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Drust


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Name borne by several shadowy but historical kings of the Picts, some of whom may have been antecedents of Tristan, the Arthurian hero. The best-known is Drust son of Talorc, who reigned in northern Scotland about 780. The name Drust is distinctively Pictish and appears (along with such variants as Drustan, Drost, Droston) repeatedly as a royal name in chronicles of the Picts, as does Talorc and its variant Talorcan. The Welsh counterpart of this name is Drystan mab [son of] Tallwch (sometimes Trystan mab Tallwch), as recorded in the Triads; Drystan, however, may be more fictional than historical, as he is also recorded as having a lover named Essylt [Iseult]. A Latin form of the name, Drustanus, is inscribed on a stone near Fowey, Cornwall, locally known as the ‘Tristan Stone’. None of the historical records suggests the outline of the Tristan and Iseult narrative, which appears to derive from the Greek story of Perseus and Andromeda. The Drust mentioned as a companion of Cúchulainn in the 10th-century recension of Tochmarc Emire [The Wooing of Emer] appears to be a scribal interpolation; as the name does not appear elsewhere in the Ulster Cycle, some commentators have suggested that Drust may have been the original hero of the story and was displaced when the episode was adapted to its present form. See also DROSTÁN.

See Rachel Bromwich, Trioedd Ynys Prydain, rev. edn. (Cardiff, 1978), 329–33, 549;Rachel Bromwich et al. (eds.), The Arthur of the Welsh (Cardiff, 1991), ch. 10.

Subjects: Religion.


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