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Project report

Lyric Responses to the Crusades in Medieval France and Occitania

PI: Linda Paterson; Project Partner: Stefano Asperti; CI: Ruth Harvey; Consultant: Anna Radaelli; Research Assistant: Luca Barbieri.

This collaborative project, involving the University of Warwick, the University of La Sapienza in Rome, and Royal Holloway, University of London, was funded by the AHRC from 1 June 2011 to 31 Jan 2016, following a pilot study funded by the British Academy and the University of Warwick. Its activities have included the production of a major online resource freely available to researchers, students, teachers and the general public, research publications, public presentations and lectures, a one-day international conference in London open to the public, the publication of musical and spoken recordings, a presentation to schoolteachers, a poetry competition, and the creation of a music group Medieval Song at Warwick. The work done by the RA and Consultant has generated new university courses in Italy and Switzerland.
The following is a summary of activities and outputs.

Online resource
202 Old French and Occitan texts in either new or up-to-date critical editions have been published online, with translations and notes in Italian and English on the historical circumstances of their composition and other explanatory material: see <> and <>. During the course of the project numerous additional collaborators have contributed to the production of this resource, including Marjolaine Raguin who wrote a chapter on crusading rhetoric for the book Singing the Crusades (see ‘Books’). The resource is available for anyone to consult, copy and use freely, and is currently being used in the teaching of medieval courses at inter alia Bristol, Queen Mary College London and Fordham University New York. For the period 1 January – 6 April 2016 Google Analytics showed 605 users from the UK, Italy, the USA, Switzerland, France, Germany, Canada, Spain, Belgium and Japan, 52.5% of these being returning visitors.

The project website, constructed with the invaluable help of Steve Ranford and Mike Paterson, contains an introduction and background to the project, details of the team, the online publication of the Old French texts, access to the Occitan texts, and details of associated activities.

Two books emanating from the project have been published by Boydell in 2018:
1. Linda Paterson, Singing the Crusades: French and Occitan lyric responses to the crusading movement, 1137-1336, Cambridge, D. S. Brewer, 2018
2. Literature of the Crusades, ed. by Simon Thomas Parsons and Linda M. Paterson, Cambridge, D. S. Brewer, 2018 (see ‘Workshop’ below)

Journal articles
L. Barbieri, ‘Un sirventese religioso di Thibaut de Champagne: Diex est ausis conme li pellicans (RS 273)’, Cultura Neolatina, 73 (2013), 301-46
— ‘A mon Ynsombart part Troia: une polémique anti-courtoise dans le dialogue entre trouvères et troubadours», Medioevo Romanzo, 37 (2013), 264-95
—‘Le canzoni di crociata e il canone lirico oitanico’, Medioevi, 1 (2015), 45-74
—‘Thibaut le Chansonnier, Thibaut le Posthume: sur la réception de la lyrique française dans la tradition manuscrite’ (to appear in Critica del testo)
L. Paterson, ‘Une perspective aquitaine des croisades? Le témoignage des troubadours’, in L'Aquitaine des littératures médiévales (XIe - XIIIe siècle), ed. by Jean-Yves Casanova and Valérie Fasseur (dir.), Paris, 2011, pp. 181-99
—‘James the Conqueror, the Holy Land and the troubadours’, Cultura Neolatina, 71 (2011), 211-87
—‘Greeks and Latins at the time of the Fourth Crusade: Patriarch John X Kamateros and a troubadour tenso’, in Languages of Love and Hate. Conflict, Communication, and Identity in the Medieval Mediterranean, ed. S. Lambert and H. Nicholson, Turnhout, 2012, pp. 119-139
— ‘Vernacular lyrics as a source for crusading history: the example of Olivier lo Templier’, paper given at the 47th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Michigan, USA, May 2012
— ‘Austorc de Segret, [No s]ai qui.m so tan suy [des]conoyssens, BdT 41.1’, Lecturae Tropatorum, 5, 2012,
—‘Calega Panzan, Ar es sazos c’om si deu alegrar (BdT 107.1), Lecturae tropatorum, 5, 2012,
—‘Guillem Fabre, Pus dels majors (BdT 216.2) Hon mais vey, pus truep sordeyor (BdT 216.1)’, Lecturae tropatorum, 6, 2013,
—‘Peire del Vilar, Sendatz vermelhs, endis e ros (BdT 365.1)’, Lecturae tropatorum, 6, 30 June 2013, pp. 1-18,
—‘Anonimo, Finament (BdT 461.122)’, Lecturae tropatorum, 7 (2014), 1-35,
– ‘Lyric Responses to the Crusades. Parody and Dissent’, in Parodies courtoises, parodies de la courtoisie, ed. M. Madureira, C. Clamote Carreto and A. P. Morais, Paris, 2016, pp. 525-32
– ‘Troubadour Responses to the Reconquista’, Romance Philology, 70 (2016), 181-202

A. Radaelli, ‘voil ma chançun a la gent fere oïr: un appello anglonormanno alla crociata (London, BL Harley 1717, c. 251v)’, Cultura Neolatina, 73 (2013), 361-400

L. Barbieri and S. Asperti, ‘The Old French crusade song in its manuscript tradition: aristocratic choice and alternative points of view’, paper given at the workshop The Crusades: History and Literature (see ‘Workshop)
L. Barbieri, ‘Le canzoni di crociata e il canone lirico oitanico’, La lirica dei trovatori e dei trovieri. Giornata di studio, Verona, 8 novembre 2013
—‘Quando l’autore è re: il caso di Thibaut de Champagne’, Anomalie, residui e riusi nelle tradizioni liriche romanze medievali, Convegno internazionale, Milano, 16-17 giugno 2014
C. Lee, ‘Richard the Lionheart, the background to Ja nus homs pris’, paper given at the workshop The Crusades: History and Literature (see ‘Workshop)
L. Paterson, ‘Les troubadours autour des croisades orientales de Jacques le Conquérant: Olivier lo Templier’, paper given at the Xe congrès de l’AIEO, Béziers, 12-19 juin 2011
—‘Lyric responses to the crusades: parody and dissent.’ Paper given at the 14th international congress of the International Courtly Literature Society, Lisbon 22-27 July 2013 (article in press with the conference publications)
— ‘Singing the crusades’, Medieval French Seminar, St Catherine’s College, Cambridge, 30 October 2014
— ‘The cultural impact of the Albigensian Crusade’, a response to Martín Alvira Cabrer at an ESF Exploratory Workshop on Reassessing the role of late troubadour culture in European heritage, Girona (Spain), 13-15 November 2014
— ‘The Troubadours and the Crusades’, at a one-day conference in London on 23 September 2015 entitled New perspectives in Occitan literature, launching Grains of Gold. An Anthology of Occitan Literature with English translations by James Thomas, hosted by the Institute for Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London for a mixed audience of experts and the general public (keynote speaker)
— ‘Troubadours, trouvères and the Third Crusade’, paper given at a Symposium on ‘Saladin and the Third Crusade’, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, 4 March, 2016 (the inaugural meeting of a new international research network examining the history of the Third Crusade, set up by Thomas Asbridge of Queen Mary College, London).
– ‘Crusade lyrics and propaganda’, talk given at the Warwick Medieval seminar

– ‘The geography of the court in France and Occitania: spaces, audiences and the question of crusading propaganda’, talk given at the British Branch of the International Courtly Literature Society meeting held at St Andrews, 10-11 April, 2017

A. Radaelli, ‘Voil ma chançun a la gent fere oïr. An early crusade song at the Plantagenet court’, paper given at the workshop The Crusades: History and Literature (see ‘Workshop)

44 people attended an international interdisciplinary one-day workshop held in London on 22 March 2014. This was open to the public and was organised in collaboration with the historian Professor Jonathan Phillips of Royal Holloway College. For details of the papers by eleven speakers see <>. An attendee, Katarina Stulrajterová, wrote an account of the day in the Slovenian journal Historický časopis, 62 (2014), p. 379. A book of essays comprising a number of the talks given at this meeting, together with some further contributions, will be published by Boydell in 2017 under the (provisional) title Crusades and Poets.

Schools engagement
On 20 February 2016 Paterson presented the project website to schoolteachers at a meeting of the Teaching the Crusades Network organised in Oxford by the historian Thomas Asbridge, explaining the resources available on the website and suggesting ways in which teachers might exploit them in their teaching. The teachers were particularly interested in the ideas contained in the section on the Poetry Competition (see below), such as themes and a choice of related texts that could be used for pupils' project essays, and one was keen to launch a similar competition at his own school.

Poetry competition
Some 50 competitors, mainly but not exclusively schoolchildren, wrote a poem of up to 50 lines on the topic of 'Crusade' for a competition judged anonymously by the poet Grevel Lindop. There were prize-winners and runners-up in two categories, one age 16 and above and one up to and including age 15, and their poems are on the project website together with comments by the judge and by some of the authors. The activity engaged the imagination of the entrants in exciting and diverse ways and the standard of entry was generally high. The entries included poems by pupils from India, Pakistan, Canada and South Africa as well as the UK. The results can be read on <>. The judge observed that ‘There were some very fine poems, and it was fascinating and rewarding to see how young poets dealt imaginatively with the theme of “Crusade”, a topic apparently so far in the past but also with such strong contemporary relevance’. Warwick University’s International Gateway to Gifted Youth (IGGY) was helpful in letting young people know about the poetry competition, as was Jonathan Phillips who provided a list of various schools teaching the crusades at A-level.

A group of Warwick University students and staff led by Liam Lewis, then a final-year French Studies undergraduate, now a PhD student, has set up a medieval music group, Medieval Song at Warwick. The group has given free public concerts and made some recordings of these, along with individual performances of Occitan and/or Old French crusade songs: see <>.

Recordings have been made of Francesco Carapezza singing songs by Old French trouvères and Occitan troubadours, and of Gérard Gouiran giving a spoken performance of Occitan texts. These can be heard on the project website at <>. Also recorded is an interview with Professor Carapezza where he describes the music and his personal feelings about them, discusses what the manuscripts tell us about the melodies, and explains his approach to performing them (<>).

New university courses in Italy and Switzerland
The work being prepared by the project’s Research Assistant (Luca Barbieri) and Consultant (Anna Radaelli) inspired them to develop new courses at their universities. Anna Radaelli has used the Old French texts she is in charge of editing for our project to mount a taught course for musicologists at the University of La Sapienza, Italy, for the Laurea Magistrale in Musicologia. The thirty-odd students have already completed 3 years of the ‘laurea’ and are now beginning two years of specialisation, where they investigate both text and music. They are highly motivated and have produced a variety of mini-dissertations on subjects of their choice relating to music, texts and codicology, for example problems of analysis of the technical aspects of the music, interpretations of the music for performance purposes, musical iconography (for example instruments in manuscript illuminations), feudal and courtly vocabulary in the crusade songs, and the development of preaching and lyric reception of crusade propaganda in the texts studied.
Luca Barbieri has developed a course for Swiss students studying for bachelor's degree in general history or medieval French, La Terre Sainte au XIIe siècle, entre littérature et histoire, in collaboration with the historian Mathieu Caesar, and a further course for the Medieval literature seminar at the University of Neuchâtel, Les chansons de croisade, for the bachelor's degree in French.

Key findings
The process of identifying the relevant corpus of texts, re-editing many from the manuscripts, updating others, and re-examining their historical background, has led to a number of findings:
• the discovery of some fifty extra texts on top of the original corpus of c.150
• a revised chronology, with many texts being re-dated
• the need to revise received ideas of authorship
• differences between the Old French and Occitan traditions from the points of view of manuscript transmission, their geographical and political situations, and the choice and preservation of particular poetic genres
• a better understanding of the many specific historical circumstances of their production
• a greater awareness of the double perspective of Spain and the Holy Land in the troubadours, in contrast to the trouvères who show no interest in the Reconquista.

Linda M. Paterson
8 April 2016, updated 5 November 2018