Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Two entries with the name Camelot.


Caamalot, Camaalot, Camaaloth, Camaelot, Camahaloth, Camalahot, Camalat, Camallate, Camalot, Camehelot, Cameloth, Camelotto, Camilot, Chamaalot, Chamalot, Damolot, Gamalaot, Kaamalot, Kaamelot, Kamaalot, Kamaaloth, Kamaelot, Kamahalot, Kamahaloth, Kamelot, Kameloth, Schamilot

Don’t let it be forgot,
that once there was a spot,
for one brief, shining moment
that was known as Camelot.

~ Alan Jay Lerner, 1960

Camelot is a legendary and mythical city associated with the Arthurian legends, it has become one of the most iconic and enduring elements of Arthurian mythology.

Camelot is portrayed as a magnificent and noble court and capital of King Arthur where he rules alongside Queen Guenevere. Camelot appears first (but only once) in Chrétien de Troyes. However, the most famous depiction of Camelot comes from Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, written in the fifteenth century. In most Arthurian tales, it competes with Caerleon, Carlisle, Cardueil, and Logres for the position of Arthur’s chief city.

From the Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal, we learn that an evil pagan king named Agrestes ruled the city in the time of Joseph of Arimathea. He slaughtered many of Joseph’s followers at the Black Cross before God drove him mad. The Post-Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal provides us with different biblical era king named Camalis, after whom Camelot was named. Following these examples, Tennyson agrees that the city was ancient and was not established by Arthur, in contrast to popular tradition.

The court is characterized by ideals of justice, honor, and chivlary. The Knights of the Round Table, including Sirs Lancelot, Gawain, and Galahad, are often associated with Camelot. One of the distinct features of Camelot is the Round Table, a symbol of equality among Arthur’s knights, and it becomes a central gathering place for Arthur and his knights.

Camelot is the starting point for the quest of the Holy Grail, a sacred and mystical object. The quest involves the Knights of the Round Table seeking to achieve spiritual purity and accomplish noble deeds. It also served as the location for many tournaments, one of Gawain’s battles against the Saxons, and many other adventures. Its main church, St. Stephen’s, held the remains of Arthur’s greatest warriors.

According to the Post-Vulgate Mort Artu, King Mark of Cornwall besieged Camelot during the Grail Quest and, after Arthur’s death, returned to destroy it completely. In La Tavola Ritonda, it falls to ruin after Arthur’s death.


Camelot may be a variation of Camulodunum, the Roman name for Colchester. The castle also may have taken its name from any number of rivers with the root cam, meaning “crooked,” which was probably the source of Camlann. Descriptions of its location vary. Palamedes places it on the Humber River, and Malory identifies it with Winchester, while writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries began to associate Camelot with an old Roman hill fort south of Cadbury. Camelford in Cornwall and Camelon in Scotland have also been suggested.

In recent years, archaeological investigations into the Cadbury fort have shown that it was occupied by Britons in the late fifth century. Given that Camelot is a place of romance and fantasy, however, any investigation into the location of the “real” Camelot is probably futile.

The suggested location for Camelot are many, and here are a few:

  1. Caerleon, South Wales
  2. Cadbury Castle, Somerset
  3. Tintagel Castle, Tintagel, Cornwall
  4. Winchster, Hampshire
  5. Castle of Dinerth
  6. Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
  7. Camboglanna (Birdoswald Roman Fort), Roman fort on Hadrian’s Wall, Cumbria
  8. Camulodunum (Colchester), Essex
  9. Viroconium, outside Shrewsbury, Wroxeter
  10. Roxburgh Castle, Scottish Borders
  11. Camelon, near Falkirk, Scotland
  12. Llanmelin Hillfort, near Caerwent, South Wales
  13. Graig Llwyn, near Cardiff, South Wales
  14. Tantallon Castle, East Lothian, Scotland

See also
Cadbury-Camelot | The Legend of King Arthur
Topography and Local Legends | The Legend of King Arthur

External links
Camelot, Court of King Arthur | Historic UK
Viroconium or Camelot? | Ludchurch
Camelot | Wikipedia
Is Caerleon actually Camelot? | Wales Online
Where was Camelot? | MythBank

Lancelot, or Le Chevalier de la Charrete | Chrétien de Troyes, late 12th c.
Parzival | Wolfram von Eschenbach, 1200–1210
Perlesvaus | Early 13th century
Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal | 1215-1230
Vulgate Lancelot | 1215-1230
Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal | 1220-1235
Post-Vulgate Suite du Merlin | 1230-1240
Post-Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal | 1230-1240
Post-Vulgate Mort Artu | 1230-1240
La Tavola Ritonda | 1325–1350
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470
Britannia | William Camden, 1586
Poly-Olbion | Michael Drayton, 1612
Idylls of the King | Lord Alfred Tennyson, 1859-1886



A valley and castle ruled by Perceval’s father, Alain le Gros, in Perlesvaus. The author of Perlesvaus clearly makes a distinction between Perceval’s Camelot and Arthur’s Camelot.

After Alain’s death, the castle fell to his widow, Yglais. It was attacked by Cahot the Red and the Lord of the Fens, but these knights were eventually slain by Perceval.

Perlesvaus | Early 13th century