Berceliande, Bercheliande, Borceliande, Breceliande, Brecheliande, Briziljan, Brocéliande, Brocheland, Brocheliande, Brochelonde, Brockland, Proceliande
A forest which is the setting for a number of Arthurian adventures, after Wace described its marvels (including an enchanted fountain) in his Roman de Rou. It was famous throughout the Middle Ages for its enchantments. Situated in Brittany, it is now called the Forest of Paimpont in the Morbihan, next to Cornuailles (Cornouailles).
It was the location of the fountain where Yvain defeated Esclados the Red in Chrétien's Yvain and its adaptations. The forest contained the strongholds of New Castle and Lindesores. It was the site of important meetings and troop movements during the early rebellions against Arthur, and during the Saxon wars.
Here is found the consecrated Fountain of Balanton, and here Merlin 'dress his weird'. The fountain of Balanton appears to be where Merlin met his lady Viviane, and around which he made to spring up an enchanted Garden of Joy to please her. In the Vulgate Merlin and Tennyson's Idylls, it served as the place of Merlin's imprisonment by the Lady of the Lake. French romance seems to be largely unaware, however, that a channel separates Broceliande from the rest of Britain. German romance, which calls it Briziljan, places it in the country of Löver near Dinazarun (Dinasdaron).
One of the most potent stories concerning this forest is told by the French poet Huon de Mery in his work Le Tornoiment de l'Antichrist. In ths he explains how he travelled to an enchanted spring in the forest, and Bras-de-Fer, the chamberlain of the Antichrist, rode up. In his company, Huon de Mery said, he rode to the scene of a battle where the forces of Heaven, including Arthur and his knights, were doing battle with the forces of Hell. The enchanted spring mention by Huon de Mery seems to bear close resemblance to the wondrous fountain within the forest that was said to have been guarded by Esclados.
The spring of Berenton is central to Chrétien de Troyes Yvain and is mentioned by Giraldus Cambrensis. Wace recounts in a famous passage of his Roman de Rou how he traveled personally to Brocéliande to seek the marvels about which the Bretons spoke but was unable to find any:
I saw the forest and I saw the land; I looked for marvels, but I did not find them."
The forest is also mentined in Claris et Laris, and in Brun de la Montaigne as well as in the German romance of Garel von dem blühenden Tal, by Der Pleier.
Broceliande, Bullherd of
On their way from the Vavasour of Broceliande to the storm-making spring (Balanton), knights met a gigantic and hideous churl herding wild bulls in a clearing. The giant was seventeen feet tall, dark-skinned and black-bearded, with a bald forehead more than two spans wide. Hair grew in tufts on the rest of his head; his ears were mossy and elephantine, his brows heavy, his face flat, his chin running into his chest, his eyes owl-like, his nose catlike, his mouth wolf-like, his teeth boar-like, his mustache tangled, his spine humped and twisted, and his clothing the recently flayed hides of two bulls.
Despite his fierce appearance and great club, he seemed ready to answer questions. If not politely, at least fully and peaceably. He showed himself quite ready to explain how he handled his animals by teaching them to fear his superior strength, and to provide directions to the spring, which he described to the best of his uneducated ability: he called the bubbling of the spring "boiling" although the water was colder than marble; characterized the pine simply as a tree that kept its leaves all year; called the gold basin iron; and did not recognize the material (emerald) from which the slab was made.
D.D.R Owen surmises that this giant was originally a denizen of the Celtic Otherworld; his description of the spring seems to provide a study in how lack of sophistication can magnify the merely marvelous into the totally inexplicable.
Broceliande, Vavasour of
Either on the edge or in a large clearing of Broceliande Forest lay a heath with a moated wooden fortress, kept by a courteous vavasour who summoned his people by striking thrice on a gong of pure copper. He had a tall, slender, and beautiful daughter of courtesy equal to his own.
Together, they gave Calogrenat, Ywaine, and any other passing knights hospitality, asking them to return if possible and recount their adventures. Nor did the father and daughter show any less courtesy and good cheer to Calogrenat when he returned on foot to describe his defeat by the guardian of the marveolous spring, which lay near enough to make the round trip within one day. Indeed, they congratulated him on being the first they knew of to escape death or capture in that place. Had the story been written in our century, it seems doubtful that they would have faded from it with no later mention.