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Poster: email@example.com (carl christianson)
>Poster: Elen Prydydd
..And was that Malagant character made up of whole cloth, or what?
>As you can tell, my knowledge of Arthureana is rather sketchy.
No, I don't believe Meleagant is a completely made-up figure. I'm not 100%
certain, but I believe he was part of the original Welsh cycle. Considering
the old Celtic 7-yr-king cycle, the queen then becomes a figure of utmost
importance: she IS the land itself, the living representative of
Albion/Brittania. (Gwynhwyfar, to use the Welsh spelling, means white
shadow - she represents the mother goddess.) Therefore, her abduction/rape
isn't just a personal affront, it is a crime against the Divine and
threatens the entire social order. The king is then honor-bound by holy
oath to protect her, recover her from danger and severely punish the
transgressor. Look at medieval Welsh law for echoes of this in their
unusual laws protecting a woman's (as opposed to virgin's) right to choose
her husband, to divorce him if he beats her or brings his mistress under her
roof (a *major* scandal if a man did that to his wife), etc...woman as
person, not as an object, a pawn to be bartered and sold to the highest
bidder, and dumped into a nunnery when he got tired of her. And people
wonder why I have a Welsh persona...
By the twelfth century, Norman laws regarding women were well entrenched
across England. Similar laws existed in France. Woman was an object; girls
were married off as their fathers wished, and it was not uncommon at all for
heiresses to be kidnapped, raped until they were pregnant and then shamed
into marrying their abductors. Abductions happened, and for the women, the
consequences were horrifying - forced marriage to a man who was almost
certainly vicious <I'll get off my soapbox now>.
Anyway, that's my take on that issue.
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