Soredamors

Soredamor, Surdamur

According to Chrétien de Troyes, Soredamors was Gawaine’s sister, Alexander’s wife, and the mother of Cligés.

We first meet her as Guenevere’s handmaiden on the ship carrying Arthur, his queen, and Alexander across the Channel for a royal visit to Brittany. Although her name means “gilded over with love”, Soredamors had always scorned that emotion until meeting Alexander. Then each fell desperately in love with the other but, afraid to reveal their hearts, both suffered in secret, giving their author opportunity to describe their yearnings and soliloquies at great and quite possibly satirical length, until Guenevere shrewdly brought them face to face and advised them to speak up.

This interview took place immediately after Alexander had captured the rebel Count Angrs of Windsor, so the marriage was celebrated at once along with the victory. Soredamors was pregnant with Cligés five months later. He was apparently her only child.

She returned to Greece with her husband and son on the death of the old emperor, Alexander’s father. For some years Alexander was emperor in all but title; he died of a sickness while their son was still a boy, and Soredamors soon succumbed to a broken heart.