Piety: The Knights of the Round Table about to Depart in Quest of the Holy Grail by William Dyce (1849)
The Lady of the Lake in Lancelot Speed's illustration for James Thomas Knowles' The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights (1912)
Morgan le Fay gives King Arthur the fake Excalibur in a 14th-century copy of the Post-Vulgate Suite de Merlin
Guinevere watching the mortally wounded Arthur being sailed off to Avalon in Queen Guinevere by James Archer (c. 1860)
The attributed arms of Agloval de Galles
The Lady of the Lake in Lancelot Speed's illustration for James Thomas Knowles' The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights (1912)
Morgan le Fay gives King Arthur the fake Excalibur in a 14th-century copy of the Post-Vulgate Suite de Merlin
Guinevere by Henry Justice Ford (c. 1910)
"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)
"Queen Guenever's Peril." Alfred Kappes' illustration for The Boy's King Arthur (1880)
Nimue in Howard Pyle's illustration for The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)
Lady Guinevere, Howard Pyle's illustration for The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)
Yvain helping a lion fight a dragon in a 14th-century Italian illumination (BNF fr. 343 Queste del Saint Graal)
The arms of Arthur le Petit
Viviane with Merlin in Witches' Tree by Edward Burne-Jones (1905)
Guinevere Takes Refuge in a Convent, Edmund H. Garrett's illustration for Legends of King Arthur and His Court (1911)
Shared attributed arms of Blamor and Blioberis
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)
Guinevere with Enid and Vivien by George and Louis Rhead (1898)
Brandelis' attributed arms
The gift of the sword Excalibur in an illustration for George Melville Baker's Ballads of Bravery (1877)
Guinevere and Iseult by William Morris (1862)
The attributed arms of Calogrenant
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)
Ritter und Dame (Sir Lancelot und Guinevere) by Wilhelm List (c. 1902)
Calogrenant at the fountain in the BN MS fr.1433 manuscript of Yvain ou le chevalier au lion (c. 1325)
"'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)
Meigle stone detail
The attributed arms of "Dodinet le Sauvaige"
The Passing of Arthur in Andrew Lang's Stories of King Arthur and His Knights (1904)
A scene preceding the kidnapping by Maleagant: "How Queen Guenever rode a maying into the woods and fields beside Westminster."
Arthur Rackham's illustration from The Romance of King Arthur (1917), abridged from Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur by Alfred W. Pollard
The arms of Helain le Blanc
Llyn Ogwen as seen from the slopes of Pen yr Ole Wen in 2008
Ellen Terry as Guinevere in the play King Arthur by J. Comyns Carr in the Lyceum Theatre production, designed by Edward Burne-Jones, in an American postcard mailed 12 January 1895
The attributed arms of "Herec le fils Lac"
A 1961 photo of Robert Goulet as Lancelot and Julie Andrews as Guenevere in the musical Camelot
The attributed arms of "Exclabor ly Viescovtiens"
The attributed arms of the Duc de Clerence
Girflet's attributed arms
Giflet throwing Excalibur into the lake in a 1470 illustration for the 13th-century romance La Mort du roi Arthur
The attributed arms of Hector des Mares
Lancelot stops his half-brother Hector from killing Arthur defeated in battle, as depicted by William Dyce in King Arthur Unhorsed, Spared by Sir Launcelot (1852)
The attributed arms of "Lucam le Bouteillier"
Mador's attributed arms
"At last the strange knight smote him to the earth, and gave him such a bugget on the helm as well-night killed him." Lancelot Speed's illustration for The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights, abridged from Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur by James Knowles (1912)
The attributed arms of "Mellienderis"
The attributed arms of Morholt d'Irlande
Saphar's attributed arms
The attributed arms of "Securades"
"Sir Segwarides rides after Sir Tristram." F. A. Fraser's illustration for Henry Frith's King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table (1912)
The attributed arms of Tor
The attributed arms of Yvain the Bastard
His attributed arms
Le Morte d'Arthur scene of Guinevere with some of her unarmed knights before they are ambushed by Maleagant, as depicted in Queen Guinevere's Maying by John Collier
The attributed arms of Seguran le Brun

The cycle of unknown authorship, presenting itself as a chronicle of actual events, retells the legend of King Arthur by focusing on the love affair between Lancelot and Guinevere as well as the religious quest for the Holy Grail, expanding on the works of Robert de Boron and Chrétien de Troyes.

- Lancelot-Grail

It is considered essentially a shortened rewriting of the earlier Vulgate Cycle (also known as the Lancelot-Grail cycle), with much left out but also much added, including characters and scenes from the Prose Tristan.

- Post-Vulgate Cycle

Different sorceresses known as the Lady of the Lake appear concurrently as separate characters in some versions of the legend since at least the Post-Vulgate Cycle and consequently the seminal Le Morte d'Arthur, with the latter describing them as a hierarchical group, while some texts also give this title to either Morgan or her sister.

- Lady of the Lake

The Post-Vulgate Cycle, written anonymously probably between 1230 and 1235 (different estimates of the beginning date) to 1240, is an attempt to create greater unity in the material, and to de-emphasise the secular love affair between Lancelot and Guinevere in favor of the Quest for the Holy Grail.

- Post-Vulgate Cycle

Arthur is one of the main characters in the tale, and around him gravitate a host of other heroes, many of whom are Knights of the Round Table.

- Lancelot-Grail

Nymenche (in addition to Ninianne / Ninienne) in the Vulgate Lancelot;

- Lady of the Lake

Such a motif had originally appeared in nascent form in Chrétien de Troyes's poem Lancelot prior to its vast expansion in the prose cycle Lancelot-Grail.

- Guinevere

After its completion around 1230–1235, the Lancelot–Grail was soon followed by its major rewrite known as the Post-Vulgate Cycle.

- Lancelot-Grail

By the end of Arthurian prose cycles (including the seminal Le Morte d'Arthur), the knights split up into groups of warring factions following the revelation of Lancelot's adultery with King Arthur's wife, Queen Guinevere.

- Knights of the Round Table

To this section is added the Post-Vulgate Suite du Merlin, also known as the Suite Post-Vulgate and the Huth-Merlin, the first major departure from the source material. It adds many adventures of Arthur and the early Knights of the Round Table, and includes details about Arthur's incestuous begetting of Mordred and receiving Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake that are not found in the Vulgate. The author added some relevant material from the Vulgate Lancelot Proper (otherwise missing from the Post-Vulgate Cycle) and the first version of the Prose Tristan to connect the events to the Queste section.

- Post-Vulgate Cycle

Some sources state much smaller numbers, such as 13 in the Didot Perceval, 50 in the Prose Merlin (the prose expansion Vulgate Merlin has 250), and 60 in the count by Jean d'Outremeuse.

- Knights of the Round Table

She gives him her magical gifts, including a magic ring of protection against enchantments in a manner similar in that to his fairy protectoress in Chrétien's version (the same of another of her magic rings also grants Lancelot's lover Queen Guinevere immunity from Morgan's power in the Prophéties de Merlin).

- Lady of the Lake

The Vulgate Suite du Merlin / Suite Vulgate du Merlin / Vulgate-Suite (The Story of Merlin), also known as Les Premiers Faits [du roi Arthur] or the Vulgate Merlin Continuation, drawing from a variety of other sources, adds more of Arthur's and Gawain's early deeds in which they are being aided by Merlin, in particular in their early wars of internal struggles for power and against foreign enemies (Saxons and Romans), ending in Arthur's marriage with Guinevere and the restoration of peace, as well as the disappearance of Merlin caused by the Lady of the Lake. It is roughly four times longer than the first part.

- Lancelot-Grail

Alternatively, in what Arthurian scholars Geoffrey Ashe and Norris J. Lacy call one of "strange episodes" of Ly Myreur des Histors, a romanticized historical/legendary work by Belgian author Jean d'Outremeuse, Guinevere is a wicked queen who rules with the victorious Mordred until she is killed by Lancelot, here the last of the Knights of the Round Table; her corpse is then entombed with the captured Mordred who eats it before starving to death.

- Guinevere

(In the original account in the Vulgate Cycle's Mort Artu, the chief lady in the boat, holding hands with Morgan and calling for Arthur, is not recognised by Girflet who here is this scene's witness instead of Bedivere.

- Lady of the Lake

The following narrative is largely based on the Lancelot-Grail (Vulgate) prose cycle, telling the story of Lancelot and Guinevere in accordance to the courtly love conventions still popular in the early 13th-century France (Guinevere's role in this romance is Lancelot's "female lord", just as the Lady of the Lake is his "female master" ), however soon afterwards directly condemned in the Post-Vulgate Cycle retelling that also influenced Malory.

- Guinevere

According to the Post Vulgate Cycle and Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, Aglovale is the knight who first brings his long lost brother Percival to Camelot to be knighted after meeting him by chance in the woods where Percival lives.

- Knights of the Round Table

According to the French Mort Artu, 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.

- Knights of the Round Table

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Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley

Le Morte d'Arthur

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Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley
A 14th-century Polish fresco at Siedlęcin Tower depicting Lancelot fighting the evil knight Turquine in a scene from the French Vulgate Cycle
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.

Le Morte d'Arthur (originally written as le morte Darthur; inaccurate Middle French for "The Death of Arthur") is a 15th-century Middle English prose reworking by Sir Thomas Malory of tales about the legendary King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table, along with their respective folklore.

As Elizabeth Bryan wrote of Malory's contribution to Arthurian legend in her introduction to a modern edition of Le Morte d'Arthur, "Malory did not invent the stories in this collection; he translated and compiled them. Malory in fact translated Arthurian stories that already existed in 13th-century French prose (the so-called Old French Vulgate romances) and compiled them together with Middle English sources (the Alliterative Morte Arthure and the Stanzaic Morte Arthur) to create this text."

Arthur prevails due to his military prowess and the prophetic and magical counsel of Merlin (later replaced by the sorceress Nimue), further helped by the sword Excalibur that Arthur received from a Lady of the Lake.

The narrative of Malory's first book is mainly based on the Prose Merlin in the version from the Post-Vulgate Suite du Merlin (possibly on the manuscript Cambridge University Library, Additional 7071 ).

Lancelot

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Lancelot slays the dragon of Corbenic in Arthur Rackham's illustration for Tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, abridged from Le Morte d'Arthur by Alfred W. Pollard (1917)
James Archer's Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere (1864)
Lancelot fighting the two dragons guarding the entrance to Morgan's Val Without Return in an illumination of a 15th-century French Lancelot-Grail manuscript. The arms attributed to him: argent with three bendlets gules
The Earthly Paradise (Sir Lancelot at the Chapel of the Holy Grail) by Edward Burne-Jones (1890s)
Howard Pyle's illustration for The Story of the Champions of the Round Table (1905): "The Lady Nymue beareth away Launcelot into the Lakes."
An illustration for Tales of the Round Table, abridged from Le Morte d'Arthur by Andrew Lang (1908): "Sir Lancelot did not stop, and the archers shot his horse with many arrows, but he jumped from its back and ran past them deeper into the wood."
N. C. Wyeth's illustration for The Boy's King Arthur, abridged from Le Morte d'Arthur by Sidney Lanier (1922): "He rode his way with the Queen unto Joyous Gard."
Lancelot Brings Guenevere to Arthur, an illustration for Andrew Lang's The Book of Romance (1902)
Morgan, Sebile and two other witch-queens find Lancelot sleeping in William Henry Margetson's illustration for Legends of King Arthur and His Knights, abridged from Le Morte d'Arthur by Janet MacDonald Clark (1914)
Seduction of Lancelot in the Livre de Lancelot du Lac (c. 1401–1425)
Lancelot's rescue of Guinevere from the stake in Henry Justice Ford's illustration for Andrew Lang's Tales of the Round Table (1908)
A 1962 publicity photo of Robert Goulet as Lancelot and Janet Pavek as Guenevere in the musical Camelot
"How Lancelot fought the six knights of Chastel d'Uter to save the knight of the badly-cut coat." (Tristan en prose c. 1479–1480)
Lancelot, dressed in brown, living with his companions in a hermit hut at the end of his life (Tristan en prose c. 1450–1460)
Facing Turquine: "I am Sir Launcelot du Lake, King Ban's son of Benwick."
"Sir Mador's spear broke all to pieces, but his spear held."
"[Lancelot] ever ran wild wood from place to place"
"Launcelot saw her visage, he wept not greatly, but sighed."

Lancelot du Lac (French for Lancelot of the Lake), also written as Launcelot and other variants (such as early German Lanzelet, early French Lanselos, early Welsh Lanslod Lak, Italian Lancillotto, Spanish Lanzarote del Lago, and Welsh Lawnslot y Llyn), is a character in some versions of Arthurian legend, where he is typically depicted as King Arthur's close companion and one of the greatest Knights of the Round Table.

In the French-inspired Arthurian chivalric romance tradition, Lancelot is the orphaned son of King Ban of the lost Kingdom of Benwick, raised in the fairy realm by the Lady of the Lake.

A hero of many battles, quests and tournaments, and famed as a nearly unrivalled swordsman and jouster, Lancelot becomes the lord of the castle Joyous Gard and personal champion of Arthur's wife Queen Guinevere.

Later, his character was expanded upon in other works of Arthurian romance, especially the vast Lancelot-Grail prose cycle that presented the now-familiar version of his legend following its retelling in Le Morte d'Arthur.

Much of the Prose Lancelot material from the Vulgate Cycle has been soon later removed in the rewriting known as the Post-Vulgate Cycle, with the surviving parts being reworked and attached to the other parts of this cycle.

The Enchanter Merlin, Howard Pyle's illustration for The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)

Merlin

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Mythical figure prominently featured in the legend of King Arthur and best known as an enchanter or wizard, among his various other roles.

Mythical figure prominently featured in the legend of King Arthur and best known as an enchanter or wizard, among his various other roles.

The Enchanter Merlin, Howard Pyle's illustration for The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)
The Enchanter Merlin, Howard Pyle's illustration for The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)
Merlinus (Merlin) in the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493)
Giants help the young Merlin build Stonehenge in a manuscript of Wace's Roman de Brut (c. 1325-1350)
An illustration of Merlin as druid in The Rose (1848)
Jean Colombe's illumination of the story of Merlin's unholy birth as told in the Prose Merlin (c. 1480)
Merlin, the Enchanter by Louis Rhead (1923)
Merlin and Nimue in Romance of King Arthur (1917) abridged from Le Morte d'Arthur by Alfred W. Pollard, illustrated by Arthur Rackham: "How by her subtle working she made Merlin to go under the stone to let wit of the marvels there and she wrought so there for him that he came never out for all the craft he could do."

Later authors have Merlin serve as the king's advisor and mentor until he disappears from the story after having been bewitched and forever sealed or killed by his student known as the Lady of the Lake after falling madly in love with her, leaving behind a series of prophecies foretelling the events yet to come.

The extended prose rendering became the foundation for the Lancelot-Grail, a vast cyclical series of Old French prose works also known as the Vulgate Cycle.

A further reworking and continuation of the Prose Merlin was included within the subsequent Post-Vulgate Cycle as the Post-Vulgate Suite du Merlin or the Huth Merlin.

In the Vulgate Cycle's version of Merlin, his acts include arranging consummation of Arthur's desire for "the most beautiful maiden ever born," Lady Lisanor of Cardigan, resulting in the birth of Arthur's illegitimate son Lohot from before the marriage to Guinevere.