Don Quixote Book I

Don Quixote Book I Glossary

Amadis de Gaul

Gaul is the Latin name for France but Amadis de Gaul is a Spanish tale of chivalry, written by Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo in 1508, almost a century before Don Quixote was published.

Balsam of Fierabras

Prince Fierabras is a character from "Twelve Peers," an old Spanish epic. From the Saracens, a tribe of fierce Muslim warriors, Fierabras gets the recipe for this all-healing balm.

Benedictine monks

An order of monks established by St. Benedict, a writer who died in 547.


A person from the region bordering the Bay of Biscay, a gulf defined by the coasts of western France and Northern Spain.


the system, spirit, or customs of medieval knighthood.

Holy Brotherhood

The Holy Brotherhood was formed in the 1470s as an alliance between the towns and the monarchy, against the nobility. They began as armed guards and emerged as a nationalized police force under Don Fernando and Isabella.

King Arthur

Founder of the Knights of the Round Table. Arthur is the illegitimate son of King Uther Pendragon. He becomes king by pulling the sword Excalibur from its fixed position, with the blade locked inside of a stone. King Arthur is deceived by his right-hand man, Lancelot; betrayed by his wife, Guinevere; and murdered by his son, Mordred.


a knight traveling in search of adventures in which to exhibit military skill, prowess and generosity.


This was the first region of Spain that the Spanish re-conquered. Under King Don Fernando, Leon grew in territorial size and untied with Castile to form one unified Spanish kingdom.

Mambrino's Helmet

This is derived from two old chivalric tales: Orlando Furioso, by Ariosto; and the more famous Roland in Love, by Boiardo. Mambrino is much like King Midas of Greek mythology. He is pagan, proud, and arrogant‹and he wears a helmet constructed of solid gold. While wearing the helmet, Mambrino cannot be harmed, and so Quixote is eager to find this treasure.


Arabs from Northern Africa who captured Spain in the 700s. They were expelled from Spain in 1492.


a process of separating the chaff (waste) from grain by fanning the stalks in the air.