Sir Tristram, King of Lyonesse
Arthurian Literary Character

Sir Tristram was the son of King Meliodas and Queen Isabelle of Lyonesse, the land around the Scilly Isles now lost beneath the sea. He was educated in France; fought for his uncle, King Mark, against the King of Ireland's champion & defeated him; travelled incognito to Ireland to have his wounds healed; became friendly with the King's daughter Isolde; was forced to return to Cornwall when his identity was discovered; fell out with his uncle over an affair with the wife of Sir Segwarides; spent some time at King Arthur's court; was obliged to travel again to Ireland to gain Isolde's hand in marriage to Mark; accidentally drank love potions meant for Mark & Isolde; became Isolde's lover despite her marriage to his uncle (and had four children including Tristram the Younger); left for Brittany when things became too hairy; married Sir Howel, the King of Brittany's daughter, also Isolde; got wounded in a fight; sent for his old lover to cure him; being told by his wife that she had refused to come, he died; Isolde committed suicide and the two were buried together.

In reality, this character may have been based on an historical Prince of Dumnonia (Cornwall/Devon/Somerset), the son King Conomor who is sometimes equated with King Mark. Though Cornwall may once have been joined to the Scilly Isles, this was long before Tristram's time; so, unfortunately, his Kingdom of Lyonesse, almost certainly never existed.


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