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Knights of the Round Table, depart in their quest to find the Holy Grail. Historically, a sword identified as Excalibur (Caliburn) was supposedly discovered during the purported exhumation of Arthur's grave at Glastonbury Abbey in 1191. On 6 March 1191, after the Treaty of Messina, either this or another claimed Excalibur was given as a gift of goodwill by the English king Richard I of England (Richard the Lionheart) to his ally Tancred, King of Sicily. It was one of a series of Medieval English symbolic Arthurian acts, such as associating the crown won from the slain Welsh prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd with the crown of King Arthur.




Some believe that 'Excalibur' was the sword King Arthur pulled out of the stone to claim his right to the throne of Britain. Excalibur means ‘cut-steel’ and it is attributed with magical properties. Supposedly, it was formed with the heat from dragon-fire.

The sword served the King well until the scabbard, the sword cover, which was supposedly magical in nature, went missing. After this, he was defeated in battle and fearing his death, Arthur gave Excalibur to his Knight, Sir Bedivere to keep.









In Arthurian romance, a number of explanations are given for Arthur's possession of Excalibur. In Robert de Boron's Merlin, the first tale to mention the "sword in the stone" motif c. 1200, Arthur obtained the British throne by pulling a sword from an anvil sitting atop a stone that appeared in a churchyard on Christmas Eve. In this account, as foretold by Merlin, the act could not be performed except by "the true king", meaning the divinely appointed king or true heir of Uther Pendragon. The scene is set by different authors at either London (Londinium) or generally in Logres, and might have been inspired by a miracle attributed to the 11th-century Bishop Wulfstan of Worcester. As Malory related in his most famous English-language version of the Arthurian tales, the 15th-century Le Morte d'Arthur:




"Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil, is rightwise king born of all England."







Swords are common in literature and history as a symbol of power, honor, and strength. In medieval Europe and Japan, swords were used to indicate social status and appeared on coats of arms. Dress swords could have hilts and scabbards decorated with fine gemstones, pearl inlays, and gold trimmings to advertise one’s wealth and status. Peasants were forbidden to own swords, especially in Japan, where the sword was a symbol of Samurai, the elite warriors of the Emperor. Samurai had their own code of the sword, seeing it as an extension of themselves. Swords have made and broken kingdoms for thousands of years.

In northeast Cornwall, an area of granite outcropping on Bodmin Moor is home to Dozmary Pool. Legend suggests this could be the lake that was home to the Lady of the Lake, the caretaker of Excalibur. But, where the lake was said to be bottomless, this pool is sometimes only a few feet deep.





After many of the gathered nobles try and fail to complete Merlin's challenge, the teenage Arthur (who up to this point had believed himself to be son of Sir Ector, not Uther's son, and went there as Sir Kay's squire) does this feat effortlessly by accident and then repeats it publicly. The identity of this sword as Excalibur is made explicit in the Prose Merlin, a part of the Lancelot-Grail cycle of French romances (the Vulgate Cycle).

Eventually, in the cycle's finale Vulgate Mort Artu, when Arthur is at the brink of death, he orders Griflet to cast Excalibur into the enchanted lake. After two failed attempts (as he felt such a great sword should not be thrown away), Griflet finally complies with the wounded king's request and a hand emerges from the lake to catch it. This tale becomes attached to Bedivere (or Yvain in the Scalacronica), instead of Griflet, in Malory and the English tradition.












The Knights of the Round Table, are the knights of the fellowship of King Arthur in the literary cycle of the Matter of Britain. First appearing in literature in the mid-12th century, the Knights are an order dedicated to ensuring the peace of Arthur's kingdom following an early warring period, entrusted in later years to undergo a mystical quest for the Holy Grail. The Round Table at which they meet is a symbol of the equality of its members, who range from sovereign royals to minor nobles.

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. In the same tradition, Guinevere is featured with her own personal order of young warriors and knights, known as the Queen's Knights. Some of these romances retell the story of the Knights of the Old Table, led by Arthur's father, Uther Pendragon, whilst other tales focus on the members of the 'Grail Table'; these were the followers of ancient Christian Joseph of Arimathea, with his Grail Table later serving as the inspiration for Uther and Arthur's subsequent Round Tables.















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