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A Chivalric Life

A Chivalric Life

The Book of the Deeds of Messire Jacques de Lalaing

Mario Damen and Rosalind Brown-Grant have both been fellows at NIAS, and together worked on this book on the famous knight Lalaing.

Jacques de Lalaing (c.1421-53) was undoubtedly the most famous knight at the court of the Burgundian duke, Philip the Good, one who was celebrated in his own lifetime for the dazzling feats of arms that he performed in jousts across Europe during the 1440s. Serving the duke first as a councillor and ambassador to launch a new crusade and then as a fearless military leader on a campaign to put down a revolt by the town of Ghent, Lalaing tragically met his death at the siege of Poeke at a relatively young age.

The chivalric biography of Lalaing, written in the early 1470s, offers an entertaining and informative account of the life of a late medieval knight. Drawing on a variety of sources, it was designed not only to commemorate Jacques’s deeds for posterity but also to encourage other young noblemen to imitate his shining example, with lavishly illuminated copies being made for members of his own family and other noble readers.

This first English translation of the text, accompanied by an introduction and extensive notes based on new research into both archival and literary sources, aims to offer the reader an in-depth portrayal of Lalaing in the context of the chivalric, dynastic and political culture of his day.