Palamedes (Arthurian legend)

Palamedes (Arthurian Legend)

Palamedes (Arthurian legend)

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Palamedes (also called Palamede, Palomides or some other variant) is a Knight of the Round Table in the Arthurian legend. He is a Saracen pagan who converts to Christianity later in his life, and his unrequited love for Iseult brings him into frequent conflict with Tristan. Palamedes' father is King Esclabor; his brothers Safir and Segwarides also join the Round Table.

Palamedes first appears in the Prose Tristan, an early 13th-century prose expansion of the Tristan and Iseult legend. He is introduced as a knight fighting for Iseult's hand at a tournament in Ireland; he ultimately loses to Tristan, to the delight of the princess. Tristan spares him but forbids him to bear arms for a year or to pursue Iseult's love ever again. After Iseult's wedding to King Mark, Palamedes rescues Iseult's servant Brangaine, joins the Round Table and engages in a number of duels with Tristan that are usually postponed or end without a clear winner. They eventually reconcile, but share a love-hate relationship through the rest of the narrative.

Palamedes also appears in the Post-Vulgate Cycle, Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, and even gave his name to his own romance, the Palamedes. The Palamedes exists in fragments and as part of the vast Compilation of Rusticiano da Pisa, and details the adventures of two generations of Arthurian heroes. Some stories reveal Palamedes' background: his father was a king of Babylon who is sent to Rome where he saves the life of the Emperor; he then travels...
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