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Glastonbury.

Glastonbury was not only a centre of ecclesiastical legend ad majorem gloriam Britannice, but also of the long and persistent efforts of the Angevin lord of England to utilise the Arthur legend for his own purpose in winning over his Celtic feudatories. Here in 1191 was found the tomb of Arthur and Guinevere, a discovery intended to give the coup de grâce to the hopes of Arthur's return and victorious championship of a Cymric revolt. Glastonbury also became associated in the twelfth century with Avalon, the old Celtic over-sea paradise; in what manner and at how early a date this association originated are still matters of dispute. It has been suggested that it arose precisely through the Grail romances; but when it is recollected how casual is the allusion in Borron's poem to the vales of Avalon, the goal of the Grail company' s wanderings, the suggestion lacks all probability. There is yet another remote and indirect connection between Glastonbury and the traditional account of the Grail legend. A persistent tradition, reaching back to the early thirteenth century, has ascribed the authorship of many of the Arthurian prose romances to Walter Map, the trusted counsellor of Henry II., the Angevin Lord of England whose efforts to utilise the Arthurian romances for his own objects have been mentioned. This traditional ascription is especially definite as regards the Lancelot cycle, in which the secondary versions of the Quest, those which make Galahad, son of Lancelot, its hero, must be reckoned. The final words of the Quête del St. Graal, asserting that "Walter Map made the book for the love of his lord, King Henry, who had the story translated from Latin into French," have already been quoted. All these facts, at least, hint at determined attempts made during the second half of the twelfth century to claim for the Church in Britain an origin well-nigh as illustrious as that of any Church, and for the land of Britain a special sanctity as the abiding place of the holiest of Christian relics; these attempts are inextricably bound up with the Arthur legend, and are in part traditionally associated with the trusted adviser of a king who, as we know, sought to utilise that legend for his own ends. They originate directly, or are associated indirectly, with a famous sanctuary of British Christianity, one which has also other associations, seemingly of a more archaic, non-Christian character.


Quelle: The Legends of The Holy Grail, Alfred Nutt, London 1902, S. 42ff