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~ Camelot ~

~ Morgan Le Fay ~

The following information on Morgan Le Fay is quoted from Rohan Coghlan's The Encyclopaedia of Arthurian Legends!

Morgan Le fay (the fairy), Arthur's half-sister. In the Vita Merlini, Merlin tells Taliesin that, after Camlann, they took Arthur to the Isle of Apples, presided by Morgan, the chief of the nine sisters, including Moronoe, Mazoe, Gliten, Glinonea, Cliton, Tyronoe and Thitis. There is nothing here to indicate she was Arthur's sister. It does say, however, that she could fly with wings and change her shape. In Malory, she was the child of Igraine's first marriage, but both the Vulgate Merlin and the Huth-Merlin maker her Arthur's neice, the daughter of Lot. She became a lady-in-waiting to Guinevere and fell in love with Arthur's nephew, Guiomar, but Guinrvere parted them. She learned much of her magic from Merlin. She married Urien and was the mother of Owain. She tried unsuccessfully to have Arthur killed by her lover, Accolon of Gaul. She fell in love with Lancelot and captured him, but he escaped. In Malory, she was one of the queens who bore Arthur off on a barge after his final battle.

Morgan is almost certainly the goddess Modron(earlier Matrona), who was thought to have married the historical Urien of Rheged and to have borne him Owain and Morfudd. Indeed, Giraldus Cambrensis refers to Morgan as a dea phantastica(imaginary goddess). Although localised in time in Arthur's reign, romancers were sometimes aware that she existed in earlier times, for example in the Roman de Troie (c.1160) she is alive at the time of the Trojan War, while the romance Perceforest has her alive in early Britain.

The author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight also seems to realise her originally divine status, calling her 'Morgan the goddess' Her name may have changed from Modron to Morgan in Brittany where there was a belief in a class of water-fairies called Morgans or Mari-Morgans. They also believed in one particular Morgan identified as Dahut or Ahes who caused the destruction of the city of Ys. It is now difficult, if not impossible, to argue that Morgan was derived from the Irish Goddess, the Morrigan.

In the Straites of Messina, a mirage is sometimes seen which is associated with Morgan: it is called, in Italian, Fata Morgana, in French le Chateau de Morgan Le Fee. Italian romance gives Morgan a daughter, Pulzella Gaia, the lover of Gawain. In Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, Morgan has two sisters, Alcina and Logistilla. The poet Torquato Tasso(1544-95) endows her tiwht three daughters, Morganetta, Nivetta and Carvilla. The Vita di Merlino tells is that she is the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Tintagel, while Li Jus Adan(thirteenth century) says she had companions named Maglore and Arsile.