Surprisingly Historical Women in the Old French Crusade Cycle

  • Sarah-Grace Heller
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


The earliest poem of the Old French Crusade Cycle, the Chanson d ’Antioche, the first in a set of three central poems of that cycle which will be the focus of this study, describes two distinct female reactions to the call of Pope Urban II at Clermont that began the First Crusade.1 After a few future heroes are listed as taking the cross (Antioche, 11. 819–21), the first reaction is the lament of the women who will be left behind and fear being widowed, abandoned, and forgotten (Antioche, 11. 828–43), which corresponds to the themes and tone of a body of extant lyric crusade poetry. Following the depiction of the tears, however, the poet notes a different female reaction to the crusade:

Des dames i ot maintes qui les crois ont fermees

Et les frances puceles, que Dex a tant amees,

Od lor p ères en vont.

(Antiodie, 11. 844–46)


Female Character Twelfth Century Islamic Perspective Christian Woman Epic Convention 
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.


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© Sara S. Poor and Jana K. Schulman 2007

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  • Sarah-Grace Heller

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