I found some very interesting articles today regarding the Holy Grail and its possible location.
Of course, no one knows for sure, but it is quite the question to ask, and academics are not without opinions, as we shall see. For my own fictional series based on the legends of King Arthur, I have decided to include the grail. And why wouldn’t I? As a legend, it is rife with possibilities, and people are always interested in this subject. So all of this is just fodder for the imagination.
The two articles are from The Independent online news magazine. Here they are with my comments:
This article is fascinating because it is prompted by an archaeological exhibition at the Royal Academy in Britain that may include the actual Holy Grail. Here is a snippet from the article:
Because a new exhibition at the Royal Academy, which brings together hundreds of relics from more than 1,000 years of the Byzantine Empire, has stirred up renewed and fevered excitement over the idea that the Holy Grail is in town.
Curators spent five years bringing together a host of archaeological treasures including mosaics, jewelery, icons and manuscripts to create the first exhibition in Britain on Byzantine art in more than 50 years. But the item causing the most frenzied excitement is the Antioch Chalice, a sixth century silver cup on loan from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art which…to grail aficionados…is one of the most credible contenders to be the Holy Grail itself.
Not that this “grail” was found in Britain, mind you, but rather in Antioch, much closer to its original source. Wikipedia says this about the chalice:
The silver gilt object originally identified as an early Christian chalice is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, It was apparently made at Antioch in the early 6th century and is of double-cup construction, with an outer shell of cast-metal open work enclosing a plain silver inner cup.
When it was first recovered in Antioch just before World War I, it was touted as the Holy Chalice, an identification the Metropolitan Museum characterizes as “ambitious”.
It is no longer identified as a chalice, having been identified by experts at Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, believed to be a hanging lamp, of a style of the 6th century. It appears that its support rings have been removed and the lamp reshaped with a base.
How’s that? They think it was originally a hanging lamp? These people have no imagination, and I don’t expect them to become novelists anytime soon! All the better. Less competition!
Anyway, it rather interests me that the standard home for this chalice is New York, which means I might be able to see it sometime. In fact, it is possible I did see it in 2004 when I went through that museum (if it is the one I’m thinking of), but didn’t realize its significance.
Here’s the second article, rather contradictory of the first.
This article is about the book The Keys to Avalon, by authors Steve Blake and Scott Lloyd, and it explains their theory that King Arthur was an insignificant Welshman, and that the Holy Grail is hidden in Wales somewhere.
Here is a quote from the article:
They say the differing versions of Arthur’s life can be traced to Geoffrey of Monmouth’s 12th century translation of the original Welsh Arthurian text into Latin.
Both men have scoured the Welsh countryside and found what they believe to be the true site of Avalon. They say they have enough historical evidence to back up their claim.
They also argue that Arthur was buried in Wales, and not in Glastonbury, Somerset, as popularly believed.
Mr Blake, who is from Surrey but now lives in north Wales, said: “We are not sure we are 100 per cent right, but you never are… I used to be a standard-line man and accepted the original theories – after all, you are reading some of the greatest historians in the field. But their work questioned things, so we chased them up.”
Of course, other academics dispute all this, and I’m sure Glastonbury Abbey would as well. For my own books, I will not have Arthur buried at Glastonbury, and my chosen location will not be revealed until the end of the last book.
So now I ask you, my loyal blog readers, what do you think of all this Holy Grail controversy?