Siege of Thebes (poem)
Siege of Thebes is a 4716-line poem written by John Lydgate between 1420 and 1422. 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. The poem is particularly significant because it was written without an identifiable patron, and most probably without patron or commission whatsoever. Whatever the status of its patronage, the Siege of Thebes still managed to gain significant popularity, attested to by its 31 surviving manuscripts. 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. However, unlike Chaucer, Lydgate establishes himself as the narrator of the work, and recounts the siege of Thebes. Lydgate's Siege of Thebes follows and expands upon the Theban Cycle, but makes significant additions to the source materials.