Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Melusine, ou la noble histoire de Lusignan


Mélusine, composed in 1392 at the court of Jean, duc de Berry, who held the castle of Lusignan in Poitou, is a legendary history of that Poitevin lordship’s seigneurial dynasty. Beginning with the story of the family’s fantastic origins in the fairy Mélusine, the narrative follows the fortunes of her offspring, Geoffrey, Guion, and Urien. After the latter two join crusades to help defend Cyprus from the Sultan of Damascus, the Mélusine becomes a foundation-legend for the historical Lusignan domination of Cyprus and Armenia. Although set in a fictional, temporally imprecise world, where Jerusalem has never been conquered by the Christians, it contains many echoes of contemporary fourteenth-century politics, including the tour of western courts conducted by Peter I of Cyprus, the Lusignan claimant to the crowns of Cyprus, Jerusalem and Armenia, in 1361.


Paris, Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, MS 3353 (Vellum, xvi)

Mélusine, roman du xiv siècle par Jean d’Arras, ed. Louis Stouff (Dijon, 1932).

tr. A Bilingual Edition of Jean d’Arras’s Mélusine ou l’histoire de Lusignan (New York, 2007)

Secondary Literature
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