Ascalun, Salados, Sodal
In Chrétien’s Yvain and its various adaptions, the knight whom Sir Ywaine (Owain) found guarding the marvelous spring in Brocéliande Forest. Presumably Esclados was also Dame Laudine’s first husband, and the same man Ywaine’s cousin Sir Calogrenat had met seven years earlier in the same place – though the whole situation might seem to smack somewhat of ritual blood battles for the lordship, and Laudine’s sensechal later reveals that the custom has been kept for sixty years… which makes you wonder if Esclados really was Laudine’s first spouse?
Esclados shows himself a generous conqueror in leaving Calogrenat free and taking only his horse – by chivalric rule, the conqueror could take the conquered man prisoner, along with his arms and armor, as well as his steed. In the mortal battle with Ywaine, both combatants, while striking at each other from the saddle, take care not to hit the horses – this in contrast to Lancelot and Meliagrant who, about the same time another romance, kill each other’s horses in similar combat.
Dame Laudine sounds wonderfully sincere in her grief for Esclados after his death at Ywaine’s hands. It looks as if we have here no villain, but a brave and conscientious champion whose death, even at the hands of the hero, constitutes a tragedy.
“At the same time I am puzzled,” says Phyllis Ann Karr, “as to his value in “protecting” his people from the horrific storms produced by the spring, when it is only after such a storm that he appears, to chastize whatever adventurer has already caused the damage.”
By marrying the widow of his victim Owain (Ywaine) may well have enshrined a pagan custom whereby whoever defeated a king was ritually married to his territory.
Erec | Chrétien de Troyes, late 12th century
Iwein | Hartmann von Aue, late 12th century
Ivens Saga | 13th century
Ywain and Gawain | 1310–1340