Discussion in 'Medieval Boards' started by Avolon242, May 28, 2009.
Mine is Tristan.
He's more of a blunt instrument, but any guy who can out-suave a King is deserving of some kind of props.
My favorite is Mordred.
A dark character with a dark - and sad - past.
I like most the Lancelot.
Was his champion that betrayed him for love. Love conquers all, king and knights poor and rich...
My favourite is Perceval who is said to have been the finder, guardian and keeper of the Holy Grail after King Amfortas, King of Castle Montsalvatsch which again is said to have been Montségur, the last stronghold of the Cathars. Thus closes the circle between Arthurian legend, Avalon, the Holy Grail and French Cathars.
I'm gonna have to go with Mordred as well.
The green Knight.
I'll have to go with Lancelot.
Gonna go with Sir Gawain. He fought the Green Knight, and that's pretty cool.
Mordred for me.
My favorite is Sir Lancelot of the Lake
I love Arthurian Legends which I read since I was a kid.
Much of what I learned was from Bulfinch Mythology book and Sir Thomas Mallory's Le Morte D'Arthur. When I was a kid, I bought one Arthurian Legend book and found an Arthurian Legend book in an apartment complex garbage dumpster, and I repeatedly read those books. I also read the Howard Pyle Arthurian Legend series books.
I also read The Once and Future King book and Rosemary Sutcliffe's 3 book series on the Arthurian Legend. Both depicted Lancelot as being ugly instead of a paragon of manly beauty in the other Arthurian Legend books.
I just recently found out about the Lancelot-Grail stories that predated Le Morte D'Arthur. I already bought and read 3 books that are based on the Prose Lancelot. I bought and am reading the 5 Volume Lancelot-Grail/Vulgate Cycle and Post Vulgate Cycle.
I am well familiar with the Arthur-Guenevere-Lancelot love triangle. I never had the view about Guinevere being a harlot,slut, nor whore. I just thought of her as a woman that was unfortunately torn between two men that she loved in a time that had arranged marriages, people couldn't get divorced, and where things were more black and white. It was the French writers that introduced Lancelot into the Arthurian Legend as a character of courtly love, and that started with Chretien de Troyes' The Knight of the Cart and was significantly expanded in Prose Lancelot which became part of what was the Arthurian Vulgate Cycle. This was from the 12th to 13th Century. The Arthurian Vulgate Cycle was written by monks in France. The French contributed a lot to Arthurian Legend.
I definitely like the romance between Guenevere and him. From looking at it from a non-religious and courtly love perspective, I appreciate it. I like how they are written in Prose Lancelot. Lancelot grew up sheltered,innocent, and not knowing his name and roots. He was raised with much motherly love by the Lady of the Lake. Lancelot thought the Lady of the Lake was his mother until after she told him that she wasn't after presented him to King Arthur. There is a sympathetic and tender Guenevere in Prose Lancelot/the Vulgate Cycle. As a lover, she really doesn't pull rank on Lancelot except when she is angry when it came to other women, wrongly thinking that he was false to her. He was always true to her. Guenevere treats him as an equal. Even when he first came to King Arthur's court, she even told him that she didn't want him kneeling before her because he could have been of high birth. According to Prose Lancelot, his lineage is higher than anybody else's except for his double first cousins, Bors and Lionel. Guenevere addresses him often as 'dear friend' which is the term that left a deep impression on Lancelot who wrongly interprets it as something meaningful and inspired him to be the best knight in the world.
The Prose Lancelot is a story of earthly chivalry and courtly love and about a boy that becomes a man through his love for a much older woman.
Much of the Arthurian Legend stories that we know today came from the 15th Century Thomas Mallory's Le Morte D'Arthur but much of his work was based on the early 13th Century Vulgate (aka Prose Lancelot, Lancelot-Grail Cycle) and Post-Vulgate Cycles written by unknown French authors.
During the 12th and 13th Centuries, French authors were major contributors to the Arthurian Legend.
A major story that was left out of Le Morte D'Arthur was the very deep friendship between Lancelot and Galehaut. It was Galehaut who facilitated the relationship of Lancelot and Guinevere. Lancelot was in emotional turmoil over being in love with the much older married Guenevere, and Galehaut made an arrangement for Lancelot and the Queen to meet and talk. Lancelot's foster mother, The Lady of the Lake encouraged the consummation of Lancelot and Guinevere's relationship. She gave Guenevere a shield that showed a lady and a knight separated by a crack which disappeared after the relationship was consummated.
After reading the Vulgate Cycle material, I even like the character even more. I like that there was more written about the otherworldly Lady of the Lake's involvement with her foster son, Lancelot which is sorely missing from Mallory and other writings based on that. Before I read the Vulgate Cycle material, I never read anything that showed that the Lady of the Lake kept in touch with her son after she presented him to King Arthur's court to be knighted. I also feel that the Vulgate Cycle gives a lot more insight into Lancelot and Guenevere's relationship.
Overall, I wished that I knew about the Vulgate Cycle a long time ago. It's better late than never.
This site has the passages about the love pact between Lancelot and Guinevere from Prose Lancelot.
The following that Guinevere said to Lancelot at the beginning of her 2 year stay in Sorelois with Lancelot and Galehaut during her estrangement from Arthur says it all to me about the relationship and love between Lancelot and Guinevere.
page 275 of Lancelot-Grail: The Old French Arthurian Vulgate and Post-Vulgate in Translation
Volume II edited by NorrIs J. Lacy:
She said, "My dear friend, this where things stand, as you see: I am separated from my husband the king as a result of my misdeed-yes, I acknowledge it-not that I am not his lawful wife and just as crowned and anointed as he, and daughter of King Leodegran of Carmelide as well, but I have been hurt by the sin of going to bed with a man other than my husband."
"Still, there is no upstanding lady in the world who would not feel impelled to sacrifice something to make an upstanding knight like you happy. Too bad Our Lord pays no heed to our courtly ways, and a person whom the world sees as good is wicked to God. But now I have to beg a favor of you, because I have reached a point where I have to watch myself more closely than ever before. I ask you, then in the name of your great love for me, to seek no more of me from now on than a kiss or an embrace, if you like, unless at my invitation. This much of me, though, you will have as long as I stay here; and when I find the time and place are right and you are willing, I will gladly let you have the rest."
"But my will right now is that you be patient for awhile. You must not doubt that I am yours forever;you have deserved it, and my heart, besides, would never let me give you up. Remember, when my lord the king asked that I urge you to remain in his household, I said more to him than I have said just now, for I told him I preferred being with you to being with him."
"My lady," said Lancelot, "nothing you wish can be a burden to me. I am wholly subject to your will, even if it means no less than happiness; and I'll endure whatever you like, because my fulfillment can only come through you."
As a person that has Neo-pagan,New Age, New Thought,and Unitarian Universalist beliefs and see things in gray, I view Lancelot and Guinevere's love for each other as something that is not necessarily good nor bad. I think it's relative. I definitely don't view this couple as the type that just want to have sex. I view them as having romantic feelings for each other.
The contrast between courtly love and traditional religious views is definitely acknowledged by Guinevere.
Lancelot comes off as somebody that views Guinevere as more than object of carnal desire. He seems to be entirely devoted to her.
I think the main theme for Lancelot is courtly love.I believe that is the reason why he was inserted in Arthurian Legends.Itwas the Frenchman, Chretien de Troyes that introduced Lancelot into Arthurian Legend and made him the lover of Guenevere.Courtly love seemed to have been a big thing in France.Lancelot was written as a French knight.
Stages of courtly love
Attraction to the lady, usually via eyes/glance
Worship of the lady from afar
Declaration of passionate devotion
Virtuous rejection by the lady
Renewed wooing with oaths of virtue and eternal fealty
Moans of approaching death from unsatisfied desire (and other physical manifestations of lovesickness)
Heroic deeds of valor which win the lady’s heart
Consummation of the secret love
Endless adventures and subterfuges avoiding detection
Lancelot was the queen's champion.
Prose Lancelot was written before the Lancelot-Grail: The Old French Arthurian Vulgate.
It was story focused on earthly chivalry and courtly love including the love of Lancelot and Guinevere which is presented in a positive way. Lancelot's love for Guenevere becomes instrumental in his success as a knight. The gaining of the knowledge of his name, Lancelot is a blessing.
Lancelot-Grail aka Vulgate was written by Cistercian monks in France.
It was about connecting the Lancelot story to the Holy Grail to Lancelot. Prose Lancelot became part of the Vulgate Cycle. It puts the earthly chivalry and courtly love of Lancelot in a sinful context. Lancelot is made to be originally christened Galahad, and the gaining knowledge of his name, Lancelot means he falls from grace for he lost his purity. It is his son, Galahad who becomes the perfect knight and the Holy Grail hero. The love between Lancelot and Guenevere is depicted as a negative thing. Lancelot's love for Guinevere now becomes intrumental in his failure as a knight.
Lancelot and the Grail: A Study of the Prose Lancelot (Clarendon Paperbacks)Paperback – January 10, 1991
Kennedy's Lancelot and the Grail offers a new solution to the fascinating puzzle of how the tale of Lancelot's love for Guinevere came to be linked with the legend of the Grail. Based on extensive research on the textual tradition of a romance copied and read over a time span of three centuries, the book raises such issues as the interplay between feudal relationships and literary structures, intertextuality, and the development of a text through time.
Here are reviews that are pretty much dead on
By A Customer on July 11, 1997
Elspeth Kennedy's Lancelot and the Grail is an intricate and involved analysis of the Grail legend, and its introduction into the rapidly growing legend of Lancelot.
Practically from its inception, the character of Lancelot stood as a paragon of knightly virtue; knightly virtue according to the laws of courtly love, a most secular and worldly group of guidelines. The fusing of the existing Lancelot romance to a larger storyline, encompassing the full breadth of the Arthurian material, prompted wholesale changes in the way this character was to be presented. Lancelot, in his own way, suffered as much as Gawain at the hands of the religious scribes who took center stage in the reshaping of the Arthurian legends that became the Vulgate Cycle.
Ms. Kennedy adroitly points out where the changes were made and how the differences cast in the early portion are used to move forward to the coming of Galahad and the failure of Lancelot, the spectacular secular knight, in the face of the spirituality of the Grail quest.
The book functions as an excellent companion piece to the recently published Lancelot of the Lake, translated by Corin Corley with an introduction by Ms. Kennedy, as it illustrates in detail the differences between the "original" Lancelot romance, presented in English by Ms. Corley, with the "established" version of the Lancelot, used in the Vulgate cycle and remodeled once more by Thomas Malory. A must for Arthurian enthusiasts and those interested in the ever intriguing figure of Lancelot Du Lac
By Donald Gow on March 8, 2005
Elspeth Kennedy's Lancelot and the Grail is the product of her groundbreaking study of several key Prose Lancelot manuscripts. Her studies show that there were actually two different versions of the romance in circulation: a so-called "short form" which ended with the death of Lancelot's friend Galehaut, and a "cyclic form" which preserved the first 80% or so of the original, but then rewrote and expanded on its ending, adding "hooks" that linked the romance to a Grail Quest and a Death of King Arthur romance ahead. Her intricate work shows that the beginning portions of the romance are carefully written to remove the onus from Lancelot's love for Guinevere. Arthur is systematically degraded, and his flaws and failings are constantly cited. Lancelot is knighted by Arthur, but receives his sword from Guinevere, making him "her" knight and not "Arthur's" and, hence, removing the ties of fealty that the adulterous relationship would betray.
Once the Grail mythos was added, however, Lancelot himself begins to be degraded and chastised for his sin, while Arthur's stock increases as he is seen as nobler and as a friend and champion to Lancelot.
It is a fascinating and compelling study, with only one flaw to the English reader - Ms. Kennedy makes extensive use of quotations from the manuscripts themselves and writes her critiques and analyses in English, but does not provide any translations of the quotations. It makes for a jarring experience moving from English to French to English again, and is nearly incomprehensible to the reader who has no French.
The Lancelot-Grail Project:
What is the Lancelot-Grail ?
by † Elspeth Kennedy
The Lancelot-Grail Cycle (Cycle du Lancelot-Graal), sometimes called the Vulgate Cycle or the Prose Lancelot, evolved in stages. The oldest surviving Lancelot manuscript in prose, Paris, BNF fr. 768, begins 'En la marche de Gaule' with an account of the events that lead to Lancelot being brought up, without a name, in the semblance of a lake, by a lady who had learned her magic from Merlin. It then recounts Lancelot's adventures, from his knighting at King Arthur's court and his first sight of Queen Guinevere which was to inspire him to perform great deeds and to save Arthur's kingdom more than once, up to the establishment of his name at Arthur's court and his installation as a knight of the Round Table. This is followed by an account of his departure from Arthur's court with his great friend Galehot and the False Guinevere episode in which Guinevere's identity is challenged and is re-established by Lancelot who then remains at Arthur's court. This version of the romance ends with the death of Galehot through his separation from his close companion Lancelot. There is much interplay with the romances of Chrétien de Troyes and with those of Robert de Boron and allusions to past Grail adventures, one of which names Perceval as the Grail hero who had sat in the Perilous Seat.
The second stage in the development of the cycle is marked by a re-writing of the False Guinevere episode and the death of Galehot that prepares the way for the incorporation of Chrétien's Chevalier de la Charette (Knight of the Cart), of a Grail Quest with a new hero Galaad, son of Lancelot, and of a Mort Artu. The final stage includes two new branches placed at the beginning: firstly, the Estoire, a fundamental re-writing of Robert de Boron's early history of the Grail (theJoseph); secondly, a Merlin, a prose version of Robert de Boron's Merlin in verse. This is followed in most cyclic manuscripts by a Suite Vulgate (Merlin Continuation) that prepares the way for what was originally the beginning of the first Prose Lancelot (En la marche de Gaule). The change of Grailwinner, in the course of the development of theLancelot-Grail Cycle from the first Prose Lancelot without a Grail quest resulted in a number of inconsistencies as a majority of manuscripts kept the allusion to Perceval as Grail-winner and also an account of the birth of an un-baptised Merlin that clashes with what is to be found in the second branch of the complete cycle. Sporadic attempts are made in some manuscripts to remove these contradictions. There is, however, one group of manuscripts that makes a more consistent effort to remove these contradictions. This group is described as the 'Short Version' as it gives a slightly condensed version of the text, and it is manuscripts belonging to this group on which our study is based.
The Lancelot-Grail Cycle had a considerable influence on Arthurian prose romance. Parts of it are incorporated into the Prose Tristan(some later Prose Lancelot manuscripts also incorporated parts of the Prose Tristan within the Lancelot-Grail Cycle). A new cycle, which does not make Lancelot the central character, has survived in fragments in various languages, some in French, some only in translation into Spanish or Portuguese. This is known as the Post-Vulgate Cycle. There is also a fifteenth-century manuscripts, Paris, BNF fr. 112, which provides a 'Readers Digest' version of Arthurian prose romance, and includes parts of the Prose Lancelot, in a very condensed form, but is textually related to the group of manuscripts we have studied.
Note by Alison Stones:
Robert de Boron's Joseph in a prose version, and sometimes his Merlin, continued to be copied well into the fourteenth century alongside the Lancelot-Grail (see Manuscript List, espcially New Haven, Beinecke Library, Yale 227), and numerous other special and abridged versions were copied well into the fifteenth century.
This pertains to Lancelot
If you read the following, you will see that the love story of Lancelot and Guenevere follows along the guidelines of courtly love and that it can involve adultery which can be consummated.
A person who is very religious and/or thinks in black and white terms may have issues with the concept of courtly love.
That's why I love the love story of Lancelot and Guenevere.
What is meant by the term courtly love?
The term courtly love was first used in 1883 by Gaston Paris to describe the type of love that was depicted and celebrated in Proven�al (Southern French) love lyrics and discussed at 12th century court. Countries that identified with the concept of courtly love had their own phrases for it. France had fin� amors, Italy had fin�amore, and Germany had hohe-minne(Boase). The concept of courtly love, which refers to the love described by troubadours in the 12th century and by authors of courtly literature such as Chr�tien de Troyes, is best defined by its characteristics.
Features of courtly love
In The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition, C.S. Lewis describes courtly love as the "feudalisation of love". Lewis condenses the characteristics of courtly love into humility, courtesy, adultery, and the religion of love. Humility meaning the elevation of the lady as superior to the knight as a lord is to a vassal. Courtesy meaning to bestow court etiquette upon the lady. Adultery has a part because most marriages were arranged at that time and rarely was love a part of marriage. Adulterous love was seen as the only true love. The religion of love refers to the knight�s service to religion and to love.
No matter who is defining the characteristics of courtly love, the features remain consistently the same. The most important feature of courtly love is the absolute submission of the knight to his lady. All of the actions and motivations of the knight should be for love and his lady; that is the service of love. The knight should seek not only chevaleric perfection, but perfection in virtue and obedience to the lady. The knight demonstrates his prowess to honor and impress the lady, and he would sacrifice his honor and his life for her. The knight should revere both the lady and religion, and he may often call upon the God of Love. Love should be and ennobling inspiration to the knight. Adultery is also a feature of courtly love, but there does not have to be a consummation between the lovers, even the desire of a married woman constitutes the adulterous love of courtly love (O�Donoghue).
Origin of courtly love in courtly literature
It was early in the 12th century when courtly love first appeared as a genre. The courts of Eleanor d�Aquitaine in Poitiers and her daughter, Marie de Champagne in Troyes were two of the liveliest courts in Europe at the time. The courts of mother and daughter were centers of literature, art, and intellect, which created a sort of mini-renaissance where classic authors from Antiquity such as Virgil and Ovid were revived. Originating in the south of France but travelling all over, troubadours, which were travelling singers and musicians of oral lyrics and poetry, traveled from court to court singing love lyrics and stories of the court society. These troubadours were the beginning and inspiration for the courtly love literature that we identify today. The troubadours sang love lyrics that were influenced by the society which was being entertained, and so became love stories set at court (Dr. Laverne Dalka).
Chr�tien de Troyes was at the court of Marie de Champagne in the 12th century and was urged by her to write Lancelot, the most famous story of courtly love. Chr�tien is generally considered the father of courtly love literature with theArthurian Romances for two reasons. Chr�tien was one of the first to write what we know as fictional stories of King Arthur and his court and was also one of the first to make love the central theme of a serious work. Combine these two elements and that is the reason that today we associate the origin of courtly love with the court of King Arthur (Lewis).
Influences on and theories of the origin of the ideals of courtly love
Although courtly literature was the first place that love came together with the royal court, the ideals of courtly love had many influences outside the court. Although there is no absolute certainty on the specific influences of courtly love and there are many theories on where the ideals of courtly love originated, certain connections can be drawn between all of them and courtly love. Ovid�s famous Ars Amatoria, or the Art of Love, certainly may have influenced courtly love authors and lyricists. Many classical ancient texts were revived and being read at literary gatherings at the courts at Poitiers and Troyes at the same time that the troubadours began reciting courtly love lyrics. The Ars Amatoria contains traditions similar to those of courtly love. Ovid�s Ars Amatoria was a comedy written for his own society on the art of seduction and the rules of conduct for lovers. It was a mocking of the woes and wonders of love. That which was being mocked in Ovid�sArs Amatoria was taken seriously as a code of conduct in later courtly love literature (Lewis).
One theory on where the ideals of courtly love originated is called the Hispano-Arabic theory. During the time of Muslim Spain, when the Moors occupied the country for about 700 years, much Arabic and Islamic culture was brought into Spain and left a lasting influence on the arts and culture. According to some scholars, Arabs were the first people to compose rhymed verse like that of the troubadours, and many common themes can be drawn from early Arabic poetry and the courtly love lyrics of the troubadours. The Islamic were highly educated at the time in the Classics and they were translators of Greek and Latin texts such as Ovid. The ideals of courtly love that are found in Ovid and in early Arabic poetry could have been smuggled into the South of France by the troubadours. They were travelling composers who made their fortune by spreading oral tradition and could have been influenced by the culture of Islamic Spain (Boase).
There are two theories called the Chivalric-Matriarchal theory and the Marianist theory which I will combine because of their similar nature. The Chivalric-Matriarchal theory argues that before and around the 12th century the Germanic, Celtic, and Pictish tribes were matriarchal societies. This theory suggests that the matriarchal society may have influenced the superiority of the woman in courtly love (Boase). Similar to that idea is the Marianist theory, or the influence of Christianity. Christianity was widely spreading around the 12thcentury and with that arose the cult of the Virgin Mary. This worship and veneration of Mary may have been an influence on the veneration of the woman that dominates courtly love (Lewis).
The most easily accepted theory of the origin of courtly love ideals is the Feudal-Sociological theory. Simply put, this theory says that courtly love ideals came from the society in which the troubadours and authors were living at the time. This supports Lewis�s "feudalisation of love" and shows clearly where many of the elements of courtly love came from. The troubadours sang about love at court and knights and ladies because they were singing for the society at court. Most marriages at court were arranged and had nothing to do with love so therefore adulterous love was seen as true love. The oath of allegiance to the lord was the same as an oath of allegiance to the lady. Courtly love easily models the feudal society in which it was written (Boase).
Although no single theory can be proven as the defining origin of the ideals of courtly love, most likely they all had a part in influencing the troubadours who sang the first love lyrics of courtly love. Courtly love is a term we use now that can only be defined by its features and is a conglomerate of influences that formed into one genre of love made specific and famous by the authors at court.
Separate names with a comma.