Talk:Excalibur

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Historical Debate[edit]

The wiki article for King Arthur has a section detailing historical debate of whether or not King Arthur was an actual person or just post-roman folklore. I don't suggest an entire section be dedicated to this here but it should probably be mentioned somewhere until such a time where verifiable evidence is found that supports the existence of this undoubtedly mythological sword. Just a suggestion. 69.207.4.244 (talk) 11:30, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

The Real Sword?[edit]

Don't know how useful this is but there is a very real possibility that the sword in the stories are based on a real sword in Italy. In the show from which I watched the story and footage from the location where the sword is, it was theorized that as San Galgano was anti-war and the sword which he thrust in to the stone was a token of this, it was covered up in a story. Read more about this here: http://www.sangalgano.org/ENG/abbeyofsangalgano.htm (I'm not saying the page I'm linking is a reliable resource, it's just about the story. San Galgano + Excalibur and/or medieval knight should render you some other, possibly more reliable, sources) Dead-Inside (talk) 06:13, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Etymology[edit]

Cagwinn. You have deleted the Hebrew derivation of Caliburn without real explanation, calling it 'fringe'. Tell me what is 'fringe' about a connection with Judaea. As this author points out, the primary foundations of Grail mythology are Judaean.

Jesus was said to have written 'Quest of the Holy Grail'... The primary character is Joseph of Arimathaea... The sword was said to have belonged to King David... The Round Table was a copy of the Last Supper Table.

Does this not make a Judaean heritage for Caliburn likely? And the Hebrew 'khareb' meaning 'sword', translates in Latin as 'caleb'. I would suggest you read the book before regarding the claims as 'fringe'.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Narwhal2 (talkcontribs) 08:01, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Note that Narwahl2 is one of several sockpuppets of a minor fringe author. Dougweller (talk) 18:54, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
The etymologies currently provided in the main article represent the accepted consensus of professional linguists and scholars of Arthurian literature. You are trying to force into the article a fringe theory that no scholar takes seriously.Cagwinn (talk) 15:12, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

However, the name is also close to the Latin phrase for 'out of the stone'. I can't come up with the Latin being referred to here. Can anyone help? Wetman 02:24, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)

The closest I can get is 'Calculus', so 'ex calculus' would be 'from the stone'. I don't know of any other words for stone which might have become 'calibur'. — Jor 02:39, Jan 7, 2004 (UTC)
I suspect this is a folk-etymology, thought up by someone with enough Latin to know ex means "out". I did some digging in my pile of Arthurian references, & I can't find any author who provides that etymology for "Excalibur" -- although the Lady of the Lake in Sir Malory's Book of Balin calls the sword "Excalibur, that is as to say as Cut-steel." The Vulgate Cycle (written c.1230 - 1250) calls the the sword Escalibor, so that etymology obviously did not occur to the Renaissance audience. I haven't been able to identify the first version of the story of Arthur drawing the sword from the stone, although I suspect that was Malory's invention. -- llywrch 00:22, 9 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Just gonna stick your material right into the entry Llywrch Wetman 18:11, 27 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I remember vaugely that 'Excalibur' is derived from 'Ex Calce Libre (Ex Calce Liber?)' which meant literally 'to liberate from the stone'. Don't know if that's a correct latin phrase or not tho Djbrianuk 03:20, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

The phrase is "Ex cal [ce] liber [atus]", according to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable by Ebenezer Cobham Brewer. This really should be part of the article, though I'm not sure where it would best go. --24.81.13.220 00:42, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

"In Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, Excalibur is said to mean "cut-steel", which some have interpreted to mean "steel-cutter"." This sounds a little daft, what else is "cut-steel" supposed to mean?78.51.114.96 (talk) 18:16, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

This whole discussion seems to be centered around later material, but Arthur's origins are early post-Roman British. The etymology is from Caledfwlch, not from a Latin phrase. If you are looking for a meaning, try Brythonic etymologies. ---G.T.N. (talk) 18:11, 8 March 2008 (UTC)


Another issue: "It has been suggested that the historical Excalibur - if it ever existed - was a sword used by a Roman Emperor during his time in Britannia. Candidates incude Constantine the Great, Macsen Wledig, or Constantine III. As it would have been handled by an emperor who served and ruled in Britain, the hypothetical historical Excalibur would have been a powerful symbol of right to rule." But there is no 'historical Excalibur' it's a story, a mythic tale. Oi! The passive of non-attribution ("it has been suggested") at work again. this is "Dungeons 'n Dragons" myth-making. So I've moved it here. Wetman 00:27, 26 Sep 2004 (UTC)

There's at least one historical Excalibur: When king Richard I (Lionheart) was on his way to the 3rd Crusade, he stopped in Sicily, where he gave as a gift to king Tancred a sword called Excalibur. Roger of Howden (a former royal judge who accompanied Richard I from Marseilles onward) writes: ...the king of England gave to King Tancred that most excellent sword which the Britons called Excalibur, and which had been the sword of Arthur, once the valiant king of England. Whether this was really the sword of Arthur, or merely a sword given a (by then) mythological name one can't say, but Roger proves that there _was_ at least one historical Excalibur. Don't denigrate D&D players, we actually read history. Call it Hollywood myth-making, I suspect you'll hit closer to the truth there. :) --GNiko 19:17, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

That was not the historical Excalibur, it was a sword named for Excalibur and passed off as it. That said, I think that story deserves at least as much of a mention as the video game references - if you provide the source.--Cúchullain t / c 19:45, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
Source is An Eyewitness History of the Crusades: The Third Crusade, edited by Christopher Tyerman (page 190). All sources being equal, what's your source for knowing it's not _the_ Excalibur? :) --GNiko 00:50, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Excalibur was not mentioned until hundreds of years after the historical period of Arthur. We shouldn't assume Arthur really had a sword named Excalibur based on stories recorded six hundred years later, let alone that the sword survived until that time in the possession of the king.--Cúchullain t / c 02:23, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
One of the very first things one learns when first approaching history is that "all sources" are not equal. This thought then helps separate wheat from chaff even when scanning a newspaper. --Wetman 03:47, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Just to clarify: No, I don't really believe it was the THE real Excalibur (real as in "sword of Arthur", not "magical sword that cut anything, with a sheath that made it's wearer invulnerable, and which was provided by a watery tart lobbing scimitars at passerbys"), more likely just a sword named after it due to the re-emergence of Arthurian legends in the 12th century, but since it hasn't yet been even established whether there was a historical Arthur or not, I'll hold my final judgement until that has been decided. _If_ Arthur existed (as a king or a war leader), he most certainly would have had a sword, and a sword could easily survive 600 years if well cared for (and not used too often in combat: with the speed of evolution of swords in the latter half of the 1st millennium, it probably would have been an obsolete piece of cutlery after 2-300 years or so).
Oh, by the way, Excalibur the film is now mentioned twice: References in film, and in See Also. Lose the See Also link, maybe? GNiko 08:02, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Arthur's sword was mentioned early on, though not by that name. It was Caledfwlch. ---G.T.N. (talk) 18:13, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

"Sir Thomas Malory in the mid-15th century Le Morte d'Arthur says that "Caliburn" was the original name; when Caliburn was broken, it was re-forged into the sword and the new name "Excalibur" was bestowed upon it." This is in no edition of Malory that I've ever seen. I'm going to remove this bit. Franey 14:46, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)


The article section on "Forms and etymology" states that the earliest Welsh name for the sword is from the Mabinogion, which seems earlier than the other references, so that seems a better lead for the section and etymology than any origin that is likely to be derivative (such as Latin or Old French). In looking for its origins, perhaps look there and thereabouts (which would not preclude the Irish cognate). That gets lost in the good effort to include all possibilities.

Also, "calad" and its variations is a Celtic word for a sword, with related information at Gladius. Regarding mention of "caledfwlch" in the article, the Welsh word "caled" means "hard", and "bwlch" means "gap" (where "b" has become a v-sound through mutation in compound words, and is spelled as an "f"), so "something hard that makes a gap" is a reasonable translation, even if not esthetically pleasing to modern ears. Better is "cledd-" plus "bwlch", the "sword that makes a gap". These are all entirely consistent with Ilywrch's comments above, made 4 years ago. 24.178.228.14 (talk) 03:08, 4 February 2008 (UTC)


``The name Excalibur ultimately comes from the ancestor of Welsh Caledfwlch (and Breton Kaledvoulc'h, Middle Cornish Calesvol) which is a compound of caled "hard" and bwlch "breach, cleft".

I have difficulty understanding this sentence -- Does Caledfwlch refer to Welsh or Excalibur? It would be great if this could be clarified. 82.27.201.132 (talk) 01:25, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

Caledfwlch is the Modern Welsh word for the sword; an earlier, medieval form of the word (probably spelled *Caletbulc, *Caledvulh, or something similar) was Latinized as Caliburnus by the author Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britanniae - this was then borrowed into French by the author Wace as Caliburne and eventually mutated (in various texts written in various languages) until we get English Excalibur.

Trivia[edit]

I'm all for trivia sections, but I was wondering if anyone else thought that giving Excalibur's AD&D stats was a bit much?--Heathcliff 03:38, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

I agree. If no one objects, let's take it out.

Whew, I second that. Was trying to keep mum... --Wetman 22:24, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

I don't have any strong feelings about it. I put it in as a trivial aside (which is why it's in the trivia section). Djbrianuk 03:01, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)


It might be fun to keep a trivia section, especially one with notes about Excalibur in modern/pop culture. The Final Fantasy games in particular always seem to include a sword called Excalibur that is usually a very powerful blade. In one of the FF games (I wanna say Tactics, but I'm not sure) an "Excalipar" is named. A sort of joke homage.

There's an "Excalipoor" in FF8 which does only one point of damage, that might be what you're thinking of. Excalibur features in the same game (and is possessed by the same "GF" character, whose name I forget). --Grey Knight 19:12, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

There was also an old Super Nes game Excalibur 20xx or something. The sword has some influence on modern fantasy culture. The sword of the (true) King, a blade of immense power, tends to be a recurring theme in a lot of fantasy work. TotalTommyTerror 19:36, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

In Jack Whyte's Camulod Chronicles, the sword's name came from ex- and -calibur, with the latter meaning "mold" in some language or other (an African one, maybe?) In the story, the hilt, pommel and crossguard are made by pouring molten metal into a mold rather than the traditional way.

Text moved from Excalibur, unedited[edit]

Excalibur is also the subject of a movie called Excalibur (1981). In this movie, Merlin gives the sword to Arthur's father, Uther, who after being fatally wounded, thrusts Excalibur into a stone and says no one shall wield it but him. Several years later, a grown up Arthur pulls Excalibur from the stone (much as it happened in the Disney movie) with the intent of giving it to his master and adopted brother, Sir Kay. At this point, it is revealed that Arthur is Uther's son and is now the King of Britain. Arthur uses Excalibur to united the land and defeat Sir Lancelot, who apparently is a greater fighter then Arthur. He breaks the sword defeating Sir Lancelot, but when he throws it into the nearby creek, the Lady of the Lake returns it in perfect shape. At the end of the movie, after Mordred (who is conceived by Arthur and his evil sister, Morgana) and Arthur slay each other, Sir Percival throws the sword into a lake, where it is caught by the Lady of the Lake, and Arthur is taken by Guinevere to somewhere that is not revealed. (moved by Wetman 22:22, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC))

Other Media deletion?[edit]

Why was the reference to City of Heroes removed from the Other Media section? Excalibur actually appears in the game yet is removed from the article, while Final Fantasy references to weapons just similarly-named is deemed appropriate? Curious as to the rationale...

This is why I oppose putting lists like that into articles. They are by their nature incomplete, and many of the references added in good faith will be of little relevance to the topic nevertheless.--Cuchullain 19:49, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
Speaking of this, would anybody object to removing all or most of later references section? It serves very little purpose, and it's leaning towards becoming an indiscriminate collection of information.--Cúchullain t / c 02:04, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
As no one has voiced complaints over the past few weeks, I'll delete the section.--Cúchullain t c 22:20, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
Done.--Cúchullain t/c 21:59, 3 April 2006 (UTC)


I know this is a long time after the initial discussion, but I strongly think that the article does merit a section talking about its depiction in other media, as it is a significant cultural icon. Jedd the Jedi (talk) 05:11, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Roman origin[edit]

As can be seen in the movie The Last Legion, the sword excalibur was made for Julius Caesar, the conquerer. Romulus would later accquire the sword and make his last stand together with the fabled Dragon Legion, aka the Ninth Legion, in Britain against Vogryn. Romulus won the battle and in the end, he flung the sword out far. He would later settled down and married a local who gave birth to a boy named Arthur. The elder man, who had previously been mentor and teacher to Romulus, would in turn be teaching Arthur and reveal himself as Merlin. The sword had the been engraved with letters ending with "E S Calibur".

Qingshun (talk) 14:24, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

This was just a fiction movie. Julius Caesar had no special sword, and Arthur's sword was forged for him by the Lady of the Lake. This implies a native British connection, not a fanciful Roman one with plenty of LOTR influence. Be careful believing what you watch. ---G.T.N. (talk) 18:17, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Uh ... You do realize that neither Excalibur nor King Arthur have any historical proof to verify their existence right? I mean the Lady of the Lake may be native british lore but it is just as fanciful as a roman movie of "LOTR influence". He should be careful of what he watches but you should be careful of what you choose to believe.

Saxon origin?[edit]

Removed doubtful unsourced assertion. Could anyone provide a source for the following? I don't know much Latin, but I think this is suspect.

" One theory about the "Sword in the Stone" legend is that it stems from a scribal error. The Latin word for stone is saxum, very similar to Saxon (Saxonum), so it is possible that the story of Arthur originally had him killing a Saxon and taking his sword as a symbol of victory, but that during a later copying of the text, a scribe mistakenly changed it to saxum. Hence, "Arthur pulled the sword from the Saxon" may have become "Arthur pulled the sword from the stone." "

203.215.116.131 22:24, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

At any rate "saxum" is a Latin word for rock, boulder. I'm not quite sure who asserted that, though. --Narfil Palùrfalas 01:40, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
This could be true. However, pulling a sword from an inanimate object is a common mythological idea. There was an Icelandic king, I think it was Frodi, who pulled the sword from a wooden beam, after it had been placed there by Odin. The later change could be due to Anglo-Saxon or Viking influence. ---G.T.N. (talk) 18:20, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Question:[edit]

The article currently says this: Just before the sword hits the water's surface, a hand, that of the Lady, reaches up and grasps the sword, pulling it down under.

My question is: is there an appropriate source that explicitly states that the hand belongs to the Lady of the Lake? Whilst I know that it is popularly identified with her, I ask as the only work I have access to at the moment (Malory) merely identifies it as an arm and an hand above the water.

In Malory's case it makes sense, as the particular Lady of the Lake character from whom Arthur got Excalibur is dead, but I don't know about others. As such, I'm curious if there is a source that conclusively identifies it as the Lady of the Lake (and not merely an arm, which could be taken to be the same arm that held aloft Excalibur, and could be argued isn't the Lady of the Lake, unless she had a third, detachable arm.) g026r 14:46, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

While it seems that Malory was implying it was the Lady of the Lake's arm, the triple-godess was long a part of Arthurian fiction. Morgan came from Morgan, Nimue probably from Nemhain, and possibly Vivian from Bedb. So it is possible for the Lady to have had a "third arm." :) ---G.T.N. (talk) 18:24, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Images[edit]

Removing two images, one portraying Excalibur in the stone with caption "Excalibur in the stone", the other an artistic rendition of a sword, with caption "In Welsh legend, Arthur's sword is known as Caledfwlch"; I consider these contributing little more than possible misinformation of what Excalibur might have looked like to the article. 194.157.147.49 17:55, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Question:[edit]

There seems to be a lot of information gathering in the disambiguation part of this article which i feel is just as relevant for the front page as appearances in video games? I added a link to the famous and well known John Boorman film (which is just as accessible as most games!) and it was duly moved the next day? Would it be better to move the video games section to disambiguation or some of the disambiguation info to the front page? Thanks.

The film is already mentioned and linked to. Uthanc 13:03, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Book of Jasher Sapphire Stick[edit]

In the parabiblical book of Jasher in Chapter 77, there is found a story of an object called the "Sapphire Stick" which Moses finds planted in the garden of Reuel, his soon-to-be father-in-law. Reuel is a Midianite of the clan of the Kenites who has Moses imprisoned ten years before, and his daughter feeds him and pleads for him to be released. After she is able to free him, Moses wanders into the garden of Reuel and sees the Sapphire Stick planted in the ground, and curious as to what it is, looks at it, sees the name of Yahweh Sabaoth on it, and pulls it from the ground. As in the Arthurian legend of the Sword in the Stone, the stick of Yahweh Sabaoth cannot be pulled from the ground "until he came who had a right to it and took it." This story is at least 2,000 years old, probably a lot older as this is the same book of Jasher that is quoted in Joshua 10:13 and II Samuel 1:18. Jasher also provides background information on the character of Job (Jobab) of Uz, of the book of Job, in 58:26-9 (Genesis 36:33-4), as a contemporary of Joseph (not to be confused with a later wise man of Uz by the same name who advised Pharaoh about killing the Israelites, Jasher 66:15-22.) Also see the Septuagint ending of the book of Job.

The Kenites later became a clan of Judah (Judges 1:16), included descendants of Rahab (the prostitute who hid the spies in Joshua 2, cf. Judges 4:11, I Samuel 15:6, and I Chronicles 2:55), and were the sister clan to the Kadmonites (Genesis 15:19.) Interestingly (or coincidentally) enough the region in southern England called Kent became the home of the tribe called the Jutes in the 500s AD and a town called Cadmonwalldr is found not too far to the west in Wales; both, if I recall correctly, once fell within the territory of Arthur of Camelot.

For these reasons I think the Sapphire Stick or Stick of Yahweh-Saboath should be mentioned in this article in relation to the Excalibur legend.

http://www.ccel.org/a/anonymous/jasher/77.htm

TurtleofXanth 20:50, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Found this to be of interest in relation to the Sapphire Stick: "Caledfwlch is vividly described in the Mabinogion:

"Then they heard Cadwr Earl of Cornwall being summoned, and saw him rise with Arthur's sword in his hand, with a design of two serpents on the golden hilt; when the sword was unsheathed what was seen from the mouths of the two serpents was like two flames of fire, so dreadful that it was not easy for anyone to look. At that the host settled and the commotion subsided, and the earl returned to his tent. from The Dream of Rhonabwy, from The Mabinogion, translated by Jeffrey Gantz." - Excalibur, Wiki.

In the Jasher story of the Sapphire Stick wielded by Moses, the following occurs in Moses' contest with the wizards of Egypt: "And Moses and Aaron rose up early on the next day, and they went to the house of Pharaoh, and they took in their hands the stick of God. And when they came to the king's gate, two young lions were confined there with iron instruments, and no person went out or came in from before them, unless those whom the king ordered to come, when the conjurors came and withdrew the lions by their incantations, and this brought them to the king. And Moses hastened and lifted up the stick upon the lions, and he loosed them, and Moses and Aaron came into the king's house. The lions also came with them in joy, and they followed them and rejoiced as a dog rejoices over his master when he comes from the field." - Jasher 79:20-23

The astonished Pharaoh sends them away till the next day, summons his wizards, and has them confront Moses and Aaron. They bring the stick with them and the following occurs: "And in the morning Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron to come before the king, and they took the rod of God, and came to the king and spoke to him, saying, Thus said the Lord God of the Hebrews, Send my people that they may serve me. And the king said to them, But who will believe you that you are the messengers of God and that you come to me by his order? Now therefore give a wonder or sign in this matter, and then the words which you speak will be believed. And Aaron hastened and threw the rod out of his hand before Pharaoh and before his servants, and the rod turned into a serpent. And the sorcerers saw this and they cast each man his rod upon the ground and they became serpents. And the serpent of Aaron's rod lifted up its head and opened its mouth to swallow the rods of the magicians." - Jasher 79:32-38

Speculative questions: Was Excalibur created to commemorate the Sapphire Staff of Moses, and did it include the serpents on the hilt to remember the victory of Moses' staff over that of Balaam? Did the ancient Celts even have access to any of the book of Jasher? Did they remember the tale orally? Where would they have gotten the idea of Excalibur or the Sword in the Stone from? -- obviously Malory did not originally come up with the idea of a holy object embedded in the earth and irretrievable except to the one right person, since Jasher predates Malory by more than 1200 years. Did Malory read the book of Jasher? But, then, where did the Mabinogion get the idea of the serpents connected to it from? That predates Malory, doesn't it? TurtleofXanth 21:30, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

It's interesting, but including it would be original research, I'm afraid. Unless a scholar has noted the similarity we can't include it.--Cúchullain t/c 00:22, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Excalibur in RuneScape[edit]

Shouldn't the Excalibur in RuneScape be mentioned in this article?

My personal feeling is that this is one of the better articles, well written and well done to all concerned; particular nods to Wetman and Cuchullain. Normally, I'm all for trivia sections in the right place. However, in this case it would need to be very closely watched to prevent it being flooded with garbage. How about a series of chapters ? Excalibur in films; Excalibur in popular culture; There's a whole section of military references alone. Put all game references together. That way, we can create the "Compleat Excalibur" document without it becoming an unruly mess. Thoughts, Brethren ? STEALTH RANGER 08:02, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Real Swords in Real Stones[edit]

I think the main thrust of this is right, and haven't read the book, but as I am familiar with this connection (mostly from tv I think) the stone moulds were re-useable, so I'm not sure about the last bit. There is evidence that in the bronze age at least smiths were highly mobile and very well paid, so usually "foreigners" whereever they were, who lived apart and kept their valuable secrets. I think the point is that all stone-mould casting had ceased a very very long time before these stories came to be formed, and you are dealing with a very distant folk-memory. I think most swords came from stone moulds at one time. Johnbod 16:15, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

I've heard this theory, and it's worth mentioning, preferably with sources. The description as given is rather confused, though. Many bronze weapons were cast in moulds, but cast iron is not a good material for swords, so the 'sword in the stone' legend could be based on then-obsolete Bronze Age technology. A related and interesting point, and again I haven't hunted down a reference for it, is that magical weapons first become commonplace in the Iron Age. Bronze Age heroes get on fine without them (Gilgamesh, for example is noted for the number of weapons he carries, not their quality, and Odysseus's spear is deadly because his arm is guided by the gods). This is supposed to mirror a technological shift from mass-produced bronze weaponry to iron weapons elaborately worked by the mysterious art of the smith. --80.44.242.59 06:53, 6 July 2007 (UTC)


Jung tells us that the "stone" is symbol for the "self." The spoken word is commonly termed "sword" in English. The English Author is the only one capable of pulling that tongue out of English selfs. Possibly the horse bearing a lance is symbol for the writing hand. Entering the lists of words in letters carried by horses would symbolize intellectual battles. Myths don't usually demand that a symbol be limited to purely physical, non-spiritual meanings.Johnshoemaker (talk) 05:19, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

List of fictional swords?[edit]

Why is there such a list in the end of the article? It is historicly accurate that Arthur existed, so it is historicaly accurate that he had a sword. So Excalibur or Caliburn is not fictional, biut rather mythological or legendary sword, the same as Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.91.157.111 (talk) 11:42, 1 November 2007 (UTC)


Blanked sections[edit]

I have restored blanked text, that was under headings "Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone", "Real swords in real stones" and the more doubtfully relevant "Vietnamese parallel", which last may not belong in the article. If some of this material should be retained, then closer adult supervision is needed. --Wetman 18:27, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Pronunciation Keys[edit]

This page very badly needs pronunciation keys to help people with all the welsh words. There needs to be a pronunciation key for Caledfwlch, in particular. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rusherx (talkcontribs) 21:13, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

Material moved from King Arthur[edit]

I have moved some material here from the King Arthur article. This material has been meticulously researched and referenced by user: Hrothgar cyning. It now makes an uneasy mix with the largely uncited material that was already in the article. Anyone editing the article in the future is advised of the mixture. The bibliography at the bottom does not guarantee that the whole article is referenced. qp10qp (talk) 22:52, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

"Mythological" weapon?[edit]

This is not a big deal, but Excalibur clearly belongs in the category for "Category:Fictional swords" if anything does. One user argues that it is better fit for the category Category:Mythological weapons (which it is already in), but Excalibur appears in works of fiction from its very earliest mentions, such as those in Culhwch and Olwen and the Historia Regum Britannea, rather than in mythology. I am all right with it remaining in the mythological category, since the Arthurian legend is a mythology after a fashion, but the purpose of appropriate categorization serves no purpose if articles like this are not in the fiction category as well.--Cúchullain t/c 21:30, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

doctor who is cool! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.115.161.31 (talk) 09:16, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Is this article about Excalibur, or all the weapons of King Author?[edit]

Is this article suppose to be about the sword Excalibur, or all of the weapons of King Author? If you are going to list everything, why not change the name to List of Weapons used by King Author, and have Excalibur as a section of that. Clarent already redirects here, and perhaps his other weapons as well. Dream Focus 22:42, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Etymology 2[edit]

I believe that the etymology "ex calix libre" or similar is now considered false, I think it derives from Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable by Ebenezer Cobham Brewer though I don't know if this is the original source or if there is a 'folk' origin that predates it. It certainly seems that it has entered into some common use.

1. Do the editors consider it is worthwhile entering this information into the etymology section (I do) 2. Can anyone supply a good rejection of the etymology (ie show it to be held to be false nowadays) 3. There is an article False etymology

a. It would be a good example for inclusion in that article if 2 can be satisfied.
b. An alternative would be to link from the false etymology article, as is done for other examples.

I firmly believe that the false etymology of excalibre should be covered in the encyclopedia, does anyone have any opinions as to how it should be done, etc (or disagree?). Thanks.83.100.250.79 (talk) 19:02, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

This appears to have come back up, so it's worth continuing the discussion. The modern take is that a derivation from Latin is a false etymology, and that "Excalibur", from Geoffrey's "Caliburnus", derive from the Welsh "Caledfwlch". I don't think Brewster's is worth mentioning here when we have better sources.--Cúchullain t/c 14:06, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't have a leg in which is the better derivation. However, as the matter is coming up (and my advice was solicited on my talk page) I think we do need to address the issue in the article. People having seen the proposed Latin etymology are going to wonder why it is not mentioned and want to add it - as is reasonable. If the more current thinking is that the Welsh proposed derivation is probably the correct one, then we can say something along the lines of, "A Latin derivation <bla bla bla> has been proposed(ref Brewster or whomever), but more recent scholars (ref these folks) think a Welsh derivation <bla bla bla> is more likely." This puts both ideas in there, but does not give them equal footing. LadyofShalott 14:29, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
I'll respond below.--Cúchullain t</su|>/c 14:44, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Etymology 3[edit]

Hope the Latin root is left alone... it comes up in several places but the most famous "classic" use of this is Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. It is fairly simple Latin : Ex=from, Calc=stone, Liber=Freed. ergo "freed from the stone". Excalcliber is contracted slightly to excaliber/excalibur. Simple when explained. I see early reference below did not pursue this... —Preceding unsigned comment added by Stephencdickson (talkcontribs) 14:01, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

This etymology is linguistically quite impossible - and patently ridiculous. Latin names simply weren't formed in such a manner. The fact remains, the Ex- prefix in Arthurian names was only added much later and comes from the Old French Es-, where it was used as an intensive prefix, not to mean "out of". Geoffrey's form is Caliburnus and, as his names for the rest of Arthur's accouterments are purely Welsh (Ron, Pridwen; which Geoffrey must have picked up from a story like Culhwch ac Olwen, where these are both mentioned and Caledfwlch is the name of Arthur's sword), we have every reason to suspect that Caliburn is a corruption of a Welsh name, too. The Welsh always substitute Caledfwlch for Caliburnus in their translations of Geoffrey, so this bolsters the case that this was the Welsh name for Arthur's sword. Additionally, early French translations of Geoffrey's tale give the name of the sword as *Caliborc, which makes us suspect that the final -n of Calibrunus might not have existed in the earliest manuscripts of the HRB, but rather the name might have been spelled Caliburcus, which is even closer to what would have been the Old Welsh spelling of Caledfwlch, *Caletbulc. No doubt, Geoffrey, who probably may not have had strong command of the Welsh language, was influenced by medieval Latin calibs "steel" in his spelling of the first part of the name - but that does not negate the true Welsh origin of Caliburnus (which is recognized by the vast majority of modern Arthurian scholars).Cagwinn (talk) 14:24, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Agree with Cagwinn, as I said just above. The Latin derivation is a false etymology; the modern view is that Excalibur, from Geoffrey's "Caliburnus", is derived from the Welsh Caledfwlch. I don't think we need to quote Brewsters when we have the much more authoritative Bromwich and Evans book to cite.--Cúchullain t/c 14:28, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Obviously - as Stephen and the IP above exemplify from opposite points of view - there are people who will have read Brewers and expect to see the supposed Latin derivation. We should mention it, but then say that it has been discredited by these other scholars. LadyofShalott 14:33, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Mentioning it only helps spread bad information on the internet. If we gave equal time on Wikipedia to every crackpot theory that has ever existed, the encyclopedia would quickly become bloated and useless.Cagwinn (talk) 14:40, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
So don't give equal time. Give a brief one line mention of it, but be expansive about the Welsh derivation. LadyofShalott 14:45, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't think it's prominent enough to need any time. No google hits for "ex calc liber" or "Ex Calce Liber", and no relevant hits on Google Books for the much more common "ex calce liberatus". Stephen gave no page number for Brewer's and didn't indicate which edition he was referring to; the edition I found online says no such thing.[1]--Cúchullain t/c 14:54, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
OK, I have updated the article in two places to note the influence of Latin chalybs "steel" on Geffrey's form and the origin of the "cut steel" bit in Malory.Cagwinn (talk) 15:37, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Etymology 4 it's meaning[edit]

Original names asside and this is mostly just conjecture but I always thought the name Excalibur was a combo of Latin/English. Ex (1)out of),(2)without; not having) and Calibre, (1)derived from Arabic Qalib meaning a mold),(2)degree of individual capacity); thus has the double meaning in modern english as "out of the mold" and "beyond or without measure". A fitting name for the ultimate sword and not realy related to it's earlier versions. Bloodkith (talk) 22:01, 11 April 2011 (UTC)


Possible compromise[edit]

How about after the entire Welsh discussion that is already there we add the following:

In Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, a Latin derivation for Excalibur was proposed (cite book and page). However, modern scholarship considers this a false etymology and rejects it in favor of the Welsh derivation (cite appropriate works).

This does not give much time to the Latin, and does not spell out Brewer's proposal, but does mention the idea which does exist in the minds of likely a good number who would seek out this article. LadyofShalott 14:58, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

  • If it can be established that this folksy fake Latin etymology has some currency, I think it is worth mentioning as an erroneous option. Given the topic ("the matter of Arthur") and the many theories and opinions on it, brief mention is justified in my opinion. In short, I agree with Cuchullain et al in terms of content, but with the Lady in terms of Wiki policy--people look at Wikis precisely for information on (crackpot and other) theories. Drmies (talk) 15:36, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Again, I just don't think it's very noteworthy. I'm all for including folk etymologies if they're independently notable, but mentioning it just to reject it implies that it has some kind of popular traction, and I don't see that that's the case here. I found another edition of Brewer's here (p. 342) which doesn't mention the "ex calce" etymology and accepts that "Excalibur" is related to "Caledfwlch". At best we have an etymology suggested (possibly) in some editions of one work, which now appears in some places on the web (and this was no doubt propagated in part due to it appearing here, unsourced, for years).--Cúchullain t/c 15:53, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

What is its friggin' story?[edit]

I mean, "History" keeps telling about which legends talks about it, and a little about it's origin, but... Beyond that, did Arthur kill someone important with it? What ever happened to the sword? It broke? Was buried? Is it sitting in some museum? Someone still wields it? Or just no one cared enough to explain that in any source? I don't know nothing about Arthurian legend, neither am I supposed to, I just want to know from an article about Excalibur why Excalibur is important at all... "Arthur was important and so his sword is too, go see at his article why he's a such nice guy" is not good enough, imho. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 189.123.170.5 (talk) 19:13, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Caledfwlch pronunciation[edit]

I see someone above asked about pronunciation keys way back in 2007 but it wasn't answered, so does anyone know how to pronounce Caledfwlch specifically, and if so could it be added to the article with appropriate citation.Number36 (talk) 10:41, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

In Welsh, the consonant -c- (IPA k) is always hard, like English -k-; the vowel -a- (IPA a) is similar to the English -a- in "father"; a single -l- (IPA l) is the same as English -l-; the vowel -e- (IPA eː) is similar to English -ai- in "laid" or "air"; a single -d- (IPA d) is the same as in English; -f- is the same sound as English -v- (IPA v); -w- can be both a semi-vowel (as in English) or - as in the case of Caledfwlch - a vowel (IPA ʊ) similar to English -oo-, as in "look"; and -ch- is a hard, spitting, guttural sound (IPA χ), similar to the -ch- in Scottish loch (for more on IPA symbols for Welsh see: Wikipedia:IPA for Welsh). The Welsh accent generally falls on the penultimate syllable, so "Cal_ed_fwlch". Cagwinn (talk) 15:25, 16 June 2012 (UTC)