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Round Table


Made by Merlin at Carduel for Uter Pendragon. Uter gave it to King Leodegraunce, of Camelyard, and King Leodegraunce gave it to Arthur when the latter married Guinever, his daughter. It seated 150 knights, and a place was left in it for the San Graal.

What is usually meant by Arthur’s Round Table is a smaller one for the accommodation of twelve favourite knights. Henry VIII. showed François I. the table at Winchester, which he said was the one used by the British king.

The Round Table, says Dr. Percy, was not peculiar to the reign of King Arthur, but was common in all the ages of chivalry. Thus the King of Ireland, father of the fair Christabelle, says in the ballad

“Is there never a knighte of my round tablë This matter will undergo?”

Round Table. In the eighth year of Edward I., Roger de Mortimer established a Round Table at Kenilworth for “the encouragement of military pastimes.” At this foundation 100 knights and as many ladies were entertained at the founder’s expense. About seventy years later, Edward III. erected a splendid table at Windsor. It was 200 feet in diameter, and the expense of entertaining the knights thereof amounted to £100 a week.

A round table. A tournament. “So called by reason that the place wherein they practised those feats was environed with a strong wall made in a round form” (Dugdale). We still talk of table-land.

Holding a round table. Proclaiming or holding a grand tournament. Matthew of Paris frequently calls justs and tournaments Hastiluʹdia Mensæ Rotundæ (lance games of the Round Table).

Knights of the Round Table. There were 150 knights who had “sieges” at the table. King Leodegraunce brought over 100 when, at the wedding of his daughter Guinever, he gave the table to King Arthur; Merlin filled up twenty-eight of the vacant seats, and the king elected Gawaine and Tor; the remaining twenty were left for those who might prove worthy. (History of Prince Arthur, 45, 46.)

Knights of the Round Table. The most celebrated are Sirs Acolon,* Agʹravain, Amʹoral of Wales, Ballʹamore,* Banier, Beaumans,* Beleoʹbus,* Bevidere, Belvour,* Bersunt,* Bliomʹberis, Borro or Bors* (Arthur’s natural son), Brandiles, Brunor, Caradoc the Chaste (the only knight who could quaff the golden cup), Colʹgrevance, Dinʹadam, Driam, Dodynas the Savage, Eric, Floll,* Galahad or Galaad the Modest,* Gareth,* Gaheris,* Galohalt,* Gawain or Gauwin the Gentle* (Arthur’s nephew), Grislet,* Hector of Mares (1 syl.) or Ector of Marys,* Iwein or Ewaine* (also written Yvain), Kay,* Ladynas, Lamereck or Lamerock,* Lancelot or Launcelot du Lac* (the seducer of Arthur’s wife), Lanval of the Fairy Lance, Lavain, Lionell,* Lucan, Marhaus,* Meliaʹdus, Mordred the Traitor (Arthur’s nephew), Morolt or Morhault of the Iron Mace, Pagʹinet,* Palamede or Palameʹdēs,* Pharʹamond. Pellʹeas,* Pellʹinore, Persuant of Inde (meaning of the indigo or blue armour), Perʹcivall,* Peredur, Ryence, Sagʹramour le Desirus, Saʹgris,* Superʹbilis,* Tor or Torres* (reputed son of Ariēs the cowherd), Tristram or Tristran the Love-lorn,* Turʹquine,* Wigʹalois, Wigʹamor, Ywain (See Iwein).

⁂ The thirty marked with a star (*) are seated with Prince Arthur at the Round Table, in the frontispiece of the Famous History of the Renowned Prince Arthur.


“There Galaad sat with manly grace,

Yet maiden meekness in his face;

There Morolt of the iron mace,

And love-lorn Tristrem there;

And Dinadam with lively glance,

And Lanval with the fairy lance,

And Mordred with his looks askance,

Brunor and Bevidere.

Why should I tell of numbers more?

Sir Cay, Sir Banier, and Sir Bore,

Sir Caradoc the keen,

The gentle Gawain’s courteous lore,

Hector de Mares, and Pellinore,

And Lancelot, that evermore

Looked stolʹn-wise on the queen.”

Sir Walter Scott: Bridal of Triermain, ii. 13.

Knights of the Round Table. Their chief exploits occurred in quest of the San Graal or Holy Cup, brought to Britain by Joseph of Arimatheʹa.

Harcourt’s Round Table. (See Harcourt’s …)


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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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Rough and Ready
Roughs (The)
Round (To)
Round Dealing
Round Numbers (In)
Round Peg
Round Robin
Round Sum
Round Table
Round as a Ball;
Roundabout (A)
Rouse (A)
Rout (A)