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Title: Tirant lo Blanch; a study of its authorship, principal sources and historical setting

Author: Joseph Anthony Vaeth

Release date: July 24, 2021 [eBook #65913]

Language: English

Credits: Nahum Maso i Carcases, Emmanuel Ackerman and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)


Transcriber’s Notes:

The original spelling, hyphenation, and punctuation have been retained, with the exception of apparent typographical errors which have been corrected.


Columbia University




30-32 West 27th Street

Amen Corner, E.C.

30 North Szechuen Road





1754 Columbia University Press 1893

New York
All rights reserved


Copyright, 1918

By Columbia University Press

Printed from type, May, 1918


Approved for publication, on behalf of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures of Columbia University.

Henry Alfred Todd

New York, December, 1917.







On my return to Columbia University in the fall of 1914 for the purpose of continuing my studies, I consulted Professor H.A. Todd in regard to available subjects for a doctoral dissertation. In the course of our conversation he called my attention to a large volume which had been presented to him by Mr. Archer M. Huntington. It was a facsimile copy of the first edition of the Catalan romance of chivalry, Tirant lo Blanch. Realizing that here was an opportunity to become intimately acquainted with a work that was made well known, in name at least, by Cervantes in his celebrated Don Quijote, I eagerly accepted the suggestion of Professor Todd to examine the book with a view of ascertaining what possibilities Tirant lo Blanch might offer in the field of literary investigation. I immediately began to consult the local libraries, and discovered that no elaborate and extensive study of this work had been made. After I had read the romance my mind was made up that the subject of my dissertation would be based on this Catalan work. I saw in it an abundance of material which provided excellent opportunities for research work. I experienced no little difficulty in selecting the special problems and investigations which were to claim my close and serious attention. Fortunately I again looked over the cards in the Catalogue of the Library of the Hispanic Society, and to my surprise I found a new card which indicated that a critical study of this Catalan work had been published in 1912, the Estudio crítico de Tirant lo Blanch by Givanel Mas. After a careful study of this comprehensive and scholarly production and all[x] other available sources of information pertaining to this subject, I found myself deeply interested in the question of the authorship of this romance, its principal sources, and its historical setting.

During the course of my researches and investigations, I have on numerous occasions been the recipient of favors and acts of kindness which, although not bearing directly on my work, nevertheless facilitated my labors and stimulated my efforts. I therefore take advantage of this opportunity to express my most sincere thanks to the following persons: to Doctor Peter H. Goldsmith, Director of the Inter-American Division of the American Association for International Conciliation, and Editor of the Inter-America; to Don F. Javier Salas, Consul General of Spain at New York; to Professor H.C. Heaton of New York University; and to Mr. Louis Imbert of Columbia University.

To Professor E.B. Babcock of New York University I am deeply indebted for sympathetic encouragement and valuable suggestions, and for his patient reading of the proof-sheets.

I am exceedingly grateful to Professor J.L. Gerig of Columbia University for a critical reading of the MS., for suggesting certain improvements, for his good will and helpful advice, and for his final reading of the proof-sheets.

It is extremely difficult to express in an adequate manner my appreciation and gratitude to Professor H.A. Todd, who, from the beginning to the end of the work, advised, guided, and encouraged me. His kind and never-failing interest in his students and their work is, it is needless to say, a constant source of inspiration.



Introduction 1
Quotation from Don Quijote, with comments.—Valencia edition of Tirant lo Blanch.—Barcelona edition of 1497, of which the only complete copy known is in the library of the Hispanic Society.—Other editions and translations published.—Scope of this study.  
Chapter I. The William of Warwick Episode 7
William of Warwick a noble and valiant English knight.—He makes a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, returns, and lives as a hermit near Warwick.—Moorish invasion of England.—William of Warwick becomes the hermit-king and the commander of the English forces.—Defeat and annihilation of the Moors.—He gives back to the former king the royal insignia, and retires to a new hermitage.—The King of England announces an assembly of the General Court in London.—Meeting of Tirant lo Blanch and the hermit, William of Warwick, at the hermitage.—The marriage of the king and the festivities of the General Court.—On his way back to Brittany Tirant visits the hermit.—The principal events that took place near and in London.—Tirant proclaimed the best knight.—His exploits: he vanquishes two champions of the field, also the Lord of Viles Hermes; without arms he kills a fierce mastiff; he vanquishes the kings of Friesland and of Poland, and the dukes of Burgundy and of Bavaria; his prospective combat with Kirielayson de Muntalba; he defeats Thomas de Muntalba; combat with the Knight Villa Formosa.—Narration concerning the Order of the Garter.—Tirant takes leave of the hermit and returns to Brittany.  
Chapter II. Tirant succors the Knights of Rhodes 26
Tirant is received with great honors in the city of Nantes. He learns that the knights of Rhodes are besieged by the [xii]Moors and are in a desperate plight.—On a large ship heavily laden with provisions he, accompanied by Philip, the youngest son of the King of France, sets sail for Rhodes.—Makes landing at Lisbon.—Voyage resumed.—Ship attacked by Moorish vessels but finally reaches Sicily.—Philip becomes a suitor for the hand of the Sicilian princess, Ricomana.—The king of Sicily accompanies Tirant and the ship succeeds in reaching the castle of Rhodes.—The Moors raise the siege.—Tirant, with his royal companions, goes to Jerusalem and then to Alexandria, where he ransoms many Christian captives.—Philip marries Ricomana.  
Chapter III. Tirant joins the Expedition of the King of France against the Infidels 31
Tirant, in a galley of his own, joins the combined fleet of the Christians.—Attack on the city of Tripoli in Syria fails.—Quarrel between Tirant and Ricart lo Venturos for the honor of being the last to board the ship.—The Turkish coast is plundered and devastated and fleet sails for Tunis.—In the attack on that city Tirant falls in a ditch and is rescued by Ricart.—Tunis is captured.—Fleet sailed along coast of Barbary and finally disbanded at Marseilles.—Tirant visits his parents and then, at the request of Philip, returns to Sicily.  
Chapter IV. Tirant enters the Service of the Emperor of Constantinople 33
At the request of the Emperor of Constantinople, Tirant sets sail for that imperial city, and immediately upon his arrival is named commander of the Emperor’s forces.—He falls in love with the charming princess, Carmesina.—Opposition to Tirant.—Princess warns him against the treacherous Duke of Macedonia.—Tirant’s novel way of confessing his love.—Review of the Imperial troops.—First encounter with the Turks.—The Duke defies Tirant.—Two thousand soldiers sent by the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes arrive to help Tirant.—Tirant’s strategy wins another victory.—The Turks decide that Tirant must be slain.—The King of Egypt’s challenge accepted by Tirant.—Quarrel between Tirant and the Duke.—Five thousand men sent by Philip, now king of Sicily, arrive to join Tirant.—Emperor and Princess visit the camp.—Great rout of the Turks.—Tirant’s companion, [xiii]Diaphebus, appointed Constable.—Tirant captures ships laden with provisions for the enemy.—Fleet of the Grand Caramany and the King of Sobirana India dispersed and the royal leaders captured.—Tirant obliged to remain in bed in Constantinople in order that a serious wound received in naval battle may heal.—Arrival of five thousand “franc archers.”—Tirant’s passionate love.—Viuda Reposada’s jealousy.—Diaphebus marries Stephania.—Tirant in Carmesina’s chamber.—Hippolyte and the Empress.—Tirant and Carmesina exchange vows.—Tirant embarks to return to camp.—Tirant’s ship is driven by a storm to the shores of Barbary, where it is wrecked.  
Chapter V. Tirant conquers all Barbary 54
Tirant reaches the shore and takes refuge in a cave.—He is discovered and sent to a castle in the kingdom of Tremicen as a prisoner.—He takes up arms in defense of this kingdom, which is attacked by Scariano, the King of Tunis.—Maragdina, the daughter of the King of Tremicen, is captured by Scariano, who, in his turn, is captured by Tirant.—Maragdina, Scariano, and a multitude of Moors become Christians.—Several Moorish kings of Barbary determine to exterminate the Christians, but are forced to give up their designs.—Tirant now makes up his mind to conquer all Barbary.—The siege of Montagata.—Senyor Dagramunt and Plaer de mi Vida become the king and queen of Fez and Bugia.—Caramen, the last city to oppose the Christians, is captured.—Tirant gathers an army of 250,000 men at Constantine to reconquer all the lost territory for the Emperor of Constantinople.—Christianity is firmly established in Barbary.  
Chapter VI. Tirant returns to Constantinople and the Greek Empire is completely restored 61
Tirant’s immense expedition surprises the Moorish vessels which blockade the port of Constantinople.—The Sultan and the Grand Turk sue for peace.—Tirant’s visit to the Imperial Palace.—The Emperor’s conditions of peace accepted by the Moors.—The betrothal of Tirant and Carmesina.—He is proclaimed Caesar of the Empire and successor to the imperial crown.—He sets out with a large army to accomplish the restoration of the empire.—This task completed, he starts back for Constantinople.—His death.—The despair and passing away of the Emperor [xiv]and Carmesina.—Hippolyte becomes Emperor.  
Chapter I. In what Language was Tirant lo Blanch first written? 69
Purport of dedicatory letter.—Note at the conclusion of the book.—Reasons for doubting the accuracy of the statements made by Martorell and de Galba.—Was there an English original of Tirant lo Blanch?—Was there a Portuguese translation or a Portuguese original?—Parallel passages from Lull’s Libre del Orde d’Cauayleria and from Tirant lo Blanch.—Others from Lo Somni d’En Bernat Metge and from Martorell’s work.—Strong evidence that Tirant lo Blanch was originally written in Catalan.  
Chapter II. In what Way was de Galba connected with the Production of Tirant lo Blanch? 91
De Galba asserts that he translated the fourth part, the end of the work.—The book is not divided into four parts.—The inconsistency of the proposed seven parts explained.—Internal evidence refutes the statements of de Galba.—Perhaps he composed the last chapter.—Probably did no more than to prepare the MS. for the printer.  
Chapter I. William of Warwick stands for the Mature Guy of Warwick 97
View generally held that Tirant lo Blanch stands for Roger de Flor.—A close study of Guy of Warwick tends to change that view.—The William of Warwick episode is based on the latter part of the career of Guy of Warwick.—The principal part of Lull’s work which was utilized in the episode.  
Chapter II. Tirant lo Blanch resembles young Guy of Warwick 104
Tirant and Guy are victors in knightly contests.—Their love affairs.—Guy’s career at Constantinople.—Comparison[xv] with Tirant’s career at that imperial city.  
Chapter III. Roger de Flor’s Career at Constantinople 112
Arrival of the Catalan-Aragonese expedition.—Battle between the almogávares and the Genoese.—First victory over the Turks.—Roger begins his triumphant march through Anatolia.—Arrival of reinforcements.—The power of the Turks completely broken.—Roger proclaimed Caesar of the empire.—He is slain at Adrianople.—Points of resemblance in the careers of Tirant lo Blanch and Roger de Flor.  
Chapter IV. Other Material from the Chronica utilized by Martorell 117
The Emperor’s attitude towards the Genoese.—Xor Miqueli.—Arrival of reinforcements.—The story of Paris and Helen.—En Fernan de Ahones.—The raising of the siege of Messina.  
Chapter V. Other Material from Guy of Warwick 122
The shipwreck of Heraud.—The story of Earl Jonas of Darras.—Felice was well versed in the seven arts.—Guy’s desperate love.—Oisel’s devotion to Tirri.—Felice justifies her attitude towards Guy.—Felice’s expression of grief and despair as Guy lies dead on the bier before her.—The love story which unfortunately is debased by the author.—Conclusion: Tirant lo Blanch bears a stronger resemblance to Guy of Warwick than to Roger de Flor.—The exploits of Roger de Flor do not constitute the principal source of Tirant lo Blanch.  
Chapter I. The William of Warwick Episode 133
This episode is given a setting in the first part of the fifteenth century.—Henry VI and Richard of Beauchamp.—Sir John Stuart and the Duke of Exeter.—The author’s method in composing his work.  
Chapter II. Concerning the Order of the Garter 140
Inconsistency of two passages in Tirant lo Blanch.—Circumstances that led to the institution of this Order.—Names[xvi] of members selected by the King.—Golden Collar of the members.—Although some of the details are inaccurate from a historical standpoint, yet Martorell reveals an intimate knowledge of the Order.  
Chapter III. Tirant succors the Knights of Rhodes 146
The attempt of the Genoese to capture Rhodes.—Rhodes threatened by the Turks.—Siege of Rhodes, in 1444, forms the historical background of Tirant’s enterprise.  
Chapter IV. Tirant joins the Expedition of the King of France against the Infidels 150
Certain incidents and geographical names pertaining to this expedition coincide with certain others in connection with the Crusades of Louis IX.—Joinville’s description of the king’s leap into the sea compared with a later version.  
Chapter V. Tirant conquers and christianizes all Barbary 152
Portuguese campaigns against the Moors do not furnish any material for this undertaking.—Statements in regard to the origin of Tirant lo Blanch apparently refuted.—Muntaner’s Chronica furnished historical background for Tirant’s activities in Barbary, perhaps suggested by Guy of Warwick.  
Conclusion 158
General description of Tirant lo Blanch.—This Catalan romance of chivalry is a composite historical novel, with a hero of a composite historical character.  
Bibliography 163
Index 165




In Chapter VI of the immortal work, Don Quijote de la Mancha, is given a glowing account of the burning of the books to which were ascribed the mental derangement of the “ingenioso hidalgo.” In the passage in question, Cervantes, speaking through the priest, pays the following tribute to the Catalan romance of chivalry, Tirant lo Blanch:

[1]Válame Dios, dijo el Cura, dando una gran voz.—Que aquí esté Tirante el Blanco! Dádmele acá, compadre; que hago cuenta que he hallado en él un tesoro de contento y una mina de pasatiempos. Aquí está D. Quirieleisón de Montalbán, valeroso caballero, y su hermano Tomás de Montalbán, y el caballero Fonseca, con la batalla que el valiente de Tirante hizo con el alano, y las agudezas de la doncella Placerdemivida, con los amores y embustes de la viuda Reposada, y la señora Emperatriz, enamorada de Hipólito, su escudero. Dígoos verdad, señor compadre, que, por su estilo es éste el mejor libro del mundo: [2]aquí comen los caballeros, y duermen, y mueren en sus camas, y hacen testamento antes de su muerte, con otras cosas de que todos los demás libros deste género carecen. Con todo eso, os digo que merecía el que lo compuso, pues no hizo tantas necedades de industria, que le echaran á galeras por todos los días de su vida.[2]

[1] Bless me, cried the Priest in a low voice, and is Tirante the White here? Give it to me, gossip, for I reckon that I have found herein a treasure of delight and a mine of entertainment. Here you have Don Qurieleison of Montalvan, the valiant cavalier, and his brother Thomas of Montalvan, and the Knight Fonseca, with the fight which the valiant Tirante had with the big mastiff, and the witty conceits of the damsel Placer-de-mi-vida, and the amours and tricks of the widow Reposada, and my Lady the Empress in love with Hippolito, her squire. I tell you truth, good master gossip, that this for its style is the best book in the world. Here the Knights eat and sleep and die in their beds, and make their wills before dying, with other things that are wanting in all other books of this sort. For all this, I say that he who wrote it is well-deserving; for he did not commit follies purposely which should send him to the galleys for the term of his life—Don Quixote of La Mancha, translated by Henry Edward Watts, London, 1888.

[2] Cervantes, El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha. Edited and annotated by Francisco Rodríguez Marín, Madrid, 1911; vol. I, chap. vi, pp. 160-163.

The last sentence of this quotation is not clear. It has become the subject of many comments and discussions, but no wholly satisfactory explanation has resulted. Menéndez y Pelayo intimates that probably the sign of negation should be omitted from the clause “pues no hizo tantas necedades de industria.” If this were done the passage would make good sense. In the second volume, page 76, of his Introducción a los Orígenes de la Novela he suggests another explanation. He quotes a passage from Juan Rufo which reads as follows: “mas a fe que en algo errárades, y yo fuera presidente, que os avia de echar a galeras pues no podiades hazello de ignorancia.” He is of the opinion that Cervantes expressed or intended to express the same idea as that contained in the words just quoted, but that in some way “industria” was substituted for “ignorancia.” If Cervantes had used the latter word instead of the former, the sentence in question would be free from obscurity. However that may be, it is evident that the judgment of Cervantes concerning Tirant lo Blanch was expressed in a humorous way. Almost the whole of it consists of words of praise. The only adverse criticism is to be found in the last sentence, whereby Cervantes voices his objections to the nonsense and obscene features of the work.

According to Menéndez y Pelayo, the whole sentence would be clear if the clause, “pues no hizo tantas necedades de industria,” were not one of negation. It seems to me possible and practicable to remove the negative meaning from the clause without omitting or changing any words that are now found in the text. The clause may be made affirmative, emphatically affirmative, by resorting to the rhetorical device of converting it into a negative interrogation. The sentence may as a result appear complicated, but orally expressed it would not seem unnatural or forced. The passage, with this change in punctuation, would read: “Con todo eso, os digo que merecía el que lo compuso, pues, ¿no hizo tantas necedades de industria? que le echaran á galeras por todos los días de su vida.”


Tirant Lo Blanch was first published in Valencia, in 1490. Of this edition there are three copies extant: one in the British Museum, another in the Biblioteca Provincial in Valencia, and the third in the library of the Hispanic Society of New York.[3] Mr. Archer M. Huntington, founder of the above Society and a distinguished patron of Spanish letters, had two hundred facsimile copies made from the last one mentioned.[4] One of these was used in the investigations connected with this dissertation.

[3] For the history and description of these three copies see D. Isidro Bonsoms y Sicart, La Edición príncipe del “Tirant lo Blanch” Cotejo de los tres ejemplares impresos en Valencia, en 1490, únicos conocidos hoy día (Discursos leídos en la Real Academia de Buenas Letras de Barcelona en la recepción pública de D. Isidro Bonsoms y Sicart, Barcelona, 1907). Also see Juan Givanel Mas, Estudio crítico de Tirant lo Blanch, Madrid, 1912; pp. 27-34.

[4] Ibid., p. 59.

A second edition was published in Barcelona, in 1497. While I was in that city in the summer of 1915, I saw fragments of a copy of this edition in the Institut d’Estudis Catalans. It is to these fragments that Givanel Mas refers in the following words: “Los únicos pliegos que se conocen hoy día de la edición barcelonesa de 1497 del Tirant lo Blanch, se hallan en la Biblioteca del Institut d’Estudis Catalans; comprenden desde el capítulo ccxviiii al ccccxciii y del ccccxxxix al ccccxlv.”[5]

[5] Ibid., p. 41, footnote 2.


It therefore affords me great pleasure to be able to announce that the Hispanic Society of New York has in its possession a complete copy of the edition of 1497. It is gilt edged and is bound in leather of a yellowish, almost brown, color. Its back is decorated with gilded lines and bears the title Roman del Cavaller | Tirant Blanc | Barcelona | 1497. The title page is missing, but at the end of the book a fragment of paper bearing the words “Tirant lo Blanch” in large letters is pasted on a flyleaf. This fragment is probably a part of the title page. The edges of several pages at the beginning and at the close of the book had been torn, but they have been neatly mended. A considerable number of pages are somewhat soiled, but all are easily legible. The facsimile reproduction of a page of the fragments in Barcelona, which Givanel Mas has inserted in his work, coincides exactly with the corresponding page of the book in the library of the Hispanic Society. This author has also set forth other interesting details concerning the edition of 1497.[6] The colophon of the edition reads:

[6] Ibid., pp. 38-42.

A honor y gloria d’nostre senyor deu Jeusucrist: fon principiat a stampar lo present libre per mestre Pere miquel condam y es acabat per Diego de gumiel castella en la molt noble e insigne ciutat de Barcelona a .xvi. de Setembre d’l any .M. CCCC. XCVII.[7]

[7] To the honor and glory of our Lord God, Jesus Christ: the printing of this book was begun by Master Pere Miquel Condam and is completed by Diego de Gumiel, a Castilian, in the most noble and excellent city of Barcelona on the sixteenth day of September of the year 1497.

In 1873 Don Mariano Aguiló y Fuster of Barcelona began the publication of a new edition, but it was not completed until 1905. In this edition the work is divided into four volumes.[8]

[8] For further information concerning this edition, see Juan Givanel Mas, op. cit., pp. 43-58.


A Spanish translation of Tirant lo Blanch was published in Valladolid, in 1511.[9] The name of the translator is not known. The eminent Catalan book-lover and scholar, Don Isidro Bonsoms y Sicart, of Barcelona, has a copy of it in his library. We have no information in regard to the existence of any other copy. An Italian translation was made by Lelio Manfredi and published in Venice, in 1538.[10] A French translation by the Comte de Caylus was published about 1737; London is given as the place of publication, but this is probably incorrect.[11]

[9] Ibid., pp. 61-76.

[10] Ibid., pp. 70-89.

[11] Ibid., pp. 90-104.

In the course of my studies of Tirant lo Blanch, I have found myself confronted by three important questions: (1) What are the real facts concerning the authorship of this book of chivalry? (2) Is it true that Tirant, the hero of the book, stands for the historic personage Roger de Flor, in connection with the Catalan-Aragonese expedition to Constantinople in the early years of the fourteenth century? (3) What are the historical data utilized by the author in the composition of his work? Each of these problems I have investigated, and the processes and results are duly set forth in their appropriate places in this work. Three distinct parts of it will be devoted to a consideration of these three questions. They will be preceded by an analysis of Tirant lo Blanch, to which the reader will be referred whenever it may be deemed expedient or necessary. The analysis is, moreover, intended to throw light on all the points mentioned in the quotation from Don Quijote; to give a fuller account of the activities of Tirant than has been done up to the present time; and to give as accurate an idea of the book as a reasonable allotment of space will permit.




On the delightful island of England there lived a noble and valiant knight. For many years he performed with great honor the duties pertaining to knighthood. This noble representative of chivalry was Earl William of Warwick. He was very strong and well-trained in the use of arms. Many were the battles in which he took part, and many a formidable adversary was vanquished by him. (Chap. 2)

Having reached the age of fifty-five years, moved by sorrow and contrition for the many deaths he had caused in his knightly career, he resolved to do penance for his sins by making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The announcement of his intention to the Countess, his wife, caused her a severe shock. The Earl called his servants before him and paid them all that was due them and much more. To the Countess he gave possession of the whole county, with the privilege of doing with it what she wished. He caused a gold ring to be made bearing his escutcheon and that of the Countess. This ring was wrought in such a way that it could be divided into two parts, each being a complete ring in itself, but showing only one half of the escutcheons. One of these he gave to the Countess, asking her to keep it until his return. In long lamentations she bewailed her sad fate. But the Earl was resolute, and with tears streaming[8] down his cheeks took leave of his wife and son, the latter being only three months old. Leaving the city of Warwick accompanied by a squire, he sailed to Alexandria, and thence made his way to Jerusalem. Here he made a careful and contrite confession of his sins and received Holy Communion. After visiting the Holy Sepulcher and other holy places in this city, he returned to Alexandria, and set sail for Venice, where he dismissed his squire, who, in accordance with the instructions given him by his master, spread the report that Earl William of Warwick was dead. The Earl also had merchants write letters to England, in which they told that William of Warwick had died while returning from Jerusalem. The Countess was grief-stricken when she received the bad tidings, and caused funeral obsequies to be celebrated in a manner befitting the Earl’s station. (Chaps. 2-4)

After some time had elapsed the Earl returned to his native land. He was greatly changed in appearance. Long hair hung over his shoulders, and his snow-white beard reached to his girdle. In the garb of a Franciscan monk, he came to a hermitage of Our Lady not far distant from the city of Warwick, and there lived all alone, avoiding all worldly affairs in order that he might make atonement for his transgressions. Once a week he went into the city of Warwick to solicit alms. No one recognized him, on account of his beard and long hair. He used to go to the Countess to ask for charity, and she, touched by his profound humility, would give to him more than to the other mendicants. And thus he lived undisturbed for some time. (Chap. 4)

Now it happened that corsairs had plundered a city belonging to the King of Canary. This Moorish king became enraged when he heard of it, and prepared a great fleet to invade England. One dark night this fleet entered the port of Dantona [Hampton, i.e. Southampton]. The Moors disembarked without being seen or heard by the[9] English. When the English king was informed of this invasion, he quickly gathered all his available men to drive back the invaders, but his forces were defeated and he was obliged to retreat towards the city of Saint Thomas of Canterbury. Along a river near this place he made a stand, but was again defeated. After losing nine battles, one after another, he sought refuge in the city of London. But the scarcity of provisions soon compelled him to evacuate this place, and he withdrew to the city of Warwick, which was well supplied with food, arms and all the instruments of warfare. The Countess offered all that was in her county to the unfortunate monarch. The Moors pursued the retreating forces, and on the way captured the castle of Alimburch [Wellingborough?]. The English king from a tower in the city of Warwick could see the Moors devastating the land and slaying his Christian people, both men and women. Dark despair came over him. He could not bear this sight, but came down from the tower and retired to a small chamber where he lamented and prayed. In his great affliction, he bowed his head upon the bed, and presently it seemed to him that a beautiful lady in white, with a child in her arms, entered the chamber. She was attended by many other ladies who were chanting the “Magnificat.” When the singing ceased, the Lady approached him, and, placing her hand on his head, she said: “Fear not, O King; have confidence; the Son and the Mother will help you in your great tribulation. As a sign of peace, kiss on the mouth the first man with a long beard whom you shall see, and who will ask you for alms. Request him to lay aside his garment, and make him captain of all your forces.” When the king opened his eyes the vision had vanished, but the dream had been so vivid that he could not forget it. The next morning the hermit, William of Warwick, while gathering herbs, saw the Moorish forces overrunning all the surrounding country, and[10] sought refuge in the city of Warwick. He went to the castle to ask the Countess for alms, and there met the king, whom he immediately approached. He knelt down before him and asked for charity. The king, bidding him arise, kissed him on the mouth and led him into a room of the castle, where he asked him to put aside his penitent garb and to take up arms. The hermit at first declined, but finally agreed to yield to the wishes of the king, since he would be taking up arms to defend Christianity and to spread the Holy Catholic faith. (Chaps. 5-10)

In his travels in the East the hermit had learned to make certain grenades which would burn and which no water could extinguish. For several days he was busy making some of these. One day he informed the king he was ready to carry out a plan by which he hoped to deal a severe blow to the enemy. That night he disguised himself as a Moor and, carrying a number of grenades, reached the camp of the invaders. He set fire to the camp, and while the infidels were trying to extinguish the fire, the English came out of the city and attacked them. Many Moors were slain, and the rest fled in disorder to the castle of Alimburch. (Chaps. 10-12)

From this place, the great King of Canary sent ambassadors to the English king with a letter in which he proposed that, to avoid further bloodshed, the two kings should engage in mortal combat. If the Moorish king should be the victor, the English king was to recognize him as his lord and pay a heavy tribute every year. If, on the other hand, the English king should win, then the Moors were to return to their own land, and England should again enjoy peace. This proposal was immediately accepted by the English sovereign. (Chaps. 13-14)

Then the King of England convened the General Council to deliberate over the matter. The hermit was first asked to give his advice. He suggested that since the Moorish king was a strong and hardy man,[11] and the English king young and feeble, some one who was more likely to win over such a formidable adversary should fight in place of England’s king. Moreover, he proposed that the Duke of Lancaster, the uncle of the king, should be the person to represent him in the combat. But immediately three dukes, the Duke of Gloucester, the Duke of Bedford, and the Duke of Exeter, protested loudly that, since they were more closely related to the king, the honor of representing him should devolve upon them. But the king was unwilling that any one should fight in his place. However, he was finally persuaded that this should be done, and he yielded only on condition that he be permitted to name the substitute, to whom he also intended to surrender the royal crown and scepter. He nominated the hermit, who wished to decline, but was finally induced to put on the royal robes. The regal power was then conferred upon him in the presence of a notary. Arms were brought, from which he was to select those that he preferred. But he chose none of these. He asked that the arms of William of Warwick be obtained from the Countess. The latter sent certain arms, but they were not the ones that he wanted. Those that he desired were kept in the chamber of the Countess. The astonished lady gave the hermit permission to enter her chamber, and he there equipped himself for the coming combat. (Chaps. 14-19)

The hermit-king spent all that night in the church, kneeling before the altar, upon which he had placed his arms. After mass the next morning he ate to strengthen his body and then armed himself for the fight. Finally the adversaries met, and the fighting was fast and furious. Suddenly the hermit-king cut off one of his opponent’s arms, and a few moments later, his head. England’s champion had won, and great was the rejoicing among the Christians. (Chap. 19)


The next day the English sent ambassadors to the infidels to request them to leave the country, as had been stipulated in the agreement made before the combat took place, but the Moors in great wrath cut off the heads of these ambassadors. They put the heads in a sack and sent them back to the English. The hermit-king was astounded when this cruel and treacherous deed was reported to him, and he made a solemn vow never to go under any roof except that of the church to hear mass, until he had driven the whole Moorish tribe out of the kingdom. And he ordered that all male subjects of the crown over the age of eleven years and under seventy should take up arms to fight the invaders. (Chaps. 19-20)

When the Countess learned that her son, who was barely eleven years old, would be obliged to fight the Moors, she became frantic. She implored the hermit-king to permit her to keep her son, the only comfort of her life, but he would not yield to her entreaties. And when the boy himself expressed an eagerness to go against the enemy, she realized that all her petitions would be in vain, and, with despair in her heart, she gave the lad her blessing. (Chaps. 20-22)

The hermit-king gathered his forces and led them out upon a plain before the city, and there they established their camp. Around it a high wall was thrown up. An opening was left on one side and there caltrops were placed and pitfalls were dug. When the Moors attacked the camp, they were slaughtered in great numbers. Finally they began to retreat. The Christians followed them and killed many more in the pursuit. The young son of the Countess slew a doughty Moor, and the king, after dubbing him, threw him upon the slain Saracen, so that the boy’s hands and face became covered with blood. That was the lad’s baptism of blood. (Chaps. 24-25)


After this disastrous defeat the Moors again returned to the castle of Alimburch. The English made an assault upon this stronghold and succeeded in setting it on fire. The infidels were obliged to come out, and all that emerged were slain, while all the rest that were found in the kingdom were put to death. The victorious English then marched to Dantona, threw into the sea all the Moors that they encountered there, and destroyed all the ships in which they had come. (Chap. 25)

When peace and order were again established on the island of England, the hermit-king decided to make himself known to the Countess, and in order that he might be free to return to his hermitage and his penitential life, he purposed to restore the kingdom to the former sovereign. (Chap. 26)

Accordingly, he sent a chamberlain with the half-ring to the Countess. The messenger said to her: “He who has loved you with infinite love, and who still loves you, sends you this ring.” She took it and was startled. She hurried to her chamber, where she said a short prayer. Then she opened the jewel-case and took a ring from it. She placed one of the rings on top of the other, and behold they fitted together perfectly and the escutcheons were complete. All perturbed and excited, she rushed towards the door, but before she was able to reach it, she fell to the floor in a swoon. The chamberlain hurried to the king and announced that the Countess had fallen dead. The king hurried to her room. Doctors were already there trying to revive her. Finally she recovered her senses, arose, and threw herself on her knees before the king, who raised her up from the floor and embraced her and kissed her many times. Then he announced that he was the Earl of Warwick. And when the people generally knew that the hermit-king was their own William of Warwick, there was great rejoicing. All the nobility went to the church with the[14] reunited couple and offered up to heaven infinite praise and thanks. Then, in a triumphant procession, they returned to the castle, where a sumptuous banquet was served. (Chap. 26)

Nine days later there arrived four hundred carts laden with gold and silver, all of which had been taken from the Moors. The Duke of Bedford, the Duke of Gloucester, the Earl of Salisbury, and the Earl of Stafford were put in charge of this immense treasure. A meeting of the General Council was ordered for the next day. (Chap. 26)

At this council the earl gave instructions concerning the distribution of the booty, and restored to the former ruler the crown, scepter, and royal robes. He himself immediately put on again the garb of the Franciscan order. The reinstated king begged him to remain at his court. He offered him the principality of Wales, but he would not accept it. All the members of the council besought him to stay, but he answered that he must return to serve God. When the king realized that he could not induce him to dwell amongst them, he gave half of the kingdom of Cornwall to the earl’s son, to whom was also granted the privilege of wearing an iron crown. The hermit gave thanks to the king for the gift and the honors bestowed on his son, and then bade farewell to His Majesty and his court. He went to a small villa in his county, where he remained several days. The king sent him thirty carts loaded with the most precious things contained in the booty captured from the Moors, but he refused to accept any of it. When the king left the city of Warwick he sent for the earl’s son, and, at the city gate, he appointed him Grand Constable of all England. Then the king departed for London. (Chap. 27)

The Countess visited her husband, the hermit, in the villa, and finally persuaded him to have a hermitage built, which was to consist of a church, with an apartment[15] on each side of it, one for him and the other for her. After its completion, and just about the time that they were going to live there, the Earl of Northumberland came to them as an ambassador of the king. His mission was to request the noble couple to come to London. The king was going to marry the daughter of the King of France, and was anxious that the Countess should instruct the queen in the practices and customs of England. The hermit replied that he must keep the vow that he had made to serve God, but he should be very happy if the Countess would be willing to go. And the Countess, moved by the wish of her husband and by a sense of duty to her sovereign lord, expressed her willingness to comply with the king’s request. And thus, William of Warwick and his wife were again separated; she went to London, and he entered the new hermitage, which stood in a dense grove, in which there was a clear spring, whose waters flowed with a gentle murmur through the flowers and green grasses of a beautiful meadow. And every day after the hermit had finished his hours he would come out under a beautiful pine tree that stood in the center of this meadow, to watch the animals that came to drink from this crystal spring. (Chap. 27)

The King of England, in order to keep his people well-trained in the use of arms, and to celebrate his approaching marriage in a befitting manner, announced that a General Court would be held in London at which many exercises of arms should take place. The announcement of the great festivities which the king was preparing was spread throughout all the Christian lands. Now it happened that a young nobleman from Brittany started on his way to attend the great event, and with him several other youths. And as they were riding along, he dropped somewhat behind the others, and, being weary from the long journey, fell asleep. His steed, instead[16] of following the company, took a path which led to the crystal spring where the hermit was reading a book entitled Arbre de Batalles. When the horse came to the spring, it lowered its head to drink, and this movement awakened the rider, who opened his eyes and saw before him the white-bearded hermit. Quickly dismounting, he bowed to him. The hermit received him kindly, and asked his name, and why he had come to that deserted place. The youth answered: “My father is Lord of the March of Tirania, and my mother’s name is Blancha; therefore it has pleased them to call me Tirant lo Blanch.” He then related that he and several young noblemen were on their way to attend the General Court which the English king had announced and at which those who wished to become knights would have an opportunity to realize their ambition. When he had said this, the hermit grew pensive and, when asked wherefore, replied that he was thinking of knighthood and the duties and obligations of knights. Young Tirant then begged him to tell about the order of knighthood. The hermit read to him a chapter from the Arbre de Batalles, which was a kind of treatise on the order of chivalry. And he explained the origin of chivalry; its noble purpose; the significance of the arms and the different parts of armor; how a knight who has disgraced the order is degraded; and he named some of the great knights of olden times. When asked who were the best knights of England at that very time, he mentioned the names of the good knight Muntanyanegre, the Duke of Exeter, and Sir John Stuart. Tirant, disappointed at this answer, asked why he did not make mention of the Earl William of Warwick, who had won so many battles in France and Italy, and in many other countries; who had saved the life of the Countess of Belestar, accused of adultery by her husband and her three sons; who had snatched a child away from a lion and returned[17] it to its mother; and who vanquished the Moors in England and liberated many English captives. The hermit replied that he had heard of William of Warwick, but having never seen him he did not mention his name. (Chaps. 28-38)

While Tirant was receiving instructions in knighthood from the hermit, his companions were traveling on, and, although he would gladly have remained longer, it was necessary to depart if he did not wish to travel to London alone. The hermit bade him farewell, and gave him the book. He invited Tirant to visit him on his return, and the invitation was accepted. Then the young aspirant for the honors of knighthood resumed his journey to London. Some of his companions, when they missed him, turned back, and when they found him, he was riding along reading the book. The company of young men arrived in London a few days before the beginning of the festivities. (Chap. 39)

The feast of St. John was the wedding day of the king, and on that day began the festivities of the General Court. The celebration continued for a year and a day. Then the visitors took leave of the king and the queen, and returned to their respective homes. Tirant, remembering his promise, stopped at the hermitage with his companions. They were embraced one by one by the venerable man, and then they sat down with him on the grass underneath the large pine tree. At the request of the hermit, Tirant described the principal events that had taken place at London. He told of the generous hospitality of the king; of the great procession when the king went out of the city to meet his betrothed; of the manner in which the exercises of arms were conducted; and of the splendor and merriment at the royal nuptials. He spoke also of those who essayed their skill in knightly combats, praising highly the Duke of Aygues Vives, the Duke of Cleves, and the brother of the[18] Duke of Burgundy. But the contest that he admired most of all was the one in which a youth who did not seem to be more than fourteen or fifteen years old took part. This youthful knight was called the Grand Constable of England. His mother and the king, too, had forbidden him to participate in any of the combats. But he came to Tirant and asked him for permission to use his arms and steed. He begged so well that Tirant was unable to refuse. In this contest the youth slew the Senyor de Escala Rompuda. The king chided him for having entered the lists without permission, but the young Constable answered that it was not right that he should be denied the privilege of following the footsteps of his valiant father, William, Earl of Warwick. The Countess sent for Tirant and begged him never again to do anything that might cause her to lose the only joy and comfort that she had in this life. And he promised that he would never willingly put the life of her son in jeopardy. (Chaps. 39-57)

The hermit had already twice asked who had been declared the best and greatest knight among the victors. But Tirant seemed to pay no attention to his questions. And finally the hermit said: “But, Tirant, why do you not answer my question?” Then arose one of the company and his name was Diaphebus. He drew forth a parchment saying that the document in his hands would answer the question. This he read to the hermit, who was delighted when he heard that it was a proclamation to the world that the noble and valiant Tirant lo Blanch was declared the best knight of all those that had taken part in the exercises of arms at the festivities connected with the General Court. It also contained the instructions given by the king that Tirant should be placed on a white steed and that all, walking with the king, should escort the hero to the church of Saint George, where a solemn high mass would be celebrated in honor[19] of this most excellent knight. The document was signed by “Rex Enricus,” and by judges of the field, heralds, and the great lords in attendance. (Chaps. 57-58)

After the reading of the document, the hermit asked Diaphebus to tell of some of Tirant’s exploits, whereupon our hero withdrew from the company to busy himself with giving orders for the putting up of the tents and the preparation of supper. Diaphebus then related how Tirant was the first person upon whom the honor of knighthood was conferred, and the first one to engage in combat with one of the champions of the field. In this contest, which was fought on horseback, he slew his adversary. Then he challenged another champion of the field to a combat à outrance on foot. In this he succeeded in striking his opponent to the ground. Not wishing to take his life, he asked the fallen knight to beg for mercy, but the latter answered that he was the Caualler de Muntalt, knighted by the Earl of Warwick, loved and feared by many, and that he preferred to die with honor rather than live in disgrace. And Tirant, regretting that knights were by their very profession obliged to be cruel, placed the point of his dagger over the eye of his victim, and then struck a sharp blow on the end of the handle so that the point came out on the other side of his head. (Chaps. 58-60)

One day the king and the queen, accompanied by many knights and ladies, went out into a meadow for recreation. With them was “Beautiful Agnes,” the daughter of the Duke of Berry. On this day she wore a precious brooch. Tirant approached her and praised her many excellent qualities. He then asked her for that brooch, saying that in return for the favor he would be willing to meet any knight in a combat à outrance. She gave him permission to take it. Thereupon Tirant detached it from her bodice and fastened it on his cap. The following day the Senyor de les Viles Ermes, a valiant and[20] well-trained knight, came to Tirant, and, after telling him that from his very childhood he had loved Agnes, demanded that the brooch be given him. Threatening to kill Tirant if the latter should refuse, he tried to take it from him by force, whereupon a fight ensued in which the friends of each took part, and twelve men were killed before peace could be restored. Three days later, the Senyor de les Viles Ermes sent a challenge to Tirant and it was immediately accepted. Tirant relinquished his right to select the arms, and also gave his adversary the privilege of designating the manner in which the duel was to be fought. Thereupon the latter specified that the combat should be fought on foot. Each of the combatants should wear a plain shirt, and have a wreath of flowers on his head. No other clothing was to be worn. Each should be provided with a paper shield and a pointed double-edged Genoese dagger. The duel was fought in a neighboring forest early in the morning. The two adversaries inflicted many horrible wounds on each other. Their white shirts were red with the blood that flowed copiously from their wounds. Gradually they grew weaker and weaker. Finally Tirant made a desperate thrust and struck his opponent just over the heart. At the same time he himself received a blow on the head which made him sink to the ground even before his antagonist fell dead. Four of Tirant’s wounds were pronounced fatal, but fortunately they gradually healed and his life was saved. (Chaps. 60-68)

The Prince of Wales, too, had come to attend the festivities, and since he was fond of hunting he brought with him several enormous dogs. One day the king, accompanied by several knights, visited him. And it happened that on that same day Tirant was riding by the house in which the prince lived. A large mastiff having broken loose from his chain, came out and rushed towards Tirant. Our hero dismounted and drew his sword, and when the[21] dog saw the gleaming blade, it turned away. The king and the prince saw this, and the latter, knowing the ferocious nature of the animal, remarked that a splendid fight was in prospect. Tirant remounted his steed and proceeded on his way, but he had hardly advanced twenty paces, when the mastiff again rushed at him with great fury, and the rider was a second time obliged to alight from his horse. He again drew his sword and advanced towards the savage animal, when the latter, being afraid of the shining weapon, retreated. Then Tirant threw aside his sword, for he concluded that it was not right nor fair that he should use arms when the dog had none. The mastiff rushed for the weapon, seized it with his teeth, and carried it a short distance away. And as he came back towards Tirant, the latter said: “Now we shall fight on equal terms; I shall use the same kind of weapons to do you harm, as you will employ against me.” They attacked each other with fierceness. The gigantic mastiff caused Tirant to fall three times. Finally the latter seized the raging beast by the throat and strangled it with all his might. At the same time he bit its cheek so savagely that the animal fell dead on the ground. The king and others came out immediately, and carried Tirant into the house. Doctors were called and they treated the many wounds on his arms and legs. For this victory he received the same honors as if he had vanquished a formidable knight in the lists. (Chap. 68)

The King of Friesland, the King of Poland, the Duke of Burgundy, and the Duke of Bavaria met in the city of Rome on the occasion of an important celebration of the Church. Among other subjects of their conversation, they came to speak of the King of England and the wonderful festivities and exercises of arms that were taking place at his court. They decided to go there incognito and try their fortune in the lists. Tirant met[22] each of them in mortal combat, and vanquished them all. (Chaps. 68-73)

Some time after came the knight Villa Fermosa from Scotland. The lady who had captivated his soul would not listen to him, nor would she speak to him until he had vanquished the renowned knight, Tirant lo Blanch. But the latter did not wish to accept the challenge, for his wounds were not yet healed. The Scottish knight, however, would not take a refusal, and finally Tirant consented to meet him, and promised that he would not fight any other knight until after their combat. (Chap. 74)

But this promise Tirant was obliged to break, for the following reasons. When the news of the death of the King of Friesland reached his kingdom, there was great grief among his subjects. The favorite of the dead king, Kirielayson de Muntalba, who was a man strong and valorous, and descended from a race of giants, determined to make Tirant pay dearly for slaying his lord the king. He sent a challenge, in which he accused him of having vanquished the two kings and the two dukes through treachery. Tirant, in his answer, gave him the lie and accepted the challenge. The giant-knight came, but before the combat he went to visit the tombs of those whose death he wished to avenge. Seeing the shields of the vanquished, over which the shields of Tirant had been placed, he began to weep and lament. In a fit of anger he took down Tirant’s shields and threw them on the ground. Then he noticed that they were painted on the tabernacle over the tomb. Blind with rage, he struck them with his head so violently that he fell half unconscious. A few moments later, when he opened the tabernacle and saw the lifeless body of his king and sovereign, his gall bladder burst, and he died instantly. (Chaps. 74-80)

The unsuccessful avenger of the King of Friesland had a brother whose name was Thomas de Muntalba, and he[23] had been the favorite of the other monarch, the King of Poland. Thomas came to England with a grim determination to avenge the death not only of the kings and dukes, but also of his brother. He was well built, of great strength, and so tall that Tirant scarcely reached up to his waist. It was said that he was the tallest man in all Christendom. He, too, accused our distinguished champion of having slain his victims treacherously, and challenged him to mortal combat. The challenge was accepted. The friends of Tirant tried to prevent the duel, for they feared that he might be vanquished. Finally the combat took place and it was of long duration. The giant’s blows were powerful. Once they forced Tirant to his knees, but at that very moment he wounded his opponent in the groin. In the violence of the fight the big knight let fall his ax. Tirant told him that he would permit him to pick it up, if he would retract his false accusation of treachery. Thomas de Muntalba did so, and recovered his ax. Then the combat began again and it became more furious than before. Finally the gigantic adversary had difficulty in breathing, and was becoming weak from loss of blood. Tirant made a desperate effort to put an end to the fight. He succeeded in landing two powerful blows on the head of his opponent, who fell to the ground. Tirant quickly placed the point of his dagger over one of the eyes of the giant, and at the same time told him if he would acknowledge that he was vanquished his life would be spared. The fallen knight answered that since Fate willed it, he would deliver himself into his hands. Then Tirant went into the middle of the field, knelt down, and gave praise and thanks to God for the victory. Thomas de Muntalba was degraded and later he became a monk of the Franciscan order. (Chaps. 80-84)

A few days after this event Tirant went to Scotland to engage in combat with the knight Villa Fermosa.[24] The Queen of Scotland acted as judge of the contest. She stopped the combat before either of the knights had come to grief. (Chap. 84)

When the hermit had heard all these things, he expressed his delight at the many successes and great honors that young Tirant had won. In the meantime our modest hero had tables set up beside the clear spring, and an excellent supper was awaiting the hermit and all the rest. After supper the venerable man retired to the hermitage. The next day, after he had said his hours, he came out again. Tirant and his companions went to receive him, and they sat on the grass as the day before. Then Diaphebus tells about the institution of the Order of the Garter. He narrates the well-known incident which caused the king to say; “Puni soyt qui mal hi pense.” He relates how His Royal Majesty instituted the above-named fraternity as a result of that incident. He gives a detailed description of the Church of St. George in the castle of Windsor; he recounts the rules of the Order and describes the ceremonies; he repeats the oaths of the members of the Order, and the vows of the ladies of honor. He tells how the king selected twenty-five knights to make up the membership so that with the king the members numbered twenty-six, and that the king himself was the first to swear to obey all the rules. Tirant, being the best knight of all those at the court, was the first to be chosen. And among the other members selected was John of Warwick, the Grand Constable of England. (Chaps. 84-97)

Tirant and his companions stayed with the hermit for ten days. On the eve of their departure for Brittany, they asked him to sleep in one of their tents for that night, since they were going to leave early in the morning and were eager to have his blessing before starting. Their request was granted. The next morning, after they had departed, he returned to the hermitage, which,[25] to his great surprise, he found well stocked with all manner of provisions. He even found wood and coal within, so that it would not be necessary for him to go out when the weather was bad. The hermit was deeply moved by this act of kindness, and attributed it to Tirant, who, he resolved, should ever be remembered in his prayers. (Chap. 97)



The news of the great deeds of Tirant preceded him, and when he arrived in Brittany he was received with great honor in the city of Nantes by the Duke of Brittany and a multitude of people. One day, while Tirant was engaged in conversation with the duke, two knights arrived from the court of the King of France, who related how the Knights of Saint John had left Jerusalem when that city fell, and established themselves on the island of Rhodes. The Sultan of Cairo was highly displeased that Christians should live on that island and made preparations to capture it. The Genoese, discovering the intentions of the Sultan, and realizing what an important seaport it afforded, planned to conquer it for themselves, but their designs and plans were discovered by the Knights of Rhodes and frustrated. The captain of the unsuccessful Genoese venture then sailed to Beirut, where the Sultan was at that time, and told all that had happened. It was then agreed that the Sultan in person should go to Rhodes with as large an army as possible. One hundred and fifty thousand Moors were taken to the island, and they destroyed everything on it, except the city, which they besieged. The port of the city was blockaded so that no food could reach the inhabitants. The Grand Master of the Knights, seeing that their plight was daily becoming more and more critical, sent letters to the Pope, the Emperor, and to all the Christian kings and princes, begging them to come to their aid. The King of France received one of these appeals, but paid little attention to it. (Chaps. 97-99)

Tirant, however, was eager to give them help. He[27] interviewed mariners, from whom he learned that it was possible to reach the castle of Rhodes. Encouraged by this information, he bought a large ship and ordered it to be well armed and loaded with provisions. Tirant’s intentions were to go to Jerusalem after having succored Rhodes. Philip, the youngest son of the King of France, an awkward and not very intelligent youth, desired to visit the Holy City, and Tirant was very glad to have him as companion. When all was ready, they embarked and the boat proceeded on its way. The first landing was made at Lisbon. They were cordially received by the King of Portugal and remained at his court for ten days. Then they resumed their voyage. They passed Cape Saint Vincent without incident, but upon entering the Strait of Gibraltar, they were attacked by a large number of Moorish ships. But Tirant’s ship was so large and so well defended, especially by a certain mariner named Cataquefaras, that it finally escaped from its pursuers. Many of the men on the ship, including Tirant and Philip, were wounded, and the vessel was badly damaged. It landed at an uninhabited island, where the crew repaired the ship. Then they again set sail, and followed the shores of Barbary. Not only Moorish but also Genoese ships attacked and harassed them until they came near Tunis. Tirant’s vessel landed at Palermo in Sicily to take on more provisions. The royal family of Sicily gave Tirant and Philip a hearty welcome, and during their stay an interesting love affair developed between Philip and the princess Ricomana, which Tirant took great pleasure in promoting. Much of his time was spent at the elbow of Philip, preventing or rectifying awkward blunders. Finally he spoke to the king in behalf of Philip. The king was delighted at the prospect of uniting the House of Sicily with that of France, and requested Tirant to write to the French king in regard to the matter. (Chaps. 99-104)


One day the news came to Sicily that the city of Rhodes was in dire distress and would fall within a few days, unless food and help should come at once. The loading of provisions was then rapidly completed. The day before setting sail, the King of Sicily asked Tirant to permit him to embark on his boat, for he, too, wished to go to Jerusalem. Tirant was delighted to have him as companion on the voyage. Finally they set sail, and in four days crossed the Gulf of Venice and were in sight of Rhodes. They directed the vessel to the Castle of Saint Peter, and there anchored to await favorable winds and weather. When the desired winds came up, they again set sail. They started during the night, and at dawn were very near the city of Rhodes. When the hostile fleet saw the ship coming, they thought it was one of theirs. They soon discovered their mistake, but it was too late. They were not able to stop the ship, which, with all sails unfurled, was dashing towards the castle. It succeeded in reaching its destination, and when the Knights of St. John saw it, and noticed its strange banner, they knew it must be a ship that had come to bring them relief. The provisions were soon unloaded and the knights felt certain that, for some time at least, starvation could not compel them to surrender. (Chap. 104)

The Grand Master sent samples of the provisions to the Sultan to show him that they had food to spare. A mariner with great cunning and skill succeeded in setting fire to the ship of the captain who was in command of the hostile fleet, and the conflagration caused consternation among the foe. The rainy season set in, and the cold days of winter were near at hand. On account of these things, the Sultan gave orders to raise the siege, saying however that he would return the following year. The unfortunate Sultan, when he arrived at home, was accused of cowardice by his vassals,[29] and thrown in the house of the lions, where he met a horrible death. When the people of Cyprus heard that the siege had been raised, many vessels laden with all kinds of provisions sailed from Famagosta to the city of Rhodes. Never before had such abundance of food and supplies come to this place. (Chaps. 104-107)

A few days after the raising of the siege, two Venetian galleys arrived at the city of Rhodes. They were carrying pilgrims to Jerusalem. Tirant, the King of Sicily, and Philip made arrangements to make their voyage to the Holy City in one of these galleys. The Grand Master wished to reward Tirant for the timely relief that he had brought, but our hero would accept payment neither for the vessel nor for the provisions. The honor that he had won was sufficient reward for him. When the Venetian galleys resumed their voyage, Tirant, the king, Philip, and Diaphebus were among the passengers. They landed at Jaffa and afterwards at Beirut. At the latter place the pilgrims disembarked and made their way to Jerusalem, where they remained for two weeks. After having visited all the holy places, they went to Alexandria. One day, while Tirant and the king were walking through the city, they came upon a wretched Christian captive. Tirant went to the owner of the poor slave and paid him the ransom demanded. Then he had it announced throughout the city that all those who held Christian slaves would recover ransom if they brought them to the inn where he was staying. In two days he ransomed four hundred and seventy eight captives, and took all of them with him to the city of Rhodes, where he gave them new garments. The discarded clothes he sent to Brittany, in order that, after his death, they might be hung in the chapel with the shields of the knights that he had vanquished in England. He told the liberated slaves that they were welcome to follow him, but if they preferred to stay in[30] Rhodes, or wished to go elsewhere, they were free to do so. He gave them money, and they, in their great joy, threw themselves at his feet, kissing these and then his hands. From Rhodes, Tirant and his royal companions sailed directly for Sicily, where they arrived a few days later. (Chaps. 107-109)

When the king landed, he found waiting for him forty knights who had come as ambassadors from the King of France. They gave him a letter from their royal master, in which the latter expressed his approval of the proposed marriage of Philip and Ricomana. Shortly afterwards the nuptials of the youngest son of the King of France with the only daughter of the King of Sicily were celebrated in great solemnity and splendor. The festivities, which consisted of tournaments, jousting, dances, and other forms of entertainment, continued for a whole week. (Chaps. 109-111)



In the letter which was brought by the ambassadors, the King of France announced that he was going to make war against the infidels, and asked the King of Sicily to join him in the holy enterprise. The latter, accordingly, after the festivities connected with the marriage were over, fitted out two galleys and four other vessels and placed them under the command of Philip. (Chap. 112)

The fleets of the kings of France, Castile, Aragon, Navarre, Portugal, and Sicily, and those of the Pope and of the Emperor, all met at the island of Corsica. Tirant joined the expedition in a galley of his own, for he wished to have a free hand. The united fleet set sail, and one morning at dawn it arrived before the large city of Tripoli in Syria. Tirant went before the French king and made the vow that he would be the first to step on land and the last one to return on board. Among the knights there were many who were envious of Tirant, and they were eager to make him break his vow. When the men from the different vessels were about to land, Tirant gave orders to his mariners to drive the galley at full speed until it struck ground. He stood in the bow of the vessel all armed, and the moment it touched land he jumped into the water. The Moors immediately rushed upon him, but Diaphebus and others quickly gathered about him and drove them back. The Christians were able to enter the city, but they found the enemy there in such large numbers that they were obliged to return to their ships. Tirant and another valiant knight, Ricart lo Venturos, were the last ones to embark. They had a lively dispute as to who should be the very last.[32] Finally, Ricart consented to embark before Tirant, if the latter should put his foot on the ladder first. And in this way Tirant fulfilled his vow, for which he was highly honored. Ricart, however, was angry and sullen, and challenged our hero to mortal combat. The latter, incensed at this act of insolence, slapped the challenger, and only the presence of the king was able to prevent bloodshed. (Chaps. 112-114)

The fleet then went along the Turkish coast, plundering and devastating. It sailed in the direction of Cyprus, landed at Famagosta a short time afterwards, and with replenished supply of provisions, sailed for Tunis. In the attack on that city Tirant and his men tried to capture a tower, in front of which there was a deep ditch. Our hero had the misfortune to fall into it. He would undoubtedly have been slain, had not Ricart come to his rescue. The latter, however, warned him to be on the alert, for it was his purpose to kill him. If he saved him, it was because he did not wish to see the infidels slay him. Tirant was deeply moved by this unexpected conduct of his rival, and he threw himself at his feet and asked his pardon for having offended him. Ricart, touched by the humility of Tirant, forgave him, and they became inseparable friends until they were parted by death. (Chap. 114)

After the capture of Tunis, the fleet sailed for Sicily, where the ships were provided with a new supply of provisions; thence along the coast of Barbary and through the Strait of Gibraltar; then, turning, it made its way to Marseilles, where the King of France dismissed all the ships except his own and those of Philip. The latter went to see his mother, and Tirant made a visit to his parents in Brittany. When the time came for Philip to return to Sicily, he asked the king to persuade Tirant to go with him. And thus it was that Tirant returned to Sicily. (Chap. 114)



Tirant had been back in Sicily only a week when the king called him into his presence and read to him a letter which he had received from the Emperor of Constantinople. In this letter the emperor described the sad state of affairs in the empire, and he begged the king to ask Tirant to come to his assistance. Tirant was pleased to go, since it was the king’s wish that he should. The ruler of Sicily ordered eleven ships to be fitted out and provided with all things necessary for the expedition. When all was ready Tirant sailed for Constantinople with his small fleet, and on his arrival the gloom of the city was changed to joy. Tirant, Diaphebus, Ricart, together with the other knights, disembarked and went to the emperor to do him homage. His Imperial Majesty immediately appointed Tirant Commander-in-chief of his army, and Administrator of Justice. The latter wished to decline these high positions, but finally accepted them to please the emperor. Heralds then proclaimed throughout the city that Tirant lo Blanch was appointed Capita Major by His Imperial Majesty. When Tirant went to pay his respects to the empress and the infanta, he found them dressed in mourning and afflicted with great grief, for the prince, the only son of the emperor, had recently fallen in battle. He suggested that in order to give courage to the people, and to inspire them with confidence in regard to the final outcome of the war with the Moors, gloom and despair ought to give way to[34] hope and cheerfulness. The emperor immediately ordered the court to cease its mourning. (Chaps. 115-117)

When Tirant beheld the charming princess, it must be said that his eyes had never had such a feast. He confided to Ricart how much he admired the wonderful beauties of the palace, but more than all these he admired the beauty of the princess, Carmesina. After taking leave of the imperial family, he retired to the abode which had been prepared for him. He entered a room and rested his head on a cushion at the foot of the bed. Soon afterwards he was invited to eat, but he answered that he had pains in his head and did not wish to eat—he was really wounded by that passion that deceives so many. Diaphebus came and asked what was ailing him, to which he answered that it was an ailment caused by the air of the sea, but a moment later, he turned his face from his friend and said: “I am in love.” Tears began to flow from his eyes, and he sighed and sobbed. Becoming somewhat ashamed of himself, he arose and went to dinner, but could not eat. (Chaps. 117-119)

Diaphebus and another knight went to the palace and were welcomed by the imperial family and the ladies of the court. He announced that Tirant was indisposed, whereupon doctors were immediately sent to attend him. They returned a little later, and reported that the slight indisposition was due to change of climate. At the request of the emperor, Diaphebus gave an account of the festivities connected with the General Court of the King of England. He told of the great deeds of Tirant, and showed them the document signed by the King of England, in which Tirant lo Blanch was proclaimed the best knight. All those who heard of the hero’s exploits were filled with admiration for him. When Diaphebus and Carmesina were a little apart from the others, she questioned him concerning Tirant, and Diaphebus told her that Tirant had come to[35] Constantinople for no other reason than to see and to serve her, for he had heard much concerning her beauty and her excellent qualities. Upon hearing these words, her cheeks became suffused with blushes, and she could not say a word. (Chap. 119)

This interview with Diaphebus left the princess in a pensive mood. The daughter of the late Duke of Macedonia, Stephania, brought up with Carmesina and of the same age, was one of her dearest friends. The princess told her about the conversation with Diaphebus, and confided to her that her heart was much inclined to obey all the wishes and commands of Tirant. Stephania encouraged her by saying that there was no lady in the world who would not be pleased to be loved by such a one as he. Carmesina did not sleep that night. When Tirant saw the princess again, her beauty charmed him even more than at first, and he became really lovesick. Diaphebus consoled him as best he could, and promised to do all in his power to advance his interests with regard to Carmesina. (Chaps. 119-121)

One day, at a meeting of the General Council, Tirant was requested to make ready to go against the Genoese, who were coming in great numbers. At this session of the Council it came to light that there was some opposition to the newly appointed Capita Major, for one of the members protested that the Duke of Macedonia, who was still acting as Commander-in-chief, should not be superseded, and especially not by a foreigner. The aged emperor grew very angry when he heard these words, and declared that the Duke of Macedonia was a coward and had never won a battle. He further declared that he himself would choose the Capita Major, and that those who opposed his wishes in the matter should be punished in such manner as would never be forgotten. Then he gave orders that a proclamation be made throughout the city instructing all those who[36] had grievances to appear before the imperial tribunal, where their complaints would be given due consideration. The following day Tirant, the imperial judge, heard complaints and administered justice. (Chaps. 122-124)

The new Commander soon occupied himself with his military duties. He reorganized the guards who watched over the emperor, and made many innovations that contributed to the general order and security of the city. He took charge of the food supply and caused it to be evenly distributed among the inhabitants. (Chap. 124)

One day the princess sent for him. She warned him to beware of the Duke of Macedonia, who was very adroit in committing acts of treachery. She related how he had cut the thongs of the helmet of her brother while the latter was bravely fighting the Moors, so that it fell from his head and he was easily slain. Indeed, the duke was the very incarnation of all the seven mortal sins. (Chap. 125)

Tirant was happy sometimes, but more often he was sad. His conduct and his speech revealed that something was preying on his mind. His was the lot of the uncertain lover, swaying between hope and fear. One day Carmesina asked him why he was so sad. He answered that he was in love. Then she requested him to tell her who the lady was that caused him so much anxiety. As an answer, he took something out of his sleeve and handed it to the princess with these words: “The image that you will see there can make me die or live.” She took the object, went to her room, and looked at it. Instead of the painted picture that she expected to find, she saw an image of herself, for the object was a precious and beautiful mirror. Carmesina admired greatly this novel manner of making a confession of love. While she was in her room, Viuda Reposada, who had been the nurse of the princess and still had much influence over her, entered the room, and with her came Stephania.[37] They saw the mirror and inquired how it came into her hands. She told them all about it. Viuda Reposada then reproached her for being on such intimate terms with one who was no more than her father’s servant. She denounced the whole affair as absolutely improper. The princess was very much affected by this harsh rebuke and, on the verge of weeping, she retired to her private chamber. Stephania followed and tried to console her. (Chaps. 126-127)

The next day Tirant sent Diaphebus to see the princess, in order to find out how she felt disposed towards him since the mirror episode. When he began to speak to her about Tirant, she exclaimed: “Oh! if you knew of the trick that he played on me; with a mirror he made a confession of love to me; just let me see him and I shall tell him things that he will not care to hear.” (Chap. 127)

The next time that Tirant saw her, she received him coldly, and rebuked him severely, charging him with being untrue to the trust imposed upon him; ungrateful and disrespectful to the emperor, her father; and insolent towards her, because he made a confession of love to her as one would to a woman of low degree. Tirant answered that he would avenge the insult by taking his own life. He hastened to his abode. Immediately upon his departure, she became sorry that she had spoken to him so severely, and fearing that in his despair he might do himself harm, sent Stephania to beg him to forgive her, and by no means to take his life. She was so afraid that Stephania might fail in her mission, that she herself went to Tirant, expressed her sorrow for what she had said, and humbly asked pardon. Tirant was deeply moved by the love that her words and actions revealed, and his woe was changed to joy. (Chaps. 127-130)

Bad news came from the imperial forces that were in the field opposing the Moors. Under the leadership[38] of the Duke of Macedonia, they had again suffered defeat, and were obliged to seek refuge in a city not far away from the place where the battle was fought. The Moors followed and besieged the city. The provisions in it were almost exhausted, and unless relief came from Constantinople within a very short time, the besieged forces would be compelled to surrender. When Tirant heard this, he made preparations to lead a relief expedition to the threatened city within six days. (Chaps. 130-131)

Five days afterward there was a review of all the troops within Constantinople, and on the morning of the sixth day the banners were blessed, and all the soldiers armed themselves and mounted their steeds. A knight whose name was Fontsequa, and who was riding a large and beautiful snow-white charger, carried the imperial banner and led the assembled host as it marched out of the city. Many dukes, marquises, earls, viscounts, and other leaders were in this impressive military parade, all with their squadrons. The last division to march out was Tirant’s. (Chap. 132)

Our hero, the newly appointed Capita Major, was in command of all these troops. The expedition moved along in perfect order. Tirant’s wonderful sense of organization and his ability to cope with any and all difficulties were not long in revealing themselves. His army arrived at the city of Pelidas, which was only a league and a half from the camp of the Turks who were besieging the city in which the forces of the Duke of Macedonia had sought refuge. The sultan and the Grand Turk, who were in command of the troops of the enemy, knew that a Greek army had entered Pelidas, but they were little concerned, for of the ten parts of the emperor’s dominion they already held nine and one-half parts. All that was necessary for them to do to become the undisputed masters of the whole empire was to capture[39] the duke’s besieged forces and then take Constantinople. In view of their vastly superior numbers, they felt confident that the complete conquest of the Greek empire was near at hand. (Chap. 133)

After Tirant had carefully observed the lay of the land and the disposition of the hostile forces, he prepared his plan of attack. In the darkness of night he led his troops out of Pelidas, all ready for battle. A large number of mares brought from Constantinople were quietly led to the camp of the Turks, and when the steeds of the latter heard them, they broke loose and ran towards them. The whole camp was thrown into confusion. The Turks, unarmed, went to look after their horses, and were met by the Greeks, who slaughtered them in great numbers and put the rest to flight. (Chap. 133)

The loud tumult occasioned by the fighting was heard by the duke in the besieged city. Thinking that the enemy was about to attack the place, he ordered all his men to take up their arms and defend the city. At daybreak he was surprised to see imperial banners outside the city walls, and soldiers in pursuit of the fleeing Turks. He then came out with his men and plundered the deserted tents of the enemy. They found there a large quantity of gold, silver, and jewels. They took the booty into the city and hid it, then came out again and rode towards the imperial banners. When Tirant saw them, he rode in their direction, and on approaching the duke, dismounted and showed him great respect and honor. But the latter only raised his hand to his head. He spoke not a word. All the kind and deferential words and actions of our hero were met with scorn and contempt. (Chap. 133)

When Tirant sent ambassadors to the duke to ask him to give an account of the booty taken from the camp of the Turks, the latter refused to do so, and he bade the messengers tell the foreigner, Tirant, to return to[40] his country, and if he did not do so, he would make him drink so much water that half of the amount would be too much. This speech was bitterly resented by Tirant’s men. A battle between the forces of the two leaders was imminent, but was averted by the calmness and prudence of our hero. (Chap. 134)

Immediately after the victory over the Turks, Diaphebus had sent a messenger to the emperor to announce the glad tidings. The good news was then proclaimed throughout the city, all the bells were rung, and the inhabitants went to the Church of Saint Sophia to render thanks unto the Lord for the great victory. (Chap. 134)

In the meantime, Armini, the Grand Sultan of Babylon, sent three ambassadors to Tirant to ask for a truce of six months, and also for the liberation of a youth who was a brother of the sultan’s wife. The generosity and magnanimity of our hero led him to set free the youthful prisoner of war, and with him forty others. But the truce was not granted, for it was the opinion of Tirant and his Council that permanent peace could be secured only by vanquishing the infidel host. (Chaps. 135-138)

On the same day that the ambassadors left the camp of Tirant, he sent Diaphebus to Constantinople to deliver to the emperor the large number of prisoners captured in the first battle with the enemy. This gave Diaphebus an excellent opportunity to speak to his dearly loved Stephania and to the princess. He told the latter that Tirant was always thinking of her, and that whenever he went into battle, the name of Carmesina was on his lips. And Stephania suggested that there was no one more worthy and better qualified to be the next emperor than Tirant, and he ought to be the husband of the princess. As for herself, she confided to Carmesina, she would marry his kinsman, Diaphebus. (Chap. 138)

While Tirant was storming a strongly fortified city, held by the Turks, two thousand soldiers, under the[41] command of the Prior of St. John, joined him and placed themselves under his direction. These had been sent by the Grand Master of the Knights of St. John from Rhodes. They assisted in the plundering of the city, for a breach had already been made in the walls of the place when they arrived. (Chap. 139)

In the meanwhile the Turks had received reinforcements in great numbers. They encamped on one side of a river, and the imperial forces on the other side. About a league farther up the river there was a stone bridge held by a faithful subject of the emperor. It was protected by a castle at each one of the approaches, so that the Turks were unable to cross over it. One of these castles was guarded by the knight Mal Vehi, and the other by his son, Hypolite (Hippolyte). The latter was a bold and valiant youth, who soon became an enthusiastic admirer of Tirant. At the earnest request of both father and son, our hero conferred the honors of knighthood upon Hypolite. (Chap. 140)

The Turks began to construct a bridge in order that they might cross the river to attack the Greek forces. When Tirant saw this, he ordered his men to build a considerable number of boats. These were then fastened together, and upon them was erected a framework to support a large quantity of light and inflammable wood. When this peculiar construction was completed, it was fastened to the stone bridge and “camouflaged” with branches so that the enemy might not see it. (Chap. 140)

As soon as the Turks had finished their wooden bridge, they crossed over it. As they were coming over, Tirant led his forces up to the stone bridge. By the time that the enemy arrived there, the Greeks were already on the other side, and the passage over the bridge was closed. Then the Turks went back over their bridge to the other side, whereupon Tirant crossed back over the stone bridge.[42] These maneuvers continued for three days. Finally the Moors decided to divide their forces, and that was exactly what Tirant desired them to do. When one of the divisions came over, the Greeks went up a mountain near the wooden bridge. Since it was growing dark, the Turks decided to stop at the foot of the mountain and make an attack the next morning. In the darkness of the night, Tirant sent the floating construction down the stream, and it was set on fire just before it reached the wooden bridge. When the Turks who had crossed saw the fire and realized that their bridge would be destroyed, they became panic-stricken and rushed wildly to return to the other side of the river. In the disorder and confusion many were pushed off the bridge and were drowned. Twenty-two thousand of them were unable to get back, and these surrendered to Tirant the next morning. (Chaps. 140-141)

In the meantime the Duke of Macedonia had sent a messenger to Constantinople to report to the emperor that the vile foreigner, Tirant lo Blanch, had led the whole army to destruction and had fled no one knew whither. The false news plunged the aged emperor into gloom and dejection, and the whole city was filled with weeping and lamentation. (Chap. 141)

As soon as those of the Turks who had not been able to rejoin the main body of the army surrendered, Diaphebus again sent a messenger to the imperial city to announce the successful event. But when he arrived there, the emperor would not receive him. Finally he succeeded in delivering the message to the princess. She immediately reported it to her father, who fell unconscious from excess of joy. And again all the bells of the city were rung, and thanks were offered up to God. (Chap. 141)

The Constable and Diaphebus took the prisoners to Constantinople. In recounting the exploits of Tirant in the field, the Constable gave unlimited praise to the[43] young Capita Major. Diaphebus naturally made an effort to see the princess and Stephania, and not without success. The words he spoke to Carmesina increased greatly her admiration for Tirant. His own love affair made wonderful progress during this visit. (Chaps. 144-148)

The Turks, having lost one hundred thousand men since Tirant became the leader of the imperial army, held a council, in which it was decreed that the foreign captain, Tirant lo Blanch, must be slain. The King of Egypt was designated as the one to accomplish this, since he was the most skillful of them all in the use of arms. The sultan himself said: “If this devil of a man had not come from France, we should even now be in the palace of Constantinople, and should already have made a mosque of the beautiful church there. We shall never be able to accomplish that, if this captain lives much longer.” (Chaps. 148-149)

The King of Egypt accordingly challenged Tirant to mortal combat. In the challenge this king stated that he had made a vow to his lady-love that he would engage in a combat à outrance with a king or a king’s son, or with the best captain of the Christian army, and that it was his intention to send her the head of Tirant to show that his vow had been accomplished. He also suggested that each one of them should champion the cause of a lady, and then the combat should also determine which one of these ladies excelled in beauty, dignity, virtue, lineage, grace, and wisdom. The challenge and the suggestion were accepted. It was agreed that the King of Egypt should fight in behalf of his lady-love, the Grand Turk’s daughter, and Tirant, in behalf of Carmesina, the emperor’s daughter. The combat was to take place on the field of battle, on August the twentieth, four days earlier, or four days later. (Chaps. 149-152)

Tirant was making preparations for a supreme effort to win a decisive victory over the enemy. But the[44] Duke of Macedonia was opposed to his plans, and, in a speech full of bitter invectives, he declared that Tirant had made a bargain with the Turks to deliver the Greeks into their hands. He called him a second Judas, who, on account of his treachery, ought to be thrown into burning oil. He protested against the leadership of this foreigner and declared that he would obey his orders no longer. A great uproar followed this speech. Many soldiers took up their arms, and some of them mounted their steeds. In reply, Tirant denounced the duke for never having won a single battle; he accused him of having cut the thongs of the late prince’s helmet in the thick of a battle, whereupon the heir of the empire was slain; and he spoke of the great loss in lives and in territory that the empire suffered while the duke was in command of the armies. In the name of the emperor, he asked them to prepare to attack the enemy. But the duke replied that neither he nor any of his men would take part in the proposed attack. (Chaps. 153-154)

The following day the council of war met, and Tirant suggested that a new leader should be selected. He assured the members that he would remain with them to serve His Imperial Majesty. But they would not hear of this. In strong language they expressed their confidence in him. (Chap. 154)

It was at this time that some more foreign soldiers came to place themselves under the command of Tirant. Philip, the son of the King of France, had become King of Sicily, and in grateful memory he sent five thousand men under the leadership of the Duke of Messina, and Queen Ricomana sent two thousand under the leadership of the Senyor de Pantalea. (Chap. 154)

When the emperor heard of the quarrel between the duke and Tirant, he went to the camp to settle the dispute once for all. The princess accompanied him, and with her went Stephania, Viuda Reposada, Plaer[45] de mi Vida, and other ladies of the court. While they were in camp, the greatest battle of all that had been fought up to this time took place. It was waged fiercely on both sides, from early in the morning until late in the afternoon. The contending foes fought with determination and desperation. Tirant wielded his battle-ax wherever help seemed to be needed most. The King of Egypt recognized him on the field, and he, together with the King of Cappadocia and the King of Africa, agreed to make it their special duty to slay him that day. While Tirant was in the midst of violent fighting, the Duke of Macedonia came up behind him and with a vigorous blow of his sword wounded him in the neck. A few moments later the King of Cappadocia and the King of Egypt suddenly came upon our hero, and they attacked him with such force that both he and his steed fell. He had some difficulty in getting up, for his charger had fallen on one of his legs, but fortunately one of his men came to the rescue. The latter, with his lance, wounded the King of Egypt in the thigh. A moment later the king’s lance struck Tirant on his cheek and knocked out four of his teeth. Then the king withdrew from the field on account of his wound. Tirant searched for him, but in vain. He met, however, the King of Cappadocia and slew him. Finally, the sultan, seeing that the tide of battle was going against him, withdrew from the battlefield, and soon afterward the Turks were put to flight. Tirant and his forces pursued them and continued to slaughter many until it was very late. The sultan and his defeated army sought refuge in a certain city, and this was taken by Tirant’s forces the following morning. Among the many prisoners captured there, was the King of Egypt. Tirant was notified that this important royal personage was a prisoner, and was invited to come to slay him, but he replied that for nothing in the world would he take the life of a prisoner. Thereupon[46] the Marquis of Saint George dispatched the unfortunate king. In this battle and pursuit the Turks lost 103,000 men, including those who were taken prisoners. Among the Greeks that were slain were the Duke of Macedonia and the Constable. The brave Ricart, too, was among the dead. A messenger announced the result of the battle to the emperor, and immediately the venerable monarch knelt down and offered thanks to Christ and His Most Blessed Mother, Our Lady. (Chaps. 155-158)

After this disastrous defeat of the Moors, the sultan and all the men who had been able to escape with him found refuge in the city of Bellpuig, which was four leagues distant from that in which the King of Egypt was slain. The imperial forces did not attack the sultan’s army, but confined their operations for the time to recapturing some of the other places that had recently been taken by the enemy. The emperor accompanied the troops from Sicily, who succeeded in recovering several cities. (Chap. 159)

After the emperor’s return to the castle of Mal Vehi, where he lived during his visit to the camp, he asked Tirant to recommend some one to fill the vacancy caused by the death of the Constable. The name of Diaphebus was suggested. And it was the pleasure of the emperor to appoint Diaphebus Constable of the Empire. Then he turned to Tirant and said: “And you I shall make the Earl of Sent Angel.” But Tirant declined the honor, and this greatly displeased His Majesty. And the Capita Major, not wishing to wound the feelings of the aged monarch, said that since whatever belonged to Diaphebus was his, and whatever was his belonged to Diaphebus, he would accept the earldom, but that the title should be bestowed on his friend, the newly appointed Constable. The princess was very curious to know why he would not accept the title, and in his reply to her question,[47] he told her that he would never accept any title as long as he lived except that of emperor—either that or none. (Chap. 161)

The appointment of Diaphebus as Constable, and his elevation to the dignity of Earl of Sent Angel, were celebrated with great splendor. But Tirant was sad during the festivities. The princess noticed this, and she asked what grieved him so. He answered that he was filled with sorrow because she was about to return to Constantinople. Carmesina told this to Stephania, and they invited Tirant and Diaphebus to visit them secretly that night. When the visitors came, all the attendants and companions of the princess were asleep, with the exception of Plaer de mi Vida, who was wide awake with curiosity, although she pretended to be sleeping. She heard and saw all that happened, and the next morning she told Carmesina and Stephania that she had had a wonderful dream during the night. Being asked to relate it, she told all about the secret visit of Tirant and Diaphebus. And then she added, with a sigh, that she regretted deeply that Hypolite and she had not been invited to the party. (Chaps. 162-163)

That same day the emperor and all who had come with him returned to Constantinople. The heart of the princess was heavy when the time came for her to leave Tirant. She veiled her face in order that no one might see her tears. (Chap. 163)

Five large ships arrived at a port which was at a considerable distance from the camp of the imperial army, and these were laden with provisions for that army. Tirant placed the camp under the command of the Constable and went to see about the unloading of the ships. The owners of these vessels and the mariners were delighted to see the great Captain. They informed him that seven Genoese ships had entered the port of Bellpuig with provisions for the sultan’s army. Tirant remarked[48] that he would do all in his power to eat some of those provisions. As soon as all the vessels were unloaded, Tirant embarked with a large number of armed men, and, in the darkness of night, started out for the port of Bellpuig. They arrived there early the following morning, and, with little difficulty, captured the ships. The provisions were sent to the camp of the Greek army. (Chap. 163)

From the prisoners taken in this venture, Tirant learned that the Grand Caramany and the King of Upper India were on their way to join the sultan. They were coming with fifty thousand men. Following the advice of one of the prisoners, and aided by the men from the island of Rhodes, who were well-trained in seafaring, Tirant prepared a formidable fleet and waited for the arrival of the Moorish reinforcements. Finally the expected fleet came in sight, and Tirant’s vessels went out to meet it. The hostile fleet was dispersed, and after a long chase and a terrible fight, Tirant’s ship captured the vessel which bore the Grand Caramany and the King of Upper India. Our hero, in person, took the royal prisoners to Constantinople and delivered them to the emperor. This naval victory caused great rejoicing in the imperial city. The inhabitants came out to greet and honor their invincible Captain. They fixed their eyes upon him as if he had been sent to them from heaven. (Chaps. 163-166)

Tirant had been severely wounded in the sea fight, and the emperor’s physicians ordered him to remain in bed until his wounds were healed, for there was great danger that he might be permanently maimed. During the period of his recovery the imperial family visited him daily, and Viuda Reposada, moved more by love than piety, was his faithful and devoted attendant. (Chap. 166)

During his absence from the camp the imperial army was faring badly. The Turks won two great victories, and[49] as a result the Greeks lost their courage and their confidence. They offered up special prayers for the rapid recovery of their valiant Captain. Without him, they considered their cause lost. They sent him a letter in which they declared that they would fight no more battles until he had rejoined them. While he was waiting for his wounds to heal, his martial spirit seemed to desert him. Carmesina noticed this, and, in one of their private conversations, said to him: “Cease to be a lover, and win honors; I do not say that you should cease to be a lover altogether, for in times of peace men take great delight in loving, but in time of war men are obliged to undergo much toil and many hardships.” (Chaps. 166-172)

When Tirant was about to return to the camp, the sultan sent ambassadors to the emperor. Their mission was concerned with three things: first, a truce for three months; secondly, ransom of the Grand Caramany and the King of Upper India; and thirdly, an agreement whereby the emperor’s daughter should be given in marriage to the sultan, in consideration whereof all the cities and territory captured by the Turks should be restored to the emperor. (Chaps. 177-178)

Many of the members of the Imperial Council were in favor of the proposed marriage for the sake of the peace that would follow. Tirant’s heart was filled with fear and anxiety at this state of affairs. The princess consoled him with the following words: “How can you believe that my royal person will submit to a Moor? How can you even imagine that my noble heart will condescend to become the friend of one of those Moorish dogs, who have as many women as they wish, and none of these a wife, for they can leave them any hour that they wish.” (Chaps. 178-179)

A great festival was arranged in honor of the Moorish ambassadors. The celebration lasted nine days. On[50] the very last day a large number of galleys were observed coming towards the shore. They were French ships bringing five thousand “francs archers,” and each of these archers was accompanied by a squire and a page. They were coming to enter the service of the emperor. The galleys had been fitted out and furnished with provisions by the King of France. Tirant’s cousin, the Viscount of Branches, was in command of these soldiers. Our hero warmly welcomed him and all those who had come with him. The emperor was delighted at their coming, and his pleasure was considerably increased by the fact that the Moorish ambassadors had witnessed the arrival of these foreign warriors. (Chap. 189)

At the close of these festivities the emperor gave his answer to the ambassadors in regard to the ransom of the royal prisoners and the marriage of the princess to the sultan, the proposal of the truce having been accepted immediately after the Turkish representatives had announced their mission. He bade them tell the sultan that the emperor of Constantinople would not liberate the Grand Caramany and the King of Upper India until the empire had been wholly restored; and that he would not give his daughter in marriage to a man who was not of the Christian faith, for that would be against the precepts of the Holy Catholic Church. (Chaps. 207-208)

While the truce was in effect, Tirant remained in the imperial city. He pretended to be occupied with military matters, but, in reality, his mind was centered upon Carmesina. His one dominant purpose was to obtain from the princess the “compliment de amor.” He made strong and repeated efforts to attain his end, but she was firm. She loved him with all her heart, but she would not sacrifice her honor. Tirant had helpful allies in Plaer de mi Vida, Stephania, and Hypolite, but their arguments, plans, and schemes availed him naught.[51] Carmesina was young and in love with him whom she considered the only person that could save the empire. She was human and could not force herself to forbid him to approach her. The temptations to fall were strong, but her religious training and her moral courage sustained her in the hour of need. (Chaps. 208-215)

Viuda Reposada, whose affectionate and passionate advances to Tirant had always been met with scorn, was burning with unrequited love and jealousy. She determined to make a desperate effort to sever the bond of love that existed between Tirant and the princess. To accomplish this she told Carmesina base lies about her lover, and advised her gradually to avoid meeting him. As a result the heart of the princess was filled with fear and torment. (Chap. 215)

A short time before the termination of the truce Diaphebus, Constable and Earl of Sent Angel, was married to Stephania. The wedding was celebrated with great splendor. To add to the importance of the occasion, he was appointed Duke of Macedonia. And Tirant and his friends kissed the foot and the hand of the emperor, and gave him infinite thanks for the great favor he had shown them by giving his niece to their companion. (Chaps. 219-222)

But while Diaphebus and Stephania were happy, and all were making merry, the princess and Tirant were downcast and wretched. Carmesina was following the advice of Viuda Reposada. She avoided Tirant. He became aware of this, and it tormented him. (Chap. 224)

Plaer de mi Vida was always ready and eager to help Tirant. One night she led him into Carmesina’s chamber. When the latter suddenly saw him beside her, she gave a scream which caused great excitement in the palace. Plaer de mi Vida helped him escape through a window by means of a rope, but it was too short, and he was obliged to let himself fall a distance of twelve yards.[52] One of his legs was broken as a result of the fall. Fortunately, Hypolite and the Viscount of Branches found him, and they spread the report that Tirant’s steed had fallen on his leg and broken it. The emperor sympathized with his esteemed Captain in his misfortune. The accident happened at an inopportune time, for the Moors had received strong reinforcements. The aged monarch feared that as long as Tirant was absent from the army, it would not give a good account of itself. (Chaps. 225-238)

Hypolite remained at the court with Tirant, and gradually a love affair began between him and the empress, which finally resulted in an illicit liaison. He and Plaer de mi Vida continued to act as intermediaries in Tirant’s relations with the princess. One day Carmesina, in order to prove her love for the Capita Major, took his right hand in her own and spoke these words: “I, Carmesina, give myself to you, Tirant lo Blanch, as your faithful wife, and accept you as my loyal husband.” Then she took a formal oath that she would never leave him for any other man in the world, and that she would always be true, faithful, and without blemish. Great was Tirant’s joy when he heard these words, for they gave him a feeling of assurance that in a short time not only the princess, but also the imperial crown would be his. And he, too, made a vow similar to the one pronounced by Carmesina. (Chaps. 248-272)

After Tirant’s leg had completely mended, and when he was ready to resume active command of the army in the field, a great celebration was given in his honor. The Imperial Council felt that he well deserved such manifestation of respect and esteem, for in four and one-half years he had recovered three hundred and seventy-two cities, towns, and castles. (Chap. 275)

During Tirant’s absence from the camp the Duke of Pera and Diaphebus were in command of the Greek army. On account of a disagreement between the two[53] commanders, the whole imperial army suffered a disastrous defeat, which plunged all Constantinople in grief. Tirant made haste to rejoin his troops. Having decided to go by sea instead of by land, he embarked. He informed no one concerning his departure except those who were to go with him. He did not take leave of Carmesina, for jealous Viuda Reposada had carried out a diabolical plot which shook Tirant’s faith in the purity of the princess. When the latter heard that he had embarked, she was disconsolate, and sent Plaer de mi Vida to Tirant for the purpose of finding out why he had not bidden her farewell. The messenger succeeded in reaching the vessel on which Tirant was about to set sail. The infamous plotting of Viuda Reposada was discovered, and the Capita Major was sorry for having permitted himself to be so basely deceived, and asked Plaer de mi Vida to express his regret to the princess and to beg her to pardon him. But suddenly a violent storm came up, which drove the boat far out on the sea. Finally the ship was wrecked off the coast of Barbary. Both Tirant and Carmesina’s messenger succeeded in reaching the shore, but not together. (Chaps. 286-299)



Plaer de mi Vida fell into the hands of a Moor who had been a captive in Spain for a long time. One day this Moor had saved the life of a son of the lady whom he was serving, and on account of this she set him free. In grateful remembrance of that kindness, he was moved to befriend the shipwrecked lady. He led her to his home and placed her in the care of his daughter, whom he told that the Christian woman was a daughter of the lady who had freed him. The Moor’s daughter received her and treated her with much kindness. (Chap. 299)

Tirant, upon reaching land, concealed himself in a cave which happened to be in the territory of the King of Tunis, Scariano. A short time before, this king had asked the King of Tremicen to give him his daughter in marriage, which the latter was unwilling to do, for she was already married. In order to settle the affair in a friendly manner, the King of Tremicen sent the chief officer of his army as ambassador to the King of Tunis. The ambassador went hunting one day and found Tirant in the cave. He sent him secretly to one of his castles in Tremicen, where he kept him as a prisoner for some time. Finally the negotiations were discontinued, and the King of Tunis, with 50,000 men, marched against the King of Tremicen, who was not able to gather more than 20,000. In the meantime the unsuccessful ambassador had returned home and assumed command of the army of Tremicen. He asked his Christian prisoner, Tirant, to help in the defense of the kingdom. Our hero was quite willing to do so, and soon his skill, bravery, and[55] strategies won for him great admiration and esteem. As a reward for his valuable services, he was liberated, but he remained in the service of the kingdom. The King of Tremicen with his family, including the husband of his daughter, had found refuge in the city of Tremicen. But a treacherous Jew admitted the enemy in large numbers into the strongly fortified city, and the king, his sons, and his son-in-law were all slain. The daughter, whose name was Maragdina, was taken to a castle, where she was obliged to remain with Scariano, the King of Tunis. This castle was soon afterwards captured through the subtle stratagems of Tirant, and Scariano was made prisoner. (Chaps. 299-318)

When Maragdina saw the fair, manly, and handsome Tirant for the first time—which was some time before her husband had been slain—she wished that her husband were dead that she might be free to wed this wonderful Christian. But now that he was dead, there was still an obstacle; she was a Mohammedan, and Tirant a Christian. She suggested to our hero that he become a Mohammedan, but, she naïvely added, if he should insist that his religion was better than hers, she would very willingly believe it, and always say that it was better. Tirant answered her that he was betrothed to another, and that he must and would remain faithful to her. He treated Maragdina with so much kindness and affection that she finally asked him to baptize her. He sent for a gold basin and a pitcher of water, and when these had been brought to him, she came before him, knelt down, uncovered her head, and received the sacrament of baptism. (Chaps. 322-326)

When Scariano heard that Maragdina had accepted the Christian faith, he, too, wished to be baptized. But first he desired to be enlightened in regard to the doctrines of that religion. Tirant confessed that he was not too well versed in matters pertaining to the faith,[56] but would nevertheless give him instruction. And he did it so well that Scariano was surprised that a knight could know so much concerning the Trinity, and declared that the explanations given by him were more comprehensible than those that he had once heard made by certain monks when he was a youth. (Chaps. 326-327)

The baptism of Scariano took place in a beautiful square of the city. Many of his officers and kinsmen witnessed the ceremony, and they, too, were baptized. Tirant administered the sacrament of baptism to more than six thousand Moors that day. A monk of the Order of Mercy came opportunely, and he was requested by our hero to baptize the rest of those who wished to become Christians. In all 44,327 Moors were baptized. (Chaps. 329-330)

Several kings of Barbary, who were on their way with many men to help Scariano, became indignant when they heard that he had become a Christian, and they took possession of the kingdom of Tunis and placed another king over it. Thereupon Scariano withdrew with his faithful subjects to Tremicen, the inhabitants of which, following the example of their queen, Maragdina, embraced the Christian faith. The queen made another effort to induce Tirant to take her as his wife, but was again unsuccessful. He spoke to her kindly, reasoned with her, and finally persuaded her to marry Scariano. The marriage ceremony was performed by the monk, and thus Scariano became the King of Tremicen. (Chaps. 330-333)

After the Moorish kings had subdued all the kingdom of Tunis, they decided to make war against the kingdom of Tremicen in order to exterminate the Christians. Tirant then began to gather and organize an army which was to defend Tremicen against the combined forces of those kings. He won the admiration, confidence, and love of the people, and as he passed through the streets[57] they greeted him with the cheer: “Vixca lo magnanim Capita crestia.” (Chap. 334)

Many bloody battles were fought during this war. The enemy had ten times as many men, but Tirant’s forces were never dismayed, although sometimes it seemed as if the fortunes of war were against them. Tirant’s military genius and his prowess were always in evidence. Never was a lance handled more dexterously, nor a battle-ax wielded more vigorously. He was ever in the thick of the fray unless there was some special work for him to do. Senyor Dagramunt, one of the shipwrecked men who had succeeded in rejoining his great Captain, and Scariano, too, performed many feats of valor, and slew almost as many of the enemy as Tirant. The Moorish kings could not understand how the Christians, so few in numbers compared with their own, could withstand them. They attributed the stubborn and heroic defense of Tremicen to Tirant, and made up their minds to slay him. But several of them met death in the attempt. Finally, they asked for an armistice, which was granted. While this was in effect, they withdrew their forces and retired to their respective kingdoms. The Christian kingdom of Tremicen had fought for its existence, and its cause had triumphed. (Chaps. 333-349)

Tirant’s ambition now was to conquer all Barbary. In order that the conquest might be accomplished as rapidly as possible, Senyor Dagramunt set out with an army to capture the cities, towns, and castles on the other side of the mountains. The expedition met with no serious opposition until it came to a city named Montagata, which belonged to the daughter of a Moorish king who had been slain in battle. When the inhabitants of this place learned that the Christian army was near, they sent the keys of the city to Senyor Dagramunt. But when he arrived there, they had changed their minds[58] and preferred to die rather than surrender. The Christian leader was extremely vexed by this turn of affairs, and determined to take the city at all hazards. While taking part in an attack on the fortifications, he was painfully wounded. He sent a messenger to Tirant with the request that he come to his aid with the heavy artillery. When the latter arrived, the assault was renewed with great violence. The inhabitants soon sent a number of their most distinguished men to Senyor Dagramunt. They offered to pay him a heavy tribute annually, if he would spare the city and permit them to live in their faith. The offer was rejected with scorn. Then the Senyora of the city, accompanied by many maids of honor, went out to placate the obdurate Christian commander, but all her efforts were in vain. The failure of these two attempts to save the city caused great fear and distress in Montagata. (Chaps. 349-350)

Some time prior to this the Senyora had bought a certain female slave on account of her great skill in embroidering. When this slave learned that Tirant and Senyor Dagramunt were in command of the Christian forces, she asked permission to go out and plead with them to spare the city. She spoke so confidently of the success of her mission that her request was granted. Disguising herself, she went to Tirant, and in long speeches she pleaded for the inhabitants of Montagata. When she finally told him the story of his life, he was mystified. He begged her to tell him how it came that she knew so much about him. When she answered that she was Plaer de mi Vida, he threw himself on his knees before her, and embraced and kissed her several times as a sign of true love. Then Tirant immediately gave orders that it be proclaimed that all the inhabitants were pardoned, and that they would be permitted to profess and practice the religion that they preferred. When the keys of the city were delivered to him, he gave them to[59] Plaer de mi Vida, who was led in triumphal procession into the palace and made Senyora of Montagata. She ruled over the city for a week and then abdicated in favor of the former Senyora, who became a Christian and all her subjects likewise. Tirant persuaded Plaer de mi Vida to accept Senyor Dagramunt as husband, and after their marriage he placed them as king and queen over the conquered provinces of Fez and Bugia [Bougie]. Tirant continued his victorious campaign until finally there was but one city in all Barbary that had not been captured. This was the city of Caramen, in which three Moorish kings had taken refuge. He sent ambassadors to request them to leave Caramen and the soil of Barbary. The answer he received was one of defiance. A great battle was fought in which the Moors were defeated, and they went back into the strongly fortified city, where they resisted the violent attacks of the Christians for a whole year. But finally one thousand of Tirant’s men succeeded in entering the city by means of a mine, and these opened the city gates, on the outside of which divisions of the Christian army were waiting. These poured into the city and annihilated the Moors. This was the last stand made by the infidels against the victorious Christians. And now Tirant’s purpose was accomplished; all Barbary was conquered. (Chaps. 350-387, 394)

Some time prior to the capture of Caramen, Tirant sent a messenger to Constantinople to inform the emperor that, if the empire was still in need of aid, he would return with 250,000 men, and that the King of Sicily would probably join him with his army. The emperor received the news with great delight. After delivering the message to the imperial monarch, the messenger went to a convent to which the princess had retired, and gave her a letter from Tirant. She was speechless with emotion upon learning that he was still alive. When the messenger[60] returned to Tirant with communications from the emperor and the princess, the great Captain learned that the Moors had conquered the whole empire, with the exception of the cities of Constantinople and Pera and a few castles, and that Diaphebus and many of his friends were prisoners. (Chaps. 388-393, 395-398)

At Constantine, in Tunis, Tirant gathered an army of over 250,000 men, with which he hoped to drive the Moorish invaders from the soil of the Greek empire. He sent an agent to Genoa, Rome, and Venice to secure ships to transport this vast army. The vessels arrived at Constantine within a short time. But before these forces embarked, Tirant assembled the people in a vast plain and addressed them in a short speech. After his address, a Catalan monk, John Ferrer, who was a native of Lérida, and who spoke the Moorish tongue well, preached to the multitude. After his sermon the people in loud cries asked to be baptized, and in three days the monks and chaplains whom Tirant had sent for baptized 334,000 men, women, and children. (Chaps. 401-407)

Throughout the period of the military conquest of Barbary, Tirant built churches and monasteries for the priests and monks who came thither in response to his call. Mohammedanism had been dealt a deathblow, and Christianity was firmly established in all Barbary. (Chap. 404)



Finally the huge army embarked and sailed for Sicily, where it was joined by King Philip with his forces. Within a few days the expedition arrived near Constantinople, the port of which was blockaded by the Moorish fleet. The army could not land until the hostile ships were dispersed or captured. Tirant’s fleet attacked the enemy at break of day, coming upon them so suddenly that they could not make a strong resistance. Some Moors leaped into the water and succeeded in reaching the shore, but all those who remained on the vessels were slain. Tirant took possession of all the boats of the enemy. The troops of the sultan and the Grand Turk were on the shore ready to attack the Christians if these should attempt to land, so Tirant took his whole fleet, together with the captured vessels, out to sea, and when darkness fell he turned about, came back, and landed at a very advantageous point only four leagues distant from the Moorish army. The next day the Moors saw themselves surrounded by an army vastly superior to their own in numbers. The sultan and the Grand Turk were in a quandary. Finally, they decided to send ambassadors to Tirant to propose a treaty of peace for a hundred and one years. In order to obtain such a peace, they were willing to restore all the cities, towns, and castles that they had conquered, and liberate all prisoners. Tirant convened his council to consider the proposal, and it was decided to refer the matter to His Imperial Majesty. The affair was important, and[62] Tirant himself went to consult the emperor about it. (Chaps. 408-434)

What a welcome excuse it was to go to see the princess! It was night when Tirant arrived at the palace, and His Majesty had already retired. But he succeeded in finding Plaer de mi Vida, who had come with the expedition and had entered Constantinople almost immediately after the landing of the troops. She quickly arranged a meeting between the victorious Captain and Carmesina, and that night the princess was overcome with love. (Chaps. 434-436)

The following day he went to see the emperor. The aged ruler could not withhold his tears, so great was the joy he felt on seeing again the invincible Commander. As soon as Tirant had informed him of the purpose of his visit, the Imperial Council was convened, and after mature deliberation it was decided to accept the proposal of peace made by the enemy, but on the one condition that the sultan and the Grand Turk, together with other important Moorish chieftains, should give themselves up as hostages until the whole empire should be completely restored and the prisoners liberated. The condition imposed by the emperor was accepted and the treaty of peace was concluded. (Chaps. 440-447)

The sultan, the Grand Turk, and twenty other Moorish lords surrendered to Tirant. He took them into the imperial city, where he was received with rapturous rejoicing and was acclaimed liberator of the empire. The great host of the infidels was taken back to Turkey by the imperial fleet, and then an elaborate reception was given in honor of the King of Sicily, the King of Fez and Bugia, Tirant, and others. The merrymaking continued for a week. During this period Tirant frequently saw the princess and he longed for the day when their vows might be realized. (Chaps. 447-452)

In order to bring about the complete restoration of[63] the empire as quickly as possible, Tirant asked the emperor for permission to take formal possession of all the places that were to be given back by the Moors. At the same time he assured him that, if fortune should not be against him, His Majesty should rule over all the lands that had been under the dominion of his predecessor, Justinian. The emperor, moved by the devotion of his faithful Captain, and mindful of his past services, offered to abdicate in his favor, but Tirant would not consent to that. However, he expressed his willingness to succeed him after his death. Then His Imperial Majesty offered him the hand of Carmesina and led him into her chamber. When he saw that both of them seemed pleased at his suggestion, he sent for the archbishop, and Tirant and Carmesina were betrothed. This betrothal was celebrated with great pomp and splendor. And the emperor ordered his heralds to proclaim throughout the city that all should regard and hold Tirant as his first-born son and Caesar of the Empire, and that he should be their lord and emperor after his death. The people in exultation gave answer to the proclamation with the loud and enthusiastic cheers: “Visca la celestial e angelica bondat del Emperador! e Visca lo novell Cesar del Imperi grech, honor, manteniment, y gloria.” (Chaps. 452-453)

Tirant, accompanied by two representatives of the sultan and the Grand Turk, and provided with letters of credence from these two Moorish chiefs, set out with a large army to begin the work of restoring the empire. It was not a difficult task. City after city was delivered to him without a struggle. At Trebizond, Diaphebus and many other prisoners of rank were liberated. Then Tirant resumed his triumphant march until he had received in behalf of the emperor all the territory that had been taken by the Moors. He did more than this; he conquered additional territory. He ordered the fleet[64] to aid in the work, and it took possession of all the islands that had formerly belonged to the empire. And now the task that he had purposed to accomplish was done. (Chaps. 444-466)

With his heart filled with joyful anticipations, he started on his way back to Constantinople, where the princess was eagerly awaiting him. When he arrived at Adrianople he received word from the emperor to wait there until sent for, because the monarch wished to prepare a wonderful celebration on the occasion of the triumphal entry of the Caesar of the Greek empire. (Chap. 467)

While walking along the bank of a river near Adrianople he was suddenly attacked by a severe pain in the side. He was carried to the city, where physicians immediately attended him, but they were unable to give him any relief. Feeling that the hour of his death was near, he called for a priest and made a careful and contrite confession. When the sacred Host was presented to him, tears came to his eyes, and with great devotion he said several prayers. After he had received Holy Communion, he asked for his secretary and made his last will and testament. Then he asked to be carried to Constantinople, for he believed that to see and to be near Carmesina might save him. They placed him on a litter and carried him as gently as possible towards the imperial city. When they had covered about half the distance, they were met by Diaphebus and Hypolite. Tirant requested them to kiss him, for it would be their last farewell. And they, in tears, kissed him, and while they were addressing him with words of hope and cheer, he suddenly cried out: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” A moment later, he added: “Jesus, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” And these were the last words of Tirant lo Blanch, Caesar of the Greek empire. (Chaps. 467-471)


It was pitiful to bear the weeping and lamenting and sobbing of those about him. When finally they were able to master their grief, they carried his body into Constantinople and had it embalmed. Then it was clothed in imperial vestments and placed on a beautiful catafalque in the Church of Saint Sophia. (Chap. 471)

When the emperor was informed of the death of Tirant he staggered as from a blow, and spent that night in lamenting and sobbing as if his heart would break. When daylight came, he went to the church to do honor to the fallen hero. (Chaps. 471-472)

When the princess saw all those about her weeping, she wondered what had happened. One of her attendants informed her that Tirant had passed from this life into the other. Carmesina was stunned; she could neither speak nor weep. After she had partially recovered from the shock, she asked for the robe that she was to have worn on her wedding-day; she put it on, and then, with her attendants, hastened to the church. Having mounted the catafalque, she threw herself upon the corpse of her hero and lover. Tears were streaming from her eyes, and they fell upon the cold face of Tirant, so that it seemed that he too was weeping, although dead. That pallid face again and again she kissed, and all the while she was lamenting, uttering words of love, of grief, and of despair. All those who witnessed the anguish and suffering of the princess wept with her. Finally she was taken back to the palace. She asked her attendants to weep with her, for she would not be with them much longer. Her grief was so poignant that blood flowed from her mouth. The physicians saw in her condition the signs of one doomed to die. The aged emperor, who could not bear to witness the sufferings of his daughter, had retired to his chamber. And now she sent for him, for her soul wished to go where the soul of her hero was. She made a public confession and received Holy Communion,[66] after which she sent for the emperor’s secretary, who drew up her last will and testament. Then she kissed the emperor and the empress many times and bade them farewell. The venerable monarch was overcome with grief and anguish, and fell to the floor unconscious. He was carried into another room and laid on a bed, and there he died. Then, as successor to the imperial throne, she ordered that the corpse of Tirant be brought to her. She had it placed at her left side, and the corpse of the emperor was placed on the right side. She kissed her father often, but Tirant she kissed even more frequently. Then she invited Death to come and take her so that she might be with her lover. Finally she asked for the cross. When it was presented to her, she fixed her eyes upon it, and after saying a long prayer with intense devotion, she rendered her soul to God. And when she died there was seen a great splendor of angels, who bore away her soul with that of Tirant, for the soul of her beloved had waited for hers. (Chaps. 472-478)

The obsequies of the emperor were celebrated with great splendor. Many kings, dukes, earls, marquises, noble knights, and the people of the city were present. The clergy sang the divine offices with such sorrow, that there was not one person present who did not weep. The following day the funeral rites were performed with an equal splendor and solemnity in honor of the princess, and on the third day, Tirant, the late Caesar of the Greek empire, was honored by ceremonies no less magnificent than the preceding. The body of the emperor was laid in a beautiful tomb, but the bodies of Tirant and the princess were enclosed in a casket, and with an escort of forty galleys they were taken to Brittany and placed in a magnificent tomb in the principal church of the city of Nantes. (Chaps. 471, 485)

The empress married Hypolite, and thus he who had fought so well and bravely as Capita Major while Tirant[67] was conquering Barbary became emperor. He was much loved and feared by his subjects and by those outside of his realm. He conquered many provinces, amassed great treasures, and his rule was long and prosperous. (Chaps. 483, 487)




The caption of the dedicatory letter in Tirant lo Blanch is conceived in the following words:

A honor, lahor e gloria de nostre senyor deu Jesu crist: e de la gloriosa sacratissima verge Maria, mare sua, senyora nostra. Comença la letra del present libre appellat tirant lo blanch, dirigida per mossen Johanot martorell caualler al serenissimo princep don Ferrando de portogal.[12]

[12] To the honor, praise and glory of our Lord God, Jesus Christ, and of the glorious most blessed Virgin Mary, His Mother, Our Lady. Here beginneth the dedicatory letter of this book entitled Tirant lo Blanch, addressed by Sir Johanot Martorell, Knight, to the most serene Prince Ferdinand of Portugal.

In this letter we are told that Prince Ferdinand found great delight in the contemplation of heroic deeds. His most enthusiastic admiration was called forth by the feats of that famous hero, Tirant lo Blanch, who outshone all other knights as the sun outshines all other planets. But, according to this letter, the story of that great knight was written in the English language. Prince Ferdinand wished to have it translated into Portuguese, and since he knew that Martorell had spent some time in England, he considered him well qualified to do the work. Accordingly he asked him to translate the book.


Martorell, however, expresses a feeling of incompetency, and on account of his professional and family affairs and the adversities of fortune which do not permit him to enjoy peace of mind, he feels that he might be justified in declining the noble task. But notwithstanding all these obstacles he will undertake it, for surely the Sovereign Good, who comes to the aid of those who wish to do worthy things, will not fail him in his endeavor. Then in an enterprising spirit he announces:

... me atreuire expondre, no solament d’lengua Anglesa en Portoguesa, mas encara de Portoguesa en vulgar valenciana: perço que la nacio don yo so natural sen puxa alegrar e molt ajudar per los tants e tan insignes actes com hi son.[13]

[13] I shall undertake to translate, not only from the English language into Portuguese, but also from the Portuguese into the Valencian vernacular: in order that the country of which I am a native may enjoy and be highly benefited by the many very remarkable acts that are described therein.

He asks the prince to accept the book as from a devoted servant, and begs him to overlook with indulgence the errors that may be found therein, for in some passages it was impossible to give a good translation of the English words. The letter closes as follows:

E perque en la present obra altri no puxa esser increpat si defalliment algu trobat hi sera; yo Johanot martorell caualler sols vull portar lo carrech e no altri ab mi: com per mi sols sia stada ventilada a servey del molt illustre Princep e senyor rey spectant don ferrando de portogal: la present obra e començada a .ii. d’giner de lany .Mcccclx.[14]

[14] And in order that no other person may be blamed for any faults that may be contained in this work, I, Johanot Martorell, Knight, wish to accomplish this task alone and with the aid of no one else: in order that it may be performed by me alone in the service of the most illustrious Prince and Lord, expectant of the royal crown, Don Ferdinand of Portugal. This work is begun on the second day of January, 1460.


The principal part of the note that is found at the conclusion of the book reads as follows:

Aci feneix lo libre del valeros e strenu caualler Tirant lo blanch, Princep e Cesar del Imperi grech de Contestinoble, lo qual fon traduit de Angles en lengua portoguesa, e apres en vulgar lengua valenciana per lo magnifich e virtuos caualler mossen johanot martorell, lo qual per mort sua non pogue acabar de traduir sino les tres parts. La quarta part que es la fi del libre, es stada traduida a pregaries de la noble senyora dona Ysabel de loriç per lo magnifich caualler Mossen Marti johan d’galba: e si defalt hi sera trobat vol sia atribuit a la sua ignorancia.[15]

[15] Thus ends the book of the valorous and brave knight, Tirant lo Blanch, Prince and Caesar of the Grecian Empire of Constantinople, which was translated from English into the Portuguese language, and afterwards into the Valencian vernacular by the illustrious and excellent knight, Sir Johanot Martorell, who by reason of his death was not able to translate more than the three parts. The fourth part, which is the end of the book, has been translated at the request of the noble lady, Dona Isabel de Loriç by the illustrious knight, Sir Marti Johan d’Galba: and if there are any defects in it, may they be attributed to his ignorance.

Then is appended the colophon:

Fon acabada d’empremptar la present obra en la Ciutat de Valencia a .xx. del mes de Nohembre del any de la natiuitat de nostre senyor deu Jesu crist mil .cccc. lxxxx.[16]

[16] The printing of this work was completed in the city of Valencia on the twentieth day of November of the year of the nativity of our Lord God, Jesus Christ, 1490.

According to the above representations, Tirant lo Blanch existed originally as an English romance of chivalry which was translated into Portuguese by Martorell; then the Portuguese version was translated into the Valencian language, three parts of it by Martorell and the fourth part by de Galba.


But the literary world knows no English Tirant lo Blanch, nor, so far as can be discovered, has it ever seen a reference to a romance of that description except the statements in the Catalan book. Consequently no little doubt arises as to an English original. The same is the case concerning a Portuguese Tirant lo Blanch, and the doubt as to the accuracy of Martorell’s and de Galba’s assertions increases considerably. And then, finally, the contents of the work, its spirit, its sources, and the fact that there is a Tirant lo Blanch in the Catalan language, strongly impel the reader to conclude that the Catalan book is the original.

Let us first consider the question as to an English original. After a careful study of Tirant lo Blanch, we have come to the conclusion that it is hardly possible that it ever existed as an English romance. That conclusion is based on a study of its principal sources and on the nature of its contents. A truly Catalan atmosphere pervades by far the greater part of it. The court and military life of the Catalonians and Aragonese, their political problems and aspirations, their hopes and fears,—all these are vividly reflected in this romance of chivalry. Their history and their literature are so closely interwoven with the story of Tirant lo Blanch, that we can scarcely conceive it possible that it is not a Catalan production. We believe that when Martorell says that the work is translated from the English, he means that it has been inspired by an English book. And his statement has the semblance of truth, for his composition contains a reproduction of a considerable part of the English romance, Guy of Warwick, somewhat modified however, together with an account of the institution of the Order of the Garter, of which the scenes of action are all laid in England. To the story based on the above romance has been joined material derived from other sources, and one of these is Raymond Lull’s Libre del Orde[73] d’Cauayleria. In the story, of which the material from these two sources forms the foundation, Guy of Warwick is represented as Guillem de Varoych, and for this reason we shall name this composite reproduction, the William of Warwick episode.[17] Tirant lo Blanch begins with this episode, which occupies a little more than one-eighth part of the complete work. But this is not the only part in which the influence of Guy of Warwick is revealed. We know that Martorell, when he planned his book of chivalry, was acquainted with the story of Guy of Warwick, and in the course of the composition certain features of the latter occurred to him and were incorporated in his work. But these are not very numerous, and they are so sparsely scattered that the pronounced Catalan atmosphere in which they appear absorbs whatever distinguishing characteristics they may have had originally. Our investigations, the details of which will follow, lead us to the conclusion that if Tirant lo Blanch had an English original, this must have been written by a Catalan,—which, to say the least, is improbable. Scholars who have given some attention to this question entertain serious doubts concerning the representations that the work is translated from the English. Menéndez y Pelayo regards the question as very problematic.[18] Givanel Mas, in his excellent study on Tirant lo Blanch,[19] intimates that it is doubtful that there has existed an English original. Still he would consider it bold to deny that the [74]book has ever appeared in English or in Portuguese. But, on the other hand, he sees no reason why we should consider it impossible that the author has followed the custom of writers of chivalry, who, in perhaps a majority of cases, pretend that their works were based on productions found in foreign languages, not only in Greek, Latin, and Arabic, but also in English and German. Bonsoms y Sicart says: “No cabe duda que la celebrada novela es hija de la imaginación del magnífico y virtuoso caballero valenciano.”[20] Rubió y Lluch makes this statement: “El Tirant, en la parte fundamental, en el carácter general del cuadro en que los personajes se mueven con más desembarazo, es indígena, es catalán por sus cuatro costados.”[21]

[17] Why did Martorell change the name from Guy to William (Guillem)? The Catalan form for Guy is Guiu, which may have been easily confused in the MSS. with Guim, a contracted form of Guillem. If this substitution did not result from a confusion in names, the resemblance may have suggested Guillem, which was more popular and therefore may have seemed preferable.

[18] D.M. Menéndez y Pelayo, Orígenes de la Novela, Madrid, 1905; tomo I, p. ccliii.

[19] Juan Givanel Mas, Estudio crítico de Tirant lo Blanch, Madrid, 1912; p. 21.

[20] Discursos leídos en la Real Academia de Buenas Letras de Barcelona en la recepción publica de D. Isidro Bonsoms y Sicart, Barcelona, 1907; por Don Isidro Bonsoms y Sicart y Don Antonio Rubió y Lluch, p. 40.

[21] Ibid., p. 164.

There is a passage in the William of Warwick episode which we feel is a probable indication that the author was not English. When the hermit-king, as leader of the English forces, recaptured the castle of Alimburch from the Moors, in which the latter held many Christian ladies as captives, Johan de Varoych, son of Guillem, called to them in the following words: “Dones angleses, exiu defora e tornau en vostra primera libertat, car vengut es lo dia de la vostra redempcio.”[22] Why did the author say “Dones angleses”? Is it not probable that he for the moment had forgotten that the work was supposed to be a translation from the English, and addressed the ladies as a foreigner might have done?

[22] English ladies, come out and enjoy your former liberty, for the day of your redemption has come.

In spite of our efforts to take the author at his word, we feel moved to conclude that the work was not translated [75]from an English original. We believe that a statement to that effect was made, because the beginning of Tirant lo Blanch was a kind of reproduction of a romance in which an English knight was the hero, and because the events that are recounted in that first part took place in England. The declaration was perhaps suggested by examples of other authors of romances of chivalry who attributed their works to foreign sources.

But if there was no English original, was there some other work to be translated? In what language was it written? For lack of any other information, we shall have to conclude that it was in Catalan, for the contents of the final version clearly indicate that. This, then, was translated into Portuguese, and then into Catalan. How absurd! for it already existed in Catalan. It is evident that there was no translating to be done.

If the book was not translated from an English, or a Catalan original, it may be asked whether it was first written in Portuguese and then translated into Catalan. In attempting to answer this question it is necessary to remember the reason that is given for translating the work from English into Portuguese, viz., that Prince Ferdinand of Portugal asked Martorell to produce the work in the Portuguese language. And who was this “serenissimo princep”?

Prince Ferdinand (1433-1470) was the second son of King Edward I of Portugal. His mother was Doña Leonor de Aragón, a daughter of King Ferdinand I. At the death of King Edward, in 1438, the latter’s eldest son mounted the throne as Alfonso V. He was but six years old, and in order that there might be no question as to the succession, “foi o Infante D. Fernando jurado Principe pellos Infantes, e pello Conde de Barcellos e por todos os que eraõ presentes, por si, e por todos os do Reyno, de que se fizeraõ Autos solemnizados por Notarios publicos e dahi em diante se chamou Principe de[76] Portugal.”[23] This prince was, according to de la Clède, “Duc de Viseo, Grand Maître de Christ et de Saint Jacques en Portugal, et Connétable du Roiaume.”[24] He took an active part in the fighting against the Moors in the northwestern part of Africa.

[23] The Infante, D. Ferdinand was solemnly accepted as Prince by the other Infantes, and by the Count of Barcellos and by all those who were present, for themselves and for those of the kingdom; duly attested acts of this action were drawn up by notaries, and henceforth he was called Prince of Portugal. Duarte Nunes de Leaõ, Cronicas del rey Dom Joaõ de gloriosa memoria, o I. deste nome, e dos reys de Portugal o X., e as dos reys D. Duarte, e D. Affonso o V., Lisbon, 1780; vol. 2, p. 86.

[24] M. de la Clède, Histoire générale de Portugal, Paris, 1735; vol. 3, p. 242.

Apparently, then, this dedication and all that concerns Prince Ferdinand is written in good faith. And since he was a Portuguese, it would be only natural to suppose that the book was composed in the Portuguese language.

But this supposition loses much of its force when we consider that his mother was a Catalan, and consequently it is probable that he knew, or, at least, understood the Catalan language. Then, too, Martorell, who was so fond of making elaborate descriptions of court life, fails to reveal this tendency in telling about Tirant’s visit to the Portuguese court at Lisbon, while this hero was on his way from Brittany to Sicily. A few cold, matter-of-fact statements of that brief stay are the only homage he renders to the kingdom of his patron. Surely that was an excellent opportunity to sing the praises of Portugal, its heroes, and its rulers, but to our great surprise no such attempt is made. This fact is indeed astonishing, and causes us to doubt that the book was written under the direction or at the request of a Portuguese. Moreover, at the very time that Martorell was engaged in the composition of Tirant lo Blanch, the Portuguese were doing what they had been doing for years, performing [77]heroic exploits in their wars against the Moors on the African shores opposite the Spanish peninsula. In the book under consideration the hero conquers that very territory, but the Portuguese efforts find no place in the account of that victorious campaign. And yet that conquest had a historical basis, for it was founded on conditions and events described in Muntaner’s Chronica.[25] We cannot help asking ourselves the question: Why did Martorell wholly disregard the great deeds of valor of the Portuguese heroes? He has given proof of being well versed in the history of his times, and surely he had heard and read of their prowess. The answer that suggests itself is, that the experiences of his native land with Barbary as narrated in the Chronica were uppermost in his mind, and while he was writing the book the exploits of the Portuguese probably did not occur to him. If such was the case, it is highly probable that he did not reside at the Portuguese court, and perhaps Prince Ferdinand was not much more than a name to him. In the kind of work undertaken by the author, a work based principally on historical events and the customs of the times, intermingled with literary productions and problems that confronted Christianity and involved the destiny of nations, the absence of traces of Portuguese influence from the fields of history and of literature, or from any other field, causes us to doubt seriously that the book was originally in Portuguese.[26]

[25] Chronik des Edlen En Ramón Muntaner, edited by Dr. Karl Lang, Bibliothek des literarischen Vereins in Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 1844.

[26] See page 152.

Moreover, Martorell, who was to write this book, was a Catalan. Was he as excellent a master of Portuguese as he was of his native tongue? We have no definite information in that regard upon which we may rely. Surely he was courageous to write such a voluminous work in Portuguese, if he did not control that language [78]with ease. When he drew his material from Lull’s and from Metge’s works (see pp. 79-89), did he translate it into Portuguese and then turn it back into Catalan without consulting the corresponding passages in the sources? If such was the case, there would have been a greater difference in the parallel passages. But a man who is a master of the two languages would never take that trouble. And why should he try to make the passages exactly alike? Now, what was Martorell to write about? About a great hero whose name was Tirant lo Blanch and whose deeds were so much admired by Prince Ferdinand. But this Tirant lo Blanch is not a historical personage, he is an imaginary individual, a literary character. If the Catalan Tirant had not yet been written, if there was not even such a literary character, how, then, could the Prince have become so enthusiastic about him?

The strongest argument in favor of a Portuguese original is the fact that de Galba states that he translated the final fourth part from the Portuguese. But we must remember that Martorell says that he will translate the Portuguese into Catalan, and for that reason de Galba was obliged to say the same. But the same style, vocabulary, method of composing the work, the point of view and characteristics of the author are in evidence throughout the book. For this reason it may seem that Martorell wrote the whole work in Portuguese and then translated three-fourths of it into Catalan. He died and de Galba completed it. But if the latter had translated the fourth part, we feel that we should have been able to discover some differences in style, spelling and vocabulary, and an absence of some of the favorite expressions of Martorell. If he had composed that part we should not have had much difficulty in detecting it. Consequently we cannot believe that Tirant lo Blanch was first written in Portuguese, and then translated into Catalan.


However, we accept in full faith the statement of the author that he is a Valencian. The contents of his work corroborate it. He knew that Ferdinand was Prince of Portugal; but did the latter ask him to translate the English original? We cannot believe that there was such a book in English, and consequently we doubt that Tirant was written at this request. We shall probably never be able to discover whether Martorell was personally acquainted with Prince Ferdinand, or whether he ever was in communication with him. The details of the dedicatory letter point in that direction, but perhaps that was only an ingenious way of the author to induce us to give credit to his statements. However that may be, there was probably some good reason for dedicating the work to the prince, but very likely we shall never know just what that reason was.

If we cannot believe that there was an English original, and we doubt that the book was first written in Portuguese, then it is probable that we shall conclude that Tirant lo Blanch was first written in Catalan. Perhaps an attempt to prove that it is a Catalan production will help us solve the problem.

In the composition of this book, material drawn from Catalan history and Catalan literature has been utilized. The former we shall discuss in other parts of this work, but we take up at this time two of the literary sources. First let us give a series of parallel passages from Raymond Lull’s Libre del Orde d’Cauayleria and from Tirant lo Blanch in order to see what can be gained from a study of these.

Libre del Orde d’Cauayleria Tirant lo Blanch
1a En aquell temps en la entrada 1b Lo virtuos rey de Anglaterra
del gran iuern sesdevench perque a total oci e languiment
que un gran Rey molt noble nos sotsmetessen: delibera, puix[80]
e de bones costumes be habundos, hauie contractat matrimoni, de
hac manades corts: e per fer cridar cort general afi que
la gran fama qui fon per la terra si fes gran exercici darmes. La
de sa cort, hun assaut scuder fama fon divulgada per tots los
tot sol, en son palaffre caualcant, regnes de cristians, de la grandissima
anava a la cort per esser adobat festa que lo famos Rey
a noueyl cauayler: on per lo preparaua. Seguis que un gentilom
trebayl que hac sostengut d’son de linatge antich e natural
caualcar, dementre que anaua de Bretanya, anant en companyia
en son palaffre adormis. E en de molts altres gentils
aquella hora lo cauayler qui en homens qui a la gran festa
la forest fahia sa penitencia ffon anauen aturas mes darrer de
vengut a la ffont contemplar tots e adormis sobrel roci fatigat
Deu e menysprear la vanitat de del treball del gran cami que
aquest mon, seguns que cascun fet hauia. Son cauall lexa lo
jorn hauia acustumat. cami e pres per una senda qui
Dementre que lescuder caualcaua dreçava ala delitosa font hon
en axi, son palaffre exi d’l lermita staua qui en aquell cas
cami e mes se per lo boscatge, se delitaua legir un libre qui es[81]
e ana tant la hon li plach per lo nomenat arbre de batalles. E
boscatge, tro esdevench en la feya continuament gracies, com
fontana hon lo cauayler estava aquell libre legia, a nostre
en oracio. Lo cauayler qui viu Senyor Deu de les singulars
venir lescuder lexa sa oracio e graties que en aquest mon hauia
assech se en lo bel prat a la aconseguides servint lorde de
ombra del arbre, e comença a caualleria. E stant axi veu
legir a .i. libre que tenia en la venir per pla un home a cauall;
fauda. e conegue que venia dormint;
  lexas de legir e nol volgue despertar.
Lo palaffre con fo a la font Com lo roci fon dauant
bech de laygua, e lescuder qui la font e veu laygua, acostasi
senti en durment que son palaffre per voler beure: e per que tenia
nos mouia, despertas, e la falça regna en larço de la
viu denant si lo cauayler qui fo çella no podia: e tant bascha
molt veyl, e hac gran barba e que fon forçat al gentilom ques
lonchs cabels, e romputs vestiments: despertas: e obrint los hulls, se
per la velea e per la veu dauant un hermita ab molt
penitencia que fasia fo magre gran barba tota blancha: e quasi
e descolorit, e per les lagremes les vestidures rompudes: e mostrauas
que gitaua, sos hulls foren apoquits, flach e descolorit. E[82]
e ac esguart d’molta santa aço causaua la molta penitencia
vida. que feya continuament, e per
  les moltes lagremes quels seus
  hulls destillauen li eren los hulls
  molt apoquits. Lo conspectu
  seu era de home admirable e de
  gran sanctedat.
2a Con lo cauayler ausi parlar 2b Con lermita hoy parlar al
de cauayleria et remembra lorde gentilom que anaua per rebre
de cauayleria lorde de caualleria, recordant li
  lorde quina cosa es, e tot ço que
e so quey pertany pertany a caualler, lansa un gran
a cauayler, adonchs gita .j. suspir sospir e entra en gran pensament,
et entra en consirer membrant essent en recort de la
en lo honrament en lo grandissima honor en que caualleria
qual cauayleria lo auia longament lauia longament mantengut.
mantengut.  [83]
3a Com, fiyl, so dix lo cauayler, 3b E com, dix lermita, no saps
e no saps tu qual es la regla e tu qual es la retgla e lorde de
lorde de cauayleria? e com pots caualleria? E com pots tu demanar
tu demanar cauayleria tro sapies caualleria fins que sapies
lorde de cauayleria? cor negun lorde, car negun cavaller no pot
cauayler no pot mantenir lorde mantenir lorde si nol sap e tot
que no sap, ni pot amar son lo que pertany a lorde:
orde ni so que pertany a son  
orde, si no sap lorde de cauayleria,  
ni sap conexer lo fayliment  
que sia contra son orde.  
Ni negun cauayler no deu fer e negun caualler sino sap
cauayler si no sap lorde de lorde de caualleria no es caualler,
cauayleria, cor desordenat cauayler car desordenat caualler es
es qui fa cauayler e no qui fa altre caualler e no li sap
li sap mostrar les custumes quis mostrar los costums que pertanyen
pertanyen a cauayler. a caualler.
4a Bel amic, ço dix lo cauayler, 4b Mon fill, dix lermita, tot lorde[84]
la regla e lorde de cauayleria es es en aquest libre scrit, lo qual
en aquest libre en lo qual jo lig yo lig algunes veguades, perque
alcunes vegades per ço quem sia en recort de la gratia que
fassa remembrar la gracia et la nostre senyor
merce que Deus ma feta en  
aquest mon, per ço cor honraua ma feta en aquest mon, per ço
e mantenia lorde de cauayleria a com honraua e mantenia lorde
tot mon poder. Cor en axi con de caualleria de tot mon poder.
cauayleria dona tot ço que pertany E axi com caualleria dona tot
a cauayler, en axi cauayler ço que pertany a caualler, axi
deu donar totes ses forses a caualler deu donar totes ses
honrar cauayleria. forces a honrar caualleria.
5a E per ayso de tot lo poble 5b E per aquesta causa de tot
foren fets milanaris, e de cascun lo poble foren fets millenars e de
.M. fo elet e triat .j. home pus cascun miller fonch elet un
amable, pus savi, pus leyal e home, mes amable e de mes
pus fortz, e ab pus noble coratge, afabilitat, mes savi, mes leal,
ab mes densenyaments e de mes fort e ab mes noble animo,
bons nodriments que tots los ab mes virtuts e bones costumes
altres. Encercat fo en totes les que tots los altres. E apres feren[85]
besties qual es pus beyla bestia, cercar de totes les besties qual
e pus corrent e que pusca sostenir seria mes bella mes corrent, e
mes de trebayl, ni qual es pus que pogues sostenir maior treball,
covinent a servir home. E cor e qual fos mes covinent per
cauayl es la pus nobla bistia e a la servitut de lome,
la pus covinent a servir home,  
per ayso de totes les besties hom e de totes
eleech cauayl e dona lo al home elegiren lo cauall e donaren lo a
qui fo elet de .M. homens: e lome qui fonch elet de mil homes
per ayso aquel home ha nom hu: e perço aquell home ague
cauayler. Com hom ac aiustada nom caualler com aguessen aiustada
la pus nobla bistia al pus noble la mes noble bestia ab lo
home... mes noble home.
1a At that time, which was in 1b The noble King of England,
the beginning of the severe winter, in order that his people
it happened that a great should not give themselves up to
king, who was most noble and absolute idleness and languor,
of many excellent habits, ordered determined, since he had contracted
an assembly of his court. marriage, to proclaim a
On account of the great fame meeting of the General Court
which his court enjoyed all over where great exercises of arms
the earth, a doughty squire, all should take place. The news of
alone and riding on his palfrey, the wonderful festival which the
went thither in order that he famous king was planning was
might be made a knight; when, spread throughout all the Christian
on account of the fatigue that he realms. It happened that
underwent from his riding, he a nobleman of ancient lineage
fell asleep while going along on and a native of Brittany, traveling
his steed. And at that moment in the company of many
the knight who was doing penance other noblemen who were going
in the forest had come to to the great festival, fell behind
the spring to contemplate and all the rest, and, overcome by
to despise the vanity of this the fatigue of the long journey
world just as he was accustomed that he had made, dropped
to do every day. asleep. His steed left the road
While the squire was riding and followed a path which led
along in this manner, his steed to the delightful spring where
left the road and entered the the hermit was, who at that
woods. It went wherever it very moment was reading with
pleased in the forest until it came great delight a book entitled
to the spring where the knight Arbre de Batalles. And he was
was praying. The knight, who continuously rendering thanks,
saw the squire coming, ceased while reading that book, to our
praying and seated himself on Lord God for the singular favors
the beautiful meadow in the that he had obtained in this
shade of the tree, and began to world in the service of the Order
read in a book which he had in of Chivalry. Being occupied in
his lap. When the steed was at this manner, he saw a man on
the spring, it drank, and the horseback coming across the
squire who in his sleep felt that plain, and noticed that he was
the palfrey was no longer moving, asleep. He ceased reading and
awoke, and saw before him did not wish to awaken him.
the knight who was very old, When the steed was in front of
and had a big beard and long the spring and saw the water,
hair, and clothes that were torn. it approached, for it wished to
From his vigils and from the drink, but because the rein was
penance that he was doing he fastened to the pommel of the
was thin and pale; and from the saddle it was not able to do so:
tears that he was shedding, his it stooped so low that the rider
eyes were swollen, and he had was obliged to wake up, and
the appearance of a man leading opening his eyes, he found himself
a very holy life. Ramon Lull, before a hermit with a very
Libre del Orde d’Cauayleria, big snow-white beard: his clothes
Barcelona, 1879; p. v. were almost in shreds and he
  was weak and pale. This was
  caused by the great penance
  that he was continuously doing,
  and on account of the many
  tears that his eyes distilled,
  these were very much swollen.
  His appearance was that of a
  venerable and very holy man.
  Tirant lo Blanch, chap. xxviii.
2a When the knight heard the 2b When the hermit heard the
subject of chivalry mentioned, nobleman say that he was going
and remembered the Order of so that he might be received into
Chivalry and what pertains to the Order of Chivalry, he, remembering
a knight, he gave a sigh and what the order is,
began to reflect deeply, remembering and all that pertains to a knight,
the honor in which gave a heavy sigh and began to
chivalry had so long maintained reflect deeply, recalling the very
him. Ibid., p. v. great honor in which chivalry
  had so long maintained him.
  Ibid., chap. xxix.
3a “How now, my son,” this 3b “And how now,” said the
said the knight, “and do you hermit, “do you not know what
not know what the rules and the rules and the Order of
the Order of Chivalry are? How Chivalry are? And how can you
can you ask for knighthood before ask for knighthood before you
you know the Order of know the order, for no knight
Chivalry? For no knight can can maintain the order if he
maintain the order that he does does not know it and all that
not know, nor can he love his pertains to the order: and no
order nor what pertains to his knight, if he does not know the
order if he does not know the Order of Chivalry, is a knight,
Order of Chivalry nor can distinguish for a poor knight is he who makes
the faults that are another a knight and cannot
against his order. Neither ought show him the practices which
any knight if he does not know pertain to a knight.” Ibid.,
the Order of Chivalry make a chap. xxx.
knight, for a poor knight is he  
who makes a knight and cannot  
show him the practices which  
pertain to a knight.” Ibid.,  
p. vi.  
4a “My fair friend,” this said 4b “My son,” said the hermit,
the knight, “the rules and the “the whole order is described in
Order of Chivalry are contained this book, which I read sometimes,
in this book in which I read in order that I may be
sometimes in order that I may reminded of the grace that our
be reminded of the grace and Lord granted me in this world,
the favors that God has granted for I honored and maintained
me in this world, for I honored the Order of Chivalry with all
and maintained the Order of my might. And just as chivalry
Chivalry with all my might. gives all that pertains to a
For just as chivalry gives all knight, so also a knight ought to
that pertains to a knight, so give all his strength to honor
also a knight ought to give all chivalry.” Ibid., chap. xxxi.
his strength to honor chivalry.”  
Ibid., p. vi.  
5a And on account of this all 5b And for this reason all the
the people were divided into people were divided into groups
groups of thousands, and from of thousands and from each
each thousand was selected and thousand was selected one man
chosen one man who was more who was more amiable and of
amiable, wiser, more loyal and greater affability, wiser, more
more powerful, and with more loyal, more powerful and with
noble courage, with more instruction nobler courage, with more excellent
and good training than qualities and good practices
all the others. A diligent search than all the others. And
was made among all the animals afterwards they caused a search
to determine which one of them to be made among all the animals
is the most beautiful and most to determine which was the most
fleet and which is able to endure beautiful, most fleet, and which
most fatigue, and which is most could endure greatest fatigue,
suitable to serve man. And and which was most suitable for
since the horse is the most noble the service of man, and from
animal and the most suitable to all, they selected the horse and
serve man, for this reason, from gave it to the man, the one who
all the animals one selected the was chosen from one thousand
horse and gave it to the man men: and therefore that man
who was chosen from one thousand was called caualler, since they
men: and therefore that had adapted the most noble
man is called cauayler. Since animal to the most noble man.
one has adapted the most noble Ibid., chap. xxxii.
animal to the most noble  
man... Ibid., p. vii.  

The five parallel passages given above indicate that Martorell had Lull’s work before his eyes at the time that he was writing the part that treats of the meeting of young Tirant and the hermit and their conversation concerning the order of Chivalry. The first passage from the Libre del Orde d’Cauayleria is an excellent example of the author’s method in selecting a foundation on which to base the various and numerous activities of his hero. The passage is important, for it has furnished an interesting manner of introducing Tirant lo Blanch[86] to the reader, and, moreover, it may have been the author’s starting point. The corresponding passage from Martorell’s work reveals that the source was followed very closely. It is an easy matter to pick out the part of it that he needed to change in order to make it suit his purpose. The details of the latter part give evidence that he consulted the source probably more than once, and that the modifications which we find there are not necessarily due to the processes of translation. The same may be said of the second parallel passages. But the other three are so very nearly alike that the translation theory must be given up. Let us remember what we are asked to believe. We are told that Tirant lo Blanch was translated from the English. Then these passages were translated from Lull’s work (written in Catalan), first into English, then into Portuguese, and finally back into Catalan. And in all these various processes the passages in their final form are practically the same as the original. Is not this a marvelous achievement? We cannot believe the author’s ingenious representations. We are convinced that Tirant lo Blanch was not translated from the English. And since that is the case, is it not probable that it was not written in Portuguese? We admit that by translating from the Catalan into Portuguese, and then back again into Catalan, the resulting passages might not be so very different. But we cannot believe that they could be so similar to the original after two translations. Then, how do we account for the changes? A comparative study of Lull’s style and language and that of Martorell shows that there was considerable difference between them. Of course, it was not the latter’s intention to copy the material word for word. He recast it, adapting it to his style and vocabulary; in other words, he took in general merely the ideas and expressed them in his own way. If Lull’s manner of expression in certain cases agreed with[87] his own, he did not make any changes. He added or omitted incidents at his own pleasure. Sometimes he made a reproduction, and at other times a copy with only such alterations as were necessary to make the passages conform to his own style, which presumably he considered an improvement over the original. Some few changes may have been caused by misreading or in the process of copying. Now and then we get the impression that he made certain alterations in order to avoid a literal transcription. A glance over the above passages shows that Martorell changed certain words. For “palaffre” he substituted “roci”; for “vestiments,” “vestidures”; for “magre,” “flach”; for “ausi” (heard), “hoy”; for “remembrar,” “recordar” or “esser en recort de”; for “consirer,” “entrar en gran pensament”; for “honrament,” “honor”; for “tro,” “fins”; for “en axi,” “axi”; for “pus” in comparisons, “mes.” A study of Martorell’s vocabulary reveals that the words for which he made substitutions are lacking in it. Other similar cases may be found, but, to prove our point, we do not feel it necessary to make an exhaustive study of the vocabularies of these authors. We shall, however, call attention to the ending of the first parallel passages. Lull says: “... e per les lagremes que gitaua, sos hulls foren apoquits.” The corresponding passage of Martorell reads: “e per les moltes lagremes quels seus hulls destillauen li eren los hulls molt apoquits.” There is much weeping in Tirant lo Blanch, and the author’s favorite way of describing it is something like this: “los seus hulls destillaren vives lagremes.” Without making an exhaustive search for this expression, we find twenty-one instances in Tirant lo Blanch where the words “hulls,” some form of “destillar,” and “lagremes” are used to describe this emotional manifestation. He expresses it in other ways, but he never uses the verb “gitar,” which is employed by Lull in this connection. Martorell[88] never uses this word, but, on the other hand, he frequently employs “lançar” with the very same meaning.

After a careful comparison of the above passages, we are satisfied that the book under consideration is not a translation from an English original, nor was it first written in Portuguese. However, if the reader is still doubtful in regard to these questions, let us examine other parallel passages, of which the originals are found in another Catalan production, which bears the title Lo Somni d’En Bernat Metge.

Lo Somni d’En Bernat Metge[27] Tirant lo Blanch[28]
1a Tamaris reyna de Scithia, 1b ... Tamarits Reyna de Sicilia
no fo de menor coratge; la qual la qual no fo de menor
en venjança de la mort de son fill animo. Car en veniança de la
y consolacio sua mata batallant mort de son fill per consolacio
aquell famos y molt temut Cirus, sua mata en batalla aquell famos
rey d’Assia, ab dos cents milia e molt temut Cirius Rey d’dasia
Persians. ab. CC. milia persians.
2a ... y apres que la hague 2b ... Lo dit Cornelio obtengue
dompdada, se’n glorieja tant della victoria. E sen
com si hagues vençut lo major glorieja tant com si hagues
y pus victorios princep del vençut lo major princep del
mon. mon.[89]
3a ... E aquella [amor] que 3b ... E aquella Porcia filla
Porcia filla de Catho, hague a d’l Rey Tracio sabent que lo
Brut, marit seu, la qual encontinent marit seu mort era.
que sabe la mort  
d’aquell, per tal com no habia E com no pogues
prest ferre ab que’s matas, desitjant hauer ferro prest ab ques matas
seguir l’espirit del dit cobejant seguir lesperit de
Brut begue carbons foguejants aquell begue carbons foguejants
y mort. e mort.
4a Be fo cordial e memorable 4b Mes fon cordial e memorable
amor que Artemisia, reyna, lamor que Artemisa reyna
hague a Mauseolo, marit seu; hague a Menaculo, marit seu, la
la qual apres que ell fo mort y qual apres que ell fon mort e li
li hague celebrades solempnes hague celebrades solemnes exequies
exequies, lo feu polvoritzar, y’l lo feu poluorizar e begues
begue, mostrant que ella volia la polvora mostrant que ella
esser sepulcre d’ell. volia esser sepultura dell.
1a Tomyris, Queen of Scythia, 1b ... Tomyris, Queen of
was not of less courage: who Sicily, who was not of less
in avenging the death of her courage. For in avenging the
son and her consolation killed death of her son, for her consolation
battling that famous and much she killed in battle that
feared Cyrus, King of Asia, with famous and much feared Cyrus,
two hundred thousand Persians. King of Asia, with two hundred
  thousand Persians.
2a ... and after he had defeated 2b The aforesaid Cornelius
her, he boasted about it won a victory over her. And
as if he had vanquished the he boasted about it as if he had
greatest and most victorious vanquished the greatest prince
prince in the world. in the world.
3a ... and that [love] which 3b ... and that Portia,
Portia daughter of Cato had for daughter of the King Tracio,
Brutus her husband, she, who, knowing that her husband was
as soon as she knew of his death, dead. And since she could not
for the reason that she had no get an iron instrument immediately,
iron instrument immediately at being eager to follow his
hand with which to slay herself, spirit, ate burning coals and
desiring to follow his spirit, ate died.
burning coals and died.  
4a Very cordial and memorable 4b More cordial and memorable
was the love which Queen was the love which Queen
Artemisia had for Mausolus her Artemisa had for Menaculo
husband; she, who, after he was her husband, she, who, after
dead and she had solemn exequies he was dead and she had solemn
celebrated for him, caused exequies celebrated for him,
his body to be converted into caused his body to be converted
dust, and she swallowed it, into dust, and she swallowed the
showing that she wished to be dust, showing that she wished to
his sepulcher. be his sepulture.

[27] Lo Somni d’En Bernat Metge, edited by R. Miquel y Planas, Barcelona, 1907; Libre quart, pp. 93-95.

[28] Chap. cccix, cols. 3 and 4.

All that we have said in support of our contention that the excerpts from Tirant lo Blanch in the first series of parallel passages have been taken directly from Lull’s work, and not from a translation, is borne out by a comparison of the passages just given. We feel that[90] the evidence is conclusive and that comment would be superfluous. And with all this array of evidence we feel justified in concluding that Tirant lo Blanch was written originally in Catalan. Martorell was a learned Catalan; he was well versed in the history of his country and its literature; he was a master of his native language; and he composed his voluminous work in the tongue that he knew so well. If Tirant lo Blanch was translated into Portuguese, it was not from an English but from a Catalan original that the translation was made.



We are told in the note at the end of the book that Martorell, because of his death, was unable to translate more than three parts of it, and that “la quarta part que es la fi del libre es stada traduida ... per lo magnifich caualler Mossen Marti Johan de Galba.” Now the question arises: What did de Galba have to do with the production of Tirant lo Blanch? It is difficult to answer the question definitely.

In the first place, we do not know what the four parts of the book are. Martorell, at the beginning of the work, probably intended to divide it into a number of parts, for, after the dedication and the prologue, we read: “Comença la primera part del libre de Tirant la qual tracta de certs virtuosos actes que feu lo Comte Guillem de Ueroych en los seus benaventurats darrers dies.” Then, in the chapter immediately following this caption, we find these words: “E per tant com la divina providencia ha ordenat, e li plau que los .vii. planets donen influencia en lo mon e tenen domini sobre la humana natura.... per ço ab lo diuinal adiutori sera departit lo present libre de caualleria en .vii. parts principals.... La primera part sera del principi de caualleria. La segona sera del stament e offici de caualleria, etc.” After informing us of what these seven parts shall treat, he makes this puzzling statement: “Les quals .vii. parts de caualleria seran deduydes en serta part del[92] libre.”[29] Here, then, we have the conflicting statements that the book is to be divided into seven parts, and then follows the announcement that these seven parts shall be produced in a certain part of the work. But nowhere in it do we find any indications that the author attempted to make such a division. It is true, as we have already stated, that the beginning of the first part is announced, but after that no mention of the beginning or end of any other part is made. A logical division into four almost equal parts is absolutely impossible. But we do find that in Chapters XXXI-XXXVI some of the subjects mentioned in the proposed divisions of the work are treated and discussed.

[29] Here commences the first part of the book of Tirant, which treats of certain great deeds done by the Earl, William of Warwick, in his last blessed days.... And inasmuch as Divine Providence has ordained and is pleased that the seven planets exert an influence over the world and hold dominion over human nature. ... on account of this, with divine aid, this book of chivalry will be divided into seven principal parts.... The first part shall treat of the beginning of chivalry. The second shall treat of the state and profession of chivalry, etc.... These seven parts shall be presented in a certain part of the book.

An examination of Lull’s Libre del Orde d’Cauayleria will explain the inconsistency. In this book we find, in the “Incipit Prologus,” the following words:

“Per Significança de les .vii. planetes ... que gouernen e ordonen los corsos terrenals, departim aquest libre d’cauayleria en .vii. parts.... La primera part es d’l començament d’cauayleria. La segona es del offici de cauayleria, etc.”[30]

[30] With the significance of the seven planets ... which govern and control the terrestrial bodies, we divide this book of chivalry into seven parts.... The first part treats of the commencement of chivalry. The second treats of the profession of chivalry, etc.

Martorell had evidently copied from Lull’s book, and the inconsistency was overlooked and found its way into his work.


We have made endeavors to locate the fourth part, which we are told was translated by de Galba, but all our efforts have been in vain. We have carefully examined the spelling, vocabulary, and style of the whole book, but have been unable to find any part that differed sufficiently from the rest of the work to justify the assertion of even a possibility that it represents the part translated by de Galba. The statement can hardly be accepted, for we cannot find anything at all that would tend to support or corroborate it in any way.

But we have concluded that Tirant lo Blanch was originally written in Catalan. Consequently it is not the question: What part did de Galba translate? but, What part did he write? It is not a difficult matter to see why de Galba states that he translated the fourth part. Martorell had called his book a translation and consequently de Galba was obliged to do the same. But the assumption that the latter wrote a part of considerable importance can hardly be maintained. We have already remarked that there is no appreciable difference in vocabulary and style in any part. Moreover, we find throughout the work a marked similarity in the manner of observation and description. The author has certain favorite expressions which he uses again and again, and these are not confined to any special parts. The same method of composing the book is followed from beginning to end. The same mind and the same heart are always in evidence. The different characters, when laboring under intense emotion, speak and act in practically the same way. Martorell has stamped his work with a strong individuality, and his characteristics are revealed throughout. All these facts tend to indicate that Tirant lo Blanch is the work of one author and one only. If it were not for the statement to the contrary, we feel certain that no one would ever doubt that the whole book was written by Martorell.


But if we conclude that de Galba neither translated nor wrote a considerable part of the work, what did he do that would give him any right to claim part of the honor in the production? Perhaps Givanel Mas is right when he hints that de Galba’s rôle was limited to the preparation of the manuscript for publication. We are rather inclined to accept that suggestion. We are, however, disposed to add that probably de Galba did contribute something to the story. Perhaps he wrote the very last chapter, which consists of about three hundred words. We suggest this probability, because the reading of that chapter leaves the impression that the ending of the story is overdone. It may be that he wrote it for no other reason than to be able to say that he “translated” the fourth part, “la fi del libre.” In this chapter we are told that under the rule of Hypolite the empire was prosperous and extended its limits. After the death of the empress, according to the same chapter, he married a daughter of the King of England, who bore him three sons and two daughters. The eldest of these sons was named after his father and performed great deeds of prowess. The emperor and the empress reached a very advanced age, and they died on the same day. Their rule was so excellent, and their lives were so good and virtuous, that we may feel assured that they are now enjoying the glory of heaven.

We have not been able to find anything in the style and language of this last chapter that would indicate that it was written by any other than Martorell, and we confess that our suggestion is based almost exclusively upon the fact that it might very well have been omitted. In the chapters immediately preceding this one, Tirant and Carmesina are placed in their tomb, Hypolite marries the empress, rewards his friends, and marries them to ladies of the imperial court. The closing words of the next to the last chapter are:


“Apres dona a tots aquells qui se eren casats ab les criades de la Emperadriu e de la Princessa bones heretats, quen podien molt be viure a lur honor, e cascu segons son grau, que tots nestauen molt contents. E apres per temps casa totes les altres axi com de bon senyor se pertanyia.”[31]

[31] Afterwards, to all those who had married the maids of the empress and of the princess, he gave generous gifts, so that they could live well and in honor, and each one according to his rank. As a result all were very happy. And in time, as a worthy lord ought, he gave all the others maids in marriage.

The passage just quoted seems to have been intended for the conclusion of Tirant lo Blanch. This indication, together with the fact that the last chapter seems unnecessary and superfluous, surely justifies the suggestion that probably de Galba wrote “la fi del libre,” but not the fourth part, unless he called these last few lines “la quarta part.”

The best explanation that we can suggest in regard to de Galba’s statement is, that on account of preparing the manuscript for the printer, he considered himself entitled to some credit in the production of this book. Why he claims to have translated the fourth part can only be a matter of conjecture. Perhaps that part was in special need of revision. He may have made some changes or additions, but we cannot admit that he wrote or translated the whole or a considerable portion of it.




Towards the end of his book, the author of Tirant lo Blanch annexed to the life of his hero, with extensive modifications however, the latter part of the career of the famous Catalan hero, Roger de Flor, whose life from childhood to death is related in Muntaner’s Chronica. It is not so strange, then, that those who have read Tirant lo Blanch and are acquainted with the life of Roger de Flor should designate Martorell’s work as a kind of historical novel.

In his excellent Estudio crítico de Tirant lo Blanch, Givanel Mas exclaims:

Cuán acertado estuvo Amador de los Ríos al indicar que la principal fuente del libro de caballerías catalán, fueron las proezas de aquel caudillo [Roger de Flor] cuyas hazañas llenan bastantes páginas de la Crónica de Muntaner.[32]

[32] Op. cit., p. 117.

In Denk’s Geschichte der altcatalanischen Litteratur we read the following statement:

Jeder Kenner der catalanischen Geschichte sieht in Tirant nichts als die novellistisch behandelte Gestalt des kühnen Abenteurers Roger [98]de Flor, dessen Thaten Muntaner und Moncada erzählen und schildern.[33]

[33] Dr. V.M. Otto Denk, Einführung in die Geschichte der altcatalanischen Litteratur, Munich, 1893; pp. 144 and 145.

In Menéndez y Pelayo’s Orígenes de la Novela we find the following passage:

El tema principal de la novela, las empresas de Tirante en Grecia y Asia ... dan al Tirante cierto sello de novela histórica, donde se reconoce no muy disfigurada (dentro de los límites que separan siempre la verdad de la ficción), la heróica expedición de catalanes y aragoneses á Levante y el trágico destino de Roger de Flor.[34]

[34] D.M. Menéndez y Pelayo, Orígenes de la Novela, Madrid, 1905; tomo I, p. ccliv.

But when we compare this book of chivalry with Muntaner’s Chronica and with Guy of Warwick, we see that these quotations, while true in general, are at the same time more or less misleading, for the English romance has provided more material than is generally believed, not only that which furnished the basis of the William of Warwick episode, but also elements that were utilized in different parts of the work. Therefore we shall point out all the constituents or features that seem to owe their origin to the English romance, Guy of Warwick, or to that part of Muntaner’s Chronica which contains the life of Roger de Flor.

In the William of Warwick episode, with which we have begun our analysis, Martorell has given us a kind of free reproduction of an important part of Guy of Warwick. But the Catalan author is not a servile imitator; the incidents that he has taken from the English romance he has treated in such a way as to render them more interesting than the original.

The episode is based upon the following events which we find in the fourteenth-century versions of the Guy of [99]Warwick romance[35]: After many knightly combats and adventures on the continent, and after slaying the dragon in Northumberland, Guy married Felice, the daughter of Earl Rohold. The newly married couple lived in great happiness for two weeks. One evening, after a hunt, Guy mounted a high tower, where he admired the stars of heaven. He thought of the many honors that had been bestowed upon him by Christ, our Saviour, and then it occurred to him that he had never done anything for the Lord in return. On the contrary, he had engaged in wars, wrought much woe, and slain many of his fellow-men. He became deeply repentant and resolved to spend the rest of his life as a pilgrim, and thus make amends for his transgressions. He informed Felice of his resolution. She, in tears, begged him to remain with her, but he was firm. Before his departure, she gave him a ring as a remembrance of her. He crossed the sea and proceeded on his way to Jerusalem.

[35] These fourteenth-century versions were edited from the Auchinleck MS. in the Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh, and from MS. 107 in Caius College, Cambridge, by Julius Zupitza, and published for the Early English Text Society, London, 1883, 1887, and 1891. For the beginning of the episode, cf. p. 396.

After many adventures abroad Guy finally returned to England. During his absence the Danes had invaded the country and wrought great destruction. When he arrived at Winchester none that saw him recognized him. Just at the time of his arrival, the English king, Aethelstan, was holding a council with the leading men of the realm. They were considering the demand of the Danish king that the English surrender the kingdom and pay tribute to Denmark or bring some one forth to engage in combat with the giant, Colbrond, the champion of the Danes. If this giant should be vanquished, the invaders would leave the soil of England; but if, on the other hand, he should be victorious, the English would be obliged [100]to pay tribute to the Danes. King Aethelstan asked his assembled men if they knew any knight who would dare to fight against Colbrond, but they all stood silent with downcast eyes. The king could not sleep that night, and was praying incessantly that God might send some one to champion the cause of England, when an angel appeared before him and bade him arise early the following morning and go to church, where he would find a pilgrim who would undertake the fight against the giant. Early the next morning the king met the pilgrim. The latter at first declined the king’s behest, pleading feebleness and old age, but finally consented. On the day appointed the pilgrim went to the spot where the combat was to take place, knelt down and prayed for victory. Then came Colbrond on foot, for he was too heavy for any horse. All his armor was black, and his appearance such as to make one shudder. Guy rode towards him and the combat began. The giant cut Guy’s steed in two without much delay. Guy was then obliged to fight on foot, and he was scarcely able to reach his adversary’s shoulder with his sword. Nevertheless he succeeded in inflicting an ugly wound on Colbrond, who returned the blow, cutting Guy’s shield in twain. A moment later Guy struck a vigorous blow with his sword and broke it. Thereupon he seized one of the axes of the giant, who immediately drove his sword at him with all his might, but missed him, the sword going three feet into the earth. While he was stooping to pull it out, Guy cut off his right arm. The giant made a desperate effort to extricate his weapon with his left, but before he could do so, Guy severed his head from the body. Thus was Colbrond, champion of the Danes, vanquished, and the invaders, true to their word, boarded their ships and returned to their country.

Guy was led back into the town of Winchester in a great triumphal procession. King Aethelstan wished to[101] reward him, but the pilgrim would accept nothing. The king asked him to reveal his name. The stranger replied that if he would accompany him out of the city, his wish should be granted. Aethelstan went with him and was amazed when he found out that the pilgrim was none other than Guy of Warwick. He asked him to remain with him, but the request was denied. Both weeping, they kissed each other and parted. Guy, in his pilgrim garb, went to the city of Warwick, where he presented himself before his wife, Felice, who gave him food without recognizing him. She asked him to come every day, and he should always receive food and drink from her; but he never returned. Going instead to visit a certain hermit, he found that the latter had died during his absence. Guy then decided to pass the remainder of his days in the deserted hermitage. One night an angel appeared to him and announced that on the morning of the eighteenth day he should exchange this world for heaven. When the period had almost expired he sent a messenger to Felice with the ring that she had given him when he set out on his pilgrimage. Recognizing the ring, she fell unconscious. After recovering, she immediately went to him. Guy kissed her tenderly and then passed away. A few days later Felice was buried at his side.

This part of the English romance was utilized by Martorell to form the foundation of the William of Warwick episode. He made changes and additions to suit his purpose, following the general plan, but inventing the details. The simple ring he describes as a complicated double ring; the Danish invasion as an incursion of the Moors; and the angel that appeared to the king as the Virgin and the Child. When the Danish champion is defeated, the Danes withdraw from England; but when the Moorish king is vanquished, the Moors do not leave the kingdom as they had agreed to do. Consequently[102] a campaign to exterminate the Moors results, and William of Warwick becomes the commander of the English forces.

But all of the episode is not based on Guy of Warwick. We have seen in the beginning of the analysis that, after the Moors had been annihilated, William again returned to a hermitage. Up to this point Martorell followed his model rather faithfully, but thereafter he abandoned it. However, he continued the episode, drawing his material from a different source. In order to point out to the reader what parts of the episode are not based on the English romance, and at the same time to give a concrete example of the method followed by Martorell in the composition of his work, we shall note the procedure of the author in the continuation of this episode.

In the prologue of Lull’s Libre del Orde d’Cauayleria Martorell had read of a great knight who likewise had retired to a hermitage, and doubtless this striking coincidence, which apparently had attracted his attention even before he began writing his romance, caused him to incorporate in the episode the incident related by Lull. The prologue recites how, in a certain country, a knight, who for a long time had been an honor to knighthood, finally realized that the end of his days was approaching, whereupon he decided to spend the rest of his life as a hermit. Accordingly he went to live in a dense forest. It was his custom to come every day to a clear spring under a large tree, where he was wont to contemplate and pray. Now it happened that a great king had announced an assembly of his court, and a certain mounted squire was proceeding on his way to attend that court in order that knighthood might be conferred upon him. Overcome by the fatigue of the journey, the squire fell asleep. His steed left the road, entered the wood, and came to a spring at a time when the hermit was there. The latter discontinued his[103] prayers when he saw the squire approaching and began to read in a book. When the steed stopped at the spring to drink, the rider awoke and was surprised to see the aged hermit before him. After exchanging greetings, the hermit spoke to the youth of things pertaining to knighthood, and when they parted, asked him to come back after he had been made a knight.

The author of Tirant lo Blanch incorporated in his work the incident just mentioned by paraphrasing it and by reproducing certain parts almost literally, as we have already observed, making such changes as he saw fit. In the reproduction of this incident the unknown hermit is William of Warwick; the unnamed king is the King of England; and the squire is Tirant lo Blanch. In Lull’s work the hermit invites the squire to return, but he never comes back. Martorell makes his hero accept the hermit’s invitation, and Tirant with his companions returns to William of Warwick, when the principal events that took place at the English court, including the marvelous feats of Tirant, are related to him. The deeds that Martorell ascribes to Tirant while at the court of the English king are not similar to those of Guy of Warwick as described in the English romance. They are probably inventions of the author, based on what he witnessed, heard, or read in connection with tournaments or knightly affairs. Tirant remained with the hermit for a few days and then returned to his native land, Brittany. Here ends the William of Warwick episode.

To sum up: All that part of the episode up to and including the retirement of William of Warwick to a hermitage after the extermination of the Moors, is based on the English romance, but only on that portion of it that treats of the latter part of the career of the English hero. The subsequent part of the episode at first seems to reveal no other traces of the romance, but suddenly a resemblance emerges.



Perhaps William of Warwick stands for the mature Guy of Warwick, and Tirant lo Blanch for the youthful Guy of Warwick. If such is the case, we have met with a very interesting phenomenon: in the meeting of the hermit and Tirant we have the venerable and experienced Guy of Warwick giving instructions in regard to knighthood to his younger self. Our attention is first called to this resemblance when we read of the honors that Tirant gained at London.

Tirant lo Blanch crossed the English Channel, took part in the exercises of arms that were conducted under the auspices of the King of England, and won for himself the honor of being the best knight; for in reading the document given by the King to Tirant we meet these words: “... volem que [Tirant lo Blanch] sia per tots los quatre cantons de les liçes publicat per lo millor dels cauallers.”[36]

[36] It is our desire that [Tirant lo Blanch] be proclaimed from all four corners of the lists the best of the knights. Tirant lo Blanch, chap. lviii, col. 2.

Guy of Warwick crossed the English Channel, engaged in a tournament that had been proclaimed by the daughter of the emperor of Germany, and as a result a sergeant came to him after the tournament and addressed him in these words:

Sir Guy, he seide, god the kepe:
Thou art holde the best in this borough
And in all this londe thurgh and thorough.[37]

[37] Caius MS., p. 59.


But Tirant lo Blanch is supposed to represent Roger de Flor. Does the youthful career of Tirant resemble that of the Catalan hero? Let us consult Muntaner’s Chronica. There we find that Roger de Flor, when eight years old, began his training for a sea-life and at the age of twenty was pronounced a perfect mariner and placed in command of a ship of the Templars. His early laurels were won as a seaman. No mention is made of his prowess in the exercise of arms.

From the above comparisons it is evident that Martorell did not have Roger de Flor in mind when he described the knightly combats of Tirant. But we do find a strong similarity between the youthful Tirant and young Guy of Warwick as he is pictured to us in the English romance. We know that Martorell had great respect for Guy of Warwick, for he calls him “lo egregi e strenu caualler, pare de caualleria.” Perhaps the youthful career of Guy or other incidents in the English romance have made such impression on the author as to have left other visible marks on his book of chivalry? Perhaps Guy of Warwick has yielded more than is generally believed? Let us follow the hint and see what result the investigation will produce.

Guy of Warwick in his youth served Earl Rohold as cup-bearer, and fell in love with Felice, the daughter of his lord. Such woe came over him that he wept. His suffering became greater and greater. Finally he concluded to tell her of his love, for he could not eat nor drink nor rest, and his woe was driving him to despair. He went to her, and throwing himself at her feet, he made confession of his love. She rebuffed him and warned him not to come to her again. He returned to his room, where he tore his hair and rent his clothes until he swooned. The earl sent doctors, and Guy pretended to be suffering from chills and fever. Love again drove him to her feet. A maid remarked that if[106] she were the daughter of the richest king on earth, she could not refuse Guy her love. Felice chided the maid for her speech, but nevertheless took compassion on the unhappy lover and promised him her love if he should become a great knight. And finally Guy, by his valor, love, and true worth, won her, although he was beneath her in station.

Tirant, as we have observed in the analysis, was afflicted in much the same manner, when first he beheld Carmesina. He, too, was below his lady in station, and his confession of love was received as an insult. The emperor sent his physicians to him, and he claimed that his sickness was due to change of climate. Just as the maid interceded for Guy, so Stephania pleaded in behalf of Tirant. And in the end his love, prowess, and great service to the empire removed the obstacle which the difference in station had placed between them.

The Chronica of Muntaner does not give us any information concerning a love affair between Roger de Flor and the niece of the Emperor of Constantinople. Nor are there any love scenes at all in that part of the Chronica that deals with the career of the Catalan hero.

While Guy of Warwick was at Spires with the Emperor of Germany, they went hunting along the river. When Guy was returning from the hunt, he noticed a dromond coming to the shore. He greeted the men in the boat, and learned that they were merchants who had left Constantinople because the sultan, after having devastated nearly all of the Grecian empire, laid siege to the imperial city. Guy, with his faithful companion from England, Heraud, and one hundred of the most stalwart knights that he could find in Germany, went to Constantinople to succor the unfortunate emperor. When he arrived His Imperial Majesty greeted him with these words:


Of thine help gret nede haue we.
Michel ich haue herd speke of the.
· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·
Forti thousand thai slowe on a day
Of mine men as ich you telle may.
Mine men thai slowe, mi sone also,
Wharfore, leue frende, y bede the to,
If thou might me of hem wreke,
And the felouns out of mi lond do reke,
Mine feyre douhter thou shalt habbe,
And half mi lond, with-outen gabbe.[38]

[38] Auchinleck MS., pp. 166 and 168.

In speaking of the formidable Saracen, Emir Costdram, a citizen said to Guy:

That other day he dede ous sorwe anough
Of themperour sone that he slough,
That was so gode and stalworth knight,
That opon hem had geuen mani fight.
In this site so gode knight was non,
That with wretthe durst loke him on.[39]

[39] Auchinleck MS., p. 170.

Guy and his companions, immediately after their arrival, went out against the enemy, and soon gave proof of their wonderful fighting qualities. They routed the Saracens, and in pursuing them Guy overtook Esclandar, who exclaimed:

Artow Gij?
Bi Mahoun that ich leue upon,
Neuer schal ich oway gon,
No neuer schal y blithe be,
Til ich that heued binim the:
Behote ich it haue a maiden of pris,
The soudans douhter that wel fair is.[40]

[40] Ibid., p. 176.

But Esclandar, after a lance had been driven through him, was obliged to resume his flight. When the victors returned to the city, the emperor said to Guy:

Mi feir douhter, that is of pris,
Ichil the giue to spouse y-wis
Thou schalt ben emperour after me,
Thou art a knight of gret bounte.[41]

[41] Ibid., p. 178.


Guy had learned through a spy that the sultan was planning a desperate assault upon Constantinople. He informed the emperor, who placed the defense of the city in his hands. Guy, assisted by the Constable, made preparations to attack the Saracens before they should reach the city. Before the sortie Guy addressed his men, urging them to attack boldly and vigorously and rid the country of the foe. Guy, Heraud, and their companions performed many prodigies of valor, and the Greeks, too, fought well. The infidels were slaughtered by the thousands, and as a result of this victory,

Guy, the good knyght,
Most was worshipped and that was right.[42]

[42] Caius MS., p. 215.

Morgadour, the imperial steward, who aspired to the hand of the emperor’s daughter, became envious of the honors won by Guy, and his jealousy and hatred increased in proportion as the realization of his hopes grew less and less probable. He plotted to remove his rival by suggesting to the emperor that Guy and Heraud be sent as ambassadors to the sultan to make a proposal of peace. The steward well knew that if they should go, they would never return. The emperor was willing to make a proposal of peace to the enemy, but unwilling that Guy should go on this dangerous mission. However, Guy insisted upon going. He entered the tent of the sultan defiantly, and proposed to him that he select a champion to represent the Saracens. Guy himself would defend the cause of the emperor. If the sultan’s champion should win, the Greeks were to pay tribute to the sultan and acknowledge him as their lord. If, however, he should be vanquished, the infidels should leave the country. The sultan’s answer to the proposal was an order to his men to take and slay the insolent ambassador. Thereupon the latter drew his sword and [109]cut off the sultan’s head, seized it, and hurried away on his steed. He was pursued and attacked by a multitude of Saracens, but they were unable to take or to slay him. When Guy reached the city, he gave the head to the emperor, and

Whan thei of the Citee wiste of his comynge
For ioye they ganne all the belles rynge.[43]

[43] Caius MS., p. 235.

The following day, the emperor said to Guy:

Gij, make the redi;
Tomorwe thou schalt mi doughter weddi.[44]

[44] Ibid., p. 240.

And so the next day Guy and his companions went to the church, where they met the imperial family. The archbishop was there to perform the marriage ceremony. The emperor addressed Guy with these words:

Mi douhter ich giue the here,
And thritti castels with hir also,
With the worthschip that lith ther-to
And half my lond ich giue the,
Befor mi barons that here be.
Thou schalt ben emperour after me:
Biforn them all y graunt it the.[45]

[45] Auchinleck MS., p. 238.

But when the wedding-ring was brought forth a feeling of distress came over Guy, and this was caused by his love for Felice. He fell in a swoon, and when he had recovered consciousness, he asked that the ceremony be postponed. He was in torment for two weeks. Finally he resolved to remain true to Felice. Now it happened that Morgadour slew a certain lion that Guy had rescued from a dragon, and which thereafter followed him as a faithful and grateful companion. This act so enraged Guy that in a quarrel he killed the treacherous steward. He then decided to leave Constantinople. When the [110]emperor saw that it was not in his power to retain him, he wept and all the court wept with him. Then he brought forth his treasures and bade Guy to take whatever might please him, but he would accept nothing. Guy’s companions, however, were in a receptive mood, and the emperor gave them whatever they desired. And Guy departed for England, leaving the hearts of the emperor, the princess, and the people of Constantinople filled with woe.

For an account of Tirant’s activities while in the service of the Greek emperor, we beg to refer the reader to the analysis. We shall, however, call his attention to the following striking similarities between Tirant lo Blanch and Guy of Warwick. In both these works the empire is described as being in desperate straits. Guy went to Constantinople with one hundred knights; Tirant, with one hundred and forty. In both books the only son of the emperor was slain. In the English romance, Esclandar promised to his lady-love, the sultan’s daughter, the head of Guy; in the Catalan work, the King of Egypt expressed his intention of sending to his lady-love, the Grand Turk’s daughter, the head of Tirant. Tirant addressed his soldiers on various occasions, as did Guy before the Greeks attacked the enemy. Guy, although never formally appointed leader of the imperial army, was intrusted with the defense of Constantinople; Tirant was in full command of the forces of the emperor. Morgadour cherished hopes of marrying the daughter of His Imperial Majesty, harbored envy and ill will against Guy, and tried to bring about his death; the Duke of Macedonia was one of Carmesina’s suitors, hated Tirant, and treacherously attacked him from behind in the midst of battle. In both works the bells were rung when there was cause for rejoicing. Both Guy and Tirant were always successful in their encounters with the enemy. In Guy of Warwick and in Tirant lo Blanch the emperor[111] gave the hand of his daughter to the hero and publicly announced him successor to the imperial throne. But in neither case was the marriage consummated. Guy’s perilous mission as ambassador to the sultan is reëchoed in Tirant lo Blanch, but the scene takes place in Barbary. Tirant went to King Scariano as ambassador of the King of Tremicen, refused to salute him, for they were enemies, and harshly rebuked him for making war against the King of Tremicen. So he issued a challenge that if any of Scariano’s knights should dare to say that the war was just, he, the ambassador of the King of Tremicen, would be pleased to maintain the contrary and engage in mortal combat with that knight.

From the resemblances just pointed out, are we not justified in challenging the statement that Tirant lo Blanch represents Roger de Flor? Tirant’s activities at Constantinople constitute the most important part of his career, and this part is said to be based on the Catalan-Aragonese expedition to Constantinople under the leadership of that famous Catalan hero. Let us examine closely the part of Muntaner’s Chronica which treats of Roger de Flor and his expedition, in order that we may see how closely Martorell followed the facts connected with that glorious page in Catalan history.



Roger de Flor, with many soldiers and adventurers from Catalonia and Aragon, had fought on the side of Frederick I of Aragon, while the latter was engaged in a war against Charles of Anjou, King of Naples, for the possession of the kingdom of Sicily. When the war was over, Roger and his companions in arms were without employment. He then conceived the plan of entering the service of the Emperor of Constantinople, who was hard pressed by the Turks. Accordingly he sent two trustworthy knights to the emperor, with instructions and full powers to act for him. He offered his services under the following conditions: that the emperor give him his niece in marriage; that he appoint him Magaduch of the empire; and that he pay to the soldiers who came with Roger a stipulated wage. He felt certain that the mission of his agents would be successful, and, even before these returned, was busy making preparations for the expedition. Finally they came back with the espousals duly signed and Roger’s appointment and commission as Magaduch. This title and position was equal to that of prince, and carried with it command of the soldiers of the empire and authority over the Admiral. Roger, with the assistance of King Frederick, gathered a fleet of thirty-six vessels, and in these, without counting the crews, women, and children, 1500 cavalry and 5000 infantry set sail. On arriving at Constantinople they were received with great joy. The marriage of Roger and the emperor’s niece was celebrated without delay. The Genoese who were fighting under the imperial banners[113] were in an ugly mood when they saw with what cordial welcome their rivals were received. Roger’s men resented their insolence, and a bloody battle ensued in which 3000 Genoese were slain. The emperor watched the fight with pleasure, for the overbearing ways of the Genoese had long been a source of extreme vexation to him. Roger’s almogávares wished to sack Pera, where the Genoese lived, and it was with difficulty that the new Magaduch restrained them.

The Turks had conquered all the territory of Anatolia and were so near the city of Constantinople that only an arm of the sea separated them. Some time before the arrival of Roger, Xor Miqueli,[46] the eldest son of the emperor, had crossed this body of water with 12,000 cavalry and 100,000 infantry, but he was afraid to join battle with the Turks. The emperor now sent Roger with his 1500 cavalry and 5000 infantry to attack the enemy. But before the Magaduch set out he succeeded in having his intimate friend, En Ferran de Ahones, married to a relative of the emperor and at the same time appointed Admiral. Then he took his forces across the arm of the sea and landed near the camp of the Turks, without having been seen by them. The next day at dawn his forces made an unexpected attack on the enemy, and a hard-fought battle ensued. The Turks were unable to resist the terrific onslaught of the almogávares, and finally were forced to yield, after having lost 3000 cavalry and 10,000 infantry. The news of the victory brought great joy to the heart of the emperor, but to the Genoese it was a bitter draught. Xor Miqueli, too, was disappointed. From that time he frowned on Roger and his men.

[46] Xor is a Greek title of honor, accorded to illustrious personages. It corresponds to the Spanish Don as used formerly.

After this victory the Magaduch planned to reconquer all the cities, towns, and castles that the Turks had captured. [114]But a severe winter set in, and he was obliged to go into winter quarters at Artaqui, where the above battle had been fought. When the cold season was nearly over he ordered all his men to be ready to follow the banner on the first day of April, on which date the army marched towards Filadelfia. Just before reaching that city they came upon a Turkish army drawn up in battle array. The battle that followed was stubbornly fought on both sides, but finally the Magaduch’s forces were victorious. They entered the city, where they were warmly welcomed. From this place they went to Nif, thence to Magnesia, and next to Tira. The morning after they entered this city hostile troops appeared, and the Magaduch sent out the Seneschal, En Corberan de Alet, with a body of men, to attack them. The Turks were soon routed and in pursuing them the Seneschal was struck by an arrow and killed.

The Magaduch sent word to the Admiral to bring the whole fleet to Ania. In the meantime En Berenguer de Rocafort arrived at Constantinople with 200 cavalry and 1000 infantry, and these were immediately sent to the Magaduch. These reinforcements, the fleet, and the forces in the field all came together at Ania. Rocafort was made Seneschal. At this place another clash with the enemy took place, and the latter was soon put to flight. The victorious army then continued its march through Anatolia, and when they arrived at a mountain pass called “La Porta del Ferre,” they were attacked by a large army of the enemy. The Turks fought furiously, but in vain; they were forced to flee and the victors pursued them until darkness intervened.

Finally the power of the Turks in Anatolia was completely broken. Roger now asked the emperor to make a payment to his troops, and the latter ordered special money to be coined. This money was not worth its face value. The emperor did this in order that friction[115] and hatred might arise between the people of the empire and the strangers, for “if he had not had need of these foreigners, he would have wished all of them dead and out of the empire.”

En Berenguer Dentença arrived with additional reinforcements. A few days later Roger suggested to the emperor that the newly-arrived commander should be given a position of honor, and offered to resign his position in order that Dentença might be appointed Magaduch. His Imperial Majesty approved this suggestion. The following day Roger placed his cap on the head of Dentença and gave him the insignia of the high office of Magaduch. Thereupon the emperor asked Roger to be seated and proclaimed him Caesar of the Empire. Caesar’s throne was a half-hand lower than the emperor’s, and his cap and robes were blue instead of red. That constituted the only difference between emperor and Caesar. There had been no Caesar of the Empire for four hundred years. Roger’s elevation to this dignity was celebrated with great solemnity.

Another winter came on, and the Caesar spent it with his troops at Gallipoli. After the Christmas festivities he returned to Constantinople to confer with the emperor in regard to affairs of the empire. As a result of this consultation the whole territory of Anatolia and the islands of Romania were placed in his hands. He was to distribute the cities, towns, and castles among vassals, who were to furnish armed men and horses in return.

But before going to Anatolia he felt it his duty to take leave of Xor Miqueli, who was at Adrianople, five jornadas from the imperial city. His wife and her mother, knowing the hatred that the emperor’s son bore him, warned him not to go there, but he went in spite of their pleadings. Xor Miqueli came out to meet him and showed him much honor. Apparently the fears of his wife and her mother were unfounded. But on the seventh day of[116] his visit Gircon, the chief of the Alanos, entered the palace, and at the behest, or at least with the consent, of Xor Miqueli, put a tragic end to the heroic career of Roger de Flor, Caesar of the Empire.

Now let us see what striking resemblances we can discover in comparing the careers of Tirant lo Blanch and Roger de Flor. The points of similarity that stand out prominently in the comparison of these heroes are the following: Tirant, like Roger de Flor, came from Sicily to the aid of the ill-faring empire; both were immediately placed in command of the imperial forces, Tirant with the title of Capita Major and Roger de Flor with that of Magaduch; both were always victorious on the field of battle, and recovered the territory that had been conquered by the Turks; both were made Caesar of the Empire for their distinguished services; Roger was assassinated at Adrianople, and in that same city Tirant’s fatal malady seized him.

The historical basis of Tirant’s career at Constantinople is evidently furnished by the Chronica, but Martorell’s hero differs very much from the Catalan hero. The author evidently had the latter in mind to some extent, but apparently he did not wish to portray him in such manner that one would recognize him. While we still have Guy of Warwick’s career at Constantinople fresh in mind, do not the details of Tirant’s career seem to be more in accord with the English hero’s than with those of Roger de Flor? Did we not expect more of a resemblance, when we were told that Tirant represents the latter? In short, is that judgment not misleading? If it had been Martorell’s intention to make this part a kind of historical novel in which Roger de Flor was to be the central figure, would he not have adhered to the facts more closely, and elaborated them at his own free will and pleasure?



But there are other features in this part of Tirant lo Blanch that reveal the influence of that portion of the Chronica which treats of Roger de Flor and his expedition. In recounting the career of the latter we have noted that the first fight in which his forces were engaged was against the Genoese, who were in the service of the emperor. This incident is reflected in the following words spoken by the emperor and addressed to Tirant:[47] “... perqueus prech, Capita virtuos, queus vullau dispondre en anar contra los enemichs nostres los genouesos, generacio mala....”

[47] Therefore I pray you, excellent Captain, to make ready to march against our enemies, the Genoese, an evil race.... Tirant lo Blanch, chap. cxxii, col. 2.

The incompetent, envious and treacherous commander, Xor Miqueli, is probably the prototype of the sullen and malicious Duke of Macedonia.

En Berenguer de Rocafort and En Berenguer Dentença came with reinforcements to Constantinople and joined Roger’s army; the Prior of Saint John, the Viscount of Branches, and the Duke of Messina came with many men to join Tirant’s forces.

At a session of the Imperial Council which had convened to consider certain military matters, one of the members proposed:

[48] ... antes que partixquen de açi la gent darmes deuen anar en romiatge, e fer grans presentalles[118] als deus en la ylla don Paris sen porta la Reyna Elena: e perço hagueren en temps antich los Grechs victoria dels Troyans.

[48] ... before they leave here, the men at arms ought to make a pilgrimage and make great offerings to the gods on the island whence Paris carried away Queen Helen: it was in this way that, in ancient times, the Greeks won a victory over the Trojans. Tirant lo Blanch, chap. cxxiii, col. 4.

This proposal is surprising. Why should such a suggestion be made in a Christian court? We find the answer in the following passage taken from the Chronica:

[49] E en aquella illa del Tenedo en aquell temps hauia una ydola, e venien hi un mes del any tots los honrrats homens de Romania, e les honrrades dones a romeria. E axi fo, que en aquell temps Arena, muller del duch de Tenes, hi vench en romeria ab C cauallers qui lacompanyaren, e Paris, fill del rey Priam de Troya, axi mateix era vengut a romeria, e hauia ab si entro cinquanta cauallers. E vae la dona Arena, e altas tant della, que dix a sos homens, que mester era, que lagues e la sen menas. E axi com so mes en cor, axi fo: que garnis ab tota sa companya, e pres la dona, e volch sen menar. E aquells cauallers qui eren ab ella volgren la li defendre, e finalment tots cent muriren, e Paris menassan la dona.[119]

[49] And on that island of Tenedos, there was at that time an idol, and one month in every year all the noble men and noble ladies of Romania came thither on a pilgrimage. And thus it was that at that time Arena [Helen] wife of the Duke of Tenes [Athens?] came thither on a pilgrimage with a hundred knights who accompanied her. And Paris, the son of King Priam of Troy, likewise had come on a pilgrimage and he had with him about fifty knights. He saw the Lady Arena, and fell so deeply in love with her that he said to his men that he must have her and carry her away with him. And what he had set his heart upon doing was done: he made ready to carry out his purpose with his company, and he seized the lady and was about to take her away. And those knights who were with her tried to defend her, and finally every one of the hundred was killed and Paris carried away the lady. Muntaner’s Chronica, chap. ccxiv.

Roger’s companion, En Fernan de Ahones, married a relative of the emperor and was appointed Admiral; Tirant’s intimate companion, Diaphebus, became Constable and married the niece of the emperor, Stephania.

The above are the principal features that seem to owe their origin to that part of the Chronica that treats of Roger de Flor in connection with the Catalan-Aragonese expedition to the Orient. Another feature which is apparently due to the same source is the description of the manner in which Tirant ran the blockade at Rhodes. The description is as follows:

[50] E en la primera guayta la nau feu vela: e ixqueren del port ab molt bon temps: e agueren lo vent molt prosper: que en .iiii. dies passaren lo golf de Venecia e foren en vista de Rodes, e anaren al castell de sanct Pere, e aqui surgiren per sperar vent que fos un poch fortunal. E Tirant a consell de dos mariners que de sa terra hauia portats, qui amauen molt la honor sua, com veren lo vent larguer e bo, en la nit donaren vela e de mati apuntant la alba, ells foren en vista de Rodes molt prop. Com les naus de Genouesos veren aquella nau venir pensaren que era una de dues que hauien trameses per portar vitualles per al camp, e vehien que venien de levant, no podien pensar que neguna altra nau tingues[120] atreviment de venir en mig de tantes naues com en lo port stauen. La nau se acosta e con fon prop delles carregua de tantes veles com podia portar: en aço conegueren los Genouesos, e en lo galip de la nau que no era de les sues, posarense en orde del que pogueren: empero la nau los fon tan prop que neguna nau no pogue alçar vela, e aquesta a veles plenes passa per mig de totes les naus al lur despit.

[50] And in the first watch the ship set sail: they left the port in very good weather and they had very favorable winds so that in four days they crossed the Gulf of Venice and were in sight of Rhodes. They went to the castle of Saint Peter, where they cast anchor in order to await a rather stormy wind. Tirant followed the advice of two mariners whom he had brought along with him from his native land. Both of these held his honor in high esteem. When they saw that the wind was strong and propitious they set sail during the night and in the morning at break of day they were very near Rhodes. When the ships of the Genoese saw that vessel coming they thought that it was one of two that they had sent to get provisions for the camp, and seeing that they were coming from the west, they could not imagine that any other ship would have the boldness to come into the midst of so many ships as were in the port. The vessel approached and when it was very close to them, all the sails that it was able to carry were set. By this and by the lines of the ship the Genoese saw that it was none of theirs and they put themselves in order the best they could: but the vessel was so near them that no ship was able to set a sail, and that one with sails full spread passed through the midst of all the ships in spite of them. Tirant lo Blanch, chap. ciiii, cols. 3 and 4.

When Robert, Duke of Catania, besieged the city of Messina in Sicily, Roger de Flor brought provisions to the starving soldiers and inhabitants, and the duke was obliged to raise the siege. Below follows the account of this event as narrated by Muntaner.

[51] E frare Roger ... axi hach deu galees, e carrega les a Xacca de forment, e venchses a Caragoça, e espera ques metes fortuna de xaloch o de mig jorn. E com la fortuna fo, que era tant gran, que tota la mar nanaua en sanch, que nul hom no so gosara pensar, qui no fos axi bon mariner, com ell, ana a fer vela de Caragoça, com hach donada part a la nuyt, e a lalba ell fo en bocha de Far; e en bocha de Far es la major marauella del mon, com res hi ha durada, com[121] fortuna de xaloch o de mig jorn hi ha, que les corrents hi son tant grans, e la mar hi caua tant fort, que res no hi ha durada: e ell ab la sua galea primera pensa dentrar ab los artimons borts en que hauia forats. E com les galees del duch les vaeren, totes comensaren a chiular, que volgren llevar los ferres, e no pogren. E axi les deu galees ab frare Roger entraren a Macina saluament e segura; mas no hi hach nul hom qui hagues sobre si fil exut ... e axi Macina fo restaurada, e lendema lo duch llevas del setge, e tornasen a Cathania.

[51] And Brother Roger ... thus had ten galleys, and he loaded them with grain at Sciacca and came to Syracuse and waited for a strong wind to come up from the southeast or south. And when the wind came it was so strong that the whole sea began to rage, so that no man who was not so good a mariner as he, dared think of setting sail. He set sail from Syracuse when night had come, and at dawn he entered the Strait of Faro; and it is the greatest wonder in the world that anything can survive in the Strait of Faro when there is a strong wind from the southeast or the south, for the currents there are so powerful and the sea rages so violently that nothing can stand it. And he decided to enter first with his own galley provided with large sails in which there were holes. And when the galleys of the duke saw them, all began to shout and they wished to raise the anchors but they were unable to do so. And thus the ten galleys with Brother Roger entered the harbor of Messina safely and securely, but there was not a man who had on him a dry thread ... and thus Messina was relieved and the next day the duke raised the siege and returned to Catania. Chronica, chap. cxcvi.

The above comparative study of Tirant lo Blanch and that part of Muntaner’s Chronica that deals with Roger de Flor and the Catalan-Aragonese expedition presents strong evidence that Martorell was acquainted with Muntaner’s work. But yet what a difference! Were it not for the fact that Tirant reconquered practically all the lost territory of the Greek empire and was made Caesar of the empire, we should hardly associate his name with that of Roger de Flor. Such being the case, are not the statements that Roger de Flor’s career forms the principal source of this book rather misleading? However that may be, we are willing to admit that the martial and adventurous spirit of Roger de Flor and the members of his expedition finds expression in Tirant lo Blanch, and this constitutes the strongest resemblance.



But let us now return to the English romance, for it contains other features that have been reproduced or at least utilized in the composition of the Catalan book of chivalry. The Auchinleck MS. contains a kind of sequel to Guy of Warwick, which bears the title, Reinbrun, Gij sone of Warwicke. In this sequel we are told that Reinbrun was stolen by foreign merchants. Heraud, the faithful companion of Guy before the latter’s pilgrimage, went in search of the lad, and while he was on his way to Constantinople a tempest drove to the shores of Africa the ship on which he was making the voyage. There the Saracens seized him and brought him before Emir Persan, who ordered him to be thrown into prison. In a doleful lament Heraud spoke of himself as a doughty knight, and this was overheard by a keeper, who reported it to the emir. Now it happened that at that very time King Argus was making war upon Persan, and had captured all his possessions except the very city in which Heraud was held a prisoner. The emir sent for Heraud and asked him to assist in the defense of the city. His request was granted, and in the first battle with the enemy he fought so skillfully and so valiantly that Persan rewarded him by making him his steward.

The reader will readily see the striking resemblance between this incident and that part of the analysis which deals with the shipwreck of Tirant on the shores of Barbary. Tirant, like Heraud, was driven by a tempest to the hostile shores of Africa, cast into prison, released[123] therefrom because of his fighting abilities, and practically became the leader of an army which was on the defensive. This incident Martorell then developed, and Tirant finally became the conqueror of Barbary.

In the analysis we have told how Tirant went to Jerusalem and from there to Alexandria, where he ransomed Christian captives. It seems probable that this incident is based upon the following narrative of the English romance. Guy of Warwick made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and from there he went to Antioch. Here he met a pilgrim who was in great distress. It was Earl Jonas of Darras, who related to Guy how he, his fifteen sons, and others had fought a body of Saracens and had defeated them. They pursued them as far as Alexandria, when suddenly a strong band of the enemy attacked him and his men, and after a heroic but useless fight he was compelled to surrender.

To the king we yolden ous al and some
That we might to ransoum come,
To save our lives ichon.[52]

[52] Auchinleck MS., p. 422.

And thus they fell into the hands of Triamour, King of Alexandria. Earl Jonas then told how the sultan held a great festival which was attended by this king and his son, Fabour. The latter killed the son of the sultan over a game of chess. The sultan promised the king that if he should engage in combat with the black giant, Amoraunt, and slay him, both he and his son should go unpunished. Triamour asked for a respite in order that he might find a substitute, and it was granted. He asked his prisoner, Earl Jonas, if he knew any one who might be able to slay the giant. The names of Guy and Heraud were mentioned. The king then sent him in quest of these knights, promising him that if he should be able to bring either one of them, he and his fifteen [124]sons should regain their liberty, but if, on the other hand, he returned without Guy or Heraud, they should all be hanged. Jonas had made a diligent search for the English knights, not only on the continent, but even in England. Alas! it was all in vain. The period of the respite was one year and forty days, and the end of the term was near. Guy, without revealing his identity, offered to undertake the fight with the giant. They went to Alexandria and Guy was presented to the king as a pilgrim who was willing to meet the black giant in mortal combat. In response to the king’s invocation, “Mahoun me helpe and turmegaunte,” Guy replied:

“Nay, but Mary is sonne,
That for us on the rode was done:
He be myn helpe for his mercye;
· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·
For I the sey well sikerlye
That Mahoun hath no poweste
Nother to helpe the ne me.”
Quod the kyng, my frende so dere,
I wyll make a covenaunte here.
If thou myght the Geaunte sloo,
And bring me out of my woo,
Thi god for the love of the
Grete honour shall haue of me.
All crysten that I haue taken here
Shall be delyuered with good chere.
In all my lond of Alexaundre
Men shall not the Crysten dere.
There shall be none in hethenes,
Man ne woman more ne lesse,
That is of crystiante
But he here shall delyuered be.[53]

[53] Caius MS., p. 451.

The combat took place at the sultan’s court. When Guy beheld the horrible giant, he declared that it was the devil and no man. After a long and fierce fight, Guy [125]cut off his adversary’s right arm, then his left, and finally his head. Let the reader note the following coincidences: Guy and Tirant both made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem; from there they came to Alexandria; the ransom of prisoners is mentioned in Guy of Warwick, and the ransom of captives is a fact in Tirant lo Blanch. Martorell did not reproduce this story, but he seems to have retained the words Jerusalem, Alexandria, and ransom of Christians, and from these he developed his own story. In the lines quoted above, Guy’s fervent religious spirit is brought into prominence, and at the same time a struggle for supremacy between the Christian and the Mohammedan religions is suggested. In Tirant lo Blanch also, the hero is filled with religious zeal and fervor, and under his leadership Christianity triumphs in all Barbary.

We have pointed out above the more important points of resemblance in Guy of Warwick and Tirant lo Blanch. Let us now mention a few of the minor ones.

In the English romance, the following words are spoken of Felice:

She was therto curteys and free ywys,
And in the .vii. arts well learned withoute mys.
All the .vii. artis she kouthe well,
Noon better that euere man herde tell.[54]

[54] Caius MS., p. 7.

In Tirant lo Blanch the empress confesses that she cannot argue as well as Carmesina, “per yo no hauer studiat les liberals arts com ma filla.”[55]

[55] ... because I have not studied the liberal arts as my daughter has. Tirant lo Blanch, chap. clxxxii, col. 2.

When Guy made his confession of love to Felice, he said:

Bot thou haue mercy on me,
Myself y shall for sorwe slee.[56][126]

[56] Caius MS., p. 23.

When Tirant made his confession to the princess, he said: “puix lo meu cor ha tant fallit que es stat causador de tant agreujar la vostra singular persona e percaçar tant de mal per a mi, ab la mia ma plena de cruel vengança ans que lo sol haja passat los columnes de Hercules yol partire en dues parts....”[57]

[57] ... since my heart has been so delinquent that it has been the cause of afflicting so grievously your excellent personage and producing so much pain through me, with my hand full of cruel vengeance I shall cut it in two before the sun has passed the columns of Hercules. Tirant lo Blanch, chap. cxxix, col. 3.

In Guy of Warwick, Oisel beholds her betrothed, Tirri, lying before her as if dead, and in her despair she utters these words:

A, leman Tirri,
In wroched time mi bodi thou say,
When thou shalt for me day.
Dye ich-il forth with the:
For sorwe lives no may y be.
Bot y may dye ichil me quelle:
Len to libbe is nought mi wille.[58]

[58] Auchinleck MS., p. 278.

Let us compare with these lines the words of Carmesina, while lamenting over the lifeless body of Tirant:

Puix la fortuna ha ordenat, e vol que axi sia, los meus ulls no deuen james alegrarse, sino que vull anar a cercar lanima de aquell qui solia esser meu Tirant en los lochs benaventurats hon reposa la sua anima si trobar la pore: e certament ab tu vull fer companyia en la mort.[59]

[59] Since fortune has ordained and wills it so, my eyes will never more be gladdened, but I will go to seek the soul of him who used to be my Tirant in the blissful places where his soul reposes if I can find it: and indeed I wish to be thy companion in death. Tirant lo Blanch, chap. cccclxxiii, col. 2.

And in another lamentation she utters these words: “Si la sperança de morir nom detingues, yom mataria.”[60]

[60] ... if the hope of dying did not deter me, I should kill myself. Ibid., chap. cccclxxv, col. 1.


In the analysis we have observed how Carmesina pleaded with Tirant not to permit his amorous nature to interfere with his martial spirit. In the English romance, Felice justifies her attitude towards Guy in the following manner:

And if y the had mi loue yiue
And wille it the whiles y liue
Sleuthe wolde the so oercome,
That thou woldest nomore armes doon,
Ne come in turnement nor in fighte.
So amorous thou wolde bee anone righte.[61]

[61] Caius MS., p. 65.

We have described in the analysis the scene in which Carmesina throws herself on the corpse of Tirant. Let us compare with it the following lines which picture to us the grief of Felice at Guy’s death.

She sowned on her lordys bere,
And kyst hys mouth with wepying chere.
Hys fete, hys hondys she kyssed then,
So dyd many an other man.
All that with her commyn were
Mad mornying and sorry chere.[62]

[62] Ibid., p. 621.

The love story in Tirant lo Blanch forms an important part of the book. Surely the origin of this feature cannot be attributed to the career of Roger de Flor. On the contrary, the above comparative study presents strong evidence that the love affair between Tirant and Carmesina was developed by Martorell from elements drawn from Guy of Warwick. But unfortunately the author ascribed to the Capita Major so passionate a nature that in some of the love scenes we are disgusted at the actions of the protagonist. The character of Tirant is admirable in almost all respects, but in the pursuit of his immoral desires it is detestable. In our amazement and disappointment we ask ourselves why the author endowed his hero with such low and immoral cravings. [128]Tirant’s conduct towards the princess reminds us of a passage in the English romance wherein the treacherous steward, Morgadour, falsely accuses Guy of having dishonored the daughter of the Emperor of Constantinople. The passage reads as follows:

Sir, quoth he, y shall the telle:
Thy shame noo lenger couere y nelle.
A souldiour thou hast with the,
That thinketh for to shende the.
Thy doughter, that so fair is,
He hath leyn by, ywis.
In-to hir boure with strength he yede:
By thy doughter his wille he dede.[63]

[63] Caius MS., p. 187.

This incident may have prompted Martorell to ascribe to Tirant the rôle of a passionate lover, and we feel that he adopted the suggestion without any hesitation whatever. Boccaccio’s influence was powerful in those days, and the incident afforded great possibilities for emulating the famous Italian writer. If this conjecture be true, our censure of the author must be limited to a reproach for having so easily and so shamelessly followed that influence. But Martorell keeps in close touch with real life. It may be that such conduct of knights had come to his notice directly or indirectly. If that is the reason why the obscene features were introduced, our condemnation will not be extremely severe. But if it was his purpose to present to us an ideal hero, then the author is deserving of the most scathing denunciation possible, for he must have been as morally weak as the hero he asks us to admire. He seems to take a delight in describing unbecoming and immoral scenes. Not only does he give vivid narrations of Tirant’s efforts to attain the “compliment de amor,” but he also makes bold descriptions of the liaison between the empress and Hypolite; the relations of Diaphebus and Stephania; [129]and the revolting plan by which Viuda Reposada succeeded in making Tirant believe that Carmesina was unfaithful. But we may be doing the author a grave injustice. Possibly these immoral scenes were intended to have a moral effect. It may have been the purpose of Martorell to disgust the readers with these scenes. Possibly it was a protest against the immoral conditions that prevailed in his time.

After making the above comparative study, we are not willing to accept the statement of Amador de los Ríos, so emphatically repeated by Givanel Mas, that the feats of Roger de Flor form the principal source of the Catalan book of chivalry. Nor will we accept the opinion of Denk that Tirant lo Blanch represents nothing else but the figure of Roger de Flor reproduced in the form of a novel. To the conservative statement of Menéndez y Pelayo we shall offer no serious objections, for the latter part of Tirant lo Blanch does bear the stamp of a kind of historical novel in which the heroic expedition of the Catalans and Aragonese and the tragic fate of Roger de Flor is more or less faithfully reflected. But we feel that the resemblance between Roger de Flor and Tirant lo Blanch and their military enterprises is so slight that even his statement must be qualified as misleading. However, had he stated that Tirant’s activities at Constantinople had a true historical basis, and that basis was Roger de Flor’s expedition to the Orient, we should most heartily indorse that statement.

If we have objected to the intimations and declarations that this book of chivalry is a historical novel based on the exploits of Roger de Flor, it is due to the fact that the real deeds of that hero play a very insignificant part in it. Roger de Flor was a brave commander with a remarkable genius for organizing his forces, and for planning campaigns. Muntaner does not describe him a single time as fighting hand to hand in a battle with the[130] enemy. The historical Roger de Flor probably would not have created enough interest and enthusiasm. Moreover, in Tirant’s adventures and fights on the sea, whenever some extraordinary naval strategy was necessary, the credit for it is not given to Tirant, but to some member of the crew who is usually described as an experienced seaman. And yet Roger de Flor was so efficient a sea captain that the officers of the Temple intrusted him with their largest ship. If the author had intended to represent him, surely he would not have denied him the honor of those exploits. It is obvious that he did not regard his hero as an experienced mariner. The hero he had in mind was a knight whose duty called him to the battlefield. Tirant lo Blanch bears a far stronger resemblance to Guy of Warwick than to Roger de Flor. The striking points of similarity of these characters have already been noted. In addition to these points, we may briefly add that Tirant’s religious zeal; his generosity; his refusal to accept rewards; his fighting in tournaments, in personal combats, and on the field of battle; and his love—debased unfortunately—are qualities that are not mentioned in connection with Roger de Flor, but they are all in accord with the career of Guy of Warwick. Such being the case, would it not be far more accurate to say that Guy of Warwick is the principal source? The very beginning of Tirant lo Blanch indicates that its author was intimately acquainted with the English romance. Is it not probable that Guy of Warwick’s activities at Constantinople reminded Martorell of Roger de Flor’s heroic services to the emperor of that same city, whereupon he selected that historical event as a background for a certain part of the career of his hero? It must be remembered that Martorell knew well the exploits of the brave and adventurous soldiers of the Catalan-Aragonese expedition. His conception of military heroism was in great part[131] based on the history, traditional or written, of his people. The spirit that animated its heroes became a part of him, and consequently it was but natural that that spirit should find expression in a literary production in which a military hero is portrayed.

From the above comparative study of Tirant lo Blanch in relation to its sources, viz., Lull’s Libre del Orde d’Cauayleria, Muntaner’s Chronica, and the English romance, Guy of Warwick, we are convinced that these sources have furnished important ideas and material to Martorell. The features drawn from Lull’s work are few, but, on the other hand, they have been subjected to very little change. It is important, however, for it seems to have provided a starting point for the author. Guy of Warwick has yielded more concrete material than the other two sources, but it has been modified to suit the pleasure and to meet the needs of the author. Muntaner’s Chronica did not furnish as many ideas and suggestions as Guy of Warwick, but the martial spirit of the Catalan and Aragonese warriors pervades a large part of the work.

It is not in our power to divine with certainty the plan as originally conceived by the author when he began his work. However, it is evident that he was intimately acquainted with Lull’s work and the English romance from the very beginning. It is quite probable that Martorell’s purpose was to make a hero of the squire who had received instructions pertaining to knighthood from the hermit, as related by Lull. This hermit reminded him of Guy of Warwick, whom he greatly admired, and he could not resist the temptation to reproduce that part of the English champion’s career which led to his retirement to a hermitage. Then, as we have already observed, the squire who is now Tirant lo Blanch meets the hermit, William of Warwick, after which he continues his way to the English court. A little more than a year[132] later he returns to the hermit, and the latter is informed of the important events that took place in London. After a few days’ sojourn, Tirant returns to his native land, Brittany. His career is very promising, for he has been proclaimed the greatest knight in the exercises of arms at the English court. And now what is the young hero to do? Martorell had perhaps from the beginning of his work rather definite ideas in regard to his hero’s career. Still it is quite possible that he had made no fixed plan in advance, but selected the various spheres of Tirant’s activities during the course of the composition of his book. However that may be, Tirant’s career finally resolved itself into the following distinct spheres of operation: he succored the Knights of St. John on the island of Rhodes; after that, he joined the expedition of the King of France against the infidels; then he went to the aid of the Emperor of Constantinople; next he conquered and christianized Barbary; and finally he returned to Constantinople and reconquered all the lost territory of the Grecian empire. And now the question arises: Are all these various spheres of operation based on real historical events?




In the preceding part, wherein was made a comparative study of three important sources of Tirant to Blanch, we have had occasion to mention the real historical facts that form, in a more or less general way, the basis of Tirant’s career while in the service of the Emperor of Constantinople. Let us now transfer our researches to the field of history and try to determine what historical events underlie the hero’s various undertakings. Let us, moreover, examine all the features of Tirant lo Blanch that give any indication of historical influence, in order that we may attain a better understanding of the author’s method in composing this work. The first question that confronts us is: What historical basis is to be found in the William of Warwick episode?

The hero of the English romance of Guy of Warwick is more or less a legendary personage. John Rous, a learned scholar and writer who lived between 1411 and 1491, in his writings concerning the legendary history of Warwickshire, names Guy as the second of the Saxon Earls of Warwick. We cannot cite any authentic historical facts about him. The story probably represents an old Saxon legend, perhaps in the form of a ballad, which in the course of time became a romance in French, and this was later translated into English. In the two[134] fourteenth-century versions to which we have referred in Part III of this work, Aethelstan is represented as the King of England. This fixes the supposed time of Guy’s career as prior to 940, which marks the end of Aethelstan’s reign. The latter annexed Danish Northumbria, and, in 937, won the great battle of Brunanburh over the Danes, Scots, and Strathclyde Britons. This fact shows that there are at least some traces of authentic history in the romance, for in Guy of Warwick we read of an invasion of the Danes.

In Tirant lo Blanch, no dates are mentioned so that if we wish to establish the period in which the events described took place, we shall have to depend on the historical characters that are named, and the incidents, occurrences, and events that are narrated. The data that we may gather for this purpose probably will throw light on other matters in which we are interested.

The document that was given to Tirant in which he was declared the best knight of all those that participated in the exercises of arms at the English court was signed “Rex Enricus.” This king was young and feeble, and for that reason the hermit William of Warwick suggested that the Duke of Lancaster should take the place of the king in the approaching personal combat with the strong and valiant Moorish king of Canary; but the suggestion caused loud protests from the Dukes of Gloucester, Bedford, and Exeter, who claimed that their kinship to the king was closer than that of the Duke of Lancaster. It is quite clear that the author had in mind the English king, Henry VI, who during his minority was represented by his two uncles, the Duke of Bedford as protector of the realm, and the Duke of Gloucester as regent in England while the protector was in France. The Duke of Exeter was the grand-uncle of the young king. There was no Duke of Lancaster at that particular period. Richard de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, also[135] was closely associated with the boy-king. When Henry V was on his deathbed, he sent for the earl and asked him to be the master of his son, the future Henry VI, requesting him at the same time “to be gentle with him and guide and instruct him in the condition of life to which he belonged.”[64] Henry V died in 1422, and the Earl of Warwick became the tutor and governor of the new king, although that title was not conferred upon him until 1428. The coincidence is striking! In the story William of Warwick was the fatherly adviser of the young English king, and in history Richard of Warwick was the tutor and governor of the English boy-king. And here the question arises: Could Martorell have had in mind Richard de Beauchamp when he wrote certain parts of his work?

[64] The Countess of Warwick, Warwick Castle and its Earls, New York and London, 1903; vol. I, p. 121.

Let us here give a brief account of the career of Richard de Beauchamp. Upon his father’s death in 1401, he became Earl of Warwick, being at that time twenty years old. His early years were spent chiefly in performing feats of arms, as did the knights of old. At the coronation of Queen Jane he defended the field against all those that dared to joust with him. Not finding sufficient opportunities for knightly exercises and adventures at home, he went abroad. He made a pilgrimage to Rome and from there went to Verona, where he engaged in a joust with another knight. After the jousting they fought with axes, next with swords, and finally with daggers. From Verona he went to Venice and then to Jerusalem. There the sultan’s lieutenant, upon being informed that Richard was a descendant of Guy of Warwick of whom he had read in books in his own language, entertained him royally, and gave him precious gifts. Richard then made his way overland to England, frequently interrupting his journey by taking part in tournaments. [136]Shortly after his return, he was sent to the town of Calais and made Captain of that place. Longing for a little excitement, he made up a tournament of his own. Three days in succession, mounted on his caparisoned steed, he went out on the field, and each day he returned victorious. Later he was sent as ambassador to Constance in Germany, to attend the well-known Council of Constance. There he was challenged by some great duke, who was slain in the encounter. The German emperor expressed his admiration for him by saying that “no Christian prince hath such another knight for Wisdom, Nurture, and Manhood; that if all courtesy were lost, yet it might be found again in him.”[65] His principal military activities were in the war against the French. In 1416 he was sent to relieve Harfleur; was at the siege of Caen; captured several places; was made Captain of Beauvais; and was present at the siege of Rouen. When that city finally fell, the capitulation was made to him. He was appointed to several offices at home and abroad, his last and most important one being the Governorship of France and Normandy. In the year 1439 he died in the castle of Rouen at the age of fifty-eight.

[65] Ibid., vol. I, p. 113.

A strong resemblance between Richard de Beauchamp and Guy of Warwick is evident. Is it not probable that this similarity was to some degree instrumental in causing Martorell to give the William of Warwick episode a setting of the fifteenth century? There are several references made to deeds of William of Warwick which cannot be found in the English romance, Guy of Warwick. One of them, however, concerns without doubt Richard de Beauchamp. When the hermit-king told the countess where the arms were that he desired, she begged him to reveal to her how he happened to know so much about her husband. He answered that he was with the earl when the latter, [137]as Capita Major of the city of Rouen, won a signal victory over the large army of the French king. Richard de Beauchamp was a popular hero, and if Martorell had been in England, as he claims in his dedicatory letter, he might have heard of many feats of the great knight and soldier that are not recorded in history. However, we have already learned the method of our author, and we must not expect too many historical data on any subject. But, as a rule, he gives us sufficient real facts to determine what events or periods in history he has in mind. Other historical personages cited in connection with the William of Warwick episode are the Earl of Salisbury, the Earl of Northumberland, the Duke of Clarence, and the Prince of Wales. These names also indicate that the historical period represented is the first half of the fifteenth century.

When Tirant asked the hermit to name the greatest living knights in England, the latter gave the names of Sir John Stuart and the Duke of Exeter. History mentions but one great knight named John Stuart, and he was of this period. From 1419 to the time of his death in 1429, Sir John Stuart of Darnley was fighting valiantly on the continent on the side of the French. Charles VII appreciated his worth, and rewarded him several times: first he granted him the seigneurie of Aubigny in Berry, next the comté of Evreux in Normandy, and finally the “glorious privilege of quartering the Royal arms of France with his paternal arms of Stuart.” He fell fighting bravely in a battle near Orleans. In the well-known old French play, “Le Mistère du Siège d’Orléans,” written some time after his death, the following tribute is paid to him:

Est mort tout le noble barnaige
Qui deffendoit la fleur de lis
Ha! le connestable d’Escosse,
Le plus vaillant dans la terre,[138]
Est demeuré à fine force
Qui estoit tant prudent en guerre
On ne pourroit son bruit exquerre
Tant estoit vaillant et hardi
Or le convient il mectre en terre.[66]

[66] Documents inédits sur l’histoire de France, première série, Paris, 1862; p. 342.

Martorell did well to name him as one of the greatest knights of that period.

Sir Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, also was a great warrior. He rendered distinguished services to the English nation in the struggle with France. He was made Duke of Exeter in 1416, and in the same year appointed Lieutenant of Normandy. He died at Greenwich in 1427.

Thus we see that Martorell has reproduced the latter part of the Guy of Warwick story, but has given it a setting in the fifteenth century. It has been changed considerably, and the historical personage, Richard de Beauchamp, has had some influence in giving form to this reproduction. The career of this great knight reveals that the exploits of Tirant at the English court were not the result of a vivid imagination, but, on the contrary, were based in great part on knightly customs and practices of the times. Martorell is a realist; when he describes anything, it is usually based on something that he had observed directly, or something that he had read or heard related which impressed him as having really occurred. It is true that occasionally we find the narration of some incredible incidents in his work, but it is hardly probable that he expected us to believe them. It is owing to the realistic temperament of the author that the different enterprises of Tirant are based on historical events. He had a remarkable talent for selecting interesting elements, and joining them so as to produce an artistic whole. It was evidently not his [139]purpose to make any part of his work an accurate narration of some historical event. He distorts facts or makes use of them under conditions different from those under which they originally happened. Heroic deeds that called forth his admiration, and historical incidents that were interesting to him and of such a nature that he could utilize them in the work that he had undertaken, furnished him with an abundance of material for his book of chivalry. Tirant lo Blanch is indeed a composite work, made up of elements gathered here and there, logically connected and fashioned into a consistent whole which impresses the reader with a feeling of reality, because it is based, in the main, on actual experiences and happenings in life.



With regard to the duration of the festivities connected with the marriage of the King of England to the daughter of the King of France, and concerning the time of the departure of Tirant from London, we read in chapter xxxix:

[67]Lo dia de Sanct Joan principiaren les festes e aquell dia se veu lo rey ab la infanta sposada: duraren aquestes festes un any e un dia. Complides les festes lo rey hague complit son matrimoni ab la infanta de França. E tots les strangers prengueren comiat del rey e de la reyna, e cascu sen torna en ses terres. Tirant apres que fon partit de la Ciutat de Londres ab sos companyons fon en recort de la promesa que hauia feta al pare hermita.

[67] The festivities began on the day of St. John and that day the king was married to the Infanta: those festivities continued for a year and a day. When the celebration was over the king had consummated his marriage with the Infanta of France. And all the foreigners took leave of the king and queen, and each one returned to his own country. Tirant, after having left the city of London with his companions, remembered the promise which he had made to the hermit.

But in chapter lxxxv, Diaphebus, while telling the hermit about the Order of the Garter, speaks these words:

[68]Ia era passat lany e lo dia: e les festes eran complides de solemnizar com la magestat del senyor rey trames apreguar a tots los stats ques volguessen esperar alguns dies: perço com la [141]magestat sua volia fer publicar una fraternitat, la qual nouament hauia instituida de .xxvi. cauallers sens que negu no fos reproche. E tots de bon grat foren contents de aturar.

[68] And now the year and a day had passed and the celebration of the festivities was over, when His Royal Majesty sent word to the noble visitors praying them to delay their departure for several days: for His Royal Majesty wished to proclaim the institution of a fraternity which he had recently founded, with a membership of twenty-six knights, each of whom was without reproach. And all were highly pleased to stay.

These conflicting statements as to the time of Tirant’s leaving London indicate that when the author wrote chapter xxxix, he had no intention of introducing the account concerning the Order of the Garter. But later moved probably by a desire to show in what great honor Tirant was held, and to describe the pomp, magnificence, and glory of knighthood, he decided to introduce this feature. Still it is quite possible that the peculiar and interesting stories in connection with the Order may have caused its introduction. The circumstances which led to the institution of the fraternity according to Martorell are as follows:

At a dance at the English court a lady named Madresilva lost a garter while she was dancing. A certain knight picked it up. The King witnessed the incident, and asked the knight to bring it to him and fasten it on his left leg just below the knee. His Majesty wore the garter in that way for four months and no one ventured to speak to him concerning it. But one day one of the maids, who was a favorite of the King, told him that the Queen, the maids of honor, the people of the kingdom and those from abroad, all were displeased that he should show so much honor to Madresilva. And the King answered:

[69]... donchs la Reyna sta de aço mal contenta, e los strangers e los del meu regne ne stan admirats dix tales paraules en frances: Puni[142] soyt qui mal hi pense. Ara yo promet adeu, dix lo rey, yo instituire e fare sobre aquest fet un orde de caualleria, que tant com lo mon durara sera en recordacio aquesta fraternitat e orde que yo fare.

[69] “So then the queen is displeased with that, and the foreigners and those of my kingdom are surprised at it.” Then he spoke the following words in French: “Punished be he who thinks evil of it. Now I promise God,” said the king, “I shall institute and build upon this incident an order of knighthood, and this fraternity and order that I shall found will be remembered as long as the world shall last.” Tirant lo Blanch, chap. lxxxv, col. 3.

In Elias Ashmole’s voluminous work,[70] published in 1672, the above incident is related in the following manner:

[70] Elias Ashmole, The Institution, Laws and Ceremonies of the most Noble Order of the Garter, London, 1672.

“As to the occasion of its institution, the vulgar and more general opinion is, That the garter of Joane, Countess of Salisbury, falling casually off, as she danced in a solemn ball, King Edward hastily stooping, took it up from the ground; whereupon some of the Nobles and Courtiers smiling as at an amorous action, and he observing their sportive humor, turned it off with this reply in French, ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense’; but withal added in disdain of their laughter, That in a short time, they should see that Garter advanced to so high honor and estimation as to account themselves happy to wear it.”

This story is generally regarded by historians as untrue. Ashmole intimates that it was first published by Polydore Virgil about the middle of the sixteenth century. If that be so, the story in Tirant lo Blanch is the earliest known version of this famous incident. The word “Puni” instead of “Honi” is striking, but not surprising. In the pronunciation of these words, as well as in their written or printed forms, the hearer or the reader might easily mistake the one for the other, and the substitution would have been favored by the fact that “Honi” was not in common use.

But let us follow the account concerning the Order as we find it in Tirant lo Blanch. In the castle at Windsor [143]was prepared a beautiful chapel which was to serve as a home for the new fraternity. The king was the first to take the oath to obey its statutes and ordinances. Then he selected twenty-five other knights to constitute its membership, and the first one chosen was Tirant, because he was the best of all. Then the following were named: “lo Princep de Gales, lo Duch de Beta fort [Bedford], lo Duch de lencastre [Lancaster], lo Duch datçetera [Exeter], lo Marques de Sofolch [Suffolk], lo Marques de Sanct Jordi, lo Marques de Belpuig, Johan de Varoych, Gran Conestable, lo Comte de Nortabar [Northumberland], lo Comte de Salasberi, lo Comte destafort [Stafford], lo Comte de Vilamur, lo Comte de les Marches Negres, lo Comte d’la Joyosa Guarda, lo Senyor de Scala Rompuda, lo Senyor de Puig Vert, lo Senyor de Terra Noua, Miçer Johan Stuart, Miçer de Riuçech.” All these were from the kingdom. The foreigners were: “lo Duch de Berri, lo Duch Danjou, lo Comte de Flandes.” Then the author says: “Foren tots en nombre .xxvi. cauallers.” But, including the king and Tirant, he has named only twenty-four.

According to history, Edward the Third founded the Order of the Garter between the years 1344 and 1351. The roll of founders consists of twenty-six names. Besides those of the king and the Prince of Wales, there are only four names given by Martorell that can be found on the roll. The Duke of Exeter was elected into the Order in 1400 and his is the ninety-ninth name on the list of members. The Duke of Suffolk was elected in 1420 and his number is one hundred and forty on the list. From a historical standpoint, Martorell made a blunder when he gave the name of Sir John Stuart as a member, for the latter was an enemy of England. Several of the names seem to be pure inventions. It is evident that Martorell made up a list of his own. At first we are surprised that he did not include the name[144] of William of Warwick, but since the latter had so resolutely insisted upon living as a hermit, he could not consistently have been made a member. We have noticed that instead of naming twenty-six, he named but twenty-four. Why did he not name the Duke of Gloucester, whom he mentions in his work? It is indeed surprising that he did not name one of the Portuguese kings, for John I, Edward, and Alphonse V were all members of the Order. The latter was the brother of Prince Ferdinand, to whom the book was dedicated. If Martorell had known that these kings were honored with membership in the noble Order, he would hardly have failed to mention one of them. But he named none of these, and consequently the conclusion may be drawn that he did not live at the court of Portugal and that he knew little more about Prince Ferdinand than his name. And, moreover, these omissions indicate rather strongly that the work was not first written in the Portuguese language.

We are furthermore told in Tirant lo Blanch that the king gave to every member of the Order a collar of gold covered with round S’s. Martorell undertakes in the following story to explain how the king happened to adopt these letters as a device: At a royal hunt, a deer, white as the snow because of its age, was slain, and a collar bearing S’s was found around its neck. On the collar were found words stating that when Julius Caesar left the island the collar was put on the deer, with the request that the king into whose hands the deer might fall should adopt the letter S as a device. The author explains the significance of this letter in these words:

[71]“E lo collar era tots de esses redones. E perço com en tot lo A.B.C. no trobareu letra una per una de major auctoritat e perfectio que pugua significar mes altes coses [145]que aquesta lettra S.... La primera, sanctedat; sauiesa; sapiencia; senyoria; e moltes altres coses que per S principien.”

[71] And the collar was all covered with round S’s. Because in the whole alphabet you cannot find one letter of greater authority and perfection and which can signify more noble things than this letter S. The first thing it stands for is sanctity; then sapience; science; seigniory; and many other things that begin with S. Tirant lo Blanch, chaps. xcvi and xcvii.

Martorell may have invented this story, but we are inclined to believe that he had heard or read an explanation of the kind. Perhaps the story was current at the time. Ashmole, too, had his curiosity aroused by the letters on the collars, and remembers that he had read or heard that there was once an organization called the “Society of Saint Simplicius” and that the members of that society used to wear collars with SS on them, and these letters stood for Saint Simplicius. This saint suffered martyrdom under Diocletian about 287 A.D.

All that Martorell has to say about the rules, ceremonies, initiation, ladies of honor and their vows, reveals that he knew a great deal about the Order. Where did he obtain his information? Was it through reading or through hearsay? In some respects his account resembles that of an eye-witness, yet in giving the names of members of the Order, Martorell was obliged to invent some, for the reason that he did not have enough English names at his command. Some of the names are purely Catalan, and this fact indicates that the account was not written in England, nor in Portugal, but very probably in Valencia; another argument in favor of the contention that Tirant lo Blanch was written originally in Catalan, and not in Portuguese.



In the analysis we have told that the Genoese made a treacherous attempt to capture Rhodes on account of its commercial importance as a seaport. Having failed in their effort, they induced the sultan to undertake the conquest of the island, and within a short time the port of Rhodes was blockaded, the city besieged, and the island overrun by a multitude of Moors. The city, however, offered heroic resistance. The Grand Master appealed to the Christian powers for help. Tirant’s aid finally led to the raising of the siege. Now upon what historical facts is this part of the work based?

Let us first consider the attempt of the Genoese to capture the city of Rhodes. The plan agreed upon was to have a considerable number of their ships in the port, and other vessels carrying many men were to be near by, but far enough away so as not to be seen by the people of Rhodes. Two Genoese members of the Order rendered the instruments of defense of the castle useless. The plan was to be carried out on Good Friday. While the ceremonies of the day were being celebrated, the Genoese were to enter the church two by two. All were to carry arms, but they were to be concealed under long black cloaks. After a large number of them had entered, they, with the assistance of the two traitors, were to seize the towers and finally the whole city. But their plan was fortunately discovered and frustrated.

Knowing the author’s inclination for taking ideas from certain sources and applying them under circumstances that are altogether different from those under which[147] they originally occurred, we shall quote the following passage from Vertot’s history of this military order, which describes an event that may have furnished some details to the story of the unsuccessful venture of the Genoese. The passage refers to a banquet given by Jacques de Lusignan, when the regency of the government of Cyprus was committed to him.

Il se trouva à ce repas royal un grand nombre de Seigneurs Vénitiens et Génois. Ces étrangers se disputèrent la préséance; elle fut décidée ce jour-là en faveur des Vénitiens. Les Génois pour s’en venger, résolurent de l’emporter la force à la main et ils convinrent entr’eux de se trouver le lendemain au palais avec des armes cachées sous leurs manteaux. Le Régent ayant été averti de leur complot, fit jeter par les fenêtres du Palais huit nobles Génois qui se promenoient....[72]

[72] Abbé de Vertot, Histoire des Chevaliers Hospitaliers de S. Jean de Jérusalem, Paris, 1726; Livre VI, p. 155.

Martorell began his work in 1460, seven years after the fall of Constantinople. We are told that Mahomet the Second had said: “Constantinople first and then Rhodes.” The sultan notified the Grand Master of the Knights of Saint John that he would not respect the treaty entered into by Amurates and the Order. The defiant answer to this challenge, in the words of a Spanish historian of the Order, was as follows:

Respondió dignamente la Orden que reconocida como Estado por todas las naciones cristianas y por los soldanes turcos, sólo dependía de la Santa Sede; que el Gran Maestre jamás la haría tributaria ni súbdita de nadie, y que la religión de Rodas estaba no por mujeres, sino por hombres que temían á Dios y sabían llevar la espada.[73]

[73] La Soberana Orden militar de San Juan de Jerusalem ó de Malta, por un Caballero de la Orden, Madrid, 1899; p. 31.


This peril that was ever threatening Rhodes may have suggested to Martorell that it would offer a favorable field for the exploits of Tirant. And we are inclined to believe that the siege of Rhodes conducted by the Sultan of Egypt in 1444, is the real historical event upon which Tirant’s relief expedition is based. Some time prior to that date the Grand Master de Lastic, being aware of the fact that the sultan was planning to make a supreme effort to capture Rhodes, sent ambassadors to most of the rulers in Europe to implore help, but, like the King of France in Tirant lo Blanch, they did not respond. The attack on Rhodes was made in the month of August, 1444. Let us quote Vertot’s version of the event.

Une flotte considérable du Sultan parut de nouveau à la hauteur de l’Isle de Rhodes, et y débarqua dix-huit mille hommes d’infanterie, sans compter un gros corps de cavalerie et de Mamelus, qui faisoient la principale force des Egyptiens. Ces Barbares sans s’arrêter à aucune des Places de l’Isle, marchèrent droit à la Capitale, et l’assiegèrent, pendant que leur flotte tenoit la mer pour le port et empêcha qu’on n’y jettât du secours.[74]

[74] Op. cit., pp. 214 and 215.

There are no details of this siege on record. Vertot deplores this fact, but he consoles himself by saying: “Ces Chevaliers sçavoient mieux se servir de leur épée que d’une plume.” However, the records give the general information that the siege lasted forty days; that the fortifications were bombarded by many pieces of heavy artillery; that many assaults were made which were always repulsed; and that, after having lost the greater part of his men, the Saracen commander gave orders to raise the siege.

In the discussion of the relation between Muntaner’s Chronica and Tirant lo Blanch, we have intimated that [149]Tirant’s landing at the castle of Rhodes was copied in a general way from Roger de Flor’s successful attempt to bring relief to the besieged city of Messina. In the analysis we have remarked that Tirant waited at the castle of Saint Peter for favorable weather conditions to run the blockade. This castle was built on the shores of Asia Minor, in or about the year 1402, under the direction of the Grand Master de Naillac; consequently the date of the siege of Rhodes in Tirant lo Blanch cannot be assigned to a period before that year.



Some of the facts concerning this expedition are: the King of France set sail from Aiguesmortes; his son, Philip, who was in charge of the fleet of the King of Sicily, took part in this enterprise; at Tripoli in Syria, Tirant, fully armed, leaped from his vessel into the water and was the first to set his foot on the hostile shore; the stock of provisions was replenished on the island of Cyprus; and towards the close of this military enterprise, Tunis was taken.

The following historical facts indicate that the story of the expedition was based on the Crusades of Louis IX. Saint Louis set out on his Crusades from Aiguesmortes; he had a son named Philip who accompanied him on the second Crusade; in Cyprus, an abundance of provisions had been stored in advance for the use of the first Crusade; when the king arrived at Damietta, he leaped into the water and was among the first to step on Saracen soil; and Tunis was captured at the time of the second Crusade and was obliged to pay tribute to the King of Sicily, although this last event happened after the death of the French king.

Perhaps the most striking of these coincidences is the one in which these heroic figures leap into the water. Joinville, in his Histoire de Saint Loys, describes this incident in the following words:

Quant le bon roy Saint Loys sceut, que l’enseigne saint Denis fut arrivée à terre, il sortit de son vessel, qui ja estoit près de la rive, et n’eut[151] pas loisir que le vesseau, où il estoit, fust à terre: ains se gette ... en la mer, et fut en eauë jusques aux espaulles.[75]

[75] Histoire de Saint Loys, par Jehan Sire de Joinville, Collection Complète des mémoires par M. Petitot, Paris, 1819; Tome II, p. 218.

A variant of this passage reads: “sailli en la mer tout armé, l’escu au col, le glaive au poing, et fu des premiers à terre.”[76] When the details of this incident had become somewhat dim in memory, the following picture remains:

[76] Ibid., Tome II, p. 409.

Louis trouva le rivage bordé des troupes du Soudan, qui prétendoient s’opposer au débarquement de son armée; mais ce Prince emporté par son zèle et par son courage, se jetta le premier l’épée à la main dans l’eau, et suivi de la Noblesse chargea les Infidèles et les tourna en fuite.[77]

[77] Abbé de Vertot, op. cit., Livre III, p. 387.

This strikingly courageous act of Saint Louis, Martorell naturally attributed to his hero, Tirant.



Tirant’s next field of operation is at Constantinople, which has already been discussed. It must be remembered that he began his work of freeing the Greek empire from the power of the Turks auspiciously. But on returning to his army by sea, his vessel was driven by a tempest to the African shores, where he was shipwrecked. After having conquered Barbary and brought about the conversion of many thousands to the Christian faith, he returned to Constantinople to complete the restoration of the empire. Consequently, there remains for us the task of ascertaining what historical basis underlies the story of the conquest of Barbary.

When the author began his work, the Portuguese were busy fighting the Moors in Africa. Prince Ferdinand of Portugal, who was Martorell’s patron, according to the dedicatory letter, was at that very time taking part in the African campaigns. But, to our surprise, the conquest of Barbary does not reveal any significant traces of the Portuguese wars against the Moors. The valiant Moorish Governor, Sale ben Sale (Cale ben Cale in Tirant lo Blanch), plays an important rôle in resisting the Portuguese, but the reference that is made to him in Martorell’s work is not in connection with the conquest of Barbary. He is mentioned in the William of Warwick episode as the successor of the Moorish king who was slain by the hermit-king. Tirant’s conquest of Barbary and the war of the Portuguese against the Moors had one object in common, viz., the Christianization of northwestern Africa. With Tirant, it became the chief purpose; with[153] the Portuguese, it seems to have been secondary, for their supreme aim was to rid themselves of a constantly menacing enemy. It is possible that the campaigns of the Portuguese against the African Moors attracted the attention of Martorell, and, seeing that a similar undertaking would provide an excellent field in which his hero might win additional laurels, he determined to write and plan an imaginary account of a conquest of that territory. But if this feature owes its origin to Portuguese history, would it not be natural to expect in that account traces and reminders of the military activities of the kingdom of Portugal? Did this field not offer a wonderful opportunity to glorify the deeds of Prince Ferdinand or, at least, of his people? But all efforts to connect Tirant’s conquest with the campaigns of the Portuguese are in vain. Here, then, is another strong indication that what the author says in the dedicatory letter concerning the translation of an English original into Portuguese is pure invention, for we are certain that no English Tirant lo Blanch existed and that Martorell wrote an original work in which he created a hero according to his own good will and pleasure. The various qualities of this hero manifested themselves in certain spheres of operation which, as has already been pointed out in all other cases, were based on real historical conditions and events. We are told that Tirant lo Blanch was written at the request of a Portuguese prince, and yet Portuguese heroism and glory find no place in the work, although there are occasions exceedingly favorable for praises of Prince Ferdinand and his people. It seems almost an act of disloyalty to his patron for Martorell to have passed over in silence the opportunities of lauding Portuguese valor and honor. All this indicates that the Catalan author did not reside at the court of Portugal; that he did not write the book in the Portuguese language; and that probably he was[154] not requested by a prince of that nation to write Tirant lo Blanch, for its contents in no way support the statements made in the dedicatory letter; on the contrary, they seem to refute them.[78]

[78] See page 77.

Is the conquest of Barbary perhaps based on some other historical venture or event? We feel justified in answering the question affirmatively, for Muntaner’s Chronica seems to have furnished the background for Tirant’s exploits in Barbary. In Martorell’s narration of this conquest the following historical personages and geographical names are of importance: the King of Tremicen, the King of Tunis, Bugia, and Constantine. All these are found in Muntaner’s Chronica, in certain parts of which are described the hostile relations between the Moors of Africa and the crown of Aragon. In both accounts all Barbary [“tota la Barbaria”] is specifically mentioned. This fact is significant.

In Chapter XIX of the Chronica Muntaner relates that the tribute due to the King of Aragon from the King of Tremicen and the King of Tunis had not been paid for a long time, and for this reason four well-armed galleys were sent from Valencia to Tunis and Bugia. These wrought great devastation along the African shores and besieged the important ports. While in these waters they came upon a fleet of ten galleys, all strongly armed and manned, belonging to the King of Morocco. The Aragonese ships bravely attacked those of the Moors and succeeded in capturing the whole fleet, which they took back with them to Valencia.

When Peter the Second became King of Aragon and Catalonia, he determined to force the kings of Tremicen and Tunis to pay the tribute. An expedition was sent to Barbary, and as a result Miraboaps, the King of Tunis, was driven from the throne and his brother Mirabusach was put in his place. The latter pledged himself to pay [155]the tribute, and signed a treaty with the Aragonese in which he granted them important rights and privileges in his kingdom. Some time later Miraboaps fomented a rebellion in Bugia and Constantine against his brother and succeeded in making himself king of these two cities. When he died he divided between his two sons, Mirabosecri and Bugron, the territory over which he ruled. The former became King of Bugia and the latter ruler over Constantine. But Mirabosecri was not satisfied; he wished to hold sway over Constantine also, and accordingly he made preparations to take that city from his brother.

Bugron saw that he could offer but feeble resistance against the ambition of his brother. So he sent messengers to King Peter to inform him that he wished to become a Christian and a subject of the crown of Aragon. This message brought great joy to the heart of the king, who immediately began to build many ships to transport a large army to Africa. So extensive were his preparations that the lords and princes, Christians as well as Saracens, who held territory along the seas, became alarmed, for he told no one what he intended to do. The English king, the French king, and the Pope made inquiries, but he would not reveal his plans. Not until the expedition was far out upon the sea did the commanders of the ships receive instructions as to their destination. When Bugron was informed that the army of the King of Aragon was on its way, he became elated and disclosed to some of his intimate friends what he purposed to do, whereupon they arose in great wrath and cut off his head. King Peter’s army landed at Alcoyll, not far distant from Bugia. The king was shocked when he heard of Bugron’s tragic death, but he concluded, nevertheless, to stay there and wage war upon the Saracens. Fortifications were immediately constructed. Formidable forces of Moors came to attack the Christians, but were always repulsed. Troops from the vast Aragonese army made incursions into the surrounding country, and soon none of the enemy could be found for miles around. King Peter was highly pleased with this excellent beginning,[156] and it did not seem to him that the conquest of all Barbary would be a difficult task if the Pope would only furnish sufficient money to pursue the undertaking to a successful issue. Accordingly he sent an ambassador to Rome to secure this necessary financial assistance. Let us quote a few lines of the ambassador’s petition to the Pope:

[79] Pare sanct, mon senyor lo rey En Pere Darago vos fa saber quell es en Barbaria en un lloch qui ha nom Alcoyll, e troba que per aquell lloch pot auer tota la Barbaria. Si vos, pare sanct, li volets fer ajuda de diners e de perdonança, sera aço complit de la major part auans que llonch temps sia. E la Barbaria es aytal, que qui haura les marines si haura tota la Barbaria. E son gents qui tantost com vejen lo gran destret que hauran se faran chrestians la major part.

[79] Holy Father, my lord king Peter of Aragon informs you that he is in Barbary in a certain place called Alcoyll and finds that with that place as base of operations, he can conquer all Barbary. If you, Holy Father, will aid him with money and indulgences, this will be accomplished within a short time. The situation of Barbary is such that he who has possession of the littoral will also hold all Barbary. And they are people who as soon as they see the great distress that they will have to endure will for the greater part become Christians. Muntaner, op. cit.; chap. lii.

In the meantime ambassadors came from the island of Sicily to implore King Peter to come thither and free them from the oppressive rule of Charles of Anjou. But the king’s heart was so firmly set upon this conquest that he gave no heed to their entreaties. But when another embassy came, and when he was informed that his petition to the Pope had met with failure, he embarked with all his forces and sailed for Sicily. And thus the high purpose of lo Senyor rey En Pere to conquer and christianize all Barbary came to naught.

This undertaking of the King of Aragon furnished the historical background for Tirant’s wonderful campaign against the Moors in Barbary. Martorell did not make use of the details of the Aragonese expedition, but he [157]took up the subject and some of the geographical names and historical personages and developed a story of conquest according to his fancy. The enterprise of the Aragonese king was a failure, but Tirant’s was naturally a glorious achievement.

It is quite probable that the shipwreck of Heraud as described in the sequel to the romance of Guy of Warwick led to the conception and composition of the conquest. Tirant, like Heraud, was shipwrecked on the African shores, was made prisoner, and became the leader of Moorish forces. And now that Martorell had taken his hero to Africa, what undertaking was he to engage in there? King Peter’s expedition came to the mind of the author, and he decided to have Tirant accomplish what the king had tried to do. It is possible, however, that Martorell conceived his hero as conqueror of Barbary even before he thought of the way in which he was to arrive there. But the first theory seems more plausible, for the reason that in Tirant’s first activities in Africa no conquest of Barbary and no religious motives are apparent.



The Catalan romance of chivalry, Tirant lo Blanch, may be described as a composite historical novel with a hero of a composite historical character. From the beginning of the work to the end of the William of Warwick episode the scenes are laid in England, and were it not for the fact that Martorell describes a Moorish invasion as taking place in that kingdom, we should be obliged to say that the atmosphere is absolutely English. However, after Tirant’s return to the continent, a purely Catalan or Aragonese spirit pervades the romance to the very end. The names of other countries may be given as the scenes of Tirant’s activities, but the Catalan heart and mind are always in evidence. The author’s direct experience and his intimate acquaintance with the history of his country find expression at every favorable opportunity. Whatever is described or narrated bears a pronounced Catalan stamp. Tirant’s relief expedition to Rhodes is based on the siege of that place in 1444, but the manner in which he succeeded in reaching the castle was copied from Roger de Flor’s successful attempt to relieve Messina. The expedition of the King of France against the infidels is based on the crusades of Louis IX; yet the way that it ravaged the shores of Turkey was very similar to the manner in which the vessels of King Jaime, King Peter’s predecessor, devastated the shores of Africa. Tirant’s activities in the service of the Emperor of Constantinople are based on the Catalan-Aragonese expedition to the East under the leadership of Roger de Flor, but it cannot be forgotten that the English[159] romance, Guy of Warwick, has left strong and indisputable traces in this part of the work. The conquest of Barbary is based on the experiences of the kings of Aragon with the Saracens of northwestern Africa, but, in making use of these historical elements, Martorell absolutely disregards their chronological order. According to these historical data, Tirant’s military career begins in the middle of the fifteenth century and ends incongruously in the early years of the fourteenth. The hero is made up of elements taken from Guy of Warwick, Richard of Beauchamp, Roger de Flor, Saint Louis, Peter the Second of Aragon and others. It is clear that Martorell had no intention of singing the praises of Roger de Flor or of any other historical personage. In fact it seems that he attempts to disguise and conceal the historical elements. If he had adhered to these elements too closely, he would by that very act have deprived himself of the liberty of proceeding with his composition as he pleased.

Martorell had probably no other purpose in view than that of writing a romance of chivalry in which the hero was to conform in the main to his notion of what constituted a great military leader. He was of a practical bent and he desired to present to us a lifelike hero, one whose exploits should be within the bounds of possibility. All material that was given place in his work seems to be based on what he himself directly observed or what he had read or heard related. No wild flights of the imagination are attempted. Occasionally passages are met with relating incredible occurrences, but these are not of his own invention. Within this work may be found religious and philosophical discourses; speeches and disputations among members of the imperial councils; formal debates among members of the imperial family; documents and papers drawn up by notaries; formal challenges and replies to these; dramatic lamentations;[160] long and fervent prayers; and allusions to classical Latin authors, to biblical characters and to figures prominent in mediaeval literature. Many of these features bear evidence that they are not original with Martorell, but were copied, some closely, others loosely, from models that he found here and there. But at times he is delightfully original. On these occasions his narrations are natural and the dialogues exceedingly sprightly, making a striking contrast with his other heavy and stilted literary efforts. It is to be regretted that he did not cast aside the models that he copied or imitated, and free himself from the influence of other authors. His book would in that case have been reduced to approximately one-fourth of its present size, but quite probably it would now be considered a masterpiece of narration and dialogue.

Martorell, to judge him by the work that he has produced—unfortunately we know nothing at all concerning him from any other source—gives us the impression that he was a monk or an ecclesiastic. The intensely religious spirit that pervades the book, the sermons and prayers, and the efforts to conquer or crush the enemies of the Holy Catholic Church point strongly in that direction. His high regard for the orders of knighthood and his great admiration for distinguished heroes give some grounds for believing that he was a member of a military order. However, the various documents drawn up in legal form leave the impression that he was a notary. But he has included in his work several features that are not in harmony with a serious and lofty purpose. From these a fair idea of his character and disposition may be obtained. He is jolly, jovial, frivolous, talkative, malicieux, and bold even to impertinence. He is queer and eccentric. He has peculiar ideas as to the fitness of things. He shows extremely bad taste from the standpoint of the present time. Sometimes he permits his hero to conduct himself in an undignified[161] manner, or makes him the victim of mishaps that tend to decrease our admiration for him. And then as a climax to these occasional disparaging portrayals, he endows his hero with a low, immoral nature.

Tirant lo Blanch is pictured to us as a noble, generous, religious, intrepid, valiant, and invincible military leader. He is admirable in all respects but one—he is morally a weakling. This inconsistency, together with other incongruities, has led a scholarly critic[80] to declare that Tirant lo Blanch is a parody on the romances of chivalry and that “the animus of the whole narrative is satire.” But the romance taken as a whole does not warrant such a conclusion, for the general tone of it is earnest and sincere. Several features of the work seem to be presented in a satirical spirit, but still it is very doubtful that the author intended to hold up certain foibles, follies or vices to reprobation and ridicule. Is it not rather probable that these features are due to the realistic tendencies of the author, or to his whims and humors? Were some of these features perhaps intended as a protest against the immorality of knights in general? Were they to teach a moral lesson? If these questions are answered affirmatively, difficulties will confront us, for Hypolite, the paramour of the empress, is not punished for his sinful liaison; on the contrary he is rewarded, for after the death of the emperor and the princess he becomes the imperial ruler and his reign is a long and glorious one. Nor was he to be punished in the next world, for we are told “... e podeu creure que per lo bon regiment, e per la bona e virtuosa vida fon [Lemperador e la Emperadriu] collocats en la gloria de paradis.”[81] It is impossible to believe that it was Martorell’s purpose [162]to deride and ridicule the deeds of prowess and the noble enterprises of the champion knight of the English court, the deliverer of the Knights of Rhodes, the intrepid knight of the French king’s expedition against the infidels, the missionary-conqueror of Barbary, and the liberator of the Grecian Empire. Surely the spirit of the narration of these important activities of Tirant is not satire.

[80] F.M. Warren, A History of the Novel Previous to the Seventeenth Century, New York, 1895; pp. 173 and 175.

[81] ... and you may feel assured that on account of their excellent rule, and their good and upright lives, they were taken up to enjoy the glories of paradise.

This Catalan romance of chivalry may have been conceived in accordance with the taste of Martorell’s times, but conditions have changed. The standards by which we measure the actions of men now are not the same as they were then. If an author wishes us to become enthusiastic in our admiration for his hero, the latter must conform to our standards. We insist that the protagonist be, above all, heroic from a moral standpoint. If he lacks that attribute we cannot give him a full measure of appreciation. An immoral hero is a paradox, an impossibility with us of the present day; consequently we shall never be able to regard Tirant lo Blanch as a great hero. But from the foregoing study it may perhaps appear that the “cura’s” estimate, composed both of enthusiasm and reprobation (as set forth in the passage quoted in the opening paragraph), is not unworthy of the good sense and critical acumen of the great Cervantes.




Amador de los Ríos, José, Historia critica de la literatura española, Madrid, 1861-1865.

Ashmole, Elias, The Institution, Laws and Ceremonies of the most Noble Order of the Garter, London, 1672.

Bonsoms y Sicart, Isidro, and Rubió y Lluch, Antonio, Discursos leídos en la Real Academia de Buenas Letras de Barcelona en la recepción publica de D. Isidro Bonsoms y Sicart el día 9 de Mayo de 1907, Barcelona, 1907.

Calderon, Juan, Cervantes vindicado en ciento y quince pasajes del texto del ingenioso hidalgo, Madrid, 1854.

Cervantes, El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha, edited and annotated by Francisco Rodríguez Marín, Madrid, 1911.

Cervantes de Saavedra, Miguel de, El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha, with commentaries by Diego Clemencín, annotated by Miguel de Toro Gómez, Paris, 1910.

Clède, M. de la, Histoire générale de Portugal, Paris, 1735.

Cust, Elizabeth, The Stuarts of Aubigny, London, 1891.

Denk, Otto, Einführung in die Geschichte der altcatalanischen Litteratur, Munich, 1893.

Documents inédits sur l’histoire de France, première série, Paris, 1862.

Dunlop, John Colin, History of Prose Fiction, edited by Henry Wilson, London, 1896.

Givanel Mas, Juan, Estudio crítico de Tirant lo Blanch, Madrid, 1912.

Gutiérrez del Caño, Marcelino, Ensayo bibliográfico de “Tirant lo Blanch.” Revista de Archives, Bibliotecas y Museos. September-December number of the year 1917, Madrid, 1917.

Guy of Warwick, Fourteenth-century versions, edited from the Auchinleck MS. in the Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh, and from MS. 107 in Caius College, Cambridge, by Julius Zupitza, Early English Text Society, London, 1883, 1887, and 1891.

Joinville, Jehan Sire de, Histoire de Saint Loys, Collection Complète des mémoires par M. Petitot, Paris, 1819.

La Soberana Orden Militar de San Juan de Jerusalem ó de Malta, por un Caballero de la Orden, Madrid, 1889.

Lull, Raymond, Libre del Orde d’Cauayleria, Barcelona, 1879.


Menéndez y Pelayo, M., Orígenes de la Novela, Madrid, 1905.

Metge, En Bernat, Lo Somni d’En Bernat Metge, edited by R. Miquel y Planas, Barcelona, 1907.

Moncada, Francisco de, Expedición de los catalanes y aragoneses contra turcos y griegos, Madrid, 1777.

Muntaner Ramon, Chronica, o Descripcio dels fets, e hazanyes del Inclyt Rey Don Iaume Primer Rey Darago, de Mallorques, e de Valencia: Compte de Barcelona, e de Muntpesller: e de molts de sos descendens, edited by Karl Lans, Stuttgart, 1844. Bibliothek des literarischen Vereins in Stuttgart.

Nicolau y D’Olwer, Luis, Sobre les fonts catalanes del Tirant lo Blanch. Revista de Bibliografía catalana, Barcelona, 1907.

Nuñes de Leaõ, Duarte, Cronicas del rey Don Joaõ de gloriosa memoria, o I. deste nome, e dos reys de Portugal o X., e as dos reys D. Duarte, e D. Affonso o V., Lisbon, 1780.

Porter, Whitworth, A History of the Knights of Malta, London, 1883.

The Countess of Warwick, Warwick Castle and its Earls, New York and London, 1903.

Vertot, Abbé de, Histoire des Chevaliers Hospitaliers de S. Jean de Jérusalem, Paris, 1726.

Warren, F.M., A History of the Novel previous to the Seventeenth Century, New York, 1895.






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