Tag Archives: 13thC

The tournament of Antechrist

Links to manuscripts of Huon de Méry’s narrative poem.

Huon de Méry’s Tournament of Antechrist is a fairly widely copied poem, the last item in Douce 308, the manuscript I’ve been working for a while, and a relatively frequent bookmate with Richard de Fournival’s Bestiaire of Love (which I’ve also been working on for a while). It’s an interesting mix of courtly tournament, Prudentian Psychomachia (although Prudentius is not mentioned), anti-heretical tract, political statement, dream-vision, and Chrétien de Troyes fan fiction (because the narrator gets lost in the forest of Brocéliande trying to find the fountain described in Yvain, which he does find and then makes the same error of disturbing the water). The narrator also name-checks the now more obscure author, Raoul de Houdenc

AF-Pn fr.1593. f.186r-207v (new/red foliation on gallica, starts 189r) starts with rubric, but space for an initial or illumination is only filled by Claude Fauchet’s 16thC identification of the author. In this source, the poem nestles in among some pretty obscene poems.

B. F-Pn fr.12469, f. 72. This is MS D of the Bestiaire d’amours, which is the first item in the manuscript and is followed by Goussin de Metz’s Image du Monde. Huon’s poem is followed by a list on the last folio of the MS of the sons of ‘Jehan Biese le viel’.

C. F-Pn fr.24432, f. 184ra-198Gb (black-and-white microfilm only). ff.194-5 missing. Part of a large collection of items including works by Rutebeuf, Jean de Saint-Quentin, Jean de Condé, Watriquet, and Marian items, . Full listing on Arlima.

D. F-Pn fr.25407, f. 213ra-244va [black-and-white microfilm images only)]. Huon’s poem comes last in a collection that includes a version of Goussin de Metz’s Image du Monde, works by Marie de France and Philippe de Thaon, as well as vernacular renderings of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer.

E. F-Pn fr.25566, f. 182v-207v; = TrouvW; Bestiaire d’Amours MS A; Renart le Nouvel MS V.  A large collection of items, notably the works of Adam de la Halle. A full listing is found on Arlima.

L. GB-Lbl Harley, 4417, f. 142r-170v. A 14thC manuscript containing only Huon’s poem, preceded by Le livre Sydrac. As far as I can tell (the BL search being unforthcoming and the website loading slowly today), this is not online.

O. GB-Ob Douce 308, f. 250r-283v. This is also Bestiaire d’amours MS O and Trouvère MS I. Huon’s work shares an illuminator with Richard’s but it is not assured that either were part of the original ordering of this book.

[R] Reims, Bibliothèque municipale, 1275, f. 71r-87r. This MS has works by Baudouin de Condé, Rutebeuf, and Raoul de Houdenc as well as many anonymous works. Full listing here. As far as I can tell, this source is not online.

[S] Stockholm, Kungliga biblioteket, Vu 22, f. 185r-237v. This 15thC manuscript is Machaut MS St and contains fixed-form poetry by Villon, Alain Chartier, Deschamps, Machaut, Christine de Pizan, Charles de Orléans, and others and is notably as having unnotated transmission of Machaut motet texts (M8). 

[T] Torino, Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria, L. V. 32, f.2-23. This manuscript, with extensive contents including works by Rutebeuf, Baudouin de Condé, Raoul de Houdenc, and others, was sadly destroyed in the library fire of 1904 but is partially transcribed in F-Pn Moreau 1727, although not, it seems, Huon’s poem.

[V] Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, 2602, f.1r-23v.  This MS from 1403 transmits Huon’s work first, followed by ballades and serventois, a work by Renaut de Louhans, and then more ballades and Love Questions.

My notes also say there is a copy in the Vatican library,  1361, but I’m not sure if that’s a date or a shelfmark and I can’t find any details on this. Do email me if you work it out!

Modern Editions

1851. Tarbé, [Louis Hardouin] Prosper. “Le Tournoiement de l’Antéchrist” par Huon de Méry(-sur-Seine). Reims.

1888. Wimmer, Georg, ed. “Li Tornoimenz Antecrit” von Huon de Mery, nach den Handschriften zu Paris, London und Oxford. Vol. 76. Elwert. [The original and still the best!]

1976. Bender, Margaret O. Le Torneiment Anticrist by Huon de Méri: A Critical Edition. Romance Monographs: University of Mississippi, 1976. Not completely clear that this is really ‘critical’. It certainly isn’t as good as Wimmer 1888.

1995. Orgeur, Stéphanie, ed. Huon de Méry, “Le tournoi de l’Antéchrist” (Le Tornoiemenz Antecrit): Texte établi par Georg Wimmer. 2nd entirely revised edition ed. Vol. 13. Orléans: Paradigme, 1994 [actually 1995]. This is a lightly re-touched version of Wimmer’s edition, without the extensive notes and with a facing-page modern French translation.

Clearly there’s a gap in the market here for a modern critical edition, perhaps one online so that the very different passages in the different versions are more easily able to be seen and taken seriously than they are when relegated to Wimmer’s footnotes and small-text critical notes. And there’s certainly a gap in the market for an English translation, especially now there’s a translation of the Raoul de Houdenc works that Huon cites.


What can we know from ‘unnotated’ estampies?

My essay on the estampies of the Oxford manuscript Douce 308 has just been published in a collection entitled Music and Instruments of the Middle Ages: Essays in Honour of Christopher Page, Edited by Tess Knighton and David Skinner.

Continue reading What can we know from ‘unnotated’ estampies?

Vernacular song (list A) lecture 3

A brief introduction to the trouvères.

Podlecture 3: The Trouvères

General reading

Read the Grove Music Online entries on:

For further reading and an overview of the secondary literature, see:

  • Doss-Quinby, Eglal. The Lyrics of the Trouvères: A Research Guide (1970-1990). Garland Medieval Bibliographies.  New York and London: Garland, 1994.


  • Tischler, Hans. Trouvère Lyrics with Melodies: Complete Comparative Edition. Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae. 15 vols Neuhausen: American Institute of Musicology and Hänssler-Verlag, 1997.

On the music of the Trouvères

  • Epstein, Marcia Jeneth, ed. “Prions en chantant”: Devotional Songs of the Trouvères. Vol. 11, Toronto Medieval Texts and Translations. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997.
  • Leach,  Elizabeth Eva. “Do Trouvère Melodies Mean Anything?”. Music Analysis 38, no. 1-2 (2019): 3-46.
  • Leach, Elizabeth Eva. “Imagining the Un-Encoded: Staging Affect in Blondel de Nesle’s Mes cuers me fait conmencier.” Early Music 48, no. 1 (2020): 29–40.
  • Mason, Joseph W. “Structure and Process in the Old French jeu-parti.” Music Analysis 38, no. 1-2 (2019): 47-79.
  • O’Neill, Mary. Courtly Love Songs of Medieval France: Transmission and Style in the Trouvère Repertoire.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
  • O’Sullivan, Daniel E. “Editing Melodic Variance in Trouvère Song.” Textual Cultures 3, no. 2 (2008): 54-70.
  • Page, Christopher. “Listening to the Trouvères.” Early Music 25 (1997): 638-59.
  • Quinlan, Meghan. “Can Melodies be Signs? Contrafacture and Representation in Two Trouvère Songs.” Early Music 48, no. 1 (2020): 13-27.
  • Saltzstein, Jennifer. “Cleric-Trouvères and the Jeux-Partis of Medieval Arras.” Viator 43 (2012): 147-64.

On manuscripts:

  • Haines, John. “Aristocratic Patronage and the Cosmopolitan Vernacular Songbook: The Chansonnier du Roi (M-trouv.) and the French Mediterranean.” Chap. 4 In Musical Culture in the World of Adam de la Halle, edited by Jennifer Saltzstein. Brill’s Companions to the Musical Culture of Medieval and Early Modern Europe, 95-120. Leiden: Brill, 2019.
  • Huot, Sylvia. From Song to Book: The Poetics of Writing in Old French Lyric and Lyrical Narrative Poetry.  Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987, chapter 2.

For digital images, see:


Some important trouvères:

  1. Thibaut de Champagne, or use your Grove Online login
  2. Gace Brulé, or use your Grove Online login
  3. Blondel de Nesle, or use your Grove Online login
  4. Richard de Fournival, or use your Grove Online login
  5. Gautier d’Espinal, or use your Grove Online login
  6. Gautier de Coinci, or use your Grove Online login and see a list of his MSS here
  7. Moniot d’Arras, or use your Grove Online login
  8. Jehan Bretel, or use your Grove Online login
  9. Audefroi le Bastart, or use your Grove Online login
  10. Adam de la Halle, or use your Grove Online login


Vernacular Song (list A) lecture 2

This podlecture continues a discussion of the troubadours, looking at song themes and genres.

Podlecture 2: The Troubadours 2

Good general reading

  • Cheyette, Fredric L. Ermengard of Narbonne and the World of the Troubadours. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001.
  • Paterson, Linda M. The World of the Troubadours: Medieval Occitan Society, c.1100-c.1300. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  • Schulman, Nicole M. Where Troubadours Were Bishops: The Occitania of Folc of Marseille (1150-1231). London: Routledge, 2001.

Definitions of courtly love

  • Bloch, R. Howard. Medieval Misogyny and the Invention of Western Romantic Love. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.
  • Kay, Sarah. Subjectivity in Troubadour Poetry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
  • Some history of the term ‘Courtly Love’ via Wikipedia, which has some useful links.
  • Lewis, C. S. The Allegory of Love. 1936. NY: Oxford University Press, 1958.

On the role of music

  • Aubrey, Elizabeth. ‘References to Music in Old Occitan Literature’, Acta Musicologica 61/2 (1989): 110–149.
  • Levitsky, Ann. ‘Song Personified: The Tornadas of Raimon de Miraval’, Mediaevalia 39 (2018): 17–57.
  • McAlpine, Fiona. ‘Authenticity and the “Auteur”: The Songs of Hugues de Berzé’, Plainsong and Medieval Music, 4 (1995), 1-12.
  • Peraino, Judith A. Giving Voice to Love: Song and Self-Expression from the Troubadours to Guillaume De Machaut.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

As before (in podlecture 1):


Check you know who or what the following are:

  1. Fin’ amors or courtly love
  2. Andreas Capellanus and his The Art of Courtly Love
  3. Chrétien de Troyes
  4. vassalage
  5. canso
  6. sirventes
  7. joc-partit / partimen
  8. pastorela
  9. coblas doblas
  10. Ovid on Love


Vernacular song (list A) lecture 1

This page hosts the audio for the first of my six ‘podlectures’ on Vernacular Song for List A Compulsory Topics (final year exams) at Oxford, delivered in this form because of ongoing restrictions caused by the current pandemic. It also gives links to some further reading and things mentioned in the audio.

NB: These podlectures form only part of the Vernacular Song topic as taught at Oxford, which is significantly supplemented by additional teaching in tutorials that demand extensive reading, essays, and presentations.

Podlecture 1: The Troubadours 1

Good general reading

  • Akehurst, F. R. P. and Judith M. Davis, eds. A Handbook of the Troubadours. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.
  • Gaunt, Simon and Sarah Kay, eds. The Troubadours: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
  • Rosenberg, Samuel N., Margaret Switten, and Gérard Le Vot, eds. Songs of the Troubadours and Trouvères: An Anthology of Poems and Melodies. New York and London: Garland, 1998 [book contains a CD of some of the music].
  • Stevens, Butterfield and Karp, ‘Troubadours, Trouvères’, Grove Music Online (2001), https://doi.org/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.28468.

Referring to individual troubadour songs

  • Pillet, Alfred, and Henry Carstens. Bibliographie der Troubadours. Halle (Saale): Max Niemeyer, 1933.

On the music

  • Aubrey, Elizabeth. The Music of the Troubadours. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.
  • Switten, Margaret, ed. The Cansos of Raimon de Miraval: a Study of Poems and Melodies. Cambridge, MA, 1985.

Handy access to poems and translations


Information about recordings


Information about manuscript images online



Check you know what, who, or where these are:

  1. vida
  2. razo
  3. coblas dobla
  4. Occitan
  5. Jaufre Rudel, or, if you have a subscription, try Grove online
  6. Bernart de Ventadorn, or, if you have a subscription, try Grove online
  7. senhal, and, if you have good Italian and are feeling generous, why not translate this page for English Wikipedia as the best thing in English is paywalled on Grove Music Online.
  8. PC numbers
  9. Eleanor of Aquitaine
  10. Beaumont Palace, Oxford


File:Carta Occitania.pdf