Timeless myths. King Arthur and his Knights: the origin of the Round Table
It is interesting to know if King Arthur and his Knights were real historical figures or just the heroes of a legend. They did their best to win the battle between good and evil, light and darkness, truth and lies, and that was an eternal, never-ending struggle between right and wrong. The Knights were the men of courage, bravery, courtesy, dignity, and nobleness. They respected and protected ladies, honored their kings and fought for them, they didn't refuse dangerous quests.
Everybody knows that King Arthur's knights had meetings, where they discussed their future deeds at the Round Table. But not all of us know, why the table was round. All the knights participated in different festivals or conferences at the king's castle and those who sat at the head of a table had precedence over others. It was the reason of envy or jealousy to those who took the seat at the head of table. Sometimes it ended in a brawl. King Arthur decided to have his table constructed in a rounded shape to solve these problems. The inventiveness of this decision, made all the knights equal, without any preferences or privileges. No one would have priority over others.
Historians believe that the Round Table appeared to be an extensive wood and stone structure that could place more than 1,000 of people. It is a huge disk of solid oak, 18 feet in diameter and three-quarters of a ton in weight. Nowadays scientists are able to establish an approximate date of the table's construction. To the disappointment of Arthurian true-believers, it did not turn out to be made in the 5th or 6th centuries. Radio-carbon (C14) dating proposes that the table was built in the first half of the 14th century, at the same time, tree-ring dating pointed to the 13th century.
The Round Table was not only a physical table; but also the highest Order of Chivalry at the Court of King Arthur. This historical issue whether King Arthur and The Knights of the Round Table were real or not is still opened. These heroes first appeared in Wace's Roman de Brut, a Norman language adaptation of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae (1155). Although the Round Table had not been mentioned until Wace, the conception of this legendary king having an amazing court made up of many prominent warriors is much older. Arthur's court was well known to Welsh storytellers Culhwch and Olwen.
To sum up, this story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table has a lot of controversial questions, but the existence of the Round Table is out of these discussion, since it undoubtedly existed.
А. Д. Рогаткина
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