Places: Amadís of Gaul

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: Amadís de Gaula, 1508 (English translation, 1619)

Type of work: Novel

Type of plot: Chivalric romance

Time of work: Dark Ages, before the time of King Arthur

Asterisk denotes entries on real places.

Places Discussed*Great Britain

*Great Amadís of GaulBritain. Island comprising England, Scotland, and Wales, where the knight Amadís spends his early years after being rescued from the sea by Gandales, and where the greater part of Amadís of Gaul is set. The vast majority of the towns, castles, and geographical features casually named in the text are invented, the principal exceptions being the cities of London, Bristol, and Windsor. However, Windsor–the site where Lisuarte establishes his quasi-Arthurian court–is one of many locations falsely described as an “island”; the actual Windsor, about fifteen miles west of London, is the site of an important royal palace.

In addition to those listed below, invented locations include Leonis, the offshore island to which the giant Gandalac carries away the young Galaor; the rock Galtares, where Galaor fights the giant Albadan; Angaduza, the forest where Amadís and Galaor are reunited; the castle Miraflores, two leagues from London, where Oriana awaits the return of Amadís; Tagades, the coastal city where Lisuarte establishes a court in book 4; and Lubayna, the monastery where Lisuarte assembles all his chiefs and knights to proclaim his reconciliation with Amadís.

Firm Island

Firm Island. Imaginary peninsula seven leagues long, connected to Britain by a thin neck of land, which provides the major location of the action of book 4. Amadís establishes himself and his knights there after his brief career as the Greek Knight. He is subsequently forced to defend the peninsula against the forces of Lisuarte and the emperor of Rome (the fictitious Sidon). The introduction of book 2 explains how the peninsula was colonized by Apolidon, the son of a Greek king and the sister of the emperor of Constantinople, after he sailed from Rome. Firm Island is the site of the enchanted Arch of True Lovers, under which no one may go who has been unfaithful to his or her first love, and through which Amadís and Oriana triumphantly pass in the conclusion.

Sobradisa

Sobradisa (soh-brah-dee-SAH). Imaginary kingdom that provides the site for the rescue mission mounted by Amadís, Galaor, and their associates. The episode brings book 1 to a close.

Poor Rock

Poor Rock. Also called the Rock of the Hermitage, the abode of the hermit Andalod–with whom Amadís lives as Beltenebros–to which Corisanda comes in search of Florestan and on which Oriana takes shelter from a storm while returning to Lisuarte’s court from Scotland.

Mongaza

Mongaza (mahn-GAH-zah). Island also known as the island of the Boiling Lake, on which King Arban of North Wales and Angriote of Estravaus are briefly imprisoned, and to which an important expedition is mounted by Lisuarte.

Devil’s Island

Devil’s Island. Abode of the monster Endriago, where the Green Sword Knight is shipwrecked en route to Constantinople; when Endriago has been killed it is renamed the Island of St Mary.

*Lesser Britain

*Lesser Britain. Region of continental Europe–later known as Brittany, in western France–ruled from his court at Alima by Garinter, the father of Amadís’s mother, Elisena.

*Constantinople

*Constantinople. Capital of Eastern Christendom, visited by Amadís in his guise as the Green Sword Knight. Amadís’s fortunes are revived there, and he is able to summon help therefrom, as well as from Gaul and Bohemia, for his defense of Firm Island in book 4.

*Romania

*Romania. Region of Eastern Europe, here encompassing much more than the modern state of Romania, which–like other divided lands–is described by the text as a set of “islands.” It is where the Green Sword Knight encounters Grasinda, niece of King Tafinor of Bohemia.

BibliographyGreen, Otis H. Spain and the Western Tradition. 4 vols. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1963. A discussion of Amadís of Gaul in the context of the mythology of courtly love appears in volume 1 on pages 104-111.Moorcock, Michael. Wizardry and Wild Romance: A Study of Epic Fantasy. London: Victor Gollancz, 1987. Chapter 1 discusses Amadís of Gaul as the primary ancestor of the modern genre of fantasy.Northup, George Tyler. An Introduction to Spanish Literature. 3d ed., revised by Nicholson B. Adams. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960. Describes the origins of chivalric romance, discussing the authorship and influence of Amadís of Gaul.Place, Edwin B., and Herber C. Behm. Amadís of Gaul: A Romance of Chivalry of the Fourteenth Century Presumably First Written in Spanish. 2 vols. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1974. A full English translation of the work from the earliest available source; the introduction offers a brief history of the text.Williams, Grace S. “The Amadís Question.” Revue Hispanique 21 (1909): 1-167. A comprehensive discussion of the origins of the story and its various versions.
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