The James Catalogue of Western Manuscripts

Shelfmark O.9.34
Manuscript Title

Thomas of Kent, Romance of Alexander

Alternative Title

Romance of Alexander

James Number 1446
Date Cent. xiii (1250).
Century 13th
Physical Description

Double columns of 46 lines. In a good clear hand (English), with a large number of excellent drawings.


Marked H 12. No. 326. The volume is illustrated by 152 pictures in fine outline, lightly washed with colours, green, red, and blue - green being perhaps the most conspicuous. The work is excellent: and the style of both drawing, colouring and writing inclines me to hazard the conjecture that the birthplace of the volume was St Alban’s Abbey. The frames of the drawings are edged (alternately, roughly speaking) with green and pink.

Religious House St Albans, Hertfordshire, Benedictine Abbey
Size (cm) 29 x 20.5
Folio 46 ff.
Material Parchment
Language Old French

Quires gone at beginning. 18 28 (wants 3,6) 38 quire or quires gone, 48 (wants 8) 58 (wants 1,2,4,5,8) 68 (marked xj) 78 (marked xij: wants 4,5).

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The Romance of Alexander, in French verse, by Eustache (or Thomas) of Kent.
The following paragraphs are epitomized from a MS. account by M. Paul Meyer drawn up in, 1871 (kept with MS).
Two other MSS. of this poem are known.
1. The only complete copy, formerly in the Library of the Due de la Vallière (no.2702), now Bibl. Nat. Fonds de la Vallière 45.
On this see Legrand d'Aussy, Notices et Extraits, V. 121.
Weber, Metrical Romances, I. xxv, copies him.
This MS. closely resembles ours in the writing and the miniatures.
2. Durham Cathedral Library, C. IV. 27 B, without miniatures: mutilated. See P. Meyer in Archives des Missions, 1867.
The poem is partly original and partly copied from the Roman d'Alexandre of Lambert le Tort and Alexander of Bernay (ed. Michelant, Stuttgart, 1846). Speaking broadly, ff. 1-7, 39 (co1. 4)-46, of this Ms. represent the borrowed portions.
The author of the poem in this MS. calls himself Eustache: in the Paris MS. the reading is Thomas. The Durham MS. has a lacuna at the point.

To these remarks of M. Meyer I add the following notes.
The portions of text preserved in this copy are
1. f.1. Meint poindre ben enpris les autres fet corocer
(Michelant, p.177, v. 32).
-f.10b. Darie od sa grant ost nus est aprochee.
One leaf lost.
2. f.11. A plein curs le siwent teus vint mile poigneur.
-f.13b. Ke longes nel pussent soffrir ne endurer.
One leaf lost.
3. f.14. A vn consail en sont quant la lettre est oie.
-f.22b. Por cor te mande ke fes dreis deis lesser.
At least one quire gone.
4. f.23. Kil ait merci de nus e doint nus sa creance.
-f.29b. Tant duos e tant prince e tant riche almazur.
Three leaves lost.
5. f.30. Entra i alisandre ke les deus somunt.
-f.30b. Au bosoin en auerei cent mile cheuauchanz.
Two leaves lost.
6. f.31. Veinterez vos enemis tuz regnes conquerrez.
-f.32b. Siblent e crient haut ensement come tempeste.
One leaf lost.
7. f.33. Od ses faucons hauteins veneit de riuer.
-.43b. Ki il consillera ia nen serrad mendist.
One leaf gone.
8. f.44. A deus poinz se chopine e sa face engratine.
-f.44b. Quant tholomeu le redresce e soef le chastie.
Ci finist le romauns de tute chiualerie.
Divisions of the poem, indicated by larger initials, remain at:
1. f.8a. (Coment darie se consilla a ses amis.)
Ceste ki veut oir ou estorie traiter.
2. f.22b. (Coment le reis alisandre consilla sa gent.)
Coe ke len troue escrit deit len auant traire.
3. f.29b. (Coment alisandre entra en ethiopie.)
Pur nient le di seignor ben sauez la verror.
4. f.39b. (Ci comencent les regrez alisandre.)
Uenuz est li termes ke larbres eurent dit.

The rubrics and pictures are as follows:
1. f.1b. La iuste entre eumenidus et gadifer de lariz.
Gadifer on R. falls. Behind is Alexander, crowned, on Bucephalus who has horns. Ihe three men are all in chain-mail.
2. f.2a. Coment le duc de naaman survint as foreis.
Coment eumenidus envead por socurs a alisandre.

Alexander and men on L. A messenger in tunic with mailed legs on horseback approaches, and points to a troop of horsemen on R. The nearest horse is covered with chain-mail.
3. f.3a. Coment Alisandre vint a socurs a eumenidus.
Coment eumenidus asbati lamirail de sarkleis.

Battle scene. The Admiral is dismounted and offers his sword to Eumenidus who is about to strike him.
4. f.3b. Coment Alisandre iusta au duc de Carthage.
Coment A. tua le duc de Carthage.

The duke occurs twice, once on horseback, and again dead on the ground.
5. f.4a. C. Le duc betiz fut oscis et desconfit.
C. la cite de gadres fut destruite
Alexander pursues Betiz into the gate of a falling city on R.
6. f.4b. C. bale li duc de tyr destruit la tour Alisandre.
C. la gent Alisandre furent penez a tyr.

A tower on an island: water full of corpses. Men being cast down from the tower by mailed warriors: a warrior picking at the base of the tower.
7. f.5a. C. Al. sul asailli la cite de tyr.
C. Al. oscist le rei de tyr.

On L. Alexander on scaffold shooting with cross-bow. Man in boat below. On R. Alexander within a wall kills the king, whose legs are flourishing in the air.
8. f.5b. C. Al. asega la cite daraigne.
C. Al. dona la cite a vn chiualer.

Alexander in tent on L.: man with glove kneels to him, another holds up two large keys and points to city on R.
9. f.6a. C. Le duc betiz purchaca aie.
C. Al. asist la cite de gadres.

On L. a group of hideous ogres with tusks, armed with maces etc.: other warriors attack a tower in which are wounded men. On R. in tent Alex. shoots with bow.
10. f.6b. La iuste entre Al. e le duc poncon.
C. Al. fut nafre sur bucefal.

A tilt. Two men falling, Alexander is wounded.
11. f.7a. C. Al. oscist le duc poncon.
C. Le duc betiz fui en gadres la cite.

On L. the tilting. Poncon falls. Betiz rides into city on R.
12. f.7b. C. Al. oscist le duc betiz.
C. la cite de gadres fut prise e destruite.

Alex. beheads Betiz. Both are on horseback. On R. the city: keys are given to Alex. (on foot).
13. f.8a. Des messagers le rei darie od le respons Al.
C. darie se consilla a ses amis.

On L. Darius seated. Two messengers. In C. a tree. On R. Darius standing Six counsellors on R.
14. f.8b. Des dozze messagiers darie enveez a Al.
Des iueaus ke D. enuea a Al. par gabetteurs.

Alex. throned on R. On L. twelve messengers with green wreaths. The two first carry a gold ball and a white cord.
15. f.9a. C. les messagers darie returnent.
Le mandement Al. au rei D.

Darius throned on L. Twelve messengers kneel on R. Another standing holds letter inscribed Sachez ke ieo go|uerner dei ti toz (?) ta | grant honur.
16. f.9b. le mandement D. a Al.
C. Al. saprosca a D.

On L. a mule (?), four horses saddled, a servant on one. In C. Alex. Two messengers with letter-bags receive a letter from him. Two trumpeters behind.
17. f.9b. De la cite de babilonie ou est asis.
C. D. se consilla a sa gent.

Trees on R. and L. In C. Darius seated among counsellors.
18. f.10b. Ci comence la bataille entre Al. e D.
C. Al. conforta sa gent.

Two squires put a crowned helmet on Alex.'s head. On R. he rides addressing his troops.
19. f.11a. C. D. se contint en sa bataille.
C. tyberie abati le duc salome.

Battle scene.
20. f.11b. C. D. senfui de la bataille.
C. Al. porsiwi le rei D.

Darius riding away on R., pursued.
21. f.11b. C. le rei Al. les morz prea (?puruea).
C. Al. prist la mere D. e sa femme.

On L. two men lift a mailed corpse, others lie below. Alex. stands weeping. On R. soldiers lay hands on the two women: a man adjusts fetters on the legs of one while a soldier holds her dress out of the way.
22. f.12a. C. Al. asega la cite de thebes.
C. les citeins de thebe se defendirent.

An assault of two troops outside the city.
23. f.12b. C. Al. venga la mort son hom.
C. Al. oscist le athenien.

Another battle scene outside a city: men shoot from the wall.
24. f.13b. C. Demosthenes fist la cord as atheniens.
C. dem. presenta Al. vne corone dor.

Alex. in tent. Demosthenes (old and bearded, in skull cap), with sword and crown, kneels to him.
25. f.14a. C. Al. asega lacedemonie la cite.
C. Al. prist la cite de Lacedemonie.

Battle scene. On R. a very tall gay city surrounded by water.
26. f.14b. C. Le rei D. restora sa bataille.
C. Le rei D. se consilla a ses barons.

Darius on L. Counsellors on R. All seated.
27. f.15b. C. Al. se mist arme en leiue de tygre.
C. Le rei Al. fut pres néé.

Alex. fully armed under water: agitated men on the bank on R.
28. f.15b. C. Al. acupa le accuser son mire.
C. Al. fist pendre parmeinon.

Alex. on L. on couch. A man in a cap pours something out of a pipkin into a bowl. An attendant lays hands on Parmenio who is bound, and has a rope round his neck.
On R. Parmenio hangs on a gibbet on two uprights.
29. f.16a. La chinalerie le duc tholomeu.
De salome le duc e archelau frere Darie.

A battle scene. Water flowing vertically down on L. (between the columns of writing).
30. f.17a. La secunde bataille contre D. le rei.
C. Al. vint en socurs as soens.

Battle scene: a blue horse is noticeable.
31. f.17b. De la traison au rei D.
C. D. pramist guerdon a oscire Al.

Darius stands speaking to a man with a sword.
32. f.17b. C. vn chiualer D. surma des armes vn griu.
C. le chiualer desguise feri Al. au dos.

On L. the traitor slips a mail shirt over his head. The stripped corpse lies by him. On R. he is on horseback and smites Alex. in the back with a broken sword.
33. f.18a. C. Le traitre person fut pris
C. Le reis Al. deliuera son traitre.

Soldiers lay hold on the traitor. On R. Alex. throned among courtiers, the prisoner, with others, before him.
34. f.19a. C. Al. se mist a la carole rei D.
C. Al. prist la cupe le rei D.

A scene of feasting. Darius on L. speaking. Alexander in front (as a page) laying hands on the cup.
35. f.19b. C. Al. oscist le persant.
C. Al. senfui de la curt D.

On L. Alex., in crown and tunic, holds the bridle of a horse, and splits the head of a Persian. On R. he rides off with the cup.
36. f.20a. La tierce bataille Al. contre D. Le ost D. contre lost Al.
C. Al. ordena ses escheles. C. le rei D. ordena ses escheles.

A battle scene extending across the page.
37. f.20b. C. le rei D. senfui.
C. les persanz furent desconfiz.

Alex. splitting the head of a Persian. Darius rides into a city.
38. f.20b. Le mandement ke D. envea a Al.
C. rei Al. sen orguillist contre D.

Darius (?) throned on L. giving a letter. Man with halberd and letter-bag walks off on R.
39. f.21a. C. D. pria socurs de porre rei de ynde.
La lettre D. kil enuea a P. rei de ynde.

Porus throned on K. receives letter from one of two messengers with letter-bags.
40. f.21b. C. deus serganz tuerent D. le rei.
C. Al. le rei troua darie nafre.

Two men pierce Darius on horseback : one has a hooked nose.
41. f.21b. C. Al. fist enbasmer le cors D.
C. Al. fist enterrer le cors D.

Darius laid in a tomb. A man pours a vial over him. Alex. stands looking sadly upon him. Nine other figures.
42. f.22a. C. les murdrissors D. se musirerent a Al.
C. Al. fist pendre les murdrissors D.

Alex. throned on L. Two men with swords before him. On R. the two men hang on a gibbet, blindfold.
43. f.22a. La conclusion del liuere Al.
De maistre eustace ki translata cest liuere.

Eustace writing in a chair, with pen and knife. His desk is fitted into the arms of his chair. He is either tonsured or bald, and wears a green gown with a hood.
44. f.22b. Des messagers le rei Porre de ynde maiur.
C. le reis Al. consilla so. gent.

Three messengers on L. Alex. in C. Counsellors on R.
45. f.23a C. Al. sailli sul en la cite.
Alex. leaping from the top of a walled city into the inside, warriors attacking without.
46. f.23a. Des genz a vn pie dont il se couerent.
Nude man on L. eats red fruit from a tree. By another tree a man kneeling among flames. On R. a Sciapus shading himself with his one large foot.
47. f.23b. Del messager a vn pie ke vint a Al.
Alex. on horse on Z. On R. a huge Cyclops, bearded, with one leg and a crutch, pointing up.
48. f.23b. De gog e magog ke manguent la gent.
Four hideous hairy men among trees: one eats a human arm, the next kills a man, the two others eat snakes and toads.
49. f.24a. Des genz ke tuz iurs viuent en la mer.
A large and hideous man in the water about to devour a man.
50. f.24a. Des genz ke manguent taupes e soriz.
Three very hairy men: one digs with a spade, the other two eat moles or rats.
51. f.24a. Des bons feueres e bons guerreors.
One covers a horse with mail, one examines a helmet, another a sword, the fourth forges a helmet on an anvil.
52. f.24a. Des turcs e ceus ke manguent les genz e chens.
On L. a man sits at table in a building. On R. a horrible hairy man sits eating fragments of a dog.
53. f.24b. Des monstres ke cotiuent saturne.
On L. a city, on R. three hideous men raising their hands to a star in the sky.
54. f.24b. Des genz ke nagent suz la mer.
Three men row a boat under water, one other stands on the sea bottom and pulls down a ship with three men in it.
55. f.24b. Des genz forgairs des armes.
Three stumpy men. One forges a ring on an anvil, another handles a mail shirt.
56. f.25a. Des riphaires e de lur noblai.
A city gate on L. A page with whip holds a mailed horse. In C. a knight on foot draws his sword against a winged dragon in air.
57. f.25a. C. Al. mut son ost.
Alex. rides at the head of a troop.
58. f.25a. C. Al. entra en terratonte.
He walks down a gangway out of a ship in which are seven men.
59. f.25b. C. la reine de sythe vint a Al.
She stands crowned and points to a group of women with shields and spears, holding helmets, on L. Alex. on R.
60. f.25b. Des deus reines de amazonie.
Alex. on L. Two queens in C. Troop of amazons on R. with shields and spears.
61. f.26a. C. ceus de taraconte se defendirent.
Three men dig a trench. City and balista on R.
62. f.26a. Des destreiz le maupas e le asaut.
Alex. and troop on R. Footmen shooting from R.
63. f.26b. C. Al. se combati en mer.
Alex. in ship in which is a catapult. Archers high up on land on L.
64. f.26b. C. Al. enchasca gog e magog.
They fly to R. on horseback. They are in mail, with hideous faces.
65. f.27a. C. Al. asega gog e magog.
Alex. in tent on L. City on R. with two hideous men, one eating a human arm.
66. f.27a. C. Al. vesqui suz les ewes.
A covered ship with windows under green water. Alex. and three men in it.
67. f.27b. Des nefs ke sont apelees colifas.
A similar ship in the water : no one visible in it.
68. f.27b. C. Al. encercha la nature de pessons.
Alex. and two men in the ship. Fish and mermaid below.
69. f.28a. C. Al. areisona son ost.
He addresses a troop : all on foot and unarmed.
70. f.28a. C. Al. sacrifia contre gog e magog.
Alex. and men on L. riding. On R. Alex. kneels at a burning altar.
71. f.28b. C. deu aprist Al. enclore gog e magog.
Alex. and others kneeling at the altar. God appears in a cloud.
72. f.28b. Des columpnes ke Al. fist en la mer.
An enclosure of slender columns. Behind them two hideous nude men.
73. f.29a. Des batailles Al. as portes Caspias.
Alex. and troop riding through a gate. Ugly men shoot from a wall on R.
74. f.29a C. Al. sen ala des griffeins.
Alex. riding with a troop. One points upwards.
75. f.29a Des quatre monz les plus hauz del mond.
Four tall green mounts: on the second from L. is an altar.
76. f.29b Des monz darmenie e larche noe.
Alex. and others on L. The ark on a mount in C. A native on R.
77. f.29b C. Al. entra en ethiopie.
Alex. and another land from a ship.
78 f.30a Del responds ke. Al. oi al mont ardant.
Alex. suprised and two others. A green mount with flames on R.
79. f.30a C. Al. e porrus repairent en ynde.
The two kings ride to L. with attendants.
80. f.30a Des messagers la reine candace et de ses iueaus.
Alex. and Porus on R. on horses. Two messengers on L. One holds up a ring and gives Alex. a letter directed Al rei Alisandre.81. f.30b De Candace la reine de ethiope.
In a building Candace seated: by her lady with a lapdog. A messenger on L. delivers a letter.
82. f.30b Des messagers ke candace enuead a Al.
Alex. and two others on R. A messenger gives a letter inscribed Nulle ren coueit tant / en mun desir come uus / prendre a semur e uus mai / muaeat (?)
83. f.31a C. la gent Al. furent en plurs.
Four men weeping.
84. f.31a C. Al. coueri sa dolur.
Tree on L. Alex. points to it and addresses three men on R.
85. f.31a C. Al. vint al arbre de la lune/
Three men. Alex. kneels. Tree in C. On R. the priest seated on a throne. He is clad in a beast's skin and has mitre and crozier, a wide mouth with tusks, and a long black beard.
86. f.31a. C. larbre respondi a Al.
Three men. Alex. weeping. Tree in C. Priest seated on R. leaning head on hand.
87. f.31b. C. le prestre menad Al.
The priest leads Alex. to L. Tree on R.
88. f.31b C. Al. conforta sa gent.
He addresses five men on R.
89. f.31b C. Al. defendi sa gent.
A similar scene.
90. f.32a. C. Al. repeira a faacen.
He rides with troop to R. On R. are two snakes and a winged dragon.
91. f.32a De la bataille as dragons.
Two winged dragons fighting.
92. f.32a Des genz tut nuz ke sont apele seseres.
Alex. and men on horseback on L. Three nude men point to R., one has a sceptre.
93. f.32b Des bons ouerurs des dras de seie.A nude man seated and weaving a green fabric on a loom with shuttle.
94. f.32b. Del poeple ke est apele seres e de lur dreiture.
Two nude men, one with a patterned fabric unrolled, the other with a roll of stuff.
95. f.32b. C. les seres guierent Al.
Two nude men lead Alex.'s horse to R.
96. f.33a. C. les messagers porrus defierent Al.
Alex. and courtiers. Two bearded men on R. address him.
97. f.33a. C. Al. recut le defiement P.
Alex. and courtiers. One of the messengers with foot in stirrup.
98. f.33a. C. Al. consilla sa gent sur le defiement.
Alex. and four councillors seated.
99. f.33b. C. P. duta la batailled singulere.
Porus seated with hand to face. Four councillors seatedon R.
100. f.33b. C. la bataille fu grantez entre les deus reis.
Two messengers. Alex. and courtiers on R.
101. f.33b. C. Al. porprist la praerie.
Alex. and men riding. A tower on R.
102. f.34a. C. Al. saparilla a la bataille.
Squire holding helmet and shield. Alex. in mail with spear. Page holding horse on R.
103. f.34a. De la bataille entre deus reis.
They kill each others horses.
104. f.34a. C. Al. oscist le rei P.
On foot. Alex. transfixes his helmet.
105. f.34b. C. les yndiens firent homage a Al.
He is throned in C. Men on each side crown him.
106. f.34b. Del filz la reine candace c. vint quere Al.
A beardless prince with a troop.
107. f.34b. C. tholomeu porta la message candeule.
Ptolemy bearded before a king.
108. f.35s C. Al. se deguisa.
Alex. in a skull-cap. A prince kneeling to a king on R.
109. f.35a C. Al. se fist apeler antigon.
Alex. before two throned kings.
110. f.35a C. Al. alad en la compaignie candeule.
He rides with the king.
111. f.35b. C. Al. conquist la femme candeule.
Prince on L. Alex. and queen join hands. One stabs the king on R.
112. f.35b C. candeule conduit Al. a sa mere.
Prince and queen ride. Alex. follows.
113. f.35b. C. Al. turna son non come messager.
Prince holds Alex.'s hand. King on R.
114. f.36a. De coe ke amant est auogele en sei.
Prince and Alex. ride together.
115. f.36a. C. Al. salue la reine candace.
Alex. and Prince on L. Candace throned. A fiddler and harper on each side.
116. f.36b. C. candeules areisonna sa mere.Alex. and Prince. Candace throned.
117. f.36b. C. Candace mostra a Al. ses tresors.
Alex. and Candace seated. A heap of crowns, brooches etc on R.
118. f.36b. C. Candace mostraa Al. se ymage.
She shews him a statue of a king holding a sceptre.
119. f.37a. La desputeison entre Al. e C.
They argue.
120. f.37a. C. Al porrut la reine C.
Alex. and Candace in curtained bed.
121. f.37a. C. les filz C. vout oscire Al.
Candace and Alex. at table. The prince, in mail with sword, speaks.
122. f.37b. C. C. defendi Al.
At table. The prince draws his sword. Candace lays her arms on Alex.s neck.
123. f.37b. C. C. conforta Al.
They sit together talking.
124. f.37b. C. C. honura Al. au partir.
She gives him a pile of crown, two brooches and three balls.
125. f.38a. De babilonie la grant e la tur babel.
Nembroth stands on L. The tower of Babel with two workmen.
126. f.38a. C. babilonie est asie entre deus ewes.
The city with five gates. Two streams run vertically down the whole page.
127. f.38a. C. Al. vint a babilonie.The city as before. Alex. and another approach on horses.
128. f.38b. C. Al. fut garni de sa mort par sa mere.
A messanger delivers a letter to him.
129. f.38b C. Antipater apparilla la poison.
Antipater, a hideous man in a skull-cap, seated, pours a flagon into a wooden keg on his lap, held by an attendant.
130. f.38b. C. Al. al manger but la poison.
A feast. Alex. drinks out of a cup.
131. f.39a. C. Al. se lessa morir.
Alex. in bed with eyes closed. Five men weeping.
132. f.39a. C. les poeples sortirent por le cors Al.
Three groups of men round the bier.
133. f.39a. C. Al. les deus ordnerent la sepulture Al.
Men at head and foot of the bier. God with cross-nimbus speaks from a cloud above.
134. f.39b. Del doel sur la tumbe. Al.
The corpse laid in a stone tomb. Six men stand weeping.
135. f.39b. Ci comencent les regrez Al.
Des messagers enueez par tutes terres.

Throned king sends out two messengers.
136. f.40a. De la feste le rei Al. e de la poison.
On L. under an arch a group of six men: one kicks at a closed door: within on R. a woman supports the dying Alexander.
137. f.40b. C. les macedones ellurent perdicas a rei.
Alex. crowned in a bed holding a crown: seven men stand by him.
138. f.40b. C. Al. dona sa femmea perdicas.
Alex. in bed joins the hands of his wide and Perdiccas.
139. f.41a. C. Al. dona egypte a tholomeu.
In bed: he hands a sceptre to Ptolemy.
140. f.41a C. Al. dona tute perse a cliton.
141. f.41b C. Al. dona nubie a eumenidus.
142. f.41b. C. Al. donad ynde a ariste.
143. f.41b. C. Al. surrye a antioche.
144. f.42a. C. Al. donad cesarie a philote.
145. f.42a. C. Al. donad esclauonie a licanor.
Similar. Philotas takes the hand of a weeping woman.
146. f.42a. C. Al. dona a cannus milete.
147. f.42b. C. Al. dona aufrike a lyonne.
148. f.42b. C. Al. donad grece a antigon.
149. f.42. C. Al. donad carthage a arides.
150. f.43a. C. Al. donad lerminie a paul.
151. f.43a. C. Al. corunad les dozze pers.
Alex. in bed. Six crowned men at his head, six at his feet. He touches the crown of one of the latter.
152. f.43a. C. Al. se lessad morir.
Alex. lying back in bed. The crowned men at head and feet as before.

On the last leafe is a drawing, xv, xvi, of a dragon with a scroll
a tort ieo suis(?)


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