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How did the people of the middle ages view the legends of king arthur?

like did they try to live up to him? or did they have no view at all?

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  • Jallan
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Arthurian tales became common in written texts in the 12th century.

    As far as can be seen, there was no single opinion on them.

    One 12th century writer, John Bodel, wrote in his “Prologue to Les Saines“ that “the matter of Rome was wise and instructive, that of France was historically truthful, while the tales of Arthurian Britain were frivolous and pleasant”.

    In fact, many of the stories connected with Charlemagne appear far from truthful. For example, do you really expect to believe that the Virgin Mary granted Oliver the power to have sex with the daughter of Hugh the Strong, Emperor of Constantinople, 100 times in a single night, as told in the “Pilgrimage of Charlemagne”.

    But early French Arthurian romances were in general more fantastic than the stories of Charlemagne, more like fairy tales. Stories of Charlemagne generally concentrated on battles and the Saracen menace. Arthurian tales generally concentrated on the adventures of a lone knight on a quest or simply searching for adventure. Magic was almost always part of the tale.

    There was also the Arthur of the chronicles, mostly based on the writing of Geoffrey of Monmouth. See http://www.lib.rochester.edu/CAMELOT/geofhkb.htm. But the ferocious conqueror of these tales was not much in evidence in the romances. In particular, Arthur’s conquest of France and is other conquests are usually ignored or downplayed

    As the Middle Ages progressed, we find more and more criticisms of the Arthur of the chronicles, and in general new chronicles tended to display doubts about Arthur’s deeds, and often did not portray either his supposed conquests or his war with Rome.

    The medievals could have made much of Arthur's wars with the Saxons as an exemplar of Christendom versus Paganism. But the British conflict with the Saxons is seldom mentioned. The “Prose Merlin” is the obvious exception. The religious element in Arthurian tales was represented by the grail stories, the grail being usually represented as the dish or cup used by Jesus at the last supper, and then taken by Joseph of Arimathea to catch Jesus blood as Joseph took Jesus down from the cross.

    One of these tales, the “Perlesvaus” attempts to picture Arthur and his knights as converters of Britain from the Old Law to the New Law, and does have some examples of pagan kingdoms within Britain being converted, but this romance is another exception. See http://omacl.org/Graal/ .

    The grail tales seem to be in part imitations of saint legends and legends about relics which could be seen in various churches. But no official church writing even mentions the grail. The tales were apparently officially ignored by the church, neither supported nor condemned. Some of the later Glastonbury material did make use of the Joseph of Arimathea grail material as an addition to the William of Malmesbury’s “History of Glastonbury Abbey'' in which Joseph brings two cruets containing the blood of Jesus to Glastonbury and there is no mention of the grail and bleeding lance.

    For a discussion Glastonbury material see http://www.andrewcollins.com/page/articles/avalon.... . King Edward III was an Arthurian enthusiast, and attempted to use the Glastonbury account of Joseph of Arimathea to claim precidence for the English church over the Scottish church.

    Arthur is often proclaimed to have been the most generous of monarchs and the king who most supported knighthood. It is possible that some kings were influenced in this fashion. We have records of real tournaments in which some of those who participated assumed the names of Arthurian knight, possibly as part of something like a half-time pageant.

    Young squires and maidens read the or were read to from the voluminous later romances: the “Prose Lancelot”, the “Pose Tristan”, “Guiron the Courteous”, and others. Some probably believed them in the same way that some believed in television series about the old west, when these still showed or believed the tales in dime novels. The history and justification of knighthood and the preaching to Arthur in the “Prose Lancelot” may have been considered to be a good influence on young people. So also, the quest of the grail, in which the Knights of the Round Table are generally blamed for their sins, save for Galahad, Perceval, Bors, and, in part, Lancelot, after he has repented.

    However the later romances have a rather secular and amoral attitude towards knighthood. The knights have adventures which often show a rather low moral tone. Often the excitement seems to be only in having two famous knights fight each other. Some of this material seems like bad fan fiction, in which badly written new adventures are added on to explain and continue older adventures.

    Increasingly it is obviously not based on any ancient tradition, but merely on the writer’s imagination.

    The chronicles mostly ignore this romance tradition and mostly do not even mention Lancelot or Tristan.

    Comments from the church sometimes indicate dislike for foolishness of secular reading.

    The plethora of romances (along with the expense of books) made writing new Arthurian material more and more difficult. There was already more Arthurian material available than even most of the rich wanted to read and writers were unwilling to attempt to keep all the threads of the current works in their heads while writing new works. So Arthurian writing mostly stopped.

    Authors turned instead to tales of fictional knightly heroes unconnected to Arthur like Tirant the White, Amadas of Gaul, and Palmerin of England. Amadas and Palmerin were heroes of a long series of books.

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  • 4 years ago

    The King Arthur of Camelot legend is fiction yet there grow to be an extremely King of england named Arturus of the 6th century advert IIRC and a few think of he may be the muse upon which the legend arose. yet Camelot, Gwenivere, Lancelot, and so on. no longer lots. despite if, Merlin does have some historic backing. A druid priest relationship back over 2000 years existed via the call of Merridan/Merlin and different derivations of the call. you will discover cites that make specific the two concept and the burial website of Arthur and Gwen exists. i won't be able to bear in mind the situation call good now... so who's regular with for specific.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The legends of King Arthur grew the most popular around the time of Queen Eleanor of Acquitane. They were tales of knighthood and courtly love a diversion for the titled class mostly. The peasants and yeomen probably didn't hear tales until long after. The knights were raised on these fanciful tales as a way of trying to inspire them to greatness. The ladies loved the love stories within the mythology and whole idea of a utopian Camelot.

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  • 1 decade ago

    to them it was not a legend ,,it was what happened in my grandfathers day and told to my father and so on until to day its now a legend or a mith

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