Fairyland! Medieval European imagination

london By london, 29th Dec 2017 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1fu_g4v_/
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Medieval European imagination invented existence of figures like Mélusine and Morgan the fairy.

The origin

The fairies have not always existed. The origin of them dates back to Greek and Latin mythology, and, in particular, to the triad of the Moerae (Greek Moiroi, the daughters of Night ). According to Hesiod (Theogony), the Moerae were three, Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, who were the absolute masters of human destiny. Clotho was the spinner, because of she was spinning the threads of human life; Lachesi was the goddess of luck, while Atropos was also called the “inflexible” or “inexorable”, determining duration of life:
“Klotho,/ Spinner of Life's Thread, and Lachesis, Dispenser of Lots,/ Atropos, Unturnable One, who give to mortals/ as they are born what is good and bad to have,]/ who pursue the transgressions of men and gods,/ and the goddess never cease from their dreadful wrath/ until who ever transgresses pays someone back evil punishment./” (Theogony, 213-222).

The human destiny

Among the Romans, the human destiny was called Fatum, and it was in the hands of the Parcae, who correspond to the Moerae of Greek mythology. The plural form of the Latin word Fatum sounds like Fata, to indicate the fate of all mankind, and these words were often used interchangeably with the Parcae. “The root is evidently, we think, the Latin fatum. In the fourth century of our era we find this word made plural, and even feminine, and used as the equivalent of Parcae,” Keightley said. (Keightley 6).

Mélusine and Morgan the fairy

Medieval European imagination invented existence of figures as Mélusine and Morgan the fairy, two very different female characters . Mélusine is a fairy who entered this world, creating extraordinary opportunities for men. In fact, a knight who had succeeded in marrying the fairy Mélusine could have given rise to a family of noble lineage, as in the work of Jean d'Arras, who wrote the Roman de Mélusine or Histoire de Lusignan toward the end of the 14th century (1393), and was the first European author who
“Melusine now went rambling through the world in search of the man who was to deliver her. She passed though the Black Forest and that of Ardennes and at last she arrived in the forest of Colombiers in Poitou where all the fays of the wrote about the myth of Mélusine, from whom descended the noble family of Lusignan in France:neighbourhood came before her telling her they waited for her to reign in that place. Raymond having accidentally killed the count his uncle by the glancing aside of his boar spear was wandering by night in the forest of Colombiers. He arrived at a fountain that rose at the foot of a high rock. This fountain was called by the people the Fountain of Thirst or the Fountain of the Fays on account of the many marvelous things that had happened at it.” (Story of Melusine 85).

Stereotypes in European medieval folk tales

There had been constant themes or stereotypes in European medieval folk tales of Mélusine, like the marriage between a knight and the fairy, the birth of several children, the prosperity enjoyed by the family under her auspices, the violation of the pact and the punishment for transgression, including the sudden disappearance of the fairy. But their children would give rise to a noble lineage:
“But one thing will I say unto thee before I part, that thou, and those who for more than a hundred years shall succeed thee, shall know that whenever I am seen to hover over the fair castle of Lusignan, then will it be certain that in that very year the castle will get a new lord; and though people may not perceive me in the air, yet they will see me by the Fountain of Thirst; and thus shall it be so long as the castle stands in honour and flourishing--especially on the Friday before the lord of the castle shall die. ” ( Story of Melusine 87).

Geoffrey of Monmouth

“Geoffrey of Monmouth firsts introduces Morgan le Fay as a fairy who is related to her half sibling, King Arthur, ” Tanner Strong says. (Strong 59). Morgan the fairy was definitely an enchantress, having the ability to attract any man she wants, holding him captive, and letting him forget his whole past life. However, in return for the loss of the past, Morgan le Fay gives her lovers the assurance of eternal life and happiness. But Morgan's prohibitions are absolute; if they are broken, all knights will return to their world and will be subject to death,
“Quand un mortel quitte son universe pour le royaume des Fées, il passe du règne de l’éphèmere à celui de l’éternité Regagnant le monde des humaines, il retrouve le temps et la mort” Returning to the human world, he finds the passing of time and death]. (Harf-Lancner 210).

A demonic creature

Morgan the fairy was often depicted as a demonic creature in the Christian imagination for her irresistible and witching beauty. The end of the Middle Ages saw the progressive decline and disappearance of the fairies, who were emptied of their powers, and replaced with the figure of the witches. According to Karen Sullivan, “The world of fairies and sprites disappeared in the face of Christianity because they belonged to paganism Like Mélusine, women submit to men or, like Morgan, they make men submit to them, yet they never cease to retain a mysterious alterity symbolized by the other world from which fairies come and to which they return but of which men forever remain ignorant.” So they became “a past regarded as finished.” (Sullivan 159-160, footnote 37).

For Further reading

Harf-Lancner, L. 1984. Les fées du Moyen-âge: Morgane et Mélusine. Paris: Champion.
Keightley, T. 1892. The Fairy Mythology. London: George Bell & Sons. http://eremita.di.uminho.pt/gutenberg/4/1/0/0/41006/41006-h/41006-h.htm).
Story of Melusine. Lays and Legends of France. 1834. Edited by William John Thoms. London: George Cowie.
Strong, T. 2015. “Transformation of Knights with Magic.” Journal of Student Research . Vol. 4. Issue 2.
Sullivan, K. 1999. The Interrogation of Joan of Arc. Minneapolis-London: University of Minnesota Press.

Tags

Fairies, Mlusine, Morgan

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author avatar london
I am a Professor of Literature and History, and I write articles about various topics such as art, literature and history.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
2nd Jan 2018 (#)

Let the kids have their childhood and fun.
Humans, adults especially use them as Wiccan gateways to evoke satanic hints and children and the ones who coined the concepts are not to blame for it although many will see them as the one to blame.

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