King Arthur Caliburn

King Arthur Caliburn: The Sword that Defined a Legend

King Arthur is one of the most famous legendary figures in history, known for his chivalrous acts, heroic deeds and for the sword that he wielded called Caliburn, also known as Excalibur. This mythical sword is considered to be the principal element of the legend of King Arthur and has been the subject of many literary works, films, and novels. The sword of King Arthur has always been depicted as a powerful and mystical weapon that symbolizes the greatness of the King himself. In this article, we will delve deeper into King Arthur Caliburn and its meaning in the Arthurian legend.

The Origins of Caliburn

The origins of Caliburn are somewhat unclear, as literary and historical accounts of King Arthur vary. The earliest mention of the sword is in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s 12th-century book “History of the Kings of Britain.” In this book, Monmouth describes the sword as “the sword of the giant of the stone” which was handcrafted by a blacksmith who belonged to a family that had magical powers. The sword was then embedded in a stone, and only the rightful King of Britain would be able to remove it.

Caliburn was later adapted into the Excalibur version of the sword in the Arthurian legend. This version of the sword was first mentioned in the 13th century by the French poet Chretien de Troyes in his writings about King Arthur. According to de Troyes, a young Arthur retrieved the sword that was given to him by a mysterious lady who lived in a lake.

In the later version of the Arthurian legend, the sword is further enhanced with magical properties. It is described as a sword that glows when in the hands of the rightful owner and can only be wielded by a person who is completely pure of heart. Caliburn was more than just a sword, it was an emblem of King Arthur’s royalty, and it ensured his hold over the throne of Britain.

Symbolism of Caliburn in the Arthurian Legend

Caliburn has a lot of symbolism associated with it in the Arthurian legend. It represents the inherent power that lies within its wielder and symbolizes the divine right of Arthur to rule over the kingdom of Britain. The sword also represented justice and truth that would be served to everyone. The sword’s magic was not meant to enhance its wielder’s powers, but rather to make them worthy of the power that they held. Caliburn was a test of Arthur’s worth as a king, and his ability to wield it symbolized his righteous rule.

Caliburn was also depicted as a sword that could not be used for personal gain or motives. It was to be used only to serve the greater good and to protect the people of Britain.

The symbolism of Caliburn extended beyond just King Arthur. It was also seen as a symbol of the country itself, identifying it as a land of lawfulness and justice. The sword’s magical power implies that the kingdom of Britain is more than just a political entity but a nation guided by higher, more extraordinary principles.

Famous Depictions of Caliburn in Art and Literature

Caliburn has been featured in various artworks, plays, films, and novels throughout the world. One of the most notable depictions of Caliburn is in the King Arthur frescoes, found in the Ducal Palace, Mantua, Italy, which were created by the 16th-century Italian artist Giulio Romano. The frescoes show scenes from King Arthur’s life, including the scene where he receives Caliburn from the lady in the lake.

Caliburn has also been depicted in many plays, including Alfred Lord Tennyson’s dramatic poem, “Morte d’Arthur,” which narrates the legendary King Arthur’s life and death. In this work, Caliburn is described as a “miracle-working sword” with the ability to “make the world look bright.”

The sword has also been featured in numerous novels and comics, including the comic series “Lancelot and Excalibur’ by Belgian artist and writer Francois Craenhals.


King Arthur Caliburn is considered as one of the most critical elements of the Arthurian legend. The sword represents not only the power of its wielder but also the power of the country and its people. It is considered a symbol of justice, truth, and honor, and its magical powers serve as a test of its wielder’s worthiness. The sword has been featured in many literary works, films, and artworks throughout the world, solidifying its place in history as a legendary symbol of power and grace.