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> Brittany And King Arthur, The Connection
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 30-May-2004, 04:28 PM
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Here's some info I found on the'net concerning the link between Arthur and Brittany. Hope you enjoy it! I'm no expert so I can't say much for the accuracy...

This is from the website:
http://www.geocities.com/morgase2002/Arthur.html

About Arthur
Arthur is without doubt, the best known of Celtic heroes. Most popular during the Middle Ages, when the exploits of the Knights of the Round Table,impressed the greater part of Western Europe.

The Church permitted a Christianized version of these Celtic myths to occupy such an important place in the medieval imagination. It was never entirely happy with the story of the Grail, or Sangreal, which Joseph of Arimathea was believed to have brought to Britain, since its properties were clearly derived from the Celtic cauldron.

The strength of popularity for the Arthurian myth can be appreciated by a riot that occurred in 1113 in the town of Bodmin, Cornwall because the French servants of visiting nobility denied Arthur's undeath.

Some of the earliest stories regarding Arthur can be found in Welsh poems of the 7th century, although there can be little doubt that the king belongs to the traditions of both Ireland and Wales. He appears in several Irish sagas and had much in common with Finn MacCool, but according to Nennius, (9th Century monk), Arthur was a historical leader who rallied the people of Britain against Anglo-Saxon invaders after the Roman Legions had gone. In a history of Wales, Arthur's death was recorded in 537 when both he and his sworn enemy Modred fell at the battle of Camluan.

Heritage
Son of Uther Pendragon, the king of Britain and Igerne, the wife of the duke of Cornwall, (Gorlois), Arthur symbolized the union of the two peoples 'who could hear each other talk from one shore (of the Channel) to the other'. He was born out of wedlock and brought up by Merlin the magician and crowned at the age of 15. A child of destiny, he was guarded and guided by spiritual forces from birth, until his rightful time to draw the sword from the stone, thus proving his birthright.

Merlin.
Merlin had already designed a stronghold for Uther Pendragon and placed the famous Round Table, at which 150 knights could be seated. When Uther died, the Knights of the Round Table were at a loss to know who should be the next king. They decided that they would be guided by Merlin who told them that Uther's successor would be the one who drew a magic sword from a stone that had mysteriously appeared in London.

The sword in the stone.
Many knights tried in vain to pull the sword from the stone. After a number of years Arthur went to London to watch his first tournament. A knight who had been appointed to act as guardian to Arthur found he was without sword and sent Arthur to get one. Without thinking Arthur pulled the sword in the stone and gave it to the amazed knight. The heir of Uther Pendragon was now revealed. Even so, there were knights who would not accept Arthur as king. Only with Merlin's aid was the young ruler able to defeat his opponents and bring out peace. Armed with Excaliber, he rid his country of monsters and giants, drove out the invaders, conquered the continent, reached Rome and in some stories even as far as Palistine, from where he brought back the Cross of Christ.

Magic.
Athur depended on magic. This was obvious when he drew his own sword against one of his knights and was dismayed when the blade shattered. Merlin saved him by putting the knight to sleep, for Arthur was otherwise unharmed. In despair, Arthur wandered along the shore of a lake when, to his disbelief, a hand rose out of the water, holding another magic sword. This sword was Excalibur, his sure support, according to the lady of the lake, who handed it to him.

Court.
Arthur's court was known as Camelot, the location of which varies with local tradition. Such tradition places it at Carleon Castle in Wales, at Tintagel in Cornwall, in Cumberland or the lowlands of Scotland, or even in Brittany.

Knights of the Round Table.
He founded the Order of the Knights of the Round Table so that there would be no problems of precedence among the knights. The Round Table made all knights equal, and each went his own way to search for adventure. Above all, the knights respected the code of chivalry, honour, the brotherhood of arms and the protection of the weak and the Church.

Guinevere and Lancelot.
He was also a deceived king nevertheless. In return for aiding King Leodigraunce of Scotland, Arthur was betrothed to his daughter Guinevere. To begin with, Merlin objected, since he knew of Guinevere's love for Sir Lancelot, the most handsome of the Round Table Knights. He later blessed their marriage. Nevertheless, Queen Guinevere accepted the chivalrous love of Lancelot of the Lake. When Arthur found out about Guinevere's infidelity, Lancelot fled to Brittany. Arthur pursued Sir Lancelot and besieged him in his Breton stronghold. Arthur's nephew Modred took advantage of the king's absence to steal the crown from him and the on hearing of this news the seige on Lancelot had to be lifted.

Arthur's death.
Arthur sought to avenge himself on both of them. He was mortally wounded, in 542, as he fought against the usurper. It was the end of his kingdom. Knowing his own end was near, he had Excalibur thrown into a Lake, where a hand swiftly seized it.

Morgan Le Fay and the fairies took him on a barge to the island of Avalon, and from there he will one day return to deliver his people.

The inscription on Arthur's tomb Gastonbury picks up this idea of reincarnation. It reads "Here lies Arthur, King that was, King that shall be."


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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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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 30-May-2004, 04:32 PM
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Apparently merlin has some conncetions with Brittany too! Here's more info I found...

This is from the website:
http://www.britannia.com/history/biographi...ies/merlin.html

MERLIN
Merlin first appears in extant records (Armes Prydein, Y Gododdin) from the early 10th century as a mere prophet, but his role gradually evolved into that of magician, prophet and advisor, active in all phases of the administration of King Arthur's kingdom. He was apparently given the name Emrys (or Ambrosius) at his birth in Caer-Fyrddin (Carmarthen). He only later became known as Merlin, a Latinized version of the Welsh word, Myrddin, taken from the place of his birth. Geoffrey of Monmouth is thought to have invented this form (as he did so much else), since he did not want his character to be associated with the French word, merde, meaning "excrement".

Merlin was the illegitimate son of a monastic Royal Princess of Dyfed. The lady's father, however, King Meurig ap Maredydd ap Rhain, is not found in the traditional pedigrees of this kingdom and was probably a sub-King of the region bordering on Ceredigion. Merlin's father, it is said, was an angel who had visited the Royal nun and left her with child. Merlin's enemies claimed his father was really an incubus, an evil spirit that has intercourse with sleeping women. The evil child was supposed to provide a counterweight to the good influence of Jesus Christ on earth. Merlin, fortunately, was baptized early on in his life, an event which is said to have negated the evil in his nature, but left his powers intact. The original story was presumably invented to save his mother from the scandal which would have occurred had her liaison with one Morfyn Frych (the Freckled), a minor Prince of the House of Coel, been made public knowledge.

Legend then tells us that after the Roman withdrawal from Britain and the usurpation of the throne from the rightful heirs, Vortigern was in flight from the Saxon breakout and went to Snowdonia, in Wales, in hopes of constructing a mountain fortress at Dinas Emrys where he might be safe. Unfortunately, the building kept collapsing and Vortigern's house wizards told him that a human sacrifice of a fatherless child would solve the problem. One small difficulty was that such children are rather hard to find. Fortunately for Vortigern's fortress, Merlin was known to have no human father and happened to be available.

Before the sacrifice could take place, Merlin used his great visionary powers and attributed the structural problem to a subterranean pool in which lived a red and a white dragon. The meaning of this, according to Merlin, was that the red dragon represented the Britons, and the white dragon, the Saxons. The dragons fought, with the white dragon having the best of it, at first, but then the red dragon drove the white one back. The meaning was clear. Merlin prophesied that Vortigern would be slain and followed on the throne by Ambrosius Aurelianus, then Uther, then a greater leader, Arthur. It would fall to him to push the Saxons back.

True to the prophecy, Vortigern was slain and Ambrosius took the throne. Later, Merlin appears to have inherited his grandfather's little kingdom, but abandoned his lands in favour of the more mysterious life for which he has become so well known. After 460 British nobles were massacred at a peace conference, as a result of Saxon trickery, Ambrosius consulted Merlin about erecting a suitable memorial to them. Merlin, along with Uther, led an expedition to Ireland to procure the stones of the Chorea Gigantum, the Giant's Ring. Merlin, by the use of his extraordinary powers, brought the stones back to a site, just west of Amesbury, and re-erected them around the mass grave of the British nobles. We now call this place Stonehenge.

After his death, Ambrosius was succeeded by his brother, Uther, who, during his pursuit of Gorlois and his irresistable wife, Ygerna (Igraine or Eigr in some texts), back to their lands in Cornwall, was aided by Merlin. As a result of a deception made possible by Merlin's powers, Uther was transformed into the image of Gorlois. He entered their castle, managed to fool Ygraine into thinking he was her husband, had his way with her and in the course of things, conceived a child, Arthur. Poor Gorlois, not knowing what was going on, went out to meet Uther in combat, but instead, was slain by Uther's troops.

After Arthur's birth, Merlin became the young boy's tutor, while he grew up with his foster-father, Sir Ector (alias Cynyr Ceinfarfog (the Fair Bearded)). In the defining moment of Arthur's career, Merlin arranged for the sword-in-the-stone contest by which the lad became king. Later, the magician met the mystic Lady of the Lake at the Fountain of Barenton (in Brittany) and persuaded her to present the King with the magical sword, Excalibur. In the romances, Merlin is the creator of the Round Table, and is closely involved in aiding and directing the events of the king and kingdom of Camelot. He is pictured by Geoffrey of Monmouth, at the end of Arthur's life, accompanying the wounded Arthur to the Isle of Avalon for the healing of his wounds. Others tell how having fallen deeply in love with the Lady of the Lake, he agreed to teach her all his mystical powers. She became so powerful that her magical skills outshone even Merlin's. Determined not to be enslaved by him, she imprisoned the old man in a glass tower, a cave or similarly suitable prison. Thus his absence from the Battle of Camlann was ultimately responsible for Arthur's demise.

According to Geoffrey's "Vita Merlini" (c. 1151), Merlin/Myrddin was a sixth century prophet living in the north of Britain where his career extended beyond Arthur. Merlin travelled north, after Camlann, to the court of King Gwendoleu of Caer-Guenoleu (north of the Salway) where the locals called him Lailoken (or Llallogan). Shortly afterward, a war broke out between Merlin's Royal master and the three allies, King Riderch Hael (the Generous) of Strathclyde and Kings Peredyr & Gwrgi of Ebrauc (York). Gwendoleu was killed in the ensuing Battle of Ardderyd (Arthuret) and Merlin, sent mad with grief at the death of his nephew and four brothers, fled into the Caledonian Forest. He lived there in a mad frenzy for over a year, becoming known as Myrddin Wylt (the Wild), before Riderch, who was his brother-in-law, found him and brought him to safety in the Strathclyde Court.

Some scholars believe there were two Merlins: Myrddin Emrys and Myrddin Wylt. The fact that Merlin apparently lived from the reign of Vortigern (c.420) to the reign of Riderch Hael (c.580) would certainly support this view. The stretch from Vortigern to Arthur is itself unlikely and early versions of the "Vortigern at Dinas Emrys" story give the fatherless boy as Emrys Wledig (Ambrosius Aurelianus) who was living in Campus Elleti in Glywysing. Despite Myrddin Wylt's story indicating he may have had a conceptual origin in one of the wild-man-in-the-woods motifs common to the ancient folklore of the British Isles, this man's historicity is quite well established. His real name, however, may have been Lailoken. Was this man misplaced in time, by Geoffrey of Monmouth, to become King Arthur's mentor, some memory of a similar character from Caer-Fyrddin giving rise to his new name? PC Bartrum thinks not and points out that "fundamentally there is only one Merlin/Myrddin, and some of the later legends cannot be consistently classified as appropriate to one rather than the other."

His prison and/or burial place is said to be beneath Merlin's Mound at Marlborough College in Marlborough (Wiltshire), at Drumelzier in Tweeddale (Scotland), Bryn Myrddin (Merlin's Hill) near Carmarthen (Wales), Le Tombeau de Merlin (Merlin's Tomb) near Paimpont (Brittany) and Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island) off the Lleyn Peninsula (Wales).

And more...

Deep in the Woods of Paimpont, the last remnant of the legendary Forest of Brocéliande, stand two ancient battered stones. This is all that remains of Le Tombeau de Merlin or "Merlin's Tomb" which the Bretons claim to be Merlin's everlasting prison.

"Merlin's Tomb" was once a substantial neolithic galleried tumulus, like Wayland Smithy or the West Kennet Long Barrow. Photos taken around 1892 show that it was an ideal place for the Lady of the Lake to imprison her lover, after he had served his purpose and taught her the magic arts. However, by the mid-1890s they local landowner had all but destroyed the monument. Possibly he was looking for the vast treasure said to be hidden beneath it. Presumably, Merlin has long since escaped, yet he has failed to awaken King Arthur from his sleep in a nearby cave.
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greenldydragon 
Posted: 30-May-2004, 05:59 PM
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Gosh...that's a lot of info. I would never have had the patience to look that up! tongue.gif


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celtica 
Posted: 31-May-2004, 06:59 AM
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QUOTE (wizardofowls @ 30-May-2004, 04:28 PM)

Morgan Le Fay and the fairies took him on a barge to the island of Avalon, and from there he will one day return to deliver his people.


Very interesting ! Just one thing to say...it's Morgane the fairy who took Arthur to Avalon. She was the great priestess of the isle, the half-sister of Arthur and the mother of Mordred and had locked Arthur in the virtual jail of the Val sans Retour (Valley without return) in the forest of Paimpont in Brittany.



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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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Catriona 
Posted: 31-May-2004, 07:50 AM
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Goodness, don't tell the Cornish and the Welsh.... they think that Arthur's court was in Cornwall and that Merlin came from Wales........ biggrin.gif
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 31-May-2004, 04:07 PM
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OOPS! Hope I didn't offend anyone! I don't know much about the Arthur legends. I was just posting what I found!
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 01-Jun-2004, 08:57 PM
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Here's some more info I found about Arthur...

This is from the website
http://www.brittany-bretagne.com/pg/arthur.htm

The Legend of Arthur

Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, king of Brittany, and Ygerne, wife of the duke of Cornouailles, was born by the magical intervention of Merlin. At 16 years of age, during a tournament to decide on a king for Brittany, torn by endless struggles, he was the only person able to draw Excalibur, the sword of sovereignty; from its stone scabbard. It was prophesied that « Whosoever succeeds shall become king ».

Henceforth Arthur ruled over the destiny of both Great and Little Britain. Merlin was his friend and faithful counsellor. After unifying his kingdom, Arthur married Guenièvre, the daughter of King Léodegan of Carmelide and created the Round Table, around which he gathered the best of his knights. The members of this brotherhood divided their time between life at the Court of King Arthur and the perilous path of adventure. They promised never to avoid the dangers or enchantments that they might encounter. The most fascinating of their adventures was concerned with the Quest for the Holy Grail, the mysterious chalice which contained all the good things in the world. It was said that this cup was used for collecting Christ?s blood, but perhaps it was older even than History itself.
Amongst those who went in search were Gawain, Perceval and especially Lancelot of the Lake, so called because he was raised by Viviane, a water fairy and Lady of the Lake. Although the greatest of the knights, his passion for Queen Guenièvre, rendered him unworthy of finding the Grail. Perceval, his squire, saw the light of the Grail, but did not know how to frame the question which would have enabled the piercing of the secret. Galaad, Lancelot?s son, had the revelation, but he died of it.
In the heart of the forest of Brocéliande, in a spot heavy with history and myth, is the castle of Comper and, nowadays the Centre of the Arthurian Legend. A magical place where, thanks to the determination of enthusiasts, the Story of Arthur still lives. The Centre, with its ancient and modern works of art, is devoted to the honour and the perpetuation of the Round Table legends. Today the Castle of Comper-en-Brocéliande is a place of extraordinary memories, a reservoir of images and essential references, a place where there seems to be a real presence of the Adventurers of the Grail. .

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Catriona 
Posted: 02-Jun-2004, 09:56 AM
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WoO.....

I've put a little about the Cornish legend of King Arthur and his Knights in the Cornish forum....

Im not saying which has the stronger claim, Cornwall or Britanny.... but naturally, being British I was brought up with the Cornish version..... vive la difference... cool.gif

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greenldydragon 
Posted: 02-Jun-2004, 11:58 AM
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There's so many variations on the legend it would be hard to tell which was right, cornwall or brittany..
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