Great Portland Street

Medieval Arthurian Legend

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

14th century, Middle English, British Museum, London.

Whoever wears this green waistband cannot be wounded by any man in battle, for there is no man on Earth who can kill him.

At the castle at which Sir Gawain is a guest, while he waits to be guided to the Green Chapel for the return stroke of an axe on New Year's Day, the following game is played: the lord goes hunting and Sir Gawain spends the day with the ladies. In particular the lord’s own lady. In the evening, everything that the lord has acquired during the hunt is Sir Gawain’s to keep and everything that Gawain has achieved in the company of the ladies must be given to the lord. Despite the potential for ribaldry, Sir Gawain, having been assured that he will be taken to the Green Chapel at the due time, behaves very correctly. All the kisses that he receives from the lady of the house he gives to the lord on his return from hunting, in exchange for the spoils of the hunt and in compliance with the terms of their agreement. He will not be drawn, however, along the path that the lady of the castle, Lady Bertilak, obviously wishes to lead him.

On the final morning she offers Sir Gawain a ring as a token of her love, which he refuses. Then she offers him a silken girdle with the property that for what gome so is gurde with this grene lace, while he hit had hemely halched aboute, there is no hathel under heven tohewe him that myght, for he myght not be slain for slyght upon erthe. Whoever wears this green waistband cannot be wounded by any man in battle, for there is no man on Earth who can kill him.' This he accepts gratefully, in view of what he is about to face.

Story fragment recounted from: Burrow, J A (Ed), 1972. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Penguin Books. Reprinted by Penguin Classics, 1987. Offer of the ring and the girdle, lines 1798–1869.

See for yourself

Sir Gawain – Wikipedia

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – Wikipedia

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – Cotton Nero MS A x, British Library, photographs and articles

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: an introduction – Simon Armitage, British Library article

Rings and circles

Circle Line

part of a prehistoric stone circle
King Arthur beside the boat that will take him to Avalon

Navigate the tunnel

Change motif

Rings and circles: summary

Locate this station

hawk in flight
Advanced Tips
Type Example Notes
Fuzzy kettle~ Contain terms that are close to the word kettle, such as cattle
Wild cat* Contain terms that begin with cat, such as category and the extact term cat itself
Exact-Single orange Contain the term orange
Exact-Phrase "dnn is awesome" Contain the exact phase dnn is awesome
OR orange bike Contain the term orange or bike, or both. OR, if used, must be in uppercase
orange OR bike
AND orange AND bike Contain both orange and bike. AND must be in uppercase
Combo (agile OR extreme) AND methodology Contain methodology and must also contain agile and/or extreme
Results per Page:
Limit the search results with the specified tags.
Limit the search results modified within the specified time.
Limit the search results from the specified source.
Search results must be an exact match for the keywords.
prehistoric stone circle