In the pseudo-chronicles, the Historia of Geoffrey and the translations by Wace and Layamon, Lancelot does not appear at all; the queen's lover, whose guilty passion is fully returned, is Mordred.
In the next century the influence of Geoffrey is unmistakably attested by the Brut of Layamon, and the rhyming English chronicle of Robert of Gloucester.
Geoffrey of Monmouth makes no mention of it, and the earliest record is that of Wace, much expanded by his translator, Layamon, who gives a picturesque detailed description of the fight for precedence which took place at Arthur's board on a certain Yuletide day, and the slaughter which ensued.
When the founding of the Round Table is ascribed to Merlin it is generally in close connexion with the Grail legend, forming the last of a series of three, founded in honour of the Trinity - the first being the table of the Last Supper, the second that of the Grail, established by Joseph of Arimathea, The number of knights whom the table will seat varies; it might seat twelve or fifty or a hundred and fifty; nowhere, save in Layamon, do we find a practically unlimited power of accommodation.
Thus Layamon's table can seat an indefinite number, and yet it can be carried by Arthur when he rides abroad.
On closely examining Layamon's version it seems probable that he had in his mind not merely a circular, but a turning table; he gives it as ground for the quarrel that all the knights wished to sit within; at the table the Cornish workman will make none shall be left without, but they shall sit "without and within, man against man."
It is difficult to explain this phrasing in any other hypothesis than that Layamon pictured to himself Arthur's hall as open on one side, and that, on a great feast-day, owing to the number of guests, the table extended beyond the covering afforded by the roof.
This would make the Round Table analogous to the turning castles which we frequently meet with in romances; and while explaining the peculiarities of Layamon's text, would make it additionally probable that he was dealing with an earlier tradition of folklore character, a tradition which was probably also familiar to Wace, whose version, though much more condensed than Layamon's, is yet in substantial harmony with this latter.
74-76) Layamon, Brut, ed.
We find that at Arthur's birth (according to Layamon, who here differs from Wace), three ladies appeared and prophesied his future greatness.
by Leroux de Lincey); Layamon (ed.
Layamon, who in his translation of Wace treats his original much as Wace treated Geoffrey, says that there was a tradition that she had drowned herself, and that her memory and that of Mordred were hateful in every land, so that none would offer prayer for their souls.
This is a free version of the Latin Historia Britonum by Geoffrey of Monmouth, in rhyming octosyllables; it was rendered into English, shortly after 1200, by Layamon, a masspriest of Worcestershire, and is also largely used in the rhymed English chronicle of Robert Mannyng.
In its literary form the cycle falls into three groups: - pseudohistoric: the Histories of Nennius and Geoffrey, the Brut of Wace and Layamon (see Arthur); poetic: the works of Chretien de Troyes, Thomas, Raoul de Houdenc and others (see Gawain, Perceval, Tristan, and the writers named above); prose: the largest and most important group (see Grail, Lancelot, Merlin, Tristan).
The word usage examples above have been gathered from various sources to reflect current and historial usage. They do not represent the opinions of YourDictionary.com.