Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Cornevalle, Cornewaille, Cornewayle, Cornoaille, Cornouaille, Cornouailles, Cornuaille

Cornouaille is a historic region located in the western part of Brittany, in northwest France, facing the Atlantic Ocean.

The name is the French equivalent for Cornwall. Maybe because the settlement of Cornouaille was migrant princes from Cornwall, and the founding of the Bishopric of Cornouaille. The Celtic heritage is evident in the language, folklore, and cultural practices of Cornuaille.

One of the most significant connections is related to King Arthur’s mother, Igraine. According to some versions of Arthurian legend, Igraine hailed from Cornouaille in Brittany. The idea that Arthur’s mother was a Breton princess has been popular in certain retellings of the legend.

Various sites in Brittany, including Cornouaille, have local legends and stories that may have connections or influences from the broader Arthurian traditions. These legends often feature magical elements, knights, and heroic deeds.

Cornouaille | 0 to the 9th century AD

Celtic Origins | Pre-1st century
Brittany, including Cornouaille, has a Celtic heritage that predates the Roman period. Cornouaille was originally part of the Celtic region of Armorica, which later became known as Brittany. The population of this region was made up of various Celtic tribes, with distinct languages and cultures.

Roman Influence | 1st – 5th centuries
During the Roman era, Brittany was part of the Roman province of Gallia Lugdunensis. The Roman presence influenced trade and cultural exchange, and the region was known for its resistance to Romanization.

Migration and Celtic Identity | 5th – 9th centuries
The migration and movement of different groups during this period likely had an impact on the population and political landscape of Cornouaille. While the Roman Empire withdrew its military presence from Britain and Gaul, various Germanic and other tribes were moving in the western European regions. These migrations contributed to the establishment of a distinct Celtic identity. The Breton language, a Celtic language related to Welsh and Cornish, became established in the region.

During this time, Brittany was divided into several smaller Celtic kingdoms. Cornouaille was one of these principalities, along with Domnonée and Bro-Waroch (Vannetais). These kingdoms were often ruled by local chieftains and kings.

Early Medieval Period | 5th – 9th centuries
The early medieval period in Cornouaille saw the emergence of small local kingdoms of territories. These were often ruled by local leaders, and the political structure was characterized by a lack of centralization. Cornouaille, like the rest of Brittany, maintained connections with other Celtic regions, including Wales, Cornwall, and Ireland.

Christianization | 6th century onward
Christianity spread in Cornouaille, and the region saw the establishment of monastic communities. Missionaries from Britain and Gaul played a role in converting some of the local population to Christianity.

Viking Incursions | 8th – 10th centuries
During the Viking Age, Cornouaille, along with the rest of Brittany, faced raids and incursions by Norse (Viking) groups. Coastal areas were particularly vulnerable to Viking attacks. The influence of the Vikings can be seen in some aspects of local culture and possibly in certain place names.

Consolidation and Regional Identity
The political landscape in Cornouaille continued to evolve, with local leaders vying for influence. The lack of a centralized authority contributed to a fragmented political structure. Despite external pressures and migrations, the Breton people in Cornouaille maintained a strong regional identity.

See also
Carbare-Cotins | The Legend of King Arthur
Cornwall | The Legend of King Arthur