Siege Diaries 7/10/2020

And the SMASH entries continue…..

#53 – Research and write a short (less than a page) essay on Sir Morien of the Round Table. Upload it here, with links and photos, if you have them.

Who was Sir Morien?

The twelfth and thirteenth centuries were fertile times for Arthurian literature, which spread contemporaneously with the rise of the role of the knight in medieval society and the associated interest in chivalric literature.  This is the period in which the Round Table grew to encompass not just a few of Arthur’s closest associates, but a wide variety of knights who often owned their own stories and sagas.  One of these is Sir Morien, the son of Aglovale (brother of Percival and Lamorak) and a Moorish princess.  Morien is the only Knight of the Round Table who is described as having dark skin.  His name may derive from his Moorish heritage.

Sir Morien’s tale is told in a Middle Dutch romance dating to the 13th century.  Sir Aglovale meets a Moorish princess while searching for Sir Lancelot. They are betrothed, but he leaves before they can marry.  Years later, while Sir Gawain and Sir Lancelot are out searching for Sir Percival, they come across the young Morien, who apparently has been challenging knights to either answer a question or to fight him.  Sir Lancelot is insulted, and they fight, but Morien is equal to the task.  Finally Sir Gawain, realizing they had treated Morien discourteously, manages to get Lancelot to stand down, and finally they learn that Morien’s question is regarding finding his father, Sir Aglovale.   Morien tells them the story of his birth, and they are moved and promise to help him.  The three go through a series of adventures before returning to Court, where Morien meets his father and convinces him to come back with him to marry his mother and to reclaim the lands that rightfully belong to her.  As the tale ends, he is given the title of Sir for the first time, recognizing that through his deeds he has become a knight.

How do we know Morien is a Black man?   He is explicity described as such:   “He was all black, even as I tell ye: his head, his body, and his hands were all black, saving only his teeth. His shield and his armour were even those of a Moor, and black as a raven…

Had they not heard him call upon God no man had dared face him, deeming that he was the devil or one of his fellows out of hell, for that his steed was so great, and he was taller even than Sir Lancelot, and black withal, as I said afore…” 

Sources:  (the translated text of Morien’s story)


#59 – Design heraldry for your pet and photograph them displaying it.

Furiosa the Tri-pawed bears Gules, a lion’s jamb bendwise argent.


66 – Make a bow and arrow out of something modern in your house (like a ruler or a clothes hanger) and shoot it at a target. Post a video of your successful shot!

I wasn’t able to post the video for this one, so here are a couple of screen shots.  The bow was made with PVC pipe and the string from linen twill tape.  The arrow was a dowel.  And I successfully dispatched the killer bunny.

#68 – Find five pieces of period art, featuring people of colour. Post the photos here (in a single comment, please, to save confusion…).

#69 – We’re missing our friends terribly! Draw a trade map from your best friend’s house to yours. Redact any modern landmarks, please.