Troilus and Criseyde

Troilus and Criseyde

Troilus and Criseyde

Troilus and Criseyde

Excerpt

Readers of this tale who may be interested in sources will look in vain for the story of Troilus and Cressida in Homer, Vergil or any other classic authority.Homer mentions Troilus but briefly, in allusion to his death.It was the early and unhappy end of this youth that stirred chiefly the interest of the ancients. This was probably the subject of a lost tragedy by Sophocles, and the few lines that Vergil devotes to Troilus are to be found in a description of the manner of his death. To the ancients Troilus appears to have figured as scarcely more than an engaging youth, one of the younger of the many sons of Priam, remarkable for his beauty and his valor, who was slain in his first flower by Achilles.A career cut short so early obviously provided little opportunity for the development of tales of heroic exploit and adventure, and so far as is known from surviving records, the ancients never got beyond this single pathetic incident of the death of Troilus as the result of his rash encounter with Achilles. Cressida cannot be connected with any character in classical tradition, except in mere name, and the whole story of the love of Troilus and Cressida is of much later origin, or at least of much later record.

It is not impossible, however, that the legend of Troilus began to grow very early, and that even in classical times . . .

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