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historical evidence

Poster: einar@cvn.net (einar)

At 06:57 PM 5/3/98 +0100, you wrote:
>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

But there is also another type of historical evidence that can be highly
informative:  artifacts.  Their use may be a moot point in this discussion,
but not in others.  Sometimes, it outweighs the written evidence, or even
helps posit a new interpretation.

Elen Prydydd

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