The New Student's Reference Work/Arthur
Ar′thur, a prince of the Britons, who is supposed to have lived about the 6th century. He is pictured in legend as the champion of the British tribes against the Saxon invaders and as the ideal of a knightly hero. The son of King Uther, he became leader of the Britons after his father’s death. He married Guenevere, the fairest princess in the land, and with her lived in splendid state at Caerleon in Wales, surrounded by hundreds of knights and beautiful ladies, patterns of valor, breeding and grace to all the world. Twelve knights, the bravest of the throng, formed the center of the retinue, and sat with the king at a round table, known as the famous Knights of the Round Table. From Arthur’s court knights went forth to all countries in search of adventure, to protect women, chastise oppressors, liberate the enchanted and to enchain giants and malevolent dwarfs. Among the most renowned of these heroes of legend were Percival, Tristram, Gallahad, Lancelot and the enchanter, Merlin. Arthur was killed in battle by his nephew, Modred, who had revolted against him. His body was carried by fairies to the Isle of Avalon to be cured, whence he was expected to return some day again to lead the Britons against the Saxons. Many critics doubt the existence of Arthur, and, of course, the stories that have gathered about his name are, many of them, only beautiful legends. His fancied adventures have been sung in many languages, but for English readers they are told most beautifully in Tennyson’s Idylls of the King. At Innsbruck, in the Franciscan church, is a magnificent ideal, life-sized, bronze figure of Arthur.