Roman Ideas in Medieval English Literature

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 6 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #15550


    I've been reading Geoffrey's 'History of the Kings of Britain', 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight', and various other Arthurian legends. One thing I have noticed a lot the author alluding to some event or practice associating England with Rome. An example is tieing Brutus (alleged colonizer and founder of Britain) to Aeneas, the Trojan who settled Italy which eventually led to Rome. What I'm wondering is, why did they do that? Why in 1300 did the newly Christianized (I don't think there were a lot of Christians in Britain during the Saxon era, correct me if I'm wrong) British suddenly began to associate themselves with Rome like the Gawain Poet? Was it French culture (Romance was a French word), England trying to make it seem more powerful, or something else?

  • #18004


    christianity had beeen the main religion in britain since about 800, probably since st . Augustine in around 600 and im guessing that with crusades not going all that well it seemed to many that the idea of roman might was supreme and something to be copied- of course this is only an amateurs opinion  :)

  • #18005


    Personally I can't help but think that it's part of trying to cast Britain in a similar light to previous 'super powers' of the day.  They'd seen the effects that the Roman Empire had on the world and Homer's stories of the battle of Troy had lasted for over a thousand years.  Geoffrey of Monmouth probably just wanted to link his historical events to those to lend power and (at the time) believeabillity to the story.

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