Yvain fighting Gawain in order to regain the love of his lady Laudine. Medieval illumination from Chrétien de Troyes's romance, Yvain, le Chevalier au Lion
Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley
Holger Danske, or Ogier the Dane, from the Matter of France
A 14th-century Polish fresco at Siedlęcin Tower depicting Lancelot fighting the evil knight Turquine in a scene from the French Vulgate Cycle
A knight rescues a lady from a dragon.
A 14th-century "Round Table" at Winchester Castle, Malory's Camelot
The holy island of Mont-Saint-Michel where Arthur slays an evil giant in one of the only few supernatural elements of the Roman War story
"How Arthur by the mean of Merlin gat Excalibur his sword of the Lady of the Lake", illustration for Le Morte Darthur, J. M. Dent & Co., London (1893–1894), by Aubrey Beardsley
"How Sir Launcelot slew the knight Sir Peris de Forest Savage that did distress ladies, damosels, and gentlewomen." The Romance of King Arthur (1917), abridged from Malory's Morte d'Arthur by Alfred W. Pollard and illustrated by Arthur Rackham
"'Lady,' replied Sir Beaumains, 'a knight is little worth who may not bear with a damsel.'" Lancelot Speed's illustration for James Thomas Knowles' The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights (1912)
"The Holy Grail, covered with white silk, came into the hall." The Grail's miraculous sighting at the Round Table in William Henry Margetson's illustration for Legends of King Arthur and His Knights (1914)
Arthur's final voyage to Avalon in a 1912 illustration by Florence Harrison
Arthur being taken to Avalon in Alberto Sangorski's 1912 illustration for Tennyson's poem "Morte d'Arthur"
N. C. Wyeth's title page illustration for Sidney Lanier's The Boy's King Arthur (1917)
The two volumes of illustrated edition of Le Morte Darthur published by J. M. Dent in 1893, with vellucent binding by Cedric Chivers.

Morgan le Fay never loses her name, but in Le Morte d'Arthur, she studies magic rather than being inherently magical.

- Chivalric romance

In addition to the vast Vulgate Cycle in its different variants, as well as the English poems Morte Arthur and Morte Arthure, Malory's other original source texts were identified as several French standalone chivalric romances, including Erec et Enide, L'âtre périlleux, Perlesvaus, and Yvain ou le Chevalier au Lion (or its English version, Ywain and Gawain), as well as John Hardyng's English Chronicle.

- Le Morte d'Arthur
Yvain fighting Gawain in order to regain the love of his lady Laudine. Medieval illumination from Chrétien de Troyes's romance, Yvain, le Chevalier au Lion

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

King Arthur

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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

King Arthur (Brenin Arthur, Arthur Gernow, Roue Arzhur) was a 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.

The development of the medieval Arthurian cycle and the character of the "Arthur of romance" culminated in Le Morte d'Arthur, Thomas Malory's retelling of the entire legend in a single work in English in the late 15th century.

Lancelot-Grail

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"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)

The Lancelot-Grail, also known as the Vulgate Cycle or the Pseudo-Map Cycle, is an early 13th-century French Arthurian literary cycle consisting of interconnected prose episodes of chivalric romance in Old French.

They constituted a highly influential and most widespread form of Arthurian romance literature during their time and also contributed the most to the later English compilation Le Morte d'Arthur that formed the basis for Arthuriana's modern canon.

Tristan and Isolde (Life) by Rogelio de Egusquiza (1912)

Tristan

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Hero of the legend of Tristan and Iseult.

Hero of the legend of Tristan and Iseult.

Tristan and Isolde (Life) by Rogelio de Egusquiza (1912)
"Tristain's" attributed arms
Scenes from the story of Tristan on 13th-century tiles from Chertsey Abbey
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He is featured in Arthurian legends, including the seminal text Le Morte d'Arthur, as a skilled knight and a friend of Lancelot.

In the 13th century, during the great period of prose romances, Tristan en prose or Prose Tristan became one of the most popular romances of its time.

The Damsel of the Sanct Grael by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1874)

Holy Grail

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Treasure that serves as an important motif in Arthurian literature.

Treasure that serves as an important motif in Arthurian literature.

The Damsel of the Sanct Grael by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1874)
Galahad, Bors and Percival achieve the Grail. Tapestry woven by Morris & Co. (19th century)
An early manuscript of the Lancelot-Grail (c. 1220)
Sir Galahad, the Quest for the Holy Grail by Arthur Hughes (1870)
The Holy Grail depicted on a stained glass window at Quimper Cathedral
Die Gralsburg (The Grail Castle) by Hans Thoma (1899)
The Grail in 1933 German stamp
King Pelles' Daughter Bearing the Sancgraal by Frederick Sandys (1861)
Grail diary of Henry Jones, Sr. from the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade at the Hollywood Museum

A "grail", wondrous but not explicitly holy, first appears in Perceval, le Conte du Graal, an unfinished romance written by Chrétien de Troyes around 1190.

Thereafter, the Holy Grail became interwoven with the legend of the Holy Chalice, the Last Supper cup, a theme continued in works such as the Lancelot-Grail cycle and consequently Le Morte d'Arthur.

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

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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."
Morgan le Fay by Frederick Sandys, 1864
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)

Therein, and in the early chivalric romances by Chrétien de Troyes and others, Morgan's chief role is that of a great healer.

In the early 13th-century, Robert de Boron-derived Arthurian prose cycles — and the later works based on them in turn, including among them Thomas Malory's influential Le Morte d'Arthur — Morgan is usually described as the youngest daughter of Arthur's mother, Igraine, and of her first husband, Gorlois.

Konrad von Limpurg as a knight being armed by his lady in the Codex Manesse (early 14th century)

Chivalry

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Informal and varying code of conduct developed between 1170 and 1220.

Informal and varying code of conduct developed between 1170 and 1220.

Konrad von Limpurg as a knight being armed by his lady in the Codex Manesse (early 14th century)
God Speed by English artist Edmund Leighton, 1900: depicting an armoured knight departing for war and leaving his beloved
Reconstruction of a Roman cavalryman (eques)
Knights of Christ by Jan van Eyck
Depiction of chivalric ideals in Romanticism (Stitching the Standard by Edmund Blair Leighton: the lady prepares for a knight to go to war)

The meaning of the term evolved over time into a broader sense, because in the Middle Ages the meaning of chevalier changed from the original concrete military meaning "status or fee associated with a military follower owning a war horse" or "a group of mounted knights" to the ideal of the Christian warrior ethos propagated in the romance genre, which was becoming popular during the 12th century, and the ideal of courtly love propagated in the contemporary Minnesang and related genres.

There were many chivalric groups in England as imagined by Sir Thomas Malory when he wrote Le Morte d'Arthur in the late 15th century; perhaps each group created each chivalric ideology.

"Soria Moria" by Theodor Kittelsen: a hero glimpses the end of his quest.

Quest

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Journey toward a specific mission or a goal.

Journey toward a specific mission or a goal.

"Soria Moria" by Theodor Kittelsen: a hero glimpses the end of his quest.
A Knight at the Crossroads by Viktor Vasnetsov
Vision of the Holy Grail (1890) by William Morris

Many medieval romances sent knights out on quests.

Sir Thomas Malory included many in Le Morte d'Arthur.