2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

Troy Reborn: Wace, Benoit, and the Trojan Legitimacy in the Court of Henry II
Thomas W. Lecaque♦
Dr. Christine Harker, Faculty Mentor

Descent from Troy was an important literary construct in creating royal legitimacy for the barbarian kingdoms of the West, creating a mechanism for the translatio imperii from the ancient empires of the past to the modern Latin kingdoms. This mechanism was employed by Fredegar, linking the Franks to King Priam, and Snorri Sturluson turned a series of random characters from the Trojan War into the founders of the Scandinavian kingdoms. The height of this fad occurred in Anglo-Norman England, where Geoffrey of Monmouth took a small legend from Nennius and spawned a veritable fad for the Trojan ancestry of Britain. This literary device reached its peak in the court of Henry II, who commissioned the authors of two works of Trojan ancestry to write an official history of his forebears, Wace and Benoit de Sainte-Maure. To create legitimacy for Britains new rulers, they spun a fantasy of Trojan lineages, reuniting scattered fictional bloodlines of Troy into a single man, a Trojan worthy of his ancestors kingdom.

Keywords: 

Topic(s):English
History
French

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 7-3
Location: VH 1432
Time: 8:30

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♦ Indicates Truman Graduate Student
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