Ofcc V8 Jerusalem Continuations
Peter R. Grillo
University of Alabama Press, 1994 - Poetry - 1057 pages
The Old French Crusade Cycle consists of a series of epic poems that together form a cycle concerning the First Crusade and the legendary events associated with Godefroi de Buillon.La Prise d’Acre, La Mort Godefroi, and La Chanson des Rois BAudouin designate the principle episodes of Branch II of the Jerusalem Continuations, a continuous and stylistically cohesive narrative found in Paris Bibliotheque Nationale MS 12569 and partly in London British Library Additional MS 36615. Although it draws broadly on narrative elements developed throughout the Old French Crusade Cycle, the narrative edited here follows an independent course and presents a more purely fictional vision of Outremer than its antecedents in the Chanson d’Antioche and the Chanson de Jerusalem. Most of the conventional figures of the cycle disappear from the narrative. In addition to Godefroi and Bauduin, Calabre, Corbaran, Jean d’Alis, Harpin de Bourges, Tancred, Bohemond, and Raymond de St. Gilles all put in final appearances. In their stead a new generation of adventurers arrives, including Amaury d’Aucoire, Bauduin de Sebourc, the tow Fauquembergues brothers, and Renuat du Crac de Monroial. Composed during the second half of the 13th century, this pseudo-historical account of the first century or so in Outremer celebrates a strong monarchy that rewards faithful vassals, courts the loyalty of the bourgeoisie, and refuses intimidation by its partner, the Church. The fate of Christian Palestine is shown to rely greatly on highborn newcomers close to the house of France. Thus the events of the Second Crusade, led by monarch themselves, do no find their place in this segment of the cycle. Such a scale of values and distortion of historical fact suit a literary vehicle conceived primarily to flatter aristocratic nostaligia and tastes for ambition and adventure. To be sure, the work stands in sharp contrast to a popular apathy for holy expeditions, just as it ignores contemporary pleas for more peaceful evangelistic efforts among the heathen.