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Britomart

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Britomart
Britomart

Real Name

Princess Britomart

First Appearance

The Faerie Queene (1590)

Created by

Edmund Spenser

Origin

Britomart was a young, beautiful and fearless female knight who served the fairy queen, Gloriana. She was the virgin Knight of Chastity, representing the virtue of England itself. Her adventures take place sometime after the adventures of Saint George of Lydda, who is known as The Red Cross Knight in fairyland, and Britomart meets a very young King Arthur. She also consults with Merlin, the magician. After seeing the face of Sir Artegal, the Knight of Justice, in her father's magic mirror, Britomart instantly falls in love with him and takes on a quest to find him. Being tall and strong, and possessing the resources of her father's kingdom, Britomart decides to don the armor of the Saxon Queen, Angela, which is fettered and gold. Britomart is often mistaken for a man when her helmet is on. She is also armed with a shield and an enchanted spear that can knock down any opponent she hits with it. She is accompanied by her nurse, Glaucé, who becomes her squire. She is able to defeat several male opponents in battle, but she finally loses to a knight who turns out to be her beloved Artegal. She later rescues Artegal, and several other knights, from Radigund and her vicious female warriors. She also faces evil sorcery and rescues a maiden from a tower.

Notes

  • Britomart was largely inspired by a very simlar French character named Bradamante.
  • Britomart was intended to represent Queen Elizabeth in a flattering way, invoking the queen's courage and virtue.
  • Britomart's name is derived from "Briton" and "Mars" suggesting the martial power of England.

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