Arthurian Legend


Le Morte d'Arthur


 Time Line



 Vulgate Cycle





 Sir Thomas Malory - biography


 Annals of Wales



 Le Morte d'Arthur - general information


 Geoffrey of Monmouth



 Arthurian Legend 1888 - present





 Secondary resources





 Home Page





 Le Morte d'Arthur Study page


Literary History

Historical Reference Time Line






Historia Britanum



Annals of Wales


Geoffrey of Monmouth

History of the Kings of Britain



Roman de Brut

12th century

Chretien de Troyes

5 romantic poems

12th century

variety of authors

Vulgate Cycle

Conglomeration of stories





Sir Thomas Malory

Le Morte d'Arthur


Historia Britanum by Nennius (800)

Introduced idea of "Messiah of the Britons" - Arturius

United tribes and kings in battle

488-500 Arturius fought northern invaders (12 battles)

500 AD famous battle - Mt. Badon - Britons defeated Saxons

44 years of peace

Reference to burial at Glastonbury

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Annals of Wales by unknown (950)

Chronicles Battle of Camlann- last battle

Introduces Medraut - Mordred

Blend of historical and pagan myth

Mix of pagan and Christian references



History of the Kings of Britain

by Geoffrey of Monmouth (1135)

Collected and rewrote tales of Arthur

Drew from Nennius and oral tradition

Published Prophecies of Merlin

Placed Arthur as 5th and 6th c. Welsh war leader - Duke of Britain

1st reference to tournaments

Love between sexes ennobling and refining force

Accepted as fact at first

Labeled world's most brazen and successful fraud by literary critics

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Roman de Brut by Wace (1155)

Wace was a Norman

Added the idea of the Round Table to legends - blend with the table of the Last Supper

Round Table comes from Celtic tradition



Brut by Layamon (1200)

Used Anglo-Saxon vocabulary - English

Emphasized dramatic, emotional aspects

Accepted supernatural

Gives Arthur a sense of sportsmanship

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Poems by Chretien de Troyes (12th c.)

Stories of great knights

Idea of romance

Introduced Lancelot

Code of chivalry

Quest for the Holy Grail

Courtly love

French - brought the polish of the continent to tales



Vulgate Cycle (12th c.)

Dealt more with adultery and the marriage conflict within church

Provided a Christian flavor to pagan myth

Supplied a form for Malory to hinge his work upon

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Sir Thomas Malory

Biographical Material

? - 1471

British knight

Imprisoned during War of Roses for conspiracy to commit murder

Wrote book in prison

Charges reduced to theft/rape/violence

Died 2 years after completion

Wrote to present ideals of a bygone era to the British royalty

Published 4 years after death



Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory (1485)

21 tales

Wanted to show the disintegration of society and its heroes

Had features of epic and romance

Published by Caxton, first English printer, 14 years after Malory's death

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Arthurian Legend

1888 - present

The following represent just a few of the better known fictional accounts of Arthurian legend in print.



Tennyson, Lord Alfred

Idylls of the King (epic poem)

Twain, Mark

Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

White, T.H.

Once and Future King

Bradley, Marion Zimmer

Mists of Avalon


Road to Avalon

Stewart, Mary

Crystal Cave (1st of series)



Steinbeck, John

The Acts of King Arthur and his Noble Knights

Lawhead, Stephen

Arthur (1st of series)


Arthur Rex

Cornwell, Bernard

The Winter King

Numerous stories of Arthurian legend have also been presented in video.

Camelot (musical)


King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

First Knight

Sword and the Stone (Disney)


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Secondary Resources

Secondary resources are historical and literary studies that have been written about a certain topic. The authors publish a text after much research into a variety of original materials. Because the texts are so numerous, I have listed only a few of the best-known authorities.

Ashe, Geoffrey

Cavendish, Richard

Lacy, Norris

Kennedy, Elsbeth

Goodrich, Norma

Loomis, Roger Sherman

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Le Morte d'Arthur, click on the dragon.