A Magyar Hagiográfiai Társaság
tisztelettel meghívja Önt
2017.szeptember 14-én csütörtökön du. 17 órára
az ELTE Szekfű Gyula Könyvtárába
Stephen L. Pow
(Calgary, Canada)
László to Lancelot:
Hungarian Kings, Arthurian Knights
(Lászlóból Lancelot: magyar király a Kerekasztal lovagjai között)
című angol nyelvű előadására


Who is Lancelot du Lac, King Arthur’s most prominent knight and the one with the most enduring popularity? As Dominique Boutet notes, the pre-Arthurian origins of Sir Lancelot remain a mystery. He cannot be traced to the “Matter of Britain,” as he is absent not only in Welsh mythology, but also in the works of Geoffrey of Monmouth and Wace. Making an abrupt entrée in Chrétien de Troyes’ Le Chevalier de la charette at the end of the twelfth century, Sir Lancelot quickly emerges as the preeminent and most popular of King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. While some unpersuasive theories have been offered in the past for the pre-Arthurian origins the perfect knight, this talk suggests that the original inspiration for Lancelot appears to be none other than the King-Knight Ladislaus I of Hungary (1077-1095), leader-elect of the First Crusade and sainted monarch of the Árpádian dynasty.
One driver behind László’s appearance in French romances has to do with the unprecedented connections between the Hungarian royal court and the County of Champagne in the twelfth century that ultimately resulted in the marriage between King Béla III of Hungary (1172-1196) and Margaret of Champagne, sister of Chrétien’s patron, Marie de France. Another driver was King Béla’s ambition to promote the cult and canonization of his grandfather in order to shore up his own claims to the throne of Hungary. A large body of textual evidence in Romance –language documents reveals that the name “Lancelot” was actually an attempt to reproduce the foreign-sounding name “László” – rather than a substitute for the name as has long been supposed. The earliest two romances which feature Lancelot – The Knight of the Cart and Ulrich von Zatzikhoven’s Lanzelet show evidence that the narratives were directly inspired by the historical events pertaining to King László, and a precedent can be shown for medieval romancers of the period to include Hungarian historical figures into their narratives.
Chrétien de Troyes’ commission to write a romance featuring the Hungarian king might well have been related to the marriage of Margaret of Champagne and Béla III in 1186. This hypothesis supports Claude Luttrell’s proposed dating for Chrétien’s works, while also showing the subtle and fascinating ways that the political agendas of the period are reflected in Arthurian romances.