Arthurian Name Dictionary

Oberon [Auberon]

The dwarf son of Julius Caesar and Morgan le Fay whose adventures are recounted in Huon de Bordeaux, Auberon, and Ysaie le Triste. As a horribly ugly dwarf called Tronc, he served as a mentor and companion to Ysaie and Marc—the son and grandson of Tristan. When these knights completed their quests, fairies rewarded Oberon by making him beautiful and by giving him the throne of the kingdom of Faérie, which Arthur thought belonged to him. Arthur contested Oberon for the kingdom, but Oberon scared Arthur away by threatening to turn him into a wolf. Oberon died having bestowed his lands to Huon de Bordeaux. Ogier le Danois calls Oberon Morgan’s brother rather than her son. Though originating in French romance, Oberon was popular in Elizabethan England. In Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, Oberon’s daughter, Tanaquill, becomes the Fairy Queen Gloriana. Oberon also appears as the king of fairies in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, married to the fairy Titania. [Huon, Auberon, Ysaie, Ogier, Spenser]


The oldest daughter of Duke Lyppaut of Bearosche in Wolfram’s Parzival. She was loved by King Meliant of Liz—Lyppaut’s sovereign lord—but rejected his affections. Meliant, enraged, declared war on Lyppaut and summoned many lords to assist him. Gawain arrived to fight for Lyppaut. He captured Meliant in battle and gave him to Obie’s younger sister, Obilot. Obilot, in turn, transferred Meliant to Obie’s command, giving Obie and Meliant a chance to reconcile. The war was ended and Obie and Meliant were engaged. Obie’s counterpart in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône is named Flursensephin. [Wolfram]


The charming daughter of Duke Lyppaut of Bearosche, sister of Obie, and friend of Clauditte in Wolfram’s Parzival. Obilot—who was still a child—developed a crush on Gawain when he came to Bearosche to assist Lyppaut in the war against King Meliant. At Obilot’s request, Gawain generously consented to become her “knight servitor” and wore her sleeve in battle. When Gawain captured Meliant in battle, he sent him to Obilot as a prisoner. Obilot, in turn, transferred Meliant to her sister Obie. Meliant and Obie reconciled and the war was ended. Obilot’s counterpart in Chrétien de Troyes’s Parzival is called the “maiden with the little sleeves,” and in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, she is called Quebeleplus. [Wolfram]


A land. King Pelles of Corbenic sent a message to the Duke of Oc, and Lancelot encountered the page. [VulgLanc]


A hag who encouraged her mad son, Furor, to attack knights. She was captured and bound by Sir Guyon. [Spenser]

Och (“Groan”)

Wife of Arthur’s warrior Bwlch. [Culhwch]

Octa [Occa, Ochta]

Son of Hengist and brother of Ebissa in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia and the other chronicles. Octa’s father, a great Saxon leader, brought Octa to Britain during the reign of King Vortigern, Hengist’s brother-in-law. When Hengist’s plan to conquer Britain became known, Vortigern and his successors went to war with the Saxons. Octa succeeded his father as the Saxon leader after Hengist was executed by King Ambrosius.
   Ambrosius defeated Octa, forced baptism on him, and banished him to Scotland. When Ambrosius died, however, Octa resumed his war against King Uther. He was captured with his kinsman Eosa at Mount Damon by Uther, and was thrown into prison. In time, Octa and Eosa convinced the prison guards to free them, and the lot fled to Germany, where they raised an army and returned. Geoffrey says that Octa was finally killed at Saint Albans (or Verulam) by Uther’s army.
   In Nennius (whose chronicle predates Geoffrey), it is uncertain whether Octa is the Saxon commander in the battles against Arthur (see Arthur’s Battles), but the possibility is open. Geoffrey attributes this campaign to Octa’s successor, Colgrim.
   Richard Blackmore gives Octa a daughter named Ethelina, who married Arthur. Octa may be related to the Welsh character Osla. [Nennius, GeoffHR, Wace, BlackmoreP]

Octavius [Octaves]

An expatriated Roman who ruled Britain several generations before Arthur. Formerly the duke of Gwent, he stole the British throne from King Constantine while the latter was conquering Rome. Constantine sent one of his generals, Trahern, to deal with Octavius, and Octavius was forced to flee to Norway. He put a contract on Trahern’s life and, when Trahern was assassinated, he returned to Britain to rule until he died. He was succeeded by Maximus. [GeoffHR, Wace]

Ocursus the Black

A Knight of the Round Table, related to Lancelot, who participated in the Grail Quest. [PostQuest]


A Roman knight and companion of a youthful Gawain in Rome. He accompanied Gawain to Jerusalem, where Gawain was scheduled to represent Rome in a single-combat challenge against Persia. On the way, they were blown by a storm to a barbarian island, and Odabel was instrumental in the defeat of Milocrates, the barbarian king. [DeOrtu]


The King of Norway under Arthur, killed at the battle of Camel against Mordred. [GeoffHR]


The lover of Sir Meliant of Lis. [Raoul]


King of Ireland in Culhwch and Olwen. He was the son of Aedd and the brother of Gwitart. As one of his forty tasks, Culhwch needed Odgar to draw the tusk out of the chief boar Ysgithyrwyn. Culhwch also needed to obtain a magic cauldron from Diwrnach, Odgar’s steward. When Diwrnach refused to hand it over, Arthur and his men destroyed Ireland. [Culhwch]

Odiniaus the Fair

A knight that Perceval found dead in a forest. He later encountered Odiniaus’s lover and was forced to break the bad news. [Contin2]


A count in Arthur’s service. [Renaut]


Brother of King Gunter of Denmark. When Odulf learned that his brother was withholding tribute from Arthur, Odulf sent a message to Arthur, who sailed to Denmark, killed Gunter, and appointed Odulf to the throne. Odulf had another brother named Aschil. [Gaimar]


The son of Erec and Enide in the Norse Erex Saga. He was named after Enide’s father, whom Chrétien calls Licorant. The text notes that both Odus and his brother Ilac became kings. [Erex]

Odyar the Frank

The steward of Arthur’s court in Caerleon. [Geraint]


A castle that King Ban of Benoic gave to the daughter of Agravadain the Black. Warriors from Oelevant participated in Arthur’s battle against the Saxons at Cardigan. [Livre]

Óengus mac Nad Fraích

A king of Cashel, Munster (south central Ireland), in the second half of the fifth century. He was a member of the Eóganacht dynasty, which might have been expelled from Wales a few decades earlier. Óengus was believed to have married Ethne Uathach of the Uí Ceinnselaig dynasty, whom he joined in a war aganst the Laigin people. Óengus and his allies lost the battle of Cenn Losnada against the Laigins in 490, and Óengus was killed. Óengus would have been contemporary with Arthur, and some scholars have suggested him as the source of King Anguish of Ireland in French prose romance, though a far more likely source is Geoffrey’s Angusel. In any event, a number of Irish figures with the name Óengus were known in the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries (Mac Niocaill, 6–9, 57).

Offensive Knight [Outrageus]

A knight slain in combat by Gawain. Gawain wore the Offensive Knight’s armor so he could travel incognito. [Claris]

Offensive Knights

A trio of Arthur’s knights—Morfran, Sanddef, and Glewlwyd—who worked their will through their appearances: Morfran through his hideousness; Sanddef through his angelic beauty; and Glewlwyd through his enormous size, strength, and ferocity. Morfran and Sanddef were said to have survived the battle of Camlann because of their countenances. [Triads]

Ogier the Dane

A hero in Carolingian romance, possibly based on a historical figure named Otker. He is non-Arthurian except for an account in Ogier le danois where Ogier is shipwrecked in the Mediterranean. Rescued by angels, he comes to the Island of Avalon, where he finds Morgan, Arthur, and Gawain still alive. He lives with Morgan in her palace for 200 years, begetting two sons upon her, before leaving. [Ogier, Jean]


The standard-bearer for Duke Eskilabon of Belamunt. He fought in Arthur’s war against King Ekunaver of Kanadic and was later made a Knight of the Round Table. [PleierG]

Ôl (“Track”)

An Arthurian warrior who was the son of Olwydd. A superb tracker, Ôl, as an adult, was able to track down a herd of pigs stolen from his father seven months before his birth. [Culhwch]

Old Knight [*Presbys Hippotes]

A warrior who, in a Greek poem, Lancelot, Palamedes, Gawain, and Tristan were unable to defeat. He is properly called Branor the Brown in Palamedes. [Presbys]

Old Table [*Tavola Vecchio]

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 strong and crude knights, while Arthur’s New Table was known for its justice, courtliness, and virtue. Examples of Old Table knights include Abiron, Branor the Brown, and Caradoc the Thirteenth. [Tavola]

Oléron [Olyroun]

An island off the coast of Britain in Chestre’s Launfal. The King of Oléron’s daughter, Triamour, became the lover of Sir Launfal. She and Launfal eventually went to Oléron, where they remained. Counterparts in other tales are Avalon  and Amylion. [ChestreLvl]


An infidel queen who loved Perceval’s half-brother Feirefiz. Feirefiz rejected her, along with several others, in favor of the Grail Maiden Repanse de Schoye. [Wolfram]


Arthur’s sister. She married King Linefles of France and had a son named Meleranz. [PleierM]


The daughter of Meleranz and Tydomie, named after her grandmother. [PleierM]


A knight who hated the Knights of the Round Table. Arthur’s Sir Claris defeated and badly wounded him in combat. [Claris]


A count in the service of Garel, Arthur’s king of Averre. He took word of Garel’s victory at the battle of Kanadic to Laudamie, Garel’s wife. [PleierG]

Olwen (“White Track”)

Daughter of the chief giant Ysbaddaden, and object of Culhwch’s affection in Culhwch and Olwen. She was incredibly beautiful, and it was said that when she walked, white trefoils sprouted behind her. Culhwch’s stepmother obliged him to marry Olwen, and his heart swelled at the very mention of her name, even though he had never seen her. After a long journey, he found her at Ysbaddaden’s fortress. She said she could not leave with him without her father’s permission, but advised Culhwch to ask Ysbaddaden for her, and to accomplish whatever tasks the giant set for him. Culhwch, with the great assistance of Arthur and his warriors, eventually completed the list of tasks, and returned to Ysbaddaden’s fortress. As was the decree, Ysbaddaden was killed and Olwen was married to Culhwch. In a non-Arthurian tale called Einion and Olwen, Olwen is rescued from the otherworld by a shepherd name Einion, and the two have a son named Taliesin. [Culhwch]

Olwydd (“Tracker”)

Father of Arthur’s warrior Ol. [Culhwch]


Castellan of the Castle Monreal, where Floriant’s mother fled after she was attacked by Lord Maragoz. The siege was eventually lifted by Arthur and Floriant, and Floriant made Omer his seneschal. [Floriant]


A wealthy city that belonged to King Evalach (Mordrains) of Sarras. It was captured during Evalach’s war with King Tholomer of Babylonia. [VulgEst]

Onam of Galiot

A Knight of the Round Table. [HartmannE]


An Arthurian warrior. He was the son of the duke of Burgundy. [Geraint]

One with the Golden Bow

A Knight of the Round Table in Hartmann von Aue’s Erec, probaby from Chrétien’s Vallet of the Golden Circle. [HartmannE]

One Without a Name [*Cil sans Non]

An alias adopted by Gawain during his adventures in L’Atre Perilleux after a false report of his death was circulated. [Atre]


A servant of the Lady of the Lake in La Tavola Ritonda. She was married to the King of Scotland. Onia was bringing a shield from the Lady to Lancelot when she was attacked and robbed by Sir Breus the Pitiless. Lancelot slew Breus for this offense. [Tavola]

Onipriz of Itolac

A king once defeated in combat by Perceval. [Wolfram]


One of the many ladies at Arthur’s court to fail a chastity test involving a goblet. She is described as a mighty fairy. [Heinrich]


The younger brother of Sir Damas. Damas stole his lands and refused to fight Ontzlake in personal combat to settle the matter. Morgan le Fay allied with Damas and, as part of her own revenge plot against Arthur, arranged for Arthur to fight as Damas’s champion and for Sir Accalon of Gaul to fight as Ontzlake’s champion. Though Accalon had Excalibur and Arthur had a counterfeit sword, Arthur defeated Accalon and made Damas surrender all his lands to Ontzlake. [Malory]

Oraste Gentesin

A swampland in heathendom known for its strong bamboo shafts, good for making spears. The King of Oraste Gentesin in Arthur’s time, Thoaris, was a vassal of Perceval’s half-brother Feirefiz. [Wolfram]


An ancestor of Dinadan, Brunor the Black, and Daniel (three of Arthur’s knights). Lancelot insulted his memory, aggravating a feud between Lancelot and Brunor. [Tavola]


A land whose king was present at Arthur’s Leverzep tournament. [Tavola]

Orberica [Orberike]

The birthplace of Sarrassinte, King Evalach’s wife. It was ruled by Nascien, Sarrassinte’s brother. Joseph of Arimathea converted Orberica and placed Juvenal in a bishopric there. [VulgEst, VulgMer]


The Duke of Orbrie was defeated by Yvain in a tournament. [Claris]

Orcage [Arrage]

A land allied to Lucius the Roman. Warriors from Orcage participated in Lucius’s war against Arthur. [Allit, Malory]


An ancestor of Lot and Gawain. He was king of Orkney, which was named after him, in the time of Joseph of Arimathea. He was accused of murdering King Marahant of Ireland’s son. Before King Lucius of Britain, he was successfully defended against this charge by Peter, a relative of Joseph of Arimathea who had stumbled into Orcant’s kingdom. In admiration of Peter, Orcant converted to Christianity, taking the name Lumet. Peter married Orcant’s daughter, Camille. [VulgEst]


The richest city in King Evalach’s Sarras. It was the site of the final battle between Evalach and King Tholomer of Babylonia. Josephus, Joseph of Arimathea’s son, converted the city and exorcised a demon there. [VulgEst]

Order of Maidenhead

The order of knights commanded by Gloriana, the Fairy Queen. [Spenser]


In Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, the residence of Lady Fortune and her son Luck. Gawain visited them in Ordohorht and saw them seated on a golden wheel. [Heinrich]

Orduale Besco

A castle in Cornwall or Lyonesse where Governal procured supplies for Tristan and Isolde when they were living in exile at the Tower of Enchantments. [Tavola]


In the Italian La Tavola Ritonda, King Pelles’ country. It could be a variation of either Orkney or Corbenic. [Tavola]

Orgin [Ogrin, Ugrim]

A hermit and holy man in Cornwall. He befriended Tristan and Isolde when they were forced to flee from Mark and live in the forest. He acted as their scribe when they desired to reconcile with Mark. [Beroul, FolieB]


A haughty giant who encountered the Red Cross Knight with the witch Duessa. Orgoglio made the Red Cross Knight his slave and Duessa his mistress. Una, the Red Cross Knight’s amie, learned of his plight and found help from Prince Arthur. Arthur stormed Orgoglio’s castle and slew him, freeing the Red Cross Knight. [Spenser]

Orgueillox the Proud

Lord of the Perilous Castle. His castle’s enchantments were destroyed by Claris and Laris. [Claris]

Orguelleus1 (“Proud”) [Orguellous]

A castle, first mentioned by Chrétien de Troyes in Perceval. A mysterious ugly woman came to Arthur’s court to rebuke Perceval for failing to cure the Fisher King. Almost in passing, she noted that hundreds of men lived in the castle Orguelleus with their maidens, and Girflet vowed to travel there to seek adventure. Chrétien did not finish this plot line, but in the First Continuation, Arthur and his company set out to free Girflet, who was apparently captured and imprisoned in the castle. Gawain conquered the castle by defeating the Riche Soudier. In the Second Continuation, Perceval had to prove his worth at a tournament at the castle (ruled by a knight named Orguelleus) before he could complete the Grail Quest. In Perlesvaus, it is inhabited by Orguelleuse of Logres, a murderous maiden who plots to kill Gawain, Perceval, and Lancelot. The castle next appears in the French romance Gliglois, as the location of a tournament won by Gliglois, Gawain’s squire, which proves him worthy of marrying the lady Beauté. In Malory, Sir Brunor the Black defeats a dozen knights at the Castle Orguelleus, ending the castle’s custom, which had been to take all passing knights prisoner. [ChretienP, Contin1, Contin2, Perlesvaus, Gliglois, Malory]

Orguelleus2 of the Heath [Orilus of Lalander]

A knight featured in the stories of Chrétien de Troyes and Wolfram von Eschenbach. His first appearance is in Chrétien’s Erec, as a knight defeated by Erec at the Tenebroc tournament. In Chrétien’s Perceval and Wolfram’s Parzival, he owns a forest pavilion in Briziljan or Broceliande. Perceval, on his way to Arthur’s court for the first time, visits the pavilion and finds Orguelleus’s wife (called Jeschute by Wolfram) alone inside. Misinterpreting advice given to him by his mother, Perceval eats the woman’s food, kisses her, and takes a ring from her finger. Orguelleus returns and, finding that another man has been there, becomes enraged, accuses his wife of adultery, and forces her to mount a steed and ride with him, seeking Perceval. Perceval met them some time later. Orguelleus had not allowed his wife to change her dress or her mount in months. Orguelleus challenged Perceval to combat. Perceval was victorious, and he forced Orguelleus to make amends to his wife and to go to Arthur’s court.
   Wolfram gives Orguelleus a brother named Lähelin and a sister named Cunneware. His wife Jeschute was Erec’s sister, yet Orguelleus and Erec frequently combated each other. He was an enemy of the Round Table had had killed Galoies (Perceval’s uncle), Schionatulander (Perceval’s cousin’s lover), and a knight named Plihoplehri (Bleoberis). He seemed to be friends with Gawain, as Gawain had received his horse, Gringolet, from Orguelleus. [ChretienE, ChretienP, Wolfram, Didot, Heinrich]

Orguelleus3 of the Narrow Passage

The guardian of the borders of Galloway, who vowed that no knight that entered the country would escape alive. Gawain defied this vow by defeating Orguelleus in combat at the Perilous Ford. Orguelleus’s lover was Orguelleuse of Logres. [ChretienP, Contin1]

Orguelleus4 the Fairy

A knight who was an enemy of Gawain. He possessed magical powers and ruled the Fairy Rock. With Sir Goumeret, he killed Sir Cortois of Huberlant, believing him to be Gawain. When the knights realized their mistake, Orguelleus resurrected Cortois. [Atre]

Orguelleuse of Logres [Orgeluse]

Duchess of Logres found in Chrétien’s Perceval, Wolfram’s Parzival, and Perlesvaus. In Chrétien, she escorts Gawain through his adventures in Galloway, attempting to lead him into danger at every turn. Her lover was Orguelleus of the Narrow Passage.
   Perlesvaus and Wolfram both built on Chrétien’s description of the character, but in very different ways. In the former, she is a wicked, marginally-sane woman who prepares tombs in the chapel of her castle (also called Orguelleus) for Gawain, Lancelot, Perceval, and herself. Expecting that if any of these knights came to her castle, they would want to pray in her chapel, she rigged a sharp blade to behead anyone kneeling before the chapel’s altar. In this way, she planned to dispatch the three best knights in Britain and entomb herself with them. She made the mistake of revealing the entire plan to Gawain, who was lodging with her incognito, and Gawain warned his comrades to stay away from her castle. A similar character called the Maiden of the Narrow Wood appears in Hunbaut.
   In Wolfram, Orguelleuse inherits the castle of Logres from her late husband, Cidegast, after he is killed in battle against King Gramoflanz. She dedicated her efforts to finding a knight to marry her and exact revenge on Gramoflanz. Many knights failed Orguelleuse’s test—which involved pitting her prospective husband against the powerful Duke Lischois Gwelljus. Until Gawain, only Perceval had proved promising, but Perceval shunned Orguelleuse in favor of his wife Condwiramurs and the Grail Quest. Anfortas, Wolfram’s Fisher King, was another suitor—and one for whom Orguelleuse seemed to genuinely care—but he was injured in the groin in Orguelleuse’s service and had to retire to the Grail Castle. Gawain encountered Orguelleuse and fell in love with her immediately, despite Orguelleuse’s cruel treatment and spiteful tongue. Gawain’s honor and compassion had no effect on the duchess until he defeated Lischois Gwelljus in combat and won the deadly adventure at the Castle of Marvels. Having accomplished this, and having revealed his identity, Orguelleuse reciprocated Gawain’s love and explained her situation. Gawain agreed to fight King Gramoflanz, but was distressed to find that his own sister Itonje was in love with the king. Arthur intervened and convinced Orguelleuse to forgive Gramoflanz and abandon her vendetta. Gawain and Orguelleuse were then married. [ChretienP, Perlesvaus, Wolfram]


A giant from Africa who, in Thomas’s Tristan, conquered dozens of kings and stole their beards. With the beards, he fashioned a robe, but had a single open space. He demanded King Arthur’s beard. Arthur was suitably enraged and, after a long battle, defeated Orguillus. Orguillus’s nephew later made a similar demand of the king of Spain, but was defeated by Sir Tristan. Orguillus’s role is served by Rions or Ritho in other tales. [Thomas]

Orian Russell

In Arthour and Merlin, a heathen king slain by Sagremor during a battle at Camelot. The character appears in the Vulgate Merlin, but is unnamed; the name may have been inspired by Oriance or Oriel from Merlin. [Arthour]


One of the many Saxon kings who, in the early days of Arthur’s reign, invaded parts of northern Britain. He was maimed by Gaheris (Gawain’s brother) at the battle of Cambenic. [VulgMer]


A pagan island off the west coast of Scotland, ruled by King Madaglan, an enemy of Arthur. Perceval slew Madaglan and converted Oriande to Christianity. [Perlesvaus]


The lord of the Castle Amalvi, on an island near Britain. He came across the shipwreck of the infants that Arthur had set to sea in an attempt to destroy his son, Mordred. Orians built the Castle of Boys to house and raise the infants. His son, Acanor the Ugly Hero, was one of Arthur’s knights. [PostMer]

Oriel [Oriens, Oriol(t)]

A Saxon king who invaded northern Britain at the beginning of Arthur’s reign. He participated in the siege of Vambieres, the plunder of Nohaut, and the invasion of Escavalon. He fought King Clarion and Duke Escant at Cambenic, and Gawain at Camelot. His father, Aminaduc, also participated in the invasion.. [VulgMer, Arthour]


Son of the Saxon king Bramangue. He participated in the Saxon invasion of Britain in the early days of Arthur’s reign. He was one of the few Saxons to survive the battle of Clarence, where Arthur crushed them. [VulgMer]


A knight in Arthur’s service, killed by the King of Libya during the Roman War. [Allit]


A knight, also called the Green Knight, who fell in love with Lady Helaés of Limos. Helaés refused to return his love until he vanquished Gawain, whom Helaés saw as the world’s best knight. Despite the assistance of his mother’s enchantments, Oriles was unable to defeat Gawain. Helaés gave her love to Gawain instead. [Livre]

Orilus of Lalander

Wolfram von Eschenbach’s variation of Orguelleuse of La Lande. [Wolfram]


A princess from Persia who married Marc, Tristan’s grandson. [Ysaie]


Count of the town of Limors in Chrétiend Troyes’s Erec. Erec and Enide came to the town after Erec had been injured during their journey, and had fallen unconscious. Count Oringle thought that Erec was dead and he made advances on Enide. When Enide rejected Oringle’s affections, Oringle abused her. Enide’s screams awoke Erec, who jumped up and killed Oringle where he stood. The name of the count’s town, Limors, is given to the nobleman himself in the Welsh Geraint. The Norse Erex Saga calls him Placidus and Tennyson names him Doorm. [ChretienE]


A river in Cornwall, in which Isolde tried to drown herself after Palamedes abducted her. She was saved by a Cornish knight. [ProsTris]

Oris the harsh

A knight who hosted Tristan and Dinadan in his fortress of Fregulla Vittoriosa on the plain of Matuvana. Tristan had killed his brother, Sigurano. When Oris discovered the identity of his guest, he challenged him to a duel, despite Dinadan’s warnings. Tristan mortally wounded him. [Tavola]

Orkney [Dorkain(e)(s), Orcaine, Orcania, Orc(h)anie, Orcany, Orkenise, Orkenye, Ortaine]

A group of islands north of the island of Great Britain, just off the coast of Scotland. Orkney is traditionally part of King Lot’s realm, though it is ruled by Gunvasius in Geoffrey of Monmouth and Souenas in the English Arthur. Sometimes, it is named as one of Arthur’s courts. The Vulgate Merlin seems to think it was a city in Lothian, one of Lot’s other kingdoms, or that it was next to Wales. A number of other continental romances also locate it in Scotland. In Merlin it is attacked by Saxons while Lot is leading a rebellion against Arthur. Lot returned and drove away the invaders. According to the Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal, its name came from King Orcant, an early ruler and an ancestor of Lot. Orkney is in some texts the surname of Gawain, Gareth, Agravain, and Gaheris. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon, Contin1, VulgLanc, VulgEst, VulgMer, Arthur, Malory]


A country situated between Sorelois and North Wales. During the Saxon invasion of Britain, the Saxon King Aminaduc’s warriors were hard pressed by Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Aminaduc’s wife sent a Saxon giant to lay waste to Orofaise, hoping that Arthur’s knights would be drawn to the adventure and would be slain. Arthur personally responded to the Countess of Orofaise’s cries for help. Having defeated the giant in combat, Arthur answered the countess’s plea for justice and had the giant drowned in a river. [Livre]

Orpheus the Enchanter [Orfeu]

The founder of the Castle of Enchantments in the Scottish Borderlands. During his visit to Corbenic, Bors heard a song describing a debate between Orpheus and Joseph of Arimathea. [VulgLanc[

Orphilet the Fair [Orp(y)let]

A Knight of the Round Table in Ulrich von Zatzikhoven’s Lanzelet. Orphilet was encountered by Lancelot early in his adventures. Lancelot came across Orphilet and Sir Kuraus fighting in a clearing. They were both ready to collapse from exhaustion, and Lancelot made them stop fighting. The three knights went together to the castle of Moreiz, where they enjoyed the hospitality of Lord Galagandreiz. Galagandreiz was of uneven disposition, and Orphilet feared him. For this reason, he declined to sleep with Galagandreiz’s daughter when she offered herself to him. At the end of their adventure, Orphilet asked Lancelot to accompany him to King Arthur’s court, but Lancelot declined. A knight later in the poem is called Torfilaret, but it is uncertain if Ulrich meant to signify the same knight. If so, than Orphilet is related to Tor of later romance. [UlrichZ]


A forester in Cornwall. When Tristan had been banished from King Mark’s court for a time, Orri gave him refuge in his cellar. From there, Tristan corresponded with Isolde while Mark thought he was in Scotland. [Beroul]


According to the Norse Tristrams Saga, the name of the Duke of Brittany whose wife Helen was kidnapped by the giant of Mont St. Michel. This character is known as Hoel in other versions. [TrisSaga]

Ortenax [Cortenans, Ertanax]

A magical species of fish from the Euphrates river. A rib bone from the Ortenax formed one half of the crosspiece on the Sword with the Strange Hangings. Anyone touching the rib would forget all his joys and sorrows until he released it. [VulgQuest, VulgEst, Malory]


A Knight of the Round Table. [HartmannE]


The twin sister of King Meriadoc of Wales. Orwen’s father, King Caradoc, was murdered by her uncle, Griffin, who then targeted the children for assassination. They were saved by Ivor and Morwen, their foster parents, and taken to hiding in the forest of Fleventan. In time, Meriadoc was taken to Arthur’s court and Orwen was kidnapped by King Urien of Scotland, whom she later married. [Historia]

Oscure [Ocire]

A wide river separating the Castle of Maidens from the neighboring Castle of Ladies. [VulgLanc]

Osester of Floresborg

An earl in Arthur’s service. [Erex]


A Welsh warrior whose son apparently died at the battle of Camlann. [WelshSG]


A British port where an army of Saxons landed to join King Mark in an attack on Arthur. [PostQuest]

Osla Big Knife

One of Arthur’s warriors in Welsh legend. He carried a knife called Bronllafyn Short Broad, which was so big that it could be used as a bridge for armies to cross bodies of water. Osla accompanied Arthur on the epic hunt for Twrch Trwyth. At the Severn river, Osla lost his knife from the sheath while running after the boar; the sheath filled with water and pulled Osla to the bottom of the river. In a separate tale, oddly, Osla is Arthur’s enemy at the Battle of Badon. He is perhaps, then, to be identified with the Saxon Octa. [Culhwch, Dream]


A Saxon magician in the service of King Oswald the Saxon, Arthur’s enemy. He commanded a demon named Grimbald and an army of fiends. When Oswald kidnapped Emmeline, Arthur’s fiancée, Osmond tried to seduce her but failed. When Arthur rescued Emmeline, he threw Osmond into a dungeon. [Dryden]

Ospinel [Opinaus]

One of the knights killed by Mabonagrain in the deadly Joy of the Court adventure, which was eventually completed by Sir Erec. Ospinel was said to never flee from battle, which probably cost him his life. [ChretienE, HartmannE]


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


The Saxon leader in the Elizabethan play The Birth of Merlin. He takes the role of Hengist from the chronicles. His sister, Artesia, married King Aurelius Ambrosius. Ostorius used his position as the king’s brother-in-law to move hordes of his troops to Britain. He then betrayed and murdered Aurelius. He was slain by Uther Pendragon in battle. [Birth]

Oswain Braveheart [Osanain, Osenain, Osoman, Ozanna, Suziano]

A Knight of the Round Table. Palamedes says he was the son of Quinados Braveheart, but in La Tavola Ritonda, he is the son of Lady Largina and either King Esclabor or King Amorotto of Listenois. He fought in Arthur’s wars against King Rions in the Vulgate Merlin. Malory lists him among the knights defeated and imprisoned when Meleagant kidnapped Guinevere, and in the Prose Tristan, he participates in the Grail Quest.
   In Tavola, he has to guard a bridge for the love of Lady Losanna of the Anicent Tower, having slain its previous guardian (and Losanna’s fiancee), Lanfate. While Oswain was trying to slay a maiden named Tessina, whom Losanna hated, Tristan discovered and killed him. [VulgLanc, VulgMer, ProsTris, Palamedes, Arthour, Tavola, Malory]


A nobleman at the court of Aurelius Ambrosius. [Birth]


The Saxon king of Kent in Dryden’s King Arthur. He is named as Hengist’s son, taking the place of Octa in the chronicles. Once Arthur’s ally against the Picts, he went to war with Arthur over Britain and over Emmeline, the daughter of the duke of Cornwall. Arthur won the war, but Oswald and his sorcerer Osmond kidnapped Emmeline. Arthur reclaimed her in single combat against Oswald. Arthur let Oswald retain the throne of Kent. [Dryden]


An earl in Arthur’s service. [Erex]

Outer Wales

The kingdom of Lac and Erec, usually called Destregales.

Out Isles

A series of islands off the northwest coast of Britain. Malory identifies them with the Hebrides. They were the home of Arthur’s Sir Frolle. The Queen of the Out Isles was one of the four queens who kidnapped Lancelot and took him to Cart Castle. [Malory]


The original form of Yvain, found in Welsh legends and belonging to the historical character of that name.


An Arthurian knight in the Middle Scots tale of Golagros and Gawain. During the war between Arthur and Gologras, Owales was defeated by Golagros’s Sir Ewmond. [Golagros]


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


A lord of Turry who appears in the Alliterative Morte Arthure, apparently as one of Arthur’s vassals. [Allit]

Oxen Ford

Merlin’s name for the Castle Sindenart. [VulgLanc]

Oxford [Osseneford, Oxenford]

A city in south central England, formerly called Rhydychen, governed by Earl Boso in Arthur’s time. According to Chrétien, the Greek knight Cliges won a great tournament in a field south of Oxford, defeating Sagremor, Lancelot, and Perceval, and fighting Gawain to a draw. Medieval tradition had it that Merlin’s scribe, Petronius, was the founder of Oxford University. [GeoffHR, Wace, ChretienC, VulgLanc]

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