It's quite likely that the sword pulled from a stone by King Arthur in the legend is exactly that, just a legend. As far as is known, nobody has retrieved a sword from a stone and became a king. A sword with its own story that almost just as unbelievable exists in the Montesiepi Chapel in Tuscany. This sword's story involved Galgano Guidotti, who was born near Chiusdino in 1148. In 1180, chose to follow the words of Jesus after years of being a wealthy knight and decided to retire near his hometown as a hermit. He started to have visions of the Archangel Michael leading him to the hill of Monte Siepi.
In one of his visions, Michael told him to renounce all earthly possessions. Giudotti's response was that doing so would be as hard to do as splitting a stone. To prove his point, Giudotti thruted his sword into a stone. The sword, much to his surprise, easily went through the rock as if it was cutting through water. Shortly after this event, Giudotti was led by an errant horse to hilltop from his visions, where he was inspired to place a cross. He didn't have any wood with him, so he decided to plunge his sword into a stone, as he did in his vision, where the sword has been embedded ever since. Giudotti died one year later. Pope Lucius declared him a saint in 1185, and the Montesiepi Chapel was constructed around the sword in the stone. The chapel today overlooks the San Galgano Abbey ruins from upon a hill.
Supposedly, several people have attempted to steal Giudotti's sword. The mummified hand of one such thief who tried to steal the sword are on display inside the Montesiepi Chapel. The thief, allegedly was suddenly killed by wild wolves when he tried to remove the sword. It's unexplained why only the thief's hands survived, but they act as a warning to. anyone who would attempt to steal the sword. The sword is now also protected by a Perspex shield.
The sword was thought to be a fake for many years, but recent studies have examined the mummified hands and the sword, the style and metal of the sword, and the dating results, all of which were shown to be consistent with late 1100's to early 1200's. While it's pretty much impossible to verify the legendary history of the sword, is does match up with the timeline of Saint Galgano Giudotti.
The tale of the Sword in the Stone is tied to Arthurian legend. It's the story of the future King Arthur, the man who pulled out the sword embedded in the stone when no other person could. The mythical qualities that were allegedly given to Arthur that allowed him to do something impossible are displayed in the legend. It is also, in facet, not the only tale of Arthurian legend that involves the nearly impossible retrieval of a sword.
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