The Arthurian cycle must have its own love-tale; Guenevere, the leading lady of that cycle, could not be behind the courtly ladies of the day and lack a lover; one had to be found for her.
The authorship of the Lancelot proper, on the other hand, is invariably ascribed to Walter Map (see MAP), the chancellor of Henry II., but so also are the majority of the Arthurian prose Romances.
The Lancelot story, in its rise and development, belongs exclusively to the later stage of Arthurian romance; it was a story for the court, not for the folk, and it lacks alike the dramatic force and human appeal of the genuine "popular" tale.
With reference to the Celtic race, P. cordata, it is interesting to note its connexion with Arthurian legend and the Isle of Avalon or Isle of Apples.
An island in Loch Awe has a Celtic legend containing the principal features of Arthurian story; but in this case the word is "berries" instead of "apples."
In fact, it does for the Robin Hood cycle what a few years before Sir Thomas Malory had done for the Arthurian romances - what in the 6th century B.C. Peisistratus is said to have done for the Homeric poems.
We parallel it with the Arthurian story, and hold that, just as there was probably a real Arthur, however different from the hero of the trouveres, so there was a real Hood, however now enlarged and disguised by the accretions of legend.
The scene of the "sparrow-hawk" tournament, described in Geraint and Enid, one of the Arthurian romances, is laid at Cardiff.
C. 1208/9), medieval ecclesiastic, author and wit, to whose authority the main body of prose Arthurian literature has, at one time or another, been assigned, flourished in the latter part of the 12th and early years of the 3th centuries.
The special interest of Map lies in the perplexing question of his relation to the Arthurian legend and literature.
In fact it may safely be said that, with the exception of the prose Tristan, always attributed either to Luces de Gast, or Belie de Borron, the authority of Map has been invoked for the entire vast mass of Arthurian prose romantic literature.
It seems difficult also to believe that Map's name should be so constantly connected with our Arthurian tradition without any ground whatever; though it must be admitted that he himself never makes any such claim - the references in the romances are all couched in the third person, and bear no sign of being other than the record by the copyist of a traditional attribution.
We have no manuscript of any prose Arthurian romance earlier than the 13th century, to which period Gaston] Paris assigned them; they are certainly posterior to the verse romances.
It is of course possible that Map's rise at court may have been due to his having hit the literary taste of the monarch, who, we know, was interested in the Arthurian tradition, but it must be admitted that direct evidence on the subject is practically nil, and that in the present condition of our knowledge we can only advance possible hypotheses.
However this may be, remnants of their primitive superhuman qualities cling to the Celtic heroes long after they have been transfigured, under the influence of Christianity and chivalry, into the heroes of the medieval Arthurian romance, types - for the most part - of the knightly virtues as these were conceived by the middle ages; while shadowy memories of early myths live on, strangely disguised, in certain of the episodes repeated uncritically by the medieval poets.
The chief heroes of the medieval Arthurian romances are the following.
Lancelot, son of Ban king of Brittany, a creation of chivalrous romance, who only appears in Arthurian literature under French influence, known chiefly from his amour with Guinevere, perhaps in imitation of the story of Tristan and Iseult.
" The Charlemagne Legends.") The most famous heroes who are associated with him are Roland, praefect of the marches of Brittany, the Orlando of Ariosto, slain at Roncevaux (Roncevalles) in the Pyrenees, and his friend and rival Oliver (Olivier); Ogier the Dane, the Holger Danske of Hans Andersen, and Huon of Bordeaux, probably both introduced from the Arthurian cycle; Renaud (Rinaldo) of Montauban, one of the four sons of Aymon, to whom the wonderful horse Bayard was presented by Charlemagne; the traitor Doon of Mayence; Ganelon, responsible for the treachery that led to the death of Roland; Archbishop Turpin, a typical specimen of muscular Christianity; William Fierabras, William au court nez, William of Toulouse, and William of Orange (all probably identical), and Vivien, the nephew of the latter and the hero of Aliscans.
For some years the world heard nothing from him; he was at Farringford, busying himself with the Arthurian traditions.
In 1857 two Arthurian poems had been tentatively and privately printed, as Enid and Nimue, or the True and the False, to see how the idyllic form would be liked by the inner circle of Tennyson's friends.
He now put the Arthurian legends aside fiat a time, and devoted himself to the composition, in 1862, of "Enoch Arden," which, however, did not appear until 1864, and then in a volume which also contained "Sea Dreams," "Aylmer's Field" and, above all, "The Northern Farmer," the first and finest of Tennyson's remarkable studies in dialect_ In April of this year Garibaldi visited Farringford; in February 1865 Tennyson's mother died at Hampstead in her eighty-fifth year; in the ensuing summer he travelled in Germany.
The noble poem Lucretius, one of the greatest of Tennyson's versified monographs, appeared in May 1868, and in this year The Holy Grail was at last finished; it was published in 1869, together with three other idyls belonging to the Arthurian epic, and various miscellaneous lyrics, besides Lucretius.
Believing that his work with the romantic Arthurian epics was concluded, Tennyson now turned his attention to a department of poetry which had long attracted him, but which he had never seriously attempted - the drama.
Perlesvaus, Welsh, Peredur), the hero of a comparatively small, but highly important, group of romances, forming part of the Arthurian cycle.
It is not improbable that it represents a free and individual working over of the original Fescamp version, and that in its later shape it was intended to form, and did at one time form, the Quest section of the cyclic redaction of the Arthurian prose romances, being dislodged from this position by the Galahad Quese.
It was, however, the Arthurian legend which of all his fabrications attained the greatest vogue.
The succeeding age saw the Arthurian story popularized, through translations of the French romances, as far afield as Germany and Scandinavia.
His Morte d'Arthur, printed by Caxton in 1485, epitomizes the rich mythology which Geoffrey's work had first called into life, and gave the Arthurian story a lasting place in the English imagination.
Walganus, Walwanus; Dutch, Walwein, Welsh, Gwalchmci), son of King Loth of Orkney, and nephew to Arthur on his mother's side, the most famous hero of Arthurian romance.
The English Arthurian poems regard him as the type and model of chivalrous courtesy, "the fine father of nurture," and as Professor Maynadier has well remarked, "previous to the appearance of Malory's compilation it was Gawain rather than Arthur, who was the typical English hero."
Of Arthurian romance, i.e.
Tennyson, who only knew the Arthurian story through the medium of Malory, has, by exaggeration, largely contributed to this misunderstanding.
Gaston Paris, belongs to the very earliest stage of Arthurian tradition, long antedating the crystallization of such tradition into literary form.
Of Arthurian Romances (Nutt).
It is curious, for instance, to compare the scanty references to the material marvels of Constantinople which Villehardouin saw in their glory, which perished by sack and fire under his very eyes, and which live chiefly in the melancholy pages of his Greek contemporary Nicetas, with the elaborate descriptions of the scarcely greater wonders of fabulous courts at Constantinople itself, at Babylon, and elsewhere, to be found in his other contemporaries, the later chanson de geste writers and the earlier embroiderers of the Arthurian romances and romans d'aventures.
3 The idea of the paladins forming an association corresponding to the Arthurian Round Table first appears in the romance of Fierabras.
1904); Celtic Heathendom (1886); Studies in the Arthurian Legend (1891); Celtic Folk-lore (Igor); as well as editions of Welsh texts (with J.
For his work on the Arthurian legend see 12.300, 321, 669.
The Cornish knights (who in Arthurian romance are always represented as hopeless cowards), dare not contest his claim but Tristan challenges him to single combat, slays him and frees Cornwall from tribute.
Besides the poems, we possess the prose Tristan, an enormous compilation, akin to the prose Lancelot, where the original story, though still to be traced, is obscured by a mass of later Arthurian adventures.
It should be noted that Tristan is never more than superficially connected with Arthur, an occasional visitor at his court; though in its later form ranked among the Arthurian romances, the Tristan is really an independent story, and does not form a part of the ordinary cyclic redaction.
(Arthurian Romances, No.
THE ROUND TABLE, in the Arthurian Romance (q.v.), the table round which, in order to avoid quarrels as to precedence, King Arthur's knights are seated, and so applied collectively to the knights themselves as the title of a mythical order of chivalry.
Recent grail researches have made it most probable that that mysterious talisman was originally the vessel of the ritual feast held in honour of a deity of vegetation, - Adonis, or another; if the Round Table also, as Dr Mott suggests, derives from a similar source, we have a link between these two notable features of Arthurian tradition, and an additional piece of evidence in support of the view that behind the Arthur of romance there lie not only memories of an historic British chieftain, but distinct traces of a mythological and beneficent hero.
Arius), the central hero of the cycle of romance known as the Matiere de Bretagne (see Arthurian Legend).
In the 12th century the Matiere de France was waning, the Matiere de Bretagne waxing in popularity, and public opinion demanded that the central figure of the younger cycle (for whatever the date of the subject matter, as a literary cycle the Arthurian is the younger) should not be inferior in dignity and importance to that of the earlier.
Numerous parallels exist between the Arthurian and early Irish heroic cycles, notably the Fenian or Ossianic. This Fenian cycle is very closely connected with the Tuatha de Danaan, the Celtic deities of vegetation and increase; recent research has shown that two notable features of the Arthurian story, the Round Table and the Grail, can be most reasonably accounted for as survivals of this Nature worship, and were probably parts of the legend from the first.
This brief summary of the leading features of the Arthurian tradition will indicate with what confused and complex material we are here dealing.
(See also Arthurian Legend, Grail, Merlin, Round Table; and Celt: Celtic literature.) Texts.
Professor Rhys' Studies in the Arthurian Legend are largely based on Welsh material, and may be consulted for details, though the conclusions drawn are not in harmony with recent research.