French: "white flower"
A popular name for women in French romance.
1. The lover of Perceval in Chretien de Troyes' romance Le Conte du Graal. Lady of the Castle Beaurepaire, she is beseiged by Engygeron, seneschal to Clamedeus of the Isles, who wisher her to be his wife. She is saved by Perceval; the two fall in love, and spend the night together. This Blanchefleur is actually the niece of Gorneman de Gorhaut, who knighted Perceval. In a later continuation, he returns to her and they marry.
In Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival, he changes her name to Condwiramurs, derived from the Old French words conduire amours, "to guide love". In Peredur, she remains nameless.
2. The sister of King Mark of Cornwall and mother of Tristan in most Anglo-Norman versions of the Tristan legend. Straßburg calls her Blanschefleur, while Malory calls her Elyzabeth.
3. The heroine of the French romance Flore et Blanchefleur. Flore, son of a Saracen king in Spain, falls in love with Blanchefleur, daughter of a Christian. Flore's parents are against his marriage to Blanchefleur, and so sell her into slavery and tells Flore she died. He threatens to kill himself, but upon learning the truth, goes in search of her. He finds Blanchefleur in Babylon, and the two return to Spain, where he and his kingdom adopts Christianity. According to legend, their daughter was Berte, wife of Pippin, father of Charlemagne.
In the "Ave Formosissima" section of Carmina Burana, she appears with the name Blanziflor, and is an exemplar of beauty, comparable to Helen.
4. Daughter of King Thierry in Le chanson de geste of Garin le Loherain. Thierry wishes her to be the wife of Garin, but instead she marries King Pippin (Pippin the Short?), and Garin becomes her servant.
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Mary Jones © 2005