Brunor

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Brunor, Breunor, Branor or Brunero are various forms of a name given to several different characters in Arthurian legend. They include the Knight of the Round Table known as Brunor/Breunor le Noir (the Black), included by Thomas Malory in his compilation Le Morte d'Arthur, as well as his father and others, among them another former knight of Uther's old Round Table and the father of Galehaut.

Brunor le Noir[edit]

Brunoir le Noir's arms

Sir Brunor le Noir (/ˈbruːnor lə nojr/ or /ˈbʁœ̃nɔʁ lə nwaʁ/) (also spelled Breunor) is nicknamed La Cote Male Taile/Tayle (Modern French: La Cote Mal Taillée = "the badly cut coat") by Sir Kay after his arrival in his murdered father's mangled armour and surcoat at King Arthur's court. He should not be confused with his father, also named Brunor the Black but better known as the Good Knight Without Fear (see below). The younger Brunor's elder brothers are Sir Dinadan and Sir Daniel, the latter only in some versions.

The Knight of the Ill-Shapen Coat Chooses His Bride, Helen Stratton's illustration for King Arthur and His Knights (1910)

The tale of Brunor is related thematically to the "Fair Unknown" story popular in the Middle Ages, other versions of which appear in the stories of Gingalain, Gareth, and Percival.[1] It most closely resembles the tale of Gareth, who is also given an insulting name by Kay upon arriving at Camelot and also has to prove his worth to a damsel who constantly insults and belittles him.

Brunor's adventures first appear embedded in the Prose Tristan. They were then expanded in Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur and in the Italian romance La Tavola Ritonda. Brunor lacks skill in jousting, but is near-invincible on foot. In Tavola Ritonda, his brother Daniel has been killed by Sir Lancelot, which makes Lancelot Brunor's sworn enemy, but the two make an uneasy truce after fighting to a draw. Brunor eventually marries his lady who, like Gareth's Lynette, starts by mocking him a he goes on a chivalric quest with her.

The tale of La Cote Male Taile (Malory's version)[edit]

Sir Brunor (Breunor) travels to Camelot wearing his dead father's bloodied coat, which he has vowed not to take off as long as his father is not avenged. He is met with mockery, his outfit earning him the nickname La Cote Male Taile, and he is initially rejected from Arthur's service until Sir Gawain speaks out on his behalf. After Brunor returns to the court, Kay continues his attempts at humiliating him, but he soon proves his worth by rescuing Queen Guinevere from an escaped lion and Arthur knights him.

A "damosel" arrives at court bearing a great black shield emblazoned with a white hand holding a sword, and tells how the knight who previously carried the shield died while on a quest. She is now searching for a knight of similar courage to continue the quest. Brunor goes with her. She taunts him regarding his clothing and appearance, earning her the nickname Maledisant ("Evil-speaking") or Mesdisant ("Ill-speaking"). After the pair leave the castle, Brunor encounters Dagonet, Arthur's court jester, who has been sent by Kay to joust with the new knight. Brunor quickly defeats Dagonet, but Maledisant's taunts only increase because the court sent a fool to challenge Brunor rather than a true knight. Brunor later encounters two other knights of the Round Table, Sir Bleoberis and Sir Palomides, is challenged by them, and is unhorsed by both. They each refuse to fight him on foot and walk away, drawing more criticism from Maledisant.

Brunor later travels with Mordred to the Castle Orgulous (Orguellous/Orgulous, "proud"). The knights must fight their way into the castle. After Mordred is injured, Brunor continues alone. Inside the castle, he meets a hundred knights in a lady's chamber. Brunor wins his way through the knights with the aid of the black shield, mounts his horse, and escapes. Maledisant challenges his story of what happened and sends a witness who returns to prove Maledisant wrong. Brunor continues to hold his peace and does not rebuke her.

They continue to travel until Mordred leaves and Lancelot joins them, but he too leaves after Maledisant redirects her words at him. They come upon the Pendragon (Pandragon) Castle, which belongs to King Arthur's enemy Sir Brian of the Isles (de les Isles), where one of six knights challenges Brunor to a joust. He wins, but then the other five attack him in an unknightly manner, and take him and Maledisant into the castle as prisoners. Lancelot comes to the rescue, fights Brian until he yields, and releases them, as well as dozens of other knights and ladies. He hen agrees to ride with them only on condition that Maledisant stops directing evil words at Brunor and himself. Maledisant then confesses that the only reason for her taunting is that she wants to test the knights' strength.

Later they come upon a castle near the border of the country of Sorelais (Sursule). Brunor enters the castle alone and defeats two brothers who challenge him. Then he continues to another castle, where he comes face to face with Sir Plenorius. Brunor cannot fight because of his wounds, so out of pity Plenorius carries him into the tower as a prisoner. When Lancelot hears of this, he challenges Plenorius to a battle that lasts many hours until Plenorius yields. Brunor remains at the castle in order to recover from his wounds. He then returns with Lancelot and Maledisant to King Arthur's court.

Brunor is made a Knight of the Round Table the following Pentecost. He marries the Ill-Speaking Maiden, now known as Beauvivante ("Well-living") or Bienpensant ("Well-thinking") because of her changed attitude, and Lancelot gives them the Castle Pendragon. It is said that Brunor at last succeeds in avenging his father.

Other characters named Brunor[edit]

Brunor the Black, the Good Knight Without Fear[edit]

Sir Brunor the Black (Brunor le Noir), also known as Brunor the King (Brunor le Roi), is the true but seldom-used name of the Good Knight Without Fear (Bon Chevalier sans Paour)[2] in the French romance Palamedes and in the Prose Tristan, as well as the 13th-century Italian prose collection Novellino. The son of Esclanor the Black, and the father of the younger Brunor and of Dinadan, this Sir Brunor is a great knight in the time of Uther Pendragon, who makes him the King of Estrangorre (Estrangore).

Palamedes tells of Brunor the Black's journey to rescue his old friend Ludinas, the Good Knight of Norgales (Bon Chevalier de Norgales), from the cruel giant Nabon the Black, the lord of the Val of Servage. Brunor defeats and slays Nabon's son Nathan in a duel (Nathan is killed by Tristan in the Prose Tristan), but he is then imprisoned in the dungeon of Nabon's castle for several years. He goes mad until either he is let go, or both he and Ludinas are freed by Tristan, and is eventually restored to his senses by Uther and Arthur's physician Baucillas. Two years later, when he is both old and unarmed, Brunor is attacked and mortally wounded by two villainous knights, Briadan and Ferrant, who hate him.[3][4][5] An additional story told in the Novellino relates how the Good Knight Without Fear is rescued by his mortal enemy (and Tristan's father) King Meliadus.[6]

Branor the Brown, the Dragon Knight[edit]

Sir Branor the Brown (French: Branor le Brun, Italian: Branor li Brun) is a knight of Uther's original Order of the Round Table, featured in Palamedes and in the prologue of Rustichello da Pisa's Roman de Roi Artus.[7] Their renowned family from Castle Vallebrun in the Brown Valley (Val Brun)[8] also includes his nephew Segurant the Brown, Uther's greatest warrior, whose father is Branor's brother, named either Brunor the Brown or Ector (Hector) the Brown.

This Branor, also known as the Knight of the Dragon or the Dragon Knight (Le Chevaulier au Dragon), visits King Arthur's court at the age of 120 and proceeds to defeat Arthur and many of his knights of the new Round Table, including Gawain, Lancelot, Palamedes, and Tristan, in jousts.[9][10][11] The episode is also the subject of the Greek verse romance Ho Presbys Hippotes (The Old Knight),[12] where he goes unnamed.

Brunor of Castle Pluere[edit]

Sir Brunor or Breunor (Italian: Brunoro[13]) is an Irish knight who is the father of the great knight Galehaut in the Prose Tristan, La Tavola Ritonda, and Le Morte d'Arthur. Some Italian authors confused him with Branor the Black (see above).[14]

Brunor seizes the Castle Pluere, the Castle of Tears or Weeping Castle (Castello del Proro / Chastel des Pleurs), on the Island of Giants [15][16] and marries the giantess who is the widow of the previous owner of the castle. She gives birth to Brunor's son Galehaut and his daughter, named Delice in the Prose Tristan but Riccarda in the Italian romance I Due Tristani[17]). Brunor then upholds the pagan customs of the castle (in Le Morte d'Arthur he appears to be their source), which involves beheading visiting knights and their ladies if they proves to be less powerful (in the case of the knights) or less beautiful (in the case of the ladies) than the castle's lord and lady, respectively. Eventually, Tristan defeats and beheads Brunor by following the customs, and becomes the new lord of the castle.[18][19][20]

Brunero the Brown[edit]

Brunero (or Blanor) the Brown, a relative of Lancelot brazenly seducing the Hebrew Damsel of Thornbush Ford in La Tavola Ritonda. His role is played by Bleoberis in a corresponding episode in Tristano Riccardiano.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Fair Unknown | Robbins Library Digital Projects". d.lib.rochester.edu. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  2. ^ Edlich-Muth, Miriam (2014). Malory and His European Contemporaries: Adapting Late Arthurian Romance Collections. Boydell & Brewer Ltd. ISBN 9781843843672.
  3. ^ Busby, Keith (2005). Arthurian Literature XXII. DS Brewer. ISBN 9781843840626.
  4. ^ Lathuillère, Roger (1966). Guiron le Courtois: étude de la tradition manuscrite et analyse critique (in French). Librairie Droz. ISBN 9782600027953.
  5. ^ Sutcliffe, F. E. (1965). Medieval Miscellany. Manchester University Press.
  6. ^ Psaki, Regina; Allaire, Gloria (2014). The Arthur of the Italians: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval Italian Literature and Culture. University of Wales Press. ISBN 9781783161584.
  7. ^ Psaki, Regina; Allaire, Gloria (2014). The Arthur of the Italians: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval Italian Literature and Culture. University of Wales Press. ISBN 9781783161584.
  8. ^ Bruce, Christopher W. (2013). The Arthurian Name Dictionary. Routledge. ISBN 9781136755378.
  9. ^ Konnari, Angel Nicolaou; Schabel, Christopher David (2005). Cyprus: Society And Culture 1191–1374. BRILL. ISBN 9789004147676.
  10. ^ Whitehead, Frederick; Vinaver, Eugène (1965). Medieval Miscellany Presented to Eugène Vinaver by Pupils, Colleagues and Friends. Manchester University Press.
  11. ^ Taylor, William (1829). Historic Survey of German Poetry: Interspersed with Various Translations. Treuttel and Würtz, Treuttel Jun. and Richter. p. 352.
  12. ^ Lacy, Norris J.; Ashe, Geoffrey; Mancoff, Debra N. (2014). The Arthurian Handbook: Second Edition. Routledge. ISBN 9781317777434.
  13. ^ Psaki, Regina; Allaire, Gloria (2014). The Arthur of the Italians: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval Italian Literature and Culture. University of Wales Press. ISBN 9781783161584.
  14. ^ Allaire, Gloria; Psaki, Regina (2002). Italian Literature: Il tristano panciatichiano. Boydell & Brewer Ltd. ISBN 9780859916455.
  15. ^ Grimbert, Joan Tasker (2013). Tristan and Isolde: A Casebook. Routledge. ISBN 9781136745584.
  16. ^ Reyerson, Kathryn L.; Powe, Faye (1991). The Medieval Castle: Romance and Reality. U of Minnesota Press. ISBN 9780816620036.
  17. ^ Bruce, Christopher W. (2013). The Arthurian Name Dictionary. Routledge. ISBN 9781136755378.
  18. ^ Ross, Charles Stanley (1997). The Custom of the Castle: From Malory to Macbeth. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520204300.
  19. ^ Huot, Sylvia (2016). Outsiders: The Humanity and Inhumanity of Giants in Medieval French Prose Romance. University of Notre Dame Pess. ISBN 9780268081836.
  20. ^ Darrah, John (1997). Paganism in Arthurian Romance. Boydell & Brewer. ISBN 9780859914260.
  21. ^ Bruce, Christopher W. (2013). The Arthurian Name Dictionary. Routledge. ISBN 9781136755378.