The Defining Characteristics
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12th-15th century (1100-1400)
Earlier romances in verse (poetic form)
Later ones sometimes in prose (NOT poetry)
Tales of courtly love and chivalric adventure
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Based on feudal ideal of chivalry
Code of Chivalry:
Emphasizes courage, grace, honor, love, loyalty,
valor, and humility
 both on and off the battlefield (high moral code)
 Includes the pledging of service to a lady—
honoring, revering, serving, and protecting her
reputation (placing her on a pedestal—to worship
from afar/on high)
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Are imbued with adventure, love, the
supernatural
Feature kings, knights, damsels in distress
Give a glamorous portrayal of castle life
(idealized)
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Most popular medieval romances surround
legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the
Round Table
Arthur—thought to have been a Welsh
chieftain (or Celtic king) in the 5th or 6th century
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Other names from the Arthurian legends:
Merlin (sorcerer & Arthur’s advisor)
 Camelot
 Excalibur (sword)
 Guinevere (Arthur’s wife)
 Lancelot (best friend and Knight of the Round Table)
 Other knights include Sir Galahad, Sir Gawain, Sir
Bedivere , Sir Percivale, Sir Lionell, Sir Kay, et al.
 Uther Pendragon (father)
 Igraine (mother)
 Morgan le Fey (half-sister)
 Mordred (nephew/son)
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Arthur
Mordred
Sir Lucan
Sir Gawain
Sir Bedivere
Hermit
Lady of the Lake
Three Queens
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Medieval Romance - Sanderson High School