Analysis of manuscripts: C 250v (Guillems figueira), R 22v (G . figuieyra; blank staves above stanza I, a head drawn at the foot of the page). − The mss. derive from a common defective source that garbled 11, omitted approximately two lines in 18-21 plus syllables in 9 and 43, and contained further errors in 15 (?), 45, 49 and 51. In R the difference in form between Bels amics in 63 and Bel amic in 61 and the correction of vendes to vendem in 62 suggest that the scribe found the second tornada, missing in C, in a different source from the one for the rest of his text. R shows individual errors in 16, 22, 39, 44 and 59, mainly of inattention; C has fewer minor slips but shows signs of tinkering in 11, where it tries to make sense of a faulty exemplar, and 18, perhaps to generate a suitable rhyme; in 13 it contradicts sense and garbles sense and rhyme in 23. In view of the extra tornada and C’s interventions I have preferred R as base.

Critical apparatus:

9 e c. h. CR (−1)    11 ley e madona quec | dia C, leis per ma donas deya R    13 Non] mout C    14 quom C    15 quel CR    16 cum C; fols qui (−1) R    18-21 quar li ten|sonet no sai que mou ses be . uen|iatz C, car li tensonet no say. car mot be ses ven|iatz . R    22 fes R    23 salbergueira C    26 quom Cat end of line, i expunctuated R    27 lombart uengut C    28 rendre a luy C    29 geno li C    32 quom C    33 belha s. C    39 de dart] darc (−1) R    42 lay C    43 e tan lialtat | e. (−2) C, e l. t. e. (−2) R    44 don] domna (+1) R    45 sol CR; seretat C; at end of line, i expunctuated R    46 cor C    47 enet C    48 plen C; crezan C    49 on CR    51 aquelh de darnelh C, aquel de darnel R    59 dons R; gaus C ? or gaug    60 .R. R    61 Belhs amicx C    62 hom m. euoz uendetz C    63-64 missing C    64 s. camo R.


Dating and historical circumstances:

Levy (p. 5) dates the piece to 1238 on the grounds that vv. 29-30 reflect the fall to Frederick of Savona, Alberga, Porto Maurizio, Ventimiglia and nearly the whole Riviera to the west of Genoa, and this was accepted by Schultz-Gora (Oskar Schultz-Gora, Ein Sirventes von Guilhem Figueira gegen Friedrich II, Halle 1902, pp. 10 and 36). De Bartholomaeis corrects this to March-April 1240, at or near Barletta in Apulia, southern Italy (v. 27). He notes that after the Emperor’s victory at Cortenuova Frederick only once visited Barletta, precisely at this time: although there is no dated document from Barletta itself, there are several from the vicinity. Guillem’s is the only testimony of the presence of Lombard ambassadors going to Barletta, but a document sent from Orta and another from Foggia show that Frederick had arranged for a number of Lombards, who had been captured at Cortenuova and dispersed throughout the Regno into the custody of various barons, to be brought to him. De Bartholomaeis argues that the meeting at Barletta will have dealt with the restitution of these prisoners, and that some people unfamiliar with the diplomatic details may have taken this to involve recognition on the part of the Lombards of «all the rights» of the imperial crown (v. 28, see his «Osservazioni sulle poesie provenzali relative a Federico II», Memorie della R. Accademia delle scienze dell’Istituto di Bologna, Classe di scienze morali. Sezione storico-filologica, 6, 1911/1912, pp. 97-124, on p. 155 and Poesie provenzali, II, pp. 147 and 149, notes). Since Guillem is hoping to be retained in the Emperor’s service (v. 3), he would seem to be in the same place as the Emperor. Near to Barletta on Palm Sunday, in Foggia, Frederick held a great parliament to which people came from all over the Regno, and as De Bartholomaeis observes (Poesie provenzali, p. 147), this could easily explain the presence of a troubadour. It would appear that Taurel and «madona Dia» were helping him to make contact with the Emperor (11-12, 61-64). – This and BdT 217.4a are the only two troubadour songs to refer to John of Ibelin, half-brother to Queen Isabella of Jerusalem. The «Old Lord of Beirut» had been enfeoffed with that city forty years earlier, and became regent of Jerusalem in 1197. By 1227 he was «the greatest person in Outremer. [. . .] He was rich; he owned the city of Beirut, and his wife was heiress of Arsuf. His personal qualities won him general respect. His birth, wealth and integrity had made him for some decades already the accepted leader of the baronage of Outremer. Half Levantine-French and half-Greek, he understood the East and its peoples and he was equally versed in the history and the laws of the Frankish kingdom» (Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades, 3 voll., Harmondsworth 1971, first published Cambridge 1951-1954, vol. III, pp. 180-181). When Frederick met with him at Limassol in Cyprus on his way to the East, the Emperor behaved treacherously, making him rich gifts and inviting him to a feast in his honour. There his soldiers crept in and stood behind each of the guests, with their swords drawn, whereupon Frederick demanded that John «surrender his fief of Beirut and hand over all the revenues of Cyprus that had come in since the death of King Hugh» (p. 181). John stood firm in the face of open threats, declaring that «even should he be slain for it he would not break the laws of the land». Frederick had insufficient troops to risk an open breach, but demanded that twenty nobles, including John’s two sons, should be left with him as hostages and that John should come with him to Palestine (p. 181). John «cautiously retired to the castle that the Greeks called the Twin Peaks, Didymi, and the Franks Dieu d’Amour and today we call Saint Hilarion. He had already sent the ladies and the children of his household there, with ample stores of provisions. Feudal law laid down that, during a regency, the barons could not be ejected from castles entrusted to them by the late monarch. Frederick did not attempt now to flout the law». During the subsequent arrangements, John accompanied the Emperor to Acre, where John was to defend his right to Beirut before the High Court. When Frederick returned to Acre in 1229 after his entry into Jerusalem, news from Italy forced him to compromise with the barons and the Templars, and to leave for Italy. In Cyprus he left five baillis who had been instructed to exile all the friends of the Ibelins from the island (p. 194). This led to immediate civil war, the outcome of which was that John took over the government after making generous peace terms. In 1231, after Frederick had made peace with the Pope by the Treaty of San Germano on 23 July 1230, the Emperor sent an army to the East under his Marshal, the Neapolitan Richard Filangieri (Runciman, History, vol. III, p. 196). John left a small garrison in the castle of Beirut and sailed to Cyprus. Filangieri sent an ambassador to see King Henry of Cyprus with a message from Frederick telling him to banish the Ibelins and confiscate their lands; Henry replied that John was his uncle and that in any case he would not dispossess his own vassals. Filangieri then sailed straight for Beirut. The town which was ungarrisoned was handed over to him by its «timorous bishop», and he set siege to the castle. Back in Acre, he called a meeting of the High Court and showed it letters from Frederick appointing him as bailli. The barons confirmed the appointment, then Filangieri proclaimed the forfeiture of Ibelin lands. This provoked protests from the barons: «Estates could not be confiscated unless the High Court so decided, after the owner had had the chance of defending his case». After a long struggle Filangieri eventually surrendered to Ibelins and others in April 1233 (Runciman, History, vol. III, p. 202), Cyprus was wholly restored to the rule of Henry and his Ibelin cousins, and the High Court accepted John’s leadership, though this was still not the end of the story since Pope Gregory, trying to act correctly, declared that the Ibelins must stand trial before the High Court. The terms were unacceptable to the barons and the Commune, who ignored them, and at this point John died as the result of a riding accident (Runciman, History, vol. III, p. 204). – In his censorious attack on the Emperor the author of BdT 217.4a, Ja de far un sirventes, is factually correct when he says that Frederick wished to disinherit the Lord of Beirut and was unable to do so. In the present piece Figueira, glossing conveniently over Frederick’s treacherous behaviour at the feast he gave in John’s honour, puts a positive and more subtle spin on these events, claiming that Frederick acted with complete good faith, lialtatz and gentil cortezia by handing John back his lands. I have interpreted lialtatz to mean ‘legality, lawfulness’, since Runciman’s account makes clear the rôle legal arguments played at each stage of the conflict, and Abulafia stresses the Ibelins’ respect for legal requirements: «It was precisely their attention to the law, as they interpreted it, that brought them bitterly into conflict with Frederick», adding that Frederick tried, «as his final revenge against the Ibelins, to exclude them from Cyprus» (David Abulafia, Frederick II, a Medieval Emperor, London 1988, pp. 175-178 and 190-193). Also in contrast to Ja de far un sirventes, whose observations on Frederick’s crusade of 1228-1229, undertaken while he was excommunicate, are confined to his behaviour to the franc baro d’outramar, Figueira here praises him for an honourable and bloodless conquest of Jerusalem and Ascalon which concluded in a peace treaty with the Sultan al-Kamil on 18 February 1229. Such a positive spin seems to have been unusual: Runciman relates that the treaty met with «immediate and universal disapproval», and «the recovery of Jerusalem was of little profit to the kingdom», since Frederick’s hurried departure left it an open city, impossible to police and open to recapture at any time (Runciman, History, vol. III, pp. 187 and 193). If Guillem Figueira was indeed the author of Ja de far un sirventes, the hope expressed in Un nou sirventes of entering his service (v. 3) appears to have spurred him to recant from his previous criticisms in quite specific detail. What seems more likely is that he is responding in detail to the negative propaganda of another unidentified troubadour (see the discussion of the attribution of BdT 217.4a in my edition on Rialto) and at the same time to Frederick’s excommunication. Perhaps the peace treaty with al-Kamil lay behind the earlier sirventes’ accusation that Frederick was coartz / et avols guerreiaire (vv. 49-50), and that this prompted Figueira to lay special emphasis on the Emperor’s positive achievements during his crusade.


Textual notes:

9. Correction Levy, for scansion.

11-12. It looks as if ms. C tried to make sense of a garbled phrase in v.11 but produced a hypermetric line. Levy’s emendation ma dona Dia is confirmed by v. 63 and accepted by De Bartholomaeis, «grazie a madonna Dia», whose identity is unknown. For attempts to identify Taurel, see n. 12 in De Bartholomaeis, who rightly argues that he is not the Taurel of the tenso with Falconet (BdT 438.1) but must be a lord in the entourage of Frederick II who introduced Guillem to the Emperor. De Bartholomaeis’s translation of per as ‘grazie a’ is rather unclear; I understand the implication to be that Guillem is blessing the ground on which the Emperor walks as a result of the support he has received from ma dona Dia and Taurel’s intervention on his behalf.

15. Levy’s suggested emendation of quel to ques (= que·s) is accepted by De Bartholomaeis. – Frederick re-took Gaeta, of which he had previously lost control, in 1233: see the notes in Levy and De Bartholomaeis. The source material they cite does not demonstrate that he physically destroyed the city, though it lost the right to choose its own officials.

16. As Levy notes, for scansion qui ab must elide.

18-21. Levy (also De Bartholomaeis) print 18 as Quar li tensonet no sai que; since it is uncertain where in the missing section these words originally fell I have preferred to omit them.

21-22. De Bartholomaeis suggests that these lines may refer in particular to the occupation of the duchy of Spoleto and the march of Ancona, completed a few months previously. Levy identifies the avi as Frederick Barbarossa, who made peace with his long-standing opponent Pope Alexander III in Venice in 1177.

23. De Bartholomaeis suggests that the Emperor’s albergaria may refer to the Regno to which he had returned after five years of war in northern Italy. For the image of, essentially, «at home» meaning in one’s homeland, compare dinz ma maiso in Peire rey d’Arago, BdT 325.1, 4, my edition on Rialto.

29. Levy corrects to Genoalh, but it is unclear that Genoa has to be trisyllabic: compare Chanson de la croisade contre les Albigeois, ed. Eugène Martin-Chabot, 3 voll., Paris 1931-1961, 12.13 E.l coms Guilhelms de Genoa, d’una terra asazada, 151.72 E intra s’en a Genoa, per so filh esperar, 152.67 e es vengutz a Genoa, es eu pos vos en plevir. C seems to have understood it as bisyllabic, with geno li. – De Bartholomaeis observes that Guillem is exaggerating or ill-informed: Genoa never fell under the Emperor’s rule, and the Riviera, in revolt from 1238, reverted to Genoa in 1240.

41. Levy places Frederick’s visit to Cyprus in 1228 on his way to the Holy Land, so claims that the pueys of 41 is wrong, but perhaps this refers to his stop-off in Cyprus on his way back; if so the lines look like a heavily sanitised version of events.

43. Levy suggested the suppletion e [mostret] lialtatz, arguing that a previous scribe might have omitted it because his eye caught the word in the previous line, though this gives a very feeble outcome. Perhaps gardet, tenet, portet? – Rather than ‘loyalty’, lialtatz here seems to have the nuance of ‘in accordance with the law’ (lei).

45. Levy is right to correct to sols. For the particular sense here see SW, VII, 795, 10, ‘übergeben, aushändigen’. De Bartholomaeis suggests that as Frederick had treated John badly and taken away his property, mss. sol might be thought of as an error for tolc, but that this is hard to square with the Emperor’s «courtesy» (indeed!); he concludes that in such a fervently eulogistic song historical accuracy is not to be expected. In fact Frederick did in a certain sense release the land back to John pending due legal process: see Runciman’s account, referred to above.

46. For the absence of a definite article before the noun in apposition to the implied subject of the verb sols, and for the use of the oblique form emperador as nominative, see Levy’s note to this line.

48. C’s crezan makes the sense clear, though for the pres. subj. form crea compare BdT 375.24, 14-15, E non crea son cor, c’ab leial fe / Serai tostemps sos hom e sos servire (unicum in ms. a1, Leben und Werke des Trobadors Ponz de Capduoill, ed. Max von Napolski, Halle 1879, XXI, p. 80) and Girart de Roussillon, ed. W. Mary Hackett, 3 voll., Paris 1953-1955, 2055 and 9747, creie.

49. Levy deman don, or possibly deman dona B. (see his note), confessing his inability to explain the line; De Bartholomaeis damand [sic] en; in his note he indicates that Berreta is a person unknown, though refers to Salimbene de Adam, Chronica, in Monumenta Germaniae Historia, Scriptores, XXXII, p. 70 who attests a «Beretta» brother of Gigliuolo «de Gente», «detto anche di “donna Agnese”, Parmense, podestà di Reggio nel 1223 “pulcher miles et fortis bellator et validus, qui staturam habuit ita longam quod mulieres et homines mirabantur”». I follow his emendation of on.

50. Levy notes that Cremona and Parma were among the cities that remained loyal to Frederick and therefore suffered much from his enemy cities, especially Milan and Piacenza. The Emperor recognised their loyalty, honoured them with his visits, and gave them other indications of his favour. In 1236 he sent unusual animals, elephants and dromedaries to Cremona, and it was there he made his celebratory entry after the battle of Cortenuova. He was also often in Parma and celebrated Christmas there in 1238.

51. Levy (Aquelh de Darnelh) and De Bartholomaeis, who think along the lines of a knight de Darnelh, are mystified, the latter leaving the translation blank. My emendations are easily explicable paleographically.

53. Levy translates in a note: «Allezeit fortan werde ich, Figueira, denjenigen lieben, der nicht ablässt ihn zu loben», accepted by De Bartholomaeis. Is that right? Why n’? «I, Figueira» seems strained. Should the reading be n’amara, or should we understand n’amara.y (Figueira will love him for this, y = ‘there’ as in lai, though I can find no support for this on COM, amar + y)? And is Figueira then the subject of recre and ditz?

60. The allusion is to Raimon VII of Toulouse (Levy, p. 99; De Bartholomaeis, Poesie provenzali, p. 151); De Bartholomaeis comments that Guillem was probably maintaining contact with his natural lord.

61-62. C nos lauent hom mal euoz | uendetz la be, R nos laue(n)t ho(m)z mal e nos ve(n)dem la be, where the m is a correction written over an s. Levy follows C but corrects the first nos to vos, without recording R’s reading in the variants; he and Tobler found the sense unclear. In his «Osservazioni», p. 116, De Bartholomaeis comments, «la mercadaria di cui qui si tratta non può essere che quella che il poeta poteva solo smerciare: la poesía, i genere, e, nel caso attuale, questo stesso sirventese. L’autore dichiarava modestamente di spacciarla male, ma raccomandava a Trello di spacciarla bene, cioè di farla ben fruttare presso quel Fre-de-ric, ch’egli e madonna Dia devono amare»; see also his Poesie provenzali, II, p. 151 and his translation «la vostra merci altri ve la vende male, ma voi vendetela bene». While there is no guarantee that nos or uos have not been misread in transmission, there is no reason to reject the first nos which is in both mss. It would seem that the common source had uendes or uendetz and R had reason to alter this, perhaps because he saw a different source (which supplied the second tornada). I do not think it can have been because he had written the second nos and thought this was the subject of the verb, since nos vendetz could potentially make sense. – An objection to De Bartholomaeis’s idea about the «merchandise» is that this is first of all Taurel’s, not Guillem’s (uostra CR). It would be possible to speculate, but I do not think the reference is likely ever to be explained.

64. Correction Tobler (see Levy’s note). The pun on Frederick’s name (fre de ric) is also found in BdT 173.11, 57 and 60 (Les Poésies de Jausbert de Puycibot, ed. William P. Shepard, Paris 1924, XI, p. 38) and BdT 10.26, 41 and 43 (William P. Shepard and Frank M. Chambers, The poems of Aimeric de Peguilhan, Evanston, Illinois 1950, p. 147).

[LP, lb]

BdT    Guillem Figueira

Songs referring to the crusades