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Did Guinevere give birth to Mordred?

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In the earliest Welsh version of the Arthurian legend in which Mordred appears, the 10th-century Annales Cambriae (The Annals of Wales), there is no mention of Mordred's parentage.

In later English versions of the legend—including the pseudo-historical Historia Regum Britanniae (The History of the Kings of Britain) written by Geoffrey of Monmouth in 1136 and Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte dArthur, published in 1485 (originally titled The Whole Book of King Arthur and His Noble Knights of the Round Table)—Mordred's birth is a result of a coronation-night liaison between King Arthur and his estranged half-sister, the Queen of Orkney, who is called Anna, Orcades, or, most often, Morgause.

In Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon, published in 1983 (and in the film version in 2001), the Mordred part of the Arthurian legend is given a slight twist. Instead of Morgause, Morgan Le Fay, another of Arthur's sisters, inadvertently sleeps with Arthur on the night of Arthur's coronation. The resulting child is Mordred.

In none of the versions of the Arthurian legend is Guinevere Mordred's mother. In Le Morte d'Arthur, Guinevere has a romantic affair with Lancelot. In the Historia Regum Britanniae version of the Arthurian legend, Mordred marries Guinevere and attempts to claim Arthur's throne while Arthur is away fighting the Romans.

The suggestion that Guinevere is Mordred's mother might arise from the mistaken assumption that since Arthur was Mordred's father and Guinevere was Arthur's wife and queen, Guinevere might be Mordred's mother.

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