The Magic Sword
Some see it resplendent with jewels and gold filigree, others imagine it simple and bare, a perfect flash of silver… Caliburn, Caledfwlch, Escalibor or Excalibur, King Arthur’s sword remains the purest emblem of the Arthurian adventure. The most dazzling too, since in the hand of the king, “the sword shines brighter than thirty torches”. It is part of the tradition of heroes appointed by the deities to lead and defend men with the help of supernatural weapons: Achilles, Siegfried, Charlemagne, Roland …
One king, one sword
As soon as he receives Excalibur, Arthur knows that he is not the possessor, only the guardian for the time of his reign. He is the only one to wear it, except for Gauvain, his favorite nephew, almost his double. And when he is forced by a spell to gamble all his possessions, he excludes from the deal only the Queen, to protect her, and Excalibur because, he explains, it does not belong to him.
Excalibur, symbol of protection and weapon of the fairies
The Arthurian kingdom, which draws on a very ancient heritage, resorts to symbols that ensure the balance of the world, guaranteeing endless prosperity. In Barenton, the bubbles in the water celebrate the union of opposites, embodied by the couple of the fairy and the knight. For Arthur, Excalibur is not without its scabbard. The weapon wounds and kills in fair combat in the service of the king, his master; the scabbard protects him and keeps him alive. Even higher is the spiritual dimension that can be seen in the complementarity of Excalibur and the Grail. The sword, a masculine weapon, is under the guard of the lady of the lake, and the cup asks for a king.
Text written by Claudine GLOT, Centre de l’imaginaire Arthurien (CIA)