So, I have a lot of thoughts on Arthur, if you’re lucky you’ll see them in book form in some years time. If I’m lucky they’ll even be published. I have a lot of thoughts on the grail quest, mostly heavily influenced by John Matthews notions of the Arthurian legends.
Right, here are the basics of my thoughts (It’s not a dissertation or book so I’ve not bothered with citations or pointing you at things I’ve read/looked at. I’m happy to do that at some other point, this is just what I think.):
– the evidence for a historical ‘Arthur’ in the ‘Dark Ages’ of Britain is too great to be ignored
– the archaelogy for most of the twelve battles of Britain seems to fall in roughly the ‘correct’ order if you accept certain places as being the sites of the battles
– the literary Arthur has had a lot of twiddly bits added on (want to get me started – mention Chretien de Troyes)
– many parts of the legends were originally about kings that pre-existed Arthur (eg. Bran, Lud etc.)
– Arthur existed and was a King of Britain for a particular value of the word King (feel free to moan about semantics and through around terms like Dux Bellorum if you like) and a particular value of the term Britain
– Arthur is the Once and Future King
Now onto the grail.
Observant people who know about this kind of stuff might have noticed that earlier I bitched about Chretien de Troyes, which is a bit funny if I’m heading off on a grail quest since he’s often credited with being the first writer to come up with the notion of the holy grail. Well, that really depends on if you reckon the Holy Grail is the Christian Medeival/Dan Brown version of the cup that caught the blood of Christ/was used at the last supper/was Mary Magdalen. I don’t.
It’s not popular to claim that there were Celtic beginnings to all the Arthur myths because there frankly weren’t and a lot were just medeival romance. It’s been over done, but the four treasures of Britain remain as a Celtic original and one of them is the grail. (The others are a spear, a sword and a stone for anyone wondering). It’s gift is that of immortality which comes via the accumulation of knowledge, because the grail is a mystery, this quest is about the revelation of mysteries.
So, I’m going to go find this cup/bowl and drink deep from it. Knights, magician, cunning-man, cook, squire, healer and diplomat – we set off in the morning at first light. Turn no one away who wants to ride with us. This needs to be an honourable journey.