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NATIONAL LITERARY "MATTERS"

THE THREE CLASSIC MATTERS

* Matter of Rome * Matter of France * Matter of Britain

OTHER MATTERS

* Matter of England

Literature portal

* v * t * e

The MATTER OF BRITAIN is the body of Medieval literature and legendary material associated with Great Britain
Great Britain
, and sometimes Brittany
Brittany
, and the legendary kings and heroes associated with it, particularly King Arthur
King Arthur
. It was one of the three great literary cycles recalled repeatedly in medieval literature, together with the Matter of France , which concerned the legends of Charlemagne
Charlemagne
, and the Matter of Rome , which included material derived from or inspired by classical mythology .

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 2 Themes and subjects

* 2.1 Legendary history of Britain * 2.2 Arthurian cycle

* 3 Characters and subjects

* 3.1 Legendary kings and founders * 3.2 Arthur and his entourage * 3.3 Knights of the Round Table
Round Table
* 3.4 Other important figures

* 4 Noteworthy authors

* 4.1 Medieval * 4.2 Anonymous * 4.3 Modern

* 5 See also * 6 References * 7 External links

HISTORY

The three "Matters " were first described in the 12th century
12th century
by French poet Jean Bodel , whose epic Chanson de Saisnes contains the line:

Ne sont que III matières à nul homme atandant, De France
France
et de Bretaigne, et de Rome la grant.

There are but 3 matters that no man should be without, That of France, of Britain, and of great Rome.

The name distinguishes and relates the Matter of Britain
Matter of Britain
from the mythological themes taken from classical antiquity , the "Matter of Rome ", and the tales of the paladins of Charlemagne
Charlemagne
and their wars with the Moors
Moors
and Saracens , which constituted the "Matter of France ". Arthur is the chief subject of the Matter of Britain, though other lesser-known legendary history of Great Britain
Great Britain
and Brittany
Brittany
is also covered, including the stories of Brutus of Troy
Brutus of Troy
, Coel Hen , Leir of Britain (King Lear), and Gogmagog . (See Legendary kings of the British .)

THEMES AND SUBJECTS

LEGENDARY HISTORY OF BRITAIN

It could be said that the legendary history of Britain was created in part to form a body of patriotic myth for the country. Several agendas thus can be seen in this body of literature.

The Historia Brittonum , the earliest known source of the story of Brutus of Troy, may have been devised to create a distinguished genealogy for a number of Welsh princes in the 9th century. Traditionally attributed to Nennius , its actual compiler is unknown; it exists in several recensions. This tale went on to achieve greater currency because its inventor linked Brutus to the diaspora of heroes that followed the Trojan War
Trojan War
, and thus provided raw material which later mythographers such as Geoffrey of Monmouth , Michael Drayton
Michael Drayton
, and John Milton
John Milton
could draw upon, linking the settlement of Britain to the heroic age of Greek literature , for their several and diverse literary purposes. As such, this material could be used for patriotic mythmaking just as Virgil
Virgil
linked the founding of Rome to the Trojan War in The Æneid . Geoffrey of Monmouth also introduced the fanciful claim that the Trinovantes
Trinovantes
, reported by Tacitus
Tacitus
as dwelling in the area of London
London
, had a name he interpreted as Troi-novant, "New Troy ".

More speculative claims link Welsh mythology
Welsh mythology
with several of the rulers and incidents compiled by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britanniæ . It has been suggested, for instance, that Leir of Britain, who later became Shakespeare 's King Lear
King Lear
, was originally the Welsh sea-god Llŷr
Llŷr
(see also the Irish sea-god Ler ). Various Celtic deities
Celtic deities
have been identified with characters from Arthurian literature as well: Morgan le Fay was often thought to have originally been the Welsh goddess Modron (cf. the Morrígan ). Many of these identifications come from the speculative comparative religion of the late 19th century, and have been questioned in more recent years.

William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
was interested in the legendary history of Britain, and was familiar with some of its more obscure byways. Shakespeare's plays contain several tales relating to these legendary kings, such as King Lear
King Lear
and Cymbeline . It has been suggested that Shakespeare's Welsh schoolmaster Thomas Jenkins introduced him to this material, and perhaps directed him to read Geoffrey of Monmouth. These tales also figure in Raphael Holinshed 's The Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, which also appears in Shakespeare's sources for Macbeth
Macbeth
.

Other early authors also drew from the early Arthurian and pseudo-historical sources of the Matter of Britain. The Scots , for instance, formulated a mythical history in the Picts and the Dál Riata royal lines. While they do eventually become factual lines, unlike those of Geoffrey, their origins are vague and often incorporate both aspects of mythical British history and mythical Irish history. The story of Gabrán mac Domangairt especially incorporates elements of both those histories.

ARTHURIAN CYCLE

The Arthurian literary cycle is the best known part of the Matter of Britain. It has succeeded largely because it tells two interlocking stories that have intrigued many later authors. One concerns Camelot , usually envisioned as a doomed utopia of chivalric virtue, undone by the fatal flaws of Arthur and Sir Lancelot. The other concerns the quests of the various knights to achieve the Holy Grail
Holy Grail
; some succeed ( Galahad
Galahad
, Percival
Percival
), and others fail ( Lancelot
Lancelot
).

The medieval tale of Arthur and his knights is full of Christian themes; those themes involve the destruction of human plans for virtue by the moral failures of their characters, and the quest for an important Christian
Christian
relic . Finally, the relationships between the characters invited treatment in the tradition of courtly love , such as Lancelot
Lancelot
and Guinevere , or Tristan and Iseult
Tristan and Iseult
. In more recent years, the trend has been to attempt to link the tales of King Arthur and his knights with Celtic mythology, usually in highly romanticized, early 20th century reconstructed versions.

The work of Jessie Weston , in particular From Ritual to Romance , traced Arthurian imagery through Christianity to roots in early nature worship and vegetation rites, though this interpretation is no longer fashionable..

Additionally, it is possible to read the Arthurian literature in general, and that concerned with the Grail tradition in particular, as an allegory of human development and spiritual growth (a theme explored by mythologist Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell
amongst others).

CHARACTERS AND SUBJECTS

LEGENDARY KINGS AND FOUNDERS

* Brutus of Troy
Brutus of Troy
* Corineus
Corineus
* Coel Hen * Cymbeline

* Leir of Britain
Leir of Britain
(Shakespeare's King Lear
King Lear
) * Cassivellaunus * Caradocus

* Ambrosius Aurelianus * Uther Pendragon
Uther Pendragon
* Cadwaladr

ARTHUR AND HIS ENTOURAGE

* King Arthur
King Arthur
* the Round Table
Round Table
* Guinevere , wife of Arthur

* Excalibur
Excalibur
, Arthur's magic sword * Uther Pendragon
Uther Pendragon
, father of Arthur * Camelot , Arthur's capital

* Mordred
Mordred
, Arthur's heir and enemy * Avalon
Avalon
, Arthur's resting place

KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE

Main article: Round Table
Round Table

* Gawain * Lancelot
Lancelot
* Galahad
Galahad
* Tristan * Galehaut * Percival
Percival
* Bors * Lucan

* Geraint * Gareth
Gareth
* Kay * Lamorak * Gaheris * Bedivere
Bedivere
* Agravain * Caradoc

* Sagramore * Calogrenant * Ywain
Ywain
* Erec * Pelleas * Palamedes * Dinadan * Pellinore

OTHER IMPORTANT FIGURES

* Merlin
Merlin
* Morgan le Fay

* Sir Ector
Sir Ector
* Lady of the Lake

NOTEWORTHY AUTHORS

MEDIEVAL

AUTHOR CENTURY ŒUVRES

Béroul 12th Tristan

Chrétien de Troyes
Chrétien de Troyes
12th Erec and Enide , Cligès , Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart , Yvain, the Knight of the Lion
Yvain, the Knight of the Lion
, Perceval, the Story of the Grail

Geoffrey Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucer
14th The Canterbury Tales

Geoffrey of Monmouth 12th Historia Regum Britanniae

Gottfried von Strassburg
Gottfried von Strassburg
13th Tristan

Hartmann von Aue 12th Erec .. Ywain
Ywain

Layamon 13th Brut

Thomas Malory 15th Le Morte d\'Arthur

Marie de France
France
12th The Lais of Marie de France
France
: Lai de Yonec , Lai de Frêne , Lai de Lanval (...)

Nennius 09th Historia Brittonum

Robert de Boron 12th Estoire dou Graal

Taliesin
Taliesin
06th Book of Taliesin
Taliesin

Thomas of Britain 12th Tristan and Iseult
Tristan and Iseult

Wace
Wace
12th Roman de Brut
Roman de Brut
, Roman de Rou

Wolfram von Eschenbach
Wolfram von Eschenbach
12th Parzival
Parzival

Raoul de Houdenc 12th Méraugis de Portlesguez

Païen de Maisières 13th La Demoiselle à la Mule (also called La Mule sans Frein)

Rustichello da Pisa 13th Roman de Roi Artus , Gyron le courtois , Meliadus de Leonnoys (Meliadus )

Ulrich von Zatzikhoven 13th Lanzelet

ANONYMOUS

ŒUVRES CENTURY

L\'Âtre Périlleux (on Gawain ) 13th century

Blandin de Cornouaille 14th century

Le Chevalier à l\'Épée

Le Chevalier au Papegau

La Demoiselle à la Mule 12th century

Gliglois (hero who enters the service of Gawain)

Hunbaut

Life of Caradoc

The Lancelot-Grail Cycle 13th century

The Mabinogion
Mabinogion
(medieval Welsh)

The Post-Vulgate Cycle 13th century

Les Merveilles de Rigomer (Lancelot, Gawain and 58 knights) 13th century

Perlesvaus ou le Haut Livre du Graal 13th century

Le Roman de Jaufré

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Green Knight
14th century

Prose Tristan

Stanzaic Morte Arthur 14th century

Alliterative Morte Arthur 14th–15th century

MODERN

* Lloyd Alexander * René Barjavel * T. A. Barron * Marion Zimmer Bradley * Gillian Bradshaw * Bernard Cornwell * Sara Douglass * Michael Drayton
Michael Drayton
* Hal Foster * Parke Godwin

* Alexandre Astier * Raphael Holinshed * David Jones * Debra A. Kemp * Stephen Lawhead * Rosalind Miles * Howard Pyle
Howard Pyle
* Michel Rio * William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
* Edmund Spenser
Edmund Spenser
* John Steinbeck

* Mary Stewart * Rosemary Sutcliff * Alfred, Lord Tennyson * John Ronald Reuel Tolkien
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien
* Mark Twain
Mark Twain
* Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
* Charles White * T. H. White * Jack Whyte * Charles Williams * Eric Idle
Eric Idle
* Elizabeth Wein

SEE ALSO

* Chivalry * Corineus
Corineus
* English historians in the Middle Ages * Glastonbury
Glastonbury
* Historical basis for King Arthur
King Arthur
* Holy Grail
Holy Grail
* Knights of the Round Table
Round Table
* List of Arthurian characters * Mons Badonicus * Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Holy Grail
(film) * Pendragon (fiction series) * Sites and places associated with Arthurian legend * The Faerie Queene (poem) * The Mists of Avalon
Avalon
(book)

REFERENCES

* Derek Pearsall, Arthurian Romance: a short introduction, Blackwell, Oxford, 2005 * D. H. Green, The Beginnings of Medieval Romance: Fact and fiction, 1150-1220, CUP Cambridge 2005 * Carol Dover (ed), A Companion to the Lancelot-Grail Cycle, Boydell ;background:none transparent;border:none;-moz-box-shadow:none;-webkit-box-shadow:none;box-shadow:none;">v

* t * e

King Arthur
King Arthur
and the Matter of Britain
Matter of Britain

KEY PEOPLE

* King Arthur
King Arthur
* Constantine * Sir Ector
Sir Ector
* Gawain * Gorlois * Queen Guinevere * Igraine * Iseult * Lady of the Lake * Lancelot
Lancelot
* King Lot * King Mark * Merlin
Merlin
* Mordred
Mordred
* Morgan le Fay * Morgause * Percival
Percival
* Tristan * Uther Pendragon
Uther Pendragon

Knights of the Round Table
Round Table

* Aglovale * Agravain * Bagdemagus * Bedivere
Bedivere
* Bors * Breunor (La Cote Mal Taillée) * Calogrenant * Caradoc * Dagonet * Dinadan * Elyan the White * Erec * Gaheris * Galahad
Galahad
* Gareth
Gareth
* Geraint * Griflet * Hector de Maris * Hoel * Kay * Lamorak * Leodegrance
Leodegrance
* Lionel * Lucan * Maleagant * Morholt * Palamedes * Pelleas * Pellinore * Safir * Sagramore * Segwarides * Tor * Urien
Urien
* Ywain
Ywain
* Ywain
Ywain
the Bastard

OTHER CHARACTERS

* Sir Balin * Sir Balan * King Ban * Claudas * Culhwch
Culhwch
* Dindrane * Elaine of Astolat * Elaine of Corbenic * Fisher King * Galehaut * Hellawes * Black Knight * Green Knight
Green Knight
* Red Knight * Lohengrin
Lohengrin
* Emperor Lucius * Olwen * Questing Beast * Rience * Tom Thumb
Tom Thumb

OBJECTS

* Excalibur
Excalibur
* Holy Grail
Holy Grail
* Round Table
Round Table
* Siege Perilous

PLACES

* Astolat * Avalon
Avalon
* Brocéliande
Brocéliande
(Paimpont ) * Caerleon
Caerleon
* Camelot * Celliwig * Corbenic
Corbenic
* Glastonbury
Glastonbury
* Logres * Lyonesse * Sarras * Tintagel
Tintagel

IN MEDIA

* Books * Films * Various media

TOPICS

* Battle of Badon * Battle of Camlann
Battle of Camlann
* Dolorous Stroke * King Arthur\'s family * Historicity of King Arthur
King Arthur
* King Arthur\'s messianic return

* v * t * e

Geoffrey of Monmouth

WORKS

* Prophetiae Merlini (c. 1135) * Historia Regum Britanniae (c. 1136) * Vita Merlini (c. 1150)

TRANSLATIONS

* Roman de Brut
Roman de Brut
* Layamon\'s Brut * Brut y Brenhinedd

CHARACTERS

* Aeneas
Aeneas
* Saint Alban
Saint Alban
* Albanactus * Alhfrith of Deira * Allectus * Ambrosius Aurelianus * Amphibalus
Amphibalus
* Andragius * Archgallo * Archmail * King Arthur
King Arthur
* Arvirargus * Ascanius
Ascanius
* Augustine of Canterbury * Aurelius Conanus * Bedivere
Bedivere
* Beldgabred * Beli Mawr * Belinus * Bladud
Bladud
* Bledric ap Custennin * Bledudo * Brennius * Brutus Greenshield * Brutus of Troy
Brutus of Troy
* Budic II of Brittany
Brittany
* Cadfan ap Iago * Cadoc * Cador * Cadwaladr * Cadwallon ap Cadfan * Camber (legendary king) * Cap of Britain * Capetus Silvius * Capoir * Caracalla
Caracalla
* Caradocus * Carausius
Carausius
* Cassivellaunus * Catellus * Catigern * Cherin * Claudius
Claudius
* Cledaucus * Clotenus * Coel Hen * Coilus * Conan Meriadoc * Constans II (usurper) * Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great
* Constantine III (Western Roman Emperor) * Constantine (Briton) * Constantius Chlorus
Constantius Chlorus
* Cordelia of Britain
Cordelia of Britain
* Corineus
Corineus
* Cunedagius * Cunobeline * Danius * Saint David
Saint David
* Digueillus * Diocletian
Diocletian
* Dionotus * Dunvallo Molmutius * Ebraucus * Edadus * Edern ap Nudd * Edwin of Northumbria
Edwin of Northumbria
* Eldol * Eldol, Consul of Gloucester * Elidurus * Eliud * Enniaunus * Estrildis * Eudaf Hen * Ferrex * Fulgenius * Gawain * Gerennus * Goffar the Pict * Gogmagog (folklore) * Goneril
Goneril
* Gorboduc * Gorbonianus * Gorlois * Gracianus Municeps * Guiderius * Guinevere * Guithelin * Gurgintius * Gurguit Barbtruc * Gurgustius * Gwenddoleu ap Ceidio
Gwenddoleu ap Ceidio
* Queen Gwendolen * Helena (empress)
Helena (empress)
* Helenus * Hengist and Horsa
Hengist and Horsa
* Hoel * Humber the Hun * Iago ap Beli * Idvallo * Igraine * Ingenius of Britain * Jago of Britain * Julius and Aaron
Julius and Aaron
* Julius Asclepiodotus * Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
* Sir Kay
Sir Kay
* Keredic * Kimarcus * Kinarius * Latinus
Latinus
* Lavinia
Lavinia
* Leil * Leir of Britain
Leir of Britain
* Locrinus * King Lot * Lucius of Britain * Lucius Tiberius * Lud son of Heli
Lud son of Heli
* Maddan * Maelgwn Gwynedd * Magnus Maximus * Mandubracius * Queen Marcia * Marganus * Marganus II * Marius of Britain * Mempricius * Merianus * Merlin
Merlin
* Millus * Mordred
Mordred
* Morgause * Morvidus * Myrddin Wyllt * Nennius of Britain * Octa of Kent * Oenus * Oswald of Northumbria
Oswald of Northumbria
* Oswiu of Northumbria
Oswiu of Northumbria
* Owain mab Urien
Urien
* Penda of Mercia
Penda of Mercia
* Peredur
Peredur
* Peredurus * Pir of the Britons * Porrex I * Porrex II * Publius Septimius Geta
Publius Septimius Geta
* Quintus Laberius Durus * Redechius * Redon of Britain * Regan (King Lear)
Regan (King Lear)
* Rhydderch Hael
Rhydderch Hael
* Rience * Rivallo * Rud Hud Hudibras * Runo * Sawyl Penuchel * Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus
* Silvius (mythology)
Silvius (mythology)
* Sisillius I * Sisillius II * Sisillius III * Son of Gorbonianus * Taliesin
Taliesin
* Tasciovanus
Tasciovanus
* Trahern * Turnus
Turnus
* Urianus * Uther Pendragon
Uther Pendragon
* Venissa * Vespasian
Vespasian
* Vortigern
Vortigern
* Vortimer * Vortiporius * Wulfhere of Mercia
Wulfhere of Mercia
* Ywain
Ywain
* Æthelberht of Kent
Æthelberht of Kent
* Æthelfrith of Northumbria
Æthelfrith of Northumbria
* Œthelwald of Deira

TOPICS

* Avalon
Avalon
* Battle of Arfderydd * Battle of Badon * Battle of Camlann
Battle of Camlann
* Battle of Guoloph
Battle of Guoloph
* Brut y Tywysogion * Crocea Mors * Excalibur
Excalibur
* Lailoken * List of legendary kings of Britain * List of legendary rulers of Cornwall * Logres * Matter of Britain * Molmutine Laws * Nennius * Riothamus * River Malvam * Siege of Exeter (c. 630) * Locations associated with Arthurian legend * Treachery of the Long Knives * Trinovantum * Trojan genealogy of Nennius * Walter of Oxford

* WIKIQUOTE * WIKISOURCE TEXTS

AUTHORITY CONTROL

* GND : 4382541-2

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