King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table Essay

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King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

The legends of King Arthur of Britain and his Knights of the Round Table, among the most popular and beloved of all time, originated in the Middle Ages. As they do today, medieval people listened to the accounts of Arthur with fascination and awe. It is certain that popular folktales were told about a hero named Arthur throughout the Celtic parts of the British Isles and France, especially in Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany (Lunt 76). Other stories of chivalry that did not include Arthur existed in this time period as well. Although these stories were not recorded at first, they were known as far away as Italy, where mosaics and carvings depict Arthurian characters. The tales are
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Knights began to pursue high standards of chivalrous behavior in their own lives. Religious groups of knights called chivalric orders were formed to fight during the crusades. Later, national monarchs began to honor notable subjects by granting them knighthood in reward for valor and loyalty (Bishop 104, 105). Throughout the Middle Ages, knights were closely associated with warfare and power (Jordan 55). Power meant wealth; wealth enabled people to own horsed and heavy armor; and these provided the ability to gain greater power and wealth. Knights trained themselves to fight in full armor and to excel in battle. They could cause brutal damage to opposing forces. In the later Middle Ages, when not on the battlefield, knights practiced their skills in hunts and tournaments. These tournaments provided an opportunity to practice and display military skill, an important contribution to the art of chivalry (Grant 24, 25). As the concept of chivalry continued to develop, a moral, religious, and social code arose- one based on values of fidelity, piety, and service to God. Knights who adopted these Christian values were known as knights of Christ (Mathew 126,127). The church created purification rights for knights and ceremonies to bless their swords. The concept of religious chivalry was most significant during the crusades. Crusading provided an outlet for both military valor and devotion to a religious cause. Large numbers
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