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Ywain

The meaning of «ywain»

Sir Ywain /ɪˈweɪn/, also known as Yvain, Owain, Uwain(e), Ewaine, Iwain, Iwein, Ivain, Ivan,[1] etc., is a Knight of the Round Table in Arthurian legend, wherein he is often the son of King Urien of Gorre and the sorceress Morgan le Fay. The historical Owain mab Urien, on whom the literary character is based, was the king of Rheged in Great Britain during the late 6th century.

Yvain was one of the earliest characters associated with King Arthur. He was also one of the most popular, starring in Chrétien de Troyes' late-12th-century Yvain, the Knight of the Lion and appearing prominently in many later accounts, often accompanied by his fierce pet lion. He remains Urien's son in virtually all literature in which he appears, whereas other characters in Arthurian legend based on historical figures usually lost their original familial connections in romance literature.

Ywain (Yvain) takes his name from Owain mab Urien, a historical figure of the 6th-century kingdom of Rheged at the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain. His name was recorded in the bardic tradition of Taliesin and became a legendary character in the Welsh Triads, where his father, sister, horse and personal bard are all acclaimed but his wife Penarwan is named one of the "Three Faithless Wives of Britain", along with her sister Esyllt (Iseult, Tristan's love).

Yvain has been first mentioned in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae c. 1136, where he is only mentioned in passing, as succeeding his uncle, Auguselus (Angusel), King of Albany (northern Scotland). The settlers of Brittany brought much of their insular British culture when they came to the continent, and in the 12th century, updated versions of Breton lais and stories became popular with French audiences.

The French poet Chrétien de Troyes wrote the romance Yvain, the Knight of the Lion at the same time he was working on Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart during the 1170s. In it, Yvain seeks to avenge his cousin Calogrenant who had been defeated by an otherworldly knight beside a magical storm-making fountain in the forest of Brocéliande. Yvain defeats the knight, Esclados, and falls in love with his widow Laudine. With the aid of Laudine's servant Lunete, Yvain wins his lady and marries her, but his cousin Gawain convinces him to embark on chivalric adventure. Yvain's wife assents but demands he return after a set period of time, but he becomes so enthralled in his knightly exploits that he forgets his lady, and she bars him from returning. Yvain goes mad with grief and lives naked in the woods (probably the earliest instance of a hero's mental illness in French literature, which later became a popular motif[2]), but eventually is cured by Morgan and decides to win back his love. A lion he rescues from a dragon proves to be a loyal companion and a symbol of knightly virtue, and helps him complete his quest, which includes defeating the giant Harpins and two demons. In the end, Laudine, rescued from the stake, allows him and his lion to return to her fortress.

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