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Re: Arthurian material goof

Poster: Bob Minowicz <minowicz@nc.na.auspex.com>

Rowanwald Central wrote:
> Poster: "Rowanwald Central" <rownwald@gte.net>
> 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_ .
> > Poster: "Stephanie M. Thorson" <smt2@st-andrews.ac.uk>
> >
> > It has been tactfully pointed out to me that in my enthusiasm for the
> > early French Arthurian romances, I skipped right over the grandaddy of
> > the
> > whole genre:  Geoffrey of Monmouth's _Historia Regum Britanniae_ 
> > (History
> > of the Kings of Britain), which predates Chretien de Troyes by a couple
> > decades.  Oops.  Geoffrey is cheaply and easily available in Penguin
> > translation.

If we're trying to list sources and how far back they went, then perhaps
there is something more I can contribute.

Historically, Arthur can be traced back to a text written in c.AD537,
_The History of the Britons_.  It was written in Latin and it only makes
two mentions of him at all:

    'Then the warrior Arthur, with the soldiers and kings of Britain
    to fight against the Saxons, and though there were many of more
    birth than he, he was twelve times leader of war and victor of the


    'The twelfth battle was on Badon Hill and in it 960 men fell in one
    day from a single charge of Arthur's, and no one laid them low 'cept
    for he alone, and he was victorious in all his campaigns.'

Then later, in _Annales Cambriae_ we find:

    'AD516, Battle of Badon, in which Arthur carried the cross of our
    Lord Jesus Christ for three days and three nights on his shield,
    and the Britons were victorious'.

There are a few more mentions of him within a hundred years or so, but
they are not so readily documentable.  It can be pointed out that there
is mention of him and his sword, at this time know as 'The Lightning
Sword' in the tale of _Taliesin_.  This tale is significant in that it
predates Monmouth (by a much debated number of years) and yet still
makes many references to things we often think of as being part of the
Arthurian legends, Avalon for instance.  Although the Mabinogion is a
collection of welsh tales that are certainly quite older than the
earliest known copy of the book, it is generally believed that
'Taliesin' was a recent addition to the bardic repertoire the book
represents.  The Mabinogion is thought to have been captured in text
around AD1080.

Then we hit the above mentioned frieze in c.AD1110. And then we come to
Geoffrey of Monmouth's 'Historia Regum Britanniae' in AD1147. 

Stanislaw Kowalski (tenative name, forgive me if/when it changes)
Canton of Elvegast, Barony of Windmaster's Hill, Kingdom of Atlantia
m. k. a.  Bob Minowicz
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