Robert de Boron

Robert de Boron (also spelled in the manuscripts "Bouron", "Beron") was a French poet of the late 12th and early 13th centuries who is most notable as the author of the poems Joseph d'Arimathe and Merlin. Though little is known about him outside of the poems he allegedly wrote, his works and their subsequent prose redactions impacted later incarnations of the Arthurian legend and its prose cycles, particularly due to his Christian backstory for the Holy Grail, originally an element of Chrétien de Troyes's famously-unfinished Perceval.

He wrote his first poem for a lord named Gautier de Montbéliard and he took on the name Boron from a village near Montbéliard. What is known of his life come from brief mentions in his poems. At one point in Joseph d'Arimathe, he applies to himself the title of meisters (medieval French for "clerk"); later he uses the title messires (medieval French for "knight"). At the end of the same poem, he mentions being in the service of Gautier of "Mont Belyal", whom Pierre Le Gentil identifies with one Gautier de Montbéliard (the Lord of Montfaucon), who in 1202 left for the Fourth Crusade, and died in the Holy Land in 1212

Le Gentil argues that the mention of Avalon shows that he wrote Joseph d'Arimathe after 1191, when the monks at Glastonbury claimed to have discovered the coffins of King Arthur and Guinevere. His family is unknown, though the second author of the Prose Tristan claimed to be Robert's nephew, calling himself "Helie de Boron". This is taken more as an attempt to drop a famous name than a genuine accreditation, however. Although Le Gentil describes him as a "poet endowed with boldness and piety but with mediocre talent", his version of the Grail myth was adopted by almost all of the later writers of the Matter of Britain.



Merlin and the Grail: Joseph of Arimathea, Merlin, Perceval: The Trilogy of Arthurian Prose Romances
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Merlin and the Grail: Joseph of Arimathea, Me...

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