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Brocéliande is the name of a forest that first appears in literature in 1160,[1] in a text written by Robert Wace, Roman de Rou.

Brocéliande is a notable place of legend because of its uncertain location, unusual weather, and its ties with Arthurian Romance, most notably a magical fountain and the tomb of the legendary figure Merlin.

Contents

Medieval historical accounts

First mention:

  • Brocéliande is a land of peoples with many legends according to the Roman de Rou, a historical chronicle of the 1066 conquest of England by the Normands and Bretons. Wace numbers the Bretons from Brocéliande, about whom there are many legends, along with the Breton knights: "ceux de Brecheliant (sic) dont les Bretons disent maintes légendes..."[2]
  • Wace gives also the name of the fountain of Barenton: "La fontaine de Berenton/sort d'une part lez le perron..."

Brocéliande is briefly mentioned in one historical text:

Brocéliande's unusual weather alone is noted in a handful of texts:

Arthurian legend

Earliest appearances:

  • in the 1170s, Chrétien de Troyes mentions the forest of Brocéliande in his Arthurian romance, Le Chevalier au lion. Specifically, the forest is the home of a magical fountain defended by the night Esclados.
  • in Jaufré, the Arthurian romance of unknown authorship composed in Catalonia, the forest of Brocéliande is near King Arthur's palace and the site of a mill where King Arthur battles a strange bull-like animal. Jaufré is debated to be written as early as 1183 or as late as the 1225-1228 timeframe.[4]
  • in the late 1100s or early 1200s, Robert de Boron associates the wizard Merlin with Brocéliande in his poem Merlin.
  • in the early 1200s Brocéliande appears in context with archangels and Arthurian Knights in the medieval poet Huon de Méry's allegorical poem Tournoiement Antecrist.

By the timeframe of 1230-1240, the forest of Brocéliande is established as part of the corpus of Arthurian legend, having appeared in multiple writings.

Modern fiction

Brocéliande serves as the location of Robert Holdstock's fantasy novel Merlin's Wood.

Location

Source works don't mention the exact location of Brocéliande; different hypotheses exist to locate Brocéliande on the map.

Notes

  1. ^ « Mil chent et soisante anz out de temps et d'espace/puiz que Dex en la Virge descendi par sa grace/quant un clerc de Caen, qui out non Mestre Vace/s'entremist de l'estoire de Rou et de s'estrasce/qui conquist Normendie, qui qu'en poist ne qui place/contre l'orgueil de France, qui encor les menasce/que nostre roi Henri la congnoissë et sace. »
  2. ^ "e cil devers Brecheliant/donc Breton vont sovent fablant/une forest mult longue e lee/qui en Bretaigne est mult loee"
  3. ^ "Brecelianensis monstrum admirabile fontis"
  4. ^ Eckhardt, Caroline D. (May 2009). "Reading Jaufré: Comedy and Interpretation in a Medieval Cliff-Hanger". The Comparatist 33: 40.  
  5. ^ Margaret Pelan, "L'influence de Wace sur les romanciers français de son temps", p. 56, cité par A.-Y. Bourgès

References

Eckhardt, Caroline D. (May 2009). "Reading Jaufré: Comedy and Interpretation in a Medieval Cliff-Hanger". The Comparatist 33: 40-62.

External links

French studies concerning Brocéliande as a place:

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