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  Vortigern Studies > Vortigern > Art and literature

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Vortigern Studies has the internet's most comprehensive treatment of Britain's history from the end of the Roman era to Arthurian times. Edited by Robert M. Vermaat, this unique website focuses primarily on the person of Vortigern and the enigmatic earthwork called Wansdyke. It features narrative histories, original source documents and important texts, extensive bibliographies, reading lists, informative articles by guest writers, maps, polls and more.

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Art and Literature

Vortigern is almost unknown in art when compared to, shall we say, Merlin or Arthur. But there are still some few works of art in which he appears, such as in medieval book illuminations, poetry and plays. We see Vortigern, always in the company of the young Merlin, Hengist or Horsa, acting out his dramatic part of Arthurian legend.

Later there are (few) paintings, mostly on the same subject, the Dinas Emrys legend. Literature has dealt even worse with this man, for his appearance in books is almost always a very brief one, paving the way for Merlin and eventually Arthur.

The lowest point (but was it?) was reached when a forged Sheakespeare-play about Vortigern was performed but once..

The animated image is based on a famous illustration from an edition of Peter of Langtoft's Chronicle (1307). British Library MS Royal 20 A II, folio 3R.

Current Contents:

Images

  • Vergilius, discussion of possibly fifth-century illustrations.
  • Illumination 1, 'The youthful and precocious Merlin reads his prophecies to Vortigern', 13th century.
  • Illumination 2, 'Vortigern burns within his castle', 14th century.
  • Illumination 3, 'Ambros prophesies to Vortigern', 15th century.
  • Illumination 4, 'Vortigern and his tower'.
  • Painting 1: Vortigern and Rowena, 1793.
  • Engraving 1: Vortigern and Rowena, c. 1868. march

Poems

Plays

Prose

  • Prose 1, excerpt from Prose Merlin.

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