The Kingdom-like qualities in the Arthurian period






In the course of the narrative regarding Roman de Brut as written by Wace, the story raises concerns on what makes an established rule in the Arthurian. Wace’s story, Le Roman de Brut, is founded on Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Latin Historia Regum Britanniae. The narrative is the first wholly developed content in the lingua franca of the narrative of King Arthur. It is also the first work to point out the legend of King Arthur’s probable immortality. Wace’s aptitude for expressing the thoughts and feelings of the characters, narrative skill, as well as vivid illustrations of the characters’ dramatic relations contributed towards the flourishing historiography, as well as the romance genre. This paper posits to investigate the kingdom-like qualities in the Arthurian period, since it is evident that the kingdom is unsteady in regard to Roman de Brut by Wace.


The original rationale of writing Roman de Brut was merely to provide a vernacular edition of the popular narrative to Norman readers. It is alleged that Wace, did not have any patron to devote it to until he came close to conclusion. However, several facets of the work, together with Wace’s embellishments as well as a clear view of the characteristics make an outstanding ruler mark the narrative as bearing a double purpose. Wace’s explicit emphasis on munificence as an exemplary value is a clue of the didactic intent, since he was seeking for royal patronage.

Categories and Attributes of Kings. Wace’s Roman de Brut is written in the fashion of a pseudo-historical account, and it does not include any express didacticism addressed to a definite ruler. Rather, it teaches indirectly by means of the kings’ attributes, and through the ultimate outcome of their deeds, such as dishonorable and horrible deaths of various wicked rulers. Wace employs quite a few topoi with the objective of defining the characteristics that produce fine leaders and kings, and those that create unacceptable rulers. Several of these characteristics concern the virtues as well as transgressions committed by rulers.

In the Roman de Brut, the three fundamental categories of rulers are mentioned as those who may be regarded as efficient or highly esteemed, the ineffective or just bad, and the rulers that rate merely a brief mention. These categories are stereotypical and embody a set of ordinary characteristics. In addition to these three main categories, there are an insignificant, but highly significant, number of leaders who may be regard as to belonging to more than one grouping. These are rulers whose actions and characteristics throughout their reign earn them both blame and praise.

Depiction Methods. There are numerous illustrations of great leaders in the Roman de Brut, in excess of the appalling ones, yet all seem to belong to a stereotype. One of the salient characteristics is munificence, which Wace appears to favor greater than other traits. The munificent kings in Wace have a predisposition to garner a large amount of praise than the ones who are not portrayed as such. This would be a possible meaning to potential noble patrons to be munificent themselves. Gallantry on the battleground is in addition important. It is evident that historians willingly document the winning of famous battles, and this applies predominantly to the accomplishments of King Arthur, who is the pinnacle of the work. In addition, Wace underlines moderation, wisdom, Christian piety, and appropriate conduct towards variously-ranked individuals, while a handsome, and strong countenance, and virile look are an undisputed advantage.

The formulation of laws which are beneficial to all the subjects, particularly the laws that, in the opinion of Wace, hypothetically existed in his time, similarly characterizes an action of constructive monarchs. Ruling in tranquility is the ultimate accomplishment of efficient rulers, which frequently occurs following the winning of numerous bloody battles. Additionally, a king ought to have immense power, since powerful monarchs can secure a kingdom better, construct cities and roads, and acquire greater wealth. On the other hand, the rulers of disrepute are, naturally, to a certain extent the opposite. They are usually predisposed to being cowards, misers, or usurpers, who are immoderate, treacherous, arrogant, and unjust. On occasions, such rulers may join forces or hold positive transactions with heathens, thus, outlining their lack of Christian righteousness and refusal to support their own people. Improper sexual behavior through interactions with pagans and homosexuality might also smear them as inauspicious kings.

Wace more often than not portrays the character of the rulers by means of their decisions and actions. The disastrous kings are typified more often through accounts of decadent actions as well as a lack of fine deeds than by inventories of their shortcomings. On the contrary, the fine kings are increasingly apt to be defined by inventories of their qualities. The inventories mostly comprise adverbs, or adjectives attached to the rulers’ actions.

Arthur as the Model and Disastrous King. King Arthur is portrayed as the ultimate monarch and military leader in Romande Brut. This may be probably modeled on narratives about Charlemagne, the French hero. Charlemagne’s accomplishments on the battlefield are the mainly detailed features of his reign, particularly those concerning his conquests over other nations. Wace’s model British ruler in the Roman de Brut is the noble and brave King Arthur, and the story of his life is the pinnacle of the work. At the gentle age of fifteen, when King Arthur rose to the throne, he exhibited the traits of being the most excellent of kings.

Arthur’s character consequently covers every the main criterion for an excellent king in Wace’s judgment. Indeed, Wace alleges that Arthur exceeds all princes in the requisite virtues, which, is a tremendously high honor. The major problem with King Arthur that Wace openly presents is his incapacity to produce an inheritor. Throughout the lengthy account of Arthur’s reign, Wace repetitively portrays occurrences that demonstrate him to be the outstanding ruler. His depictions are frequently panegyric, especially in the introduction of Arthur’s personality and the coronation. King Arthur’s overgenerous coronation is significant in how it exhibits many characteristics of excellent kingship on a majestic scale. Thus, the lengthy coronation and its merriment, which Wace illustrates in detail, play an exceedingly imperative part in explaining why Arthur may deserve future Messianic standing. The sheer degree of his success while still a young king, demonstrates how much more influence he could accomplish in the upcoming days, something which King Arthur attains in the battle against Rome.

Arthur’s standing as a Messianic figure in legends demonstrates that to numerous individuals he was without a doubt the greatest of British kings, to be regarded as a benchmark alongside the future kings. Yet even though, the scale of his influence was colossal, it eventually failed. King Arthur, the influential, gallant Messianic monarch, is not completely deserving of his celebrated standing in Wace’s work. Even though, he is indisputably the most influential of all the kings in Roman de Brut, various aspects of his conduct throughout his conquests, and all his accomplishments ultimately coming to naught so rapidly, indicate that in spite of all, his brilliant attributes, he must not be considered as the admirable and successful king. On the contrary, he is one of those rulers that crossed over the categories of both unsuccessful and successful kings. His numerous kingly, noble attributes depicted by Wace rescue Arthur from being simply an extremely authoritative warlord, which the majority of his dealings portray. His imprudent decision with Modred upturned his typically successful and commendable kingship, into a kingship that failed to encompass a lasting effect. This is through his accomplishments lingering or by a flourishing legacy from the descendants. To a certain extent, the legacy of his power relied on a factor of nostalgia for the brief era in which Britain was at its best, and a mystical legend of his coming back to rule Britain.


Wace’s Roman de Brut, even though it’s most important purpose is as a narration of Britain’s history for a Norman audience, it can be regarded as a Mirror for Princes. This is because the didacticism employed by Wace influences the audience’s judgment of his characters. To a large extent, it plays to the stereotyping of ineffective and effective kings and thus, satisfies the expectations of the audience. It is probable that, Wace’s ethical commentary and prominence on the consequences of definite behavior were utilized as lessons, in the Roman de Brut’s audience. The most probable intentional didactic facet of Wace’s work is his emphasis on munificence.