Tristan, King of Lyonesse
(Born c.AD 530)
(Welsh: Trystan; Latin: Drustanus; English: Tristram)
Arthurian literature, embodying much earlier tradition, tells us that "Sir Tristram" was the son of King Meliodas of Lyonesse & Isabelle, his wife. He is generally considered an historical figure because his name appears on a 6th century inscribed standing stone located near the similarly dated lordly residence at Castle Dore. The inscription reads: Drustans hic iacit Cvnowori filivs - "Drustan lies here, the son of Cunomor". This man's role in the region is largely uncertain however, since his traditional kingdom of Lyonesse is almost certainly mythological. It was supposed to be an extension of modern day Cornwall: a low lying region which has since been inundated by the sea. The Scilly Isles are said to be the peaks of its mountains still protruding above the water. Although this may have indeed been the case in Neolithic times, in the Dark Ages, Cornwall was much as we know it today.
Despite a number of Tristan sites having been identified in the West Country, some historians believe that his story has been transferred to Cornwall from Northern Britain. Lyonesse, in its earliest form, appears as Liones, a name very similar to early forms of Lothian in Scotland. As shown by the Cornish stone, Tristan is a form of the Pictish name, Drustan, and a Pictish Prince named Drustan ipe Talorg appears in Welsh records as an early 5th century ancestor of the Kings of Gwynedd. The family originally hailed from Manau Gododdin around Clackmannan in Scotland.
If literary tradition is to be believed, Tristan had a number of children by his lover, the Fair Isolde, but was married to Isolde the White-Handed, daughter of King Hoel Mawr (the Great) of Brittany. He was supposedly succeeded in Lyonesse, but his son, Tristan the Younger.
Generally considered historical.
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