Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-768ffcd9cc-2bgxn Total loading time: 0.223 Render date: 2022-12-04T23:44:05.673Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Stories for the King: Narration and Authority in the ‘Crusade Compilation’ of Philippe VI of France (London, British Library, MS Royal 19.D.i)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 June 2021

Laurie Postlewate
Affiliation:
Senior Lecturer, Department of French, Barnard College
Kathryn A. Duys
Affiliation:
Associate Professor, Department of English and Foreign Languages, University of St Francis
Elizabeth Emery
Affiliation:
Professor of French, Montclair State University
Get access

Summary

From the moment he assumed the French throne in 1328, King Philippe VI announced his intention to go on crusade. While his activities over the next eight years yielded little militarily, they did leave a significant documentary trail that provides insight into the late medieval understanding of crusade. One artifact stands out – London, British Library, MS Royal 19.D.i – a manuscript that reveals the extent to which storytelling and communication were crucial to crusade ideology and planning. It is designed to highlight the king's need to acquire a wide range of knowledge about foreign lands through stories and reports, and to validate the actors who transmit that knowledge. The manuscript's texts and images portray not just warfare and travel, as is often observed, but they also preserve attitudes toward far-away lands and the first-person voices of figures who travel great distances to inform the French king. Royal 19.D.i is a document about the centrality of communication to kingship, an anthology about the importance of stories as a means of knowing and transforming the world.

Ironically, Philippe's unaccomplished crusade is one of the best documented in medieval history. As a result, we know a great deal about the means the king and his councilors employed as they sought to justify and plan this overseas campaign. Central to these preparations was the gathering of reports, stories and treatises to help the king decide where to go, how to get there, whom and how to fight and what to do once he was victorious. Documentation consulted by or addressed to Philippe VI and his council included accounts of Louis IX's crusade expenses, letters from Marino Sanudo and reports from ambassadors and from prelates living in or recently returned from the eastern Mediterranean, Africa and Asia. Before a single ship could be launched, a great deal of composing, research, reading, copying and discussion had to occur. This was a crusade grounded in texts, but more to the point, it was a crusade grounded in stories.

London, British Library, MS Royal 19.D.i provides a remarkable illustration of this phenomenon. Although it is commonly referred to as a ‘crusade compilation’, Royal 19.D.i contains only one of the many crusade treatises that were available by the 1330s, the Directorium ad faciendum passagium transmarinum, which was written by an anonymous Dominican in 1332, translated into French by Jean de Vignay and addressed directly to Philippe VI.

Type
Chapter
Information
Telling the Story in the Middle Ages
Essays in Honor of Evelyn Birge Vitz
, pp. 205 - 218
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2015

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×