We all probably know the legend of King Arthur Pendragon and of his mythical sword Excalibur because he is among the most famous literary characters of all time, but what do British people think about him and this iconic saga? Well, about 70% of British citizens feel they are represented by the King himself and his magical sword that embodies Arthur’s kingship and shows the power of Britain itself. As a matter of fact, Arthur and Excalibur are a symbol for Great Britain and for the whole British culture: lots of scripts that were found in some ruins confirm that Arthur and the whole Pendragon family were celebrated in England, Scotland and Wales.
King Arthur can be considered as an ‘inspiring’ figure: he usually represents intelligence, honesty, moral integrity and courage. He established a kingdom, ruled his castle, Camelot, and brought order and peace to the land based on law, morality and justice. He also founded the Knights of the Round Table, an order where all knights were seated as equals around the table, symbolizing equality and unity. He represents the figure of the perfect monarch who is loyal, brave and a valiant warrior, too: he was and is the people’s king!
The legendary figure of Arthur was probably based on an actual figure but who he might have been is not clear… a great historical warrior named Arthur maybe? I do not know if the king was real or not, but the British are convinced that he actually used to walk and live on that fabulous island exactly like Saint George and Saint Andrew did.
Poets and writers usually described and still describe him like the only merciful king who used to treat prisoners and slaves like free human beings. He also used to bury every single man or woman who had fought with or for him. In the final chapter of The Round Table, named Avalon, before his death Arthur did not even kill a slave who had betrayed the realm of Britannia but he sacrificed himself to save him. Later, he even inspired many kings of Britannia like Aelfred the Great, King Ecgberht of Wessex and Aelle of Northumbria, the king who killed Ragnar Lodtbrok the famous Viking hero who had started the Barbarian Incursion.
What do British people think about all of that, then? We can probably say that for a true British citizen Excalibur and King Arthur are as important as the Queen herself! In the end, may King Arthur be an inspiring figure even today? In my personal opinion…yes he is! I think that we all should keep King Arthur and his honest code of behaviour alive in our hearts and minds because he is a Man for all centuries but especially nowadays we all need virtues and values to prevail!
PHOTO CREDITS MonikaP (Pixabay)
The bronze sculpture by Rubin Eynon on the cliffs of Tintagel, in Cornwall.