Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia



Dauphiné is a historical region in southeastern France, located in the foothills of the French Alps.

In the Alliterative Morte Arthure, it is ruled by the Duke of Lorraine, an opponent of Arthur during the Roman War.

Dauphiné | 1st century BC to the 9th century AD

Roman Period | 1st century BC – 5th century AD
During the Roman Empire, the region now known as Dauphiné was part of the province of Alpes Graiae et Poeninae. This province was primarily in the Roman Republic era (before the Roman Empire) and extended into the early years of the empire. It eventually underwent administrative changes. Roman influence brought urbanization, and the city of Cularo was founded in the first century AD (modern-day Grenoble).

Barbarian Invasions | 5th century
As the Western Roman Empire faced internal turmoil and external invasions, its authority over Dauphiné and other regions weakened during the fifth century. Roman governance and administration became less effective, allowing local leaders and Germanic rulers to gain more influence. In the early fifth century, the Visigoths, ruled by their king Alaric, invaded Gaul (present-day France) and established a kingdom that included parts of southeastern France, including Dauphiné. After Alaric’s death, his brother-in-law, Ataulf, succeeded him and continued to exert Visigothic influence in the region.

By the mid-fifth centiry, the Burgundians, another Germanic tribe, established their kingdom in eastern Gaul. The Burgundian kingdom included portions of Dauphiné within its territory.

Merovingian and Carolingian Periods | 6th – 9th centuries
With the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Frankish kingdom emerged as a dominant power in the region. The Merovingian dynasty, led by Clovis I, began to rise prominence in northern Gaul. Clovis’s conquest eventually led to the establishment of the Merovingian Kingdom, which would become the basis for medieval France.

As the Merovingian Kingdom expanded its territory southward, it came into contact with the region of Dauphiné. The Franks, under Clovis and his successors, exerted control over various parts of Gaul, including parts of southeastern France. In time, the Dauphiné area was incorporated into the Kingdom of Burgundy, a part of the broader Frankish realm.

Modern Period
In the nineteenth century, Dauphiné became part of the larger administrative region of Rhône-Alpes region. The historical significance and cultural heritage of Dauphiné continue to be preserved.

See also
Lorraine | The Legend of King Arthur

Alliterative Morte Arthure | c. 1400
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470