NIGHTBRINGER | The Arthurian Encyclopedia


Leoneis, Leoneys, Leonis, Leonois, Leonoys, Lodien, Lodient, Lodonesia, Loenois, Loenos, Lohenis, Lohenois, Lohnis, Lonneys, Loonis, Loonois, Lothaine, Lyoneis

Lothian is a historic region located in the southeastern part of Scotland, bordered by the Firth of Forth to the north and the Pentland Hills to the south. It is often divided into East Lothian and West Lothian. The Antonine Wall is located to the north of the modern-day Lothian region.

In most Arthurian texts, it is ruled by King Lot. Geoffrey says that Arthur restored Lot to the throne of Lothian after reclaiming the country from the Saxons. The connection between Lot and Lothian probably comes from Geoffrey’s tendency toward conjectural eponymy. King Lot apparently was king of all northern Scotland from The Orkneys to at least some of the area south of the Antonine Wall. Lot may have been High King of Scotland, with sub-kings under him, before Arthur’s advent.

Chrétien de Troyes marks Loenel (likely Loeneis, or Lothian) as the homeland of one of three Yvains; Wolfram gives the rule of the land, in Uther’s time, to King Riwalin; and in Guillaume le Clerc’s Fergus, Lady Galiene rules Lothian from her castle Roucebourc. Fergus becomes lord when he maries her.

The Vulgate Merlin tells us that it was invaded and plundered by Saxons at the beginning of Arthur’s reign. Lyonesse, the land of Tristan, may be identical.

Lothian | 0 to 800 AD

Roman Influence | 1st to 4th centuries AD
During the Roman occupation of Britain, which began in the first century AD, the southern part of modern-day Scotland, including parts of Lothian, came under Roman control. The Romans constructed the Antonine Wall, a defensive fortification that stretched across central Scotland, as a northern boundary of their territory. The region experienced Romanization to some extent, with Roman forts and settlements established.

Transition Period | 4th to 7th centuries AD
After the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the early fifth century, the region entered a period of transition and uncertainty. Various groups, including the Picts and the Britons, vied for control of Lothian. It’s important to note that during this time, Scotland as a unified kingdom did not exist, and the region was divided into smaller tribal or regional entities.

Anglian Influence | 7th to 8th centuries AD
By the seventh century, the Angles, a Germanic people from the continent, began to exert influence in Lothian. The Angles established settlements and gradually gained control of the region, leading to a process of Anglianization. The Angles’ language and culture began to shape the area.

Influence of the Kingdom of Northumbria
Lothian became part of the Kingdom of Northumbria, a powerful Anglo-Saxon kingdom that extended into what is now northern England. This led to closer ties between Lothian and Northumbria, and the region became an integral part of the Northumbrian kingdom.

Spread of Christianity
During this period, Christianity began to take root in Lothian, with the establishment of Christian monasteries and churches. Saint Cuthbert, an important Christian figure, had connections to the region.

Viking Incursions | 8th and 9th centuries AD
In the latter part of the eighth century and into the ninth century, Viking raids and invasions became a significant factor in the history of Scotland, including Lothian. Viking incursions disrupted the established order and led to political upheaval.

See also
Roman Empire | The Legend of King Arthur

Historia Regum Britanniae | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1138
Roman de Brut | Wace, c. 1155
Erec | Chrétien de Troyes, late 12th century
Parzival | Wolfram von Eschenbach, 1200–1210
Vulgate Merlin | 1220-1235
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470