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Eleanor of AquitaineQueen and Rebel$
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Jean Flori and Editions Payot

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748622955

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748622955.001.0001

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Two Queens

Two Queens

(p.137) 7 Two Queens
Eleanor of Aquitaine

Jean Flori

Olive Classe


This chapter contends that Richard I, King of England, gave King Tancred of Sicily a sword that the chroniclers identified, rightly or wrongly, with the sword of King Arthur. It is known that the Plantagenet monarchy had invested heavily in the promotion, the diffusion, and, most of all, the ‘takeover’ of the Arthurian legend as a component of its ideology. Eleanor of Aquitaine herself, who inherited the image of Queen Guinevere, the fascinating adulterous wife of King Arthur, played a major role in that ideology, which made the mythical Arthurian court the ancestor and archetype of the court of the Plantagenets. However, the myth had certain risks attached to it that needed to be contained. For, according to several interpretations, Arthur did not die of the wounds he received in his last battle with Mordred, but was borne away to Avalon, to ‘another world’, a world of faery, magical or demoniac, where his wounds were tended.

Keywords:   Richard I, Tancred of Sicily, King Arthur, legend, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen Guinevere, Plantagenets, Mordred, Avalon

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