Also known as the Estoire de la Sainte Graal, the Josephe d’Arimathie en prose relates the early story of the Holy Grail, when the Grail vessle was first used by Christ at the last supper, then subsequently transported out of Palestine by eponymous Joseph. This early story of the Grail can be contrasted with the later Queste de Saint Graal (or Queste del saint Graal), a story which took place in Arthurian Britain when the King’s knights sought to recover the lost relic.
Although it precedes the Queste chronologically, the Josephe d’Arimathie was probably written some time around 1230, whereas the the Queste and its accompanying texts, entitled Lancelot and the Mort Artu, where written in the years around 1210.
For more information on the Lancelot-Grail cycle, see the Lancelot-Grail Project.
The three Italian copies of the Josephe d’Arimathie circulate in conjunction with the second part of the Lancelot-Grail cycle, called the Merlin or with a related work, the Profecies de Merlin.
Florence, Bibliotheca Riccardiana, 2759 (ff. 1-18f)
Chantilly, Musee Conde 644