Accolon of Gaul

Accalon of Gaul

In Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur he is a knight from Gaul.

He was one of Arthur’s knights and also a lover to his evil sister Morgan le Fay, but she was married to King Uriens of Gore, and wanted to have her husband and brother killed and put Accolon on the throne as King of Britain. To start with she took Arthur’s sword Excalibur (in another version of the story Arthur entrusted her with the sword).

When Arthur, Uriens and Accolon one day were out hunting she threw dust in their eyes and they couldn’t find their way home but came to a beach, a boat was waiting and the crew were only beautiful women. The three gentlemen went on board and were well recieved, but when they woke up the next morning they were not in the boat anymore.

Uriens woke up in his home with his wife’s arms around him, Arthur in a dungeon at Damas the knight’s place, who took knights in capture with the hope that one of them would help him win over his brother Ontzlake, who’s father’s heritage he had taken. After being convinced by his prison-friends he said he would stand up for Damas.

Accolon, finally, woke up by a road where a dwarf gave him Excalibur with blessings from Morgan le Fay, and there he met Ontzlake, who had got the challenge from Damas but he wasn’t in the shape of accepting the challenge himself. Accolon said he could do it for him, and that is how Arthur and Accolon, with the visirs down, met in a single combat without the other one knowing who their combatant were.

Arthur had a fake version of Excalibur and its scabbard and fared poorly in the battle. Accolon wounded Arthur with his own sword Excalibur och would’ve killed him if a fairy who were skilled in magic had not inteferred and made him drop the sword which Arthur took right away. Arthur picked up the sword, struck Accolon to the ground, removed his helmet, and realized Morgan’s treachery.

Upon recognizing Arthur, the dying Accolon confessed all and begged forgiveness. Arthur forgave him, put the body on a ‘horse-stretcher’ and sent his dead body to Morgan’s castle as “a present” before Arthur himself went to a convent for nuns to take care of his wounds. Morgan le Fay went there in an attempt to take Excalibur again and succeeded to get a hold of the scabbard, which protected its wearer from bleeding to death. Arthur followed her, and when she noticed that she was followed she threw the scabbard in the lake.

Another source gives the following story:
Arthur entrusted his sister with Excalibur and she later on returned the sword to him, but it was a copy. Morgan gave the real sword to Accolon, telling him he must use the sword in his next battle. He met a mysterious swordsman. Accolon has the upper hand since he is wielding Excalibur. Arthur’s sword broke during the battle and he realized that it was not the real Excalibur he had been given by his sister, Morgan. He continued to fight and Nyneve (Nimue) arrived, used her magic skills to cause Excalibur to fly from Accolon’s hand. The king wrestled the scabbard back and dealt Accolon a mortal wound, saw who he was and learned of Morgan’s part in the battle. He assured the dying knight that he would not be punished for the incident, but he died four days after the battle.

The source telling about Nimue also gives the information that Arthur had Accolon buried at St. Stephen’s Church in Camelot.


See also
Fairy | The Legend of King Arthur
Fairies | Myths and Legends