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Perhaps one of the greatest epics of all time is the story of King Arthur, his Knights of the Round Table and the quest for the Holy Grail. Though the story is believed to be a work of fiction written at the end of the 12th Century by a gifted poet named Chreitien de Troyes, there has been some historical evidence that vaguely hints at some elements of truth.
During the height of the Roman Empire for example, there was a well respected and brave General named Arturius. His most trusted commander was a man named Lancella. Though there is nothing concrete to relate these names as mistranslations of Arthur and Lancelot, other similarities appear. General Arturius preferred to carry a round shield which was uncommon during his day. The standard and most effective shield was a rectangualr issue. Perhaps this is where an idea of a "round" table came from.
Bringing the Arthurian Legend into the day and age when it was written we find religious symbolism throughout the story. Again the mention of the "round" table can be possibly traced to the religious significance of a ring or circle. As in a wedding ring (which symbolizes eternity), thus the round table has ties to the eternal quest and pursuit of serving God.
Though no direct evidence has been found of Camelot, other archaelogical discoveries have been made that lend some interesting theories. In the 1920s in England, the remains of a mote and bailey castle were unearthed in Southern England. Historical documents proved that a castle did stand on that very site by the name of "Cadbury Castle". The remains of Cadbury Castle fit distinctive features that were mentioned in relation to Camelot. Though this may be complete coincidence, one must examine the facts presented for Glastonbury Tor, the presumed site of Avalon which is assumed to be the final resting place of King Arthur. The location is detailed geographically and by landmarks and features that remain to this day. Though the site was present at the time the epic was written, these facts may again be given to coincidence.
Though the story is well worth reading one may wish to keep an objective opinion. Obviously some feats and actions of the story are pure fiction but one must wonder if the characters stemmed from any real people who may have lived.
The theme of Excalibur (the sword King Arthur removed from the stone) rising from the Lake, can also be traced back to religious material in the tale of the Sword of David. Solomon's wife put the weapon in a ship she had built and set afloat. Some sources indicate that the ship sank during a storm only to have the sword arise from the sea and find its way into the hands of Dindraine, Perceval's sister, which are figures from mythology.
In any case, the legend has remained alive and magical for over 900 years and has become the tale most associated with Chivalry and Knights.

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