Arthur's Round Table
The story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is part of British folk history. He was a powerful king with a magical sword, Excalibur, and a group of loyal soldiers, called knights. But did he really exist?
Read this text about Arthur, then try the vocabulary exercise below. The exercise is based on the meanings of the words in bold.
Many places in England, particularly in the south and west, claim connections
with King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Yet even today, with all
the tools of modern archaeology, it’s still impossible to know whether
such a king existed, or whether his story is simply a legend.
Certainly there are historical references to a leader called Arthur, who lived
around the end of the fifth century. He had already become something of a folk
hero by the ninth century as a warrior king. But none of the information
that has come down to us is very reliable.What is certain is that the
ideas of honour and chivalry that we associate with King Arthur were not much
in evidence in that period of British history, rightly known as the Dark Ages.
yet Arthur’s Round Table exists - in Winchester. It is inside the magnificent
Great Hall, the only part of the former Winchester Castle that remains
intact. Although the table once had twelve legs, has a diameter
of 18 feet (5.4 metres) and weighs nearly one and a half tons, it has
hung on the wall for centuries. It has this inscription:
is the round table of Arthur with 24 of his named knights."
tests have shown that is unlikely. The table was made at some time
between 1250 and 1280 - about thirty years after the Hall itself was built.
The table was painted (or, just possibly, re-painted) in 1520, on the
instructions of King Henry VIII. Indeed, there are those who say that
the face of the king painted on the table could easily be a likeness of
the young Henry - a piece of flattery by a court painter, rather
than a portrait of an Arthur who may, after all, never have existed.
Exercise - Vocabulary
Look at the definitions below. Each one is for a word in bold
in the text. Choose the word or expression from the list on the right
which matches the definition.
Links for more information
Hall and Round Table - More information about the Great Hall in Winchester
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