King Arthur -- Attributed Heraldry

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Although Arthur (if he existed) ruled, or fought, centuries before the advent of formal [[heraldry], once there were heralds and coats of arms it was, to the cognoscenti of that period, utterly unthinkable that Arthur and his knights had not been entitled to bear coat-arms and had indeed done so. More, since the major route of transmission of Arthurian lore was through minstrels and bards, who needed to hold the attention of an audience, and were therefore thankful of details of colour and image, it became also an essential, in telling the stories, that heraldry become involved.

The following are some of the heraldry ascribed to the Arthurian heroes:

  • King Arthur :- Setting aside the bearing of the image of the Virghin Mary on his shield, Arthur is generally ascribed Azure, three crowns or. A later misreading expanded this to 13. 3 is correct.
  • Guenevere is ascribed the arms ascribed to her father, Leodegrance: Sable, a lion passant or.
  • Lancelot, du Lac : Argent, three bendlets Gules. His father Ban was given Argent three bends gules which Lancelot then inherited on Ban's death.
  • Galahad, his son, Argent, a cross gules
  • Perceval : Purpure, semee of crosses or. Or crosslets -- take your pick: it's all ascribed. His father Pellinor was given Or semee of crosslets azure
  • Kay, or Cei, as Arthur's senechal : Azure, two keys addorsed or
  • Urien, king of Northumbria : Azure, a lion rampant argent or Azure a lion or armed and langued gules. Either way it's a metal lion rearing on a blue field.
  • Morgan, his wife : arms based upon her father Gorlois : Sable, between three lions heads gules, a fess gules
  • Morgawse, widow of King Lot of Orkney, was ascribed Gorlois arms, dimidiated by Lot's : Argent a canton gules dimidiated Sable, between three lions heads gules a fess gules
  • Their sons, the Orkney family, were given Purpure a double-headed eagle or which the eldest Gawaine bore undifferenced, and his brothers Gaheris, Gareth and Agravaine bore differenced. Their half-brother, Mordred either bore those arms, differenced by a chief argent or the blank sable shield of the traditional Enemy of Good.
  • Tristan : Vert, a lion rampant or
  • Uthur Pendragon : Or, tweo wyverns addorsed vert, in reference to the "Pendragon" aspect, which was understood as a patronym rather than as a title.
  • Palamides takes Chequy argent and sable, his father Esclabor king of Babylon taking Chequy or and gules

Much of the above comes collectively from Michel Pastoureau, who collected the information and published it in 1983