War and Combat 1150-1270:
The Evidence from Old French Literature

Published by Boydell and Brewer in 2003.
ISBN: 9780859917810

War and Combat is an academic book which takes an interdisciplinary look at warfare in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

War and combat were significant factors in the lives of all conditions of people during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; thousands of men, women and children prepared for, engaged in and suffered from the consequences of almost endemic armed conflict. However, while war and combat feature prominently in many of the forms of literature written at the time, the theme of warfare in some types of narrative source remains a relatively under-studied area. This book offers an investigation of the depiction of warfare in contemporary writings, in both fictional narratives and factual accounts, aiming to bridge the gap between the disciplines of literature and military history.

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Partonopeus de Blois
An Electronic Edition

Prepared by
Penny Eley, Penny Simons, Mario Longtin, Catherine Hanley, Philip Shaw

Partonopeus de Blois is a medieval French verse romance, composed in the last third of the twelfth century. It tells of how the young hero, Partonopeus, is transported to a mysterious city where he encounters the heroine Melior. He becomes her lover without ever seeing her, but eventually breaks the taboo on bringing a light into her bedchamber and is banished by her. After various adventures, he is forgiven, wins her hand in marriage at a three-day tournament, and becomes emperor of Byzantium. A continuation then tells the story of the hero’s former squire, Anselot, and of an unsuccessful invasion by Partonopeus’s former love-rival, the sultan of Persia.

I have also published academic articles in a variety of peer-reviewed journals in the UK, France and the USA. My most recent activity in this area was writing several entries for the Oxford Encyclopaedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology.

It’s a combination that is probably not readily apparent, but I also used to have a sideline writing about cricket, having had articles published in Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, the Australian Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, Wisden Cricket Monthly, the websites and, and Inside Cricket (an Australian cricket magazine). I loved it, and I’m pleased to say that while I was involved in cricket writing, I was able to pursue a lifelong interest, and to meet a number of utterly charming sports journalists (that’s not a phrase you hear often!), players and ex-players.