The Roman d’Eneas and the Erotics of Empire Building

  • Tracy Adams
Part of the Studies in Arthurian and Courtly Cultures book series (SACC)


In contrast with the Ovidian lais, where love is the only theme, the Roman d’Eneas (hereafter the Eneas) is overwhelmingly a tale of battle with the Trojan Eneas pressing his divinely ordained claim to his ancestral land. The work’s love episodes occupy a relatively small proportion of the romance’s total space; Christopher Baswell has noted that “the great and central bulk of the poem, roughly six thousand lines intervening between the two erotic episodes of Dido and Lavine, is about war and aristocratic social order.”1 And yet the expanded role of the romance’s females has been the central emphasis of critical studies of the work. The modern interest in the love episodes is understandable. War in mid-twelfth-century literature is just business as usual. Descriptions of love, on the other hand, are something new. These manifestations of a serious interest in love in a narrative work signal a new stage in the history of emotions.


Sexual Desire Body Politic Obsessive Passion Empire Building Roman Antique 
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© Tracy Adams 2005

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  • Tracy Adams

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