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King Pellinore & the Black Knight - this reproduction  Nash Ford PublishingPellinore,
King of Listinoise

Arthurian Literary Character

King Pellinore was said to be of the Royal line of St. Joseph of Arimathea, the dynasty who guarded the mystical 'Holy Grail'. He was a son of King Pellam and brother of Kings Pelles and Alain. Pellinore takes on various roles across different Arthurian stories.

First appearing in the Vulgate Merlin (c.1225) and the Livre d'Artus (early 13th c.), he is called the "Maimed King". This character was wounded by a holy lance after doubting the powers of the Holy Grail.  Like their monarch, his lands became sickly and barren; and neither were healed until his grand-nephew, Galahad, achieved his goal in the Grail Quest. Pellinore was father of the first grail-seeker, Percivale, and his brothers. 

Elsewhere, Pellinore was the pursuer of the bizarre 'Questing Beast'. He appeared at the court of the High-King Arthur and was immediately challenged, by the monarch, to a fight for the right to undertake this hunt. Pellinore was triumphant and Arthur accepted him into the Order of the Round Table. Later, in the King's service at the Battle of Dimilioc (alias Tarabel), he killed King Lot of Lothian and unwittingly instigated the blood feud between the two families, which ultimately led to his death at the hands of Lot's sons.

Pellinore's brother and, presumably, joint-ruler, Pelles, is portrayed as an almost identical wounded character known as the "Fisher King" and, in post-Vulgate romances, it was their father who was maimed. RS Loomis convincingly argues that Pellinore was Beli Mawr, the Welsh Sun-God. All three were almost certainly this same character in origin. Their attachment to the Grail story is probably through their supposed ancestor, Brons - Joseph of Arimathea's son-in-law who developed from Welsh God, Bran. In Welsh genealogies, he is often confused with Beli. Both were Chiefs of the Gods and, according to Welsh mythology, Beli was Bran's grandfather.

As Grail-King, Bran was associated with the Castell-Dinas-Bran area of North Wales. Pellinore's Kingdom of Listinoise is also referred to as Northumberland however; so Pellinore was placed in the north. This is almost certainly because his son, Percivale, partly derives from the historical King Peredyr ab Eliffer, King of York. It could be that the connection with Beli Mawr was suggested from 'ab Eliffer' via a-b-elli-mer.


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