Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Bertel, Bertelot, Bertil, Borel, Brastias, Breteaus, Bretel, Brethel, Bricel, Bricot, Britael

An Arthurian knight who originally belonged to Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall. One source names him as the Duke’s cupbearer.

When Uther wanted to sneak into the castle of Tintagel (Tintagil) to sleep with Igerne (Igraine), Gorlois’ wife, Merlin magically disguised Uther as the duke and himself (or Sir Ulfin) as Brithael to get past the guards.

Later, Brithael became Uther’s vassal and fought in the battle of Saint Albans. As Arthur’s knight, he participated in the battles against the rebelling kings at Caerleon and Bedegraine. He also helped defeat the Saxons at Carhaix, and participated in the campaign against Claudas.

Through Merlin, Brithael and Ulfin learned of the first plot to replace Guenevere with the False Guinevere (‘Genievre’) and foiled it. Arthur made him warden of the northern lands. In time, he retired to a hermitage near Windsor.

The Vulgate makes him a knight of Duke Hoel of Tintagil. He became Uther’s adviser and after his death he continued as an adviser to Arthur.

Historia Regum Britanniae | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1138
Roman de Brut | Wace, c. 1155
Brut | Layamon, late 12th century to mid-13th century
Vulgate Merlin | 1220-1235
Le Livre d’Artus | Early 13th century
Arthour and Merlin | Late 13th century
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470
Idylls of the King | Lord Alfred Tennyson, 1859-1886