Knights of the Round Table
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 twentyeight, 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, Beaumaris, Beleobus, Belvoure, Bersunt, Bors, Ector, Eric, Ewain, Floll, Gaheris, Galahad, Galohalt, Gareth, Gauriel, Gawain or Ywain, Grislet, Kay, Lamerock, Launcelot du Lac, Lionell, Marhaus, Palamide, Paquinet, Pelleas, Peredur or Perceval, Sagris, Superabilis, Tor, Tristam or Tristan de Leonnais, Turquine, Wigalois, Wigamur, 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.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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