Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Is, Ker-Ys

Ys is a mythical city in Breton folklore and legends. It is often referred to as the “Atlantis of Brittany” due to its association with a city that was said to have been lost beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

According to legend, Ys was said to have been located off the coast, near the town of Douarnenez. The city was said to have been built below sea level, protected from the ocean by a series of dikes and gates.

According to Gallet’s pedigree the King of Ys, Grallo, was related to Arthur’s grandfather, Constantine. The Dahut of the Ys legend may have contributed to the legend of Morgan, as the name Morgan was applied to her.

Ys | The Legend

Myth of the Sunken City
The most famous version of the Ys legend tells of a beautiful and prosperous city built by King Gradlon and his daughter Dahut (or Ahes). The city had a system of sluice gates that could be opened to allow ships to enter and closed to protect the city of the sea. However, Dahut’s greed and debauchery led to the city’s downfall. She stole the key to the gates and opened them during a storm, causing the city to be flooded and sink beneath the waves.

Legend of Bell
In some versions of the legend, a cathedral bell called the “Great Bell of Ys” played a crucial role. It was said to ring out a warning in times of danger. In the story, Saint Winwaloe persuaded King Gradlon to build the bell tower high above the city so it could not be reached by Dahut. When the city was sinking, the bell was saved, and its ringing guided Gradlon and other survivors to safety.

Folklore and Cultural Significance
The legend of Ys is an integral part of Breton folklore and has been passed down through generations. It has inspired artistic and literary works, including poems, novels, and paintings. The story of Ys often serves as a cautionary tale about the consequences of hubris and moral decay. In modern times, the legend of Ys has been used in popular culture and art to create a sense of mystery and intrigue. It is often associated with tales of submerged cities and lost civilizations.

See also
Brittany | The Legend of King Arthur
France | The Legend of King Arthur