Reblogged from deadbutdreaming:
The faeries who appear in the Arthurian mythos are a distinctive breed; ontologically different from the entities that most often surface in folklore. They usually have specific roles to fulfil, catering to the literate classes who were consuming the stories. But the genesis of the faeries in the Arthurian landscape is deeply rooted in an embedded folk belief-system, developed from a Celtic oral tradition, which informs many of the motifs within the legends. This article is a brief overview of a very complex subject, serving as an introduction for any readers who may be inclined to delve deeper. A version of the article appeared originally on the Ancient Origins Premium website.
The Development of the Arthurian Mythos
When Geoffrey of Monmouth produced his Historia Regum Britannia and Vita Merlini between 1135 and 1150, he became the central transmitter of the Arthurian mythos; from a largely oral testimony to a written body of legend that has continued to develop to this day. Geoffrey may have had access to some of the early sources, which suggest Arthur could have been a 5th/6th-century British chieftain, such as St Gildas’ De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae (6th century) and Nennius’ Historia Brittonum (9th century), and possibly other lost literary sources. But it seems clear that much of his Historia and the Vita Merlini used an orally transmitted folklore to construct the ontology of the inhabitants of his Arthurian stories.
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