Matter of Rome

Matter of TroyMatter of Troy and of Romeof RomeRomeThe Matter of Rome
According to the medieval poet Jean Bodel, the Matter of Rome was the literary cycle made up of Greek and Roman mythology, together with episodes from the history of classical antiquity, focusing on military heroes like Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar.wikipedia
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Matter of Britain

Arthurian legendArthurianArthurian romance
Bodel divided all the literary cycles he knew best into the Matter of Britain, the Matter of France and the Matter of Rome (although "non-cyclical" romance also existed).
It was one of the three great story cycles recalled repeatedly in medieval literature, together with the Matter of France, which concerned the legends of Charlemagne, and the Matter of Rome, which included material derived from or inspired by classical mythology.

Matter of France

Carolingian cycleCarolingianCarolingian romances
Bodel divided all the literary cycles he knew best into the Matter of Britain, the Matter of France and the Matter of Rome (although "non-cyclical" romance also existed).
Together with the Matter of Britain, which concerned King Arthur, and the Matter of Rome, comprising material derived from and inspired by classical mythology, it was one of the great literary cycles that figured repeatedly in medieval literature.

Chivalric romance

romanceromancescourtly romance
Bodel divided all the literary cycles he knew best into the Matter of Britain, the Matter of France and the Matter of Rome (although "non-cyclical" romance also existed).
Overwhelmingly, these were linked in some way, perhaps only in an opening frame story, with three thematic cycles of tales: these were assembled in imagination at a late date as the "Matter of Rome" (actually centered on the life and deeds of Alexander the Great conflated with the Trojan War), the "Matter of France" (Charlemagne and Roland, his principal paladin) and the "Matter of Britain" (the lives and deeds of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, within which was incorporated the quest for the Holy Grail); medieval authors explicitly described these as comprising all romances.

Literary cycle

cycleplay cycleliterary cycles
According to the medieval poet Jean Bodel, the Matter of Rome was the literary cycle made up of Greek and Roman mythology, together with episodes from the history of classical antiquity, focusing on military heroes like Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar.

Jean Bodel

Chanson de SaisnesJeu de Saint Nicolas
According to the medieval poet Jean Bodel, the Matter of Rome was the literary cycle made up of Greek and Roman mythology, together with episodes from the history of classical antiquity, focusing on military heroes like Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar.

Old French

FrenchMedieval FrenchOF
Classical topics were the subjects of a good deal of Old French literature, which in the case of Trojan subject matter ultimately deriving from Homer was built on scant sources; since the Iliad and the Odyssey were unknown, medieval Western poets had to make do with two short prose narratives based on Homer, ascribed to Dictys Cretensis and Dares Phrygius.
At the beginning of the 13th century, Jean Bodel, in his Chanson de Saisnes, divided medieval French narrative literature into three subject areas: the Matter of France or Matter of Charlemagne; the Matter of Rome (romances in an ancient setting); and the Matter of Britain (Arthurian romances and Breton lais).

Roman de Troie

Le Roman de Troiewar of TroyLegend of Troy
For example, in the epic poems Roman d'Alixandre and the Roman de Troie, Alexander the Great, and Achilles and his fellow heroes of the Trojan War were treated as knights of chivalry, not much different from the heroes of the chansons de geste.
It inspired a body of literature in the genre called the roman antique, loosely assembled by the poet Jean Bodel as the Matter of Rome.

Chanson de geste

chansons de gesteCarolingian legendschansons
For example, in the epic poems Roman d'Alixandre and the Roman de Troie, Alexander the Great, and Achilles and his fellow heroes of the Trojan War were treated as knights of chivalry, not much different from the heroes of the chansons de geste.
This distinguished them from romances concerned with the Matter of Britain, that is, King Arthur and his knights; and with the so-called Matter of Rome, covering the Trojan War, the conquests of Alexander the Great, the life of Julius Cæsar and some of his Imperial successors, who were given medieval makeovers as exemplars of chivalry.

Benoît de Sainte-Maure

Benoît de Sainte-MoreBenoît de Saint-MaureBenoît
The paucity of original text did not prevent the 12th century Norman poet Benoît de Sainte-Maure from writing a lengthy adaptation, Le Roman de Troie, running 40,000 lines.
His 40,000 line poem Le Roman de Troie ("The Romance of Troy"), written between 1155 and 1160, was a medieval retelling on the epic theme of the Trojan War which inspired a body of literature in the genre called the roman antique, loosely assembled by the poet Jean Bodel as the Matter of Rome.

Dares Phrygius

Dares the PhrygianDaresDares of Phrygia
Classical topics were the subjects of a good deal of Old French literature, which in the case of Trojan subject matter ultimately deriving from Homer was built on scant sources; since the Iliad and the Odyssey were unknown, medieval Western poets had to make do with two short prose narratives based on Homer, ascribed to Dictys Cretensis and Dares Phrygius.
Together with the similar work of Dictys Cretensis (with which it is generally printed), the De excidio forms the chief source for the numerous medieval accounts of the Trojan legend, the so-called Matter of Troy.

Achilles

Achilleustragic championA'''chilles
For example, in the epic poems Roman d'Alixandre and the Roman de Troie, Alexander the Great, and Achilles and his fellow heroes of the Trojan War were treated as knights of chivalry, not much different from the heroes of the chansons de geste.
This strand continues in Latin accounts of the Trojan War by writers such as Dictys Cretensis and Dares Phrygius and in Benoît de Sainte-Maure's Roman de Troie and Guido delle Colonne's Historia destructionis Troiae, which remained the most widely read and retold versions of the Matter of Troy until the 17th century.

Troilus and Criseyde

Troilus
Geoffrey Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde is an English example, with Chaucer adding many elements to emphasize its connection with the matter.
It is part of the Matter of Rome cycle, a fact which Chaucer emphasizes.

Roman d'Enéas

EneasEnéas
Another example of French medieval poetry in this genre is the Eneas, a treatment of the Aeneid that comes across as being a sort of burlesque of Virgil's poem.

Sir Orfeo

King OrfeoOrfeoSir Orpheo
This anachronistic treatment of elements from Greek mythology is similar to that of the Middle English narrative poem "Sir Orfeo", where the Greek Orpheus becomes the knight Sir Orfeo who rescues his wife Heurodis (i.e. Eurydice) from the fairy king.
This treatment of elements from Greek mythology is similar to that of the Old French literary cycle known as the Matter of Rome, which was made up of Greek and Roman mythology, together with episodes from the history of classical antiquity, focusing on military heroes like Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar – where the protagonists were anachronistically treated as knights of chivalry, not much different from the heroes of the chansons de geste.

Classical mythology

Greco-Roman mythologyclassicalclassical myth
* Classical mythology

Middle Ages

medievalmediaevalmedieval Europe
According to the medieval poet Jean Bodel, the Matter of Rome was the literary cycle made up of Greek and Roman mythology, together with episodes from the history of classical antiquity, focusing on military heroes like Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar.

Poetry

poempoetpoems
According to the medieval poet Jean Bodel, the Matter of Rome was the literary cycle made up of Greek and Roman mythology, together with episodes from the history of classical antiquity, focusing on military heroes like Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar.

Greek mythology

GreekGreek mythmythological
According to the medieval poet Jean Bodel, the Matter of Rome was the literary cycle made up of Greek and Roman mythology, together with episodes from the history of classical antiquity, focusing on military heroes like Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar.

Roman mythology

RomanRoman godRoman goddess
According to the medieval poet Jean Bodel, the Matter of Rome was the literary cycle made up of Greek and Roman mythology, together with episodes from the history of classical antiquity, focusing on military heroes like Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar.

Classical antiquity

antiquityclassicalancient
According to the medieval poet Jean Bodel, the Matter of Rome was the literary cycle made up of Greek and Roman mythology, together with episodes from the history of classical antiquity, focusing on military heroes like Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar.

Alexander the Great

AlexanderAlexander III of MacedonAlexander of Macedon
According to the medieval poet Jean Bodel, the Matter of Rome was the literary cycle made up of Greek and Roman mythology, together with episodes from the history of classical antiquity, focusing on military heroes like Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar.

Julius Caesar

CaesarGaius Julius CaesarJulius Cæsar
According to the medieval poet Jean Bodel, the Matter of Rome was the literary cycle made up of Greek and Roman mythology, together with episodes from the history of classical antiquity, focusing on military heroes like Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar.

Trojan War

Fall of TroySiege of TroyTroy
For example, in the epic poems Roman d'Alixandre and the Roman de Troie, Alexander the Great, and Achilles and his fellow heroes of the Trojan War were treated as knights of chivalry, not much different from the heroes of the chansons de geste. The Matter of Rome also included what is referred to as the Matter of Troy, consisting of romances and other texts based on the Trojan War and its after-effects, including the adventures of Aeneas.

Aeneas

aeneusÆneasEnea
The Matter of Rome also included what is referred to as the Matter of Troy, consisting of romances and other texts based on the Trojan War and its after-effects, including the adventures of Aeneas.

Homer

HomericHomeric epicsHomeric poems
Classical topics were the subjects of a good deal of Old French literature, which in the case of Trojan subject matter ultimately deriving from Homer was built on scant sources; since the Iliad and the Odyssey were unknown, medieval Western poets had to make do with two short prose narratives based on Homer, ascribed to Dictys Cretensis and Dares Phrygius.