NIGHTBRINGER | The Arthurian Encyclopedia



Guienne or Guyenne was a historical region located in southwestern France. Guienne was historically one of the most important and powerful regions in France.

Guienne was named as part of Arthur’s kingdom in the Alliterative Morte Arthure. Malory says that Lancelot ruled it, and that he gave it to his brother Hector in return for Hector’s support in the war against Arthur.

Guienne | 0 to 9th century AD

Roman Period | 1st century BC – 5th centuriy AD
During the first century BC, the region that would later be known as Guienne was part of Roman Gaul. Aquitania, as it was called, was a Roman province, and its inhabitants became Romanized over time. The Romans established cities, roads, and infrastructure, contributing to the region’s development.

Bordeaux (then known as Burdigala) was an important Roman city in the region. It served as a key center of trade and commerce, connected to other parts of the Roman Empire through trade routes.

Migration Period and Visigothic Rule
The fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century marked the beginning of the Migration Period, during which various Germanic tribes and other groups migrated and settled across Europe. Guienne, like much of Western Europe, experienced changes as new groups established their presence. Visigoths, Suebi, and Franks were among the tribes that had influence in the region. The Visigothic rule lasted for a significant part of the fifth and sixth centuries.

Frankish Influence
The Franks, another Germanic tribe, began expanding their influence in the region during the sixth century. By the end of the sixth century, under King Clothar I, the Frankish kingdom incorporated Aquitania.

Guienne became part of the Frankish realm, first under the Merovingian dynasty and later under the Carolingian dynasty. The region was included in the larger Carolingian Empire established by Charlemagne. During this period, the Christianization of the region continued, with the establishment of churches and religious institutions.

Guienne was a diverse region, with various linguistic and cultural influences. Latin, Celtic, and Germanic elements contributed to its cultural landscape. As feudalism developed in Europe, Guienne became a part of the feudal system, with local lords exercising authority over different territories.

Viking Raids | 8th – 9th centuries
In the late eighth and ninth centuries, Viking invasions posed a threat to many parts of Western Europe, including Guienne. The Viking incursions disrupted local societies and economies. The Normans, originally of Viking origin, established a presence in the broader region, including Normandy in northern France.

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