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Where did the story/myth of the sword in the stone originate?There have been theories of it originating in Rome and England. It is also said to be just a story, but I think otherwise. There is a theory that the book written by T.H. White was written based off the myth. All stories involve Merlin, but not all stories are the same.

Some say that it was based in Rome and Merlin first possessed the sword given and made for Caesar Augustus, who ruled in Rome in 27 BC until 14 AD. Passing down the sword to each generation eventually being thrown into a stone that only a true Caesar could pull out.

Others say that It was possessed by King Arthur, a British ruler who came of possession of it as a young boy. Merlin possessed it as well, helping him learn as being a teacher and professor to King Arthur.

Where did this "story/myth" come from? Was there more than one sword in the stone? What is the origin? What if it is a myth, can we interpret from this?

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    The Caesar thing is pure fiction. There is nothing at all like that. It's all myth and only myth, one of the many rite of passages young heroes have to take on. – C. M. Weimer Oct 6 '15 at 1:09
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    Are you asking about the story, as a collection of characters around the event of the sword and the stone? Or are you asking specifically about the symbolism of 'the sword in the stone,' regardless of 'which characters in what setting' have changed? – New Alexandria Oct 6 '15 at 13:39
  • I am trying to figure out the true original characters around the story – anonymous Oct 6 '15 at 13:51
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    "It is also said to be just a story, but I think otherwise" how do you know this? "There is a theory that the book written by T.H. White was written based off the myth." Yes, the novel The Sword in the Stone is based on Aurthurian legend -- I'm not sure why you would call that a "theory". "Others say that It was possessed by King Arthur, A British ruler who came of possession of it as a young boy" Yes, that is the myth (not history) that the story was based on. – user62 Oct 6 '15 at 23:50
  • It would be really helpful if you could tell me who says "that it was based in Rome and Merlin first possessed the sword given and made for Caesar Augustus." Whoever told you the information this question is based upon (e.g. that King Arthur was a real person) has been (to put it lightly) making things up. – user62 Oct 6 '15 at 23:53
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The actual answer to the question:

The first reference to the sword in the stone is to be found only in the prose redaction of Robert de Boron’s Merlin. Of the original poem only some five hundred lines survive. Considering that, and the way scribes could elaborate on their sources, we can not now be sure whether the sword in the stone featured in Robert’s own work or not. Whichever is the case, the work does predate the Vulgate Cycle and the other prose works important to this discussion.

(Toohey, Kathleen, King Arthur's Swords)

If anyone is interested, you can read the Prose Merlin online.

I have not found any historical reference to anyone pulling out a sword from a stone. I think this makes sense, because I imagine that it would be hard to put a sword there in the first place. Sarcasm aside, if you find a historical reference to someone pulling a sword our of something, feel free to let me know in the comments.


The following is in response to some of the things said in the original question.

I'm really sorry, but it is not a "theory" that the story of the sword in the stone originated from Arthurian legend. This is a fact.

  1. The google document (why didn't you just link to the wikipedia page that the google document is copied from?) is a copy of the wikipedia page for the movie The Last Legion. This movie is "a 2007 Fantasy film" that combines Arthurian legend with roman history.

  2. You say that "Some say that it was based in Rome and Merlin first possessed the sword given and made for Caesar Augustus, who ruled in Rome in 27 BC until 14 AD. Passing down the sword to each generation eventually being thrown into a stone that only a true Caesar could pull out." That is only true in the movie The Last Legion, which, as stated previously, is a work of fantasy. This is not actual history.

  3. The legend of the sword in the stone, minus the stuff about Caesar Augustus (which, as stated previously, is from the movie The Last Legion), is from Arthurian legend. T.H. White is the author of a children's book, which is also based on Arthurian legend.

The legend of the sword and the stone is a component of Arthurian legend. Arthurian legend is a collection of old stories about King Arthur. A common feature in many of those stories is the mini-story of the "Sword in the Stone", which features King Arthur pulling a sword out of a stone.

  • It wasn't the last legion is said specifically at the top The sword in the Stone not the last legion. By the way I looked the last legion up and that is also obviously a fantasy but maybe off of the Roman theory – anonymous Oct 7 '15 at 16:38
  • @anonymous No. if you google the text from that google doc, you will see that it is copied from the wikipedia page about the movie The Last Legion (bit.ly/1jOgMQQ). Besides, why on earth are you trusting something written in a google doc? Who gave you this document? – user62 Oct 7 '15 at 17:27
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    Not even kidding, I just saw Last Legion when I was on vacation this past summer. I laughed so hard when they made the connection at the end, and then shook my head in shame. It's so laughably dumb the way they put it together. – C. M. Weimer Oct 7 '15 at 20:04
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    I've never seen the movie or the wiki page on the last legion...it might be there as well but this was on a different wiki page. By the way, that was MY document. I copied it into the document so I could show you guys specifically which part of wiki I was talking about – anonymous Oct 7 '15 at 20:59
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    @anonymous what probably happened is: 1. someone vandalized the wikipedia page and put in false information. 2. you read the wikipedia page. 3. someone edited the wikipedia page to get rid of the false information. The moral of the story is don't trust wikipedia, and always explain things like this when you ask a question, and not in comments three days afterwards. – user62 Oct 7 '15 at 22:29
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There is an alternate explanation based on Roman conscripts in Roman Britain from Eastern Europe that the Romans credited with introducing the Stirrup to the Roman Cavalry. The defeated province in Eastern Europe was required to provide a certain number of young conscripts to the Roman army each year that had been trained in the use of Cavalry using their native Stirrup. The conscripts also had another tradition they were proud of (but Romans dismissed as worthless) which was that each of their young soldiers was trained to produce their own sword all the way from iron ore smelting to beating out the actual sword and those trained proudly wore a symbol of their skill on their armor (or clothing) which depicted a sword being pulled out of a stone (iron ore). Some of the Roman Soldiers that stayed behind when Rome left Britain still wore that symbol on their armor and the legendary leader of Romanized Britain in the fight against Saxon invaders may well have been one of them.

However by the time Arthur's legend based on that leader was written down in the 11th century, British nobility had agreed not compete in business against the Guild craftsman (including Smiths) in return for the Guild's support of the nobility, so it would not have been acceptable to suggest that a member of a British nobility built their own sword in violation of that long standing accord.

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