Sieges were a popular subject in medieval romances. Tales of the Crusades featured champions of Christianity capturing towns in the Holy Land or mounting heroic defences. The fall of a great city such as Troy, Thebes, or Jerusalem provided opportunities for the recreation of ancient chivalry and for reflections on historical change. Images of the siege in romances also point to other forms, such as drama and love allegory, where it represents the trial of the soul or the pursuit of the beloved. This book is the first full-length study of an important theme in medieval literature. Close reading of selected Middle English shows how writers used descriptions of sieges to explore such subjects as military strategy, heroism, chivalry, and attitudes to the past. This study also draws on a wide range of writings in several languages, to set the romances in a broad context. When they are seen against a background of military manuals, patristic commentary, pageantry, and love poetry, the sieges of romance take on deeper resonances of meaning and reflect the vitality of the theme in medieval culture as a whole.
`Wide ranging study ... a valuable survey of the representation and thematic uses of sieges in Middle English romances, which is thoroughly researched, clearly written, and refreshingly free of jargon. It contains, throughout, information and observations, particularly on several little-dealt-with romances, which will be of interest to readers of medieval romance.'
Bonnie Millar, MLR, 94.3, 1999.
`Hebron felicitiously combines close reading of texts with references to military realities and cultural values in this well-informed and judicious book.'
Forum for Modern Language Studies Vol.36 No.2
1: The Prose Siege of Thebes, Military Manuals and the Conduct of Sieges in the Later Middle Ages
2: Historical Sieges in Fourteenth Century Literature: the Siege Commander
3: Sieges and Salvation: Heroic Defences at Rhodes and Belgrade and The Sege of Melayne
4: Troy, Treason, and Tragedy
5: The Siege of Jerusalem
6: Allegorical sieges