Meliodas, King of Lyonesse
Arthurian Literary Character

Traditionally Meliodas was the brother-in-law of King Mark of Kernow (Cornwall). He first appears in the 13th century story of Tristram known as the Prose Tristan. Meliodas is there given as the King of Lyonesse. This kingdom is traditionally no more, having been long ago engulfed by the Sea. Only its mountains are said to remain above the waves as the Isles of Scilly.

The legends of Lyonesse are very persistant due to remains of structures having been found beneath the Sea at various times. The Scilly Isles are known to have been one island in prehistoric times. It seems likely that Meliodas was invented so that this land could have its own heritage and its own monarchy. If he was really thought to have existed by medieval writers, he may originally have been considered the full brother of Mark, as indicated in the Italian version of the story, the Tristano Riccardiano, which is also 13th century in date. The kingdom of the father, Merion, would have been partitioned upon his death. Mark would have inherited Kernow and Meliodas Lyonesse. The proper form of his name may be Maeliedd.


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