King Arthur in Avalon

The Isle of Avalon, most famous as the final resting place of Arthur in many stories and legends, has neither a fixed location nor a fixed description throughout the literary canon of Arthuriana. Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae (c. 1136) is the oldest extant work including references to Avalon. He calls it Insula Avallonis, refers to the island's alleged healing powers, ...

Vivien and Merlin Enter the Woods

Broceliande is the forest in which Chrétien’s Yvain begins his adventures by pouring water from a spring on a stone and thus causing a great storm which brings forth the knight Esclados le Ros to defend his land. In the Roman de Rou (begin in 1160), Wace speaks of a similar fountain in Broceliande, a place "about which the Bretons often tell stories." He says that hunters sc...

Camelot

Although Camelot is, for most modern readers, the legendary center of King Arthur's realm, in many medieval texts Arthur holds court at Carleon or some other city. Camelot is first mentioned in line 34 of Chrétien de Troyes's Lancelot; and the name does not appear in all manuscripts of that poem. In the thirteenth-century Vulgate Cycle, Camelot becomes the principal city of King Art...

The History of that Holy Disciple Joseph of Arimathea: Image of Joseph

Located in Somerset, Glastonbury is the focal point for a number of legends and stories relating to Arthur and the Grail and is sometimes equated with the Island of Avalon, an association that is bolstered by the fact that the marshy lands of the region made Glastonbury virtually an island in its early history. The site of a medieval abbey and perhaps a sacred site even before the coming of Christ...

Sir Galahad Beholds the Sangreal Uncovered

In the thirteenth-century Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal, Sarras is said to be the city from which the first Saracens came. It is also the name of the kingdom ruled by Evalach (who later takes the Christian name Mordrain). In the Queste and in Malory’s Morte d'Arthur, Galahad, Perceval, and Bors travel in a ship with the Grail to Sarras. Eventually, Galahad is made king of Sarras; but a...

Tintagel

According to Geoffrey of Monmouth and the chronicle tradition he inspires, Malory, and numerous other authors, Tintagel is the invincible castle where Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, secures his wife Igraine from the advances of Uther Pendragon. It is there that she conceives Arthur when Uther, changed into Gorlois’s form by the magic of Merlin, enters the castle and impregnates her. In a number ...