Gorlois' daughter, Elaine, is best known from her
single appearance in Malory's
"Le Morte D'Arthur" as the step-daughter of
King Uther Pendragon (and thus half-sister to King Arthur). Uther married her off to King Nentres of
Garlot, an otherwise unknown King who appears to be a
confused combination of Elaine's brother-in-law and her
real husband. Geoffrey of Monmouth reveals the latter's identity when he states "Hoel
was the son of Arthur's sister; and his father was
Budicius, the King of the Armorican Britons".
The 14th century tale of the "Birth of
Arthur" confirms this by naming him as the Emyr
Llydaw (Emperor of Brittany), that is King Budic II of Brittany, though here Arthur's sister is
given as Gwyar (a confused character, usually identified
as King Arthur's sister, Anna).
"Nentres" is probably an extreme corruption of
Emyr. "Garlot" stems from the residence of
Elaine's brother-in-law, King Lot of Caer-Lot in Lothian (Gododdin).
Elaine may also be identified with the lady of that name
given in literary sources as the wife of King Ban of
Benwick and mother of Sir Lancelot, since Ban is
sometimes called King of Brittany (and was probably the
historical Budic). Elaine's apparent historicity is shown
in one of the Welsh Triads which records her as one of
the "Three Elens who went from the Isle of
Britain". She accompanied her brother, Arthur, on
his expedition to fight Frollo, the Roman Governor of
Gaul and never returned. What more natural than to remain
in Gaul, if her husband were a Breton?
Peter C. Bartrum (1993) A Welsh Classical
Rachel Bromwich (1961) Trioedd Ynys
Prydein: The Welsh Triads.
Ronan Coghlan (1991) The
Encyclopaedia of Arthurian Legends.
Llanstephen MS.201 (14th c.) The Birth of Arthur.
Thomas Malory (1485) Le Morte D'Arthur.
Geoffrey of Monmouth (1136) The History of the Kings
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