“Ethiopes like the develes of helle”: Monster Theory, Giants, and the Sowdone of Babylone
The place of Africa and blacks in the Middle English imaginary, and thus the future of the black Atlantic, was in many ways predetermined by the heavy Muslim presence in Africa. The Muslim Saracens represented for medieval England the ultimate enemy of Christianity, England, Europe as a whole, and indeed civilization. As the work of many scholars, led by Edward Said’s pioneering work, has demonstrated, the Saracen east was constructed as one of the fundamental others of English Christianity. The Saracens were continually portrayed in Middle English literature as an aggressive threat, one that had to be met with force and vanquished at any cost if England, Christianity, and the West were to survive.1
KeywordsEnglish Version Fifteenth Century Great Heat English Audience Late Fourteenth Century
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- 24.M. C. Seymour, ed., The Metrical Version of Mandeville’s Travels (Oxford: EETS no. 269, 1973). All further references to the Metrical text are from this version.Google Scholar
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- 45.On this topic see Boffey; and Bernard Hamilton, “Prester John and the Three Kings of Cologne,” in Charles Beckingham and Bernard Hamilton, eds., Prester John, the Mongols and the Ten Lost Tribes ( Brookfield, VT: Variorum, 1996 ) 171–186.Google Scholar