King Arthur


King Arthur is among the most famous literary characters of all time. The Arthurian legend of the Knights of the Round Table, Camelot, the Quest for the Holy Grail, the love affair of Lancelot and Guinevere, and the wizard Merlin have informed and inspired literary, musical, and other major artistic visions for centuries. There have been countless books, major films, operas, television shows, games, toys, plays, and graphic novels either re-telling or inspired by the Arthurian legend which developed in Europe between 1136-1485 CE, was revived in the 19th century CE, and remains popular in the present day.

More about: King Arthur


  • c. 460 CE - c. 560 CE
    Probable dates for historical Arthur, King of the Britons.
  • c. 830 CE
    Welsh Historian Nennius first mentions Arthur as king and hero of Battle of Badon Hill.
  • c. 1095 CE - c. 1143 CE
    Life of historian William of Malmesbury who mentions Arthur as war-chief of Britons, not king.
  • c. 1130 CE - c. 1190 CE
    Life of French Poet Chretien de Troyes who introduces Grail Quest, Lancelot, and other elements to Arthurian Legend; calls sword Escalibur.
  • 1136 CE
    Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain introduces Arthurian Legend and Arthur's sword as Caliburn.
  • c. 1160 CE
    French Poet Wace develops Arthurian Legend further, adds Round Table, calls sword Chaliburn.
  • c. 1170 CE - c. 1220 CE
    Life of German Poet Wolfram von Eschenbach who develops Arthurian Legend in his poem Parzival.
  • c. 1190 CE
    French Poet Robert de Boron develops Arthurian Legend further including Grail Quest, Merlin, Sword in the Stone.
  • c. 1190 CE - c. 1220 CE
    Layamon translates Arthurian Legends into English.
  • c. 1200 CE
    The Welsh Mabinogion influences development of Arthurian Legend.
  • c. 1210 CE
    Gottfried von Strassburg writes Tristan, contributes to Arthurian Legend.
  • c. 1215 CE - c. 1235 CE
    The Vulgate Cycle of the Arthurian Legend composed in English Prose; Arthur's sword is Excalibur.
  • c. 1469 CE
    Sir Thomas Malory composes Le Morte D'Arthur, definitive version of Arthurian Legend including Excalibur as the king's sword.
  • 1485 CE
    Le Morte D'Arthur published by William Caxton, becomes instant best-seller popularizing Arthurian Legend.