Arthurian Name Dictionary

Gabarins of Assigarzionte

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


A prince from Punturteis, and thus probably a vassal of King Brandelidelin. Perceval encountered him in a forest, and Gabenis directed Perceval to the residence of Perceval’s uncle, Trevrizent. [Wolfram]


An old knight of Uther Pendragon’s order who inhabited Castle Sidravalle in the Perilous Valley. He was subject to two tyrannical giants whom Tristan and Lancelot slew, freeing Gabrionello from their rule. [Tavola]


One of the many lands allied with Lucius the Roman, Arthur’s opponent in the Roman War. [Allit]


An Arthurian knight. [SyreGaw]


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

Gadras the Black

A knight slain by Gawain. He was the uncle of Caradoc of the Dolorous Tower. When Caradoc captured Gawain, Caradoc’s mother made Gawain suffer for Gadras’s death. [VulgLanc]

Gadrasolain [Gadresalain]

The lover of the sorceress Gamille, with whom he lived in the Saxon Rock in Scotland. Gadrasolain had been in love with another woman before Gamille, but Gamille threw her into a prison and took Gadrasolain for herself. When Lancelot conquered the Saxon Rock, he killed Gadrasolain and freed Gadrasolain’s former paramour. [LancLac, VulgLanc]

Gaffar Thumb

In Henry Fielding’s parody The Tragedy of Tragedies, the father of Arthur’s warrior Tom Thumb. Merlin created Tom for Gaffar and his wife when the couple were unable to conceive a child of their own. [Fielding]


The homeland of Kuraus with the Brave Heart. [UlrichZ]


A Knight of the Round Table and relative of Lancelot. In a tournament against King Bagdemagus, Gahalantyne fought on the side of the King of North Wales. Lancelot, on Bagdemagus’s side, beat Gahalantyne bloody. When Mordred and Agravain accused Lancelot and Guinevere of treason, Gahalantyne pledged his support to Lancelot and helped him to rescue Guinevere from the stake. In return for his support, Lancelot made him duke of Auvergne.
   After Arthur’s death, Gahalantyne joined Lancelot in the abbey of Glastonbury and lived as a hermit until Lancelot’s death. Following Lancelot’s interment, Gahalantyne returned to his own lands. [Malory]


A castle ruled by Giramphiel, a goddess who hated Gawain. The unsuspecting Gawain lodged at Gahart one night, and Giramphiel sent him into a perilous combat against a dragon. [Heinrich]

Gaheris1 [Agavez, Ahariés, Caherihés, Gaciés, Gadriet, Gahereit, *Gaheriet, Gaherjet, Gaherss, Galeres, Galerot, Gariens, Gar(r)iés, Kaheret, Keheriet, Waheriés]

Gawain’s brother. He was the son of King Lot and either Belisent and Morgause, and his other brothers included Agravain, Gareth, and Mordred. In Der Pleier’s Meleranz, his parents are Anthonje and the King of Gritenland. The earliest form of his name is so similar to the earliest form of Gareth that the two brothers may have originally been the same character. Chrétien de Troyes is the first writer to mention him, although scholars have suggested a derivation from the Welsh Gweir. In Wolfram, he is a cousin rather than a brother to Gawain. The Vulgate romances are the first to give Gaheris a series of his own adventures, which are expanded in the Post-Vulgate and in Malory.
   The Vulgate legends describe him with a prowess that rivals or exceeds Gawain’s. In the Vulgate Merlin, he defects with Gawain and his brothers from Lot’s court to Arthur’s, battling hordes of Saxons along the way. In the Post-Vulgate and Malory, however, he arrives at Arthur’s court as Gawain’s squire and serves his brother in his first quests. Either way, Arthur eventually knighted him, and he enjoyed a number of adventures, some of which were prophesied by a madman at Arthur’s court named Marins. Gaheris freed his brothers from Lord Sorneham of Newcastle, liberated Gawain and Morholt from the Rock of Maidens, killed a giant named Aupatris, befriended Perceval, and supported Tristan against King Mark of Cornwall. He sometimes quarreled with his brothers Agravain and Mordred, who lacked his nobility. Malory says that he married the damsel Lynet.
   His noble deeds were offset by a number of regrettable murders, including those of King Pellinore, who had killed King Lot; of his own mother Morgause, when he found her in bed with Pellinore’s son Lamorat; and of Lamorat. In the slaying of Pellinore and Lamorat, he was joined by Gawain.
   Gaheris unsuccessfully attempted to dissuade Mordred and Agravain from exposing the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere. However, he dutifully stood guard when Guinevere was to be burned at the stake. As Lancelot rescued her, he killed Gaheris and Gareth, prompting Gawain’s later hatred for Lancelot. [ChretienP, VulgLanc, VulgQuest, VulgMer, PostMer, PostQuest, PostMort, Arthour, Stanz, Malory]


An Arthurian knight from the city of Carhaix. His entire career seems to consist of being imprisoned in various places—the Dolorous Prison, the Valley of No Return, and in the Dolorous Tower—and eventually being freed from each by Lancelot. He was put out of his misery when he ate an apple poisoned by Sir Avarlan, intended for Gawain. Guinevere, who had hosted the dinner, was accused of murder by Gaheris’s brother, Mador of the Gate, but was acquitted by Lancelot. The poisoning death is transferred to Patrice by Malory. [LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgMort]


A knight from North Wales who occupied his the Round Table seat of his slain namesake, Gaheris of Orkney, and who fought for Arthur during the war with Lancelot. [PostMort]


The home of Ither, Arthur’s cousin. A forge in Gaheviez produced a stout sword wielded by Ither and then by Perceval. The sword shattered in Perceval’s combat against Feirefiz. [Wolfram]

Gahillet of Hochtruasch

A Knight of the Round Table. [HartmannE]

Gahmuret [Gachmuret]

Perceval’s father in Wolfram’s Parzival. He was the son of King Gandin and Queen Schoette of Anjou, and the brother of Galoes, Flurdamurs, and Limmire. When Gandin died and Galoes inherited the kingdom, Gahmuret set out in search of adventure. He traveled to Arabia—where he served the Baruc of Baghdad in the war against Ipomidon and Pompeius of Babylon—throughout Africa, and finally to the nation of Zazamanc. There, he rescued Queen Belacane from an invasion of Scotsmen, apparently provoked because King Isenhart of Azagouc, their friend, had died for her love. During the war, Gahmuret fell in love with Queen Belacane—despite the fact that she was a Moor—and married her. They had a pie-bald son named Feirefiz.
   Eventually, Gahmuret grew tired of domestic life with Belacane and sought adventure again. He deserted his wife and traveled to Wales, where he won honor in a tournament. For his victory, Queen Herzeloyde of Wales demanded him as her husband. Gahmuret’s brother had recently perished, and Gahmuret’s heart belonged to Ampflise, the Queen of France. Ampflise sent pages to Wales to woo Gahmuret back to France. However, a tribunal insisted that it was his duty to marry Herzeloyde, and he complied. After living with her for a brief time, he again—with her permission—left in search for adventure. When he departed, his wife was pregnant. He returned to the Baruc of Baghdad to defend him from another Babylonian invasion, and was killed by King Ipomidon of Niniveh.
   His death was mourned by everyone, and nearly drove Herzeloyde mad. She gave birth to Perceval several weeks later. Because of the fate that befell her husband, Herzeloyde raised Perceval ignorant of chivalry and its perils.
   Gahmuret’s essential story is a retelling of the tale of Bliocadran. As Perceval’s father, he is replaced in later romances by Alain and Pellinore. His name may be a variation of Gomeret, a land found in Chrétien’s Erec (Bruce, 314n). [Wolfram]


A king who was a vassal of Arthur. Like the other lords at Arthur’s court, his wife was found to be at least somewhat unfaithful by a magical drinking horn. [Biket]

Gaidou [Gaidon]

A Saxon king who joined King Rions’ invasion of Carmelide. He was slain by King Bors of Gannes at the battle of Aneblayse. [VulgMer, Arthour]

Gailain of Cornwall

One of five knights who tried to murder Agravain but were defeated by Agravain’s brother, Gawain. [Contin3]


Father of Arthur’s knight Lernfras. [HartmannE]

Gais the Large [*Gais le Gros]

Perceval’s grandfather in Perlesvaus. He inhabited the Hermits’ Cross. His sons were Alain the Large (Perceval’s father), Gosgallian, Brun Brandalis, Bertoles the Bald, Brandalus of Wales, Elinant of Escavalon, Calobrutus, Meralis, Fortimes of the Crimson Heath, Meliarman of Albanie, Galerian of the White Tower, and Aliban of the Waste City. As Alain’s father, he replaces Bron from the Robert de Boron cycle. [Perlesvaus]

Gaius [Caius]

One of the Roman senate leaders who joined the army of Lucius mustering to oppose the arrival of King Arthur. The name probably resulted from a confusion in Geoffrey’s list of senators: he mentions a Gaius Metellus Cotta, which Wace seems to have broken into three separate names and people. [Wace, Layamon]

Gaius Metellus Cotta

One of the Roman senators who became a war leader in Lucius’s campaign against Arthur. He led a force of soldiers at the battle of Soissons. Found in Geoffrey of Monmouth, he is split by Wace in to Gaius, Metellius, and Cocta. [GeoffHR]

Gaius Quintillianus [Gaynus, Gayous, Quintilian(us), Quencelin, Quyntalyn]

A Roman warrior who was the nephew of the Roman Emperor Lucius. At the beginning of the war between Arthur and Rome, Arthur sent Gawain, Boso, and Guerin (or Gawain, Bors, Lionel, and Bedivere) as peace envoys to Lucius. During the talks, however, Gaius Quintillianus remarked that Britons were more skilled at bragging and threatening than at battle. Gawain, enraged at these comments, sliced off Gaius’s head, thus starting a battle and the war. Gawain later killed Marcellus Mucius, a friend of Gaius, and bade him to tell Gaius, when he met him in hell, that there were indeed no people who were better at bragging than the Britons. The Vulgate Merlin calls him Titilius. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon, Allit, Malory]

Gal of Galefroi

A knight in Arthur’s service. [Meriadeuc]


A fearsome giant, surnamed “the Moor” or “the Mighty,” found in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône. Galaas and his foster-father, a giant named Assiles, liked to terrorize surrounding countries, including the land owned by King Flois of the Green Island. On his way to assist Flois, Gawain defeated Galaas at his castle of Eigrun, freed Galaas’s prisoners, and secured the giant’s oath of fealty. He may be related to the giant Galapas found in other texts. [Heinrich]

Galabes [Alaban]

A fountain in the Welsh country of Gwent, near which Merlin had a home. The Galabes here is perhaps an allusion to the giant Galapas; it has also been suggested that Galabes is a variation of Galava, a northern province. Layamon calls it “Alaban,” which suggests “Albany,” an old name for Scotland. [GeoffHR, Layamon]


According to Malory, a land allied with Lucius the Roman. Warriors from Galacia participated in Lucius’s war against Arthur. Malory may be indicating the ancient kingdom of Galatia in Asia Minor or the province of Galicia in Spain. [Malory]

Galades of Canelle

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

Galafort [Galefort]

The first Christian stronghold in Britain. Celidoine, Nascien’s son, converted Duke Ganor of Galafort, and the castle became a home for Joseph of Arimathea’s followers. It was named after Galahad, Joseph’s son, who was born there. It served as the home of the Grail until Alan and Joshua left Galafort and founded Corbenic. It the Vulgate Lancelot, it is owned by Meleagant’s sister, although this may be a different castle. [VulgLanc, VulgEst]

Galafré1 [Calafer]

A cruel pagan king who inhabited the land of King Mordrains. He resisted conversion to Christianity. When Mordrains disappeared, Galafré accused Nascien of murdering him, and he imprisoned Nascien and Nascien’s young son, Celidoine. When God delivered Nascien from the prison, Galafré tried to kill Celidoine by hurling him from a tower. God’s hands broke Celidoine’s fall, and a lightning bolt swiftly incinerated Galafré and his castle. Galafré is a name common to non-Christian warriors in medieval sources. [VulgEst]


An Arthurian warrior found in Thomas Chestre’s Sir Launfal. [ChestreLvl]


The lord of the castle of Moreiz. He received the knights Kuraus, Orphilet, and the young Lancelot as his guests for a night’s lodging. He was of uneven disposition, however—liable to fly into a rage at the slightest provocation—and for this reason, Kuraus and Orphilet were on edge. Thus, when Galagandreiz’s young daughter offered herself to Kuraus and Orphilet, they declined. Lancelot, however, accepted gladly, and consequently incurred the lord’s rage. Galagandreiz challenged Lancelot to a battle, in which each would take turns throwing daggers at the other until one of them died. Lancelot agreed, but was wounded in the arm from Galagandreiz’s first throw. Unable to throw accurately on account of his wound, Lancelot instead rushed Galagandreiz and stabbed him with the dagger, killing him. Galagandreiz’s daughter convinced his knights to recognize Lancelot as her husband and their new lord, but Lancelot remained at the castle only a short time.
   It is probable that Galagandreiz comes from Hartmann’s Galagaundris, which, in turn, may be derived from Chrétien’s Galegantin. [UlrichZ]

Galagaundris [Galarantins]

One of King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table, mentioned first by Hartmann von Aue. It is probable that he comes from Chrétien’s Galegantin, and he is probably the origin of Ulrich von Zatzikhoven’s Galagandreiz. [HartmannE, Heinrich]

Galahad1 [Galaad, Galaç, Galade, Galas(so), Galat(h), Galeas, Galeatto, Galeazzo, Galeotto]

Son of Lancelot. He replaced Perceval as the Grail hero. As a knight, he embodied purity and virtue. The writer of the Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal probably invented him because no existing Arthurian knight could fit the lofty description that the author assigned to the Grail Knight—the divine warrior. It is widely accepted that the name came from Galaad or Gilead found in Genesis 31:48—the heap of rocks marking the boundary between the lands of Laban and Jacob, and signifying a kind of spiritual covenant. R. S. Loomis (Grail, 180) thought that the name may have been influenced by a variation of Gawain such as “Galaain.”
   Raised in a nunnery but considered the best knight in the world, Galahad represents a fusion of knighthood and theology; a warrior-monk whose only peer in Arthurian literature might be St. Illtud.
   Galahad’s basic story varies little from the Vulgate Queste to the Post-Vulgate to Malory. His arrival was prophesied from the time of Joseph of Arimathea. It was said that he would complete the Grail Quest and would end the other spiritual adventures in Britain. Descended from Nascien, Galahad was born after Elaine or Amite, the Fisher King’s daughter, tricked Lancelot into sleeping with her. The episode caused a rift between Lancelot and Guinevere, and Lancelot therefore remained absent through most of Galahad’s childhood.
   Galahad spent his infancy in Corbenic, the Grail Castle, but was raised in an abbey in the forest of Camelot. When he came of age, Lancelot was summoned to the abbey to knight him. Galahad arrived at Camelot in the midst of miracles. He sat in the Round Table’s Perilous Seat, and he pulled a sword (which had belonged to Sir Balin) from a block of marble. The Grail visited Arthur’s companions, and the Grail Quest began. Galahad began the quest by finding a holy shield that had belonged to Joseph of Arimathea and King Mordrains.
   He had innumerable adventures during the Grail Quest. In some of the most prominent, he ended the wicked customs of the Castle of Maidens, freed the castle Carcelois, destroyed the Castle of Treachery, helped repel King Mark of Cornwall’s siege of Camelot, freed Moses (a former follower of Joseph of Arimathea) from a burning tomb, and performed several healings. As several hermits and sages predicted, he surpassed his father in both knightly prowess (defeating, among others, Lancelot, Gawain, Bors, Perceval, and Palamedes) and spirituality (he remained a sinless virgin all his life). He befriended a number of Knights of the Round Table, including Tristan and Palamedes. He spent six months on a barge with his father.
   During the quest, he joined with Perceval and Bors, who were destined to become the other two successful Grail knights. The three knights found the ship of Solomon, where Galahad received the marvelous Sword with the Strange Hangings, which had belonged to King David of Israel. In time, the Grail knights were summoned to Corbenic, the Grail Castle, where Galahad repaired the Grail Sword and attended a Grail mass held by Joseph of Arimathea or his son Josephus. After he healed the Maimed King with some blood from the Bleeding Lance, Galahad and the others departed with the Grail for Sarras, a Middle-Eastern kingdom. There, the pagan King Escorant imprisoned them but freed them after a year. Escorant died, and the reluctant Galahad was chosen as the new king. After ruling a year, he witnessed spiritual marvels within the Grail and asked to die. God granted his wish: Galahad fell dead, and the Grail and Bleeding Lance were taken into heaven.
   In a notable alternative to the tradition story of Galahad as a virgin, Wordsworth says that he resurrected and married the Egyptian Maid, a beautiful visitor to Arthur’s court who had been wounded by Merlin.
   Though considered by the Queste author the greatest knight of the Round Table, many critics have seen Galahad as characterless. He is less a man than a symbol in most romances, aloof from his Round Table fellows. His sole purpose is to complete the Grail Quest, and his success is pre-ordained. Galahad’s pursuit of the quest therefore lacks suspense (by contrast, the adventures of Bors and Perceval are full of tests and perils). Because of these reasons, and because Galahad’s spiritual code replaces the code of chivalry, which was the meat and drink of medieval audiences, later authors found it more of an obligation than a pleasure to write of Galahad. The author of La Tavola Ritonda remarks: “Everyone receives grace as a reward, but God also gave [Galahad] free grace…So before his shield had received one blow, he was called the best knight in the world because of the grace and works of God.” In Tennyson, Galahad’s complete spirituatlity is his failing, for Tennyson’s ideal seemed to be the unification of the spiritual and the secular. [VulgLanc, VulgQuest, VulgEst, PostMort, PostQuest, Tavola, Malory, Wordsworth, TennIK]


Son of Joseph of Arimathea and Elyab who became the first Christian king of Wales. He was conceived after Joseph arrived in Britain, and was born in the Christian stronghold of Galafort, which was named after him. He grew up to be an excellent knight, and his brother Josephus invested him with the kingdom of Hoselice, which was renamed Gales, or Wales, in his honor. He married the daughter of the King of the Distant Isles and fathered Lyanor. According to the Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal, his descendants were Urien and Yvain, but the thirteenth-century Lancelot do Lac, he is named as the ancestor of Ban, Lancelot, Pelles, and Alan. He was apparently buried outside of Wales; during his quest to rescue Guinevere from Meleagant, Lancelot found Galahad’s tomb and raised the slab, and monks took Galahad’s body to Wales. Lancelot fulfilled the prophecy that whoever opened the tomb would end the evil customs of Gorre. [LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgEst]


The birth name of Lancelot. The Vulgate Lancelot tells us that Lancelot “lost” the name because of his affair with Guinevere, but passed it on to his pure son. Malory says that his name changed when he was christened by the Lady of the Lake. [LancLac, VulgLanc, Malory]


The Saxon king of the Land of the Grazing-Grounds, who joined King Rions’ invasion of Carmelide. After Arthur defeated Rions’ army at Aneblayse, Merlin wove a magical fog which made Galahad’s army collide with the forces of Amant, another enemy of Arthur. The two armies decimated each other. [VulgMer, Arthour]


Son of the British King Hipomenes. Galahad was loved by his own sister. When he rejected her, she fell under the power of a demon, was impregnated, and accused Galahad of rape. Hipomenes executed Galahad, and the Questing Beast was later born of Galahad’s sister. [PostQuest]

Galahad’s Fountain

A spring in the Perilous Forest. Before it was known by that name, it boiled constantly, and contained the head of King Lancelot, Lancelot’s grandfather. Lancelot removed the head, but the fountain continued to boil until the Grail Quest, when Galahad plunged his hands into it and, because he had never known lust, caused it to cool. [VulgQuest]

Galahad’s Miracle

An abbey, formerly the Uther Pendragon Abbey but re-named during the Grail Quest. While Galahad was recuperating at the abbey, King Mark of Cornwall poisoned his drink. Another knight named Faram died, but Galahad miraculously survived. [PostQuest]


A king who served Arthur. His sister married Sir Caradoc. [Biket]


Kay’s sweetheart in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône. She failed two chastity tests, which humbled Kay, who had been making great sport of the other ladies who failed. Her sister and brother were the Duke and Duchess of Landrie. [Heinrich]

Galain of Ronnes

A duke who served Galehaut. Galain lent Gawain his shield to use in a battle against the Saxons in Scotland. [LancLac, VulgLanc]

Galamanasar [Gabanasar]

A pagan king, related to King Priam of Troy, who constructed a castle in Britain, dubbed the Treacherous Castle by St. Augustine. Galamanasor and his people remained steadfast pagans while Joseph of Arimathea converted the rest of Britain to Christianity. [PostQuest, ProsTris]


Sister of Gasozein of Dragoz. Her brother challenged Arthur for Guinevere. Galamide was a powerful fairy, and she supplied Gasozein with magnificent arms from the land of Lansgei. [Heinrich]

Galangelle of Klumester

During a speech in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, Gawain tells of how he slew Galangelle the giant. This episode, however, does not exist in surviving Arthurian romance. [Heinrich]


A knight who joined Arthur’s battle against the Saxons at Clarence. [Livre]

Galantivet [Galentivet]

Brother of Girflet and cousin of Lancelot. Gawain took him as his squire and protégé. When Sir Escanor the Handsome brought an accusation of murder against Gawain, and Gawain was reluctant to defend himself, Galantivet ambushed Escanor and wounded him. [Girart]

Galanton [Garanton]

A castle where, in one of his first adventures, Perceval rescued Sir Patrides, who was chained to a block of stone. [VulgLanc]


Gawain’s sword, according to Malory, which he used in the Roman War. The Alliterative Morte Arthure calls it Galuth. [Malory]

Galapas [Golapas]

A giant that Arthur killed at the battle of Soissons (the final battle of the Roman War). When Galapas engaged Arthur, Arthur wielded Excalibur and cut off both of Galapas’s legs at the knees, thus lowering him to an adequate height for beheading. His literary roots may cross paths with the giant Galaas and the fountain of Galabes. [Allit, Malory]


A young knight accidentally killed by Lancelot during a joust. [Malory]


A lady at Arthur’s court in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône. Along with many others, she failed a chastity test. [Heinrich]


A Welsh form of Galahad.


Lancelot’s son in the Serbo-Russian Povest’ o Tryshchane. Though his name is similar to Galahad, he shares none of Galahad’s characteristics or adventures. Lancelot and Tristan tried to rob him of his horse and armor, but he defeated Lancelot in combat. When he discovered that he had beaten his father, he retired to a monastery for the rest of his life. [Povest]

Galede [Galide]

A river flowing past the castle of Galedon. Bors, seeing a maiden in distress, spurred his horse across the river, even though he would have drowned under the weight of his armor if his horse had stumbled. [VulgLanc]


A castle on the Galede river where Bors rescued a maiden. [VulgLanc]

Galegantin1 [Galegaudinz, Galegentix, Galerantis, Galygantynis, G(u)allega(n)tins]

One of Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table, from Wales. He is first mentioned by Chrétien de Troyes. He may be the origin of Hartmann’s Galagaundris and Ulrich’s Galagandreiz. He fought in Arthur’s wars against the Saxons, appears in a number of tournaments, and was imprisoned in both the Dolorous Prison and the Forbidden Hill. He contracted an illness in the former and nearly died, but was healed by the Hermit of the Thicket. After participating in the Grail Quest, he was killed by Mordred at the battle of Salisbury. [ChretienE, LancLac, VulgLanc, Livre, ProsTris]


Lancelot’s maternal grandfather; the father of Elaine and Evaine. After his daughters were married, Galegantin retired to a seaside hermitage and became a holy man. Lancelot visited him during the Grail Quest, on his way to Corbenic, and Galegantin tried to persuade him to end his affair with Guinevere. [PostQuest]

Galeguinant [Galys Gwynans]

An illegitimate son of King Urien, half-brother of Yvain, and brother of Yvain the Bastard. He fought bravely for Arthur in Arthur’s wars against the Saxons and against Lord Galehaut. [LancLac, VulgLanc, Livre, LancLaik]

Galehaut1 [Galahalt, Galahos, Galahot, Galaiotos, Galaous, Galehot, Galeotto, Galeus, Galiot, Galot, Galyot]

A noble, imperialistic knight from the early French Lancelot romances. He has a significant role in the first half of the Vulgate Lancelot, which is somewhat muted in the Prose Tristan, and then changed markedly by Malory.
   Galehaut’s lands are variously called Sorelois, Estregor, and the Distant Isles. His mother was called the Beautiful Giantess (named in La Tavola Ritonda as Bagotta), and his father (supplied by the Prose Tristan) was a giant named Brunor. His sister was called Delice or Riccarda. Brunor inhabited the Castle of Tears on the Giant’s Isle, the customs of which drove Galehaut away from home to seek his own kingdom. He conquered a number of kings including Bagdemagus, the King with a Hundred Knights, the First Conquered King, the King from Beyond the Borders of Galone, and King Gloeir of Sorelois. Gloeir he killed, seizing Sorelois, but he looked after Gloeir’s orphaned daughter. Tristan slew his father, for which Galehaut tried to seek revenge but later relented.
   In time, he decided to conquer Arthur, and attacked the land of Selice, which was under Arthur’s protection. Arthur had difficulty summoning all of his men to the battle site, but a mysterious “Red Knight” (Lancelot in disguise) and Gawain saved the day for Arthur. In the meantime, Galehaut realized that he would defeat Arthur from sheer force of his numbers, and decided to give Arthur a year to gather his entire army before attacking again. A year later, the two kings met again in battle, but Galehaut still had the greater number of men, and would have won almost immediately if it were not for Gawain and a “Black Knight” (Lancelot, again, in disguise) fighting on Arthur’s side. Galehaut so admired the deeds of the Black Knight that he met him after the battle and begged him to lodge with him that night. Lancelot agreed after extracting a promise from Galehaut to surrender to Arthur the following day. Galehaut consented, and peace was made between the two kings.
   Lancelot and Galehaut became fast friends, accompanying each other on a series of adventures both in Arthur’s lands and Galehaut’s. When Lancelot was made a Knight of the Round Table, Galehaut requested the same honor so that he might remain Lancelot’s companion. Journeying through his own land, however, Galehaut noticed that all his castles were crumbling. He had a disturbing dream, which his sages interpreted as meaning that Lancelot would cause his death. Eventually, Galehaut received a false report that Lancelot had been killed in the Forest of Adventures. He was so depressed from this report that he wasted away and died. Galehodin became his heir.
   Later romances tended to minimize the importance of his character. The Italian Tristano Riccardiano says that he died of wounds received in his fight with Tristan at the Castle of Tears. In contrast to the earlier romances, Malory gives Galehaut the “High Prince” a somewhat wicked character, eliminating his friendship with Lancelot and, indeed, including a plot by Galehaut and Bagdemagus, jealous of Lancelot’s prowess, to kill him. In Malory, he opposes Arthur in two tournaments, at Sorelois and Leverzep. [LancLac, VulgLanc, ProsTris, Conti, TristanoR, Tavola, Malory]

Galehaut2 [Galhaut]

A knight in the Brown Family. Galehaut was the son of Brun and Lye, the brother of Hector, Brun, Lore, and Ysille, and the father of Hector the Brown. [Palamedes]

Galehaut3 the Brown

A knight of the “Brown” lineage, which won fame in the generation before Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. He was the son of Hector or Mailhot, the brother of a second Hector, and the father of a third Hector. He cuckolded a knight named Diocenar and, with Diocenar’s wife, had a son named Febus. Galehaut enjoyed numerous adventures before a knight named Armond set upon him with fifty warriors. Though unarmed, Galehaut managed to kill Armond and eighteen of his attackers before he fell under their swords. In Italian romance, Galehaut the Brown is often confused with the first Galehaut. [Palamedes, Prophecies]

Galehaut4 the Brown

Uncle of the above Galehaut the Brown, brother of Hector the Brown, and father of another Hector the Brown. With his brother, he left Britain to avoid King Vortigern’s wrath but was marooned on an island. [Prophecies]


Uncle of the Lady of Montesclaire. When his niece’s city was besieged by marauders, Galahés sought out Gawain and directed him to the afflicted castle. [Contin1]

Galehodin [Galaodin, Galihodin, Galyhodyn]

Nephew, godson, and heir of Galehaut of Sorelois. Galehodin was the grandson of the King of North Wales. In the Vulgate Lancelot, he becomes lord of the town of Penning and hosts a tournament there, which Lancelot wins. He was a noble knight who treated Arthur’s companions well, although Malory tells a story in which he tries to kidnap Isolde, but is defeated by Palamedes. Galehodin supported Lancelot in the war against Arthur by helping to rescue Guinevere from the stake, and by fighting in the battles at Joyous Guard and Benoic. In return for his support, Lancelot made him Duke of Saintonge. After the death of King Arthur, Galehodin joined Lancelot in the abbey at Glastonbury and lived there as a hermit until Lancelot’s death. With Lancelot’s other knights, he took Lancelot’s body to Joyous Guard and buried it. He then returned to his own lands. Galehodin is found in La Tavola Ritonda as Abastunagio. [VulgLanc, Melekh, Girart, Malory]


A knight in Arthur’s service. [Floriant]

Galenice [Galence]

A British castle in the Vulgate Merlin. Its castellan fought against the Saxons with King Belinant of South Wales. Arthour and Merlin names its lord as Caradoc. [VulgMer, Arthour]

Galenin [Kahenin]

A British duke. Bors championed the lady of Galway against Mariale, Galenin’s son. [VulgLanc]


One of Perceval’s eleven paternal uncles in Perlesvaus. He was the eleventh son of Gais the Large and the brother of Alain. Known as the lord of the White Tower, and he died at a young age. [Perlesvaus]

Gales1 [Gale(t)(z), Galoes, Galys, Glois]

A variant spelling of Wales, used by many writers, some of whom were confused into making it a kingdom separate from Wales. Gottfried von Strassburg, for instance, erroneously believed that it was populated by Saxons, and that the name of England (Engeland) was derived from it. The Vulgate romances purport that the name came from its first king, Galahad—prior to this, it was called Hoselice. [Gottfried, LancLac]

Gales2 the Bald [Gales Lithauz, Wales li Caus]

An Arthurian knight first mentioned in Chrétien’s Erec. He has little significance until the Fourth Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval, in which the author names him as the father of Perceval by the lady Philosofine, replacing Alain from Robert de Boron’s cycle and Pellinore from the Vulgate Cycle. According to the Vulgate Merlin, he fought in Arthur’s battles against King Rions and the Saxons. In Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, his beloved, Filleduch, fails a chastity test. In Claris et Laris, Gales avenges a knight’s murder by slaying his killer. [ChretienE, Contin1, HartmannE, Heinrich, LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgMer, Contin4, Claris]

Gales3 the Gay

A good and handsome knight of Arthur’s court who fought for Arthur in a war against the King with a Hundred Knights and the King from Over the Borders of Galone. His brother was Arthur’s knight Helis the Blond. [LancLac, VulgLanc]


A Knight of the Round Table who fought against the Saxons in the early days of Arthur’s reign. He is distinct from Galescalain. [Livre]

Galescalain [Galaas, Galathin, Galesc(h)in]

Arthur’s nephew, named as the son of King Nentres of Garlot and Blasine (Arthur’s half-sister) in the Vulgate Merlin, and as the son of the king of Escavalon in the Vulgate Lancelot. Although his father rebelled against Arthur, Galescalain dreamed of becoming one of Arthur’s knights. He deserted his father and joined with the young Gawain, his cousin. They headed for Arthur’s court, fighting several battles against the Saxons along the way, in which they were assisted by Merlin. Arthur knighted Galescalain for his brave service, and he became one of the Queen’s Knights. Arthur later made him the duke of Clarence. He fought in the war against King Claudas. Later, while on a quest to rescue Gawain from Caradoc of the Dolorous Tower, he saved the Lady of Cabrion and liberated the castle of Pintadol. In other adventures, he was imprisoned in the Valley of No Return, the Dolorous Tower, and the Forbidden Hill, but was rescued from all three by Lancelot. [VulgLanc, VulgMer, Livre]

Galesconde [Galescounde]

One of Arthur’s knights who fought in the battles against the Saxons and King Rions. He later became a frequent companion of Gawain. [VulgLanc, VulgMer, Livre, Arthour]


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


A knight in King Mark’s service who was a companion of Isolde. He was the son of the count of Miliag. [Eilhart]


A Cornish knight defeated in combat by Gawain. [Contin3]

Galicia [Galice, Galise]

A historical kingdom in northwest Spain. Wolfram says that Perceval’s uncle Trevrizent held fortresses there. In Claris et Laris, it is ruled by King Jonas, who is defeated by Claris and Laris. [Wolfram, Claris]


A knight who fought in the wars against the Saxons, alongside the rulers in rebellion against Arthur. [VulgMer]


An enemy of King Label, a pagan king converted to Christianity by Celidoine. [VulgEst]


Son of Brien of the Gastine. His father was an evil man who had invaded the Blanquemore Valley and the Lac as Jumeles. When his father was slain by Arthur’s Sir Meriadeuc, whose family owned the land, Galien pressed his father’s former conquests and besieged Meriadeuc’s family in the castle of Tygan. Gawain eventually joined the defenders and killed Galien. [Meriadeuc]


A knight slain by Galahad during the Grail Quest. Galien was trying to abduct a maiden. [ProsTris]


The tortured, troubled wife of Sir Breus the Pitiless—the enemy of all Knights of the Round Table—in La Tavola Ritonda. Breus was insanely jealous of her and refused to let any visitors to his castle look upon her. [Tavola]


The Lady of Lothian. While staying with her uncle at Lidel Castle, she met Arthur’s knight Fergus, and immediately fell in love with him. Distressed to discover that Fergus was planning to face the Black Knight, she returned to her own land, where she was besieged in her castle of Roucebourc by a malevolent king. She promised Arthofilaus, the king’s nephew, a champion to fight within eight days, and then sent her lady Arondele to find one. Arondele returned with Fergus himself, who defeated Arthofilaus and the king, thus permanently sealing Galiene’s love. Fergus disappeared shortly, but Galiene met with him again at the Gedeorde tournament, and they married soon afterwards. Arthur awarded the happy couple the lands of Lothian and Tudiele. [Guillaume]

Galigant [Galigans]

A rich castle-town ruled by Lampart. Lampart instituted a custom by which he fought personally against any knight entering the town. If Lampart lost, the knight would receive the best lodging, but if the knight lost, the townspeople would get to cover the knight with filth. Gawain’s son Guinglain came to the town and defeated Lampart. [Renaut]


A historical region of northern Israel. Residents of Galilee were among the followers of Joseph of Arimathea. It was also the home of Esclabor the Unknown, Palamedes’ father. In two romances—Claris et Laris and the Alliterative Morte Arthur—it is allied to Arthur’s Roman enemies. Claris names its king as Marbrin. [VulgEst, PostQuest, Claris, Allit]

Galinan the Black [Calinan, Galinas]

Son of Guiron the Courteous and Bloie. He was raised by the lord of the castle where his parents were imprisoned when he was born. His foster-father named him after himself. He grew up with Guiron’s prowess but with his foster-father’s wicked disposition. He defeated Arthur and several Knights of the Round Table at the Fountain of the Pine. Conquered by Lancelot during the Grail Quest, he was eventually slain by Palamedes. [Palamedes, Tavola]


One of Arthur’s knights in the German story of Antelan. He is defeated in combat by King Antelan. [Antelan]

Galleron [Galaron, Galeron]

A Scottish knight in The Awntyrs of Arthur whose lands were annexed by Arthur and given to Gawain. Angry, Galleron appeared at Arthur’s feast at Rondoles Hall and challenged any of Arthur’s knights to a duel. Gawain fought with him at Plumpton. Galleron proved strong and seemed to be winning at the beginning. When Gawain made a comeback, Galleron killed Gawain’s horse, Grissel. They fought for hours longer, and both were wounded severely but neither proved the victor. Finally, Galleron yielded to Gawain and ended the combat. For his bravery, Gawain bestowed upon Galleron all the lands that Arthur had annexed. Galleron was then made a Knight of the Round Table. Malory names him as one of the twelve conspirators who sought to catch Lancelot and Guinevere in flagrante and expose their affair to Arthur. Lancelot killed him in the battle outside Guinevere’s chambers. [Awntyrs, SyreGaw, Malory]


One of Arthur’s warriors. [Culhwch]


One of Arthur’s warriors. Whenever he entered a town, he kept all the townsfolk awake until his desires were fulfilled. [Culhwch]

Gallidés [Galindes]

The lord of the White Caste. He conquered the lands of his niece, the lady of Hungerford Castle, when she refused to marry his seneschal. The lady of Hungerford, on the verge of defeat, was able to retain the services of Bors, who defeated many of Gallidés’ knights and, eventually, Gallidés himself. He forced Gallidés to return the stolen lands to the lady, and Gallidés was reconciled with his niece. [VulgLanc]

Galligar the Red [Galagars, Galligars]

A knight of Arthur’s court who was promoted to the Round Table, on the recommendation of King Pellinore, after the battle of the Humber. [PostMer, Malory]


A knight whose brother, Gallinor, was imprisoned by Baudon of Avarlan. Gallin challenged Baudon for Gallinor’s freedom, but was badly wounded before the duel could be fought. Coming upon a party of Arthur’s knights, he related his story, and Gaheris agreed to fight against Baudon in Gallin’s stead. Gaheris was victorious, and Gallinor was freed. [PostMer]


A knight imprisoned by Baudon, the son of the Duke of Avarlan, in a misunderstanding over a woman. His brother, Gallin, arranged to duel Baudon, but was injured, so Gaheris (Gawain’s brother) fought in his place. Gaheris defeated Baudon, and Gallinor was freed and reconciled with his former enemy. [PostMer]

Galloway [Galeway, Galoee, Galvoie, Walweitha]

A province of southwest Scotland, which, in Layamon, Arthur pacified in the early days of his reign. Chrétien de Troyes describes it as a “harsh and cruel land, where the people are faithless.” It was guarded by Orguelleuse of the Narrow Passage, who vowed to never let any knight leave the country alive. Gawain had a number of adventures in the land, most notably at the palace called Canguin Rock (Wolfram von Eschenbach places this in a fictional land called Terre Marveile). It was the homeland of an Arthurian knight named Galleron, who challenged Gawain for the ownership of several properties nearby. Gawain’s associations with Galloway in these romances may preserve some memory of a legend in which Gawain was its ruler, a notion that appears in William of Malmesbury. In Escanor, it is ruled by Count Brandis. [WilliamM, Layamon, ChretienP, Girart, Malory]

Galluc [Galauk]

One of the earls of Salisbury under King Arthur. Galluc fought for Arthur in the war against Rome. He participated in the battle of Soissons and was killed there. [GeoffHR, Bek]

Galoain [Milon]

A count who met Erec and Enide during their adventures in Chrétien’s Erec. He desired Enide and tried to convince her to abandon Erec for him. Enide warned Erec of Galoain’s intentions, and they hurried away. When Galoain followed them, Erec beat him unconscious. His counterpart in the Welsh Geraint is the Brown Earl. Renaut places him at the Castle of Maidens tournament, where he was defeated by Guinglain. [ChretienE, Renaut, Erex]

Galobrus of the Red Glade

A kinsman of Lancelot. One manuscript of Perlesvaus says that, in a later continuation of the story, Galobrus will assist Lancelot against Claudas (Loomis, Romance, 263).


A Knight of the Round Table. [HartmannE]

Galoes2 [Galwes]

Perceval’s paternal uncle, whose name Wolfram probably borrowed from Hartmann’s Galoes. The son of King Gandin and Queen Schoette, Galoes inherited the kingdom of Anjou. Galoes’s brother, Gahmuret, set out in search of adventure despite Galoes’s pleas for him to remain at court. Galoes loved the lady Annore, Queen of Averre, and he died in her service at Muntori. His slayer was Duke Orilus of Lalander. [Wolfram]

Galogandres of Gippones

A duke who served King Clamadeu and was killed fighting against the army of Perceval and Condwiramurs at Beaurepaire. [Wolfram]


A Knight of the Round Table who was the son of Isabon. [HartmannE]


A duke from Greece who fought for King Lion of Namur against Wigalois (Gawain’s son) in a war sparked by a murder committed by Lion. In the battle, Galopear killed Marine, a female knight, and was in turn killed by Count Adan of Alarie, Marine’s grandfather. [Wirnt]


Son of King Mark of Cornwall in Jean D’Outremeuse’s Ly Myreur des Histors. To avenge his father’s death at the hands of Arthur, he convinces the Emperor of Rome to invade Britain. Arthur defeats the emperor and chases him back to Rome, during which Mordred usurps the throne. [Jean]

Galot of Yberge [Galos]

A duke in Arthur’s service. Galot fought in Arthur’s war against the King with a Hundred Knights and the King from Over the Borders of Galone. [LancLac, VulgLanc]


Gawain’s sword in the Alliterative Morte Arthure. Malory calls it Galantyne. [Allit]


A count in the service of King Ekunaver of Kanadic, who went to war with Arthur. Galvan guarded a fortress at the edge of Kanadic, where he was slain by Arthur’s Sir Garel. [PleierG]


One of Arthur’s warriors, depicted on the Modena Archivolt as part of a troop who rode to rescue Guinevere from Marduc of the Dolorous Tower. The name is possibly a variation of Gawain, but another character named Galvagin—more properly identified with Gawain—appears on the same sculpture. Galvariun has also been identified with Galleron. [Modena]

Galway1 [Gallway, Galvoie]

A region of Ireland on the west of the island. According to Wace, it was part of Arthur’s empire. In Les Merveilles de Rigomer, it is ruled by an ally of Arthur’s named Lot (not Gawain’s father) and his son Midomidas. In Meriadeuc, a knight in Arthur’s service named Blidoblidas is called the son of the King of Galway. The region is sometimes confused with Galloway, an area in Scotland. [Wace, Merveil]


A castle near Corbenic, the Grail Castle. Its lady was plagued by Mariale, the son of Duke Galenin, in a land dispute. She was championed by Bors, who defeated Mariale. She introduced Bors to King Pelles of Corbenic. [VulgLanc]

Galyhud [Galehod, Galyhod]

A Knight of the Round Table, related somehow to Lancelot, who rescued Galyhud from the dungeon of the giant Tericam. When Lancelot and Guinevere were accused of treason, Galyhud joined Lancelot’s camp and helped him rescue Guinevere from the stake. He fought in the battles against Arthur at Joyous Guard and Benoic. In return for his support, Lancelot made him the earl of Périgord. After Arthur’s death, he joined Lancelot in a Glastonbury abbey. He attended Lancelot’s burial at Joyous Guard and then returned to his own lands. [Stanz, Malory]


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


A knight of Arthur’s court slain in the war against Mordred in the Alliterative Morte Arthure. His name may be a variation of Galleron. [Allit]


A prince of Medarie and Belakun; companion of princes Darel and Ariun. His lord, Schaffilun, was killed by Wigalois (Gawain’s son), to whom Gamer transferred his fealty. He accompanied Wigalois in a campaign against King Lion of Namur. [Wirnt]

Gameranz le Pelu

One of four evil “toll collectors” slain by Gawain. [Heinrich]

Gamille [Camille, Canile, Carmile, Cramile]

A Saxon sorceress who inhabited the Saxon Rock in Scotland. She seduced a knight named Gadresalain, and threw his lady into her prison. King Arthur became enamored of Gamille when he entered Scotland to repel a Saxon invasion. Gamille’s brother, Hargadabrant, was a Saxon king. For her brother’s sake, Gamille used Arthur’s affections to manipulate him into her prison, where he remained until rescued by Lancelot. After Lancelot took over the Saxon Rock, he had Gamille’s books of sorcery burned, causing Gamille to threw herself off a cliff. She survived with injury. [LancLac, VulgLanc, Arthour]


A locality in Ireland that was the home of Llenlleawg the Irishman. [Culhwch]


Co-leader, with Maladors, of an army of Saracens who fought Ambrosius and Uther Pendragon at Bristol. [Arthour]

Gamur the Saracen

An Arabian ruler who, along with two other potentates, challenged King Arthur to a tournament at Baghdad in Babylon. This tournament is recounted by Gawain in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône. [Heinrich]


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

Ganarew [Generth, Generon, Genoreu]

A castle on Mount Doward in the country of Archenfield in Wales. The castle sat along the river Wye. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, King Vortigern fled to this castle when pursued by Ambrosius Aurelius and Uther, who had come from Brittany to conquer the land. Vortigern fortified himself, but Ambrosius simply set the castle on fire and burned Vortigern alive. Nennius calls the same castle Vortigern. [GeoffHR, Wace]


A Knight of the Round Table. [HartmannE]

Gandaz the Black

A Knight of the Round Table who participated in the Grail Quest. His brother was Sir Gandin of the Mountain. [PostQuest]

Gandelus [Gandaluz, Ganedlu]

A Round Table knight who fought in a Castle of Maidens tournament in Le Bel Inconnu and whose wife failed a chastity test in Diu Crône. [ChretienE, Renaut, Heinrich]


One of Gawain’s pages. He was the son of Gurzgri and Mahaute, and thus was the grandson of Perceval’s tutor, Gornemant. [Wolfram]


The king of Anjou, son of Addanz, husband of Schoutte, father of Galoes, Gahmuret, Limmire, and Flurdamurs, and grandfather of Perceval. He appointed his daughter Limmire Queen of Styria. When he died in battle, his son Galoes inherited the kingdom. [Wolfram, PleierG]


In Gottfried’s Tristan, a mischievous knight from Ireland who was enamored with Isolde. Skilled in playing the rote (a type of stringed instrument), he traveled to Mark’s court and entertained Mark with his music. Mark was led to make a rash promise to grant Gandin anything he wished, and Gandin chose Isolde herself. Mark had little choice but to let Gandin carry her off. Tristan followed the pair and tricked Gandin—by playing his harp—into giving Isolde back. Gottfried may have taken the name from Wolfram’s character. In the Prose Tristan, this abduction is replaced with one by Palamedes. [Gottfried]

Gandin3 of the Mountain

A Knight of the Round Table who participated in the Grail Quest. His brother was Sir Gandaz the Black. [PostQuest]


A river in Europe that Wolfram von Eschenbach says was named after Perceval’s grandfather Gandin. [Wolfram]

Gandwy [Gadw]

One of Arthur’s gatekeepers. His son was named Cadrieth. [Geraint]


A baron who served King Mark of Cornwall. He conspired with two compatriots, Godoine and Denoalen, to expose the affair between Tristan and Isolde. [Beroul]


A traitorous servant of Charlemagne, whom he accompanied to Britain in the eighth or ninth century. They visited the Tower of the Dead, which Arthur’s knights had erected on the plain of Salisbury, with Mordred’s head hanging in the wind. Ganelon, perceiving that the Tower was a warning to all traitors, had the head cut down and buried in an undisclosed location. [PostMort]


Wolfram von Eschenbach says that the region around this Indian river was populated by a sub-human race with the features of boars. Cundrie the Sorcerer and her brother Malcreatiure were two of this race. [Wolfram]

Gangier of Neranden

A Knight of the Round Table. His brother was named Scos. [HartmannE]


Merlin’s sister in Geoffrey’s Vita Merlini. She was married to King Rhydderch of Cumbria, but was unfaithful to him. She despaired when Merlin went insane, and sent out knights to find him. When Merlin was brought to court, he told Rhydderch of Ganieda’s adultery, but Ganieda managed to convince her husband that nothing Merlin said could be trusted because of his madness. After her husband died and Merlin was restored to her wits, she went to live with her brother in the forest of Caledon. There, she developed, like Merlin, the ability to prophecy. She appears in Welsh legend as Gwenddydd. [GeoffVM]

Ganlidas [Galidas]

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

Gannes [Gaines, Ganys, Gaunes, Gausnes, Gawnes]

A French land ruled by King Bors, and also the chief city within the land. Its creator may have intended Vannes in Brittany. It is said to have bordered the kingdom of Benoic (ruled by Bors’ brother King Ban) and the land of King Claudas. Claudas invaded Gannes upon Bors’ death and assumed rulership, forcing Bors’ widow to flee to a nunnery. The people of Gannes organized an only partially successful revolt against Claudas, but a later campaign by Arthur drove out Claudas and established Sir Bors (King Bors’ son) as its king. (The Stanzaic Morte Arthur says that Bors was appointed to the throne by Lancelot.) In Malory, Bleoberis (King Bors’ godson) eventually becomes its king. Other knights, including Blamor and Lionel, called Gannes their homeland. The province’s abbey served as a healing place for Sir Lucan the Butler after he was injured by Tristan. [LancLac, VulgLanc, ProsTris, Stanz, Malory]


A British king who harbored Tristan during one of Tristan’s exiles from Mark’s court. [Eilhart]


A Knight of the Round Table from Scotland. He was mortally wounded by Lancelot during a tournament at Camelot. King Bagdemagus took his Round Table seat. [VulgLanc]

Ganor2 [Gaynor]

The Duke of Galafort in the time of Joseph of Arimathea. He was converted to Christianity by Celidoine, the son of Nascien, and he allowed his city to be used as the first Christian stronghold in Britain. By doing this, he broke faith with his overlord, the King of Northumberland, and was attacked. With the help of the Christian knights, he was victorious. He fought to liberate Joseph and his followers from King Crudel, who had imprisoned them. He recommended Galahad, Joseph’s son, for the crown of Wales. [VulgEst]

Gansguoter of Micholde

In Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, Igerne’s second husband, with whom she eloped after the death of Uther Pendragon. Gansguoter won her through his skill at fiddling. He constructed magical palaces for his wife, stepdaughters, and nieces (Amurfina and Sgoidamur). His own castle was called Madarp. During Gawain’s quest to retrieve a magic bridle, Gansguoter engaged him in a beheading game and, as happens with this theme, spared Gawain’s life. He later assisted Gawain in a quest to recover several artifacts stolen from Arthur’s court. His sister, a goddess, aided Gawain during his Grail Quest. Gangsguoter is analogous to Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Clinschor. [Heinrich]


A Knight of the Round Table. During the Grail Quest, he and two other knights were escorting a lady to her brother’s castle when they were set upon by ten of the lady’s enemies. Gansonais survived the battle, but his two companions were killed. Tired and wounded, he happily passed the woman on to Perceval when the latter happened along. [PostQuest]

Gantitiers of Jastuns

A knight at Arthur’s court. [Heinrich]

Ganves [Gamvis, Kanves]

One of Lancelot’s lands in Der Pleier’s romances. Although similar to Gannes of French romance, it is most likely a corruption of Genewis, Lancelot’s land in Ulrich von Zatzikhoven’s Lanzelet. [PleierG]

Gar of the Mountain

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


One of Arthur’s courts in Heinrich’s Diu Crône. [Heinrich]

Garanhon [Saranhon]

Son of Glythfyr. He was one of Arthur’s warriors and a companion of Geraint. [Culhwch, Geraint]

Garanwyn (“White Shank”)

Cei’s son. He was one of Arthur’s warriors. [Culhwch]


A castle in Logres where Tristan and Lancelot recovered after battling each other without knowing each other’s identities. [Tavola]


An Arthurian knight whose story, Garel von dem blühenden Tal, was written by Der Pleier in the thirteenth century. His native land was Styria, but he had been awarded the Blooming Valley by Arthur. He was the son of Meleranz and Limmire, and was a maternal cousin of Perceval. Present at Arthur’s court when King Ekuanver of Kanadic delivered a declaration of war, Garel accepted a mission from Arthur to scout Kanadic and report on Ekunaver’s forces. Along the way, he was sidetracked by a number of adventures: he saved the castle Merkanie from a malicious attack; he liberated the prisoners of Duke Eskilabon of Belamunt; he slew the giants Purdan and Fidegart; and he saved Queen Laudamie of Averre from the demon Vulganus. After this last trial, he married Laudamie and became the king of Averre. During each adventure, he gained allies and subjects, all of whom pledged their support in the war against Ekunaver. By the time he reached Kanadic, his army was large enough to defeat Ekunaver before Arthur’s forces even arrived. For this, he was richly rewarded by Arthur. He settled down in Averre with Laudamie and became a noble and generous king.
   Der Pleier seems to have gained inspiration for Garel from Der Stricker’s Daniel of the Blooming Valley, although Garel’s name first appears in Hartmann’s Erec and Wolfram’s Parzival as a Knight of the Round Table. He may be connected with Greu of the French Livre d’Artus. [HartmannE, Wolfram, PleierG]


The King of Mirmidon. He was slain by the evil King Roaz of Glois who, in turn, was killed by Gawain’s son Wigalois. [Wirnt]


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

Garengaus the Strong [Garingans]

A peer of Sir Bors. He was one of the knights victorious in a tournament at Estrangorre. He swore fealty to King Brandegorre’s daughter, promising to guard the Ford of the Woods and to send her the shields of all the knights he defeated. [VulgLanc]

Gareth [Carahés, Charahes, Charehes, Charheries, Gaheret(h), Gaheriet, Gariet(te), Garrett, Generez, *Guerrehet]

Gawain’s brother. He was the son of King Lot and either Belisent or Morgause. Gareth’s other brothers included Agravain, Gaheris, and Mordred. The earliest form of his name is so similar to the earliest form of Gaheris that the two brothers may have originally been the same character. He first appears in Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval. His name may be an adaptation of the Welsh Gweir. His first significant adventure comes in the First Continuation of Perceval, in which he avenges a knight named Brangemuer by slaying the Little Knight. His story is expanded in the Vulgate Cycle, and Malory attaches to him a Fair Unknown story (which is particularly reminiscent of Renaut de Bâgé’s Guinglain).
   The Vulgate Merlin and Malory offer two differing tales of his enfances. Merlin tells us that, with his brothers, he defected from Lot’s house and took service with Arthur. He battled the early Saxon invasion and participated in the war against King Claudas. He was knighted either by Arthur or his brother Gaheris.
   According to Malory, Gareth arrived at Arthur’s court under unusual circumstances at a Pentecost feast, refusing to identify himself. His brothers had not seen him in many years and did not recognize him. Arthur, impressed with the young man’s physique and demeanor, put him under the supervision of Kay, who bullied and scorned Gareth, forcing him to work in the kitchens and giving him the nickname “Beaumains,” or “fair hands.” After a year of this, a maiden named Lynet came to court requesting assistance for her sister Lyones, besieged in her castle by Sir Ironside, the Red Knight of the Red Lands. At Gareth’s request, Lancelot knighted him and Arthur assigned him the quest, much to the dismay of Lynet, who wanted a knight, not a kitchen page. Kay, also incredulous, challenged Gareth and was defeated. Despite the constant demonstration of his honor and skill in the subsequent journey, Lynet constantly insulted him, calling him a vile kitchen knave and forcing him to keep down wind. In succession, Gareth defeated the brothers Perard (the Black Knight), Pertylope (the Green Knight), Persaunt (the Blue Knight), and finally Ironside. He spared the latter’s life and sent him to Camelot. Gareth and Lyones held a great tournament at the Castle Perilous which proved Gareth’s prowess to Arthur’s kingdom. After another series of adventures, Gareth married Lyones at Kynke Kenadonne.
   In the Vulgate Lancelot, the Post-Vulgate, and Malory, Gareth has several other minor adventures which generally proved him a cut above his brothers. He prevented Gawain and Aggravain from killing Gaheris in revenge for Morgause’s death, condemned his brothers for the murder of Lamorat, and attempted to dissuade Aggravain and Mordred from exposing the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere. Unsuccessful in this last endeavor, Gareth was eventually slain by either Lancelot or Bors when Lancelot rescued Guinevere from the stake. This led to Gawain’s later hatred towards Lancelot. [ChretienP, UlrichZ, VulgLanc, VulgMort, PostMer, PostMer, PostQuest, PostMort, Malory]


A king of Libya. His successor, Amire, was married to Liamere, Garez’s daughter. His brother was King Lar of Korntin, and his niece, Larie, married Gawain’s son Wigalois. [Wirnt]


A wilderness near Joyous Guard where Tristan once encountered Kay and Dodinel. Kay took Tristan unaware and knocked him off his horse, then pleaded for Tristan’s forgiveness. [Tavola]


A mythological giant in sixteenth-century French literature, found in a number of texts. Two of these so-called “Gargantuan Chronicles” are Arthurian. Gargantua’s father, Grandgosier, had been created by Merlin from whales’ bones and Lancelot’s blood. His mother, Gargamelle, was created similarly from Guinevere’s finger nails. Merlin raised Gargantua and brought him to Arthur’s court, where the giant served Arthur for two centuries. At the end of his career, Gargantua was taken to Avalon by Morgan le Fay. [Gargantuan]


A lady loved by Tristan’s brother-in-law, Kahedin or Ruvalen, in one manuscript of the Prose Tristan and in Palamedes. Tristan helps arrange a tryst between Gargeolain and his brother-in-law, for which Gargeolain’s husband, Bedalis, later tracked Tristan down and mortally wounded him with a poisoned lance. When Gargeloain saw her lover killed, she fell down dead. Eilhart von Oberge tells the same story, calling the lady Gariole. [Palamedes, ProsTris]


The son of Berte and father of Bertrand. Garin, a resident of Tintagel, gave lodging to Gawain when Gawain came to witness the tournament between Tiebaut of Tintagel and Meliant of Lis. [ChretienP]


A squire present at King Mark of Cornwall’s tournament at Lancien. [Contin4]


A knight who joined Mordred’s rebellion against Arthur and was slain by Gawain. [Allit]


The wife of lord Nampentenis in Eilhart’s Tristrant. She was loved by Tristan’s half-brother Kahedins. Nampentenis kept her locked in a castle tower surrounded by walls and moats; however, she made wax impressions of the keys and gave them to Kahedins, who fashioned duplicate keys and used them to gain access. When Nampentenis found out about their tryst, he attacked Kahedins and Tristan, killing the one and mortally wounding the other. She is known in Palamedes as Gargeloain. [Eilhart]

Gariosso of Maganza

Lord of the city of Pontiere. Guiron the Courteous stole a lady from him. Gariosso went to Uther’s court, claiming the reverse: that Gariosso had stolen the woman from Gurion. The lady corroborated the lie. As was the custom with cuckolds in Uther’s court, Guiron was dragged by horses. [Tavola]

Garis of Lambale

A Knight of the Round Table who died during the Grail Quest. His uncle was named Hernars. [ProsTris]


A city in northern Britain, fortified against the Saxons by the kings in rebellion against Arthur. It may have a relation to Garlot. [VulgMer]

Garlin of Galore

An honorable king in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône. His son, Count Gotegrin, was a knight at Arthur’s court and was named as Guinevere’s brother. Though Garlin is not called Guinevere’s father, this can perhaps be inferred. [Heinrich]

Garlon the Red [Garlan]

Brother of King Pellehan of Listenois (a Grail King) who appears in the Post-Vulgate Merlin continuation, Malory, and Tennyson. He loathed Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. With the power to turn himself invisible, he enjoyed killing other knights by thrusting lances through their backs. Two of his victims were Sir Harlews and Sir Peryn. The populace thought there was a fiend on the loose. Arthur’s Sir Balin the Savage, investigating these killings, tracked Garlon to King Pellehan’s castle, where he joined a feast in Pellehan’s hall. Balin was hesitant to confront Garlon in the castle, but he became enraged when Garlon either slapped him in the back of the head (Post-Vulgate and Malory) or insulted Queen Guinevere (Tennyson). Balin stood up and clove Garlon through the head. Pellehan, enraged, insisted on fighting Balin, which led to the Dolorous Stroke. Tennyson says that Garlon was a lover of Vivien. [PostMer, Malory, TennIK]


A kingdom, castle, or city in northern Britain, near Clarence. The Vulgate Merlin mentions both Urien and Nentres as its rulers; Malory gives it entirely to the latter. It was one of the lands in rebellion against Arthur in the early days of his reign. Garlot was invaded by Saxons, and served as the site of several important battles. [VulgMer, PostMer, Arthour, Malory]


A Knight of the Round Table who participated in the Grail Quest. His brother was Guares the Black. [PostQuest]


The domain that Ulrich von Zatzikhoven assigns to Gawain, although it is not found in any other story. It may be a corruption of Karnant, which Hartmann von Aue gives as the kingdom of Erec’s father, King Lac. [UlrichZ]


A valley visited by Tristan and Tessina. [Tavola]


A Knight of the Round Table found in the Serbo-Russian Povest’ o Tryshchane. As one of Arthur’s knights, and as a friend of Morholt of Ireland, he shares the position occupied by Gaheris in the Prose Tristan. Garnot, however, is named as Arthur’s son rather than his nephew. [Povest]

Garnysh of the Mount

In Malory, a knight encountered by Balin after he delivered the Dolorous Stroke to King Pellehan. Garnysh was sitting by a tree, crying because his lady, daughter of Duke Harmel, had not kept a rendezvous. Sir Balin stopped him from killing himself with his sword and took him to Duke Harmel’s castle to find his lady. There, they found the lady sleeping in the arms of another knight, at which Garnysh killed them both, cursed Balin for showing him the sight, and killed himself. The story appears in the Post-Vulgate Suite du Merlin, but the knight is unnamed. [Malory]


An Arthurian knight who accompanied Gawain on his quest to conquer Rigomer castle. [Merveil]

Garras of Cork [Carniz of Schores, Gartes of Nomeret]

A king present at the wedding of Erec and Enide. [ChretienE, HartmannE, Heinrich]


A Knight of the Round Table. [HartmannE]

Garsallas [Carsalas]

A knight who stole a stag’s head and brachet from Perceval while Perceval was fighting the Knight of the Tomb, Garsallas’s half-brother. Perceval later encountered and defeated him, and sent him to Arthur’s court. Garsallas’s father was the duke of Geneloie, and his paramour was named Riseut. [Contin2]


A servant in the Grail Castle and maiden in the Grail Procession. She came from Greenland. [Wolfram]


One of Arthur’s noblemen. His brothers were Earl Gorgun and Jentaneon. [Erex]

Garselid [Garselit]

One of Arthur’s warriors in Welsh legend. He was an Irishman and an expert houndsman. As one of his tasks, the warrior Culhwch had to obtain Garselid’s help in hunting the boar Twrch Trwyth. Garselid did attend the hunt, and was killed by the boar at Cwm Cerwyn. [Culhwch]


King of Karmerie and husband of Lambore. He died at a young age, which caused his wife to die of grief. His daughter, Tydomie, married Arthur’s nephew Meleranz. [PleierM]

Garth Grugyn

An English hill, site of the last stand of the piglet Grugyn (after whom the hill was evidently named). During the epic hunt of Twrch Trwyth, Arthur’s warriors pursued Grugyn Silver Bristle here and killed him, but Rhuddfyw Rhys and many other men were lost in the battle. [Culhwch]

Garwen (“Fair Leg”)

One of Arthur’s three mistresses, according to a Welsh Triad. Her father was Henin the Old. [Triads]


In a Welsh poem, a warrior of whom Arthur says “Fierce was his nature with sword and shield.” [WelshPG]

Garwy the Tall

Father of Arthur’s mistress Indeg. [Culhwch]


Son of Gwyddawg Gwyr. One of King Arthur’s warriors, he was killed by the boar Twrch Trwyth at Llwch Ewin during the epic hunt. [Culhwch]

Garym (“Shout”)

Wife of Arthur’s warrior Cyfwlch. [Culhwch]


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

Gasan [Gazan]

One of the two cities flanking the enchanted Merlin’s Tower. The other was the White Castle. [VulgLanc]


A nobleman from Normandy who invaded the Arabic kingdom of Zazamanc. He was defeated in single combat by Perceval’s father Gahmuret, who was fighting for Zazamanc. His capital was Rouen. His maternal uncle was King Kaylet of Spain. [Wolfram]

Gascony [Gascoigne, Gascoyne, Gaskoyne]

A territory in southwest France. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Duke Hoel conquered it as part of Arthur’s campaign in Gaul. Rulers in other sources include Hardiz (Wolfram), Aramont (Prose Lancelot), Ladon (Claris et Laris), Bors (Welsh Triads), and the Hunting Knight (Irish tale). According to Arthour and Merlin, Uther Pendragon acquired it from Harinan, Igerne’s first husband; in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, Gascony is also represented as part of Uther’s kingdom. [GeoffHR, Triads, Wolfram, Layamon, LancLac, Heinrich, Arthour, Claris, IrishL]

Gasoudenc [Gasaudenc]

An Arthurian knight in the romance of Yder. He participated in Arthur’s war against Taulas of Rougemont, a vassal in rebellion, and was defeated in combat by Yder. [Yder]

Gasozein of Dragoz

A powerful knight who presented himself at Arthur’s court, claiming that Guinevere actually belonged to him. In conversation with Arthur, Guinevere had alluded to a past relationship with Gasozein, so his claim seemed to have credit. Arthur gave the matter to Guinevere, and the queen denied any knowledge of Gasozein’s ludicrous assertion. Gasozein left court in a rage. Guinevere’s brother, Gotegrin, thought the queen had done wrong and kidnapped her. As Gotegrin was about to kill her, Gasozein himself rescued her, but the rescue became an abduction when he tried to kidnap and rape her. Gawain arrived in the midst of this, defeated Gasozein in combat, and returned him to Arthur’s court, where he admitted that he had no valid claim to the queen. Gawain then arranged an engagement between Gasozein and Sgoidamur, Gawain’s sister-in-law. Gasozein is found in French romance as Gaswain. [HartmannE, Heinrich]


An emperor of an unknown land, who procured a magnificent garment from Morgan le Fay and gave it to Guinevere. [ChretienE]


An Arthurian knight in the romance of Yder. He participated in Arthur’s war against Taulas of Rougemont, a vassal in rebellion. [Yder]

Gaswain [Gasoain, Gasosin, Gosenain, Goswain]

A Knight of the Round Table from the land of Estrangorre. We learn in the Vulgate Merlin that as a young man, he fought with Gawain against the Saxons invading Britain, and was knighted by Arthur for his service. He apparently quarrelled with Gawain after one accused the other of being a traitor. Later, he accompanied Gawain on a mission to check on a report that the castle Dolorous Guard had been liberated by Lancelot, and he was captured and imprisoned in the Dolorous Prison by Brandin of the Isles. Lancelot rescued him from here, and also from the prison of the evil Tericam. He may appear in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône as Gasozein of Dragoz. [LancLac, VulgMer, Arthour]

Gatuain Batewain

One of Arthur’s knights who was the son of King Cabcaflin. [HartmannE]


One of Arthur’s knights. [Golagros]


A region near Arthur’s Caerleon court. [Heinrich]

Gaudin2 of the White Shield

A castellan who once gave lodging to Perceval. [Contin4]

Gaudin3 the Brown of the Mountain [Gaud(u)i(ns)]

One of Arthur’s knights, first mentioned by Chrétien de Troyes (in Erec). Renaut de Bâgé calls him the King of Ireland. In Les Merveilles de Rigomer, he joins Gawain’s quest to conquer Rigomer castle. Along the road, he left the company and rescued a maiden (whom he eventually married) from four giants. Arriving at Rigomer alone, he was imprisoned until freed by Gawain. [ChretienE, Renaut, Merveil]


The malevolent lord of Fors Graviers, an Irish castle. Gawain happened to visit Gaudionés castle on his way to conquer the castle Rigomer. Gaudionés, knowing of Gawain’s prowess, sent a group of maidens to disarm him, knowing that Gawain would not attack them. He threw Gawain in a prison, instructing his sister to torture and starve the knight. Gaudionés’s sister, however, helped Gawain to escape. Gawain later encountered Gaudionés, defeated him, and took him prisoner. [Merveil]

Gaul [Galijus, Gallya, Gawl]

A vast region of western Europe—including France and Germany—inhabited by a number of of Teutonic tribes in Arthur’s day. According to Geoffrey, it was conquered in the fifth century by Maximus, and later by Arthur, who had to take it from the Roman leader Frollo. The thirteenth-century Lancelot do Lac says that King Claudas, Lancelot’s enemy, transferred his allegiance from King Aramont of Brittany to an unnamed King of Gaul. In Malory, King Bors is given as King of Gaul, but this is unlikely since the region was so large, and it encompassed many other kingdoms, including his own brother’s. If Bors had truly been King of Gaul, his power would have surpassed Arthur’s, and other legends more reasonably make Bors’ kingdom Gannes. Sir Accalon also came from this region. In most Arthurian legends, Gaul can be considered synonymous with France.
   An unnamed King of Gaul appears in Meriadoc as an opponent of the Emperor of the Alemanni. As part of a peace treaty, he was betrothed to the Emperor’s daughter, but he rejected her when he found that King Meriadoc of Wales had already slept with her. After Meriadoc slew the Emperor, the King of Gaul awarded him numerous lands. In Meriadoc, the King of Gaul may refer to Clovis, the King of the Franks, who won a battle against the Alemanni in 506 a.d. [GeoffHR, Meriadoc, LancLac, Malory]


A knight defeated by Perceval after he abducted the lover of Sir Dodinel the Savage. He was forced to release the maiden and to go to Arthur’s court, where he became a Knight of the Round Table. [Contin3]


The birthplace of the son of King Frollo of Gaul. [PostQuest]

Gauriel of Montabel

A knight who married a fairy, but lost her (and his own handsome features) when he revealed her existence to others. To reclaim her, he had to journey to Arthur’s court, defeat three knights, and take them to her land of Fluratrone. He managed to capture Walban, Gawain, and Yvain, and he was thereby reconciled with his wife. In a further adventure at Arthur’s court, he rescued the Count of Asterian’s daughter from a kidnapper. He was accompanied in his adventures by a pet ram. [Konrad]


A continental land in which Perceval’s uncle Trevrizent once sought adventure. [Wolfram]


A knight healed by Meriadeuc. Gaus, the son of the King of Norval, set out on adventures when he was young. He eventually met the spectre of a former Knight of the Round Table. The two knights fought, and Gaus was deeply wounded by the spirit’s sword. The spirit left the sword with Gaus and promised Gaus that he would be healed when a nameless knight of great valor came along and struck Gaus with the sword again. Meriadeuc, having found the sword at the Fountain of Marvels, fulfilled the prophecy. [Meriadeuc]

Gautere [Gaunter]

A knight from Cornwall who was the brother of Sir Arnold. He was one of three unfortunate knights who attacked a knight that they thought was Kay. It was actually Lancelot, disguised in Kay’s armor, and the trio got the surprise of their lives. As a condition of his surrender, Lancelot made him go to Camelot and surrender to Guinevere. He was made a Knight of the Round Table, fought at the Castle Perilous tournament, and appeared at the healing of Sir Urry. He was killed fighting Lancelot and his men when Lancelot rescued Guinevere from the stake. [Malory]


Lancelot’s birthplace in Les Merveilles de Rigomer. Traditionally, Lancelot’s place of birth is named as Benoic. [Merveil]


A knight who abducted the lover of Sir Dodinel the Savage. Perceval chased him down, defeated him, and sent him to Arthur’s court, where he became a Knight of the Round Table. [Contin3]

Gawain1 [Calliano, C(h)alvano, Ga(u)gain(s), Galvagin(us), Galwainus, Galwan, Gaoulbanos, Gauan, Gauvain(s), Gauve(i)(n)(s), Gavain(s), Gavaon, Gaven, Gavion, Gawa(i)ne, Gawains, Gawan, Gaw(a)yn(e), Gawe(i)n, Gawin, Gowin, Grion, Gualgua(i)nus, Gualwanus, Valven, Walewein, Walgan(nus), Waluuanii, Walwa(i)n(us), Walwe(i)n, Walwin, Wawain, Wawayne]

Nephew of Arthur and one of his most famous knights. He is the quintessential knight errant and lover of maidens. In contrast to other prominent knights, such as Perceval or Yvain, no author ever wrote a archetypal romance of Gawain. Although his life spans the great chronicles of Geoffrey of Monmouth and Malory, and a number of Middle English romances feature him, but he has no definitive Roman de Gawain in the manner of Chrétien’s Erec or Yvain.
   His first significant appearances are in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia and Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval. His character is inconsistent. Early French romance considered him the pearl of worldly knighthood, but the Vulgate and Post-Vulgate Cycles somewhat besmirched his character, turning him into a brash bully who murders knights during the Grail Quest and contributes to Britain’s downfall by egging Arthur into a war with Lancelot. Middle-English romance rejects this portrayal and again elevates him to the epitome of chivalric virtue, the most famous example being Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Malory, however, follows the Vulgate interpretation and, consequently, Gawain is a less significant character to modern audiences.
   Like Arthur, the figure of Gawain was born long before the Arthurian legends were written in verse or prose. He comes from the hazy realm of oral tradition, and by the time the Latin Chronicles or the French romances were written, their authors felt it sufficient to simply allude to his adventures. Thus, William of Malmesbury—who wrote the earliest existing reference to Gawain—simply mentioned his relation to Arthur and his tomb in Galloway.
   Gawain has no obvious origin in existing early Celtic legend, but he appears Geoffrey of Monmouth’s chronicle, and Geoffrey drew his Arthurian characters almost exclusively from Celtic tradition. Another Celtic feature is Gawain’s strength, which supposedly waxed in the morning and waned in the afternoon, indicating that in some murky origin, Gawain may have been a sun deity. Though his origins are uncertain, Gawain does have two predecessors or counterparts. The first, Cuchulainn, is an early Irish hero whose adventures (such as the Beheading Game) were assigned to Gawain, in modified form, in French and Middle-English literature. Gawain’s other counterpart is Gwalchmei, a Welsh hero who, like Gawain, is the nephew of Arthur. Gwalchmei is substituted for Gawain in later Welsh adaptations of French literature. Some scholars see Gwalchmei as Gawain’s direct origin, but R. S. Loomis rejected this argument in favor of a theory that makes Gawain (orignal form: Gualguainus) a derivation of Gwallt-afwyn (“wild hair”), the sobriquet of the Welsh warrior Gwrfan.
   Prior to his role in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s chronicle, Gawain has a few existing appearances which only hint at his adventures in early oral legend. William of Malmesbury (1125) says he was Arthur’s nephew and that he ruled Galloway, which was apparently named after him, and that his grave was discovered in Pembroke in Wales (there seems to be some confusion with an obscure St. Govan, who has a church in Pembroke). On the cathedral archivolt in Modena, Italy (c. 1135), he appears to rescue Guinevere from her abductors, Mardoc and Caradoc.
   Geoffrey of Monmouth (c. 1138) sketches a brief biography of his life, naming his parents as King Lot of Lothian and Anna, Arthur’s sister. During the time of Arthur’s conquests, Gawain is raised in Rome, in the service of Pope Sulpicius. He eventually returns to Britain and becomes one of Arthur’s warriors. When Arthur and Rome prepare for war, Gawain is part of a peace envoy sent to the camp of the Roman Emperor Lucius. Gawain takes offense to some comments by one of Lucius’s soldiers, cuts off his head, and starts the war. Gawain dies at Richborough, in the first battle between the forces of Arthur and Mordred, Gawain’s brother.
   Gawain made the transition from chronicle to romance in Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval (c. 1190). Though the romance is primarily about the title character, Gawain’s adventures occupy the last third of the uncompleted manuscript. Already, we find in Chrétien a portrayal of Gawain as a noble knight, quick with his sword (Excalibur) and with the maidens. While Perceval tries to unravel the mysteries of the Grail and to repair his previous blunder at the Grail Castle, Gawain must go to Escavalon to defend himself against a murder charge brought by Guingambresil. We witness him charm the sister of the king of Escavalon, and then fight his way out of the situation when the king’s guards arrive. Later, we see him kindly championing the little daughter of Duke Tiebaut of Tintagel in a tournament, and winning the tournament through his skill in arms. He endures the vicious tongue of Lady Orgelleuse of Logres, who leads him to Canguin Rock, a mysterious castle inhabited by ladies. He braves the Perilous Bed inside the castle, slays a lion, and apparently ends the castle’s enchantments. Chrétien seems to be contrasting the worldly adventures of Gawain with the spiritual education of Perceval.
   Chrétien’s story ends soon afterwards, and it is unclear how or if he intended to draw Gawain into the Grail Quest. Chrétien’s first continuator (c. 1200) focused on Gawain to the exclusion of Perceval, describing Gawain’s visit to the Grail Castle, but other continuators retained Perceval as the Grail hero. A notable exception is Heinrich von dem Türlin (c. 1230), who has Gawain complete the Grail Quest and heal the Fisher King.
   Throughout the thirteenth century—the golden age of French and German Arthurian romance—Gawain appears in dozens of romances, but rarely in his own adventures. Already established as the greatest of Arthur’s knights, Gawain acts as a mentor to young warriors and as a yardstick by which to measure the prowess of other knights. In an often-employed formula, a young knight first arrives at Arthur’s court and enters a tournament or joust to prove his prowess. The hero overthrows most of the Knights of the Round Table, but not Gawain, who fights the hero to a draw. In this manner, authors demonstrated the skill of their characters without having them defeat Arthur’s greatest knight. Some of these young heroes, such as Guinglain and Wigalois, are Gawain’s own sons; Gawain, known as the “Knight of Maidens,” has multiple amies and, it seems, multiple children.
   Among these romances, we have, for the first time, two accounts of Gawain’s youth: Les Enfances Gauvain and De Ortu Waluanniii Nepotis Arturi, which are apparently based on Geoffrey of Monmouth’s assertion that Gawain was raised in the service of Pope Sulpicius:
   Born illegitimately in the court of Uther Pendragon, Gawain was sent away by his mother in order to avoid any potential problems. She gave him to a knight named Gawain the Brown, who baptized the infant with his name. With only a ring and parchment attesting to his lineage, the infant Gawain was handed to some wealthy merchants (or rescued by fishermen), who took him to Gaul. Leaving him alone on their ship, they docked and entered the town of Narbonne. A poor fisherman named Viamundus happened along, plundered the ship, and took Gawain with him. In time, he journeyed to Rome and raised Gawain there, in the service of the Roman Emperor and Pope Sulpicius. Ignorant of his parentage and true name, Gawain was first called the Boy with No Name and then the Knight of the Surcoat. Knighted by the Emperor of Rome, Gawain claimed the right to the next single combat against Rome’s enemies, and was accordingly sent to Jerusalem when Rome went to war with Persia. On the way, the Roman fleet was blown off course and landed on a barbarian island, where Gawain and the Romans defeated the barbarian King Milocrates. Continuing to Jerusalem, he defeated the Persian warrior Gormundus and settled the dispute.
   Having thus served Rome, Gawain decided to journey to the court of the famous King Arthur. The Roman Emperor gave him a box containing the ring and parchment, which he was to present to King Arthur without opening himself. After Gawain defeated Arthur in a joust near his court in Caerleon, Arthur begrudgingly told Gawain that he could join his court if he proved himself worthy. Gawain soon had the chance when Arthur set out to liberate the Castle of Maidens, and Gawain proved himself the only knight able to defeat the pagan king who had captured it. Following this service, Arthur rewarded Gawain by informing him of his name and lineage, and by welcoming him into his service as his knight and nephew.
   Other French romances to feature Gawain include a pair of parodies called La Mule Sans Frein and Le Chevalier à l’Épée, La Vengeance Raguidel (Gawain avenges the muder of a knight named Raguidel against Sir Guengasoain), L’Atre Périlleux (Gawain rescues a maiden kidnapped by Escanor), Les Merveilles de Rigomer (Gawain conquers Rigomer castle after many of Arthur’s other knights, including Lancelot, fail). Also notable are Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône (c. 1230), a German romance that makes Gawain the Grail Hero, and Penninc and Pieter Vostaert’s Roman van Walewein (late thirteenth century), in which Gawain embarks on multiple interlocking quests with the ultimate goal of obtaining the Floating Chessboard from King Wonder.
   The great prose cycles written in the early thirteenth century offer the first and only detailed biography of Gawain’s life, intertwined with the epic tale of Arthur’s rise and downfall. This model was to serve as the source of Malory’s Gawain and, consequently, of the modern conception of Gawain. Gawain, though still a significant character, is eclipsed in importance by Lancelot. The Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal is the first romance to make Gawain a sinner; the portrayal in the Post-Vulgate romances is even darker; and in the Prose Tristan, he is thorougly evil. The account given by Vulgate and Post-Vulgate romances is summarized as follows:
   Gawain is born to King Lot of Lothian and Arthur’s half-sister (Belisent or Morgause). He is a descendant of Peter, a follower of Joseph of Arimathea. His brothers are Agravain, Gareth, Gaheris, and Mordred. Gawain’s father joins a rebellion against Arthur shortly after Arthur is first crowned. When Gawain, a young man, hears that Arthur is his uncle, he leaves his father’s household and swears never to return until Lot submits to Arthur.
   Joined by his brothers and cousins (Galescalain and the Yvains), Gawain goes to seek out Arthur, who is embroiled in a war against the invading Saxons. Along the war, Gawain and his companions encounter forces of Saxons, which they defeat at the battles of Logres and Diana Bridge, among others. Merlin assists Gawain in these fights. Eventually, Gawain and his companions find Arthur and are knighted for their brave service. Arthur gives Gawain Excalibur when he receives a better sword. Gawain participates in Arthur’s war with Lucius of Rome and begins the first battle as in Geoffrey of Monmouth.
   After Arthur has pacified Britain, Gawain has innumerable adventures, some of which are a credit to his character, some of which shame him. He embarks on several quests to find Lancelot, who always seems to be missing. Gawain defends Roestoc against an attack by Seguarades. He supports the true Guinevere duirng the False Guinevere episode. He is imprisoned for a time by Caradoc of the Dolorous Tower, but is liberated by Lancelot. He becomes king of the Castle of Ten Knights for six years.
   He gets into his usual scrapes over women: he is attacked by the king of North Wales after sleeping with the king’s daughter; and he betrays Pelleas by sleeping with Arcade. He allows himself to become ensorcelled by the ladies on the Rock of Maidens and has to be freed by his brother Gaheris.
   In the Post-Vulgate version, Pellinore has killed Lot, so Gawain and his brothers kill Pellinore and Pellinore’s sons Lamorat and Drian.
   Gawain visits the Grail Castle, but is unable to mend the Grail Sword. He is unable to deliver the daughter of King Pelles from her tub of boiling water. In another visit to Corbenic,  he sees the Grail, but his eyes are drawn away from the holy vessel to the beautiful maiden carrying it. He is driven from the castle in a cart, surrounded by peasants pelting him with dung.
   When the Sword in the Stone arrives at Camelot, Gawain is unable to draw it, and it is predicted that he will receive a wound for having tried. Gawain is the first to announce his commitment to the Grail Quest when the Grail appears to the Knights of the Round Table. During the quest, Gawain, Gaheris, and Yvain kill the seven brothers whom Galahad has exiled from the Castle of Maidens. In other adventures, Gawain kills his cousin Yvain the Bastard, King Bagdemagus, and sixteen other knights. He is told by a hermit that he cannot achieve the Grail because he lacks humility, patience, and abstinence. Eventually, he is wounded by Galahad in a tournament (by the same sword that Gawain had tried to draw from the stone) and is laid up for the rest of the quest. Afterwards, Arthur chastises him for having killed so many knights during a holy quest.
   Gawain remains neutral during the discovery of Lancelot’s affair with Guinevere until Lancelot accidentally kills Gaheris and Gareth while rescuing Guinevere from the stake. Gawain’s fury forces Arthur into a war with Lancelot, and Gawain refuses any compromise or surrender or apology from Lancelot. Finally, in Benoic, he fights Lancelot in single combat and receives a serious head wound. The Romans attack Arthur while Arthur is in France, and Gawain’s wound is aggravated during the battle. Arthur’s army returns to Britain to deal with Mordred’s treachery. Gawain, on his deathbed, relents and says, “I am sadder about not being able to see Lancelot before I die than I am about the thought of dying. If I could only see the man I know to be the finest and most courteous knight in the world and beg his forgiveness for having been so uncourtly to him recently, I feel my soul would be more at rest after my death.” Gawain perishes of his wound a few days later and is buried in a tomb with his brother Gaheris.
   Though this version of Gawain’s life and character survives in Malory (1470), Gawain briefly reclaims his heroic, pure status in the Middle English romances of the fourteenth century. These include Syre Gawene and the Carle of Carlyle (by passing a test of nobility, Gawain transforms the Carl of Carlisle and marries his daughter), The Avowing of King Arthur (Gawain rescues a maiden from Menealf), The Awntyrs off Arthure (Gawain defeats Lord Galleron of Galloway in a battle before Arthur), The Weddyng of Syr Gawen and “The Marriage of Sir Gawain” (Gawain marries the loathly lady in order to save Arthur), and, of course, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, in which Gawain demonstrates virtues while braving a beheading game at the hands of the supernatural Green Knight.
   Again, Malory, using the Post-Vulgate characterization, makes Gawain a knight whose human failings are all too evident, though his final letter of forgiveness to Lancelot (“By a more noble man might I not be slain”) is a magnanimous and moving moment. Gawain is not the main character in any of Malory’s eight books, though some of them feature Gawain in chapters. The ultimate effect of Malory’s treatment was to relegate Gawain to second-class status. In later romances, including modern fiction and film, Gawain’s character is eclipsed by the Lancelot-Guinevere affair. Tennyson mentions him only briefly.
   In Hughes’ The Misfortunes of Arthur, Gawain survives until the battle of Camlann. The Middle English Parlement of the Thre Ages is unique in saying that Gawain survived the Mordred wars and threw Excalibur into a lake. [Modena, WilliamM, GeoffHR, Wace, ChretienE, ChretienC, ChretienY, ChretienP, Contin1, Wirnt, PleierG, RobertBlo, Historia, Ywain, Stanz, Awntyrs, SirGawain, SyreGaw, Allit, Marriage, Weddyng, Malory, KingA&C, HughesT, HeberMG, TennIK]

Relations: Gawain’s family, wives, and kinsmen are named below. More information can be found under their respective entries.
   Father: Usually, King Lot of Lothian (and, sometmes, Orkney); Jascaphin in Heinrich von dem Türlin
   Mother: Arthur’s sister, variously called Albagia, Anna, Belisent, Morgause, Orchades, Sangive, Seife
   Wives and Lovers: Amie, Amurfina, Arcade, Beauté, Blanchandine, Blanchemal, Bloiesine, Ettard, Flori, Florée, Florie, Guenloie, Guilorete, Gwendolen, Halaés, Lorie, Orguelleuse, Pulzella Gaia, Ragnelle, Tanrée, Venelas, Ydain
   Sons: Beaudous, Florence, Guinglain, Henec Suctellois, Lionel, Lovell, Wigalois
   Brothers: Agravain, Aguerisse, Beacurs, Gaheris, Gareth, Gwidon, Mordred
   Sisters: Clarissant, Cundrie, Elaine, Itonje, Soredamor
See Also:  Beheading Game, Brandelis, Cuchulainn, Grail, Green Knight, Gringolet, Guinganbresil, Guiromelant, Gwalcmei, Loathly Lady, Rigomer

Gawain2 the Brown [*Gauvain le Brun]

The first foster-father of Gawain, entrusted with the child by Morgause and Lot. He named the baby after himself and eventually set him adrift on the ocean. The infant washed up on shore and was rescued by a fisherman. [Enfances]

Gawanides the Strong

Gawain’s grandson; the son of Wigalois and Larie. Wirnt von Grafenberg, in Wigalois, tells us that he was a noble and powerful knight who had many adventures, and that many tales were told about him. [Wirnt]


A bad knight and ravisher of ladies who was killed by Sir Aglovale. Gawdelyn’s brother, Sir Goodwyn, later tried to avenge this death by attacking Aglovale, but Goodwyn was himself killed. [Malory]

Gay Castle [*Gais Chasteaus]

A lively, splendid castle on the Thames river, ruled by Trahan the Gay, and inhabited by Trahan’s sons Melian the Gay and Drian the Gay, the latter of whom was rescued by Lancelot from a coffin. Afterwards, Lancelot attended a celebration at the Gay Castle. An unnamed Lord of the Gay Castle was one of Arthur’s allies against the Saxons. Arthur gave a castle of the same name to Morholt of Ireland. [VulgLanc, Livre, ProsTris]

Gay Gallant [Gais Galantis, Gay Galantin]

One of Arthur’s knights who, among many others, joined Gawain in a quest to investigate the Dolorous Guard, and in another to find Lancelot. [LancLac, VulgLanc]


A variation of Guinevere found in many Middle English romances.


A castle, probably in northern Britain. Its castellan fought against the Saxons in the early days of Arthur’s reign, along with the rulers in rebellion against Arthur. [VulgMer]

Gazevilte [Gazewilté]

The castle of the knight Persides. Persides locked up his wife, Elaine the Peerless, in the castle when she claimed that she was more beautiful than he was valiant. He agreed to let her go as soon as a more valiant knight or a more beautiful woman came along, thus settling the argument. Arthur’s knight Hector came to the castle and, through combat with Persides, decided the conflict in favor of Elaine. [LancLac, VulgLanc]


The son of the Babylonian King Micipsa, who fought against Arthur’s army at the battle of Soissons. He saw his father fall to the sword of Earl Leir of Boulogne, and he slew Leir in revenge. [Layamon]


A forest in Arthur’s lands that was the site of a white stag hunt and a tournament in Guillaume le Clerc’s Fergus. The tournament was called specifically to flesh Fergus out of hiding, and he proved the victor. Guillaume, who had a fair knowledge of Scottish geography, may have been referring to Jedburgh in Roxburghshire. [Guillaume]


The King of Karedonas and Trefferin who was treacherously slain by King Verangoz of Sorboreste. His daughter, Dulceflur, found Sir Meleranz, Arthur’s nephew, to avenge him. [PleierM]


The Count of Geer was the son of the King of the Island of the Gate and the brother of an Irish knight at Arthur’s court. The Irish knight slew the Count of Geer along with the rest of his family, and then fell burning from a tower at Camelot. [PostQuest]


A knight of Arthur’s court in the Serbo-Russian Povest’ o Tryshchane. [Povest]

Geldras of Duneile

A king who was a vassal or ally of Arthur. He participated in a tournament at the Castle of Maidens. The name of his land may be a variation of Dunveline, or Dublin. [Renaut]


The father of Gwyll, Arthur’s mistress. [Triads]


A ship’s captain who was a friend of Tristan. When Tristan was mortally wounded, he sent Genes to bring Isolde from Cornwall to heal him, but Genes and Isolde arrived too late; Tristan was already dead. Genes’s daughter was also named Isolde. Genes is found in the Prose Tristan; in other romances, this ship’s captain is generally not named. In some texts, it is Kahedins, Tristan’s brother-in-law. [ProsTris]


The Duke of Geneloie was the father of Garsallas, a knight defeated by Perceval. [Contin2]

Gener of Kartis

A mysterious lady encountered by Gawain during the Grail Quest in Diu Crône. She saved him from drowning in a river on the way to the Grail Castle by turning it into hard ground. Her brother, Humildis, was a renowned knight. [Heinrich]


The kingdom belonging to Pant (Ban), Lancelot’s father, in Ulrich’s Lanzelet. Although identification with Gwynedd in Wales and Guenet in Brittany have been suggested, it is most likely a variation of Benoic, Ban’s traditional kingdom in other Lancelot stories. It may have influenced Der Pleier’s Gamvis. [UlrichZ]


An Arthurian knight defeated in joust by Daniel of the Blossoming Valley. [Stricker]

Gennes [Genes]

A land in Arthur’s domain. Its king was one of Arthur’s knights, and he accompanied Gawain on two quests to find Lancelot. [LancLac, VulgLanc]

Genoa [Gene]

A seaport in northwest Italy. Genoese soldiers were considered among the best in the Emperor of Rome’s armies, and Lucius brought many of them, including a number of giants, to France when he waged war against King Arthur. [Allit, Malory]


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

Geoffrey of Monmouth

Arthur finds a copy of his Historia Regum Britanniae in the House of Temperance, ruled by Alma. The book is unnamed but is identified by its contents. Arthur’s version of the book, naturally, breaks off after the reign of Uther Pendragon. [Spenser]


Ruler, with the Lady Dyonise, of the Castle of Ten Maidens. He was a friend of Arthur’s Sir Durmart. [Durmart]


The true name of the Red Cross Knight in Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. He is St. George, the patron saint of England. [Spenser]

Geraint [Gereint]

As the hero of the Welsh legend bearing his name, he is the counterpart of Erec in French romance. He appears in several early Welsh poems, including one which describes his great deeds at the battle of Llongborth. The substitution of his name for Chrétien’s Erec is not entirely unfounded phonetically, as Erec is itself a derivative of Guerec. Several historical figures named Gerontius are known in Britain—particularly in the south—in and around the Arthurian period, and any of them (or, perhaps more likely, a conflation of them all) could have inspired the character.
   Geraint was the son of King Erbin of Devon and Cornwall, the brother of Ermid and Dywel, and the father of Cadwy. As a young warrior, Geraint avenged an insult to Queen Gwenhwyfar (Guinevere) committed by the warrior Edern (Yder) by defeating Edern in a sparrowhawk tournament. During the quest, Geraint lodged with Earl Niwl in Cardiff and fell in love with the earl’s daughter, Enid. After settling the score with Edern, Geraint returned to Arthur’s court where he was honored for his victory, and was given Enid’s hand in marriage.
   In time, his father grew infirm, and Geraint returned to Devon to assume the responsibilities of a ruler. Though always deemed the best warrior in jousts and tournaments, Geraint grew bored with feats of arms and preferred to spend his time with his wife in their chambers. Rumors began to circulate concerning Geraint’s worthiness as a ruler. The grumbling reached Enid’s ears, and one morning in bed, when she thought Geraint was asleep, she lamented about the growing scandal. Geraint misinterpreted her words and perceived that she had been unfaithful. He forced his wife to accompany him on a series of dangerous adventures, culminating when, Geraint having been knocked unconscious by some giants, an earl named Limwris tried to force himself on Enid. Geraint awoke at Enid’s screams and killed the earl. Realizing that Enid was faithful after all, Geraint asked for, and received, his wife’s forgiveness.
   The Welsh poem that praises Geraint’s deeds at Llongborth may imply, but does not explicitly say, that he died there. Tennyson alone describes his death fighting heathens on the northern sea. [Gododdin, WelshGer, Geraint, TennIK]


An Arthurian knight from Wales slain by the giant Jolyan during the Roman War. [Allit, Malory]

Gerard2 le Breuse

Brother of Sir Arnold le Breuse. On his quest to defeat the Red Knight of the Red Lands, Gareth encountered the brothers at a passage over the river Marcosia. In a brief battle, both brothers were killed. [Malory]

Gereinyawn the Old

Father of Arthur’s warrior Cerenhyr. [Triads]


King of Hungary in Floriant et Florete. He served Emperor Filimenis of Constantinople, who joined a war against Arthur. The war ended in a truce. Geremie’s daughter, Blanchandine, married Gawain, and Gawain inherited Geremie’s kingdom. [Floriant]


King of India in Claris et Laris. He joined Emperor Thereus of Rome in a war against Arthur and was slain in battle by Sir Laris. [Claris]

Geres the Little

One of Arthur’s knights. [Mottuls]


King Arthur’s fool in the Norse Möttuls Saga. He is probably related in origin to the knight Girflet. [Mottuls]

Gerhart of Riviers

A prince who attacked the castle Merkanie because King Tjofabier of Merkanie refused to allow Gerhart to wed Sabie, Tjofabier’s maiden daughter. In the ensuing battles, he killed Gilbert, Tjofabier’s son. Arthur’s Sir Garel ended the conflict by defeating Gerhart and Rialt, Gerhart’s kinsman. As a condition of Gerhart’s surrender, Garel made him pledge support to Arthur’s war against King Ekunaver of Kanadic. [PleierG]


In the Middle English Sir Degrevant, the Duke of Gerle was a suitor of Melidor, the maiden loved by Sir Degrevant (a Knight of the Round Table). Degrevant defeated the Duke of Gerle in combat twice, forcing him to relinquish his claim to Melidor’s love. Gerle was apparently in France. [SirDeg]


A saint who lived from 378 to 448. He was a Roman official who presided in Gaul before, in 418, he was appointed bishop of Auxerre. He traveled to Britain at least twice. His second visit, in 447, becomes material of legend in Nennius’s Historia Brittonum, partly adapted from Germanus’s Life. Nennius says that Germanus came to Britain at the request of King Vortimer. Christianity had been damaged during the reign of Vortigern, whom Vortimer had deposed. When Vortigern reclaimed the throne, Germanus condemned him for marrying his own daughter. When Vortigern ignored Germanus’s pleas to break the union, his castle (in one account) was destroyed in a holy fire. [Nennius, GeoffHR]


Historically, the Saxons who invaded Britain in the sixth century came from Germany, and Geoffrey of Monmouth according lists Hengist and Horsa as German natives. Though the country was divided by number of Teutonic tribes in the fifth and sixth century, several “dukes” or “emperors” of Germany appear in various Arthurian romances. Among them are an Emperor of Germany whose daughter, Fenice, is the love of Cliges in Chrétien de Troyes’s Cliges; another Emperor of Germany who joins a tournament at Camelot in the Vulgate Lancelot; and Emperor Henry of Germany, who is named as the father of Arthur’s Sir Laris in Claris et Laris. An Emperor of the Alemanni figures into the tale of Meriadoc. Duke Frollo, who rules Gaul in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s chronicle, is the ruler of Germany (owing his allegiance to Rome) in the Vulgate Merlin, and the Germans join Frollo, Emperor Lucius, and King Claudas in a series of aggressions against Arthur. Frollo had stolen the dukedom from a Duke Mathem. [GeoffHR, ChretienC, VulgLanc, VulgMer, Claris, Historia]

Germions [Gremions]

One of Arthur’s knights in Les Merveilles de Rigomer. Germions joined Gawain’s quest to conquer Rigomer castle. [Merveil]

Gernemant of Northumberland

A knight who loved the maiden of the Castle of the Door. When she refused to marry him, he besieged the the castle. He eventually abandoned the siege, after arranging with the Lord of the Castle of the Door that if the maiden could not find a champion within a year, Gernemant would take her by force and give her to his vilest stable boys. Just before the end of the year, Gawain visited the Castle of the Door and agreed to champion the maiden. Gawain killed Gernemant. [Meriadeuc]


An island on which the fairy Blanchemal resided. [Contin4]


A knight in the service of King Ban of Benoic and King Bors of Gannes. Girflet wounded him in a tournament between the brother kings’ knights and Arthur’s warriors. [VulgMer]


According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, a king of Britain in the third or second century BC. Gerontius was the son of King Elidur. Gerontius succeeded his cousin, King Runno. Gerontius’s son, King Catell, succeeded him. Gerontius is a popular name in British history. See Geraint. [GeoffHR]


Arthur’s chief elder in his northern lands, according to a Welsh Triad. [Triads]

Gervais the Slender [Ieroas]

A knight who fought in Arthur’s battles against King Rions at Carmelide. [VulgMer, Arthour]

Geryne le Gross

A knight. Alexander the Orphan, King Mark’s nephew, arranged for Geryne to be married to a young maiden who had wanted to marry Alexander. [Malory]

Geun of Turie

A fairy who lived in Maiden Land, the island where Lancelot was raised. When Lancelot prepared to depart the island, Geun made him a splendid shield. [UlrichZ]


In the Tristano Panciaticchiano, the brother of Mador of the Gate who was poisoned at Arthur’s court. Guinevere, who had hosted the feast at which he died, was accused of murder by Mador, but Lancelot championed her and she was exonerated. The same character is called Gaheris in the Vulgate Mort Artu and Patrise in Malory. [TristanoP]


A lady in the ancestry of the Brown Family. She was the daughter of Brun and Pamphille and the sister of Yrlande. [Palamedes]

Giant without a Name [Jaiant sans nom]

A giant baptized and knighted by Arthur. The son of a dwarf, the Giant was suckled by a unicorn as a child, which turned him into a beast. Stupid and perpetually hungry, he killed men and animals indiscriminately. The Giant and his father were stranded on an island for twenty years until Arthur happened to land there and rescue them. [ChevPap]

Giant’s Cross

A monument near Camelot, along the Montignet Road. It served as a meeting place. [VulgLanc]

Giants’ Dance

A legend apparently invented by Geoffrey of Monmouth to explain Stonehenge. The Giants’ Dance was a circle of giant stones which had been carried out of Africa by a race of giants and placed on Mount Killaraus in Ireland. When Ambrosius Aurelius desired to build a monument in Amesbury for fallen British warriors, Merlin suggested bringing the Giants’ Dance from Ireland. Ambrosius laughed at the idea of transporting such heavy stones, but Merlin was able to accomplish the task through magic and ingenious engineering. Merlin’s party—led by Uther—encountered resistance from the Irish under King Gilloman, but they were victorious. Merlin brought the stones to the plain of Ealing near Amesbury and set them up in a ring. Ambrosius Aurelius, Uther Pendragon, and later kings were buried at the Giant’s Dance. The fourteenth-century Short Metrical Chronicle has Merlin building the Dance for King Dunval, not Ambrosius. [GeoffHR, Wace, Short]

Giant’s Fountain

A Cornish spring where Isolde caught Palamedes spying on her. Palamedes had kidnapped Brangain, Isolde’s servant. [ProsTris]

Giant’s Isle [Giant’s Rock]

One of the Distant Isles, ruled by the giant Brunor, father of Galehaut. The Castle of Tears, which was liberated by Tristan, was situated on the island. [ProsTris]

Giant’s Knoll

A hill in Britain, two days from Camelot. It was visited by Joseph of Arimathea and his followers. [VulgEst]

Giant’s Rock

A rock on the Island of Servage, visited by Lamorat during his stay there. [ProsTris]

Giant’s Tower1 [*Tour aux Geants]

A tower near the Spring of Healing, ruled by Atamas, who was also known as the Knight of the Tower. Atamas used the healing powers of the Spring to defeat all knights who came his way, imprisoning them in the Tower. Among its prisoners were Gawain, Gaheris, Bleoberis, and Sagremor. The Giants’ Tower was liberated by Palamedes, who defeated Atamas during the Grail Quest. In Joseph of Arimathea’s days, the Tower had been ruled by King Camalis, who imprisoned Nascien and Mordrains. [PostQuest]

Giant’s Tower2

The entrance to Arthur’s palace in Caerleon. He rallied his warriors there at the beginning of the Roman War. [GeoffHR, Bek, Allit]


A fairy land visited by Arthur’s Sir Jaufré after he fell through an enchanted fountain. The land was attacked by a horrid monster called Felon of Albarua, but Jaufré killed it. The lady of Gibel rewarded Jaufré with a banquet. Montgibel is Morgan le Fay’s residence in some romances, and the lady of Gibel is probably identical to Morgan. [Jaufre]


A Knight of the Round Table wounded when Lancelot rescued Guinevere from the stake. [Tavola]


A malicious knight in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône. He killed the brother of Sir Aamanz, who was called “the Other Gawain” due to his striking similarity to Arthur’s nephew. Aamanz pursued Gigamec in revenge, and the two knights encountered Gawain himself. In a confusing melee, Gawain defeated Aamanz and gave him to Gigamec, who, with another knight named Zedoech, murdered “the Other Gawain” as soon as the real Gawain had left. Gigamec then brought Aamanz’s head to Arthur’s court, representing it as Gawain’s, causing great distress until the truth was discovered. [Heinrich]


Duke of Swales who, in Gottfried’s Tristan, harbored Tristan during one of Tristan’s exiles from King Mark’s court. Gilan owned a little dog named Petitcreiu, which had been given to him by a lady from Avalon. He gave the dog to Tristan as a reward for Tristan’s killing of the troublesome giant Urgan. He is known as Bramante in La Tavola Ritonda. In the Pleier’s Garel, he appears as a knight defeated in combat by Garel. Each was so impressed with the other’s prowess that they became fast friends. Garel helped Gilan rescue his nephews, Alexander and Floris, from Eskilabon of Belamunt. Gilan returned the favor by fighting alongside Garel in Arthur’s war against King Ekunaver of Kanadic. Arthur later awarded him a Round Table seat. [Gottfried, PleierG]


A variation of Guinevere, Arthur’s wife, found in the French romance of Jaufre. [Jaufre]


Son of Cadgyffro. He was one of Arthur’s warriors and advisors in Welsh legend. A Welsh Triad lists him as one of the “three Slaughter-Blocks of the Island of Britain.” He rode a horse named Red Wolf-Tread. The name Gilbert is Norman, and was borne by several British rulers in the twelfth century; the particular progenitor of the name was likely Gilbert of Clare (Loomis, Romance, 41). [Triads, Dream]


The valiant son of Tjofabier of Merkanie, slain in the his father’s war against Gerhart of Riviers. He was avenged by Arthur’s sir Garel. [PleierG]

Gilbert3 [Gylbart, Gylbert]

Father of a maiden upon whom Gawain begot a child in The Jeaste of Sir Gawain. When Gilbert learned that Gawain had slept with his daughter, he challenged him to combat and was defeated, as were his three sons, Gyamoure, Tyrry, and Brandelis. He is known as Norroiz in the first continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval. [Jeaste]


A Welsh cleric or monk who lived c. 500–570. He is known as the author of De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae (c. 540), considered the earliest “Arthurian” text for the glimpse of post-Roman British history that it provides (Arthur is not mentioned, but Ambrosius and Vortigern appear). Gildas longed for the golden days when Rome ruled Britain, and he lambastes contemporary British rulers (Cuneglas, Constantine of Devon, Aurelius Caninus, Maelgwn of Gwynedd, and Vortipore of Dyfed) for their tyranny and lechery.
   Gildas is called the “wisest of Britons” in the Annales Cambriae, and he was revered by the Irish and Welsh as a saint. He appears in Welsh legend as the son of Caw, one of 20 brothers, and one of Arthur’s warriors. His Life, written in the early twelfth century by Caradoc of Llancarfan, recounts how “Saint” Gildas’s many brothers resisted Arthur’s reign, but Gildas supported the king. Arthur eventually killed Gildas’s brother Hueil. Arthur received Gildas’s forgiveness and performed great penance for the slaying. Later, Gildas and the Abbott of Glastonbury convinced King Melwas of the Summer Region to release Guinevere, whom Melwas had kidnapped. After Arthur’s death, Gildas apparently went to Brittany and set himself up as a teacher. One of his students was Taliesin. According to the Annales Cambriae, Gildas visited Ireland in 565 and died in 570. In Hughes’ The Misfortunes of Arthur, Gildas laments the state of Britain after Arthur’s death. [Annales, Culhwch, Caradoc, GeoffVM, HughesT]


An Arthurian knight in the romance of Yder. He fought in Arthur’s war against Taulas of Rougemont, a vassal in rebellion, during which he was defeated by Sir Yder. [Yder]


Tristan’s father-in-law in La Tavola Ritonda, in which he replaces Hoel. The king of Solona in Brittany and father of Isolde of the White Hands, Gilierchino went to war with his nephew, Count Albroino of Gippa. When Tristan saved his lands by defeating Albroino, Gilierchino forced him to accept the crown of Brittany. [Tavola]


A noble knight who lodged Lancelot, Gawain, Gareth, and Tristan on their way back from the castle Pluris adventure. Gilimar was thought to be mute; in truth, his wife simply made him refrain from speaking for long periods of time in penance for his excessive blathering about love. [UlrichZ]


One of Arthur’s warriors in Welsh legend, who could leap three hundred acres in a single bound. For this reason, he was called “stag shank.” [Culhwch]


In Thomas Hughes’ The Misfortunes of Arthur, a British earl who joined Mordred’s treason against Arthur. Mordred offered him Cornwall for his support. Hughes may have taken him from Geoffrey’s Gillapatric, Gillasel, or Gillarn. [HughesT]

Gillapatric [Gilpatric, Gylopayk]

An Irish warrior who fought for Mordred against King Arthur and was killed at the battle of Camel. [GeoffHR, Wace]


An Irish warrior who joined Mordred’s rebellion against King Arthur and was killed at the battle of Camel. [GeoffHR, Wace]

Gillasel [Gilloscop, Syllatel]

An Irish warrior who fought for Mordred against King Arthur and was killed at the battle of Camel. [GeoffHR, Wace]

Gille Callaet

A Saxon warrior and member of King Constans’ court. Vortigern caused Gille Callaet and other Saxons to despise King Constans, and they eventually entered his room and assassinated him, allowing Vortigern to take the crown. [Layamon]

Gillmor [Gilmarium, Gylomar]

An Irish warrior who joined Mordred’s rebellion against King Arthur and was killed at the battle of Camel. [GeoffHR, Wace]

Gilloman [Gillomaurus, Gillomanius, Gillomen, Guillomer]

The King of Ireland when King Ambrosius Aurelius ruled in Britain. Gilloman heard that Uther and Merlin had landed in Ireland to take away the Giants’ Dance (Stonehenge) from Mount Killaraus. Enraged, Gilloman assembled his soldiers and attacked Uther’s party as they headed toward the Mount Killaraus, but Uther was victorious. Gilloman later allied with Vortigern’s son, Pascentius, in an attempt to conquer Britain from Ambrosius. They met Uther at Saint David’s (or at Menevia) in Wales, and both Gilloman and Pascentius were killed in the battle. [GeoffHR]

Gillomaur1 [Gillamaur, Gillamore, Guillamurius]

The King of Ireland several generations before Arthur. He allied with the Huns and Picts—led by Guanius and Melga—to invade Britain. Gillomaur’s Irishmen were driven out by the Romans, under Febus, and then—for good—by Constantine of Brittany. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon]

Gillomaur2 [Colman, Guillamure, Gwyl(o)mar, Villamus]

The King of Ireland in the early days of Arthur’s reign. He came to the aid of the Scots and Picts, whom Arthur was fighting at Lake Lomond, but Arthur defeated him and sent him back to Ireland with a depleted army. After pacifying the island of Britain, Arthur invaded Ireland and captured Gillomaur, forcing the rest of the country to surrender. As his subject, Gillomaur assisted Arthur in the invasion of Gaul and in the Roman War. In Hughes’ The Misfortunes of Arthur, Gillomaur joins Mordred’s treason against Arthur and is slain at the battle of Camlann. [GeoffHR, Wace, HughesT]


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


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


An Arthurian knight who joined Gawain’s quest to conquer Rigomer castle. [Merveil]

Ginemans [Graemans, Guinemans]

One of four Irish robber knights defeated by Lancelot on his way to Rigomer castle. [Merveil]


An Arthurian knight who joined Gawain’s quest to conquer Rigomer castle. [Merveil]


One of Arthur’s knights. When Lancelot wanted to pursue a claim on his ancestral land of Genewis (Benoic), Giot and Yvain traveled to the land to gauge the moods and inclinations of the various noblemen there, finding that they were favorable toward Lancelot. [UlrichZ]


In La Tavola Ritonda, a city ruled by Count Albroino, the enemy of Tristan’s father-in-law, King Gilierchino. When Albroino was slain in combat, Gilierchino, with Tristan’s help, besieged and conquered it. Gilierchino gave it to Tristan, who in turn bestowed it on a knight named Statuano. The name may be a corruption of Agrippe, the name of the count himself in the Prose Tristan. [Tavola]


A goddess who hated Gawain because he had stolen a magic belt from her husband, Sir Fimbeus. When Gawain visited her castle, she maliciously told him of an adventure to be found in the country of Aufat—in truth, the “adventure” was a terrible dragon, which Gawain nonetheless managed to defeat. Her second plot involved sending a magical glove, which revealed a woman’s infidelities, to Arthur’s court. The glove caused great consternation, as no lady was able to pass the chastity test. At the same time, one of Giramphiel’s vassals stole magic artifacts from Arthur. In a third scheme, she equipped Fimbeus with enchanted armor and sent him into battle against Gawain, but Arthur’s nephew was still victorious. Gawain forced Giramphiel to swear fealty and to return Arthur’s treasures. A final plan to circulate a rumor that Gawain was dead proved equally unsuccessful. [Heinrich]

Girflet [Gerflet, Gif(f)let, Girfles, Girflez, Gofrei, Grifles, Griflet, Grimfles, Gryflet(te)]

A Knight of the Round Table, son of Do, and brother of Lorete who first appears in Chrétien de Troyes’s Erec. He is a ubiquitous character, but rarely a central one. He may have origins in the non-Arthurian Welsh hero called Gilfaethwy, son of Don. The Arthurian knights Jaufré and Jofrit are probably derivatives. His first notable adventure is provided by Chrétien’s Perceval, in which Girflet sets out to find adventure at the Castle Orgeluse. He apparently failed and was taken prisoner, because in the First Continuation of Perceval, Arthur and his knights embark on a mission to rescue him from the castle.
   In Renaut de Bâgé’s Le Bel Inconnu, Girflet is noted as the lord of Becleus and overseer of a sparrowhawk tournament (Thomas Chestre calls him Gyffroun). The most beautiful woman was supposed to win the sparrowhawk, but Girflet used his skill at arms to continually defeat every challenger and award the prize to his lady, Rose Espaine, who was unattractive. Guinglain, Gawain’s son, eventually defeated him in the name of the lady Margerie.
   In Girart d’Amiens’s Escanor, he has a brother named Galantivet, who serves as Gawain’s squire. He becomes captive, and then husband of the Queen of Traverses, who dies shortly after their marriage.
   A combination of episodes from the Vulgate and Post-Vulgate romances provides the following biography: Girflet joined Arthur’s service at the beginning of the king’s reign. Arriving at Arthur’s court as a squire, he requested knighthood to avenge the death of his former master, Mylis, at the hands of King Pellinore. He failed in this quest but earned a reputation as a valiant knight afterwards. He fought against the rebellious kings and the Saxons. After the battle of the Humber, Arthur promoted him to the Round Table. His subsequent adventures consisted largely of various imprisonments, leading Gawain to remark that “there never was a man so frequently taken prisoner as Girflet has been.” He was betrothed to one of Guinevere’s maidservants. During the Grail Quest, Palamedes, Galahad and Samaliel all defeated and wounded Girflet. Girflet and Lucan were the only warriors to survive the battle of Salisbury, and they bore the mortally wounded Arthur to the Ancient Chapel. Arthur ordered Girflet to throw Excalibur into a lake and, after twice hiding the sword and lying about it, Girflet complied. He saw Arthur’s body carried away by Morgan le Fay. Later finding Arthur’s “grave” at the chapel, he ordered it exhumed and found it empty. He died within a few weeks.
   Malory says that Lancelot killed Girflet while rescuing Guinevere from the stake; Girflet’s role after the battle of Salisbury is taken by Bedivere. [ChretienE, Beroul, Renaut, LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgMort, VulgMer, Livre, PostMer, PostQuest, PostMort, Girart, Malory]


One of Isolde’s ladies-in-waiting in La Tavola Ritonda. She is known as Bessille in the Prose Tristan. She fell in love with Tristan, but when he did not reciprocate her affection, her love turned to hate and she conspired with Andred to expose the affair between Tristan and Isolde. [Tavola]


Hero of Antonio Pucci’s romance bearing his name, Gismirante, the son of a former Knight of the Round Table, left his home in Rome for Arthur’s court after his father, on his deathbed, bade him to make the journey. Gismirante served Arthur for seven years before he received a chance to prove himself. Arthur’s custom was to refuse dinner until he had heard news of an adventure. Over one particularly boring weekend, no such news came, and Arthur’s court began to starve to death. Setting out, Gismirante learned from a fairy the plight of a beautiful princess who was forced by her father to go to church naked. Anyone who gazed upon her was decapitated. Recounting this story satisfied Arthur’s requirement. Gismirante then embarked to find the princess. On the way, he saved a griffin from a dragon, gave food to a starving eagle, and rescued a hawk. He saved the princess from her tyrannical father, but lost her to a giant. In the quest to reclaim her, he was assisted by the animals he befriended. He eventually returned to Arthur’s court with the princess and married her there. [PucciG]


A country in Uther Pendragon’s kingdom. [Heinrich]


A fortress in the country of Listenois. Tristan killed Lucanoro, the son of its castellan, during the Grail Quest. Tristan later happened upon the castle looking for lodging. When the castellan realized the identity of his visitor, he seized him and planned to execute him. Palamedes caught them in the act and saved Tristan, killing the castellan and his company. Palamedes took control of the castle. [Tavola]


An Arthurian knight in the romance of Yder. He participated in Arthur’s war against Taulas of Rougemont, a vassal in rebellion, and was defeated by Sir Yder. [Yder]


Tristan’s horse, according to La Tavola Ritonda. It was given to him by Inamante of the Brown Valley. [Tavola]


Nephew of the king of Scotland, present at Arthur’s tournament at the Hard Rock. [Tavola]


A page to King Flois of the Green Island. When Flois’s land was besieged by a giant named Assiles, Giwanet carried a plea for assistance to Arthur’s court. [Heinrich]


A Saxon king who fought under King Aminaduc at the siege of Vambieres. Arthur’s forces countered and defeated the Saxons. [Livre]


During a speech in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, Gawain refers to an episode in which, at Gladet, he “destroyed the enchantment that nearly burned my friend Sir Lanzelet to death.” [Heinrich]


A knight freed from the prison of Felon of the Guard when Sir Durmart defeated Felon. [Durmart]

Gladoain [Gladoains]

In Perlesvaus, a good knight from the Isles of Mores. He assisted Lancelot when the latter was attacked four knights at once. Upon receiving a wound, he left the battle to find help, returning with Gawain. He perished of his wound. In return for his service, Lancelot helped Gladoain’s brother, the Knight of the Green Shield, expel an invader from Gladoain’s castle. He is also listed a knight of Arthur’s court and a companion of Gawain in Les Merveilles de Rigomer. [Perlesvaus, Merveil]

Glador Eslis

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

Gladovainz of Havernuec

A knight present at the tournament at Banborc, which Kay won. [Girart]


A king who was one of the two principal combatants in the Jaschune tournament, in which many of Arthur’s knights participated. [Heinrich]

Glait Castle

A castle on the Island of Servage, ruled by Nabon the Black, who was slain by Tristan. [ProsTris]


A knight defeated by Wigamur, an Arthurian knight. [Wigamur]

Glamorgan [Glamour, Glomorgan]

A Welsh country, containing Caerleon, along the river Usk. The Life of St. Cadoc notes its king as Gwynnlyw, who was once protected by Arthur. It is named as one of Arthur’s courts in Meriadeuc and other texts. A Middle English poem says that Arthur gave the land to Gawain after Gawain fought a great duel against Galleron of Galloway. [SaintsCad, Meriadeuc, Awntyrs]


The sword wielded by Arthur’s warrior Bwlch. [Culhwch]


The Scottish city was said to be a haunt of the mad prophet Lailoken (identified with Merlin). It makes marginal appearances in several Arthurian romances.

Glass Bridge

A bridge crossed by Perceval during his quest for the Grail. It crackled and shattered under him, but later reconstructed itself. [Contin2]

Glastonbury [Glas(h)enbury(e), Glassthenbery, Glastonbery, Glastynbury]

A small town in the county of Somerset in southwestern England. It contains an abbey whose monks, during the Middle Ages, may have been involved in a succession of propaganda intended to bolster the abbey’s reputation. Claims found in various twelfth and thirteenth century texts include the assertions that it was founded by St. Patrick or by Joseph of Arimathea (who in some accounts was buried there); that it carried pieces of the holy sepulchre or the crown of thorns; that the Grail was kept there in an enchanted well; and—most striking of all—that, in 1191, the monks discovered the remains of Arthur and Guinevere along with a marker identifying them. The “discovery” was reported by Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales) in De Principis Instructione a few years later. (See Arthur’s Grave.) Casting a shadow of fraud on the entire episode is the fact that the abbey suffered a ruinous fire seven years prior, and that the discovery of “Arthur’s grave” could be expected to swell the abbey’s coffers with offerings from pilgrims. However, twentieth century excavations have lent credence to the description of the grave site, and in the end there is no compelling evidence to prove or disprove a deliberate forgery on the part of the Glastonbury monks.
   The identification between Glastonbury and the island of Avalon may have existed prior to the monks’ “discovery,” but Giraldus’s report certainly reinforced the link. Glastonbury can be considered an “island” in the sense that it is surrounded by marshes. Giraldus further states that the name of the town derives from “Glass Island,” though it more likely comes from Glaestings, a family name (Bruce, 199). The “Glass Island” assertion is found elsewhere, and the evocative nature of the name probably supported the Avalonian identification.
   Subsequent writers showed the influence of the monks’ report in their descriptions of Arthur’s death. Where in the early chronicles his end was shrouded in mystery, encouraging the hope of his eventual return, these later tales offer no such promise. Arthur’s body is borne away by Morgan le Fay, supposedly to Avalon, but is then returned to Glastonbury by Morgan and her servants, their attempts to heal him having failed. The finality of this ending is mitigated by some authors who suggest that the body returned by Morgan may not have been Arthur’s.
   Aside from the identification with Avalon, Glastonbury appears in Arthurian romance as part of the kingdom of Melwas, who kidnapped Guinevere; as the hermitage to which the Archbishop of Canterbury and several Arthurian knights retired after Arthur’s death; and as one of Arthur’s courts. One manuscript of the English Arthour and Merlin names it as Ambrosius’s burial place, which in most texts is at Stonehenge. The name seems to appear almost exclusively in legends written in England and Wales; most French texts, including the Vulgate romances, do not mention the town at all, using an Ancient Chapel to take the place of Glastonbury as Arthur’s burial site. [Caradoc, Giraldus, Durmart, Arthour, Short, Stanz, Allit, Malory, TennIK]

Glastonbury Thorn

A thorn tree on Wearyall Hill in Glastonbury, said to be descended from a tree that was sprung from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea, which Joseph had driven into the earth. The tree blossomed twice a year: in the spring, and at Christmas time. An elaborated version of the legend claims that Joseph of Arimathea’s staff was cut from a tree grown from the Crown of Thorns worn by Christ. The original Glastonbury Thorn was apparently destroyed by a Puritan fanatic, though legends tell of grevious injury to others who tried to harm the Thorn. The existing descendant is of Mediterranean origin, and some have speculated that the original tree was brought from Arabia by a returning crusader. [LyfeJoA, Topograhy]

Glastonbury Tor

A hill in Glastonbury that shows traces of occupation in Roman times. Various local legends connect the Tor to Arthur. One legend names the hill as the haunt of Gwynn son of Nudd, who appears as Arthur’s warrior in Culhwch and Olwen. It has been suggested as the location of the fortress of King Melwas of the Summer Region, Guinevere’s abductor in the Life of St. Gildas. [Topograhy]


A Saxon king who fought under King Arrant at the siege of Cardigan. Arthur’s forces countered and defeated the Saxons. [Livre]

Glein [Glem, Gleni]

A river in Britain that was the site of Arthur’s first battle against the Saxons. As in all of the twelve battles, Arthur was victorious. Possible locations include the Glem in Lincolnshire, the Glen in Northumberland, and the Glyme in Oxfordshire (Chambers, 202). The first is most probable, since Nennius places another of Arthur’s battles in a country called Linnuis, and Linnuis is likely Lindsey, in Lincolnshire. [Nennius, TennIK]


A warrior once defeated by Arthur. [Culhwch]

Gleisyad [Gleisad]

The sword wielded by Arthur’s warrior Syfwlch. [Culhwch]

Glessig [Glesing]

The sword wielded by Arthur’s warrior Cyfwlch. [Culhwch]


One of King Mark’s Cornish castles, visited by Tristan on his first journey to Mark’s kingdom. [ProsTris]

Glevesing [Glywysing]

A region of Britain which contained the village of Elledi, home of the child Ambrosius. It is a district between the rivers Usk and Rumney, in Monmouthshire. [Nennius]


One of Arthur’s warriors who was the son of Ysgawd. He was killed at Cwm Cerwyn by the boar Twrch Trwyth. [Culhwch]

Glewlwyd Mighty Grip

An obstructive gatekeeper in the early Welsh poem Pa Gur yv y Portaur and in Culhwch and Olwen. In the former, he refuses Arthur entry into some keep, which prompts Arthur and his companions to recount the various adventures of Arthur’s warriors (a theme also found in Irish tales). In Culhwch, he becomes Arthur’s chief gatekeeper, blocking Culhwch’s admission to Arthur’s court during a feast. We learn from Culhwch that he was served by Gryn, Gogyfwlch, Gwrddnei Cat Eye, Drem, Clust, Llaesgymyn, Huandaw, Gogigwr, and Penpingyon. Glewlwyd participated in the hunt for Twrch Trwyth, where he lost all of his servants except for Llaesgymyn. A Welsh Triad names him as one of the three “Offensive Knights” of Arthur’s court, for he was so large, strong, and savage that no one dared refuse him anything he asked for. [WelshPG, Culhwch, Triads, Geraint, Owain]

Glex [Glez]

An Arthurian knight defeated in joust by Sir Yder. [Yder]


Gawain’s squire, and later a Knight of the Round Table, in a thirteenth-century French romance bearing his name. The son of a German nobleman, he came to Arthur’s court at Caridoel and presented himself to Gawain, who immediately accepted him as a squire. He was praised highly for his service, skill, and knowledge. He soon fell in love with the lady Beauté of Landemore, a maid of Guinevere who was also loved by Gawain. Torn between loyalty to his master and love for Beauté, he finally confessed his feelings to the maiden, but she rebuked him. Persistent, he followed Beauté and a knight named Aharer to the Castle Orgueilleux tournament, running behind their horses until his feet bled. Beauté, who was showing excessive cruelty towards him, finally dispatched him to her sister at Landemore with a sealed message. Upon delivering the message to Beauté’s sister, Gliglois learned that Beauté in fact loved him, and had wanted to test his devotion. He was knighted at Landemore and then sent to fight in the tournament on his steed, Ferrant. He was proclaimed the victor at Orgueilleux, and Beauté awarded him her love. Gawain graciously relinquished his own claim on Beauté, resolving Gliglois’s conflict. [Gliglois]


A warrior who held Eiddoel captive in his fortress. The warrior Culhwch had to obtain the services of Eiddoel as one of his tasks, so he persuaded Arthur to besiege Glini’s castle. Glini turned over his prisoner and swore allegiance to Arthur to avoid losing his property. [Culhwch]

Glinyeu [Glifieu]

An Arthurian warrior who was the son of Taran. Glinyeu was loyal to the warrior Gwythyr, and he joined Gwythyr’s army when Gwythyr opposed Gwynn son of Nudd. Glinyeu was taken prisoner by Gwynn and was not released until Arthur intervened. In the non-Arthurian Welsh tale of Branwen, Glinyeu is one of only seven British warriors to survive King Bran’s successful invasion of Ireland. [Culhwch]


One of the eight sisters of Morgan le Fay. She lived on the island of Avalon. [GeoffVM]


A sister of Morgan le Fay who lived on the island of Avalon. [GeoffVM]


One of the eight sisters of Morgan le Fay. She lived on the island of Avalon. [GeoffVM]


The seneschal of Cambenic who was defeated in duel by Gawain. [VulgLanc]


A duke who was a companion of Lord Formis on the Turning Isle. Arthur defeated him when Arthur and his knights fought Formis’s knights. [Livre]


A Saxon king who fought under King Aminaduc at the siege of Vambieres. He bore the Saxon banner. Arthur’s forces countered and defeated the Saxons, and Gaheris killed Gloas. [Livre]

Glocedon [Glocedoine, Glocedun]

A castle mentioned in the Vulgate romances. It was situated in northern Britain on the forest of Gloeven. Its lord fought with other regional rulers against the Saxons. Much later, it was visited by Bors, who rescued its lady, Blevine, from a group of peasants and a knight. According to Arthour and Merlin, it belonged to Lot. [VulgLanc, VulgMer, Arthour]

Glodoalan [Glecidolan]

A dwarf who served King Bilis, lord of the dwarves. He was one of the warriors present at the wedding of Erec and Enide. [ChretienE]


A forest traversed by Bors. The castle of Glocedon, where Bors rescued a maiden, lay on one of Gloeven’s borders. [VulgLanc]

Gloier [Gloyer]

The King of Sorelois before the land was conquered—and Gloier killed—by Lord Galehaut. Gloier had inherited Sorelois from his father, King Loholt. After Gloier’s death, Gloier’s young children were orphaned, but Galehaut took care of them and betrothed a daughter to Galehodin, Galehaut’s nephew. Gloier’s uncle had been the King of Northumberland. Another of Gloier’s daughters was the queen of Chalon. [LancLac, VulgLanc, Livre]


A kingdom mentioned in several German texts, probably a variation of Gales or Wales, although Wirnt von Grafenberg, in Wigalois, seems to place it in the Middle East. It’s king, Roaz, was killed by Wigalois (Gawain’s son). [Wirnt]


Queen of Fairy Land in Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, allegorically representing England’s Queen Elizabeth. Gloriana was the daughter of Oberon and was originally named Tanquill. In the poem, Gloriana presides over a magic court and sends knights of her Order of Maidenhead on righteous quest: the Red Cross Knight to free a land from a dragon, Sir Guyon to destroy the lecherous Bower of Bliss, Sir Artegall to slay the giant Grantorto, and Sir Calidore to capture the ravaging Blatant Beast. Prince Arthur saw Gloriana in a dream, fell in love with her, and journeyed to Fairy Land to find her. In the unfinished poem, Arthur never meets the Fairy Queen, but had Spenser completed it, they presumably would have been united. [Spenser]


Daughter of King Gonosor of Ireland. She married King Apollo of Lyonesse and had a son named Candaces. A son of King Clodoveus of Gaul lusted after her and kidnapped her. Gloriande killed herself rather than submit to him. [ProsTris]

Gloriant [Gloiant]

A Saxon king who joined King Rions’ invasion of Carmelide in the early days of Arthur’s reign. King Bors of Gannes killed him at the battle of Aneblayse. [VulgMer, Arthour]


A forest near the Humber river, bordering on Galehaut’s land of Sorelois. [VulgLanc]


An Arthurian knight. [Heinrich]

Gloucester [Caer Loyw]

A city in southwest England, on the Severn river. In Ambrosius’s time, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, it was ruled by Earl Eldol, and the bishop was his brother Eldad; later, the Earl of Gloucester was Morvid. In the Vulgate Merlin, an unnamed Earl of Gloucester fights in Arthur’s army in the Roman War. In Culhwch and Olwen, Arthur’s warriors rescue the huntsman Mabon from a Gloucester prison. The English ballad “King Arthur’s Death” names Arthur’s Sir Lucan as Gloucester’s duke. [Culhwch, GeoffHR, Wace, KingAD]


A king who served Arthur. Like the other lords at Arthur’s court, Glovein’s wife was found to be at least somewhat unfaithful by a magical horn in Biket’s Lai du Cor. [Biket]


In Henry Fielding’s The Tragedy of Tragedies, a giantess defeated and captured by Arthur’s warrior Tom Thumb. She fell in love with the diminutive warrior; Arthur, in turn, fell in love with her. She was slain while fighting alongside Tom Thumb against an insurrection led by Lord Grizzle. [Fielding]


A port in Saxony that Vortigern captured during his war against the Saxons. [Butor]

Glynn Ystun

A region of south Wales that abuts the Bristol Channel. Arthur’s hunt for the boar Twrch Trwyth crossed this country [Culhwch]

Glythfyr Ledewig

Father of Arthur’s warrior Garanhon. Glythfyr owned two special hounds. Arthur sought the hounds while helping the warrior Culhwch complete his forty tasks. Curiously, however, the chief giant Ysbaddaden, who assigned Culhwch’s tasks, did not ask for these dogs. [Culhwch, Peredur]


A king in Arthur’s service. [Renaut]


The son of Arthur’s vassal, King Angwisiez of Scotland, in Hartmann’s Erec. Chrétien de Troyes names the same character as Cadret. [HartmannE]


One of Arthur’s warriors. He was the son of Echel. [Culhwch, Dream]


A location in Scotland, probably near the country of Galloway, bordering the area where King Arthur and the King from Over the Borders of Galone fought a battle. [LancLac]

Godegrains [Gotegrin, Gundregoas]

A count in King Arthur’s service. Godegrains first appears in Chrétien de Troyes’s Erec as a guest at Erec’s wedding. In Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, he becomes Queen Guinevere’s brother and the son of King Garlin of Galore. Godegrains kidnapped his sister from Arthur’s court when he felt that she had behaved basely in an incident involving Sir Gasozein of Dragoz. Intending to kill the queen, he was apprehended in the act by Gasozein himself, and was defeated. [ChretienE, HartmannE, Heinrich]


A knight in Arthur’s service who fought at the Castle Perilous tournament. [Malory]


A narrows in Scotland through which an army of Saxon invaders fled after they were defeated by Arthur’s army, led by Lancelot. The Saxon warrior Hegadabrant was captured at this battle. Lancelot wished to pursue the Saxons through the narrows, but he was held back by his cousin Lionel, who warned him that he would be killed. [LancLac, VulgLanc]

Godez [Godoé]

A knight from the Land Beyond the Borders who was defeated by Lancelot at the Pomeglai tournament. [VulgLanc]


In the Norse Erex Saga, the sister of King Guivret, a friend of Erec. She could cure any wound, and she used her talents to heal Erec after he had been wounded in a joust with Kay. Unnamed in Chrétien’s Erec, her character appears as either Filledamor or Guneteflur in Hartmann von Aue’s version. [Erex]


A baron of King Mark of Cornwall. Godoine and his compatriots, Ganelon and Denoalen, conspired to expose the affair between Tristan and Isolde to King Mark. Tristan caught him spying through the window of Isolde’s chambers and killed him with an arrow through the head. [Beroul]


The ruthless king of Terrandes who commanded a force of robber giants. He was killed by Meleranz, Arthur’s nephew, who assumed the throne of Terrandes and befriended Cursin, Godonas’s seneschal. [PleierM]

Godorson [Godorsone]

A river which ran parallel to the River Maine. It flanked a battlefield where Arthur fought the King of the Land Beyond the Borders of Galone. [VulgLanc]

Godras the Felon

An evil knight who tried to murder King Lac, Erec’s father. Guiron the Courteous and Danain the Red stopped him. [Palamedes]


A knight who fought on the side of the King with a Hundred Knights at King Mark’s tournament at Lancien. [Contin4]


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


Son of Dôn and brother of Amathaon. As one of his tasks, the hero Culhwch had to get Gofannon to deliver irons to the headlands of the giant Ysbaddaden. The character is adopted from Irish legend, where he is Goibniu, the god of the forge (Chambers, 69). [Culhwch]

Gofynyon the Old

Father of Arthur’s warrior Carnedyr. [Culhwch]

Gogfran the Giant

Guinevere’s father in Welsh legend. In the Triads, he is the father of only one of three queens named Guinevere, but a Welsh translation of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia makes him the father of the Guinevere. [Triads]


A gatekeeper at King Arthur’s court and a servant of the warrior Glewlwyd Strong Grip. He was killed by the boar Twrch Trwyth during the epic hunt. [Culhwch]


Son of Salandres and brother of Dinisordres, Nastor, Aristes, and Menastide. Gogonne, his father, and his four brothers were defeated in combat by Perceval, who sent them to Arthur’s court. [Contin3]


A giant who, in a fragment of a romance, tried to marry a maiden against her will. He was challenged by one of Arthur’s knights to prevent this injustice. Like Gawain, Gogulor’s strength increased as the day progressed. [Gogulor]


A knight who fought on the side of the King with a Hundred Knights at King Mark’s Lancien tournament. [Contin4]


One of Arthur’s warriors who shared the duties of gatekeeper in Caer Llion (Caerleon) with seven to nine other warriors. His master was the chief gatekeeper Glewlwyd Strong Grip. [Geraint]


Lord of the Castle of the Whales. He captured Perceval’s cousin, Calobrus, and chained him to a rock to starve. Perceval found Calobrus and freed him. To avenge his torture, Calobrus captured Gohart and chained him to the same rock to starve. [Perlesvaus]


A count of Germany who brought his army to Arthur’s court, intending to subjugate the king. In the king’s household, Gohenbert played a game of chess against Guinevere that turned into a fight. Lancelot killed him. Gohenbert’s warriors rose up and attacked Arthur’s knights. Arthur’s forces prevailed but suffered many losses. [Prophecies]


The land ruled by King Hoel in Renaut de Bâgé’s Le Bel Inconnu. Hoel’s kingdom is generally given as Brittany. [Renaut]


Father of Arthur’s warrior Gorbonian. [GeoffHR]

Golagros [Golagras, Golagrus, Gologras(e), Gologrus]

One of the title characters in the Middle Scots poem called The Knightly Tale of Gologras and Gawain. Arthur saw Golagros’s magnificent castle during a pilgrimage to Rome. Upon learning that Golagros served no master, Arthur vowed to subjugate him. Arthur’s knights besieged the castle on the return trip. After a number of losses, Golagros agreed to decide the battle through a single combat between himself and Gawain. When Gawain defeated him, Golagros asked to die. Gawain balked, and Golagros said he would only consent to live if Gawain surrendered to him. Gawain agreed and Gologras, impressed with Gawain’s nobility, swore fealty to him and to Arthur. Arthur, however, having learned his own lesson in nobility, freed Golagros from his vow. [Golagros]

Golden Dragon

The standard carried by King Arthur at the battle of Soissons against the Roman Procurator Lucius. [GeoffHR]

Golden Eagle

The standard carried by Lucius at the battle of Soissons against King Arthur. [GeoffHR]

Golden Isle [*Ile d’Or]

The island and castle belonging to a fairy, called the Maiden of the White Hands in Renaut de Bâgé’s Le Bel Inconnu and the Dame d’Amour in Thomas Chestre’s Lybeaus Desconus. The Maiden decreed that any potential suitor would have to guard the island for seven straight years before she would marry him. For five years, the guardian was Malgier, but he was killed by Gawain’s son Guinglain. The Maiden so loved Guinglain that she lifted the seven-year requirement for him. [Renaut, ChestreLyb]

Golden-Tongued Knights

A trio of Arthur’s knights—Gwalchmei, Drudwas, and Eliwlod—who were able to complete their quests and achieve their desires through their particularly able use of speech. [Triads]

Goleuddydd (“Bright Day”)

Daughter of Amlawdd, sister of Igerne, wife of Cilydd, and mother of Culhwch. When she became pregnant with Culhwch, Goleuddydd went mad and lived outdoors, but she returned to sanity before she gave birth. She delivered in the midst of some pigs, and her son was thus name “Culhwch,” or “pig pen.” She was mortally wounded giving birth, and died soon afterwards. Before she died, she made her husband promise not to remarry until he saw a two-headed thorn growing from her grave. She then summoned her confessor and told him to trim the grave every year, so that nothing would grow upon it. The confessor forgot his promise after seven years, and Cilydd remarried. [Culhwch]

Golistan the Black

A knight who guarded the Bridge of the Giant and was defeated there by Segurant the Brown. [Palamedes]

Golistant1 [Gulistante]

Lancelot’s uncle. Tristan appointed him viceroy of Joyous Guard. He was slain when King Mark of Cornwall besieged Joyous Guard to reclaim Isolde from Tristan. [ProsTris, Tavola]

Golistant2 the Strong [Gulistante]

Son of Morholt who appears in Palamedes and the Prose Tristan. His father was killed by Tristan. He became the squire of Sir Segurant the Brown and was knighted at his master’s hand. Golistant fell in love with a maiden at the Castle of Maidens and besieged the castle when she rebuked him. Guiron the Courteous, the maiden’s cousin, defeated Golistant in combat, and Golistant died of wounds he received in the fight. The Italian La Tavola Ritonda gives a different account of his life, saying that Tristan knighted him and changed his name to Amoroldo. [Palamedes, ProsTris, Tavola]

Golrotherame [Gollerothirame]

In the Middle English Sir Perceval of Galles, a Saracen Sultan who besieged the Lady Lufamour in Maidenland, intending to force her into marriage. Perceval challenged, fought, and killed him. One of his brothers, a giant, tried to avenge his death and failed. The same character is known as Clamadeu in Chrétien’s Perceval. [SirPerc]

Golwg Hafddydd

Isolde’s handmaid in a Welsh fragment of a Tristan story. She was loved by a man named Cae Hir. [TrisFrag]

Gomeret1 [Gomet, Gomor(r)et]

The land ruled by King Ban, according to Chrétien de Troyes. R. S. Loomis thought it was a variation of Gwynedd in Wales. Most other writers give Ban’s realm as Benoic. In Perlesvaus, Gomeret is a castle ruled by Marin the Jealous. Hartmann von Aue notes Beals as Gomeret’s lord, and in the Prose Tristan, it is the homeland of Morgan le Fay’s knights Helianz and Kaz. [ChretienE, Perlesvaus, HartmannE, ProsTris, Malory]

Gomeret2 the Immoderate [Go(u)mere(t)]

A knight who, with his companion Orguelleus the Fairy, killed Sir Cortois of Humberland, believing his victim to be Gawain. When they realized their mistake, Orguelleus resurrected Cortois. [Atre]


One of Arthur’s knights who joined Gawain’s quest to conquer Rigomer castle. [Merveil]


An evil knight who stole lands from a maiden. Palamedes championed the damsel and killed Gonereys, winning back her lands. Gonereys’s brother, Sir Archade, tried to avenge his death, but was also killed. [Malory]


King of Ireland. His daughters, Gloriande and Joene, married the kings of Lyonesse and Cornwall. In exchange for Gonosor’s assistance in the war against Lyonesse, King Canor of Cornwall agreed to pay an annual tribute to Ireland. Generations later, Tristan freed Cornwall of this tribute by killing Morholt. [ProsTris]

Gontier of the Thorn

A knight who participated in the tournament at Banborc and was defeated by Sir Bruians of the Isles. [Girart]

Good Adventure [*Biele Adventure]

An abbey that King Arthur erected near the Humber River, at the site of his victory over five kings who opposed him in the early days of his reign. [PostMer, Malory]

Good Deed

A monastery on the edge of the forest of Breckham, in northern Britain. It was an ancient hermitage, greatly expanded under the support of Duke Escant of Cambenic. Gawain lodged there during his adventures. [VulgLanc]

Good Knight1 [*Bon Chevalier]

The banal epithet given to the Grail Hero in Perlesvaus and in the Vulgate Cycle. In the former, it refers to Perceval, while in the latter it means Galahad. Certain references in the Vulgate also apply it to Lancelot. Various prophecies heralded the coming of the “Good Knight,” who would solve the Grail adventures and advance Christianity in Britain. [Perlesvaus, VulgLanc, VulgQuest]

Good Knight2 Without Fear

Son of Esclanor and father of Dinadan and Brunor the Black. The Good Knight’s true name, seldom used, was also Brunor the Black. He was known as a great knight in his day, and Uther Pendragon awarded him the realm of Estrangorre for his valor.
   Among his many adventures, he journeyed to the valley of Servage to rescue his friend, Ludinas of North Wales, from a giant called Nabon the Black. He defeated Nabon’s son Nathan, but was betrayed by a maiden and imprisoned in Nabon’s prison, where he went mad. He was eventually freed by Tristan, and he recovered his senses with the help of Baucillas, the king’s doctor.
   A story in the Italian Novellino relates how the Good Knight Without Fear told his own soldiers, who did not recognize him, that King Meliadus of Lyoness, his mortal enemy, was a better knight than he. For this “insult,” he was seized by his own troops, only to be rescued by Meliadus. He was eventually murdered, as an old man, by two knights named Ferrant and Briadan. [Palamedes, Novellino]

Good Soldier

A nickname of Joseph of Arimathea, commemorating his retrieval of Christ’s body from the cross. [Perlesvaus]


A knight whose brother was Sir Gawdelyn. When Gawdelyn was killed by Sir Aglovale, Goodwyn swore revenge. He captured one of Aglovale’s squires and killed him. Aglovale avenged the murder by slaying Goodwyn. [Malory]

Goon Desert [Goon Sert, Goot Delsert]

Brother of the Fisher King and uncle of Perceval in the Third Continuation of Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval. One of Goon Desert’s daughters was a Grail maiden. Called the lord of the Desert (the Waste Land), Goon Desert ruled the castle of Quingragan, which was besieged by Espinogres and his nephew Partinal. Partinal killed Goon Desert with the Grail Sword, which broke. Perceval, during his visit to the Grail Castle, saw Goon Desert’s body on a bier. After learning the story, Perceval avenged Goon Desert’s death by killing Partinal. A similar episode is recounted in the Welsh Peredur, where the head of Peredur’s cousin is seen floating in a dish in the Grail Castle, though the murderers in this case are the Hags of Gloucester. [Contin3]

Goosewhite [Goswhit]

Arthur’s helmet. It was made of steel, bound with gold, and adorned with gems. It had belonged to his father, Uther, and Arthur wore it at the battle against the Saxons at Bath. [Layamon]


A castle in which Sir Perceval lodged during the Grail Quest. [Malory]

Gorangon [Garagon, Garengan, Gwyrangon]

The earl of Kent in the time of Vortigern. Gorangon suddenly found himself without a kingdom when Vortigern—without Gorangon’s knowledge—handed Kent to Hengist and the Saxons. [Nennius, GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon]

Gorasgwrn (“Big Bone”)

Daughter of Nerth and maid of Arthur’s warrior Cyfwlch. [Culhwch]


According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, king of Britain in the sixth or fifth century BC. He was the son of King Gorbodug, the husband of Queen Iudon, and the father of Ferrex and Porrex. Ferrex and Porrex went to war over their inheritance, and Gorbodug’s kingdom crumbled. [GeoffHR]


According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Gorbonian succeded his father, King Morvid, to the throne in the third century BC. His reign was a prosperous one, characterized by the restoration of temples. When he died, his brother Arthgallo succeeded him. Gorbonian’s son, Regin, eventually became king. [GeoffHR]


One of Arthur’s champions who was the son of Goit. [GeoffHR]


Son of Constantine. His father was shepherd for the chief giant Ysbaddaden, and the giant had killed twenty-three of Constantine’s sons. Constantine kept Goreu, his last, hidden in a chest to protect him. When Culhwch and a party of Arthur’s knights came to Ysbaddaden’s fortress seeking Olwen, Cei (Kay) took Goreu under his wing and allowed the boy to accompany him on the subsequent adventures, in which he won the respect of Arthur’s men. He participated in the hunt for Twrch Trwyth. Upon completion of Culhwch’s tasks, Goreu returned to Ysbaddaden and decapitated him, thus fulfilling the Ysbaddaden’s own proclamation that he must die when Olwen wed. Goreu later became one of Arthur’s warriors and advisors. One tale states that he was a squire, given the duty of guarding Arthur’s bed. A Welsh Triad tells us that he rescued Arthur from imprisonment at the hand of Gwen Pendragon beneath the Stone of Echymeint. Goreu’s name translates as “best,” but might be a variation of Gorneu or Corneu, which is roughly Welsh for “Cornishman.” [Culhwch, Dream, Geraint]


A knight who kidnapped the Lady of Malehaut. Her brother, Margon, chased him down and rescued the lady. [Contin3]


Arthur’s Earl of Flandrisborg in the Norse Erex Saga. He was present at the wedding of Erec and Enide. His brothers were named Garse and Jentaneon. [Erex]


A Saxon king who fought under King Arrant at the siege of Cardigan. Arthur’s forces countered and defeated the Saxons, and Arthur personally killed Gorhan. [Livre]


A king whose wife used a magic wand to turn him into a wolf. As a wolf, Gorlagon served Arthur. When Arthur learned Gorlagon’s story, he obtained the magic wand and restored Gorlagon to his true form. [Arthur&G]

Gorlois [Gorlais, Gorlens, Gorloys, Gothlois]

The duke of Cornwall and the husband of Igerne. He became a vassal of Ambrosius when the latter invaded Britain. He proved his prowess at the battle of Conisbrough against Hengist’s Saxons, and at Mount Damen against Octa and Eosa.
   When Uther Pendragon ascended to the throne after his brother’s death, he called a feast of all his nobles at which he first laid eyes upon Gorlois’s wife. He immediately fell in love with her. Igerne, sensing Uther’s attentions, convinced her husband to take her back to Cornwall. Uther, enraged at Gorlois’s departure, laid siege to the duke’s two castles: Tintagel, in which Gorlois had placed Igerne, and Dimiloc (or Tarabel), which housed Gorlois. Uther convinced Merlin to disguise him as Gorlois, so he could enter Tintagel and spend the night with Igerne. As Uther enjoyed Gorlois’s wife, Gorlois was slain in a battle against Uther’s soldiers. Igerne later gave birth to Arthur.
   Tradition gives Gorlois three daughters named Morgause, Elaine, and Morgan le Fay. A Welsh adaptation of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia makes him the father of Cador of Cornwall, whose relation to Gorlois is uncertain in other texts.
   In Culhwch and Olwen, his counterpart as Igerne’s first husband is Rica. Gorlois may be identical to Gwryon found in the Welsh Geraint. The Vulgate Merlin calls his character Hoel, and Arthour and Merlin calls him Tintagel.
   Thomas Hughes’ The Misfortunes of Arthur has the ghost of Gorlois condemn Arthur for Uther’s sin. Arthur’s fatal conflict with Mordred seems to be the instrument of Gorlois’ revenge. “Mordred,” says Gorlois, “shall be the hammer of my hate.” [Nennius, Culhwch, GeoffHR, Wace, Malory, HughesT, TennIK]

Gormant (“Excess’)

One of Arthur’s warriors who was the son of Rica and Eigyr (Igerne) prior to Eigyr’s later marriage to Arthur’s father. Gormant was therefore Arthur’s half-brother. [Culhwch]


A Persian warrior assigned to champion Persia against Rome in a dispute over Jerusalem. For its champion, Rome presented a young Gawain (not yet in the service of Arthur). Gawain, although young and strong, seemed little match for the gigantic, courageous, and experienced Gormundus; however, after a battle that lasted three days, Gawain delivered a mighty blow to Gormundus’s head, killing him. [DeOrtu]

Gornemant of Gohort [Gormans, Gornemans, Gornimans, Gurnemans of Gorhaut, Gurnemanz of Groharz]

A Knight of the Round Table who tutored the freshly-knighted Perceval, teaching him the proper use of weapons and armor and the code of knightly conduct. Gornemant first appears in Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval, though an appearance in Ulrich von Zatzikhoven’s Lanzelet (at a tournament against King Lot of Lothian) suggests that Gornemant belongs to an older Arthurian tradition. One of the pieces of advice he gave to Perceval was not to talk too much. Perceval misinterpreted the advice and consequently failed to ask the Grail Question at the castle of the Fisher King.
   Wolfram von Eschenbach gives Gornemant three sons named Schenteflurs, Lascoyt, and Gurzgri, and a daughter named Liaze. Gornemant would have had Perceval marry Liaze, but Perceval declined. [ChretienE, ChretienP, UlrichZ, Wolfram]

Gorre [Goirre, Gore, Gors]

A wild northern kingdom first featured in Chrétien de Troyes’s Lancelot. In the tales, it borders on North Wales or Scotland, and is surrounded by water. It could only be entered by two perilous bridges: the Sword Bridge and the Underwater Bridge. Its inaccesibility lends it an otherworldly aura. Chrétien’s geography suggests an identification with Anglesey or the Isle of Man.
   We learn in the Vulgate Lancelot that Uther Pendragon went to war with Gorre’s first king, Urien, hoping to subjugate the land. Eventually, he captured and imprisoned Urien, but Urien’s nephew, Bagdemagus, traded the land to Uther for Urien’s life. In time, Urien retook the land and placed Bagdemagus on the throne. To repopulate the land, which had been depleted under Uther’s reign, Bagdemagus instituted a custom by which any British knights and ladies who wandered into Gorre had to remain. Because of other conflicts, Arthur overlooked Gorre until Meleagant, Bagdemagus’s son, kidnapped Guinevere and brought her there. This prompted Lancelot’s quest to free the queen (recounted by both Chrétien and the Vulgate) and the other captives of the land, in which he succeeded.
   Attempts have been made to identify Gorre with the peninsula of Gower in Wales. It is more likely a corruption of “Glass,” either through the Welsh gutr or the French voire (Bruce, 202n). The Island of Glass is the realm of King Melwas, Meleagant’s counterpart in Welsh legend. [ChretienL, Wolfram, VulgLanc, VulgMer, PostMer, Arthour, Malory]


A forest near Arthur’s Carlisle court; the site of a white stag hunt in Guillaume le Clerc’s Fergus. The hunt concluded in Ingegal, Scotland, and Perceval was the victor. Scholars have suggested Geltsdale as the possible geographic location. [Guillaume]


The most important city in the land of Gorre, which took its name from the city. It was visited briefly by Lancelot during his quest to rescue Guinevere from Meleagant. [VulgLanc]

Gorvain Cadrut [Gornain(s) Cadrus, Gernan, Gornenis]

In Raoul de Houdenc’s Meraugis de Portlesguez, one of two knights who loved a beautiful maiden named Lidoine. Gorvain Cadrut loved her for her beauty, in contrast to Meraugis, who loved Lidoine for her courtesy. Queen Guinevere and a court of maidens decided the matter in favor of Meraugis. Gorvain Cadrut subsequently left Arthur’s court in a rage, but he eventually reconciled with Meraugis.
   In Hunbaut, Gorvain becomes a Knight of the Round Table after he kidnaps Gawain’s sister, is defeated by Gawain, and is sent to Arthur’s court as a prisoner.
   He appears in the Vulgate Merlin as a knight who fights in Arthur’s battles against King Rions at Carmelide. He slew the Saxon warrior Dorilas at the battle of Carhaix. The Livre d’Artus adds further battles to Gorvain’s credit, including the defense of the Waste Land against Agrippe. Arthour and Merlin splits his character into two warriors: Gornain and Craddoc.
   A Welsh Arthurian warrior named Gwrvan may be Gorvain’s origin. His surname suggests the Welsh cadrauc, meaning “strong” (Loomis, Romance, 374). [Raoul, VulgMer, Livre, Hunbaut, Arthour]


A variation of Gaswain.


Son of King Amant of Lambal (an enemy of Arthur) and ruler of Tharmadaise. While marching to attack Arthur, Amant was slain by King Bors of Gannes, and Gosengos inherited Lambal. Gosengos and his seneschal, Nabunal, joined Arthur in opposing the Saxon invasion, and also in the war against Rome. Arthur made him a Knight of the Round Table. He harbored a secret love for Guinevere, who, before her marriage to Arthur, had been infatuated with him. [VulgMer, Livre, Contin4]


One of Perceval’s eleven paternal uncles in Perlesvaus. He was the second son of Gais le Gros and the brother of Alain. [Perlesvaus]


Lancelot’s mother in La Tavola Ritonda. Unlike her counterpart in most romances, Elaine, Gostanza was still pregnant with Lancelot when her husband, King Ban of Benoic, died. In her distress over her husband’s death, she delivered Lancelot two months early and died herself after a few days. [Tavola]


A castle inhabited by a cousin of Galahad. Perceval visited Got during the Grail Quest. [VulgQuest]


A loyal Knight of the Round Table. [HartmannE]

Gothland [Gotland, Guthland]

Part of Arthur’s empire. It’s king, Doldavius, surrendered to Arthur rather than be conquered. The king later participated in Arthur’s wars against France, Rome, and Mordred. [GeoffHR, Wace, Allit]


A locksmith who lived in Brittany. He provided Tristan and Tristan’s brother-in-law, Runalen, with a key that allowed them to sneak into the castle of Lord Bedalis, so that Runalen could enjoy a tryst with Bedalis’s wife. [ProsTris]

Governal [Curvenal, Gorvenal, Gouvernal, Governail, Governayl(e), Govomar, Kurvenal]

An educated man who tutored Tristan as a youth and then became his loyal squire. The Prose Tristan tells us that Governal was appointed the post of Tristan’s guardian by Merlin. He had been forced to flee his home in Gaul after he killed a knight. When Tristan’s father died, Governal spirited him to France to protect him from his enemies. According to some texts, it was partially Governal’s negligence that allowed Tristan and Isolde to drink the fateful love potion. Governal accompanied Tristan on most of his adventures, and, with Isolde’s maidservant Brangain, arranged in many instances to allow Tristan and Isolde to meet together. In the Prose Tristan, Tristan crowns him King of Lyonesse and he marries Brangain. Upon Tristan’s death, Governal joined Arthur and Lancelot in a war against King Mark of Cornwall. [ChretienL, Eilhart, Gottfried, ProsTris, Palamedes, TristanoR, Tavola, Malory]


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


In the Alliterative Morte Arthure, a city or land in Arthur’s empire. The author may have intended Greece, or the city of Grasse in southern France. [Allit]


An Arthurian knight. [Heinrich]

Gradasso of Sansogna

A king whose mortal enemy, Count Lombardo, was slain by Lancelot. [Tavola]

Graelent1 [Grailenc]

A Saxon king who participated in the Saxon invasion of Britain in the early days of Arthur’s reign. He was struck down at the battle of Clarence by King Caradoc of Estrangorre. [VulgMer]


Hero of an early thirteenth-century Breton lay. His adventures parallel those of Lanval in Marie de France’s tale, though Graelent is not explicitly Arthurian, including no Arthurian characters.

Graier [Grayer]

Lord of the Castle of the High Wall. Under King Bors of Gannes, he fought in Arthur’s wars against the Saxons. King Claudas took over the lands of Bors and King Ban of Benoic, causing their deaths in the process. Graier collaborated with a knight named Lambegue in a plot to assassinate Claudas. Their plan was foiled by Sir Pharien. [LancLac, VulgLanc, Livre]

Grail [Graal, Gra(a)us, Graaux, (San)Gradale, Graï, Grasal, (San)Greal, Grëaus]

The bowl or chalice mentioned by Chrétien de Troyes in Perceval as a beautiful golden dish with some mysterious properties. Robert de Boron connected it with the chalice used by Christ at the Last Supper, granting it enduring fame as the Holy Grail. The Grail stories can be divided neatly into two classes: the early tales, in which Perceval is the Grail hero; and the post-Robert de Boron romances, in which Galahad becomes the successful Grail knight. Contrary to popular belief, the Grail does not appear in the scriptures. The Gospels do mention a bowl from which Christ at the Paschal lamb at the last supper, and a cup which he shared with his disciples. Later writers identified the Grail with these objects, but the Bible attaches no special significance to them as holy relics.
   About 1180, Chrétien de Troyes wrote Perceval, or Le Conte del Graal (The Story of the Grail), a story which he claimed to have adapted from a Latin book given to him by Count Phillip of Flanders. There is no compelling reason to disbelieve that Chrétien had a written source for the story, though this source has since been lost. Chrétien’s tale concerns the adventures of Perceval—the most important of which seems to be his visit to the castle of the enigmatic, wounded Fisher King. The Fisher King invites Perceval for dinner and, during the meal, Perceval beholds a procession of squires who walk through the room carrying a Bleeding Lance and a set of candelabra. These squires are followed by a maiden carrying a graal, a wide dish made of gold, adorned with precious jewels, radiant with a brilliant light. Three times the procession passed in front of Perceval, but Perceval, warned by his tutor not to talk too much, refrained from asking about the graal or who it served. When he woke up the next morning, he found the castle deserted and he departed. He soon came across his maiden cousin, who rebuked him for failing to ask about the Grail, for by doing so, he would have cured the Fisher King. Later, he visited his uncle in a hermitage, who provided further information about the Grail: it contained a single mass wafer which was served to the Maimed King, the Fisher King’s infirm father. Shortly after these revelations, Chrétien’s story turns to the adventures of Gawain and never returns; Chrétien apparently died before reaching a conclusion.
   Chrétien’s story is simultaneously stirring and frustrating in its mystery. What are the Grail’s origins? What is its significance? Would Perceval have returned the Fisher King’s castle? Was Perceval or Gawain destined to complete the adventure? Perhaps most important of all, how closely did Chrétien follow his source? What material was contained in the book given to him by the count of Flanders?
   The enigma surrounding Chrétien’s graal and the intended conclusion of its conte inspired four Continuations, two prologues (Bliocadran and the Elucidation), and four adaptations (Perlesvaus, Wolfram’s Parzival, Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, and the Welsh Peredur) over the next half century. In each of these tales, we learn new, and sometimes contradictory, things about the Grail and the residents of the Grail castle.
   The First Continuation of Perceval first tells us that the Grail provided food and wine for the Fisher King’s company, a notion which appears in later Grail romances but not, as some believe, in Chrétien. Both the Second Continuation and Perlesvaus say that it contained the blood of Christ, either reflecting or forecasting the influence of Robert de Boron’s Joseph. The First Continuation is also the first to link the Fisher King’s injury with the transformation of his kingdom into the Waste Land, which is found later in the Vulgate romances.
   Wolfram von Eschenbach thought that the Grail was a stone, perhaps confusing graal for the French grais, meaning “sandstone” (Bruce, 328n), or perhaps confusing the stones adorning the Grail (as in Chrétien) with the Grail itself. The Grail had fallen from heaven during Lucifer’s war with the angels. Instructions to the Grail Family appeared on the stone’s surface. As in the First Continuation, it provided its keepers with unlimited food and drink, and anyone who gazed upon it could not die within the following week. Wolfram describes the Grail as a gift from God to the elite Grail Family—spiritual agents in the world of man.
   In Heinrich’s Diu Crône, we learn that the entire Grail company is in fact dead, and that the Grail Question is needed not to cure the Fisher King, but to free the inhabitants of the Grail Castle from a living death.
   In the tales that reach a conclusion, Perceval visits the Grail Castle a second time, asks the Grail Question, heals the Fisher King, and becomes the new Grail King himself (an exception is Diu Crône, in which Gawain becomes the Grail hero but returns to Arthur’s court). The Grail is generally carried away to heaven upon Perceval’s death.
   Around the turn of the thirteenth century, Robert de Boron wrote Joseph d’Arimathie, the tale which shaped almost all future Grail romances. Identifying the Grail with the bowl or chalice in which Christ instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper, Robert turned the Grail into the “Holy” Grail. As early as a decade later, Robert’s story was reworked and expanded into the Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal. These “Grail histories” describe the migration of the Grail from Jerusalem to Britain in the hands of Joseph of Arimathea, a figure who appears briefly in each of the four Gospels. Joseph, a soldier of Pontius Pilate and a disciple of Christ, sought to preserve artifacts touched by Christ for future generations. He went to Christ’s house and retrieved the Grail. Taking it to the crucifixion site, he caught Christ’s blood in the bowl. After he obtained and entombed Jesus’s body, the Jews threw him in a prison to rot, but the Grail sustained him for over forty years. Upon his release, he embarked for western lands with a sizable company of followers. His followers ate supper around a Grail Table, which anticipated the Round Table. Once in Britain, the Grail was entrusted to the sons of Bron, who constructed Corbenic, the Grail Castle. Bron’s descendants acted as keepers of the Grail until the coming of the Grail Hero, who would complete all the spiritual adventures in Britain.
   In Robert, the Grail does not provide food and healing, themes which probably come from a Celtic origin. Instead, it is a means of providing spiritual glory to Joseph’s fellowship, a means of identifying the sinners among the group, and of communicating with God. It fills and satisfies their spirits rather than their stomachs. It is a symbolic representation of Christ among the fellowship.
   Robert de Boron also wrote a Perceval, which is now lost but was adapted into the French Didot-Perceval. According to this version, Perceval caused the Fisher King’s sickness by arrogantly sitting in the Round Table’s Perilous Seat. Both of these tales preserved Perceval as the Grail Hero but were eclipsed by the Vulgate Queste, which replaces Perceval with Galahad, Lancelot’s son and the best knight in the world. In all Grail tales prior to the Queste, Perceval literally stumbles upon the Grail Castle. Neither Arthur nor any of his other knights are involved in the proceedings. The Vulgate Queste scraps these previous versions and introduces the Grail “Quest,” in which all of Arthur’s knights participated for the express purpose of finding the Holy Grail. The Post-Vulgate Cycle, the Prose Tristan, and Malory faithfully adapted this version.
   The quest commenced after the Grail appeared to Arthur’s knights during the Pentecost feast. Galahad’s success had been pre-ordained since Joseph’s time, and only the purest of Arthur’s other knights had any hope of achieving it with him. In the end, only two of them—Perceval and Bors, who God tested vigorously—measured up, although another dozen or so knights were allowed to witness the quest’s completion. Lancelot, to his despair, was denied fulfillment because of his sin with Guinevere, though he was allowed a vision of his son’s success. Other knights, such as Gawain and Hector, learned that their lustful and murderous ways had excluded them as well. The quest itself involved a number of episodes which, together, ended all the spiritual adventures in Britain. It culminated when Galahad, Perceval, and Bors attended a mass held in Corbenic by the spirit of either Joseph of Arimathea or his son Josephus. Galahad healed the Maimed King with blood from the Bleeding Lance, and the three knights embarked with the Grail for ancient city of Sarras. There, another holy mass ended with the Grail lifted into heaven by the hand of God. Galahad and Perceval died in Sarras, but Bors returned to Camelot, where Arthur learned that a good number of his knights had been killed in the adventures. In addition to depleting the ranks of Round Table, the Grail Quest also left a spiritual vacuum which contributed to Arthur’s eventual downfall.
   It should be pointed out that neither the early Perceval Grail Quest nor the later Galahad Grail Quest circled around the objective of finding the Grail and gaining possession of it, or of bringing it back to Camelot. There is no question of removing the Grail from the Grail Castle. The goal, in both versions, is to understand the Grail, to grasp its meaning. Success depends on the knight’s spirituality and purity rather than his dedication or prowess.
   It has been widely accepted that the word Grail and its early variations—graal, greal, and grazal—derive from the Low Latin word gradalis or cratalis, meaning “bowl.” Some writers of Grail romances tried to link it with the French agreer (“agreeable”), as the Grail was agreeable to all who saw it (Bruce, 254–5). After Robert de Boron called it the Holy Grail, Saint Grail or Sangreal, some authors caused confusion by dividing the word in the wrong place, producing Sang Real, or “royal blood,” referring to the contents of the Grail rather than the Grail itself (Bruce, 255n). This incorrect division has produced far-flung theories of the Grail’s origin even in modern times.
   Studies into the origin of the Grail have focused on three theories: a Christian origin, a Celtic origin, and an origin in pagan fertility ritual. Adherents to the Christian origin theory point to the Eucharistic properties of the Grail even in Chrétien, noting that it contained a wafer or Corpus Christi and that the description of the Grail Procession recalls a report of a Byzantine mass written in the seventh or eighth centuries. The Fisher King is to be identified with Christ himself, as allegories of Christ as a fisherman abound in biblical literature. Christian origin theorists note that shortly after Chrétien’s Perceval, the Bleeding Lance was linked to the spear that pierced Christ’s side, and that the Grail itself was said to contain the blood of Christ.
   Proponents of the Celtic origin theory look for progenitors of the Grail in the Welsh cauldron tales. In The Spoils of Annwn, Arthur retrieves a magic cauldron from the otherworld; in Culhwch and Olwen, he brings it back from Ireland; and in the non-Arthurian Branwen, King Bran the Blessed also takes it from the Irish king. Among these cauldrons’ properties are the ability to separate heroes from cowards (represented in Robert’s Joseph when the Grail separates the pious from the sinners), the power to provide unlimited food and drink to its owner (as the Grail does in the First Continuation of Perceval and Wolfram), and the capability to restore life to the dead. Bran, represented in Robert de Boron as Bron, is to be identified with the Fisher King, as he also receives wound which causes his land to waste. Another possible origin of the Grail in Welsh legend is the dysgl (“dish”) of Rydderch the Generous, listed among the “Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain,” which also provided food and drink to worthy warriors. Yet another theory revolves around the Horn of Bran, also mentioned in the “Thirteen Treasures,” which has the same food-providing properties as the cauldron and dysgl.
   The ritual theory identifies the Grail legends with the ancient myth of the Vegetation Spirit, represented in the Egyptian tales of Osiris and the Greek stories of Demeter. It focuses on the link between the Fisher King and the Waste Land, noting that the Fisher King’s wound is located in the thighs or groin. His infirmity therefore implies a loss of fertility which is connected with the destitution of the Waste Land: flowers fail to blossom, crops do not grow, and rivers run dry.
   Each theory has merit, and it is likely that the earliest Grail legends combined elements from Christian, Celtic, and pagan myth to achieve the most alluring of the Arthurian themes. [ChretienP, Contin1, Contin2, RobertBorJ, Perlesvaus, Wolfram, VulgQuest, VulgEst, Contin3, Contin4, Heinrich, PostMer, PostQuest, Malory]

Grail Castle

The castle of the Fisher King, where the Grail was kept. It stood in the heart of the Grail Kingdom. It is called Munsalvæsche in Wolfram’s Parzival, Illes in Diu Crône, and Corbenic in the Vulgate and Post-Vulgate Cycles. In Perlesvaus, the Grail Castle was approachable only by a number of perilous bridges, guarded by two stone lions who mauled the unworthy. After the Fisher King’s death, it was conquered by the King of the Castle Mortal. All its holy artifacts disappeared until it was re-conquered by Perceval. A chapel outside the castle held the body of Joseph of Arimathea. It was also called Eden, the Castle of Joy, and the Castle of Souls. Anyone who died there went to heaven. After Perceval re-conquered it, Joseus the hermit served as its steward. Eventually, it crumbled to ruin, although the chapel remained in perfect condition. [Perlesvaus, Wolfram, VulgQuest]

Grail Family

The elite clan of nobles in Wolfram’s Parzival who were charged to keep and protect the Grail. The eldest son from each generation was chosen to be Grail King—the first Grail King was Titurel, followed by his son Frimutel. After Frimutel, it fell to Anfortas (Wolfram’s Fisher King), to Perceval, and lastly to Perceval’s son Loherangrin. Other members of the Grail Family included Perceval’s mother, aunts, and uncles: Herzeloyde, Trevrizent, Schoysiane, and Repanse de Schoye. The tradition of the family was that the members not chosen to be the Grail King would disperse from Munsalvæsche and become rulers of various lands. The family was in command of a group of Grail Knights called Templars. In Diu Crône, Heinrich von dem Türlin re-interpreted the Grail Family as a cursed clan who Gawain saves from a living death. [Wolfram, Heinrich]

Grail Hero

The knight who seeks the Grail and, generally, becomes its new keeper upon achieving it. In the earliest stories of Chrétien, Wolfram, and their adapters, the Grail Hero is Perceval (or, in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, Gawain). The Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal and later stories, however, give the primary honor to Galahad and put Perceval in a secondary position, along with Bors. [ChretienP, Wolfram, Heinrich, VulgQuest]

Grail King

The leader of the family who kept charge of the Grail, called the Fisher King by some writers, but sometimes given as a separate ruler. In Wolfram, the succession of Grail Kings is given as Titurel, Frimutel, Anfortas, Perceval, and Loherangrin; in the Vulgate romances, they are Joshua (a follower of Joseph of Arimathea), Aminadap, Carcelois, Manuel, Lambor, Pellehan, and Pelles. Sometimes the Grail King is the same as, or becomes, the Maimed King. The Grail King ruled the Grail Kingdom from the Grail Castle. [Wolfram, VulgQuest, VulgEst]

Grail Kingdom

The land which contained the Grail Castle. The land was called Terre Salvaesche by Wolfram, and the Strange Land, or Listenois, by the Vulgate romances. In the Vulgate sources, it became the Waste Land when the Fisher or Maimed King received his wound. [Wolfram, VulgQuest, VulgEst]

Grail Knights

In Wolfram’s Parzvial, an elite group of knights, sometimes called Templars, charged with guarding the Grail Castle. [Wolfram]

Grail Maiden

Any of a number of maidens who lived at the Grail Castle and were part of the Grail Procession witnessed by Perceval. The chief Grail Maiden was in charge of bearing the Grail. In Wolfram, this is Repanse de Schoye. [ChretienP, Wolfram]

Grail Procession

The entourage of servants witnessed by Perceval (and other various knights) in the castle of the Fisher King. One of the servants, usually a maiden, carried the Grail. Described in almost every Grail romance, the Grail Procession generally begins with a Bleeding Lance or spear (identified in some texts with the lance with which the Roman soldier Longinus stabbed Christ). Other objects carried in the procession variously included candelabra, trestles, candles, stones, bowls, platters, and utensils. Peredur, which does not feature a Grail per se, culminates with a bowl filled with blood in which floats the decapitated head of Perceval’s uncle. The procession is first mentioned by Chrétien de Troyes, who includes the Bleeding Lance, a candelabra, the Grail, and a silver platter. The items in Chrétien’s Grail Procession recall the description of a Byzantine mass found in a seventh or eighth century manuscript. The Procession in Arthurian romance, however, lacks a priest (Loomis, Romance, 278). [ChretienP, Wolfram, Heinrich, Peredur]

Grail Question

The question that Perceval needed to ask the Fisher King in order to free him from his suffering. Essentially, the quest knight needed to inquire about the wonders witnessed at the Grail Castle and in the Grail Procession. In Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval, the Question is “Who does the Grail serve?” Wolfram von Eschenbach alters the question to “What ails you [the Grail King]?” In Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, Gawain frees the Grail company from a living-death by bellowing “For the sake of God and His majesty, tell me the meaning of this large assembly and miracle!”
   Perceval failed to ask the Grail Question on his first visit because he had been warned by his tutor, Gornemant of Gohort, not to talk too much. In some texts, Perceval rectifies his mistake during his second appearance at the castle and completes the adventure. In the First Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval, Gawain partially heals the Fisher King’s land by asking about the Bleeding Lance, but he falls asleep before he can ask about the Grail. In Perlesvaus, Perceval’s failure to ask the Question seems to cause, rather than merely prolong, the Fisher King’s suffering. In the post-Robert de Boron Grail romances, the Grail Question, as well as the need for it, disappears. The theme, of a land under a spell which could only be broken by the asking of a certain question, is common in fairy tales and folklore. [ChretienP, Wolfram, Didot, Perlesvaus, Contin3, Heinrich]

Grail Sword

In each Grail romance, the Grail appears as the most important of three objects associated with the Fisher King: the Grail, a Bleeding Lance, and a sword. The sword is perhaps the most mutable of the three. In Chrétien’s Perceval, the sword was fashioned by the smith Trabuchet and given to Perceval by the Fisher King. The magnificent blade had a hilt of ruby. In Chrétien’s version, Perceval is warned that it will shatter if he uses it in battle, and that it will have to be repaired by Trabuchet in Cotatre. In Wolfram’s Parzival, Sigune tells Perceval that the sword is good for one blow, but that it will shatter on the second and would have to be repaired by immersing it in the spring near Karnant called Lac. Perceval shattered it in a duel and did manage to mend it in the spring.
   In both the First and Second Continuations of Perceval, it is said that the perfect Grail Knight could mend the sword, which had become broken through unknown means. Gawain is unable to join the pieces in the First Continuation (nor in the Vulgate Lancelot). Gawain learns that the Grail Sword was once used to strike a blow that “laid the whole country of Logres to waste,” perhaps alluding to the role of the Sword with the Strange Hangings in the Vulgate texts. In the Second Continuation, Perceval is able to put the sword together, but the hairline fracture that remains bespeaks Perceval’s failure to achieve complete perfection. We learn in the Third Continuation that it was broken when a knight named Partinal used it to kill Goondesert, the Fisher King’s brother. In the Fourth Continuation, Perceval is finally able to mend it completely.
   In Perlesvaus, the Grail Sword is identified with the sword which beheaded St. John the Baptist. Gawain needed it to enter the Grail Castle, and he recovered it from King Gurguran as a reward for dispatching a terrible giant plaguing Gurguran’s land. The sword was subsequently stolen by the King of the Watch, but was returned. Gawain delivered it to the hands of the Fisher King, which somewhat alleviated his subsequent failure to ask the Grail Question.
   In Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, the Grail Sword is simply awarded to Gawain upon completion of the Grail Quest. In the Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal, it is called the Broken Sword, having been shattered when it struck Joseph of Arimathea, and it is mended by Galahad at the conclusion of the Grail Quest. However, in the Vulgate romances, the importance of the Grail Sword is eclipsed by the magnificent Sword with the Strange Hangings; Galahad’s mending of the Grail Sword is simply one episode in a long line of tests that serve to prove Galahad as the greatest knight. [ChretienP, Contin1, Contin2, Perlesvaus, Wolfram, Heinrich, VulgQuest, Contin3, Contin4]

Grail Table

A precursor to the Round Table, modeled after the table of the Last Supper and used by the followers of Joseph of Arimathea. When the crops of the Grail fellowship failed (signifying unworthiness within the company), Joseph had the table constructed to weed out the sinners among the group. Bron, later known as the Rich Fisher, caught a fish that was multiplied into thousands in the presence of the Grail. The unworthy, however, found themselves unable to physically sit at the Grail Table.
   The Grail Table was made of silver. Like the Round Table, it had a Perilous Seat that destroyed anyone who sat in it. It also had a Feared Seat reserved for Josephus, Joseph of Arimathea’s son. The fate of the Grail Table after Joseph’s time is unclear, but at the conclusion of the Grail Quest, Galahad, Perceval, and Bors were served mass at the table. In an Irish version of the Grail Quest story, the table is last found in the ship the bore Lancelot and the body of Perceval’s sister. [RobertBorJ, VulgQuest, VulgEst]


The Irish counterpart of Isolde. She was the wife of the Irish chieftan Finn. Under the influence of a potion, she fell in love with Diarmaid, Finn’s nephew. The lovers eloped and began an affair.


An Arthurian knight. [Heinrich]


A king in Wolfram’s Parzival who ruled the fortress city of Sabins after his father Irot. His counterpart in Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval is Guiromelant. Gromflanz’s prowess was so great that he refused to fight less than two knights at any one time. In one battle, he killed Duke Cidegast of Logres. Cidegast’s widow, Orgeluse, then dedicated her life to finding a new husband who could exact revenge on Gramoflanz. She eventually settled on Gawain, and Gawain challenged Gramoflanz to a duel by stealing a garland from one of Gramoflanz’s trees. They arranged to fight on the field at Joflanze. At the scheduled date, Gawain fought a long battle with Perceval, thinking he was Gramoflanz, and the real duel had to be rescheduled while Gawain recovered. Later, Gramoflanz fought against Perceval, thinking it was Gawain, and lost. Exasperated, he demanded—and rescheduled for the third time—a fight with the real Gawain.
   Meanwhile, Gramoflanz had fallen in love with Gawain’s sister Itonje, who was recently released from her imprisonment at Castle of Marvels. He courted her through letters and gifts, and she eventually reciprocated his love. Realizing that any outcome of the Gawain/Gramoflanz battle would result in sorrow for Itonje, Itonje’s lady Bene (who had been acting as a go-between for Itonje and Gramoflanz), Arthur, and King Brandelidelin (Gramoflanz’s maternal uncle) conspired to convince Orgeluse, Gawain, and Gramoflanz to drop the feud. They succeeded, and Gramoflanz and Itonje were happily married. Gramoflanz appears in the stories of Der Pleier as one of Arthur’s knights, and his credits include the war against King Ekunaver of Kanadic and the siege of Tandernas. [Wolfram, PleierG, PleierT]


Castellan of Crenefort and father of Arthur’s Sir Yvain of Lionel. [VulgMer]

Grande Disio

A palace in the forest of Darnantes, where a sorceress named Elergia entrapped Arthur. After Tristan freed Arthur, Arthur tried to have it razed, but the workmen could not pull it down. Merlin had prophesied that the palace would stand until the end of the world. [Tavola]


A king of Gaul. Three of his kin were present at the culmination of the Grail Quest. [Tavola]

Grandines the Cruel

An evil knight who was killed by Galahad during the Grail Quest. [ProsTris]

Grandoine of the Distant Isle

A count who was a companion of Lord Formis on the Turning Isle. Yder defeated him when Arthur and his knights fought Formis’s knights. [Livre]

Grandome [Grandomes]

A Saxon warrior who participated in the Saxon invasion of Britain. He was defeated and captured by Gawain in a skirmish near Logres. [VulgMer]


One of Arthur’s knights. [SyreGaw]


A giant who attacked the kingdom of the maiden Irena. Artegall killed him and saved the kingdom. [Spenser]


One of Arthur’s warriors and advisors. He was the son of Llyr. [Dream]

Grasslands and Giants

The land ruled by King Rions, an enemy of Arthur, in the Vulgate Merlin. It is perhaps the same as the Land of the Grazing Grounds. Elsewhere, Rions is called the King of Ireland and Denmark. [VulgMer]

Gratian1 Municeps

The king of Britain prior to Constantine (Arthur’s grandfather). He had previously been a general under the British king/Roman emperor Maximus, and had proved his prowess by driving the Picts and Huns off the island. As a king, however, he was tyrannical, and was assassinated by his own noblemen. Afterwards, the kingdom fell into ruin until the arrival of Constantine from Brittany. Giovanni Boccaccio, the Italian author of The Fates of Illustrious Men, thought that Constantine obtained the kingdom from Gratian. [GeoffHR, Wace, Boccaccio]

Gratian2 the Pale [Grastian the Castellan]

A steward of King Ban of Benoic (Lancelot’s father). He took care of the city of Trebe in Ban’s absence. When Ban allied with Arthur, Gratian joined their struggle against the rebellious kings and Saxons, and he apparently became a Knight of the Round Table. His son Banin was Ban’s godson and also a Knight of the Round Table. [VulgMer, Livre, Arthour, Malory]


A deserted manor near Camelot where Lancelot hid while waiting to rescue Guinevere from the stake. [Tavola]


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

Gravadain of the Strong Castle

A British nobleman who opposed the Saxons in the early days of Arthur’s reign. He fought under King Clarion of Northumberland in the battles in northern Britain. He may be identical to one of the Agravadains. [VulgMer]

Gray Stone [*Llech Las]

A location in Scotland where Iddawg, one of Arthur’s warriors, performed penance after his lack of diplomacy caused the battle of Camlann. [Dream]

Grazing Grounds

A land ruled by King Rions, probably identical to the land of Grasslands and Giants. Galahad and Alipansin, vassals of Rions, are also mentioned as kings of the Grazing Grounds. [VulgMer]

Great Fool

A nephew of Arthur in an Irish tale. His adventures owe something to Perceval or Peredur. He was raised ignorant of his nobility because his family was Arthur’s enemy. When he came of age, he proved himself a skilled fighter by visiting Arthur’s court and defeating Gawain, as well as three obscure knights known as the Red Knight, the Purple Knight, and the Speckled Knight. [IrishF]


Greece became part of the Byzantine Empire when, in the third century, Diocletian divided the Roman Empire in two. The succession of emperors with authority over Greece is covered under Constantinople. By the Arthurian period, the western empire had fallen to the Vandals and the eastern empire was under attack by other barbarians. Greece was invaded by Huns, Slavs, and Goths.
   Arthurian legend fails to recognize this history. In Culhwch and Olwen, Arthur has conquered Greece along with most of western Europe. Geoffrey of Monmouth has a king of Greece, Epistrophus, allying with Lucius of Rome in a war against Arthur. Chrétien de Troyes correctly makes it part of the empire of Constantinople and gives its succession of emperors as Alexander, Alis, and Cliges. The Post-Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal tells us that Erec was a descendant of Greeks; his grandfather, Canan, had been the King of Saloliqui. Finally, in Floriant et Florete, Greece is ruled by Emperor Filimenis and is later inherited by Sir Floriant. [Culhwch, GeoffHR, ChretienC, Wace, PostQuest, Floriant, Malory]

Green Chapel

The chapel where Sir Gawain had promised to meet the Green Knight (Bertilak) exactly one day after New Year—one year after the Beheading Game challenge that Gawain accepted at Camelot. Gawain searched long for the location, and finally met the Green Knight on the settled day. There, the Green Knight spared Gawain’s life and revealed his true identity. [SirGawain, Grene]

Green Island

The realm of King Flois, one of Arthur’s vassals. It contained the castles of Effin and Alverne. The island was besieged by a giant named Assiles, but was saved by Gawain. [Heinrich]

Green Knight1 [*Vert Chevalier]

The alias of Cladain the Green, who joined Arthur’s court after he was defeated by Sir Durmart. [Durmart]

Green Knight2

The title character of the Middle English poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The Green Knight showed up at King Arthur’s court during the New Year’s feast and presented a Beheading Game challenge to the knights present: any knight would be allowed to take a swing at the Green Knight with an axe while the Green Knight stood perfectly still and offered no defense. In return, that warrior would have to stand still before the Green Knight one year later while the Green Knight took a swing at him.
   None of Arthur’s warriors rose to the challenge. Arthur was about to do it himself when Gawain stepped forward and took the axe. Confident that the Green Knight would not survive the blow—and would thus be unavailable for the second part of the challenge—Gawain swung the axe and chopped off the Green Knight’s head. The Green Knight, however, calmly picked up his head, mounted his horse, and told Gawain to meet him in a year and a day in the Green Chapel.
   As the next New Year’s approached, Gawain set off to find the Green Chapel, much to the distress of his comrades who expected never to see him again. He lodged for Christmas with a lord who had a castle called Hutton near the Green Chapel. When the lord offered him lodging, the two knights agreed that for the three days that Gawain was there, each knight would give to the other whatever he had obtained that day. On the first day, the lord went out hunting while Gawain hung around the castle. While the lord was gone, his wife tried to bed Gawain, but succeeded in only getting a kiss. When the lord returned, he presented Gawain with a freshly killed deer; true to his word, Gawain gave to the lord the kiss he had received from the lord’s wife. The second day went much the same. On the third day, the lord’s wife gave up on trying to seduce Gawain, and presented him with her girdle, which she said would protect him. When the lord came home, Gawain gave him the kiss but kept the girdle.
   The next day, Gawain left for the Green Chapel. He met the Green Knight there and prepared to receive his blows. The Green knight gave him two feinted blows and lightly nicked his neck on the third one. The Green Knight then revealed himself to be Gawain’s host: the lord of the castle Hutton, named Bertilak of the High Desert. He explained that the two feinted blows were for the days that Gawain faithfully turned over the kisses, and the nick was for not turning over the girdle. The Green Knight then told Gawain that he had been sent to Arthur’s court by Morgan le Fay—whose enchantments had spared Bertilak’s life after the decapitation—as a ploy to distress Guinevere. Gawain returned to Camelot, where he was honored for his adventure.
   A later poem known as The Grene Knight offers a similar story, but changes the Green Knight’s true name to Bredbeddle. [SirGawain, Grene]

Green Knight3

A knight of King Arthur’s court who was the son of Sir Ironside. [SyreGaw, Carle]

Green Knight4

The guise adopted by the knight Pertylope, who was defeated by Gareth. [Malory]

Green Meadow

A land terrorized by a diseased monster who had to bathe in a vat of blood each week. The creature slew a good portion of the Green Meadow’s population before Daniel, one of Arthur’s knights, overcame the monster’s spells and beheaded him, thus rescuing his friend, the Count of the Bright Fountain. Sandinose, the maiden of the Green Meadow, later married Arthur’s Duke Beladigant. [Stricker]

Green Wood [*Bois Verdoyant, Busco Verdulant]

The castle owned by Sir Guiron the Courteous, a knight of Uther Pendragon’s time. [Palamedes, Tavola]


The giant island enters Arthurian romance in Wolfram’s Parzival: Wolfram says that warriors from Greenland joined in King Vridebrant of Scotland’s invasion of Zazamanc, which was repelled by Perceval’s father Gahmuret. It was the home of the Grail maiden Garschiloye. In Meriadeuc, its king, Amangon, is one of Arthur’s subjects, and Der Pleier also names it as one of Arthur’s allies. [Wolfram, Meriadeuc, PleierT]


A cardinal who ascended to the papacy in the Vita di Merlino. Merlin had predicted Gregorio’s ascension. Merlin was later brought to trial for heresy before Gregorio, by a bishop named Conrad, but Merlin was exonerated. The author may have been thinking of Pope Gregory I (590–604), the earliest Gregory and the closest to the traditional Arthurian period. However, there were twelve other Gregories between Gregory I and Merlino. [VitaMer]


The name of three priests who presented a holy bell to King Gurguran (Gawain’s ally) and bade him bring it to the Grail Castle. [Perlesvaus]


One of Arthur’s warriors who was the son of Eri. Greid owned a hound named Drudwyn. As one of his tasks, the warrior Culhwch had to obtain this hound to help hunt the boar Twrch Trwyth. Greid was loyal to the warrior Gwythyr, and joined he Gwythyr’s army against Gwynn son of Nudd. Greid was taken prisoner by Gwynn and was not released until Arthur intervened. [Culhwch]

Greidawl Enemy-Subduer [Greidyawl]

One of Arthur’s warriors and advisors in Welsh legend. He was the son of Enfael Adrann and the father of Gwythyr. A Welsh Triad tells us that his granddaughter, Gwenhwyfar, was one of Arthur’s three queens bearing that name. “Greidawl” may signify “passionate.” [Culhwch, Triads, Dream]


An Arthurian knight in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône. He scolded Kay for making sport of ladies who failed a chastity test. [Heinrich]


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


Perceval’s father in the First Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval. He was a descendant of Joseph of Arimathea. His counterparts in texts contemporary to the First Continuation include Bliocadran, Gahmuret, and Alain. [Contin1]


An Arthurian knight who joined Gawain’s quest to conquer Rigomer castle. [Merveil]


A malevolent knight who was the brother of the Formidable Knight and the cousin of Caradoc. He enjoyed imprisoning knights, beating them, and forcing them into combat with his warriors. Sagremor eventually killed him. [Livre]

Greoreas [Creoreas]

A robber knight who abducted and raped a maiden in Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval. Greoreas was defeated by Gawain and was forced to eat with hounds for a month as punishment. Greoreas extracted his revenge on Gawain by stealing Gawain’s horse, Gringolet. He later sent his nephew to kill Gawain, but Gawain was victorious, reclaiming his horse in the process. After he was defeated in combat by Sir Durmart, Greoreas shunned his evil ways and humbly presented himself at Arthur’s court. In the Livre d’Artus, Greoreas is among Arthur’s warriors in the battle against the Saxons at Vambieres, though he still dislikes Gawain because of Gawain’s conflict with Greoreas’s cousin, Guinganbresil. [ChretienP, Contin1, Durmart, Livre]

Greslemuef of Finisterre [Grahelens, Gresmurs]

One of Arthur’s noblemen present at the wedding of Erec and Enide. His brother was Guinguemar of the Isle of Avalon. [ChretienE, HartmannE]


In Lancelot of the Laik, a knight of Arthur’s who fought in the war against Galehaut. He appears no where else in Arthurian romance, although his name occurs in the same place as Girflet’s in the Vulgate Lancelot. [LancLaik]


An Arthurian knight defeated in joust by Daniel of the Blossoming Valley. [Stricker]

Greu of Alenie

A Knight of the Round Table found exclusively in the Livre d’Artus. He was the son of the King of Alenie, and he apparently joined Arthur’s service during the Saxon wars. He embarked on the quest to remove the Ugly Appearance from a Libyan river when a maiden arrived at Arthur’s court and announced the adventure. Greu was successful, thanks to the assistance of the Wise Lady of the Forest of No Return. Afterwards, he married the Wise Lady’s niece, the messenger who had brought him to the adventure. Der Pleier’s Garel has some similar adventures, and the names may be related. [Livre]

Grey-Hammed Lady

A otherworldly woman, bearing the true name of Ailleann, who visited Arthur’s court in an Irish romance. In the form of a deer, she was pursued by the King of Gascony. After being hunted for three days, she resumed her human form and came to court. The ladies at court eventually became jealous of her beauty, and when she revealed her nickname, “Grey Ham,” to one of the ladies, her confidant immediately betrayed her to the rest of court, saying she had a tuft of grey hair on her inner knee. When the ladies at court were examined, however, it was discovered that the “Grey-Hammed Lady” was the only one who did not have this tuft of hair. The other ladies were punished and exiled, and the Grey-Hammed Lady awarded them new wives from the otherworld. The Grey-Hammed Lady herself married Arthur. [IrishL]


A dwarf who served King Bilis, lord of the dwarves, in Chrétien’s Erec. He came to the wedding of Erec and Enide. Hartmann von Aue calls the same character Grigoras. [ChretienE]

Griffin1 [Griffith]

The King of Wales after Caradoc, his brother. As Caradoc grew old and infirm, he gradually relinquished more power to his brother, but Griffin coveted the entire throne. Eventually Griffin had Caradoc murdered during a hunt. The noblemen of Wales were suspicious, but Griffin kept them silenced through fear. He tried to murder Caradoc’s children, Meriadoc and Orwen, but they were saved by Ivor, their foster-father, and taken into hiding. Meriadoc eventually arrived at Arthur’s court and, after winning favor, convinced Arthur to summon Griffin for trial. Griffin refused and fortified himself in Snowdon, but a domestic revolt combined with Arthur’s siege led him to surrender. He was properly tried and executed, and his kingdom was given to Meriadoc. [Historia]


A smith from Carmarthen who made weapons for Uther Pendragon, including a magnificent spear which was used by Arthur to defeat Frollo. [Layamon]


A Knight of the Round Table. [SirLamb]


The knight of the Treacherous Pass. He once lent Lancelot some armor, and later demanded Lancelot’s armor in repayment. Griffon rode around, displaying the armor, leading everyone to believe that Lancelot was dead. He defeated and imprisoned Kay, but became scared when a body of Arthur’s knights set out after his head. He released Kay to Aglovale and stopped bothering Arthur. [VulgLanc]


One of Guinevere’s Queen’s Knights. He opposed the Knights of the Round Table in a tournament at Carhaix. [VulgMer]

Grifuz [Griffin, Grifud, Gryffitz]

One of Arthur’s knights who was the son of Nogoid. [GeoffHR, Wace]

Grigoras [Gligoras]

A dwarf who served King Bilis of the dwarves. He came to the wedding of Erec and Enide. He is identical with the character called Gribalo by Chrétien de Troyes. In Diu Crône, he fails a “chastity test.” [HartmannE, Heinrich]


King of Ipotente and cousin of Perceval’s enemy Clamadeu. Grigorz provided Clamadeu with a Castillan war horse named Guverjorz. [Wolfram]


A knight who had succumbed to the temptations of the Bower of Bliss and had been turned into a swine. When Sir Guyon destroyed the Bower and restored the knights within to their true form, Grill complained that he had enjoyed being a pig. [Spenser]


Hero of the Histoire de Grimal, a non-Arthurian French prose romance that elaborates on the characters appearing in the Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal. Grimal was the son of Mordrain and Gratille. After his parents and relatives went to Britain, Grimal became king of Babylonia.


One of Arthur’s warriors who was the son of Kinmark. [Layamon]


An earth fiend in the service of Osmond, a Saxon sorcerer. He tried several times to lure Arthur to his grave, but he was foiled by Philadel, an air spirit. [Dryden]


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


A seaport on the eastern coast of England, at the mouth of the Humber river. Arthur landed here upon returning from his conquest of Iceland. [Layamon]

Gringalas the Strong

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

Gringolet [Gringalet, Gringuljete, Winwalite]

Gawain’s magnificent horse, first named by Chrétien de Troyes in Erec. Wolfram von Eschenbach, who gives it the epithet “with the Red Ears,” says that it came from the Grail Castle of Munsalvæsche and was originally owned by the Grail Knight Lybbeals of Prienlascors. King Lähelin won the horse when he killed Lybbeals in a joust; Lähelin gave the steed to his brother Duke Orilus who, in turn, gave it to Gawain. It was stolen by Urjans, won from him by Lischois Gwelljus, and returned to Gawain when he defeated Lischois. It was stolen at another point by Kay, who was knocked off it by Erec. At still another time, Greoreas—who was any enemy of Gawain—stole it, but Gawain recovered it when he defeated Greoreas’s nephew.
   The Vulgate Merlin names Gringolet’s first owner as the Saxon king Clarion, one of the many Saxon rulers who invaded Britain in the early days of Arthur’s reign. Gawain took Gringolet from Clarion after defeating him in a skirmish on the plains of Roestoc. Finally, in Girart D’Amiens’ Escanor, Gawain obtains the steed from Escanor the Large, who had received it as a gift from the fairy Esclarmonde. The animal would not eat or drink in the absence of its former master, until a maiden named Felinete helped Gawain cure Gringolet by removing a bag of powder from one of the horse’s ears.
   The horse’s name probably comes from the Welsh Gwyngalet, meaning “white-hard.” The horse of Gwalchmei, Gawain’s counterpart in Welsh legend, is called Kincaled. [ChretienE, ChretienP, Wolfram, VulgMer, Girart]


The alias of Avenable, a maiden assisted by Merlin when she came to Julius Caesar’s court dressed as a man. [VulgMer, ProsMer2]


A hermit who lived in the wilderness of Darnantes. He hosted Tristan and Kahedins during their adventures there. [Tavola]

Grissel (“Grey”)

Gawain’s horse, which was killed by Sir Galleron during a duel. [Awntyrs]


A knight who joined Mordred’s rebellion against Arthur. Gawain killed him in battle. [Allit]


According to Der Pleier’s Meleranz, the King of Gritenland married Anthonje, Arthur’s sister. He fathered Gaheris. [PleierM]


In Henry Fielding’s parody The Tragedy of Tragedies, a nobleman at Arthur’s court. He loved Huncamunca, Arthur’s daughter, and became enraged when Arthur betrothed her to the diminutive warrior Tom Thumb. In the original play Tom Thumb, he kills Tom Thumb’s ghost after the little man iss eaten by a cow, for which Grizzle is slain by Huncamunca. In the revised Tragedy of Tragedies, Tom Thumb kills Grizzle in battle. [Fielding]


A dwarf who served the lady of Roestoc. He led Hector and Gawain on several adventures, and procured the latter’s promise to duel the knight Seguarades on his lady’s behalf. Groadain treated both knights cruelly, and was censured by the lady of Roestoc for it. His niece fell in love with Hector. [LancLac, VulgLanc]

Groing Poire Mele (“Pear Muzzle”) [Gremporemole]

A knight with a minuscule nose. He led an echelon of Arthur’s soldiers against King Rions at the battle of Aneblayse. [VulgMer, Arthour]

Gromer Somer Jour [Gromerson Erioure, Grommer Grummerson]

A knight who appears in several Middle English romances, probably first in The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle. Gromer captures an unarmed King Arthur in Inglewood forest and forces Arthur to promise to return in one year, either to divulge what women most desire, or to forfeit his life to Gromer. Gawain eventually obtains the answer from Gromer’s sister, Ragnelle, and Arthur is saved.
   Malory (who may have written Wedding) includes Gromer as a Knight of the Round Table. As one of the knights who joined Agravain and Mordred in their attempt to catch Lancelot and Guinevere in flagrante delicto, Gromer was slain by Lancelot. Earlier in Le Morte Darthur, Gromer is said to be Scottish.
   In The Turke and Sir Gawain, a later verse romance, Gromer, bewitched into the form of a “turke,” or churl, shows up at Arthur’s court and challenges one of the assembly to an exchange of blows. After delivering one to Gawain, he asks to postpone the reciprocal strike. The turke then leads Gawain on a series of spectacular adventures, culminating in a visit to the Isle of Man, where Gawain, with the turke’s help, slays the pagan king and his giant attendants. The turke then asks Gawain to behead him, which results in his rebirth in the form of Gromer, a Christian knight. In the denouement, Arthur appoints Gromer the King of Man. [Wedding, Malory, Turke]


An Arthurian knight who was the son of Kay. [ChretienE, Heinrich]


A forest visited by Gaheris during a quest to find Lancelot. He met a maiden who he championed against her brother-in-law, Count Guidan. [VulgLanc]

Growing Lookout

An enchanted hill in Britain, probably in Wales. The Growing Lookout had a mysterious property of growing by about fifty times its normal size without warning, and from the top of it, a person could see the entire island of Britain. Lancelot rode by it on the way to Arthur’s court to fight Valerin, but could not stop and examine it because of his haste. [UlrichZ]

Grugyn Silver Bristle

One of the boar Twrch Trwyth’s warriors, who had been turned into a piglet. Grugyn and Twrch Trwyth’s other piglets fought against Arthur and his warriors, killing many men at the battle of Dyffryn Llwchwr. Grugyn separated from Twrch Trwyth and made a final stand at Garth Grugyn. He was killed after slaying Rhuddvyw and many of Arthur’s other warriors. [Culhwch]


One of Arthur’s warriors who shared the duties of gatekeeper in Caer Llion (Caerleon) with seven to nine other warriors. His master was the chief gatekeeper, Glewlwyd Strong Grip. [Geraint]


A lady who became the subject of dispute between Mabon the Black and Mennonas. Tristan and Isolde came to help Mabon. When Mennonas saw that Grysinde was not as beautiful as Isolde, he beheaded her. [ProsTris]


The King of Gualagne participated in Arthur’s tournaments at the Hard Rock and the castle of Leverzep. He had previously been an enemy of Arthur, but was subdued. [Tavola]

Guanius [Wanis]

King of the Huns. Three generations before Arthur, he allied with King Melga of the Picts and King Gillomaur of Ireland to invade Britain. He plagued Kings Maximus and Gratian before he was driven away for good when Constantine, Arthur’s grandfather, arrived from Brittany to assume Britain’s throne. [GeoffHR, Wace]

Guares the Black

A Knight of the Round Table, known as the “Ugly, Burned One.” Guares and his brother, Garnaldo, both participated in the Grail Quest. [PostQuest]


In La Tavola Ritonda, the King of Guascogna was slain by Lancelot during Arthur’s tournament at Leverzep. The name is a variation of Gascony. [Tavola]

Guelguezins of Hohe Bois

A duke in Arthur’s service. [HartmannE]


A field situated between the Castle of Maidens and the Castle of Ladies. The two fortresses held a tournament at Guendeborc, in which Lancelot participated. [VulgLanc]


The half-Djinn queen of a magic castle visited by Arthur in Sir Walter Scott’s The Bridal of Triermain. Arthur fell in love with Guendolen and stayed with her for three months. Before returning to his own lands, he promised Guendolen that should a daughter come of their union, Arthur would wed her to his best knight. Guendolen later gave birth to Gyneth. [Scott]


Merlin’s wife. A beautiful Welsh woman, she despaired after Merlin went mad at the battle of Arfderydd. In one of his moments of rationality, Merlin sent a message to Guendoloena, telling her to give him up and to remarry. He lapsed back into insanity, however, came to Guendoloena’s wedding, and killed her prospective husband with a pair of stag’s horns. [GeoffVM]

Guendoloena2 [Gwendoloena]

Arthur’s queen in De Ortu Waluuanii, probably a variation of Guinevere. Unique to this story, she is given prophetic powers which allow her to predict Gawain’s arrival at court. [DeOrtu]

Guengasoain [(Guen)gasouains]

A treacherous knight who murdered the noble knight Raguidel. Guengasoain’s benefactress, Lingrenote the sorceress, made him so powerful that no single knight could defeat him. He kept a ferocious bear as a companion in case more than one knight should engage him. Gawain and Yder, seeking to avenge Raguidel’s death, nevertheless killed Guengasoain. Yder married his daughter, Trevilonete. Guengasoain’s uncle was King Aguissant (Angusel) of Scotland. His brother was named King Bueves. [Contin1, Vengeance]

Guenloie1 [G(u)eneloie]

In the romance of Yder, the queen of Carvain. She fell in love with Yder when he lodged at her court. Proud, she sent him away to prove himself. She came to regret her decision and set out to locate him. In time, the two were reunited and married. Her name is similar to a form of Guinevere, and in an earlier version of the story, Yder’s mistress may have been Arthur’s queen. [Yder]


Gawain’s lover in Meriadeuc. She was the son of King Amangon of Greenland. Gawain abandoned her in favor of the maiden of the Castle of the Door. [Meriadeuc]


The fair, well-mannered sister of King Guivret, Erec’s diminutive friend. She led an idyllic life with her sister Filledamor in Guivret’s city of Penefrec. [HartmannE]


Earl of Winchester under Arthur. [Wace]


An Arthurian knight. [Yder]

Guerguint [Gurguint, Gwergound]

Earl of Hereford under Arthur. [Wace, Layamon]

Guerin1 [Gerin(s), Geryn]

The ruler of Chartres under King Arthur. He brought the Twelve Peers of the Gauls to Arthur’s coronation in Caerleon, and later brought soldiers to accompany Arthur in his campaign against Rome. He was one of the three messengers that Arthur sent to meet with the Roman Emperor Lucius—an effort that resulted in ruin when Gawain killed a Roman warrior. Guerin fought for Arthur throughout the Roman campaign, and was a key player at the final battle at Soissons. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon]

Guerin2 [Geryne]

A knight defeated by Lamorat at the tournament of Sorelois. [ProsTris, Malory]


See Gareth.

Gues of Strauz

A Knight of the Round Table. [HartmannE]

Guethelin [Gosselyn, Guencelin]

The Archbishop of London in the fifth century. When the Romans were departing Britain for good, Guethelin made a rousing speech to the British people in which he encouraged them to develop a national pride, train themselves as warriors, and defend their country. Nevertheless, Britain fell to ruin and was invaded by Huns and Picts, led by Guanius and Melga. Guethelin traveled to Brittany to seek help. He ordained Constantine, brother of Aldroen, as King of Britain, and brought him back to the island to drive out the barbarians. After Constantine pacified the land once again, Guethelin raised two of Constantine’s children: Ambrosius Aurelius and Uther Pendragon. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon]


A knight of Arthur’s court. He participated in Arthur’s war against a rebellious vassal named Taulas of Rougemont. [Yder]

Gui of Carmelide [Guy]

One of the knights sent by Morgan le Fay to kill Alexander the Orphan at the castle Fair Guard. Alexander defeated him. [ProsTris, Prophecies, Malory]


A knight who fell in love with Isolde and plotted to kill Tristan. Joined by his brother, they set out to attack Isolde’s lover, but before they could do so, they met Palamedes, who killed Guidaban. [ProsTris]


A lord who stole the land of Valigues from his sister-in-law, murdering her fiancée. Gaheris (Gawain’s brother) championed the maiden against Guidan in a duel at Roestoc. When it became apparent that Guidan would lose the combat, he jumped into a river and drowned. [VulgLanc]


According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Guiderius succeeded his father, Cymbeline, as king of Britain in the first century AD. His brother was named Arviragus. Britain had been paying tribute to Rome for several generations when Guiderius took the throne, and Guiderius decided to stop the practice. As a result, Rome invaded Britain. Guiderius died fighting the Romans, but his brother Arviragus continued the fight and was victorious. [GeoffHR]

Guienne [Gyane]

A region of southwest France, named as part of Arthur’s kingdom in the Alliterative Morte Arthure. Malory says that Lancelot ruled it, and that he gave it to his brother Hector in return for Hector’s support in the war against Arthur. [Allit, Malory]


A heathen king killed by King Clarion of Northumberland in the battle of Rockingham. [Arthour]


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

Guigenor [Aguigenor, Guingenor]

Arthur’s grand-niece in the First Continuation of Perceval. Guigenor was the daughter of Guiromelant and Clarissant and the niece of Gawain. She married a knight named Alardin. [Contin1]

Guignier [Guiner]

A maiden who married Sir Caradoc, one of Arthur’s knights, in the First Continuation of Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval. Caradoc rescued her from a knight named Alardin, who had abducted her after wounding her brother, Cador. Caradoc married her at Arthur’s court. In a later episode, Caradoc’s evil parents attached a deadly serpent to his arm. Placing Caradoc in a vat filled with vinegar and herself in a vat filled with milk, Guignier caused the snake to unwind itself from the knight and to pursue the sweeter host. As it leapt between them, Cador cleaved off its head, but he accidentally caught part of Guignier’s breast in the stroke. A magic shield provided by Alardin bestowed a golden breast its place. A chastity test at Arthur’s court, involving a horn, showed that she was the only faithful wife of the Round Table knights. [Contin1]


King of Denmark in the Didot-Perceval. He assisted Arthur in the Roman War. He was killed fighting Mordred’s army at Winchester. [Didot]


Sister of Taulas of Rougemont, a vassal in rebellion against Arthur. [Yder]


In Dryden’s King Arthur, a friend of the Saxon king Oswald. He may represent Gillamaur of Ireland found in Geoffrey of Monmouth. [Dryden]


A great-grandson of Brutus and grandson of Albanact. It is unclear whether his father was Dombart or Embrunt. He joined his cousin Illbrint in a war against King Brun of the Savage Realm, their cousin, hoping to subdue him. Guillant killed Silhaut, Brun’s brother, but was in turn slain by Brun. [Palamedes]


A horse ridden by Gawain. [Contin1]


A maiden upon whom Gawain fathered Lionel. She was the daughter of Norrois of Lis and the sister of Brandelis and Meliant. Found in the First Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval, she is usually unnamed in other sources. [Contin1]


A count in King Arthur’s service. [ChretienL]


Product of a union between the sorcerer Elïavres and a bitch. Guinalot was conceived after King Caradoc of Nantes, discovering that the sorcerer had been sleeping with Caradoc’s wife, forced Elïavres to copulate with the hound. [Contin1]

Guinan the Pale [Guina(n)s, Gwinas]

A knight in Arthur’s service in the Vulgate Merlin. He fought at the battle of Bedegraine, against the kings in rebellion against Arthur. He was saved from death by Sir Lucan the Butler. Malory says that he came from the city of Bloy. [VulgMer, Arthour, Malory]


A physician who healed Arthur’s Sir Yder after Kay had tried to murder Yder with a sword thrust through the back. Guinard inhabited a convent administered by a nun named Esotil. [Yder]


A count who sought to test himself against Gawain. He set up a special pavilion for the unscheduled duel, waiting for Gawain to wander along, but he was defeated first by Gaheris, Gawain’s brother, and was sent to Gawain as a prisoner. [VulgLanc]

Guinas2 of Blakestan

A cruel and arrogant knight. His cousin Ladomas accidentally slipped into bed with Guinas’s lady, and Guinas attacked him for this mistake, nearly killing him. Guinas then rejected his own paramour. Arthur’s Sir Hector came along in the middle of this, and Guinas—in a foul temper—pressed him into combat. Hector defeated Guinas twice and refrained from killing him so that Guinas could be reconciled with his lady and cousin. [LancLac, VulgLanc]


A heathen warrior slain by Agravain at a battle near Camelot. [Arthour]

Guincel [Ginses]

A warrior who fought at the tournament of Tenebroc, where he was unhorsed by Gawain. [ChretienE]


A knight who, during the Grail Quest, besieged the castle of Lord Boncenes. Galahad came upon the siege, just as Guincemain was about to start catapaulting his prisoners into the castle. Galahad killed Guincemain and put an end to the siege. [ProsTris]


A heathen warrior slain by Arthur’s Sir Sagremor at the battle of Diana Bridge. [Arthour]

Guinebal1 [Guimbaut, Guinebaut, Gwenbaus]

The older brother of Kings Ban and Bors and the uncle of Lancelot. He was a wise cleric, a skilled fighter, an amateur magician, and a tutor for his brothers as youths. Bors gave him the castle of Charroie. Guinebal became fast friends with Merlin when his brothers joined Arthur’s wars against the Saxons and the rebellious kings. Merlin was impressed with Guinebal’s knowledge, and added to his repertoire of magic. Guinebal fell in love with the lady of the Inhospitable Land Upheld when he met her in the Perilous Forest. For her love, he created a number of marvels, including the Magic Dance, which ensnared any passers-by, and a magic chessboard which moved its own pieces against any willing player, and invariably defeated him. Because of his enchantments, the forest was re-named the Forest of No Return. Guinebal died after teaching the lady some magic. [VulgMer, Arthour, Malory]

Guinebal2 [Guinbat(ing)]

A Saxon warrior slain by Agravain at a battle in Logres. [VulgMer, Arthour]


One of the many Saxon kings who invaded Britain in the early days of Arthur’s reign. He was slain by Gawain in a skirmish at Logres. [VulgMer]


Arthur’s queen in Les Enfances Gauvain. It is probably a variation of Guinevere, though unlike Guinevere, Guinemars is described as a loyal and chaste wife. [Enfances]

Guinevere1 [Gainor, Gainovere, Ganora, Gaynor(e), Genever, Genievre, Genoyre, Ginevra, Ginover, Guanhumara, Guendoloena, Gueneour, Gueneuora, Guenevera, Guenevere, Guenievre, Guenivere, Guenloie, Guenore, Gunnore, Gven(e)our(e), Gwendoloena, *Gwenhwyfar, Gwennor, Gwenore, Gwinore, Jenover, Ntzenebra, Vanour, Velivera, Wanore, Waynor, Wenneveria, Zenevra, Zenibra, Zinevra]

The wife of King Arthur. Her character varies greatly between legends. In the most common version of the Arthurian saga, Guinevere contributes to the downfall of Arthur’s kingdom by engaging in an affair with Lancelot. Mordred took her (or tried to take her) as his own wife when he rebelled against Arthur. In the aftermath of the final battles that destroyed Arthur’s kingdom, Guinevere sought refuge in a nunnery.
   She appears first in the Welsh Culhwch and Olwen (c. 1080). The Welsh version of her name, Gwenhwyfar, means “white ghost.” A Welsh Triad says that Arthur had three wives of this name—the daughters of Cywyrd, Gwythyr, and Gogfran—which may have inspired the French tradition of the True and False Guineveres. (The cross discovered at “Arthur’s Grave” in Glastonbury identifes Guinevere as his second wife.) Another Triad calls her one of the “faithless wives” of the Isle of Britain. A third Triad talks of an episode in which Mordred visited Arthur’s court and beat Gwenhwyfar, and a fourth says that the battle of Camlann (Arthur’s last battle) somehow began over a feud between Gwenhwyfar and her sister, Gwenhwyach.
   Geoffrey of Monmouth (1138) latinized her name as “Guinevere.” He tells little about her, except to say that she was raised in the house of Cador of Cornwall and was ravishingly beautiful. Guinevere and Arthur were married after the Saxon wars. When Mordred revolted against Arthur while Arthur was fighting the Roman War, he took Guinevere as his wife, and Guinevere seemed to be a willing collaborator. Arthur returned, and as the battles between Mordred and Arthur raged, Guinevere fled to Caerleon and took the veil.
   Two major themes follow Guinevere throughout the development of the Arthurian legend: her infidelity, and her abductions. In many texts, these themes are intertwined, with her rescuer becoming her lover. Chrétien de Troyes, in his Lancelot (C. 1180), is the first to mention her affair with Lancelot, which may have been invented by Marie de Champagne, Chrétien’s patroness. The acceptance of Andreas the Chaplain’s De Amour—which glorified adultery—in Marie’s court may explain Chrétien’s ability to portray Guinevere as both a noble queen and an unfaithful wife. On the other hand, Celtic queens were free to take lovers at their pleasure, and the affair may therefore have a Celtic origin, with the element of tragedy inserted by authors of different sensibilities.
   Though her most famous affair is with Lancelot, Guinevere’s earliest lover, as we’ve seen, seems to have been Mordred, with whom she is a willing consipirator in the chronicles. In Marie de France’s Lanval (c. 1170) as well, she is said to have a number of lovers, and she propositions Sir Lanval. In several romances, she fails a variety of chastity tests, suggesting affairs with any number of other knights. In the romance of Yder (c. 1225–50), her infatuation with Yder and his subsequent marriage to a woman named Guenloie (a variation of Guinevere) may indicate an earlier tradition in which Guinevere and Yder were lovers. There is allusion to this tradition in the Folie Tristan of Berne (c. 1190). According to the Vulgate Merlin (c. 1230), she apparently had a dalliance with a knight named Gosengos before her marriage to Arthur.
   Even the earliest Arthurian bards seem to have attached an abduction story to Guinevere. Such a tale is represented on an cathedral archivolt in Modena, Italy (c. 1135): Guinevere is abducted by Carados of the Dolorous Tower, who gives her to Mardoc, his master. Arthur gathers his knights and mounts a rescue, and it appears to be Gawain who successfully retrieves the queen, though Yder is also present. Another depiction appears in Caradoc of Llancarfan’s The Life of St. Gildas (c. 1130), where Guinevere’s kidnapper is King Melwas of the Summer Region (probably the origin of Meleagant). Although Arthur (presented in the tale as a tyrant) rouses warriors from Devon and Cornwall to pursue, it is the Abbott of Glastonbury and St. Gildas who shrewdly win her freedom.
   In Ulrich’s Lanzelet (c. 1200), Guinevere’s abductor is King Valerin of the Tangled Wood. Valerin had lost, in combat against Lancelot, a claim that Guinevere should be his because of a promise of marriage made when Guinevere was a girl. Unsatisfied with his loss, Valerin kidnapped Guinevere and hauled her back to his fortress of the Tangled Wood. Arthur besieged the magic fortress—an effort that proved futile until he enlisted the aid of the wizard Malduc, who destroyed the palace’s defenses and allowed Arthur and his knights to seize the castle. Guinevere’s son Loüt played an important role in the rescue.
   Heinrich von dem Türlin (c. 1230) presents an interesting abduction tale: Gasozein of Dragoz arrives at Arthur’s court claming that Guinevere is actually his wife. Guinevere refutes his claim, but her brother Gotegrin believes her wrong and kidnaps her, intending to kill her for her wickedness. Gasozein rescues her, but then kidnaps her himself and tries to rape her. She is finally saved by Gawain, who forces Gasozein to confess the falseness of his claim.
   In Durmart le Gallois, she is kidnapped by Brun of Morrois and rescued by Durmart. Finally, in the Livre d’Artus (c. 1240), she is kidnapped and briefly held by King Urien during the war between Arthur and the rebellious kings.
   The version told by the French prose cycles (c. 1215–1240) and subsequently by Malory (1470) builds on Geoffrey’s account and forms the basis for most modern tales of Guinevere:
   Guinevere is the daughter of King Leodegan of Carmelide. She has an identical half-sister, also named Guinevere, who is the daughter of Leodegan and his seneschal’s wife. The two Guineveres are distinguished only by a crown-shaped birthmark on the legitimate Guinevere’s back.
   Merlin has predicted her marriage to Arthur. Arthur comes to her father’s land shortly after his coronation because King Rions and the Saxons have invaded. Arthur falls in love with Guinevere and marries her as soon as he has achieved victory. On their wedding knight, enemies of Leodegan attempt to kidnap Guinevere and substitute Guinevere’s half-sister in Arthur’s bed, but Arthur’s knights foil the plan.
   Guinevere forms her own body of knights called the Queen’s Knights, whose ranks include Gawain, Yvain, and other young warriors.
   When Lancelot arrives at court, he falls in love with the queen at first sight. She presents him with a sword. He falls into trances of rapture whenever he gazes upon her. At first she is amused by his adoration. After Lancelot ends Arthur’s war with Galehaut, Galehaut brings about a meeting between Lancelot and Guinevere, and Lancelot confesses his love. Guinevere rewards him with a kiss.
   Saxons invade Britain and Arthur opposes them at Saxon Rock. Guinevere goes with him. Lancelot also arrives. One night, while Arthur is sleeping with Gamille, a Saxon enchantress, Lancelot visits Guinevere’s chambers and their affair begins.
   Guinevere the False, Guinevere’s half-sister, sends a message to Arthur claiming to be the true queen, as if the wedding-night ruse had worked. The false Guinevere enchants Arthur and he accepts her as the true queen. The real Guinevere is exiled and goes to live in Sorelois, Galehaut’s land. The ruse is eventually discovered, the false Guinevere dies or is executed, and the queen returns to court.
   Morgan le Fay learns of the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere and tries to reveal it to Arthur. Her plans are never entirely successful. Morgan hates Guinevere because Guinevere has ended an affair between Morgan and Sir Guiomar, Guinevere’s cousin.
   Meleagant abducts Guinevere from Arthur’s court and takes her to his castle in Gorre. Bagdemagus, Meleagant’s father, prevents Guinevere from being mistreated. Lancelot arrives and fights Meleagant to a draw. One night, he enters Guinevere’s chambers in Meleagant’s castle and spends the night with her. He has a wound, and he leaves blood on the bed. When Meleagant sees the blood, he believes the queen has slept with Kay, who is wounded and sleeping in the queen’s outer room. Lancelot schedules a duel with Meleagant at Arthur’s court to prove her innocence.
   Lancelot enters the tournament at Pomeglai, and Guinevere is present. To test his love, she tells him to act like a coward, and he does. At Arthur’s court, Lancelot kills Meleagant. In a later adventure, it appears that Lancelot is dead, and Guinevere is heartbroken. She rejoices when she learns he is alive.
   Lancelot is triked into sleeping with the daughter of King Pelles twice; once at her castle, once at Camelot. He believes he is sleeping with Guinevere. Guinevere discovers him in bed with the lady, believes his actions to be deliberate, and banishes him from her sight forever. Lancelot goes mad. He is eventually cured by the Grail and is reconciled with Guinevere.
   After the Grail Quest, Guinevere believes that Lancelot has fallen in love with the maiden of Escalot. She banishes him again. During a dinner, a knight named Avarlan tries to arrange for Gawain to eat some poisoned fruit. Guinevere innocently gives the fruit to Gaheris of Carahew instead, and he dies. Gaheris’s brother, Mador of the Gate, accuses Guinevere of murder. Meanwhile, the body of the maiden of Escalot arrives at Camelot in a boat, and Guinevere learns that Lancelot did not love her. Lancelot arrives in time to defend Guinevere against the charge. He exonerates her, and the lovers are reconciled.
   Agravain and Mordred learn of the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere. Arthur begins to suspect. Arthur goes on a hunting party but makes Lancelot stay behind. Lancelot goes to Guinevere’s chambers. Agravain rouses a band of knights and catches the lovers in flagrante. Lancelot battles his way free and promises to return to rescue the queen.
   Guienvere is condemned to execution. On the morning she is to be burned, Lancelot returns with a body of knights and rescues her from the stake. Guinevere and Lancelot flee to Joyous Guard and are pursued by Arthur. The Pope intervenes and forces Arthur to restore Guinevere as queen. Arthur continues the war against Lancelot, however, pursuing him to France.
   While Arthur is gone, Mordred usurps the throne. He falls in love with Guinevere and asks her to marry him. Guinevere flees to the Tower of London and Mordred besieges her there. Arthur returns to Britain with his army and Mordred abandons the siege. Guinevere flees to Amesbury and, after she hears of Arthur’s death, takes the veil. She soon dies.
   The are a number of notable variations to the version of Guinevere’s last days presented by Geoffrey of Monmouth and the prose cycles. In Perlesvaus (c. 1200), she dies of grief after learning of her son Loholt’s murder by Kay, and she is buried in Avalon. In La Tavola Ritonda (c. 1325–50), she falls down dead upon hearing of Arthur’s death. In Jean D’Outremeuse’s Ly Myreur des histors (c. 1350), she is slain by Lancelot and entombed with a living Mordred, who feasts on her flesh but eventually starves. In the Middle English tale of Sir Launfal (c. 1380), Guinevere, a wicked, adulterous floozy, is magically blinded by the sorceress Triamour. Finally, in Hector Boece’s Scotorum Historia (1527), following the final battle between Mordred and Arthur, she is kidnapped by the Picts (who supported Mordred) and lives out her days as a prisoner.
   Reginald Heber’s Morte D’Arthur (1812) includes a tale of Guinevere’s youth in which she falls in love with a forester named Cadual. Later married to Arthur, she longs for her former love and comes to realize that Cadual was in fact Lancelot in disguise.
   According to Tennyson, Guinevere fell in love with Lancelot when he first escorted her from her home to Arrthur’s court for her marriage (in the Vulgate Cycle, Lancelot is not yet born when Arthur marries Guinevere). She is seduced by his warmth and humor and liveliness and, when she reaches Camelot, she is repelled by Arthur, who is “high, self-contained, and passionless.” Her affair with Lancelot contributes to Arthur’s downfall not only at the end: during his entire reign, her infidelity sets a poor example and undermines with sin Arthur’s lofty ambitions. News of her adultery contributes to the madness of Balin and Pelleas. In the end, when she sees what destruction her actions have caused, she is repentant and ashamed to the point of groveling, realizing too late that she needn’t have looked any further than Arthur for the ideal husband and lover. [Culhwch, Caradoc, GeoffHR, ChretienE, ChretienL, UlrichZ, Perlesvaus, FolieB, Wolfram, Layamon, VulgLanc, VulgQuest, VulgMort, VulgMer, Livre, PostQuest, PostMort, ProsTris, DeOrtu, Tavola, Jean, Stanz, ChestreLvl, Awntyrs, Malory, KingA&C, Boece, HughesT, Thelwall, TennIK]

Relations: Guinevere’s family and kinsmen are named below. More information can be found under their respective entries.
   Father: Cador, Garlin of Galore, Gogfran, Leodegan of Carmelide, Rions, Vortigern
   Children: Although she is generally described as childless, a number of authors give her a son named Loholt, whose murder in Perlesvaus leads to her own death. In Wolfram’s Parzival, she and Arthur have a son named Ilinot who also dies a premature death, and in the Alliterative Morte Arthure, she is the mother of Mordred’s two sons. The English ballad “King Arthur and King Cornwall” says that she had a daughter by the king of Cornwall. In the Livre d’Arts, she raises the illegitimate daughter of Sagremor and Senehaut. In Tennyson, she tries to raise an infant girl called Nestling that Arthur and Lancelot found in an eagle’s nest, but the child dies.
   Brothers: Gotegrin, Mordred (in an interpolation in one manuscript of Wace’s Roman de Brut)
   Sisters: Angharad, Flori, Guinevere the False, Gwenhwyach, Lenomie
See Also: Agravain, Arthur, Arthur’s Grave, Avalon, Chastity Tests, Dolorous Tower, Guenloie, Guinevere the False, Lancelot, Meleagant, Melwas, Mordred, Queen’s Knights, Wadling Lake


An ancestor of Perceval, known as the “lady of the chapel.” Her daughter’s lover murdered Guinevere’s husband and framed Guinevere for the murder. Guinevere’s four sons walled her up in a chapel. God made the tomb holy, and all who visited it were healed of wounds or disease. Galahad, Perceval, and Bors visited the chapel at the conclusion of the Grail Quest. [PostQuest]

Guinevere3 the False

The identical half-sister of Guinevere, fathered by Leodegan on the wife of Cleodalis, his seneschal. Leodegan’s enemies conspired to replace the true Guinevere with the false Guinevere on Arthur’s wedding night, but Merlin learned of the plan and commissioned Sir Ulfin and Sir Bretel to stop it. Years later, Guinevere the False formed an alliance with Bertelay, an old knight who had been expelled from Leodegan’s court for murder. They sent a message to Arthur proclaiming that Guinevere the False was the true queen, and that Arthur had been living with an impostor since his wedding night. Arthur decreed a judicial trial between Gawain and Bertelay, but before it could take place, the False Guinevere captured and imprisoned Arthur. Arthur succumbed to a love potion, returned to court, and proclaimed Guinevere the False queen. Lancelot championed the real queen against three of Bertelay’s knights to prove her innocence. In the non-cyclical Lancelot do Lac, Bertelay and the False Guinevere then admit their guilt and are burned. According to the Vulgate Lancelot, Lancelot and the true Guinevere fled Arthur’s court for Sorelois, where they lived for several years before Guinevere the False perished of an illness, confessing on her death bed. [LancLac, VulgLanc, VulgMer]

Guingan of Dolas

A knight to whom Arthur gave command of the Castle of the Elms. [Contin1]

Guinganbresil [Gui(n)gambresil]

A proud lord who, in Chrétien’s Perceval, accuses Gawain of murdering Guinganbresil’s master. Guinganbresil and Gawain scheduled a duel before the king of Escavalon. Arthur intervened, however, and the two knights made peace. Guinganbresil then married Tancree, the niece of the king of Escavalon. In Wolfram’s Parzival, he is known as Kingrimursel. In the Livre d’Artus, Guinganbresil appears among Arthur’s forces in the Saxon wars. As in Perceval, he is hostile to Gawain, but because Gawain has slept with Florée, a maiden loved by Guinganbresil, as well as with Guinganbresil’s sister, begetting a child with each of them. [ChretienP, Contin1, VulgMer, Livre]

Guinglain [Giglain, Gyngalyn, Gyngelayne, Gyngolyn, G(e)ynleyn]

Son of Gawain and a Knight of the Round Table. He is the hero of Renaut de Bâgé’s Le Bel Inconnu and Thomas Chestre’s Lybeaus Desconus. His mother was a fairy named Blanchemal who raised him in ignorance of his true name and paternity, so he was called le bel inconnu, or the Fair Unknown. He joined Arthur’s court and soon accepted a quest to free Queen Esmeree the Blonde of Wales, whose city of Snowdon had been laid waste by two sorcerers.
   Blond Esmeree’s lady, Helie, who had come to Arthur’s court seeking help, was furious when she learned that Arthur had assigned a young and inexperienced knight to the task. Guinglain changed her thinking during the journey to Snowdon, as he conquered the evil Sir Bleoberis; rescued the lady Clarie from two giants; defeated three attackers named Elin, William, and the knight of Saie; won a sparrowhawk tournament against Sir Girflet in honor of the lady Margerie; and defeated Malgier, the guardian of the Golden Isle.
    In this last adventure, Guinglain fell in love with the fairy ruler of the Golden Isle, known as the Maiden with the White Hands. The Maiden loved Guinglain in return and wished to marry him, but Guinglain was forced to sneak away from her in the middle of the night in order to complete his quest.
   He traveled to the Desolate City of Snowdon and defeated the two sorcerers—Mabon and Evrain—who had cursed the city and who had turned Esmeree the Blonde into a snake. He was then approached by the snake, which had to kiss him in order to return to her true form. Guinglain fought the urge to cleave the snake in two, kissed it, and completed the adventure. A voice (which turned out to be the Maiden with the White Hands) then informed him of his true name and paternity. Esmeree the Blonde fell in love with Guinglain and wished to marry him, but Guinglain’s love for the Maiden led him to return to the Golden Isle, where he found the Maiden incensed at his earlier departure. She eventually accepted him back, but he lost her love for good when he sneaked away to attend Arthur’s tournament at the Castle of Maidens. He married Esmeree the Blonde and became the king of Wales.
   The Wedding of Sir Gawain calls him the son of Ragnelle rather than Blanchemal. He appears in the Post-Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal as a knight defeated by Arthur the Less. In Malory, he joins Mordred and Agravain in their plot to catch Lancelot and Guinevere in flagrante delicto, and he is slain by Lancelot. His character becomes Beaudous in Robert de Blois’s romance, and his adventures are given to Carduino in an Italian cantare. [Renaut, Contin1, Contin2, PostQuest, ProsTris, Wedding, Malory]

Guingras [Gringras]

The good and kind King of Wales in Renaut’s Le Bel Inconnu. His daughter, Esmeree the Blonde, inherited his kingdom and married Gawain’s son, Guinglain. [Renaut]

Guinguemar [Gimoers, Gryngamore, Guigomar, Guingamuer, Gwinganiers]

A knight who Chrétien de Troyes calls the Lord of the Isle of Avalon. Morgan le Fay was his lover. He had a brother named Greslemuef of Finisterre and, in Malory, two sisters named Lynet and Lyones. He became Gareth’s brother-in-law and companion. He shows up at the tournament of the Castle of Maidens in Renaut de Bâgé’s Le Bel Inconnu and at the Castle Perilous tournament in Malory. In the First Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval, his fairy lover is named Brangepart, and he has a son by her named Brangemuer. Guinguemar has his own non-Arthurian lay in which falls in love with an unnamed fairy, possibly Morgan. He may be connected with Guiomar, Morgan’s lover in the Vulgate romances. [ChretienE, HartmannE, Renaut, Contin1, Heinrich, Malory]


Father of Arthur’s Sir Alardins. [Contin1]

Guinier [Aguinier]

A vassal of Galehaut. Guinier lent Arthur’s Sir Hector a shield to use in battle against the Saxons in Scotland. [LanDoLac, VulgLanc]

Guinlain [Guinlains]

An Arthurian knight who ruled the castle of Tintagel in Renaut de Bâgé’s Le Bel Inconnu. [Renaut]

Guinnon [Gurnion]

A fortress in Britain that was the site of Arthur’s eighth battle against the Saxons. In this battle, we are told, Arthur “carried the image of the holy Mary, the everlasting Virgin, on his shield, and the heathen were put to flight on that day, and there was a great slaughter upon them.” Possible locations include castles in Cornwall, Winchester, and fortress of Garionenum in Norfolk. Geoffrey and the Annales Cambriae adopt the image of Arthur’s shield from this battle for the battle of Badon. [Nennius, TennIK]


The castle in Saxony where Sardoine, Hengists’s daughter, lived before she married Vortigern. [Butor]

Guiomar [Gogenar, Goiomar, Goionar(d), Guyamor]

Cousin of Guinevere and brother of Sadoine in the Vulgate Merlin. He fought alongside Leodegan and Arthur against the Saxons. He fell in love with Morgan le Fay. Guinevere discovered their affair and ended it, sparking the famous hatred between Morgan and the queen. Morgan later gave birth to Guiomar’s son, who became a noble knight. The origin of his name and character are probably found in Guinguemar of Chrétien’s Erec. [VulgLanc, VulgMer, Livre, Arthour, Malory]


An ally of Arthur in the Roman War. He was killed fighting Mordred’s army. [Didot]

Guionce [Guionences]

Sensechal of King Cleolas, King Alain of Escavalon, or King Pelles of Corbenic. He fought with Arthur’s forces against the Saxon invasions. [VulgMer, Livre]


A duke from Listenois who besieged the sister and niece of King Pellinore in the castle of Belloé. Branor the Brown defeated him in combat and brought about a marriage between Guiot and the niece. [Palamedes]


In La Tavola Ritonda, the knight who rescued Isolde after she was kidnapped by Palamedes. He hid her in his tower, Madrana, and later died in combat with Palamedes. The same knight appears unnamed in the Prose Tristan; Malory calls him Adtherpe. [Tavola]

Guiromelant1 [Geromelant, G(u)iremelanz, Grinomelant]

A knight who ruled the town of Orquelenes in Galloway or the land of Janphis. His story comes from Chrétien’s Perceval and the First Continuation. He loved Gawain’s sister Clarissant but hated Gawain. Gawain encountered him after freeing Clarissant from Canguin Rock. They arranged to meet in combat at Arthur’s court in Orcanie to settle their differences. Arthur intervened, canceled the duel, and allowed Guiromelant to marry Clarissant. As a wedding present, Arthur gave him the country of Nottingham or Madarp. He appears in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival as Gramoflanz. In the Livre d’Artus, he joins Arthur’s war against the Saxons but dislikes Gawain because of Gawain’s conflict with Guinganbresil, Guiromelant’s brother or cousin. [ChretienP, Contin1, Livre, Heinrich]


An aide to King Amant of Lambal, Arthur’s enemy. When Amant was slain by King Bors, Guiromelant vowed never to serve Arthur. [VulgMer]

Guiron the Courteous [Girone, Guron(e), Gyron]

Hero of the French Palamedes. A peerless knight, he was descended from King Clovis of France on the side of his father (Fragus) and from Joseph of Arimathea on his mother’s side. R. S. Loomis though that his character came from Gwyron in the Mabinogion tales. He ruled the Green Wood. He was an ally of Tristan’s father Meliadus, whom he aided in a war against Scotland. According to La Tavola Ritonda, he became an enemy of the Round Table after suffering disgrace at Uther Pendragon’s court: a lady whom he had abducted from Gariosso of Maganza lied to Uther, saying that Gariosso had stolen her from Guiron. Uther had Guiron dragged around the fields of Urbano from a cart, as was the punishment for cuckolds.
   Guiron loved the lady of Malehaut, who happened to be married to Danain the Red, Guiron’s best friend. When she was entrusted to Guiron’s care, he nearly had an affair with her, but some noble words written on his sword (which had belonged to Hector the Brown) shamed him to the point of near suicide. In revenge for Guiron’s intentions, Danain abducted Bloie, Guiron’s amie. Guiron rescued her and reconciled with Danain when Danain saved him from a knight named Helin. Guiron and Bloie were later imprisoned by a wicked lord named Galinan. Bloie died in the prison after giving birth to Guiron’s son, whom Galinan raised and named after himself. Lancelot eventually freed Guiron from the prison. In another adventure, he was imprisoned by the giant Nabon the Black until rescued by Tristan. The Fountain of Guiron the Courteous commemorated Guiron’s rescue of King Arthur from the giant Hebusan. After many other adventures, Guiron retired to the tomb of Febus, his renowned ancestor, where he died. [Palamedes, Tavola]


A knight who fought on the side of the King with a Hundred Knights at King Mark’s Lancien tournament. [Contin4]


A castle that belonged to the Good Knight Without Fear. [Palamedes]

Guitard [Guitardus, Gwitard]

The Duke of the Poitevins or Poitou who was conquered by Duke Hoel at the behest of Arthur, as part of Arthur’s campaign to subjugate all of Europe. Guitard later became loyal to Arthur and fought for him in the Roman campaign. During the war, Guitard learned that a Roman force was planning to liberate Roman prisoners when they were being escorted to a Paris prison. Guitard arrived just in time and saved Arthur’s men from defeat. He also commanded a company of soldiers in the final battle at Soissons, and there killed King Munstensar of Africa. His name probably comes from the Welsh Gwitart. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon]


According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, king of Britain in the fourth century BC. He succeeded King Gurguint Barbtruc. He married Marcia and fathered Sisillius, who succeeded him. [GeoffHR]


The location in Arthur’s realm governed by Earl Balluc. [Wace]


The name of Arthur’s wife given by Giovanni Boccaccio in De Casibus Virorum Illustrium. Mordred married her when he seized Arthur’s throne. [Boccaccio]

Guivret1 of Lambale [Gimires]

An Arthurian knight who fought in the Saxon Wars. He was imprisoned in both the Dolorous Prison and the Forbidden Hill, and was freed from both by Lancelot. In the war with Mordred, he led a battalion at Salisbury and was presumably killed there. [VulgLanc, VulgMer, VulgMort, Arthour]

Guivret2 the Small [Cuiret, Gimires, Guimar, Guiret, Guivres, Guivrez, Gvires, Gwiffred, Guyart, Gyvreiz]

The diminutive King of Ireland in the Chrétien de Troyes’s Erec and the Welsh Geraint, also known as the Little King. His rich castle was called Pointure or Penefrec. His two sisters were named Filledamor and Guenteflur.
   Erec and Enide entered Guivret’s land uninvited during their journey, for which Guivret challenged Erec to combat. Though Guivret was a fierce warrior—his size made him agile and hard to strike—Erec eventually overcame him. The two knights became fast friends. When Guivret heard of Erec’s imprisonment at the hands of Count Oringle, he set out to liberate his friend, finding upon his arrival that Erec had already killed the count. Guivret accompanied Erec back to Arthur’s court after a sojourn in the city of Brandigan, where Erec completed the Joy of the Court adventure.
   In Ulrich’s Lanzelet, a magical mantle brought to Arthur’s court reveals that Guivret’s wife hates him because of his dwarfish size. In the Prose Tristan, he appears at the tournament of Sorelois. [ChretienE, UlrichZ, HartmannE, Erex, Geraint, ProsTris]

Guivret3 the Younger

A Knight of the Round Table who was the son of Arthur’s Sir Pelleas and the lady Arcade. He may be identical to Guivret the Small. [PostMer]

Guiz the Puny

A knight whom Galahad rescued from Mordred. [ProsTris]


Tristan’s first war-horse in La Tavola Ritonda. It was given to him by Bellices, the daughter of the king of Gaul. [Tavola]


In Meriadoc, the King of the Land From Which No One Returns. He waged war against the Emperor of the Alemanni and kidnapped the Emperor’s daughter, treating her like a princess. His brother was named Guntrannus. He was slain by King Meriadoc of Wales, a protégé of Kay. [Historia]

Gundeflé [Gondeffles]

One of many Saxon kings who invaded Britain at the beginning of Arthur’s reign. His brother was Transmaduk. He was one of the few survivors of the great Saxon slaughter at Clarence. Arthur’s forces chased him to his galleys and forced him back to Saxony. [VulgMer, Arthour]


An Arthurian knight who came from Worcester. [Renaut]


A page who served Melleranz, Arthur’s nephew. [PleierM]


King of Denmark in Geoffrey Gaimar’s chronicle. He withheld tribute from Arthur. Gunter’s treacherous brother, Odulf, sent a message to Arthur telling him of Gunter’s decision. Arthur conquered Denmark, killed Gunter, and appointed Odulf to the throne. Gunter had another brother namd Ascil. This episode is found in Geoffrey Gaimar’s chronicle; other chronicles mention Arthur’s conquest of Denmark but do not name its king. [Gaimar]


The brother of Gundebald, the King of the Land From Which No One Returns. He served his brother in a war against the Emperor of the Alemanni. [Historia]

Gunvasius [Goneweys, Gonfal, Gonwais, Gunfasius, Gunphar]

King of the Orkneys who chose to voluntarily subjugate himself to Arthur rather than have Arthur conquer him. Arthur left him at his post. He later assisted Arthur in the conquest of King Frollo and Gaul. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon]


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

Gures the Younger

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


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

Gurguint Barbtruc

According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, king of Britain in the fourth century BC. He was the son of King Belinus. During his reign, he subjugated Denmark and allowed the Basques to populate the barren Ireland. He was succeeded by King Guithelin. [GeoffHR]

Gurguran [Gurgurant]

A heathen, cannibal king in Perlesvaus who possessed the sword that had beheaded St. John the Baptist. His son was kidnapped by a giant, which made Gurguran forsake his pagan religion. Gawain came to Gurguran’s kingdom in Scotland seeking the sword, and he accepted the challenge of rescuing Gurguran’s son. Gawain killed the giant, but was unable to save the prince’s life. Gurguran nevertheless gave Gawain the sword as a reward. Gurgurant cooked his son’s body and fed it to his followers. Gurguran then had himself baptized, taking the Christian name Archier. Three priests named Gregory later gave Gurguran a holy bell to take to the Grail Castle. [Perlesvaus]


According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, king of Britain in the eighth or seventh century BC. He was the son of King Rivallo and the father of King Sisillius. [GeoffHR]

Gurmun the Gay

King of Ireland, husband of Queen Isolde, and father of Isolde in Gottfried’s Tristan. As a bitter enemy of King Mark of Cornwall, he sent his best knight, Morholt, to menace Cornwall and collect a tribute. Tristan traveled to Ireland under the name “Tantris” and killed a dragon. When Gurmun learned of this noble deed—and then of Tristan’s true identity—he agreed to peace between Ireland and Cornwall and he gave his daughter to Mark. Gottfried says that Gurmun’s father was the King of Africa. His character in other romances is called Anguish. [Gottfried]


Son of Perceval’s tutor Gornemant, brother of Shcenteflurs, Lascoyt, and Liaze, husband of Mahaute, and father of Gandiluz. He traveled to the town of Brandigan to try his hand in the Joy of the Court adventure. He failed, and was killed by the warrior Mabonagrain. [Wolfram]


A warrior in Arthur’s service. He was the son of Achen. [Culhwch]


A Castillian war horse belonging to King Clamadeu, an opponent of Perceval. The horse was given to Guverjorz by a relative, King Grigorz of Ipotente. [Wolfram]


A marginally-sane magician who was encountered by Arthur in a Breton text. Guynglaff roamed the woods and spouted cryptic prophecies, identifying him with Merlin. Most of his prophecies involved tragedies to befall Britain in the sixteenth century. [Dialog]


Representative of temperance sent by Gloriana, the Fairy Queen, to destroy the Bower of Bliss, the garden belonging to the evil enchantress Acrasia, where many knights were lured to their lecherous dooms. On the way, he was attacked, tempted, and robbed, but was victorious in each of his encounters. He was eventually assailed, while in a weakened condition, by two knights named Pyrochles and Cymochles, but he was rescued by Prince Arthur. Guyon and his mentor, the Palmer, continued to the Bower of Bliss, where they were assaulted on all sides by sensual delights. Resisting them, they captured the sorceress Acrasia and destroyed the Bower. Guyon had further adventures in Arthur’s company. [Spenser]


The kingdom ruled by the King with a Hundred Knights in La Tavola Ritonda. [Tavola]

Gwadyn Oddeith (“Sole Blaze”)

An Arthurian warrior. Hot, bright sparks shot from the soles of his feet when he struck something hard. His was thus given the task of clearing away unwanted vegetation when Arthur was on the march. [Culhwch]

Gwadyn Osol

An Arthurian warrior who was so heavy that if he were to stand on the highest mountain in the world, it would become a level plain under his feet. His first name means “sole.” [Culhwch]


Daughter of Cynfelyn and maid of Arthur’s warrior Syfwlch. [Culhwch]

Gwaeth (“Worse”)

Daughter of Arthur’s warrior Bwlch. [Culhwch]

Gwaethef Oll (“Worst of All”)

Daughter of Arthur’s warrior Syfwlch. [Culhwch]

Gwalchmei [Gwalchmai]

Counterpart of Gawain in Welsh legends. He was the son of Gwyar, the brother of Gwalhafed, and the nephew of Arthur. One of Arthur’s best warriors, he is described as noble, brave, and courteous. His character bears a relation to the Irish hero Cuchulain. The root of his name, Gwalch, means “hawk,” and mei may indicate “May,” as in “Hawk of May.” He was Arthur’s best rider, and accompanied Culhwch and other warriors in Arthur’s service on Culhwch’s quest to find Olwen. He also accompanied the search for Owain when he was missing. Gwalchmei was one of the knights that Peredur saw as a youth, prompting Peredur to become a knight himself. Gwalchmei owned a magnificent brocade given to him by the Earl of Anjou’s daughter. A Welsh Tristan fragment calls to him “Gwalchmei Golden-Tongue,” referring to his negotiating skills. A Welsh stanza places his grave at Peryddon. [Culhwch, WelshSG, Dream, Geraint, Peredur, TrisFrag]


Son of Gwyar and brother of Gwalchmei. He was one of Arthur’s warriors. Some have suggested him as the origin of Galahad. [Culhwch]


In the Welsh Geraint, a warrior of Arthur’s court who was the son of Lleanawg. A historical King Gwallawg existed in the late sixth century. [Geraint]

Gwarae Golden hair

One of Arthur’s warriors in Welsh legend who accompanies Arthur on the search for the two dogs of Glythvyr Ledewig. The name must be closely related with Gwri Golden Hair, a name given to the infant Pryderi in the non-Arthurian Welsh story of Pwyll. He is probably also connected with Gwrfan Wild Hair. In Welsh, “golden hair” is gwallt-euryn, which R. S. Loomis suggests as the origin of the name Gawain. [Culhwch]


Son of Caw, one of twenty brothers, and one of Arthur’s warriors. He accompanied Arthur on the hunt for Twrch Trwyth and managed the two hounds of Glythvyr Ledewig. The boar killed him at Cwm Cerwyn. [Culhwch, Dream]


A warrior and supporter of the Welsh lord Rhydderch, who apparently opposed Gwenddolau at the battle of Arfderydd. Merlin fought on Gwenddolau’s side and thus made an enemy of Gwasawg. [Myrddin]

Gwastad (“Level”)

Father of Arthur’s warrior Gwefyl. [Culhwch]


The British warrior whose prowess is compared to Arthur’s in Y Gododdin: “he glutted black ravens [slew his enemies] on the ramparts of the stronghold, though he was not Arthur.” This passage refers to a battle fought at “Catraeth” (possibly Catterick) in about AD 600. In the battle, the British were destroyed by the Angles. The passage in question signifies that though Gwawrddur was mighty, he was not as mighty as Arthur. This is the earliest existing appearance of Arthur’s name. Clearly, the audience of the poem was expected to know the identity of “Arthur”; conventional scholarship holds that the reference alludes to the famed battle-leader of a century prior, but some scholars (e.g., Richard Barber, Figure, 21–34) have argued that the passage refers to Arthur of Dalriada, a northern figure who lived contemporary to the writing of Y Gododdin, and in close geographic proximity to its writer and audience. Some have suggested, too, that the passage is a later interpolation in the poem, subsequent to Arthur’s fame. [Gododdin]

Gwawrddur2 Hunchback [Gwaredur]

Father of three of Arthur’s warriors—Duach, Brathach, and Nerthach—and Gwenwledyr, a lady at Arthur’s court. [Culhwch]


Owner of the horse Gwynn Dun Mane, which the warrior Culhwch had to obtain as one of his tasks. [Culhwch]

Gwefyl (“Lip”)

A warrior in Arthur’s service who was the son of Gwastad. When he was sad, he would let his lower lip droop to his navel, and would pull his upper lip over his head like a hood. [Culhwch]


A warrior who was the son of Geirioedd. He was imprisoned in Annwn, the Welsh otherworld, and may have been rescued by Arthur.
   The name belongs to a number of warriors in Welsh legends, and can mean “hay,” “collar,” “circle,” “loop,” or “bend.” It may be the source of the Breton Guerec, or Erec, and may also be the origin of Gaheris. [Spoils]


One of four brothers, all named Gweir, who were Arthur’s maternal uncles. He is called “Gweir son of Cadellin Silver Brow,” but is also named as the son of Llwch Windy Hand in the same sentence. [Culhwch]


One of Arthur’s warriors and advisors. His father was Gwestyl. He was one of the three knights that Peredur saw as a youth, prompting him to begin his own career as a knight. [Dream, Peredur]

Gweir4 False Valor

One of four brothers in Welsh legend, all named Gweir, who were Arthur’s maternal uncles. Their father was Llwch Windy Hand. [Culhwch]

Gweir5 Great Valor

An Arthurian warrior named as one of the three “Enemy Subduers of the Island of Britain” and a “stubborn man” in the Welsh Triads. [Triads, Geraint]

Gweir6 Servant of Birds

One of four brothers, all named Gweir, who were Arthur’s maternal uncles. Their father was Llwch Windy Hand. Gweir had a daughter named Tangwen. [Culhwch]

Gweir7 White Shaft

One of four brothers in Welsh legend, all named Gweir, who were Arthur’s maternal uncles. Their father was Llwch Windy Hand. [Culhwch]

Gwen Pendragon

An enchanter who imprisoned Arthur in Caer Oeth, in Anoeth, and in an enchanted prison under the Stone of Echymeint. Arthur was rescued by Goreu. [Triads]


Daughter of Caw, sister of twenty brothers, and mother of Arthur’s warrior Gwydre by Llwydeu. [Culhwch]


Son of Ceido and patron of Myrddin (Merlin) in Welsh texts. Geoffrey says he was the King of Scotland. He was killed at the battle of Arfderydd in 573, fighting a combined force of the sons of Eliffer (Gwrgi and Peredur) and King Rhydderch of Cumbria. Events at the battle drove Merlin insane. Gwenddolau’s warriors continued the battle for a month and a half despite their lord’s death. Another Welsh source lists him as the owner of a magical chess board. [Myrddin, Annales, Triads, GeoffVM]


Sister of Myrddin (Welsh prototype of Merlin) in early Welsh lore. Her son apparently fought at the battle of Arfderydd, where he was killed by Myrddin, after which Gwenddydd disavowed her brother. Myrddin was driven insane by the killing. Several poems include conversations between Gwenddydd and Myrddin. Geoffrey of Monmouth calls her Ganieda. [Myrddin]


An early queen of Britain. She was the daughter of Corineus of Cornwall. She married Locrine, king of Britain. Locrine eventually cast her away in favor of the German princess Estrildis. Gwendolen returned to Cornwall, raised an army, and attacked Locrine. Locrine died in the fighting. Gwendolen deposed Estrildis, became queen of Britain, and ruled for 15 years. She eventually gave the throne to her son Maddan. [GeoffHR]


A lover of Merlin. Merlin turned her into a hag after she rebuked him for his demonic powers. Gawain later married her and, when he kissed her, she returned to her beautiful form. [HeberG]


Sister of Gwenhwyfar (Guinevere) in Welsh legend. She lived at Arthur’s court. Two Welsh Triads say that the battle of Camlann somehow began when Gwenhwyach struck Gwenhwyfar. [Culhwch, Triads]


The original form of Guinevere, found in Welsh legend. According to a Welsh Triad, Arthur had three queens of this name, who were the daughters of Cywyrd, Gwythyr, and Gogfran. [Culhwch, Triads]

Gwenn1 (“White”) [Gwen]

A white mantle owned by Arthur’s servant Eiryn the Splendid. The mantle rendered its wearer invisible. [Dream]

Gwenn2 Alarch (“White Swan”)

A lady at Arthur’s court. She was the daughter of Cynwal Hundred Hogs. [Culhwch]

Gwenn3 Lliant (“White Flood”)

A fair and generous lady at Arthur’s court. [Culhwch]


A region of southeast Wales, on the Severn river, ruled at one time by Octavius, and later by Vortigern. Geoffrey calls it Merlin’s country, and says that Merlin lived there for a time at the fountain of Galabes. [GeoffHR]


Daughter of Gwawrddur the Hunchback, sister of Duach, Brathach, and Nerthach, and a lady at Arthur’s court. [Culhwch]


Son of Naw and brother of Fflewdwr. In Culhwch, he is called Arthur’s greatest warrior. [Culhwch, Dream]


Son of Naf and brother of Atlandor. He is one of Arthur’s warriors in Welsh tales, listed as one of the “three Seafarers of the Island of Britain.” [Culhwch, Triads]


The Eagle of Gwernabwy is the fourth wise animal that Arthur’s warriors consulted on their quest to find the imprisoned Mabon. The Eagle sent them on to the Salmon of Llyn Llyw. In the Triads, the Eagle is listed among the “three Elders of the World.” [Culhwch, Triads]


A ruler who served Arthur. [Dream]


A region of Britain named after King Vortigern. Vortigern fled there after the Saxons took over much of the eastern part of Britain. After Vortigern’s death, Gwerthrynion fell to Vortigern’s son, Pascentius. [Nennius]


Father of Arthur’s warrior Gweir. [Dream]

Gwgawn Red Sword

A warrior who served Owain. [Dream]

Gwgon Gwron

Son of Peredur, listed as one of the “three Prostrate Chieftains of Britain” in the Welsh Triads. [Triads]

Gwiawn Cat Eye

An Arthurian warrior who possessed remarkable visual perception. [Culhwch]


Brother of Gawain in the Hebrew Melekh Artus. As the son of Lot and Arthur’s sister, he occupies the place given to Gareth in other tales. [Melekh]


One of Arthur’s warriors in Welsh legend. He was titled “King of France,” although the same distinction is given to Iona and Paris in the same stories. As one of his tasks, the warrior Culhwch had to obtain Gwilenhin’s help in hunting the boar Twrch Trwyth. Gwilenhin did attend the hunt, and was killed by the boar at Aber Tywi. [Culhwch, Dream]


One of Arthur’s warriors and advisors in Welsh legend. He was the son of the “ruler of France.” He became a companion of the warrior Geraint. Gwilym is a variation of the English “William.” [Dream, Geraint]


An Arthurian knight. [Heinrich]


Son of Aedd, brother of Odgar, and one of Arthur’s warriors in Culhwch. He appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth as Guitard. [Culhwch]


The wife of King Brychan of Brecknock. She was abducted by King Gwynnlyw of Glamorgan, who, while fleeing from Brychan, encountered Arthur. Arthur desired Gwladys, but Cei and Bedwyr persuaded him to follow his nobler instincts, to give harbor to Gwynnlyw, and to leave Gwladys alone. Gwladys and Gwynnlyw had a child named Cadoc, who became a saint, and in whose hagiography this story appears. [SaintsCad]

Gwlgawd of Goddodin

Owner of a magical wine horn. As one of his tasks, Culhwch had to obtain this horn from Gwlgawd for Olwen’s wedding feast. [Culhwch]

Gwlwlwyd Chestnut Hair

Owner of the Yellow Pale-White Ox and the Spotted Ox. As one of his tasks, Culhwch had to obtain these oxen from Gwlwlwyd. [Culhwch]

Gwlyddyn the Carpenter [Glwyd(d(yn]

Arthur’s master architect and builder. He constructed Arthur’s dining hall, called Ehangwen. He was slain by the boar Twrch Trwyth during the epic hunt. [Culhwch]

Gwrddnei Cat eye

One of Arthur’s warriors who shared the duties of gatekeeper in Caer Llion (Caerleon) with seven to nine other warriors. His master was the chief gatekeeper Glewlwyd Strong Grip. Gwrddnei could see as well at night as he could by day. [Geraint]


A warrior in Arthur’s service who was the son of Efrei. [Culhwch]


A warrior from Rheged who served Owain. He carried Owain’s banner in battle. [Dream]

Gwrfan Wild Hair

An Arthurian warrior in Culhwch and Olwen. His epithet in Welsh is gwallt-afwyn, which R. S. Loomis suggests as an origin for the name Gawain. Almost certainly related in origin to Gwarae Golden Hair, he may also be the origin of Gorvain Cadrut. [Culhwch]

Gwrfoddw the Old

Brother of Eigyr (Igerne), uncle of Arthur, and one of Arthur’s warriors. He was killed by the piglet Llwydawg the Killer at the battle of Ystrad Yw. [Culhwch]


Son of Eliffer and brother of Peredur and Arddun. He is mentioned in the Annales Cambriae, which imply that he fought the battle of Arfderydd against Gwenddolau in 573. According to the Annales, this would have been 36 years after the death of Arthur, but Peredur appears later in Welsh legend as Arthur’s contemporary. Gwrgi may be identical with Gwrgi Seferi, a huntsman mentioned in Culhwch and Olwen. The Annales say that he died in 580. The Welsh Triads add that his death took plalce at Caer Greu, where he and his brother Peredur fought Eda Great-Knee. Gwrgi and Peredur were both killed after their warriors abandoned them. [Annales, Triads]

Gwrgi2 Seferi

A huntsman enlisted by Arthur to help track the boar Twrch Trwyth. [Culhwch]

Gwrgwst Half Naked

An Arthurian warrior who was the father of Dyfynarth.. Gwrgwst was loyal to the warrior Gwythyr, and joined Gwythyr’s army against Gwynn son of Nudd. Gwrgwst was taken prisoner by Gwynn and was not released until Arthur intervened. [Culhwch]

Gwrhyr1 Fat Cattle

An Arthurian warrior. [Culhwch]

Gwrhyr2 Interpreter of Languages

One of Arthur’s warriors and advisors. Gwrhyr was said to know all languages and, as an interpreter, he accompanied Culhwch and other knights of Arthur on Culhwch’s quest to find Olwen. He communicated with the piglet Grugyn Silver Bristle, and learned of the boar Twrch Trwyth’s refusal to hand over the comb and shears that he possessed. [Culhwch, Dream, Geraint]


A Welsh warrior who was apparently killed fighting King Malegwn of Gwynned. His death is lamented by Myrddin and Taliesin in an early Welsh poem. Another warrior killed, Errith, may have been a brother or comrade. [Myrddin]


Father of Arthur’s warriors Culfanawyd, Huabwy, Cador, Uchei, and Seidi in various Welsh tales. Gorlois, the father of Cador in a Welsh adaptation of Geoffrey of Monmouth, may be a variation of his name. [Culhwch, Triads, Geraint]

Gwyar (“Blood”)

Father of Arthur’s warriors Gwalchmei and Gwalhafed. He is, loosely, the counterpart of Lot. [Culhwch, Dream, Geraint]


A warrior in Arthur’s service who was the son of Menestyr.. Gwyddawg killed Cei (Kay), which lead to a feud between Arthur and Gwyddawg, in which Gwyddawg and his brothers were killed. [Culhwch]

Gwyddawg2 Gwyr [Gwythawg Gwyri]

A warrior in Arthur’s court. He had a son named Garwyli. [Culhwch]


A Welsh board game, analogous to chess, played by a number of characters in Welsh legend, including Arthur and Owain in The Dream of Rhonabwy. In the game, one player’s king attempts to escape from the board, while the other player attempts to capture the king. Peredur encounters an enchanted gwyddbwyll set in Peredur which parallels Perceval’s adventures at Chessboard Castle in Chrétien’s Perceval. See also Thirteen Treasures. [Rhonabwy, Peredur]

Gwydden the Difficult

One of Arthur’s warriors. His mother was an enchanted hound named Rhymi. He had a brother named Gwyddrud. [Culhwch]


Father of Arthur’s warrior Rhufawn the Radiant. [Triads]

Gwyddno2 Long Shank

Father of Elphin and the owner of a magical basket, which always contained the foods enjoyed most by those who ate from it. As one of his forty tasks, the warrior Culhwch had to obtain the basket from Gwyddno, so that the giant Ysbaddaden could eat from it during his daughter’s wedding feast. [Culhwch]


One of Arthur’s warriors. His mother was a magical hound named Rhymi. He had a brother named Gwydden. [Culhwch]

Gwydolwyn the Dwarf [Gruddlwyn]

An Arthurian warrior who fathered the lady Eurolwyn. As one of his tasks, Culhwch had to obtain a magical bottle from Gwydolwyn, which would keep warm any liquid poured into it. Culhwch had to use the bottle to carry the blood of the Black Hag. [Culhwch]


One of Arthur’s warriors who was the son of Llwydeu and Gwenabwy. His uncle, Hueil, stabbed him, which led to a feud between Arthur and Hueil. [Culhwch]


A son of Arthur killed at the battle of Cwm Cerwyn by the boar Twrch Trwyth. [Culhwch]

Gwyl (“Modest”)

One of Arthur’s three mistresses. She was the daughter of Gendawd. [Triads]

Gwyn Godyfron [Gwyn Godybrion]

An Arthurian warrior. [Culhwch, Dialogue]

Gwyn Llogell Gwyr

A magistrate at Arthur’s court who became a faithful companion of the warrior Geraint. [Geraint]


A country in northwest Wales, known as Venedotia by the Romans. Vortigern arrived here looking for a place to build a fortress as a defense against the Saxons. He found a spot in the mountains of Eryri, or Snowdon. The Annales Cambriae tell us that Maelgwn was the king of Gwynned until 537, when he died of a plague. [Annales, Nennius]


A region of northern Britain where Vortigern built the castle of Gwyretheyrn after abandoning his attempt to construct a fortress at Snowdon. [Nennius]


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


One of Arthur’s warriors who participated in the hunt for Twrch Trwyth. [Culhwch]

Gwyniarte of Bloy

A knight in Arthur’s service who fought at the battle of Bedegraine and was unhorsed by the King with a Hundred Knights. [Malory]

Gwynlliw the Bearded

Father of Arthur’s warrior Cadog. [Triads]

Gwynn1 (“White”)

Originally a Celtic deity, probably of the otherworld, who appears as one of Arthur’s warriors in Culhwch and Olwen. Even in Culhwch, however, he is a supernatural character, vested with the powers of the demons of Annwn (the Celtic otherworld), of which he is sometimes presented as king. He loved a lady named Creiddylad, and he became enraged when he learned that another warrior named Gwythyr had kidnapped her from the home of her father, Lludd Silver Hand. Gwynn rescued Creiddylad from Gwythyr’s fortress and took her to his own home. Gwythyr raised an army to oppose Gwynn. Eventually, Arthur intervened and returned Criddylad to her father. Thereafter, Gwynn and Gwythyr were destined to fight every May Day until Judgment Day.
   Gwynn is named as the son of Nudd (originally Nodens, another god), and the brother of Edern (Yder) and Owain (Yvain). In folklore, he is said to haunt Glastonbury Tor. [Culhwch]


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


Son of Nwyfre, brother of Fflam, and one of Arthur’s warriors. [Culhwch]


Son of Ermid, brother of Cyndrwyn, and one of Arthur’s warriors. [Culhwch]


An Arthurian warrior who was the son of Tringad. He was killed at the battle of Pelunyawg by the boar Twrch Trwyth. [Culhwch, Geraint]

Gwynn6 Dun Mane

A horse belonging to the warrior Gweddw. As one of his tasks, Culhwch had to get this horse for the huntsman Mabon to ride while hunting Twrch Trwyth. Arthur obtained the horse on the behalf of Culhwch. [Culhwch]

Gwynn7 Irascible

Arthur’s steward of Devon and Cornwall. He had a hand in planning the battle of Camlann. [Culhwch]


Father of Arthur’s warrior Teithi the Old. [Culhwch]

Gynnlyw [Gynnlym]

The King of Glamorgan in the Life of St. Cadoc. He abducted Gwladys, the wife of King Brychan of Brecknock, and fled with her. He encountered Arthur on a hilltop. Arthur desired Gwladys, but was persuaded by Cei and Bedwyr to follow his nobler instincts and give harbor to Gwynnlyw. Gwynnlyw and Gwladys later produced a son, St. Cadoc. [SaintsCad]


One of Twrch Trwyth’s piglets, killed in battle against Arthur’s warriors at Mynydd Amanw. [Culhwch]

Gwystyl (“Hostage”)

Son of Nwython, brother of Rhun and Llwydeu, and one of Arthur’s warriors. [Culhwch]


One of Arthur’s warriors in Culhwch and Olwen. He was the son of Greidawl. Gwythyr helped Culhwch by collecting the bottles of Linseed Oil requested by the Chief Giant Ysbaddaden. The bottles were given to Gwythyr by a hill of ants after he saved the ants from a fire. Gwythyr also participated in the search for the Black Hag in the Valley of Distress
   Gwythyr loved the lady Creiddylad, daughter of Lludd Silver Hand, and he took her from her father’s house. Before he could consummate their relationship, Gwynn son of Nudd rescued her from Gwythyr. Gwythyr raised an army to oppose Gwynn but was defeated. Meanwhile, Arthur intervened and returned Creiddylad to her father’s house. After this, Gwynn and Gwythyr were forced to fight on every May Day until Judgment Day for their love.
   A Welsh Triad names Gwythyr as the father of one of Arthur’s three wives named Gwenhwyfar. [Culhwch, Triads]


A knight whose sister slept with Gawain in her forest pavilion. With his father, Gilbert, and brothers, Tyrry and Brandelis, Gyamoure tracked Gawain down, but Gawain defeated the entire family. [Jeaste]


An Arthurian knight. [ChestreLvl]

Gyffroun le Flowdous

In Thomas Chestre’s Lybeaus Desconus, the knight opposed by Guinglain (Gawain’s son) at a sparrowhawk tournament. He is known as Girflet in Renaut de Bâgé’s Le Bel Inconnu. [ChestreLyb]

Gyflet [Gy(r)flet(te), Gylet, Jeffelot, Jurflete]

Squire of Guinglain (Gawain’s son) in Thomas Chestre’s Lybeaus Desconus. Possible sources include Chestre’s own Gyfre, from Launfal, and the knight Girflet. [ChestreLyb]


Servant of Arthur’s Sir Launfal; a present from the lady Triamour, Launfal’s lover. He assisted his master in a battle against Sir Valentyne of Lombardy. [ChestreLvl]

Gylbert the Bastard

A knight slain by Sir Meliot of Logres. Earlier, Gawain had cut off one of Gylbert’s hands during a duel. When Meliot killed Gylbert, Gylbert’s lover cast an enchantment on Meliot that left him with an incurable, festering wound. The wound could only be cured if some knight braved the adventure of the Chapel Perilous, retrieved a sword from within, and ran the sword over the wound. Lancelot completed the adventure and cured Meliot. [Malory]


Brother of Gautere and Raynold. Believing him to be Kay, Gyllymer and his two brothers attacked Lancelot, who was dressed in Kay’s armor, and got the surprise of their lives. Sent by Lancelot to Arthur’s court, he later became a Knight of the Round Table. He was killed fighting Lancelot’s men when Lancelot rescued Guinevere from the stake. [Malory]

Gymele of Schitriele

A maiden who served Isolde. Tristan’s brother-in-law Kahedins lusted after her. Isolde gave her to Kahedins for a night but gave Gymele a magical pillow that, once slipped under Kahedins’ head, caused him to fall asleep immediately, before he could take Gymele’s maidenhood. [Eilhart]


Arthur’s daughter in Sir Walter Scott’s The Bridal of Triermain. She was the product of a brief fling between Arthur and Guendolen, a half-Djinn queen. When she came of age, she visited Arthur’s court, as Arthur had promised Guendolen to wed Gyneth to his best knight. She charmed almost all of Arthur’s knights with her wiles, and the tournament that was supposed to produce her future husband turned into a slaughter. After a young knight named Vanoc died at her feet, Merlin ended the fighting. To punish Gyneth for her vanity, he put an enchantment on her that caused her to fall asleep for several centuries. She was awakened when Sir Roland de Vaux discovered her castle in the Valley of St. John. [Scott]


One of Arthur’s knights in the Scots poem of Golagros and Gawain. He may be connected to either of the Guiromelants of French romance. [Golagros]

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