Knights of the Round Table facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
The Arming and Departure of the Knights, one of the Holy Grail-themed 19th-century tapestries by Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, and John Henry Dearle
King Arthur and his knights in a 14th-century Italian manuscript of the Vulgate Cycle's Quest for the Holy Grail

The Knights of the Round Table were characters in the legends about King Arthur. They were the best knights in King Arthur's kingdom, and lived in King Arthur's castle, Camelot. They were called the Knights of the Round Table because of a special table that was in Camelot, that was round instead of rectangular. This meant that everyone who sat around it was seen as equal.

In the Arthurian romance tradition, the Knights are an order in the service of Arthur, tasked with ensuring the peace of the kingdom and charged with leading the quest for the Holy Grail. Different stories presented different numbers of the Knights, ranging from only 12 to as many as 150 or more.

Code of chivalry

Holy-grail-round-table-bnf-ms fr-116F-f610v-15th-detail
King Arthur's knights, gathered at the Round Table

In order to become a Knight of the Round Table, a knight had to prove he was chivalrous (polite) enough.

In the legend, the knights swore a Code of Chivalry, which is much like an oath is today. This meant that they promised to uphold the rules given to them once they became a Knight of the Round Table.

Sir Thomas Malory (c. 1405 - March 14th, 1471) was an English writer, who wrote a book based on the legend of King Arthur. It was called Le Morte d'Arthur. In it, he wrote his version of the Code of Chivalry:

  • To never do outrage nor murder (not to assault or murder anybody)
  • Always to flee treason (do not commit treason, a crime against your country or king)
  • To by no means be cruel but to give mercy unto him who asks for mercy (Do not be mean. Grant mercy to those who ask, even in combat.)
  • To always do ladies, gentlewomen and widows succor ('succor' is an old word for help; this means that the knight must promise to help women if they need it. Note that this does not necessarily include peasantry.)
  • To never force ladies, gentlewomen or widows (never 'harm' women. Note that this does not necessarily include peasantry.)
  • Not to take up battles in wrongful quarrels for love or worldly goods (do not even join in fights over anything less than God or country)

List of the Knights of the Round Table

Emil Teschendorff - Queen Guinevere bidding farewell to Sir Lancelot
Queen Guinevere bidding farewell to Sir Lancelot

In different stories, there are different numbers of knights, ranging from 12 to more than 150. The Winchester Round Table shows 25 Knights. Most of the people believe that these are the knights of the round table:

Related pages

Images for kids


Knights of the Round Table Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.