Arthurian Name Dictionary

Iaco

A knight at King Uther Pendragon’s Urbano tournament. He was defeated by King Ban of Benoic. [Tavola]

Iaen

Father of Arthur’s warriors Teregud, Sulyen, Bradwen, Moren, Siawn, and Caradawg. He came from Caer Dathal, and was related to Arthur through Uther. [Culhwch]

Iago

According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, king of Britain in the seventh century BC. He was the nephew of King Sisillius. He was succeeded by Kinmarch, Sisillius’s son. [GeoffHR]

Iaguvius [Jaguz]

Baron of Ballon under King Arthur. He fought and died against the Romans at the battle of Soissons. [GeoffHR, Wace]

Iaphine

During a speech in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, Gawain refers to an episode in which he “avenged Lady Andeclis, whose lover was slain by Iaphine.” [Heinrich]

Ibaritun

One of the lands ruled by King Malloas, a friend of Arthur’s nephew Meleranz. [PleierM]

Ibert

The King of Sicily some time before Arthur. He discovered that his wife, Iblis, was having an affair with Duke Clinschor. In revenge, he had Clinschor castrated. [Wolfram]

Iblis1 [Ibelis, Yblis]

The daughter of the great and evil warrior Iweret. She lived with her father in the castle Dodone in the wood called Beforet. She fell in love with Lancelot after seeing him in a vision, but was distressed when she learned that Lancelot intended to combat Iweret. Despite his own love for Iblis, Lancelot engaged in the battle and won. He and Iblis were then married. A magical mantle brought to Arthur’s court showed her to be completely true to Lancelot in both mind and body. She and Lancelot happily ruled Genewis and Dodone together and had three sons and a daughter. [UlrichZ]

Iblis2

Wife of King Ibert of Sicily. She was loved by a duke named Clinschor. She rewarded Clinschor with a pavilion in which the two slept together. When Ibert discovered their affair, he had Clinschor castrated. [Wolfram]

Iceland [Yselond, Ysland]

It was the ninth century before Iceland was settled by Norse explorers. It had not been discovered during the Arthurian period but, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Arthur conquered from King Malvasius. Layamon calls the conquered king Alcus, and says that Malvasius ruled it later. Warriors from Iceland assisted Arthur in the invasion of Gaul and in the Roman War. In Meriadeuc, the Queen of Iceland is the sweetheart of King Ris of Outre-Ombre, Arthur’s enemy. Ris conquered nine kings in her honor and made a mantle for her out of their beards. She asked Ris to conquer Arthur for the final beard, but Ris was unsuccessful. The Queen’s sister was the Lady of the Isles. In some romances, Iceland is confused with Ireland. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon]

Idain of Landoc [Ide, Ydain]

An unattractive woman whose lover, Cardroain, championed her in a sparrowhawk tournament at Landoc. The sparrowhawk was to go to the most beautiful woman present, but Cardroain expected to win it for Idain through force of arms. Arthur’s Sir Durmart, however, won the tournament. [Durmart]

Iddawg

Son of Mynyo. As a warrior and messenger for King Arthur, Iddawg deliberately caused the Battle of Camlann between Arthur and Mordred when he delivered a peace message from Arthur to Mordred in rude and insulting tones. For this, he became known as “the Churn of Britain.” After the fateful battle, he did penance in Scotland for his deeds. Rhonabwy met Iddawg in his epic dream, and Iddawg became his guide in the times of Arthur, seven hundred years before Rhonabwy’s life. [Dream]

Ideus

An Arthurian knight whose wife was proven unfaithful by an enchanted mantle. [Mottuls]

Idœl

Father of Arthur’s knight Johfreit. [Wolfram]

Idres

A variation of Yder used by Malory, who calls him the king of Cornwall. [Malory]

Idumea

An ancient kingdom in southwest Asia, south of the Dead Sea. It was ruled by Serses in Arthur’s time. Serses was an ally of the Roman Procurator Lucius, and brought Idumean soldiers to fight against Arthur in the Roman war. [Wace]

Idwallo

According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, a king of Britain in the third or second century BC. He was the son of King Iugenius. Idwallo ascended to the throne after his cousin, King Enniaun, was deposed. He ruled with justice and was succeeded by his cousin Runno. [GeoffHR]

Iels

One of Arthur’s vassals. He was the king of Galoes. [HartmannE]

Igangsol

During a speech in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, Gawain refers to an episode in which he “wrestled with the fierce Matleide at Igangsol.” This adventure is not recounted in existing Arthurian literature. [Heinrich]

Iger

A prince present at the tournament of Sorgarda, which Gawain won. [Heinrich]

Igerne [Agyana, *Eigyr, Hierna, Igraine, Igrayne, Igern(a), Izerla, Izerna, Ugerne, Ygerne, Ygraine, Yguerne]

King Arthur’s mother. Uther, Arthur’s father, fell in love with her when she and her husband, the Duke of Cornwall (variously called Gorlois, Hoel, and Tintagel) attended a feast at Uther’s court. Igerne chastely rebuked Uther’s advances and convinced her husband to return with her to Cornwall—an action that enraged Uther, prompting him to invade Cornwall and besiege the duke’s castles. Merlin magically transformed Uther into the semblance of the duke, spiriting him into Tintagel castle so that he could spend the night with Igerne. Arthur was conceived on this occasion. Meanwhile, the duke was slain fighting Uther’s men, and Uther swiftly married Igerne, who was confused about the identity of Arthur’s father. Upon Arthur’s birth, Merlin took him away to be raised in secret, and Igerne did not meet him until his coronation many years later.
   Igerne first appears as Eigyr in the Welsh Culhwch and Olwen, in which she is the daughter of Amlawdd. In Welsh texts, she has a son named Gormant. Her seven brothers include Gwrvoddw, Llygadrudd Emys, and five warriors named Gweir. She also has a sister called Goleuddyd. The English Arthour and Merlin gives her three husbands before Uther: Harinan, Hoel, and Tintagel. With her various husbands, she had between one and five daughters—variously called Anna, Morgan le Fay, Morgause, Elaine, Blasine, Belisant, and Brimesent—who were Arthur’s sisters or half-sisters.
   According to Chrétien de Troyes, Igerne traveled to the land of Galloway after Uther’s death—with all of her treasure—and constructed the castle called Canguin Rock. While everyone, including Arthur, thought she was dead, Igerne served as the ruler of the castle for many years. Gawain discovered her during his adventures there. Heinrich von dem Türlin tells a similar story, having Igerne marry an enchanter named Gansguoter and retire to his castle of Salie with her maiden daughters. In the Vulgate romances, she dies of unknown causes shortly before Uther Pendragon’s death, or shortly after Arthur’s coronation. Her counterpart in Wolfram’s Parzival is named Arnive. [Culhwch, GeoffHR, ChretienP, Heinrich, VulgMer, Arthour, Malory]

Ignaro

A servant of the giant Orgoglio, who was killed by Arthur. [Spenser]

Ignaures

A British knight who fought at the tournament at Noauz. [ChretienL]

Igres

A land near Lancelot’s castle of Joyous Guard, ruled by King Amoroldo of Ireland. [Tavola]

Iguedon [Engredan]

A Saxon warrior killed by Sir Ulfin at the battle of Carhaix. [VulgMer, Arthour]

Ilamert of Lanoeir

In Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, Gawain required a magic skein of thread to cross a river. This he obtained by defeating the brother of its owner, Lady Ilamert of Lanoier. [Heinrich]

Ilas

In a fragment of a twelfth-century French romance known as Ilas et Solvas, two companions named King Ilas of Ireland and King Solvas renounce their loyalty to Arthur and challenge him to combat. The result of these actions have not survived in the existing fragments. [Ilas]

Ile

A lady at Arthur’s court who, with the other court ladies, failed a chastity test. [Heinrich]

Ilet the Hard-Handed

A king in Arthur’s service. [Heinrich]

Ilinot1 [Elinot]

Arthur’s son by Guinevere in Wolfram’s Parzival. He loved the lady Florie of Kanadic and was killed in her service, causing Florie to die of sorrow. Wolfram may have borrowed him from Chrétien’s Loholt. [Wolfram, PleierG]

Ilinot2

A prince who served Arthur’s Sir Garel. [PleierG]

Ill-Speaking Maiden [*Demoiselle Mesdisant, Maledisant]

A maiden who arrived at Camelot seeking a champion to avenge the death of a knight in the Straight of Sorelois. She was hoping to find Lancelot, but she reluctantly accepted Arthur’s appointment of Sir Brunor the Black, or the Knight of the Ill-Fitting Coat, to the task. Throughout their journey to Sorelois, she insulted the poor knight, who proved himself lousy at jousting but superior at swordplay. Other knights witnessed her behavior toward Brunor and chastised her for being such a shrew. She later revealed that she truly loved Brunor, and that she had only scorned him in hope that he would abandon the dangerous adventure. Lancelot renamed her Bien Pensant. After the quest, Brunor married her and called her Beau Vivant. [Malory]

Illant

The Duke of Illant was one of Arthur’s vassals. [Heinrich]

Illbrint

Great-grandson of Brutus and grandson of Albanact. It is unclear whether his father was Dombart or Embrunt. He joined his cousin, Guillant, in a failed attempt to subdue their cousin, King Brun of the Savage Realm. [Palamedes]

Illes

The Grail Castle in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône. Gawain traveled there with Kay, Calogrenant, and Lancelot to complete the Grail Quest by questioning the castle’s inhabitants about its marvels. [Heinrich]

Illesgaleron

A prince of Wales who joined Arthur’s battle against the Saxons at Vambieres. He is found exclusively in the Livre d’Artus. His cousin, Guinganbresil, was an enemy of Gawain. When Illesgaleron did not show sufficient hatred for Gawain, Guinganbresil turned on him. There is a twelfth-century non-Arthurian French romance called Illes et Galeron. [Livre]

Illtud [Illtyd]

One of the several Welsh “saints” whose Life includes an encounter with Arthur. The son of Bicanus and Rieingulid, Illtud was apparently the cousin of Arthur, whom he served before founding a monastery and school in Glamorgan. St. Gildas was his pupil. As an unusual combination of warrior and monk, St. Illtud may anticipate Galahad. Nennius mentions Illtud and his holy altar, but does not connect them with Arthur. [Nennius, SaintsI]

Illyricum

A land whose queen was abducted by the barbarian King Milocates. She was rescued from Milocates’ island by Gawain, who returned her to the King of Illyricum. [DeOrtu]

Imain

Duke of Tulmein and brother-in-law of Enide’s father Koralus. He held the annual sparrowhawk tournament in Tulmein, which was won by Sir Erec. [HartmannE]

Imane of Beafontane

A lady abducted by Meleagant in Wolfram’s Parzival. She was rescued by Karnahkarnanz of Ulterlec. Meleagant’s usual victim is Guinevere. [Wolfram]

Imilot

A wise old knight in whose care Garel (Arthur’s king of Averre) placed his wife, Laudamie, when he went to war with King Ekunaver of Kanadic. [PleierG]

Impenetrable Forest

The roving grounds of Sir Tericam, an evil knight slain by Lancelot. [VulgLanc]

Inamante

A friend of Tristan. Tristan made him viceroy of Ponteferno, a castle he had conquered. Inamante presented Tristan with a horse named Giuriando. [Tavola]

Inbalt [Humbald, Imbaltus]

The Gaulish duke of Armorica (Brittany) before his realm was conquered—and he was killed—by Maximus. Inbalt’s land was given to Conan Meriadoc. [GeoffHR]

Incubus [Ekupedes]

An evil spirit or demon who was thought in medieval times to enter the bedchambers of sleeping women and to copulate with them as they slept. Such a demon supposedly impregnated the daughter of the King of South Wales, who later gave birth to Merlin. A “frozen demon” named Incubus appears in Thelwall’s The Fairy of the Lake as the servant of Hela, Queen of Hell. A braggart in life, he fled when confronted with his first battle and died of apprehension. The Saxon Rowena called upon his help in her plan to seduce Arthur. [GeoffHR, Wace, Thelwall]

Indeg

One of Arthur’s three mistresses in Welsh legend. She was the daughter of Garwy the Tall. [Culhwch, Triads]

India [Inde]

The Welsh Culhwch and Olwen seems to suggest that Arthur once campaigned in India, for Arthur’s chief gatekeeper Glewlyd says that he was once in “India the Great” and “India the Lesser.” Wolfram, who calls the land Tribalibot, says it was ruled by Queen Secundille, then by Perceval’s half-brother Feirefiz, and then by Feirefiz’s son Prester John. In the Vulgate Merlin, “Greater India” is ruled by King Lac, whose seneschal, Minoras, assisted Arthur in the battles against the Saxons. In the Alliterative Morte Arthure and Malory, the land is allied to the Roman emperor Lucius, and soldiers from India participate in the war against Arthur. A similar situation is found in Claris et Laris, in which the ruler is Geremie. In the Irish tale Eachtra an Mhadra Mhaoil, Gawain assists the Crop-Eared Dog, the son of the King of India, to regain human form. [Culhwch, Wolfram, VulgMer, Claris, Allit, Malory, IrishD]

Ingagel

A Scottish forest where Perceval concluded a white stag hunt in Guillaume le Clerc’s Fergus. [Guillaume]

Inglecele

Home of the fairy Esclarmonde, mistress of Escanor the Handsome. It is probably Anglesey. [Girart]

Ingeles

One of Arthur’s knights. [SyreGaw]

Ingle

The baptismal name of Flor Desiree, a maiden rescued by Lancelot. [Merveil]

Inglewood [Englewood, Ingleswood]

A forest south of Carlisle that was the site of adventures in Middle English Arthurian texts, including The Awntyrs off Arthure at the Terne Wathelyne, The Avowing of King Arthur, Sir Gawain, Sir Kay, and Baldwin of Britain and The Wedding of Sir Gawen and Dame Ragnelle. The forest is in the Caledonian region. It was farmed and developed out of existence over the last 200 years. [Awntyrs, Wedding, Avowing]

Ingliart with the Short Ears

A magnificent war horse from the Grail Castle of Munsalvæsche. It belonged to Gawain until it strayed away from him in the battle at Bearosche and was captured by Perceval, who retained ownership. [Wolfram]

Ingres

The king of Ingres came to Arthur’s tournaments at the Hard Rock and the castle of Leverzep. [Tavola]

Inguse of Bahtarliez

A lady whose medicine saved the life of Gawain after King Lähelin defeated him in a joust. [Wolfram]

Inhospitable Land Sustained [*Terre Estrange Soustenue]

The lady of this land was loved by Guinebal, an uncle of Lancelot. In her service, Guinebal created the Magic Dance and a magic chessboard in the Forest of No Return. Guinebal also instructed the lady in the magical arts, which had been taught to him by Merlin. [VulgMer]

Inogen

Merlin’s daughter in Richard Hole’s Arthur. She fled Britain with her father after Hengist’s Saxon invasion. Arthur fell in love with her, saved her from rape by Hengist, and married her. [Hole]

Inpripalenot

A Knight of the Round Table. [HartmannE]

Inscribed Stone

A stone mentioned by Nennius. It lay in a field by the Gallic Sea and marked the site of Vortimer’s third battle against Hengist’s Saxons. [Nennius]

Iona

One of King Arthur’s warriors in Culhwch and Olwen. According to the tale, Iona was king of France, although the title is also given to Paris and Gwilenhin in the same story. [Culhwch]

Ioneke

A knight in the service of Duke Cador of Cornwall. He fought for Arthur in the Roman War. [Allit]

Ipomidon

A ruler from Babylon. His brother was named Pompeius. The brothers’ ancestral city of Niniveh was seized by the Baruc of Baghdad. In response, Ipomidon and Pompeius invaded the Baruc’s country, where they had to contend with Gahmuret, Perceval’s father, who was serving the Baruc. In their second invasion, Ipomidon killed Gahmuret in combat. [Wolfram]

Ipotente

A land ruled in Arthur’s time by King Grigorz. It was in the northern part of Britain. [Wolfram]

Ireland [Erlandi, Irlaunde, Irlonde, Orlandeia, Yrland(e), Yrlond]

Ireland is often named as a kingdom subject to Arthur. Historically, Ireland was divided into a number of Celtic kingdoms during the Roman and Arthurian periods. The Romans never conquered Ireland, and Celtic culture continued to flourish in Ireland after the Saxons invaded Britain. There were no Irish “high kings” during the Arthurian period; the basis of the Irish political system was the independent tuatha, of which more than 100 existed, each with its own ruler. Nevertheless, various characters called the “King of Ireland” appear in Arthurian texts.
   The early chronicles tend to portray the Irish as a people aligned with the barbarian Picts and Scots to oppose Arthur at the beginning of his reign. Geoffrey of Monmouth asserts that it was ruled by King Gilloman during the reign of Ambrosius. Gilloman was later killed by Uther, and Arthur conquered the island from Gilloman’s successor Gillomaur.
   In Irish and Welsh legend, Aedd (Áed) and his son Odgar were kings of the island, but they would have ruled some time before or after Arthur. Welsh legend typically has Ireland being invaded and plundered by the British; this occurs in Branwen and Culhwch and Olwen, and both invasions result in the capture of a magic cauldron. In Culhwch, Arthur and his party began their hunt for the boar Twrch Trwyth in Ireland. Twrch Trwyth had destroyed much of the island when the hunt commenced.
   The Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal names King Marahant as it’s ruler in Joseph of Arimathea’s time. Contemporary to Arthur, the Vulgate Cycle names its various kings as Thoas, Plarion, Sorengrieu, Rions, Mahaglant, Margan, and Yon. All but the last were Saxons, killed or defeated by Arthur at the beginning of his reign. In the Post-Vulgate, an unnamed King of Ireland, who is the brother of the King of Denmark, invades Britain and is slain by Arthur at the battle of the Humber. It should be noted here that French romances are often confused as to the location of Ireland; some of them seem to make the country part of Scotland, or otherwise contiguous to Britain.
   In the Tristan legends, Ireland is the home of Isolde, whose father, called Gurmun or Anguish, is the king. Texts that integrate the Tristan saga with Arthur’s history deal with the issue of Ireland’s rulership uncomfortably. Malory, for instance, gives the kingdom to Anguish, Rions, and Marhalt at the same time.
   Assorted romances give a wide variety of Irish rulers: Guivret in Hartmann’s Erec, Cadiolant in the First Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval, Fenice in Durmart le Gallois, Gawain in Robert de Blois’s Beaudous, Ilas in Ilas et Solvas, Caradoc in Meriadoc, Alfred in Yder, Cador and Elidus in Claris et Laris, and Angiron in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône. The French tale called Les Merveilles de Rigomer is set in Ireland, described as a “strange land with broad and deep forests, marshes, and heaths,” which render it wild and almost uninhabitable. In the Didot-Perceval, Arthur’s final battle with Mordred is fought in Ireland. [Culhwch, GeoffHR, Contin1, HartmannE, Yder, Gottfried, LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgEst, VulgMer, Durmart, PostMer, Merveil, Ilas, RobertBlo, Historia, Claris, Malory]

Irena

A maiden whose kingdom was attacked by a giant named Grantorto. Gloriana, the Fairy Queen, assigned the knight Artegall to free the kingdom. Artegall killed the giant and restored Irena to her lands. [Spenser]

Irion

A king whose daughter, Martha, married Tristan’s son Ysaie. [Ysaie]

Irish Bridge

One of the two bridges by which someone could enter Galehaut’s land of Sorelois. The other was the North Wales Bridge. It is unclear why the bridge was called the “Irish Bridge”—it certainly could not have connected Sorelois to Ireland, although it was said to be exceedingly long. Parts of it went underwater. The description of it is reminiscent of the Underwater Bridge of Chrétien’s Lancelot. [LancLac, VulgLanc]

Írón

In the Norse Tristrams Saga, the Roman emperor who went to war with Arthur. He is called Lucius by most sources. [TrisSaga]

Ironside

A Knight of the Round Table who first appears in the Middle English Sir Gawain and the Carl of Carlisle. The romance notes that he was famed as a giant and dragon slayer, that he owned a steed named Favelhand, and that his son, by the lady of Blancheland, was called “The Knyght of Armus Grene,” perhaps referring to the Green Knight. He was called “Ironside” because he was always armed.
   Ironside enters Malory’s tale of Sir Gareth. Nicknamed the “Red Knight of the Red Lands,” he laid siege to the Castle Perilous, ruled by the lady Lyones, in hopes of drawing Lancelot, Tristan, Gawain, or Lamorat into combat with him. Lyones’s sister, Lynet, traveled to Camelot to find a knight to save the castle. Gareth, Gawain’s brother, under the name “Beaumains,” took the quest and accompanied Lynet to the Castle Perilous. He defeated many knights along the way and finally met Sir Ironside. The battle between them lasted an entire day from morning to night. Sir Ironside might have defeated Gareth, but Gareth beheld the face of the lovely Lyones in a castle window and doubled his strength. He overcame Ironside, who asked for mercy, explaining that he only had opposed Arthur’s knights because he promised a lady to do so after her brother had been killed by either Lancelot or Gawain. Gareth spared his life, and Ironside went to Camelot to tell all of the deeds of Sir “Beaumains.” He later served as carver at Gareth’s wedding feast. [SyreGaw, Carl, SirLamb, Malory]

Irot

A king. He was the father of King Gramoflanz by the sister of King Brandelidelin. Gramoflanz inherited Irot’s lands when Irot was slain by Gawain’s father, King Lot. [Wolfram]

Isabon

Father of Arthur’s Sir Galopamur. [HartmannE]

Isaiah [Lysays, Ysaíes]

A king descended from the first Nascien. His father was Alain the Large and his son was called Jonah. His descendants included Lancelot, Bors, and Galahad. [VulgQuest, VulgEst, Malory]

Isaias

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

Isajes

Uther Pendragon’s chief Marshal. After his death, his son Maurin was appointed to the office. [Wolfram]

Isazanz

During a speech in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, Gawain refers to an episode in which he “helped the lovely maiden Isazanz to escape from Anfroihin when he tried to abduct her.” [Heinrich]

Iscambrinello

A king who came to Uther Pendragon’s tournament at Urbano. He was defeated by Sir Segurant the Brown. [Tavola]

Isel of Clameroi

A lady at Arthur’s court who failed a chastity test. [Heinrich]

Isenhart

A Saracen lord from the Middle East or Africa who loved Belacane, Queen of Zazamanc. She did not reciprocate his love, and he died in a battle against one of her princes. In revenge, Isenhart’s allies and friends—led by his cousin Vridebrant of Scotland—attacked and besieged Belacane’s kingdom. Belacane was saved by Perceval’s father Gahmuret, who assumed the throne of Isenhart’s former kingdoms. Isenhart’s father’s name was Tankanis. [Wolfram]

Isenland

According to Der Pleier, a land allied to Arthur. [PleierT]

Iseterre [Iserterre]

In Wolfram’s Parzival the land of King Clamadeu, foe of Condwiramurs of Brobarz. Clamadeu was forced to abandon Iseterre when he was defeated by Perceval and sent to Arthur’s court for his penance. In the Pleier’s Garel, Iseterre is ruled by King Angenis. [Wolfram, PleierG]

Island of Battles

The location where Arthur killed Frollo according to the Vulgate Lancelot. In the chronicles, this fight occurs outside Paris. [VulgLanc]

Island of Beautiful Maidens [*Ile as Puceles Beles]

An island ruled by Queen Alemandine. Its capital was the White City. The island was terrorized by a monster that swallowed the beautiful maidens, but Arthur’s Sir Floriant killed it. [Floriant]

Island of Fairies [*Isle aux Phees]

The Lady of the Island of Fairies, possibly identical to the Queen of Fairy Isle, was the sister of Pellinore. Enraged at her brother’s murder by Gawain, she made all knights who visited the island swear to kill Gawain. [Palamedes]

Island of Glass [*Isle de Voirre]

An otherworldly island, ruled in Welsh legend by King Maelwys, who abducted Guinevere. Chrétien de Troyes names its ruler as Baron Moloas, which is probably a variation of Maelwys. According to Chrétien, the Island of Glass never had storms, was devoid of toads and snakes, and always had a perfect temperature. This description evokes an image similar to the Isle of Avalon, and it therefore supports the identification of Avalon with Glastonbury, which some writers though was once called the Island of Glass. In the Vulgate Lancelot, the Island of Glass is the home of Sir Mador the Black. [Dialogue, ChretienE, VulgLanc]

Island of Honey

An early name of Britain, according to Welsh legend. It had previously been called Myrddin’s Precinct. It was later conquered by Prydein son of Aedd, and became known as Prydein, or Britain. [Triads]

Island of Joy [*Isle de Joie]

An island in King Pelles’ realm, to which Lancelot retired from the world in shame after enduring five years of insanity. Calling himself the Wicked Knight (Chevalier Malfait), he lived in the Tower of Giants, the Castle Blank, or Bliant’s Castle, and jousted with any knight that happened along. In some romances, he co-habitates with Elaine of Corbenic. It was called the Island of Joy because Lancelot hung his shield from a tree outside the castle, and maidens sang and danced around it daily. After ten years, Lancelot was coaxed back to Arthur’s court by Hector and Perceval. Following his departure, the Island of Joy was laid waste and was renamed the Dry Island. [VulgLanc, ProsTris, PostMer]

Island of Marvels1 [*Isle de Merveilles]

An enchanted island which held, among other things, Merlin’s Bed. Mordred was once imprisoned in a tower there, but was rescued by Gawain. [VulgLanc]

Island of Marvels2

An alternate name for Merlin’s Island. [PostMer]

Island of Maidens [Isle of Virgins]

In Chrétien’s Yvain and the Welsh Owain, a king who is plagued by a pledge to send thirty maidens a year to the Castle of the Most Ill Adventure, where they were imprisoned. Yvain eventually rescued them. In the medieval poem Ywain and Gawain, this location is changed to Maidenland; the Norse Ivens Saga names the King of the Isle of Maidens as Reinion. [ChretienY, Owain]

Island of Need [*Isle Souffroitose]

An island lacking anything pleasant. Perceval was warned that kings of the Island of Plenty who failed to prove their worth were banished to the Island of Need. [Perlesvaus]

Island of Plenty [*Isle Plenteürose]

An otherworldly island abundant in riches, food, and pleasantness. It tolerated no unworthy kings, and dispatched inadequate rulers to the Island of Need. Perlesvaus suggests that Perceval became king of the Island of Plenty at the consummation of his adventures. [Perlesvaus]

Island of the Elephants

The home of the demonic Knight of the Burning Dragon, who was slain by Perceval. Its chief castle was the Castle of Giants. [Perlesvaus]

Island of the Fountain

Location of the Fountain of Marvels, where Tristan killed Pharant. [ProsTris]

Island of the Gate

The King of the Island of the Gate was the father of one of Arthur’s Irish knights. The Irish knight slept with his mother and sister, slew his father, murdered the rest of his family, and then fell burning from a tower at Camelot. His suicide was one of the marvels surrounding Galahad’s arrival at court. [PostQuest]

Island of Two Brothers

Named after the brothers Assar and Helyas, who fled to the island from Cornwall after King Mark raped their sister. [ProsTris]

Island that Floats [*Ille Qui Flote]

An island ruled by Queen Lingrenote, a sorceress. Her castle was called the Castle Without a Name. Her lover, Guengasouain, was Gawain’s enemy. [Vengeance]

Island Without a Name [*Ile sans Nom]

An enchanted island whose resident, a sorceress, bewitched unsuspecting knights to defend the island against all visitors. Gawain, who came to the island seeking the Sword with the Strange Hangings, was one of her victims. Trapped on the island, he was forced to fight his friend, Sir Meraugis. He was finally able to escape by feigning death. [Raoul]

Isolde1 [*Essyltt, Isalde, Isal(d)t, Isall, Isaot(t)a, Iseo, Iseu(l)t, Iseus, Ísodd, Ísól, Isol(d)t, Ísönd, Ísot, Isotta, Isoud(e), Ixolta, Izonda, Izota, Yseu(l)t(e), Ysodd, Yso(l)t, Ysonde]

The wife of King Mark of Cornwall and tragic lover of Tristan, often called “Isolde the Beautiful” or “Isolde the Blonde” to distinguish her from Isolde of the White Hands. Although married to Mark, she engaged in an adulterous affair with Tristan because the two lovers were unable to resist the affects of a love potion.
   An early form of her name, Esseylt, is found in a list of ladies in the Welsh tale Culhwch and Olwen, and her character may be Celtic in origin. Her counterpart in Irish folklore is called Gráinne. The origins of the Tristan and Isolde legend is covered under the entry for Tristan.
   The daughter of the King of Ireland (either Anguish or Gurmun), she first met Tristan when he arrived in Ireland incognito to be healed of a wound given by Isolde’s uncle or brother, Morholt, whom Tristan slew in a combat between Ireland and Cornwall. The legends disagree as to the extent of Tristan and Isolde’s attraction prior to the consumption of the potion: in Gottfried’s version, for instance, she hates Tristan for slaying her uncle, while in the Prose Tristan, they both feel an initial attraction.
   Tristan made his second visit to Ireland to bring Isolde back to Cornwall to marry King Mark, Tristan’s uncle. On their voyage from Ireland to Cornwall, Tristan and Isolde accidentally drank a love potion that was intended for Isolde and Mark and had been entrusted to Isolde’s servant Brangain. They fell helplessly in love and began their affair. On her wedding night, Isolde substituted Brangain in Mark’s bed in order to hide her loss of virginity. She later tried to have Brangain killed to hide the secret, but the attempt failed and she and Brangain were able to reconcile. (Malory omits this episode.)
   King Mark suspected the two lovers, having received intelligence from his vassals, but through a number of tricks and ruses, the lovers managed to instill in the king a sense of doubt as to their guilt, which created an uncomfortable situation at court but managed to keep them together. Though Mark often banished them or sentenced them, he was generally persuaded to receive Isolde as his queen again before long.
   In the traditional version of the story, Tristan, having been banished from Mark’s court, marries another woman named Isolde of the White Hands. He receives a mortal wound and sends for Isolde of Cornwall to heal him. Isolde sails to Brittany, but Tristan’s wife, jealous of their love, tells him that Isolde is not coming, and Tristan dies. Isolde perishes of sorrow upon finding him.
   In the revised version of the legend, found in the Prose Tristan and Malory, she eventually flees from Mark’s court and lives with Tristan in Joyous Guard, Lancelot’s castle, until Tristan is slain by Mark. As in the original tale, she dies on top of his body and is buried in the same grave.
   In the Prose Tristan, Isolde is also loved by Palamedes the Saracen, who abducts Brangain to get close to her. Other than Palamedes, competing suitors included Kahedins, who died for her love, Dragan, who was killed by Tristan, and the King with a Hundred Knights. The prose cycles say that she was a close friend of Queen Guinevere, whose situation was similar to Isolde’s. [MarieC, Thomas, Beroul, Eilhart, FolieO, FolieB, Gottfried, UlrichT, TrisSaga, ProsTris, PostQuest, PostMort, SirTris, Tavola, SagaTI, Malory, TennIK]

Isolde2

In Gottfried’s Tristan, the Queen of Ireland, wife of King Gurmun of Ireland, and mother to Tristan’s lover Isolde. She cleverly convinced her husband to make peace with Cornwall and to give their daughter to King Mark. She concocted the fateful potion, intended for Mark and Isolde, which bound Tristan and Isolde in love. In most other versions, her character is unnamed. [Gottfried]

Isolde3

God-daughter of Tristan. She was the daughter of Genes, the seafarer who brought Isolde of Cornwall to the mortally wounded Tristan’s bedside. Isolde told Isolde of the White Hands that Isolde of Cornwall was coming, which sparked the jealousy that led to Tristan’s premature death. [ProsTris]

Isolde4

The daughter of Tristan and Isolde in the Italian I Due Tristani. She was born along with Tristan the Younger during Tristan and Isolde’s sojourn at the Castle of Tears. Raised by foster-parents, she grew into a beauty. Palamedes, who had loved her mother, tried to abduct her and was slain by Palante, Tristan’s cousin, in the process. She later married King Juan of Castille, whom her brother served. [DueTris]

Isolde5 of the White Hands

Tristan’s wife. He married her as a substitute for Isolde of Cornwall, Mark’s wife. Her home country was Brittany, and her father—alternately Havelin, Jovelin, Gilierchino, or Hoel—is usually said to have been embroiled in some kind of war or insurrection, from which he was rescued by Tristan. Tristan, despondent over his banishment from Mark’s court and his inability to possess the other Isolde, re-targeted his love to this Isolde, prompted by both her beauty and her name. He came to his senses on their wedding night and declined to consummate their relationship, telling Isolde (in some versions) that he was castrated. Her brother Kahedins became a loyal companion of Tristan. Gottfried calls her mother Karsie. She had another brother named Ruvalen. In the Prose Tristan, she accompanies her husband to an adventure on the Island of Servitude. In the legends, Tristan at best treats her indifferently, and often treats her cruelly.
   In the traditional story, Isolde of the White Hands genuinely loves Tristan but she becomes enraged when she discovers his love for the other Isolde. When Tristan received a poisoned wound and sent for Mark’s wife Isolde to cure him, Isolde of the White Hands exacted her revenged by reporting to Tristan that the returning ship bore black sails—which signified the other Isolde was not on board—when it actually flew white sails—signifying that she was in fact on the ship. Tristan died in distress. In the Prose versions, however, this episode is excluded and Isolde of the White Hands simply disappears from the story, or perishes from sorrow, when Tristan leaves Brittany to return to Cornwall. [Thomas, Eilhart, Gottfried, ProsTris, Tavola, Malory, TennIK]

Isolde6 the Dark

Tristan’s wife in the Icelandic Saga af Tristan ok Ísodd, essentially the same character as Isolde of the White Hands. The sister of Earls Siguròr and Hríngr of Spain, she was offered to Tristan when he conquered the kingdom. They had a son named Kanelgras who eventually became king of England. Like Isolde of the White Hands in the traditional legend, Isolde the Dark was jealous of Tristan’s love for her namesake in England. Tristan was eventually wounded in combat, and he sent to England for the other Isolde (an experienced healer), telling the shipmaster to fly white sails during the return voyage if she was on board, and black sails if she was not. Isolde the Dark, seeing the ship returning with white sails, lied to Tristan and said they were black. Tristan died immediately from sorrow. [SagaTI, TrisKv]

Issoudun [Dun-Issout, Esordes]

A castle in King Claudas’s lands, formerly called simply Dun, but renamed in honor of Issout, its castellan. [VulgLanc]

Issout [Essent]

Son of Patrice. A vassal of King Claudas, Issout became the lord of the Castle Dun, which was renamed Issoudun in his honor. [VulgLanc]

Itarc [Irtac]

The King of Turkey who was subject to Rome. The Roman Emperor Lucius Hiberius summoned Itarc to fight in the war against Arthur. [Wace, Layamon]

Ither

The King of Cucumerland or Gaheviez. He is first mentioned by Hartmann von Aue as one of Arthur’s knights. In Wolfram von Eschenbach, he takes on the role of the Red Knight from Chrétien’s Perceval: Once the squire of Perceval’s uncle Trevrizent, he became a noble Knight of the Round Table. He was a cousin of both Arthur and Perceval, and he was the lover of Perceval’s aunt Lamiere.
   Ither went before Arthur to claim his inherited lands, but he accidentally offended Arthur by spilling some wine on Guinevere (in contrast to Chrétien’s Red Knight, with whom the offense is deliberate). While waiting outside Arthur’s court for Arthur to send a knight to avenge the deed, the young Perceval, on his way to Arthur’s court, encountered him. Perceval admired his red armor and, once he was in the presence of Arthur, asked for it. Kay sarcastically told Perceval to go ahead and take the armor. When Perceval went back outside and demanded the armor, and Ither refused, Perceval hurled a well-aimed javelin through Ither’s visor, killing him. Perceval then took the armor, as well as Ither’s sword, and became the new “Red Knight.” Later, when Perceval had become more mature and knowledgeable, and after several people rebuked him for it, Perceval regretted the killing of such a skilled warrior. [HartmannE, Wolfram]

Itolac

A land ruled in Arthur’s time by King Onipriz. The powerful knight Florant also came from the country. [Wolfram]

Itonje [Itoni]

Daughter of Lot and Sangive in Wolfram’s Parzival. She was the daughter of Lot and Sangive, and the youngest sister of Gawain, Beacurs, Soredamor, and Cundrie. She was trapped in the Castle of Marvels under the magic of the sorcerer Clinschor until freed by Gawain. Through correspondence—via her servant Bene—she fell in love with King Gramoflanz, but was distressed to find that Gawain and Gramoflanz were scheduled to fight a mortal duel. Through a collaboration of Itonje, Bene, Arthur, and Brandelidelin, the fight was called off and Itonje and Gramoflanz were happily married. [Wolfram, PleierM]

Iturea

A land ruled by Serses, an ally of Lucius the Roman. [GeoffHR, Layamon]

Iugenius

A son of King Morvid of Britain. He joined his brother Peredur in deposing his elder brother, King Elidur. Iugenius became king of the southern half of Britain. He died after seven years and was succeeded by Peredur. Iugenius’s son, Idwallo, eventually became king himself. [GeoffHR]

Iustig

Son of Caw, one of twenty brothers, and one of Arthur’s warriors. [Culhwch]

Ivain

A leper from the city of Lantayn in Cornwall. He attended what was to be Isolde’s burning at the stake for her affair with Tristan. He convinced Mark that a better punishment for Isolde would be to turn her over to him and the other lepers. Mark agreed and gave Isolde to the lepers. Tristan showed up and beat them away before they could take advantage of her. [Beroul]

Ivenant [Ivenans]

A king with whom Yder lodged at the beginning of his adventures. Ivenant agreed to knight Yder if the young man could refuse his wife’s advances. Yder succeeded and Ivenant dubbed him. [Yder]

Ivoine

A variation of Maine, Arthur’s slain uncle.

Ivoire

Sister of King Ban of Benoic. She married King Constantine of Britain, Arthur’s grandfather. Her first son was Ivoine or Maine. She died giving birth to her twin sons Uther and Pendragon. [Butor]

Ivor

A Welsh huntsman who served King Caradoc of Wales. When Caradoc was slain by his brother, Griffin, Ivor became the foster-father of Caradoc’s children, Meriadoc and Orwen. He saved their lives when Griffin plotted to kill them. Ivor, the children, and his wife Morwen went into hiding in the forest of Fleventan. In time, Meriadoc was kidnapped by Kay, and Orwen was taken by King Urien of Scotland, but Ivor was reunited with them at Arthur’s court. [Historia]

Iwell [Iwill]

A knight in Arthur’s service. [Golagros]

Iweret

Called the best knight in the world in Ulrich’s Lanzelet, Iweret lived in the castle of Dodone in the forest of Beforet. He stole the lands of Mabuz, the son of the fairy queen who raised Lancelot, and the queen thus ordained that Lancelot would have to defeat Iweret before Lancelot could find out his own name. At a battle in Beforet, Lancelot killed Iweret, and was suitably rewarded—both with his name and with Iweret’s daughter Iblis. Various suggestions have linked Iweret with Ywerit, the father of Bran the Blessed in one Welsh text; Y Werydd, which is Welsh for “the ocean”; and Guivret, a dwarf king in Chrétien de Troyes’s Erec. [UlrichZ]

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