Le Morte Darthur Characters

From Angl-Am
Revision as of 10:38, 26 February 2008 by Olaf Simons (Talk | contribs)

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

This shall become a list of all characters in the Caxton Morte D’Arthur. A division is (provisorically) made between MAIN Characters (on top) and minor characters (further below), each within ordered alphabetically (use common sense: (King) Arthur under A, Duke of Tyntagil under T, etc.. Since there are often lots of variants of spellings, alternatives should be given in brackets behind the name. Generally, a spelling with i has been chosen as main spelling, e's at the end were omitted, i.e. the "standard" name follows a somewhat modernised spelling.

(Important) Appearances should be abbreviated in the Book.Chapter format (e.g. I.1). If there are earlier mentions of a special relation to sb., please replace with the earlier mention. If there are contradictions, state both.

Current distinctions are made between kings, knights and others. Special groupings are listed in the end. Crosslinking is currently missing. Suggestion for genealogy: List only the closest relations (i.e.: Gawain: Son of Lot of Lothien and Morgause). Note proper reference as above. Do not list further relations that can be easily deduced, i.e. Gawain being nephew to Arthur due to Morgause being Arthur's half-sister (on the mother's side); UNLESS it is especially important at one point. These suggestions are free to debate. Feel also free to move characters around...especially from unimportant to important. Importance is to be seen not in the whole book but also for high importance in smaller parts.

Characters added for Books: 1 (complete); 13 (complete), 18-end (main characters and plot, ignored extensive lists)


Main Characters

Main Characters take a prominent role in at least one part of the book. Generally, replacing their name would screw up the narrative and/or relation at whole. They are notable for certain feats or deeds (often in other Romaunces of their own) or their genealogical relations. Omitting them or changing their name would create confusion/irritation.



Son of Uther Pendragon and Igraine. Declines allegiance to Rome twice (I.23, V.1) and consequently becomes Roman Emperor, conquering the empire (V). Lets slay all children born on May Day due to a prophecy of Merlin (I.27). Always trusting in Lancelot. Wants to burn his queen in haste after treason (adulery) seems somewhat likely (XX.7) but is open to make peace with Lancelot later. Takes back Guenever (XX.14f). Due to Gawain's hatred the war continues and is taken to France; Arthur gives governance of England to Mordred (XX.19). He withdraws when he learns of Mordred's treason (XX.22) and is after some battles slain by him, killing Mordrd as well (XXI.4). He orders Bedevere to throw Excalibur into the sea, which is eventually done (XXI.5). He is then taken away by ladies to "the vale of Avylyon" where he might be healed (Ib.). Bedevere the next day finds a tomb wherein he allegedly rests, having died (XI.6). His tomb bears the inscription "Hic iacet Arthurus Rex quandoam Rex que futurus" (most conventional translation: Here lies Arthur, the once and future king) and some say he will return (XI.7)

Bans of Benwic

Ally to Arthur by advice of Merlin (I.10ff.); at war with King Claudas.

Bors of Gaule

Ally to Arthur by advice of Merlin (I.10ff.); at war with King Claudas. He is lead to the magic ship and send on a journey by God (meeting Galahad and Percival) (XVII.1-11); As fortold by Percival's sister he is the only knight that returns to Arthur's court and brings news about Percival and Galahad (VII.18) Bors is the father of Helyn le Blank (illegitimate son of King Brandgore´s daughter) who is taken to king Arthur's court and made knight (XII.9). He is also called Sir Bors de Ganys.

King Claudas

At war with Bans of Benwic and Bors of Gaule (I.10).

The King with the Hundred Knights

Wages war against Arthur (I.8ff). Among the 11 kings swearing an oath against Arthur (I.12).

Lot of Lothien and Orkney (Lott)

Husband to Morgause (I.2), father to Gawain (I.2), Gaheris, Aggrevain and Gareth (I.19). Wages war against Arthur (I.8ff). Among the 11 kings swearing an oath against Arthur (I.12).

Pellinore of the Isles (Pellynore)

Hunts the Questing Beast (Beast Glatisant) (I.19). Fights and defeats Arthur who is saved only by Merlin. Prophecied to be father of Parcival and Lamorake of Wales; also prophecied to tell Arthur Mordred's name and thus herald the end of his realm (I.23f)

Royns of North Wales (Ryens, Ryons)

Wages war against Lodegreaunce (I.17), enemy to Arthur. Eventually overcomes the 11 kings and challenges Arthur to accept him as overlord - Arthur declines (I.26) and Royns musters a great host (I.27)

Uriens of Gore (Uryens)

Husband to Morgan le Fey. Father to Ewayns le Blanche Mayn (I.2). Wages war against Arthur (I.8ff); Among the 11 kings swearing an oath against Arthur (I.12); Father of Sir Uwain (I.12)

Uther Pendragon

Father to Artus, married to Igraine after begetting Arthur on her without her knowledge. Is assisted by Merlin. Goes into battle a last time before he dies of illness (I.1-I.5).



Son of Morgause and King Lot of Lothien (I.19). Hates Lancelot and Guenever. Killed by Lancelot (XX.4).


Foster-father of Arthur, selected by Merlin; father of Kay (I.3). Asks for his son to be made seneschall (I.6). [Is this the same one as (H)Ector de Maris, a follower of Lancelot? Unlikely. Which one is the one below?] Is defeated by Galahad (XVII.1) and (magically) denied entrance to castle "Carbonek" as he has fallen from the service of the Lord and is not a knight of the Quest. He claims to be Lancelot's brother as well. (XVII.16)


Son of Morgause and King Lot of Lothien (I.19). Accidentally slain by Lancelot (XX.8). According to Gawain he would have followed Lancelot in anything he asked (XX.9).


Son of Lancelot du Lake. Knighted by his father (XII.1), destined to draw Balyn's sword out of the stone, which he does (XII.3-5). Therewith he follows his father as most powerful knight in the world. Is resembling Lancelot greatly and stems in the ninth degree from Christ (XII.7). Takes a lance from Arthur's knights but acquires a shield later, which comes from Ioseph of Armathye (XII.9-10). Defeats a fiend assisted by angels (XII.12) Is without sin and therefore defeats their embodiments (XII.13-16) but without slaying them. He duels with Lancelot and Parcival (nobody recognising the other) and is victorious, then flees (XII.17)

He successfully fights Sirs Hector and Gawayn, almost killing the later. (XVII.1) Receives the magic "Sword of the Strange Girdles" (Sword of David) from King Solomons magic ship (XVII. 7). Is a virgin and has therefore special powers (VXIII.18). Is fortold, by Percival's sister, to be buried near the city of Sarras(XVII. 1). Receives visons and is said to be destined to end the Quest for the Grail and to learn secrets from God (XVII.9). Furthermore he is deeply devout. (e.g. several mentions of attending mass, praying etc. throughout XVII - .12 for instance)


Son of Morgause and King Lot of Lothien (I.19). Called himself Beaumains some time, incognito (VII.1-13), and was made knight by Lancelot as he desired (VII.3). Always loyal to Lancelot. Accidentally slain by Lancelot (XX.8).


Son of Morgause and King Lot of Lothien (I.2). Is told to never achieved the grail since he is wicked but refuses to repent (XIII.16). Favourite(?) nepew of Arthur. Loves Lancelot and loves his brohters, Gareth and Gaheris; does not like his brohter Agrevain and his intrigues (...). Eventually gets mad at Lancelot after the latter accidentally kills Gareth and Gaheris (XX.8). He forces Arthur to keep up warring against Lancelot and duels him three times, being defeated every time (XX.20-22). He has an enchantment about himself growing stronger for three hours each day up to noon (Ib.). He is killed at the Battle of Dover (XXI.2) and at last asks Lancelot's forgivance and help for the king (Ib.) which is granted albeit too late.

Sir Kay (Kaynus, Kaynes)

Son of Sir Ector (I.3), foster-brother of Arthur. Asks Arthur to fetch hsi sword upo which occasion Arthur pulls the sword in the stone out of the stone (I.3). Kay himself is claiming to have done it but tells the truth upon oath. He is made seneschall by Arthur and at various occasions portraied as arrogant and condescending, esp. on Gareth.

Lamorake of Wales

Son of King Pellinore (I.24).

Lancelot du Lake

Long time most powerful knight in the world (even if he does not say so himself) until he is followed in this by his son Galahad (XII.5) by whom he is eventually defeated (without first knowing it) (XIII.17). Sinful in his love to Guinevere (adultery). He repents and confesses and swears to avoid her whenever possible after being unable to reach the Grail (XII.17-20). Was led to the grail on Solomon's ship, saw it and was punished (as he sees it) for 25 sinful years with 25 days of "coma" after trying to go nearer (XVII.15-16). Son of King Ban (XII.8), other name: Chevalier Malfet – the knight that has trespassed (XII). After the quest of the grail he forgets his promise to stay away from the queen (XVIII.1) and is banished by her due to fighting for other ladies (XVIII.2). He later returns to save her from wrongly alleged treason (XVIII.7). Incognito he jousts against King Arthur's men and is fatally wounded by Bors (XVIII.9ff) but recovers later. During this he takes Lavaine, a knight, with him (Ib.). Lavaine's sister Elaine falls in love with Lancelot and eventually dies. Lancelot bears a token of her which he had never done before but only to disguise himself (Ib.). By bad luck shot in the buttocks and riding in a joust sarazen-style, now avoided by his relatives as he bears a token of Queen Guenever. (XVIII.21-24). He rescues Guenever from Sir Mellyagraunce whom he kills at last after more treason (XIX.3-9). He acquires the title of "Le Chaleur de Chariot" (XIX.5). He heals Sir Urre (XIX.13). Mordred and Agrevain set a trap for him and catch him in the queen's quarters. Lancelot fights his way out, killing Agrevain (XX.4) and a war of his followers and Arthur's starts (XX.3ff). Lancelot is open to peace offers but wants to protect the queen. He resuces her from the stake, accidentally slaying Gareth and Gaheris, which drives Gawain mad (XX.8). Makes various offers of peace to Arthur and finally retreats to France, which he rules (XX.18), after handing over the queen and stating the reasons for his actions, always proclaiming her innocence of all accusations. The war continues due to Gawain. Lancelot encounters him three times one-on-one but refuses to slay him (XX.20-22). When Gawain later sends a letter, Lancelot goes to save Arthur and holds masses for Gawain (XXI.8). He seeks Guenever and is sent away by her (XXI.9). He joins the Bishop of Caunterbury as a hermit (and other knights do as well) at Arthur's (alleged) tomb and eventually buries Guenever there (XXI.11) after which he quickly dwindles away and is buried at Ioyous Gard. According to the bishop of Caunterbury, angels elevated him to heaven (XXI.12). Ector de Maris proclaims him head of all Christian kings and unmatched by earthly man (XXI.13)


Bastard-son of Arthur and Morgause (I.19). Survives the May Day Massacre intended to kill him, is taken up by a foster father and later brought to Arthur's court [a story which Mallory says he will tell later but in fact never tells] (I.27). Intrigues against Lancelot and Guenever (XX). Given rulership over England when Arthur goes to fight in France (XX.19). He makes himself king, pronouncing Arthur's death (falsely) and loses three great battles (XXI.1-3). He is killed by Arthur in an accidentally started battle and fatally wounds him in return (XXI.4).

Parcival (Percyvall) de Galis

Son of King Pellinore (I.24). Eventually defeated by Galahad (XIII.17) Has an unknown ,deeply spiritual, sister, who seeks him out in the company of Galahad and aids him in his quest. (XVII.4-11) Brother to Sir Lamorak(†) and Sir Agloual (XII.7).


Gwenhyvere (Guenevere)

Daughter of King Lodegreaunce of Camylerde (I.17), later wife to Arthur (???). Has some strange relationship with Lancelot who is her knight - pretty suggestive but nothing 100% clear (esp. XIX, XX). Accused (wrongly) of treason with poison (XVIII.3) and cleared by Lancelot in ordeal (XVIII.6). Almost burnt due to (alleged?) treason (XX.?) and rescued by Lancelot. Handed back to Arthur on behalf of the Pope (XX.?). Flees to the Tower of London when Arthur is in France and Mordred tries to marry her (XXI.1). Becomes a nun and abbess after Arthur dies (XXI.7). Sends Lancelot away and is later buried by him (XXI.9-11).

Igraine (Igrayne)

Wife to the Duke of Tyntagil (I.1), who is said to be wise and evades a seduction by Uther. Later wife of Uther Pendragon (I.2), and mother of Arthur by said Uther through a plot furthered by Merlin (I.2)

Merlin (Merlyn, Merlyon)

Eminence Grise, prophet, magician, generally not liked too much by friends and foes alike; prophecies the end of Arthur's court as well as various events. Reveals Arthur's descent (I.7). Advises Arthur to call for King Ban of Benwic and Bors of Gaule (I.10). Advises Arthur further in his battles against the 11 kings (I.12ff). Explains Arthur's origin (I.21). Advises Arthur to kill all May Day children (I.27). [list them!]; ultimately falls in love with Nineve, a lady of the lake, and becomes trapped by her under a stone (IV.1) where he remains.

Morgan le Fey

Third sister, daughter of Igraine and the duke of Tyntagil (and thus half-sister to Arthur). (I.2). Sister to Elayne and Morgause. Learns Necromancy in a nunnery. Later marries Kyng Uriens of Gore whi is father of Sir Ewain the blanche Mains (I.2). Is among the queens taking away Arthur on the barge (XXXI.6)

Morgause (Margeuse, Margawse)

Wife to King Lot of Lothien, mother to Gawain; daughter of Igraine and the duke of Tyntagil (and thus half-sister to Arthur). Siter to Elayne and Morgan le Fey (I.2). Mother of Gaheris, Agrevain and Gareth (I.19). Visits King Arthur's court and begets Mordred on him (I.19)


Beloved of Merlin, traps him in a stone (IV?). Later marries Sir Pellas. Makes various appearances clearing things with her enchantments [ADD!]. Friendly to Arthur's court. Reveals the poisoner of Sir Pinel (XVIII.8). She is among the women carrying Arthur away on his barge. She is chief lady of the lake at this time (XXI.6).


The 11 Kings

The 11 Kings swear an oath to destory Arthur: Duke of Candebenet, Brandegoris of Strangore, Clarihaus of Northuberland, The King with the Hundred Knights, Lot of Lothien, Uriens of Gore, Idres of cornwall, Cradilmans, Anguisshauns, Nentres of Garlot, Carados. (I.12) Eventually subdued by King Royns.

The Knights of the Round Table

150 in number, usually. Frequently some get slain and replaced. Most notable characters (except villains) are members at some point. The fellowship finally breaks up in the quarrel between Arthur and Lancelot, incited by Agrevain and Mordred (XIXff.)

Minor Characters

These characters are often only names without further porminence. They are knights that get defeated, participate in jousts, quests, and battles or ladies offering a quest. Generally they could easily be replaced by any other name and nobody would ever notice.


Anguisshauns of Ireland (Anwysshauns)

Among the 11 kings swearing an oath against Arthur (I.12).

Brandeforis of Strangore

Among the 11 kings swearing an oath against Arthur (I.12).


Among the 11 kings swearing an oath against Arthur (I.12).

Duke of Candebenet

Among the 11 kings swearing an oath against Arthur (I.12).

Clarihaus of Northumberland

Among the 11 kings swearing an oath against Arthur (I.12).

Cradilmans (Cradilmente, Cradilmasse)

Among the 11 kings swearing an oath against Arthur (I.12).

Idres of Conrwall

Among the 11 kings swearing an oath against Arthur (I.12).

Lodegreaunce of Camylarde

Is attacked by Royns; Arthur asists Lodegreanunce (I.17). Father to Gwenhyvere.

Morganore (Morganoure)

Seneschall of the King with the Hundred Knights (I.14). Killed by Ban (I.16).

Nentres of Garlot

Husband to Elayne (I.2); Among the 11 kings swearing an oath against Arthur (I.12).



Godson of King Bors, noble knight. (I.17)


Contemplates taking on the adventure of the shield of Ioseph of Armathye (XII.9).

Barcias (Barsias, Brascias, Brastias)

A knight of the Duke's of Tyntagil (I.3). Escorts Arthur later (I.6). Made warden upon the North (I.7), messenger to Ban and Bors (I.10).

Bawdewyn of Britain

Escorts Arthur (I.6). Is made Constable (I.7).


Throws Excalibur into the sea at the third attempt, on behalf of Arthur (XXI.5), turns hermit after discovering Arthur's tomb (XXI.6)

Bloyas de Flaundres

A knight fighting on Arthur's side (I.15).


Son of Arthur and Lyonors (I.17)


Cousin to Lancelot (XII.1)


A knight fighting on Arthur's side (I.15).

Clarinaus de la Forest Savage

A knight fighting on Arthur's side (I.14).

Colegrevance of Gore

Killed by Lancelot (XX.4).

Egglamore (Egglame)

Flees from Pellinore (I.25)

Ewayns le Blaunche Mayn

Son of King Uriens of Gore (I.2)

Galahad the Haut Prince

Not identical with Galahad as he appears after the famous one has died. In friendly tournaments he fights against Arthur (XVIII.10, 13).


A lord of France. Sent back to hold his castle (I.11)

Gryfflet (Gryflett, Gryflette)

Son of God[!] of Cardal (I.10).


Brother to Ban and Bors, a wise clerk (I.11).


A knight fighting on Arthur's side (I.15).

Gwyniarte de Bloy

A knight fighting on Arthur's side (I.14).


A knight of the Duke's of Tyntagil (I.3).

Ioſeph of Armathye

Took the blood of Christ Ioſeph of Armathye (XIII.10) and bore a shield which is passed on to Galahad by prophecy (XIII.11). His legend is told in (XIII.10-1).

La Cote Male Tayle

A stranger who comes to Arthur's court, wearing the damaged coat in which his father was murdered. He becomes one of Arthur's knights. (IX.1)


Duels with Gryfflet in a joust between Arthur's knights and Bors and Bans(I.11).


Knight fighting against Arthur (I.14).


A knight from Asfolat, accompanies Lancelot (XVIII.9ff), wins some jousts and is made knight of the Table Round and marries the sister of Sir Urre, Felelolle (IX.13).


Cousin to Lancelot (XII.1).

Lucas the Butler

Son of Duke Corneus (I.10). Dies in Arthur's last battle while caring for his king (XXI.5)

Lyonses (Lionse)

Lord of Bayarne, servant(?) of Bans and Bors (I.10).

Marys de la Roche

Fights for Arthur (I.15).

Melias de Lille

First squire to Galahad, then knighted by him (XIII.12). Shortly thereafter falling prey to pride and greed and almost mortally wounded but rescued by Galahad and taken care of by a hermit (XIII.13-4).


Desires Guenever, fears Lancelot. Eventually ambushes Guenever (XIX.2ff) and is in forthcoming events slain by Lancelot during ordeal (XIX.9).


Knows King Royns (I.26).


Follows King Pellinore in hunting the Questing Beast later (I.19).


Cousin of Mador de La Porte. Accidentally poisoned by an apple intended for Gawain by Pinel. (VIII.3)


Intends to poison Gawain for his killing of his brother Lamorak. (XVIII.3) The plot fails and he kills Patye. He is revealed as the causer by Ninive and flees (XVIII.8)


A knight of France (I.10). Sent back to hold his castle.

Pharyaunce (Pheriaunce)

Lord of Bayarne, servant(?) of Bans and Bors (I.10).

Duke of Tyntagil

Husband to Igrayne and commander of the castles of Tyntagil and Terrabil. Is in war with Uther Pendragon and eventually defeated and killed in the siege of Terrabil. (I.1-I.2)


A knight from Astolat, brother of Elaine le blank and Lavaine, hurt the day he was knighted. Lancelot borrows his shield to be incognito (XVIII.9).

Ulfyus (Vlfyus)

A knight in Uther Penragon's service. Helps him to get to Igraine (I.1-I.2) and in battle (I.3). He later serves as guard for Arthur (I.6) and is made Chamberlain (I.7); is messager to Bors and Ban together with Brastias (I.10). He later fights for Arthur, good on foot (I.14) but rescued by Arthur who regards him an 'old friend'; Among the eleven assaulting the three kings (I.17); accuses Igraine to be cause of Arthur's problems but then shifts blame to Merlin (I.21).


A knight from Hungary whose wounds are cured only by the best knight. Brother of Felelolle. (XIX.10-13).

Uwain (Uwayne)

Son of King Uriens (I.12). Wounded critically when bearing the shield of Ioseph of Armathye (XII.9)


Archbishop of Canterbury

Does some rites. Eventually becomes a hermt after threatened by Mordred (XXI.1) and lives at the later tomb of Arthur and Guenever (XXI.6ff). He sees Lancelot elevated to heaven by angels (XXI.12).

Elayne (Elaine)

Wife to King Nentres of Garlot (I.2), daughter of Igraine and the duke of Tyntagil (and thus half-sister to Arthur). Sister to Morgause and Morgan le Fey. Dame Elayne: Daughter of King Pelles, mother of Galahalt, consort to Launcelot (l.12)

Elaine le blank

Called the Fair Maiden of Astolat, sister of Lavaine and Tirre. Falls in love with Lancelot and eventually dies as he does not marry her. He buries her (XVIII.9-20).


Sister of Sir Urre. Marries Lavaine (XIX.13).

Lady of the Lake

Gives Caliburn (Excalibur) to Arthur (I.25) in exchange for a later request. She later requests the head of Balyn who kills her for former deeds against his kin (II.3). She had killed his mother and Balyn is said to have killed her brother.


Daughter of the Earl of Sanam, gets a child with Arthur: Borre (I.17)

Queen of North Galis

One of the ladies/queens taking away Arthur on a Barge (XXI.6).

Queen of the Waste Lands

One of the ladies/queens taking away Arthur on a Barge (XXI.6).


40 knights

40 knights side with Arthzragainst the three kings in I.17: Lyonses, Pheriaunce, Ulfius, Brascias, Ector, Kay, Lucas the Butler, Gryfflet la Fyse de Deu, Marrys de La Roche, Gwynas de Bloy, Bryaunte de la Forest Saveage, Bellaus, Morians of the Castle Maydyns, Flaundres of the Castle of Ladies, Annecians, Ladinas de la Rouse, Emerause, Caulas, Graciens la Castilion, Bloyse de la Case, Colgrevance de Goore [and presumably 20 more].

12 nuns

(nameless) Bring Galahad to Lancelot to be knighted (incognito) (XII.1).

7 Brothers of the Castle of Maidens

Allegories of the seven sins. Driven away by Galahad; slain by Gawain, Gareth and Uwain (XIII.15; explanation in XIII.16)

Note: Wikipedia has a file of [Arthurian Characters http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Arthurian_characters]. These are, however, drastically reduced in number compared to the high number of characters in the Morte d'Arthure. They are, of course, the most well known. (As has been said in the seminar: who woul generally assume the Round Table to consist of 150 knights, some of them eventually deceased and replaced by new ones?) This article does NOT look at the Morte exclusively but at the big Arthurian Tales more in general.