Brian Edward Rise
(Launcelot)- named du Lac ("of the Lake"). Undoubtedly the
most famous of the Knights
of the Round Table.
outwardly a model of chivalry, he is an internally torn
and ultimately flawed being. He does not appear in any Welsh
material nor in Geoffrey of Monmouth and no convincing model
He may have derived from Irish or Breton myth. He is first
introduced by Chrétien de Troyes and substantially enlarged
by the Vulgate cycle. Malory furthers his prominence.
is the son of the King of Benoic, Ban. He is carried away
from this province of western France, by the Lady
of the Lake. She raises him and presents him to Arthur's
court upon his eighteenth birthday.
marshall prowess and inward nobility are soon apprehended
by all. When not on the Quest, he meets with the Round Table
and participates in the tournaments, often victoriously.
makes his home the northern castle of Joyous Gard, possibly
Bamburgh, at the location of a British fort named Din Guayrdi.
his most recognizable role is that of paramour to Arthur's
queen, Guinevere. Though the
Queen's treatment of him at court is aloof and disdainful,
according to the tenets of courtly love, their love runs
deep and is lasting, though stormy at times.
love is also integral to Grail legend. While Lancelot is
the guest of the Grail-keeper Pelles, Pelles contrives magically
to have the knight sleep with his daughter Elaine in the
guise of the Queen, whom he has led Lancelot to believe
is in the area. Lancelot sleeps with Elaine and the result
of their union is Galahad, the chosen Grail-knight.
reaching manhood, Galahad comes to court and many knights
set forth on the Quest for the Grail. Lancelot himself is
denied the Grail because of his adultery. Ironically however,
it is that love that conceived the knight that attains the
love affair with the Queen is not unknown to the court who
observe a silence on the subject until it is forced into
the open by Mordred and Agravain.
Arthur is forced to order the Queen's execution, for her
infidelity is tantamount to treason. The attempt is made
at Carlisle according to Malory.
and his men charge in to rescue her. In the ensuing fight,
many knights are killed and Lancelot slays Gareth, the youngest
brother to Gawain. Lancelot then carries the Queen off to
Joyous Gard. This effectively splits the Round Table and,
while the Queen is returned to her husband, Lancelot leaves
with his followers to found a rival court in France.
pursues with an army but peace is never restored. Gawain
overtly foils attempts at armistice due to his hatred of
Lancelot for killing his brother. Arthur returns home upon
Mordred's revolt and after Gawain dies, a reconciliation
becomes possible. Lancelot arrives too late, after the final
battle and the departure of the King.
errant knight takes his leave of the penitent Queen and
retires to the hermitage in Glastonbury with the other survivors
where he dies after paying for his sins. His body is removed
to Joyous Gard for entombment.
(see Sources), please visit
their site for much more!
Arthurian legend, Lancelot,
left, is one of King Arthur's
fiercest warriors. But when Arthur discovers that
his wife, Queen Guinevere,
has been having a love affair with Lancelot, the
king and the knight become bitter enemies.
Nationale, Paris, France/Bridgeman Art Library,
Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2001 http://encarta.msn.com
© 1997-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.