The Literature of Chivalry and Romance

One of the chief subjects of literature in the Middle Ages was the deeds of knights in battle and on quest for renown and love. In epic, in verse romance, and in prose, stories of Arthur and his knights, of Charlemagne and his paladins, and of many others were told and retold. This page will help you find some of these tales on the Web.


Scholars and amateurs alike argue whether a historical Arthur existed in 5th or 6th century Britain. The “chivalric” Arthur is an invention of the 12th century. Here is how you can access some of the literature created by the medieval fascination with Arthur and his court.


Charlemagne, the great emperor of the Franks, is most definitely a historical figure, but his knights, like Arthur’s, accumulated many fictional exploits.

  • The most famous of Charlemagne’s knights is the subject of the early epic, The Song of Roland (OMACL).

The Cid

Like Charlemagne, a real person (a great warrior of 11th c. Spain) reinterpreted by later writers.

General Literary Sites

There is far more on the Web and off than is listed here. A good place to start is the Online Medieval & Classical Library. For Arthuriana in particular, see the University of Rochester’s Camelot Project.


Historical Materials on Knighthood and Chivalry Index

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