Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book V Chapter IX
Arthur marches from northern France to southern France to northern Italy. Everywhere he goes, folks surrender and offer prizes and so on, until he gets to Tuscany. In Tuscany there’s a city-state that doesn’t just roll over. The city-state isn’t named, nor is its king named. Arthur calls in a specialist for this city, a guy named Florence — Malory is clear on this, Florence is the name of the knight King Arthur calls upon to deal with the unnamed Tuscan city-state, no fair just assuming we’re talking about Florence, Italy.
Anyway, Arthur sends Sir Florence out to secure enough food that his army can keep the siege up on the unnamed Tuscan city-state that in no way should be assumed to be Florence just because there’s a guy named Florence involved no way did Malory misunderstand anything you guys. Florence brings along a bunch of knights, including Gawaine; their job is to go into the next forest over, grab all the cattle they can, and bring it back to Arthur’s camp.
It’s an overnight trip, getting to the cattle, and as he lies out in the Italian meadow with Sir Wisshard and Sir Clegis and Sir Cleremond, Gawaine decides, on the spur of the moment, screw cattle rustling. As soon as everyone else has fallen asleep he armors up, mounts his horse, and rides off to have some funtime Italian strange adventures. He rides around Tuscany for a few hours, and just before dawn he comes across another knight heading the opposite way on the road.
This guy is walking his horse, rather than riding it, and he has a boy following along behind him carrying his spear. Gawaine is immediately taken with the other knight’s armor and clothing, which is some high-end stuff with fur trim, gold and silver decorations, and some gem-encrusted griffon symbols on his shield. So he does what you do in that situation: he readies his spear, gets all set for a joust, and rides up on the stranger.
“Hey dude! Where are you from, huh?” Gawaine demands.
The other knight looks askance. “I’m from Tuscany.” His name, by the way, is Priamus, although Malory doesn’t get around to mentioning that for a good long while.
Gawaine is unimpressed. “Oh, a foreigner, huh?”
“We’re in Tuscany now. Who are you, to ask me these bold and rude questions?”
“I’m the guy who’s going to joust the heck out of you!”
“Yeah? Well, nobody ever had to try too hard to get me to joust — joust on!”
DISCUSSION QUESTION: Sir Gawaine just blows off his whole assignment and goes on a strange adventure for the heck of it. Is he a lovable jackass or what?
DISCUSSION QUESTION: Is Sir Wisshard the worst knight name so far? Why or why not?
DISCUSSION QUESTION: 100 parts! Why not throw a 100-part party in your home? Invite your friends! Bake a 100-parts cake! In lieu of flowers, send cash.
I’m actually pretty sure “Sir Florence” is the worst knight name so far. It doesn’t even sound vaguely Brittonic.
If the Wiss is pronounced “Wiz”, yeah, I vote for that. With Sir “This Is My Story So Stop Correcting Me Even If I Switched Names Accidentally” Florence in a close second.