In this paper we will discuss some aspects of Chrétien De Troyes’ romance “Erec et Enide” (“Erec and Enide”). The aspects we shall consider are the description of King Arthur’s court, the décor of Erec’s coronation robe and the representation of four liberal arts in the text of the romance.
First of all, the King Arthur’s court resembles as much the court of English Kings of the late XII century (the century, in which Chrétien lived and worked). Among the knights of King Arthur are depicted both English knights and “from many a different country there were counts and dukes and kings, Normans, Bretons, Scotch, and Irish” (De Troyes). It is simply the reflection of the present English court, at that time conquered by Norman-French, but not the real image of Arthur’s court for he probably was a V-VI legendary British leader. The thrones, on which King and Queen were seated, were made of white ivory and with great skill. Chrétien repeats that “There was no part of wood, but all of gold and fine ivory” (De Troyes) in them, which allows us to think that these materials were in high value and were used for décor in the palaces of English and French kings of XII century.
The depiction of four liberal arts is the key feature, which allows us to measure the value of knowledge with nobility of XII century. These four liberal arts are geometry, arithmetic, music and astronomy. They were valued in secular education among nobility, in contrast to other three arts, which were usually attributed to monks and the clergy (these are dialectics, rhetoric and grammatics).
Seated beside King Arthur, Erec was dressed in “watered silk”. The depiction of his robe’s décor is quite vivid. This mantle was “all worked and woven with thread of gold. The fur lining that was sewed within, belonged to some strange beasts…[which] live in India and…are called “barbiolets”” (De Troyes). It allows us to judge that dressing was also a part of sekf-worth and very important for nobility of Chrétien’s time.
Thus, in our paper we have managed to give a short description and historical commentary to some key details of Chrétien De Troyes romance “Erec et Enide” which are: the description of King Arthur’s court, the décor of Erec’s coronation robe and mantle and the representation of four liberal arts in the text of the romance.
Chetien De Troyes. Erec et Enide. Project Gutenberg e-book. Web. 29 Apr. 2011.