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Tag Archives: Arthurian Legend

Mordred, Sir

Mordred, Sir (Medraut, Medrawd) A historical figure who, according to tradition, was the youngest son of Queen Morgause of Orkney and was raised as the son of her husband, King Lot. Mordred plays an important role in the King Arthur legend. According to that legend, he was the son of King Arthur, who had always assumed he was Mordred’s uncle. …

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Avalon

Avalon (island of apples) In Arthurian legend Elysium, where, according to some accounts, King Arthur still lives. He was transported there by Morgan le Fay. Ogier the Dane and Oberon also held their courts on Avalon. Some scholars believe Avalon is derived from Yns Afallach (Avallon’s Island), the realm of the Celtic god Avallach and land of the blessed dead. …

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Excalibur

Excalibur is King Arthur’s magical SWORD that was given to him by VIVIANE, THE LADY OF THE LAKE. After Arthur’s fatal encounter against Mordred, Excalibur was thrown in the lake and returned to the Lady. Contrary to popular belief, Excalibur is not the weapon pulled out of the stone which established Arthur as heir to King Uther Pendragon. That sword …

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Morgan Le Fay

Morgan le Fay (bright, great fairy) In Arthurian legend, a witch, the sister or half sister of King Arthur, who continually plots his downfall. In Malory’s Morte d’Arthur she steals the sword Excalibur and gives it to her lover so that he can kill Arthur. Though the rest of Arthur’s enemies are defeated at the end of the work, Morgan …

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Argante

Argante Silver Classification: Arthurian Argante, the Silver Queen, appears only once in surviving Arthurian sources, where she is identified as the Queen of the Isle of Avalon. Her name derives from an Old Celtic word for “silver,” Arganto. She appears in the first English vernacular version of the Arthurian saga, the Brut of Layamon, written near the end of the …

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Viviane, the Lady of the Lake

Viviane, the Lady of the Lake In Arthurian lore the lover of the wizard MERLIN and his most able pupil. Viviane is also called Nimue, Niviene, Eviene, or Vivienne. She served as foster mother to Sir Lancelot du Lac (of the Lake), raising him beneath the waters. Viviane gave the magical sword EXCALIBUR to King Arthur at the beginning of …

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Merlin

Merlin is the archetypal Wizard of Arthurian lore. Merlin is a Latinized version of the Welsh myrddin. His exact origins are lost in myth; he may have been a god, perhaps a version of mabon or maponos, the British Apollo, the divine ruler or guardian of Britain. The name Merlin may have been given to a succession of wizards. There …

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Igraine

Igraine (Igerna, Igerne, Ygerne) In Arthur- ian legend, mother of King Arthur and wife of Gorlois, lord of Tintagel Castle in Cornwall. According to one account, King Uther Pendragon tried to seduce Igraine but failed. As a result Uther and Gorlois fought, and Gorlois was killed. Uther then attacked Tintagel and forced Igraine to become his wife. Nine months later, …

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Galahad

Galahad (hawk of battle) In Arthurian legend, the purest and noblest knight, son of Lancelot and Elaine, who seeks the Holy Grail. He was described by Walter Map in his Quest of the San Graal. When the Round Table was founded, one seat, the Siege Perilous, was left unoccupied and could be used only by the knight who would succeed …

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Edyrn

Edyrn In Arthurian legend, son of Nudd, who ousted Yniol from his earldom and tried to win Enid, the earl’s daughter. He was overthrown by Geraint and sent to the court of King Arthur, where he became a gentle person. He appears in Tennyson’s narrative “Marriage of Geraint,” one of the Idylls of the King, and in Geraint in Lady …

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