Lancelot

Lancelot is known as the noblest knight of the Round Table and Arthur's best friend. But he became more famous because of his relationship with Guinevere, Arthur's wife.

Lancelot appears for the first time in the romances of Chretien de Troyes.

He was first mentioned in Eric and Enid ' and appears briefly in Clings when he is defeated by the hero of this story in a tournament. In Chretien's third work Lancelot is the hero and he and Guinevere become lovers for the first time.

After Chretien's romances the story of Lancelot and Guinevere became the most popular Arthurian tale. Through time, this story became heavily influenced by the tale of Tristan and Isolde.

Lancelot isn't mentioned in the story of the Holy Grail till de anonymous novel Le Haut Livre du Graal wherein he, Percival and Gawain are the main characters. Lancelot is also one of the main characters of The Vulgate Cycle .

Lancelot was not only a popular person to write about in England and France, there were stories about him all over Europe. For example he is a main character in a German poem: Ulrich von Zatzikhoven's Lanzelet .

A lot of tales tell that Lancelot was raised by a fairy who later turned into the Lady of the Lake (origins from an Anglo-Norman romance). When his father (king Ban) died of grief of the loss of his kingdom and his mother (Elaine) became a nun, Lancelot stayed with the Lady of the Lake till he was old enough to be a knight1.

Almost every knight fought for honour and out of loyalty to his king, but Lancelot fought for love, his never ending love for Guinevere.

The basic story of Lancelot's love2

Lancelot was in love with Guinevere and she loved him back. But Lancelot pushesdGuinevere away, because of his loyalty to Arthur. But Guinevere kept holding on. When Elaine, the fair maid of Astolat, fell in love with Lancelot, Guinevere got very jealous of her. Lancelot told Elaine that he could never marry her and she died of a broken heart.

A few years later another Elaine(of Corbenic) fell in love with Lancelot and got him to spend the night with her, with the help of a magic spell. This magic made him believe that she was Guinevere. Out of this night Galahad was born, Lancelot's only known son. But this was just a one night stand and his relationship with Guinevere just went on.

At last Mordred forced the scandal into the open. Since the queen's adultery counted as treason, Arthur had to sentence her to be burned at the stake. Lancelot arrived with a group of armed man and rescued her, but the fight between his followers and the king's knights was the beginning of the break-up of the Round Table. After Arthur passed away, Guinevere retired to a convent at Amesbury, and Lancelot leaved her with grief and settled near Glastonbury as a hermit