Arthurian Chronicles, Wace & Layamon

Found this while on vacation in British Columbia

I read only the first of the 2 books contained in this volumn as the second, by Layamon, is written/translated into a very old form of English and is not particularly easy to read. Having read so many of these stories and having found the first one to be so enjoyable, I just did not have the patience to work thru the thing.

The first story is quite engaging and entertaining. It is clear why these stories have held the imagination of folks for so long. My only comment there is that the story really ends rather abruptly with the death of Arthur. One might have expected some commentary on his life but the story just stops…”Arthur never came again.” are the final words.

I found the references to soldiers “fighting naked” rather strange. One does not last very long that way against enemies that are protected by armor…but the tradition of this is strong.

A cute reference to “carpet knights” reminded me of the current references to “chicken hawks” as referringto one who poses as a strong man/woman but is just puff and fluff.

Interesting that Guenevere is described as “passing fair of face”. Kinda sounds like a put-down of sorts.

The sentence “Rest and assurance of safety will in the end do Britain more harm than force or guile.” has strong meaning still……

“But force is no right.”

When Arthur and the Romans arrange themselves for battle, the description sounds very much like a true rendition of a battle by one who has seem this first hand.

Conclusions: The story by Wace is excellent reading, true to the legends and strong reason to suspect that there is truth behind the stories of Arthur.

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