The legend of Lancelot as a knight is long and colorful. He’s one of the most popular figures of the Arthurian legend, being one of the members of the Knights of the Round Table. It’s impossible to find a story of King Arthur’s victories without a mention of Lancelot, as he was the most trusted knight of the king especially since he’s played major parts in their victories.
Was Sir Lancelot Just a Myth?
A lot of people will be disappointed to know that he was just a myth. He never really existed, and he’s just a product of the imagination and romantic tendencies of writers.
The Appearances of Sir Lancelot
His first “appearance” was in the work of Chrétien de Troyes in the 12th century. He was first mentioned in the literary work, Erec and Enide, as one of the knights in the court of King Arthur. He wasn’t a prominent figure back then, but he made his presence felt more in Chrétien’s other tale, Cligès. In this tale, he had more than a bit role as one of the main roadblocks in the quest of Cligès.
You’ll have to refer to the tale, Le Chevalier de la Charrette, for the Lancelot that we know today – a protagonist. He was pictured as the most intimidating knight in the court of King Arthur. It was here where he was described as the “perfect” knight, except for the fact that he had an adulterous relationship with the queen, Guinevere.
Sir Lancelot and Christianity
He was considered to have ties with Christianity, as his quests can be tied to man’s journey to salvation and Christ’s journey for the soul of man. He even became the savior of the prisoners of Logres – something decided out of prophesy.
The Adventures of Sir Lancelot
He didn’t have to wait long to be thrown into adventure. He started as an infant, with his parents fleeing from their kingdom. It was here wherein he was taken by the Lady of the Lake, raising the infant Lancelot in her kingdom. This is why he earned the surname du lac or “of the lake”.
The Lady of the Lake sent him off to the court of King Arthur, where he was turned into a knight at the request of Sir Gawain. He immediately went into action, saving the queen who he fell in love with from the grasps of Meleagant, the king’s enemy.
There was also the legend of his encounter with the Copper Knight. He was challenged to fight ten knights along the first wall, and then ten more knights in the next. Afterwards, he was supposed to fight the Copper Knight. After defeating more than what the challenge called for, he found out that the Copper Knight was already gone.
He was then led to a cemetery wherein a slab made of metal was present. There was a legend that there’s just one knight that can lift it, and that knight’s name can be found underneath the slab. Of course, Lancelot lifted the slab, and his name was indeed below the slab. He then called that kingdom his home.