Despite centuries of disagreement, historians have been unable to authenticate Arthur's existence. By presenting Arthur's hunt for the enigmatic Holy Grail, the French poet Chretien de Troyes gave Arthur's quest a spiritual motivation. However, some later writers took this idea further, saying that the Grail was actually blood from Christ's wound at his crucifixion. This addition made Arthur a kind of Christian hero. It is this version that has most influenced later authors.
It is generally accepted that parts of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table exist in fact, but not all parts. There are various characters called Arthur, some being more famous than others. The earliest written account of Arthur's life comes from Geoffrey of Monmouth in 1136. He based his work on earlier writings by Gildas and Nennius. Although now considered a medieval writer, Geoffrey's work had a great influence on later authors. He told the story of how Arthur came to be king over both Britons and Gauls, with him being born in Britain and raised there until the age of 18. At that time he went to fight the Saxons but was soon persuaded to become king instead.
Geoffrey claimed that Arthur was a real person who had lived around 500 AD. He said that Arthur was the son of Uther Pendragon and Igraine, both of whom were alive when they first married.
King Arthur, the mythological literary figure, was reported to lead large spiritual excursions in pursuit of the enigmatic artifact. According to legend, the Grail has the ability to cure all wounds, bestow perpetual youth, and grant everlasting bliss. The quest for the Grail is at the heart of many popular stories, including those told about Charlemagne, Lohengrin, and Percival.
The Holy Grail is thought to be a reference to Jesus' cup, which was used during the Last Supper to give him wine to drink. As he drank it, it is said that his disciples will always thirst for justice, peace, and love. Because Christianity believes that Jesus rose from the dead to save mankind, the search for the Holy Grail also symbolizes a desire to find eternal life.
In modern times, the name "Holy Grail" has been adopted by fans of Arthurian literature as an acronym for the title of some novels: "H" is for "Harry Potter", the series of children's books written by J K Rowling. "G" stands for "Game of Thrones", another series of books that have become a worldwide phenomenon. "R" is the name of one novel in the series.
The term "Grailcyne" originates from late 13th century England when it was first used to describe the pursuit of the Holy Grail.
What is the origin of the legend of the Holy Grail? The hunt for the grail, a mystery vessel associated to the Passion of Christ [the tale of Jesus Christ's arrest, trial, suffering, and final crucifixion], was the most difficult undertaking accomplished by Arthur's knights. Legend has it that the grail could cure any disease or evil, but it could also grant its possessor eternal life if he took it with him when he died.
In actual fact, there are no historical records confirming that King Arthur ever existed. However, the stories about him are so popular that it is hard to imagine our history without him. So we can say that he played an important role in promoting Britain's presence in other countries through his soldiers.
As for his quest for the holy grail, this story appears in several medieval texts including "Le grand livre de romans" (The great book of romances) by Jean Renart. It tells how King Arthur's body was brought back to Britain after his death at the battle of Mount Badon. At his request, his closest friends and warriors hunted down the grail while he was alive. They failed to find it, but they did succeed in bringing back proof of his royal blood: three drops of his blood taken from his chest during his autopsy. With these proofs, they were able to convince all of England that King Arthur was still alive.
Though Arthur was not a real person, his fabled authority became greater as the ages passed.
Arthur and his entourage appear in several of Marie de France's Lais, but it was the work of another French poet, Chretien de Troyes, who had the most effect on the development of Arthur's persona and mythology. Between 1170 and 1190, Chretien authored five Arthurian tales. The first four stories were included in a book published in 1179 and called Ystoire del Saint Conte d'Angeleroche. They can be read online here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16208/16208-h/16208-h.htm.
Chretien was an accomplished writer and musician who traveled around northern Europe performing his works. He may have even met with King Henry II of England when he came to France to marry Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152. The fifth story, which isn't available online, was probably written for the wedding banquet after which Chretien returned home. His audience must have enjoyed his stories so much that they asked him to continue writing about Arthur. So beginning in 1191, Chretien wrote two more tales for publication in an anthology called Le Conte du Gauifre. These eight stories are known as la Geste (The Tale).
In addition to writing stories, Chretien also composed music for his works. One of his poems was set to music by Guillaume de Machaut. Another poem was set to music by Richard de Bury.
The King Arthur legend connected Christianity, the Crusades, and the quest for the Holy Grail. Any 'evidence' of their genealogy to ancient monarchs, such as King Arthur, offered justification for the sovereignty of Middle Ages kings. The stories also served to unite a country divided by religion and politics.
Modern scholars believe that much of what we know about the early years of King Arthur's life is fictionalized versions of actual events. However, they also believe that there was a real person behind the tales who has been interpreted in different ways by historians. The most famous example is Charlemagne, who may have inspired some of the more heroic aspects of King Arthur's story.
Scholars estimate that the first written accounts of King Arthur's life appeared around 1150. Before then, he existed only in folklore. The earliest manuscripts used to create these histories were likely composed by men interested in promoting themselves or their causes. As time passed, however, more objective historians began to write about King Arthur, sometimes adding detail from other sources but often simply recording what others had said about him. By the 15th century, King Arthur had become one of the most well-known figures in English history.
After the conquest of Normandy in 1066, William the Conqueror brought many Norman nobles with him when he moved to London.