Letter to Henry IV from the Emperor of Babylon (purported)

Bibliographic Information


Medieval Title:




Emperor of Babylon (purported)



c. 1436


Textual Information


Brief Summary:

This letter is apparently from the Emperor of Babylon to King Henry IV. In the letter, the Emperor claims to be king of all kings, and to be the worthiest of rulers. In particular, he reminds Henry that he is in control of Jerusalem and that none will enter into his lands without paying him a great tribute. He then claims to have the True Cross in his possession, warning that Henry shall not have the cross without his say so. The Emperor explains that he was Christian, but converted to the Saracen law to avoid death. The Emperor then offers to give Henry the Cross and other relics he holds, as well as to convert to Christianity if Henry will agree to marry his daughter.


Relics Appearing in Text:

True Cross


Manuscripts, Editions, and Translations



London, British Library, Cotton Vespasian B XVI


List of Editions of the Medieval Text: 

“Satirical Proclamation.” In Political, Religious, and Love Poems. Edited by F. J. Furnivall. EETS OS 15. 12-14. London: N. Trübner & Co., 1866.

Available online: https://archive.org/details/politicalreligio00furn



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