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Re: Arthurian material goof

Poster: "Stephanie M. Thorson" <smt2@st-andrews.ac.uk>

On Sun, 3 May 1998, Rowanwald Central wrote:

> We could argue for a rich oral tradition also, based on the stone frieze of
> an archivolt in Modena Cathedral (Italy), which shows the abduction of
> Guinevere and her rescue by Arthur and his Knights. The carving has the
> names of the ppl running above the scenes, and dates from c1100-1125,
> predating Geoffrey of Monmouth's _History_ .

Ah, yes, Modena Cathedral.  Carved, if I recall my Celtic literatures
courses correctly, at least in part by Breton stonemasons.  Brittany, as
we all know, had close cultural ties with Wales.  It's thought a good deal
of Marie de France's material may have come from contact with
Welsh/Irish/Breton minstrels as well. 

The problem of course with oral traditions is that they are just that: 
oral, at least until someone writes them down, at which point they become
literature.  :-) We can speculate all we want about the pre-Geoffrey
Arthur-stories, but since most of the solid evidence is written, and most
of that is decidedly post-Geoffrey, we will not be able to prove very

Stephanie M. Thorson			|  SCA: Lady Alianora Munro
Dept. of Scottish History		|  Clan White Wing
University of St Andrews		|  Tarkhan, Khanate Red Lion

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