NIGHTBRINGER | The Arthurian Encyclopedia


Latin: Burdigala

Bordeaux is a city located in the southwestern part of France.

According to the Alliterative Morte Arthure, this region of France was part of Arthur’s kingdom.

In the French romances of Huon and Oberon, it is the home of Sir Huon de Bordeaux.

Bordeaux | 0 to the 9th century AD

Roman Period | 1st century BC – 5th century AD
The origins of Bordeaux can be traced back to the Roman period. The city, known as Burdigala by the Romans, was founded around 20 BC during the reign of Emperor Augustus as a strategic settlement on the Garonne River. Burdigala quickly became a flourishing Roman city and a major trade hub, was part of the Roman province of Aquitania, and was an important Roman city and major port.

Bordeaux has a long-standing tradition of wine production. Even during this period, vineyards were cultivated in the region, and viticulture played a role in the local economy. The production of wine continued to evolve and gained prominence in subsequent centuries.

Roman Decline and Barbarian Invasions | 5th century
With the decline of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century, the Roman presence in Bordeaux weakened. The city, like many others in the region, faced challenges from barbarian invasions. The Visigoths, Vandals, and later the Franks, all had a presence in the region, bringing political and cultural changes.

Despite the influence of barbarian invasions, Bordeaux maintained elements of its Gallo-Roman heritage. Roman infrastructure, such as roads and buildings, continued to exist, albeit with some decline. The local population, known as the Gallo-Romans, blended Roman and indigenous Gaulish customs and culture.

Visigothic and Frankish Rule | 5th – 8th centuries
Following the fall of the Roman Empire, Bordeaux and the Aquitaine region came under the rule of the Visigoths, a Germanic tribe. The Visigoths held control until the early sixth century. In the sixth century, the Franks, led by King Clovis I, conquered the region, bringing it under Frankish rule. Bordeaux became part of the Merovingian and later Carolingian realms. Bordeaux became a significant center of power within the Frankish realm, playing a role in the emerging Frankish political structure.

The spread of Christianity was a notable development during this period. Chrisitanity gained traction in Bordeaux, and by the fifth century, it became an influential religious center. Several churches and monastic communities were established, contributing to the Christianization of the region.

Viking Raids | 9th century
During the ninth century, the region faced Viking raids and incursions along its rivers, including the Garonne. These raids were part of the broader Viking expansion across Europe. In response to the Viking threat, defensive structures, such as fortifications and castles, were established to protect the city and its inhabitants.

Alliterative Morte Arthure | c. 1400
Huon de Bordeaux | Early 13th century