The story of Troy, as everyone is aware, was unknown to the Middle Ages in the Homeric version. Two Latin prose works purporting to be derived from Greek contemporary accounts by Dares the Phrygian and Dictys the Cretan formed the basis of the mediæval tradition. These were elaborated into a French metrical romance by Benoît de Sainte maure in the twelfth century, and from him the Sicilian Guido delle Colonne derived the material for his Latin prose history of Troy. For the later Middle Ages Guido was the main source. It is to this tradition that Boccaccio’s romance of “Filostrato” belongs, with Chaucer’s expansion and paraphrase of it in his “Troilus.” On Guido also depends that French priest Raoul le Feure,〖H. C., xxxix, 5ff.〗 whom Caxton translated in Bruges and Ghent, and “finished in Cologne, in the time of the troublous world,” when England was torn by the Wars of the Roses, and there was little peace for letters at home. Under these circumstances it is perhaps little wonder that the chief justification he offers for his labor in translation is the hope that the destruction of Troy “may be example to all men during the world how dreadful and jeopardous it is to begin a war, and what harms, losses, and death followeth.”

The Troy story he continued in his translation of a French version of the “Æneid”〖H. C., xxxix, 24. For a modern translation, see H. C., vol. xiii.〗 of Virgil, “that noble poet and great clerk.” In this work he tells us he stood in great doubt between those advisers who urged him to use language which could be understood of the common people and those who wanted him to use the most curious terms he could find. He chose a middle path, “forasmuch as this present book is not for a rude uplandish man to labour therein he read it, but only for a clerk and a noble gentleman that feeleth and understandeth in feats of arms, in love and in noble chivalry.”

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