Chrétien de Troyes

Engraving considered to be a representation of Chrétien de Troyes in his work studio (1530)

French poet and trouvère known for his writing on Arthurian subjects, and for first writing of Lancelot, Percival and the Holy Grail.

- Chrétien de Troyes

252 related topics


Perceval, the Story of the Grail

Perceval arrives at the hermitage in a 15th-century illustration of Perceval
The story's episode of Gawain on the Perilous Bed (lit périlleux) as engraved in a 14th-century ivory
The opening lines of the 14c Welsh language 'Peredur' from the Red Book of Hergest; Jesus College, Oxford (MS 111) version

Perceval, the Story of the Grail (Perceval ou le Conte du Graal) is the unfinished fifth verse romance by Chrétien de Troyes, written by him in Old French in the late 12th century.

Erec and Enide

The White Stag hunt in a medieval manuscript
The opening lines of the Welsh language version of Geraint and Enid (pre 1382), from the Red Book of Hergest manuscript

Erec and Enide (Érec et Énide) is the first of Chrétien de Troyes' five romance poems, completed around 1170.

King Arthur

Legendary British leader who, according to medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the late 5th and early 6th centuries.

Tapestry showing Arthur as one of the Nine Worthies, wearing a coat of arms often attributed to him
Arthur defeats the Saxons in a 19th-century picture by John Cassell
"Arturus rex" (King Arthur), a 1493 illustration from the Nuremberg Chronicle
A facsimile page of Y Gododdin, one of the most famous early Welsh texts featuring Arthur
Culhwch entering Arthur's court in the Welsh tale Culhwch and Olwen. An illustration by Alfred Fredericks for a 1881 edition of the Mabinogion
King Arthur in a crude illustration from a 15th-century Welsh version of Historia Regum Britanniae
The Death of Arthur by John Garrick (1862), depicting a boat arriving to take the dying Arthur to Avalon after the Battle of Camlann
During the 12th century, Arthur's character began to be marginalised by the accretion of "Arthurian" side-stories such as that of Tristan and Iseult, here pictured in a painting by John William Waterhouse (1916)
The story of Arthur drawing the sword from a stone appeared in Robert de Boron's 13th-century Merlin. By Howard Pyle (1903)
The Round Table experiences a vision of the Holy Grail, an illumination by Évrard d'Espinques
Arthur receiving the later tradition's sword Excalibur in N. C. Wyeth's illustration for The Boy's King Arthur (1922), a modern edition of Thomas Malory's 1485 Le Morte d'Arthur
Merlin and Viviane in Gustave Doré's 1868 illustration for Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Idylls of the King
King Arthur (holding Excalibur) and Patsy in Spamalot, a stage musical adaptation of the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail

The 12th-century French writer Chrétien de Troyes, who added Lancelot and the Holy Grail to the story, began the genre of Arthurian romance that became a significant strand of medieval literature.

Yvain, the Knight of the Lion

Yvain rescues the lion (Garrett MS 125 fol. 37r, c. 1295)
The opening lines of the Welsh version, Owain (pre 1382) from Jesus College, Oxford (MS 111).

Yvain, the Knight of the Lion (Yvain ou le Chevalier au Lion) is an Arthurian romance by French poet Chrétien de Troyes.

Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart

Lancelot crossing the sword bridge (illumination in a manuscript produced for Jacques d'Armagnac, Duke of Nemours, in the workshop of Evrard d'Espinques, c. 1475)

Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart (Lancelot, le Chevalier de la Charrette), is a 12th-century Old French poem by Chrétien de Troyes, although it is believed that Chrétien did not complete the text himself.


Relatively long work of narrative fiction, typically written in prose and published as a book.

Madame de Pompadour spending her afternoon with a book (François Boucher, 1756)
Paper as the essential carrier: Murasaki Shikibu writing her The Tale of Genji in the early 11th century, 17th-century depiction
Chaucer reciting Troilus and Criseyde: early-15th-century manuscript of the work at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
1474: The customer in the copyist's shop with a book he wants to have copied. This illustration of the first printed German Melusine looked back to the market of manuscripts.
Richard Head, The English Rogue (1665)
1719 newspaper reprint of Robinson Crusoe
Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy, vol.6, pp. 70–71 (1769)
Samuel Richardson's Pamela (1741)
Intimate short stories: The Court and City Vagaries (1711).
Image from a Victorian edition of Walter Scott's Waverley (1814)
Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852)
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Vladivostok, 1995
Chinua Achebe, Buffalo, 2008
Dan Brown
J. K. Rowling, 2010

While prose rather than verse became the standard of the modern novel, the ancestors of the modern European novel include verse epics in the Romance language of southern France, especially those by Chrétien de Troyes (late 12th century), and in Middle English (Geoffrey Chaucer's (c.


One of King Arthur's legendary Knights of the Round Table.

Parsifal by Rogelio de Egusquiza (1910)
Percival in Newell Convers Wyeth's illustration for Sidney Lanier's The Boy's King Arthur (1922)
Percival's attributed arms in later stories (following just a plain red shield of the Red Knight in Chrétien's Perceval)
Arthur Hacker's 1894 illustration of a scene from Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, in which Percival is tempted by a devil in the form of a beautiful woman

First mentioned by the French author Chrétien de Troyes in the tale Perceval, the Story of the Grail, he is best known for being the original hero in the quest for the Grail, before being replaced in later English and French literature by Galahad.

Holy Grail

Treasure that serves as an important motif in Arthurian literature.

The Damsel of the Sanct Grael by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1874)
Galahad, Bors and Percival achieve the Grail. Tapestry woven by Morris & Co. (19th century)
An early manuscript of the Lancelot-Grail (c. 1220)
Sir Galahad, the Quest for the Holy Grail by Arthur Hughes (1870)
The Holy Grail depicted on a stained glass window at Quimper Cathedral
Die Gralsburg (The Grail Castle) by Hans Thoma (1899)
The Grail in 1933 German stamp
King Pelles' Daughter Bearing the Sancgraal by Frederick Sandys (1861)
Grail diary of Henry Jones, Sr. from the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade at the Hollywood Museum

A "grail", wondrous but not explicitly holy, first appears in Perceval, le Conte du Graal, an unfinished romance written by Chrétien de Troyes around 1190.


Northern French form of the langue d'oc (Occitan) word trobador, the precursor of the modern French word troubadour.

Knowledge of French in the European Union and candidate countries

The first known trouvère was Chrétien de Troyes ( 1160s–1180s) and the trouvères continued to flourish until about 1300.


Hero of the legend of Tristan and Iseult.

Tristan and Isolde (Life) by Rogelio de Egusquiza (1912)
"Tristain's" attributed arms
Scenes from the story of Tristan on 13th-century tiles from Chertsey Abbey

Arthurian romancer Chrétien de Troyes mentioned in his poem Cligès that he composed his own account of the story; however, there are no surviving copies or records of any such text.