Whoosh! Issue 17 - February 1998

IAXS project #416
By Brian Lashmar
Copyright © 1998 held by author
2851 words

The Degrees of Separation (04-06)
Medieval Mythology and Literature (07-11)
The Trojan Cycle (12-21)
     Dares Phrygius (14)
     Dictys Cretensis (15-18)
     Benoit de Sainte-Maure (19-21)
The Carolinian Cycle (22-32)
     The Song of Roland (24-29)
     Huon of Bordeaux (30-32)
The Arthurian Cycle (33)
Chronology (34)
Provenance (35-43)
Xena and Morgan (44)
Conclusions (45-49)

On Linking Caesar and Xena

Psst...your codpiece is loose.

Xena and Caesar first met in DESTINY.

[01] The purpose of this paper will be to explore the significance of linking Xena with Julius Caesar. We will also explore the use or misuse of classical mythology, history, and chronology as they pertain to the above mentioned subject.

[02] Much has been written concerning the fact that Xena: Warrior Princess does not adhere to the historical timeline nor to historical or mythological accuracy. We will explore this in the context of Xena: Warrior Princess and the influence that Medieval literature and mythology may have had on the show. We will also explore the concept of "The Degrees of Separation" as they pertain to the show. We will also explore the concept of "Providance" as it pertains to both true and fabricated myth.

[03] While reading the May, 1997 issue of "Yahoo" interview with Lucy Lawless, I was intrigued by Ms. Lawless' statement: "We have Julius Caesar one week and Jesus Christ the next." In the same article it is reported that Ms. Lawless made the following statement on the David Letterman show: "Xena is... a pre-Mycenaean girl who traverses the time lines." We will also discuss these two statements as they pertain to the paper.

The Degrees of Separation

[04] The Degrees of Separation simply means that everyone in the world is connected to everyone else in the world by a link of associations. For example: as a child I was introduced to the Prime Minister during a fund raising rally. The Prime Minister knew the Queen; therefore, there is one degree of separation between myself and the Queen: Myself - Prime Minister - Queen Elizabeth.

[05] This concept also works in a historical context. For example, the Queen's late father, King George VI, knew his great grandmother Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria knew the Duke of Wellington. Therefore, there are two degrees of separation between Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Wellington: Queen Elizabeth - King George - Queen Victoria - Duke of Wellington.

[06] The Duke was born in 1769, therefore the degrees of separation span a time period of 228 years (1769 - 1997). We can also say that the chain of association is four links long.

Medieval Mythology and Literature

[07] It has been stated that the four great pillars of Medieval myth are: the Arthurian Cycle, the Carolinian Cycle, the Alexandrian Cycle, and the Trojan Cycle. Also, in Medieval myth, both Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great are considered to be two of the Nine Worthies.

[08] It is reasonable to expect that men of the historical magnitude of Caesar and Alexander would have whole mythologies built around them. To the Medieval mind, both men were supermen of earth-shattering significance. During the Middle Ages, Alexander was seen as a prophet by the Muslims, while the Christians made him a saint. It was said that he even ascended into heaven as did Jesus and Mary. Alexander was considered to be the perfect Knight by the Medieval story tellers. Alexander the Great was considered to be the grandson of Morgan le Fay in the Medieval Mythology.

[09] Julius Caesar was considered to be the perfect war captain by the Medieval mind. The story tellers of the time incorporated Caesar into their mythology by making him the son of the Fairy Queen Brunehaut, and also the husband of Morgan le Fay. The Fairy King Oberon was their son.

[10] Please note that there is one degree of separation between Xena and Morgan, and Xena and Oberon: Xena - Caesar - Morgan; Xena - Caesar - Oberon.

[11] There are two degrees of separation between Xena and Alexander: Xena - Caesar - Morgan - Alexander.

The Trojan Cycle

Gee, Wilbur, those greek guys are going to do what inside me?

We saw the XENA version of the Trojan Horse in BEWARE OF GREEKS BEARING GIFTS.

[12] Much of what we in the 1990's know of Greek Mythology and the Trojan War we have learned from one man - that man is Homer. Most of the ancient legends are based on his works, and we have no real way of proving or disproving these stories.

[13] In the Middle Ages, Homer was considered to be a fraud. The two major Medieval sources of the Trojan Wars were Dares Phrygius and Dictys Cretensis.

Dares Phrygius

[14] Dares Phrygius was a Trojan priest of Hephaestus who wrote an eye witness account of the Trojan War. His scrolls were said to be found in the 5th century A.D. by Cornelius Nepos who translated them into Latin.

Dictys Cretensis

[15] Dictys Cretensis was said to be a friend of Idomeneus. During the Trojan War, he kept a diary written in Phoenician characters containing another eye witness account of the war. It was said that the scrolls were found in the 3rd century A.D. and that Nero ordered that they be translated into Greek. Lucius Septimius made a Latin translation based on the Greek translation in the 4th century A.D.

[16] Modern scholars consider both accounts to be fabrications -- probably perpetrated by the translators.

[17] The Medieval scholars considered these two sources to be genuine, and along with the works of Ovid and Virgil were the foundation on which the Medieval view of Mycenaean Greece was based and literally millions of lines of poetry were written during the Middle Ages based on these four authors.

[18] Please note that I said Trojan Wars. In the Medieval Tradition, there were two Trojan Wars. In the first War Hercules leads an army against Troy and destroys the city. Piram is carried off as a child into a life of exile. Piram returns to Troy as a young man and rebuilds the city. This is the city that the Greeks destroy in Homer's version.

Benoit de Sainte-Maure

[19] Benoit de Sainte-Maure was a French writer who lived in the mid-12th century. Two of his most famous poems were: "The Roman de Troie" and "The Roman de Thebes". Benoit is credited with being first to place the ancient stories within a Medieval context. In the Benoit poems, the Greek and Trojan warriors became knights with Medieval views of love, war, and chivalry. They dressed in Medieval clothing and they had Medieval manners. The women were also turned into Medieval Ladies. Much of what we know of the Legend of Troilus and Cressida originated in the Benoit poems.

[20] Interestingly enough, Morgan le Fay appears in the "Roman de Troie" as Hector's lover. She gives Hector a magnificent war horse named Galatae. So we can note that both Xena and Morgan were at Troy during the war.

[21] Also, most Medieval listeners viewed the Trojan version of events as the correct version. This stems from the fact that many Medieval nations were thought to have been founded by Trojan refugees.

The Carolinian Cycle

[22] The deeds of Charlemagne and his knights accounted for hundreds of stories during the Middle Ages and a rich folklore was developed based on the stories. The most famous story to come out of the Carolinian Cycle was the Chanson de Gestes "The Song of Roland"

[23] In the poem, Charlemagne becomes a patriarch of biblical proportions even attaining an age of several hundred years old. Roland becomes the pure perfect Christian warrior, and the Battle of Roncevaux becomes the decisive turning point in the battle against Islam. None of it is true of course.

The Song of Roland

[24] We first hear of "The Song of Roland" in 1066 when William of Normandy ordered his minstrel to sing it before his troops on the eve of the Battle of Hastings. The Battle of Roncevaux took place in 778 A.D. There is a time span of 278 years between the two events. So, in only 278 years, Roland moves from the realm of history into the realm of pure mythology.

[25] Please note that we stated that there were two degrees of separation between Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Wellington spanning 228 years. In 278 years, the historical Roland became nothing more than a footnote in a history paper while the Roland of legend has become a hero of such epic proportions that thousands of lines of poetry have been dedicated to him during the last 1200 years.

[26] During the Battle of Roncevaux, Roland and the Twelve Peers die. These included Ogier the Dane. The "Song of Ogier the Dane" was written to celebrate this great warrior's deeds before he fought beside Roland at Roncevaux.

[27] In the song, we find that Ogier and Morgan le Fay were lovers. It is Morgan who arms Ogier and sends him off to save France from the Islamic threat.

[28] One of the last of the Chanson de Gestes to be written was "The Song of Huon of Bordeaux". This work was also the basis for the prose work "Oberon" and "The Song of Esclairmonde". I will treat these three works as one continuous work.

[29] In this poem we are introduced to the Fairy King Oberon, who is the son of Julius Caesar and Morgan le Fay, and who also is a cousin of Jesus.

Huon of Bordeaux

[30] In the story Huon of Bordeaux, Huon is sent on a quest by Charlemagne. Along the way, Huon is befriended by Oberon the Fairy King. Oberon helps Huon to fulfill the requirements of the quest and he also helps Huon win the hand of Esclairmonde. Oberon decides that he wishes to enter Heaven where he has been promised the seat at the right hand of Jesus. There are two versions of the story, in one version, Oberon dies in his sleep, and Jesus carries him into Heaven; and in the other version, the gates of Heaven open, and the living Oberon enters.

[31] Oberon has decreed that Huon will succeed him as King of Faerie and he gives Huon his own immortality, but after Oberon is gone, King Arthur (who is residing in Avalon) demands that he be made king instead of Huon. Arthur's basis for this is that since Esclairmonde is not immortal, the residents of Faerie need not obey Huon.

[32] Morgan le Fay takes Esclairmonde to the Earthly Paradise and she asks Jesus to make Esclairmonde immortal. Jesus comes from Heaven and takes Esclairmonde to the Fountain of Youth and bathes her in the waters. Esclairmonde is made immortal and Huon is confirmed as King of Faerie.

The Arthurian Cycle

Taken from the Bakersfield print of Excalibur!

The extremely vivacious Hellen Mirren portrayed Morgan le Fay in John Boorman's 1981 Arthurian epic EXCALIBUR.

[33] Morgan le Fay is the half sister of King Arthur. She is the daughter of Ygraine of Cornwall, and she is thought to have been born in about the year 500 A.D. There are various legends concerning Morgan and most of them conflict with each other. In some legends she is good while in others she is evil. The earliest written account of her is in the "Roman de Troie" while the "Chanson d'Esclairmonde" is one of the last accounts of her until relatively modern times.


[34] I shall now try to bring some chronological order to this paper:

Xena is thought to have lived around 1200-1300 B.C.E. around the time of the Trojan Wars.

Alexander the Great lived from 356 B.C.E. to 323 B.C.E.

Julius Caesar lived from 102 B.C.E. to 44 B.C.E.

Morgan le Fay is thought to be born around 500 C.E.

Roland and Ogier died at Roncevaux in 778 C.E.


[35] The concept of provenance basically means that there must be substantial evidence that a historical object is true or not true. When we apply this concept to mythology, we are trying to prove whether a story is true folklore or whether it has been fabricated. We try to provide provenance with the aid of cross referencing the historical and mythological record. We also provide it by studying the language of the literature to determine age, by studying the world view of the literature to see if it is in keeping with the prevalent views of the time, and by using the material and archaeological record to aid in our search.

[36] Notice that both Cornelius Nepos and Lucius Septimius both used rediscovered scrolls to give provenance to their fabrications. Also notice that we give Homer a sense of provenance for no other reason than that his is the oldest source. This does not prove that he is an accurate source. This is seen as provenance by default.

[37] By cross-referencing the mythological data we find that the stories concerning Morgan and Oberon are based on true folklore and not the fabrication of the Medieval writers -- this does not mean that there are not some fabricated elements in the story, only that they are minor.

[38] By cross-referencing the historical data with the mythological data as in the case of "The Song of Roland", we find that the mythological data is a total fabrication. Interestingly enough, the sheer age of the poem gives it its own sense of provenance.

[39] In Xena: Warrior Princess we find that provenance is used as a literary device to enhance the sense of reality in the show. We see this in the use of the Xena Scrolls. We also see it in the cross-referencing of the Xena story with the Hercules legends.

[40] We also find that by studying the Medieval mythological record we see that the producers and writers of Xena: Warrior Princess are not breaking the rules of history, mythology, and chronology. In fact, they are following time-honoured traditions that have probably been around as long as mythology has been around.

[41] We also find that history can turn into pure mythology in a relatively short period of time. Thus, we find that a man such as Caesar is as much of a mythological figure as he is a historical one.

[42] Also, by using the concept of the "Degrees of separation" we can link Xena to the major characters in the four pillars of Medieval Mythology:

Xena - Caesar - Morgan
Xena - Caesar - Oberon
Xena - Caesar - Morgan - Alexander
Xena - Caesar - Morgan - Arthur
Xena - Caesar - Oberon - Huon
Xena - Caesar - Oberon - Charlemagne
Xena - Caesar - Oberon - Huon
Xena - Caesar - Morgan - Jesus
Xena - Caesar - Morgan - Ogier-Roland
[43] We could continue this for quite a while. Oberon's name in German is Alberich. Using Alberich as a link we could eventually link Xena with Beowulf, Brunhilde, and even Ortnit.

Xena and Morgan

Xena spots the first robin of spring.

Xena gets a minor taste of revenge on Caesar in THE DELIVERER.

[44] It is interesting to see how much Xena's and Morgan's lives parallel each other:


[45] We find that the writers and producers of Xena: Warrior Princess may be using the Medieval sources as often as they use the Classical sources.

[46] We have discovered that Benoit de Sainte-Maure is the originator of the concept of giving the ancient stories a Medieval look. It seems that the writers and producers of Xena: Warrior Princess are continuing this tradition.

[47] We find that there is no abuse of history, mythology, and chronology in Xena: Warrior Princess.

[48] We find that Provenance is used as a literary device in Xena: Warrior Princess to heighten the sense of reality.

[49] We find fascinating parallels between Xena and Morgan. We find that by linking Xena with Caesar we open up a whole new world of possibilities. It also adds to the concept of Provenance since it helps to anchor Xena: Warrior Princess firmly within the four pillars of Medieval Mythology.


History of the Britons, Nennius

Roman de Troie, Benoit de Sainte-Maure

Song of Roland, Anonymous

Song of Huon of Bordeaux, Anonymous. Burt Franklin, N.Y.N.Y. 1960


Brian Edward Lashmar Brian Edward Lashmar
I was born in 1949 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; where I still live. I received a B.A. in Anthropology and a diploma in Addiction Studies from McMaster University. My hobbies include researching Medieval and Classical heroic literature; I also enjoy fly fishing for sunfish and trout. I hate computers for the godless contraptions that they are, but unfortunately, I'm addicted to one. I am a fan of Samurai movies and I admire the works of Inagaki, Kadokawa, and Kurosawa. "The Seven Samurai" and "Ran" are two of my favourite films. I have a dog named Suzie, and two nameless cats.
Favorite episode: THE DEBT Parts 1 and 2 (#52-53/306-307)
Favorite line: Joxer to Xena and Gabrille: "What if none of this really is happening and we're like all in somebody else's head and they're making us up." BEEN HTERE DONE THAT(48/302).
First episode seen: SINS OF THE PAST (#01)
Least favorite episode: GIANT KILLER (#27)

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