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27 Jul

Tristan (Tristram)

Tristan and Iseult at the fountain, detail from a casket panel, mid-14th century

Tristan and Iseult, detail from mid-14th century casket panel

Tristan was a Cornish knight who served Mark of Cornwall and one of the leading characters in the legend of Tristan and Iseult. King Mark who ruled Kernow (Cornwall) in the early 6th century sent his nephew Tristan to Ireland to bring Iseult the Fair to marry her. However, Tristan and Iseult unwittingly ingested a love potion on their way to Cornwall and fell madly in love. The story and the character of Tristan greatly vary from poet to poet but the overall structure remains virtually the same. According to some scholars the legend of Tristan and Iseult also greatly influenced Sir Thomas Malory’s Arthurian romance of Lancelot and Guinevere.

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