King Arthurs’ Knights
The Knights of the Round Table are figures associated with King Arthur in Arthurian legend. They are the genesis of Knights, Dames, and Rogues for the following centuries. The Round Table symbolizes equality and unity, as its circular shape suggests that no knight seated at it holds a position of greater importance than the others. The most famous knight among them is Sir Lancelot, known for his combat prowess and affair with Queen Guinevere.
These Knights embark on various quests, seeking the Holy Grail and defending Camelot against external threats. Their stories often involve chivalry, honor, and the pursuit of noble ideals. The Arthurian legends have influenced literature and culture, portraying these knights as exemplars of virtue and courage. Some, like the Mysteries of the Green Knight (ii), are fantastic tales.
There are also stories of Black Knights recruited from Africa to serve in King Arthur’s defense of the realm (iii). The image here is of Morien from Smithsonian Magazine, referencing medieval poc. MedievalPoC says that Morien has mainly been omitted in modern depictions of the round table. The early accounts describe him as not white.
The POC blog quotes from the translated saga of Sir Morien, (iv) one of King Arthur’s knights.
Sir Morien is described as a dark-skinned knight, emphasizing his African heritage. In some versions of the story, he travels to Camelot to seek recognition and to join the Knights of the Round Table.
The characters of the Knights of King Arthur, whether real or mythical, seem to me like the ancient counterparts of the superheroes we find in Marvel comics. These legendary figures, led by King Arthur himself, embody heroic virtues, engage in quests, and grapple with moral dilemmas, much like the superheroes we encounter in modern storytelling. The Knights of the Round Table and contemporary superheroes share a common thread of larger-than-life characters, each with unique abilities and a commitment to the eternal battle between good and evil. It is fascinating to see how these ancient legends and modern comic book narratives echo similar themes, offering timeless tales of heroism and moral exploration.
Of course, knighthood is a serious and honorable tradition. The real-life individuals knighted by the crown are recognized for their exceptional contributions and dedication to their communities and countries. They are not comic book characters but individuals whose achievements have earned them the highest honors in service and valor.
Fast forward to the present day, and the tradition of knighthood endures. The British monarchy continues to honor individuals who have contributed exceptionally to society, culture, or their respective fields. Knighthoods date back to George III. The last of Barbados Dames was certified by Queen Elizabeth II with the appointment of her Excellency Sandra Prunella Mason, Governor-General of Barbados Republic, January 2018 (i). The last Knight was Sir Emil Straker lead singer of the Merrymen.
The titles of “Sir” or “Dame” are marks of distinction earned through a lifetime of dedicated work and notable achievements. Rogues in Paradise pays tribute to these outstanding people in the section on knights, dames, and Matriarchs. The book presents three lovable and popular Bajan knights who rose from humble beginnings to become celebrated knights of the realm. Several women are also celebrated for courage and creativity as dames and heroes of Barbados. The book “Rogues in Paradise” includes chapters on several Knights and Dames of Barbados, with a foreword of the Rogues appointed by King Arthur to defend England.
Knights, Dames, Rogues
Heritage of Mystery and Creativity
While knights and rogues are often depicted as opposite archetypes in medieval literature and fantasy, in a broader context, both may share certain qualities such as independence, resourcefulness, and a sense of duty or purpose. However, the specific characteristics of knights and rogues can vary based on cultural and literary representations. Knights are typically portrayed as honorable, chivalrous figures who adhere to a code of conduct and serve a higher cause. This cause is often associated with protecting the realm or upholding justice. Knights are often linked to nobility, formal training, and a structured social hierarchy. But they are renowned for stepping out of character and turning exploits into bold, daring adventures.
Conversely, Rogues are often depicted as cunning, adaptable individuals who may operate outside conventional norms. They are known for their resourcefulness, cleverness, and ability to navigate complex situations. Rogues may include thieves, tricksters, or individuals with a more pragmatic and flexible approach to achieving their goals.
In some narratives, characters may embody the qualities of both knights and rogues, showcasing a nuanced and multifaceted understanding of their roles. It ultimately depends on the specific cultural, historical, or fictional context in which these archetypes are presented.
Evolution of Legend and Fantasy
Our ancestors, fearless knights and rascal rogues, embarked on pursuits of creative adventure, transforming awe into fantastical stories. The tradition endures, with bold adventurers carrying on the legacy of figures like Zorro and Robin Hood fighting injustice and leaving an indelible mark on the world.
While knights have long been the heroes of storybooks, rogues often steal the show as the unreliable antiheroes of legend. Whether they break the law or save the day, rogues are known for their unique sense of mischief and daring escapes. From the daring exploits of Han Solo, the charming space smuggler turned hero, to the more grounded yet legendary Robin Hood, these characters stir the pot of imagination and passion. With their guerrilla warfare tactics, figures like Che Guevara and Lawrence of Arabia add layers to the tapestry of daring deeds and wondrous journeys.
Caribbean Knights and Rogues
In the Caribbean were the infamous Pirates, like the notorious Blackbeard and Disney’s favorite Jack Sparrow, Pirate Rogues of the highest order. Some were gentlemen like Sam lord and Stede Bonnet, both of Barbados and the enigmatic Redleg Pirate Greaves. Noble rogues like Sir Walter Raleight behaved like pirates against the French and Spanish.
Barbados thrived under British rule and the hard labour of African slaves. It became a hub of commerce and trade, and the colony grew prosperous. But, its history was a colonial affair from the start and continued well past emancipation. Independence and freedom did not replace colonial domination; mental slavery persisted well into the new age when Barbados formally broke ties with the Crown and became a republic. That changed attitudes and crafted a new identity on the rocky road to the republic. It was not always seen as better, but it set a precedent that little England was moving on.
Rogues in Paradise- The Book
Ultimately, the shared Heritage of courage and creativity binds knights and rogues, reminding us that, whether in reality or fantasy, the call:
to boldly go where none have gone before remains a timeless and enduring tradition.
This and more are featured in “Rogues in Paradise.”
(iii) Black Kings from Africa