The Gwerz Santes Enori is a Breton gwerz , a type of folk song that combines literary with musical characteristics. The song, which is preserved in many versions and fragments, tells a story that resembles a saint's life, a 14th-century version of the hagiography of the Breton saint Budoc. Its general theme has been called that of "the girl with a golden breast", as told in stories throughout the Celtic world and surviving in oral form into the 20th century.
The poem's story concerns the youngest of a king's three daughters (the king of Brest, or Brittany, or Spain, depending on the version), who sacrifices herself when her father is bitten by a snake. Only a virgin breast can save him, and Enori, the youngest, neglected daughter, offers herself up after her two sisters refuse. When she goes to help him a snake jumps onto one of her breasts, and her father cuts off the breast, after which he is miraculously cured (Mary-Ann Constantine identifies this as a "Celtic theme"); the daughter is rewarded by an angel who brings her a golden breast, and she gets a husband as well. Her mother-in-law, however, manages to convince her son that his wife is unfaithful; the punishment for adultery is death, and the king condemns the young woman to death, without knowing who she is, but then finds out that it is his daughter, now pregnant. Instead of putting her to death, he allows her to be put in a barrel and left at sea. After her husband regrets the matter, he searches for her and finds her and her child, in Ireland, now venerated by congregations of sailors; they are happily reunited.
The gwerz's theme is known as "the girl with a golden breast", and it was widespread across the Celtic world; a version of the story was still being sung in Scotland in the late 20th century, while a version with Gawain as the male protagonist was told in 19th-century Scotland. Constantine adds that the same story is found in a Welsh Triad, a Gaelic folk tale from Scotland, and a French medieval romance. A study of that theme was published in 1985 by Gwennole Le Menn (La femme au sein d'or, Skol-Dastum), which notes that it is related to the legend of Saint Gwen, the saint "of the three breasts". The theme is also found in a number of French lais, including the Lai du cor and the Lai du Mantel Mantaillé. It appears in the Livre de Caradoc, a biography of Caradoc which found its way into the 15th-century Perceval, the Story of the Grail .
In the hagiography of Saint Budoc, the female protagonist is called Azenor,who is identified with Saint Senara. Scholars confirm that the two stories must be closely related, to the point that neither one can be called the original version of the other.
Gildas — also known as Gildas the Wise or Gildas Sapiens — was a 6th-century British monk best known for his scathing religious polemic De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae, which recounts the history of the Britons before and during the coming of the Saxons. He is one of the best-documented figures of the Christian church in the British Isles during the sub-Roman period, and was renowned for his Biblical knowledge and literary style. In his later life, he emigrated to Brittany where he founded a monastery known as St Gildas de Rhuys.
In Welsh mythology, Olwen is the daughter of the giant Ysbaddaden and cousin of Goreu. She is the heroine of the story Culhwch and Olwen in the Mabinogion. Her father is fated to die if she ever marries, so when Culhwch comes to court her, he is given a series of immensely difficult tasks which he must complete before he can win her hand. With the help of his cousin King Arthur, Culhwch succeeds and the giant dies, allowing Olwen to marry her suitor.
Ys, also spelled Is or Kêr-Is in Breton, and Ville d'Ys in French, is a mythical city on the coast of Brittany but later swallowed by the ocean. Most versions of the legend place the city in the Baie de Douarnenez.
Morgan le Fay, alternatively known as Morgan[n]a, Morgain[a/e], Morg[a]ne, Morgant[e], Morge[i]n, and Morgue[in] among other names and spellings, is a powerful enchantress in the Arthurian legend. Early appearances of Morgan do not elaborate her character beyond her role as a goddess, a fay, a witch, or a sorceress, generally benevolent and related to King Arthur as his magical saviour and protector. Her prominence increased over time, as did her moral ambivalence, and in some texts there is an evolutionary transformation of her to an antagonist, particularly as portrayed in cyclical prose such as the Lancelot-Grail and the Post-Vulgate Cycle. A significant aspect in many of Morgan's medieval and later iterations is the unpredictable duality of her nature, with potential for both good and evil.
Since the early 1970s, Brittany has experienced a tremendous revival of its folk music. Along with flourishing traditional forms such as the bombard-binou pair and fest-noz ensembles incorporating other additional instruments, it has also branched out into numerous subgenres.
Barzaz Breiz is a collection of Breton popular songs collected by Théodore Hersart de la Villemarqué and published in 1839. It was compiled from oral tradition and preserves traditional folk tales, legends and music. Hersart de la Villemarqué grew up in the manor of Plessix in Nizon, near Pont-Aven, and was half Breton himself.
This is a bibliography of works about King Arthur, his family, his friends or his enemies. This bibliography includes works that are notable or are by notable authors.
Breton literature may refer to literature in the Breton language (Brezhoneg) or the broader literary tradition of Brittany in the three other main languages of the area, namely, Latin, Gallo and French – all of which have had strong mutual linguistic and cultural influences.
Medieval French literature is, for the purpose of this article, Medieval literature written in Oïl languages during the period from the eleventh century to the end of the fifteenth century.
Modena Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Modena, Italy, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and Saint Geminianus. Formerly the seat of the Diocese, later Archdiocese, of Modena, it has been since 1986 the archiepiscopal seat of the Archdiocese of Modena-Nonantola. Consecrated in 1184, it is an important Romanesque building in Europe, and along with its bell tower, the Torre della Ghirlandina, is designated as a World Heritage Site.
In the strictly academic context of Celtic studies, the term Celtic literature is used by Celticists to denote any number of bodies of literature written in a Celtic language, encompassing the Irish, Welsh, Cornish, Manx, Scottish Gaelic and Breton languages in either their modern or earlier forms.
Saint Budoc of Dol was a Bishop of Dol, venerated after his death as a saint in both Brittany and Devon. Saint Budoc is the patron of Plourin Ploudalmezeau in Finistère where his relics are preserved. His feast day was celebrated on 8 December, the date still used in Devon, but in Brittany this was moved to 9 December.
Xavier de Langlais was a Breton painter, printmaker and writer. He usually signed his work with the name Langleiz, a Breton language version of his surname.
Nolwenn Korbell, is a French Breton singer-songwriter and actress. Best known for her songs in Breton, with her musicians or in a duet with guitarist Soïg Sibéril, she released four albums, regularly performs in concerts, and also keeps acting in plays and films.
Caradoc Vreichvras was a semi-legendary ancestor to the kings of Gwent. He may have lived during the 5th or 6th century. He is remembered in the Matter of Britain as a Knight of the Round Table, under the names King Carados and Carados Briefbras.
Gwennole Le Menn (1938–2009) was a Breton writer, editor and lexicographer. He edited various Old and Middle Breton works. Le Menn edited the Catholicon, a trilingual Breton-French-Latin dictionary of 1499, and he compiled a bibliography of Breton literature printed before 1700.
The nine sorceresses or nine sisters are a recurring element in Arthurian legend in variants of the popular nine maidens theme from world mythologies. Their most important appearances are in Geoffrey of Monmouth's introduction of Avalon and the character that would later become Morgan le Fay, and as the central motif of Peredur's story in the Peredur son of Efrawg part of the Mabinogion.
"Gwerz Skolan" is a gwerz from Lower Brittany, especially Léon-Trégor and Cornouaille. Found in the 13th-century Welsh Black Book of Carmarthen, it was sung and performed until the 19th century, with some late examples from the 20th century. The poem, whose many versions differ in their details, describes a man who had died after living a life of rape and murder, and now comes back from hell to ask for forgiveness.
Breton Ballads is an academic monograph by Mary-Ann Constantine, published in 1996. The book includes examples of the Breton ballad known as the gwerz, and follows their history into the 19th century. It was awarded the Katharine Briggs Prize by The Folklore Society in 1996.
An Dialog etre Arzur Roe d'an Bretounet ha Guynglaff is an anonymous poem in 247 lines relating the apocalyptic prophecies which King Arthur extracted from one Guynglaff, a wild man, prophet and magician closely analagous to Merlin in the earliest Welsh tradition. It dates from about the middle of the 15th century, making it the oldest surviving work of literature in the Breton language.