- England and Japan
C. Scott Littleton, Occidental College, Los Angeles
Yarnato-takeru: An "Arthurian" Hero in Japanese Tradition
"The curious similarities between the legendary Japanese hero Yamato-takeru and King Arthur do not appear to be merely fortuitous. We now know that between the second and the fifth centuries A.D. the folklore of both Japan and Western Europe was influenced-both directly and indirectly - by that of several nomadic Northeast Iranian speaking tribes (Sarmatians, Alans, etc.). These tribes originated in the steppes of what is today southern Russia and the Ukraine. The last surviving Northeast Iranian speakers,the Ossetians of the north-central Caucasus, preserve a corpus of legends about a hero called Batraz who closely resembles both Yamato-takeru and Arthur. It is suggested that Yamato-takeru, Arthur, and Batraz derive from a common Northeast Iranian prototype".
Asian Folklore Studies, Volume 54, 1995: 259-274
Manuscript of Fray Bernardo de Braga (?-1605) “Sobre a precedência do reino de Portugal, ao reino de Nápoles”
The first king of Lusitania was Respendial (Rapantiano, Rapantianus) and the second was Ataces (Atacces, Adax) Lusitania rex. One of the first kings in Western Europe after the Roman Empire, the idea of a warrior king as an Eastern Iranian cultural import in the Western Atlantic façade ?
« Rapantianus Lusitaniam a Romanis capessit , fuit « Alanus quidem et Lusitania rex, sed breviter a suis « occisus successit Atacius, qui ultra Lusitaniam « suum Regnum dilatavit,... «
“Resplamdiano Alanorun Regi defuncto successit Atax”.
Coimbra was the capital of the Alan Kingdom of Lusitania and the King Ataces was killed in battle against the Visigoths. 1156 years later another Portuguese King, successor of the Alan Kings from Lusitania, was killed again in battle, Dom Sebastião killed in action in Alcacer Quibir, 4 of august of 1578, in North Africa. D. Sebastião took the sword of Afonso Henriques, the first Portuguese King from the Santa Cruz Monastery, in Coimbra.
The kings as warrior knights, the symbolic swords and the messianic figure of the lost kings are common elements.
In some cases DNA and legends can travel together and they can make difference far away from the point of origin. Kings had knights and troops with them, perhaps some remnant elements of this DNA “gesta” can be found nowadays in some parts of Eurasia. Rare Exotic Y DNA matching haplotypes in the Caucasus, Iran and in Portugal can be very good candidates for this kind of gesta in the Portuguese case.