Benoit de Sainte-Maure's Roman de Troie, dating to around 1165, is, along with the Roman de Thebes and the Roman d'Eneas, one of the three "romances of antiquity" (romans d'antiquite). These romances launched the plots, themes and structures of the genre, then blossoming in the hands of authors such as Chretien de Troyes. As an account of the Trojan War, Benoit's work is of necessity a poem about war and its causes, how it was fought and what its consequences were for the combatants. But the author's choice of the octosyllabic rhyming couplet, his fondness for description, his ability to recount the intensity of personal struggles, and above all his fascination with the trials and tribulations of Love, which affect some of the work's most prominent warriors (among them Paris and his love for Helen, and Troilus and his love for Briseida), all combine to fashion this romance - in which events from long ago are presented as a reflection of the poet's own feudal and courtly worlds.
This translation, the first into English, aims to bring the poem and the author to a wider audience. It is accompanied by an introduction and notes.
Glyn S. Burgess is Emeritus Professor of French at the University of Liverpool; Douglas Kelly is Emeritus Professor of French and Medieval Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.