King Lot

Lot or Loth is king of Lothian, Orkney, and sometimes Norway in the Arthurian legend. He is King Arthur's brother-in-law and early enemy. The character is possibly derived from a historical personage.

Lot appears in all cyclical Arthurian literature from Geoffrey of Monmouth's "Historia Regum Britanniae" on, and his story is remarkably consistent. After Uther Pendragon marries Igraine, he weds her eldest daughter Morgause (also called Anna) to Lot. Their marriage produces a number of sons, namely Gawain, Agravain, Gaheris, Gareth, and in earlier literature, Mordred as well. Early in Arthur's reign Lot and other kings oppose him, though his sons object. After initial battles Arthur defeats the rebels decisively and incorporates their lands.

In the Vulgate Cycle and Geoffrey of Monmouth, Lot and the young king are reconciled after the final battle and Lot enthusiastically joins his brother-in-law's service. Indeed, Lot appears in many romances as Arthur's staunch ally. In the Post-Vulgate and Thomas Malory's "Le Morte d'Arthur" however, Lot is killed during the last battle by King Pellinore, sparking a blood feud between Lot's kin and Pellinore's.

The Welsh know Lot by a variety of names. Sometimes he is called Lot Luwddoc (Lot of the Host), elsewhere he is Llew ap Cynfarch. In "Culhwch and Olwen" Gwalchmai (Gawain) is son of Gwyar, who may be either his mother or his father. In Geoffrey Lot is said to be brother of Urien Rheged and Auguselus of Scotland. His name is probably derived from his kingdom (Lothian), like Corin of Cornwall and other characters from Geoffrey of Monmouth. Thorfinn Skull-Splitter, a Norse king of Orkney in the 10th century, had a son named Ljot, which may have led to the connection of a Lothian king to Orkney and Norway. According to the local tradition of Caithness, across the Pentland Firth from the Orkney islands, a standing stone called the Stone Lud was erected to mark the grave of Ljot, son of Thofinn Skull-Splitter, after he died from the wounds of a battle in Caithness.

Lot was said to descend from Catuvellauni chief Caractacus of Iron Age Britain. As some suggest it is possible Lot was a late incarnation of the British god/hero Lludd Llaw Eraint, though there is little remaining similarity between the characters beyond the names.

In Scottish folklore the semi-legendary King Lot (Leudonus) was a ruler of the Gododdin, based at Traprain Law. In the "Life" of Saint Mungo (Kentigern), the legendary founder of Glasgow, Lot is the father of Mungo's mother Theneva.

ee also

*List of Arthurian characters
*Stone Lud

External links

* [http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/bios/lot.html Early British Kingdoms entry on Lot of Lothian]
* [http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/bios/lotgn.html Early British Kingdoms entry on Lot Luwddoc]

References

*"Celtic Myths and Legends", Charles Squire (1912) ISBN 0-7525-2676-6


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