Otherworld is usually called Annwn in Welsh mythology and Avalon in Arthurian legend.

Illumination from a 15th-century manuscript of Historia regum Britanniae showing Vortigern and Ambros watching the fight between two dragons.

Historia Regum Britanniae

Pseudohistorical account of British history, written around 1136 by Geoffrey of Monmouth.

Pseudohistorical account of British history, written around 1136 by Geoffrey of Monmouth.

Illumination from a 15th-century manuscript of Historia regum Britanniae showing Vortigern and Ambros watching the fight between two dragons.

Arthur returns and kills Mordred at the Battle of Camlann, but, mortally wounded, he is carried off to the isle of Avalon, and hands the kingdom to his cousin Constantine, son of Cador and Duke of Cornwall.

Gustave Doré's illustration of Camelot from Idylls of the King (1867)

Camelot

Castle and court associated with the legendary King Arthur.

Castle and court associated with the legendary King Arthur.

Gustave Doré's illustration of Camelot from Idylls of the King (1867)
Winchester Castle's Great Hall with a 13th-century prop Round Table
Camelot Castle Hotel (a view from Tintagel Castle) features a replica of the Winchester Round Table

Roger Sherman Loomis believed it was derived from Cavalon, a place name that he suggested was a corruption of Avalon (under the influence of the Breton place name Cavallon).

Morgan le Fay by Frederick Sandys, 1864. "Here she stands in front of a loom on which she has woven an enchanted robe, designed to consume the body of King Arthur by fire. Her appearance with her loose hair, abandoned gestures and draped leopard skin suggests a dangerous and bestial female sexuality. The green robe that Morgan is depicted wearing is actually a kimono."

Morgan le Fay

Spyrys), is a powerful and ambiguous enchantress from the legend of King Arthur, in which most often she and he are siblings.

Spyrys), is a powerful and ambiguous enchantress from the legend of King Arthur, in which most often she and he are siblings.

Morgan le Fay by Frederick Sandys, 1864. "Here she stands in front of a loom on which she has woven an enchanted robe, designed to consume the body of King Arthur by fire. Her appearance with her loose hair, abandoned gestures and draped leopard skin suggests a dangerous and bestial female sexuality. The green robe that Morgan is depicted wearing is actually a kimono."
Fata Morgana (Italian for "Morgan the Fairy" ) by Giambologna (c. 1574)
Morgan with Lancelot under an apple tree in a Siedlęcin Tower fresco (early 14th century)
Morgan le Fay by Edward Burne-Jones (1862)
Henry Fuseli's Prince Arthur and the Fairy Queen (c. 1788)
Frank William Warwick's Voyage of King Arthur and Morgan le Fay to the Isle of Avalon (1888)
Morgan Le Fay by John R. Spencer Stanhope (1880)
Morgan discovers her unfaithful lover with another lady within the Vale of No Return, an illustration for the Vulgate Lancelot du Lac (c. 1480)
William Henry Margetson's illustration for The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights (1908)
"She was known to have studied magic while she was being brought up in the nunnery."
Queen Morgan le Fay, Beatrice Clay's illustration from Stories of King Arthur and the Round Table (1905)
"There was a time when great was her enmity towards King Arthur, so that she plotted his ruin not once only nor twice; and that is a strange thing, for it is said that she herself was the kinswoman of the King."
Morgan le Fay Casts Away Excalibur's Scabbard, H. J. Ford's illustration for Andrew Lang's Tales of King Arthur and the Round Table (1902)
Howard Pyle's illustration from The Story of the Champions of the Round Table (1905)
"She was clad in all the glory at her command, and her appearance was so shining and radiant that when she came into that room Sir Launcelot knew not whether it was a vision his eyes beheld or whether she was a creature of flesh and blood."
"How Morgain granted Lancelot a leave from her prison to conquer Dolereuse Gard." (Lancelot en prose c. 1494 or later)
How Morgan le Fay Gave a Shield to Sir Tristram by Aubrey Beardsley (1870)
A detail of La Mort d'Arthur (The Death of Arthur) by James Archer (1860)
Morgan and Accolon in Eric Pape's illustration for Madison Cawein's poem "Accolon of Gaul" (1907).
"With haughty, wicked eyes and lovely face, Studied him steadily a little space."
Howard Pyle's illustration from The Story of the Grail and the Passing of King Arthur (1909)
"And Sir Bedivere stood upon the shore and looked upon the face of King Arthur as it lay within the lap of Queen Morgana, and he beheld that the face of King Arthur was white like to the ashes of wood, wherefore he wist that he was dead."
Morte D'Arthur by Daniel Maclise (1857)
Howard Pyle's illustration from The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)
How the Fairies Came to See Ogier the Dane by H.J. Ford (1921)
"And, in tones more musical than mortals often hear, she sang a sweet lullaby, a song of fairyland and of the island of Avalon, where the souls of heroes dwell."
Beatrice Clay, Morgan le Fay with Excalibur (1905)
Fata Morgana; Nude Study by John Macallan Swan (1905)
Morgana and Orlando as painted by George Frederic Watts (1865)

The earliest documented account, by Geoffrey of Monmouth in Vita Merlini (written c. 1150) refers to Morgan in conjunction with the Isle of Apples (Avalon), to which Arthur was carried after having been fatally wounded at the Battle of Camlann, as the leader of the nine magical sisters unrelated to Arthur.

Glastonbury Abbey church ruin seen from the east end of the apse

Glastonbury Abbey

Monastery in Glastonbury, Somerset, England.

Monastery in Glastonbury, Somerset, England.

Glastonbury Abbey church ruin seen from the east end of the apse
St. Edgar's and St. Mary's Chapels, Glastonbury Abbey, c. 1860, by Frank M Good
One of the earliest surviving manuscripts, now at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, telling that Dunstan the abbot gave orders for the writing of this book
Photochrom image taken around 1900, showing the unrestored interior of the Lady Chapel
Site of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere's purported tomb beneath the high altar
The Abbot's Kitchen
Lady Chapel interior
Abbey House

From at least the 12th century the Glastonbury area has been associated with the legend of King Arthur, a connection promoted by medieval monks who asserted that Glastonbury was Avalon.

Lancelot-Grail

Early 13th-century French Arthurian literary cycle consisting of interconnected prose episodes of chivalric romance in Old French.

Early 13th-century French Arthurian literary cycle consisting of interconnected prose episodes of chivalric romance in Old French.

"Gautier" purportedly recounting the tales of Lancelot to Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine in a 14th-century manuscript of the Lancelot-Grail (BnF Français 123)
Yvain helping a lion fight a dragon in a 14th-century Italian illumination (BNF fr. 343 Queste del Saint Graal)

1140–1209) is attributed to be the editing author, as can be seen in the notes and illustrations in some manuscripts describing his discovery in an archive at Salisbury of the chronicle of Camelot, supposedly dating from the times of Arthur, and his translation of these documents from Latin to Old French as ordered by Henry II of England (the location was changed from Salisbury to the mystical Avalon in a later Welsh redaction ).

Battle Between King Arthur and Sir Mordred by William Hatherell

Battle of Camlann

Legendary final battle of King Arthur, in which Arthur either died or was fatally wounded while fighting either with or against Mordred, who also perished.

Legendary final battle of King Arthur, in which Arthur either died or was fatally wounded while fighting either with or against Mordred, who also perished.

Battle Between King Arthur and Sir Mordred by William Hatherell
How Mordred was Slain by Arthur, and How by Him Arthur was Hurt to the Death, by Arthur Rackham (1917)
The Passing of Arthur, a scene painting by Hawes Craven (1895)

Many are killed, including Modredus; Arthur is mortally wounded and taken to the Isle of Avalon to recover, passing the crown to his kinsman Constantine.