The Arthurian Tradition (Audio: Lecture I.6.3)
Europe had perfectly good religions and mythologies going fine and then [Christianity] is brought in on top of it. And what you get then… is an attempt on the part of the European mind to assimilate this and translate it into something like European thinking. And in my view the great moment of that achievement is represented in the Arthurian romances. You have a Christian vocabulary but completely European form of consciousness. —Joseph Campbell
The high period of the Arthurian romances is exactly that of the building of the great cathedrals that wonderful century from A.D. 1150 to 1250. The grand tales of Arthur and Guinevere, Tristan and Iseult, Galahad, and Percival express the spirit of their time as passionately as their great stone counterparts at Chartres and Notre Dame. In this talk, Joseph Campbell explores this cultural explosion, tracing social, mythological, and cultural clues in the stories back to the prehistoric Celts and to classical China.
Running time: approx. 60 minutes