Arthurian Romances

The World Pertaining to King Arthur


Medieval Texts

The Sword Excalibur


KING ARTHUR had fought a hard battle with the tallest Knight in all the land, and though he struck hard and well, he would have been slain had not Merlin enchanted the Knight and cast him into a deep sleep, and brought the King to a hermit who had studied the art of healing, and cured all his wounds in three days. Then Arthur and Merlin waited no longer, but gave the hermit thanks and departed.

As they rode together Arthur said, ‘I have no sword,’ but Merlin bade him be patient and he would soon give him one. In a little while they came to a large lake, and in the midst of the lake Arthur beheld an arm rising out of the water, holding up a sword. ‘Look!’ said Merlin, ‘that is the sword I spoke of.’ And the King looked again, and a maiden stood upon the water. ‘That is the Lady of the Lake,’ said Merlin, ‘and she is coming to you, and if you ask her courteously she will give you the sword.’ So when the maiden drew near Arthur saluted her and said, ‘Maiden, I pray you tell me whose sword is that which an arm is holding out of the water? I wish it were mine, for I have lost my sword.’

‘That sword is mine, King Arthur,’ answered she, and I will give it to you, if you in return will give me a gift when I ask you.’

‘By my faith,’ said the King, ‘I will give you whatever gift you ask.’ ‘Well,’ said the maiden, ‘get into the

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barge yonder, and row yourself to the sword, and take it and the scabbard with you.’ For this was the sword Excalibur. ‘As for my gift, I will ask it in my own time.’ Then King Arthur and Merlin dismounted from their horses and tied them up safely, and went into the barge, and when they came to the place where the arm was holding the sword Arthur took it by the handle, and the arm disappeared. And they brought the sword back to land. As they rode the King looked lovingly on his sword, which Merlin saw, and, smiling, said, Which do you like best, the sword or the scabbard? ‘I like the sword,’ answered Arthur. ‘You are not wise to say that,’ replied Merlin, ‘for the scabbard is worth ten of the sword, and as long as it is buckled on you you will lose no blood, however sorely you may be wounded.’ So they rode into the town of Carlion, and Arthur’s Knights gave them a glad welcome, and said it was a joy to serve under a King who risked his life as much as any common man.

The Historical King Arthur

I completely agree with this article by David Carroll concerning the history of Arthur. In my book due out this year,
The Infinite Character of King Arthur:
His History and legend;
His Camelot and Avalon
I delve into the conception of who Arthur was compared to the Medieval texts and Mythology surrounding him. I hope you enjoy David’s article as much as I have!

Arthur (Arturius) Son Of Aidan – King Of The Scots From 574 AD

There seems to be only one way to prove that the Legends of King Arthur were inspired by a real historical figure, and that is to find someone who is identical to King Arthur in so many respects, that it would be impossible or at least improbable, for it to be purely coincidence.

I believe that historical figure to be Artur or Arturius, the son of Aidan, and a real 6th century figure. He may never have been a king, he certainly was a warrior, and could quite easily have been the ‘Dux Bellorum’ or Battle Leader of the united forces of the Scots and Britons, who were definitely allies at this period, in the wars in the North against the Saxons/Angles of Bernicia and the Picts, by virtue of the fact that his father Aidan was the most powerful King in the North.

Judge for yourself. Artur son of Aidan is identical to the Arthur of Legend in the following respects:

He has the correct name, Artur or Arturius, the 6th century version of the name Arthur.
He was the son of a most powerful king.
He was a christian (a valid point, when half the country was still pagan).
He lived at the correct period. (6th century.)
He was a contemporary and ally of the Northern King Urien, who was a real historical figure and who is mentioned in the legends as an ally of Arthur.
He was an ally of the Kings of the Britons in the wars in the North against the Saxons/Angles and the Picts.
He died in battle against the Picts. (Remember in legend Arthur’s last battle was against Modred, whose mother was the wife of Lot, king of the Picts.)
Artur or Arturius had a sister or half sister called Morgan, as did King Arthur of legend. (Evidence which I was fortunate to find in the 8th cent. ‘Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee’.)
Against this Arthur, who is identical in so many respects to the Arthur of the Legends, that I cannot believe it could possibly just be coincidence, is the Arthur of Cornwall, Wales and the West Country of England, where no reliable, historical evidence has ever been found.

Why you may ask, after reading the evidence, has Arturius not been accepted as the inspiration for the Legend of King Arthur? Perhaps the answer lies in the simple fact that he was guilty of the unforgivable – being born a Scot, and therefore not Welsh or Cornish.

David F. Carroll


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