Bibliographic Information


Medieval Title:

As this text exists in one manuscript that begins imperfect, no manuscript title is given. However, the text is generally known to scholars today as Firumbras.






No definite composition date or location


Textual Information


Brief Summary:

The text begins incomplete, starting at the point when the French Peers sheltered in the chamber of Floripas, the Saracen princess and relic-keeper, attack Balam (her father, the Saracen leader) and his men at dinner and drive them from the tower, which the Saracens then besiege. The Peers, Floripas, and her maidens need food and the Peers make a sortie during which Guy, Floripas’s Christian betrothed, is captured. Floripas shows the Crown, Spear and Nails to the Peers, who kneel and bless themselves and ask God’s mercy and support in a sortie to rescue Guy (ll. 566-607). That sortie is successful. The relics next appear when the Saracens attack the tower more fiercely. Duke Nemes fetches the Crown, Nails, Spear, Voluper and Sudary. Saracens who are climbing in the window are blinded and fall to the ground. Note that here Nemes does not plan to show the relics to the Saracens, and that ostension happens with no explicit causation (vs other versions). This text, unlike Sir Ferumbras, has a completed ending and includes Floripas’s baptism and marriage to Guy before a final relic ostension when the relics are returned to Charlemagne’s care and tested by his bishop in an extended scene involving multiple miracles of levitation, similar to what is found in Fierabras (ll. 1765-1825). Note that this text, like Fierabras and Sir Ferumbras contains contrasting depictions of Saracen gods and the ways in which they do not act to help their worshippers (e.g, ll. 235-85; 765-75; 1423-30 as well as the ongoing depiction of Balam’s relationship with his gods throughout the text). This version, however, presents more emphatic comments on religious difference at these moments and makes Floripas more Christian-sounding from the start.


Relics Appearing in Text:

Crown of Thorns

(nb: the Crown, nails and spear appear in all relic ostensions; the sudary and shroud only in the one were Duke Nemes shows Passion relics to attacking Saracens)


Manuscripts, Editions, and Translations


London, British Library. MS Additional 37492; formerly known as Fillingham MS (c. 1475-1500CE)

(MS generally accepted as coming from around Bristol (in west of England; close to Welsh border), though some scholars situate it as coming from Essex-Suffolk border. MS presents version that is copy of earlier existing (now lost) copy. MS contains 4 other texts, all of which evince a concern with affirming orthodox Christian devotional practices and beliefs, perhaps in response to the fact that Bristol was a noted Lollard centre in the fifteenth century; MS may be part of efforts to combat such heterodoxy (including Lollard opposition to Passion relic veneration) (see Ailes and Hardman 197-202).)


List of Editions of the Medieval Text: 

Firumbras and Otuel and Roland. Edited by M. I. O’Sullivan, 3-58. EETS OS 198. London: Oxford University Press, 1935.


List of Translations of the Medieval Text: 





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