Arthurian Legend is an amalgamation from the several diverse creative impulses which originated from a historical 6th century Welsh king infused with Ancient Celtic mythos. The orally transferred tales of the enigmatic Celt people is the original source from which the modern Arthurian Legend derives. The first recorded appearance for the Celts appears in Greek texts in 500 BC. However, these ancient peoples originating from Central Europe existed over 3000 years ago (approximately 1200 BC). Powerful warriors who recognized no central government, the Celts were a mystical and complex society composed of various tribes. Filled with mighty kings, exploits of valiant warriors, supernatural power and rife with magic, the Arthurian Legend contains what survives of the lore from the legendary Celts. Preserved for over a thousand years in the telling and retelling of the tale, the Arthurian Legend and its fantastical characters are a culturally rich story which continues to be treasured by many countries today. Beginning in poetic form and transitioning to romantic prose, the Arthurian Legend has been retold more than any other legend on earth, with the exception of Santa Claus. Many writers inspired by the legends, continued to retell the historical tale throughout the centuries adding in their own creative impulses creating their own versions for the Arthurian tales. For instance, Arthurian Britain is the setting for the immensely popular Arthurian tale, Tom Thumb. The tale about the mouse size boy was initially recorded in chapbooks and later through Henry Fielding's political plays. Geoffrey's Historia Regum Britanniae “Matter of Britain”, though not the first evidence of Arthurian Legend on the European continent, was the most significant in centering King Arthur's role in the 12th century Arthurian story. The Latin writings of Geoffrey's manuscripts were highly influential upon the legend's medieval development, as well as serving as a historical framework and elemental design from which subsequent tales borrowed. The Poems France's famed poet, Chrétien de Troyes, contributed 5 Arthurian romances from 1170 to 1190. His courtly love tales, “Cligès” and “Erec and Enide“, shifts the focus away from the Welsh hero, Galfidian Arthur, and onto the Arthurian court. “Yvain, the Knight of the Lion” further weakens Arthur's prominence, featuring the supernatural adventures of Gawain and Yvain. “Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart” is considered one of the most developmentally significant writings in the Arthurian Legend. Here, we are introduced to Lancelot, a handsome Knight, who engages in an adulterous affair with King Arthur's wife, Queen Guinevere. Continuing the marginalizing effect upon the role of Arthur in the legends,”Perceval, the Story of the Grail” introduces readers to the Fisher King and the Holy Grail became very popular. Four distinct continuations for the unfinished poem over the next century by writers, like Robert de Boron, developed the Holy Grail notion and the quest for its attainment. These poetic diversions originating from the Arthurian Legend accelerated Arthur's decline in continental romances. Chrétien strongly impacted the Arthurian Legend elaboration and the diffusive form for the legend's establishment in the world. The Vulgates Continental Arthurian romances was expressed mainly in the form of poems until 1210. After this date, the Arthurian tales were expressed in prose. The Lancelot-Grail Cycle or the Vulgate Cycle, a 5 part series in Middle French, was the most influential in the prose Arthurian romances during the 13th century. Prose Lancelot or “the Lancelot propre” composed 50% of the Vulgate Cycle, by itself. The “Estoire del Saint Grail”, “the Queste del Saint Graal”, “the Estoire de Merlin”, and “the Mort Artu” make up the remaining four works in the series. The 5 works comprising the Vulgate Cycle were the first coherent and comprehensive version detailing the full Arthurian Legend. The Vulgate Cycle continues reduction for Arthur's significance in the legends mainly through introducing Galahad and expanding Merlin's role. The character Mordred also comes on the Arthurian scene, resulting from Arthur's incestuous relationship with his sister. Camelot becomes established as the primary court for the Arthurian tales. The French prose romances of the Post-Vulgate Cycle (1230-1240) further reduced Arthur's role in his own legend and instead, focused on the quest for the Holy Grail. “the Suite du Merlin” is one of the works from this Vulgate. The medieval Arthurian cycle features the 'Arthur of Romance' character which was developed during the late 15th century through Thomas Malory's single book retelling of the legend in English. Attempting to create an authoritative and comprehensive Arthurian Legends collection, Malory's book was based on the previous Vulgate Cycle romance versions. With the last printing for Malory's Arthurian version in 1684, the Arthurian Legend would remain largely buried for nearly 200 years. Medievalism, Gothic Revival, and Romanticism re-ignited the fire for the Arthurian romances. Chivalric ideals embodied in the legends served as a ethical guidepost for the gentlemen in the early 19th century. The reprinting of Malory's “Le Morte d'Arthur” in 1816 rejuvenated interest in the legend and became especially interesting to poetic influences. In 1859, “Idylls of the King” by Alfred Lord Tennyson recreated a Victorian era narrative for Arthur's life. Tennyson's rework portrayed Arthur as an ideal man who utterly fails in his attempts to establish a utopian kingdom on earth due to human weakness. The Idylls generated much interest in the public, prompting the 1862 republishing of Malory's Arthurian compilations and a plethora of Arthurian imitators. Arthurian Legend Character Names Arthurian names derive from the numerous characters created in the Arthurian Legend's poetic retellings and prose Vulgate versions by various European writers. Many cultural influences, time periods, and geographical regions have used these legendary names from the Arthurian Legend creation and continue onto this very day. Arthur The name Arthur comes from the combination of two Celtic name elements artos (meaning “bear”) and either rigos (“king”) or viros (“man”). The name was used generally during the Middle Ages in England mainly due to the Arthurian romance prevalence and enjoyed resurgent popularity again during the 19th century. Famous name bearers include: Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) creator of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Schopenhaur (1788-1860) a German philosopher, and the great late sci-fi writer, Authur C. Clarke (1917-2008). Isolde The legendary Irish princess who was the lover of Tristan in Arthurian legend. Bethroed to King Mark of Cornwall, Isolde falls in love with his knight. Isolde & Tristan were the tragic couple of the mainstream Middle Ages, the medieval Romeo & Juliet. Morgen Geoffrey of Monmouth's contributions to Arthurian legend, particularly “Vita Merlini”, refers to the name Morgen as the Avalon ruler. Breton myths depict a Morgan le Faywhich may be connected to Geoffrey's name. The legend for the Morgens remains preserved throughout the British countryside and SW England. All tales associate the name with the modern mythical mermaid stories which describe a beautiful top-half woman and bottom-half fish seducing men, especially sailors, with their alluring beauty and delivering their captives to a sea of death. Known by many names including, Morgan le Faye, Morgana, Morgaine, and Morgane, Morgan's later appearance in Arthurian Legends expand her role as a powerful sorceress and magician or fay. Igraine, Gorlois, Uther, and Urien 13th century expanded Morgan's role in the Vulgate Cycle's legend Lancelot-Grail and subsequent stories. The youngest daughter of Igraine and Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, she is placed into a convent when her mother marries her father's killer, Uther Pendragon. Left in seclusion to deal with her pain and anger, Morgan finds reprieve in studying magic. Her studies are disturbed when she is married off to Uther's ally Urien. Expelled from the court by young Guinevere due to her infidelity through numerous random affairs with young men, Morgan picks up her magical studies mentored by Merlin. With vengeful passion, she utilizes her skills to foil the Knights of King Authur, particularly Sir Lancelot, Guinevere's lover. Guinevere & Lancelot The sorceress Morgan is the deliverer of a drinking horn to Arthur's court in the “Prose Tristan”. The horn, bewitched by magic to spill when an unfaithful lady attempts to drink from it, was another attempt to expose the infidelity between Guinevere & Lancelot. “The Green Knight” and “Sir Gawain” conclude revealing Morgan's instigation in the supernatural events in order to scare Guinevere and test the Arthur & his Knights. Accolon Morgan is later portrayed in Post-Vulgate Cycles by Thomas Malory's book, “Le Morte d'Arthur”. Malory's depiction extends her role as a menacing, yet powerful antagonist to her half brother, Arthur (son of Uther & Igraine),seeking his demise through mortal and magic means. Her most famous attempt is recorded as convincing Accolon, one of her lovers, to steal the Excalibur sword and killArthur with it in battle. When her plot is unsuccessful, Morgan plunges the protective sword into a lake. Dane Ogier Morgan le Fay is a prominent character during the Late & High Middle Ages in the Arthurian and Charlemagne legends. The latter legends associate le Fay with the Dane Ogier who she brings into coming into her mystical island palace built below the sea to be her lover for the evening. The palace is protected from the waters by a wall and door which can only be opened by a key her father wears around his neck. According to legend, the righteous Ogier convinces the wine bibbed Morgan to get the key. He opens the door during a vicious storm which destroys the immoral playground burying le Fay in the sea, but gallantly saves her father on horseback. Oberon Morgan is also the mother of Oberon, the fairy king, by her lover, Julius Caesar, in the “Chanson de geste of Huon de Bordeaux.” Merlin This mighty wizard and wise prophet who perfectly conforms to the ancient Celtic archetype for a great Druid. A monk, Nennius, developed the first character which was later inserted into Geoffrey's developing Arthurian Legend. The character, Lailoken, was the original Welsh depiction of a man driven mad during battle who flees to the woods living among the wild beasts. Lailoken receives the gift of prophecy. Myrddin is the Welsh continuation of the tradition recorded in many poems from 600 AD. Geoffrey's name translation into Merlin, places this quirky wizard as the most dominant Celtic element and loved character in the entire Arthurian Legend. King Arthur, his Knights of the Round Table, and the many magical characters from these ancient legends maintain a sturdy place in Celtic history, British history, French literature, and in the hearts of many around the world.