King Arthur is the subject of many legends and stories that have survived throughout the ages. The king became an influential leader during his reign in the 5th century, gaining the title ‘The One True King of the Britons.’ This was because the kingdom he left behind believed that he would return to defend the country whenever it needed him. Even though not much is known about the real King Arthur, some historians have put together pieces of the puzzle which give an overview of his life.
Arthur’s father was Uther Pendragon, a British king himself, who deceived his mother Igraine to sleep with (and later marry) him. During the time when King Arthur held the throne there was an overwhelming belief in sorcery, and Merlin became known as a magician that served him well. In truth he was the king’s respected advisor and teacher. When it became time for Arthur to get married Merlin suggested the beautiful Guinevere, who was the daughter of King Leodegrance of Cameliard.
Almost as popular as King Arthur are his Knights of the Round Table, who performed various tasks in his interest and that of the country. The symbolism of assembling at a round table is the fact that everybody who sits there is of equal importance. Arthur issued his orders and tasks to the knights during their meetings and scheduled discussions. The most significant of these historically was the search for the Holy Grail, which was present at the last supper and used to collect Jesus’s blood while he was being removed from the cross. It is said to have magical properties which will provide those that possess it with happiness, eternal youth and an abundance of food. As a result of how important this quest was to Arthur he sent all his knights off to carry out the search, greatly reducing the number of his followers. Only three of the knights were able to achieve the task, including Sir Galahad, one of Arthur’s most loyal subjects.
The king spent much of his time away from Camelot at war, and during one of these absences his illegitimate son Mordred raised an army and attempted to overthrow his father. Arthur returned as quickly as possible in order to defend his kingdom but, even though he managed to kill Mordred, he suffered a fatal wound during the fighting and The Battle of Camlaan was where Briton’s great king met his end.
It was said that he was buried in Glastonbury Abbey, between two stone pyramids, and in order to prove his death Edward I ordered an exhumation of his bones. They were found and subsequently interred in a black marble tomb in 1278. The King that was and the King that Shall Be remains, not only in this tomb, but in the hearts, minds and stories of his people who continue to wait patiently for his fabled return.