Academic journal article Arthuriana

A Note on the Grail

Academic journal article Arthuriana

A Note on the Grail

Article excerpt

Christophe Déceneux, a Breton historian, has raised a surprising new possibility about the origin of the Grail theme. His article, in English translation by Wendy Mewes, is entitled 'Dol-Combourg and the Legend of the Grail.'1

Examining various Breton topics as source material for Arthurian legend, Déceneux gives special attention to the role of Baudry de Bourgeuil (1046-1130), who became archbishop of Dol in 1107. Baudry wrote a Chronique de Dol commemorating his predecessors. First came Saint Samson, a famous and well-attested figure. Samson was succeeded by Magloire. Third was Budoc, in the 6th century. Baudry extols the virtues of this man:

St. Budoc, attested by the precious gifts he brought from the sacred city of Jerusalem: that is to say, the cup and the platter which Our Lord used during the Last Supper which he took with his disciples.2

Here we have the principal sacred objects in Grail romance, the holy cup itself, and the dish. Baudry calls them the scutellus and the scutella.

So, more than a century before Robert de Boron and the Grail romancers, we apparently find a tradition about the holy vessels being removed from Jerusalem and taken all the way to Dol. Baudry's Chronicle does not follow them any further. When they reappear in Britain, they have an aura of mystery that is absent in this early tradition, where they seem to be simply the holiest of holy relics. …

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