Wednesday, August 31, 2005


UI's Celtic Mythology - Guinevere

Guinevere (Gwen-I-veer), whose Welsh name, Gwenhwyfar, probably means "white spirit", was the wife of Arthur and the secret lover of Sir Lancelot. In the stories about the Knights of the Round Table, Guinevere is always compared with Helen of Troy, the famous beauty of Greek mythology. Such a comparison is not unjustified, for both those women brought disaster to those who loved them. In Guinevere's case the love affair with Sir Lancelot weakened the unity of the Round Table. It was her beauty that also attracted Arthur's nephew Sir Modred, who seized Camelot and forced Guinevere to consent to marry him during the king's absence abroad. The confrontation between Arthur and Modred at the battle of Camlan brought to a bloody end the golden age of British chivalry, as hardly a knight was left alive. Arthur, mortally wounded, was taken to Avalon, while Guinevere became a nun at Amesbury, where she later died. It is believed by some that her body was buried at Glastonbury, not far from Arthur's tomb.

I myself was a big fan of the Arthurian myths as a child. Regarding Guinevere, I'm surprised she was allowed to become a nun after her earlier exploits!


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