Siege of Thebes (poem)

Siege of Thebes is a 4716-line poem written by John Lydgate between 1420 and 1422.[1] Lydgate composed the Siege of Thebes directly following his composition of Troy Book - which was patronized by King Henry V - and directly preceding his production of The Fall of Princes - which Humphrey Duke of Gloucester patronized during King Henry VI's regency.[1] The poem is particularly significant because it was written without an identifiable patron,[2] and most probably without patron or commission whatsoever.[1] Whatever the status of its patronage, the Siege of Thebes still managed to gain significant popularity, attested to by its 31 surviving manuscripts.[2] The poem is, in large part, a response to Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. Lydgate's poem borrows The Canterbury Tales' pilgrimage-based framing device and is written as an additional tale in the cycle.[3] However, unlike Chaucer, Lydgate establishes himself as the narrator of the work, and recounts the siege of Thebes.[3] Lydgate's Siege of Thebes follows and expands upon the Theban Cycle, but makes significant additions to the source materials.


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