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THE ARTHURIAN TAPESTRY The Diffusion of the Arthurian Legend in the Middle Ages

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Title: THE ARTHURIAN TAPESTRY The Diffusion of the Arthurian Legend in the Middle Ages


1
THE ARTHURIAN TAPESTRY The Diffusion of the
Arthurian Legend in the Middle Ages
2
RomanBritain1st-5th c.
3
1st-4th Century Historical Antecedents
  • 184 Lucius Artorius Castus, commander of a Roman
    detachment led his troops from Britain into Gaul
    to quell a rebellion -- 1st appearance of name
    Artorius in history
  • 383 Magnus Maximus (Macsen Wledig) was
    proclaimed Emperor in Britain by the Roman
    garrison there -- conquered Gaul, Spain and
    Italy, but was defeated by Theodosius the Eastern
    Emperor in 388. Huge loss of Roman troops for
    Britain.

4
5th Century Historical Background
  • 402 Roman troops recalled from Britain to
    defend Italy against Alaric and Visigoths
  • 406-7 Roman army in Britain elects series of
    usurping Emperors Marcus,Gratian and Constantine
    III
  • 407 Constantine III withdrew remaining Roman
    legion to rally support in Gaul the end of the
    Roman Empire in Britain.

5
5th Century Celtic Disarray
  • 408 Devastating attacks by Picts, Scots and
    Saxons led Britain to declare independence from
    Rome in 410.
  • 440-450 Civil war and famine in Britain.
    Country divided along factional lines
  • 445 Vortigen authorized use of Saxon
    mercenaries against Scots and Picts
  • 450 adventus Saxonum Hengest arrived with 3
    ships of warriors. Saxons increased settlements.

6
5th Century The Historical Arthur
  • 458-60 Migration of British aristocrats and
    urbanites across the Channel to Brittany
  • 460-70 Ambrosius Aurelianus led Britons in
    containing Saxon settlement -- assumed
    High-kingship of Britain
  • 485-96 Period of Arthurs twelve battles
    according to Nennius
  • c. 496 Ambrosius and Arthur dux bellorum
    defeated Saxons at Mt. Badon. A generation of
    peace ensued

7
5th CenturyInvasions and Migrations
8
5th-7th Century Welsh Texts
  • Annales Cambriae Welsh chronicle entries, 10th
    c. mss
  • c.516 The Battle of Badon in which Arthur
    carried the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ for
    three days and three nights on his shield and the
    Britons were the victors.
  • c.537 The Strife of Camlann in which Arthur
    and Medraut perished.
  • mirabilia give Arthur a son, Anir, and a dog,
    Cabal.
  • Welsh Triads composed (survive in 13th c. mss.)

9
5th-7th Century Celtic Texts
  • 5th-6th c Celtic noblemen named their sons
    Arthur.
  • GildasDe Excidio c. 540, chronicles
    internecine strife amongst British Kings and
    mentions the Seige of Mt. Badon
  • AneirinGododdin c. 600, used phrase"ceni bei
    ef Arthur"-"but he was no Arthur" to describe a
    great warrior

10
9th-10th CenturyThe Legend Grows
  • NenniusHistoria Brittonum, c.830
  • Lists 12 battles with Anglo-Saxons
  • Mentions Arthur, dux bellorum.
  • Annales Cambriae compiled, c.970

11
11th Century MSS. Versions of Older Welsh Oral
Tales
  • Mabinogion, four branches collected c. 1050
  • Culhwch ac Olwen, final version appears in
    writing, c. 1100
  • Arthur becomes the king of a band of
    adventure-seeking heroes with marvellous powers
    and gains a queen, Gwenhyfar

12
11th Century Archivolt of Modena
Cathedral,ItalyAbduction of Guinevere
Winlogee(Guinevere)
Arthur
Caradoc
Unnamedknight
Kay
Mardoc
Gawain
Durmart
Ider
Galeron
13
11th CenturySaints Lives
  • Legend of St. Goeznovius, c. 1019 Breton legend
    which mentions Arthur and calls him the King of
    the Britons
  • c. 1090 Professional hagiographers write various
    saints lives which mention Arthur and his
    exploits, usually in unflattering terms
  • Caradoc Life of Gildas Latin/Welsh
  • St. Padarm, St. Cadog, St. Iltud, St. Carannog

14
12th Century British Historians
  • William of Malmesbury
  • c.1125 Gesta Requm Anglorum (Deeds of the
    English Kings)
  • c. 1129 De Antiquitate Glastoniensis Ecclesiaea
    (a history of Glastonbury Abbey)
  • Geoffrey of Monmouth
  • c.1136 Historia Regum Brittaniae.(History of
    the Kings of Britain)
  • c.1150 Vita Merlinei (The Life of Merlin)
  • WaceRoman de Brut, c. 1155, Anglo-Norman
    (French) translation of Geoffrey
  • Lazamon Brut, c. 1190, Anglo-Saxon (English)
    translation of Geoffrey

15
William of Malmesbury
  • calls Arthurian legends "fabulous lies but says
    Arthur should be recognized as one who long
    sustained his tottering country and gave the
    shattered minds of his fellow citizens an edge
    for war.

16
Geoffrey of Monmouths Historia
  • One of the greatest works of medieval fiction
    which was accepted as history for 600 years
  • British foundation myth
  • Created a hero-king whose vast empire reflected
    Norman ambitions
  • Captured latest fashions in courtly behaviour
  • Wildly popular in original Latin version and as
    the basis for other chroniclers and romance
    writers

17
Geoffrey gave Arthur a father, Uther Pendragon a
mother, Igerne and a sister, Anna. He
elaborated the story of Arthurs begetting,
birth and surrender to Merlin And told of the
death of Arthur in battle with Mordred.
18
Wace, Roman de Brut
  • Anglo-Norman translation of Geoffrey, dedicated
    to Eleanor of Aquitaine, introduced the Round
    Table

19
Lazamons Brut Anglo-Saxon translation of
Geoffrey first English appearance of Arthur
20
Glastonbury
  • 1184 Fire ravages Glastonbury Abbey, destroying
    the Old Church
  • 1190 Digging at a spot described by a bard,
    monks claim to discover the grave of Arthur and
    Guinevere between two markers at Glastonbury
    Abbey At seven feet down, they found a stone
    slab with an inset lead cross at 16 feet down
    they found a hollowed out log that contained the
    skeletal remains of an exceptionally large man
    and a delicate woman.
  • Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales)
  • 1192-3 Liber de Principes Instructione reports
    the finding of Arthurs grave
  • 1216 Speculum Ecclesiae again recounts the
    discovery
  • 1278 Edward I and Queen Eleanor officially
    rebury the remains of Arthur and Guenevere.
    Edward proclaims his son, Edward, the Prince of
    Wales.

21
HIC IACIT SEPVLTVS INCLITVS REX ARTHVRIVS,
IN INSVLA AVALONIA Here lies entombed the
renowned King Arthur on the Isle of Avalon."
22
12th Century French Romances
  • Marie de France Lais, Anglo-Norman, c.1160-80
  • Chevrefueil
  • Lanval
  • Chretien de Troyes 5 Arthurian romances Erec
    et Enide, Cliges, Lancelot, Yvain, Perceval, c.
    1160-90 four continuations by others
  • Beroul, Roman de Tristan, c. 1170-90
  • Thomas dAngleterre, Tristan, Anglo-Norman, c.
    1175

23
The Lais of Marie de France
  • Breton troubadour influence
  • Courtliness and magic
  • Investigations into the intricacies of love and
    honor
  • Explores questions of sovereignty in
    relationships

24
Chretien de Troyes
  • Attached to the Court at Champagne, under the
    patronage of Countess Marie de Champagne,
    daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Louis VII of
    France
  • First to depict Round Table as center of chivalry
    and to name Camelot as Arthurs capital.
  • Morgan la Fee appears as Arhurs sister and a
    famed healer

25
The Knight of the Cart, or Lancelot Introduced
the French knight, Lancelot and the concept of
amour courtois (courtly love) into Arthurian
romance Lancelot becomes the queens champion,
protector, and lover
26
Perceval The Story of the Grail
  • First Grail Romance
  • Grail not here associated with the cup of the
    Last Supper or the cup used to catch Christs
    blood
  • A symbol of beauty and mystery, but not of
    religious devotion

27
The Celtic Tale of Tristan and Isolt becomes
attached to the Arthurian legend French Beroul,
Roman de Tristan and Thomas dAngleterre,
Tristan German Eilhart von Oberge, Tristan
28
The love triangle of Tristan-Isolt-Mark
parallels that of Lancelot-Guinevere-Arthur
29
12th Century The Spread of Romance
  • Hartmann von Aue, Erek and Iwein, German,
    c.1195-1205
  • Ulrich Von Zatzihoven, Lanzelet, Swiss,
    c.1194-1203

30
Courtly Love
  • Humility
  • Courtesy
  • Adultery
  • The Religion of Love

31
The "rules" for this game
  • Moans of unsatisfied desire
  • Heroic deeds of valor which win the lady's heart
  • Consummation of the secret love
  • Endless adventures and subterfuges
  • Tragic end
  • Worship of the chosen lady
  • Declaration of passionate devotion
  • Virtuous rejection by the lady
  • Renewed wooing with oaths of eternal fealty

32
13th Century Welsh Romances
  • The Black Book of Carmarthen Geraint son of
    Erbin and Merlin poems, c. 1250
  • Mabinogion final version, c. 1250
  • Geraint and Enid
  • Peredur
  • Owein

33
13th Century German Romances
  • Wirnt von GravenbergWigalois, c. 1204-10
  • Wolfram von EschenbachParzival, c. 1204-12,
    the greatest medieval German romance (Wagners
    Parsifal)
  • Gottfried von StrassburgTristan und Isolt, c.
    1210 (Wagners Tristan)
  • Arthurian tales appear in Austria, Scandinavia,
    and Holland

34
13th-14th CenturyFrench Grail Romances
  • Robert de Boron, Joseph dArimathie and Merlin,
    c.1202-12
  • Didot Perceval Perceval le Gallois ou le Conte
    du Graal, c.1210-20
  • Vulgate prose cycle French Cistercian retelling
    of Estoire del Saint Graal, Estoire de Merlin,
    Lancelot du Lac, Queste del Saint Graal, and Mort
    Artu, c. 1215-30
  • Roman Du Graal and Lancelot Cycle variant
    versions of the Vulgate Cycle, c. 1230-1320

35
Cistercian Spirituality
  • Transforms the grail into the Holy Grail -- the
    cup in which Joseph of Arimathea caught the blood
    dripping from Jesus wounds
  • Claims that Joseph of Arimathea brought the grail
    to Britain
  • Grail quests become the central activity of the
    Arthurian knights, especially Gawain, Perceval,
    and Lancelot none of whom can achieve the grail
    because of their impurities.

36
Introduction of Galahad, son of Sir Lancelot and
the maiden Elaine, who, because of his purity is
able to attain The Holy Grail Morgan la Fee
becomes a sorceress and enemy to Arthurs court,
especially to Guenevere Emphasis placed on the
fallen nature of Camelot, especially on the
treasonous adultery of Guenevere and Lancelot
37
14th Century Emergence of English Arthurian
Romance
  • Alliterative Morte Arthur, c. 1360
  • Sir Gawayne and the Grene Knight, c.1390
  • Chaucer, The Wife of Baths Tale, c.1392-94
  • Stanzaic Mort Artu, c. 1400
  • Various anonymous English romances,14th-15th c.

38
15th Century Sir Thomas Malory, Morte Darthur
  • Ultimate compilation of the Arthurian legend
  • Composed in early Modern English prose in the
    1460s during the Wars of the Roses, probably
    while Malory was in prison
  • Sources include the French Vulgate and Grail
    cycles, Layamons Brut, the English Mort Artu and
    Morte Arthur, and Welsh tales
  • Scholarly controversy over hoole book or eight
    separate, but related tales.
  • First masterpiece of English prose

39
Sir Thomas Malory, Morte Darthur
  • Part One The Coming of Arthur and the Round
    Table
  • Part Two Arthurs War Against the Enperor Lucius
  • Part Three Sir Lancelot du Lake
  • Part Four Sir Gareth of Orkney
  • Part Five Sir Tristam of Lyoness
  • Part Six The Quest of the Grail
  • Part Seven Lancelot and Guenivere
  • Part Eight The Death of King Arthur

40
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