King Arthur's Castle at Tintagel in North Cornwall. The birthplace of King Arthur.

King Arthur in North Cornwall - Home of Camelot.

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Arthur   Excalibur   Uther   Guinevere   Merlin

King Arthur's page is sponsored by Camelot Castle Hotel in Tintagel

King Arthur's Castle mainland and island. Image Copyright Kevin Edwards 2006

The above view was taken from Camelot Castle Hotel at Tintagel in North Cornwall.

King Arthur's Castle is shown above. Both the mainland and the island are shown. If you look you can see Arthur's profile clearly defined in the cliff face of the Castle Island. Castle cove at Tintagel is shown below at high tide. Merlin's cave is located to the left of the picture right on the tide line.

Castle Cove           Image Copyright Kevin Edwards 2006

Below left, is a close up of Merlin's cave entrance at high tide. Below right is a shot across from Barras showing the beach and the island bridge. At low tide you can walk through the cave and if you look closely you will find a hidden seam where the smugglers used to hide. It is well worn now, but you can still hide and not be seen by all the people who traverse the cave.

 Merlins Cave entrance at high tide.     Image Copyright Kevin Edwards 2006     

Below is an aerial shot of Castle Island. In the centre is a fresh water well. If you look closely at the right hand bottom corner of the picture, you can see the impressions of a civilisation that once dwelled here long before the island became such a grand and opulent location.

Castle Island arial view.             Image Copyright Kevin Edwards 2006

 

Slaughter bridge is famous for being the location of Arthur's last battle. There is an interesting alternative name for Slaughterbridge, that of ‘Slovens bridge’. It is possibly a corruption of ‘Sloe-vaen, from loe, a tumulus, and vaen, a stone, preceded by is – under, or below – . (JIRC 1850: 39) The JIRC suggests that the stone may have stood upon the ‘folly’ mound above where it now lies. In 823AD there was an actual known battle in this area between the Saxon King Egbert and the Cornish Britons. Camelford had a chancery chapel established so that a priest, could say masses for the souls of the slain.

Castle Cove Timelapse

 

King SArthur looks out over is Kingdom.    Image  copytight Kevin Edwards 2006

Here is where it all began. Castle Island at Tintagel in North Cornwall. The Legendary birthplace of King Arthur. Can you see the profile of King Arthur in the cliff face? Several years ago a new footbridge replaced the old bridge after it fell to the sea.

 

 

St Knightons Keive or St Nectans GlenSt Knightons Keive (St Nectan's Glen) above. St Knightons Keive is said to be the place were men became Knights by passing through the lower circle to be reborn again cleansed in the pool below. The Keive itself was seen has a potent Pagan symbol of Gaia and has been a place of reverence since before the times of Christ.

 

King Arthur fell here.

The 6th century ‘Arthur’s Stone’ is inscribed with ogham and latin. The stone is alleged to mark the spot near Slaughterbridge, where King Arthur fell mortally wounded after the battle of Camlann.

 

 

A. King Arthur's Kitchen
B. Merlin's Cave
C. The Island Bridge
D. The mainland Keep
E. The Chapel
F. Old Silver mine

Above are the woods at Slaughterbridge, Camlaan, where Guinevere met Lancelot and where Arthur was mortally wounded.

The Legendary round table viewed from above.

 

Arthur grasped the hilt of the sword Excalibur and and to the amazement of the crowd, pulled the sword clean from the stone.

 

 

Bossiney Mound

Bossiney Mound wherein lies the legendary round table that is said to rise up on a midsummer's night

 

 

 Bedevere hurled the magnificent sword far out into the lake and the still waters parted and a hand clothed in a white sleeve, rose from the bottom of the lake and Excalibur flew to the waiting hand.

 

 

The Knights names 
  1. Galahallt

 
2. Launcelot Due Lake
  3. Gaweyn
  4. Percyvale
  5. Lyonell
  6. Trystram De Lyens
  7. Garethe
  8. Bedvere
  9. Blubrys
10. Lacote Male Tayle
11. Lucane
12. Plomyds
13. Lamorak
14. Bors De Ganys
15. Saser
16. Pellens
17. Kay
18. Ector De Maris
19. Dagonet
20. Degore
21. Brumeur
22. Lybyus Dyscophorus
23. Alynore
24. Mordrede

Below are a couple of picture of Dozmary Pool on the edge of Bodmin Moor.

Dozmary pool on the edge of Bodmin Moor

Arthur was carried away over Dozmary pool in the vessel of the Lady of the Lake.

Dozmary pool

King Arthur - The Mythology and the Legend.

King Arthur

King Arthur is an important figure in the mythology of Great Britain, where he appears as the ideal of kingship both in war and peace. He is the central character in the cycle of legends known as the Matter of Britain, which portrays him as a leader of the Sub-Roman Britons during the Saxon invasions of the 5th and 6th centuries. Originally celebrated as a culture hero by the Brythonic peoples, by the 12th century his fame had spread to the Briton's relatives in Brittany, and from there to France, Anglo-Norman England, and the rest of Europe. King Arthur remains a household name throughout the Western World today. There is disagreement about whether he, or a model for him, ever actually existed, or whether he is a mythic figure who has been given a historicised setting.[1] His title of 'King' is disputed: in the earliest mentions and in Welsh texts, he is never given the title 'King'. An early text refers to him as Dux Bellorum ('Duke of Battles'),[2] and medieval Welsh texts often call him ameraudur ("emperor" in the pre-Medieval sense of the Latin imperator, i.e. "commander").
The historicity of the King Arthur legend has long been debated by scholars. One school of thought believes that Arthur had no historical existence, that he originally was a half-forgotten Celtic deity that devolved into a personage, citing parallels with the following: a supposed change of the sea-god Lir into King Lear;[1] with the Kentish totemic horse-gods Hengest and Horsa, who were historicised by the time of Bede's account and given an important role in the 5th century Anglo-Saxon conquest of eastern Britain;[1] with the founder-figure of Caer-fyrddin, Merlin (Welsh Myrddin);[1] or with the Norse demigod Sigurd or Siegfried, who was historicised in Nibelungenlied by associating him with a famous historical 5th century battle between Huns and the Burgundians.[1] Supporters of this theory often instance the Welsh etymology of Arthur's name as derived from "bear", proposing the bear-god Artio (Proto-Celtic artos) as the precedent for the legend;however, these particular deities are known to have been worshipped by the continental Celts, and are not documented among the Britons.Another view holds that Arthur was an authentically historical personage, a Romano-British leader fighting against the invading Anglo-Saxons sometime in the late 5th to early 6th century.The late historian John Morris made the alleged reign of Arthur at the turn of the 5th century the organising principle of his history of sub-Roman Britain and Ireland under the rubric The Age of Arthur: A History of the British Isles from 450–650 (1973), even though he found little to say of an historic Arthur, save as an example of the idea of kingship, one among such contemporaries as Vortigern and Cunedda, Hengest and Coel. If he existed, his power base would probably have been in the Celtic areas of Wales, Cornwall and the West Country, or the Brythonic 'Old North' which covered modern Northern England and Southern Scotland. However, controversy over the centre of his supposed power and the extent and kind of power he would have wielded continues to this day. In this vein, some scholars have noticed a pattern in Arthur's story that is echoed by historical kings, such as Alfred the Great. Both Arthur and Alfred are characterized as benevolent leaders who protect their local people from multiple invasions. The common idea, popularized by 20th century novelist Susan Cooper, is to the effect that invasions came one after another, to be beaten back by "Dukes of Battle" (Dux Bellorum) who could rally the people behind them. One of the more famous records claiming Arthur's historical reality, the "history" by Geoffrey of Monmouth,[1] contains little trustworthy historical fact, and many scholars are tempted to agree with William of Newburgh, who wrote around 1190 that "it is quite clear that everything this man wrote about Arthur and his successors, or indeed about his predecessors from Vortigern onwards, was made up, partly by himself and partly by others, either from an inordinate love of lying, or for the sake of pleasing the Britons." Two sources of information on Arthur are available, through archaeology and through texts. The archaeology of sites can reveal names only through inscriptions. The so-called "Arthur stone" discovered in 1998 in securely dated 6th century contexts among the ruins at Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, a secular, high status settlement of Sub-Roman Britain, created a brief stir. There is no other archaeological evidence for Arthur, though sites and places have been identified as "Arthurian" since the 12th century. A number of unidentifiable historical figures have been suggested as the historical basis for Arthur, ranging from Lucius Artorius Castus, a Roman officer who served in Britain in the 2nd century; Roman usurper emperors like Magnus Maximus; and sub-Roman British rulers like Riothamus, Ambrosius Aurelianus, Owain Ddantgwynand Athrwys ap Meurig. The origin of the name Arthur is itself a matter of debate and is very much connected to the debates concerning his historicity. Some, like the above, see it as derived from the Latin 'Artorius', a Roman family name meaning 'plowman' which became 'Arturius', among other variants, in Roman inscriptions. The 5th to 6th century Welsh art (arth is a later form) means 'bear'. Thus, theories for the Welsh origin of the name Arthur have been proposed. One has art + ur, 'man of the bear' or 'bear-man', thus giving us Artur. Also, the Latin form of Arthur appears as Arturus in the earliest writings, never Artorius. The supposition of the Latin '-us' could suggest the original name was the Welsh Artur. Yet "Artorius" in its later forms when pronounced in Celtic languages could have yielded "Arthur" as well as "Arturus", both of which forms do occur in the medieval literature. Toby D. Griffen, a scholar from the Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, among others, links the name Arthur to Arcturus, the brightest star in the constellation Boötes, and the third brightest in the night sky. The word Arcturus is in Classical Latin, and would have been Arturus in the Late Latin of the 5th – 6th century. Griffen and others believe that Arthur might not be derived from a Latin original such as Artorius, as proponents of the above theories suspect, but could have been a nom de guerre used by or an epithet bestowed upon the leader who fought against the Saxons. Griffen goes on to state that the star Arcturus was associated with the Great Bear. Its position in the sky, near Ursa Major, led people to call it the 'guardian of the bear', and it was regarded as the leader of the other stars in Boötes. In Welsh, the conveniently similar Artur (or possibly Arturos) meant 'bear-man'. If the man we call Arthur used Arturus (and Artur[os]) as his nom de guerre(s), its meaning(s) would have been easily understood by both the Romano-British and native British alike; a stout bear-like defender against the invaders.[3] In similar manner, if a capable war leader exhibited astonishing ability, speakers of Saxon might have understood his nom de guerre to mean "Ar Thur," or the Eagle of Thor, the god of thunder.
Phillips and Keatman argue for their variant of the nom de guerre theory in their book, King Arthur: The True Story. For them, the name has two components. The first would be the Welsh art meaning bear, and the second a repetition in Latin, ursus, making the original name "Artursus". According to their theory this name was a title rather than the name of a person. In any case, the name Arthur and its variants was used by at least four leaders who lived after the traditional dates of Arthur’s battles, suggesting to Griffen and others that it was not used as a personal name until “the” Arthur himself did so. This idea is reinforced by the fact that Arthur's father is named Uther, phonetically similar to Arthur. The creator of the familiar literary persona of Arthur was Geoffrey of Monmouth, with his broadly fictionalized Historia Regum Britanniae written in the 1130s, widely copied and read by the English, as well as Europeans at large. All the textual sources for Arthur are divided into those that preceded Geoffrey and those that followed him, and could not avoid his influence. Arthur first appears in Welsh literature. In a surviving early Welsh poem, The Gododdin (ca. AD 594), the poet Aneirin (ca. 535–600) writes of one of his protagonists: "Like a wild boar's fury, was Bleidig ab Eli's, yet he was no Arthur, and he fed black ravens, on Cattraeth's walls". It is not possible, though, to determine if this passage is a later interpolation on the current manuscripts of the poem, or not. The following poems attributed to Taliesin are possibly of a similarly early date: The Chair of the Sovereign, references "Arthur the Blessed"; The Treasures of Annwn, mentions "the valour of Arthur", as well as, "we went with Arthur in his splendid labours"; and the poem Journey to Deganwy contains the passage, "as at the battle of Badon, with Arthur, chief holder of feasts, his tall blades red from the battle all men remember". Another reference to Arthur is in the Historia Britonum, attributed to the Welsh monk Nennius, who is said to have written his compilation of early Welsh history around the year 830. In this work, Arthur is referred to as a "leader of battles" rather than as a king. Two separate sources within this compilation of Nennius' list twelve battles that he fought, which culminate, in 516, with the Battle of Mons Badonicus, where he is said to have single-handedly killed 960 men. The Annales Cambriae of the 10th century, suggests that Arthur was slain at the Battle of Camlann, dated to 537. Arthur makes appearances in a number of well known vitae ("Lives") of 6th century saints, most of them written at the monastery of Llancarfan in the 12th century. For example, in the Life of Saint Illtud, from internal evidence apparently written around 1140, Arthur is said to be a cousin of that churchman. Many of these appearances portray Arthur as a fierce warrior, and not necessarily as morally impeccable as in later romances. According to the Life of Saint Gildas (died ca. AD 570), written in the 11th century, by the monk, Caradoc of Llancarfan, Arthur killed Gildas' brother Hueil, a pirate on the Isle of Man. Around 1100, Lifris of Llancarfan writes in his Life of Saint Cadoc that Arthur was put to task by the man of the book to which Arthur paid little due, Cadoc. Cadoc gave protection for a man who killed three of Arthur's soldiers, and Arthur took a herd of cattle as wergeld for his men. Cadoc delivered them as demanded, and when Arthur had possession of the animals, they were made to transform into bundles of ferns. Such episodes serve to portray a holy man besting a man of sins. Similar incidents are described in the late medieval biographies of Carannog, Padern, Goeznovius, and Efflam. Arthur appears in the Welsh tale Culhwch and Olwen, a narrative usually associated with the Mabinogion. Culhwch visits Arthur's court to seek his help in winning the hand of Olwen. Arthur, who is described as his kinsman, agrees to the request, and the hero fulfils the demands of Olwen's giant father Ysbaddaden, which include the hunt for the great boar Twrch Trwyth described at length by the author. This may be related to legends where Arthur is depicted as the leader of the Wild Hunt, a folk-loric motif that is also recorded in Brittany, France; Galicia, Spain; as well as Germany. Roger Sherman Loomis has listed a number of these instances (Loomis 1972). Gervase of Tilbury in the 13th century and two 15th century writers assign this role to Arthur. Gervase states that Arthur and his knights regularly hunt along an ancient trackway between Cadbury Castle and Glastonbury (which is still known as King Arthur's Causeway [4], and that he with his company of riders may be seen by the moon-light in forests of Britain or Brittany or Savoy. Loomis alludes to a Scottish mention in the 16th century, and that many of these beliefs were still current in the 19th century at Cadbury Castle, and in several parts of France. Later parts of the Trioedd Ynys Prydein, or, Welsh Triads, mention Arthur at length, as well as locate his court, in Celliwig, in Cornwall. Celliwig was identified with Callington by the Cornish antiquarians, but, Rachel Bromwich, an editor, and the author of the book Trioedd Ynys Prydein: the Welsh Triads, matched it with Kelly Rounds, to say a hill fort, in the parish of Egloshayle.


Excalibur

In Robert de Boron's Merlin, Arthur obtained the throne by pulling a sword from a stone. In this account, this act could not be performed except by "the true king," meaning the divinely appointed king or true heir of Uther Pendragon. This sword is thought by many to be the famous Excalibur and the identity is made explicit in the later so-called Vulgate Merlin Continuation, part of the Lancelot-Grail cycle. However, in what is sometimes called the Post-Vulgate Merlin, Excalibur was given to Arthur by the Lady of the Lake sometime after he began to reign. According to many sources, Arthur broke the sword pulled from the stone while fighting King Pellinore, and thus Merlin took him to retrieve Excalibur from the lake (as cited in many novels including Howard Pyle's King Arthur and His Knights, King Arthur and the Legend of Camelot, and indeed most modern Arthurian literature). In this Post-Vulgate version, the sword's blade could slice through anything, including steel, and its sheath made the wearer invincible in that the wearer could not die so long as they bore the scabbard. Some stories say that Arthur did indeed pull the sword from the stone (Excalibur), giving him the right to be king, but accidentally killed a fellow knight with it and cast it away. Merlin told him to undertake a quest to find another blade, and it was then that Arthur received his sword from the hand in the water, and named it Excalibur, after his original sword. The first appearance of the sword named Caliburn is in Geoffrey of Monmouth, who asserted that in battle against Arthur "nought might armour avail, but that Caliburn would carve their souls from out them with their blood.". The Alliterative Morte Arthure, a Middle English poem, gives mention of Clarent, a sword of peace meant for knighting and ceremonies as opposed to battle, which is stolen and then used to kill Arthur. The legend of King Arthur has remained popular into the 21st century. Though the popularity of Arthurian literature waned somewhat after the end of the Middle Ages, it experienced a revival during the 19th century, especially after the publication of Alfred Lord Tennyson's Idylls of the King. The subsequent period saw the creation of hundreds, perhaps thousands of books, poems, and films about King Arthur, both new works of fiction and analyses of the relevant historical and archaeological data. A spoof on Arthurian mythology, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, was made in 1975. Excalibur is the mythical sword of King Arthur, sometimes attributed with magical powers or associated with the rightful sovereignty of Great Britain. Sometimes Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone (the proof of Arthur's lineage) are said to be the same weapon, but in most versions they are considered separate. The sword was associated with the Arthurian legend very early. In Welsh, the sword is called Caledfwlch. The name Excalibur came from Old French Excalibor, which came from Caliburn used in Geoffrey of Monmouth (c. 1140) (Latin Caliburnus). There are also variant spellings such as Escalibor and Excaliber (the latter used in Howard Pyle's books for younger readers). One theory holds that Caliburn[us] comes from Caledfwlch, the original Welsh name for the sword, which is first mentioned in the Mabinogion. This may be cognate with Caladbolg ("hard-belly", i.e. "voracious"), a legendary Irish sword (see below). Another theory (noted in The New Arthurian Encyclopedia, 1995) states that "Caliburnus" is ultimately derived from Latin chalybs "steel", which is in turn derived from Chalybes, the name of an Anatolian ironworking tribe. This is noted and used by the historian Valerio Massimo Manfredi in his novel The Last Legion (2002: the English translation has Calibian instead of the intended Chalybian). According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable by Ebenezer Cobham Brewer, Excalibur was originally derived from the Latin phrase Ex calce liberatus, "liberated from the stone". In Malory, Excalibur is said to mean "cut-steel", which some have interpreted to mean "steel-cutter". In surviving accounts of Arthur, there are two originally separate legends about the sword's origin. The first is the "Sword in the Stone" legend, originally appearing in Robert de Boron's poem Merlin, in which Excalibur can only be drawn from the stone by Arthur, the rightful king. The second comes from the later Post-Vulgate Suite du Merlin, which was taken up by Sir Thomas Malory. Here, Arthur receives Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake after breaking his first sword in a fight with King Pellinore. The Lady of the Lake calls the sword "Excalibur, that is as to say as Cut-steel," and Arthur takes it from a hand rising out of the lake. As Arthur lies dying, he tells a reluctant Sir Bedivere (Sir Griflet in some versions) to return the sword to the lake by throwing it into the water. Bedivere thinks the sword too precious to throw away, so twice only pretends to do so. Each time, Arthur asks him to describe what he saw. When Bedivere tells him the sword simply vanished underwater, Arthur scolds him harshly. Finally, Bedivere throws Excalibur into the lake. Before the sword strikes the water's surface, the hand reaches up to grasp it and pull it under. Arthur leaves on a death barge with the three queens to Avalon, where as his legend says, he will one day return to save Britain from a threat. Malory records both versions of the legend in his Le Morte d'Arthur, and confusingly calls both swords Excalibur. The film Excalibur attempts to rectify this by having the Lady of the Lake only repair the sword after it is broken.


 


Uther Pendragon - The father of King Arthur.

Uther Pendragon is a legendary king of sub-Roman Britain and the father of King Arthur. A few minor references to Uther appear in Old Welsh poems, but his biography was first written down by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), and Geoffrey's account of the character was used in most later versions. He is a fairly ambiguous individual throughout the literature; he is described as a strong king and a defender of the people. Uther, through circumstances (and Merlin's help) tricks the wife of his enemy Gorlois, Lady Igraine and sleeps with her. Thus Arthur, "the once and future king," is an illegitimate child. This act of conception ironically occurs the very night Uther's troops dispatch her Gorlois. This theme of illegitimate conception is repeated in Arthur's siring of Mordred on his own sister Morgause in the later prose romances. It is Mordred who will eventually mortally wound King Arthur in The Last Battle. Uther is best known from Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain (1136) where he is the youngest son of King Constantine II. His eldest brother Constans succeeds to the throne on their father's death, but is murdered at the instigation of his adviser Vortigern, who seizes the throne. Uther and his other brother Aurelius Ambrosius, still children, flee to Brittany. After Vortigern's alliance with the Saxons under Hengist goes disastrously wrong, Aurelius and Uther, now adults, return. Aurelius burns Vortigern in his castle and becomes king.With Aurelius on the throne, Uther leads his brother's army to Ireland to help Merlin bring the stones of Stonehenge from there to Britain. Later, while Aurelius is ill, Uther leads his army against Vortigern's son Paschent and his Saxon allies. On the way to the battle, he sees a comet in the shape of a dragon, which Merlin interprets as presaging Aurelius's death and Uther's glorious future. Uther wins the battle and takes the epithet "Pendragon", and returns to find that Aurelius has been poisoned by an assassin. He becomes king and orders the construction of two gold dragons, one of which he uses as his standard. He secures Britain's frontiers and quells Saxon uprisings with the aid of his retainers, one of which is Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall. At a banquet celebrating their victories, Uther becomes obsessively enamoured of Gorlois' wife, Igerna (Igraine), and a war ensues between Uther and his vassal. Gorlois sends Igerna to the impregnable castle of Tintagel for protection, while he himself is besieged by Uther in another town. Uther consults with Merlin, who uses his magic to transform the king into the likeness of Gorlois and thus gain access to Igerna at Tintagel. He spends the night with her, and they conceive a son, Arthur; but the next morning it is discovered that Gorlois had been killed. Uther marries Igerna, and they have another child, a daughter called Anna. She later marries King Lot and became the mother of Gawain and Mordred (in later romances she is called Morgause, and is usually Igerna's daughter by her previous marriage). Uther later falls ill, but when the wars against the Saxons go badly he insists on leading his army himself, propped up on his horse. He defeats Hengist's son Octa at Verulamium (St Albans), despite the Saxons calling him the "Half-Dead King." However, the Saxons soon contrive his death by poisoning a spring he drinks from near Verulamium.Geoffrey based some members of Uther's family on historical figures. Constantine is based on the historical usurper Constantine III, a claimant to the Roman throne from 407–411; Constans is based on his son. Aurelius Ambrosius is based on the legendary Welsh figure Ambrosius Aurelianus, though his connection to Constantine and Constans is an invention. It is less likely, however, that Uther ever existed outside of Britain's mythical history.

 

 

Queen Guinevere

Guinevere was the legendary queen consort of King Arthur. The name Guinevere may be an epithet – the Welsh form Gwenhwyfar can be translated as The White Fay or White Ghost (Proto-Celtic *Uindā Seibrā, "white phantom" or "white fairy"; Brythonic *vino-hibirā; see also Ishara). Additionally, the name may derive from "Gwenhwy-mawr" or Gwenhwy the Great, contrasting the character to "Gwenhwy-fach" or Gwenhwy the less; Gwenhwyfach appears in Welsh literature as a sister of Gwenhwyfar, but in her scholarly edition of the Welsh Triads, Rachel Bromwich suggests this is a less like etymology. Geoffrey of Monmouth renders her name Guanhumara in Latin. Guinevere is most famous for her love affair with Arthur's chief knight Lancelot, which first appears in Chrétien de Troyes' Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart. This motif was picked up in all the cyclical Arthurian literature, starting with the Lancelot-Grail Cycle of the early 13th century and carrying through the Post-Vulgate Cycle and Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. Their betrayal of Arthur leads to the downfall of the kingdom. The earliest mention of Guinevere is in the Welsh tale Culhwch ap Olwen, where she appears as Arthur's queen, but little more is said about her. Caradog of Llancarfan, who wrote his Life of Gildas before 1136, recounts how she was kidnapped by Melwas, king of the "Summer Country" (Aestiva Regio, perhaps meaning Somerset), and held prisoner at his stronghold at Glastonbury. The story states that Arthur spent a year searching for her, found her, and had assembled an army to storm Melwas' fort when Saint Gildas negotiated a peaceful resolution and reunited husband and wife. This is the earliest written account of Guinevere's abduction, one of the earliest and most common episodes in Arthurian legend. A seemingly related account appears carved into the archivolt of Modena Cathedral in Italy, which probably predates Caradog's telling. Here, "Artus de Bretania" and Isdernus approach a tower in which "Mardoc" is holding "Winlogee", while on the other side Carrado (probably Carados) fights Galvagin (Gawain) while the knights Galvariun and Che (Kay) approach. "Isdernus" is most certainly some incarnation of Yder, a Celtic hero whose name appears in Culhwch and Olwen, and who was Guinevere's lover in a nearly-forgotten tradition mentioned in Beroul's Tristan and reflected in the later Roman de Yder. The Welsh poet Dafydd ap Gwilym alludes to Guinevere's abduction in two of his poems, and the medievalist Roger Sherman Loomis suggested that this tale shows that "she had inherited the role of a Celtic Persephone". Geoffrey of Monmouth tells a different version of Guinevere's abduction, adding that she was descended from a noble Roman family and was the ward of Cador, Duke of Cornwall. Arthur leaves her in the care of his nephew Mordred while he crosses over to Europe to go to war with the (fictitious) Roman Procurator Lucius Hiberius. While he is absent, Mordred seduces Guinevere, declares himself king and takes her as his own queen; consequently, Arthur returns to Britain and fights Mordred at the fatal Battle of Camlann. Chrétien de Troyes tells yet another version of Guinevere's abduction, this time by Meleagant (whose name is possibly derived from Melwas) in Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart. The abduction sequence is largely a reworking of that recorded in Caradoc's work, but here the queen's rescuer is not Arthur (or Yder) but Lancelot, whose adultery with the queen is dealt with for the first time in this poem. It has been suggested that Chrétien invented their affair to supply Guinevere with a courtly extra-marital lover. Mordred could not be used, as his reputation was beyond saving, and Yder had been forgotten entirely. In the German tale Diu Crône, Guinevere's brother Gotegrim kidnaps her and intends to kill her for refusing to marry Gasozein, who claims to be her rightful husband. In Ulrich von Zatzikhoven's Lanzelet, Valerin, King of the Tangled Wood, claims the right to marry her and carries her off to his castle in a struggle for power that reminds scholars of her prescient connections to the fertility and sovereignty of Britain. Arthur's company save her, but Valerin kidnaps her again and places her in a magical sleep inside another castle surrounded by snakes, where only the powerful sorcerer Malduc can rescue her. All of these similar tales of abduction by another suitor – and this allegory includes Lancelot, who whisks her away when she is condemned to burn at the stake for their adultery – are demonstrative of a recurring Hades-snatches-Persephone theme, positing that Guinevere is like the otherworld bride Étaín, who Midir, king of the Underworld, carries off from her earthly life after she has forgotten her past.

 

 

Merlin

Merlin is best known as the wizard featured in Arthurian legend. The standard depiction of the character first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, and is based on an amalgamation of previous historical and legendary figures. Geoffrey combined existing stories of Myrddin Wyllt (Merlinus Caledonensis), a northern madman with no connection to King Arthur, with tales of Aurelius Ambrosius to form the figure he called Merlin Ambrosius. Geoffrey's version of the character was immediately popular, and later writers expanded the account to produce a fuller image of the wizard. His traditional biography has him born the son of an incubus and a mortal woman who inherits his powers from his strange birth.[1] He grows up to be a sage and engineers the birth of Arthur through magic. Later Merlin serves as the king's advisor until he is bewitched and imprisoned by the Lady of the Lake.



Merlin, from the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493)

For more in depth information about the legendary Ruler follow the link below.

Best of Legends: King Arthur

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