Real Name: Medrawt
Base of Operations:
First Appearance: c 400 A.D.
Powers/Abilities: None, usually.
History: Mordred, depending on which version of the Arthurian story you listen to, is Arthur's son or nephew, and the child of his sister Morgan or perhaps Morgause (Anna) or perhaps neither.
Mordred is generally seen as being directly involved in the final downfall of Camelot. Often portrayed as Arthur's foster son as well as his nephew, as an adult, Mordred became one of Arthur's knights and was for a time a companion of Lancelot. He took the part of the Orkney campaign against the family of Pellinore, slaying Pellinore's son, Lamorak. When Arthur went to fight Lancelot, Mordred was left as regent in his absence. He proclaimed that Arthur was dead and then laid siege to Guinevere, so Arthur's return became necessary. Mordred fled, and Arthur's forces caught up with his army at Camlann. The two parlayed, but Arthur was bitten by a viper, and his men, seeing him stumble, thought Mordred had committed treachery and attacked. In the ensuing battle Arthur dealt Mordred a mortal blow, but in return Mordred gave Arthur a wound which proved to be fatal.
The incest motif in the story of Mordred's birth appears only latterly. The earliest occurrence is in the Mort Artu. In Malory's version, Arthur slept with his half-sister Morgause, not knowing they were related and, as a result, Mordred was born. When Arthur discovered the whole truth, in an attempt to kill Mordred he had all children born on the day of Mordred's birth set adrift. The ship carrying Mordred was wrecked, but he survived and was fostered by Nabur.
Comments: In Wace, Mordred is not Arthur's son, but Guinevere (whom he seized and made his queen) was his sister. In the Alliterative Morte Arthure, he and Guinevere had a child. In Welsh tradition Mordred married Cywyllog, daughter of Caw, and they had two sons. In the earliest Welsh sources he seems to have been regarded as a hero rather than a villain.
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
Back to British Historical / Mythical characters
Back to General UK Heroes
All images and characters depicted are copyright their respective holders, and are used above for informational purposes only. No infringement is intended and copyrights remain at source.