Arthurian Name Dictionary


A king of the Saxons who participated in King Aminaduc’s siege at Vambieres. He was slain by Arthur’s Sir Aglovale. [Livre]


A clearing along the river Cordaniste near the city of Orcaut in King Evalach’s Sarras. It was the site of a battle between Evalach and King Tholomer of Babylonia. [VulgEst]


A beautiful bird native to the land of Cluse (eventually ruled under Arthur by Daniel). During the day, it hovered over the ladies of Cluse, providing shade; at night, it gave off light. It was possessed of a beautiful voice. G. Rosenhagen suggests a derivation from papegân, German for “parrot.” [Stricker]


An ancient city and empire on the Euphrates River in what is now central Iraq, though the use of the name in medieval literature probably refers to Cairo or Egypt. In the time of Joseph of Arimathea, the kingdom was ruled by Tholomer the Fugitive, an enemy of Evalach. Babylon was ruled in Arthur’s time, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, by Micipsa, who was an ally of the Roman Procurator Lucius Hiberius. During the time of Uther, in Wolfram’s Parzival, Babylon was ruled by two brothers—Pompeius and Ipomidon—who made war on the Baruc of Baghdad. Perceval’s father Gahmuret was involved in the war. Heinrich von dem Türlin names Babylon’s king as Laamez, who ruled from Baldac, and Claris et Laris puts King Datois on the throne of Babylon. Datois was an ally of Thereus, Arthur’s Roman enemy. [GeoffHR, Wolfram, VulgEst, Heinrich]

Bach Bychan (“Small One”)

Tristan’s page in a Welsh Tristan fragment. [TrisFrag]

Bacino (“Basin”)

A fountain in the forest of Darnantes, where Tristan encountered the Questing Beast. [Tavola]


Capital of the land of Gorre, ruled by King Bagdemagus. Its name is probably taken from Bagdemagus himself, though it may be Bath. [ChretienL]

Badon [Baddon, Baden, Badove, Vaddon]

A hill or mountain that was the site of Arthur’s greatest victory over the Saxons, according to the early chronicles. Gildas, writing in the sixth century, is the first to mention it, placing it at about 500 a.d., at the culmination of the British resistance against the Saxons begun by Ambrosius. Gildas does not name the British commander at Badon—though it is possible, however unlikely, to read Gildas’s summary to indicate Ambrosius as this man. Bede, the next writer to mention the battle, dated it at 493 and also excluded Arthur’s name.
   Both Nennius and the Annales Cambriae, however, grant Arthur the distinction as the British victor. Nennius, writing around 800, names Badon as the twelfth and final battle between Arthur and the Saxons, in which “nine hundred and sixty men fell from a single attack of Arthur.” The Annales date the confrontation at 518, and note that “Arthur carried the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ for three days and three nights on his shoulders.”
   According to the Welsh tale of Breudwyt Rhonabwy, Osla Big Knife (perhaps a variant of Octa) was Arthur’s opponent at Badon, which ended in a truce. Oddly, Osla appears as one of Arthur’s warriors in a separate legend.
   After the Annales, chroniclers modified the location of the battle. Geoffrey of Monmouth places the fight at Bath and makes the Saxon leader Colgrim. In the Vulgate Merlin, Arthur smashes the Saxons at Clarence. The battle is absent from Malory’s novel entirely, returning finally in Tennyson’s Idylls of the King.
   Given its mention in Gildas’s early text, Badon was almost certainly an actual battle, though Arthur’s connection remains uncertain, as does the actual location of the confrontation. Geoffrey’s Bath is a possibility. Other suggestions have included Badbury, Baddington, and Liddington Castle in Wiltshire (near which is another Badbury). In order for the victory to have driven the Saxons back to their southeastern settlements, it would have likely been located in the south-central to southeast area of the island. [Gildas, Bede, Nennius, Annales, GeoffHR, Dream, Idylls of the King]

Baduc of the Perilous Castle

A vassal of the Maiden of the Narrow Wood. When the Maiden was besieged by Maduk the Black, an unwanted suitor, Baduc defended her castle. Baduc was slain in battle by Maduk. [Vengeance]


Father of Arthur’s warrior Maelwys in Culhwch and Olwen. As Maelwys is the Welsh counterpart of Meleagant, Baeddan may be the origin of Bagdemagus. [Culhwch]


A Knight of the Round Table who embarked with the others on the Grail Quest. [PostQuest]

Bagdemagus [*Bademagu, Bagom(m)edés, Baldemagu, Bandemagu(l), Bando de Magus, Bando di Mago, Bangdemagew, Bano of Magoç, Baudemagu, Brandymagus, Poydiconjunz]

King of Gorre and father of Meleagant, one of Guinevere’s abductors. He had brothers named Tarsan and Donadix. He was a cousin of Arthur and the cousin or nephew of King Urien, from who he inherited his kingdom. His first appearance is in Chrétien’s Lancelot, in which he prevents his son from mistreating the kidnapped Guinevere. He makes a brief appearance in the Second Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval as a knight whom Kay hung by his feet from a tree. The Vulgate and Post-Vulgate Cycles expound upon his character, and offer somewhat conflicting stories of his early days. His origin seems to be Baeddan in the Welsh Culhwch and Olwen, possibly conflated with the name of another character.
   The Vulgate version places him in the role of antagonist to Arthur: Bagdemagus’s land had been ravaged by Uther Pendragon, so when Uther died, he decided to repopulate it with Uther’s former subjects. Any person who strayed into Gorre was forced to stay. He joined his uncle Urien’s rebellion against Arthur, eventually forming a tentative peace only when necessary to expel the Saxons. He then allied with Galehaut of Sorelois and opposed Arthur again. He grew more benign with age, and objected to his son’s careless activities, including the kidnapping of Guinevere. When his son was killed, Bagdemagus bore no ill will towards Lancelot. His friendship with the knight led to a position at the Round Table.
   The Post-Vulgate story, by contrast, presents Bagdemagus as a young companion of Gawain and Yvain. Long before he became the king of Gorre, he was knighted by Arthur and served the King. He was furious when Tor was elevated to the Round Table ahead of him, and he departed Camelot intent on proving his worth—even against Knights of the Round Table. He encountered Merlin, imprisoned in his tomb, and brought news of his fate back to knights searching for the enchanter. Eventually, he reconciled with Arthur and was promoted to the Round Table.
      In other adventures, Bagdemagus slept with the wife of King Pellinore, for which Pellinore bound him, beat him, and left him for dead. He was rescued by Gaheris. He fought for Arthur in the wars against King Claudas, and he participated in several tournaments. Malory, in contrast to the Vulgate version, says that Bagdemagus hated Lancelot and plotted, with Sir Galehaut, to kill him; the plan went awry when the two knights attacked Tristan by mistake.
   Bagdemagus embarked on the Grail Quest with the others, but he was soon wounded after taking a shield meant for Galahad. Later, he came upon Mordred raping a maiden, and he wounded him in the subsequent combat. Gawain, seeking to avenge his brother’s wound, and not knowing the identity of the knight who wounded him, chased after Bagdemagus and challenged him to combat. Bagdemagus was mortally wounded in the subsequent duel. Gawain lamented when he discovered Bagdemagus’s identity, and Bagdemagus forgave him before dying. Gawain had him buried in a hermitage. The Stanzaic Morte Arthur says that he survived the Grail Quest and joined Lancelot’s defection from Arthur’s court. [ChretienL, Contin2, LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgMer, PostMer, PostQuest, Arthour, Stanz, Malory]

Baghdad [Baldac, Baldake, Bandes, Baudac]

The capital of modern day Iraq. According to Wolfram, it was invaded by Babylonians in Uther Pendragon’s time. Perceval’s father Gahmuret aided the Baruc of Baghdad in fighting off the Babylonians and was killed during a battle. The Vulgate Lancelot names it as the home of Sapient, one of Arthur’s scribes. In the In the Alliterative Morte Arthure, it is subject to Lucius of Rome.
   In the Prose Tristan, the King of Baghdad’s daughter is loved by a Sarecen knight named Corsabrin. When she rejects him, he tells people she is insane. The maiden promises herself and her lands to Palamedes if he can defeat Corsabrin in combat, and Palamedes kills him during the tournament at Sorelois. Malory calls the maiden the daughter of “King Bandes.”
   According to Heinrich von dem Türlin, Arthur and his knights fought in a great tournament in Baghdad against three knights named Ansgir of Slaloi, Gamur the Saracen, and Firus Bahandin. Heinrich calls Baghdad the capital of Babylonia, ruled by King Laamez. [Wolfram, VulgLanc, ProsTris, Heinrich, Allit]


Galehaut’s mother in La Tavola Ritonda. She was married to Brunor the Brown and had a daughter named Dalis. Tristan slew her at the Castle of Tears. She is known as the Beautiful Giantess in the Prose Tristan. [Tavola]

Baingranz of Ainsgalt

The brother of a giant named Galaas, who was slain by Gawain. Baingranz tried to avenge his brother’s death, but Gawain defeated him and accepted his surrender. [Heinrich]

Bal Catel

A Roman senator who the Emperor Lucius assigned to liberate a prison train being taken by Arthur’s warriors to France. The attempt failed. This character seems to play the same role as Geoffrey’s Vulteius Catellus. [Layamon]


The homeland of one of Arthur’s knights in Renaut’s The Fair Unknown, known simply as the “Knight of Baladingan.” He participated in one of the Castle of Maidens tournaments. His character was adapted by Der Stricker as Beladigant. [Renaut]

Balan1 [Balaan, Balans]

Ill-fated knight and brother of Sir Balin the Savage in the Post-Vulgate Cycle and Malory. He helped his brother reconcile with King Arthur by capturing King Rions of North Wales, and by joining Arthur’s war against Kings Lot and Nero. After the battle of Tarabel, the brothers separated. Balan slew a knight who guarded a bridge to an island. Forced to assume the duties of his victim, he ended up slaying his own brother, who challenged Balan without recognizing him. Tennyson changes the circumstances of their deaths, relating that Balan came upon an unknown knight trampling his shield, finding out that the knight was his brother only after giving and receiving a mortal wound. [PostMer, Malory, TennIK]


A British count, converted to Christianity by Josephus, the son of Joseph of Arimathea. He built a chapel that was later occupied by Joseph’s follower Parent. [VulgEst]

Balanc [Sabalant]

A Saxon warrior, slain by Arthur’s Sir Ulfin at the battle of Carhaix. [VulgMer, Arthour]


Alternate spelling for Baghdad.


A Saracen warrior slain by Yvain at the battle of Diana Bridge. [Arthour]

Baldulph1 [Balduk, Baldulf, Bladulf, Valence]

A Saxon leader and brother of Colgrim. He fought alongside his brother against Arthur’s Britons after the deaths of Octa and Eosa. During Arthur’s siege of York, Baldulph plotted to ambush and slay Arthur, but his plan was foiled by one of his own soldiers—Mauron, who was Arthur’s kinsman. Baldulph then disguised himself as a minstrel and was able to sneak into the city to assist his beleaguered brother. Both Saxons were saved by the arrival of Cheldric from Germany. Baldulph continued the war until he and Colgrim were slain by Arthur’s forces at Bath. [GeoffHR, Wace]

Baldulph2 [Balien, Valence]

The Earl of Silchester under Arthur. [Wace, Layamon]

Baldwin of Brittany [Baudewin(s), Baudewyn, Bawdewin, Bawd(e)wyne, Bawdwin, Bodwine]

A knight or bishop in Arthur’s court who pops up in a number of fifteenth-century Middle English verse romances. He is perhaps derived from the Welsh Bitwini. Malory names him as an early supporter of Arthur who fought beside the king against the rebellious British kings at Caerleon and Bedegraine. In reward, Arthur gave Baldwin he title of constable and appointed him regent of Britain during the Roman War (in which the Alliterative Morte Arthure says he died). He eventually retired to a hermitage near Camelot.
   Baldwin also appears among Arthur’s knights in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Gawain and the Carl of Carlisle, The Carle of Carlisle, and The Avowing of King Arthur, Sir Gawain, Sir Kay, and Baldwin of Britain. Both of the Carl romances portray him as a somewhat conceited and churlish bishop. Avowing, however, features an episode in which Arthur tests Baldwin, who has resolved never to be jealous over a woman, never to fear death, and never to deny hospitality to anyone who asks for it. Baldwin passes each test. In each of the latter three poems, he appears as a companion of Gawain and Kay. [Avowing, SirGawain, SyreGaw, Allit, Malory, Carle]


A count who went to war with Adnain, a friend of Tristan’s. Tristan defeated him in combat and forced him to make peace. [Tavola]

Balin the Savage [Balaa(i)n]

Ill-fated Arthurian knight who delivered the Dolorous Stroke to King Pellam and slew his own brother, Balan. His story is told in the Post-Vulgate Cycle and in Malory’s Le Morte Darthur. He may have originated with Varlan, the king who strikes the Dolorous Stroke in the Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal.
   A “poor knight” born in Northumberland, Balin had the misfortune of killing a cousin of King Arthur in battle. After serving a year and a half in Arthur’s prison, he found difficulty regaining his status as a knight and went around dressed in beggar’s clothing. He finally won honor when he alone was able—above all of Arthur’s other knights—to draw a sword from a scabbard sent by Lady Lyle of Avalon. When Lyle’s messenger asked Balin to return the sword, however, Balin refused, and the lady promised that the weapon would cause him great sorrow.
   His triumph was short-lived. The Lady of the Lake arrived at court and asked Arthur for the heads of Balin and Lyle’s messenger, citing wrongs they had committed against her family. Balin had his own grievance against the Lady of the Lake: she had killed his mother and a number of noble knights. Moments after Arthur refused the Lady’s gruesome request, Balin beheaded her, incurred Arthur’s wrath again, and was exiled.
   On the road away from Camelot, he was challenged by a knight named Launceor, who was jealous of Balin’s prowess and who had obtained Arthur’s permission to ride after him. Balin killed Launceor in the first joust. Launceor’s lover, Colombe, arrived and, finding her paramour dead, impaled herself on his sword as Balin watched in horror.
   Determined to regain the king’s favor, Balin hatched a plot to assassinate King Rions of North Wales, who had gone to war against Arthur in order to obtain his beard. He soon met up with his brother Balan, who agreed to help him. They encountered Merlin, who showed them King Rions on his way to his lover’s bedside. The brothers ambushed Rions, captured him, and dragged him off to King Arthur. They subsequently assisted Arthur in the battle of Tarabel against Kings Lot and Nero (late in Le Morte Darthur, Sir Lamorat claims that Balin killed Lot, a deed formerly attributed to King Pellinore). Arthur praised their skill and welcomed them back to his court.
   As Balan embarked on his own adventures, Balin found himself pursuing an invisible knight named Garlon, who happened to be the brother of King Pellam, the Grail King. Using his invisibility as a weapon, Garlon murdered two knights—Sir Harlews and Sir Peryn—right in front of Balin.
   Balin caught up with Garlon during a great feast at King Pellam’s castle. He was hesitant about whether to confront Garlon in the middle of Pellam’s hall. Garlon made the decision easy by smacking Balin in the back of the head, which Balin repaid with a single deadly blow.
   Pellam was furious and attacked Balin, shattering Balin’s sword. The king then chased Balin all around his castle, as Balin desperately ran from room to room, looking for a weapon. Finding a spear next to a prostate body in a bedchamber, Balin picked it up and thrust it into Pellam. Little did Balin know that his unworthy hands had hefted the holy Bleeding Lance; the spear with which the Roman soldier Longinus had stabbed Jesus Christ on the cross. Known as the Dolorous Stroke, the blow caused Pellam’s castle to crumble and caused the surrounding land, Listenois, to become the Waste Land. Merlin pulled Balin from the rubble and sent him on his way.
   After leaving the wasted land, Balin encountered Sir Garnysh of the Mount, a despondent lover. Determined to do something right, Balin encouraged the sad knight to visit his paramour’s nearby castle. Upon arrival, they found the woman in the arms of another man. Garnysh slew her, cursed Balin, and killed himself.
   Coming finally to an island castle, Balin agreed to help the residents by dueling a fierce knight who guarded a bridge to the island. He accepted a new shield for the fight. Unknown to Balin, the guardian was his own brother, who failed to recognize Balin because of the new shield. The brothers fought savagely for hours, learning each other’s identity only after they were both mortally wounded. They died alongside each other and were buried in the same tomb. Merlin stuck Balin’s cursed sword into a block of marble and set it afloat. The same sword was drawn by Galahad at the beginning of the Grail Quest.
   Tennyson portrays Balin as a knight eternally struggling against the “chained rage, which every yelped within him.” He tried to emulate Lancelot, whom he saw as gentle, and he had the queen’s crown engraved on his shield to remind him to act courtly rather than brutal. Upon learning of their infidelity from Vivien, his savagery ran wild and he destroyed his shield. When his brother Balan saw him trampling the queen’s crown, he attacked, leading to the same tragic results. [PostMer, Malory]


Son of the King of the Distant Isles. His reputation as a superb knight won him Sir Bors’ former Round Table seat after Bors left Arthur’s court for Lancelot’s. [VulgMort]

Ballad of the Rose

A ballad praising the noble adventures of Gawain’s brother, Gaheris. The maidens of Arthur’s court wrote the piece, and Tristan scripted the music. [PostMer]

Balldvin of Germania

One of Arthur’s kings, present at the wedding of Erec and Enide. [Erex]


Earl of Guitshire under Arthur. He fought in the Roman War and was slain at the battle of Soissons. [Wace]


A cyclops in Irish mythology whose eyelids, like Ysbadadden’s in Culhwch and Olwen, were so heavy that they had to be pried open.


The lord of a castle where Erec lodged after the Sparrowhawk Tournament. [Erex]


A castle in Northumberland named by Malory as one of the possible locations for Joyous Guard, Lancelot’s castle. Though occupied by the Angles, Bamburgh also shows ruins of an earlier British castled called Din Guayrdi. The castle appears in Girart d’Amien’s Escanor as Banborc. [Malory, Topography]

Ban [Ban(e)(s), Ban(d)o, Liban, Pant]

Father of Lancelot of the Lake and Hector, son of King Lancelot, brother of King Bors of Gannes, Guinebaut, and Nestor, and husband of Elaine. His earliest existing appearance is found in Chrétien’s Lancelot, though he probably appeared in the archetypal Lancelot romance (now lost) on which Chrétien’s story and the Vulgate Lancelot are based. R. S. Loomis argued for a derivation from the Welsh king Bran, particularly since his full name, Ban of Benoic, recalls Bran the Blessed, whose French name would have been Bran le Benoit.
   Chrétien calls him the king of Gomeret, but he is more widely known, through the Vulgate Lancelot and Malory, as the ruler of Benoic in France. The Grail histories trace his lineage to Nascien, Joseph of Arimathea’s companion. As allies (or subjects) of Uther Pendragon and Arthur, Ban and his brother Bors helped the Arthur repel the Saxons, quell a rebellion led by several British rulers, and win the war against Rome. In return, the Pendragons assisted the brothers against their mortal enemy, King Claudas of the Land Laid Waste. During his adventures with Arthur, Merlin caused Ban to fall in love with the daughter of the Lord of the Castle of the Fens, who gave birth to Hector.
   After crushing Claudas at the battle of Trebe, Arthur became involved with another British insurrection, with the result that Claudas launched a successful invasion of Benoic. Ban embarked for Arthur’s court to ask for assistance, but when he saw Claudas burning his beloved city of Trebe behind him, he died of heartbreak. Lancelot, who was still an infant, was carried away by the Lady of the Lake, and Ban’s wife retired to a nunnery. Lancelot later returned with Arthur and drove Claudas away.
   Ulrich von Zatzikhoven, who uses the form Pant, describes the king as a tryant who was overthrown and slain by his own barons. This characterization of Ban is also found in the Livre d’Artus.
   Bauduin Butor makes Ban Arthur’s great uncle by naming the wife of Constantine, Arthur’s grandfather, as Ivoire, Ban’s sister. Butor gives Ban a daughter named Libanor with the Lady Sabe. [ChretienL, UlrichZ, LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgMer, Livre, PostMer, PostQuest, Butor, Arthour, Malory]


One of four robber knights slain by Gawain. His companions (and brothers) were Gameranz, Belianz, and Eumenides. [Heinrich]


Castle Bamburgh in Northumberland, also called the Castle Orguelleus. Cador of Northumberland held a tournament at Banborc to find a husband for his daughter, Andrivete. Kay distinguished himself in the tournament but was afraid to confess his love for the maiden. When Cador died and his brother tried to marry Andrivete to a commoner, Kay returned and besieged Banborc to rescue her. [Girart]


Father of Arthur’s warrior Kincar. [GeoffHR]


King of Avalon in Durmart le Gallois. He fought on the side of the Blanches Mores in a tournament against the Roche Lande (and Arthur’s knights). [Durmart]


Probably Bangor in North Wales. It was the home of King Jozefent, the father of Arthur’s Sir Durmart. [Durmart]

Banier [Bannier]

An Arthurian knight named in “The Marriage of Sir Gawain” and Sir Walter Scott’s The Bridal of Triermain, perhaps derived from Ban or Banin. [Marriage, Scott]


Son of Gratian and godson of King Ban of Benoic. He was raised in Ban’s castle of Trebe. He fought in the early wars against King Claudas, Ban’s enemy, and his prowess helped to make Trebe the last castle to resist Claudas’s invasion. Because of the treachery of Ban’s seneschal, Trebe fell to Claudas. Banin entered Claudas’s service long enough to challenge and kill the seneschal. He then departed for Arthur’s court at Carhaix, where Arthur appointed him to the Knights of the Watch and, later, to the Round Table. He fought for Arthur in the final war against Claudas and participated in the Grail Quest. [LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgMer, Livre, PostQuest]


A knight of Lord Golagros in Golagros and Gawain. In the war between Golagros and Arthur, Bantellas managed to defeat and capture Sir Bedivere. [Golagros]


One of Twrch Trwyth’s piglets, killed by Arthur’s warriors at Dyffryn Amanw. [Culhwch]


A Knight of the Round Table who participated in the Grail Quest. [ProsTris]

Baradam [Abaradan, Baridan]

A Knight of the Round Table from Desert. He was one of five cousins who hated Lancelot’s family. During the Grail Quest, they foolishly attacked Galahad and were all mortally wounded. [PostQuest, ProsTris]

Baradan the Young

A Knight of the Round Table who embarked with the others on the Grail Quest. His brother was Angelis of the Vaaos. [PostQuest]


A land ruled in Arthur’s time by Canaan. Mentioned in Renaut de Bâgé’s Le Bel Inconnu, it may be the same as Chrétien de Troyes’s Brandigan, although the rulers are different. In the Second Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval, the Lord of Baradigan kills a knight named Sir Caramadis to avenge the death of his cousin, Orguellous. [Renaut, Contin2]


Tristan’s great-grandfather. The son of King Candaces of Cornwall and Cressille, he inherited the country of Lyoness. He became king of Cornwall when his brother, Crissidés, died. His two sons were named Feriando and Felix, the latter of whom inherited his kingdoms. [Tavola]


A Knight of the Round Table killed during the Grail Quest. [PostQuest]

Baramal [Baramaus]

A Saxon king, related to Hengist, who led an echelon of Saxon warriors in a battle against Kings Brandegorre and Caradoc, two lords in rebellion against Arthur. [VulgMer]


A king of Russia. He joined King Tallas of Denmark in an attack on King Urien. Arthur’s knights came to Urien’s defense, and Sir Claris killed Baratron at the siege. [Claris]

Barbary [Berbana]

The magician at Corbenic, King Pelles’ court, is called a native of Barbary in the Post-Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal. This country is also said to supply soldiers to Emperor Filimenis of Constantinople in Floriant et Florete. [PostQuest, ProsTris, Floriant]


The coastal capital city of King Meliant’s land of Lis. [Wolfram]


One of Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. [HartmannE]

Bardsey Island

An island off the northwest tip of Wales where Merlin is said to live in a glass fortress full of treasures. [Topography]

Barfleur [Barflete]

A city in Normandy, where Arthur landed on his way to battle Lucius the Roman. [GeoffHR, Allit]

Barham Down [Barendown, Bareon Downe]

In the Stanzaic Morte Arthur and in Malory, the site of the second battle between Arthur and Mordred, in which many good knights were slain. This followed the battle of Dover and preceded the final battle at Salisbury. [Stanz, Malory]


An ancient Celtic sea god who, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth in Vita Merlini, guided the boat carrying Arthur to Avalon. Geoffrey was probably speaking figuratively. [GeoffVM]


A knight of Arthur’s court in Les Merveilles de Rigomer. [Merveil]


A forest in Cornwall visited by Lancelot and Tristan. [Sala]

Barren Wasteland

A country visited by Gawain in the Vulgate Lancelot. The son of its king had been slain, and the king accused Hasart, his seneschal. Gawain agreed to champion Hasart in judicial combat, while the king secured the services of Gaheris, Gawain’s brother. Fortunately, Gawain recognized his brother and ended the combat before either was seriously wounded. [VulgLanc]

Baruc1 of Baghdad

In Wolfram’s Parzival, this Middle-Eastern leader captured the city of Niniveh from King Ipomidon. In return, the Baruc was invaded by Pompeius’s and Ipomidon’s Babylonians, but was assisted, for a time, by Perceval’s father Gahmuret. [Wolfram]

Baruc2 the Black

A knight who desired to marry Queen Sebille. He ruled the castle of Trion. Known as the Fairy Knight and the Black Knight, he had never been overcome in battle. He killed Sebille’s husband out of jealousy, intending to marry the queen by force. Sagremor, Sebille’s paramour, championed her against Baruc and defeated him in combat, forcing him to surrender to the queen. [Livre]

Baruch [Barut(h)]

A seaside castle in Arabia, owned by the son of King Evalach of Sarras. Nascien, adventuring on the high seas in a holy boat, came to port at Baruch, where he lodged before returning to his own lands. [VulgEst]


A knight who competed in the Sorgarda tournament. [Heinrich]

Barvelain [Barlonaym]

A Saxon king killed by Aglovale at the battle of Clarence. [Livre]


A river which was the site of Arthur’s sixth battle against the Saxons, according to Nennius. As in all of the twelve battles, Arthur was victorious. [Nennius, TennIK]

Basse Gent

King Pelles’ fife in Perlesvaus. As its name seems to signify “low person(s),” it may refer to a populace rather than a piece of land. [Perlesvaus]


Son of the Roman senator Severus. The Britons wanted to give Bassianus the throne of Britain after the death of Severus in the second century AD. The Romans, however, favored Severus’s other son, Geta. Bassianus and Geta fought several battles with each other before Bassianus finally killed Geta and assumed the kingdom. The Roman Carausius, however, convinced Bassianus’s men to turn on him, and Bassianus was killed by his own soldiers during a battle with Carausius. Carausius then assumed the kingdom. [GeoffHR, Wace]


The land assigned to King Urien in the Vulgate Lancelot. [VulgLanc]


Tristan’s horse in the Post-Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal. [PostQuest]


A city in southwest England. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, it was founded by King Bladud in the tenth century BC. Bath was besieged by Saxons in Arthur’s reign, but Arthur arrived in time to save the city and kill the Saxon leaders Colgrim and Baldulph. Later, Urbgennius served as the Earl of Bath. Geoffrey’s use of Bath as the scene of this decisive battle indicates that he believed Bath to be the location of Badon. [GeoffHR, Wace]


Uther Pendragon’s and Arthur’s doctor. When the Good Knight Without Fear went insane, Baucillas cured him. [Palamedes]


Son of the Duke of Avarlan. Known as the Red Knight, Baudon threw his friend Gallinor into prison after a mistaken dispute over a woman. Gallinor’s brother, Gallin, challenged Baudon for Gallinor’s release, but Gallin became wounded and infirm. Gaheris, Gawain’s brother, promised to fight in Gallinor’s stead, and he defeated Baudon, securing Gallinor’s release. [VulgLanc]


An Irish knight who ruled the castle of Antiufais in Les Merveilles de Rigomer. He hosted Lancelot during the latter’s journey to Rigomer and provided him information on the road ahead. [Merveil]


The evil lord of Wanglent Castle in Ireland. Gawain encountered him during his quest to conquer Rigomer Castle. Bauduins had come into possession of Fauviel, Gawain’s horse, which was stolen from Gawain at keep of Fors Graviers. Gawain slew him with a lance blow and recaptured his steed. [Merveil]

Baufumes [Baitramés, Bantrines]

A Saxon king who joined King Rions of Ireland’s invasion of Britain. He was slain by Arthur’s knights at the battle of Aneblayse. [VulgMer, Arthour]


A Knight of the Round Table. [HartmannE]

Bayeux [Beauce]

An actual city in northwest France, near the English Channel. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, the city was built by Bedivere’s great-grandfather. Bedivere was buried here after his death in the Roman war. The Alliterative Morte Arthure transfers this to Bayonne. [GeoffHR, Wace]


An actual city in southwest France near the border of Spain. According to the Alliterative Morte Arthure, it was part of Arthur’s kingdom and Bedivere’s burial place, which suggests that the author was confusing it with Bayeux. Malory gives it an alternate name for Benoic. [Allit, Malory]

Beacurs [Beatus]

A son of Lot and Sangive, and brother of Gawain in German romance. His sisters included Cundrie and Itonje. He was the King of Norway and a Knight of the Round Table. He married Antonie, the niece of King Bagdemagus. [Wolfram, PleierG, PleierT]

Beaflurs (“Beautiful Flower”)

A fairy. She was the wife of Pansamurs. Her son, Liahturteltart, was a page to Queen Ampflise of France in the time of Uther. [Wolfram]


King of Gomoret and one of Arthur’s vassals, according to Hartmann von Aue. Beals corresponds with Ban in Chrétien de Troyes’s Erec. [HartmannE]


The capital of Anjou, ancestral city of Perceval. It was ruled, in succession, by Gandin, Galoes, Perceval, and Kardeiz. [Wolfram]


A city in the realm of Duke Lyppaut. It was the site of a battle between Duke Lyppaut and King Meliant of Lis after Lyppaut’s daughter, Obie, refused Meliant as a husband. After a day of fighting in which many good knights were brought down, Gawain, an ally of Lyppaut, forced Obie and Meliant to reconcile, ending the war. [Wolfram]


A Saracen king, killed by Arthur’s Sir Galescalain at the battle of Diana Bridge. [Arthour]


A lady saved by Carduino (son of Arthur’s Sir Dondinello) from an evil sorcerer, who had turned her knights into beasts and was trying to force her into marriage. Beatrice and Carduino were married at Arthur’s court. [CantariC]


The niece of the king of Escavalon who married Dinasdarés, an enemy of Gawain. [Contin1]

Beaudous [Biausdous]

Gawain’s son in Robert de Blois’ Fair Unknown romance. Born to Amie, the daughter of the king of Wales, Beaudous set out to win fame and fortune when he came of age. He called himself the Knight of Two Shields. By drawing a sword called Honoree from its sheath, he proved himself worthy to marry a princess named Biauté. After saving Biauté from Madoines, a competing suitor, Beaudous married her. [RobertBlo]


Kay’s derogatory nickname for Gawain’s brother Gareth. Meaning “fair hands,” it indicated that the young Gareth’s hands were untarnished by work or combat. Gareth kept the name throughout his first two years at Arthur’s court—one year as a kitchen page, and one as a knight. His mother, Morgause, eventually revealed his true identity while visiting Camelot. The name suggests Malory’s familiarity with the Bel Inconnu or Fair Unknown romances, featuring Gawain’s son. [Malory]


City in Quimper-Corentin that was the home of Arthur’s Sir Aces. [VulgMer]


An alternate name for Benoic given by Malory. [Malory]


A castle, the bridge to which was guarded by Claudin, son of Claudas. During the Grail Quest, Galahad defeated Claudin and forced him to relinquish this post. [ProsTris]

Beaurepaire (“Beautiful Home”) [Belrapiere, Belrepeire, Biaurepaire]

A town in the land of Brobarz, ruled by the lady called Blancheflor in Chrétien’s Perceval and Condwiramurs in Wolfram’s Parzival. The lady had inherited it from her father, Tampenteire. It was attacked by Clamadeu of the Isles and his seneschal, Anguiguerron, and was on the verge of defeat when Perceval arrived and agreed to act as the lady’s champion. Perceval defeated Clamadeu and his seneschal and saved the town. Chrétien says that he turned down Blancheflor’s offer to rule the town and departed; Wolfram claims that he married Condwiramurs and became lord of Brobarz. The incident receives little attention in the Post-Vulgate version. In the third Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval, Beaurepaire is attacked a second time by Lord Caridés of Escavalon and is again saved by Perceval. In Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, it is named as the home of an Arthurian knight named Joranz. [ChretienP, Contin2, Wolfram, Contin3, Heinrich, PostMer]

Beauté1 [Belté(s), Beltéz, Bia(l)té(s), Biauté(s), Biautéz]

A lovely maiden from the castle Landemore. She arrived at Arthur’s court at Karahes during a Pentecost feast. Gawain fell in love with her immediately, and presented her to Guinevere. Beauté rebuked Gawain’s love, as well as that of Gliglois, Gawain’s squire, who was equally smitten upon seeing her. Gawain hoped to win her admiration at the Castle Orgueilleux tournament, but she refused to attend with him, going instead with the knight Aharer, who gave her a falcon to be presented to the winner of the tournament. The love-struck Gliglois, meanwhile, followed Beauté and Aharer, running behind their horses until his feet bled. Beauté finally stopped him and instructed him to take a message to her sister at Landemore. The message revealed to her sister—and to Gliglois—that Beauté truly loved Gliglois but wanted to test him. Her sister knighted Gliglois, who entered the tournament and won—taking the falcon and Beauté as his prizes. Gawain graciously relinquished his love for his former squire’s sake. [Gliglois]

Beauté2 [Biautei, Biautez]

Dauther of the King of the Isles. He father decreed that she would be married by the knight who could pull the magnificent sword Honoree from its sheath. Beautés maidservant, Clarete, carried the sword around until Beaudous, the son of Gawain, managed to draw the sword. Meanwhile, Madoines, a jilted suitor of Beauté, invaded her lands. Beaudous arrived at the right time and defeated Madoines. Beauté and Beaudous were married. [RobertBlo]

Beautiful Forest

The home of Claudin, a maiden saved by Arthur’s Sir Tandareis. It was ruled by Claudin’s parents, Moralde and Angnie. [PleierT]

Beautiful Giantess [*Bele Jaiande]

The mother of Galehaut and Delice. The Prose Lancelot names her land as Estregor, but in the Prose Tristan, she inhabits the Castle of Tears, on the Distant Isles, with her husband Brunor. Her husband followed a custom by which he compared a slain foe’s lady with the Beautiful Giantess and slew whichever was least beautiful. The Beautiful Giantess invariably won the contest until Tristan came to the island with Isolde. Tristan killed Brunor in combat, and then slew the Beautiful Giantess because Isolde was more beautiful. The Italian La Tavola Ritonda gives her the proper name Bagotta. [LancLac, VulgLanc, ProsTris]

Beautiful Wilderness

A land ruled by Duke Eskilabon, a knight defeated by Arthur’s Sir Garel. Its capital was Belamunt. [PleierG]

Beauty Without Villany [*Belle Sans Villenie]

Daughter of the Count of Valsin, who came to Arthur’s court to beseech Arthur’s help in rescuing her lady, the Lady of the Blonde Hair of the Amorous City, from the demonic Fish-Knight. [ChevPap]


A European land administered in Arthur’s time by Lisavander. [Wolfram]

Beau Vivant

The name that Sir Breunor gave to his wife, the Ill-Speaking Maiden, after they were wed. [Malory]

Beauvoisin of Ile Fort [Belnain]

Ruler of the Kingdom of Damsels. When he died, his steward dispossessed Flor de Mont, his daughter. Beauvoisin’s spirit, in the form of a beast, led Arthur to the wicked steward, and Arthur liberated and restored his daughter. [ChevPap]


A castle that serves as the setting for a Sparrowhawk Tournament in Renaut de Bâgé’s Le Bel Inconnu. The castle’s lord, Girflet, won the tournament through sheer power of arms even though his lady, Rose Espanie, was clearly unworthy of the sparrowhawk. Gawain’s son Guinglain eventually defeated Girflet and won the contest. [Renaut]


One manuscript of the Prose Tristan, in departure from the others, describes Tristan’s death at the hands of a lord named Bedalis. Tristan had helped his brother-in-law, Kahedins or Ruvalen, arrange a tryst with Gargeolain, Bedalis’s wife. To avenge this disgrace, Bedalis tracked Tristan down and mortally wounded him with a poisoned lance. Afterwards, Bedalis became a pirate. He was eventually captured and executed. The romance of Palamedes alludes to the same episode. His counterpart in Eilhart von Oberge’s Tristrant is Nampetenis. [ProsTris]

Bedegraine [Beding(r)an, Bedin(g)ham, Bedingram, *Bredigan, Brekenho, Brekingho]

A castle, city, meadow and forest in Britain where Arthur decisively defeated the kings who rebelled against him at the beginning of his reign. The Vulgate Lancelot places it on the border between Ireland and Carmelide, while the Livre d’Artus places it on the border of Cornwall. The Vulgate Merlin calls it the chief city of Britain and Carmelide. Malory equates it with Sherwood Forest. Arthour and Merlin places the same battle at Rockingham. The original form of the name, Bredigan, recalls Brandigan from Chrétien de Troyes’s Erec.
   Arthur’s victory at Bedegraine is first mentioned in the Vulgate Merlin, and it becomes a major episode in Malory’s treatment. Though outnumbered, Arthur won the battle via a combination of creative tactics (including a surprise midnight attack) and a clandestine alliance with the French kings Ban of Benoic and Bors of Gannes.
   After suffering the crushing defeat, the rebellious kings were forced to return to their own lands to combat a Saxon invasion. Soon, the kings were forced to ally with Arthur to purge the invaders, and Arthur became the undisputed ruler of Britain.
   After the battle, Bedegraine Castle served as one of Arthur’s many courts, and was the setting for the bulk of the False Guinevere episode. Baudin Butor says that the castle had perviously been one of King Vortigern’s courts. [VulgLanc, VulgMer, Butor, Livre, Malory]


An Arthurian knight in Les Merveilles de Rigomer. [Merveil]


Lord of the Fres Marés in Ireland. He hosted Lancelot during his journey to Rigomer Castle. [Merveil]

Bedivere [Bedevere, Bed(e)wer(e), Bedo(i)er, Bed(o)uer, Bedios, Beduer(e)(s), Beduier(s), Bedver(e), Bedwar, *Bedwyr, Bedyvere]

A Knight of the Round Table, first found in Welsh legend as Bedwyr. Bedwyr was the son of Pedrawd and father of Amren and the lady Eneuawg. The Welsh legends make Bedwyr one of the best of Arthur’s warriors, even though he had only one hand. In addition, he was one of the handsomest men in Britain, behind Arthur himself and Drych. He often appears alongside Cei—a pairing that recurs in Geoffrey of Monmouth. Among his several adventures in Culhwch and Olwen, he assists in Culhwch’s tasks by tracking down Wrnach the Giant and Dillus the Bearded. A Welsh poem places his grave at Tryfan Hill.
   Geoffrey of Monmouth says that Bedivere was Arthur’s butler, and that Arthur gave him the country of Normandy. In other sources, he is listed as Arthur’s cupbearer, constable, or stable master. He was named after his great-grandfather, who constructed the city of Bayeux in France. Malory names his father as Duke Corneus. He assisted Arthur in the battle against the giant of Mont St. Michel, the conquest of Gaul, and the Roman War. Geoffrey says that he was killed by King Boccus at the battle of Soissons, and was buried in Bayeaux. His nephew, Hirelglas, avenged his death.
   In other romances, he survives the Roman campaign and fights in the wars against Lancelot and Mordred. In the Didot-Perceval, he dies in the first battle against Mordred. In the Stanzaic Morte Arthur (and subsequently in Malory), Bedivere and Lucan are the only knights left alive after the final battle at Salisbury. Assuming the role given to Girflet in the Vulgate Mort Artu, he was ordered by Arthur to throw Excalibur into a nearby lake. After twice hiding the sword and enduring Arthur’s rebukes, he complied. A lady’s hand caught the sword and pulled it beneath the waters. He returned to the chapel where he had left Arthur, and witnessed Arthur’s departure to Avalon. He retired to a hermitage with the former Archbishop of Canterbury and wrote down Arthur’s story for future generations. The English ballad “King Arthur’s Death” says that Bedivere died shortly after Salisbury, and that his brother Lucan performed the feats listed above. [Culhwch, Geoffrey, Wace, ChretienE, Yder, Layamon, LancLac, VulgMer, Geraint, Stanz, Malory, KingAD, TennIK]


The Count of the Castle of the March. He disinherited his own sister, for which he was besieged by Galahad. Bedoin tried to ambush Galahad while he was sleeping. The attack failed, Bedoin was defeated, and Galahad made him restore his sister’s lands. [PostQuest, ProsTris]


The original Welsh version of Bedivere>.


Son of Seithfed, brother of Sinnoch, Naw, and Wadu, and one of Arthur’s warriors in Welsh legend. [Culhwch]

Béearn [Béarn]

A region in southwest France, in the Pyrenees, owned by Lancelot. Lancelot made Sir Vyllyers the earl of Béearn in return for Vyllyers’ support in the battles against King Arthur. [Malory]


The beautiful forest ruled by Iweret, Lancelot’s opponent in Ulrich’s Lanzelet. The forest contained the castle of Dodone. It had once been part of Mabuz’s lands, but Iweret annexed it, knowing that Mabuz could not oppose him. Mabuz’s mother, a fairy, charged Lancelot, whom she raised, to defeat Iweret in revenge. Beforet is obviously a shortening of belle forêt, meaning “beautiful forest,” which is its alternate name. The forest was cherished because of its hardy stock of fish, water, and wildlife—including, according to Ulrich, bears, deer, boars, lions, and elephants. [UlrichZ]


A maiden championed by Gawain. A terrible warrior named Reimambram tried to seize the young lady. Her brother Marhardi agreed to champion her, but perished before the combat could take place. Gawain, who had rescued Behalim from a wild woman in the forest, agreed to take the combat in Marhardi’s stead. He defeated Reimambram and made him swear fealty to the maiden. [Heinrich]

Behantis of Kalomidente

An infidel count who served Perceval’s half-brother Feirefiz. [Wolfram]

Beheading Game

Most famously found in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Beheading Game typically involves a challenge to a knight. The challenger proposes that the hero strike a blow with an axe to the challenger’s head; but the hero has to promise to go to a designated location at the end of a period of time to receive a reciprocal blow. Figuring that if his own strike is accurate enough, he won’t have to uphold his end of the promise, the hero accepts the challenge and cleanly beheads the challenger. The hero is astonished, however, when the decapitated knight picks up his head and walks away, disappears, or otherwise suggests that he is not dead and that some enchantment is involved. The poor hero must now go to his certain death or break his vow. Choosing death over dishonor, the hero appears at the designated location, at the designated times. After perhaps a feinted blow or two, the hero is granted a reprieve because he has acquitted himself with honor.
   In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and its inferior successor, The Grene Knight, the Green Knight, in the service of Morgan le Fay, is the challenger, and Gawain is the hero. This theme is used several times prior to Gawain in the First Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval, in which Caradoc is the hero and the challenger is his own father, Eliavres; in Perlesvaus, in which Lancelot is the hero, and his honorable return saves not only his own life, but also restores the Waste City to prosperity; in La Mule sans frein, in which Gawain is challenged to the test by a churl; and in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône (in an episode based on La Mule), in which Gawain’s participation in a beheading game against the sorcerer Gansguoter is a condition of his retrieving a magic bridle for the lady Sgoidamur. Probably the most humorous of the pre-Gawain beheading games occurs in Hunbaut. Gawain, challenged to the contest by a churl, decapitates his opponent with an axe. Gawain, apparently familiar with how the game usually goes, then grabs the churl’s body and holds it fast, so that, unable to pick up and refasten his head, the churl dies.
   We find a variation in the Middle-English The Turke and Gawain. A churl arrives at Arthur’s court and offers a non-fatal version of the Beheading Game with fists instead of axes. After allowing Gawain to strike him, the churl insists on delivering the reciprocal blow at a later time, and he leads Gawain on a series of adventures. Finally, on the Isle of Man, the churl insists that Gawain strike him again, but this time with an axe. When Gawain beheads the churl, his companion is released from a curse and becomes the noble Sir Gromer. The Carle of Carlisle includes a similar scene in which Gawain’s beheading of a bewitched churl transforms him into a nobleman.
   The theme ultimately originates in Irish non-Arthurian romance. A tale called Bricriu’s Feast (c. 1100) contains an episode between the hero Cuchulainn (often seen as the Irish counterpart to Gawain) and a sorcerer that was apparently the inspiration for the test in Sir Gawain. [Contin1, Perlesvaus, Paien, Heinrich, Hunbaut, SirGawain, Grene, Turke, Carle]


The sweet and beautiful mother of Bejolarz, a companion of Wigalois (Gawain’s son). [Wirnt]

Bejolarz of Leodarz

Son of Bejolare and Count of Leodarz. As a knight, he served Count Moral, and joined Wigalois (Gawain’s son) in his war against King Lion of Namur. [Wirnt]

Bel Brullet

A castle where Guinevere lodged after she was rescued from Brun of Morrois by Sir Durmart. [Durmart]

Bel Joeor

Tristan’s horse in Béroul’s Tristan. [Beroul]


The infidel Queen of Zazamanc and first wife of Perceval’s father Gahmuret. She had first been loved by a lord named Isenhart. When he died in a combat against a prince named Prothizilas for her love, her kingdom was invaded by Isenhart’s friends and allies (led by Vridebrant of Scotland). She faced imminent defeat until the arrival of the noble Gahmuret who beat back the offenders. Ignoring the color of her skin, Gahmuret fell in love with Belacane and married her. They had one pie-bald child name Feirefiz. Eventually, Gahmuret tired of domestic life, abandoned Belacane, and returned to Britain. Belacane soon died from sorrow. [Wolfram]


The Duke of Zone in Der Stricker’s Daniel, who took service with Arthur and was appointed Duke of Cluse. He married Sandinose, the Maiden of the Green Meadow. He is found in Renaut’s Le Bel Inconnu as the Knight of Baladingan. [Stricker]


A land ruled by King Schaffilun, who was killed by Wigalois (Gawain’s son). Three princes of Belakun were Darel, Gamer, and Ariun. [Wirnt]


A duke in Arthur’s service who married the Duchess of the Dark Mountain. [Stricker]


A castle in the Beautiful Wilderness. In Der Pleier’s Garel, it was ruled by Duke Eskilabon, who imprisoned many knights until he was defeated by Arthur’s Sir Garel. In Wirnt von Grafenberg’s Wigalois, it was the home of the knight Flojir. [Wirnt, PleierG]

Belande [Orlende]

A city in Northumberland, ruled by King Clarion, an early enemy of Arthur. [VulgMer, Arthour]


The homely lord of the castles Monhaut and Campadoine and father of Espinogres. He kidnapped the Lady Lidoine when he heard that her lover, Meraguis of Portlesguez, was dead. He wanted Lidoine to marry Espinogres, but news of Meraugis’s survival forced Belchis to release the woman. [Raoul]

Belchis2 [Belcis]

King of Denmark in Arthur’s service He fought for King Arthur against the Saxons at Vambieres and in the Roman War, leading a battalion of soldiers at the battle of Soissons. [VulgMer, Livre]


The Countess of the Castle Joraphas in Korntin and wife of Count Moral. Her husband was carried away by the dragon Pfetan. Wigalois (Gawain’s son) found her weeping and agreed to rescue him; he succeeded, but was knocked unconscious during the battle. Beleare managed to locate him after one of her ladies witnessed some peasants stealing his belongings. She brought him back to Joraphas, where he remained until healed. Before Wigalois departed her kingdom, Beleare provided him with a magical suit of armor. [Wirnt]

Beleis the Blond [Ablechin, Beliche]

A wealthy and powerful knight in the service of King Leodegan of Carmelide. He led an battalion of soldiers against King Rions of Ireland at the battles of Aneblayse and Carhaix. [VulgMer, Livre, Arthour]


The castle in Trefferin ruled by Queen Dulceflur, whose kingdom was saved by Arthur’s nephew Meleranz. [PleierM]


Father of Arthur’s warrior Rheidwn Arwy. [Culhwch]

Beli2 Adver

Father of Arthur’s warrior Rhun. [Culhwch]

Beli3 the Great

King of Britain in several non-Arthurian Welsh sources. According to The Dream of Macsen, Macsen conquered Britain from Beli; in Lludd and Llefelys, however, Beli’s son Lludd inherits the rule of the island after Beli’s death. Beli’s father was Manogan. His other sons were Llefelys, Caswallawn, and Nyniaw. In Welsh mythological genealogies, he is the grandfather of Bran the Blessed and Modron, and is the brother-in-law of the Virgin Mary. He may be the same character later used as the father of Rheidwn or Rhun. He could be a reflection of the pseudo-historical Belinus (Chambers, 70). Some have seen him as the origin of Pelles, Pellinore, Bilis, and Belinor. (Loomis, Grail, 111).


A giant slain by Tristan in the Middle-English Sir Tristrem. [SirTris]

Belianz the Crafty

One of four miscreant brother knights killed by Gawain in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône. His brothers were Gameranz, Bandarab, and Eumenides. [Heinrich]


An enemy of Arthur, known as the Red Knight of Estremores. His brother, Agravadain, was a Knight of the Round Table. [VulgMer]

Belias2 of Doves

A duke who joined the rebellion against Arthur in the early days of the king’s reign. He later allied with Arthur in order to destroy the invading Saxons at Clarence. [VulgMer]

Belias3 the Amorous [Holias]

Lord of the Castle of Maidens. In Arthur’s service, he led a company of soldiers in the battle of Bedegraine, against kings in rebellion against Arthur, and at Carhaix, against Rions and the Saxons. [VulgMer, Arthour]

Belias4 the Black

A strong knight who guarded the Spring of the Two Sycamores. He detested the Knights of the Round Table because he had been denited admittance to their order. He was an excellent jouster, and he unhorsed, among others, Gawain and Yvain. This prompted a whole host of knights to embark from Arthur’s court to find and challenge Belias. One of them, Sarras, led Lancelot to the Spring. After Sarras himself was defeated, Lancelot jousted with Belias and won, mortally wounding him. Lancelot was later challenged by Briadas, Belias’s brother, and Broadas, his father. [VulgLanc]

Belide [Bellices]

The daughter of King Faramon of France. She fell in love with Tristan while he was living and serving in Faramon’s court. When Tristan did not reciprocate, she became enraged and staged a “rape” scene for which Tristan was convicted and sentenced to execution. Governal, Tristan’s tutor, pleaded the truth to Faramon, who in turn coaxed it from his daughter. Acquitted, Tristan left France, and Belide killed herself. [ProsTris, TristanoR, Tavola]

Belinant [Balinant]

King of South Wales and father of Arthur’s Sir Dodinel in the Vulgate Merlin. Though married to a beautiful woman named Eglantine, he fathered Dodinel on his own niece. He ruled Lindesores and the Narrow Borderland, and his brother was King Tradelmant of North Wales. His land was invaded by Saxons, and he allied with other kings (most in rebellion against Arthur) to oppose them. After suffering a defeat at the battle of Clarence, Belinant and the other princes joined with Arthur and expelled the Saxons for good. He later led a battalion of soldiers in Arthur’s war against Rome. The Vulgate Lancelot lists a King Bernant of North Wales, who may be the same character. There may also be a connetion to Celinant. [VulgMer, Livre]


A dwarf who served Queen Esclarmonde of Iglecele. At Esclarmonde’s order, Belinore gave Sir Escanor the Handsome a magnificent horse called Gringolet. The horse later came into the possession of Gawain. There may be some connection with the dwarf Bilis. [Girart]

Belinus [Bel(l)in(us)]

In the chronicles, a King of the Britons who preceded Arthur by many centuries. He was the brother of Brennius. When his father, King Dunwallo, died, Belinus and Brennius contended for the throne. After many battles, the brothers reached a truce and divided the island at the river Humber, with Belinus the higher king. Five years later, they went to war again. Brennius was aided by Norweigans, but was still defeated and driven off the island. During the same period, Belinus subjugated Denmark. He was eventually reconciled with his brother. Togehter, they conquered Gaul and Rome. Brennius remained to rule Rome whiel Belinus returned to Britain. His son Gurguint Barbtruc succeeded him.
   When Arthur faced war with Rome, he used Belinus’s example as justification and inspiration for his own campaign. In the fourteenth-century Short Metrical Chronicle, with its confused chronology, Belinus is succeeded by Hengist. He may be reflected in Welsh legend by Beli the Great. [GeoffHR, Wace, Short]

Belisent [Bellicent]

Mother of Gawain, Mordred, Gareth, Gaheris, and Agravain in Arthour and Merlin and in Tennyson’s Idylls of the King. She was the daughter of Hoel or Gorlois and Igerne, and the wife of King Lot of Orkney. She encouraged her sons to take service with Arthur. During the Saxon (or Saracen) wars, she was captured by King Taurus, but was rescued by Gawain. A number of other sources name the same character as Morgause, though unlike her counterpart, Belisent is generally portrayed as Arthur’s kind and loving sister. [Arthour, TennIK]

Bellangre the Bewse [Bellangerus]

Son of Alexander the Orphan and Alice the Fair Pilgrim. Bellangere avenged the death of his father and his grandfather, Prince Bodwyne, by killing King Mark of Cornwall. He later became a Knight of the Round Table. When Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere were accused of treason, Sir Bellangere pledged his support to Lancelot and helped him rescue Guinevere from the stake. He fought alongside Lancelot when Arthur laid siege to Joyous Guard and, later, Benoic. In return for his support, Lancelot made him the Earl of the Laundes. [Malory]


A castle in the kingdom of King Lancelot (Lancelot’s grandfather), according to the Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal. King Lancelot loved the lady of the castle, who was married, and her husband eventually slew Lancelot in jealousy. In the Vulgate Lancelot, the castle is known as the White Fortress. [VulgEst]


A knight encountered by Lancelot during his first series of quests. Coming upon Belleus’s empty pavilion in a glade, Lancelot went to sleep inside. He awoke to find Belleus, who had returned and mistaken Lancelot for his paramour, kissing him. In the ensuing surprised confusion, Belleus and Lancelot dueled, but settled down after Belleus received a stomach wound. [Malory]


The Arabian castle belonging to the first Nascien, before he departed for Britain. [VulgEst]


A castle in Listenois owned by Lamorat’s sister. It was besieged by Count Guiot but was saved by Branor the Brown. It is also the name of a castle, perhaps a different one, that Arthur gave to Erec. There may be a connection with Beloé. [Palamedes]

Bellyas the Proud

A knight who tried to avenge his brother Frolle’s death at the hands of Lamorat. Lamorat defeated Bellyas in combat, granted him mercy, and the two knights became friends. He later became a Knight of the Round Table and was killed fighting Lancelot and his men when they rescued Guinevere from the stake. [Malory]

Belni of Danois

A lady at Arthur’s court; one of many who failed a chastity test in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône. [Heinrich]


A castle in Britain. After the first battle against Mordred, a group of Arthur’s knights, who were bearing Gawain’s body to Camelot, stopped at Beloé for the night. When the lady of Beloé understood that the corpse was Gawain’s, she lamented for the only man she had ever loved. Her husband, who had despised Gawain, struck her with his sword upon hearing this, and she died after requesting burial alongside Gawain. Her death was swiftly avenged by Arthur’s knights, and her body was borne to Camelot as she requested. See also Belloé. [VulgMort]


A beautiful, brave, and powerful huntress. She was raised by the goddess Diana after she was born through immaculate conception to the virgin Chrysogone. She had a twin sister named Amoret. She found Arthur’s squire, Timias, after he had been wounded by some evil foresters, and nursed him back to health. He fell in love with her, and helped her to rescue the maiden Amoret from the Hairy Carl. Belphoebe saw Timias kiss Amoret, accused him of infidelity, and left him. Later, she found Timias living as a hermit, pining over his lost love. Moved by his devotion, she reconciled with him. [Spenser]

Belvaliot [Belle Valet]

A castle where Palamedes recovered after a particularly exhausting battle with Lamorat. Arthur gave the castle to Palamedes. [ProsTris, Malory]


A city in the country of Löver where Arthur was known to sometimes keep his court. [Wolfram]


Perceval’s nephew in La Tavola Ritonda. The son of the Queen of the Waste Land, Bencin served King Pelles. [Tavola]


A knight slain in joust by Gareth near the Castle Perilous. A score of Bendelayne’s soldiers immediately set upon Gareth in revenge, but Gareth routed them. [Malory]


Daughter of Plippalinot the ferryman, resident of the Castle of Marvels, and friend to Itonje, Gawain’s sister. [Wolfram]

Benemias of Raguleis

A knight saved from the prison of Eskalibon of Belamunt by Arthur’s Sir Garel. In return, he served Garel in the war against King Ekunaver of Kanadic, and was eventually awarded a seat at the Round Table. [PleierG]

Beneoiz [Beneïz]

The name given to the magical drinking horn which revealed a woman’s chastity, or lack thereof, in the First Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval. Banded with gold and embellished with jewels, the horn spilled its wine all over a cuckold, but allowed a man with a faithful wife to drink freely. Arthur’s entire court attempted to drink from the horn, but only one, including Arthur, succeeded: Caradoc, whose wife was called Guignier. The same episode appears in Biket’s Lai du Cor and in numerous subsequent tales, but the horn itself is not named. Beneoiz is probably a form of the French “blessed” (benoit) and may have a connection with the blessed horn of King Bran (see Thirteen Treasures). [Contin1]


In the Icelandic Saga af Tristram ok Ísodd, a king who managed to wrest control of Spain (Tristan’s homeland) during the chaos that followed the defeat of Biríng, Tristan’s foster-father, at the hands of King Turnes of Africa. Tristan eventually defeated Beniosus and his companions, Earls Hríngr and Siguròr, and re-conquered Spain. [SagaTI]

Benoic [Benewic, Benoich, Benoit, Benuic, Benwick]

Lancelot’s homeland in France. It was ruled by his father Ban and later by Lancelot himself. Ulrich von Zatzikhoven called it Genewis, a possible variation. The Prose Lancelot tells us that Benoic’s overlord was first Aramont, then Uther Pendragon, and then Arthur, and that Ban was their vassal. Lancelot further tells us that King Claudas invaded and conquered Benoic, causing Ban’s death. The Italian La Tavola Ritonda recounts a similar story but names King Brandino and King Arandus as those who sacked the city.
   The Stanzaic Morte Arthur says that Lancelot, during his war with Arthur, bestowed Benoic on his brother Ector. Arthur later laid siege to Benoic for sixth months, but had to depart when Mordred seized the throne of Britain. Malory suggests that Benoic may be located at the city of Bayonne or Beaune; Lancelot places it between the Loire and Arise Rivers; and the Vulgate Merlin identifies it with Bourges. Possibly, however, “Ban of Benoic” is a scribal corruption of Bran le Benoit (Bran the Blessed), a character in Welsh literature. Other scholars have proposed derivations from Gwynedd (North Wales) or Guenet in Brittany. [UlrichZ, LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgMer, Tavola, Stanz, Malory]


One of Twrch Trwyth’s piglets, killed by Arthur’s warriors at Dyffryn Amanw. [Culhwch]


One of Arthur’s knights killed in the Roman War. [Allit]


One of Arthur’s earls in the Norse Erex Saga. He was present at the wedding of Erec and Enide. [Erex]

Bercilak of the High Desert [Bertilak]

The true name of the Green Knight in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. He inhabited a castle called Hutton. In the later poem, The Grene Knight, he is called Bredbeddle. Malory’s Green Knight, Pertylope, may be a derivation. L. H. Loomis notes that a similar character in Irish romance is called a bachlach (“churl”), which she suggests as the origin of Bercilak’s name (Loomis, Romance, 531–2). [SirGawain]


The ghost of Guinevere’s mother in The Awntyrs off Arthure at the Terne Wathelyne compares herself to an unidentified woman named Berell, claiming to have greater beauty. Berell does not figure into Arthurian legends anywhere else, though Ralph Hanna suggested that the line originally named Brisen, Elaine’s servant (Hahn, 206). [Awntyrs]

Berengier1 [Bellangre]

Constable of the Castle Magance in Sussex, which he held from his master, Ranner. He raised and trained Alexander the Orphan, Mark’s nephew, when Alexander and his mother were forced to flee Cornwall to escape Mark’s wrath. [ProsTris, Prophecies, Malory]

Berengier2 of Gomeret

A widower who was the object of desire for Morgan le Fay and her companion Sebille. Morgan kidnapped Berengier’s child to extort his love. Flor de Lis, Morgan’s maidservant, agreed to help Berengier and his child escape if he would marry her, and Berengier agreed. They fled to safety in his kingdom of Gomeret. [Prophecies]


A knight slain by Gawain in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône. He inhabited an enchanted castle in the land of Sere, from which Gawain had to retrieve a bridle. Berhardis was cursed to decapitate any challengers. After Berhardis’s death, Gawain discovered that both the castle and the knight were part of his own territory, acquired by his marriage to the lady Amurfina. [Heinrich]


A page who served Tydomie, the wife of Arthur’s nephew Meleranz. [PleierM]

Berluse1 [Bertelai]

A Cornish knight and servant of King Mark of Cornwall. When he learned of Mark’s plans to slay Tristan, Berluse tried to desert the king, but Mark killed him. He was buried by his companion, Amant. His son, also named Berluse, found harbor with Sir Tor. [ProsTris, Malory]

Berluse2 [Berlet]

Son of the above Berluse. After his father’s death, he found harbor with Arthur’s Sir Tor. When he later encountered King Mark, his father’s murderer, he engaged in combat but was defeated and saved from death only through the intervention of Sir Dinadan. [ProsTris, Malory]


King of North Wales during Arthur’s reign. [VulgLanc]


Lord of Escalot and father of Elaine, Lancelot’s ill-fated admirer, in Malory. He appears unnamed in the Vulgate Lancelot and as Lanval in the Hebrew Melekh Artus. His sons were Tirre and Lavaine. Just prior to a great tournament at Camelot, Bernard gave lodging to Lancelot and lent him Tirre’s shield to use in the tournament. He later begged Lancelot to marry the love-struck Elaine, but in vain. [Malory]


A knight killed in battle by Tristan. [Sala]


A brief companion of Agravain in Les Merveilles de Rigomer. As a vassal of a nobleman named Robert, Bernart and other knights accompanied Agravain on a quest to find Robert’s kidnapped wife. [Merveil]


One of the many Saxon kings who invaded Britain during Arthur’s struggle to establish power. [Livre]

Bernout of Riviers

Count of Ukerlant, son of Count Narant, and companion of King Gramoflanz, Gawain’s brother-in-law. [Wolfram]


A region of central France, conquered for Arthur by Hoel of Brittany, according to Layamon. In the Prose Lancelot, Berry and its capital Bourges were ruled by King Claudas, an enemy of Lancelot’s family. The country was laid waste by Uther Pendragon and King Aramont of Brittany, and it became known as the Land Laid Waste. [Layamon, LancLac, VulgLanc]


The father of Garin, a friend of Gawain. [ChretienP]


A castle at which the Good Knight Without Fear and Guiron the Courteous killed a tyrannical giant. [Palamedes]

Bertelay [Berthelai, Bert(h)olai, Bretelai]

Champion of the False Guinevere, surnamed “the Red” at the beginning of his career and “the Old” at the end. Once a vassal of King Leodegan of Carmelide, he was banished by Arthur and Leodegan after he murdered another knight. In his exile, he met the False Guinevere (Leodegan’s daughter and Queen Guinevere’s twin half-sister) whom, many years later, he presented at Arthur’s court as the true Guinevere. Their claim was that on Arthur’s wedding night, his true wife had been taken away and that Arthur’s present queen had been substituted in her place. Bertelay offered to fight any of Arthur’s knights to prove his case, but he kidnapped Arthur before the combat and fed him a love potion which caused him to accept the False Guinevere as his wife. In the non-cyclical Lancelot do Lac, Lancelot championed the real Guinevere against three of Bertelay’s knights and won; Bertelay then admitted his guilt and was burned. In the Vulgate Lancelot, on the other hand, Arthur remained married to the False Guinevere for several years before both she and Bertelay contracted a mortal illness and confessed their ruse on their deathbeds. [LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgMer]


Brother of the despised Sir Breus the Pitiless, whom Bertelot often accompanied on his marauding. He was defeated once by Lancelot. [Malory]


Son of Cadway and one of Arthur’s warriors in Welsh legend. [Culhwch]

Bertoles the Bald

One of Perceval’s eleven paternal uncles in Perlesvaus. He was the fourth son of Gais the Large and the brother of Alain. He died in combat. [Perlesvaus]


Son of Garin, a friend of Gawain. [ChretienP]

Bertrand2 of Thrace

A knight who served Alis, the Emperor of Constantinople and Greece. Bertrand discovered Cliges’ and Fenice’s betrayal of Alis when he found the two lovers sleeping together in a forest. Cliges caught him and cut off one of his legs, but Bertrand managed to get away and to inform Alis of the situation, forcing Cliges and Fenice to flee Greece. His surname refers to an ancient region in the east Balkan peninsula, now divided between Greece and Turkey. [ChretienC]


Son of Cerenhyr and one of Arthur’s warriors in Welsh legend. [Culhwch]


In the Prose Tristan, a Cornish woman who loved Tristan. When Tristan rejected her, she became the paramour of Andred, Tristan’s enemy, and conspired to reveal his affair with Isolde to King Mark. She is known as Girida in La Tavola Ritonda. [ProsTris]


A castle in Gaul where regional lords convened to declare a king of France. Arthur, through his messenger Aram, proposed Lancelot, but Duke Frollo of Germany contested the choice in favor of himself. The Island of Battles, where Arthur later killed Frollo, was nearby. [VulgLanc]


A country through which Joseph of Arimathea’s followers traveled on the way from Jerusalem to Sarras. [VulgEst]

Betica [Betike]

In the Vulgate Merlin and Arthour and Merlin, the city or land ruled by Duke Nascien, who became a follower of Joseph of Arimathea. In the Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal, however, Nascien’s city is Orberica. [VulgMer, Arthour]

Bewfys (“Handsome Son”) [Beau-fyz]

The name given to Guinglain, Gawain’s son, by his mother. When he arrived at Arthur’s court, he was dubbed the Fair Unknown until his true name was revealed. [ChestreLyb]


Irish form of Gawain. His adventures include a quest with the Crop-Eared Dog. [IrishD]


One of the many Saxon kings who invaded Britain at the beginning of Arthur’s reign. He participated in the siege of Vambieres and was killed by Gawain. [Livre]


According to Welsh legend, the husband of Rieingulid and father of Saint Illtud, Arthur’s cousin. [SaintsI]

Bidwini [Bytwini]

Arthur’s chief bishop in Cornwall. He blessed the food, drink, and women at Arthur’s court. He may be the origin of Bishop Baldwin of Middle-English romance. [Culhwch, Dream]


A Saxon warrior, son of Port, who landed in Britain in 501 to join the Saxon conquest. He sailed into Portsmouth with another Saxon named Mægla, and the two warriors killed a British noble there. Bieda would have been a contemporary (and opponent) of a historical Arthur or his allies. [Anglo]


The Lord of Bielmanoir (“Fair Manor”) is a Knight of the Round Table in Hunbaut. [Hunbaut]

Bien Pensant (“Well Thinking”)

The name that Lancelot gave the Ill-Speaking Maiden after she proved to be a fairly good person. [Malory]


The Count of Bigame appears at the tournament of Sorgarda, won by Gawain. His brother was named Sorgarit. [Heinrich]


An elderly count who tried to force a young maiden into marriage. Arthur’s Sir Claris defeated Bilas and imprisoned him, ending his plans. [Claris]

Bilis [Bilei, Ebilis, Wilis]

A nobleman known as the Lord of the Dwarfs and the King of the Antipodes. He was the shortest of the dwarves, and was the brother of Bliant, the tallest of the dwarves. In Chrétien’s Erec, Bilis came to the wedding of Erec and Enide and brought his vassals Gribalo and Glodoalan. The Norse Erex Saga names his brothers as Brattur and Revellus. R. S. Loomis (Tradition, 142) thought that he was to be identified with Pelles, having originated in the Welsh Beli. [ChretienE, Erex, Heinrich]


Bedivere’s nephew in a French chronicle. He is usually called Hirelglas. He was said to have married a woman named Fausta, to have had a daughter named Lupa, and to have built the city of Bliriacus. [Liber]


A villiage in Rheged called Camboglanna by the Welsh. It has been suggested as the site of the battle of Camlann, though Arthur’s death, in both the chronicles and the romances, is almost always located in southern Britain.


In the Icelandic Saga af Tristram ok Ísodd, the foster-father of both Kalegras (Tristan’s father) and Tristan. He became King of Spain after Kalegras’s death, but was defeated and deposed by a pirate king from Africa named Turnes. He later joined Tristan at Mark’s court in England. [SagaTI]


A Knight of the Round Table present at the Banborc tournament. [Girart]

Bishop of the Thames

In Gottfried’s Tristan, this oddly-named religious figure advises Mark, who is confused over Isolde’s possibly infidelity with Tristan, to ask Isolde to swear before the court that she is innocent. Isolde is able to swear, through a technicality in her speech, that she is faithful to Mark. [Gottfried]


An ancient country in northwest Asia Minor, in what is now Turkey. It was ruled in Arthur’s time by Duke Politetes, an ally of the Roman Procurator Lucius. [GeoffHR, Wace]

Black Chapel

In the Vulgate Mort Artu, the chapel where Girflet and Lucan brought a mortally wounded Arthur after the final battle with Mordred. Lucan perished and was buried there; Arthur was taken away by Morgan le Fay; and Girflet retired as a Black Chapel hermit. It is called the Ancient Chapel in the Post-Vulgate version. [VulgMort]

Black Cross1

A monument in Camelot, on which the early pagan king Agrestes slaughtered a dozen followers of Joseph of Arimathea. It was stained black with their blood. It still stood during Arthur’s reign, when it served as a rallying point. [VulgEst, VulgMer]

Black Cross2

An abbey in Cornwall at which Sir Yvain of the White Hands was healed after King Mark injured him. [ProsTris, Malory]

Black Forest1

A wooded mountain region in southwest Germany. Alis, the Emperor of Constantinople and Greece, fought a battle against the Duke of Saxony in the forest, near the Danube River. The two warriors fought over mutual love for the lady Fenice. Alis, largely because of his nephew Cliges, won the battle. [ChretienC]

Black Forest2

A forest in Britain inhabited by the Black Knight of the Black Forest. Arthur contended with the Black Knight for ownership of the property. Meriadoc won the combat in Arthur’s favor. Perceiving that the rights to the Black Forest truly belonged to the Black Knight, Meriadoc convinced Arthur to abandon his claim. [Historia]

Black Hag

Daughter of the White Hag who lived in the Valley of Distress in the Highlands of Hell. As one of his tasks, the warrior Culhwch had to obtain the Black Hag’s blood to straighten the beard of the giant Ysbaddaden. Arthur and his warriors, on Culhwch’s behalf, set out for the Black Hag’s cave. The first four warriors sent into the cave—Cacamwri, Hwgwydd, Amren the Tall, and Eiddyl the Tall—were beaten half to death. Finally, Arthur himself jumped into the cave and killed the Black Hag with one well-placed throw of his knife, Carnwennan. Caw of Scotland collected her blood and delivered it to Ysbaddaden. An Welsh poem in the Black Book of Carmarthen describes a similar battle between Arthur and a hag at Afarnach. [Culhwch]

Black Hand

A chapel built by Brangemore of Cornwall, who was slain by her son Espignogrés and buried beneath the chapel’s altar. Gawain and Perceval each visited it during their adventures. The mysterious “black hand” within the chapel had slain over 4,000 knights. Perceval discovered that the hand belonged to a devil. He did battle with the hand, and during the combat, lightning struck the chapel and burned it to the ground. Perceval drove away the devil by sanctifying the chapel. [Contin2, Contin3]

Black Hermit

A demonic lord encountered by Gawain and Perceval in Perlesvaus. He ruled a hellish castle in the Wild Forest, from which he robbed women. One of his victims was the enigmatic Maiden of the Cart, from whom he stole the heads of 152 knights. Gawain learned that the Black Hermit was an earthly manifestation of Lucifer, and that only Perceval could defeat him. At the urging of the Maiden of the Cart, Perceval traveled to the Black Hermit’s castle and defeated him in a joust. Seeing their lord fallen, the Black Hermit’s own knights threw him into a chasm of filth. [Perlesvaus]

Black Isle

See Island of Glass.

Black Isles

In Palamedes, the kingdom ruled by Lac, Erec’s father. [Palamedes]

Black Knight1

An evil warrior who inhabited the White Forest and guarded the glade around the chapel of St. Augustine. He killed Arthur’s squire, Cahus, and was himself slain by Arthur. [Perlesvaus]

Black Knight2

A knight defeated by Perceval at a tomb. See the Knight of the Tomb. [Contin2, Didot]

Black Knight3

The alias of Maduk the Black. [Vengeance]

Black Knight4

A mighty lord who inhabited Mount Nouquestran (or the Black Mountain) in Scotland, and who guarded a magic horn and wimple. When the young Fergus arrived at Arthur’s court, Kay sarcastically suggested that Fergus defeat the Black Knight for his first quest, and Fergus surprised everyone—and humiliated Kay—by doing just that. The Black Knight went to Arthur’s court, humbly bearing the horn, wimple, and news of his own defeat. He later fought in the Gedeorde tournament, and was defeated by Fergus again. [Guillaume]

Black Knight5

The name given to Lancelot, when he appeared in disguise (carrying a black shield) at Arthur’s second battle against Galehaut. Lancelot showed so much prowess in the battle that Galehaut called off the war with Arthur in order to win the Black Knight’s friendship. [LancLac, VulgLanc]

Black Knight6

In the romance of Yder, a Black Knight besieges the Castle of Maidens. Arthur ignored the Castle’s pleas for help, preferring to direct his attention to a different battle. Later, however, he vowed to punish the Black Knight’s outrage. [Yder]

Black Knight7

A nickname given to Baruc the Black, a knight defeated by Sagremor. [Livre]

Black Knight8

A knight in Arthur’s service who defeated a knight named Tantalis. [Floriant, Claris]

Black Knight9

An alias of the Ugly Hero, one of Arthur’s knights. [Atre]

Black Knight10

In the Middle English Sir Perceval of Galles, a warrior whose wife a young Perceval met in a forest. Perceval innocently kissed the lady and exchanged rings with her, which the Black Knight interpreted upon his return as adultery. Consequently, the jealous Black Knight tied her to a tree. Perceval encountered them again, as a knight. He defeated the Black Knight in combat, explained the truth of the situation to him, and forced him to reconcile with his wife. The character is known in Chrétien’s Perceval as Orgellous. [SirPerc]

Black Knight11

Son of Arthur’s Tom a’ Lincoln by Anglitora. Tom’s ghost appeared to his son and related how he had been murdered by Anglitora and her lover. The Black Knight slew the two lovers to avenge his father’s death. [Johnson]

Black Knight12

The name adopted by Sir Perard, one of Gareth’s opponents. [Malory]

Black Knight13 of the Black Forest

A knight who was challenged by Arthur for ownership of the Black Forest. The Black Knight logically contended that since his name was the “Black Knight of the Black Forest,” the Black Forest must be his. To win his claim, the Black Knight had to defeat all of Arthur’s knights. He came close, but was defeated by Sir Meriadoc. The noble Meriadoc, however, convinced Arthur to return the Black Forest to the Black Knight. [Historia]

Black Knight14 of the Fountain

The name given in the Welsh Triads to the Lord of the Fountain defeated by Owain. He is called Esclados by Chrétien de Troyes. [Triads]

Black Knight15 of the Mountain

A British knight, enchanted in some manner, who attended the trail of Isolde in Cornwall. [Beroul]

Black Lowe

The giant of the Black Lowe was once fought by Arthur’s Sir Degrane Sans Villany. [Malory]

Black Mountain1

A Scottish mountain, also called Nouquestran, where Arthur’s Sir Fergus defeated the Black Knight, winning a magic horn and wimple. [Guillaume]

Black Mountain2

In Tyolet, the home of a doctor who healed Tyolet after he had been injured in a battle against lions. [Tyolet]

Black Oppressor

An evil duke who made it a custom to kill any men who came to his court, and to imprison their ladies. He had lost an eye while fighting the Black Serpent of the Barrow. Owain defeated him in combat and made him promise to turn his castle into a place of hospitality. Apparently, this promise was not kept because Peredur was later forced to kill the Black Oppressor to end his wicked ways. [Owain, Peredur]

Black Rock [*Roche Noire]

A castle in Cornwall ruled by Dinas, Mark’s seneschal. [ProsTris]

Black Serpent of the Barrow

A vicious snake that inhabited the Mournful Mound and killed or maimed many men. Warriors sought the serpent because it had a magical stone in its tail which caused its bearer to receive any amount of gold he wished. Peredur became interested in killing it during his adventures, but upon arriving at Mournful Mound he was forced to fight a number of other warriors who also wished to kill the beast. Finally, he defeated his competitors, marched up to the serpent, and killed it. Peredur then gave the Serpent’s stone to his companion, Edlym Red Sword. [Peredur]


According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, king of Britain in the ninth or tenth century BC. He was the son of King Hudibras and the father of King Lear. During his reign, he founded the city of Bath and spread teachings of sorcery throughout Britain. He was killed while attempting to fly. [GeoffHR]


Son of the Earl of Llychlyn and one of the “three Just Knights” of Arthur’s court.” He was dedicated to preserving justice through “earthly Law,” in contrast to his fellow knights, who followed the Law of the Church and the Law of Arms. There may be a relation between this knight and Merlin’s foster father Blaise. [Triads]

Blaharis [Blaaris]

A Knight of the Round Table defeated and taken prisoner by the Queen’s Knights during a tournament. [VulgLanc]


A vavasor in Carmelide. Arthur, Merlin, Ban, and Bors lodged with him while they were visiting King Leodegan incognito. His wife was named Leonelle. [VulgMer, Arthour]

Blaise [Bayses, Blais(s)es, Blasio, Blasy, Blays(e)(s), Bleys(e)]

Merlin’s foster-father in Robert de Boron’s Merlin and subsequent texts. A holy man and clerk from Northumberland, he heard the confession of Merlin’s mother after she was impregnated by an incubus. Blaise divined that Satan was planning to introduce a hideous devil child to the world, in order to counteract the advance of Christianity. Staying by the girl’s side, Blaise was on hand to quickly baptize the infant as soon as it was born, driving the devil’s nature out of Merlin. He defended Merlin’s mother against a group of judges who sought to punish her for perfidy. Serving as Merlin’s tutor and companion, Blaise wrote down the many adventures of Merlin, Arthur, and Arthur’s knights as Merlin dictated it. Merlin made frequent visits to Blaise to relate new chapters of the Arthurian saga. Blaise also penned a Grail history. The Vulgate Cycle suggests that its romances were descended from Blaise’s texts. In the Didot-Perceval, Merlin brings Blaise to the Grail Castle to live out his days, while in the Vulgate Merlin, Blaise takes up residence in Camelot just prior to Merlin’s death.
   Certain Arthurian tales—among them Thomas’s Tristan, the works of Giraldus Cambrensis, the Second Continuation of Perceval, and the Elucidation—appeal to the authority of a certain “Bleheris” or “Blihis,” probably a medieval bard who spread Arthuriana through Britain and Brittany. The character of Blaise, said to have authored Arthur’s history, may be a reflection of this historical conteur (Loomis, Romance, 57n). [ProsMer1, Didot, VulgMer, PostMer, Arthour, Malory, TennIK]


The lord of Blakestan was an ally of King Belinant of South Wales. He fought against the Saxons invading Britain in the early days of Arthur’s reign. He was present at the battle of Clarence. Blakestan was also the homeland of Guinas, an opponent of Arthur’s Sir Hector. [LancLac, VulgLanc, Livre]

Blamoure of the Marsh

A knight who owned a white hart that Gawain pursued on his first adventure. Gawain chased the hart into Blamoure’s castle, where Gawain’s hounds killed it. This induced Blamoure to slay two of Gawain’s hounds. Enraged, Gawain engaged Blamoure in combat, defeated him, and prepared to cut off his head. As Gawain’s sword fell, Blamoure’s paramour threw herself across her lover’s body and was decapitated. Aghast, Gawain granted mercy to Blamoure and sent him to Arthur’s court. [PostMer, Malory]


A Hungarian princess and a companion of Florete, the daughter of Emperor Filimenis. When Filimenis went to war with Arthur, Blanchandine and Florete accompanied the emperor’s army. The fell in love with Gawain and Floriant, respectively, and defected from Filimenis’s camp to Arthur’s. Eventually, the war ended and Blanchandine married Gawain. [Floriant]


A queen besieged by Lord Nador. Claris and Laris, two of Arthur’s knights, saved her. [Claris]

Blancheflor1 (“White Flower”) [Blanchefleur, Blancheflour, Blankeflur, Blankiflúr, Blanzifiore

Lady of Beaurepaire in Chrétien’s Perceval. Her town fell into ruin following multiple attacks by Anguiguerron, the seneschal of Clamadeu of the Isles. Perceval wandered into town looking for lodging, and Blancheflor begged him to defend the town. After Perceval defeated both Anguigerron and Clamadeu in combat, Blancheflor would have married him and made him lord of Beaurepaire, but Perceval declined and returned to his adventures. In the third continuation of Chrétien, Perceval returns to defend Blancheflor from another attacker, Caridés of Escavalon, and in the fourth continuation, he finally marries her. Perceval also weds Blancheflor in the Norse Parcevals Saga, and in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival, where her name is changed to Condwiramurs. In Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, she later fails in a chastity test at Arthur’s court. She is known as Lufamour in the Middle-English Sir Perceval of Galles. [ChretienP, Contin2, Contin3, Contin4, Heinrich, Parceval]

Blancheflor2 [Blansch(e)flur]

Mother of Tristan and sister of King Mark of Cornwall. She fell in love with King Rivalin when he came to Cornwall to assist Mark against Ireland. Rivalin fell deathly ill of a painful wound, but the sight and affections of Blancheflor cured him and the two married. She died giving birth to Tristan on the same day that Rivalin was slain. Called Blesinbil in the Norse version of the legend, her character is replaced in later stories by Elyabel. [Eilhart, Gottfried, Tristrem]


The daughter of King Triamour of Wales. A giant named Urgan attacked her father for the right to possess her, but the giant was slain by Tristan. [Tristrem]


One of Arthur’s knights in the Middle-English Sir Gawain and the Carl of Carlisle, likely a variation of Brandelis (Hahn, 107). [SyrGaw]


The Middle English Sir Gawain and the Carl of Carlisle names the Lady of Blancheland, a fairy, as the mother of “The Knyght of Armus Grene” by Sir Ironside. [SyrGaw]

Blanchemal the Fay [Blancemal]

The fairy mistress of Gawain, by whom she had a son named Guinglain. She raised Guinglain ignorant of his true name. Upon attaining knighthood, he was forced to adopt the label “The Fair Unknown.” Blanchemal lived in the island of Gernemue. [Renaut, Contin4]

Blanches Mores

A castle neighboring the Castle of Ten Maidens. It was the site of a tournament between the Lady of Blanches Mores and the Lady of the Roche Land. The victors of the tournament were to marry the two ladies. Brun of Morrois, and abductor of Guinevere, was the uncle of the Lady of Blanches Mores. [Durmart]


The son of Count Blandigan of Iceland or Ireland was defeated by Yvain during the battle at the Castle Orguelleus. [Contin1]


A fairy who tries to murder Perceval in the Second Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval was said to have kidnapped people from the court of King Blandisen. [Contin2]


An old nobleman who, in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, with his wife Amurelle and his daughter Sgaipegaz, hosted Gawain during one of his adventures. Blandukors lived in the service of a tyrannical giant named Galaas, from whom Gawain freed him. [Heinrich]


A lady at Arthur’s court who, along with many others, failed a magical chastity test. [Heinrich]

Blanor [Blamor]

A Knight of the Round Table from Benoic or Gannes. He was the son of Nestor, brother of Bleoberis, and cousin of Lancelot. Early in his career, he championed his family against King Anguisshe of Ireland, whom Blanor had accused of murdering a cousin. Tristan championed Anguisshe and defeated Blanor (La Tavola Ritonda assigns this adventure to a knight named Brunoro). When Lancelot and Guinevere were accused of treason, Blanor joined other knights in pledging his support to Lancelot. In return, Lancelot made him duke of Limousin. After Arthur’s death, Blanor became a hermit at Glastonbury and assisted in Lancelot’s burial. Once he had stabilized his own lands, he joined Bleoberis, Ector, and Bors on a crusade to Jerusalem, where they died fighting the Turks on Good Friday. [ProsTris, TristanoR, Malory]

Blanquemore Valley

A land inherited by Arthur’s Sir Meriadeuc from his father, Bleheri. [Meriadeuc]


A lady at Arthur’s court who, along with many others, failed a chastity test. [Heinrich]

Blant of Alverne

One of Arthur’s counts. [Heinrich]

Blaris [Blaaris, Bleherris, Bliares]

Knight and godson of King Bors of Gannes. He fought for Arthur against the rebellion at the beginning of the king’s reign, and also against the Saxons at Carmelide and against King Agrippe in the Waste Land. His name seems to possess the same root as Bleoberis, to whom Blaris may be identical [VulgMer, Livre, Arthour]


Daughter of Igerne and Hoel, sister of Brimesent, and half-sister of Arthur in the Vulgate Merlin. She married King Nentres of Garlot and had a son named Galescalain, whom she encouraged to take service with Arthur. Malory calls her Elaine. [VulgMer, Arthour]


A wandering squire whose companion was Haupt. Isolde commissioned the two squires to help her cover one of her meetings with Tristan. [Eilhart]


Son of Mwrheth and one of Arthur’s warriors in Welsh legend. [Dream]

Blaunchard [Blanchard]

A magnificent horse given to Sir Launfal by his lover, Triamour. [ChestreLvl]


According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, a king of Britain in the third or second century BC. Bledud succeeded King Merian and was succeeded by King Cap. [GeoffHR]


According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, a king of Britain in the second century BC. He succeeded King Sisillius and was succeeded by his brother Arthinail. Bledgabred was renowned as a great singer. [GeoffHR]

Bleeding Lance

A curious weapon associated with the Grail, appearing first in the Grail Processions of the pre-Robert de Boron Grail romances. Some stories call it the Avenging Lance. In Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval, the lance follows the Grail Sword and precedes the Grail. Described as pure white, the lance continually dripped blood from its tip. The Welsh Peredur likewise describes a “spear of incalculable size with three streams of blood running from the socket to the floor.”
   Even before Robert de Boron turned the enigmatic Grail into the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper, the Bleeding Lance became identified with the lance of Longinus —the Roman solider who, in the Apocrypha, stuck a spear in Christ’s side as he hung on the cross. This assertion is found first in the continuations of Perceval and the Didot-Perceval. In the Christian Grail romances, the blood dripping from the lance’s tip is Christ’s blood.
   According to the Vulgate and Post-Vulgate Cycles, Joseph of Arimathea brought the Bleeding Lance to Britain, and it was kept at Corbenic with the Grail. In one version of the Dolorous Stroke, Balin the Savage used it to wound King Pellehan, turning Listenois into the Waste Land. Similarly, Chrétien de Troyes said that it would one day destroy the entire realm of Logres. Galahad later used the blood flowing from the tip to heal Pellehan, the Maimed King. These two properties of the lance—destruction and healing—mirror the two attributes of the Lord in the scriptures.
   Galahad brought the Bleeding Lance to Sarras at the conclusion of the Grail Quest, and it was drawn into heaven along with the Grail. It is similarly taken to heaven in the third continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval.
   A second Bleeding Lance (perhaps a symbol for the first) appears in the Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal. Josephus, the son of Joseph of Arimathea, is converting some pagans to Christianity when he learns that another group of pagans, who have refused to convert, are being murdered by their king. He rushes to stop the slaughter, and an angel strikes him through the thighs with a lance to punish him for abandoning the conversions to save the lives of the pagans. Josephus removes the spear from his thighs, but the lance head remains embedded in his flesh. The angel eventually re-appears to remove the point and heal Josephus with some of the blood that drips from its tip.
   Proponents of a Celtic origin for the Grail theme have suggested, with marginal success, a connection between the Bleeding Lance and the Luin of Celtchar, a marvelous weapon from Irish legend that supposedly had to be quenched in blood after battle in order to render it safe. [ChretienP, Contin1, VulgQuest, VulgEst, PostMer, PostQuest, Peredur, Malory]

Blehartis [Belchardis, Lectargis]

One of Arthur’s knights in the English Arthour and Merlin. His name results from a corruption of Lait Hardi, the Ugly Hero. [Arthour]


Father of Arthur’s Sir Meriadeuc. He ruled the Lake of Twins and Blanquemore Valley until he was slain by Gawain at the behest of the evil Brien de la Gastine. One of his knights buried him in the Waste Chapel. Lady Lore of Cardigan took his sword and later gave it to Meriadeuc, who used it to avenge his father’s death by slaying Brien. [Meriadeuc]


In Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, a lady at Arthur’s court who failed in a chastity test. [Heinrich]

Blende of Alice

In Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, a lady at Arthur’s court who failed in a chastity test. [Heinrich]


Tristan’s mother in the Icelandic Saga af Tristram ok Ísoud. She replaces Blancheflur from the earlier German sources and is the counterpart of Blesinbil in Norse Tristan legend. The daughter of King Philippus and Queen Philippia of England, she revolted against her brother, Mórodd (Mark), when her parents died. The short rebellion ended in a truce. She fell in love with Kalegras, a knight from Spain, with whom she had Tristan. She died soon after her lover. [SagaTI]

Bleoberis [Bleoberiis, Bleoberys, Bleriz, Blerois, Bleos of Bliriers, Bliobleherin, Blioble(he)ris, Breoberiis, Briobris, Pliopliheri(n)]

A Knight of the Round Table from Gannes, first mentioned by Chrétien de Troyes. His name may derive from a twelfth-century storyteller named Bleheris mentioned in several texts. Bleoberis was the son of Nestor, godson of King Bors, brother of Blamor, cousin of Lancelot, father of Nestor of the Fountain, and lord of the Castle of Gannes. Though usually described as skilled and honorable, he is sometimes depicted as malicious—as when he abducts Seguarades’s wife and fights with Tristan over her, or when he tries to kill Guinglain (Gawain’s son) at the Perilous Ford.
   Sometimes called “Bleoberis of the Wilderness,” he fought for Arthur against the rebelling kings (at the battle of Bedegraine) and against the Saxons. He also participated in the wars against Agrippe and Claudas and in the Grail Quest. He supported Lancelot when Lancelot and Guinevere were accused of treason, and he helped Lancelot rescue Guinevere from the stake. In return for his support, Lancelot made him the duke of Poitiers.
   He was also present at the battle of Salisbury (the final battle against Mordred), and was one of the few survivors. In the aftermath of the battle, he tied Mordred’s body to a horse and dragged it around the field until it was torn to pieces. On the battlefield, he constructed the Tower of the Dead, from which he hung Mordred’s head.
   Searching for Lancelot, he later came across Arthur the Less (King Arthur’s son), who attacked Bleoberis for supporting Lancelot in the Lancelot-Arthur conflict. Arthur the Less was slain in the battle.
   He retired to a hermitage with the former Archbishop of Canterbury or with Lancelot. After Lancelot’s death, Bleoberis took his body to Joyous Guard and buried it. After he stabilized his own lands, he, Blamor, Ector, and Bors traveled to Jerusalem where they died on Good Friday, fighting the Turks. In a variation in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival, he is slain by Duke Orguelleuse of La Lande. [ChretienE, HartmannE, Wolfram, Renaut, VulgLanc, VulgMort, VulgMer, PostQuest, PostMort, ProsTris, Malory]


A splendid castle ruled by Lord Blias, an ally of Arthur. [VulgMer, Arthour]


Tristan’s mother in the Norse Tristrams Saga ok Ísöndar; the counterpart of Blancheflur, who appears as Tristan’s mother in other versions. The sister of King Mark of Cornwall, she married Canelengres of Brittany and died giving birth to her son. Her Icelandic counterpart is Blenzibly. [TrisSaga]

Blevine [Benigne]

The lady of Glocedun castle. Sir Bors rescued her when she was being beaten by a pack of peasants. [VulgLanc]

Bli Maradarf

A passage Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône alludes to a combat at Bli Maradarf, by the sea, where Gawain slew a devil named Sarant who had the ability to swallow the sun. [Heinrich]


A Knight of the Round Table who helped Sir Agloval defeat King Agrippe in the Waste Land. [Livre]


A countess who served the duchess of Estrayls. She lost her arm to the Redoubted Giant of the Sure Keep, who was trying to avenge his brother’s death at the hands of Arthur and the duchess. [ChevPap]

Bliant1 [Brian(s)]

Tallest of the dwarves and brother of Bilis, shortest of the dwarves. He came to the wedding of Erec and Enide. [ChretienE, Heinrich]

Bliant2 [Bryaunt]

Owner of the White Castle and brother of Celinant. The two brothers found Lancelot, who had gone insane, roaming a forest. They brought him back to their castle for healing, but kept him chained until Lancelot proved his nobility by breaking his chains and saving Bliant from Sir Breus the Pitiless. Lancelot was eventually healed, but he remained with Bliant for a long time, calling himself the Chevalier Malfait. [VulgLanc, PostMer, Malory]

Blias [Blios, Blyas]

Lord of Bleodas, Candaf, or Cloadas. As an ally of Arthur, he led a battalion of soldiers against King Rions at the battle of Aneblayse and fought against King Hargadabran at Vambieres. [VulgMer, Livre, Arthour]


One of Arthur’s knights. He was the son of the King of Galway. [Meriadeuc]


One of Arthur’s knights in Arthour and Merlin, who participated in the battle against Rions’ Saxons at Carhaix. [Arthour]


Perceval’s father, as named in a prologue to Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval written after Chrétien’s death. Bliocadran’s twelve brothers were all killed in tournaments, but Bliocadran refused to pay heed to his wife’s pleas to avoid tournaments himself. On the eve of his son’s birth, he journeyed to a tournament in Wales and was mortally wounded there. He died as his son Perceval was born. The fate of Bliocadran drove his wife to despair, and she fled her court for the forest, raising Perceval in seclusion, ignorant of knighthood, so that he might avoid his father’s fate. Bliocadran’s story was recast by Wolfram von Eschenbach as the story of Gahmuret. As Perceval’s father, Bliocadran’s counterparts also include Alain and Pellinore. [Bliocadran]


A knight who loved a maiden named Senehaut. When he suspected her of having an affair with one of her cousins, he beat the cousin, which enraged Senehaut. Sagremor learned of the situation and defeated Blios in combat, forced him to reconcile with his lady, and sent them to Arthur’s court. On their way, kinsmen of Senehaut’s beaten cousin showed up and sent Blios fleeing into the forest. Sagremor rescued Senehaut from the men and returned her to Blios—but not before sleeping with her and begetting a daughter. [Livre]

Bloccovius [Boclovius, Boclonius]

One of Arthur’s earls who fought against the Romans at the battle of Soissons and was killed there. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon]


A knight from Denmark allied to Escanor the Handsome, an opponent of Gawain. [Girart]


A maiden loved by Guiron the Courteous, hero of Palamedes. Danain the Red, Guiron’s friend, abducted her, but Guiron tracked them down and rescued her. She and Guiron were later thrown into the prison of an evil lord, where Bloie died after giving birth to Galinan, Guiron’s son. [Palamedes, AlamGyr]


The proper name of the Lady of Malehaut, mentioned only once in Palamedes. [Palamedes]


Daughter of Urbin of the Mountain and sister of Brun, a knight killed by Gawain. To avenge her brother, she plotted Gawain’s murder, but she eventually fell in love with Gawain. [Contin4]

Blois1 [Bloy, Bloyse]

A city in central France, on the Loire river, variously given as the homeland of the Arthurian knights Melaldon, Gwyniarte, and Persides, though some of these knights’ names were probably, originally, le blois (“the pale”) rather than de Blois. [VulgLanc, Malory]

Blois2 of Casset [Bloys de la Case]

An Arthurian knight who fought in Arthur’s ranks at the battle of Bedegraine, and who participated in a quest to learn the fate of Merlin. [VulgMer, Malory]

Blooming Valley [*Blühenden Tal, Flowering Valley, Blossoming Valley]

A location in German romance: in the Stricker’s Daniel, it was a land that belonged to Arthur’s Sir Daniel, and was ruled previously by Daniel’s father, King Mandogran; in the Pleier’s Garel, it is an island castle given to Sir Garel by Arthur. [Stricker, PleierG]


A knight from Flanders who fought among Arthur’s ranks at the battle of Bedegraine. Sir Lucan the Butler saved Bloyas’s life in the skirmish. [Malory]


A Saxon king who was part of King Hargadabran’s invasion of Britain. Arthur killed him at the battle of Clarence. [Livre]

Blue Forest

The wildest forest in the world, located in North Wales. It contained only one house, and was surrounded by a five-league radius of barren, unpopulated land. Sir Sagremor was assaulted by eight knights while traveling through the Blue Forest, but he was rescued by Gawain. [VulgLanc]

Blue Knight

The alias of Sir Persaunt, a knight defeated by Gareth in Malory. In Tennyson, he calls himself “The Son of the Morning Star.” [Malory, TennIK]

Boar of Cornwall

The allusion to King Arthur made by Merlin in his great series of prophecies before King Vortigern and his assembly at Mount Snowdon. Merlin said that the Boar of Cornwall would conquer Britain and Rome. [GeoffHR]

Boccus [Boc(l)us, Bokke]

The King of Media who served the Roman Procurator Lucius. Lucius called upon him to join Rome’s war against Arthur. He led a force of soldiers at the battle of Soissons, where he killed or badly wounded Bedivere, and was slain by Bedivere’s nephew. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon, VulgMer]


A page at Arthur’s court. [Mottuls]

Bodwyne [Boudin]

King Mark’s brother in Malory’s tale of Alexander the Orphan. Unlike his brother, Prince Bodwyne was an honorable knight, loved by the people of Cornwall. He successfully repelled a Saracen invasion of the land, for which he received great praise. Mark, infuriated, slew Bodwyne by stabbing him in the heart with a dagger. Bodwyne’s wife, Angledis, and son, Alexander, fled Mark’s court. Alexander’s son, Bellangere, later avenged his grandfather’s murder. The character seems to have been adapted from Pernehan, Mark’s doomed brother in the Prose Tristan. [Malory]


A region of east central Greece, ruled in Arthur’s time by Echion, an ally of Lucius the Roman. [GeoffHR, Wace]

Bofois [Boffoi, Boufois]

A tower belonging to the sorcerer Elïavrés, the father of Sir Caradoc Shortarm. The Castle of Bouffay in Nantes has been suggested as the origin. [Contin1]

Bogudaht of Pranzile

A count defeated by Perceval. [Wolfram]


A city in Arthur’s realm. [Biket]

Bold Knight

The name given by Perceval to the Coward Knight, after the latter reformed his ways and became brave. As the Bold Knight, he was slain by Aristor of Amorave. [Perlesvaus]


Counselor to Earl Milon, who desired Enide, Erec’s wife. Milon and Bolvin tried to kidnap the woman, but Erec killed them both. [Erex]


A lord whose castle was besieged by Lord Guincemain during the Grail Quest. Galahad arrived, slew Guincemain, and ended the siege. Galahad convinced Aurience, Boncenes’s daughter, to become a nun. [ProsTris]


An abominable race of men who battled Arthur’s knights at Rigomer Castle. [Merveil]


A Roman cleric who served Arthur. He and other clerics helped Arthur’s ally Galehaut interpret a disturbing dream. [VulgLanc]


According to the Alliterative Morte Arthure, this region of southwest France was part of Arthur’s kingdom. In the French romances of Huon and Oberon, it is the home of Sir Huon. [Huon, Allit]


A castle owned by King Brandegorre. He threw a tournament at Borderland, which was won by Sir Bors. [VulgLanc]


A castle in Benoic ruled by allies of Claudas (the enemy of Lancelot’s family). Knights from the Borderland tried to liberate a train of prisoners captured by Arthur in the Roman War. The attack was successfully repelled, and Arthur later had Gawain destroy the castle. [VulgMer]


Property held by Arthur. The Borderlands were invaded by Galehaut of Sorelois. [VulgLanc]


One of Arthur’s knights in “The Marriage of Sir Gawaine.” The author perhaps meant to signify King Bors, Sir Bors, or Sir Borre. [Marriage]

Borel1 [Berell, Berille, Bretel(ot), Dorell]

Arthur’s cousin or nephew, upon whom Arthur bestowed the rulership of Maine or Le Mans. He fought for Arthur in the war against Lucius the Roman, and accompanied a prisoner train through France. The prisoner train was attacked by the Romans, and Borel was slain by King Evander of Syria in the battle. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon, ProsBrut, Allit, Malory]


A Saxon early killed by Arthur at the battle of Bath with his lance, Ron. [Layamon]

Borre [Bohort]

In Malory, the illegitimate son of King Arthur and Lisanor. He became a Knight of the Round Table. In earlier sources, his name is Loholt. [Malory]

Bors1 [Bo(h)(o)ort, Boors, Bordo, Borz]

The King of Gannes, Gaul, or Gascony, son of King Lancelot, and uncle of Lancelot of the Lake. He had two sons, Bors and Lionel, by his wife, Evaine. He first appears in the Vulgate Cycle, and he is generally described as a good king, though the Livre d’Artus calls him a tyrant.
   Bors and his brother, King Ban of Benoic, swore fealty to Uther Pendragon in order to defeat their enemy, King Claudas. This allegiance extended to Arthur, and the brother kings therefore journeyed to Britain at his summons to help him subdue a rebellion of British nobles. After defeating the rebels at Bedegraine, Bors and Ban accompanied Arthur to Carmelide, where they fought against King Rions and the Saxons. Bors slew Amant of Lambale, one of Arthur’s enemies. Returning to France, the three kings repelled Claudas’s invasion. Bors later joined Arthur’s campaign against Rome. During Claudas’s second invasion, Bors perished of an illness (or of grief) following his brother’s death. Claudas conquered his land, but his son Bors later reclaimed it. His wife retired to a nunnery; his sons, raised by the Lady of the Lake, both became Knights of the Round Table.
   The origin of his name is uncertain, though a “bohort” (one of the first forms of “Bors”) is a type of lance. [LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgMer, Livre, Malory]

Bors2 [Bohors, Bohort(es), Bo(o)rt, Bo(o)(u)rs, Bordo, Bort, Borz, Bwrt]

A Knight of the Round Table and cousin of Lancelot who earned fame as one of the successful Grail knights in the Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal and adaptations. Although one of the more famous of Arthur’s knights, he entered the Arthurian legends comparatively late, first appearing in the Prose Lancelot. His character remains relatively unchanged between the Vulgate romances and modern texts.
   His parents, King Bors of Gannes and Queen Evaine, died during his childhood. Bors and his brother, Lionel, were raised by Pharien, one of their father’s knights, in the court of Claudas, who had conquered his father’s land. The children were eventually rescued from Claudas by the Lady of the Lake, who raised them to maturity on her enchanted island. (In Malory, Bors joins Arthur’s campaign against Rome, but in the Vulgate stories, the war occurs before Bors’ birth.)
   The Vulgate and Post-Vulgate romances give Bors innumerable adventures. In one of the earliest episodes, Bors won a tournament at the court of King Brandegorre of Estrangorre. He refused the prize of the tournament, Brandegorre’s daughter, but the maiden’s governess gave Bors a magic ring which caused him to fall in love with the girl. He slept with her and fathered Helain the White, who became a Knight of the Round Table. This incident marked Bors’ only sexual act. In other adventures, he joined Arthur’s war against Claudas and re-conquered his father’s kingdom, of which he later became king.
   Prior to the beginning of the Grail Quest, Bors visited Corbenic, the Grail Castle, twice, witnessing marvels and miracles on both visits. God tested him particularly rigorously during the Grail Quest—since, unlike Perceval and Galahad, Bors had lost his virginity. His first test involved combat with a knight named Priadan the Black, whom Bors defeated but did not kill. In a second trial, Bors had to choose between saving his brother Lionel and a maiden. He chose the maiden, leaving his brother for dead. The final test took place when a beautiful maiden threatened to kill herself and twelve of her servants unless Bors slept with her. He refused, revealing the maiden as a fiend. Later, he encountered his brother Lionel, furious that Bors and declined to save him during the second test. Bors refused to fight his brother, and Lionel ended up slaying a hermit and another knight who rushed to Bors’ defense. Bors prayed, and God came between the brothers, pacifying Lionel. Bors joined Galahad and Perceval on a magic ship and, after several other adventures, the three knights came to Corbenic and attended a Grail mass held by Joseph of Arimathea or his son, Josephus. Galahad performed miracles at Corbenic, and the three knights departed with the Grail to Sarras. After the holy deaths of Galahad and Perceval, Bors returned to Arthur’s court to recount their adventures.
   In the final days of Arthur’s reign, Bors helped Lancelot rescue Guinevere from the stake, although he did not particularly care for the queen. He defected from Arthur’s court and joined Lancelot’s battles against Arthur at Joyous Guard and Benoic. In return for his support, Lancelot gave him all the lands that he had conquered from King Claudas.
   Accounts of his final days vary. In Vulgate Mort Artu and the Post-Vulgate Mort Artu, Bors helps Lancelot destroy the sons of Mordred, and then joins Sir Bleoberis and the Archbishop of Canterbury in a monastery for the rest of his days. According Malory, he retired with Lancelot to a monastery in Glastonbury, where he remained until Lancelot’s death. After he stabilized his own lands, Bors and the other remaining Round Table knights traveled to Jerusalem, where they died fighting against the Turks. [LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgQuest, VulgMort, Contin3, PostQuest, PostMort, Stanz, Malory]


The capital of Kanadic, ruled by King Ekunaver, who went to war with Arthur. [PleierG]

Boso [Beof, Bois, Bos, Booz]

The Earl of Oxford under King Arthur. He accompanied Arthur on the Roman campaign, and was one of the three messengers that Arthur sent to meet with the Roman Procurator Lucius—an effort that resulted in ruin when Gawain killed a Roman warrior. In the ensuing battle, Boso managed to capture the Roman leader Petreius Cotta (or Peredur). He also led a company of soldiers at the final battle at Soissons. His role is taken by Bors in Malory. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon, Allit]


A port in northern France on the English Channel. According to Geoffrey, Arthur conquered it from Frollo as part of his invasion of Gaul, and gave it to either Holdin or Leodegan. In Arthour and Merlin, it is one of the lands acquired by Uther Pendragon from King Harinan, Igerne’s first husband. [GeoffHR, Wace, Arthour]


A city in central France, capital of the province of Berry. The thirteenth-century Lancelot do Lac tells us that it was the birthplace of Uther Pendragon, and that it was ruled by the evil lord Claudas. When Claudas waged war on his overlord, King Aramont of Brittany, Aramont and Uther laid waste to Berry, but spared Bourges because Uther had been born there. [LancLac, VulgLanc]


The land ruled by Alice the Fair Pilgrim, who married Alexander the Orphan, in the Prose Tristan. Malory changes it to Benoic. [ProsTris]

Bower of Bliss

An enchanted garden ruled by the evil sorceress Acrasia. It held every sensual pleasure known to man, and it ensnared many good knights. Gloriana, the Fairy Queen, sent Sir Guyon to destory it. Guyon razed the Bower after resisting its temptations. [Spenser]

Boy with No Name

The nickname given to Gawain when he was growing up ignorant of his real name. Upon achieving knighthood, he became known as the Knight with the Surcoat. [DeOrtu]

Brabant [Brabaunt]

A region of Europe which is now divided between Belgium and the Netherlands. Wace says it was conquered by Arthur during his campaign against Gaul. Wolfram makes Lambekin the Duke of Brabant in Uther’s time. Princess Elsam of Brabant, perhaps related to Lambekin, married Perceval’s son Loherangrin. [Wace, Wolfram, Lohengrin, Malory]


Son of Iaen; brother of Sulyen, Teregud, Moren, Siawn, and Caradawg; and one of Arthur’s warriors from Caer Dathal. He was related to Arthur through Uther. [Culhwch]


Son of Moren Mynawg and one of Arthur’s warriors. [Culhwch]


A cowardly peasant who stole the horse of Sir Guyon. His companion was Trompart. He carried the “False Florimell,” a maiden created by sorcery, away from the son of a witch. He became the False Florimell’s “champion,” but was eventually exposed for a braggart and a coward, and his maiden melted away. [Spenser]

Bramangue [Bramagnes, Bramague, Bran(d)egue, Brannague]

A Saxon king who, with other rulers, invaded Britain in the early days of Arthur’s reign. He ruled parts of Denmark and Ireland. After suffering a defeat at Saxon Rock, Bramangue commanded plundering parties and ordered the siege of Vambieres. His sons, Haram, Orient, and Daril, also contributed to the invasion. He was slain by Sir Sagremor, either at Vambieres or on the the Rier Vargonche. [VulgMer, Livre, Arthour]


A duke and friend of Meliadus and Tristan in La Tavola Ritonda. He ruled the city of Teneson and had a brother named King Bramo. He assisted Meliadus in a war against Arthur, and he presented Tristan with a magnificent warhorse named Piantagiorno. Tristan slew a giant named Urgano the Hairy that plagued Bramante. He occupies the role given to Gilan in Gottfried’s Tristan. [Tavola]


A king and father of Agia, Tristan’s step-mother. His brother, Duke Bramante, was a friend of Tristan and Meliadus. [Tavola]

Bran the Blessed

A King of Britain in ancient Welsh legend. E. K. Chambers thought that he might be a manifestation of the pseudo-historic Breninus. His name means “Raven,” and it matches an Irish God of that name. Bran was the son of Llyr the sea god and is often described as a giant. In the non-Arthurian Welsh story of Branwen, Bran forms an uneasy alliance with Ireland through the marriage of his sister Branwen to the Irish king. Eventually, he went to war with Ireland, destroyed the island, suffered devastating losses, and was mortally wounded in the foot by a poisoned spear, which caused his land to fail. Aspects of his Irish war parallel Arthur’s adventures in The Spoils of Annwn and in Culhwch and Olwen, including the journey to an island, the recovery of a cauldron, and the survival of only seven warriors.
   According to legend, Bran’s head was buried in the White Hill, near London, to protect Britain from foreign invaders. Arthur reportedly dug up the head because he didn’t want anyone other than himself protecting Britain.
   The figure of Bran likely inspired several Arthurian characters, including Ban of Benoic (a corruption of “Bran le Benoit”), Brandegorre, Bran de Lis, and Brandelidelin. (R. S. Loomis thought that a great number of characters in French romance owed their origins to Bran.) Most importantly, however, Bran may be the origin of Bron, the Fisher King in the Robert de Boron Grail legends. A Welsh triad names Bron as “one of the three blissful rulers of the Island of Britain, who first brought the faith of Christ to the nation of Cymry from Rome, where he was seven years a hostage for his son Caradawc.” Along with this religions connection, we have the episode of Bran’s maiming (in Branwen), his ownership of a magical vessel (the cauldron) which provided bounty to worthy warriors, and the decay of his land following his wound. [Triads]


One of Perceval’s eleven paternal uncles in Perlesvaus. He was the fifth son of Gais le Gros and the brother of Alain. He resided in Wales and was slain at a young age. [Perlesvaus]

Brandeban [Brandelis]

The Duke of Tannings. Sir Sagremor championed him against Meliadus the Black on the Dry Island. Sagremor later fought a dozen of Brandeban’s men who were trying to abduct a lady. [VulgLanc]

Brandegorre1 [Brandagoras, Bran(de)gor(is), Brango(i)r(i)(e)(s)]

The King of Estrangorre who joined the rebellious kings in their second campaign against King Arthur. He led a battalion in the battle of Bedegraine, where he was defeated by Arthur, Ban, and Bors. Later, he allied with Arthur in order to expel the Saxons from Britain, and also joined him in the war against Claudas. He married the daughter of the Emperor of Constantinople, and had a beautiful daughter, upon whom Sir Bors fathered Helain the White. He also had a son named Evadeam, known as the Dwarf Knight. His wife had a son from a previous marriage named Sagremor—later a Knight of the Round Table. His name was probably originally Bran de Gorre; perhaps a reference to the Bran of Welsh legend and the land of Gorre invented by Chrétien de Troyes. [VulgLanc, VulgMer, Malory]


A Saxon high king who, with others, invaded Britain in the early days of Arthur’s reign. He led a battalion against Arthur’s lords at the battle of Garlot, and was killed there. [VulgMer, Arthour]


The King of Punturteis in Uther’s time. He was the maternal uncle of Gramoflanz. Brandelidelin participated in a tournament at the Welsh city of Kanvoleis, thrown by Perceval’s mother Queen Herzeloyde. Later, as an ally of Arthur, he had a hand in stopping a battle between King Gramoflanz and Gawain. He may be connected to Brandelis of French romance. [Wolfram]

Brandelis1 [Brandalis, Brandaliz, Brand(e)les, Brandeliz, Brandellis, Brandiles, Brandyles, Bra(n)s de Lis, Brasdelis]

An Arthurian knight upon whose sister, Guilorete, Gawain begot one or two sons. He first appears in the first continuation of Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval. Gawain, in escaping from his tryst with the maiden, had slain Bran’s father, Norroiz, and two brothers. Bran fought with him as well, but agreed to postpone the combat until later, as Gawain had been wounded in one of the previous duels. They met five years later at the Castle of Lis. When the intervention of Gawain’s young son, Lionel, failed to stop their combat, Arthur ordered a halt to the hostilities, and the two knights became friends.
   Among his adventures in the Vulgate Cycle (and subsequently in Malory), he was imprisoned by some enemies and rescued by Gaheris; was imprisoned again by Tericam of the Impenetrable Forest and was freed by Lancelot; participated in a quest to find Lancelot; fought in the wars against Claudas and Galehaut; and helped Erec slay Montenart of the Isle Reposte. During the Grail Quest, he fought with and was defeated by Galahad. He either perished fighting Lancelot during Guinevere’s rescue from the stake, or died at the battle of Salisbury against Mordred’s army.
   In Claris et Laris, Brandelis becomes a friend of Claris after Claris rescues him from the evil Red Knight. He is later imprisoned by Lord Thoas, an enemy of Arthur’s court, but is eventually freed. After receiving guidance from Merlin, he releases Laris, Claris’s friend, from the prison of King Tallas of Denmark.
   A Middle English tale called The Jeaste of Sir Gawain recalls Brandelis’s first appearance, relating how Gawain defeated his father, Gilbert, and his two brothers, Gyamoure and Tyrry, after sleeping with his sister in a forest pavilion. Again, Brandelis fights Gawain to a draw. Contrary to the Perceval continuation, however, Jeaste says that they never met again after their first duel.
   Originally separated as Bran de Lis, this character may have a connection with the Welsh god Bran. His surname may come from the French lis (“lily”), the Welsh llys (“castle”), or from a corruption of the French iles (“isles”). Note also the characters Brian of the Isles, Brandalus, Blancheles, Brandilias, and Brandelidelin, who may have the same roots. [Contin1, LancLac, VulgLanc, PostQuest, PostMort, Claris, Malory, Jeaste]

Brandelis2 [Brandalis]

A knight in the service of King Amant, an opponent of Arthur. When Amant was slain by King Bors of Gannes, Brandelis swore eternal enmity towards Arthur. [VulgMer]

Brandelis3 [Brandalis]

A Saxon king who fought Arthur’s forces at the battle of Cambenic. Gawain cut his arm off. [VulgMer]


Son of Lac, brother of Erec, and a Knight of the Round Table. He intervened in a fight between Tristan and Palamedes. [Palamedes, DueTris]

Brandes [Banderous, Branles]

The Count of Colchester of Linis, present at the wedding of Erec and Enide. [ChretienE, HartmannE, Heinrich]


A king who was Gawain’s grandfather. [Contin2]

Brandigan2 [Bardiga, Brandiganz, Prandigan]

A beautiful British castle and town ruled by King Evrain. The town was on an island in the middle of a lake, and possessed marvelous fortifications, partially because of its geographical setting. It was the setting of a dangerous adventure known as the Joy of the Court; many knights died attempting it, and Brandigan became the new home of the slain knights’ ladies. Erec eventually completed the adventure and brought a better mood to the castle. In Wolfram’s Parzival, Clamide is once mentioned as the King of Brandigan. It may be the origin of Bedegraine. [ChretienE, Wolfram, Ivens]

Brandilias [Brandris]

A knight who served one of the princes rebelling against Arthur. He fought against the Saxons at Clarence. [VulgMer, Arthour]

Brandin of the Isles [Branduz]

Lord of the Dolorous Guard. When the Saxons invaded Britain at the beginning of Arthur’s reign, Brandin joined them against Arthur. Niniane, the Lady of the Lake, was briefly his paramour and taught him some enchantments that he applied to his castle. He trapped many knights and ladies in the Dolorous Guard before it was liberated by Lancelot. Lancelot also forced him to release Gawain and a number of other prisoners from the Dolorous Prison, a jail located in another of Brandin’s castles. [LancLac, VulgLanc, Livre]


A Gaulish king in La Tavola Ritonda. With another king named Arandus, he invaded and conquered the city of Benoic while its ruler, King Ban (Lancelot’s father), was in Britain. The two kings occupy the role given to Claudas in the Prose Lancelot. [Tavola]


A Knight of the Round Table who participated in the Grail Quest. He is named as the brother of Hector. [PostQuest]


The Count of Galloway. He participated in a tournament between the Lady of the Blanches Mores and the Lady of the Roche Land, fighting on the side of the Blanches Mores. [Girart]


A vassal of the King with a Hundred Knights. He fought at King Mark’s tournament at Lancien. [Contin4]

Brandon [Braidon]

A Saxon king who, with others, invaded Britain in the early days of Arthur’s reign. He plundered several northern countries, including Scotland and Garlot. He was killed by Gawain. [VulgMer]


A vassal of the King with a Hundred Knights. He fought at King Mark’s tournament at Lancien. [Contin4]

Brangain [Braginja, Brandina, Brangane, Brangæne, Brangene, Brangien, Branguina, Brangwaine, Brengain, Brengvien, Brengwain, Bríngven, Bringvet, Bringwain]

Isolde’s faithful and beautiful maidservant in almost all of the Tristan legends. She had two brothers named Mathael and Perynin, whom she presented to Tristan as servants. When Tristan came to Ireland to escort Isolde to King Mark of Cornwall to be wed, Isolde’s mother gave Brangain a love potion intended for Mark and Isolde on their wedding day. Tristan and Isolde accidentally drank it on the way, however, and fell in love with each other. On Isolde’s wedding night, she substituted Brangain, under the cover of darkness, in Mark’s bedroom, since Isolde was no longer a virgin. Isolde then tried to have Brangain killed to hide the secret; the attempt failed when the assigned killers took pity on her. Isolde regretted the attempt, and she and Brangain were eventually reconciled, but not before Brangain was kidnapped by Palamedes and used as a tool to get to Isolde. Thomas says that she had an affair with Kahedins of Brittany—who fell in love with her upon seeing her statue in Tristan’s Hall of Statues—but became enraged when Mariadoc, a cowardly and dishonest knight, reported that Kahedins had fled from him in combat. Some versions of the legend suggest that Brangain was infatuated with Tristan. Eilhart von Oberge says that she died before Isolde and Tristan, but does not name the cause. In La Tavola Ritonda, she perishes from sorrow after Mark forcibly retrieves Isolde from the castle of Joyous Guard, where she was living with Tristan. In some other Italian texts, she marries Governal, Tristan’s tutor, and becomes the queen of Lyoness. [Thomas, Beroul, Eilhart, Gottfried, ProsTris, TrisSaga, TristanoR, Tavola, SagaTI, Malory]


A knight who was the offspring of a fairy (Brangepart) and a man (Guingamuer). He ruled an otherworldly island. His body was borne to Camelot in a swan boat after the servant of a lord called the Little Knight slew him with a lance. Gareth agreed to avenge Brangemuer’s death with the lance head. After Gareth accomplished his mission, Brangemuer’s spirit returned to the realm of his mother. [Contin1]

Brangepart [Brang(u)espart]

A fairy who was the mother by Guingamuer of Brangemuer, a knight avenged by Gareth. [Contin1]


Maidservant of Lady Lore of Cardigan, probably suggested by Brangain. [Meriadeuc]


A king allied to Arthur, probably identical to Brandegorre. [Floriant, Claris]

Branguemore of Cornwall [Blancemor(n)e]

A sorceress who built the Chapel of the Black Hand. Her son Espignogrés murdered her and buried her beneath the chapel’s altar. The chapel became inhabited by a demon that slew many knights until it was vanquished by Perceval. [Contin3]

Branie of the High Mountain

A lady at Arthur’s court. Both Branie and her sister, Clameroi, failed a chastity test. [Heinrich]

Branlant [Bralant, Branclant, Branlanc, Branland, Branlang, Branslant, Bre(n)lant]

A Scottish stronghold that was the home of Sir Brun and Lady Lore. A “Lady of Branlant,” possibly Lore, was loved by Waldin of the Fearsome Vales, who tried to marry her by force. In Arthour and Merlin, the husband of the lady is himself called Duke Branland. [Renaut, Contin1, VulgMer, Livre, Arthour]


A nephew of King Faramon of France in La Tavola Ritonda. He was accused of theft at the same time that Faramon’s daughter, Belide, falsely accused Tristan of rape. Faramon offered Belide a choice of saving either Brano or Tristan; when she chose Tristan, he knew she was lying about the crime. The same character is named Meliant in the Prose Tristan. [Tavola]

Branor the Brown

A famous knight of Uther Pendragon’s table, hailed in Palamedes. He was the son of Ellain the Brown, the brother of Bruhalt and Hector, and the uncle of Segurant the Brown. When he was about 120 years old, he visited Arthur’s court and defeated almost all of Arthur’s knights in joust, including Arthur, Lancelot, Palamedes, and Gawain. The episode is recounted in the Greek romance Ho Presbys Hippotes, though Banor is not named. [Palamedes, Presbys]


An Arthurian knight in Hartmann von Aue’s Erec and Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône. [HartmannE, Heinrich]

Braolant [Braolans]

A Saxon king who, with other Saxon rulers, invaded Britain in the early days of Arthur’s reign. [VulgMer]


Son of Gwawrddur Hunchback, brother of Duach, Nerthach, and the lady Gwenwledyr, and one of Arthur’s warriors. According to Culhwch and Olwen, Brathach and his brothers were “sprung from the Highlands of Hell.” [Culhwch]


A mountainous castle. The daughter of its lord was forced to live like a chambermaid by her cruel husband, but Gareth killed him and rescued the lady. [VulgLanc]


One of Arthur’s noblemen. He was the brother of Bilis, the dwarf king, and Revellus. [Erex]

Bravain [Brainons]

One of Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. [ChretienE, Heinrich]

Breckham [Brequeham]

A British forest, divided between Cambenic and North Wales, near Escavalon. In the early days of Arthur’s reign, a group of Britons, led by King Clarion and Duke Escant of Cambenic, ambushed a party of Saxons in Breckham and slaughtered them. The forest, which was the site of one of Gawain’s many adventures (the rescue of the maiden Florée), contained the Good Deed monastery, the castle of Leverzep, and three hermitages: the Cross, the Crossing, and the Restful Hermitage. It also held the Heath of the Crossroads, a place of adventures. Its name may be a variation of Bedegraine. [VulgLanc, VulgMer, Livre]


A property ruled by King Brychan—whose wife, Gwladys, was abducted by Gwynnlyw and later lusted after by Arthur. These events are related in the Welsh life of Saint Cadoc. [SaintsCad]


The true name of the Green Knight in The Greene Knight; the counterpart of Bertilak of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. His sorceress step-mother, Agostes, sent him to Arthur’s court in order to lure Gawain to Bredbeddle’s castle, as Agostes’ daughter (Bredbeddle’s wife) was secretly in love with him. As in Gawain, Gawain accepted Bredbeddle’s Beheading Game challenge and met him a year later at the Green Chapel, where Bredbeddle spared Gawain’s life. Bredbeddle later appears in the ballad of King Arthur and King Cornwall as one of Arthur’s knights. He tamed a fiend known as the Burlow-Beanie, which helped Arthur to slay the sorcerer Cornwall. [Grene, KingA&C]


An Irish forest traversed by Lancelot on his way to Rigomer Castle. It lay between the kingdoms of Connaught and Meath. [Merveil]


The site of one of Arthur’s battles against the Saxons, according to Nennius. In some manuscripts, the name of the mountain is Agned. William Camden though that Mount Bregion (Cath-Bregion) was located at Cadbury. Nennius may have been connecting to Arthur a victory actually achieved by Urien at Brewyn (Loomis, Romance, 7). [Nennius, Camden]


A British king, mentioned in Arthour and Merlin among those who could not be counted on to help the rebellious kings against the invading heathens. [Arthour]

Brendan [Brandain]

In the Bliocadran Prologue to Chrétien de Troyes Perceval, Perceval’s mother, after her husband’s death, tells her court that she is going to visit St. Brendan, when in actuality she plans to flee into the forest with her son. Presented as a Scottish saint in Bliocadran, St. Brendan was actually an Irish missionary who lived c. 484–577, which would place him in the Arthurian time frame. His church in Scotland serves as the burial place of the Red Knight (killed by Perceval) in the Fourth Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval. [Bliocadran, Contin4]

Brennius [Bremin, Brenne]

An historic Gallic king who conquered Rome in the fourth century BC. Geoffrey of Monmouth expands his legend, saying that he was the son of King Dunwallo of Britain and the brother of Belinus. Brennius and Belinus went to war after their father’s death, and Brennius was defeated. Retreating to Gaul, he became the duke of Burgundy. Eventually, the brothers were reconciled and, together, they conquered Gaul and Rome. Brennius stayed to rule Rome while Belinus returned to Britain. Brennius may be reflected in the Welsh character Bran. [GeoffHR, Wace]


A Knight of the Round Table who was the son of Canodan. [ChretienE]

Brent Knoll

A hill in Somerset near the Bristol Channel that features the remains of an Iron-Age fortress. An interpolation in William of Malmesbury’s Historia Rerum Anglicarum tells of an expedition by Arthur to destroy three giants on the hill. Yder, one of Arthur’s young warriors, went ahead of his companions and encountered the giants alone. When Arthur arrived, Yder had slain all the giants but had received a serious wound and was unconscious. [WilliamM, Topography]


A Knight of the Round Table killed during the Grail Quest. [PostQuest]


The sister of Medea, the lecherous female ruler of Crudele castle. Her other sisters included Lavina, Agnena, and Pulizena. [Tavola]


A forest near one of Arthur’s courts, possibly identical to the forest of Breckham. While hunting in it, Arthur met a beautiful maiden and forced himself upon her, begetting Arthur the Less. [PostQuest]


In the Didot-Perceval, the brother of Lucius, Arthur’s Roman enemy. He was killed during the Roman War. [Didot]


An Arthurian knight who successfully defended himself against a false charge that he murdered another knight’s pet wolf. [Claris]

Breton Gate

The city gate in King Bors’ Gannes. It faced Brittany. [VulgLanc]

Breus the Pitiless [Bereuse, Brehu(s), Breunis, Breusso, Breuz, *Brun sans Pitié]

The antithesis of knighthood in French romance—a murderer, rapist, thief, coward, and traitor—featured in the Prose Tristan, Palamedes, and Malory’s Le Morte Darthur. His tactics included attacking by surprise, killing maidens (because his father, Brun or Arrouans, was killed through the treachery of a maiden), trampling knights with his horse, and running away whenever any knight challenged him. A pervasive character, he first appears in the First Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval as one of Arthur’s knights. He next shows up in the Prose Lancelot as a tormentor of Gawain during the latter’s quest to find Lancelot. According to the Vulgate Merlin, he served Clarion and Escant, two of the northern kings who rebelled against Arthur, and the Livre d’Artus has him joining the Saxons against Arthur. In L’Atre Perilleux, he is called the King of the Red City. Gawain defeats him in combat. Girart d’Amiens gives him a brother named Colivre, and Malory makes him the brother of Bertelot. In Palamedes, he discovers the tomb of Febus, a great ancestor of Guiron the Courteous. In Tavola, he has a lady—of whom he is extremely jealous—name Galiena. Several knights, including Tristan, Lancelot, Dinadan, Palamedes, Gaheris, and Bleoberis chased Breus in vain. If caught, Breus used trickery to escape. After he stole a shield that the Lady of the Lake sent by messenger to Lancelot, Lancelot tracked him down and finally slew him. [Contin1, Contin2, LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgMer, ProsTris, Contin4, Atre, Girart, Tavola, Malory]


One of two knights who murdered the Good Knight Without Fear. His companion was Ferrant. [Palamedes]

Briadas the Undefeated [Briadan]

A powerful jouster who guarded the Spring of the Two Sycamores. He was considered undefeatable; he had even knocked down Gawain. This lasted until he was conquered by Lancelot and received a mortal wound. His brother, Belyas the Black, and father, Broadas, were also slain by Lancelot. [VulgLanc]

Briains1 [Braiains]

Count of Arundel. He fought for the Lady of the Roche Lande in the tournament against the Lady of the Blanche Mores. [Durmart]

Briains2 of Rochiers

A knight who joined Nogant in an assault on Queen Fenise of Ireland. Arthur’s forces joined Nogant but Arthur soon learned that he was a coward, and the siege was lifted. [Durmart]


A knight of Arthur’s from Cardueil who participated in a quest to learn the fate of Merlin. [VulgMer]

Brian1 [Briien]

A Knight of the Round Table found in Hartmann von Aue’s Erec. He may be identical to one of the other Brians. Any of the Brians may be literary descendants of the Welsh Bran. [HartmannE, Heinrich]

Brian2 [Brien]

Brother of the Arabian warlord Larner. He killed his brother for a magnificent suit of armor, which he then brought to the country of Korntin. It eventually fell into the hands of Wigalois (Gawain’s son). [Wirnt]


An Arthurian knight who participated in the Roman War. [Allit]


A Knight of the Round Table from Listenois. He was liberated from the dungeon of Lord Tericam by Lancelot. [Malory]

Brian5 of Mez

One of Arthur’s knights. [Girart]

Brian6 of the Forest

A knight that Gawain encountered in his first quest. Sir Brian was fighting with his brother, Sir Sorlouse of the forest, over who would chase the hart that Gawain was pursuing. Gawain told them the hart quest was his, and they yielded quickly to him rather than fight him. Gawain sent the two brothers to King Arthur. [Malory]

Brian7 of the Gastine [Brien]

A malevolent knight. He elicited a rash promise from Arthur, which turned out to be the unconditional services of Gawain. Brian invaded the Lake of Twins, and forced Gawain to slay Lord Bleheri, who ruled the land. With Bleheri, dead, Brien took over all of his former lands and castles, and imprisoned their knights and ladies. Meriadeuc, Bleheri’s son, learned of the injustice from his mother and killed Brien to avenge his father’s death. Brien’s son, Galien, continued to plague Meriadeuc’s family but was slain by Gawain. [Meriadeuc]

Brian8 of the Isles [Brien]

In Perlesvaus, the ruler of Brittany and an enemy of Arthur. He harbored Kay when Kay defected from Arthur’s court, and also joined forces with Meliant, an enemy of Lancelot’s. The three knights invaded Britain while Arthur was on a Pilgrimage to the Grail Castle. Pillaging and burning, Brian marched his army to Cardueil, where he was defeated and captured by the combined prowess of Gawain, Lancelot, and Arthur. After he was healed, Brian took Kay’s place as Arthur’s seneschal. He professed loyalty to Arthur, although in truth he had little love for the king, and harbored a burning hatred of Lancelot—fueled in part by a secret alliance with Claudas, Lancelot’s mortal foe. He tricked Arthur into throwing Lancelot into prison. When Arthur relented and freed Lancelot, Brian defected and joined Claudas. The two later invaded Scotland. The epilogue to Perlesvaus suggests that he killed, or was killed by, Lancelot. [Perlesvaus]

Brian9 of the Isles [Brien]

A knight who loved the Lady of the Isles. She would only marry the best knight in Britain, who she perceived as Gawain. To prove his superiority, Brian set out to conquer Gawain. He found Gawain, sans armor, near Arthur’s court. Brian insisted on fighting him anyway, and seriously wounded him. Brian, believing he had killed Gawain, returned to the Isles and informed the Lady of his success. The Lady prepared to marry him, but Gawain, healed, showed up on their wedding day and ended the marriage. Gawain defeated Brian in combat and sent him to Arthur’s court, where he became one of Arthur’s knights. Not wishing to reveal his own name, he adopted the alias “Handsome Prisoner.” [Meriadeuc]

Brian10 of the Isles

Brother of Mellot of Logres and cousin of Nimue. He disliked Arthur and imprisoned many Knights of the Round Table in his Castle Pendragon. Lancelot eventually defeated him and drove him from the castle. His character recalls Brandin of the Isles from the Vulgate Lancelot. [Malory]

Brian11 the Lesser

An Arthurian knight in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône. [Heinrich]


A knight present at the tournament of Sorgarda, won by Gawain. He was a vassal of the Duke of Aram. [Heinrich]

Briant1 of North Wales [Bryaunt]

A knight with whom Sir Lancelot jousted—and defeated—before the Castle of Maidens tournament. [Malory]

Briant2 of the Red Island

A king who married Mariole, a maiden with a magical golden circlet. They had a daughter named Tristouse. When Mariole’s magic circlet was stolen, Briant died. Tristouse later had a son named Torec, who defeated Arthur’s knights. [Maerlant]


A city in Logres in the Vulgate Merlin. The Archbishop of Brice presided at Uther’s funeral and supported the young Arthur’s claim to the throne by excommunicating the rebellious leaders who opposed Arthur, and by validating the sword-in-the-stone test. The author of Merlin probably misinterpreted Archbishop de Brice from Wace’s Archbishop Dubric. [VulgMer, Arthour]


Arthur’s grandfather and Uther’s father in Wolfram’s Parzival. His brother Lazaliez was Perceval’s great-great-grandfather. His parents, Mazadan and Terdelaschoye, were both fairies. His role as Arthur’s grandfather generally belongs to Constantine. [Wolfram]

Bricoune Gate

One of the gates in Arthur’s city of Logres. [VulgMer]


A Knight of the Round Table killed during the Grail Quest. [PostQuest]


A vassal of King Mark of Cornwall who participated in Mark’s tournament at Lancien. [Contin4]

Bridge of the Giant

The custom of the bridge was that its guardian must remain there until he was defeated by another knight or until four months had passed. A knight named Golistan served as its guardian for a while, but he was defeated by Seguarant the Brown. Another guardian was Sir Neroneus of the Isle. [Palamedes, ProsTris]

Bridge of the Needle

A pencil-thin bridge which crossed a chasm to the Grail Castle. Gawain decided to brave the bridge and, upon stepping on it, found that it was really just as wide as any other bridge. [Perlesvaus]


A warrior of Arthur and companion of Bedwyr. [WelshPG]


The surname of Arthur’s Sir Caradoc, meaning “short arm.” In Les Merveilles de Rigomer, it is a knight’s entire name. [Merveil]

Briet of Gonefort

One of Arthur’s knights. [Renaut]

Bright Fountain

A land terrorized by a fierce demon with no torso, bearing a gorgon-like head that turned all people to stone. Sir Daniel of the Blossoming Valley defeated the demon—like Perseus with Medusa—by looking at his opponent only through a reflection in a mirror. The Count of the Bright Fountain became Daniel’s faithful companion. Daniel later saved him from beheading at the hands of a giant. [Stricker]


A fairy companion of Madoine. Madoine loved Arthur’s Sir Laris. [Claris]

Brimesent [Hermesent(e)]

Arthur’s sister in the Vulgate Merlin. The daughter of Hoel and Igerne, she married King Urien and had a son named Yvain. Her sister was called Blasine. She encouraged her son to take service with Arthur. Her role is assumed by Morgan le Fay in the Post-Vulgate. [VulgMer, Arthour]

Brinemans [Brincians]

One of several knights defeated by Lancelot on his way to Rigomer Castle. Lancelot sent him to Guinevere as a prisoner. [Merveil]

Brinol of the Hedged Manor [Brinos, Bromel la Pleche]

A knight, also called Brinol the Pleasant, who began his career as a member of Arthur’s army against the Saxons. Some time after the Saxon wars, Guinevere, traveling through the forest, saw Brinol and his brother abusing another knight. Taking pity on the beaten knight, Guinevere ordered her knights to save him. In the ensuing combat, two of Brinol’s brother were killed. After this, Brinol hated Guinevere and attacked any knight who claimed to serve her, wounding, among others, Sir Dodinel. Finally, he was defeated by Lancelot and forced to reconcile with the queen. Later, however, he fell in love with Elaine of Corbenic and renewed his hate for Arthur’s court, as Elaine would not return Brinol’s love because of her love for Lancelot. He refused to let any of Arthur’s knights enter Corbenic for several months, but he was eventually defeated by Bors, who made him surrender to Lancelot. He then re-entered Arthur’s fellowship and fought in the war against Claudas. [VulgLanc, Livre, Malory]


In La Tavola Ritonda, a castle inhabited by relatives of Tristan. These relatives slew Meliadus, Tristan’s father, and Tristan later invaded the castle and killed the murderers. In the Prose Tristan, these villains come from Norholt. [Tavola]

Briol of the Forest Arsee [Briot]

A knight encountered by Perceval in his quest for the Grail. Briol lodged him, gave him directions to the Fisher King’s castle, and told him of an upcoming tournament at the Castle Orguelleus. [Contin2]


A Saracen king, killed by Gaheris (Gawain’s brother) at the battle of Diana Bridge. [Arthour]


A castle in France near the home of the Lady of the Lake. It was separated from the castle Charosque by the forest of Briosque. [VulgLanc]


Castle belonging to Alain of Escavalon. Alain once lodged Gawain at the castle, and Gawain slept with Alain’s daughter, Florée, begetting a son. [Livre]

Brios1 of Montascon

A wounded knight encountered by Lancelot on his way to Rigomer Castle. Brios had been injured at Rigomer, and was fated to never heal until a “faultless” knight examined his wounds. The story infers that Gawain is this “faultless” knight, but Brios does not appear again in the story. Brios gave Lancelot some information about Rigomer. [Merveil]

Brios2 of the Emplacement

A knight who served King Caradoc of Estrangorre. He fought in the wars against the Saxons in the early days of Arthur’s reign. [VulgMer]

Briosque [Brioke]

A fertile French forest in Benoic and Burgundy which contained the lake that was the home of the Lady of the Lake. Merlin first encountered her there. It was the rallying point for Arthur’s forces before the war with Claudas, and the site of a battle between the two kings’ armies. It was named after the two castles on either side of it: Brion and Charosque. [VulgLanc, VulgMer, ProsMer2]

Brisen [Bris(i)ane]

A lady and servant of King Pelles, with whom she conspired to have Lancelot sleep with Elaine. Through her enchantment, she got Lancelot drunk and sent him off to the Castle of Case, where Guinevere was supposedly waiting for him. They put Elaine in Guinevere’s place, knowing that Lancelot, in his drunken state and in the dark, would mistake Elaine for Guinevere. The plan worked, and Galahad resulted. She later helped Elaine trick Lancelot into sleeping with her a second time, at Camelot. [VulgLanc, Malory]


In Arthour and Merlin, the site of a battle fought by Pendragon and Merlin against invading Saxons or Saracens. The Saxons, led by Maladors and Gamor, were defeated, but Pendragon was slain. [Arthour]

Britain [Breta(i)(n)gne]

The largest British island, including the modern countries of England, Scotland and Wales. It is the kingdom most often associated with Arthur, though some authors—particularly continental ones—seem confused as to its location and boundaries. It is often difficult to distinguish between Britain and Brittany. According to Nennius, Britain was named after Brutus, the island’s first king, who conquered it after arriving from Greece (prior to Brutus, the island was called Albion). More likely, however, it is a variation of Prydein, which is Britain’s name in Welsh texts.
   The origins of Arthur are woven inextricably into the backdrop of British history in the fifth century. Briefly summarized, this history, from what we can piece together, is as follows:
   Rome came to Britain in the first century, uniting the island, pushing the native Celts into the hills of Wales and the highlands of Scotland, and establishing Roman customs and laws. For three hundred years, Rome and Britain were one and the same. During this time, there were occasional battles to be fought against barbarian Picts in the north, Irish raiders in the west, and Germanic pirates in the east.
   In the late fourth century and early fifth century, the pax Romana collapsed. First, a succession of Brito-Roman generals broke from the western empire and invaded Gaul. The most illustrious of these were Maximus—who deposed Emperor Gratian in 383—and Constantine III, who invaded Gaul in the first decade of the fifth century.
   These aspiring usurpers of Britain were only part of Rome’s worries. The empire was already collapsing from within, and enemies were closing on all sides. Rome withdrew its military and administrative support for Britain in about 410. Britain was left largely defenseless, most of its warriors having been withdrawn to deal with the barbarian invasions of the continental territories, or siphoned away by Constantine III. Rome’s withdraw opened Britain to more frequent and devestating raids from its traditional Picitish and Irish enemies. It appears that a British high king, popularly called Vortigern, ruling sometime before 450, attempted an old Roman trick: the hiring of one group of barbarians to fight another. In this case, Vortigern employed Saxons (who may or may not have already settled in parts of eastern Britain) against the Picts. The Saxons grew in number and power, however, and they established permanent settlements on the eastern shores. Eventually, they revolted and attacked the British, with more and more of their kinsman arriving from Germany each year. The Saxons completed the conquest towards the end of the sixth century, and the remaining native Britons were forced into enclaves in Wales, Cornwall, and the north. The Saxons retained control over the island for about 500 years, until the Norman conquest in 1066.
   It appears that in the late fifth century, the Saxon advances were checked, for a few decades, by a British resurgence, begun by a Roman descendant named Ambrosius Aurelianus. There appears to have been a battle called Badon which delivered a heavy blow to the Saxons and forced them to retreat to their settelements on the shore for twenty or thirty years, during which Britain was ruled independently by the British. Contemporary accounts show, however, that the British were unable to remain united, and that regional feuds allowed the island to fall to the English relatively quickly.
   Arthur’s place—in legend, if not in history—belongs to the few decades (c. 460–520) in which the British were able to stop the Saxon encroachments. We find him named as the great British general at Mount Badon, and, as legend progresses, as the king of Britain during this temporary—and final—British revival.

Brithael [Bertel, Bertil, Brastias, Bretel, Bricel, Bricot, Britael]

An Arthurian knight who originally belonged to Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall. One source names him as the Duke’s cupbearer. When Uther wanted to sneak into the castle of Tintagel to sleep with Igerne, Gorlois’ wife, Merlin magically disguised Uther as the duke and himself (or Sir Ulfin) as Brithael to get past the guards. Later, Brithael became Uther’s vassal and fought in the battle of Saint Albans. As Arthur’s knight, he participated in the battles against the rebelling kings at Caerleon and Bedegraine. He also helped defeat the Saxons at Carhaix, and participated in the campaign against Claudas. Through Merlin, Brithael and Ulfin learned of the first plot to replace Guinevere with the False Guinevere and foiled it. Arthur made him warden of the northern lands. In time, he retired to a hermitage near Windsor. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon, VulgMer, Livre, Arthour, Malory, TennIK]


A female knight who exemplifies chastity in Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. In Spenser’s allegory, Britomart is one representative of Queen Elizabeth. She was the daughter of King Rions of South Wales. She fell in love with a knight named Artegall after seeing a vision of him in a mirror. Traveling to Fairy Land to find him, she became the companion of Prince Arthur, Sir Guyon, and the Red Cross Knight, the latter of whom she helped to escape from the Castle Joyous. Among other adventures, she encountered Merlin and heard his prophecies of the future of Britain, and she rescued the maiden Amoret from the prison of the sorcerer Busirane. Britomart and Amoret encountered Artegall and Scudamore (Amoret’s amie) with visors over their faces, and Britomart fought both of them, defeating Scudamore and fighting Artegall to a draw. Their identities were revealed. Britomart and Artegall fell in love and were swiftly betrothed, but Artegall had to leave to finish a quest assigned to him by Gloriana, the Fairy Queen. He was later captured and imprisoned by Queen Radigund of the Amazons. Britomart heard of his plight from his squire Talus, and she freed him by slaying Radigund. [Spenser]


To those living in Britain, the Britons referred specifically the early Celtic people living in South Britain that had driven the Picts into Ireland and Scotland. To foreigners, the term Briton casually meant any habitant of the island of Britain. Compare with Pict, Scot, and Celt.

Brittany [Breta(i)gne, Bretan, Breteyn, Bretland]

A region of northwest France, directly across the channel from Britain. The area was once called Armorica. The chronicles contend that the first British conqueror of the area was Maximus (who took it from Duke Inbalt), and that Conan Meriadoc was its first ruler. Conan, a Briton by birth, tried to bring British customs to the region by importing British citizens—especially women. For this reason, Brittany became known as “Other Britain,” “Little Britain,” or “Lesser Britain.” The account given by the chronicles is a condensation of historical events. The anarchy in Britain after the Roman withdrawal, the Pictish threat, and the Saxon invasion led to a migration of Britons across the channel and a resettlement of British culture in Brittany.
   Rulers of Brittany in the Arthurian age are variously given as Hoel (whose wife, the duchess of Brittany, was kidnapped by the giant of Mont St. Michel), Brian of the Isles, Aramont, Fflergant, Caradoc, and Peissawg the Tall. Arthur is often named as Brittany’s overlord. In Middle High German romance, Brittany is often noted as Arthur’s primary kingdom, with its capital at Nantes. [Culhwch, GeoffHR, LancLac, Dream, PleierG, Malory]


As related by Nennius, an alternate name for Brutus. [Nennius]

Briziljan [Breziljan, Brizljan, Priziljan]

German version of Broceliande, an Arthurian forest.

Broadas [Broadés]

A large knight who inhabited the Spring of the Two Sycamores. Lancelot killed both of his sons, Belias the Black, and Briadas the Undefeated. Broadas tried to throw Lancelot in a well, but Lancelot killed him. [VulgLanc]


A land ruled by Tampenteire and then by his daughter, Condwiramurs. Its main castle was Beaurepaire. The land was invaded and besieged by Clamadeu and his seneschal Kingrun, who wanted the land and the lady. Just as it looked as if Condwiramurs would lose, Perceval arrived and defeated Clamadeu and Kingrun. After he married Condwiramurs, Perceval became lord of Brobarz. Perceval bequeathed the scepter of Brobarz—along with his other secular kingdoms—to his son Kardeiz. [Wolfram]

Brocaire [Brocaie]

A forest near Penning Castle, through which Gawain, Mordred, and Yvain traveled on their way back from a tournament. [VulgLanc]

Broceliande [Brecheliande, Brocheland, Brocheliande, Brockland]

A forest in Brittany that often appears in Arthurian romance, after Wace described its marvels (including an enchanted fountain) in his Roman de Rou. It was the location of the fountain where Yvain defeated Esclados the Red in Chrétien’s Yvain and its adaptations. The forest contained the strongholds of New Castle and Lindesores. It was the site of important meetings and troop movements during the early rebellions against Arthur, and during the Saxon wars. In the Vulgate Merlin and Tennyson’s Idylls, it served as the place of Merlin’s imprisonment by the Lady of the Lake. French romance seems to be largely unaware, however, that a channel separates Broceliande from the rest of Britain. German romance, which calls it Briziljan, places it in the country of Löver near Dinazarun. [ChretienY, HartmannI, VulgMer, PleierG, ProsMer2, TennIK]


A forest through which Pendragon and Uther were traveling when they first encountered Merlin. [Butor]


A Knight of the Round Table who embarked with the others on the Grail Quest. [PostQuest]

Broken Sword [*Espee Brisiee]

A pagan weapon which struck Joseph of Arimathea in the thighs when he wandered into a Saracen castle in the forest of Broceliande. Half of the sword broke off and remained in the wound. After he converted the castle and its lord, Matagran, he removed the broken piece from his thighs, and proclaimed that the two halves would not be rejoined until Galahad found them during the Grail Quest. Meanwhile, the piece which had been stuck in Joseph dripped blood constantly. After Gawain, Perceval, and Bors failed, Galahad successfully mended the sword at the end of the Grail Quest. Galahad gave it to Bors. Its tale recalls the Grail Sword and the Bleeding Lance. [VulgQuest, VulgEst]

Bron [Boon, Brom, Brons, Gron, (H)ebron]

The Fisher King and Maimed King in Robert de Boron’s Grail Cycle, represented in Robert’s Joseph and the Didot-Perceval. Bron married Enygeus, the sister of Joseph of Arimathea, and accompanied Joseph on his trek from Judea to Britain. Joseph appointed him keeper of the Grail, and he earned his title after he caught a fish which God multiplied into thousands. His piety was reflected by the fact that he was able to sit in the Perilous Seat at the Grail Table. He had a dozen sons, one of whom was named Alain the Large. Perceval was Bron’s grandson. He fell ill when Perceval arrogantly sat in the Round Table’s Perilous Seat, and could be cured only by the Grail Question. Perceval failed in his first visit to Bron’s castle, but returned for a successful second visit. Bron was healed, passed the Grail on to Perceval, and died three days later.
   The author of the Vulgate Cycle, recognizing the centuries between Joseph of Arimathea’s time and Arthur’s, makes Bron an ancestor, but not the grandfather, of Perceval and Galahad. The distinction of Fisher King is transferred to his son, Alain. The Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal names another of Bron’s sons as Joshua, and the Prose Tristan names two more as Naburzadan and Sador.
   The longer version of his name, Hebron, belongs to both a biblical city in Israel and a son of Kohath, whose family was responsible for care of the Ark of the Covenant. Proponents of a Celtic origin for the Grail have urged a connection with King Bran of Welsh legend, who was also maimed, who owned a magical vessel (a cauldron), and who was said, in a Triad, to have brought Christianity to Britain. [RobertBorJ, VulgEst, VulgMer, ProsTris]


A knight encountered by Tristan in La Tavola Ritonda. He inhabited the fortress of Sangranar with a knight named Sodoc. The two knights tried to steal Tristan’s and Lancelot’s horses but were defeated. [Tavola]

Bronllafyn Short Broad

A knife carried by Osla Big Knife, which was so large that it could be used as a bridge for armies to cross bodies of water. However, it proved to be Osla’s doom when, during the hunt for Twrch Trwyth, the sheath filled with water and dragged Osla to the bottom of a river. [Culhwch]

Bronnil [Brumyng]

In Robert Mannyng’s chronicle, a Saxon lord who allied with Mordred and was slain at the final battle against Arthur. [Mannyng]

Bros of the Heath

A knight defeated by Tristan during a joust at Camelot. [ProsTris]

Brown Earl

A ruler who fell in love with Enid when he met her during her distressing journey with Geraint. He threatened to kill Geraint unarmed in order to take Enid, but Enid convinced him to abduct her during the night instead. Then, in their quarters, she warned Geraint of the plan so that they could escape. The Brown Earl pursued them, but Geraint defeated him in combat. He is known in Chrétien’s Erec as Galoain. [Geraint]

Brown Family

A family of mighty knights who thrived in Uther Pendragon’s day, each bearing the surname le brun (“the Brown”). These knights included Brannor, Bruhault, Brun, Ellain, Galehaut, Hector, Hubaus, Riger, and Segurant. Of these, Galehaut, Hector, and Segurant were the most renowned. The Browns were descended from Brutus, first king of Britain, through Albanact. Their home was in the Brown Valley, though some of them ruled the Savage Realm. [Palamedes]

Brown Knight without Pity

A knight that held 30 widows captive in his castle, after he killed all of their husbands. He was finally killed by Sir Gareth, who liberated the castle and sent the ladies to Camelot. He may be a duplicate of Breus the Pitiless, whose original name was Brun (“Brown”). [Malory]

Brown Rock

A castle in Scotland where Arthur’s Sir Fergus defeated a horrible giant—the husband of a hag which Fergus had previously slain. Fergus took up temporary residence in the castle afterwards. [Guillaume]

Brown Valley [*Val Brun]

Home of the “Brown” family of mighty knights, including Segurant the Brown and Galehaut the Brown. Tristan and Lancelot traversed the valley during their adventures. Its castle was called Vallebrun. [Palamedes, ProsTris, Tavola]


Arthur’s sword in the English chronicle Arthur. [Arthur]


A king who served Arthur. He ruled the Lost City and was nicknamed “Four Beards.” [Meriadeuc]


A knight who stole a golden circlet from a lady named Mariole. Mariole’s grandson, Torec, later defeated Bruant to avenge the deed. [Maerlant]


The nephew of Brian of the Isles, Arthur’s enemy. He murdered the noble Meliot of Logres, and was slain in turn by Perceval. [Perlesvaus]

Bruhaut the Brown

Son of Ellain, nephew of Hector the Brown, brother of Hector the Brown and Branor the Brown, and uncle of Segurant the Brown. [Palamedes]

Bruiant of the Isles

A king and one of King Arthur’s knights. He fought well in tournaments at the Castle of Maidens and at Banborc. Bruiant presented Arthur with two splendid thrones, magnificently sculpted and adorned. Arthur, in turn, gave them to Erec upon his coronation as ruler of Nantes. [ChretienE, Renaut, Girart]

Brumand the Proud [Brumant, Brumart]

A knight of King Claudas. One night, he boasted to his comrades that he was bolder than Lancelot, and that he would prove it by sitting in the Round Table’s Perilous Seat, something that Lancelot himself never dared to do. He later had second thoughts, but kept his word. Barging into a meeting of the Round Table, he placed himself in the Perilous Seat, and was swiftly incinerated by a pillar of fire. He left three brothers named Canart, Cadant, and Alibel. [VulgLanc]


A lake, next to which Lähelin captured Gringolet, the horse that became Gawain’s steed. [Wolfram]

Brun1 (“Brown”)

Lord of the Savage Realm. He was a descendant of Brutus, the first Briton, and an ancestor of the famous knights of the “Brun” family (Segurant, Hector, Galehaut). Brun was the son of Arbrun and Vagés, the husband of Lye, and the father of Hector, Brun, Lore, and Ysille. By the daughter of a giant, he also had another son named Hector. [Palamedes]


Descendant of Brutus and ancestor of the famous knights of the “Brun” family. He was the son of Brun and Lye, the husband of Pamphille, and the father of Yrlande and Gialle. [Palamedes]


A giant who attacked Britain and was killed by Uther Pendragon. [Palamedes]


A knight slain by Gawain. He was the son of Urpin of the Mountain and the brother of the Lady Bloisine. His sister plotted to avenge his death but ended up falling in love with Gawain. [Contin4]

Brun5 Brandalis

One of Perceval’s eleven paternal uncles in Perlesvaus. He was the third son of Gais the Large and the brother of Alain. Both Brun Brandalis and his son were slain at a young age. [Perlesvaus]

Brun6 of Branlant [Brus of Bralant]

A vassal of Guiromelant, an enemy of Gawain in the First Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval. When Guiromelant made peace with Gawain by marrying his sister, Brun refused to submit to Arthur’s rule. Arthur besieged his castle and eventually subdued him. When he agreed to become Arthur’s vassal, Arthur gave him the cities of Quilini and Baradigan. In the Livre d’Artus, he is the seneschal of Lady Lore of Branlant. [Contin1, Renaut, Livre]

Brun7 of Gumiaus

A knight in Arthur’s service. He fought against the Saxons at the battle of Carhaix. [Contin2, Livre]

Brun8 of Morois

A knight who abducted Guinevere from Sir Yder, who was escorting the queen unarmed. Brun imprisoned Guinevere in his castle at Morois. Arthur’s Sir Durmart tracked him down, fought him, defeated him, and rescued the queen. Brun was sent to Arthur’s court to do homage. He became Arthur’s vassal. Brun’s brother was named Sir Cardroain. [Durmart, Girart]

Brun9 of Piciez

A Knight of the Round Table present at the wedding of Erec and Enide. [ChretienE]

Brun10 of the Heath

A Cornish knight who abducted the paramour of the Pensive Knight. Gawain tracked him down, rescued the lady, and sent Brun to Arthur’s court. Brun became one of Arthur’s knights. [Contin2]

Brun11 the Felon

An evil knight from Northumberland who is the father of Breus the Pitiless in Palamedes. He is possibly identical to Arrouans the Felon, also named as Breus’s father. He had a brother named Passehen and another son named Falquidés. Arthur killed him. [Palamedes]


A knight who guarded the Ford of the Wood. He fought for King Mark of Cornwall in a tournament at Lancien. [Contin4]


Having been banished from Mark’s court, Tristan returned disguised as a madman so he could see Isolde. As part of his insane rambling, he claims to have a sister named Bruneheut. [FolieB]


One of Tristan’s horses in La Tavola Ritonda. The beautiful black stallion was given to him by Morgan le Fay. Its name signifies “brown-strong.” [Tavola]


A Saxon warrior who fought for Mordred against King Arthur and was killed at the battle of Camel. [GeoffHR]


The lady of the Castle Monbrun. She was plagued by the evil knight Taulat, but rescued by Arthur’s knight Jaufré, who fell in love with her and married her. [Jaufre]

Brunor1 [Breunor, Brunoro]

Galehaut’s father in the Prose Tristan and Malory. He conquered the Castle of Tears from a giant named Mago, and married the Beautiful Giantess, the dead giant’s wife. Brunor upheld the evil custom of the castle, which involved the murder of visiting knights and their ladies, if the knights were not as powerful as the lord, and the ladies were not as beautiful as the castle’s lady. Galehaut deserted his father because of this custom. Tristan and Isolde stumbled upon the island on their way from Ireland and were imprisoned. In the subsequent combat, Tristan killed Brunor and then, because Isolde was the most beautiful, slew the Beautiful Giantess. Galehaut later sought to avenge his father’s death but was defeated. [ProsTris, TristanoR, Tavola, Conti, Malory]

Brunor2 the Black

The true name of the Good Knight Without Fear, who was the father of Brunor the Black and Dinadan. [Palamedes]

Brunor3 the Black [Breunor]

The real name of the Knight of the Ill-Fitting Coat, first given in the Prose Tristan and Palamedes. He was a Knight of the Round Table, the son of the Good Knight Without Fear, and the brother of Dinadan and Daniel. Lancelot, who had killed Daniel, is his mortal enemy in La Tavola Ritonda, but he undertakes a quest with Lancelot in the Prose Tristan and in Malory (see Knight of the Ill-Fitting Coat). [Palamedes, ProsTris, Tavola, Malory]

Brunor4 the Brown

One named as the father of Sir Segurant the Brown, though in other locations, Segurant’s father is Hector the Brown. There may be some confusion with Branor the Brown, Hector’s brother. [Palamedes]

Brunor5 the Pleasant

A Knight of the Round Table who participated in the Grail Quest. [ProsTris]

Brunoro the Brown

In La Tavola Ritonda, a relative of Lancelot’s who showed up at King Mark’s court, secured a promise from the king, and asked for the Hebrew Damsel of Thornbush Ford—a maiden loved by both Mark and Tristan. Brunoro led her away in front of her husband, Lambergus. Tristan tracked him down, challenged him, and fought him to a draw. The maiden chose to return with Tristan. This role is played by Bleoberis in the Prose Tristan. [Tavola]

Brunz1 of Lis

An Arthurian knight, not identical to Brandelis. [Girart]

Brunz2 the Prophet

Father of Sir Escanor the Handsome, an opponent of Gawain, by the Lady Alienor. Brunz was a king who ruled a land near Ireland. [Girart]


In Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, one of several kings who served Arthur. [Heinrich]


A British castle, built by and named after Brutus, the Greek warrior who first settled Britain. Galahad and Bors lodged a night at Brut during the Grail Quest. The lord’s name was Brutus, and his daughter fell in love with Galahad. [PostQuest]

Brute Greenshield

A prince who, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, succeeded his father King Ebraucus to the British throne in the eleventh century BC. Brute was succeeded by his son Leil. [GeoffHR]

Bruto [Brito]

Hero of Anthony Pucci’s Bruto di Brettagna, derived from an episode in Andreas Capellanus’s De Amore. To win the love of a lady, Brito had to retrieve a hawk, to brachets, and a scroll with the “rules of love” from Arthur’s court. After solving several related quests, he fought a duel at Arthur’s court for the objects, winning because his lady was the most beautiful. [PucciB]

Brutus1 [Britto, Brute]

A Roman consul mentioned by Nennius and Geoffrey of Monmouth. He was a descendant of Aeneas and the son of Silvius, who, pursuant to a prophecy, Brutus accidentally killed with an arrow. For this act, he was driven from Italy. He took his followers to Britain, then called Albion, and he conquered the island from a race of giants. Albion was rechristened Britain in honor of Brutus, and in a similar manner, Brutus’s three sons—Camber, Locrine, and Albanact—gave their names to Cambria (Wales), Logres (England), and Albany (Scotland). Since Brutus was said to be Britain’s first king, a number of chronicles have Brut in their titles (e.g., Wace’s Roman de Brut). [Nennius, GeoffHR, Dryden]


A descendant of the first Brutus and king of the castle Brut. He was a noble and wealthy lord with many possessions, and one of the most beautiful daughters in Britain. This maiden fell in love with Galahad when he and Bors were lodging at Brut during the Grail Quest. When Galahad rebuffed her advances, she killed herself with his sword. Brutus accused the two knights of murdering her, but after he was defeated in single combat with Bors, he accepted their explanation and made peace. [PostQuest]


The King of Brecknock in Welsh tales. He might have been a historical figure. The Triads mention him as the father of Urien’s mother Nefyn, and as one of the “three saintly lineages of the Island of Britain.” In the life of Saint Cadoc, his wife Gwladys is abducted by King Gwynnlyw of Glamorganshire, and she is later lusted after by Arthur. [Triads, SaintsCad]

Brys (“Haste”)

Son of Brysethach and one of Arthur’s warriors. He came from the valley of the black fernery in Scotland. [Culhwch]


Father of Arthur’s warrior Brys. [Culhwch]


A plain surrounding the castle of Lerlinte in North Wales. It was famed as the site where Lancelot and Tristan fought each other during the war between Kings Alois and Amoroldo. [Tavola]

Budec [Biducus, Budicius, Budes, Budiz, Dubricius, Pudentius]

The king of Brittany who received Uther and Ambrosius—as children—when they fled Britain in fear of Vortigern. Budec sheltered them in his realm until they had come of age and were ready to retake Britain from Vortigern. His son, Hoel, ruled after him. An actual king named Budic ruled Cornouaille in the early sixth century. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon]


A region of South Wales now called Builth. Nennius cites it as one of the wonders associated with Arthur: while Arthur was hunting the boar Troynt in the country, his dog, Cabal, left his footprint on a stone. Arthur piled a heap of stones there as a monument to the event. If any stone was removed and carried away, it would vanish and reappear on the mound the next day. [Nennius]


A king who was the brother of Guengasoain, a knight defeated by Gawain. [Vengeance]


An Arthurian knight found exclusively in the romance of Yder. He participated in Arthur’s war against Taulas of Rougemont. [Yder]


An Arthurian knight found exclusively in the romance of Yder, though he may be a variation of Bors. He participated in Arthur’s war against Taulas of Rougemont. [Yder]


A city in Ireland where King Lanves, Isolde’s father, held his court. [Povest]

Bun (“Maiden”)

Isolde’s sister, according to a Welsh Triad. Their father was named Culfanawyd. She was apparently no more faithful to her husband, Fflamddwyn, than Isolde was to Mark. [Triads]

Burgundy [Borgoine, Burgoigne, Burgon]

A region of southeast France. In Wace, it was part of Arthur’s empire, and ruled by Ligier (Leodegan). In Layamon, after Arthur won the war against Lucius, he established his European capital in Burgundy. From here, Arthur planned to launch his attack on Rome, but had to depart the area when he heard of Mordred’s treachery. Lucius, according to Malory, pillaged and burned areas of Burgundy in the war. According to one medieval source, Burgundy was the birthplace of Guinevere. In the Welsh tale of Geraint, the father of Arthur’s warrior Ondyaw is called the duke of Burgundy. In the Vulgate Merlin, Dionas, the Lady of the Lake’s father, is a vassal of the duke of Burgundy. [Wace, Layamon, VulgMer, Geraint, Awntyrs, ProsMer2, Malory]

Burletta of the Desert [*Burlette Della Diserta]

A knight who fell in love with Gaia Pulcella, the daughter of Morgan le Fay, and kidnapped her from the castle of Paulas. Lancelot came across Burletta trying to rape the maiden and rescued her. Burletta set out to avenge this disgrace, but ran across Tristan before he found Lancelot. Tristan defeated him in combat and ordered him to go to Camelot and to surrender to Lancelot. Rather than surrender to his enemy, Burletta threw himself in a river and drowned. [Tavola]


A seven-headed monster owned by King Cornwall in the English ballad “King Arthur and King Cornwall.” After breaking all his weapons on it, Arthur’s Sir Bredbeddle managed to subdue and tame it by confronting it with a Bible. Arthur and his knights could then conjure and employ it at will. It delivered to them Cornwall’s magic artifacts—a wand, horse, horn, and sword, the last of which Arthur used to behead the king. [KingA&C]


A figure appearing on the Modena Archivolt frieze. In the context of the carving, it appears that Burmalt serves Mardoc of the Dolorous Tower, and that he is guarding one of the bridges leading into Mardoc’s fortress. Mardoc has kidnapped Guinevere, and Burmalt is holding the bridge against Arthur and his knights. Meanwhile, however, Gawain is crossing the other bridge and effecting a rescue. Richard Barber (King, 31) though Burmalt identical to Durmart of French romance. [Modena]


The duke of the White Lake. He raised and educated Tybalt, the youth who became Lancelot’s first squire. He gave lodging to Lancelot one night as he traveled to Arthur’s court. [UlrichZ]


A sorcerer who imprisoned the maiden Amoret and tried to force her to become his lover. Britomart, the warrior maiden, learned of Amoret’s plight from Scudamore, Amoret’s lover. Britomart braved the enchantments of Busirane’s castle, defeated him, and freed Amoret. [Spenser]

Buticostiaus [Botincoutiaus, Boutincostiaus]

The lord of Finecoce and one of four Irish robber knights defeated by Lancelot on his way to Rigomer castle. Lancelot sent him to Guinevere as a prisoner. [Merveil]


One of Arthur’s castles. [Raoul]


A king and brother of the barbarian King Milocrates. When Milocrates’s island was invaded by Roman warriors, including a young Gawain, he sent a message to Buzafarnan asking for help. Buzafarnan left immediately, but was held up by storms and arrived too late, meeting the victorious Roman fleet as it was leaving the island. Through the heroics of Gawain, Buzafarnan was killed and his ships were sunk by Greek Fire or captured. Elsewhere in the story, the same character seems to be called Egesarius. [DeOrtu]

Bwlch (“Gap”)

Son of Cleddyf Cyfwlch, brother of Cyfwlch and Syfwlch, one of Arthur’s warriors. He had a sword named Glas, a dog named Call, a horse named Hwyrddyddwg, a wife named Och, a grandchild named Lluched, a daughter named Drwg, and a maid named Eheubryd. He assisted Culhwch in hunting the boar Twrch Trwyth. [Culhwch]


A lady who was served and loved by Arthur’s Sir Evadeam, known as the Dwarf Knight. [VulgMer]

Bylas [Bila(ce)s]

A Saxon warrior who joined the Saxon invasion of Britain in the early days of Arthur’s reign. At the battle of Diana Bridge, Yvain slew him. [VulgMer, Arthour]

Copyright Christopher Bruce. All Rights Reserved. Provided here by his kind permission. Layout of book modified to fit the Celtic Twilight format.