Arthurian Monsters

Attended the Arthurian Monsters session at Kalamazoo’s 48th Medieval Congress. Hard to hear some of this. Didn’t get as much information as I wanted.

This is the second session:

Giant of Mont-Saint-Michel: Grendelkin?
Kris Kobold, York U

OE student PhD

giant is powerful being, causes disorder, captures a maiden, eats humans, killed by Arthur

significant that several studies find that the giant is parallel with Grendel
some of these parallels
Possible that poet of Morte d’Arthur knew monster traditions of OE

“thurs” in line 1100, means demon/spirit in ME
referred to as a fiend
simply simile, giant’s thighs are as thick as a giant’s
poet of Md’A hearkens to OE, where “thurs” is giantish creature
Beo 424-26 announces he will fight w Grendel
note that thurs as giant, MdA only attestation in ME prose and verse for using as a giant
demonic giant aspect linked with Bible… (Grendel descendant of cain)

giant from Latin, Nephilim in Bible = sons of God and daughters of men
flood sent because of their wickedness

means fallen ones
in this tradition “ygantes” becomes demonic

early Bib exegetes Tertullian
“sons of Gods” = fallen angels

MdA says he is “born of fiends” (engendre de findas)

daughters of men, biblical commenters believe related to daughters of Cain
righteous and accursed natures
giants descended from Cain

one of feature that marks Grendel are his eyes, which shine “with a hideous light most like a flame”
MdA 1087 line related to the appearance, glowing face and eyes
this feature later subsumed by other types, but belonged originally to giants (SGGK)

Arthur arrives not in time to rescue the woman, but only to stop the cannibalism
numerous biblical prohibitions against blood consumption (vampires)

8th C, commenting on Gen 9:4, makes explicit that giants ate flesh with blood

w/ St Michael and Christ references, Arthur is Christian hero

monster in OE subverts and threatens, not just the individual but the society, here is a ME revival of OE sentiment
giant is a king/ruler
his presence causes social and political turmoil.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge