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Knights of the Round Table

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King Arthur’s knights, so called from the large circular table round which they sat. The table was circular to prevent any heart-sore about precedency. The number of these knights is variously given. The popular notion is that they were twelve; several authorities say there were forty; but the History of Prince Arthur states that the table was made to accommodate 150. King Leodegraunce, who gave Arthur the table on his wedding-day, sent him also 100 knights, Merlin furnished twenty-eight, Arthur himself added two, and twenty “sieges” were left to reward merit (chaps. xlv., xlvi.). These knights went forth into all countries in quest of adventures. The most noted are—

Sir Acolon, Ballamore, Beauʹmaris, Beleobus, Belvoure, Bersunt, Bors, Ector, Eric, Ewain, Floll, Gaʹheris, Galʹahad, Galʹohalt, Gareth, Gauʹriel, Gawain or Ywain, Grislet, Kay, Lamerock, Launcelot du Lac, Lionell, Marhaus, Palamide, Paʹquinet, Pelʹleas, Perʹedur or Perʹceval, Sagris, Superabʹilis, Tor, Tristam or Tristan de Leʹonnais, Turquine, Wigʹalois, Wigʹamur, etc., etc.

⁂ A list of the knights and a description of their armour is given in the Theatre of Honour by Andrew Fairne (1622). According to this list, the number was 151; but in Lancelot of the Lake (vol. ii. p. 81), they are said to have amounted to 250.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Knights of the Round Table