The Grail legend is the centerpiece of Arthurian literature, and this classic work by the renowned scholar Arthur Edward Waite ranks among the most informative and profound books ever written on the subject. While the myths surrounding the Holy Grail are seemingly in harmony with orthodox religion, Waite reveals that beneath their pious surface, they are as subversive as any other form of mysticism — illustrating the symbolic nature of doctrinal teachings, no more intended for literal interpretation than is any fiction. With this informative study, Waite restores the full and true meaning of the knightly quests for honor and adventure as journeys of the soul.
The sacred allure of the Holy Grail has fascinated writers and ensnared knights for over a thousand years. From Malory to Monty Python, the eternal chalice--said to be the very cup from which Christ drank at the Last Supper--has the richest associations of any icon in British myth. Many different meanings have been devised for the Grail, which has been linked to the Celts and King Arthur, the eucharistic rites of Eastern Christianity, ancient mystery religions, Jungian archetypes, dualist heresies, Templar treasure and even the alleged descendants of Christ himself and Mary Magdalene. The common thread running through all these stories is the assumption that the Grail legend has a single source with a meaning that--if only we could decode it--is concealed in the romances themselves. That meaning has become the subject of coded, secret documents and is the central feature of a vast conspiracy supposedly stretching back to the dawn of western civilization. Juliette Wood here reveals the elusive and embedded significance of the Grail story in popular consciousness--as myth, medieval romance, tangible holy relic and finally as the centre of an esoteric theory of global conspiracy. The author shows how various interpretations of the Grail, over the centuries, reflect changing cultural needs and desires. Her book will enthral those who, like Sir Perceval, seek to unlock the mysterious secrets of western mythology's most extraordinary and tantalising enigma, and will delight students of history, myth and religion alike.
Long before Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Hollywood's version of the Middle Ages had sometimes been laughable. Who can resist chuckling at The Black Knight (1954), in which Arthurian warriors ride across a plain complete with telephone poles in the background? Or The Black Shield of Falworth (1954), in which Tony Curtis-in his best medieval Bronx accent-utters the immortal line, "Yonda is the castle of my fodda"? These films may not be paragons of historical accuracy, but much of what we know-or think we know-about the Middle Ages has been dictated by what we've seen on the movie screen. In this entertaining and deeply informative book, John Aberth-author of From the Brink of the Apocalypse-assesses the historical accuracy of well known cinematic interpretations of the Middle Ages. Separating fact from fiction in more than fifty films from the silent era to today, including Camelot, Excalibur, Braveheart, and The Adventures of Robin Hood, Aberth shows how narrative license routinely makes the distant era familiar by projecting contemporary obsessions and fears onto the past. These stock images of knights in shining armor and damsels in distress rarely sum up real life in the Middle Ages. Instead, the best and most thought-provoking works-like Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal-revel in the differences between those times and our own, drawing us into another world in order to understand and appreciate the differences. With provocative insight into the blurred lines between medieval fact and fiction, both history buffs and film aficionados will find much food for thought here.
Forging Chivalric Communities in Marlory's Morte D'Arthur shows that Malory treats chivalry not as a static institution but as a dynamic, continually evolving ideal. Le Morte D'arthur is structured to trace how communities and individuals adapt or create chivalric codes for their own purposes; in turn, codes of chivalry shape groups and their customs. Knights' loyalties are torn not just between lords and lovers but also between the different codes of chivalry and between different communities. Women, too, choose among the different roles they are asked to play as queens, counsellors, and even quasi-knights.
The History and Myths of the Legendary Military Order
Author: Sean Martin
Pubpsher: Hachette UK
This book is an essential exploration into the history of a legendary group of Crusaders, which are prominently featured in Dan Brown's recent best seller, The Da Vinci Code. The Knights Templar rose from humble beginnings to become the most powerful military religious order of the Middle Ages. Formed to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land, they participated in the Crusades and rapidly gained wealth, lands, and influence. Seemingly untouchable for nearly two centuries, they fell from grace spectacularly after the loss of the Holy Land. In the ensuing centuries the Templars have exerted a unique influence over European history; orthodox historians see them as nothing more than soldier-monks whose arrogance was their ultimate undoing, while others see them as occultists of the first order. With clarity and ease, Martin navigates between the orthodox and the speculative, the historical and the myth, to bring alive the story of the Templars. Like those other legends of the Middle Ages—the characters of the Arthurian tales—The Knights Templar holds captive the imagination of all those intrigued by conspiracy and how history and myth intertwine to become the stuff of legend.