Monty Python’s Spamalot: Fact, Faux, or Folklore

  1. King Arthur’s legendary “Knights of the Round Table” used to sit at a rectangular table.
  2. The Holy Grail possesses the ability to heal the sick, and provide youthfulness and food.
  3. King Arthur was not just a king, he was a Celtic god.
  1. The film Monty Python and the Holy Grail that Spamalot is based on, was financed by musicians like Pink Floyd.
  2. The ‘Spam’ in Spamalot is the same as Hormel’s product SPAM.



It wasn’t until later when King Arthur decided to change the shape of the table after the knights (typically of noble birth) continued to feel envious over who sat at the head of the table and sometimes even led to violence. To resolve these problems, legend has it the wise King Arthur resorted to having his table constructed in a rounded shape. The ingenuity of this design was a very simple way to foster equality.

Another reason, this one religious, according to, is that Arthur felt that “The Round Table was illustrative of the Eternity of God, the equality, unity, and comradeship of the Order, the singleness of purpose of all Knights.”  In Arthur’s eyes, all his Knights were equals.


There is no way to know, but according to legend The Grail provided Joseph (Jesus’ father in Christianity) fresh food and drink every morning for several years while he was imprisoned.


Any attempt to validate King Arthur’s historic origins is difficult due to many variations of the languages at the time, inaccurate and careless record keeping and the unfortunate interpolations of many documents. Arthur was probably a Celtic British king or chieftain of the 6th century A.D. but, the name may also be that of a Celtic god whose mythology was possibly confused with the adventures and life of the historical figure.


At the time,  tax rates (80% or higher) in the United Kingdom were driving wealthy creative types to find ways to lose funds in investments so as to offset the high rate of Inland Revenue. The film was shot in about five weeks with a budget of a mere $400,000. So this modestly budgeted film was financed by such still renowned musical groups as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Genesis and such artists as George Harrison and Andrew Lloyd Webber.


Hormel’s SPAM was the inspiration, but a different meaning grew from the term. The word ‘SPAM’ became a term to describe something that keeps repeating and repeating to great annoyance after a group of Vikings in a Monty Python skit sang “SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, lovely SPAM! Wonderful SPAM!” in a restaurant until told to keep quiet!