Arthurian Name Dictionary


A warrior rescued by Gawain. Nabaor had lived in the realm of Illyricum until the barbarian King Milocrates kidnapped him. When a young Gawain and a Roman fleet landed on Milocrates’ island, Nabaor helped them to defeat the king and to take over the island. [DeOrtu]

Nabigan of the Rock

A malevolent lord. He killed King Marin the Jealous and tried to deprive Meliot, Marin’s son, of his lands. He also stole the holy Circle of Gold, which belonged to Perceval. Gawain reclaimed the Circle and killed Nabigan in combat. Nabigan’s brother, Anurez, later caused trouble for Gawain and Arthur. [Perlesvaus]


A landless knight in King Claudas’s army. He was captured by King Bagdemagus during Claudas’s second war with Arthur. [VulgLanc]


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

Nabon2 the Black

One of several giants killed by Tristan. Nabon ruled Glait or Mormanda Castle on the island of Servage, and he hated all of Arthur’s knights. He had killed several of them, including Mennon the Small, a cousin of Sir Lamorat. As the result of a shipwreck, Lamorat washed upon Nabon’s island just before a tournament which Nabon had declared in honor of his newly-knighted son, Nathan. Determined to slay Nabon, Lamorat entered the tournament, but, although he fared best of the visiting knights, Nabon nearly killed him. Tristan, who had also come to the tournament, stepped in just in time, and killed both Nabon and his son. Tristan awarded Nabon’s island to the noble Sir Seguarades. [ProsTris, Palamedes, Malory]


An old knight in Nascien’s service. He betrayed his lord and nearly killed him, but Nascien prayed, and God struck Nabon dead. [VulgEst]


The son of King Nascor and brother of Aglinda. The devil tricked Nabor into believing that Aglinda was not his real sister, and made Nabor want to rape Aglinda. When he attempted to do so by a spring, Aglinda prayed and Nabor fell dead. In memory of the episode, the spring was called the Spring of the Virgin, and it was enchanted to paralyze visiting non-virginal knights. [PostQuest]


A giant who tried to steal some lands from a lord named Melianus. The Good Knight Without Fear championed Melianus and killed Nabor. [Palamedes]


A knight defeated in combat by Claris and Laris. Claris and Laris were helping Sir Caradoc protect his paramour from King Ladas, Sir Nabor’s liege. [Claris]


A knight who found Sir Floriant (an Arthurian knight) and Florete (Floriant’s wife) asleep in a forest. Desiring Florete, he awoke her with a kiss and tried to abduct her. Her cries wakened Floriant, who conquered Nabudans and sent him to Arthur’s court. In Claris et Laris, while serving Lord Ladas, Nabudans is killed in combat by Laris. [Floriant, Claris]

Nabunal of Tharmadaise

The seneschal of Lambale. He first served King Amant, Arthur’s enemy, and then King Gosengos, Amant’s son. Gosengos allied with Arthur, and Nabunal ended up serving in Arthur’s army in battles against the Saxons and the Romans. [VulgMer, Livre]


The seneschal of King Tholomer of Babylonia, who Nabur served in the war against King Evalach (Mordrains) of Sarras. Evalach defeated Nabur in the battle of La Choine but refrained from killing him at the urging of Seraphe (Nascien). [VulgEst]

Nabur2 the Unruly

Mordred’s foster-father. Mordred, as an infant, washed up on Nabur’s island after Arthur sent him adrift at sea. A fisherman found the child and brought him to Nabur for rearing. Nabur was also the natural father of Sir Sagremor. [PostMer]


One of the twelve sons of Bron in the Prose Tristan. His brothers included Alain the Large and Sador. He fell in love with Chelinde, Sador’s wife, and raped her. Sador killed him. [ProsTris]


An evil knight from Benoic who served King Claudas against Arthur. [VulgLanc]


A knight defeated, with his cousin Daton, by Claris and Laris after he besieged Queen Blanche. [Claris]


King of Syria and one of the allies of Emperor Thereus of Rome. Nadus joined Thereus in a war against Arthur, and he was slain in battle against Claris and Laris. [Claris].


Father of Arthur’s warriors Atlendor and Gwenwynwyn. [Culhwch]


A Saxon warrior who, under King Aminaduc, fought against Arthur’s forces at the battle of Vambieres. [Livre]

Namant of the Pine

A knight who defeated hundreds of knights at the ford he guarded. He was finally overcome by the Good Knight Without Fear. [Palamedes]


Tristan’s slayer in Eilhart von Oberge’s Tristrant. He fought for Count Riole of Nantes in a war against King Havelin (Tristan’s father-in-law). Havelin’s son Kahedins fell in love with Nampetenis’s wife, Gariole. One day, while Nampetenis was out hunting, Kahedins—with Tristan’s help—sneaked into Nampetenis’s stronghold and enjoyed a pleasant afternoon with Gariole. When Nampetenis found out, he chased after the two warriors with a squad of knights, killed Kahedins, and mortally wounded Tristan with a poisoned blade. He may be the same character as Gottfried’s Nautenis. [Eilhart]


According to the Norse Tristrams Saga, a land conquered by Tristan and Kahedins. [TrisSaga]


In Wirnt von Grafenberg’s Wigalois, an African land ruled by Prince Lion. Gawain’s son Wigalois took control of the land when he defeated Lion in a war. The Belgian province may be the source of the name, but Wirnt specifically places it in Heathendom. [Wirnt]

Nantes [Nante]

A city near the west coast of France, on the Loire river. Wolfram names it as Arthur’s court in Brittany. Rulers of Nantes in other texts include Lac and Erec (Chrétien’s Erec), Riole (Eilhart’s Tristrant), Rigolin (Gottfried’s Tristan), Caradoc (First Continuation of Perceval), and Hoel (the Vulgate Merlin). In the Erec romances, its capital is Carnant, a name which some later authors give to the land itself. [ChretienE, Contin1, Wolfram, Eilhart, PleierG]

Napins [Napin]

A Saxon fleet commander. He was one of only a few Saxons to survive the battle of Clarence, where they were crushed by Arthur. [VulgMer, Arthour]


Count of Ukerland and father of Bernout de Riviers. He was in the service of King Clamadeu of Iseterre, and he was killed when fighting at Beaurepaire against the army of Perceval and Condwiramurs. Upon his death, Bernout inherited Ukerlant. [Wolfram]


An early pagan ruler of Dolorous Guard. His body was entombed there, but was destroyed when Joseph of Arimathea brought Christianity to Britain. Lancelot used his former tomb to inter his friend Galehaut. [VulgLanc[

Narbaoc [Marboars, Narbouanrs]

The king of the Mill Castle. He sponsored a tournament in which Gawain and Hector participated. [VulgLanc]


A city in Gaul where the infant Gawain was taken by a group of merchants. Gawain’s mother, Anna, had given Gawain to the merchants to avoid problems at court with his legitimacy. Landing their ship near the city, the merchants left Gawain and their wealth unguarded on board, where both were taken by a poor fisherman named Viamundus. [DeOrtu]

Naron [Aaron]

A knight and a follower of Joseph of Arimathea. He greeted Mordrain when he first came to Britain. [VulgEst]

Narpus [Nappas, Narpos]

An ancestor of Lancelot and Galahad. In the Vulgate Cycle, he is called the son of Celidoine and grandson of Nascien, but Malory skips Celidoine and makes him the son of Nascien. Narpus’s son was also named Nascien. He ruled North Wales. [VulgQuest, VulgEst, Malory]

Narran [Naram]

An knight who provided intelligence on King Rions when Rions went to war with Arthur. [PostMer, Malory]

Narrow Borderland [*Estroit Marche, Narrow March, Strait Marches]

A castle and land owned by King Belinant of South Wales. It was invaded by Saxons near the beginning of Arthur’s reign. Its lord, who presumably held his fief from Belinant, was the brother of King Caradoc. He was attacked frequently by the rulers of North Wales and Cambenic, and by the King with a Hundred Knights. Because of the frequent attacks, the land around the Narrow Borderland was laid waste. The lord instituted a custom by which any knight who entered the castle had to spend the night and fight in the morning against the castle’s enemies. Arthur’s knight Hector arrived when the castle was being attacked by the King with a Hundred Knights’ seneschal, Marganor. Following the custom, Hector fought and defeated Marganor. The lord of the castle wanted Hector to marry his daughter, but Hector left for further adventure. The Narrow Borderland is also named as the home of Sir Floridas, a knight in Arthur’s service. [LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgMer, Livre, Malory]

Narrow Castle [*Chastel E(s)troit]

A fortress in North Wales where Dinadan had to defend himself against a charge of murder. Brunor the Black, Dinadan’s brother, championed Dinadan and acquitted him. The castle seems to be ruled by the Duke of Haudebourc, who presided over the combat. [ProsTris]

Narrow Way

A castle in northern Britain besieged by Saxons in the early days of Arthur’s reign. [VulgMer]

Narrow Wood [*Gaut Destroit]

The castle belonging to the Maiden of the Narrow Wood, who is sometimes given the proper name Lore of Branlant. According to the Vulgate Merlin, Waldin of the Fearsome Vale conquered it, but the Livre d’Artus describes how Gawain successfully defended it from Waldin. [VulgMer, Livre]

Nascien1 [Naciamis, Nacien(s), Nacyanus, Nancien(s), Nasiens, Natianus, Natiien, Necienzo]

The baptismal name of Seraphe, the Duke of Orberica converted by Joseph of Arimathea. His sister was named Sarrasinte, and his wife was Flegetine. He had been estranged from his brother-in-law, King Evalach (later Mordrain) of Sarras, but Joseph reconciled them, and Nascien joined Evalach in a war against King Tholomer of Babylonia. Mordrain and Nascien won the war, thanks to their conversion to Christianity. Afterwards, Nascien was blinded for gazing at the Grail, but an angel restored his sight with some of the blood from the Bleeding Lance. After Joseph of Arimathea’s departure from Sarras, Nascien and his son Celidoine were imprisoned by a traitorous nobleman named Galafre. God removed Nascien from the prison and stuck him in the middle of the ocean, on the Turning Isle. He had several adventures at sea. In one of them, he boarded the Ship of Solomon and drew the Sword with the Strange Hangings to kill a giant. God punished him for drawing the forbidden sword by wounding him through the thighs. Nascien eventually joined Joseph of Arimathea’s followers in Britain, where he died. His son Celidoine became King of North Wales. His descendants included Lancelot, Bors, and Galahad. [VulgQuest, VulgEst, PostMer, Malory]


Son of Narpus, great-grandson of Nascien1, and father of Alain the Large. [VulgQuest, VulgEst, Malory]

Nascien3 [Na(n)cien]

A Knight of the Round Table who became a hermit. According to the Vulgate Merlin, he was the son of Bron, the first Fisher King, and Havingues (Joseph of Arimathea’s sister), which means, to be living in Arthur’s time, that he had an extremely long life span. His brothers included Alan and Joshua. The Livre d’Artus more reasonably makes him a descendant of the first Nasicen. His prowess helped Arthur defeat King Rions at the battle of Aneblayse, the Saxons at the battles of Clarence and Vambieres, and King Claudas at the battle of Trebe. He traded his armor for a robe after he witnessed the Grail carried by a white stag. He retired to a hermitage and became a sage for Arthur’s knights during the Grail Quest. He may have tutored Galahad. He was visited by Gawain and Hector, and he told them both that they would not achieve the Grail because of their sins. [VulgQuest, VulgMer, Livre, PostMer, PostQuest, Malory]


In Welsh legend, the son of the King of Denmark, and one of Arthur’s three “Royal Knights.” He is described as wise, handsome, and skilled at arms. Likely, Welsh storytellers simply borrowed the name from the Grail stories. [Triads]


Son of Salandres and brother of Menastide, Dinisordres, Gogonne, and Aristes. Nastor, his father, and all of his brothers were defeated in combat by Perceval. They went to Arthur’s court as prisoners. [Contin3]


King of Syria who served Emperor Filimenis of Constantinople. He joined Filimenis in a brief war against Arthur. [Floriant]

Natanleod [Natanliodus]

A “king of the Britons” who, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, was slain in a battle against the Saxons Cerdic and Cynric in 508. The site of the battle, Netley, was named after him. He would have been a contemporary of Arthur. Henry of Huntingdon’s chronicle makes him a general in the service of Uther Pendragon. We learn from Hector Boece that Natanleod had no miliatry experience, and that Uther was mentally ill when he appointed Nataleod commander of his armies. Because of Natanleod’s incompetence, much of Britain fell to the Saxons. [Anglo, Henry, Boece]


Son of the giant Nabon the Black, slain by Tristan in the Prose Tristan and by the Good Knight Without Fear of Estrangorre in Palamedes. [ProsTris, Palamedes]

Naube [Maube]

A forest which served as the home of the hermit Seraphe in Joseph of Arimathea’s time. [VulgEst]


The ruler of Hante in Gottfried’s Tristan. He was an enemy of Duke Jovelin of Arundel, Tristan’s father-in-law. With other knights, he besieged Jovelin’s castle of Karke, but was defeated by Tristan. He may be the same character as Eilhart’s Nampetenis. [Gottfried]

Navarre [Nauerne]

An historical area of northeast Spain and southwest France. According to both Der Pleier’s Tandereis and the Alliterative Morte Arthure, it was part of Arthur’s domain. [PleierT, Allit]

Naw (“Nine”)

An Arthurian warrior who was the sun of Seithfed. His brothers included Sinnoch, Wadu, and Bedyw. He was the father of Gwenwynwyn and Fflewdwr. [Culhwch, Dream]

Neb (“Someone”)

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


An Arthurian knight in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, resulting from a corruption of Bedoier or Bedivere. [Heinrich]


Wolfram says that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was the maternal uncle of King Pompeius of Babylon—one of two brothers who fought with the Baruc of Baghdad and who Perceval’s father Gahmuret died fighting against. If Wolfram intends to indicate the legendary King Nebuchadnezzar who ruled from 605 b.c. to 562b.c.—and it seems he does—Pompeius must have been a truly ancient man. [Wolfram]

Nebunal of Mycenae

A warrior who served Alexander of Constantinople. With Alexander, he joined Arthur’s service for a brief time, and fought against the traitor Angres of Windsor. [ChretienC]


Wife of Cynfarch the Old and mother of Urien and Efrddyl. Her father was named Brychan. [Triads]


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

Neini the Dwarf

One of the many ladies at Arthur’s court to fail a chastity test involving a goblet. [Heinrich]


An Arthurian knight. [Heinrich]

Nentres [Nanter, Nanters, Natres, Neutres]

King of Garlot. He first appears in the Vulgate Merlin, though the Didot-Perceval’s Viautre may be the same character. Nentres married Arthur’s half-sister (Blasine or Elaine) and also looked after the young Morgan le Fay. Nentres opposed Arthur’s claim to the British throne and joined a rebellion against him. Nentres’s son, Galescalain, opposed Nentres’s revolt and took service with Arthur. Arthur defeated the rebels at the battles of Caerleon and Bedegraine, after which the rebel kings had to return home to deal with a Saxon invasion. Nentres’s wife was kidnapped by the Saxons, but Gawain rescued her. After suffering several defeats at the hands of the Saxons, Nentres and the others made peace with Arthur, joined his forces, and crushed the Saxons at the battle of Clarence. Later, during Arthur’s war with Rome, Nentres earned distinction by slaying King Alifatima of Spain. Arthur eventually appointed him to the Round Table. [VulgMer, Livre, Malory]

Neol Hang Cock

Father of Arthur’s warrior Ellylw. [Culhwch]


A valley along the forest of Briosque in France, near the Lady of the Lake’s home. [VulgMer]


The King of Nerbois was slain by Tristan at Arthur’s Leverzep tournament. [Tavola]


A maidservant of Queen Amena of Korntin in Wirnt von Grafenberg’s Wigalois. She traveled to Arthur’s court to find a champion when Korntin was invaded by King Roaz of Glois. When Arthur appointed Wigalois (Gawain’s son) to the task, Nereja was furious because she thought Wigalois too young and inexperienced. As she traveled with Wigalois, however, and watched him win a number of combats, she gradually developed respect for and confidence in him. By the time they reached Roimunt (Amena’s castle), Nereja was happy to present Wigalois as her champion. Her counterpart in Renaut de Bâgé’s Le Bel Inconnu is Helie. [Wirnt]


A warrior who served Alexander of Constantinople. With Alexander, he joined Arthur’s service for a brief time, and fought against the traitor Angres of Windsor. [ChretienC]


A warrior who served Alexander of Constantinople. With Alexander, he joined Arthur’s service for a brief time, and fought against the traitor Angres of Windsor. [ChretienC]


A king who was the brother of King Rions, Arthur’s enemy. When King Lot of Lothian rebelled against Arthur, Nero joined him. At the battle of Tarabel, Merlin held back Lot’s half of the army, and Nero was slain in combat. Arthur had him interred at the church of St. Stephen’s in Camelot. [PostMer, Malory]

Neroneus of the Isle

A Knight of the Round Table knighted by Lancelot at the Red Castle. He guarded a bridge called the Bridge of Giants. Lancelot gave him the lands surrounding Pendragon Castle when he conquered the castle from Sir Brian of the Isles. When Lancelot and Guinevere were accused of treason, Neroneus pledged his support to Lancelot and helped him rescue Guinevere from the stake. In return for his support, Lancelot made him earl of Pardiac. [ProsTris, Malory]

Nerth (“Might”)

One of Arthur’s warriors and advisors. He was the son of Cadarn and the father of Gorasgwn. [Culhwch, Dream]


Son of Gwawrddur Hunchback and brother of Duach, Brathach, and the lady Gwenwledyr. He was one of King Arthur’s warriors in Welsh legend. According the tales, Nerthach and his brothers were “sprung from the Highlands of Hell.” Nerthach was also the name of a city. [Culhwch]


A mountain on the border of Logres (Arthur’s kingdom) and Lyonesse (Tristan’s land). [Tavola]


Father of Arthur’s warrior Cnychwr, borrowed from the Irish character named Ness. [Culhwch]


An infant girl found by Arthur and Lancelot in an eagle’s nest. She had a ruby necklace around her neck. Arthur gave the baby to Guinevere to raise, but it died in infancy. Her necklace was later awarded to Tristan as a tournament prize. [TennIK]

Nestor1 of Gannes

Father of Bleoberis (a Knight of the Round Table) and brother of King Ban of Benoic. Blanor may have been another of his sons. Nestor killed a giant named Ceron at the Straits of Sorelois, freeing Galehaut from Ceron’s prison. Galehaut built the Castle of Nestor in honor of this event. Later, Nestor and Bleoberis encountered each other unrecognized, and Bleoberis accidentally killed his father in combat. [Palamedes, ProsTris]

Nestor2 of the Fountain

Son of Arthur’s Sir Bleoberis. [ProsTris]

Netan Clofard

An Arthurian warrior found in Layamon’s Brut. The name seems to have resulted from a conflation of the names Neton (Nwython) and Clofaut in Geoffrey’s account. [Layamon]


Father of Arthur’s warrior Penn. [Culhwch]


King of Bulgaria who served Emperor Filimenis of Constantinople. He joined Filimenis in a brief war against Arthur. His brother was named Sathan. [Floriant]

Neued1 (“Want”)

Grandchild of Arthur’s warrior Cyfwlch. [Culhwch]


Father of the warrior Tringad. [Culhwch]


A former name of Normandy.

Nevern [Nyfer]

A river in north Dyfed that empties into the Irish Sea. Arthur fought one of his battles against Twrch Trwyth there. [Culhwch]


A location where Gawain lodged on the way to an adventure in the Kingdom of the Isles. [Meriadeuc]

New Castle1

A castle in the northern forest of Broceliande, where two young noble cousins—Galescalain and Gawain—met and decided to oppose their fathers by taking service with Arthur. [VulgMer]

New Castle2

A castle in King Clarion’s Northumberland, ruled under Clarion by Minoras. [VulgMer]

New Table [*Tavola Nuovo]

Italian literature distinguishes between the Tavola Vecchio (“Old Table”) and the Tavola Nuovo (“New Table”); that is, the Round Table fellowships commanded by Uther Pendragon and Arthur. Uther’s Old Table seems to have been composed primarily of brawny, brash knights, while Arthur’s New Table was known for its justice, courtliness, and virtue. [Tavola]


A son of Febus and Florine and brother of Altan, Lannor, Siraouc, and Argons. [Palamedes]

Nichodemus Nothing

In the Elizabethan play The Birth of Merlin, a courtier at Aurelius Ambrosius’s court. [Birth]

Nicodemus [Nichodemus]

In the Gospels, a Roman soldier who helps Joseph of Arimathea remove Christ’s body from the cross. This episode is recounted in Robert de Boron’s Joseph of Arimathea. Nicodemus’s own apocryphal Gospel inspired part of Robert de Boron’s tale. Perlesvaus tells us that he was the progenitor of Perceval’s paternal lineage. His body was kept at Kamaalot, Perceval’s home, before Perceval moved it to the Grail Castle. [RobertBorJ, Perlesvaus, VulgMer]

Nicorant1 the Poor

A knight loyal to Tristan, whom he assisted throughout the various trials at Mark’s court. [ProsTris]

Nicorant2 the Well-Made

A Knight of the Round Table who embarked with the others on the Grail Quest. He was valued for his fine sword work. [PostQuest]


A Cornish knight who raised Apollo, an ancestor of Tristan, after he had been abandoned in the forest by his step-father, Canor. When Canor discovered that Nicoraut had saved the child, he killed Nicoraut and his wife, Madule. [ProsTris]


The Duke of Nicosia joined Sir Maragoz’s attack on the mother of Sir Floriant. [Floriant]


The fourth knight defeated by Gareth in Tennyson. He corresponds to the Red Knight of the Red Lands in Malory, though Tennyson gives him black armor. He gave a fearsome appearance, adorned with bones, and wearing a skull for a helmet. When Gareth shattered the helmet, however, he discovered that Night was actually an youth, coaxed into his position by his brothers. [TennIK]

Nimue [Nineve, Nymue]

The name of the Lady of the Lake, or one of them, in Malory’s Le Morte Darthur. She is called Ninniane in the Post-Vulgate Suite du Merlin, Malory’s source. She imprisoned Merlin and married Sir Pelleas. [Malory]


The Lady of the Lake in Wordsworth’s The Egyptian Maid. She commanded Merlin to take the body of an Egyptian princess, whose ship he had destroyed, to Arthur’s court for healing. [Wordsworth]

Nine Witches

In a Welsh poem, Cei (Kay) is said to have “pierced nine witches” in the “uplands of Ystafngwn.” The theme of nine enchantresses is recurring in Welsh legend. In the story of Peredur, Peredur kills the nine Hags of Gloucester to avenge a cousin’s murder. In The Spoils of Annwn, we learn that a magic cauldron seized by Arthur from the otherworld was “gently warmed by the breath of nine maidens.” In Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Vita Merlini—influenced heavily by Welsh legend—Arthur is taken to the Island of Apples, ruled by nine sorceresses, including Morgan le Fay. The theme seems to have origins in classical mythology. In the first century, Roman geographer Pomponius Mela described and island off the coast of Brittany inhabited by nine enchantresses with the power to heal the sick. [Spoils, WelshPG, GeoffVM, Peredur]

Nine Worthies

Nine historical figures considered particularly worthy of reverence. First compiled in fourteenth-century French romance, they included three pagans—Alexander the Great, Hector of Troy, and Julius Caesar—three Jews—Joshua, David, and Judas Maccabeus—and three Christians—Charlemagne, Godfrey of Bouillon, and Arthur. Their names are evoked to suggest the transience of worldly life and the power of death, which claims even the mighty and glorious. In the Alliterative Morte Arthure, Arthur has a dream in which he sees Fortune’s wheel with the other eight worthies upon it, and a place reserved for him. [Allit]

Niniveh [Ninus]

The ancient capital of Assyria. It was the ancestral homeland of the brothers Pompeius and Ipomidon of Babylon—having been founded by their ancestor Ninus—but was seized by the Baruc of Baghdad. In response, the brothers invaded the Baruc’s land. Perceval’s father, Gahmuret, serving the Baruc, was involved in the ensuing war. [Wolfram]

Ninniane [Nimiane, Niniame]

The Lady of the Lake in the Vulgate Lancelot and the Post-Vulgate Merlin continuation. She raised Lancelot and imprisoned Merlin. The Middle English Prose Merlin says that the name was Hebrew, meaning “I shall not lie.” Arthour and Merlin, which gives the Lady of the Lake role to Morgan le Fay, names Ninniane as a town near Morgan’s residence. Some scholars have favored a Celtic origin for Ninniane, finding it in the lady Rhiannon, wife of Lord Pwyll. Merlin calls her Nimue. [VulgLanc, Livre, PostMer, Arthour]


Father of Arthur’s warrior Eiddoel. [Culhwch]

Niwl [Yniol, Yniwl]

Father of Enide in the Welsh Geraint and Tennyson’s Idylls. Niwl was an unfortunate earl whose lands were stolen by his nephew. Although he was impoverished, he granted lodging to Geraint when Geraint came to the Knight of the Kestrel tournament seeking to exact revenge on Edern (Yder. Niwl agreed to “lend” Geraint his daughter Enide for the tournament (each competitor had to bring his lady in order to enter). Geraint eventually fell in love with Enid and married her. At the urging of Geraint, Niwl’s nephew restored to Niwl his former lands. Niwl’s counterpart in Chrétien’s Erec is Licorant. I. L. Foster sees his name as a corruption of li cons uials (“the old earl”), the nobleman’s name in Geraint’s presumed source (Loomis, Romance, 193). Tennyson combines the characters of the unnamed nephew and Yder, making Yder Niwl’s nephew and disinheritor. Yder’s cruelty towards Niwl stemmed from Niwl’s refusal to allow Yder to marry Enide. [Geraint, TennIK]


The location of a tournament sponsored the Lady Noauz and the Lady of Pomelegoi. Lancelot, imprisoned by Meleagant, learned that Queen Guinevere would be at the tournament. He convinced one of Meleagant’s servants to let him out of the prison—with the promise that he would return to the prison when the tournament was over. Lancelot won the tournament—to the delight of Guinevere—and kept his promise to return. [ChretienL]

Noble Maiden

The beautiful owner of a castle in which Arthur lodged. An experienced healer, she cured him of wounds he received fighting the Knight-Giant. [ChevPap]

Nodawl Trimmed Beard

An Arthurian warrior. [Culhwch]

Nogant the Tall

An evil, cowardly knight related to Queen Fenise of Ireland. Seeking to win Fenise in marriage, he entered a sparrowhawk tournament at the city of Landoc, hoping that his size would scare away the other competitors. When this failed to happen, he ran away from the contest. Fenise announced his cowardice to the world, causing him to attack her in her castle at Limerick, tricking Arthur into joining him. Sir Durmart, seeking to marry Fenise himself, arrived at the battle, and Nogant rode swiftly away on a camel rather than face Durmart. [Durmart]

Nogoid [Nagroil]

Father of Arthur’s warrior Grifuz. [GeoffHR, Wace]

Nohaut [Nohalt, Norham, Norhant, Norhaut]

A duchy in the northern part of Arthur’s Britain, perhaps in Northumberland, named in the Vulgate romances. It was plundered by Saxons, led by King Oriel, in the early days of Arthur’s reign. Later, governed under Arthur by the Lady of Nohaut, it was invaded by the King of Northumberland. The Lady traveled to Arthur’s court to find a champion to defend the land, and Arthur gave her the newly-knighted Lancelot. After putting Lancelot through several trials—including one involving the giant knight Antoagais—she accepted him, and he proved victorious in personal combat against Northumberland’s knights. She became infatuated with Lancelot and cared for him when he was wounded, but she gave up when she saw her love was futile. In Arthour and Merlin, the city is named as Urien’s capital in Gorre; there may be some confusion with Sorhaut. [LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgMer, Arthour]

Noirs of Ethiopia

A king in Arthur’s service. [Heinrich]


The paramour of Federiel, the pagan lord of Dolorous Guard. She predicted Federiel’s battle with Lancelot. [Tavola]


One of Arthur’s courtiers in Henry Fielding’s parody The Tragedy of Tragedies. In the chaotic end of the play, he either slays or is slain by Queen Dollallolla. [Fielding]

Noonday Sun

The second knight defeated by Gareth in Tennyson. His counterpart in Malory is the Red Knight. He wore red armor. [TennIK]


A city in Orkney, Gawain’s homeland. [VulgMort]


In the German romance Wigamur, the hero helps the Count of Nordien’s fiancée, Piolies. [Wigamur]


A region of northeastern England. When Mordred seized the throne of Britain from Arthur, most of Norfolk allied with him. [Malory]


A place where Bors met a woman who criticized him for his conduct at the Grail Castle. [VulgLanc]

Norholt [Norot]

In the Prose Tristan, a city in Cornwall. The Count of Norholt ordered the death of Meliadus, Tristan’s father, because a seer had told him that Meliadus’s lineage would destroy the house of Norholt. The prophecy was fulfilled when Tristan, in revenge for his father’s death, killed the Count and his family. Norholt later became one of King Mark’s courts. In La Tavola Ritonda, the city is called Brioda. In Palamedes, Meliadus is slain by vassals of Morholt, of which “Norholt” may simply be a variation. It may also be related to the city of Nohaut. [ProsTris, Povest]

Norison [Narison]

When Yvain went insane, he found succor at the home of the Lady of Norison. She cured his madness with a salve made by Morgan the Wise. In return, Yvain helped to defend her land against the invading Earl Alier. [ChretienY]


The lord of Sorelois in the English Arthour and Merlin—a title usually assigned to Galehaut. [Arthour]

Normandy [Normandie, Normandye, Normendie, Normondye]

A region of France east of Brittany on the English Channel. Geoffrey says that Arthur conquered Normandy and gave it to Bedivere. Arthour and Merlin tells us that Uther Pendragon acquired it from King Harinan, Igraine’s first husband. In Malory, Lancelot owns the land and appoints Sir Claryus as its duke, in return for Claryus’s support in the war against Arthur. Wolfram says that Gaschier was the ruler of Normandy during the reign of Uther. [GeoffHR, Wolfram, Arthour, Malory]


A knight whose nephew, Sir Breus the Pitiless, was the antithesis of Arthurian knighthood. [Tavola]


One of the lands ruled by the Lord of the Horn, whom Perceval defeated in combat. [Contin2]

Norroiz of Lis [Norés, Norez]

Father of Brandelis, Meliant, and of a damsel named Guilorete. Guilorete was seduced by Gawain in a forest pavilion in the First Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval. When Norroiz heard of his daughter’s disgrace, he tracked Gawain down but was killed. His daughter later bore Gawain’s son. In The Jeaste of Sir Gawain, he is known as Gilbert. [Contin1]

Nort [Norz]

A knight called the Youth of Nort was in Arthur’s service He joned one of Gawain’s quests to locate Lancelot. [LancLac, VulgLanc]

North Wales [Nor(th)gales, Nor(th)galis, Norgoise]

The northern part of Wales is given as its own kingdom in a large number of Arthurian romances. In the First Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval, it is ruled by King Camadans, an ally of Arthur. According the Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal, its first Christian king was Celidoine, the son of Nascien. The Vulgate Merlin gives the kingdom, in Arthur’s time, to both Belinant and Tradelmant. In the Post-Vulgate Suite du Merlin and in Malory, it is one of the kingdoms ruled by Rions. Geoffrey of Monmouth says it was ruled by Peredur after Arthur’s death, and the Italian La Tavola Ritonda names two kings of North Wales: Alois and Ansilerno. In Malory, the unnamed Queen of North Wales is a companion of Morgan le Fay in her plans to imprison Lancelot in Cart Castle, to trap Elaine of Corbenic in a bath of boiling water, and to bear Arthur’s body from the battlefield of Salisbury to Avalon. In the chronicles, the region is called Venedotia. [GeoffHR, Contin1, VulgEst, VulgMer, PostMer, Tavola, Malory]

North Wales Causeway [Welsh Causeway]

One of only two bridges connecting Arthur’s Britain with Galehaut’s kingdom of Sorelois. The other was the Irish Bridge. The North Wales Bridge was submerged in parts, and was defended at the Sorelois end by a strong tower and a stout knight. Only five knights ever made it across alive—these included Gawain, Meliant, Yder, Dodinel, and Arthur. Its description is reminiscent of Chrétien’s Underwater Bridge. [LancLac, VulgLanc]

Northmen [Northland]

Yder, an ally or vassal of Arthur, is called the King of the Northmen in the Vulgate Merlin and the king of Northland in Arthour and Merlin. [VulgMer, Arthour]

Northumberland [Hortoberlande, Norhorbelande, Nortoberlande, Nortumbellande]

A kingdom in the north of Britain, just south of Scotland. King Clarion of Northumberland was an early enemy of Arthur, but the two eventually allied. Various texts name Northumberland as the home of Blaise, a friend of Merlins, and of the knights Balin and Balan. In Paolino Pieri’s La Storia di Merlino, it is Merlin’s home. In Girart D’Amiens’ Escanor, Northumberland is ruled by Cador, and Claris et Laris names its ruler as Detors. The Vulgate Merlin sometimes describes it as a city. In the Vulgate Lancelot, its king goes to war with the Lady of Nohaut, but his champion is defeated by Lancelot. In Meriadeuc, its king lusts after Guinevere and is promised the queen by his lord, King Ris of Outre-Ombre, but Ris’s attempt to conquer Arthur and kidnap the queen is thwarted. [VulgLanc, VulgMer, Girart, Claris, Arthour, Malory]


Sir Gaus, a knight healed by Arthur’s Sir Meriadeuc, is called the son of the King of Norval. [Meriadeuc]


In Welsh legend, Norway is subject to Arthur, and the Norwegian warriors are led by Mark, Arthur’s first cousin. In other tales, Norwegian warriors allied with Picts and Saxons and caused problems for Arthur and his predecessors. Geoffrey says that Arthur conquered Norway from King Riculf and gave it to Lot. Lot supposedly had a hereditary right to the kingdom as the grandson of King Sichelm. Later in Geoffrey’s account, however, Odbricht is the King of Norway. In any event, Lot and Gawain are often called knights of Norway in later legends. In Der Pleier’s romances, Lot’s son, Beacurs, is king. In actuality, the kindgom of Norway did not exist until the late ninth century, being a collection of tribes prior to this time. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon, PleierT, Dream]

Nottingham [Nortigean, Notigehan]

In the First Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval, Arthur presents Nottingham to Lord Guiromelant when he marries Clarissant, Gawain’s sister. According to the fourteenth-century Short Metrical Chronicle, Lancelot built Nottingham to house Queen Guinevere during his civil war with Arthur. [Contin1, Short]

Nouquestran [No(u)quetrant]

In Guillaume le Clerc’s Fergus, a Scottish mountain, also called the Black Mountain, which was inhabited by the fearsome Black Knight. Arthur’s knight Fergus journeyed to Nouquestran to obtain a magic horn and wimple from the Black Knight, and he succeeded. Nouquestran was also said to be one of Merlin’s haunts. M. D. Legge has suggested Mount Rubers Law as the geographic location that Guillaume had in mind. [Guillaume]

Nut [Niut, Nown, Noyt, Nu(c)(s), *Nudd, Nun, Nus, Nuz]

Father of Arthur’s Sir Yder as well as the warriors Gwynn, Owain, and Dryon. He is a mortal incarnation of the Celtic god Nodens, whose counterpart in Irish mythology is Nuada Argetlam. His father was named Senyllt. The Welsh Triads call him “Nudd the Generous.” In the romance of Yder, we learn that Nut, the duke of Alemaine in Scotland, abandoned Yder’s mother, but left half of a ring with her so that he could someday be identified. Yder set out on a quest for his father when he came of age. They eventually encountered each other and fought a combat before they learned each other’s identities and reconciled. At the conclusion of the romance, Nut finally marries Yder’s mother. He appears as one of Arthur’s kings in Robert Biket’s Lai du Cor, where his wife is shown to be unfaithful in a chastity test. [Culhwch, GeoffHR, Biket, ChretienE, Triads, Yder, Geraint]

Nwyfre (“Firmament”)

Father of Arthur’s warriors Gwynn and Fflam. [Culhwch]

Nwython [Neco, Neton]

Father of Arthur’s warriors Gwystyl, Rhun, Llwydeu, and Kinlith. [Culhwch, GeoffHR]


A castle that was the home of Hellawes, a sorceress defeated by Lancelot. [Malory]


An ox that lived on the far side of Mynydd Bannawg. Nynnyaw had once been human, but was turned into an ox because of his sins. As one of his tasks, the warrior Culhwch had to capture the ox and yoke it together with another ox from Mynydd Bannawg named Peibyaw. [Culhwch]

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