The literary and cultural phenomenon that goes under the name Legend of the Grail, or Matter of Britain, or Search for the Grail, underwent a phase of sudden success in the years and centuries after 1190.

At that year approximately (but the dates are a serious problem), appeared Perceval, by Chretien de Troyes, a long poem in verse, unfinished, which recounts the first glimpse of the Grail and the subsequent research by knights of the court of King Arthur.

This was followed by a German author, Wolfram von Eschenbach, who contested the French version, rewriting and supplementing it with the title of Parzival.

Another French poet, Robert de Boron, shortly after, wrote on the theme of the Grail, and introduced the concept of its sacredness, in combination with the chalice of the Last Supper and in view of the container in which it was collected the blood of Christ.

Another author of the clerical area, probably a Cistercian, reworked the material, known as La Queste du Saint Graal, and characterized in a definitely religious way.

In short, the Central European culture took hold of the subject and flourished revisions, additions, rewrites, interpretations of which was seized also the cleric environment.

The problem becomes progressively more complicated contours.

Between the folds of the Matter of Grail nested complex issues, literary, historical, mystical, esoteric, nationalistic, ... and it became a body boundless and uncontrollable, in the shadow of which too many, vented their impulses and their repression, projecting on the Grail hopes, illusions, frustrations, ...


The legend, however, as it went consolidated, had all the characteristics to be born at the right time.

He served in general terms the culture of chivalry, helping to monitor, manage to ennoble and succeed every time the problem of trying to steer youth and violent impulses of the time, minimizing heel, abuse, delinquency and unnecessary disturbances to the process formation of states, nationalities, empires, and ecclesiastical structures.

He served with the complex culture of the Crusades, offering a precise Cavalry goal, shifting out of the way the ambitions of small vassals, but also trying not to completely lose contact, the interests of power and a minimum area of the Near East, where Turks and Mongols also created new pressures and worrying.

It served to create another mythological pole, Breton, to counter the Charlemagne of the Franks, in the uncertain steps of the lords and their nationalities were taking shape.

Also created an aura entirely appropriate to the evocative relics of research, significant source of attraction for the masses, to churches and shrines, while distracting from far more serious problem of the inadequacy of the clergy, this emerging situation in those days.

This search for the Grail, still in place in 2000, is in fact a story of eternal pursuit of the unattainable: Utopia, of course, but combined with social and cultural benefits.

But someone, soon or later, would have had doubts, he would pose questions and have searched for answers.


A reading of the first sources, on the Grail and its surroundings, can easily verify that everything that they told us for eight centuries is wrong.

It is difficult for a non-expert, believe the incredible confusion that reigns in this area. Authors of all kinds and of every nation have written incredible amounts of fantasies about the Round Table on Arthur and his companions, adding spicy details and bogus.

Freely getting into this endless amount of text, ignoring the dates, the logical sequence, the bad copies and referees, commentators of all time showed what they wanted to prove. Also false.


Reviewing and clarifying the arguments set out in the light of done researches, we can again summarize the phases of the question Grail.

1. The narrative core of the saga of the Grail stems from a Persian text. Parsi-val is its signal more symbolic.

2. This text, full of the exploits of a kind and chivalrous world (the Persian) highly developed and mature, comes to the west in early 1100.

3. Among the possible vectors of cultural transmission, is logical to think that has a fundamental role the maritime republic of Pisa. The network of influence that it controlled at that particular moment in history (from the east to navigation fondachi in Arno, in the presence of Chiusdino control of the nautical bypass of the Via Francigena) makes it as likely responsible for the transit from the East Cultural , to Tuscany, to Aquitaine.

4. This text combines, perhaps accidentally, in his own journey through the streets of European culture, the story of the Tuscan San Galgano, a story full of meanings and symbols, ethical, religious and chivalric.

5. Chretien and Wolfram appropriate it, realizing the great fascination that these stories can have on a nascent European courteous. They wrote Perceval and Parsifal.

6. Even the Cistercians, who at that time covering Europe a vital cultural role, perceive the strength of both message (Galgano and Grail) and the importance that they could take during the development of social systems of that time. More or less consciously tey made their own the two events, the historical Galgano and the legendary Persian origin, reducing them to a cultural synthesis and flying in the heart of Europe.

The Grail

The unbelievable story of the Grail


Libri di Mario Moiraghi
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