King Arthur’s famous mythical legend is that he was a warrior, a knight, and a king who slayed giants, witches, and monsters. When everyone else failed, he pulled out the magical Excalibur from the stone that had housed it for millennia.
Now, it seems that archaeologists have somewhat relived the legend. In a recent discovery, they excavated a 700-year-old weapon embedded in rock at the bottom of the lake in the Vrbas River. The river flows near the village of Rakovice in the north of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Extraction of Excalibur
The sword was lodged into a solid rock 36 feet below the surface. And it had been there for a long, long time. According to some estimates, the sword dates back as far as the 14th century. So, of course, the archaeologists had to name it ‘Excalibur’ after the legendary tale of King Arthur.
Weapon experts from all over the world are now calling the sword a significant archaeological find. Ivana Pandzic, archaeologist and curator at the Museum of the Republika Srpska, stated, “Special care was needed to free the rusted weapon.”
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In addition, she added, ‘The sword was stuck in solid rock, so special care was needed when pulling it out. It is the first sword found near the medieval city of Zvečaj, so it has dual value – both scientifically and historically.”
Another Balkan Find
Pandzic also said that only one more period-piece sword had been found in the Balkans in the last ninety years. Moreover, reports and analysis of the sword’s blade showed that it dates back to the 13th century and the beginning of the 15th century.
Archaeologists excavated the sword near the ruins of the old castle in the city of Zvecaj, which was once the residence of many Bosnian rulers.
In its early years, historians explain how the nobility characterized the medieval village of Zvecaj. The town is built around a now-ruined castle. More precisely, it is on the left side of the Mreznica River, located in the modern county of Karlovac.
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After a turbulent history, the castle was destroyed in 1777. Today, a private house exists in place of the ruins of the castle walls with parts of the remaining tower.
Many historians and mythologists agree that the folklore of King Arthur’s Excalibur is a metaphor for iron ore extraction from stone. However, other medieval swords have been found lodged into rocks in the real world – in Tuscany’s Montesiepi Chapel, for example.
Historians are now trying to determine how the sword ended up embedded in the rock.
The Legend of King Arthur
Arthur was a Celtic king born of adultery and deceit. He grew to become one of the most famous rulers of Britain. The legend of King Arthur is that he was a king, warrior, and knight who killed giants, monsters, and witches. King Arthur is known explicitly for his Knights of the Round Table and for uniting the people of his land.
King Arthur’s end was tragic. However, he is still celebrated all over the world today. King Arthur’s story is painted all over the British Parliament. Looking back into history, we can see that the legend gained international interest after Geoffrey of Monmouth penned Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain) in the 12th century.
Geoffrey’s work includes several integral parts of the Arthurian story as we know it. Among these are the characters of Arthur’s father, Uther Pendragon, Arthur’s wife, Guinevere, and the legendary magician, Merlin. In addition, the sword Excalibur, Arthur’s conception at Tintagel, his final battle against Mordred at Camlann – it’s all in there!
During the 12th century a French writer, Chrétien de Troyes, added Lancelot and the Holy Grail to the legend. The addition began the genre of Arthurian romance, and the rest is history. Centuries later, we continue to see the legend of King Arthur.
The legend of King Arthur has crossed the boundaries of time and space. It has become a timeless cultural phenomenon. In the 21st century, there have been numerous adaptations for theatre, film, television, and comics. Over the centuries, the legend has not only survived but also gained immense popularity in modern popular culture.