Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


French: Bourgogne
Borgoigne, Borgoine, Bourgoigne, Burgoigne, Burgon, Burgoyne, Burgundia

Burgundy is a historic region located in east-central France.

In Wace, it was part of Arthur’s empire, and ruled by Ligier (Leodegar).

In Layamon, after Arthur won the war against Lucius, he established his European capital in Burgundy. From here, Arthur planned to launch his attack on Rome, but had to depart the area when he heard of Mordred’s treachery. Lucius, according to Malory, pillaged and burned areas of Burgundy in the war. According to one medieval source, Burgundy was the birthplace of Guenevere.

In the Welsh tale of Geraint, the father of Arthur’s warrior Ondyaw is called the Duke of Burgundy. In the Vulgate MerlinDyonas, the Lady of the Lake’s father, is a vassal of the Duke of Burgundy.

Burgundy | 0 to the 9th century AD

Roman Period | 1st – 5th centuries
In the first century BC, the Roman Empire expanded into the territory that is now France, including the area that would become Burgundy. The region became part of Roman Gaul and was characterized by Roman towns, infrastructure, and cultural influence. Autun (Augustodunum) became an important Roman city in Burgundy.

Migration Period | 5th – 6th centuries
During the decline of the Western Roman Empire, various Germanic and Hunnic tribes, such as the Vandals and Visigoths, invaded Gaul. The Burgundians were an East Germanic tribe that originated in Scandinavia. In the early fifth century, they migrated southward and settled in the region that came to be known as Burgundy, situated in present-day France and Switzerland.

In 443, the Burgundians were granted a foederati status by the Romans in exchange for military services. They settled and established a kingdom in the Rhône Valley, with Geneva as its capital, and later expanded into Sapaudia (modern Savoy) and the territory that would later become Burgundy. The kingdom expanded its territories and had a complex relationship with the Western Roman Empire. At times, the Burgundians allied with the Romans against common foes, while at other times, they clashed with the Roman forces.

Burgundian Kingdom | 5th -6th centuries
The Burgundians, as well as other Germanic tribes, came into contact with the Romans and were influenced by their culture and institutions. The Burgundian kings adopted Roman titles and established a relatively stable kingdom within the region.

The Burgundians formed alliances with other Germanic tribes and often fought alongside them. For instance, they were initially part of the Hunnic Empire under Attila the Hun but later switched sides and fought against the Huns with the Roman general Aetius in the famous Battle of Châlons in 451 AD.

By the late fifth century, the Burgundians, led by King Gundobad, established a semi-autonomous kingdom in the region, with its capital at Worms. In 534, the Merovingian Frankish king Childebert I, in alliance with the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire), invaded Burgundy. The Burgundian kingdom was absorbed into the Merovingian realm, and Gundobad’s son, Sigismund, became a saint in the Catholic Church.

Merovingian and Carolingian Periods | 6th – 9th centuries
Burgundy became part of the Merovingian Frankish kingdom in the sixth century and later fell under the rule of the Carolingians. During the Carolingian era, the Treaty of Verdun in 843 divided the Carolingian Empire among the grandsons of Charlemagne. The region of Burgundy was split, with the western part becoming part of the West Frankish Kingdom and the eastern part becoming part of the Middle Kingdom (Lotharingia).

As the Carolingian Empire weakened, the feudal system gained prominence. Local lords and bishops played cruicial roles in the governance of the region.

Cultural and Religious Influence
The Burgundian Kingdom had been influenced by both Roman and Germanic cultures, and this blend continued to shape the cultural identity of the region. Christianity played a significant role, with the establishment of bishoprics and the spread of Christianity during the Merovingian and Carolingian periods.

Viking Raids | 9th century
In the ninth century, Viking raids affected many areas of Europe, including parts of present-day Burgundy. These raids contributed to the fortification of towns and monasteries as a defensive measure.

See also
Viviane | The Legend of King Arthur

Roman de Brut | Wace, c. 1155
Brut | Layamon, late 12th century to mid-13th century
Vulgate Merlin | 1220-1235
Geraint and Enid | 13th century
The Awntyrs off Arthure at the Terne Wathelyn | Late 14th century
Prose Merlin | Mid-15th century
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470