Clarent, the Sword in the Stone

Many accounts confuse Clarent with Excalibur, when they are separate swords wielded by King Arthur. Meanwhile, Clarent is described in Arthurian legend —with Arthur pulling out the Sword in the Stone and affirming his rightful place as King of Britain.

Uther Pendragon was the High King of Britain. Merlin, a powerful wizard, was his adviser. He was the one who devised the Sword in the Stone. As the nobles gained power, Merlin knew that Arthur — Uther’s first-born son — would not be spared. As such, the wizard convinced the High King to keep Arthur’s upbringing a secret, until he was strong enough to be the next king. 

Merlin’s advice proved to be wise. After Uther died, the nobles openly fought over the throne, resulting in much destruction. In the darkest hour, Merlin carried out the rest of his plan. He invoked Clarent with magic — which only Arthur could undo — and engraved the sword with the words:

Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone is the rightwise born king of all England.

Meanwhile, Arthur had grown in stature befitting a king. As expected, he was the only one who could pull out Clarent. The sword proved his royal heritage — and ended the power struggle. Consequently, Clarent became  a ceremonial sword, and a symbol of King Arthur’s sovereignty.

Mordred the Betrayer

In Historia Regum Britanniae, Arthur — who was going to the battlefield — decided to entrust the throne to Mordred, his illegitimate son. It was a mistake, for Mordred soon betrayed Arthur and declared himself King of Britain. His betrayal culminated into the Battle of Carnlann. Ironically, it was the only time Clarent was used as a weapon — Mordred stole the sword from Arthur and used it to inflict a fatal wound on his father. The rest is history.


  1. So how did Arthur obtained Excalibur after if Clarent was the sword in the stone?