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Caliburn [weap:sword] [Arthurian]

This page will cover the description of Arthur's sword, Caliburn, as according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, and subsequent derived quasi-historical of the so-called the "chronicle group". Also Welsh sources will be considered, including the tales of the Mabinogion. This page will catalog the king's other equipment and horses in these sources.

A separate page will be devoted for Excalibur, (Escalibor) to explain the lore arond the sword as developed within the framework of French romances.

Arturus (Geoffrey of Monmouth, HRB) [L.];
Artur (Gaimar, Lestorie des Engles) [OF/AN]; Artus (Wace, Roman de Brut) [OF/AN];
Arður(e) (Layamon, Brut) [ME]; Arthure (Robert of Gloucester Chron.) [ME] ; Arthorghe (Robert Mannyng of Brunne, 10885, 13921 etc.) [ME] ; Arthur(e) (Allit. Morte Arthure) [ME];
Arthure (Brut or Chron. Eng., MS Rawlinson 171, EETS o.s. 131) [ME];
Arthyr (Brut Tysilio) [W.]; Arthur (Mab. Culhwch) [W.]; Arzhur [Bret.]

(1) Non-Welsh Chronicle sources
Caliburn [normalized E.];
[c. 1136] Caliburnus ‹nominative case›, Caliburno ‹ablative case› IX.4 IX.11 X.11 (Geoffrey of Monmouth, HRB) *1a, 1b [L.];
[c. 1135-40] Caliburc (Gaimar, Lestorie des Engles)*2a Calidure (?) (ib., Gollancz)*2b [OF/AN.];
[c. 1155] Calabrum 9514 Callibourc 10323 Escalibor 11938 Chalabrun 13295 Calabrun 10341 13330 (Wace, Roman de Brut, éd. Le Roux de Lincy, ms. 27 Cangé)*3a [var. Caliborne 13311 note(b) 13330 Caliborne 10341 (ms. 73 Cangé) ] [var. Calibore 9514 Calliborc 13295 Escalliborc 13330 (ms. 7515 3.3.)] (ib. variants footnoted by Lincy).
Caliburne 10083 Caliburn 11547 Calibuerne 12891 12910 12926 (Ib., Ivor Arnold éd. BN fr. 794 = ms. 73 Cangé)*3b [OF/AN];
[c. 1190] Caliburne (Layamon)*4 [ME];
[>1191] Caliburnum ‹accusative case(?)› (Gesta Regis Henrici Secundis)*5a, Caliburne ‹nominative case (?)› (Roger of Hoveden, Annals =Historia Saxonum sive Anglorum post obitum Bedae)*5b, Caliburne (Walter of Coventry)*5c [L.]; Calibourne (Thomas Gray, Scalacronica, Stevenson ed. p.63 = Corpus Christi MS. 133, fol. 170)*5d [OF];
[>1234-7] Caliburnus ‹nominative case› (Gesta Regum Britanniae 3150, ed. Paris)*6,
[c. 1270] Calibourne 3616 3638 3841 4457 4573 Calybourne 3633 (Wright ed., Robert of Gloucester Chron. A )*7 var. Callibourne α, Calliborne β, Calebourne α, Caleburne δ, Calyborne ε (ib., Chron. B) var. Calẏbourne (Thomas Hearne ed., p.174, 175,186, 218 etc.; Guest, Mab. ii., p.322) [ME];
[after 1272] Caliburne (Anglo-Norman prose Brut, oldest version, ed. Marvin, p.164, l.1759, f.62r)*8
[1338] Caliborne 10033 13885 13920 (Robert Mannyng of Brunne) *9 [ME] ;
[c.1400] Collbrande 2201 Caliburne 4193, Calaburn 4230, Calyburn 4242 (Allit. Morte Arthure)*10 [ME] ;
[c.1400] Tabourn (Brut or The Chronicles of Eng., MS Rawlinson 171, EETS o.s. 131, Cap.78)*11 [ME];
[c.1428] Brounsteeƚƚ*12 [ME] (Brounsteell, Brownsteel) Caliburnus Arthuri Gladius [L.] (Arthur, v.96. A 642vv. Middle English verse "sketch", interpolated in the abridged Brut, Longleat House MS 55 (olim Liber Rubeus Bathoniæ) of 1428. The Latin text is a marginal note in the MS.);
[c.1470] Caliburne (Waurin, Croniques, Vol. 1, Livre II, Chap. XV; XX; XXXIV; XXXVII ed. Wm. Hardy, p. 362,363; 375; 429,31; 447)*13 [Fr.]
[etymology: 1) Geoffrey's Caliburn prob. Latinization of name akin to Ir. Caladbolog or W. Caledfwlch, prefixed by adj. caled- "hard". 2) It is suggested that Geoffrey came up with the transliteration Caliburn by association with Latin chalybs "steel;" that this idea*1 was already pressed in the minds of 15c. writers, is evident in the poet of Arthur (short sketch) who anglicized the swordname to "Brownsteel", and Malory, who explained Excalibur's meaning as "cut steel".
3) The deviant form Tabourn (ME Brut) goes unexplained, but is phonetically similar to tabor[n] "drum" as well as the name Taberne who appears in Cap. 47 of the same work: he is one of Constantine's men killed by the usurper King Octavian, and equivalent to Trahern, an uncle of St. Helen, in Geoffrey's HRB V.viii. ]
(2) Mabinogion
[c. 1100?] xxxxx (Culhwch ac Olwen, WBR version, redacted c. 1325-1350) [W.]; "[and] Caledfwlch my sword" (ib., Gwyn Jones tr., p.84)
a chaletu6lch uyg cledyf p.105 = RBH col.814 (CO, RBH version, redacted c. 1375-1425, Rhys & Evans ed.) [a]chaletuwlch uyg cledyf "[and] Caledvwlch my sword" (ib. = Guest tr. ed. Kilhwch and Olwen) [W.],
"Kaledvwlch, mon épée" (ib., Loth tr.),
"Caletvwlch my sword" (ib., Brown tr. in "Bleeding Lance," p.26);
(3) Brutiau
[c. 1300-] chaletu6lch II, p.189 = col. 161 (Rhys & Evans ed., Bruts from the Red Book of Hergest ‹c. 1375-1425›) *1 [W.]
caledv6ch (Brut G. ab Arthur in Myvyrian Archaiology, II, p.305) *2
xxxxxxx (B. F. Roberts ed., BB, Llanstephan 1 ‹13c.›) *3
Caledv6lch (Brut Tysilio in Myvyrian Archaiology II, p.305,6; Brit. Lib. Add. 19709 (?) ‹14c.›)
Kaledvwlch "the hard cleft" (Brut Tysilio, tr. Robert Jones; J = Jesus College MS. 61 ‹c. 1500›)*4 [E. tr.]
Caletuulch, Caletuwlch 79, 79v, 82v, 89, 93v "Caletvulch (Hard-Breach)" (tr. Parry) (Brut y Brenhinedd, MS Cotton Cleopatra B. v, ‹c. 1300?› Parry ed., p.159) *5 [W.];
Kaledvwlch (ib., Bk of Basingwerk ‹c. 1350?›, index entry in Parry)
(4) Misc.
[ca. 1450?] Caledvwlch (Twenty-Four Knights of Arthur's Court, MS. Peniarth 127 c. 1510, Bromwich ed., TYP Appendix IV)
Kaledvoulc'h [Bret.]
[Caledfwlch "Hard Breach" (Wilhelm*1); "Hard-Notch" (Padel*2); caled-vwrn, the hard mass (Roberts*3) ]
A variant name of sword of King Arthur, better known as ⇒Excalibur.

§ Origins
Caliburn[us] in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae (c. 1136) is the first attestable instance of Arthur's sword name being recorded in writing.
Presumably Geoffrey Latinized the name, altering whatever native name he had knowledge of in a Brythonic language (Welsh or Breton).
A Welsh narrative Culhwch ac Olwen is dated to be much older (variously from ca. 950~1100), and names Arthur's sword (Caledfwlch); however, the oldest extant redaction is from a MS. dated no earlier than 1400, so there is no assurance that the name occured in the original form of this story.

In Geoffrey's HRB IX, iv occurs the passage describing Arthur equipping his weapons and armor, on the eve of an upcoming decisive battle against the Saxons, on a hill (near Bath), which Geoffrey sees as the site of the Mt. Badon.
Arthur has a shield called Pridwen painted on the inside with an image of Mary, a sword named Caliburn which was the best in all of Britain and fashioned in the Isle of Avalon (Insula Auallonis, Aualonis, Avallonis [L.]), and a spear called Ron.
In this battle of the hill, Arthur personally felled four hundred and seventy Saxons with his sword Caliburn.

In the campaign in the continent, Arthur fights with Flollo or Frollo, the tribune of Gaul serving the Roman Emperor, and wins by cleaving his opponent's head with Caliburn (IX, xi).
Arthur also fought with the sword against the giant of the mount of St.-Michel in Brittany, although the sword name is not expressly mentioned here.
Arthur fights with Caliburn in hand in an all out war against the army of Lucius Hiberius, the Procurator/Emperor of Rome, but when Lucius is slain, it is by the spear of an unknown soldier. (X, xi)

According to Geoffrey the sword was fashioned in the Isle of Avalon (HRBIX.4), and Arthur was borne there at the end of his life (X.2). Geoffrey's later work, the Vita Merlini, refers to Arthur's resting place as the "Isle of Apples", which is clearly Avalon. The poet Taliesin claims to have accompanied Arthur on the ship carrying him there, where he was entrusted to the care of Morgan for him to nurse him back to health. Morgan is one of nine sisters populating the island.

The Vita is also very descriptive of the recurrent spells of madness suffered by Merlin, and in its course, mentions that Merlin was given a set of cups which Guilandus [=? Wayland Smith] had engraved in Urbs Sigenus "City of Sigenum" [= W. Caer Seiont = ruins of Segontium near Carnarvon]. The name of the city of Sigenum is repeated later, in prophecy, in terms of being ancient towers in ruins. This is perhaps the basis upon which Layamon later introduced Witege (traditionally the name of Wayland's son) as the manufacturer of Arthur's armor.

§ First Vernacular (French Verse)
Geoffrey's work was so popular it soon spread throughout Europe, but the first vernacular adaptation was undoubtedly in Anglo-Norman, the language of the Norman kings.
Possibly the first of these was Geffrei de Gaimar's lost Lestoire des Bretons. At least his Lestoire des Engles (c. 1135-40) does hint at being a sequel to follow such a work, because when it opens with the episode of Havelok the Dane (prob. of the 10th cent.) it bothers to identify this figure (albeit mistakenly) as a contemporary of the king who succeeded after "Arthur, who had the sword Caliburc".

Otherwise, the earliest adaptation is Wace, Roman de Brut (c. 1155), the work that introduced the concept of the Round Table. Here there is a modest amount of coloration regarding the king's equipment: Arthur's dragon-helm is given the pedigree of it being passed from his father Uther (no doubt from Uther's byname Pendragon construed as "head of dragon").

§ Embellishments
Layamon's Middle English Brut (c. 1190 or c. 1200-1210) greatly embellished the lore around Arthur's equipment. His account supplied a name to Arthur's helm, Goswhit , which was an inheritance from Uther, and a name to Arthur's mail armor Wygar , insisting that Witege wrought it. In a separate passage, he purports that Arthur's spear (supposedly Ron) was made in Carmarthen by a smith named Griffin.

A later English chronicler (translator of Wace), Robert Mannyng, referred to Caliborne's place of manufacture not as Avalon but "Ramesey", and says it had a blade 10-feet long.
This is probably meant to be Ramsey on the Isle of Man (although there is also the Ramsey mentioned as Gawain's prophesied death-place by Mordred' army in Awntyrs of Arthure 293, which commentators place as Romsey on the border of Dorsetshire.)

Geoffrey's episode of the giant of St. Michael's mount was elaborated by Wace who supplied the name Dinabuc to the giant; on this Robert Mannyng stated that Caliborne was used by Arthur in this adventure, even though Geoffrey refrained from specifically saying so.

§ Welsh Sources
In the Mabinogion, the sword Caledvfwlch is mentioned among other possessions of Arthur in Culhwch ac Olwen, and in another Arthurian tale, the Dream of Rhonabwy, there were likenesses of two serpents fashioned in gold on Arthur's sword (presumably this is Caledvfwlch). Arthur's sword here is mentioned alongside Arthur's mantle (or carpet) ⇒Gwenn. The brutiau, the collective name of various translations of Geoffrey into Welsh, conform with the Mabinogion's spelling of the sword name. Another piece where the sword and shield are mentioned, is the triadic piece that catalogs the Twenty-Four Knights of Arhur's Court, even though the sword name does not occur in any of the regular triads.

§ Death of Arthur
As is well-known, King Arthur of legend may have been mortally wounded, but he never died, having been sailed off to the Isle of Avalon. Geoffrey of Monmouth's later work Vita Merlini, has Taliesin the poet speak of himself as being actually aboard the ship bound for the "Isle of Apples", where he saw Arthur entrusted to the care of Morgan.
Where as in Waurin's chronicle (15th cent.), we have an example which weighs the above standard version against the alternate version taken from the later invented romance ending (i.e. Vulgate Mort Artu). Waurin provides that there are others who say, Arthur abandoned his sword Caliburn to the care of his knight "Gifflet" before boarding a ship and disappearing.

§ Of Historical Curiosity
Claims of ownership of the authentic Caliburn has been made by actual people in history.
In 1191, the same year as the alleged tomb and epitaph of Arthur was discovered at Glastonbury, Richard I was in Sicily in transit to the Third Crusade, and according to Roger of Hoveden (and chronicles all ultimately stemming from him), Richard presented Tancredi of Sicily with Arthur's sword Caliburn.
A more obscure note occurs in a certain Chronique from a MS. of the abbaye de Ruisseauville, near the plain of the Battle of Agincourt of 1415*14

Other equipment of Arthur are named in translations of the chronicles, as follows:

(*) Image of Mary Mother of God (but not on his shield)
[c. 800] (Nennius, Historia Brittonum)*1,2
[c. 970] (Annalis Cambriae)*3
[c. 1125] (William of Malmesbury, Gesta Regum Anglorum)*4

(1) Pridwen
[c. 1136] Pridwen IX.4 "Priwen" (Geoffrey of Monmouth HRB, Giles tr., Evans tr.) "Pridwen" (ib. Thorpe tr.) [L.];
[c. 1155] Priven (Wace) [OF];
[c. 1190] Pridwen (Layamon) [ME];
[c. 1270] þrydwen 3612 (Robert of Gloucester, Chron. A, B) var. Prydwen (ib., Chron. D) [ME];
[1338] Pryd-wenne = Lambeth MS. var. pridwen = Petyt MS. 10046 (Robert Mannyng of Brunne) [ME];
[c. 1470] Pridgem var. Pridguem B Pridgenon C.2.(Waurin, Croniques, cit. p. 362) [Fr.]
[c. 1300-] pryd6en (Brut G. ab Arthur, Myv. Arch. II, p.306) pryd6enn (Brut Tysilio, Myv. Arch. II, p.305) Prydwenn (Tysilio, Robert Jones tr.) [W.]
[etymology: "blessed form" [W.] ];

(2) Wynebgwrthucher
xxxxx (Culhwch ac Olwen, WBR version) [W.]; Wynebgwrthucher (ib., Gwyn Jones tr.)
wyneb g62th­ucher uyn taryan (CO, RBH version, Rhys & Evans ed.)
wyneb gwrthucher uyn taryan "Wynebgwrthucher, my shield" (ib. = Guest tr., ed.Kilhwch);
"Gwyneb Gwrthucher, mon bouclier" (ib., Loth tr.),
"Gwyneb-gwrthuchr my shield" (ib., Brown tr., in "Bleeding Lance," p.26),
Gweneb-Gourzhuc'her [Bret.]
[Wynebgwrthucher "Face of Evening" (Wilhelm); "Face to evening" (Padel); ]

(3) Gwenn
g6e = g6enn II, p.189 = col. 161 (Bruts from the Red Book of Hergest, Rhys & Evans ed.),
gwenn "Gwenn (Blessed or White)" (Brut y Brenhinedd MS. Cotton Cleopatra B. v., fol.79, ed. tr. Parry, p.159)
a tharian wenn "and a white shield" (ib., Bk of Basingwerk ‹c. 1350?›, index entry in Parry)

(4) Shield of mirror-glass / blinding light
shelde of glasse (Arthurian Stories of Lambeth Palace Library MS 84, Matheson ed., p.86); Shield..of Diamond (of Adamant) (Spenser, Faerie Queene I.vii.34)

As with the sword, Geoffrey of Monmouth is the first to record the name Pri[d]wen for Arthur's shield, which had the image of the Holy Mary depicted on the inside of it to serve as constant reminder during battle.
Geoffrey's original Latin does not make it explicitly clear if the picture of Mary was a painting or some other type of artwork. But some redactions of Wace and Robert of Gloucester say it was "painted". Whereas Layamon says it was "graven in red-gold figures". The Welsh translators also diverge. The RBH version somewhat concurs with Laymon, saying that both the dragon-helm and the image of the Lady Mary was either "engraved" or "formed by chasework" (yskythedric). The Cleopatra version of the Welsh Brut does not use this verb, but says that the Lady's name was "inscribed" (ysgrivennedic) on the shield which had her image on it.

Welsh sources identify Pridwen "Fair Form" not as Arthur's shield but his ship, and this is corroborated in an old poem, the Spoils of Annwfwn, dated to ca. 900. Although some Welsh brutiau texts do record Prydwenn as the name of the king's shield, many redactions replace the name with Gwenn "Fair" or simply a tharian wenn "a white shield." The shield is given the more elaborate name Wynebgwrthucher "Fair Face of Evening" in Culhwch and Olwen.

Before Geoffrey described Arthur's shield with the image of Mary, a number of precursor accounts relayed matters rather differently. Nennius (Historia Brittonum) states that Arthur, in his eighth battle (against the Saxons), which took place at Castle Guinnion [* not definitely identified], carried the image of Mary or the Cross on his shoulder*1.
It has been pointed out that there may have occured a confusion between "shoulder" and "shield" (since the two words in Welsh are similar)*2.
The Annales Cambriae for the year ca. 516 said that at the Battle of Badon [* also uncertain location], Arthur carried the cross of "our Lord Jesus Christ" on his shoulders for three days and three nights, bringing victory to the Britons*3.
Meanwhile William of Malmesbury*4 had written that Arthur sewed the image of the mother of the Lord onto his arm.

In Edmund Spenser's treatment (Farie Queene)*5, Arthur bears a shield made by Merlin from a giant piece of diamond (adamant) and was impregnable to spears. It was invincible and encased in cover, which when bared, unleashed a blinding light that counteracted magic and turned enemies to stone.
This cannot pure invention out of whole cloth on Spenser's part, since it is paralled by an earlier account*6 by a fifteenth-century English writer in the Lambeth MS. 84, according to which Arthur destroyed some wild-cats, in a Park in Cornwall [which it said was "near Glastonbury" but crossed out in red. In the margin it says "Park in Torre"]; and here Arthur succeeded by using a polished glass shield which tricked them into attacking the shadows (i.e. their own reflections).
In fact a much older precedent is found in one of the earliest Welsh poems ("Pa Gur?" in the Black Book of Carmarthen), although it is Kay to whom the shield belongs. There it is stated that Kay that "his shield was polished (Y iscuid oet mynud)" against the Cath Palug (the monster cat).
It should be mentioned that past scholars were dumbfounded as to why the shield "polished against" a cat should prove effective, so have resorted to massaging the translation to read "was ready against" or even "was hacked small against (the cat)" (arcanely proposing that mynud must be a loan word from the Latin minutus) *7.

(1) Non-Welsh Chronicle sources
Ron [L., Geoffrey of Monmouth];
"Lance avoit roide de Saison" = "lance that drove hard the Saxons" 9532 (ms. 27 Cangé) var. Roit (ms. 73 Cangé) Roil (ms. 7515 3.3.) Redron (?) (ms. Ste Geneviève [footnoted in]) (Wace, Roman de Brut, éd. Lincy), (Wace(?) Roman de Brut, éd. Lincy) [OF/AN]
Ron [ME, Layamon]; Ron [ME, Robert of Gloucester] ; Ron 10051 (Robert Mannyng of Brunne) [ME]; -- [ME, Allit. Morte Arthure];
Routh (Waurin, Croniques, cit. p. 362) [Fr.]
(2) Mabinogion
xxxxx (Culhwch ac Olwen, WBR version) [W.]; "Rhongomyniad" (ib., Gwyn Jones tr.)
a rongomyant uygg6ae6 (CO, RBH version, Rhys & Evans ed.)
[a]rongomyant uyggwaew "and Rhongomyant, my lance" (ib. = Guest ed. tr., Kilhwch) [W.];
"Rongomyant, ma lance" (ib., Loth tr.),
"Rongomyant, my lance" (Brown, "Bleeding Lance," p.26).
(3) Brutiau
Ron II, p.189 = col. 161 (Bruts from the Red Book of Hergest, Rhys & Evans ed.),
ron or ron v6chel (?) (= "High Spear" uchel "high,lofty; towering; stately". (Brut G. ab Arthur, Myv. Arch. II, p.306),
[Note: Actually, the RBH and Myvyrian Brut G. ab Arthur give virtually identical text regarding the spear, translating Geoffrey of Monmouth verbatim; but the RBH reads "named Ron. Tall..", the Myvyrian omits the intervening punctuation mark.]
Rongymyniat (Brut Tysilio, Myv. Arch. II, p.306) Rongymyniad (Roberts tr., Brut Tysilio);
ron gymhyniect "Ron Gymhynieit (Spear of Command)" (Brut y Brenhinedd ed. tr. Parry, p.159 / MS. Cotton Cleopatra B.v. fol.79)
(4) Misc.
Rongo(m)ian(t) (Twenty-Four Knights of Arthur's Court, MS. Peniarth 127 c. 1510, Bromwich ed., Trioedd.. Appendix IV)

Rongomyant [Bret.]
[etymology: The form Rongymyniad (which is in the Myvyrian edition Tysilio, but may well be an emendation) is amenable to the interpretation of a ron "spear" + cymyniad "(of) hewing off;" and the suggestions "Lance Hewer" (Wilhelm *1). "Spear-striker" (Padel*2) subscribe to this approach.
The glossses by these two men seem to share an inaccuracy, for the -iad suffix seems to correspond to Eng. "-tion" and not "-er" (which would be -wyr, wr" in the Welsh). Moreover, cymyniad has a second possible meaning deriving from cymynnu "bequeath, commit", and this alternate sense suggests the construal "Spear of Bequest", which would conform with Layamon's statement that the spear, the workmanship of Griffin, was passed down to Arthur from his father.
The Cotton Cleopatra version is read Ron Gymhyniet by Parry, who translates it as the "Spear of Command" < gorchymyn "command, order, commandment").
The forms in Wace Roit, Roide (mod. Fr. raide) means "hard, stiff". A]
The spear of Arthur, which was high, stout, and ready for slaughter, and which according to Layamon was crafted by a smith named Griffin in Caermyrddin, and a hereditary spear passed from Uther.
Spenser describes a squire carrying Arthur's "speare of heben," i.e., spear made of ebony (Faerie Queene I.vii.37), and John Upton, and early editor of the work, comments on it with the eccentric notion that the name according to "Jeffry of Monmouth" the "spear was called Roan; from its tawny, blackish cast: it comes from Ravus "gray-yellow, gray, tawny", ravanus, rovano, roano" (London: 1758, Vol. II, p.390)

Carnwenhau, (Carnwennan)
xxxxx (Culhwch ac Olwen, WBR version) [W.]; Carnwennan (ib., Gwyn Jones tr.)
a charnwenhan vyg kyƚƚeƚƚ acharnwennan y gyƚƚeƚƚ p.142 = col. 844 (CO, RBH version, Rhys & Evans ed.)
[a]charnwenchau vyg kyllell "[and] Carnwenhau my dagger" (x) / charnwennan y gyllell "Carnwennan his dagger" (ib. = Guest ed. tr., Kilhwch)
"Karnwenhan, mon couteau" / "son couteau Karnwennan" (ib. Loth tr.),
"Carnwenhan my dagger" (Brown, "Bleeding Lance," p.26).
Charnwennan (Twenty-Four Knights of Arthur's Court, Bromwich ed., op. cit.)

[Carnwennan "Bright Hilt" (Wilhelm); "White-hilted one" (Padel) ]

    Arthur's knife. In Lady Guest's version, Arthur calls this knife "Carnwenhau" among the items he cannot part with in granting his boon. But in a later narration when the witch is being hunted for her blood, the knife used to bisect her is called "Carnwennan". The charnwenhan 837

Goswhit [ME, Layamon];
[Usually construed to mean "goose-white" Madden, Wücker, Brown, but suggested derivation from <. gospeit "glittering, polished" proposed by Imelmann (source: Françoise Hazel Marie le Saux, Layamon's Brut: The Poem and Its Sources, p.119 )]

Wigar [ME, Layamon];

Gwenn [W., Mab., Dream of Rhonabwy]
See ⇒«Arthur's mantle».

(1) Llamrei
xxxxx (Culhwch ac Olwen, WBR version) [W.]; Llamrei (ib., Gwyn Jones tr. p.107,113)
lamrei kaſſec arthur p.135 142 = RBH col. 837 844 (CO, RBH version, Rhys & Evans ed.)
lamrei kassec arthur "Llamrei, Arthur's mare" (ib. = Guest tr. ed., Kilhwch);
"Lamrei, la jument d'Arthur" (ib., Loth tr.).
llamrei lla6n elwic (Canu y Meirch Book of Taliessin "Song of the Horses" XXV, Skene ed. Four Ancient Books of Wales)
"Llamre, full of inherent vigour" (ib., Skene tr.),
"Llamrei full of vigour" (ib., Guest tr. in her notes to Kilhwch and Olwen),
Llamrei llavn elwic, (Llamrei llam? elwic) (ib., ed. tr. Bromwich in Trioedd Ynys Prydein, c-ci)
"Llamrei, of surpassing leap" [E.] (ib., ed. Bromwich).
[etymology: llam "leap" + rei "???" [W.]; "the curveter" (Brewer's).]
Arthur's mare. In the mabinogi tale of Culhwch ac Olwen, she carries four of Arthur's men downed by the witch (defeated using the dagger Carnwennan, see quote below).
Also Kaw (Sir Kay) rode the mare to hunt down the boar Yskithyrwyn Penbaedd, and Kaw cleaved the boar's head with an axe and took away the tusk (but the boar was slain by Arthur's dog Cavall).
    Llamrei is also among the catalog of horse-names given in Taliesin's Canu y Meirch or "Song of the Horses"*1, but the song does not make clear who its owner is. And the song earlier mentions march Arthur, ehofyn rodi cur "Arthur's horse, fearless in giving battle," for which it seems the poet had another horse, perhaps a stallion, in mind.

(2) Hengroen;
xxxxx (Culhwch ac Olwen, WBR version) [W.]; Hengroen "Old-skin" (ib., Gwyn Jones tr. p.106)
arthur (CO, RBH version, Rhys & Evans ed.)
hen groen Hen-groen (ib. = Guest tr. ed., Kilhwch);
Hen Groen "old skin" (Gantz tr., p.143)

(3) Gwynn Mygdwn;
xxxxx (Culhwch ac Olwen, WBR version) [W.]; Dun-mane (ib., Gwyn Jones tr., p.107)
Zzzzzzz (CO, RBH version, Rhys & Evans ed.); Gwynn Dun Mane (tr. Gantz)
[etymology: "Smoky-Dun/Brown" or full name "Smoky-Dun White" gwyn "white" + mwg "smoke, fume, reek " + dwn "dun, dusky, swarthy" [W.]; Amending the name to mwng dwn is required for the anglicized name Dun mane" used by Gantz in his translation. ]
The horse of Gweddw, obtained by Arthur. The horse was needed for carrying Mabon the son of Modron, who was the only huntsman who could use the hound Drudwyn the whelp of Greid, the son of Eri, and the dog was one without which the boar Twrch Trwyth could not be hunted.

(4) Spumador

(5) Aubagu (6) Passleand (7) Plantamor → See under Excalibur
xxxxx (Culhwch ac Olwen, WBR version) [W.]; Cafall (ib., Gwyn Jones tr. 107, 110, 119)
Zzzzzzzzzz (CO, RBH version, Rhys & Evans ed.)
chauall, kauall (ib. = Guest tr. ed.);
Arthur's dog. "And Arthur went himself to the chase, leading his own dog Cavall" (Guest tr., Culhwch) [W.]

xxxxx (Culhwch ac Olwen, WBR version) [W.]; Prydwen (ib., Gwyn Jones tr., p.105, 108-9)
vy ƚƚong ("my ship") p.105, l.28 = RBH col.814 p2y wenn p.132, l.12 = col.837b ymp2yt wenn p.136, l.1 = col.838 p2ytwen p.137, l.30 = col.840 (CO, RBH version, Rhys & Evans ed.)
vy llong p.204, l.12 "my ship" tr. p.248; ympryt wenn p.235, l.21, ymbrytwen p.240, l.4, ymprytwen p.242, l.14 "his ship Prydwen" tr. p.302, 307, 310 (ib., Guest ed. tr.)[W.]
"Prytwenn, son navire" (Loth tr., Culhwch),
"Prytwenn" (Brown, "Bleeding Lance," p.26).

Prytwen (Preidau Anwvyn "Spoils of Annwfn" Book of Taliessin XXX, Skene ed., tr. in Four Ancient Books of Wales) [W.];
Prydwen (ib. Skene tr.)

xxxxx (Culhwch ac Olwen, WBR version) [W.]; Ehangwen (ib., Gwyn Jones tr., p.87)
Zzzzzzzzzz (CO, RBH version, Rhys & Evans ed.)
ehangwen neuad arthur "Ehangwen, Arthur's Hall" (ib.Guest tr. ed.) [W.]
"Ehangwen la salle d'Arthur;" (Loth tr., Culhwch),
"Ehangwen (the hall)" (Brown, "Bleeding Lance," p.32n).
Arthur's hall. It was constructed by Glwyddyn Saer. And for additional detail, it is said that Uchtryd Varyf Draws spreads his beard over the eight and forty rafters which were in Arthur's Hall (wyth-drawst adeugeint.., p. 211).

----- owner / sword -----
(1) Chronicles (non-W.)
*1a San-Marte [= Schulz, Albert, 1802-1893], Gottfried's von Monmouth historia regum Britanniae, mit .. brut tysylio, .. (Halle, E. Anton, 1854) [books.google]

*1b Griscom, Acton, 1891-, (ed. Latin and commentary) and Jones, Robert Ellis, 1858- , (tr. from Welsh), The Historia regum Britanniæ of Geoffrey of Monmouth, with contributions to the study of its place in early British history..together with a literal translation of the Welsh manuscript no. LXI of Jesus College, Oxford, (London, New York [etc.] Longmans, Green and Co., 1929.)
* The Latin text is principally from Cambridge University Library ms. 1706 (C), with variants from Harlech ms. 17 (H) and Stadtbibliothek Bern ms. 568 (B). Accompanying this as parallel textis the English translation of the Welsh version oft known as "Brut Tysilio" from Oxford Jesus College ms. LXI (J).

*2 Geoffrei Gaimar, Lestorie des Engles. Hardy, Thomas Duffus and Martin, Charles Trice edd., Lestorie Des Engles (London : 1888-89) [Series: Rerum Britannicarum medii aevi scriptores ; no. 91. ]
VOL. I Text ; VOL. II Translation The present work chronicles Anglo-Saxon England (Matter of England), but its beginning speaks of Arthur as a near-contemporary of Havelok and thus forms a bridge from the rule of Britons. It is thought that Gaimar also wrote a "Lestoire Des Bretaigne" but it became lost.

*2b Gaimar's account of Havelok synopsized in: Gollancz, Israel, Hamlet in Iceland (London: David Nutt 1898), pp. xlviii-xlix

*3a Le Roux de Lincy, Antoine Jean Victor, 1806-1869, ed., Le roman de Brut / par Wace, poète du XIIe siècle. Pub. pour la prèmiere fois d'après les manuscrits des bibliothèques de Paris; avec un commentaire et des notes par (Paris : É. Frère, 1836-38.) 2vol. Tome 1 (vv 1=8386) [Stanford] [Oxford] Tome 2 (vv 8387~15300) [Indiana U.] [Oxford]

*3b Arnold, Ivor Deiniol Osborn, 1895-1952, ed. Le Roman de Brut de Wace (Paris, Société des Anciens Textes Français, 1er vol. 1938, 2e vol. 1940). [Roman de Brut@U. Ottawa Arthurian sections, glossary, Proper Names List; some .doc under parent directory]

*4 Layamon's Brut is found in the two Brit. Lib. manuscripts Cotton Otho C.XIII and Cotton Caligula A.IX See U. Mich Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse (Otho or Caligula) or Madden, Frederic, 1801-1873. ed., Layamon's Brut, or Chronicle of Britain : a poetical semi-Saxon paraphrase of the Brut of Wace,.. (London, Society of Antiquaries of London, 1847.) [books.google]

*5a The Gesta Henrici II was formerly ascribed to Benedict, abbot of Peterborough (d. 1193/4), but later attribited to Roger of Hovenden. Roger was present firsthand when Richard Lionheart allegedly made a gift of Caliburn to Tancredi of Sicily in 1191. Benedict's copy of the Gesta can be dated to no later than 1193/4, though it can conceivably been posthumously completed. Stubbs, William ed., Gesta Regis Henrici Secundi Benedicti Abbatis (The Chronicle of the Reigns of Henry II and Richard I, A.D. 1169-1192), [books.google] Vol. II

*5b Stubbs ed., Chronica Magistri Rogeri de Houedene (London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer, 1868) Vol. 3 [1189-] , p.97

*5c Walter of Coventry (fl. 1290) wrote much later, but he was merely a copiest of other historians. Stubbs ed., Memoriale fratris Walteri de Coventria: The historical collections of Walter of Coventry (London: Logman, etc., 1872 [Rolls Series]) Vol. 1, p.433

*5d Stevenson, Joseph, 1806-1895. ed., Scalacronica: by Sir Thomas Gray of Heton, knight. A chronical of England and Scotland from A.D. MLXVI to A.D. MCCCLXII. (Edinburgh, Printed for the Maitland Club, 1836.) [books.google] [IArchive]

*6 Gesta regum Britanniæ, Michel, Francisque, ed. (base MS. BNF latin 8149)(1862). Recently in Wright, Neil, ed., tr., Historia Regum Britannie of Geoffrey of Monmouth, volume 5. HIs translation excerpted as "Story of Arthur" in Barber, Myths and Legends.

*7 The metrical chronicles of Robert of Gloucester, ed. W. A. Wright. p.254, 256, 270, 314, 322, etc. The variant forms are also given in the entry under Caliburn in Middle English Dictionary, B.13, vol. 14, p.24

*8 Marvin, Julia ed., tr. The Oldest Anglo-Norman Prose Brut Chronicle (Boydell & Brewer 2006) publisher page with link to Google preview

*9 Robert Mannyng of Brunne, The Story of England, Furnivall ed., (1807) Part 1

*10 Alliterative Morte Arthure, Text Alliterative Morte Arthure @ Project Camelot; also Brock ed., Morte Arthure, (1865) [EETS o.s. 8] [books.google]

*11 Brie, Friedrich W. D., ed., The Brut or the Chronicles of England ... from Ms. Raw. B171, Bodleian Library, &c.,. EETS o.s. 131 and 136 (London 1906-08) 1-391 to the year 1419.

*12 Furnivall, Frederick James, 1825-1910, ed. Arthur - A Short Sketch of his Life and History in English verse of the first half of the fifteenth century, copied and edited from the Marquis of Bath's MS., Liber Rubeus Bathoniæ, 1428 A.D.; [EEST Original Series No. 2] (1st ed. 1864; 2nd ed. 1869; reprinted 1965) Project Gutenberg; also [books.google] | [copy 2] English Poetry Data

*13 Wavrin, Jehan de, seigneur du Forestel, fl. 1415-1471, Chroniques d'Angleterre (c. 1470). Hardy, William, Sir, 1807-1887 and Hardy, Edward L. C. P. edd., Jehan de Waurin, seigneur du forestel, Recueil des Croniques et anchiennes istories de la Grant Bretaigne, a present nomme Engleterre. (London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green 1862) 5 vol., Vol. 1 From Albina to A.D. 688 (1862)

*13 Spenser, Edmund, The Faerie Queene

*14 Chronique manuscrite de la bataille d'Azincourt from an MS. of the abbaye de Ruisseauville in: Roger, P. (Paul), 1812-1894, ed., Noblesse et chevalerie du comté de Flandre, d'Artois et de Picardie (Amiens : Typographie de Duval et Herment, 1843.), [books.google]

----- sword etymology -----
*1 Arthur C. L. Brown, review of Edmond Faral, La Légende arthurienne (Paris: Champion 1929)", in: Speculum Vol. 6, No. 2 (Apr., 1931), pp. 305 - 307

(2) Mabinogion
(3) Brutiau
*1 Rhys, John, Sir, 1840-1915, Evans, J. Gwenogvryn, edd., The text of the Bruts from the Red Book of Hergest [Ystorya Brenhined y Brytanyeit from the Red book of Hergest] (Oxford, J. G. Evans [1890]) [books.google]vol. 2

*2 Jones, Owen, 1741-1814, and Iolo Morganwg, 1747-1826. edd., "Brut Tysilio" and "Brut Gruffudd ab Arthur" (parallel texts one on top of the other) in Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales (3 vol., 1801-03) II 81-390

*3 Roberts, Brnyley F., ed., Brut y brenhinedd: Llanstephan MS. 1 Version Medieval and Modern Welsh Series, Vol. 5] (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies 1971)

*4 Jones tr. of Welsh Brut ms. J in Griscom, op. cit.

*5 Parry, John Jay ed. Brut y Brenhinedd (Cotton Cleopatra Version) (Cambridge, Mass., The Mediaeval Academy of America, 1937.) Medieval Academy

----- (Welsh etymology) -----
*1 Wilhelm, James J., and Laila Zamuelis Gross, ed., The Romances of Arthur I (New York : Garland, 1984.).
3-volumes in one edition (Routledge 1994 p.34

*2 Padel, O. J., Arthur in Medieval Welsh Literature. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2000.

*3 Roberts, Peter, ca. 1760-1819, The chronicle of the kings of Britain / translated from the Welsh copy attributed to Tysilio in Collectanea Cambrica (London 1811).
I do not have direct access to the work, but the relevant commentary by Roberts is quoted thus: "Geoffrey alone calls the sword Caliburn, i.e., caled-vwrn, the hard mass, i.e. well tempered and massive." by Madden (Notes to Layamon's Brut, p. 377).

----- shield (pre- and post-Geoffrey) -----
*1 Nennius, Historia Brittonum, in: Gunn, W.(Bill), Rev. ?-?, ed. tr., The "Historia Brittonum" / commonly attributed to Nennius, from a manuscript lately discovered in the library of the Vatican Palace at Rome ; edited in the tenth century by Mark the Hermit ; with an English version, facsimile of the original, notes and illustrations by, (London : Printed for J. and A. Arch, 1819.) [books.google];
Another traslation in: Giles, J. A., ed. Six Old English Chronicles, London: Henry G. Bohn, 1848 [books.google]; Also: Medieval Sourcebook: Nennius: Historia Brittonum, 8th century @ Fordham Univ. site appends the mirabilia Chap. 73 given by Alan Lupack (Camelot Project)

*2 Robert Huntington Fletcher, "The Arthurian material in the chronicles" in Studies and Notes in Philology and Literature X, (1906) pp.32-4, [archives] /[books.google], was an early critic who pointed out this confusion between "shield" (ysgwyd scuit [OW] cog. sciath [OIr.]) and shoulder (ysgwydd, Fletcher cites J. William's edition of the Annales Cambriae,, p.xxiv; and Skene, Four Ancient Books, I, 55.
Also, Richard White, King Arthur in Legend and History gives English translated excerpts of these chronicular passages.

*3 Annales Cambriae, text: Williams, John, [John Williams ab Ithel, Rev.] 1811-1862, ed. (London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts 1860) [Rolls Series] [books.google]; translation: Med. Sourcebook

*4 William of Malmesbury, Gesta Regum Anglorum, in: Giles, J. A., Chronicle of the Kings of England: From the earliest period to the reign of King Stephen (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1847) [books.google]

*5 Edmud Spenser, Faerie Queen, Book I, Canto vii, 33-36 wikisource. "His warlike shield al closely cover'd was / Ne might of morall eye be ever seene ;/ Nor made of Steele.. But all of Diamond perfect pure and cleene.. Hewen out of Adamant rocke../ That point of speare it never percen could, / Ne dint of direfull sword divide the subtance would." On 34 it says the covered shield is not usually revealed to men, but it is flashed at monsters or great armies, and the shield's shone not bright, but wanly like the sun through the cloud ("Phoebus golden face,.. as when a cloud..") or or the moon ("Cynthia") giving spooky magic-binding light. On 35 it is stated that it (the light of the shield) makes the spells of "Enchaunters" powerless ("without might"), and petrifies me ("into stones.. transmew") and into dust. Strophe 36 states that Merlin made it.

*6 Lister M. Matheson, "The Arthurian Stories of Lambeth Palace Library MS 84" in: Arthurian Literature, 5 (1985), 70-91 [preview].

*7 Sims-Williams, Patrick, " 2. Early Welsh Arthurian Poems", in Arthur of the Welsh. The article analyzes the "Pa Gur?" poem in BBC, and regarding Cei's shield that was polished against the Cath Palug (line 83) Note 72 cites the Lambeth MS 84 story to explain why a shiny shield could confound the cats obviating farfetched reinterpritations such as mynud "hacked small" from < Latin minutus.

----- spear -----


----- dagger ----

----- helmet ----

----- armor ----

----- mantle ----

----- horse (1) ----

§ Geoffrey of Monmouth, Historia Regum Britanniae (c. 1136)

In Book IX of Geoffrey's account, King Arthur is crowned king at the age of fifteen following the death of Uther Pendragon. The Saxons occupying northern parts of Britain were commanded by Duke Colgrin, who is now intent upon exterminating the Britons altogether. Arthur decides to harry these Saxons, asserting his rightful inheritance and enriching the retainers with treasures recovered from them.

Arthur gains the upper hand, and Colgrin flees to his base city of York, which Arthur besieges. Colgrin's brother Badulf attempts to lift the siege and fails, but reinforcements come in the form of Duke Cheldric of Germany landing six hundred shiploads of soldiers in Albany [=Scotland]. Hearing this news, Arthur abandons the seige, as advised by his counsellors. But Arthur's sister-son, Duke Hoel of Armorica (=Brittany in France) brings 15,000 soldiers on his fleet, landing in Hamo's Port (portus Hamonis ≈ Southampton). The combined forces rout the Saxons outside of Lincoln, felling six thousand in a day. The remaining survivors flee to the forest of Calidon, but Arthur orders his men to fell the trees in circle around them to prevent their escape, and they starved for provisions [* probably ≅ The Battle of the Forest of Celidon, Arthur's seventh battle against the Saxons mentioned by Nennius] The Saxons capitulate and agree to surrender their gold and hostages as surety, if they will be allowed leave aboard their ships. But the Saxons have a change of heart and breach this truce; they turn back and recommence the war.

But the theater of war now moves from the northern parts, down to Somerset, and the Saxons besiege Bath. When Arthur's forces arrive in the province of Somerset. The upcoming battle takes place upon a certain hill (in Bath, that is), which the Saxons occupy. This is clearly Geoffrey of Monmouth's conception of the "Hill of Badon" [* Site of Arthur's twelfth and final battle against the Saxons, mentioned by Nennius], although many modern scholars don't concede this, preferring to localize it in the Northern Scotland area).

Anyhow, in Arthur's camp which is presumably in or near Bath, Archbishop Dubricius of the City of Legions (Caerlion) has arrived (from just across the Severn), and gives a sermon. Cheered by his speech, the soldier suit up in arms. And here occurs the description of Arthur's weaponry and arms:

Ipse uero arturus lorica tanto rege digna indutus, ‘auream galeam simulacro draconis insculptam. capiti adaptat. Humeris quoque suis clipeum uocabulo pridwen. in quo imago sanctae mariae dei genitricis impicta, ipsum in memoriam ipsius saepissime reuocabat. Accinctus ergo caliburno gladio optimo, & in insula auallonis fabricato: lancea dexteram suam decorat. quae nomine ron vocabatur. Hæc ardua erat lataque lancea, cladibus apta.
— Geoffrey of Monmouth, Historia Regum Britanniae, §IX.4.
in Griscom's edition, Ms. Cambridge No. 1796, fol. 90v
Also see U.Ottawa's online excerpt
Also Arthur himself, having put on a coat of mail suitable to the grandeur of so powerful a king, placed a golden helmet upon his head, on which was engraven the figure of a dragon; and on his shoulders his shield called Priwen; upon which the picture of the blessed Mary, mother of God, was painted, in order to put him frequently in mind of her. Then girding on his Caliburn, which was an excellent sword made in the isle of Avallon, he graced his right hand with his lance, named Ron, which was hard, broad, and fit for slaughter.
— tr. Thompson (rev. Giles)
Hist. Kings of Brit., IX.4 *1Thomp

.., and Arthur himself doing upon him a habergeon worthy of a king so noble, did set upon his head a helm of gold graven with the semblance of a dragon. Upon his shoulders, moreover, did he bear the shield that was named Priwen, wherein, upon the inner side, was painted the image of holy Mary, Mother of God, that many a time and oft did call her back unto his memory. Girt was he also with Caliburn, best of swords, that was forged within the Isle of Avalon; and the lace that did grace his right hand was called by the name of Ron, a tall lnce and a stout, full meet to do slaughter withal.
— tr. Evans*1Ev

Arthur himself put on a leather jerkin worthy of so great a king. On his head he placed a golden helmet, with a crest carved in the shape of a dragon; and across his shoulders a circular shield called Pridwen, on which there was painted a likeness of he Blessed Mary, Mother of God, which forced him to be thinking perpetually of her. He girded on his peerless sword, called Caliburn, which was forged in the Isle of Avalon. A spear called Ron graced his right hand; long, broad in the blade, and thirsty of slaughter.
— tr. Thorpe*1Thorpe

In this battle on the hill supposedly near Bath, Arthur goes on to personally "dispatch four hundred and seventy men with his sword Caliburn". Compare this with Nennius, who credits Arthur with slaying nine hundred and sixty men in the Battle of Badon.

The aftermath of the battle is that there comes a message that Hoel, left behind at Alclud, is being besieged, and therefore Arthur must needs to lead his main force back up north towards Scotland. so the pursuit of the Saxon remnants is left to the Duke of Cornwall and his force ten thousand strong, who "started from Bath" (IX.5), again reinforcing the notion that the battle of the hill must have occured at Bath.

Arthur rides the wave of this victory, and goes on to subjugate the Orkneys, Ireland, Norway and Denmark. Then he makes a foray into the continent, where he fights Flollo or Frollo, the tribune of Gaul [=France] in single combat,

*1 Geoffrey of Monmouth, Historia Regum Britanniae.

*1Gr, *2Gr Griscom, Acton, 1891-, ed. Latin and commentary, Jones, Robert Ellis, 1858- , tr. from Welsh, The Historia regum Britanniæ of Geoffrey of Monmouth, with contributions to the study of its place in early British history..together with a literal translation of the Welsh manuscript no. LXI of Jesus College, Oxford, (London, New York [etc.] Longmans, Green and Co., 1929.)


*1Ev Evans, Sebastian, 1830-1909. tr., (E. P. Dutton & co, 1920) Printed under the Everyman's Library series.
*1Thomp Thompson, Aaron, b. 1682? , revisions by Giles, J. A. (John Allen), 1808 -1884, rev. History of the Kings of Britain Book9(wikisource), IX.4 (Celtic Twilight) or (PDF)
*1Thorpe The History of the Kings of Britain,
tr. Thorpe, Lewis G. M., 1913- ,
(Baltimore; Penguin Books 1966)
[limited preview]
[also excerpted in White's King Arthur in Legend and History]

§ Geoffrey (Geffrei) Gaimar (fl. 1140?) Lestoire des Engles

Gaimar's Anglo-Norman chronicle*1, 2, 3 opens with a narrative about Havelok the Dane. Scholars have determined Havelok he is actually based on Anlaf (or Olaf) Curan, a figure of the 10th century and an ally and son-in-law of King Constantine of Scotland at the time (see Gollancz*4).
But Gaimar apparently confounded the later king of Scotland with Constantine the successor of King Arthur. Gaimar thus erroneously set the chronology of Havelok's story back by some four centuries, near the Arthurian age.

In the following quote, the gist of what Gaimar is saying is that in the days of the successor of Arthur the owner of Excalibur, there were two kings who ruled Britain. One king was the father of the princess who married Havelok. The other was the princess's sinister uncle.

  MEIS li Daneis mult le haeient,
Pur lur paren lur paranz, ki morz estaient,
Es batailles ke Artur fist
Contre Modret, k'il puis oscist   40
Si ço est veir ke Gilde dist
En la geste, trova escrit,
Ke dous reis out jà en Bretaigne,
Quant Costentin estait chevetaigne,
Cil Costentin li niès Artur
Ki out l'espée Caliburc
Adelbrit aveit à nun li uns des reis;
Riches hom fu, si ert Daneis:
Li altres out nun Edelsie;
—ll.37-49, Thomas Wright., ed.,
Estoire Des Engles
BUT the Danes hated them much,
Because of their kindred, who had died
In the battles that Arthur fought
Against Mordred, whom he afterwards slew,
If that is true that Gildas said*5,
In the Geste, he found written,
That there were two kings formerly in Britain
When Constantine was chief.
This Constantine was the nephew of Arthur,
Who had the sword Caliburc
One of the kings had for his name Addelbrit.
He was a rich man, also he was a Dane.
The other had for his name Edelsie.
—tr. Hardy & Martin

[But the Danes greatly depised[?] him,
For the parents of their parents were killed,
In the battles that Arthur waged
Against Mordred, who he then slew,
If it is true what Gildas said*5.
In the gestes, it is found written,
That].. two kings once ruled in Britain
when Constantine was chieftain;
this Constantine was the nephew of Arthur
who wielded the sword Excalibur.
One of the kings had the name Adelbriht.
He was a powerful man; he was Danish.
The other had the name of Edelsi;
—bracketed translation mine;
thereafter Stephen H. A. Shepherd tr.,
in A Norton Critical Edition: Middle English Romances, p. 319-
[based on edition of Alexander Bell,
Anglo-Norman Text Society, Nos. 14, 15,16
(Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1960)

Later scholars have determined that the male-Cinderella tales of Havelok (who grew up thinking he was Curan the Scullion but turned out to be a prince) are formed from accretions of legends around a Hiberno-Danish king known as Anlaf Curan or "Olaf o' the Sandal". This Anlaf was chief among the alliance defeated by Athelstan in the Battle of Brunanburgh in year 937.

This Anlaf was an ally and son-in-law of Constantine III of Scotland during those times. Gaimar either spurriously or carelessly misidentified him. To borrow Gollancz's words
.. by an error, Gaimar confuses this tenth-century Constantine [Constantine III of Scotland, Anlaf's father-in-law and ally] with Constantine, "the nephew of Arthur, who had the sword Calidure"
— Gollancz, pp. xlviii-xlix,

This section was probably a bridge inserted between the lost Les Estorie des Bretons and the extant Les Estorie des Engles, or so Gollancz states*2. The lost work would have been a French translation of Geoffrey that predated Wace if it truly existed.

It will be an unnecessary digression to discuss the storyline of Havelok here, but as to the flaming mouth
that is the mark of kingship, see Leifnis eldr

*1 Wright, Thomas, 1810-1877, ed., The Anglo-Norman metrical chronicle of Geoffrey Gaimar / printed for the first time entire from the ms. in the British Museum : with illustrative notes and an appendix containing the Lay of Havelok, the Legend of Ernulf, and the Life of Herward ; edited by, (London : Printed for the members of the Caxton Society, 1850.) [books.google] | copy2

*2 Hardy, Thomas Duffus, Sir, 1804-1878, Martin, Charles Trice, d. 1914. edd. tr., Lestorie Des Engles Solum la Translacion Maistre Geffrei Gaimar (London : Printed by H.M. Stationery Off., by Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1888-89) [Series: Rerum Britannicarum medii aevi scriptores ; no. 91. ] VOL. I Text VOL. II Translation [* Text of Brit. Museum MS. Reg.(Royal) 13 A xxi. The editor is aware of three other MSS: Herald's Coll., Arundel Collection, C iv 27; and two in the Cathedral Libraries of Durham and Lincoln (Durham is oldest and philologically best IHO). ]

*3 Also an extract of the Havelok section of this is appended (to supplement the text of the Middle English Havelok and ) in: Stephen H. A. Shepherd ed., Middle English Romances: A Norton Critical Edition, (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1995), p.xl-

*4 Introduction, Chap. III, in Gollancz, Israel, Hamlet in Iceland: Being the Icelandic Romantic Ambales saga (London: David Nutt 1898) (Reprint AMS Press1974).

*5 I disagree with Wright's construal here, which suggests that — Gildas knew of a geste that contained the story of the two kings of Britain (i.e. Story of Havelok) —.
Gildas in the 6c. could not have seen the legend of Havelok which is based on a 10c. figure (as discussed).
Rather, what is probably stated is that — Gildas wrote of Mordred being slain by Arthur, and in the Geste (which Gildas never saw), was written the story of Havelok.
It is well known Gildas never mentions Arthur by name in his De Excidio et Conquescu Britanniae, but there is a passage that refers to Maglocunus(=Maelgwn=Mordred) killing his uncle-king (=Arthur), see Rhys, The Arthurian Legend, p. 8.
Gollancz does not view Gildas as being Gaimar's source at all.

§ Wace, Roman de Brut (c. 1155)

Fist Artus armer ses compagnes ;
Sa gent parti et ordena
Et il méismes se r'arma :
Ses cauces de fer a calcies 9510
Beles et bien aparillies ;
Hauberc et bon et bel vestu
Tel qui à tel roi disnes fu.
Calabrum ot cainte s'espée
[Calabore ot ceinte s'espée (Ms. 73)]
Qui bien fu longe et bien fu lée;
En l'ile d'Avalon fu faite,
Qui la tint nue mult s'en haite.
Helme avoit en son cief luisant
Et fu d'or li nasaus devant,
Et d'or li chercles environ , 9520
En som ot portrait un dragon.
En l'elme ot mainte pière clère ;
II ot esté Uter son père.
Sor un ceval monta mult bel
Et fort et corant et isnel;
Son escu a mis à son col,
Ne sambla pas coart ne fol.
De l'escu fu, par grant maistrie,
De ma clame sainte Marie
Portaite et faite li semblance, 9530
Por honor, et por ramembrance.
Lance avoit roide de Saison,
Acérés fu li fers en son.
Alques ert long, et alques lés
Mult ert en besogne dotés.
—Le Roux de Lincy ed., Tome 2, pp.51-
Fist Artus armer ses conpaignes;
Sa gent parti et ordena,
Et il meïsmes se rarma.
9275     Ses chauces de fer ot chauciees,
Beles et bien aparelliees;
Hauberc ot bon et bel vestu,
Tel qui de tel roi dignes fu;
Calibore ot ceinte, s'espee,
9280     Qui bien fu longue et bien fu lee;
An l'isle d'Avalons fu fete;
Qui la tient nue mout s'an hete.
Hiaume ot an son chief cler luisant,
D'or fu li nasex de devant
9285     Et d'or li cercles anviron;
Desus ot portet .i. dragon;
El hiaume ot mainte pierre clere,
Il ot esté Uther son pere.
Sor .i. cheval monta mout bel
9290     Et fort et corrant et isnel.
Priven, son escu, a son col,
Ne sanbla pas coart ne fol.
Dedanz l'escu fu, par mestrie,
9295 De ma dame sainte Marie
Portrete et pointe la sanblance,
Por enor et por remanbrance.
Lance ot roide, Roit avoit non;
Acerez fu li fers an son;
Auques fu lons et auques lez,
9300     Mout ert an besoigne dotez.
— ll. 9272-9300,
Wace Roman de Brut,
éd. Arnold, Ivor, Le Roman de Brut de Wace
[in the excerpt
"Uther et Yguerne
@ U. Ottawa, Lfa]
He saw to the arming of his meinie,
and for himself got him into his harness.
Arthur donned thigh pieces of steel,
wrought strong and fairly by some cunning smith.
His hauberk was stout and richly chased,
even such a vesture as became so puissant a king.
He girt him with his sword, Excalibur.
Mighty was the glaive, and long in the blade.
It was forged in the Isle of Avalon,
and he who brandished it naked in his hand
deemed himself a happy man.
His helmet gleamed upon his head.
The nasal was of gold;
circlets of gold adorned the headpiece,
with many a clear stone,
and a dragon was fashioned for its crest.
This helm had once been worn by Uther, his sire.
The king was mounted on a destrier,
passing fair, strong, and speedy,
loving well the battle.
He had set his shield [Priven] about his neck, and, certes,
showed a stout champion,
and a right crafty captain.
On the buckler was painted in sweet colours
the image of Our Lady St. Mary.
In her honour and for remembrance,
Arthur bore her semblance on his shield.
In his hand the king carried his lance, named Ron.
Sharp it was at the head, tough and great,
and very welcome at need in the press of battle.
— ll. 9272-9300
tr. Mason, Eugene,
Arthurian Chronicles: Roman de Brut ().
Excellent bibliographical available at ARLIMA: Wace, Brut.

*1a Le Roux de Lincy, Antoine Jean Victor, 1806-1869, ed., Le roman de Brut / par Wace, poète du XIIe siècle. Pub. pour la prèmiere fois d'après les manuscrits des bibliothèques de Paris; avec un commentaire et des notes par (Paris : É. Frère, 1836-38.) 2vol. Tome 1 (vv 1~8386) | Tome 2 (vv 8387~15300)
    Mention of Caliburn occurs on Tome 2, p. 51, 88, 213, 215 according to index.
    The manuscripts used by Le Roux de Lincy are denoted by him Ms. de Roi 27 (primary text), 73 (secondary), 75153.3. (variant readings footnoted):
  • "Ms. 27, Cangé", also "Codex D. de Cangé 69", Regius 75342, now BNF fr. 1450 (aka Guiot MS), fol. 112-. (13th cent.) See Keith Busby, Les Manuscrits de Chrétien de Troyes, p.77, BN Catalogue I, p.231-2. Primary text.
  • "Ms. 73, Cangé", Regius 71912, now BNF fr. 794 fol. 286- (13th cent.) See Busby, op cit., p.73 and BN Catalogue I, p.82-3. Secondary text.
  • "Ms. 75153.3., Colbert" now BNF fr. 1416, fol. 63- (dated 1292). See BN Catalogue I, p. 223.

    *1b Arnold, Ivor 1895-1952. ed., Le roman de Brut de Wace (Paris, Société des anciens textes français, 1938-40, 2vol.).
    (Base text: BN fr. 794 = the secondary text used by Le Roux de Lincy.)

    *1bLe Roux de Lincy provides an extract entitled "Fragment sur Tombelène", concerning Mont St.-Michel in Le Tellier, Charles-Maurice 1642-1710, Histoire pittoresque du Mont-S.M., using ms. 75153.3. fond de Colbert.

    *1c Arnold, Ivor 1895-1952. ed., Le roman de Brut de Wace (Paris, Société des anciens textes français, 1938-40, 2vol.)

  • § Layamon Brut (c. 1200-10)

    Layamon presumably took the Old French Wace as source and composed his Middle English version, but improvises additional lore regarding Arthur's weapon and defensive equipment: a byrnie named Wygar crafted by the elvish smith Witeȝe*1 , and the helm Goswhit "Goose-white," passed down from from Uther (Pendragon).

    In a later passage, Layamon says that Arthur's spear, Ron was made in Kairme[r]ðin (i.e. Caer Myrddin "Fort of Merlin" ≈ Carmarthen in Wales), by a smith named Griffin (possibly a corruption of Gofan - Gofannon [W.]; Goibniu [Ir.] - the Celtic smith-god), and that it was previously belonged to Uther.

    The following is Layamon's version of the "magical possessions" passage in earlier works. Note that the verse translator here has changed the elven smith "Witege" to "a wizard".

    10535    Þa comen tidende; to Arðure þan kinge.
    þat seoc wes Howel his mæi; þer-fore he wes sari.
    i Clud ligginde; & þer he hine bilæfde.
    Hiȝenliche swiðe; forð he gon liðe.
    þat he bihalues Ba[ð]e; beh to ane uelde.
    10540    þer he alihte; & his cnihtes alle.
    and on mid heore burnen; beornes sturne.
    & he a fif dæle; dælde his ferde.
    Þa he hafde al iset; and al hit isemed.
    þa dude he on his burne; ibroide of stele.
    10545 þe makede on aluisc smið; mid aðelen his crafte.
    he wes ihaten Wygar; þe Witeȝe wurhte.
    His sconken he helede; mid hosen of stele.
    Calibeorne his sweor[d]; he sweinde bi his side.
    hit wes iworht in Aualun; mi[d] wiȝele-fulle craften.
    10550    Halm he set on hafde; hæh of stele.
    þer-on wes moni ȝim-ston; al mid golde bi-gon.
    he wes V[ð]eres; þas aðelen kinges.
    he wes ihaten Goswhit; ælchen oðere vnilic.
    He heng an his sweore; ænne sceld deore.
    10555    his nome wes on Bruttisc; Pridwen ihaten.
    þer wes innen igrauen; mid rede golde stauen.
    an on-licnes deore; of Drihtenes moder.
    His spere he nom an honde; þa Ron wes ihaten.
    Þa he hafden al his i-weden; þa leop he on his steden.
    — lines 10535-10559 , Layamon's Brut,
    (Brit. Lib., Cotton Caligula A.IX).
    There came tidings to Arthur the king,
    That his kinsman Howell*2 lay sick at Clud*3.
    Therefore he was sorry, but there he left him.
    With very great haste he tried him forth
    21115     Until beside Bath he came to a held.
    There he alighted and all his knights,
    And the doughty warriors donned their byrnies,
    And he in five parts divided his army.
    When he had arrayed all, and all seemed ready,
    21120     He did on his byrny, made of linked steel,
    Which an elvish smith made with his noble craft;
    It was called Wigar, and a wizard wrought it.
    He hid his shanks in hose of steel.
    Caliburn, his sword, he swung at his side;
    21125     It was wrought in Avalon with cunning craft.
    He set on his head a high helm of steel;
    Thereon was many a jewel all adorned with gold.
    It had been Uther's, the noble king's;
    It was called Goose-white; 'twas unlike any other.
    21130     He slung from his neck a precious shield;
    Its name in British was called Pridwen.
    Thereon was graven in red-gold figures
    A dear likeness of the Lord's Mother.
    He took in hand his spear, which was called Ron.
    21135     When he had all his weeds, he leapt on his steed.

    — vv 21111-21135,
    tr. Roger Sherman Loomis and Rudolph Willard
    Medieval English Verse and Prose ,
    (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1948).

    Regarding this confusion regarding the elvish smith Witege, Eugene Mason (translator of Wace and Brut) addresses it in his preface:
    Layamon adds further information about Arthur‘s weapons. His burny, he says (vs. 21133-34) “was named Wygar” (Anglo-Saxon wigheard), “Battle-hard,” “which Witeze [Witeȝe] wrought,” Witeze being a corrupted form for Widia, the Anglo-Saxon name of the son of Weland, the Teutonic Vulcan, a famous maker of magic weapons in romance, with whom his son might easily become identified in legend.

    This is the explanation given by Professor G.L. Kittredge of the above lines, as a correction of Sir Frederic Madden’s translation: “he [namely, the smith who made the burny] was named Wygar, the witty wight.”
    And yet Mason fails to reflect this information in his own translation:
    When he had duly set all, and it all beseemed, then he put on his burny, fashioned of steel, that an elvish smith made, with his excellent craft; he was named Wygar, the witty wright.
    Next quoted is the later passage, some one thousand lines removed, in which Layamon has more to say about Arthur's spear/lance:
    Sette he an hefde; ænne helm godne.
    to his side he swende; his sweorde Caliburne.
    his sconken he helede; mid hosen of stele.
    and duden on his uoten; spuren swiðe gode.
    11865   Þe king mid his weden; leop on his stede.
    me him to rehte; anne scelde gode.
    he wes al clane; of olifantes bane.
    Me salde him an honde. enne scaft stronge.
    þer wes a þan ænde; a spære swiðe hende.
    11870   hit wes imaked; i Kairmeðin; [bi] a smið þe hehte Griffin.
    hit ahte Vðer; þe wes ær king her.
    — lines 11869-71 , Layamon's Brut,
    (Brit. Lib., Cotton Caligula A.IX)*4.
    He set on his head a goodly helme.
    On his side he swung his sword Caliburne.
    His shanks he covered with hoses of steel.
    And put on his feet such goodly spurs
    The king with his garb leapt on his steed.
    They held out to him a goodly shield
    that was all clean, of elephant-bone (ivory)
    They gave him in his hand a strong shaft
    at whose end was a spear so handy,
    which was made in Carmarthen by a smith called Griffin, that belonged to Uther, who was ere king here.
    — verse translation mine.

    *1 Layamon's spelling "Witeȝe" is actually quite close to the common Middle High German spelling, Witege for this personage (i.e., son of Wielant and companion of Heime).
    "Widia" who is Weland's son (Wēlandes bearn) occurs in the Anglo-Saxon Waldere fragment, while "Wudga," the companion of Hama, is the spelling in the Anglo-Saxon lay Widsith.

    *2 Howel is called Hoelus [L.] by Geoffrey. His maternal uncle is Arthur, and his family rules over Brittany (Armorica). His relative Helen (Elaine) is slain by the Giant of St. Michael's Mount.

    *3 Clud ≈Alclud, Alcluith, Strathclyde

    *4 In ms. Cotton Otho (ll. 10990-2), the corresponding passage passage reads:"an ho(nde) ane saft stronge / þar was in þan eande; a(n) hefd swiþe hende./ hit was i-maked in Ker-merþin; [bi] a smiþ þat hehte. Griffin."

    § Gesta Regum Britanniæ or Historia Britonum versificata (c. 1234-1237), attrib. William of Rennes

    In this work the Roman emperor mentioned by Geoffrey (Emperor Leo, IX.2) disappears so that Lucius is unambiguously the Roman Emperor.
    The man who interpreted Arthur's prophetic dream is not named in Geoffrey (X.2), but is called Gerio here (evidently taken from a Gerion, the augur of Brute in Geoffrey, Book I).
    When Arthur fights Frollo in single combat, it specifies the location as an island on the Seine [* i.e., Isle-de-France in Paris].
    And Lucius's death by spear is no longer dealt by an unknown hand, but deliver by Morindus, the Consul of Gloucester [= Morvi, Count of Gloicester in Geoffrey's HRB].
    The battle with Mordred takes place by the river "Cambula" (as Fletcher points out).
    Induit Arturs loricam principe dignam,
    Assumit galeam, cujus draco fulgidus auro
    Irradiat; conum clipeum quoque, nomine Pruden,
    Fert humeris, n quo Chrisit genitricis ymago
    3150 Fulget; fert gladium, cujus nomen Caliburnus;
    Hastam dextra gerit Ron dictam cladibus aptam.
    — Michel ed., GRB, 3146-51
    "Arthur dons a hauberk worthy of a prince; he puts on a helmet, on whose crest shines a dragon bright with gold; on his shoulder he bears a shield named Pridwen, on which the image of the Mother of Christ blazes forth; he wears a sword, whose name is Excalibur; in his right hand he carries a spear called Ron, an apt instrument of slaughter."
    — Neil Wright tr.,
    excerpted as "The Story of Arthur", in Barber, Myths & Legends of the Brit. Isles, 330

    *1 Michel, Francisque, 1809-1887. ed., Gesta regum Britanniæ: a metrical history of the Britons of the XIIIth century now first printed from three manuscripts (Bordeaux, Printed by G. Gounouilhou [for the Cambrian Arch&aeliig;ological Assoc.] 1862) 235 p. [books.google]

    § Robert of Gloucester, Metrical Chronicle (c. 1290)

    Þe kynn, was aboue yarmed wyþ haubert noble & rche,
    wþ helm of gold on ys heued, (nas nour hm lche)
    Þe fourme of a dragon þeron was ycast.
    Hys sseld, þat het Prydwen, was þanne honge wast
    Aboute ys ssoldren, and þeron peynt was and wort
    Þe mage of our Lady, inwan was al ys þoȝt.
    Md s suerd he was gurd, þat so strong was & kene,
    Calbourne yt was cluped, nas nour no such ye wene.
    In ys rȝt hond s lance he nom, pat ycluped was Ron,
    Long & gret & strong ynow, hym ne mȝt atsytte non.

    quoted by Charlotte Guest in her notes to
    the Mabinogion, "Kilhwch and Olwen"
    The king was armored above with a hauberk noble and rich
    With a helm of gold on his head, (there was none like it)
    Cast with the form of a dragon.
    His shield that hight Prydwen was hung
    Around his shoulders, and painted with the image of our Lady
    (Virgin Mary), so that she became all that he thought in his wits.
    He was girt with a sword strong and keen,
    Which was yclept Calybourne, and none like it was ween.
    In his right hand he took his lance yclept Ron
    Long and great and strong enow that none might resist it.

    *1 xxx
    *2 xx

    § Robert Mannyng of Brunne, Chronicle (1338)

    Mannyng transposes the place of manufacture of Caliburn from the Isle of Avalon to a place called Ramsey, and provides the dimensions of the sword as having a a blade ten feet long, a grip twenty inches long from its junction/crossguard to pommel, and a width of seven inches:
    "& þen girt wyþ Caliborne, þat gode brond;
    A bettere cam neuere in no kynges hond;
    Ten fote longe was þen þen blade,
    In Ramesey
    [var. Rameseie] & oþer stedes þe merke ys ymade;
    ffro þe hilte vnto þe pomel
    Was twenti vnche large, meten ful wel;
    Þe brede of þ blade was seven inche & mor;
    Wond was hit y þat world smite ful sore.

    And in Mannyng's chronicle, Arthur specifically uses Caliborne in his fight against the
    ⇒Giant of Saint Michael's Mount *1 of Brittany, though this as already been anticipated by the verse Gesta.
        This is in keeping with Wace, in whose account Artus wields Escalibor l'alemele "Excalibur the stalwort" (Roman de Brut, l.11937) during his battle with the giant (ll.11560-995)*2. In Geoffrey by contrast, the weapon Arturus uses is a sword (gladius) not specifically identified.

    Mannyng also records the name of the giant of Micheles Mount as Dynabrok, after Dinabuc [OF] found in Wace. Most accounts don't provide this giant with a name.

    *1 Furnivall, Frederick James, 1825-1910. ed., The Story of England by Robert Manning of Brunne, A.D. 1338, edited from MSS. at Lambeth Palace and the Inner Temple (London, Longman & Co.; [etc.,etc.] 1887.) [Rolls Series] 2Vol., Part 1 is chiefly a translation from Robert Wace; pt. 2 from Peter Langtoft d. 1307?. The second manuscript is denoted Petyt MS. in short. The lines not corresponding with Wace are marked by a dot at the beginning of the line.

    *2 Note that in the extended Estoire de Merlin (Sommer ed.) , Arthur uses the sword he won from King Rion, i.e., the sword ⇒Marmiadoise .

    § Jehan de Waurin, Croniques et anchiennes istories de la Grant Bretaigne (c. 1470)

    Waurin elaborates on Geoffrey's description of Camlan by drawing from the Vulgate Mort Artu or something similar.

    Geoffrey's section on the Battle on the river Camel (i.e. Camlan, HRB XI.ii) states that Arthur made a charge with the sword against the company where Mordred was at and slew him, and Arthur was also mortally wounded.

    Whereas Waurin's chronicle has an expanded chapter on the event (Chap. XXXIV, "Cy parle des deux batailles que ot le roy Artus alencontre de Mordreth et la maniere de la fin deulx deux."): Arthur rides up to his company on his horse with such grand fury and speed that the ground seemed to fuse. Then " Et advint sy bien roy Artus quil assena tellement Mordreth de sa lance quil le perca oultre le corps, sicque au retirer sa lance un ray de soleil feut veu tout clerement passer par my le corps du desloyal Morderth (And things happened to King Arthur's advantage that he dealt Mordred such a blow that the lance pierced beyond the body, so that when he retracted his lance a ray of sun could be seen clearly passing thorugh the body of the disloyal Mordred)", which is a description straight from the Vulgate Mort Artu. When the false and traitorous Mordred saw that he was mortally wounded, he struck his uncle Arthur with his sword with such great villany upon the head that it burst out its juices[?] on the horse, but it did not strike him with instant death, and when Mordred was done giving that blow, he grew stiff and fell dead on the ground. (p.445-6).

    As the same chapter continues, Waurin is again not satisfied with the mundane account of Geoffrey who only says that Arthur was "borne Isle of Avalon to heal". Waurin tells how Arthur gave Excalibur to Girflet (but neglects to mention that the knight was commanded to throw it in the lake). Subsequently Arthur boards the barque that ships off to Avalon:

    Quant la bataille fut finee, les ix. chevalier vindrent en la place ou gisoit le roy Artus comme demi mort; mais quant il vey Gifflet et son nepveu Constantin, il se leva.. et ses neuf compaignons sen alerent en un hermitage.. [où Artus] confessa a lhermite et fist son testament, sy laissa son royaulme a Constantin, filz Cador roy de Cornubye; ..[Artus] embraca lun de ses troix chevaliers.. [et] fist morir entre ses bras. Les deux aultre .. sendormirent, et.. Artus sesvanuy, sicque on ne sceut oncques quil devint; mais les aulcuns dient quil fut transportez en lisle de Avalon pour garir ses plaies, sy comme Merlin lavoit prophetisie, ou il est en joye et en repos, et sera jusques au jour du jugeent.
        Lhistoire du Saint Graal en parle aultrement, dont je me passe den parler,..
        Aulcuns veullent dire que quant le roy Artus apercheut que tous ses compaignons estoient mors exepte Gifflet, quil lappella, et sen alerent tous deux sur le rivage de la mer, puis baisa Artus Gifflet et lui bailla Caliburne sa bonne espee, sy sen entra en une nef quil trouva illec toute preste, laquelle sy tost comme le roy Artus fut dedens entres sy se esquippa parmy la mer sy impetueusement ue Gifflet ne sceut quelle devint en petit espace.
    —William Henry ed., Jehan de Waurin, Croniques, p. 446-8 :

    After the battle of Camlan.. the nine knights went to the place where King Arthur lay half dead; when he saw Gifflet and his nephew Constantine, [he rose up; and his nine companions went to a hermitage, where Arthur] confessed himself to the hermit and made his will, leaving his kingdom to Constantine the son of Cador of Cornwall, [Arthur embracing one of the three knights and died in his arms, the two others fell asleep] and King Arthur vanished, so that it was never known what became of him, but some say he was carried to the island of Avalon to be healed of his wounds, as Merlin had prophesied, where he remains in joy and rest, and will be till the day of judgment.
        The story of the St. Graal speaks of this in another manner [but I will forgo speaking about it]..
        Others will have it, that when King Arthur perceived that all his companions were dead except Gifflet, he called him, and they went both together to the sea shore, where Arthur kissed Gifflet and gave him his good sword Caliburn, and then entered a ship which he found ready there, and which, as soon as King Arthur got into it, skimmed aslong the sea so rapidly, that in a little while Gifflet did not know what had become of it.
    —Hardy's translation provided in his notes, p.561

    *1 Note that in the extended Estoire de Merlin (Sommer ed.) , Arthur uses the sword he won from King Rion, i.e., the sword ⇒Marmiadoise .

    § Culhwch ac Owein (est. late 11c.?) but redacted in RBH, WBR (14c.)

        Culhwch sees Arthur who is a kinsman and there is a hair-cutting ritual; consequently Culhwch will obtain a favor from Arthur, which can be almost anything he can name, and the exceptions are his sword and other treasures.

    Heb yr arthur yna. kanny thrigyy di yma unben. ti ageffy y kyfarws a notto dy benn ath dauawt. hyt y sych gwynt. hyt y gwlych glaw. hyt y treigyl heul. hyt yd amgyffret mor. hyt yd ydiw y dayar. eithyr vy llong. am llen. achaletuwlch uyg cledyf. arongomyant uyggwaew. ac wyneb gwrthucher uyn taryan. acharnwenchau vygkyllell. a gwenhwyuar vyggwreic.
    — Lady Guest ed., Mabinogion Vol. II (1849) p.204
    Then said Arthur, "Since thou wilt not remain here, chieftain, thou shalt receive the boon whatsoever thy tongue may name, as far as the wind dries, and the rain moistens, and the sun revolves, and the sea encircles, and the earth extends; save only my ship; and my mantle; and Caledvwlch, my sword; and Rhongomyant, my lance; and Wynebgwrthucher, my shield; and Carnwenhau, my dagger; and Gwenhwyvar, my wife. By the truth of Heaven, thou shalt have it cheerfully, name what thou wilt." "I would that thou bless my hair." "That shall be granted thee."
    — tr. Lady Guest, p.258
        The long list of tasks demanded by Ysbaddaden the giant included the hunting of two boars.
        The horse Mygdwn (Gwynn Mygdwn) is a horse which will be required for the later boar-hunt (To obtain the comb and razor/scissors that lies between the ears of Twrch Trwyth).
        The other boar Ysgithrwyn Pen Beidd must be killed for its tusks to shave Ysbaddaden.
        In the hunt for the boar Ysgithrwyn Pen Beidd Arthur participates, and Arthur's dog Cavall tags along.
    Agwedy kymot y gwyrda hynny uelly. y kauas arthur mygdwn march gwedw. achynllyuan cwrs cant ewin. Gwe­dy hynny ydaeth arthur hyt yn llydaw. a mabon uab mellt gantaw. agware gwallt euryn y geissaw deu gi glythmyr lewic. a gwedy eu kaffel yd aeth arthur hyt yggorllewin iwerdon y geissaw gwrgi seuri. ac odgar uab aed brenhin iwerdō gyt ac ef. ac odyna ydeuth arthur yr gogled. ac y delis kyledyr wyllt. ac yd aeth yskithyrwyn pennbeird. ac ydaeth mabon mab mellt adeugi glythuyr led­ewic ynlaw. adrutwyn geneu greit mab eri. ac ydaeth arthur ehun yr erhyl. a chauall ki arthur yny law. ac yd esgynnwys kaw o brydein ar lam­rei kassec arthur. ac schub yr kyfuarch. Ac yna y kymerth kaw o brydein nerth bwyellic. ac ynwych yr trebelit y doeth ef yr baed. ac y holldes y benn yndeu hanner. achymryt aoruc kaw yr ysgi­thyr. Nyt y kwn anottayssei yspadaden ar gulhwch aladawd y baed. namyn kauall ki arthur ehun.
    — Lady Guest ed., Mabinogion Vol. II (1849) p.238

        And when Arthur had thus reconciled these chieftains, he obtained Mygdwn, Gweddw's horse, and the leash of Cwrs Cant Ewin.

        And after that Arthur went into Armorica, and with him Mabon the son of Mellt, and Gware Gwallt Euryn, to seek the two dogs of Glythmyr Ledewic. And when he had got them, he went to the West of Ireland, in search of Gwrgi Severi; and Odgar the son of Aedd king of Ireland, went with him. And thence went Arthur into the North, and captured Kyledyr Wyllt; and he went after Yskithyrwyn Benbaedd. And Mabon the son of Mellt came with the two dogs of Glythmyr Ledewic in his hand, and Drudwyn, the cub of Greid the son of Eri. And Arthur went himself to the chase, leading his own dog Cavall. And Kaw, of North Britain, mounted Arthur's mare Llamrei, and was first in the attack. Then Kaw, of North Britain, wielded a mighty axe, and absolutely daring he came valiantly up to the boar, and clave his head in twain. And Kaw took away the tusk. Now the boar was not slain by the dogs that Yspaddaden had mentioned, but by Cavall, Arthur's own dog.

    — tr. Lady Guest

        One of the many quests that Culhwlch must fulfill is to obtain the blood of a certain witch or hag named Orddu. Arthur sends out two men and two more who fail also. All four have been taken down by the hag.

    hyt nasgwypei duw y vn o honunt ellpedwar allu mynet or lle. namyn mal ydodet ellpedwar ar lamrei kassec arthur yna achub aoruc arthur charnwennan y gyllell
    — Lady Guest ed., Mabinogion Vol. II (1849) p.247
    And Heaven knows that not one of the four could move from the spot, until they placed them all upon Llamrei, Arthur's mare. And then Arthur rushed to the door of the cave, and at the door he struck at the witch, with Carnwennan his dagger, and clove her in twain, so that she fell in two parts. And Kaw, of North Britain, took the blood of the witch and kept it.
    — tr. Lady Guest

    *1 Lady Guest, ed., tr. The Mabinogion: From the Llyfr Coch O Hergest, and Other Ancient Welsh Manuscripts, Vol. II (1849)
    English only: "Kilhwch and Olwen", in the Mabinogion, tr. Charlotte Guest. "How Culhwch won Olwen" in Jeffrey Gantz tr. The Mabinogion, etc.

    § Welsh Brutiau (c. )

    Ac yna arthur a|wisca6d ymdana6 lluruc a|o­ed teil6g y vrenhin. Penffestin eureit yskythredic ac ar6yd dreic a adass6yt o|e benn. Taryan a gymerth ar y ysg6­yd yr honn ael6it g6e. yn|yr|hon yd|o­ed del6 yr argl6ydes veir yn yskythredic. Kanys ympop yg a reit y gal6ei ef arnei ac y coffei. ac a r6ym6yt a cha­letu6lch y gledyf goreu yr h6nn a|wna­thoedit yn ynys avallach. Gleif a dekc­aa6d y deheu ef yr h6nn ael6it Ron. vchel oed h6nn6 a llydan ac adas y a­erua.
    —Evans & Rhys edd., Bruts from the Red Book of Hergest, p. 189 [col. 162]
    And then Arthur donned a chainmail befitting a king. Head-gear of gold engraved with the insignia(?) of a dragon to fit the head. A shield taken upon his shoulder named Gwenn. In this was the image of the Lady Mary engraved. Because everyone whosoever was in need, called [invoked] her and reminded himself upon her. And [Arthur] girt Caletvulch the best sword to be made in the Isle of Avalon. A lance graced[?] his right hand, called Ron. Tall it was and stout, and fit for slaughter.
    — tr. mine
    .. Ac yna y gwisgawt arthur lluric aoed teilwng y vrenhyn. ac am yben helmp evreit. adelw dreic oeur arnei. atharean aelwit gwenn adelw yr arglwides [veir] yndi. ay henw yn ysgrivennedic yndi. a honno a goffai arthur pan elei yn [ ? ] govyt. Ac ar y glvn y rodet kledyf a elwit caletuwlch agoreu dedyf oed [o] ynys brydein. ac yn ynys avallach y gwnaethessit. ac yny law yrodet gleif a elwit ron gymhyniect..
    —Parry ed., Brut y Brenhinedd (Cotton Cleopatra Version), p.159 (Fol. 79)
    And then Arthur put on a corslet that was fit for a king, and on his head a golden helm with the image of a dragon of gold on it; and a shield that was called Gwenn3 with the image of the Lady Mary4 on it and her name written on it, and this Arthur5 called to mind when he went into distress [and] trouble. And by his side6 he put a sword called Caletvulch,7 and it was the best sword of the Isle of Britain, and it had been made in the Isle of Avalon.8 And in his hand he put a lance which was called Ron Gymhynieit.9

    3 Blessed or White; B. has a a tharian wenn = and a white shield 4 adel[=delw] vair = and the image of Mary 5 ef =he 6 literally "on his hip" 7 Hard-Breach 8 a gorav kleddyf oedd hwnnw a wnaethesid yn ynys avallach = and it teas the test sword that had been made in the Isle of Avalon. 9 Spear of Command
    —Parry ed.
    There is another translation of Tysilio in print by Peter Roberts*3, but the statement that "This copy is taken from the Red Book of Hergest, and is that of the Library of Jesus College, Oxford.", has been pointed out as erroneous by Griscom*4.
    There are several "Bruts" in the Red Book of Hergest differing from Tysilio, including one designated the "Geoffrey's Brut" in Welsh (Ystoria Brenhined y Brytanyeit)*5.

    I hope I got these textual accounts correct, but I am admittedly short on researching this.

    What follows is translation by Rev. Robert Jones, Brut Tysilio, for the "magical possessions" passage:
    And then Arthyr put on a breast-plate worthy of a King; and on his head was a golden helmet with the likeness of a dragon of fire on it, and another image called prydwenn [blessed form], and on its inner side was carved the likeness of Mary. And this Arthyr bore with him when he went into battle-peril. And he took a sword, called kaledvwlch, for it was the best in all ynis Brydain. It was made in ynys afallach. And in his hand he took the spear caled Rongy­myniad. And when all were harnessed, with the Arch-Bishop's blessing, (f. 107 rec.) fiercely they fell upon the enemy, and killed them until night. And towards night the ssaesson made for the top of a high hill, thinking they could take shelter there. And when the next day came, Arthyr took the mountain from them; in spite of this they fought fiercely. And then in a rage, Arthyr drew his sword kaledvwlch, and remembering the name of Mair [Mary], manfully rushed upon his enemies* and whoever met him he killed with a single stroke; nor did Arthyr rest till he had slain four hundred and seventy of the ssaesson.
    — Jones tr. of the Welsh "Brut Tysilio"
    Oxford U., Jesus College ms. No.LXI., fol.106v-107r
    in Griscom ed. The chronicle of the kings of Britain pp.438-9

    *1 Welsh text printed in the large compilation, The Myvyrian archaiology of Wales (1801, repr. 1870). Apparently entitled Brut Gruffudd ab Arthur i.e. "The Brut of Geoffrey [of Monmouth] son of Arthur" there, rather than (Brut Tysilio), and Charlotte Guest quotes from it in her notes to Kilhwch and Olwen

    *2 An English translation from the Welsh Brut Tysilio, by Robert Ellis Jones, is found in the Griscom ed. of Historia regum Britanniæ (op. cit.)

    *3 Roberts, Peter, tr. The chronicle of the kings of Britain / translated from the Welsh copy attributed to Tysilio; (London : Printed for E. Williams, 1811)
    The chronicle declares the author(or translator) to be Walter (Geoffrey's source): "I, Walter, Archdeacon of Oxford, translated this book from the Welsh into Latin, and have agin translated it from the Latin into Welsh." It is only a supposition that St. Tysilio wrote the first-draft Welsh text that pseudo-Walter says he used. cf. Gautier Mapp.

    *4 Tysilio is in "MS. LXI of Jesus College", not in Hergest (which is also in the Jesus College collection.)

    *5 Rhys, John, Sir, 1840-1915, Evans, J. Gwenogvryn, ed., The text of the Bruts from the Red book of Hergest (Oxford, J.G. Evans [1890])
    [books.google] Also see transcription of Llyfr Coch Hergest, fol. 41r @ Cardiff Univ.

    § prose Middle English Merlin (c. 1450)

    Since it is described as a "slavishly faithful" English translation of the French Vulgate Estoire de Merlin tradition, it does not belong with the above group of works (the Geoffrey of Monmouth / chronicles group). It uses both "Escaliboure" and "Calibourne" forms to translate the French form "Escalibor."



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