Myths & Legends: Excalibur & the Valley of the Kings

Myths & Legends is a peek at some of the background we’ve discovered to the themes used by the subcamps, departments, and patrols at PJ. Add your comments or send us your story!

Excalibur

The legendary sword of King Arthur.  Excalibur was associated with the Arthurian legend very early on.

In Arthurian tales, a number of explanations are given for Arthur’s possessionof Excalibur. The early story, ”Merlin” is the first tale to mention the “sword in the stone. In this account, as foretold by Merlin, the act could not be performed except by “the true king,” meaning the divinely appointed king or true heir of Uther Pendragon.  In addition, when Excalibur was first drawn, in the first battle testing Arthur’s sovereignty, its blade blinded his enemies.

Excalibur’s scabbard was said to have powers of its own. Loss of blood from injuries, for example, would not kill the bearer. In some stories, wounds received by one wearing the scabbard did not bleed at all. In those stories, the scabbard is stolen from Arthur by his half-sister Morgan le Fay and thrown into a lake. This act later enables the death of Arthur in battle.


The Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings,  also known as the Valley of the Gates of the Kings is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, rock cut tombs were excavated for the pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom (Eighteenth to the Twentieth Dynasties) of Ancient Egypt.

The valley stands on the west bank of the Nile. It contains 63 tombs, ranging in size from a simple pit to a complex tomb with over 120 chamber). It was the principal burial place of the major royal figures of the Egyptian New Kingdom, as well as a number of privileged nobles.

The valley has become famous for the discovery of the tomb of Tutenkhamun and is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. In 1979, it became a World Heritage Site, A new tourist centre has recently been opened.

Each burial was provided with equipment that would enable a comfortable existence in the afterlife. Also present in the tombs were items used to perform magic rituals, such as divine figurines. Some equipment was what the king may have used during his lifetime (Tutenkhamun’s sandals for example), and some was specially constructed for the burial.

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