Saracen knights of Arthurs Round table.

Saracen knights of Arthurs Round table.
by Nabarz

An interesting example how Arab world and Western world interacted in a positive and cosmic way can be found in legends of King Arthur. It should be noted that in the tales of King Arthur and his knights of the round table there are three Saracen knights, the three brothers Sir Safir, Sir Palomides, Sir Segwarides. They have seats at the round table and play their parts in the various quests, including the Grail Quest. Sir Palomides and Sir Safir are even included in the Winchester round table. The word Safir translates as Ambassador, which makes me wonder if the he was originally a Saracen ambassador. In the figure we see Sir Safir is seated as the 16th Knight going clockwise from King Arthur (seat 1) in the Winchester round table. King Arthur sits with a total of 24 Knights at this round table which was built c.1290 AD. -From the book 'Seething Cauldron’ (Deeg Jush) by Nabarz. ISBN: 978-0-9556858-4-2. Available on Amazon and //


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So-called Saracen knights of Arthur’s Round table

by Jallan on

Of the three knights listed, one, Segwarides, only appears as a brother to Palamades and Safar (Safir) in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur

In Malory’s sources Segwarides is called Segurades (‘Security’) and nothing indicates that Segurades is anything but a nominal Christian or that Segurades is related in any way to Palimedes or to Safir. Why Malory makes Sewarides/Segurades a brother to Palamedes and Safir is a mystery.

For an earlier account of Palamedes and his father Esclabor,  see  // , chapter 87. In this account Palamedes is one of 12 brothers born after Esclabor emigrates to Britain from Galilee.  Eleven of the brothers are slain by the Questing Beast, which leads the eldest brother, Palamedes, who has survived, to seek after it to slay it. Esclabor later becomes Christian.

For the ealier story of how Palamdes is finally Christened, see chapter 145.

Safar appears as Palamdes’ younger brother in later accounts which do not indicate how Safar fits into the story that Palamedes was the eldest of 12 brothers and the only one not slain by the Questing Beast. Safar is also, in at least one account, a nominal Christian.

Palamdes, in his pre-Christian days, is often praised for his knightly virtues and wisdom. Although a rival of Tristan for the love of Yseult, Palamedes is not pictured as an evil knight, or at least no more so than Tristan himself, and is highly respected by Tristan, Lancelot, Gaheriet (Gareth), and Arthur.

No details are provided about Palamedes’ pre-Christan religious beliefs or practrices. The authors seem entirely uninterested in this aspect of Palamedes. But being nominally not a Christian was the only reason why Palamedes had not long before been made a Round Table Knight.

Historically King Arthur is placed in the 5th or 6th century, while Muhammed  the prophet lived in the later 6th and early 7th century meaning that Palamdes, historically, could not have been a Muslim altough the authors of the prose Arthurian tales seemingly so imagined him. But Saracen, although usually simply used as a synonym for Muslim or Arab in the later Middle Ages was historically the name of a distinct non-Arab people centered on the town of Saraka in northern Sinai. They are first mentioned in surviving texts in the 2nd century Geography of Ptolemy.