The tales of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table have captured the imagination of many for centuries. Few around the world have not at least heard the name of England’s legendary king. But where did Arthur come from and how was his famed Round Table of gallant heroes formed?
The Legends of King Arthur Diploma Course aims to answer those questions and more. In it, you will not only explore some of the most significant tales associated with the Arthurian literary tradition, but you will also be introduced to their historical foundations.
Beginning with the question, ‘Who was King Arthur?’, the course explores the historical context of the Arthurian legends and King Arthur’s relationship with English identity. We’ll examine the development of the Arthurian legend in Latin, French, German and English literature, highlighting key works.
It’s then onto the characters and stories that make Arthurian legends so compelling. We’ll explore the varying origin stories of the magical sword, Excalibur, and how the motif of the Quest for the Grail developed over centuries.
We’ll look into Merlin the magician’s life and involvement with Arthur, before the course takes us to the city of Camelot, where you’ll meet the Knights of the Round Table, including one of Arthur’s most noble knights, Sir Gawain. You’ll also be confronted by Morgan Le Fay, who went from healer to counter-hero.
The course explains how the love affair between Lancelot and Queen Guinevere came about and how it led to war between the Knights of the Round Table. We’ll also look into Mordred and his betrayal of Arthur.
Finally, we’ll consider the death of King Arthur – exploring the various tellings of how it happened and what occurred afterwards. We’ll also examine the legacy these fascinating legends have left and the reasons why they remain so popular.
By studying this course, you will:
- Become more familiar with the life of King Arthur and the development of the main Arthurian legends
- Know how the Arthurian legends reflected different stages of medieval culture and society
- Become more familiar with the legends’ main characters including Merlin the Magician, Morgan Le Fay, Lancelot, Guinevere, Sir Gawain and Sir Mordred
- Understand the concepts of chivalry and courtly love
- Become aware of the influence religion had on the Arthurian tradition
- Know the story of the Quest for the Holy Grail
- Have a greater understanding of how Lancelot and Guinevere’s love affair caused the downfall of the Round Table