Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


French: Gascogne
Gascon: Gasconha
Gascoigne, Gascoyne, Gaskoyne, Guascogna

Gascony is a historical region located in the southwest of France. It is situated between the Pyrenees Mountains to the south and the Garonne River to the north.

According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Duke Hoel conquered it as part of Arthur’s campaign in Gaul. Rulers in other sources include Hardiz (Wolfram), Aramont (Prose Lancelot), Ladon (Claris et Laris), Bors (Welsh Triads), and the Hunting Knight (Irish tale).

According to Arthour and MerlinUther Pendragon acquired it from HarinanIgerne’s first husband; in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, Gascony is also represented as part of Uther’s kingdom.

In the Irish Arthurian tale, The Visit of Grey Ham, the Hunting Knight is the son of the King of Gascony. In Welsh tradition Gascony is the kingdom of the elder Bors.

In La Tavola Ritonda, the King of Guascogna was slain by Lancelot during Arthur’s tournament at Leverzep. Guascogna is a variation of the name Gascony.

Gascony | 1st century BC to c. 9th century AD

Roman Period | 1st century BC – 5th century AD
During the first to fifth century AD, Gascony was inhabited by various Celtic tribes before the Roman conquest. Gascony came under Roman control during the first century BC and was incorporated into the province of Aquitainia. Roman influence brought urbanization, infrastructure development, cultural assimilation and Latnization of the local population.

Migration Period | 5th – 6th centuries
In the Late Antiquity era the decline of the Western Roman Empire (Roman Empire) brought Gascony instability and was subjected to migrations of various peoples, including the Visigoths, Vandals, and the Franks. The Visigoths established their kingdom in parts of southwestern France, including Gascony. The region was later incorporated into the Frankish realm.

Frankish Rule | 6th – 8th centuries
During the early Medieval Period (seventh to ninth centuries), Gascony was part of the Kingdom of the Franks under the Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties. It was often administered as a frontier region due to its proximity to the Pyrenees. The region experienced a blend of Frankish and local Gascon influences. During this time, Gascony’s distinct linguistic and cultural identity began to take shape.

The Battle of Vouillé in 507 marked the defeat of the Visigoths by the Franks, solidifying Frankish control over Gascony. In the eighth century AD, Gascony faced threats from the Moors (Muslims from North Africa) who invaded parts of the Iberian Peninsula and occasionally crossed into Gascony. Charlemagne, the Carolingian ruler, pushed back against Moorish incursions and extended his control over Gascony. The region was included in the Carolingian Empire.

Viking Raids | 9th – 10th centuries
Gascony, like much of Western Europe, experienced Viking raids and invasions during the ninth and tenth centuries. Vikings sailed up rivers, such as the Garonne, conducting raids and seeking plunder. Gascony, being a coastal region along the Bay of Biscay, was vulnerable to Viking incursions. Local lords and rulers often had to organize defenses against Viking attacks.

Duchy of Gascony and the Treaty of Verdun | 9th century
The Treaty of Verdun in 843, which divided the Carolingian Empire among Charlemagne’s grandsons, led to the creation of the Kingdom of Aquitaine. Gascony became a part of the Duchy of Gascony within the Kingdom of Aquitaine.

Byzantine Connections | 9th – 11th centuries
In the ninth to eleventh centuries, Gascony had trading connections with the Byzantine Empire, and Gascon merchants were known to operate in Constantinople. Byzantine coins have been found in Gascony, indicating some level of contact.

Historia Regum Britanniae | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1138
Triads of the Island of Britain (Welsh ”Triads”) | 11th century to 14th century
Parzival | Wolfram von Eschenbach, 1200–1210
Brut | Layamon, late 12th century to mid-13th century
Lancelot do Lac | 1215-1220
Diu Crône | Heinrich von dem Türlin, c. 1230
Arthour and Merlin | Late 13th century
Claris et Laris | 1268
The Visit of Grey Ham | Between 11th and 13th centuries