Lancelot

British - Son of Jonaan. Grandfather of Lancelot du Lac. Father of Ban and Bors. In some references, known as Lancelot, Launcelot du Lac or Launcelot du Lac.
British - A Knight of the Round Table. One of the Knights of Battle. Son of King Ban and Elaine. Brother of Galihodin. Father of Galahad and of Blamor and Bleoberis, some say. Besieged by rebellious chieftains, King Ban left his castle to seek help. His pregnant wife also escaped when their treacherous steward let the besiegers into the castle. She found her husband beside a lake where she died giving birth to the boy they would have called Galahad. Ban died of grief at the sight of her dead body. Other versions say they left together and that Ban died when he saw his castle going up in flames and realised that his steward had surrendered to the besiegers. The lake was the home of Nimue who heard the baby's cries and rescued him, raising him with his cousins (in some versions, Lionel and Bors) whom she stole to provide company for the boy she now called Lancelot du Lac. In the Nimue version, when the boys reached manhood she took them all to Britain and set them on the road to Arthur's court at Camelot. Morgan sent the sorceress Hellowes to entrap Lancelot but he used the hilt of his sword as a cross to ward off the evil phantoms she had conjured up. Hellowes, having fallen in love with Lancelot, perished. When he delivered the Castle Dolorous Gard from an evil spell he found there a tomb which bore his name. He took over the castle as his home, calling it Garde Joyeux (Joyous Gard). In later years, after returning Guinevere to Arthur, he once again called it Dolorous Gard. Some say the estate was given to him by King Arthur. Seeking adventure with his nephew Lionel, he was put under a spell by Morgan and imprisoned in Chateau de la Charette. Asked to chose between Morgan and three other fairy queens as a lover, he rejected them all. A maid helped him to escape when he promised to help her father, Bagdemagus. He kept his promise and, with four of Bagdemagus' knights specially trained by Lancelot, attended a tournament and defeated all the knights who came against him so that Bagdemagus was declared to have won the day. Lionel had been captured by Tarquin, a knight who hated all Arthur's knights. Lancelot then rode to Tarquin's castle and killed him in single combat, freeing Lionel and all the other knights who had been imprisoned there. One of those freed was his old friend Kay who was unhappy that his duties as seneschal had sapped his knightly ardour so, while Kay was asleep, Lancelot donned his armour and, in the guise of Kay, defeated many knights, including Gawter, Gilmere and Raynold, followed by Ector, Ewain, Gawain and Sagramore, so enhancing Kay's reputation as a warrior. The girl who led him to Tarquin's castle asked a favour in return and he challenged and killed Perys de Foreste Savage who had made a practice of attacking damsels. When he came upon a knight, Pedivere, intent upon killing his wife who, he claimed, had been unfaithful, Lancelot intervened but the man neverthless cut off her carry the head in his hand and the headless body on his back all the way to Camelot. He met a damsel who asked for his help to save her wounded brother, Meliot, who had fought and killed Gilbert the Bastard whose hand had been cut off in an earlier fight with Gawain. Taking the sword and a piece of cloth from the body of the dead Gilbert in Chapel Perilous, he touched Meliot's wounds with the sword, wiped them with the cloth and made him whole again. In another version of this incident, the damsel tried and failed to bewitch Lancelot into becoming her lover, the sword turned out to be a wooden imitation and the body a rag dummy. When he refused to hand over the sword, she tried to kill him with a dagger but Lancelot disarmed her. At the request of another lady, he took off his armour and climbed a tree to rescue her falcon which was trapped there. Caught unarmed by Phelot, he broke off a branch of the tree and killed the treacherous knight, taking his sword and lopping off his head. He learned from Suppinables that Tristram had married Isolde, Hoel's daughter, and cursed him for deserting the other Isolde, daughter of King Anguish. They fought when Tristram next came to Britain. In Carbonek he rescued a damsel who had been shut in a scalding hot room by Morgan and had been there for five years and he slew the dragon living under a tomb. In some versions, this was Elaine with whom he slept to produce Galahad. He was given hospitality by King Pelles in his castle where the Grail appeared carried by a mysterious damsel. Pelles wanted Lancelot to marry his daughter Elaine, knowing that the union would produce the perfect knight, Galahad. When Lancelot rejected the love of Elaine, Pelles or her maid Dame Brisen, using a magic potion, deceived Lancelot into thinking that he was sleeping with Queen Guinevere, his true love, at Castle Case. When he realised how he had been duped, Lancelot would have killed Elaine but he relented when she pleaded for her life. The result of this union was Galahad. In King Arthur's battles on the Continent with Lucius, he rode into the fray and killed the Emperor, seizing his standard which he handed to the king. When they returned to Britain, Arthur gave a great feast to celebrate his victories. Here Lancelot met Elaine once more and was again tricked by Dame Brisen into sleeping with her in the belief that he was sharing Guinevere's bed. When he realised what had happened he went mad, jumped from the window and roamed the country living like an animal for many months. In his wanderings he came to a pavilion where he fought and defeated Bliant. This knight and his brother Selivant, took Lancelot to their home in Castle Blank and looked after him for over a year. In other stories, he was cared for by Castor, a nephew of Pelles. He ran away and found himself back at Carbonek where he was kept as a fool by the knights and was found again by Elaine. He was taken to the room where the Grail was kept and was cured of his madness. Pelles gave him the Castle of Bliant for a home and he lived with Elaine on this island retreat for fifteen years, attended by a retinue of knights and ladies. He now called himself the Chevalier Mal Fet. He was finally found by Ector and Percival (or, some say, by Lionel and Bors) who persuaded him to return to Camelot where he was made welcome by Arthur and Guinevere. In some accounts, his madness occurs when he, together with King Arthur and Gawain are captured by Camille. Lancelot is released and, cured of his madness by Nuimue, rescued the other two prisoners. In another adventure, he rode to Estrangot where Lionel was held prisoner by King Vagor. He took Lionel's place in a duel with the king's son, Marabron, defeated his opponent and rescued Lionel. In some accounts, after the death of Tristram, with whom he had fought over the latter's treatment of Isolde, he invaded Cornwall and killed King Mark. When Galahad was of age, Lancelot made him a knight and took him to Arthur's court where he took his rightful place in the Perilous Seat. They both joined the other Knights of the Round Table in vowing to search for the Holy Grail. Each knight on the quest chose his own route and Lancelot found himself challenged by a knight who unhorsed him. When he realised that this was Galahad in disguise, he rode after him but could not catch him and found himself, at nightfall, by a stone cross outside an old chapel. Half asleep on his shield, he had a vision in which a sick knight was healed by the Holy Grail which appeared in front of the cross. The knight took Lancelot's horse, sword and helmet leaving Lancelot to travel through the forest unarmed and on foot until he came to a hermitage where he confessed all his sins to a hermit and was forgiven. He reached the sea at Mortause (or, in some accounts, came to the River Median) where a voice told him to go aboard a ship. There he found the dead sister of Percival. He stayed aboard the ship for several weeks until Galahad arrived. They sailed together for six months having many adventures until a knight in white armour told Galahad it was time to leave his father and take up the quest for the Holy Grail. Lancelot stayed aboard until he arrived at Castle Carbonek where he entered a room and saw the Holy Grail but was struck down and lay unconscious for twentyfour days. From Pelles, he learned that Elaine was dead. Rendered unfit to find the Grail by reason of his affair with Guinevere, he gave up the quest and returned to Camelot where he found that many of the knights who had left on this quest were now dead. He resumed the affair with Guinevere but tried to distance himself from her when the affair became the subject of gossip. This made the queen angry and she banished him from the court. He went to live with the hermit, Brastias. When Guinevere was accused by Mador of poisoning his cousin, Patrice, Lancelot took up the challenge on her behalf and defeated Mador in single combat, saving Guinevere from the stake. On the way to a major tournament ordered by Arthur, he stayed with Bernard at Astolat where the baron's daughter, Elaine le Blank, known as the Fair Maid of Astolat, fell in love with him. He wore her favour at the tournament at which he was the champion but refused her offer to become her husband or her lover and Elaine's brother, Lavaine, who had helped him in the tournament. Elaine died of unrequited love and her body was placed in a boat which drifted down the river to Westminster where the king ordered Lancelot to give the dead maiden an honourable burial. When Guinevere and ten of her knights were captured by Meliagaunt, Lancelot rode to her rescue. When his horse was shot from under him in an ambush by Meliagaunt's archers, he compelled a woodman to drive him to the castle in his cart. He was thereafter called the Knight of the Cart or the Knight of the Chariot. He reached the castle by crossing a sword bridge and rescued Guinevere. Lancelot would have killed Meliagaunt but he begged the queen for mercy and she pardoned him. That night, Lancelot slept with Guinevere but he left blood on the sheets from a wound on his hand sustained when he forced the windowbars. Meliagaunt accused Guinevere of being unfaithful to her husband by sleeping with one of the ten knights, many of whom had been wounded when he captured them. Lancelot took up the gauntlet and arranged to meet Meliagaunt at Westminster. Meliagaunt trapped Lancelot in a dungeon and left for Westminster. A maid released Lancelot for the price of one kiss and he rode to Westminster on Lavaine's horse. He met Meliagaunt in single combat and killed him with one hand tied behind his back. Mordred, always jealous of Lancelot, betrayed Lancelot's affair with Guinevere to Arthur and, with his brother Agravain and twelve other knights, attempted to catch Lancelot with Guinevere as proof. Lancelot, unarmed, killed Colgrevance, the first man into the room, with a footstool and then, taking the dead man's sword and armour, killed all the others with the sole exception of Mordred who, though wounded, managed to escape. Given proof of the affair, Arthur ordered the queen to be burned at the stake. Lancelot rode to her rescue once again as she was being led to the stake and charged into the crowd, killing many of those who got in his way. Among these were Gaheris and Gareth, both of whom had been ordered by King Arthur to attend but who had turned up unarmed and were not recognised by Lancelot in the fury of his attack. As a result of their deaths, Gawain, their elder brother, became Lancelot's mortal enemy. Lancelot took Guinevere to his castle, Garde Joyeuse, which was then attacked by Arthur's forces and the fierce battle was ended only when the Pope intervened. Lancelot handed Guinevere back to her husband but his quarrel with Gawain, and hence with Arthur, was not settled. He left for France with about a hundred of his followers and set up court at Benwick but Arthur, at the urging of Gawain, took an army of 60,000 to France, laying waste Lancelot's domain and besieging the town. Each day for weeks on end, Gawain challenged and defeated one of Lancelot's knights in single combat and finally goaded Lancelot himself into fighting him. On two successive days Lancelot struck him down but refused to kill him. A third encounter was prevented when Arthur was called back to Britain to reclaim his throne that had been usurped by Mordred who had been left in charge during the king's absence. When he learned of Arthur's troubles, Lancelot brought his forces to Britain to help the king but Arthur had already been badly wounded and carried off to Avalon. He tried to persuade Guinevere to return with him to France but she refused to leave the nunnery she had entered on the king's death and so Lancelot joined Bedivere in a hermitage where other knights later joined them. When Lancelot learned of the death of Guinevere, he had her body carried to the hermitage where it was buried in Arthur's tomb. From then on he refused to eat or drink and died soon afterwards. Other stories say that he threw himself on the grave of the king and stayed there for six weeks, eating nothing, until he died. His body was carried to Garde Joyeuse and buried there. Another version has it that Lancelot, believing Guinevere had been a willing accomplice of Mordred, killed her and shut Mordred in a room with her dead body which, driven by hunger, Mordred ate. In a Dutch story, he overcame seven lions guarding a hart with a white foot for a princess who will marry only the knight who will bring her the hart's foot. Exhausted by the struggle, he gave the foot to a passing knight to deliver to the princess. The knight wounded Lancelot and tried to claim the hand of the princess but Gawain intervened and defeated the treacherous knight in a duel. Lancelot, recovered from his wound, declined the princess' offer of marriage. In a German version, his parents were King Pant and Claris and his wife was Iblis, by whom he had four children. When Pant was killed, a fairy took Lancelot to Maidenland where he was brought up and trained as a knight by Johfrit. In an Italian story, his mother is given as Constance. Also commonly identified as Lancelot, Launcelot du Lac or Launcelot du Lac.
British - A poem by the American, Edwin. Arlington Robinson. Occasionally known as Lancelot, Launcelot du Lac or Launcelot du Lac.
French - A 12th C. Story about the adventures of Lancelot, written by Chr├ętien de Troyes. Also referred to as Lancelot, Launcelot du Lac or Launcelot du Lac.

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