edited and translated by Emily C. Francomano and Clara Pascual-Argente
Harvard University Press, 2024
Cloth: 978-0-674-29103-4
Library of Congress Classification PA3871.A8A24 2024
Dewey Decimal Classification 883.01


A new translation of two medieval Spanish versions of the tale of Apollonius, a story central to the premodern literary imagination and a source for Shakespeare’s Pericles.

Incest, riddling, piracy, prostitution, shipwreck, Lazarus-like resuscitation, and seductive musical performances—the story of King Apollonius and his wanderings, with its riveting plot twists, has been told and retold in many languages since its late antique composition. No conventional romance hero, Apollonius proves his mettle not on the battlefield but through study, sport, music, and courtliness. The equally studious and courtly heroines of the romance—Luciana and Tarsiana, Apollonius’s wife and daughter—embark on their own adventures before the family reunites. Throughout, the king’s trials are cast as a Christian allegory of fortune.

Two Castillian versions are included in The Iberian Apollonius of Tyre. The thirteenth-century poem known as The Book of Apollonius, a creative adaptation by an unknown cleric, focuses on Apollonius as a pilgrim figure and Christianizes the narrative. The fifteenth-century prose Life and History of King Apollonius, a highly literal translation of the Latin Gesta Romanorum text by an anonymous Aragonese translator, is representative of vernacular humanism and linked with the genre of the short chivalric tale.

This volume presents new editions and English translations of these two complete, standalone medieval Spanish versions of the ancient legend.