The Info List - King Lot

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Lot or Loth /ˈlɒt/ is the king of Lothian
in the Arthurian legend. He is best known as the father of Sir Gawain. Such a ruler first appeared late in the 1st millennium's hagiographical material concerning Saint Kentigern
Saint Kentigern
(also known as Saint Mungo), which feature a Leudonus, king of Leudonia, a Latin
name for Lothian. In the 12th century, Geoffrey of Monmouth adapted this to Lot, king of Lothian, in his influential chronicle Historia Regum Britanniae, portraying him as King Arthur's brother-in-law and ally. In the wake of Geoffrey's writings, Lot appeared regularly in later romance. Lot chiefly figures as king of Lothian, but in other sources he also rules Orkney
and sometimes Norway. He is generally depicted as the husband of Arthur's sister or half-sister, variously named Anna or Morgause. The names and number of his children vary depending on the source, but the later romance tradition gives him the sons Gawain, Agravain, Gaheris, Gareth, and Mordred.


1 Early literature 2 Romance 3 Other information 4 Notes 5 References

Early literature[edit] A king of Lothian
appears in both early Latin
and Welsh sources. An early fragmentary Life of St Kentigern
Life of St Kentigern
contains a Leudonus of Leudonia as the maternal grandfather of Saint Kentigern, also known as Mungo.[1] In this text, Leudonus becomes enraged when he discovers that his daughter, Kentigern's mother Teneu, has been impregnated by Owain mab Urien, and has her thrown from a cliff. However, she survives the ordeal with divine protection and goes to Saint Serf's community, where she gives birth to Kentigern. Welsh sources call this same character Lewdwn or Llewdwn Lluydauc (Llewdwn of the Hosts) and make him king of Gododdin. Geoffrey of Monmouth seems to recall this earlier figure in the king whom he called Lot or Loth in his Historia Regum Britanniae. His sources are obscure, but his choice of name is probably based on its similarity to "Lodonesia", a typical Latinized name for Lothian.[1] This toponymical connection parallels Geoffrey's association of King Leir
King Leir
with Leicester
and Coel with Colchester, and William of Malmesbury's assertion that Gawain
was king of Galloway. In the Middle Ages, no principle of historiography was more solidly established than the idea that places took their names from persons.[2] Geoffrey's Lot is one of three brothers, each of whom rules a part of northern Britain: Lot rules Lodonesia or Lothian, while his brothers Urien
(the father of Owain, both generally reckoned historical kings of Rheged) and Angusel rule over Mureif (Moray) and "Scotland", respectively.[3] Lot is first mentioned as a loyal vassal to Uther Pendragon, King of Britain, in the king's wars against Octa, the Saxon King of Kent. When Uther falls ill, he marries his daughter Anna to Lot and entrusts them with the oversight of the kingdom.[4] Lot and Anna have sons Gawain
and Mordred. When Uther's son Arthur takes up the kingship, he helps Lot and his brothers regain their territories, which have fallen to the Saxons.[3] Lot is also the heir to the kingdom of Norway, as nephew to the previous king Sichelm. With Arthur's aid, he takes the kingdom from the usurper Riculf.[5] Lot later leads one of Arthur's armies in his war against Emperor Lucius of Rome.[6] Romance[edit] The early romances, such as those of Chrétien de Troyes, often refer to Lot, but he rarely receives more than a mention in connection to his more famous son Gawain.[7] In some romances Lot's wife is called Morcades, a name which Roger Sherman Loomis argued was a variant of Morgan le Fay.[2] Chretien's hero Yvain
in Yvain, or the Knight of the Lion
Yvain, or the Knight of the Lion
is identified in Welsh sources with Owain, son of Urien,[8] the supposed father of Kentigern. An article by J. C. Lozac'hmeur identifies similarities between Chrétien's tale and that of Kentigern.[9] In the romance, Owain travels from Carlisle to marry the lady of "Landuc" or the daughter of "Duke Landuc": in one manuscript she is named as "Laudine". It has been proposed that both of these names again derive from a form of "Lothian" and that Chrétien was drawing upon an unknown source[10] that resembled the saint's legend and the Breton lai Desiré.[9] The history of Urien, Owein and Kentigern refers to events among the Men of the North that took place up to a century after the timeframe generally associated with a historical Arthur, but the romance, influenced by Geoffrey as well as the saint's tale, has ended up with both a King Lot and an eponymous princess' father. Lot takes a more prominent role in the later cyclical narratives. Probably due to his earlier association with Norway, in these works he is king not only of Lothian, but Orkney
as well.[1] In the Lancelot-Grail, after Uther Pendragon
Uther Pendragon
weds Igraine, he marries her daughters from her first marriage off to his political allies. Her oldest daughter, here named Morgause, is married to King Lot; they have five sons, Gawain, Agravain, Gaheris, Gareth, and Mordred
(whose biological father, unbeknown to Lot, is actually Arthur). Later, when Arthur comes to power, Lot at first opposes him, and with his brothers and several other Brittonic kings, raises an army against him. It is only after Arthur defeats the coalition at Bedegraine and helps them fend off the Saxons
that Lot becomes Arthur's ally.[11] The Post-Vulgate Cycle offers a different version of Lot's story. As in the Lancelot-Grail Lot opposes Arthur until the defeat at Bedegraine. Afterwards, however, Arthur hears a prophecy that a child born on May Day
May Day
will destroy him. He gathers up all noble babies born around that time, including his own bastard son Mordred, and puts them on a ship where they all seemingly perish. The incensed Lot joins Arthur's enemy Rience and resumes his campaign against the king. In the ensuing battle he is killed by King Pellinore, leading to a long feud between their families.[11] This version of Lot's story was taken up by Thomas Malory
Thomas Malory
in his English work Le Morte d'Arthur, and has subsequently appeared in a number of modern Arthurian works. Other information[edit] In the wake of Geoffrey, Lot entered into Welsh Arthurian tradition as Lleu.[1] The Welsh Triads
Welsh Triads
maintain Geoffrey's association between Lot and Urien
as brothers, drawing Lot into the historical Urien's genealogical tradition as a son of Cynfarch and Nefyn, daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog.[12] Lleu ap Cynfarch shares his name with the figure Lleu Llaw Gyffes, likely a euhemerized deity known from the Four Branches of the Mabinogi, though the extent of this connection is conjectural.[13] Charles Squire further identified Lot with the British hero Lludd Llaw Eraint.[14] The name Lot may be connected to the Norse name Hlot or Ljot, which appears in the Norse sagas
Norse sagas
and was known in Orkney. It may also be connected to the standing stone called the Stone Lud.[15] Notes[edit]

^ a b c d Bromwich, pp. 414–415. ^ a b R. S. Loomis, Scotland
and the Arthurian Legend. Retrieved January 26, 2010. ^ a b Historia Regum Britanniae, Book 9, ch. 9. ^ Historia Regum Britanniae, Book 8, ch. 21. ^ Historia Regum Britanniae, Book 9, ch. 11. ^ Historia Regum Britanniae, Book 10, ch. 6. ^ Cf. Chrétien's Erec and Enide, verses 1691-1750, where he is actually present at Arthur's court, and Yvain
verses 6229-6526, where he is mentioned as Gawain's father. DeTroyes, Chretien. "Four Arthurian Romances: Erec et Enide, Cliges, Yvain, and Lancelot". Retrieved 1 December 2010.  ^ Jeffrey Gantz (trans.) The Mabinogion, Harmondsworth 1976 ^ a b Lozac'hmeur, J. C. (1984). "Etudes Celtiques (quoted)". lists.mun.ca. Retrieved 1 December 2010.  ^ D. D. R. Owen (trans.), Arthurian Romances, Everyman, p. 517 ^ a b Bruce, Christopher W. (1999). The Arthurian Name Dictionary. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-8153-2865-6. Retrieved January 11, 2010.  ^ Bromwich, pp. 195–198. ^ "lleu of lleuddiniawn". cyberscotia.com. Retrieved 1 December 2010.  ^ Gresham, Celtic Myths and Legends, 1912, page 359 as republished by Paragon 1998, ISBN 0-7525-2676-6) ^ Leslie J. Myatt, The Standing Stones of Caithness, 2003


Bromwich, Rachel (2006). Trioedd Ynys Prydein: The Triads of the Island of Britain. University Of Wales Press. ISBN 0-7083-1386-8.  Bruce, Christopher W. (1999). The Arthurian Name Dictionary. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-8153-2865-6. Retrieved January 11, 2010.  Celtic Myths and Legends, Charles Squire (1912) ISBN 0-7525-2676-6

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King Arthur
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and the Matter of Britain

Key people

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Knights of the Round Table

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

Other characters

Balin Balan King Ban Claudas Culhwch Dindrane Ector Elaine of Astolat Elaine of Corbenic Fisher King Galehaut Gorlois Gwenhwyfach Hellawes Iseult Black Knight Green Knight Red Knight Lohengrin King Lot Maleagant King Mark Emperor Lucius Olwen Questing Beast Rience Tom Thumb


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