Lancelot’s Celtic Roots

Lancelot was taken in by and raised by the Lady of the Lake.   He was therefore raised by a faerie woman.   Lancelot is often tied to the Isle of Avalon due to his fosterage by the Lady of the Lake.    He becomes an amazing knight, and a true warrior thanks to his Celtic faerie roots.    He is raised to be the ideal Knight of the Round Table.

When he came to Camelot it was not long before Lancelot met and fell in love with the beautiful young queen Guinevere.   This relationship would prove to be something that was dangerous, and even a possible downfall for both of them.    Their love was not something small or insignificant, and it was well worth fighting for, as they would learn.    It is famously said in several tellings of the legends that Lancelot and Guinevere lacked discretion when it came to their extramarital affair.   In some tellings this is not an actual problem, as Arthur supported the affair, as something that would give his wife the kind of love her could not offer her.     In other versions Lancelot had to rescue Guinevere from being burned at the stake for her sin of adultery!

Lancelot can be seen as an extension of the classic Celtic warriors.    In the medieval times the Celtic warriors, and warrior kings, became King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.   Arthur, if he really existed, was likely a more rough overlord king than the picture perfect medieval king he is remembered as.   Lancelot is seen as an ideal knight, excepting his love of a married queen.    In earlier Celtic cultures queens could take great and powerful warriors as their lovers, without consequence.    There is even evidence of traditions of queens changing consorts regularly dependent on who the most powerful fighter in the realm was.    This would be another example of Celtic culture being matrilineal.   A vision of Lancelot as an almost divine warrior, maybe a mythic demi-god type hero, allows for a deeper interpretation of the legends.

I hope this post has helped you look deeper into the story of Lancelot.    Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!  

Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is of Lancelot and Guinevere.   I found the image on

Further Reading

  • Courtly Love: The Path of Sexual Initiation by Jean Markale
  • Arthur and the Sovereignty of Britain by Caitlin Matthews
  • Arthurian Romances by Chretien de Troyes
  • Le Morte D’Arthur by Thomas Malory