Tempering Scandal: Eleanor of Aquitaine and Benoît de Sainte-Maure’s Roman de Troie

  • Tamara F. O’Callaghan
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Eleanor of Aquitaine has long been regarded by medievalists as a great patron of the literary arts at the Angevin court.1 One text frequently associated with her is Benoît de Sainte-Maures Roman de Troie, the roman d’antiquité that widely popularized the story of Troy in the Middle Ages.2 But the passage commonly cited as evidence of Eleanor s patronage does not appear in the poem’s prologue or epilogue, as might be expected of a dedication, but rather well into the poem s narrative. Having concluded his story of the inconstant Briseida—a woman who relinquishes Troilus, her Trojan lover, for Diomedes, her Greek captor—Benoît starts a lengthy diatribe against all faithless women who change their loves so quickly and so easily:

Femme n’iert ja trop esgaree:

Por ço qu’ele truist ou choisir,

Poi durent puis li suen sospir.

A femme dure dueus petit:

A l’un ueil plore, a l’autre rit.

Mout muënt tost li lor corage.

Assez est fole la plus sage:

Quant qu’ele a en set anz amé

A ele en treis jorz oblïé

One nule ne sot duel aveir.


Twelfth Century Love Relationship Love Affair Personal Immorality Roman Antique 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© John Carmi Parsons and Bonnie Wheeler 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tamara F. O’Callaghan

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations