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La Tavola Ritonda (‘The Round Table’) is a later Italian medieval romance of Tristan written in the second quarter of the 14th century.

The author sometimes follows the standard Prose Tristan very closely, sometimes adapts it very freely, and introduces many new adventures. In this version of the tale Tristan is King Arthur’s nephew as well as King Mark’s nephew. Many of the grail adventures of Tristan found here are found nowhere else. The fight of Tristan and Lancelot at Merlin’s stone when Tristan thinks that Lancelot is really Palamedes occurs three times.

The author has a unique story of the fall of King Mark in which, after Tristan’s death, Arthur and Lancelot and others whom Tristan has helped band together to make war on Mark. When Mark is conquered, he is imprisoned in a tower with the all the meat and wine he wants and eventual dies of obesity.

Tristan is strongly associated with the Round Table as best knight. Tristan’s death leads to a decline of the knights of the Round Table which eventually leads to the downfall of Arthur’s kingdom, the author so linking his short account of the downfall of Arthur’s kingdom to Tristan.

The story is introduced as the story of the Knights of the Round Table, hence the name of the romance.

ReferencesEdit

Italian Text OnlyEdit

English Translation OnlyEdit

  • Shaver, Anne (Trans.) (1983). Tristan and the Round Table: A translation of La Lavola Ritondo (from Filippo-Luigi Polidori [Ed.] [1864–65]. La Tavola Ritondo o l’istoria di Tristano). Binghamton, New York: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies. ISBN 0-86698-053-9

CommentaryEdit

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