Now that I’ve taken my major exams, I have a moment to reflect on how thankful I am to get all kinds of support from all kinds of people. One particularly surprising source of support has been Twitter, through which I’m able to be in touch with other medievalists around the world. One of the many perks of having an intellectual (if digital) community is that we can learn from each other in (almost) real-time and help one another in various stages of research.
I’ve reached out to fellow graduate-level-medievalist-named-Rebecca, MedievalBex, whose blog I’ve written about already. She was kind enough to contribute to my previous post on interviewing medieval authors about Arthur by adding in the authors of Annales Cambriae and Mabinogion.
So here’s the post from last time, made better (as all things are) by collaboration.
Until soon, wishing everyone a well-networked week.
Let’s imagine a time machine that, instead of taking us somewhere, just brings interesting folks into the present–that way we don’t have to worry about changing, packing, etc. Brilliant!
Next, pretend that with this magic machine, I’ve brought some of the Arthurian authors into my home (thinking the campus coffee shop will be a little too much).
Amidst all our revery, I’ve asked them who they think Arthur was. Here are their answers:
Gildas (6th c): “No clue, but did you hear about the Battle of Mt Badon? It was epic, really.”
Nennius (9th c): “Hmmm. Sounds a little like the dux bellorum. Helluva guy. Good leader in battles, but not much outside of that.”
Annales Cambriae writer (10th c): “The Battle of Badon – Arthur carried the image of the Virgin Mary and won. Yay! The Battle of Camlann – Arthur and Medraut both fell and there was devastation in Britain. Boo.”
Monmouth (12th c): “British king with awfully Welsh-looking queen and companions. A product of two great cultures.”
Wace (12th c): “A king TOTALLY DISGRACED by his love-triangle. What a shame. Oh but can I just add one thing? For the sake of history? The Round Table thing…probably not real.”
Marie de France (mid 12th c): “Qui est Arthur?”
Layamon (late 12th c): “King Arthur was a war-leader, a lawgiver, and a thoroughly Christian king. Also, fairies were present at his birth. That doesn’t change how warry and Christiany he was, but they were there. For sure.”
Stanzaic Morte author (14th c): “The king of Camelot, clearly– he’s the one with the huge military campaign in the made-up kingdom? You remember… the one who died because his best knights couldn’t settle their differences? Oh and there was that terrible Modred fellow.”
Chestre (mid 14th c): “Husband to that total b___ who almost ruined a really cool knight. Thankfully, said knight eventually got to live in fairy land with his magical chica. Hot.”
Alliterative Morte author (late 14th c): “Arthur was a warrior king who performed in and witnessed many battles. You should have seen his armor! And his weapons, and his horse, and all his crazy moves. And do you know about his ships? Also, will this take long? I have a battle re-enactment to attend.”
Mabinogion writers (14th c, or earlier): “Oh look, a magical boar! Ooh, and over there, a shapeshifter! OOOHH and a woman made of flowers!! Oh yeah, and there’s King Arthur too. But mostly magical stuff.”
Malory (mid 15th c): “Arthur was an acquaintance of Sir Lancelot, the greatest knight EVER.”
|William Morris, Bridgemen Art Libary|
Oh no–someone brought up Bede and now things are getting a little heated. I’m sending these strangers home before something disastrous happens.
Wish me luck!