Comitatus: A Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Volume 43, 2012
pp. 41-56 | 10.1353/cjm.2012.0054
Anger was an ambivalent emotion in the Middle Ages, oscillating between acceptance and condemnation in theological discourse. Initially defined as detrimental during the Carolingian era unless it was internally directed against one’s own sins, anger came to be rehabilitated in a context of Crusade, where zealous leaders were required to defend ecclesiastical interests on the battlefield. However, certain very specific conventions regulated its verbalization, thus permitting authors to either magnify or denounce the protagonists they portrayed according to how they framed the emotion. This paper offers a reading of The Siege of Milan and The King of Tars, two Middle English crusading romances, in light of these codes. A close look at the way anger is represented throughout the texts enables us to acquire a subtle and enriched understanding of two prominent issues inherent to the texts’ ideologies: the promotion of Christian devotion to the religious and military standards intrinsic to the Crusades in The Siege of Milan, and the importance of Christian expansion and incorporation in The King of Tars.