Amadis of Gaul

The hero of a romance in prose of the same title, originally written in Portuguese in four books. These four were translated into Spanish by Montalvo, who added a fifth. Subsequent romancers added the exploits and adventures of other knights, so as to swell the romance to fourteen books. The French version is much larger still, one containing twenty-four books, and another running through seven volumes. The original author was Vasco de Lobeira, of Oporto, who died 1403.

The hero, called the “Lion-knight,” from the device on his shield, and “Beltenebros” (darkly beautiful), from his personal appearance, was a love-child of Perion, King of Gaul, and Elizena, Princess of Brittany. He is represented as a poet and musician, a linguist and a gallant, a knight-errant and a king, the very model of chivalry.

Other names by which Amadis was called were the Lovely Obscure, the Knight of the Burning Sword, the Knight of the Dwarf, etc. Bernardo, in 1560, wrote “Amadigi di Gaula.”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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