The Holy Grail was not a single object but a group of sacred objects:
– Platter, blood, knife, lance.
– Gold-gilded silver chalice, platter, lamp, book of Jesus Christ.
– Hallow seen by Gawain.
It has been said that the Grail was a casket in which the Shroud of Turin was kept in the 14th century. It may have been in England for a few decades in that period.
Saint Mary Magdalene
Mary was also called Magdalene from the name of the “castle” Magdala were she was born. Mary, her brother Lazarus, and her sister Martha owned Magdala (two miles from Nazareth), Bethany another castle near Jerusalem, and many more properties in Jerusalem. When their parents died Mary took Magdala, Lazarus received the properties in Jerusalem and Martha inherited Bethany. Mary devoted herself to a life of pleasure, Lazarus became a soldier, and Martha managed the three estates. After Jesus death all three sold all their properties and put the money at the disposal of the Apostles.
Mary had heard Jesus preaching in many occasions. One day she followed Him at the house of Simon the Leper; being conscious of her sins, she sat at Jesus’ feet, washed them with her tears, and anointed them with precious ointments. Simon the Pharisee was surprised that Jesus accepted the presence of such a sinful woman, but Jesus reproved him and forgave Mary for her sins and, later, favoured her and enjoyed her company. He raised her brother Lazarus from the dead four days after he was buried and he healed her sister Martha. Later on, she anointed his head on the cross, prepared the ointments for his dead body, and refused to leave from the tomb after the Apostles had gone. Jesus appeared first to her after his resurrection since, after all, she was also an Apostle in her own way.
After the martyr of Saint Stephen, fifteen years later, Mary Magdalene left Jerusalem to preach the words of Christ in a far-away country; she was one of the seventy-two recognised disciples of Jesus. With Lazarus and Martha, she was sentenced to death and left to drift in a ship that, however, reached Marseilles. They were very poor and had to live near a Pagan temple until the local people heard her preaching, and joined the Christian church. The ruler of Provence and his wife came to listen to her preaching and asked for her help to conceive a child. She agreed on the condition that they give food to the poor Christians. The Princess became pregnant and eventually they too became Christian and destroyed all the Pagan temples. They were baptised by Saint Maximin and chose Saint Lazarus as the first bishop of Marseilles.
Afterwards Mary Magdalene left Marseilles for Sainte Baume (known also as the Holy Balm) where she lived as a hermit in a cave on a cliff. The legend has much to say about how she lived there for more than thirty years and, when she died, she was buried near-by. It has been said that she was the wife of Saint John the Evangelist or, even, of Jesus himself. Others said that she was a prostitute. What is certain is that she became a saint after Jesus’ death.
As Marseilles was the home of Saint Mary Magdalene, Dandrane, Perceval, Bors and Galahad wanted to visit this holy sanctuary, and also Sainte Baume, that is still a well-known pilgrimage to-day.
Joseph of Arimathea
According to the legend, Joseph of Arimathea left Sarras (Marseilles) with his followers and sailed to Britain. They took with them their sacred Hebrew Ark of the Covenant and, possibly, the Holy Grail. Once in Britain they settled in Glastonbury where Joseph of Arimathea died and was buried.
These legendary events occurred during the Roman conquest and occupation of Britain. After Julius Caesar had defeated the Celts from Belgium in around 55 BC, these tribes moved to Devon and Cornwall where we can still find traces of them to-day. The conquest of Britain followed and was only stopped at the Scottish border where Hadrian built his famous wall in 121-127 AD. The Romans withdrew three hundred years later.
The castle built to house the Holy Grail was located in a non-better described “foreign land”. There, in this Grail Castle, the Holy Grail was exposed during the services on a silver table. As for King Arthur and Queen Guinevere it seems certain now that they never set foot in Glastonbury. It is too far from South Scotland where the Arthurian battles took place and, moreover it, was Saxon territory, unsafe for a King such as Arthur.
Another legend asserts that Joseph of Arimathea never left Palestine. When Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus’ body off the cross he noticed that some blood has coagulated around five wounds. He scraped the blood with his knife and puts it in a metal jar inside a precious coffer. When he thought he was dying he gave the coffer to his nephew Isaac. Isaac was denounced to the authorities by his wife and had to leave Jerusalem. He hid for some time in Sidon. Some time before 70 AD he dreamt that the Romans would soon destroy Judea and he hid the coffer and the Holy relic in the trunk of a fig tree, as well as Joseph’s knife and the tip of the lance that had pierced Jesus’ side. He then cuts the tree and threw it in the sea and it floated to the coast of Northern Gaul near Fecamp, where it was honoured by the Norman. The precious Blood was sealed in a crystal vial and preserved in the Holy Trinity Abbey. In around 1200 a monk stole a drop of the precious blood as well as part of a bone of Saint Mary Magdalene. Later on it was safely returned to the Abbey. Some scholars went so far as saying that the Holy Grail was in Fecamp, but this is not proven and so it is still quite possible that it was really in Britain. There is no mention of the Arthurian Grail heroes, not even Lancelot, in the remaining archives of the destroyed Abbey of Fecamp. Moreover all of them died a century before Fecamp became a Holy Site.
Arthur was born in Britain circa 475 and it is thought that he was a descendant of Emperor Constantine the Great. Arthur and Guinevere were crowned around 522, probably in Carlisle. They were not the first Celtic Royal in Britain. Before them there had been the Empress Saint Helena (circa 248-328) whose son, Emperor Constantine was also born in Britain. Beside making Christianity the religion of the Empire he found the Holy Cross, and helped his mother built the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It took many centuries for the Pagan religions to disappear. Even during Merlin’s lifetime (circa 450-536), as well as Arthur’s (circa 475-542), many Pagan priestesses still presided at the Grail Castles, even if they thought of themselves as Christian: Guinevere, Dandrane, Cundrie, Niniane, Morgan le Fay, Repanse de Schoye, … As a result it has been calculated that Perceval arrived at Arthur’s Court in 535 or 536, about six years before Arthur’s death. Merlin had foreseen the date of his own and Arthur’s death. He was one of the greatest scholars of his time and a well-known astronomer, as well as a High Priest.
Arthur is assumed to have won all his twelve battles in Scotland and not in Southern England, or Cornwall, as some scholars have thought. In fact he could never have fought and defeated the Saxons there between 475 and 542 because they were not in these parts of Britain yet and, when they reached these regions, they did not fight with Arthur as their war record attests. Arthur was fatally wounded during the battle of Camlan; he was transported by barge to the Isle of Avalon where he died.
Arthur’s story has been recorded on kid leather with golden illustrations. Only very rich people could afford this kind of manuscripts that were worth their weight in gold. King Richard the Lionheart owned them at the time of his crusade and sold them on his way to Jerusalem, probably in Cyprus.
Some scholars believe that the Arthurian story is purely mythological and has no historical base, that it was Celtic in origin, but not necessarily connected to Scotland.
King Arthur and Scotland
There is little doubt that King Arthur and his knights are historical persons, and not only part of a legend. Gawain ruled Galloway in Scotland. The Glastonbury Perlesvaus document contains the oldest references to Arthur, Perceval, Gawain, and their Grail Castle on the isle of Man. Gawain was charged with taking the sword that had beheaded John the Baptist from its owner, Gurgalain, King of Albania, now Scotland. After he succeeded in this task he gave the sword to the Grail King, who was Merlin at the time. Merlin appeared again under that name at the Grail Castle in the Didot-Perceval story where he is one of Perceval’s uncles and a Hermit teacher, before retiring to make predictions and to write. Gawain was the first Grail hero, and he was widely admired as Lancelot will be later on. Gawain’s life is well accounted for from youth to his dead in a beach battle near Galloway in Scotland in 542. Lancelot too, died in 542 on the same beach. Gawain was a bright giant with red hair. He pledged allegiance to Queen Guinevere who hired writers to record his adventures. Gawain, the oldest son of King Loth of Lothian (Scotland), studied theology with Sulpicius Severus of Acquitania (circa 360-425). In Parzival Wolfram von Eschenbach tells us that the Grail Castle had been built by the Pagan King Clinschor. Arthur and his Knights conquered the Isle of Man and Christianised the Grail. Gawain brought the sword that beheaded John the Baptist to the island although Merlin’s wanted to keep it. Gawain was not a first class hero, as Perceval and Lancelot, but he did well the things he was asked to do, and was able to come back to King Arthur’s Court. It was at that time that the French clergy, with the approval of the Pope, banned women from priesthood. As Peredur tells us, priestesses were murdered by Peredur and King Arthur. It is not clear if queen Guinevere was murdered at the Grail castle, or if she went back to Scotland where she died and was buried. French scholars in Toulouse have put in doubt the existence of King Arthur saying that he is no more that a legend. According to them the Grail has always been in Languedoc. The aristocrats who shared the crusading spirit had common bonds with the Arthurians who never accepted a commoner in their close knit circle. All of the thirteen or more Arthurian or Grail texts support a religion, or worship, limited to the aristocracy of Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, and to a lesser extend, Iceland and Finland. Each area preferred one part of the story as well as one hero: Merlin to Iceland. Peredur to Germany, Lohengrin as ancestor of Godfrey of Bouillon in Belgium, Lancelot in France, … These Arthurian stories continued in disguised form throughout the Renaissance: Cervantes, Madre Theresa, Rabelais, Dante, Ariosto, Boiardo, Tasso, … not to mention the opera. Chrétien says that King Arthur was born at a seaside castle with a sandy beach, and this is certainly Caerlaverock on the Rhinns of Galloway, a few miles from Carlisle, the last and greatest Roman fort in Britain. King Arthur and one of his sons were buried in Arthuret (now Cumbria in England). King Arthur’s name begins with the letter A and he is linked to many places like Avalon where the Grail was kept, Albania (Scotland) which he ruled, Aquitania, Aliscans, … The bear personifies King Arthur as the dragon graces his pennant. Arthur is thought to be a descendant from Emperor Maximus, the husband of Empress Helena, the discoverer of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem; she built the first Christian Church over Christ’s tomb, and her son was Constantine the Great. Arthur was born around 475 and his cousin Merlin circa 450. Merlin died in 536 and Arthur, Gawain and Lancelot in 542, at the battle of Camlan. Perceval too died in 542, or moved to Sarras. Galahad and Lohengrin witnessed the disappearance of the Grail overseas, perhaps to Languedoc. The last Grail Castle in Britain was near the Isle of Man, not too far from the town of Peel now known as Saint Patrick’s Isle to remember the saint who preached there in 444. King Arthur venerated the Virgin Mary and, if only for this reason, he was a hero for the Knights Templar.
What was the Holy Grail? There is still no clear answer to this question. It could be that the Holy Grail is an idea or, in other words, it is what everybody believes it is. It could be one or more objects, or an event linked to early Christian worship such as a Chalice, a silver platter and knives, a sword or broken sword, a spear, or some books or Gospel attributed either to Jesus, the Apostle John, Solomon, or John the Baptist. All of these objects or events derive from Jesus, his life and his death. The Chalice held his blood and, after the Eucharist the wine; the platters and knives are related to John the Baptist whom Merlin imitated; the sword beheaded the same John the Baptist, Gawain took it and failed to repair it; the spear pierced Jesus body on the cross, and the Book or Gospel is a collection of Christian doctrine. The Arthurian heroes who saw the Grail, Perceval, Gawain, Lancelot, were not particularly clever; they were also tired by months or years of looking for it and, as a result, they were unable to relate their experience in the Grail Castle. This explains, in part, why the Grail left Britain after the death of our Knights. Arthur was the most successful quester, followed by Gawain. Both of them were Kings and they won many battles. Arthur was held in such high esteem in Scotland and Wales that even the Anglo-Saxons made him their hero and had him, and Guinevere, buried in Glastonbury. He was adored by his own people but also by those he held back at the Hadrian wall, and even by those he conquered. The worship of the Holy Grail never stopped until now.
The Grail heredity has been claimed or assigned to the Templars, the Cathars, Dante and the Ghibellines, the followers of the hermetic tradition of occult wisdom, and the Rosicrucians. (17)
Queen Guinevere lived and was buried in Glastonbury according to the local tradition. However there is no absolute proof that it is true. The German knight Templar Wolfram von Eschenbach even said that she lived and died in Germany.
Although Queen Guinevere was a beautiful woman, King Arthur did not marry her for love but because she was of royal blood. Arthur was never in Glastonbury even if Guinevere was. Glastonbury Abbey burned to the ground in 1184. Beside the Abbey there was a Grail shrine and a cemetery with royal bodies in it. When the corpses were exhumed in 1191 (at King Henry II’s request we are told although he died in 1189) it was soon clear that they were of Saxon royalties, and had nothing to do with Arthur and Guinevere as we are asked to believe. Perceval and Gawain visited Glastonbury and thought that it was the Grail Castle, but they were wrong. Queen Guinevere went to the Grail castle, not in Glastonbury but on the Isle of Avalon.
Guinevere’s twin sister was in fact her half-sister, born of the wife of her father’s Seneschal. This woman was, of course, put to death later on.
Perceval, and not Lancelot, is considered the most important of the Grail hero. His adventures, and the Grail ceremonies inside the Grail Castle, are worth to be looked at in details. Perceval is known under four different names, speak four languages, and acts in four countries:
i- Peredur, Wales and Scotland.
ii- Perceval, northern and Capetian France.
iii- Parzival, Germany and France.
iv- Parsifal, Germany and Spain.
For the sake of simplicity we will call him Perceval.
The oldest surviving account of Perceval’s quest for the Holy Grail is a Welsh Druidical tale known as the Mabinogion with Peredur as its hero. It is now clear that Perceval was not born in Wales, that he did not go there, and that the document is a rehash made in Wales in the Middle Age of another story that occurred more to the North. This book was probably used by Chrétien de Troyes for his Perceval. As Lancelot, Perceval claimed both royal and religious blood. Mabinogion derives from oral tradition transmitted from generation to generation before being recorded in writing. The story goes through fifteen episodes until Perceval is admitted into the inner circle of the elders. He finally becomes the last King of the Grail Castle after his revenge for the killing of his father and six (or eleven) brothers. Perceval was initiated by King Arthur, the life-Master of the clan, when he was introduced to his court. Perceval visited the Fisher King’s castle, a lame brother of his mother, where he received more instruction. In the third castle he visited he proved his strength by cutting an iron column with his sword. He was present at two Grail processions that included a spear dripping blood. He also received further military instruction at the Witches’ Court. Perceval entered in trances before a hermit’s cave and Arthur cured him. At Arthur’s Court, Perceval became engaged to his loved girl here known as Angharad Goldenhand. They will be married after receiving the Christian baptism probably by Merlin. Perceval went on with his adventures afterwards and they became more and more unreal. He finally went to live in the castle of the Empress of Constantinople with his lovely Blanchefleur. There he ruled for fourteen years and had a son called Lohengrin. Lohengrin was thrown in the water as had Lancelot, or his twin brother, but he too survived. After his inauguration at the Grail castle he had to repudiate his loved wife, and he remained celibate afterwards. These myths look like genealogical records of ancient inhabitants of Eastern Scotland before they immigrated into wales.
In the Perlevaus (other name of Perceval) from Glastonbury, it is said that Perceval was born in one of his mother’s thirteen farms near Camelot or Snowdon (now the fort of Stirling), where Joseph of Arimathea was buried. Perceval’s mother, who was Arthur’ sister, was called the Widow Lady of Camelot, Yglais or Eccles. Lancelot had worshipped there too, and he heard the voice of Merlin coming out of the tomb. We are also reminded that all Grail heroes have an alternate, who generally comes first, and abandons the quest to be replaced by the real hero. In this case the alternate was probably Gawain, the oldest hero at Arthur’s Court, and the closest to the King. Here Cundrie is painted as the usual repulsive spinster who reproaches Perceval for failing in his quest, and a dwarf, like Gawain, whom she will marry later on. A few years later Perceval received his final instruction on how to reach the Castle of Wonders. He was obviously expected as all the doors were open to show that the inhabitants knew that he was the winning hero who would reign. But first he had to kill two giants, then a big stag, and finally another giant. Perceval then goes once more to the Grail castle where he is greeted by his uncle, the Fisher King, and his cousin, Gawain. Perceval, helped by King Arthur, killed all the Witches at the request of the Fisher King. It has been thought that the bleeding head on the platter was from an ancient Welsh King named the Blessed Bran, but this is only a supposition. This problem has never been solved. Some scholars see Fisher King as Jesus Christ and Perceval as an Apostle, probably Saint Paul. Perceval is the image of men as winning warriors; women are kept on the side and requested to be submissive. The Grail in this story has a Celtic origin, contains blood or wine, and as a result was both Druidical and Christian. But it could also have been a shallow dish, or platter, that held the head of a man. Or was it a Christian symbol such as a dish, a cup, or the chalice of the Last supper? Perceval legend as told here originated in Scotland before moving to Wales.
After the Welsh Mabinogion and the hero called Peredur, and before the German Parzival, we have two more stories known as the Didot-Perceval and Chrétien’s Perceval in the book called “Conte du Graal”. This is the Christianisation of the Welsh Peredur already started in the Glastonbury Perlevaus. Chrétien de Troyes did not finish his Perceval for an unknown reason, but it could be because he died before finishing the writing. He did not complete his Lancelot either because he interpreted the altar scene as occurring in Guinevere’s bed, and he did not approve of adultery or Pagan idolatry. Robert de Boron states that the Grail originated in Jerusalem, and not in Pagan Wales or Ireland. The Grail, that means Holy Blood, was the vase, the Chalice or the Cup of the Last Supper. Those who see it, see God. After the destruction of Jerusalem Joseph of Arimathea went into exile. His sister had married a Jew called Hebron, or Bron, who became the owner of the Grail. The Grail was kept on the Grail table with a cup and a copy of the New Testament. Perceval descended from Hebron. The document written by Robert de Boron was followed by the Didot-Perceval, a true masterpiece. According to this book, the Grail was in the Isle of Man, that was part of Ireland at that time. Perceval first saw three men in a boat, fishing. He then went to the castle of his grand father, the lame Fisher King Brons, and they had supper. The Grail procession with the Lance dripping blood, the two silver platters, and the Grail, now a vessel containing Christ’s blood, passes before Perceval who asked no question. If he had, he would have received custody of the Holy Blood. Perceval came back to the Grail Castle seven years later to see the same procession, but this time he asked the right questions. He was told that the lance belonged to Longinus, the Roman soldier who pierced Christ’s side on the cross, and that he would be taught Christ’s secrets. Perceval never revealed his secrets, not even to his wife, who, here, is Gawain’s sister, Elaine. He had the similar adventures already described before being crowned at the Grail Castle as the Grail King, or the new Fisher King. Merlin told him that the Grail is the cup of blood from the crucified Christ. Merlin was then able to retire to his hermit cage until he died.
Chrétien de Troyes’ poem has Perceval admiring a Grail Procession in blinding white light. There again, there is a lance with a drop of blood on its tip, a lighted ten candles golden candelabra, a Grail and a silver platter. There is no mention of a head on the platter. Chrétien was a Jew who lived in Troyes and studied under the great Jewish scholar Solomon ben Isaac and under the Christian theologian Peter Comestor. He frequented the nobility, including Eleonor of Aquitaine, and the high clergy. He preached charity in his Grail text and stated that all the Jews should be converted to Christianity, since they damned themselves when they crucified Jesus Christ. The early critics thought that the Grail castle was a replica of King Solomon’s Temple. Here again the Holy Grail was the chalice of the Last Supper, the lance was the one used by Longinus to pierce Christ on the cross, the blood was from Christ, the platters were communion plates, and Perceval was the reincarnation of Saint Paul. But other scholars have maintained that the Grail ceremony in Chrétien’s text is Jewish orthodox, and that Perceval was the wandering Jew. Chrétien did not finish “Perceval” nor “Lancelot”, probably because he died before, but there is no proof of it. Chrétien’s followers wrote a “Manuscript de Mons” that reverses practically his interpretation and his religious tendency. They go back to the Celtic Merlin in Scotland and Wales.
We have gone from the Pagan interpretation of the Grail in the Welsh Peredur to a Christian’s view that started with Robert de Boron to arrive, finally, to a Jewish Perceval as told by Chrétien de Troyes. We are now ready for the German Perceval (Parzival) written by Wolfram von Eschenbach (circa 1170-1220). Wolfram became the hero of Richard Wagner’s Opera, Tannhaüser, who based his story on Wolfram’s life as a poet, a crusader, and a Knight Templar. The German Perceval is a very happy romance of a young man’s spiritual development to reach responsible maturity, Kingship, and guardianship of the Holy Grail through mistakes, humiliation, hardships until he finally reach his goals. Wolfram described Parzival as a Knight Templar with all the assumed attributes: courage, nobility, honour, gentility, generosity, respect for women, defence of the poor and the oppressed. Parzival goes through the usual adventures with the same results as we have already seen.
A German opera on the same subject is called Parsifal and was composed by Richard Wagner (1813-1883). The name Parsifal is derived from an Arab word that means “Poor Fool”. It is a new musical genre called religious ceremony, festival-drama, opera or “music-drama”. In it Parsifal also becomes King of the Grail Castle on an Easter Sunday. Wagner wrote the music and the libretto. The stories happen in Spain in the Middle Ages. Wagner wanted to limit the representation of Parsifal to Bayreuth but this was not possible. The opera has been used by the Nazi for propaganda. It is however a world success still regularly represented to-day. Wagner also wrote another opera, called Lohengrin, in which pure knights guard the Holy Grail in the far-away Grail Castle of Montsalvat. The Holy Grail was brought from heaven by angels. Each year, at Easter, a dove descends from heaven to renew the faith of the Knights, who, if they lost it, should leave Montsalvat at once. These knights are, of course, Templar and they represent purity. Lohengrin’s wife, Elsa, looses faith in her husband and she must die. The Grail is a chalice with the blood of God. At the last moment, before dying, Lohengrin reveals that he is the son of the Grail King Parsifal, and he leaves on the wings of a dove.
Perceval was once riding as usual in the search of the elusive Grail Castle when he saw a man in a boat on the river. He was the Fisher King, but Perceval did not recognise him. He gave Perceval the direction to a castle that was in fact his own. Perceval was welcomed by the King Fisher, who turned to be his invalid grand father, whose wound would only heal when his grand child would ask the correct question. While they were having dinner, a well-dressed maiden entered the room without saying a word or being introduced. She was carrying two silver platters and was followed by a young man carrying a lance from which point dripped three drops of blood. Another young man entered carrying above his head the vessel (probably the Holy Grail) that our Lord gave Joseph of Arimathea. The King Fisher bowed his head and prayed, and everybody else did the same. Perceval did not dare to ask any question to his grand father annoyance. The three young people came back carrying the Holy Grail, the blood dripping lance, and the platters but Perceval still remained silent. Next morning Perceval woke up to find that he was alone in the castle and therefore could not ask any question. In other similar stories it is Gawain and Lancelot who find the Grail Castle, but they fail the test too.
After the time of King Arthur’s Grail Castle, Perceval went away in Solomon’s Ship to a place unknown that could be Sarras or Jerusalem.
Perceval and Hector visited the Castle Corbenic and also saw the Grail, a “vessel” in the shape of a chalice. They heard that Gawain was asked to mend the broken Holy Lance, but that he did not succeed.
Lancelot was born and lived most of his life in Scotland (some said he was born in Ireland). He was a member of the Angus, the Clan chief. He served under King Arthur and was ordered to attach himself to the service of Queen Guinevere. He never travelled to Gaul, but he went to North Wales with King Arthur. He also battled in Scotland with King Arthur. He underwent mystical and religious experiences and devoted his life to serve a Holy cause. Lancelot was the perfect knight who aspired to heavenly perfection. He failed in his Quest of the Holy Grail because he was deemed unworthy. He nevertheless saw the Grail at Corbenic castle. It was in a “vessel” or a chalice carried by a beautiful young lady.
Lancelot is best known for his presumed adulterous love of Queen Guinevere as told by the French author Chrétien de Troyes. This forbidden love is said to be the reason of the collapse of King Arthur’s Realm. He is also accused to have killed Gawain. His son, Galahad, was born from his relationship with Helen, the daughter of the Grail King.
He was considered as the best military Celt of his time in Britain, after King Arthur. Lancelot was responsible to transform Christianity in a military religion. Christian virtues then were bravery, constancy and prowess. He was slain on the return of King Arthur’s expedition in Wales probably in 542. By that time King Arthur had halted the Saxon invasion of Scotland.
Lancelot and Perceval are the best known hero of the Arthurian’s story. Both of them devoted their live to the search of the Holy Grail and to their women, Guinevere and Blanchefleur. Lancelot was the father of Galahad and Perceval’s son was Lohengrin, the swan knight. Lancelot fought the Saxons under King Arthur. The Franks had invaded France, Italy and Spain and the Celtics in Britain fought them back.
Lancelot’s mother was killed because she was adulterous, that is because she had twins, and at that time, it was thought that twins could not be of the same father.
Lohengrin, Perceval’ son, also known as the Swan Knight like all multiple babies born to a queen, was sacrificed to the water. His mother first put a golden chain around his neck. As soon as he touched the water he became a swan. Lohengrin survived in this way and reached Holland or Belgium where he founded a royal dynasty. Godfrey de Bouillon, the leader of the first crusade that liberated Jerusalem from the Moslems, was one of his descendants.
Montsegur has been thought by many to be a Holy Grail Castle but it is probably not true. If it became a Holy Grail castle, it was after the writing of most of the Arthurian documents, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. In these documents the Holy Grail Castle was located in Britain and never in France. If it was in France the Church would have to accept it as orthodox, and this they have never done. The castle is located in the Pyrénées, in the South of France, on top of a steep mount. More than two hundred Cathars were burned to death there on 14 March 1244. However this does not prevent many scholars to believe that the Holy Grail was kept there and was saved from the French army a few days, or perhaps the night before the two hundred Cathars were burned at the stake. According to the legend, four Cathars were lowered down the mountain cliff carrying the precious books of the sect, its secrets, and the Holy Grail. They hid their treasure in the caves of Ornolac, or Lombrives, or in the castle of Esclarmonde de Foix. Here the Holy Grail is a golden chalice.
The Knights Templar
The Knights Templar in France were arrested in 1307, many were burned at the stake for heresy and the order was cancelled. In other countries they were dispersed.
The German Parzival was written by Wolfram von Eschenbach, a proclaimed Knight Templar. Although Lancelot died more than five hundred years before the order of the Knights Templar was created, he behaved very much like one in helping King Arthur in his quest for the Holy Grail. Both the Templars and Lancelot were involved with a lost treasure. Like the Templars, Arthurian knights died in battle and disappeared without complaint, like Arthur himself, Lancelot, Gawain, Guinevere, … Lancelot failed to achieve perfect holiness and the same can be said of the Templars.
One can wonder if the Templars were in search of the Holy Grail, or if they were the guardians of the Cup of the last supper, or of the Grail itself. The Grail, according to the Templars, was a chalice that represented the Celtic cauldron or vessel of resurrection. The Templar Master from Auvergne, Pierre d’Aumont, fled to Scotland where the “true” heirs of the Templars are still active to-day.