- Artegal, Arthegal, Arthgallo, Artegall [ME]:
- Son of Gorlois by blood
(Edmund Spenser, Faerie Queene, III, iii), but taken away to fairy land to be groomed into a knight of justice.
Spenser apparently borrowed the name from Arthgallo [L.], a repentant British king in Geoffrey of Monmouth's HRB III, xvii.
So perhaps the sword's name (which means "golden sword" as explained below) was also inspired by the name of the sword that Julius Caesar left behind when he attempted to conquer Britain, i.e. ⇒"Yellow Death" (HRB IV, iv.)
I have since learned that Geoffrey also mentions another Artegal, an earl of Warwick, who showed up to celebrate Whitsuntide at King Arthur's court. Detailed info is given in a sidebar below.
[etymology < Gk. Chrysaor Χρυσαωρ "golden sword", name of a fantastical being born of Medusa's severed neck-stump; sibling of Pegasus.
Association with the "golden sword" of Judas Maccabeus has also been suggested, but
there is a difficulty there in that Greek word for "sword" in 2 Maccabees 15:15 is romphaia and not aor.
- The sword of Artegal, personification of Justice, and a hero of the English Romance, The Faerie Queen. The sword once belonged to Jove and was made of adamant.
It is also told that Artegal owned Achilles' arms. In fact the golden armor he wore was incribed in ancient writing "Achilles armes, which Arthegall did win."
(FQ, III, ii).
§ Edmund Spenser 1552?-1599. The Faerie Queen (1590).
The "steely brand" was given to Artegal (Artegal, Arthegal, Arthgallo, Artegall
) by the lady Astræa, who raised him in the ways of justice since an infant *1
It once belonged to Jove (Jupiter), and used in the war against the Titans (and perhaps the gigantomachia as well). It was tempered from the strongest adamant
Thus she him trayned, and thus she him taught,
In all the skill of deeming wrong and right,
the ripenesse of mans yeares he raught*
That euen wilde beasts did feare his awfull sight,
And men admyr'd his ouerruling might;
Ne any liu'd on ground, that durst withstand*
His dreadfull heast*
, much lesse him match in fight,
Or bide the horror of his wreakfull*
When so he list*
in wrath lift vp his steely brand.
Which steely brand, to make him dreaded more,
She gaue vnto him, gotten by her slight
And earnest search, where it was kept in store
In Ioues eternall house, vnwist of wight*
Since he himselfe it vs'd*
in that great fight
Against the Titans, that whylome*
Gainst highest heauen; Chrysaor
it was hight;
Chrysaor that all other swords excelled,
in that same day, when Ioue those Gyants quelled.
For of most perfect metall it was made,
Tempred with Adamant amongst the same,
And garnisht all with gold vpon the blade
In goodly wise, whereof it tooke his name,
And was of no lesse vertue, then*
For there no substance was so firme and hard,
But it would pierce or cleaue, where so it came;
Ne any armour could his dint*
But wheresoeuer it did light*
, it throughly shard.*
Faerie Queene Book V, Canto 1, str.7-9
* No one living on earth dared withstand
* heast (hest) = command
* wished to, intended to.
* In Jove's eternal house unknown to men
* once upon a time
* blow, strike * guard, protect
* land * break into fragments
Artegal later has chance to use his weapon when he
hears of a Saracen named Pollente, who keeps guard of a bridge and forbids passage by
all comers, yet exacts a toll from them. The bridge is rigged with traps which can be
sprung to cause its traveler to fall beneath into the treacherous river.
When Artegal approaches, a "villaine. . with scull all raw
" (the bald-headed groom who served the Saracen) came up and demanded "passage money" but
Artegal answers, "Loe there thy hire
(Look, here is your payment)" and gives him a stroke that kills him.
The angered pagan and Artegal fought mounted on their horses in the middle of the bridge, and when the trap went off, both of them fell in the water.
Even though the Saracen and his horse were expert swimmers, Artegal
gripped the Saracen by his iron collar and nearly burst the windpipe. So in a while, Artegal was holding better breath, and just as the Saracen tried to crawl up on the brink of land:
With bright Chrysaor in his cruell hand,
That as his head he gan a litle reare
Aboue the brincke, to tread vpon the land,
He smote it off, that tumbling on the strand
—Book V, canto 2
Chrysaor, from John Hamilton Mortimer 1740-1779, "Sir Arthegal, the Knight of Justice, with Talus, the Iron Man " exhibited 1778|
§ On Arthegal the Earl of Warwick in Geoffrey's HRB
In the edition I have at hand, this figure is mentioned as:
".. Arthgal of Carguet, that is also called Warguit"
— Sebatian Evans tr.,
The Histories of the Kings of Britain, IX, xiii, p.169
"..Arthgal Cargueitensis, quae Warguit appellatur.." [L.]
— Albert Schulz [=San-Marte] ed., Gottfried's von Monmouth, Historia Regum Britanniae,.. und Brut Tysylio
In Lewis Thorpe's translation the latter figure is called "Artgualchar
, Earl of Guerensis, which is now called Warwick"
(Thorpe sourced the Latin text in Acton Griscom's 1929 ed. of HRB
, based on
Cambridge U. Lib. ms. 1706).
In Wace's Brut
, he is Argal de Waruic
(Ivor Arnold ed., Le Roman de Brut de Wace
; cited by Flutre's Table des noms..
) corresponding to Latin text "Arthgal Cargueirensis, quae nunc Warewic appellatur..
" (ed. Edmond Faral).