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Le Morte D'Arthur
by Sir Thomas Malory
King Arthur Timeline and Summary
Arthur is conceived when his father, King Uther, sleeps with Igrayne when disguised as her husband. One Christmas after Uther has died, Arthur pulls a sword from a stone and becomes king. Early on during his rule, Arthur successfully defends his lands from an alliance of twelve Northern kings. Unfortunately, he also makes the awkward mistake of sleeping with his sister, Morgause, with whom he conceives a son, Mordred. Arthur marries the beautiful Gwenyvere and establishes the Knights of the Round Table. He wins a war with Lucius of Rome, becomes emperor of Rome, and conquers all the lands on the way back to England. Not too shabby, Artie. As king, Arthur declares numerous jousts through which his star knights establish their prowess. He receives many hostages and vassals as his knights win battles throughout the kingdom. While he seems to be doing pretty well for himself, Arthur chooses to ignore various clues that Gwenyvere and Launcelot are having an affair. Arthur is sad when his knights depart on the quest for the Holy Grail, because he knows that many of them will not return. Finally admitting to his wife's adultery, Arthur allows Aggravayne and Mordred to surprise Launcelot and Gwenyvere together, and then prosecutes Gwenyvere for treason. At Gawain's urging, Arthur invades Launcelot's lands, leaving Mordred in charge of the kingdom. Arthur returns to England to attempt to get it back from Mordred, who has staged a coup. At the battle of Salisbury Plain, Arthur kills Mordred, from whom he receives his death wound.