Roman de Brut c. 1155
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c. 1155 The Roman de Brut by Wace is the earliest surviving vernacular chronicle of British history written in Norman French. It is named after ‘Brutus’, who was the legendary founder and first king of Britain. Its author, Wace, was born on the island of Jersey, in the Channel Islands, some time after 1100 and he died between 1174 and 1183. Some have suggested that he was of noble birth, but there isn’t much evidence for this.
DATABASES
c. 1155 The Roman de Brut by Wace is the earliest surviving vernacular chronicle of British history written in Norman French. It is named after ‘Brutus’, who was the legendary founder and first king of Britain. Its author, Wace, was born on the island of Jersey, in the Channel Islands, some time after 1100 and he died between 1174 and 1183. Some have suggested that he was of noble birth, but there isn’t much evidence for this.
Le Roman de Brut, finished around 1155, is considered to be the first vernacular “history” of Britain.  Writing in Norman French, Wace considered his work to be more of a “translation” than an original chronicle, having used Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regnum Britanniae as a model/base.  In turn, Wace’s Brut served as a model for several poets and writers of history.  Starting from the mythic foundations of Britain under Brutus, the Brut follows the subsequent development of Britain drawing from a multitude of sources.  The Brut is also well-known for its contributions to the burgeoning Arthurian mythos, containing both the first mention of the Round Table and the name Excalibur as Arthur’s sword.  Much of the secondary literature about the Brut is concerned with this legendary perspective.
The Brut or Roman de Brut (completed 1155) by the poet Wace is a loose and expanded translation in almost 15,000 lines of Norman-French verse of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Latin History of the Kings of Britain.[1] It was formerly known as the Brut d'Engleterre or Roman des Rois d'Angleterre, though Wace's own name for it was the Geste des Bretons, or Deeds of the Britons.[2][3] Its genre is equivocal, being more than a chronicle but not quite a fully-fledged romance.[4] It narrates a largely fictional version of Britain's story from its settlement by Brutus, a refugee from Troy, who gives the poem its name, through a thousand years of pseudohistory, including the story of king Leir, up to the Roman conquest, the introduction of Christianity, and the legends of sub-Roman Britain, ending with the reign of the 7th-century king Cadwallader. Especially prominent is its account of the life of King Arthur, the first in any vernacular language...
Around 1155, Wace adapted the ‘Historia Regum Britanniae’ into the French ‘Roman de Brut’. Arthur becomes the ultimate symbol of strength and glory through his triumphs. Wace was the first to mention the Round Table: to him, it represented a model of ideal society.
In the long line of Arthurian chroniclers Geoffrey of Monmouth
deservedly occupies the first place. The most gifted and the most
original of their number, by his skilful treatment of the Arthurian
story in his _Historia Regum Britanniae_, he succeeded in uniting
scattered legends attached to Arthur's name, and in definitely
establishing their place in chronicle history in a form that persisted
throughout the later British historical annals. His theme and his
manner of presenting it were both peculiarly adapted to win the favour
of his public, and his work attained a popularity that was almost
unprecedented in an age that knew no printed books. Not only was it
accepted as an authority by British historians, but French chroniclers
also used it for their own purposes...
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