Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Les Trois Fils De Rois

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Les Trois Fils De Rois

Article excerpt

Les Trois fils de rois, ed. Giovanni Palumbo, Classiques français du Moyen Âge 139 (Paris: Champion, 2002). 640 pp. ISBN 2-7453-0485-2. euro10.00. Les Trois fils de rois is an enigmatic text. It exists in at least seven principal manuscript versions, all dating from the fifteenth century and described with impressive codicological care here by Giovanni Palumbo, but even the most dedicated quinsyemiste could be forgiven for not recognizing the title of the work, for it also passes as either the Livre et histoire royale or the Chronique de Naples. In a vast introduction that is a paragon of attention to scholarly detail, Palumbo states that this welcome first edition is based on the actual Bibliothèque Nationale de France MS f. fr. 92, commissioned by Philippe le Bon, Duke of Burgundy, and completed at Hesdin in around 1463 by David Aubert (and called in this manuscript's rubric the Chronique de Naples). Whatever its title though, the story, too, is one of enigma, confusion, and misrecognitions, as well as - just as one expects of a prose work written for Philippe - the description of and incitement to valorous (pseudo-)crusading derring-do. The 'trois fils' of the title are Philippe, Humphrey, and David, sons of the courts of France, England, and Scotland respectively. The three young men come - separately - to the aid of Alfonso, the beleaguered King of Sicily, whose kingdom is being laid siege to by an unspecified (but by definition culturally Other) Saracen horde, and subsequently the Grand Turk himself. …

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