Lancelot

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."

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.

- Lancelot

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

Le Morte d'Arthur

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.

Sir Mordred by H. J. Ford (1902)

Mordred

Figure who is variously portrayed in the legend of King Arthur.

Figure who is variously portrayed in the legend of King Arthur.

Sir Mordred by H. J. Ford (1902)
The Death of Arthur, George Housman Thomas's illustration for Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur in an 1862 edition by James Thomas Knowles
Mordred's attributed arms featuring the symbol of the Orkney clan according to chivalric romance heraldry
Lancelot fighting Mordred and Agravain in Guinevere's chambers, Walter Crane's illustration for Henry Gilbert's King Arthur's Knights (1911)
N. C. Wyeth illustration for Sidney Lanier's The Boy's King Arthur (1922) "Then the king ran towards Sir Mordred, crying, 'Traitor, now is thy death day come.'"
Roddy McDowall as Mordred in the Broadway musical Camelot (1960)

In this narrative, he eventually becomes the main actor in Arthur's downfall: he helps his half-brother Agravain to expose the affair between Guinevere and Lancelot, and then takes advantage of the resulting civil war to make himself the high king of Britain.

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

The 12th-century French writer Chrétien de Troyes, who added Lancelot and the Holy Grail to the story, began the genre of Arthurian romance that became a significant strand of medieval literature.

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)

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.

Sir Galahad by George Frederic Watts

Galahad

Knight of King Arthur's Round Table and one of the three achievers of the Holy Grail in Arthurian legend.

Knight of King Arthur's Round Table and one of the three achievers of the Holy Grail in Arthurian legend.

Sir Galahad by George Frederic Watts
"Gallad's" attributed arms
The life of Galahad portrayed in a stained glass window at St. Mary & St. George Anglican Church in Jasper, Alberta
Sir Galahad by Joseph Noel Paton (1879)
Galahad at the Castle of Maidens, an 1890 painting by Edwin Austin Abbey
Galahad discovers the Grail, an 1895 painting by Edwin Austin Abbey
World War I memorial at Victoria College, Jersey, featuring statue of Galahad by Alfred Turner with quotation from Tennyson and list of fallen Old Victorians. The figure of Galahad was frequently used in British military propaganda during both world wars
Sir Galahad by Herbert Gustave Schmalz (1881)
Statue of Sir Galahad on Parliament Hill in Ottawa: "Erected by the people to commemorate the act of heroism of Henry Albert Harper. In attempting to save the life of Miss Bessie Blair he was carried with her into the waters of the Ottawa River. It was December 6, 1901. He was 28 years old."

He is the illegitimate son of Sir Lancelot and Elaine of Corbenic and is renowned for his gallantry and purity as the most perfect of all knights.

Statuta Mutine Reformata, 1420–1485; parchment codex bound in wood and leather with brass plaques worked the corners and in the center, with clasps.

Matter of Britain

Body of medieval literature and legendary material associated with Great Britain and Brittany and the legendary kings and heroes associated with it, particularly King Arthur.

Body of medieval literature and legendary material associated with Great Britain and Brittany and the legendary kings and heroes associated with it, particularly King Arthur.

Statuta Mutine Reformata, 1420–1485; parchment codex bound in wood and leather with brass plaques worked the corners and in the center, with clasps.

One concerns Camelot, usually envisioned as a doomed utopia of chivalric virtue, undone by the fatal flaws of the heroes like Arthur, Gawain and Lancelot.

Lancelot crossing the sword bridge (illumination in a manuscript produced for Jacques d'Armagnac, Duke of Nemours, in the workshop of Evrard d'Espinques, c. 1475)

Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart

12th-century Old French poem by Chrétien de Troyes, although it is believed that Chrétien did not complete the text himself.

12th-century Old French poem by Chrétien de Troyes, although it is believed that Chrétien did not complete the text himself.

Lancelot crossing the sword bridge (illumination in a manuscript produced for Jacques d'Armagnac, Duke of Nemours, in the workshop of Evrard d'Espinques, c. 1475)

It is one of the first stories of the Arthurian legend to feature Lancelot as a prominent character.

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

Holy Grail

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

The authors of the Vulgate Cycle used the Grail as a symbol of divine grace; the virgin Galahad, illegitimate son of Lancelot and Elaine, the world's greatest knight and the Grail Bearer at the castle of Corbenic, is destined to achieve the Grail, his spiritual purity making him a greater warrior than even his illustrious father.

Sir Gawaine the Son of Lot, King of Orkney, by Howard Pyle from The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)

Gawain

Character in Arthurian legend, in which he is King Arthur's nephew and a Knight of the Round Table.

Character in Arthurian legend, in which he is King Arthur's nephew and a Knight of the Round Table.

Sir Gawaine the Son of Lot, King of Orkney, by Howard Pyle from The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)
"Gavvain's" attributed arms
"Galvagin" depicted in the Italian Modena Archivolt (c. 1135)
Gawain unwittingly fights Yvain in the Garrett MS. No. 125 manuscript of Chrétien's Knight of the Lion (c. 1295)
"Walewein" follows a flying checkboard in a 14th-century Dutch manuscript Roman van Walewein (en het schaakspel)
"Sir Gawain seized his lance and bade them farewell", Frank T. Merrill's illustration for A Knight of Arthur's Court or the Tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1910)
"The Passing of Sir Gawaine", Howard Pyle's illustration from The Story of the Grail and the Passing of King Arthur (1910)
Parzival's Gawain in a capital relief at the Church of Saint-Pierre, Caen
"Sir Gawaine finds the beautiful Lady", Howard Pyle's illustration from The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)
John Tenniel's illustration for "The Song of Courtesy", George Meredith's take on Gawain and the Loathly Lady published in Once a Week magazine in 1859
The Vigil by John Pettie (1884)
"Nevertheless You, O Sir Gauwaine, Lie." Florence Harrison's illustration for Early Poems of William Morris (1914)
"In the morning one of these ladies came to Gawaine." William Henry Margetson's illustration for Legends of King Arthur and His Knights (1914)
"Now you have released me from the spell completely." William Henry Margetson's illustration for Hero-Myths and Legends of the British Race (1910)
Sir Gawain bends over the exhausted Maid Avoraine in concern after she has proved her love by running after his horse for two days. John Everett Millais' and Joseph Swain's wood engraving illustration for Robert Williams Buchanan's poem "Maid Avoraine" published in Once a Week magazine in 1862

However, Gawain's glowing portrayal diminishes in the Vulgate Cycle, which favours Lancelot and, especially, Galahad.

Statuta Mutine Reformata, 1420–1485; parchment codex bound in wood and leather with brass plaques worked the corners and in the center, with clasps.

King Ban

King of Benwick or Benoic in Arthurian legend.

King of Benwick or Benoic in Arthurian legend.

Statuta Mutine Reformata, 1420–1485; parchment codex bound in wood and leather with brass plaques worked the corners and in the center, with clasps.

First appearing by this name in the Lancelot propre part of the Vulgate Cycle, he is the father of Sir Lancelot and Sir Hector de Maris, and is the brother of King Bors.