What is the Grail - a stone, a chalice, or an enduring idea? Why have men and women sought after and struggled over it for centuries? What does it mean for us today?
This riveting account of the Grail's secret history examines the mysterious relic's meaning and purpose. It looks at popular misconceptions and traces the Grail's tale from the earliest foreshadowings in Greek and Vedic myth, through the Arthurian cycles of the Middle Ages and Christian literature to theories of the present day.
Fictional accounts of the Grail top best seller lists around the world, but the real truth is far more exciting. This entertaining and informative book seeks to trace the evolution of the Grail myth from the prehistoric religious beliefs of our distant ancestors to the present day.
Historian and Grail scholar John Matthews shows how the ideas of sacred vessels in ancient creation tales flowed into the visionary writings of the Celts. Through them, the Grail idea entered the great melting pot of Western mysticism and Christian theology that produced the first stories featuring the Grail in a form that we recognize today.
He explains in fascinating detail how the Arthurian legends, including tales of the chalice at Camelot and the adventures and quests of the knights, became the chief carriers of the myth during the Middle Ages. Next, he considers how the idea of the Grail found fresh inspiration from the East as Crusaders came into contact with Islamic culture.
From the medieval secret societies that were believed to be the guardians of the Grail's secrets to contemporary theories about the chalice as a symbol of the feminine mysteries, this compelling book shows how the Grail has continued to evolve, and how it provides new meaning for each generation.
About the Author
John Matthews is author of over 80 books on Grail studies, Arthurian legends, Celtic and world folklore. Much in demand as a speaker in Europe and America, he has taught in London, Oxford, New York and Seattle. Recently, he served as historical advisor to the film "King Arthur."
A Secret History
Barron's Educational Series
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