“Kingdom of Ben”
Beaune, Benoic, Benewic, Benoic, Benoich, Benoit, Benuic, Benoye, Benoyc
And so [Lancelot and his party] shipped at Cardiff, and sailed unto Benwick; some men call it Bayonne, and some men call it Beaune, where the wine of Beaune is.
Ulrich von Zatzikhoven called it Genewis (Gennewis), a possible variation. The Prose Lancelot tells us that Benoic’s overlord was first Aramont, then Uther Pendragon, and then Arthur, and that Ban was their vassal. Lancelot further tells us that King Claudas invaded and conquered Benoic, causing Ban’s death. The Italian La Tavola Ritonda recounts a similar story but names King Brandino and King Arandus as those who sacked the city.
The Stanzaic Morte Arthur says that Lancelot, during his war with Arthur, bestowed Benoic on his brother Ector de Maris. Arthur later laid siege to Benoic for sixth months, but had to depart when Mordred seized the throne of Britain.
Malory suggests that Benoic may be located at the city of Bayonne or Beaune; Lancelot places it between the Loire and Arise Rivers; and the Vulgate Merlin identifies it with Bourges. Possibly, however, “Ban of Benoic” is a scribal corruption of Bran le Benoit (Bran the Blessed), a character in Welsh literature. Other scholars have proposed derivations from Gwynedd (North Wales) or Guenet in Brittany.
Lestoire de Merlin (part of Vulgate Version) states that the town of Benwick was Bourges. Saumur has also been suggested. John W. Donaldson identifies Benwick with Burgundy (Burgoyne, Bourgogne). The French Benwick is probably not to be identified with the territory of Benwick to which Alisander le Orphelin and his wife Alice retired.
Lanzelet | Ulrich von Zatzikhoven, c. 1200
Lancelot do Lac | 1215-1220
Vulgate Lancelot | 1215-1230
Vulgate Merlin | 1220-1235
La Tavola Ritonda | 1325–1350
The Stanzaic Le Morte Arthur | 14th century
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470