Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Legend of King Arthur - as told by Walt Disney, The Sword in the Stone

Sword in the Stone intro Book
note the three heraldic shields along the bottom

The Sword in the Stone 1963 was Walt Disney's take on the epic semi-legend of King Arthur. The story unfolds on the imaginative humble beginnings of King Arthur, as the unexpected ruler of England.

Flags of all shapes and sizes make an appearance in the movie. The movie makes extravagant use of heraldic designs, but during the supposed time period of King Arthur - heraldry was not yet an institution. Records trace its emergence some 700 years after the life of King Arthur. Nonetheless, Disney's effective and colourful use of heraldry enriches this fanciful tale about the Legend of King Arthur.

Boy King Arthur having just
pulled the sword from the stone

You can see a vexillum in the upper right hand corner. It is a cross shaped pole, the flag is a gonfalon coloured blue, black and two shades of pink. This type of flag was used by the Romans and is the origin of the term Vexillology.

During King Arthur's time the Roman Empire had abandoned the British Isles, but no doubt parts of Roman technology and culture would have remained.

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