Arthurian Name Dictionary


According to Baudin Butor, the wife of King Liban (Ban) and mother of Libanor. She was related to King Claudas of Gaul. [Butor]


The location of a tournament won by King Lac, Erec’s father. [Palamedes]


The maiden of Merkanie, loved by Gerhart of Riviers. When her father, Tjofabier, refused to grant her to Gerhart, Gerhart launched a war, slaying Gilbert, Sabie’s brother. The war was ended by Arthur’s Sir Garel, who defeated Gerhart. [PleierG]


A river running through the land of King Gramoflanz in Wolfram’s Parzival. Gramoflanz’s fortress, standing near it, was called Roche Sabins. The river Poynzaclins paralleled it. Gawain and Perceval and then Perceval and Gramoflanz fought duels near the river. In Der Pleier’s Tandareis, the name is given to Arthur’s castle in Löver on the Karonica river. [Wolfram, PleierT]


A British city once inhabited or visited by Arthur’s chief gatekeeper Glewlwyd. [Culhwch]


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


A Welsh nobleman. With others, he tried to save the life of Meriadoc, heir to the throne of Wales, from the murderous intentions of King Griffin. His diplomacy failed, but Meriadoc escaped to Arthur’s court anyway. Sadoc later organized a revolt and helped Arthur defeat Griffin. [Historia]


A knight overthrown by Beaudous, Gawain’s son, during a tournament in Winchester. [RobertBlo]


A knight who served King Mark of Cornwall reluctantly. Mark assigned him to assassinate Mark’s sister-in-law and nephew, Alexander the Orphan. Sadoc refused to complete the task, but told Mark he had done so. When Mark learned of the lie, he tried to have Sadoc killed, but Sadoc slew Mark’s henchmen and fled Cornwall. He later rallied Cornish knights to revolt against Mark and to free Tristan from Mark’s prison. He eventually came to Arthur’s court and became a Knight of the Round Table, but he later joined Lancelot’s defection from Arthur’s court and helped Lancelot rescue Guinevere from the stake. In return for his support, Lancelot made him the earl of Surlat. [ProsTris, Prophecies, Malory]

Sadoc4 of Orkney

Brother of Sir Edward of Orkney and cousin of Gawain. Sir Guiron the Courteous defeated Sadoc in joust. Later, Sadoc fought for Arthur at the Leverzep tournament. [Palamedes, ProsTris, Malory]

Sadoc5 the Blonde

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

Sadoine [Sadones]

Cousin of Guinevere and brother of Guiomar. He served King Leodegan of Carmelide, his uncle, as the castellan of Carhaix or Aneblayse. He helped Arthur and Leodegan defeat King Rions at Aneblayse. He became a Knight of the Round Table and continued to fight in Arthur’s war against the Saxons. [VulgMer, Livre, Arthour]


One of the twelve sons of Bron and nephews of Joseph of Arimathea in the Prose Tristan. He was an ancestor of Tristan. He married a Babylonian princess named Chelinde and fathered Apollo. His brother Naburzadan tried to rape his bride, and Sador killed Naburzadan. Chelinde came to believe that Sador was dead and re-married. Sador was eventually re-united with his wife, but was killed by his own son, Apollo, who did not know him. [ProsTris]

Safir [*Saphar]

Son of King Esclabor and brother of Palamedes, Florine, and (in Malory) Seguarades. Unlike Palamedes, Sir Safir was christened. In judicial combat at Arthur’s court, he killed the Count of the Plank, his father’s mortal enemy. He participated in the Grail Quest. He abducted the sweetheart of Sir Espinogrés, but his brother Palamedes convinced him to return her. He joined Lancelot’s defection from Arthur’s court and helped Lancelot rescue Guinevere from the stake. In return for his support, Lancelot made him the duke of Languedoc. [ProsTris, Prophecies, Malory]


A king in the service of Rions, Arthur’s enemy. [VulgMer]


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

Sage Clerc

One of Merlin’s scribes. He received a book of Merlin’s prophecies from Perceval. [Prophecies]

Sagremor [Sacremors, Sagramor(e), Sagarmour, Sagremore(t), Saigremor(s), Saigremort, Segramors, Segremore, Segremors, Sigamor, Sogremor, Sygramors]

Called “the Desirous,” “the Unruly,” “the Rash,” “the Impetuous,” “the Orange,” or “of the Desert”; Sagremor is an ubiquitous Knight of the Round Table who first appears in Chrétien de Troyes’s Erec as a knight who fought alongside Erec at the Tenebroc tournament. According to Wolfram, Sagremor was very skilled and had to be physically restrained to keep him from attacking knights at random. An Italian cantare makes him a close friend of Tristan. Renaut de Bâgé gives him a sister named Clarie, and in Italian romance, he has a brother named Dinas. In the Fourth Continuation of Perceval, his brothers are the bishops of Limor and Lumeri. In the Third Continuation of Perceval, he rescues the Castle of Maidens from a besieger named Tallidés of the Marsh.
   Like many Knights of the Round Table, Sagremor is given a full life story in the Vulgate Cycle. Born to the daughter of Emperor Hadrian of Constantinople and the King of Vlask and Hungary, he was raised in Byzantium as the heir to the eastern Roman empire. When his father died, his mother re-married the British King Brandegorre of Estrangorre. When Sagremor was fifteen, he heard tales of the noble King Arthur and the wars against the Saxons, and he left Constantinople for Britain to join the king. Arriving in Dover, he immediately engaged a Saxon army led by King Oriel outside Camelot. Gawain and his brothers joined the battle, and the young heroes were victorious. The youths joined Arthur’s company and Sagremor was knighted by Arthur. He continued his service to Arthur in the wars against the Saxons (in which he slew a daunting number of Saxon kings), King Claudas, Rome, and Galehaut. In one adventure, he rescued a maiden named Senehaut from some abductors, slept with her, and begot a daughter who was raised by Guinevere. Later, he became the champion of Queen Sebile of Sarmenie, defended her lands against Baruc the Black, convinced her to convert to Christianity, and became her lover. (Jehan Froissart says he married her.) He had a number of other unremarkable adventures as a Knight of the Round Table before he was killed by Mordred at the battle of Salisbury.
   In the Post-Vulgate Suite du Merlin, he is the son of Nabur the Unruly and is Mordred’s foster-brother. In Malory, he is a somewhat inferior Knight of the Round Table who is defeated after bullying or brashly attacking knights such as Marhaus, Lancelot, Palamedes, Meleagant, and Tristan. According to Les Merveilles de Rigomer, he raped an Irish princess named Qrainglaie and, twenty years later, was killed by his son begotten on that occasion. [ChretienE, ChretienC, Renaut, Didot, Wolfram, VulgLanc, VulgMort, VulgMer, PostMer, PostQuest, Contin3, Merveil, Vendetta, Froissart, Malory]

Sagris the Small [Sigris]

In the Tristano Riccardiano and La Tavola Ritonda, a knight who, while visiting Mark’s court for healing, learned the Isolde had been abducted by Palamedes. He chased after them, but could not fight well because of his wounds, and was defeated. He was later killed during the Grail Quest. He is called Lambegue in the Prose Tristan. [TristanoR, Tavola]


The chief knight of King Gundebald of the Land From Which No One Returns; an opponent of King Meriadoc of Wales. [Historia]


The Knight of Saie was a companion of Sir Bleoberis. When Gawain’s son, Guinglain, defeated Bleoberis at a ford, William of Salebrant, Elin of Graie, and the Knight of Saie chased after Guinglain and tried to avenge Bleoberis’s injury. All three were defeated. [Renaut]

Saint Aaron

A church founded by Arthur in the city of Caerleon. [Pierre]

Saint Albans [Albans, Albon]

The location of King Uther Pendragon’s last great battle. It is situated north of London and was once called Verulam. In Geoffrey, Uther fights Octa’s and Eosa’s Saxons here, but Malory makes his enemies a collection of lesser kings seeking to usurp Uther’s throne. Uther went out into the field even though he was so sick had to be carried in a horse litter, and was victorious (in Geoffrey, Octa and Eosa were killed). Following the battle, King Uther became more ill and died. Saint Albans was named after the British martyr who died trying to preserve Christianity in Britain when it was being destroyed by the Emperor Diocletian and the warrior Maximianus. [Gildas, GeoffHR, Wace, Malory]

Saint Amphiball

A church in Winchester where Constans, Arthur’s uncle, was cloistered until Vortigern foisted him to the throne. Generations later, King Constantine, Arthur’s successor, killed Melou, the traitorous son of Mordred, at the church. [GeoffHR, Layamon]

Saint Bernard’s Mount

According to the Prose Brut, Arthur fought and killed the giant Dinabuc at Saint Bernard’s Mount just prior to the Roman War. Why the author chose to name the hill after Saint Bernard, rather than use the familiar Mont St. Michel, is unclear. [ProsBrut, Legend]

Saint Cirre

A castle in Claudas’s kingdom. Its lord was one of Claudas’s vassals. It is the name of an actual French town near Versailles. [VulgLanc]

Saint David’s

A coastal city in Wales, formerly called Menevia, or Mynyw in Welsh. The Irish-Saxon alliance, led by Gilloman and Pascentius, fought their first battle against Uther here in an attempt to take Britain from Uther’s brother Ambrosius. Uther won the battle and killed both Gilloman and Pascentius, but before the battle was finished, Pascentius sent a Saxon assassin to Winchester to poison King Ambrosius. Uther had only moments to relish his victory before he heard that his brother was dead. A Welsh Triad lists Saint David’s as Arthur’s capital in Wales, in which Dewi was the chief bishop and Maelgwn was the chief elder. It was one of the three archbishoprics of the island. [GeoffHR, Triads]

Saint John1

In the Post-Vulgate Merlin continuation, the church in Camelot where Lot and his compatriots were buried following their deaths at the battle of Tarabel. Malory transfers this to Saint Stephen’s. [PostMer]

Saint John2

A British valley that features in Sir Walter Scott’s The Bridal of Triermain. Merlin imprisoned Gyneth, Arthur’s daughter, in a castle in the Valley of St. John, placing her in a deep slumber. Sir Roland de Vaux found her and woke her with a kiss. [Scott]

Saint Michelsstein

A city in Cornwall. Each year, the city held a fair in honor of Saint Michael. Isolde’s page, Piloise, traveled to the fair while bearing a message from Tristan to Isolde. [Eilhart]

Saint Peter’s

A nunnery in Carmarthen where Merlin’s mother resided. Its provost was named Eli. [GeoffHR, Wace]

Saint Samson

The Cornish island where, according to Chrétien de Troyes and the Prose Tristan, Tristan fought and killed Morholt in his first duel (Tristan was championing King Mark against Morholt, who had demanded a tribute from Cornwall). It was apparently visible from the mainland. In La Tavola Ritonda, the battle takes place on an island called Sanza Avventura. Béroul names Saint Samson as a monastery in King Mark’s Cornwall, and, according to Geoffrey Ashe, an actual church named Saint Samson still exists in Cornwall, on a hillside in Golant. There is an island called Saint Samson in the Scilly group. [Beroul, ChretienE, ProsTris]

Saint Soffie

An abbey in Constantinople to which Floriant’s mother retired and in which Floriant was crowned emperor of Constantinople. [Floriant]

Saint Stephen’s

The chief church in Camelot. It was established by Josephus, the son of Joseph of Arimathea, after God slew Agrestes, Camelot’s pagan king. Arthur and Guinevere were married at St. Stephen’s. Out of respect for their skill and nobility, Arthur buried Kings Nero and Lot at Saint Stephen’s following their deaths at the Battle of Tarabel (though see also Saint John’s). Other Arthurian knights also rested there, including Erec, Gareth, and Agravain. [VulgLanc, VulgMort, VulgEst, VulgMer, PostMer, Malory]


An area of France owned by Lancelot. Lancelot made Sir Galehodin the duke of Saintonge in return for Galehodin’s support in the battles against King Arthur. [Malory]


A British city once inhabited or visited by Arthur’s chief gatekeeper Glewlwyd. [Culhwch]

Saladin1 [Saleadins]

King of Carthage and one of the allies of Emperor Thereus of Rome. Saladin joined Thereus in a war against Arthur. [Claris]

Saladin2 [Sahaladins, Salhadin]

Father of King Tallas of Denmark, whom he joined in an attack on King Urien’s castle. Arthur came to Urien’s aid, and Saladin was slain by Sir Laris. [Claris]


A relative of Joseph of Arimathea, from whom the kings of Cornwall and Lyonesse, including Mark and Tristan, were descended. Possibly the biblical Solomon. [Tavola]

Salandre of the Isles

A knight defeated in joust by Perceval. Perceval also defeated Salandre’s five sons: Aristes, Dinisordres, Gogonne, Menastide, and Nastor. All of them were sent to Arthur’s court as prisoners. [Contin3]


King of the Moree and an ally of Emperor Thereus of Rome. Salatre joined Thereus in a war against Arthur, and he was slain in battle against Claris and Laris. [Claris]

Salatrias of Kalde

A heathen king who joined King Ekunaver of Kanadic’s war against Arthur. He was slain in the battle of Kanadic by Duke Eskilabon of Belamunt. [PleierG]

Salebrun [Salbrons]

One of the Saxon kings to invade northern Britain at the beginning of Arthur’s reign. He fought in the army that opposed Gawain on the plains of Roestoc. Duke Escant of Cambenic killed him at the second battle of Clarence, after he slew Escant’s castellan. [VulgMer, Arthour]


A seaport in southern Italy, on an inlet of the Tyrrhenian Sea. It was famous in the Middle Ages for its medical school, founded in AD 850. Various Arthurian legends feature physicians from Salerno, including the Alliterative Morte Arthure, in which one such doctor tries unsuccessfully to heal Arthur at Avalon. [Allit]


A land in heathendom, ruled by Counts Urbin and Ambigal—two allies of Gawain’s son Wigalois. [Wirnt]


The castle inhabited by Igerne, Morcades (Morgause), and Klarisanz (Clarissant) in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône. It was built in the land of Madarp by Gansguoter—Igraine’s husband after Uther—through magical means. Gawain was reunited with his grandmother, mother, and sister when he visited the castle and survived the adventure of the Perilous Bed. Chrétien de Troyes called the same castle Canguin Rock, while Wolfram called it Castle of Marvels. [Heinrich]


A murderous knight who killed a relative of Arthur. Arthur swore vengeance on him, and a sorceress offered to lead Arthur to his enemy. Arthur slew Saliel, but was subsequently trapped by the sorceress until freed by Tristan. [ProsTris, Malory]


A strong warrior who fought for Prince Lion of Namur in a war against Wigalois (Gawain’s son). Salin wounded Gawain in the combat. [Wirnt]

Salisbury [Salesbiri, Salesbury]

In the chronicles, Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire serves as the location of a battle between King Vortigern and Hengist’s Saxons. According to the Vulgate Merlin, King Pendragon and Uther fought a battle against the Saxons there, and Pendragon was killed. Geoffrey says that during Arthur’s reign, Anaraut and Galluc served as the earls of Salisbury, while Layamon gives this distinction to Arnold.
   In the Vulgate Mort Artu, the Post-Vulgate Cycle, the Stanzaic Morte Arthur, and Malory, Salisbury Plain is named as the site of the final battle between Arthur and Mordred, in which Mordred was killed and Arthur was mortally wounded. Arthur’s knights carried him off the field to the Ancient Chapel, from which he was taken to Avalon by Morgan le Fay. The chronicles place this battle at Camlann. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon, VulgMort, VulgMer, PostMort, Stanz, Malory]


An evil “toll collector” slain by Gawain. Salmanide and his brother Ansgavin served a giant named Galaas. [Heinrich]


The baptismal name of Queen Jandree, after Perceval converted her to Christianity. [Perlesvaus]

Salustes [Salust(e)]

A saint from Orberica. Joseph of Arimathea had him interred in Sarras, giving the newly-christened city a holy body. A church was founded in his name. His spirit appeared to assist King Mordrains of Sarras during his difficult adventure on the Rock of the Perilous Port. [VulgEst]


The large son of Duke Frollo of Germany. Although he was knighted by Galahad, he opposed Arthur’s knights for having defeated his father. During the Grail Quest, he fought and defeated Kay, Gaheris, and Girflet. [PostQuest]

Samsiz of the Black Island

Subject of a unique and darkly comical episode in the Serbo-Russian Povest’ o Tryshchane. Samsiz was a king who arrived at Arthur’s camp and challenged all of his knights. He defeated thirteen of them, including Palamedes, Lancelot, and Arthur, and took them as prisoners back to his island. Guinevere sought out Tristan’s assistance. After several adventures, Tristan, Guinevere, and Isolde arrived at the Black Island disguised as Venetians. Tristan was forced to protect the ladies from Samsiz’s lecherous subjects while devising a plan to free the king. Samsiz himself desired Isolde and offered to either fight Tristan or to play a game of chess for her. Tristan had put on a great show of being a simple merchant, and Samsiz felt he had little to fear. Tristan chose combat, and by the time Samsiz realized his mistake, Tristan had sliced off both of his hands. Tristan freed Samsiz’s prisoners. [Povest]

Samson1 [Sampson, Sanxo]

A Breton saint found in non-Arthurian legends. Geoffrey of Monmouth connects him with Arthur by having King Ambrosius appoint Samson to the archbishopric of York. He lost his position when York was sacked by the Saxons, but Arthur later gave him the see of Dol in Brittany. Samson was eventually succeeded by Teilo. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon]

Samson2 Dry Lip

An Arthurian warrior. [Culhwch]


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


An Arthurian knight who was the brother of Sir Arciel. Arciel killed Sanades in a quarrel over a maiden. [PostQuest]


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


The maiden of the Green Meadow, whose land was saved by Daniel from a diseased monster. She later married Arthur’s Sir Beladigant. [Stricker]

Sanddef Angel Face [Sandde]

One of King Arthur’s warriors in Welsh legend. He fought at the battle of Camlann, but no man struck him because he was so beautiful that everyone thought he was an angel. He was called one of Arthur’s three “Offensive Knights” because of his appearance. [Culhwch, Triads]


One of the lands owned by Sir Meriadeuc’s family. It held the castle of Tygan. [Meriadeuc]


A seaport in Kent, on the southeast coast of England. Arthur passed through the port of Sandwich on his way to fight the Roman War and returned through the port on his way to face Mordred. [ProsBrut, Allit, Malory]

Sanebron [Senebruns]

A knight who served King Clarion of Northumberland and Duke Escant of Cambenic in the early wars against the Saxons. He joined Arthur’s forces at the battles of Clarence and Vambieres. He ruled the castle of Falerne. [VulgMer, Livre]


Arthur’s sister in Wolfram’s Parzival, replacing Anna from Geoffrey of Monmouth and predating Morcades or Morgause. She was the daughter of Uther Pendragon and Arnive, the husband of Lot, and the mother of Gawain, Beacurs, Itonje, Cundrie, and Soredamor. Der Pleier calls her Seife. With her mother and daughters, she was trapped in the Castle of Marvels for many years, under the enchantment of the sorcerer Clinschor, until rescued by her son Gawain. Lot was dead by the time she was freed, so she married Florant “the Turkoyt” of Itolac. [Wolfram]


A fortress visited by Lancelot and Tristan during the Grail Quest. There, they defeated two knights—Sodoc and Broncane—who tried to take their horses. [Tavola]

Sanguel [Sangwel]

One of Lord Golagros’s knights in the Middle Scots tale of Golagros and Gawain. During the war between Golagros and Arthur, Sanguel was defeated and captured by Arthur’s Sir Gyromalance. [Golagros]


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

Sandedoine [Sansadonies]

A castellan from Norhaut who fought alongside King Clarion of Northumberland and Duke Escant of Cambenic in the early wars against the Saxons. [VulgMer]


A pagan knight slain by the Red Cross Knight. Sansfoy had been accompanying Duessa, an evil witch who later seduced the Red Cross Knight. He was the brother of Sansloy and Sansjoy. [Spenser]


Brother of Sansfoy, a pagan knight slain by the Red Cross Knight, and of Sansloy. Encountering the Red Cross Knight at the House of Pride, Sansjoy demanded single combat. Sansjoy received assistance from the evil witch Duessa. When the Red Cross Knight appeared to be winning, however, Sansjoy was carried away in a black cloud. The cloud took him to Hades, where his wounds were treated. [Spenser]


A pagan knight whose brother, Sansfoy, was slain by the Red Cross Knight. He encountered Una, the Red Cross Knight’s amie, traveling with the evil magician Archimago, disguised as the Red Cross Knight. Seeking to avenge his brother’s death, Sansloy attacked Archimago and wounded him, but discovered his true identity when he lifted his helmet. Sansloy then killed the lion protecting Una and abducted her. He tried to rape her in a forest, but a group of satyrs responded to Una’s cries and drove him away. [Spenser]


The king of Sansogna (Saxony) joined King Mark of Cornwall in his attack on Camelot during the Grail Quest. Arthur and his knights defeated the besiegers. [Tavola]


King of Orcormenie who served Emperor Filimenis of Constantinople. He joined Filimenis in a brief war against Arthur and was killed in the battle by Sir Floriant. [Floriant]

Santo Aloido

A city in Lyonesse where Meliadus, Tristan’s father, was buried. [Tavola]

Sanza Avventura (“Without Adventure”)

The island where Tristan fought and slew Morholt, the giant from Ireland who demanded a tribute from Cornwall, in the Tristano Riccardiano and La Tavola Ritonda. In the Prose Tristan and other romances, this battle takes place at the island of Saint Samson. [TristanoR, Tavola]

Sapharin [Saphiran]

A Saxon king who served King Aminaduc, invading northern Britain at the beginning of Arthur’s reign. He participated in the siege at Clarence. Later, he joined King Rions’ invasion of Carmelide. In one source, Sapharin and Sornegrieu lead the offensive at Carhaix, against Arthur’s forces, and Sapharin is slain by Arthur. In another, Sapharin is killed by Gosengos at the battle of Clarence. [VulgMer, Livre, Arthour]

Sapient of Baghdad [Sapien of Baudas]

A scribe who helped record the deeds performed by Arthur and his knights. [LancLac, VulgLanc]

Sapinoie [Sarpenic]

A forest in Britain where King Lot, in rebellion against Arthur, laid an ambush for Arthur. Arthur learned of the plot in advance and was ready. In the ensuing battle, Gawain captured Lot and forced him to surrender to Arthur. The forest was also the home of Maduc the Black, an enemy of the Round Table. [VulgLanc, VulgMer, Livre]

Saracens [Sarazenes, Sarrasins, Sarrazins]

A generic term for the Arabic tribes of the Middle East, especially Syria. Grail legend holds that the race took its name from the city of Sarras. Arthour and Merlin and Malory replace the Saxon invasion of Britain with an invasion of Saracens, although since both races were not Christians, the authors may have intended the same people. Groups of Saracens also joined Rome’s war with Arthur. Other Saracens invaded Cornwall but were repelled by Prince Bodwyne, King Mark’s brother. [VulgEst, Arthour, Malory]


A servant of the Lady of the Lake. At the order of the Lady, she rescued the princes Lionel and Bors from the evil King Claudas by enchanting the princes to look like dogs, and two dogs to look like the princes. She was also called Celice. [LancLac, VulgLanc]


During a speech in Diu Crône Gawain says that “at Bli Maradarf by the sea I slew the devil Sarant, who swallowed the sun.” [Heinrich]

Sarant2 of Triande

An infidel master-weaver from heathen Triande. He produced a number of treasured fabrics, some of which Gawain had an opportunity to wear in his adventure at the Castle of Marvels. [Wolfram]


A city in Tuscia, where Palamedes avenged the death of King Arduano (Armant) by killing his murderer, Sir Passauver. [Tavola]


King of Damascus in Syria. He married Albine, the daughter of King Diodicias of Syria. Albine and her sisters revolted against their husbands, were defeated, and were exiled to Britain. [Palamedes]


A castle ruled by Fimbeus, and enemy of Gawain. Gawain defeated Fimbeus in combat at Sardin. [Heinrich]


The daughter of Hengist who married Vortigern in Bauduin Butor’s romance. She is known as Rowena in previous chronicles. [Butor]


A Saxon warrior in the service of King Rions, Arthur’s enemy. Sir Meraugis killed him at the battle of Carhaix. [VulgMer]


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


A sorceress who gave her son Felice to Tristan the Younger (Tristan’s son) as a squire. [DueTris]


The king of Hungary who invaded Germany. Laris, the son of Emperor Henry of Germany, killed him in battle. [Claris]

Sarmedon [Sormedon]

A king and standard-bearer in the army of King Rions. At the battle of Carhaix, King Bors of Gannes cut off his arm. [VulgMer, Arthour]


The pagan kingdom ruled by Queen Sebile. Sir Sagremor successfully defended it against an invader, Baruc the Black. Afterwards, Sagremor convinced the populace to convert to Christianity. [Livre]

Sarras1 [Sarache]

A legendary city and kingdom in Arabia, bordering the country of Egypt. Sarras was ruled in the Grail histories by King Evalach, whom Joseph of Arimathea converted to Christianity. According to the Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal, the Saracens took their name from the city. (In truth, the name of the city was likely invented by the author to explain the word Saracen.) Galahad, Perceval, and Bors journeyed to Sarras with the Grail at the end of the Grail Quest, and found that it had reverted to paganism. Its king, Escorant, threw the Grail knights in prison for a year, but released them on his death bed. Galahad, against his will, was chosen king, but he died himself within a year. Its main temple, the Spiritual Palace, served as Galahad’s and Perceval’s burial place. [VulgQuest, VulgEst, PostQuest, Malory]


A Knight of the Round Table from Logres who first brought news of Galahad’s birth to Lancelot. He led Lancelot to the Spring of the Two Sycamores, where they both jousted with Belias the Black. He was killed during the Grail Quest. [VulgLanc, PostQuest]

Sarrasinte1 [Sagracinte, Sarracinte]

The wife of King Evalach (Mordrain) of Sarras and the sister of Seraphe (Nascien). As a child in Orberica, she was secretly baptized by Hermoine the Hermit. She aided Joseph of Arimathea and his party when they came to Sarras, for she wanted to see her husband and people converted to Christianity. Later, she joined Joseph and her husband in Britain. [VulgEst]


The daughter of King Label of Persia. She took the name in honor of Queen Sarrasinte of Sarras when she was baptized by Petrone. Fate brought her to Britain where she joined Joseph of Arimathea’s people. She married Celidoine, Nascien’s son, became the Queen of North Wales, and gave birth to Narpus, an ancestor of Lancelot. [VulgEst]

Sartinus of Rimul

A king in Arthur’s service. [Erex]

Sartuz of the Loge

Lord of the castle Lindesores. His vassal, Menandre of the Loge, was defeated in combat by Perceval. [Contin3]


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

Satellie [(Wolf)satellege]

A point in the ocean where the four seas were said to come together. In the Livre d’Artus, Merlin tosses a Gorgon’s head (the Ugly Appearance), obtained by Arthur’s Sir Greu, into the Gulf of Satellie. In Der Pleier’s Garel, the dwarf king Albewin also travels there to sink a Gorgon’s head, taken from a demon called Vulganus that had been slain by Arthur’s Sir Garel. The seas boiled when Albewin dropped in the head, and it was said that storms perpetually plagued the region afterwards. Both sources may refer to the Gulf of Satalia in Asia Minor (Loomis, Literature, 338). [Livre, PleierG]


One of many Saxon kings to invade northern Britain at the beginning of Arthur’s reign. In the service of King Aminaduc, he participated in the siege at Clarence and was killed by Arthur. [VulgMer, Livre]


Seneschal of King Nador. Nador besieged Queen Blanche, but Claris and Laris saved her, defeating Sator in the process. [Claris]


Duke of Venice and one of the allies of Emperor Thereus of Rome. Sator joined Thereus in a war against Arthur. [Claris]


A knight of Arthur’s service from the Narrow Borderland. He participated in a quest to learn the fate of Merlin. [VulgMer]


Half man, half satyr knight who inhabited the woods and protected the maiden Una after the Red Cross Knight abandoned her. Satyrane later fought with a giantess named Argante but was knocked unconscious, only to be saved by a strange knight. He became the companion of the warrior maiden Britomart, Arthur, and Artegall. [Spenser]


A knight who fought Sir Meleagant at the tournament at Sorelois. [Malory]

Savage Realm [*Royaume Sauvage]

A kingdom ruled by descendants of Brutus and ancestors of the “Brown” lineage. It may have been in Scotland. Its first king was Arbrun, who passed it to his son, Brun. Brun’s cousins tried to conquer it but were defeated. Later, it was ruled by Hector the Brown. [Palamedes, Prophecies]

Savage Valley [*Valle Selvaggia]

A valley visited by Lancelot and Tristan during the Grail Quest. There, they defeated two knights and killed three giants. [Tavola]


An Irish robber baron who owned the castle of Ruiste Valee. He desired a maiden named Flor Desiree, who was the daughter of Savari’s neighbor, the viscount of Pavengay. Savari intended to carry her off and keep her as a concubine, but the viscount convinced Lancelot, who was passing through, to defend her. Lancelot challenged Savari and killed him. [Merveil]


King of Spain who besieged Queen Lidoine of Gascony at the castle of Monjardin after the death of her husband, hoping to force her into marriage. The siege was lifted by Arthur’s knights, led by Claris, who also loved the queen. Claris killed Savari and succeeded him to the throne of Spain. [Claris]


A knight from Carmelide who loved Guinevere the False. After her ploy to replace the real Guinevere failed, and Guinevere the False died, Savariz challenged Arthur to combat. Arthur decapitated him. [Prophecies]

Sawyl High Head

One of Arthur’s warriors in Welsh legend. The Triads call him an “arrogant” man. [Culhwch, Triads]


A collection of only loosely-unified Germanic tribes that invaded England in the fifth and sixth centuries, and eventually conquered it, holding it until the Normans invaded in 1066. Their own history (in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle), as well as archaeological evidence, shows their encroachments beginning in the south and east of Britain, shortly after the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the early fifth century, which had left Britain near defenseless. They were closely related to the Jutes and the Angles, who led raids into Britain about the same time as the Saxons. The first conquests of these Germanic invaders included Kent, the Isle of Wight, Wessex (West Saxons), Sussex (South Saxons), Essex (East Saxons), Suffolk, Norfolk, and Northumberland. From these settlements, they led incursions into the territories of the British, Scottish, Cornish, and Welsh, effectively conquering the entire island within 200 years. In the early legends, Arthur’s fame is founded upon his successes in the struggle against the Saxons.
   Multiple early sources, including Gildas, Bede, and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle assert that the Saxons’ relentless aggression was stopped for a few decades when the disparate British kings united under a succession of war-leaders and enjoyed a series of military victories against the invaders. Ambrosius seems to have been the first of these generals, and Arthur is given by Nennius as another. In any event, the British were unable to remain united long enough. The Saxon invasions soon resumed and were largely completed by the close of the sixth century.
   By the time of Nennius’s writing, the history of the Saxon invasion was already becoming tainted with fantastic elements. According to the chronicles, the original Saxon invaders were led by Hengist and his brother Horsa, two characters who appear in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and are probably based on historical figures, though they would have only been leaders of a particular tribe of Saxons; there was no “Saxon nation.” Vortigern, who was the king of Britain two generations before Arthur, befriended the Saxons and employed them as mercenaries in order to defend Britain against the Picts from the north and against Ambrosius in Brittany. This practice of hiring one barbarian race to defend against another is in keeping with Roman tradition and it is not impossible that a historical British ruler called Vortigern did exactly that, probably in the 440s (Alcock, 108). Sources disagree as to whether Vortigern invited the first Saxons to Britain, or whether they already had encampments on the eastern shore; archaeology seems to favor the latter hypothesis. If, as some historians speculate, Vortigern was anti-Roman, the his plan for the Saxons may have included prevention against a Roman re-occupation (Lindsay, 190).
   Continuing with the chronicles’ stories, Hengist married his daughter Rowena to Vortigern and was granted the country of Kent. Capitalizing on Vortigern’s fear of attack, Hengist brought thousands of Saxon warriors to Britain, covertly plotting to take over the island. When Hengist’s plot became clear, Vortimer, Vortigern’s son, broke from his father and led an army of Britons against the Saxons, killing Horsa and driving them off the island. When Vortimer died, however, the Saxons returned and reoccupied areas of Kent, Middlesex, Sussex, and Essex. They were driven out again by Ambrosius, only to return to plague Uther Pendragon. Arthur won a final victory against them through a series of seven or 12 battles, culminating in the battle of Badon Hill. A final Briton golden age flourished under Arthur, and the Saxons returned upon his death. Leaders of the Saxon warriors who plagued Ambrosius, Uther, and Arthur are given variously as Octa, Eosa, Colgrim, Baldulph, and Cheldric.
   A large portion of the Vulgate Merlin expands upon the Saxon invasion, listing a multitude of Saxon kings from Ireland, Denmark, and Germany who entered Britain and besieged its greatest cities at the beginning of Arthur’s reign. The more notable among these dozens of rulers include Aminaduc, Bramangue, Clarion, Galahad, Hargadabran, Maragond, Oriel, Pignoras, Rions, Salebrun, and Sapharin. Gawain, Yvain, Sagremor, and a number of other young heroes first distinguished themselves in the Saxon wars. Arthur allied with a collection of kings who had been in rebellion against him and, after a number of assorted battles, crushed the Saxons at the battle of Clarence (here replacing Badon). Arthour and Merlin and Malory replace this Saxon invasion with an attack by Saracens. The Vulgate Lancelot tells how they again invaded Scotland some twenty years later, but Arthur and Lancelot defeated them at Saxon Rock and drove them away. Mordred was said to have allied with the Saxons when he usurped Arthur’s throne, and several Saxon armies participated in the battle of Salisbury, in which Arthur was killed. [Nennius, GeoffHR, Anglo, LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgMort, VulgMer, Livre, Malory]

Saxon Rock

A Saxon outpost in Arestel, Scotland, first occupied by Hengist during the reign of Vortigern. In one tale, it is the location where Uther Pendragon killed Hengist. It served as a base of operations for the various Saxon invasions at the beginning and middle of Arthur’s reign. Its lady was Gamille, the sister of the Saxon King Hargadabran. Gamille used her charms to lure Arthur into her prison when Arthur traveled to the Rock to besiege the invading Saxons. Lancelot led an attack on the Rock, captured the castle, and freed Arthur. [LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgMer]

Saxony [Saxoyne, Sessoi(n)(g)ne, Sessoyne]

The home of the Saxons. In the Middle Ages, it was the name of a duchy at the base of the Jutland peninsula. The Vulgate Merlin calls Brandegorre its king. In the Icelandic Saga of Tristram ok Ísodd, its Emperor, Donísus, is an ally of Tristan. In Chrétien de Troyes’s Cliges, the Duke of Saxony is a nobleman who loves Fenice, the daughter of the Emperor of Germany. Alis, the Emperor of Constantinople and Greece, challenged the Duke of Saxony for Fenice’s hand in marriage. They fought a battle in the Black Forest near Cologne, and Alis won the battle through the prowess of Cliges, his nephew. [ChretienC, VulgMer, Arthour, SagaTI]


One of many rulers conquered by Arthur. His daughter and kingdom were given to Paris of France, one of Arthur’s companions. [Jean]

Scanoro the Great

A knight defeated by Lancelot and Tristan in the Savage Valley during the Grail Quest. [Tavola]


A coastal city in Yorkshire where, in the Icelandic Saga of Tristram ok Ísodd, Blenzibly established her headquarters during her revolt against her brother, King Mark. [SagaTI]

Scarlet Cross

A landmark in Cornwall where Tristan arranged to meet Governal, his tutor, after they both conducted a search for Isolde, who had been kidnapped by Palamedes. [ProsTris]


The King of Arragon in the days of Uther Pendragon. He participated in a tournament at Kanvoleis in Wales, where he was unhorsed and taken prisoner by Perceval’s father Gahmuret. [Wolfram]


The king of Medarie and Belakun. Both Schaffilun and Wigalois (Gawain’s son) arrived at the border of Korntin, looking to champion Queen Amena of Korntin against King Roaz of Glois, thus winning the hand of Princess Larie. Wigalois and Schaffilun decided to fight each other for the honor, and Schaffilun was killed. [Wirnt]


An Arthurian knight. [Stricker]


One of Arthur’s castles in Wolfram’s Parzival, obviously a variation of Camelot. [Wolfram]

Schanpfanzun [Schaffenzun]

The capital city of King Vergulaht’s Ascalun, where Gawain was summoned to fight a duel against Kingrimursel, the city’s landgrave. [Wolfram, PleierT]

Schatel le Mort (“Castle of the Dead”)

The castle owned by Mabuz the Enchanter. It was surrounded by the River Der Kal (River of Torment). The castle was enchanted in such a way that anyone who entered uninvited would turn into a coward; his cowardice, in fact, would be proportional to his prior courage. Lancelot happened upon the castle and succumbed to the spell, causing his companions—his lover Ade and his squire Tybalt—to desert him in disgust. Mabuz kept Lancelot prisoner for a time, but eventually freed him. [UlrichZ]


King of Lis. He was the brother of Poydiconjunz (Bagdemagus) and the father of Meliant, who inherited his crown. [Wolfram]


Son of Gornemant (Perceval’s tutor) and brother of Lascoyt, Gurzgri, and Liaze. He attempted to aid his cousin Condwiramurs when she was attacked by Lord Clamadeu, but he was killed by Kingrun, Clamadeu’s seneschal, in battle. [Wolfram]


The burgrave of the city of Bearosche under Duke Lyppaut. His daughter was named Clauditte. He enlisted the assistance of Gawain in a battle against King Meliant of Lis, who was attacking Lyppaut because Lyppaut’s daughter Obie had rejected him. Scherules himself fought bravely in the battle. [Wolfram]


The uncle of King Kaylet of Spain and the father in-law of King Vridebrant of Scotland. Schiltunc urged Kaylet to accompany Vridebrant on Vridebrant’s invasion of Zazamanc, land of Queen Belacane. [Wolfram]


The count of Poitou during Uther’s time. Schiolarz participated at a tournament at Kanvoleis in Wales, thrown by Perceval’s mother Herzeloyde. His son, Liadarz, was a page to Queen Ampflise of France. [Wolfram]


A prince and partner in unconsummated love with Perceval’s cousin Sigune. He is found in Wolfram’s Parzival and the later prologue, Titurel. Raised by Queen Ampflise of France, Schionatulander fell in love with Sigune. He accompanied Gahmuret, Perceval’s father, on his adventures in Baghdad. Later, back in Britain, he was with Sigune in a forest when he happened upon a brachet wearing an ornate leash. Upon the leash was written a story of two lovers named Clauditte and Enkunaht. Before Schionatulander and Sigune could finish the story, the hound broke free and ran off into the forest. Sigune asked Schionatulander to retrieve the hound so she could see how the tale ended. During his quest to retrieve it, Schionatulander encountered Duke Orguelleus of La Lande and was slain in combat. In mourning of his death, Sigune lived in cloister at Schionatulander’s tomb and was buried next to him upon her early passing. [Wolfram]

Schirniel of Lirivoyn

King of Lirivoyn and brother of King Mirabel of Avendroyn. He fought for Duke Lyppaut of Bearosche when Lyppaut’s daughter rejected King Meliant of Lis and Meliant attacked. Perceval defeated him in combat at this battle. [Wolfram]


Paternal grandmother of Perceval, wife of King Gandin of Anjou, and mother of Galoes and Gahmuret. After Gahmuret left home in search of adventure, and Gandin and Galoes died, Schoette perished from loneliness. [Wolfram]


A Knight of the Round Table. [HartmannE]


A member of the Grail Family. She was the daughter of the Grail King Frimutel, and the sister of Anfortas, Trevrizent, Herzeloyde, and Repanse de Schoye. She married Kyot of Katelangen and died giving birth to her daughter Sigune. Prior to this, she raised Condwiramurs, the hereditary Queen of Brabant, who became Perceval’s wife. [Wolfram]


In Norse mythology, one of the three Fatal Sisters—the others were Urd and Verandi—who presided over the past, present, and future. In Thelwall’s The Fairy of the Lake, Rowena, wife of Vortigern, seeks their foresight during her quest to seduce Arthur. [Thelwall]


In the English ballad “Sir Lancelot du Lake,” the kingdom ruled by Lancelot’s father, King Haud. The name was probably chosen because it rhymes with “Lake,” as in “I am Lancelot du Lake / Now knight of Arthurs Table Round / King Hauds son of Schuwake.” [SirLanc]

Scilly, Isles of

A group of more than 100 islands off the tip of Cornwall. Three of them are known as Great Arthur, Middle Arthur, and Little Arthur. Lyonesse, the land of Tristan, was said to have spanned the distance between Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, but it sank into the sea (Ashe, Quest, 189–90).


A Knight of the Round Table. He was the brother of Gangier of Neranden. [HartmannE]


An inhabitant of Scotland, originally referring to the Gaelic tribes who emigrated from Ireland in the fifth century and joined with the native Picts. They are generally presented as a barbarian race who, like the Picts, threatened the southern Britons from the north of Hadrian’s Wall. According to Geoffrey, Arthur subjugated the Scots in the early days of his reign, after the battles at Moray and Lomond. The Scottish chronicler John of Fordun appropriately distinguishes between the Picts and Scots and claims that the latter were Arthur’s allies against the former. Hector Boece’s Scotorum Historia presents an alternate version in which the Scots and Picts together become Arthur’s allies against the invading Saxons. [GeoffHR, JohnF, Boece]


The northern half of the island of Great Britain, called Albany before the Scots arrived from Ireland in the fifth century and established territories there. In early Arthurian tradition—and in history—Scotland was populated primarily by barbarian Picts who had been driven north by waves of invading Europeans (i.e., Celts and Romans). Geoffrey of Monmouth and the chroniclers describe Arthur’s wars against the Scots and Picts. In later Arthurian tradition, however, Scotland seems largely pacified and is generally subject to Arthur’s power. Its kings are variously given as Caw (Welsh legend), Angusel and, later, Gwenddoleu (Geoffrey of Monmouth), Malaquin (Vulgate Lancelot), Urien (Meriadoc), Caradoc (Malory, who also mentions Angusel), and Tollo (Richard Blackmore). Malory also names a separate “King of Scots” who appears in several tournaments. [Culhwch, GeoffHR, GeoffVM, LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgMer, Historia, Malory]


A British king in the time of Joseph of Arimathea. His land bordered the forest of Darnantes. [VulgEst]


Arthur’s squire in Thelwall’s The Fairy of the Lake. [Thelwall]


Lover of the maiden Amoret. He first saw her when she visited the Fairy Queen’s court. Scudamore braved the dangers of the temple of Venus, Amoret’s guardian, to court her. Britomart, the warrior maiden, found Scudamore lamenting over Amoret, who had been imprisoned by a sorcerer named Busirane. Assisted by Britomart and Arthur, he was re-united with his lover. [Spenser]

Seat of Judgment

The courtroom and governmental chamber in the Temple of the Sun in King Evalach’s Sarras. [VulgEst]


The lovely pagan queen of Sarmenie. Baruc the Black, a jilted suitor, killed her husband and invaded her lands. Sagremor agreed to become her champion. Sébile fell in love with Sagremor and converted to Christianity for his sake. After Sagremor defeated Baruc, Sagremor and Sébile became lovers, and some sources say that they were married. [Livre, Froissart]


Saracen count of Cologia. He threw a tournament during the Grail Quest, offering his daughter to any man who could defeat him and a hundred knights. Lancelot and Tristan won the tournament and gave Sebio’s daughter to Richevie Ventura, the son of a man who had lodged them. Sebio died of a wound given to him by Lancelot. [Tavola]

Secace[Sequence, Seure]

Arthur’s sword in the Prose Lancelot, used in the battle at Saxon Rock. Although Excalibur is usually named as Arthur’s weapon, Lancelot puts the latter sword in the hands of Gawain during this time. [LancLac, VulgLanc]

Seckmur of Rois

A Knight of the Round Table. [HartmannE]


The infidel queen of Tribalibot (India), and its cities of Thabronit and Thasme. She was fascinated with stories of the Grail, and she sent two of her subjects—Cundrie the Sorceress and Malcreatiure—to Anfortas, the Grail King, as servants. Later, she fell in love with Feirefiz, Perceval’s half brother, and gave him her lands in exchange for his devoted service. He eventually cast off her love, however, in favor of the Grail Maiden Repanse de Schoye, causing Secundille to die of heartbreak. [Wolfram]


An enchantress queen who was a friend of Morgan le Fay. Sedile, Morgan, and the Queen of Sorestan imprisoned Lancelot in Cart Castle, hoping to make him choose one of them as a lover. Lancelot refused to choose and eventually escaped. Later, Sedile quarreled with Morgan over their mutual love for a knight named Berengier. [VulgLanc, ProsTris, Prophecies]


A knight who fought for Arthur in the Roman War, according to the Vulgate Merlin. Avenging the defeat of his uncle, Bedivere, he killed King Boccus of Mede. He is called Hirelglas in Geoffrey and Wace. [VulgMer]


A Roman fortress in Wales, at the Aber Seint estuary. William Camden thought that Arthur was crowned there. [Camden]


A heathen warrior slain by Gawain at the battle of Diana Bridge. [Arthour]

Segrelos the Foreigner

King Anguish of Ireland’s astrologer. He interpreted Anguish’s dream portending the affair between Tristan and Isolde, Anguish’s daughter. [Tavola]

Seguarades1 [Seguradez, Segwarides]

An Arthurian knight who appears in the Vulgate romances, the Prose Tristan, and Malory, though possibly first appearing as Segures in Renaut de Bâgé’s Le Bel Inconnu. In Palamedes, his father is Tarsin of Sorelois. The Vulgate Merlin relates how he fought alongside the northern kings in the early Saxon Wars and participated in a quest to learn the fate of Merlin. In Lancelot, we learn how he loved the lady of Roestoc and wished to marry her; when she did not reciprocate his feelings, he declared war on her. The Lady of Roestoc was championed by Gawain, who defeated Seguarades in single combat. The Prose Tristan says he was married, but was cuckolded by both Tristan and Bleoberis. Both knights defeated Seguarades in personal combat over his own wife, but when given the choice, she chose to return to Seguarades. Malory tells us that he was a moor, the son of King Esclabor, and the brother of Palamedes and Safir. Unlike Palamedes, Seguarades was christened. He fought in the Castle Perilous tournament, and helped Tristan defeat the giant Nabon the Black, ruler of the Isle of Servage. Tristan gave the island to Seguarades. He was killed fighting Lancelot and his men when Lancelot rescued Guinevere from the stake. [LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgMer, Palamedes, ProsTris, Malory]

Seguarades2 of Lanvalle

A knight appointed by Guiron the Courteous to rule the castle at the Perilous Pass. [Palamedes]

Segurant the Brown [Sigurans]

Called the Knight of the Dragon, the greatest fighter of Uther Pendragon’s Old Table order. The son of Hector the Brown, Galehaut the Brown, or Brunor the Brown, Segurant pursued a dragon from land to land during his career. He finally became king of the country of Abiron. Among his other adventures, he destroyed the Tower of the Copper Marvel and won a tournament at the city of Winchester. The Lady of the Lake tried to ensure that Lancelot never encountered Segurant. During the Grail Quest, however, when Segurant was 160 years old, he defeated Lancelot and jousted Tristan to a draw. He later died from the wound delivered by Tristan. His character has an uncertain connection to Seguarades. [Palamedes, ProsTris, Tavola]


Named as the brother of Mordred in Renaut de Bâgé’s Le Bel Inconnu, Segures may be identical to Sagremor, Mordred’s foster-brother in the Post-Vulgate Merlin continuation, or Seguarades. [Renaut]

Seidi [Saidi]

Son of Gwyron and father of Arthur’s warriors Alun of Dyfed, Cadrieth, and Cas. [Culhwch, Dream]


Arthur’s sister in Der Pleier’s Meleranz. She was the wife of King Lot and the mother of Gawain. Her sisters included Anthonje and Olimpia. Her name is probably a corruption of Wolfram’s Sangive. [PleierM]


The sister of Angaras of Karamphi, an enemy of Gawain in Diu Crône. Her counterpart in Wolfram’s Parzival is Antikonie. [Heinrich]

Seithfed (“Seventh”)

Father of Arthur’s warriors Sinnoch, Wadu, Naw, and Bedyw. [Culhwch]

Sêl (“Watch”)

An Arthurian warrior who was the son of Sêlgi. [Culhwch]


A devil exorcised from the city of Orcaut by Josephus, son of Joseph of Arimathea. Previously, Selaphas had caused King Tholomer of Babylonia to kill himself. [VulgEst]

Sêlgi (“Watchdog”)

Father of Arthur’s warrior Sêl. [Culhwch]


A land in King Arthur’s domain. It was invaded by Lord Galehaut, and Arthur was called to defend it. Galehaut and Arthur fought two wars in Selice, which ended in a truce skillfully brokered by Lancelot. [LancLac]


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


Son of Sinoid. Selyf was one of Arthur’s warriors in Culhwch and Olwen. His name is a Welsh variation of Solomon. [Culhwch]


A warrior from Powys who served Owain. He was the son of Cynan White Shank. [Dream]

Semiramis [Samirami, Semiramin]

A knight present at the tournament at Noauz, which Lancelot won. In another episode, Semiramis was defeated in combat by Lord Parsamant, whose custom it was to beat, rob, and otherwise ill-treat his captives. Perceval arrived and saved Semiramis from this fate by defeating Parsamant. [ChretienL, Contin4]


A castle visited by Gawain. He found its inhabitants distressed because the castle’s lord, Mahardi, was scheduled to fight a duel against a fearsome knight named Reimambram of Zadas. Mahardi, however, had fallen deathly ill. The duel was to decide the fate of Behalim, Mahardi’s sister, whom Reimambram wanted to obtain. When Mahardi died, Gawain agreed to fight in his place. He defeated Reimambram and saved Behalim. [Heinrich]


An Arthurian knight. His brother was Sir Quoikos. [Heinrich]


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


A knight who figures into a variant version of the story of Erec and Enide found in the Prose Tristan. Senehar killed the Duke of Huiscam, who was Enide’s father, and tried to steal Enide’s inheritances. Erec, Galahad, Bleoberis, and Hector defeated Senahar’s men, captured him, and imprisoned him for life. [ProsTris]

Senains of Norhaut

The castellan of Norhaut who fought in Arthur’s army against the Saxons at the battle of Clarence. [Livre]

Senebalt [Senebant, Senebaut]

A Saxon warrior who served King Rions and joined Rions’ invasion of Britain at the beginning of Arthur’s reign. King Bors of Gannes killed him at the battle of Carhaix. [VulgMer, Arthour]


Lover of the knight Blios. Blios thought Senehaut was having an affair with her cousin, so he beat the cousin in combat. Though Senehaut and Blios reconciled, relatives of the beaten cousin, to avenge the disgrace, kidnapped Senehaut. Sagremor came upon the abductors and rescued Senehaut, who rewarded her savior by spending the night with him. Eventually reunited with Blios, Senehaut later gave birth to Sagremor’s daughter, whom Guinevere raised. [Livre]


A Knight of the Round Table from Desert. Senelas, his brother Caulas, and his three cousins set upon Galahad during the Grail Quest and were all killed. [PostQuest, ProsTris]

Senigran [Segrain]

One of the many Saxon kings to invade northern Britain in the early days of Arthur’s reign. He was killed by Galescalain. [VulgMer, Arthour]

Senilgorzof Sirnegunz

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

Sennes of Narjoclin

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


A Saxon king who, under King Hargadabran, fought Arthur’s forces at the battle of Clarence. [Livre]

Sentrayle of Lushon

A Knight of the Round Table loyal to Tristan. With Governal and Lambegus, he rescued Tristan after Tristan escaped the treachery of Andred, King Mark’s seneschal. [Malory]


A Saxon king who, under King Hargadabran, fought Arthur’s forces at the battle of Clarence. [Livre]

Serabil of Rozokarz

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

Seraphe1 [Salafres]

The pre-baptismal name of Nascien, a follower of Joseph of Arimathea. [VulgEst, Contin3]


A hermit in Joseph of Arimathea’s time who settled in the forest of Naube, driving out the evil serpents which resided there. Seraphe baptized the sister of King Label of Persia. [VulgEst]


Brother of Elemmie, with whom Seran conquered Spain. He escaped a disastrous battle in which his brother Elemmie was slain. He returned with his other brother, Desixtus, and was slain by the forces of Kalegras, Tristan’s father. [SagaTI]


In Wirnt von Grafenberg’s Wigalois, Serbians ally with Prince Lion of Namur against King Wigalois of Korntin (Gawain’s son). [Wirnt]

Sere of Syria

A British earl who invaded the lands of Degrevant, a Knight of the Round Table. Degrevant, away on the Crusades, learned of the earl’s ravagings and returned to meet him in battle. The earl lost the war. Sere’s daughter, Melidor, fell in love with Degrevant and began a secret romance. Sere discovered it and tried to ambush Degrevant, but only succeeded in getting many of his knights (including his steward Aymere) killed. Persuaded by his wife and daughter, he reconciled with Degrevant and allowed him to marry Melidor. [SirDeg]

Serpent Fountain [*Fontana Serpilina]

A fountain in Cornwall that Tristan was known to frequent during his period of insanity. [Tavola]

Serpent’s Ditch

A deep pit full of poisonous snakes. Perceval rescued a maiden from an evil knight who was going to throw her into it. [Perlesvaus]


A country ruled by Lord Laniure in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône. When he died without a male heir, his daughters Amurfina and Sgoidamur vied for control of a magic bridle which gave its owner the rights to the land. Gawain eventually decided the feud in Sgoidamur’s favor, though he married Amurfina. Another King of Serre appears in Girart d’Amien’s Escanor at the tournament of Banborc. [Heinrich, Girart]

Serses[Sexes, Xerxes]

The King of Iturea or Idumea who was subservient to the Roman Procurator Lucius. Serses was called upon to join Lucius in the war against Arthur. He led a force of soldiers at the battle of Soissons. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon]

Serses2 [Xerxes]

King of the Red Castle and the castle Pagon. He served King Claudas. King Bors of Gannes (Lancelot’s uncle) had killed Serses’s brother, so Serses became Bors’s mortal enemy. When they met in single combat, Bors defeated him and took his crown. Later, his castle at Pagon was conquered by Arthur during Arthur’s invasion of Gaul. Serses managed to escape the siege in time to warn Claudas of Arthur’s advance. [VulgLanc]

Sertorius [Sertor, Sestor, Sextorius, Sextynour]

The King of Libya who served Emperor Lucius of Rome. He was called upon to join Lucius in the war against Arthur. Sertorius, with three others, was assigned by Lucius to liberate the Roman prisoners being taken by Arthur’s warriors to a prison in Paris. The Britons won the battle. Sertorius later led a force of soldiers at the battle of Soissons, where he killed Kay, but was in turn killed by Arthur. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon, VulgMer, Allit]

Servage (“Servitude”)

An island or valley ruled by the evil giant Nabon the Black. Its capital was Glait Castle. Nabon held a tournament there to celebrate the knighting of his son. Lamorat and Tristan both attended, and the latter slew Nabon and his son. Afterwards, it was known as the Land That Tristan Freed, and was given to Sir Seguarades. [ProsTris, Malory]

Servagat [Sernagare]

A Saxon king from Ireland who was part of the great Saxon invasion at the beginning of Arthur’s reign. After plundering areas of northern Britain, he was killed in a skirmish against Gawain. [VulgMer, Arthour]


A heathen king slain by Gawain at the battle of the Diana Bridge. [Arthour]


A heathen warrior slain by Agravain at a battle in Logres. [Arthour]


The Roman Count of Meaux in the time of Christ. He was King Mordrain’s grandfather, and he sent Mordrain, as a boy, to serve the Emperor of Rome. [VulgEst]

Sevain2 [Sanam, Siwenis]

Earl of Quimper-Corentin. His daughter, Lisanor, had an affair with Arthur and gave birth to Loholt. [VulgMer, Arthour, Malory]

Seven Roads

A heath and crossroads in the forest of Breckham, where Gawain defeated a knight. The knight had been guarding the crossroads for the love of a lady. [VulgLanc]

Severauce le Breuse

A Knight of the Round Table who appears at the healing of Sir Urry. The Lady of the Lake once bade Severauce and Lancelot never to fight each other, and they agreed. After that, Severauce never had the desire to fight against any man, but gladly fought giants, dragons, and wild beasts. [Malory]

Severn [Hafren, Syvarne]

An English river. It begins in Central Wales, arcs out through west England, and empties into the Bristol Channel. In Culhwch, Arthur’s forces battle the boar Twrch Trwyth on the Severn. By driving the boar into the river and trapping him in the currents, the warriors Mabon and Cyledyr the Wild were able to great the needed shears and razor from between the boar’s ears. The boar recovered and fled to Cornwall. The river is referenced in continental romance, but the writers are confused about its location. In Malory, the Castle of Maidens is said to lie near the Severn. [Culhwch, Malory]


A Roman senator and general sent by the senate to pacify Britain after the death of King Lucius in the late second century. Nennius says that he was the third Roman emperor to cross to Britain. Severus, leading Romans and Roman-loyal Britons, became immersed in a great war with the Briton duke, Sulgenius. He and Sulgenius were killed in a battle at York; after his death, Severus’s sons, Geta and Bassianus, vied for the kingdom. [Nennius, GeoffHR]


A Roman emperor who ruled in Britain after Maximus and before Constantine, Arthur’s grandfather. He split his time between Britain and Rome, and he died in Rome. [Nennius]


A servant of Perceval’s father Gahmuret. Sevillano was a ship’s captain, and he ferried Gahmuret from Africa to Europe. [Wolfram]


A seaport in southwest Spain. Perceval’s uncle Trevrizent traveled through Seville during his adventures. [Wolfram]


The lovely daughter of Lord Blandukors and Lady Amurelle, who Gawain saved from their service to a terrible giant named Galaas. [Heinrich]

Sgilti Light Foot

One of five sons of Erim. He was an Arthurian warrior, and he was so light that he could run across treetops and along the tips of reeds. [Culhwch]


The younger daughter of Lord Lamuire of Serre, who died without a male heir. Sgoidamur’s sister, Amurfina, feuded with her over the rights to their father’s land, which was embodied in a magic bridle that Amurfina obtained. Sgoidamur complained to Arthur’s court for redress, and Gawain vowed to restore Sgoidamur to her inheritance. During the quest, however, he married Amurfina. After some consequent complications, Gawain arranged for Sgoidamur to marry Gasozein (Gaswain) of Dragoz, a noble knight. Gawain champions a (unnamed) maiden in a similar plight in La Mule sans Frein. [Heinrich]

Shady Valley [*Valle Ombroso]

A valley visited by Lancelot and Tristan during the Grail Quest. [Tavola]


A forest in Nottinghamshire, identified by Malory with the forest of Bedegraine. [Malory]

Ship of Joy

A magical vessel constructed by Merlin for the king of Northumberland and his friend Agad. The Ship came into possession of Mabon the sorcerer, and he sent it to Tristan so that Tristan could join him in a struggle against Mennonas, an enemy. [ProsTris]

Shrieking Marsh

A perilous bog that surrounded the Misty Lake, home of the wizard Malduc. Arthur’s envoys had to travel through the Shrieking Marsh to find Malduc and enlist his assistance in the rescue of Guinevere from an abductor. The marsh was also inhabited by Sir Dodinel the Wild. Adventurers crossing the marsh were plagued with quicksand, giant fish, boiling waters, enchanted birds, and an occasional heart-stopping shriek. [UlrichZ]


The land inhabited by Giramphiel, a goddess who was Gawain’s benefactress. [Heinrich]


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

Sibilias of the Hard Hands

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

Sichelm [Sichelin]

King of Norway and grandfather of Lot in Geoffrey’s Historia. When he died, he left his kingdom to his grandson, but a lord named Riculf seized it, prompting Arthur to conquer Norway and restore it to Lot. In De Ortu Waluuanii, Sichelm is Lot’s uncle rather than his grandfather. Having been conquered by Uther Pendragon, Sichelm was forced to send Lot to Uther’s court for rearing. [GeoffHR, DeOrtu]

Sicily[Sesile, Sezile, Suzille, Zezile]

Italian folklore in the Middle Ages identified Avalon with Sicily and held that Arthur was resting inside Mt. Etna (called Montegibel). This story is represented in Floriant et Florete. In Claris et Laris, the island is ruled by King Calon, who joins Rome in a war against Arthur. [Floriant, Claris]

Sick King

A leprous potentate whose lands were seized by King Gohart of the Castle of the Whales, but were restored to him by Perceval. His name suggests a relation to the Maimed King. [Perlesvaus]


A castle in the Perilous Valley. Its lord, Gabrionello, was subject to two giants. Tristan and Lancelot freed him by slaying the giants. [Tavola]

Siege Perilous

See Perilous Seat.


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


A cousin of Perceval in Wolfram’s Parzival, identical to an unnamed lady in Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval. Her mother, Scoysiane, died giving birth to her, so she was raised by Queen Herzeloyde of Wales, Perceval’s mother. R. S. Loomis (Grail, 205) thought that her name was an anagram of cusine (“cousin”).
   While in the forest of Brizljan with her lover, Schionatulander, she found a hound with an extremely long leash. The leash had a story inscribed upon it, which Sigune only partially read before the hound bolted away, dragging the leash with it. Sigune sent Schionatulander after the hound, and he was killed during the quest by Duke Orguelleus of Lalander. Perceval, on his way to Arthur’s court, came across Sigune holding Schionatulander’s body in her arms. She paused from her grief long enough to inform Perceval of his lineage.
   Perceval met her again some time later, as he was riding away from the Grail Castle, having failed to cure the Fisher King. She related some history of the Grail Family and Grail Sword, but left his presence in disgust when she found out he had failed to ask the Grail Question. Later, Perceval came across her again after Schionatulander had been entombed. Sigune was living a life of constant sorrow and penance over her dead lover’s grave. Cundrie the Sorceress, the Grail Maiden, brought her food and drink to sustain her. She tried to point Perceval in the direction of the Grail, but he lost the trail. After several years of this cloistered asceticism, Sigune died hunched over Schionatulander’s tomb. When Perceval found her, he opened the tomb and interred her next to her lover. [Wolfram]


A knight slain by Tristan at a tournament in Ireland. Sigurano’s brother, Oris the Harsh, tried to avenge him but was also slain. [Tavola]


An earl of Spain who was the brother of Hríngr and Isolde the Dark. He gave his sister to Tristan when the latter conquered Spain. [SagaTI]


An Arthurian knight mentioned by Heinrich von dem Türlin. His name is a corruption of Tor fil ares (“Tor son of Ares”). [Heinrich]

Silchester [Sylchestre]

A city in Britain in which Constantine, Arthur’s grandfather, and Arthur (in some versions) were both crowned. In Arthur’s time, Maugan, Baldulph, or Balien served as Silchester’s Archbishop. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon]


Heroine of the non-Arthurian Roman de Silence by Heldris de Cornuälle. Silence, a girl born to Count Cador of Cornwall some time after Arthur’s reign, was raised as a boy so that she might escape King Ebain of England’s law which prohibited a female from inheriting property. Facing a gender conflict upon reaching puberty, she ran away and joined a group of minstrels. Still disguised as a male, she eventually arrived at Ebain’s court, where the king’s wife, Eufeme, tried to seduce her, then accused her of rape when she refused. After some further complications—in which Silence displayed much knightly prowess—she was given the task of finding Merlin, which could only be performed by a woman. Silence found Merlin roaming in a forest and brought him back to court. Merlin revealed her true gender to the surprised king, and informed the king of his wife’s adultery. After executing Eufeme, King Ebain married Silence and made her Queen of England. The story of Ganieda in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Vita Merlini and the tale of Avenable in the Vulgate Merlin are echoed in the story of Silence.


A knight in the ancestry of the “Brown” family. Descended from Brutus, he was the son of Arbrun and Vagés, and was the brother of Brun. He was killed by his cousin, Guillant. [Palamedes]

Silimac of the Rock

Ruler of the Castle of the Rock. While traveling to the Grail Castle with Gawain, he was killed with a poisoned arrow that seemed to come out of nowhere. Gawain later assisted Sore Pucelle, Silimac’s sister, and she divined that Kay was the unseen murderer. Gawain swore to avenge Silimac’s death, and he badly wounded Kay in a duel at Arthur’s court. [Contin1, Contin3]


A follower of Joseph of Arimathea who was not pure. At a dinner, he was one of only two followers that the Grail would not serve. In envy, he attacked Peter, one of Joseph’s pious followers, and badly wounded him. The other followers decided to bury him alive, but before they could perform the task, he was carried away in flames to a tomb in Wales, where he was destined to remain, in agony, until the Grail Quest. Lancelot found the tomb and tried to free him but failed. When Galahad approached, the flames disappeared and Simeon was allowed to die. His son, Moses, also sinned and had to be freed by Galahad. [VulgLanc, VulgQuest, VulgEst, PostQuest]


The King of Sinadone was one of Arthur’s vassals, and his wife was proven unfaithful by a magic horn in Biket’s Lai du Cor. Biket may have intended Snowdon in Wales. [Biket]

Sinados [Salinas, Synadés, Synados]

A knight from Windsor in the service of King Leodegan of Carmelide. He fought against the Saxons at Aneblayse. On one adventure, while riding with three knights, Sinados was attacked by Sir Mataliz, who had seventeen knights. Arthur’s Sir Hector came to Sinados’s rescue and killed Mataliz. When Sinados later heard that Hector had been imprisoned, he launched a rescue expedition. Sinados eventually became a Knight of the Round Table and participated in the Grail Quest. [LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgMer, Arthour, PostQuest]


A Saxon king who was part of the Saxon invasion of Britain led by King Ammaduc at the beginning of Arthur’s reign. He participated in the siege of Clarence. [VulgMer]


A Saxon king who, under King Hargadabran, fought Arthur’s forces at the battle of Clarence and was killed by Gawain. [Livre]


A Saxon warrior maimed by King Lot before the battle of Clarence. [VulgMer]


A castle in Logres. Merlin, who called it Oxen Ford, said that all knowledge would descend upon it. [VulgLanc]

Sinelant [Sinalaut]

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


Son of Seithfed, brother of Wadu, Naw, and Bedyw, and one of Arthur’s warriors. [Culhwch]


Father of Arthur’s warrior Selyf. [Culhwch]


A son of Febus and Florine. His brothers were Niatar, Lannor, Altan, and Argons. [Palamedes]


According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, king of Britain in the seventh century BC. He was the son of King Gurgustius. His nephew, King Iago, succeeded him, and his son, Kinmarch, succeeded Iago. [GeoffHR]


In Geoffrey of Monmouth’s chronicle, a king of Britain in the fourth or third century BC. He succeeded his father, Guithelin, when he was only seven. His mother was Queen Marcia. Sisillius was succeeded by his son Kimar. [GeoffHR]


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


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

Small Charity

An abbey in Scotland, also called Help for the Poor and Telite. Lancelot and Sagremor both lodged there during their adventures. Lamorat’s body was taken there upon his death. [VulgLanc, Livre, PostMer]

Snowdon [Snowden, Synadoun, Synadowne]

A mountain and mountain range in northwest Wales, called Eryri by the Welsh, that features in Nennius’s and Geoffrey’s tale of Vortigern. Vortigern sought to build a fortress on Snowdon as a defense against the Saxons, but each night, all construction completed during the previous day would disappear. Vortigern’s advisors told him that the foundation of Snowdon had to be sprinkled with the blood of a fatherless child. The king’s emissaries embarked on a search for such a child, and returned with a young Ambrosius (in Nennius) or Merlin (in Geoffrey of Monmouth). The child prevented his own execution by showing Vortigern a lake hidden beneath the foundation of the fortress. Within the lake, the child revealed two worms or dragons, one white, one red. The creatures fought each other, and the white was victorious, which, the child said, foretold Vortigern’s eventual defeat. Vortigern fled Snowdon, which became known as Dinas Emrys. According to the Welsh tale of Lludd and Llefelys, the dragons had been buried in Snowdon by Lludd, son of the king of Britain.
   Snowdon is named as the capital of Wales in Historia Meriadoc. In Renaut de Bâgé’s Le Bel Inconnu, it is a city at the base of the Snowdon mountains, perhaps to be identified with Segontium. It was ruled by Esmeree the Blonde, Queen of Wales, but it was laid waste by two sorcerers named Mabon and Evrain. Gawain’s son, Guinglain, traveled to the city and lifted the curse by killing the enchanters. [Nennius, GeoffHR, Renaut, Layamon, Historia]


A land ruled by Andremo the Old, who married Arthur’s sister. Meliadus, Tristan’s father, became its ruler when he married Elyabel, Andremo’s daughter. Meliadus appointed Sir Ferragunze as its viceroy. After Meliadus’s death, its throne was assumed by an unnamed king later slain by Lancelot at Arthur’s Leverzep tournament. Another king of Sobicio joined King Mark of Cornwall in his attack on Camelot. [Tavola]


The son of Lamorat in La Tavola Ritonda. He inhabited the fortress of Sangranar with a knight named Broncone. He tried to steal Tristan’s and Lancelot’s horses during the Grail Quest, for which he was defeated in combat. [Tavola]

Soissons [Sessoine, Siesia, So(is)sie, Suize]

A valley and town in northern France, about fifty miles northeast of Paris. In the Arthurian legends, it is the site of the final battle between Arthur and Lucius, Procurator or Emperor of Rome. Arthur learned of Lucius’s advance through the valley and was waiting with his army. An epic battle ensued, in which many knights and kings, on both sides, were slain. Lucius himself was killed, and Arthur’s forces were victorious. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon, VulgMer, Allit, Malory]


An Arthurian warrior who could stand all day on one foot. [Culhwch]

Solinas [Salinas]

A nephew of King Rions, in whose army Solinas fought against Arthur in Carmelide. [VulgMer, Arthour]


According to the Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal and Estoire del Saint Graal, this biblical King of Israel learned that Galahad—the end of his lineage—would surpass all others in prowess and piety. Solomon, at the urging of his wife, decided to construct a magnificent ship in order to let Galahad know that his coming had been foretold. He bedecked the ship in all manner of splendor, placing within it a bed adorned with spindles from the Tree of Life in Eden. He also placed the sword of his father, King David, within the ship; this sword later became known as the Sword with the Strange Hangings and could only be wielded by the best knight in the world. Upon completion of the vessel, an inscription appeared on its hull warning the unfaithful from boarding. Solomon, afraid, did not board, and the ship sailed out to sea. Mordrains and Nascien encountered it during their adventures, as did a number of other men, many of whom were punished for drawing the sword. During the Grail Quest, Galahad, Perceval, Bors, and Perceval’s sister encountered the ship and boarded it. The ship eventually took the three Grail knights, with the Grail, to the ancient city of Sarras.
   Analogs to the Ship of Solomon are known in early Celtic mythology. One is also found in the non-Arthurian lay of Guigemar. [VulgQuest, VulgEst, PostQuest, Malory]


A city in Brittany ruled by King Gilierchino, father of Isolde of the White Hands. It was besieged by Albroino, Gilierchino’s nephew. Tristan joined the battle and killed Albroino. [Tavola]


A secluded wilderness that was Perceval’s homeland in Wolfram’s Parzival. Herzeloyde, Perceval’s mother, raised him in this desolate area to keep him away from any knowledge of knighthood, as Perceval’s father had died in battle. In French romances, it is called the Waste Forest. [Wolfram]


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]


A county of southwest England on the Bristol Channel. According to Layamon, it was conquered by Cheldric in the early days of Arthur’s reign, but Arthur later liberated it. Somerset is the possible location of the Summer Country and the Summer Region, both mentioned in Welsh texts. [Layamon]


Father of one of Arthur’s Yvains in Les Merveilles de Rigomer. [Merveil]

Sorbares [Sorbars]

One of the many Saxon kings, named in the Vulgate Merlin, who invaded and plundered northern Britain at the beginning of Arthur’s reign. The story first tells us that he was killed by Pharien at the second battle of Clarence; it later says that he was one of the few Saxons to survive the battle. The Livre d’Artus agrees that he was killed at Clarence, by Arthur’s Sir Aces of Beaumont. [VulgMer, Livre, Arthour]


A heathen land ruled by King Verangoz, who was slain by Arthur’s nephew Meleranz. [PleierM]

Sore Pucelle of the White Forest

Niece of the Fisher King and cousin of Perceval. She sent the Grail Sword to the Fisher King’s castle. She was besieged by Margon, the King with a Hundred Knights. Her knights captured Cargrilo, Margon’s seneschal, hoping to trade him for Sore Pucelle’s lover, the Lord of the White Land. When Margon killed Sore Pucelle’s lover, Sore Pucelle put Cargrilo on a catapult and launched him to his death. Gawain eventually joined Sore Pucelle’s forces and defeated Margon. Sore Pucelle then beseeched Gawain to avenge the death of her brother, Silimac, who had been murdered by Kay, and Gawain complied. [ChretienP, Contin3]

Soredamor [Surdamur]

The daughter of Lot and sister of Gawain. Soredamor was one of Guinevere’s servants. She fell in love with Alexander, a Greek warrior who visited Arthur’s court. Alexander also became swiftly infatuated with Soredamor. Each was afraid to confess love for the other, but Guinevere perceived their distress and brought them together. Soredamor and Alexander were married. They returned to Alexander’s kingdom of Greece and Constantinople and had a son named Cliges. When Alexander died, Soredamor lived only a few more days before perishing from heartbreak. [ChretienC]

Sorelois [Soleyse, Sorailes, Sorenlois, Sureluse]

The kingdom belonging to Sir Galehaut. It had once been ruled by King Loholt, who passed it on to his son Gloier. Galehaut then conquered it from Gloier. Loholt had designed its borders so that it could only be accessed by two perilous bridges—the Irish Bridge and the North Wales Bridge—which were partially submerged and had well-guarded towers at the end. Sorelois was said to lie between North Wales and the Distant Isles (possibly the Hebrides), and was separated from Britain by a strait called Assurne. This geography suggests an identification with Anglesey, the Isle of Man, or even Ireland. R. S. Loomis (Tradition, 453) identifies Sorelois with Sorgales (South Wales).
   In the Post-Vulgate Suite du Merlin and in Malory, another King of Sorelois is one of five kings who invades Britain at the beginning of Arthur’s reign and is slain by Arthur’s forces at the battle of the Humber. Malory tells of a great Sorelois tournament in which prizes were awarded to Lancelot, Lamorat, Palamedes, and Bagdemagus. The Prose Tristan and Malory also gives the name “the Straits of Sorelois” to a fortress where Sir Brunor the Black (the Knight of the Ill-Fitting Cloak), assisted by Lancelot, completed his first quest by defeating six brothers named Playne de Amours, Playne de Fors, Plenorius, Pillounes, Pellogris, and Pellandris, and by liberating the castle of its prisoners. [LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgMer, PostMer, ProsTris, Malory]


A land bordering on North Wales in the Vulgate Lancelot. Its queen was a friend of Morgan le Fay, and these two, along with Queen Sedile, once imprisoned Lancelot in Cart Castle, hoping to make him choose one of them as a lover. Its king had been slain by the Duke of Rocedon. The Count of Sorestan is listed among the knights at the Penning tournament. [VulgLanc]


In Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, a castle ruled by Lord Leigamar. Leigamar threw a tournament at Sorgarda, the winner of which would have the honor of marrying his daughter, Flursensephin. Many knights came to the tournament, including Flursensephin’s favorite, Fiers of Arramis. Flursensephin’s sister Quebeleplus entreated Gawain to defeat Fiers, however, and Gawain ended up winning the tournament. Since he had no desire to marry, he deferred the honor to his companion, Sir Quoikos. A similar tournament occurs at the city of Bearosche in Wolfram’s Parzival. [Heinrich]


A knight who fought at the Sorgarda tournament, which Gawain won. His brother, the Count of Bigame, was also present. [Heinrich]

Sorhalt [Sorhaus, Sorhens]

A Saxon king who served King Rions of Denmark, Arthur’s enemy. Sorhalt joined Rions in an invasion of Carmelide, Leodegan’s kingdom, and he led a battalion of soldiers against Arthur at the battle of Carhaix. [VulgMer, Arthour]

Sorhaut [Schorham, Sorehaut, Sorhaute]

A British city belonging to Galehaut in the Vulgate Lancelot and Urien in the Vulgate Merlin. In the latter, it was the capital of Gorre, and it served as a base of operations for the northern kings in their battles against the Saxons. Lancelot names it as the chief city of Sorelois. [LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgMer, Arthour, Malory]

Soriano Sea

According to La Tavola Ritonda, the sea surrounding the island of Avalon. [Tavola]

Sorionde [Soriandes, Soriendos]

A Saxon warrior. He accompanied his father, Maglahant, and his uncle, Mahaglant, to the Saxon invasion of Britain at the beginning of Arthur’s reign. He plundered and burned Cornwall. His unit was defeated by Gawain and Yvain at the battle of Diana Bridge. Sorionde was eventually killed by Sir Alier in Malehaut. [VulgMer, Livre, Arthour]

Sorlouse of the Forest

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

Sornegrieu [So(r)negre(o)ns, Sornegrex]

A king from Ireland who served King Rions. During Rions’s war with King Leodegan of Carmelide, Sornegrieu and Sapharin led the advance at the battle of Carhaix. In the battle, King Ban sliced off Sornegrieu’s hand. Later, Sornegrieu participated in a siege at Clarence, where he was killed by the King with a Hundred Knights. [VulgMer, Livre, Arthour]


The lord of Newcastle. Agravain killed his brother, Druas the Cruel, for which Sorneham imprisoned both Agravain and Gareth. Gaheris defeated him and forced him to free his captives. [VulgLanc]

Sorrowful Fief

A small monastery in the forest of Beforet, ruled by King Iweret. The monks at the Sorrowful Fief disapproved of Iweret’s murderous activities, but they could not deny that the wealth taken from the corpses of warriors slain by Iweret kept the monastery busy and prosperous. Lancelot lodged in the Sorrowful Fief before he fought Iweret in combat. [UlrichZ]


A Saxon warrior killed by King Ban of Benoic at the battle of Carhaix. [VulgMer, Arthour]


A knight killed by Gawain while trying to abduct a lady. [VulgMer]

Sotain Herbert

An Irish castle that belonged to a lord named Robert, whose wife Agravain rescued from a band of marauders. [Merveil]


Arthur’s king of Orkney in the English Arthur. Orkney is usually represented as Lot’s kingdom. [Arthur]

Soumillet [Soumeillet, Soumilloit]

Father of Arthur’s knight Fergus. Although he was rich, and married to a noble-born woman, he raised his children as peasants and ploughmen. When Fergus announced his intention to leave their home country of Pelande for Arthur’s court, Soumillet’s angry fist was sustained only by his temperate wife. [Guillaume]

South Marches

The Duke of the South Marches hated Arthur and his knights because Gawain had killed one of his sons. When Arthur’s Sir Marhaus happened upon the duke’s castle, the duke forced him into combat with the duke’s six sons. Marhaus defeated all of them and forced them to go to Arthur’s court. [Malory]

South Wales [Sorgales, Sugales, Surgenale, Sutgales]

The lower part of Wales, including the kingdoms of Dyfed and Glamorgan. In the chronicles, Merlin’s maternal grandfather (called Conan by Layamon) is the king of South Wales. In the Vulgate Merlin, the country is ruled by Belinant, and Marie de France names it as Tristan’s birthplace. Spenser names it as the kingdom ruled by Rions. [GeoffHR, Wace, MarieC, VulgMer, Spenser]

Spain[Espa(in)gne, Spayn(e), Spyan]

During the “Arthurian period,” Spain was ruled by Visigoths. In the chronicles, Spain is under Roman control, and its king, Alifatima or Meodras, joins Lucius in the war against Arthur. In Wolfram’s Parzival, it is ruled by King Kaylet. Der Pleier, in Tandareis and Flordibel, names Spain as one of Arthur’s allies. In Claris et Laris, Spain is ruled by Savari and then Sir Claris.
   Its most important role comes in the Icelandic Saga af Tristram ok Ísodd, where it is named as Tristan’s homeland. It’s king, Hlöòvir, was slain during an invasion. Tristan’s grandfather, Patrocles, took control, but was soon killed, leaving it to Kalegras, Tristan’s father. Kalegras also died, and Tristan’s foster-father, Biring, took the throne. Biring was expelled by a pirate king named Turnes. Eventually, Tristan re-conquered it and served as king until his death. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon, VulgMer, PleierT, Claris, SagaTI, Malory]


The name given to Sir Yder after his numerous victories in a Sparrowhawk Tournament. [TennIK]

Sparrowhawk Tournament

A type of tournament first mentioned in Chrétien de Troyes’s Erec. In the stories that feature Erec or Geraint as the hero, the location of the tournament is variously given as Cardiff, Laluth, Tulmein, or Kanadic. The prize of the tournament was a sparrowhawk (or, in some versions, a kestrel or parrot), and it was supposed to go to the most beautiful lady present. If a dispute arose as to the fairest of the ladies at the tournament, the ladies’ knights would fight in single combat until one of them resolved the conflict. As we are introduced to the Sparrowhawk Tournament in each of these stories, an injustice has arisen: a powerful knight has won the tournament several times in a row through force of arms, even though his lady is somewhat plain or manifestly ugly. It is the job of the hero of the story to right this injustice by defeating the knight and awarding the sparrowhawk to the most worthy woman.
   In Erec and its adaptations, the hero comes across the tournament during his pursuit of the insolent Sir Yder, who, coincidentally, is also the unrighteous victor of the previous tournaments. Erec (or Geraint) “borrows” Enide so that he can enter the tournament and fight Yder. Erec is victorious, and he awards the sparrowhawk to Enide, with whom, in the meantime, he has fallen in love.
   In sparrowhawk stories that do not feature Erec or Geraint, the hero of the story generally comes across a weeping lady who should have won the tournament, but was robbed of the distinction by the unjust knight. In Renaut de Bâgé’s Le Bel Inconnu, Guinglain champions the lady Margerie against the lord Girflet at the castle of Becleus. In Wirnt von Grafenberg’s Wigalois, Wigalois presents the lady Elamie with the sparrowhawk after defeating Count Hojir of Mannesvelt. In the French Durmart le Gallois, Sir Durmart wins the tournament for Queen Fenise of Ireland at the city of Landoc. In Edolanz, Sir Edolanz wins such a tournament at Arthur’s court. In Le Chevalier du Papegau, Arthur wins the tournament in the name of the Lady Without Pride, fighting the Merciless Lion at the castle of Causuel (in Papegau, the prize of the tournament is a magical parrot, which accompanies Arthur on his further adventures). Variations of sparrowhawk tournaments appear in Andreas Capellanus’s De Amore at Arthur’s court, in Raoul de Houdenc’s Meraugis de Portlesguez at Lindesores, and in the Vulgate Lancelot at Mill Castle. Since Andreas and Chrétien, the earliest sparrowhawk writers, both wrote in the court of Marie de Champagne, the theme may have originated there. [ChretienE, HartmannE, Andreas, Renaut, Wirnt, Raoul, VulgLanc, Durmart, Edolanz, ChevPap]

Speckled Knight

A knight of Arthur’s court defeated by the Great Fool. [IrishF]

Speckled Ox

An enigmatic beast mentioned in the Welsh poem The Spoils of Annwn. It is unclear if the ox had any connection with Arthur. A Triad names the Speckled Ox as one of the “three prominent oxen” of Britain. It may be related to the Spotted Ox from Culhwch and Olwen. [Spoils]


A forest near Joyous Guard, Lancelot’s castle. [Tavola]

Spiritual Palace

A palace in Sarras, where Joseph of Arimathea and his followers lodged during their visit. It had been named by Daniel the Prophet. God named Josephus the first Christian bishop in the palace. The Grail Knights visited it at the end of the Grail Quest. Galahad died and was buried there alongside Perceval’s sister, and Perceval himself was later interred there. [VulgEst, PostQuest]

Spoletto [Spolet(t)(o)]

A central Italian city that was one of many to surrender and send tribute to King Arthur after he had captured the city of Rome. [Allit, Malory]

Spotted Dun

A horse belonging to Arthur’s warrior Rhyawdd. [Triads]

Spotted Ox

An ox owned by Gwlwlwyd Chestnut Hair in Culhwch and Olwen. As one of his tasks, the warrior Culhwch had to obtain this ox and yoke it together with another of Gwlwlwyd’s oxen, the Yellow Pale-White Ox. It may be related to the Speckled Ox mentioned in The Spoils of Annwn. [Culhwch]

Spring of Healing

A magical spring in the Forest of Serpents that healed all who drank from it. It was formed when Nascien, a follower of Joseph of Arimathea, stuck his lance into the ground prior to a battle with the evil King Camalis. It flowed next to the Giant’s Tower, and Sir Atamas, also called the Knight of the Spring, ruled them both. Atamas used the power of the spring to defeat any knight who came along: he drank from it in mid-combat, thus invigorating himself while his opponent remained weak. In this manner, he defeated and imprisoned Gawain and many other knights in the Giant’s Tower. Palamedes ended the practice by defeating Atamas despite the power of the spring. [PostQuest]

Spring of Marvels

A magic spring where Erec defeated Mordred. Its enchantments were ended by Galahad. [PostMer]

Spring of the Pine

A spring in a northern forest, at which Hector out-jousted Sagremor, Kay, Girflet, and Yvain. [LancLac, VulgLanc]

Spring of the Virgin

An enchanted fountain. At the tempting of a devil, a knight named Nabor tried to rape his sister, Aglinda, alongside the spring. The maiden prayed, Nabor was struck dead, and the spring was named in remembrance of the incident. Afterwards, it had the power to paralyze any non-virgin knight who happened along. Erec was frozen in this manner during the Grail Quest. Some maidens found him and lifted him away, restoring his freedom of movement. [PostQuest]

Spring of Two Sycamores

A spring guarded by Belyas the Black until Lancelot defeated him in combat. [VulgLanc]


The name given by Spenser to Arthur’s horse. [Spenser]


A duke present at the wedding of Erec and Enide. His brother was named Stenes. [Erex]


King of the Demetians. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, he served King Arthur. Geoffrey apparently took his name from Welsh mythological genealogies (Fletcher, 76). [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon]


A sculptor in Brittany who created a statue of Isolde for Tristan. The sculpture was so perfect that Tristan knighted the artist and gave him the city of Gippa. [Tavola]

Steaming Path

A perilous trial, misted by scorching water, on which Arthur’s knights had to travel from the Shrieking Marsh to the Misty Lake in order to enlist the assistance of the wizard Malduc. [UlrichZ]


A nobleman in Arthur’s service, present at the wedding of Erec and Enide. His brother was Duke Stanes. [Erex]


An Arthurian knight. [Marriage]


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


A castle in Central, Scotland that was one of Arthur’s courts in Béroul’s Tristan. [Beroul]

Stone of Honor

An enchanted site in Britain, perhaps in Wales. It was big enough for several people to sit on, but “would not endure a man in whom was falseness or malice.” Ginover (Guinevere), Gawain, and Lancelot all managed to pass the test of the stone. [UlrichZ]

Stone of the Giant [*Perron de la Jaiande]

With this boulder, Meliadus, Tristan’s father, compared his strength with that of a giant. When Meliadus was able to lift the stone, he crushed the giant with it. Tristan was the only other knight able to heft the Stone of the Giant. When Lancelot tried, he failed. [Palamedes]

Stone of the Stag [*Perron du Cerf]

A block of marble in the Plessis Wood. An inscription on the Stone of the Stag stated that marvels of the Holy Grail could be seen on the site, but that any knight—save Galahad—who stayed to see them would regret it. Yvain decided to brave the adventure anyway, and awoke the next morning to find himself wounded and his two companions slain. [PostMer]


A standing-stone monument (megalith) arranged in a circle on Salisbury Plain, probably erected during the Neolithic period. It was once thought that Stonehenge was a Druid temple, but the Druids were not active until about the third century before Christ. In its original inception, it may have been an astronomical observatory, but its architecture was modified considerably between its creation and about 1500b.c. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, who calls the megalith the Giant’s Dance, Merlin brought Stonehenge from Mount Killarus in Ireland to Britain at the request of King Ambrosius. Other chronicles tell a similar story. Merlin accomplished the transportation of the stones either through feats of engineering, through feats of engineering combined with magic, or through magic alone. On legend holds that Merlin moved the stones with music. Likely, there were numerous local legends describing the origin of the megalith, and Geoffrey simply attached one of them to Merlin. [GeoffHR, Wace, ProsMer1]

Stony Pass

A mountain pass on the road to Gorre. Meleagant’s knights guarded it, and Lancelot had to defeat them on his way to rescue Guinevere. [VulgLanc]

Strange Castle [*Chastel Estrange]

A fortress where Dodinel and Gaswain lodged and healed after wounding each other in a joust. [Palamedes]

Strange Island

A castle ruled by King Vagor, who once imprisoned Sir Lionel, Lancelot’s cousin. [VulgLanc]

Strange Land [*Terre Foraine]

The enigmatic kingdom containing Corbenic, the Grail Castle. It was ruled in Joseph of Arimathea’s time by King Calafes, and then by the line of Grail Kings, from Joshua to Pelles. (The Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal says that the second Nascien was its king, but does not later name him as a Grail King.) After the Dolorous Stroke, it became part of the Waste Land. It may be identical to Listenois, or it may be a land within that kingdom. In some passages, however, the “Strange Land” refers to the land of Gorre.
   In the Vulgate Mort Artu, it is said to border on the White Land, which was ruled by Lancelot’s grandfather. An unnamed knight from the Strange Land fought for Lancelot in his war against Arthur. This may be a different “Strange Land.” [VulgLanc, VulgEst, PostQuest]

Strangedorz of Villegarunz

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


According to Sir Walter Scott’s The Bridal of Triermain, Arthur promised this western Scottish kingdom to whichever knight married Gyneth, his daughter. In this sixth century, it was ruled by Rhydderch the Generous, who is connected to Merlin in Welsh legend. [Scott]

Strennolas of Pictacon

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

Strong Rock [*Rocca Forte]

A mighty fortress on the edge of the Brown Valley, where Tristan and Lancelot encountered the legendary Segurant the Brown. [Tavola]


A duchy in what is now southeast Austria. Perceval’s grandfather Gandin, the ruler of Anjou, appointed his daughter Lammire (Perceval’s aunt) to rule this land. Lammire married Meleranz, who became king. [Wolfram, PleierG]


A region of eastern England. When Mordred seized the English throne, most of Suffolk allied with him. [Malory]

Sugyn (“Suck”)

An Arthurian warrior who was the son of Sugynedydd. He could reportedly suck up a sea, leaving nothing but sand. [Culhwch]

Sugynedydd (“Sucker”)

Father of Arthur’s warrior Sugyn. [Culhwch]


A mountain in Ireland where Tristan slew a dragon. King Engres of Ireland had sworn that any knight who killed the dragon could marry Isolde. A vassal named Cæ the Courteous tried to claim credit for the battle but was exposed. [SagaTI]

Sulpicius1 [Supplicius]

The Pope during Arthur’s time, who, according to Geoffrey, raised Gawain and gave him arms. De Ortu Waluuanii names him as a friend of Gawain’s foster-father, Viamundus. An actual pope named St. Simplicius held the papacy between 468 and 483. [GeoffHR, DeOrtu]

Sulpicius2 Subuculus

A Roman senator who became a war leader in Lucius’s campaign against Arthur. He led a force of soldiers at the battle of Soissons. [GeoffHR]


The Didot-Perceval names “the Sultan” as an ally of the Emperor of Rome. He was slain by Gawain during the Roman War. The Roman Emperor was married to the Sultan’s daughter. Perceval may be referring to the Sultan of Syria, who appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s version. In one manuscript, he is called the Amiraut, or Emir. [Didot]


A warrior in Arthur’s service, related to Arthur through Uther. He was the son of Iaen and the brother of Teregud, Bradwen, Moren, Siawn, and Caradawg. [Culhwch]

Summer Country

A land mentioned in Welsh legend, perhaps identical to the Summer Region. Before the epic hunting of Twrch Trwyth, Arthur summoned all the warriors to the Summer Country. Speculation has placed this land near the Mediterranean or in Somerset. [Culhwch]

Summer Region

The land ruled by King Melwas, Guinevere’s abductor in Caradoc of Llancarfan’s The Life of St. Gildas. As Glastonbury is said to be nearby, the Summer Region is probably Somerset. It may have some relation to the Summer Country of Culhwch and Olwen. [Caradoc]

Supinabel [Syppynabylis]

A Knight of the Round Table from Brittany, who brought news of Tristan’s wedding to Isolde of the White Hands to Camelot, and news of Lancelot’s anger towards Tristan back to Cornwall. [VulgLanc, ProsTris, Malory]


A castle belonging to Duke Escant of Cambenic. [VulgMer]


A region in France owned by Lancelot. Lancelot made Sir Sadoc the earl of Surlat in return for Sadoc’s support in the battles against King Arthur. [Malory]


A county in southeast England. When Mordred seized the throne of England, most of Surrey allied with him. [Malory]


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


A region of England that borders the English Channel. It is located just south of the country of Kent. Its name indicates “South Saxons,” as it was conquered by the Saxons in the sixth century. It was the site of the Castle Magance, where Alexander the Orphan was raised. When Mordred usurped Arthur’s throne, most of Sussex allied with him. [Malory]


In the Alliterative Morte Arthure, the Sultan of Sutere participates in Lucius’s war against Arthur. [Allit]


A knight from Hungary, nearly killed by Sir Lionel, who mistakenly believed that Swagar had slain Lancelot. A maiden interrupted their duel and saved Swagar by promising to show Lancelot, alive, to Lionel. [VulgLanc]


A corruption of Wales used by Gottfried von Strassburg in Tristan. Gottfried names Duke Gilan, a friend of Tristan, as the duke of Swales. [Gottfried]

Sweden [Sweben, Swetherwike, Swethland]

According to Der Pleier and the Alliterative Morte Arthure, Sweden was part of Arthur’s kingdom. [PleierT, Allit]


A Saxon warrior slain by Galescalain at a battle in Camelot. [VulgMer]

Sword Bridge

A dangerous bridge that Lancelot had to cross to enter Gorre and rescue Queen Guinevere from Meleagant. The Sword Bridge and the Underwater Bridge served as the only two entrances to Gorre. The bridge was actually a sword—the length of two lances—stretched across a chasm, turned on its edge. Lancelot managed to cross, but wounded himself severely in the process. It was also known as the Perilous Bridge. [ChretienC, VulgLanc]

Sword in the Stone

One of the most famous elements of the Arthurian legend, the Sword in the Stone theme first appears in the prose redactions of Robert de Boron’s Merlin. King Uther Pendragon having died, apparently without an heir, the British lords gathered in Logres or London at the behest of the Archbishop of Canterbury to discuss the appointment of a new king. As if by magic, an enormous stone appeared in a churchyard. The stone had an anvil on top of it, in which a magnificent sword was embedded. This sword is identical to Excalibur in the prose versions of Merlin, but is a separate sword in the Post-Vulgate Suite du Merlin and in Malory. A message on the pommel of the sword read: “Whoso pulleth this sword out of this stone and anvil is rightfully-born king of all England.” All knights present tried in vain to drawn the sword but it remained fixed in the stone despite their best efforts. Arthur arrived in Logres as the squire of Kay, his foster-brother, who was attending his first tournament. Kay forgot his own sword at the first joust, and sent Arthur to retrieve it. Arthur, unable to find it, wandered into the churchyard and found the Sword in the Stone. With the intention of taking it as a substitute for Kay’s sword, Arthur drew it from the stone, unwittingly proving himself king of Britain. He had to repeat the feat several times to satisfy the lords present. In the versions in which the Sword in the Stone is not Excalibur, Arthur wields it for a while but breaks it during a combat with King Pellinore.
   Another Sword in the Stone appears during the Grail Quest. This sword was called the Adventurous Sword. It had once belonged to Sir Balin the Savage, having been given to him by a lady from Avalon. After Balin’s death, Merlin fitted it with a new pommel, shoved it into a block of marble, and floated it away on a river. At the beginning of the Grail Quest, it floated up to Camelot. The pommel read: “Never shall a man take me hence save only he by whose side I ought to hang, and he shall be the best knight of the world.” Lancelot, Gawain, and Perceval all tried to draw the sword without success. Galahad soon arrived and took the weapon, placing it in an empty scabbard he had brought for that purpose. Galahad later disposed of it in favor of the Sword with the Strange Hangings.
   The Sword-in-the-Stone motif is a subset of a larger theme which includes any instance of a knight drawing a weapon from a fixture in order to prove his skill or nobility. In Perlesvaus, for instance, Lancelot has to pull a spear from a pillar to survive the Castle of Griffins, and later must pull a bolt from a pillar in Arthur’s hall. In Meriadeuc, Meriadeuc displays his valor by unbuckling a sword from the waist of Lady Lore of Cardigan. In Robert de Blois’s Beaudous, Beaudous, Gawain’s son, proves his right to marry Beaute by drawing the sword Honoree from its sheath. Finally, in the Post-Vulgate Suite du Merlin, Balin proves his prowess by drawing a sword from a sheath carried by a lady from Avalon. This theme is prevalent in classical mythology and may ultimately originate in the Greek tale of Thesus, who proved his paternity by removing his father’s sword from under a stone. [RobertBorJ, ProsMer1, VulgMer, PostMer, Malory[

Sword with the Strange Hangings [*Epee as Estranges Renges]

A magnificent weapon that first appears in Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval. It was offered as a reward to anyone who could rescue the maiden besieged in the hill below Montesclaire. Gawain assumed the quest, and won the sword in the First Continuation of Perceval. The First Continuation tells us that the Sword had originally belonged to the Jewish patriot Judas Maccabeus. In Raoul de Houdenc’s Meraugis of Portlesguez as well, Gawain embarks on an adventure to obtain the sword on the Island without a Name.
   We learn the full story of the weapon in the Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal, in which it assumes the importance of the Grail Sword from the earlier tales. It had once belonged to the biblical King David of Israel and Judah. It was known as the Sword of David. Upon David’s death, it passed to his son King Solomon. The sword was adorned with precious jewels, and the crossguard was made of the ribs of two mythical beasts—the Papagustes and the Cortenans. It rested in a scabbard known as the Memory of Blood, made from Eden’s Tree of Life, and covered with a serpent’s skin. For all its glory, however, its girdle was made only from hemp.
   King Solomon placed the sword upon the Ship of Solomon and sailed it out to sea. It was ordained on the pommel of the sword that only the best knight of the world should ever draw it, and many men fell fate to the sword when they tried to draw it themselves. The first was Nascien, who encountered the ship and the sword at the Turning Isle. He drew the sword and used it to slay a giant, for which Nascien was wounded through the thighs by a holy lance, and the sword was broken. King Mordrains later mended the weapon.
   On another occasion, some time before Arthur, King Varlan of Wales used it to kill King Lambor of Listenois, the Grail King. This blow was called the Dolorous Stroke, and it turned Wales and Listenois into the Waste Land. Varlan fell dead upon returning the sword to its scabbard. In a third instance, King Pelles, another Grail King, drew the sword and also received a blow through the thighs with a spear. For this he became known as the Maimed King.
   Its destined owner, Galahad, found it on the ship during the Grail Quest. Perceval’s sister made a new girdle for the sword out of her own virgin’s hair. R. S. Loomis thought that this exchange symbolized the replacement of the Old Testament with the New Testament (Loomis, Romance, 304). Galahad used it in several battles. Arthur later remarked that the magnificence of Excalibur was second only to the Sword with the Strange Hangings.
   According to La Tavola Ritonda, the Sword with the Strange Hangings was left hanging around the statue of Galahad in front of the castle of Leverzep. Hundreds of years later, Charlemagne took it from the statue and renamed it Gioisa. In other tales, its fate goes unmentioned. [ChretienP, Contin1, Raoul, VulgQuest, VulgMort, VulgEst, PostQuest, Malory]

Sword with the Two Rings

A magic sword that Gawain needed to exchange with King Wonder for the magic Floating Chessboard. It was in the possession of King Amoren, who gave it to Gawain on the condition that Gawain find and bring him the lady Ysabele. The sword ensured victory for anyone who wielded it. [Penninc]


A land named as part of Arthur’s empire. [Allit]


A companion of Arthur named in an early Welsh poem. [WelshPG]


Son of Cleddyf Cyfwlch and brother of Cyfwlch and Bwlch. Syfwlch was one of Arthur’s warriors. He had a sword named Gleisyad, a dog named Cabal, a horse named Llwyrddyddwg, a wife named Diasbad, a grandchild named Eissywed, a daughter named Gwaethaf Oll, and a maid named Gwaeddan. He was needed by Culhwch, as one of his tasks, to help hunt the boar Twrch Trwyth. [Culhwch]

Symound the Valiant

A vassal of Galehaut who fought at the tournament of Sorelois. [Malory]


A Saxon king who, under King Hargadabran, fought Arthur’s forces at the battle of Clarence. [Livre]


The Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal tells us that in Joseph of Arimathea’s time, Syria was ruled by Count Felix, and then by King Fanoyel. From Geoffrey of Monmouth, we learn that in Arthur’s time, its king, Evander, joined Rome in the war against Arthur and was killed. In Wirnt von Grafenberg’s Wigalois, Syria is a mountain-enclosed land that can only be entered with a magical belt. Florie, the princess of Syria, becomes Gawain’s wife and the mother of Wigalois. Rulers in other texts are given as Tholomé, Natalon, or Nadus. Jean D’Outremeuse, in Ly Myreur des Histors, says that Arthur conquered it. According to Palamedes, the first inhabitants of Britain—the maiden Albion and her companions—came from Syria, which was ruled at the time by King Diodicias. [GeoffHR, Wace, Wirnt, Contin4, Palamedes, Floriant, Claris, Jean, Allit, Malory]

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