Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Why the Round Table is Round

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With thanks to Aleman Public Relations

We’re knights of the Round Table/ We dance when e’er we’re able/ We do routines and chorus scenes/ With footwork impecc-able./ We dine well here in Camelot/ We eat ham and jam and spam a lot./ We’re knights of the Round Table.
-Lyrics from the Spamalot song, “Knights of The Round Table” …

Like most legendary knights, King Arthur’s knight were men of courage, honor, dignity, courtesy and nobleness. They protected damsels from distress, honored and fought bravely for their king. They undertook dangerous quests like the search for The Holy Grail in Spamalot.

According to www.timelessmyths.com, these knights were usually of noble birth, who formed the backbone of the army because they were the only soldiers who could afford expensive armor and weapons, as well as the cost of training and maintaining a war-horse. When the knights attended a festival or council at the king’s main hall, those who sat at the head of the table, usually had precedence over others. These knights would feel envy and jealousy toward those of higher rank, sometimes leading to fights over who would take the seatat the head of the table.

To resolve these problems, legend has it the wise King Arthur resorted to having his table constructed in a rounded shape.The ingenuity of this design was a very simple way to foster equality. No onewould have precedence over others. The knights in Arthur’s company became knownas the “Knights of the Round Table.”

Another reason, this one religious, according to www.kingarthurknights.com,is that Arthur felt that “The Round Table was illustrative of the Eternity of God, the equality, unity, and comradeship of the Order, the singleness of purpose of all Knights.” In Arthur’s eyes, all his Knights were equals.

To ensure that the Knights of The Round Table lived and fought to the highest Order of Chivalry at the Court of King Arthur,the Knights were required to follow a strict code of honor and services.According Giovanni Boccaccio in his “De Casibus Virorum Illustrium” there were rules for the Knights to follow.
They were: (1) to never lay down arms; (2) to seek after wonders; (3) when called upon, to defend the rights of the weak with all one’s strength; (4) to injure no one; (5) not to attack one another; (6) to fight for the safety of one’s country;(7) to give one’s life for one’s country;(8) to seek nothing before honor; (9)never to break faith for any reason;(10) to practice religion most diligently; (11) to grant hospitality to anyone, each according to his ability; (12) whether in honor or disgrace, to make a report with the greatest fidelity to truth to those who keep the annals.

These were great men who have been kept alive through many stories, poems, movies, plays and now Monty Python’s Spamalot.

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