The Table Round

   Malory calls the table 'the Table Round' and only reverses the adjective when speaking of the 'knights of the Round Table'. The great table was a gift from Uther to Leodegrance and when Arthur marries Guenever, Leodegrance provides it and its present complement of an hundred knights as the dowry. Leodegrance states that it was designed for one hundred and fifty but that the wars had reduced its ranks. Merlin is set the task to fill the remaining fifty but he can only find twenty-eight. The knights were placed in their sieges and the Bishop of Canterbury blessed them. When the knights arose to pay their homage to Arthur, Merlin found in every siege letters of gold that told the knight's name that was seated there. But there were two sieges void. When Pellinore arrives, the number grows to three, the two plus the Siege Perilous. When Pellinore is seated next to the two sieges, Merlin declares that no man will sit in the two sieges unless they be of the most worship and that no man would ever sit in the Siege Perilous but one and if anyone tried, he would be destroyed. Because of the position Pellinore is accorded, Gawaine determines even more to slay him for the death of Lot.
   At the end of his wedding feast and when he had established all of his knights and given them lands, he charged them never to do outrageously nor murder, and always to flee treason; also, by no means to be cruel, but to give mercy unto him that asketh mercy, upon pain of forfeiture of their worship and lordship of King Arthur for evermore; and always to do ladies, damosels, and gentlewomen succour, upon pain of death. Also, that no man take no battles in a wrongful quarrel for no law, nor for no world's goods. All knights were sworn to this and every year they renewed this vow at the feast of Pentecost.