Dauphiné was a former province of France, and its name is derived from the title Dauphin, which means “dolphin” in French. The title of Dauphin was used to designate the heir apparent to the French throne, and the province of Dauphiné was named after this title.
In the Alliterative Morte Arthure, it is ruled by the Duke of Lorraine, an opponent of Arthur during the Roman War.
Dauphiné | 400-600 AD
During the fifth century, Dauphiné was part of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis, which was one of the key provinces in the Roman Empire encompassing much of present-day southern France. The city of Vienna (modern-day Vienne) served as the capital of the province.
Like other parts of the Roman Empire, Dauphiné faced incursions from various Germanic tribes during the fifth century. The Visigoths, Burgundians, and other Germanic groups raided and settled in the region, leading to significant political changes. 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.
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.
By the late fifth century, the Merovingian dynasty, led by Clovis I, began to rise to 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.
Lorraine | The Legend of King Arthur
Alliterative Morte Arthure | c. 1400
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470