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Holy Grail

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How at the Castle of Corbin a Maiden Bare in the Sangreal and Foretold the Achievements of Galahad: illustration by Arthur Rackham, 1917

The Holy Grail was believed to be the cup that Jesus used in the Last Supper to present the wine used to represent the new covenant in his blood. Legends claim that the Grail was a golden goblet similar to the holy vessels for the drink offerings in the temple, that the Grail was protected by the Knights Templar and that the Grail was eventually hidden on the island of Avalon.

The grail is a frequent goal for legendary heroes, and it, like the Holy Lance, is rumored to have special healing properties. The Holy Grail was first featured in literature sometime late in the 12th century, when Chretien de Troyes wrote his poem, The Story of the Grail. While common knowledge describes the grail as a chalice or cup of sorts, in reality, it was first portrayed as a bowl or dish.

The Holy Grail has inspired authors and directors for centuries, notably Dan Brown for his book The Da Vinci Code, Stephen Spielberg for his film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and British comedians for their film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Other popular uses of the grail include the search by King Arthur and his knights of the round table, and the use of the grail as a metaphor for a very lofty trophy. It is frequently alluded in works of historical fiction, science fiction, and fantasy.

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