Saturday, February 7, 2015

How big and round of a table was it?

Well, considering there were a lot of knights (see list here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Knights_of_the_Round_Table )

how big was the round table?

According to wikipedia, almost 60 knights are mentioned explicitly by name somewhere. The table itself was massive. Lore has it that the table was bigger than this though. The common estimate isn't that Arthur would just get a couple of knights at a time in for conference, you go hard or go home. Arthur's table sat 150 knights! This meant he had a LOT of dinner guests and the need for a lot of space for feasts and whatnot. Assuming this table is for hosting dinner, we will give each knight a decent amount (yet not unreasonably large) 3 ft of space at the table per person. By simple multiplication, the circumference would easily have to be around 450 ft. Which would translate to a 143 ft diameter. Now no one ever technically said it was a circle, since as long as the table didn't have points it was round so technically it could have just S curved everywhere, so my specifics might be invalid. However, assuming it isn't a metaphorical "table of allegiance" or something lame like that, it would have been a really big table.

3 comments:

Ross said...

Fun Fact about the Round Table

It wasn't until 1155, when an Anglo-Norman author from Jersey, named Wace, wrote down his Roman de Brut in French, and introduced the Round Table into the Arthurian legend. However, Wace's version was different to what we popularly know today about the Round Table. The knights were usually of noble birth: they were usually kings and princes, dukes, counts (or earls) and barons. They formed the backbone of the army, since they were the only one who could afford expensive armour and weapon, as well as the cost of training and maintaining the war-horse. When the knights attend a festival or council at the king's main hall, those who sat at the head of table, usually have precedence over others. These knights would feel envy or jealousy to those of higher ranking. Sometimes, the knights would cause a brawl, over who would take the seat at the head of table.To resolve these problems, Arthur resorted to having his table constructed in a rounded shape. The ingenuity of this design, make all the knights equal, regardless if he was a king or a minor baron. No one would have precedence over others.The knights in Arthur's company became known as the "Knights of the Round Table". These knights were heroes, renowned for their strength and courage, and for their skill in combat and warfare. They swore to protect the king and the kingdom. Layamon, the English author of Brut (c. 1200), who wrote the adaptation of Wace's work, further elaborate the origin of the Round Table. So the Round Table actually began in a more basic tradition, that of political expenditure. There was no magical or mystical ingredient that would appeared later in this century or early next century.

Isabel Celata said...

I think you saying that he had "a lot of dinner tests and the need for a lot of space for feasts and whatnot" says a lot about medieval culture. In medieval times, hospitality was extremely important. There was a general code for how to treat guests, which is somewhat shown in the Fisher King. When Parsifal comes along and sees the first Fisher King, it is expected for the Fisher King to ask Parsifal to stay at his house. When Parsifal thinks that the first Fisher King tricked him, he curses him because it was so against medieval custom to trick guests.

Joe D said...

HOWEVER! If we were to make the round table, say, a torus or an elliptic torus, we could increase the compactness of the Round Table. Let's elaborate: assume King Arthur is having 150 burly knights over for dinner, and we have a circular torus table that perhaps has hinges that allow it to open and close to allow people into the center. Arthur wants to sit 1/3 of the guests on the inside and 2/3 of the guests on the outside, thinking that the face-to-face interaction will spur on some nice conversation throughout the evening (God forbid we have a redo of the shouting match across the merely circular table between Lancelot and Galahad). So, C_1 = 300 = 2(pi)(big Radius), and C_2 = 150 = 2(pi)(small radius). So, R=47.75, and r=23.87.

While we're still dealing with a 95 foot wide table, this is Arthur's castle, not just anyone's. Of course, since castles are typically rectangular, we could stretch the table into an elliptic-torus.

Conclusion: Knights of the Elliptic-Torus Table.