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(pär`sĭfäl), figure of Arthurian legendArthurian legend,
the mass of legend, popular in medieval lore, concerning King Arthur of Britain and his knights. Medieval Sources

The battle of Mt. Badon—in which, according to the Annales Cambriae (c.
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 also known as Sir Percivale, who is in turn a later form of a hero of Celtic myth. The name originally occurs as Pryderi, an alternative name of Gwry in Pwyll Prince of Dyved, a tale in the MabinogionMabinogion
, title given to a collection of medieval Welsh stories. Scholars differ as to the meaning of the word mabinogion: some think it to be the plural of the Welsh word mabinogi, which means "youthful career"; others think it derives from the Welsh word
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. Gwry is the original of Gawain, and in the later Percivale stories Gawain appears, often fulfilling the same role as the hero. The great feature of the Percivale cycle is the Holy GrailGrail, Holy,
a feature of medieval legend and literature. It appears variously as a chalice, a cup, or a dish and sometimes as a stone or a caldron into which a bleeding lance drips. It was identified by Christians as the chalice of the Last Supper brought to England by St.
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, and Welsh sources connect this sacred talisman with Percivale, who finds the Grail. Chrétien de TroyesChrétien de Troyes
or Chrestien de Troyes
, fl. 1170, French poet, author of the first great literary treatments of the Arthurian legend. His narrative romances, composed c.1170–c.
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 is the author of the first great artistic treatment of the theme; in Chrétien's unfinished poem Percivale finds the Grail at the Fisher King's castle and heals the king. The Parzival of Wolfram von EschenbachWolfram von Eschenbach
, c.1170–c.1220, German poet. Perhaps the greatest of the German minnesingers, and one of the finest poets of medieval Europe. He was a knight who led a restless, roving life. In 1203 he was at the court of Landgrave Hermann von Thüringen.
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 is one of the greatest medieval poems. Drawn largely from Chrétien, von Eschenbach's story is highly spiritualized and appears essentially in the form used by Richard Wagner in his music drama Parsifal. In the Morte d'Arthur of Sir Thomas MaloryMalory, Sir Thomas
, d. 1471, English author of Morte d'Arthur. It is almost certain that he was Sir Thomas Malory of Newbold Revell, Warwickshire. Knighted in 1442, he served in the parliament of 1445.
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, Percivale is admitted to the Grail with Galahad and Bors.


See R. S. Loomis, Arthurian Tradition & Chrétien de Troyes (1949) and Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages (1959); R. Cavendish, King Arthur and the Grail (1985).

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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Parsifal, asteroid 2,095 (the 2,095th asteroid to be discovered, on September 24, 1960), is approximately 10 kilometers in diameter and has an orbital period of 4.3 years. Parsifal was named after the hero of Chrétien de Troyes’s novel Perceval. J. Lee Lehman associates this asteroid with the quest for knighthood, as well as with compassion. Jacob Schwartz gives Parsifal’s significance as “compassion learned through suffering; those avoiding the learning inflict suffering on others.”


Kowal, Charles T. Asteroids: Their Nature and Utilization. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Ellis Horwood Limited, 1988.
Lehman, J. Lee. The Ultimate Asteroid Book. West Chester, PA: Whitford Press, 1988.
Schwartz, Jacob. Asteroid Name Encyclopedia. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1995.
The Astrology Book, Second Edition © 2003 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


deliverer of Amfortas and the Grail knights. [Ger. Opera: Wagner, Parsifal, Westerman, 250]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
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