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> The Drowned City Of Ys, From www.brittany-bretagne.com/pg/ys.h
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 01-Jun-2004, 08:55 PM
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Here's some interesting info I found about the drowned city of Ys

This is from:
http://www.pvf.dircon.co.uk/BCH-5B(Legends).html

The Legend of the town of Ys in the bay of Douarnenez

During the great March tide, called the Saint Guénolé?s tide, the sea goes out so far that the ruins of a town can be seen ; the ruins of a palace ; collapsed walls ; and the remains of stone causeways linking the Isle of Sein to the mainland.

Long ago Gradlon the Great, king of Cornouaille, had the marvellous city of Ys built for Dahut, his daughter. Because it was below sea level, Ys had to be protected by strong sea-walls. There was a lockgate to the port, and Gradlon alone would decide when it was to open or close for the fishermen. Now, Dahut, who was deeply attached to the ancient Celtic gods, accused Corentin, the bishop of Quimper, of having made the town a sad and boring place. She dreamed of a city where only riches, freedom and the joy of living would reign. So, she gave a dragon to each of the townspeople, which captured all the merchant ships at sea.
Because of this, Ys became the richest and most powerful city in Brittany. Dahut reigned there as absolute mistress and guardian of Celtic heritage. Every evening she summoned a different lover to the palace, obliging them to wear a silk mask. But the mask was enchanted and at dawn it turned into metal claws, killing the lovers, whose bodies were then thrown from the top of a cliff into the ocean.

One fine day a prince, dressed all in red, arrived in the city. Dahut immediately fell in love with him. Now, it was really the Devil sent by God to punish the wicked town. For love of him, she stole the key to the lockgates from her father while he was asleep, and gave it to him. The prince opened the lockgates and the ocean in all its fury rushed into the town ; drowning the horrified cries of the inhabitants.
Only good King Gradlon succeeded in escaping, with the help of Saint Gwenolé. On his horse he waded painfully through the waves, weighed down by none other than his daughter . Struck by Saint Gwénolé, he was forced to abandon his daughter but he managed to reach the shore. To this very day, when it is calm, the fishermen of Douarnenez often hear the bells ringing under the sea. They say that one day Ys will be reborn finer than ever, because it was only flooded.


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Slàn agus beannachd,
Allen R. Alderman

'S i Alba tìr mo chridhe. 'S i Gàidhlig cànan m' anama.
Scotland is the land of my heart. Gaelic is the language of my soul.
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celtica 
Posted: 03-Jun-2004, 02:38 PM
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May I add a little thing wizardofowls ?

The legend say that Ys was the most beautiful capital on the earth. After its disappearance, the Gallics changed the name of their capital Lutèce in "Par Ys" which means in breton "like Ys". An old poem in Brittany say that one day Ys will be reborn with all its splendour, and Paris will disappear :

Pa vo beuzet Paris
Ec'h adsavo Ker Ys

When Paris will be engulfed
Ys will re-emerge


Now fishermen still ear the screams of Dahut, now called Marie-Morgane (the symbol of the defeated old pagan religion), and the bells of the city....when they do that's because a big tempest is coming...

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Que restera-t-il de notre sang mêlé au sel, sans trace dans les mémoires ? Une ultime navigation, trompeuse. Et des souvenirs, illuminés d'embruns. Mais condamnés au silence de la mer... Loïc Finaz.
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celtica 
Posted: 03-Jun-2004, 02:50 PM
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It's me again ! laugh.gif

You can find more precise informations here :

Ys legend
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 03-Jun-2004, 09:44 PM
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Thanks Celtica! I enjoyed reading that! Just one question...

Was Ys a real place? Or is it just legend like Atlantis?

Thanks again!
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celtica 
Posted: 04-Jun-2004, 11:45 AM
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Difficult to say, I'm not sure Atlantis is a legend either ! biggrin.gif

All this belong to a part of history when writing didn't exist and when myths and gods were very present in people's life....

Ys was supposed to have been engulfed in the IVth or Vth century, during the reign of King Gradlon. This king existed...
There are some material evidences of the existence of Ys : the littoral still falls away, and 5 roman roads sink in the sea, showing a point in the middle of the bay...
In twelve places, you'll see some supposed ruins of Ys, no proofs but traces.
Remember Troy....everybody thougt it was a legend too...
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 04-Jun-2004, 08:52 PM
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So ther must be SOMETHING down there! Does anyone ever explore the area using SCUBA gear or submarines or anything like that? I would think the place would be crawling with archaeologists and tresure and fortune hunters and such! Or are the ruins just too old and time-worn and eroded to render any evidence?

And what is a littoral? I must have missed that word in the story!
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 04-Jun-2004, 10:16 PM
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By the way, Celtica, how do you pronounce Ys? I have always pronounced it something like the English words "eyes" and "ice." However you said that Ys is part of the name of Paris, and in English the -is in Paris sounds like the -is in "this," and I've always heard that in French it sounded like the -ee in "bee."

Just curious...
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celtica 
Posted: 05-Jun-2004, 09:55 AM
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I'm sorry for the littoral, according to my dictionnary the word does exist in english... unsure.gif that's the same word in french and it means the coast.

Yes I'm sure there is something down there, but maybe not Ys, maybe just medieval ruins of a village, a castle or an abbey...
Of course Gradlon existed, but his capital should have been just a big wooden village with just a tower made of stone on the top of a hill... that's why all the traces that remain are the roman roads and some pieces of old walls. As you said all this is too old to render any evidence...
I'm not sure that archeologist have explored the place, they don't like to run after legends...and for fortune hunters there is nothing to win except celebrity.

For the pronounciation I would say it's like the "is" of Paris in English...there is a lot of manner to pronounce "is" in French, for Paris it's like in bee, that's right, but you have the town of Is-sur-tille and in this case you pronounce it like Ys...Even for the french it's sometimes too subtle... biggrin.gif
And for Paris, don't forget that the name is coming from the celtic tribe that was living there the Parisii...The influence of Ys may be a part of the legend, or may not, who knows....
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 04-Jul-2004, 12:48 PM
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Hello everyone!

Here is another version of the story of Is. I find this myth fascinating and love reading about it! This includes a second part which was new to me! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

This information was found at:
http://www.bretagne-celtic.com/an/accueil_an.htm
(Thanks Celtica! Wonderful site!)

THE SUBMERSION OF IS

During the great spring tide the sea of Douarnenez withdraws so far that the rubble of a huge city and the debris of stone roads stand out. This engulfed city is named Is. It used to stretch on 9 leagues (about 22 miles), and was surrounded by thick ramparts. Perhaps it was already an island when it was erected and perhaps it gave its name to Douarnenez, which is the Breton for Ground of the Island . At that time King Gradlon reigned over Cornwall, he had appointed the holy man named Corentin master of the capital of Kemper, and he had retired in Is with his only daughter Ahès-Dahut. No one knows exactly if the city of Is was a precious gift from the King to his daughter, or if Ahès-Dahut made it appear one night through the workings of evil spirits, for the seven deadly sins ruled her dissolute court. Every night, the princess would take a new lover, whose body was thrown into the hell of Plogoff the next morning.

One night, a strange prince who was dressed all in scarlet and came from nowhere brought the princess under his control."Beautiful lady, if you love me then give me a proof of your devotion."

"The key to the lock gates." "This key was entrusted to Gradlon only by the spirits of the sea. My father never takes it off his neck." "Your father is old. He is sleeping. And your hand is so soft." So Dahut steals the key, and the prince opens the locks. Here comes the sea that falls down on Is like a wild beast. It floods into the streets, it knocks the houses down, lashing them into a fury, it breaks escaping knees, it muffles the cries of horror ... Old Gradlon rides his marine horse in the waves beside Saint Guénolé so as to get back to the Great Land. But the horse struggles over the tempest with difficulty. "Gradlon, throw away in the water the wild creature that clings to you !" "But Guénolé, she is my daughter. I cannot leave her"

"You will be the only one rescued, the only one !"

Gradlon, in tears, frees himself from his daughter's arms. The relieved horse overcomes the wave and reaches the dry land. The sea dies down. It is no more than a glittering lake in which sounds of bells die away.

MARY-MORGAN

When the sea had died down, Guénolé the holy man, helped by old Gradlon, wished to celebrate a mass for the salvation of the city that had been swallowed up. While he was raising the chalice, the white chest of a coppery-haired girl with her arm up in the air rose from the glittering waters. Her body ended in a heavy tail with blue scales. She was Ahès-Dahut, and she had become Mary-Morgan. Guénolé's hand trembled so violently that the precious chalice slipped out and smashed against the rocks. The mass remained unfinished, Is remained cursed, and Morgan remained a mermaid. Every time Ahès appears, a terrible storm is about to break. One day the skipper named Porzmoger had anchored his small boat in a bay. When he tried to weigh anchor he discovered he could not unhook it. He took off his clothes and slid down the rope into the water. The anchor was caught on the limbs of a golden cross at the top of a church. Bells started swinging, and he sank down the tower. He entered a bright nave through a broken window, and there fervent people were pushing to get in. A priest leaning back against the altar was waiting for Porzmoger. The sacristan collector presented to the sailor a large dish in which there were many gold coins with strange inscriptions on them saying "For the dear departed". Porzmoger did not have a farthing, he shook his shoulders, so the priest opened his arms and started singing "Dominum vobiscum". Then a great moan went up in the nave, and the congregation became a gathering of livid corpses and white skeletons. The princess came to the fisherman and said : "Couldn't you just answer et cum spirit tuo, Porzmoger ! You would have saved us all." He immediately recognised Mary-Morgan and knew he was in Is. He had just the time to swim back up guided by the rope of the bells and the rope of his anchor. No sooner had he cut the rope and hoisted the sails than his boat was tossed by the waves of the mermaid's fantastic storm. And the city of Is still waits for someone to finish the redemption mass.
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