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Re: Anthony Rivers
Posted by: Jamie Smith (ID *****2167) Date: March 17, 2005 at 22:51:10
In Reply to: Anthony Rivers by Travis Antioch-Lusignan-Rivers of 1524

As a student of the history of literature especially Arthurian, I can tell you something really fascinating about Lord Anthony Rivers that very few people know. He was the model for Sir Launcelot in "Le Morte D'Arthur" by Sir Thomas Malory. That is, things that were well known about him by the English public of the time, were incorporated into the character in the novel--specifically for example his famous joust against the Bastard of Burgundy which took place in front of King Edward the Fourth, was barely altered in terms of dialogue and costume and detail except to make Anthony Rivers Sir Launcelot and Edward into King Arthur;also, the incident of the ladies accosting Launcelot after church and tying a rose on his thigh was taken from life: a real event in Rivers'. In fact, his sister Queen Elizabeth Rivers served Malory as his model for Guenevere--particularly in details as to costume and the founding of the Order of the Bath by her husband. But it goes even deeper than that: there were two MSs (manuscripts) of "Le Morte" delivered to Caxton Press. Both were hand-delivered by our Anthony Rivers. The 1st had contained multiple-negation or what people like to call "double negatives" and Queen Elizabeth Rivers sent a note to the author "editing" his grammar. Malory complied and his re-write was also hand-delivered to Caxton by Anthony Rivers. What is more, London Gaol (Jail) records show that Anthony's younger brother, Richard Rivers, was periodically in the equivalent of "night court" for drunkeness in public with Sir Thomas Malory. These contacts with the Rivers family don't stop there but are scattered throughout Malory's history. So why is this unknown outside the history of literature? Because someone with a different axe to grind published a book based on the premise that Malory had been a vassal of the Warwick(Neville) family and therefore "must" have based his characters on members of his overlord's family. A highly speculative thesis then ensues to jam members of the Warwicks--such as Cecily Neville--into the appropriate parts. An unfounded story that Malory's MSs were delivered by "two monks" is repeated in this travesty of scholarship and thus the true story of the Rivers family knowing Malory was covered up. This would make someone a wonderful doctorate or perhaps a book. The true story is more fascinating: although Malory (born about 1400) was a tenant/vassal of Warwick, he was stationed or garrisoned at the castle of Rouen during the English occupation of France--known as "Lancastrian France"--and was the same age, approximately seventeen to nineteen, as both the French-born duchess of the castle and Joan of Arc who spent her last two years on trial there. The young duchess and the young Thomas Malory both witnessed Joan of Arc's burning in the castle courtyard at age nineteen and their association dated from that time. The duchess later (on her 2nd marriage) became the mother of Anthony Rivers. It had actually been her brother, Jean of Luxembourg, who had arrested Joan of Arc and had brought her in chains to Rouen. Only the most banal scholars repeat the tired theory that Malory's "auncyent ffrenche bookes"--i.e., ancient French books--were either a fabrication of his or else merely Froissart. Froissart, was the most widely read book in Europe at the time and Malory would hardly have considered trying to pass it off as "ancient". Nor could it be a fabrication, as details in "Le Morte" regarding the ancient Lake of Avalon turned out to be true when Katherine Maltwood flew her biplane over the Glastonbury area in 1921 and was able to demonstrate with aerial photography. No way could Malory have known such things in the fifteenth century without an ancient source and, while some of those details were indeed revealed in "The High History of the Holy Grail" still others were revealed nowhere in any published source. Jacquetta Rivers, Anthony's French-born mother, is the likeliest candidate to have had access to such knowledge and her children were among the few to have remained friendly to the 69 or 70 year old man during the last year or two of his life.

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