Thursday, December 21, 2006

King Arthur's Masked Men

Still reading Malory.

A perplexing question: Why do all these kniggits never recognize one another? Of course, they're wearing armour...but please...give me a break here. They can be in the same room (or dungeon) and still not know each other. Sir Palomides & Sir Tristram have met and fought several times, and still they can't seem to put the names & faces together.

Meanwhile, they're all idiots. I just read a passage where Sir Tristram jousts, then fights, with Sir Lancelot. For four hours! Both of them are bleeding all over the countryside. Finally, Sir Lancelot says, "Hey buddy, what's yer name?" Tristram says, "Not telling!" Lancelot says, "Hey, come on, I always tell my name when somebody asks." Tristram says, "OK, what's yer name?" Lancelot says, "Lancelot." Tristram says, "Oh my God, you mean to tell me I've been fighting with you for four hours, and now I find out that it's the kniggit I love most in the whole world?"

(If this were Monty Python, the next part would go like this: Tristram: "Did I hurt you?" Lancelot: "Don't be silly, it's only a flesh wound!")

All this mistaken identity leads me to believe they were called knights errant because they erred so often.


Anonymous said...

Ambrosius Aurelianus lead Britons against the Saxons in about 465 AD. It is suggested he inspired the legnd of Arthur. But then there is another Artorius who battled the Saxons in in 540 AD.

There was a vaccuum when Rome departed the island. The suggestions that the Knights of 400 - 500 AD were Christian is very unlikely but possible.

But the impact of the legend may have shaped the europeaon continent. In particular Charlemagne and Roland of France in and about 700 - 800 AD.

Course it is a chicken and egg thing. The suggestion is that the Arthur legends influenced Charlemagne's leadership. It more likely that Charlemagne's life influenced the reworking of the legend.

By 1100 AD Arthur and the boys were clearly Christian. The stories of battle and armour were more reflective of 800 AD then 500 AD.

Larry Keiler said...

If it is a chicken & egg thing, then it is clear to me that Arthur liked his eggs scrambled. What with all the smiting and brasting, racyng and tracyng, dressing of shields and walloping.

History, eh? It turns out we're not even sure which Malory wrote it.

Anonymous said...

So spin spin spin. A combination of WW1 and WW2, the legends of Arthur creates a new Merlin in the form of Gandalf.

Larry Keiler said...

Yes, and haven't I noticed that one of the knights of the Round Table was named Sir Dinadan?

Anonymous said...

This is a comment solely in response to WT difficulties to post a comment. I'm not sure why she is having difficulty, so thought I'd try it and see....

Hey, Merry Christmas, Larry.

Anonymous said...

Well you know, in the circles of Christianity and demons, if you find out the name of the demon you battle, then you've gained power over them....

Maybe the same is true of battling knights.

And also, come to think of it, dwarfs and mean-spirited creatures in fairy tales - wasn't that the idea behind Rumpelstiltskin? The name had to be uncovered?

I kinda like the legend of King Arthur - in the same way I like the birth story of Jesus... doesn't mean I believe it historically - but I can believe or appreciate the underlying story, the metaphor, I suppose.

Help! I've written and I can't get up!