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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Doon de Mayence

A hero of romance, who gives his name to the third cycle of the Charlemagne romances, those dealing with the feudal revolts. There is no real unity in the geste of Doon de Mayence. The rebellious barons are connected by the trouveres with Doon by imaginary genealogical ties, and all are represented as in opposition to Charlemagne, though their adventures, in so far as they possess a historical basis, must generally be referred to earlier or later periods than the reign of the great emperor. The general insolence of their attitude to the sovereign suggests that Charlemagne is here only a name for his weaker successors. The tradition of a traitorous family of Mayence, which was developed in Italy into a series of stories of criminals, was however anterior to the Carolingian cycle, for an interpolator in the chronicle of Fredegarius states (iv. 87) that the army of Sigebert was betrayed from within its own ranks by men of Mayence in a battle fought with Radulf on the banks of the Unstrut in Thuringia. The chief heroes of the poems which make up the geste of Doon de Mayence are Ogier the Dane, the four sons of Aymon (see Renaud), and Huon of Bordeaux. It is probable that Doon himself was one of the last personages to be clearly defined, and that the chanson de geste relating his exploits was drawn up partly with the view of supplying a suitable ancestor for the other heroes. The latter half of the poem, the story of Doon's wars in Saxony, is perhaps based on historical events, but the earlier half, which is really a separate romance dealing with his romantic childhood, is obviously pure fiction and dates from the 13th century. Doon had twelve sons: Gaufrey de Dane Marche (Ardennes ?), the father of Ogier; Doon de Nanteuil, whose son Gamier married the beautiful Aye d'Avignon; Griffon d'Hauteville, father of the arch-traitor Ganelon; Aymon de Dordone or Dourdan, whose four sons were so relentlessly pursued by Charles; Beuves d'Aigremont, whose son was the enchanter Maugis; Sevin or Seguin, the father of Huon of Bordeaux; Girard de Roussillon, and others less known. The history of these personages is given in Doon de Mayence, Gaufrey, the romances relating to Ogier, Aye d'Avignon, the fragmentary Doon de Nanteuil, Gui de Nanteuil, Tristan de Nanteuil, Parise la Duchesse, Maugis d'Aigremont, Vivien l'amachour de Monbranc, Renaus de Montauban or Les Quatre Fils Aymon, and Huon de Bordeaux. Some of this material, which dates in its existing form from the 12th and 13th centuries, remains unpublished, but the chief poems are available in the series of Anciens Poetes de la France (1859, &c.).

See Hist. litt. de la France, vols. xxii. and xxvi. (1852 and 1873), for analyses of these poems by Paulin Paris; also J. Barrois, Elements carolingiens (Paris, 1846); W. Niederstadt, Alter and Heimat der altfr. Doon (Greifswald, 1889). The prose romance, La Fleur des batailles Doolin de Mayence, was printed by Antoine Verard (Paris, 1501), by Alain Lotrian and Denis Janot (Paris, c. 1530), by N. Bonfons (Paris; no date), by J. Waesbergue (Rotterdam, 1604), &c.

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Doon de Mayence'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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