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 Chanson d’Antioche

(3,006 words)

Author(s): Sweetenham, Carol
The Song of Antioch (though it is seldom referred to as such) The Old French Crusade Cycle Date: In its current form, from the end of the 12th/beginning of the 13th century Original Language: Old French Description The Chanson d’Antioche forms part of a trilogy with two other texts: the Chanson de Jérusalem, which takes the Crusaders through the fall of Jerusalem to the battle of Ascalon; and the Chanson des Chétifs, a fantasy compilation of three tales loosely linked to the First Crusade, which serves as a bridge between the two. The text is part of a wider complex of chansons de geste known as …

The Old French Crusade Cycle

(169 words)

Author(s): Sweetenham, Carol
Graindor de Douai Date of Birth: Unknown Place of Birth: Unknown, though his name suggests an origin in north-eastern France Date of Death: Unknown Place of Death: Unknown Biography All we know of Graindor de Douai is one reference in the text at ll.12-15 in the Chanson d’Antioche. It is not clear whether he wrote the text himself or had it commissioned. If we accept the former, he may also have had a hand in the two c hansons de geste, Fierabras and the Destruction de Rome. If we accept the latter interpretation, it is just possible that he may in fact be Walter III or IV, cast…

Chronique romane du Petit Thalamus

(273 words)

Author(s): Sweetenham, Carol
(Romance chronicle in the "Little Thalamus") 11th-15th century. Southern France. The Petit Thalamus is the name given to a manuscript written in Occitan, preserved in the Archives Municipales in Montpellier. It consists of a number of different elements by a succession of anonymous authors. The exact meaning of thalamus is uncertain: Pierre Bec suggests it may derive from the Jewish Talmud or Latin thalamus, a bed and by extension deposition of documents. It contains the Costumas (in Latin and Occitan), dating from 1204, which set out local statutes and traditions; the…
Date: 2016-10-17

Robert the Monk

(356 words)

Author(s): Sweetenham, Carol
[Robert of Reims] fl. early 12th century. France. Author of the Historia Iherosolimitana, a Latin chronicle written ca 1107-8, in prose but with a sprinkling of hexameters, describing the First Crusade. Robert was a Benedictine monk at Reims: attempts to identify him with an excommunicated abbot of the same name and vintage are not supported by evidence.Robert was an eyewitness to the speech by Urban II at Clermont, and his account of the Council there is of great importance, but he did not take part in the expedition. For most of his material he relied on the Gesta Francorum et aliorum Hie…
Date: 2016-10-17

Canso d'Antioca

(172 words)

Author(s): Sweetenham, Carol
13th century in its current form. France. A fragment of a longer poem in Occitan, it survives as 714 lines in laisses of rhymed alexandrines with vers orphelin. It has been ascribed to the Gregory Bechada who according to Geoffrey of Vigeois wrote a long vernacular poem on the First Crusade, but the link is tenuous. There is one faulty jongleur-type manuscript from Roda in Aragon: Madrid, Biblioteca de la Real Academia de la Historia, cód. 117. Sections of extant text plus possible other sections survive in Spanish translation in the 13th-century crusade compilation Gran conquista de Ult…
Date: 2016-10-17

Chanson d'Antioche

(232 words)

Author(s): Sweetenham, Carol
(Song of Antioch) late 12th/early 13th century. France. Not to be confused with the Canso d'Antioca, with which it shares some details. A Chanson de geste in rhymed alexandrine laisses in the Picard dialect of Old French, ascribed to the otherwise unknown Graindor de Douai, it forms part of Old French Crusade cycle alongside the Chanson de Jérusalem, Chanson des Chétifs and other texts describing the legendary ancestry of Godfrey of Bouillon, which in some manuscripts continue to the fall of Acre. It describes events on the First Crusade from Peter the H…
Date: 2016-10-17

Guibert de Nogent

(451 words)

Author(s): Sweetenham, Carol
[Guibertus abbas Novigenti] 1053-1124. Northern France. Author of the Gesta Dei per Francos (Deeds of God through the Franks), a Latin chronicle of the first decade of the 12th century describing the First Crusade. Guibert was the abbot of the small Benedictine monastery of Nogent-sous-Coucy. He was a prolific author in other fields: we also possess his autobiography, modelled on the Confessions of Augustine; he wrote a large number of spiritual works such as a treatise on relics, and also admits to having produced now lost salacious poetry.The Gesta Dei describes the events precedi…
Date: 2016-10-17

Raymond of Aguilers

(333 words)

Author(s): Sweetenham, Carol
11th-12th century. France. Author of a Latin chronicle of the First Crusade. Raymond was in a privileged position to observe the Crusade as the chaplain of one of its leaders, Raymond IV of St-Gilles: he was at the heart of the controversy about the Holy Lance of Antioch and claims to have carried it onto the field at the battle of Antioch. His name may suggest an origin near Le Puy (Haute-Loire) and hence a connection with Adhemar, Bishop of Le Puy, who played a dominant role on the Crusade. His Historia Francorum qui ceperunt Jerusalem (History of the Franks who took Jerusalem) was writ…
Date: 2016-10-17

Chroniques romanes des comtes de Foix

(346 words)

Author(s): Sweetenham, Carol
(Vernacular chronicles of the Counts of Foix) 15th century. France. Two related chronicles of the Counts of Foix (Ariège) in Occitan. The first was written by Arnaut Esquerrier, notary and treasurer of Gaston IV de Foix. Esquerrier is attested between 1445 and 1461. He recounts the history of the house from the legendary doings of St. Volusien by way of Arthur and Merlin up to 1461, adding a description of the County of Foix. He draws on a variety of sources including Gregory of Tours for early material, the chanson de geste Philomène for material about Charlemagne, the Grandes Chroniques de…
Date: 2016-10-17

Chanson de la Croisade contre les Albigeois

(421 words)

Author(s): Sweetenham, Carol
[Canso de la Crozada] (Song of the Albigensian Crusade) early 13th century. France. A chanson de geste of 9,578 lines in Occitan, in rhymed alexandrine laisses, with the vers orphelin found in other Occitan historiographical chansons de geste. It is the work of two authors: the first the pro-French Guilhelm de Tudela; the second anti-French and anonymous. The dual authorship of the text means that the first third differs markedly from the remainder. Guilhelm, a Navarrese priest living in Montauban, wrote the first 130 laisses in coblas capcaudadas, taking the story from the start …
Date: 2016-10-17

Tudebode, Peter

(351 words)

Author(s): Sweetenham, Carol
12th century. France. Author of the Historia de Hierosolymitano Itinere (history of the journey to Jerusalem), a Latin chronicle of the first decade of the 12th century describing the First Crusade. All we know about the author is that he was a priest at Civray in Poitou; a few references suggest that he went on Crusade, where he lost his brother Arvedus.Frustratingly, given that he was an eyewitness, his account is virtually a copy of the Gesta Francorum et aliorum Hierosolimitanorum, though it does contain a small amount of original material, both in his eyewitness accoun…
Date: 2016-10-17