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Arthurian Legend: The Medieval Romance

Arthurian Legend: The Medieval Romance

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Arthurian Legend: The Medieval Romance

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  1. Arthurian Legend: The Medieval Romance

  2. Background – Origin of Legend Latin Sources Welsh Sources Geoffrey of Monmouth Chretien de Troyes Sir Thomas Mallory Modern Versions

  3. Basis of the Legend

  4. De Excidioet ConquestuBritanniae (On the Ruin of Britain), 6th c. Latin prose - Gildas Possible written in Arthur’s lifetime (or within living memory). No mention of Arthur, only Ambrosius and Badon Hill HistoriaecclesiasticagentisAnglorum ("Ecclesiastical History of the English People") AD 731. Latin prose - The Venerable Bede Anglo-Saxon point-of-view. No mention of Arthur, only Ambrosius and Badon Hill HistoriaBritonum (History of the Britons), 9th c. Latin prose - Nennius Names Arthur but refers to him as dux bellorum(the leader in battle). Names 12 battles including Badon Hill AnnalesCambriae (The Annals of Wales), 10th c. Latin prose 516; The Battle of Badon, in which Arthur carried the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ… 537; The battle of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut fell…

  5. Y Gododdin– Aneirin Circa A.D. 600 …He fed black ravens on the rampart of a fortressThough he was no Arthur. De origineactibusqueGetarum (The Origin and Deeds of the Goths), AD 551. Latin prose - Jordanes Riothamus, King of the Britains, came with twelve thousand men into the state of the Bituriges by the way of Ocean Around A.D. 600, the name “Arthur” becomes popular among British kingdoms for first-born sons • Archeological evidence: • Tintagel • Cadbury Hill • Glastonbury

  6. An Historical Arthur? ….Possibly The evidence is sufficient to allow belief that [Arthur] had a real existence and that he was probably the victor of Mount Badon. It is likely that he succeeded Ambrosius in the leadership [of the Britons]; indeed, he is called dux bellorumin the HistoriaBrittonum, which suggests a memory of late Roman military titles, and may indicate some sort of unified command arranged between several petty kingdoms. - Sheppard Frere, Britannia. Massachusetts: Harvard U. Press. 1967

  7. The Historical “Arthur-Type” Figure transforms… Ambrosius Aurelianus Riothamus Arthur Time Popular Memory … into King Arthur

  8. Merlin Prince Valiant Sword in the Stone The Green Knight Gwenevere Avalon Camelot Knights of the Round Table Sir Gawain Arthur The Holy Grail Mordred Sir Lancelot Sir Galahad Excalibur Lady of the Lake Morgan le Fay Sir Kay Tristan and Isolde

  9. The British (Welsh) Sources • The Black Book of Carmarthen • The Book of Taliesin • The White Book of Rhydderch • The Red Book of Hergest • The Book of Aneirin The Mabinogion The Welsh Triads Stanzas of the Graves The Saints’ Lives

  10. From Local Folk-Hero To International Sensation

  11. Geoffrey of Monmouth HistoriaregumBritanniae (The History of the Kings of Britain), circa 1136. Latin prose Probably Welsh Dedication to the two most powerful figures in Britain Walter, Archdeacon “A certain ancient book in the British language” A “best seller” through out Europe

  12. The History of the Kings of Britain (HRB) Brutus a Trojan, becomes leader of Trojans in Greece after fall of Troy. After war and adventure, settles his people on Albion. Brutus defeats the giants living on Albion and renames the island Britain. Traces a long series of kings including Lear, Belinus, Brennius, Cassivelaunnus, and the Roman Conquest. Section on Arthur comprises the largest, most unified, and climactic section of the HRB

  13. The History of the Kings of Britain (HRB) Geoffrey is first to introduce Merlin First to introduce chivalric ideals: Britain had reached such a standard of sophistication that it excelled all other kingdoms in its general affluence… …Every knight in the country who was in any way famed for his bravery wore livery and arms showing his own distinctive color; and women of fashion often displayed the same colors. Theyscorned to give their love to any man who had not proven himself three times in battle. In this way the womenfolk became chaste and more virtuous and for their love the knights were ever more daring.

  14. The History of the Kings of Britain (HRB) But at the beginning of the following summer, as [Arthur] was on his march towards Rome, and was beginning to pass the Alps, he had news brought him that his nephew Modred, to whose care he had entrusted Britain, had by tyrannical and treasonable practices set the crown upon his own head; and that queen Guenivere, in violation of her first marriage, had wickedly married him. …on Arthur's side [fell] Olbrict, king of Norway; Aschillus, king of Dacia; CadorLimenicCassibellaun, with many thousands of others, as well Britons as foreigners, that he had brought with him. And even the renowned king Arthur himself was mortally wounded; and being carried thence to the isle of Avallon to be cured of his wounds, he gave up the crown of Britain to his kinsman Constantine, the son of Cador, duke of Cornwall, in the five hundred and forty-second year of our Lord's incarnation.

  15. The British (Welsh) Sources The Latin Sources Wales & Cornwall Geoffrey of Monmouth (History of the Kings of Britain) (1136) Brittany Wace (Roman de Brut)…first to name Excalibur and to introduce the Round Table (1155) Chretien de Troyes (1170 - 1185) Layamon (1189 - 1199) French / Romance Tradition

  16. Romance Tradition Supernatural marvels Knightly combat Abstract code of Chivarly Emphasis on love – often a period of madness Religion Authors of this genre wrote for the nobility - - - patrons and audiences

  17. Chretien de Troyes French Poet - active 1160 - 1185 Erec et Enide Cligés Yvain (The Knight with the Lion) Lancelot (The Knight of the Cart) Perceval (The Story of the Grail)

  18. Yvain - The Knight with the Lion Sir Yvain did not take long to decide which of the two he would help. Pity urged him to succor the lion, who is a noble and handsome beast. He drew his sword and advanced, holding his shield before his face that he might not be burned by the flames that were pouring constantly from the serpent's throat, which was as deep as a caldron. With a single swing of his sword he struck the wicked serpent down to earth, cutting it into two pieces. He kept striking and striking at it until he had hewn it all to little bits. In doing this, alas, he had to cut off a small piece of the lion's tail because the serpent's head had been fastened to it. But he did not cut off any more than was necessary. When he had freed the lion, he expected the beast to spring upon him, but the lion did not think of doing such a thing. Would you believe it ? He behaved as courteously as a well-bred knight, for he began to act as though he wanted to belong to his rescuer.

  19. Lancelot - The Knight of the Cart Marie of France, Countess of Champagne Daughter of Louis VII. of France and Eleanor of Aquitaine 1145 - 1198 Married Henri I., Count of Champagne in 1164. Since my lady of Champagne wishes me to undertake to write a romance, I shall very gladly do so, being so devoted to her service as to do anything in the world for her, without any intention of flattery… The material and the treatment of it are given and furnished to him by the Countess, and he is simply trying to carry out her concern and intention.

  20. Lancelot - The Knight of the Cart The miserable, low-born dwarf would not give him any news of her, but replied: "If thou wilt get up into the cart I am driving thou shalt hear to-morrow what has happened to the Queen." Then he kept on his way without giving further heed. The knight hesitated only for a couple of steps before getting in. Yet, it was unlucky for him that he shrank from the disgrace, and did not jump in at once; for he will later rue his delay. But common sense, which is inconsistent with love's dictates, bids him refrain from getting in, warning him and counselling him to do and undertake nothing for which he may reap shame and disgrace.

  21. Lancelot - The Knight of the Cart "Lady, for God's sake and your own as well as ours, I beseech you to tell me, if you know, the name of yonder knight, to the end that it may be of some help to him." "Damsel," the Queen replies, "you have asked me a question in which I see no hate or evil, but rather good intent; the name of the knight, I know, is Lancelot of the Lake."

  22. Chretien de Troyes 1170 - 1181 Hartmann Von Aue Ulrich von Zatzikoven Erec 1179-88 Iwein 1202 Lanzelet 1195 Didot Robert de Boron Wolfram von Eschenbach Percival 1190 Merlin 1191 Joseph d’Arimathie 1202 - 1212 Parzival 1197 Gottfried von Strassburg Tristan 1210 Vulgate Cycle 1215-1230 Alliterative MorteArthure 1360 Hebrew Mort Artu1279 Italian Spanish Portuguese, Dutch French Livre d’ Artus

  23. The High Middle Ages Peak output of Arthurian matter 1170 - 1270 First Crusade begins 1096 Rise of Chivalry Loss of the Kingdom of Jerusalem 1244 Hundred Years War 1337 - 1453

  24. Meanwhile, Back in England… Layamon Brut Translation of Wace into Old English/Saxon 1189 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Late 14th Century Unknown Author British Gawain vs French Lancelot

  25. Siþenþesege and þeassautwatzsesed at Troye,Þeborghbrittened and brent to brondez and askez,Þetulkþatþetrammes of treasounþerwroghtWatz tried for his tricherie, þetrewest on erthe:Hit watzEnniasþeathel, and his highekynde,Þatsiþendeprecedprouinces, and patrounesbicomeWelneghe of al þewele in þe west iles. Soon as the siege and assault had ceased at Troy, the burg broken and burnt to brands and ashes, the traitor who trammels of treason there wrought was tried for his treachery, the foulest on earth. It was Aeneas the noble and his high kin who then subdued provinces, lords they became, well-nigh of all the wealth in the Western Isles:

  26. Sir Thomas Malory Le MortedArthur, 1471. English Prose Originally titled The whole book of King Arthur and his noble knights of the Round Table Written while Malory was in prison 1468 – 1470 Printed after his death in 1471 by William Caxton in 1485. Re-titled: Le MortedArthur

  27. Sir Thomas Malory Believed to be born around 1410 Imprisoned multiple times: -Attempted murder of the Duke of Buckingham -Cattle raiding -Rape -Robbery -Sacking the Combe Abbey Active in the Wars of the Roses -Originally a Yorkist -Followed Earl of Warwick when he switched to Lancastrian -Imprisoned when Yorkist Edward IV gained throne

  28. Sir Thomas Malory Le MortedArthur, 1471. English Prose Sources include: Alliterative Morte Arthur (14th c) Chretien de Troyes Vulgate Cycle “as the French book sayeth”

  29. Le MortedArthur Sir Tristam The Grail Quest Lancelot and Guenivere Sir Gareth The Death of Arthur Sir Lancelot War against Rome The Orkney Brothers kill Sir Lamorak Establishment of the Round Table Arthur’s wedding to Guenivere Arthur’s birth, Sword in the Stone, War to gain throne

  30. Le MortedArthur The Pentecost Oath – Arthur’s Wedding Thus, when the quest was done of the white hart, the which followed Sir Gawaine; and the quest of the brachet, followed of Sir Tor, Pellinore's son; and the quest of the lady that the knight took away, the which King Pellinore at that time followed; then the king established all his knights, and them that were of lands not rich he gave them lands, and charged them never to do outrage nor murder, and always to flee treason; also, by no means to be cruel, but to give mercy unto him that askethmercy, upon pain of forfeiture of their worship and lordship of King Arthur for evermore; and always to do ladies, damosels, and gentlewomen succour, upon pain of death. Also, that no man take battles in a wrongful quarrel for no law, nor for no world's goods. Unto this were all the knights sworn of the Table Round, both old and young. And every year were they sworn at the high feast of Pentecost.

  31. Le MortedArthur Lancelot on the virtues of a knight …for knights that be adventurous should not be adulterers or lecherous, for then they shall not be fortunate unto the wars; for either they shall be overcome by simpler knights than they be themselves, other else they shall by mischance and their cursedness slay better men than they are themselves. And whoso useth paramours shall be unlucky, and all things about them unlucky.

  32. Le MortedArthur Tournament at the Castle of Maidens SO the King of Northgalis and the King with the Hundred Knights, they two encountered with King Carados and with the King of Ireland; and there the King with the Hundred Knights smote down King Carados, and the King of Northgalis smote down the King of Ireland. With that came in Sir Palomides, and when he came he made great work, for by his indented shield he was well known. So came in King Arthur, and did great deeds of arms together, and put the King of Northgalis and the King with the Hundred Knights to the worse. With this came in Sir Tristram with his black shield, and anon he jousted with Sir Palomides, and there by fine force Sir Tristram smote Sir Palomides over his horse's croup. Then King Arthur cried: Knight with the Black Shield, make thee ready to me, and in the same wise Sir Tristram smote King Arthur. And then by force of King Arthur's knights the King and Sir Palomides were horsed again. Then King Arthur with a great eager heart he gat a spear in his hand, and there upon the one side he smote Sir Tristram over his horse. Then foot-hot Sir Palomides came upon Sir Tristram, as he was upon foot, to have overridden him. Then Sir Tristram was ware of him, and there he stooped aside, and with great ire he gat him by the arm, and pulled him down from his horse. Then Sir Palomides lightly arose, and then they dashed together mightily with their swords; and many kings, queens, and lords, stood and beheld them. And at the last Sir Tristram smote Sir Palomides upon the helm three mighty strokes, and at every stroke that he gave him he said: This for Sir Tristram's sake. With that Sir Palomides fell to the earth grovelling.

  33. Sir Thomas Malory Not a Poet, not an Historian --- a Knight Arthur’s England, and the Fellowship he creates is an ideal…yet unattainable (or sustainable) Morality tale – Act of Penitence Therefore as on all sinful souls, blessed Lord, have mercy on thy knight! …pray for me while I am alive that God will send me good deliverance. And when I am dead, I pray you all to pray for my soul.

  34. …and the people did feast upon the lamb, and sloths, and carp, and anchovies, and orangutans, and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats, and..

  35. Arthur enters The Modern Age

  36. Idylls of the King Alfred Lord Tennyson 1859 A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court Mark Twain 1889

  37. The Story of King Arthur and His Knights Howard Pyle 1903 King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table Roger LancelynGreen 1953 The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights John Steinbeck 1976

  38. The Once and Future King T.H. White 1958 “There was just such a man when I was young—an Austrian who invented a new way of life and convinced himself that he was the chap to make it work. He tried to impose his reformation by the sword, and plunged the civilized world into misery and chaos. But the thing which this fellow had overlooked, my friend, was that he had a predecessor in the reformation business, called Jesus Christ. Perhaps we may assume that Jesus knew as much as the Austrian did about saving people. But the odd thing is that Jesus did not turn the disciples into storm troopers, burn down the Temple at Jerusalem, and fix the blame on Pontius Pilate. On the contrary, he made it clear that the business of the philosopher was to make ideas available, and not to impose them on people.”

  39. The Crystal Cave Series Mary Stewart 1970 The Wicked Day Mary Stewart 1983

  40. The Mists of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley 1983 Brittany

  41. Firelord Parke Godwin 1980 Idylls of the Queen Phyllis Ann Karr 1983 The Warlord Chronicles Bernard Cornwell 1995 - 1997

  42. Arthur goes to The Movies

  43. 1921 1931 1949 1953 Arthurian Legend from the earliest days of cinema

  44. 1963 1967 1975 1981 The “glory years”

  45. 1984 1995 1997 2004 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Chretien de Troyes Lucius ArtoriusCastus

  46. 2017 2019 The Legend adapts to modern times

  47. The Sword in the Stone: two takes on an iconic scene Knights of the Round Table, 1953

  48. The Sword in the Stone: two takes on an iconic scene Excalibur: 1980