Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Deer, Stag, White Hart

Hart is an old alternative word for stag. The word hart was used of a red deer stag more than five years old, which was mature with more meat and fat. Hunting and killing a hart was prestigeous.

In some versions of the Arthurian romances, there are episodes where the Knights of the Round Table engage in hunting expeditions, including deer hunts. These hunts serve to illustrate the knights’ martial prowess, camaraderie, and appreciation of the natural world. While not central to the plot, such scenes add color and depth to the narrative.

In Arthurian literature, animals, including stags, are sometimes used symbolically to represent certain qualities or concepts. Deer, known for their grace, agility, and elusive nature, might symbolize purity, innocence, or an unattainable ideal. The presence of deer in the forest or in visions could be seen as mystical or otherwordly.

The White Hart was Richard II’s personal emblem and livery. In English folklore, the White Hart is associated with Herne the Hunter.

See also
White Stag | The Legend of King Arthur