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Aroundight [weap:sword] [English Romance][Arthurian]

Aroundight (Caius Coll. ms. Bevis in Ellis, SEEMR); Aroundyȝt*1 (Caius Coll. ms. = "E." in Kölbing*2 ), Raudoudeyn, Randondeyn (Egerton 2862, formerly Duke of Sutherland's ms. = "S." in Kölbing*2), Rauduney (Royal Library of Naples, Ms. XIII B, 29 = "N." in Kölbing *2), Radondyght (Cambridge, paper ms. FF. 2, 38 = "C." in Kölbing*2)
[* meaning obscure; suspiciously similar to ME anonright ="straightway,at once" that occurs frequently in Bevis; also alliterates with Arundel = "name of Bevis' horse". The Auchinleck ms. version of the work does not give the sword-name, though there is occurence of the word anonriȝte "="straightway,at once". ]
Gastiga-Folli (Barberino's L'Aspramonte) [It.]
[* It. "punish fools", thus exact cognate with Fr. Chastiefol, the sword of the Chevalier de Papegau ]

Sword wielded by Sir Guy, a son of Bevis of Hamptoun, during a battle between Bevis' band of followers and the king's loyals in London; it was a sword that once belonged to Lancelot of the Lake; (*Though not explicitly stated, the sword was very plausibly obtained by Bevis, just as the Arabian horse Guy rode was Bevis' conquest from a pagan land.) .

The sword is identifiable with the sword Gastiga-Folli of Lancelot, as related in Italian tradition, which explains that it (later) became Chiarenza of Bevis of Hamptoun, and Altachiara of the douzepeer Olivier.
*1 The actual ME name contains the letter "yogh" (ȝ) Please see Font stuff page re the display of this letter.

*2 Manuscript information and bibliography for Bevis will be discussed in Morglay-sources.htm

§ Sir Bevis, accord. to Ellis' Specimens of Early English Metrical Romances

Lancelot's named sword occurs in the "urban war in London" episode, and the name is given as Aroundight in the "Caius College Ms." which George Ellis analyzes in his Sir Bevis*1.

The sword-name is not found in the Auchinleck ms. version *2, *2a, but occur under slightly differing names in other mss. (see next section)

The London street-war episode takes place as we draw near the closing couplets of the romance. Trouble began when Bevis' faithful liegeman Saber, who was foster-father and lifelong friend, learned of his son Robert's estate being unjustly confiscated by King Edgar. So Bevis, his wife Josyan, his sons Mile(s) and Guy, accompanied Saber and Saber's other son Terry to London to plead for restitution. But they were not heard, and taking counsel from his evil steward Sir Bryant, the king ordered the citizens to shut the gates and capture Bevis dead or alive. Thus when Bevis and his followers resisted, battle unfolded in the city streets, embroiling many ordinary Londoners.

Sir Guy bestrode a Rabyte,1
That was mickle, and nought light2,
That Sir Bevis in Paynim londe
Hadde i-wunnen with his honde.
A sword he took of mickle might,
That was y-cleped Aroundight,
It was Launcelot's du Lake,
Therewith he slew the fire-drake3.
The pomel was of charbocle4 stone;
(A better sword was never none,
The Romauns tellyth as I you say,
Ne none shall till Doomesday.)
And Sir Mylys there bestrid
A dromounday,5 and forth he rid.
That horse was swift as any swallow,
No man might that horse begallowe.6

1 An Arabian horse. 2 Weak. 3 Fiery dragon.
4 Carbuncle 5 A war-horse. 6 Out-gallop

Sir Bevis of Hamptoun, SEEMR, pp.280-281,
abstracts, with excerpts from ms. Caius 175
by George Ellis
*1

Image of printed text (portion)

However, both manuscripts are grouped in "A" group of texts (rather than "B" group) and both do mention Lancelot as one of the renowned ⇒dragon slayers now and past.



*1 Ellis, George, 1753-1815 ed.,
Specimens of early English metrical romances (London : Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1805.) vol. 2 (of 3), pp. 239-281 "Sir Bevis".

Accord. to his Introduction, he used "Caius Coll. MS." as his primary text and "Pynson's printed copy" (= Bevis of Hampton Emprynted by Rycharde Pynson, 1503?) to fill omissions.

(Cambridge University, Gonville and Caius 175, fols. 131v-156r, abbr. "CC" by TEAMS and abbr. "E." by Kölbing)

*2 In the Auchinleck Ms. (ff.176ra-201ra) is "Sir Beues of Hamtoun " (National Library of Scotland site).

This, the "A" text, is regarded as primary but fails to mention "Aroundight".

About as close a match as can be obtained was a passage that read thus:
Sire Gii lep on a rabit
4300 Þat was meche & noþing lite
And tok a spere in is hond,
  :
4335 Wiþ a swerd drawe in is hond
  :
  :

*2a The above linked e-text of Bevis @ the National Library of Scotland uses manuscript orthography without annotation. A more easily read version (normalized spelling + glosses) is put out by the Camelot TEAMS Project Bevis of Hampton, ed. Herzman et al.

The Herzman team refers to six different manuscripts in their notes. The shorthand siglas can be a source of confusion. What Herzman calls "E" or the Egerton ms. was formerly what Kölbing refers to as Ms. of the Duke of Sutherland designated "S.". Herzman calls Caius College "CC" while Kölbing calls this "E.".
See also Russell A. Peck Cinderella Bib. - Sources & Analogues for a description of Bevis manuscripts.

§ Bevis of Hamptoun (early 14th c.) various mss, Kölbing's edition

(+ -----
Referencing Kölbing's critical edition based on six manuscripts*1, it has transpired that Caius College 175 is not the sole manuscript that mentions Lancelot's sword by name. Below is a quote of the "E." or Caius College 175 text, with variants in the other manuscripts in footnotes. It should be noted that in the variants, Lancelot's sword is not quite called Aroundight. In "S.", formerly Duke of Sutherland's manuscript, now British Library Egerton 2862 calls the sword Raudoudeyn (or Randondeyn), in the Naples royal library ms., Rauduney, and in the Cambridge paper ms. FF. 2, 38., Radondyght.
Sere Gy bestrood a rabyte,
Þat was mochyl & nouȝt lyte,110
Þat sere B. wiþ hys hond
Hadde iwounnen in paynyme lond.
A sword he took off mochyl myȝt,
Þat was iclepyd Aroundyȝt*1a ;
It was Launcelettys þe Lake, 115
Þere wiþ he slewȝ þe ffyrdrake ;
Þe pomel was of charbocle ston,
A betere sword was neuere non,
Þe romaunce telliþ, as I ȝow say,
Ne non schal tyle domys day; 120
And sere Mylys þere bestryt
A dromounday and forþ he ryt;
Þat hors was swyfft as ony swalwe,
No man myȝte þat hors begalewe.
þey token here leue at Pountenay, 125
And ouer Tempse þey token þe way ;


:
114 .. Raudoudeyn or Randondeyn S; Rauduney N; Radondyght C. 115 .. Launcelet S. 116 .. Many a croun þer with was crake SNC. 117 .. pomel] hylte C.
—Kölbing, pp.209-210, "E" text (Caius ms.) variant on "A" (Auchinleck ms.) text ll. 4313-4582

In the "M." text (Chetham ms.), the corresponding passage says that Guy's sword once owned by "Launcelotttes the Lake" goes unnamed, except to say that it was won by Bevis in the Holy Land and was the best sword ever with the exception of ⇒Morglay.
    And in the same passage, Beves's younger son Myles wields ⇒«Colbrand's brand» (or Curtayne), a weapon once owned by Roland.
    Beves's elder son Guy, however, does not appear to have his sword mentioned by name in the poem, in any version.
----- +)



*1 p.210, Kölbing, Eugen, 1846-1899 and Schmirgel, Carl ed.The romance of Sir Beues of Hamtoun, Ed. from six manuscripts and the old printed copy, with introduction, notes, and glossary, by ... (London: Pub. for the Early English Text Society by K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1885, 1886, 1894.)
*1a The sword name contains the "yogh" character, and is represented by AroundyŠt using the Nat'l Library of Scotland site system.





§ Anglo-Norman origins

As for the article in "Arondight" in Arthuriana A2Z, which says that it is "The sword belonging to 'Lancelot du Lac' in Norman romance," we know that:
..one will readily discover that the Middle English metrical romance is considered a "translation from the Anglo-Norman"
(Intro., Ellis)

However,
[The dragon fight and the] urban war in London, . . do not appear in the Anglo-Norman version"
(Intro., Herzman et al., online version)

That is to say, the Anglo-Norman Boeve de Haumton*3 text which still survives lacks precisely the two scenes where Lancelots appears in the ME romance. In Stimming's Namenverzeichnis, there is no entry for Lancelot (although a man named Lancelin is killed by Terry) or any other sword but Morgelei. This can also be verified by looking up Langlois's proper names dictionary *4, which includes the Anglo-Norman Boeuve as one of the works covered.

It might also be pointed out that Bevis is quite a common name in chansons de gestes and besides Buevon there are numerous variant spellings — Beuves, Beuvez, Bevon, Boef, Boevon, Bovon, Buef, Bues, Buevess, . . etc. Thus text-searching the name can prove quite laborious.
Indeed, Langlois lists a total of 23 personages named Buevon appearing in chansons de gestes, and that includes Boef de Haumtone. There is also one other personage with a possible link to Aroundight, and that is Duke Beuvon the Bearded [Newth tr.] (Bueves li barbés [OF]), who is an ancestor of the douzeper Olivier, mentioned in the poem Girart de Vienne.

The reason why Beuve, a forefather of Olivier might be connected to Lancelot will become apparent in the following section, dealing with the Italian prose version of the Charlemagne romances.


*3 Anglo-Norman version, ed. A. Stimming [Stimming, Albert, 1846-1922],
Der anglonormannische Boeve de Haumtone in Bibliotheca normannica, Vol. XII (Halle : M. Niemeyer, 1879-1938.)
Stimming's name index Namenverzeichnis crossreferences the names found in the English, Welsh, and Norse versions.


*4 Langlois, Ernest (1857-1924) Table des noms propres de..(Reprint 1971) includes the AN version of Bevis (Stimming's edition above; abbr. BH), which he counts as a French chanson de geste. Langlois does list Beuve d'Hamptone [Boef de Haumtone], his horse (Arondel), and sword (Murgleie 3).

* Incidentally, Flutre's Table des noms . ., a complementary volume (for non-chanson de geste) doesn't list anything like "Aroundight" either even though it covers Arthurian verse and prose; and many others, e.g., Christopher W. Bruce, The Arthurian name dictionary also fail to mention it.

§ Reference in the Charlemagne romance L'Aspramonte

Andrea da Barberino (b. ca. 1370.) in his prose L'Aspramonte*1 gives an account of a sword brought by a Jew whose inscriptions say that it was called Gastiga-Folli when Lancelot had it, and named Chiarenza when formerly owned by Buovo d'Antona, i.e. Bevis of Hampton.

It is this sword that Ulivieri ([It.], =Oliver) is supplied with, in order to replace the one broken during his duel with Orlando. The plotline whereby Ulivieri requests a truce from the duel in order to get a fresh sword parallels the chanson de geste (Bertrand de Bar-Sur-Aube, Girart de Vienne, 12th c.), and is also known through Victor Hugo's poem Le Mariage de Roland (1859)

Ulivieri's uncle Gherardo di Fratta (≅ Girart de Vienne / Girart d'Eufrate [OF]) decides to rename the sword Altachiara (q.v., under ⇒Halteclere) before girding it onto Ulivieri.

Note how in Barberino's universe, Olivier's forefather Duke Beuvon the Bearded (a person of obscure biography) has been transformed into Buovo d'Antona aka Bevis of Hampton.
In fact Barberino's I Reali di Francia collection of Charlamagne legends includes an entire book of Buovo d'Antona, an Italian version of Sir Bevis.



*1 Boni, Marco, ed., L'Aspramonte,III, xciv, (1951)

§ The forms Arondight, Arondie

I can only conjecture how the now widely disseminated variant form "Arondight" (without a "u") came about: probably from Brewer's *1, which spells the sword "Aroundight"(with a "u") but suggests the pronunciation "(Æron-diht?)".

Brewer probably wanted to note that the Middle English "ou" was not pronounced like "ow", and that the "g" or the "yogh" (ȝ) was pronouced like the Scottish "ch" that catches in the throat. Words like knight, dight were pronounced "c-n-ich-t", "d-ich-t".
[(+)* Or possibly Brewer was suggesting an Old English etymology ǽron = "before" + diht "1) arrangement, etc. 2)dication, command,etc."]

I also saw "Arondite" at several French sites, e.g., Châteaux celtes et chimeès: Les épées, but I am not sure of their sources, so perhaps I will email them up.



*1 Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Sword: "Owners' names for their swords" and "Sword-makers:"An alphabetical list of the famous swords:
*2 Other sites use graphics to represent the Middle/Old English "yogh", or a special font "Auchinleck" with proprietary mapping into "Š", but I've been substituting the "ezh" ȝ (unicode 021D hex).

Sources:

⇒Aroundight—sources

Links:

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