The Nine (mutilated) Worthies

Brussels - KBR - 837-45, fol. 183v: The abrupt ending of The Nine Worthies (by courtesy of KBR Brussels)

Brussels – KBR – 837-45, fol. 183v: The abrupt ending of The Nine Worthies (by courtesy of KBR Brussels)

Geraardsbergen Manuscript, Text 89 (fols. 170v-183v)

By far the longest text in the Geraardsbergen manuscript is the well known verse text about the Nine Worthies: the nine most brave knights in history. The lifes and most remarkable deeds of three heathen knights (Hector of Troy, Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar), the Jewish knights (Joshua, David and Judas Machabeus) and three Christian knights (King Arthur, Charlemagne and Godfried of Bouillon) are described.

Compared to the other texts in this manuscript, the Nine Worhties seems the odd one out. It is longer and more narrative than most other texts. And there is one question that cannot be solved: was this really the last text in the manuscript? The text ends abruptly on the last leaf of the manuscript, leaving the reader in the dark about the end of Godfried of Boullion’s description and the epilogue. The scribe would have needed only a few more leaves. Did someone tear out the last bit, did it get damaged and therefore removed, or was the abrupt ending all the scribe did copy, or could copy? We will never know (but maybe…)

See also: the complete table of contents.

Go back to: Geraardsbergen Manuscript, Story 3

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