Date of Award

Spring 2010

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

David S Bachrach


Among the contemporary narrative sources for the reign of King Philip II Augustus of France [r. 1179--1223], William the Breton's thirteenth-century epic poem the Philippide is the least well known and the least utilized. This thesis represents the first English language translation of a significant portion of the Philippide. The introduction explores William the Breton's life and works; the poem's sources, classical and contemporary; William the Breton's vocabulary and poetic voice; William the Breton's self-conception as a historian and a narrator, as demonstrated in his surviving works; and the overall theme and structure of the Philippide. It also includes as an appendix the first English translation of the relevant sections of William the Breton's Epitome of Rigord of St. Denis' contemporary Chronicle, upon which the Philippide is based.

This translation endeavors to introduce this fascinating text to an Anglophone audience, while simultaneously challenging prevailing assumptions about the Philippide in specific and, more broadly, about the nature and state of literature at the turn of the thirteenth-century in France.