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Wace
Wace
(c. 1110[1] – after 1174[2]), sometimes referred to as Robert Wace,[3] was a Norman poet, who was born in Jersey
Jersey
and brought up in mainland Normandy
Normandy
(he tells us in the Roman de Rou
Roman de Rou
that he was taken as a child to Caen), ending his career as Canon of Bayeux.

Contents

1 Life 2 Works

2.1 Roman de Brut 2.2 Roman de Rou

3 Language 4 See also 5 Notes 6 References 7 External links

Life[edit] All that is known of Wace's life comes from autobiographical references in his poems. He neglected to mention his birthdate; sometime between 1099 and 1111 is the most commonly accepted year of his birth. The name Wace, used in Jersey
Jersey
until the 16th century, appears to have been his only name; surnames were not universally used at that time. It was quite a common first name in the Duchy of Normandy, derived from Germanic personal name Wasso. The spelling and the pronunciation of this name were rendered different ways in the texts, according to the place where the copyists were from. In the various versions of the Roman de Rou, his name appears five times as Wace, then Gace (once), Vace, Vacce, Vaicce (three times all together).[4] Until the 11th century, the w spelling corresponded to the pronunciation [w] (like in English) in Northern Normandy
Normandy
(including the Channel Islands), but it shifted to [v] in the 12th century.[5] South to an isogloss corresponding more or less to the Joret line, [w] had been turned to [gw] and later [g] (like in common French). Today the name survives as the patronymic surname Vasse in Normandy
Normandy
and in the North of France[6] and Gasse further south (including also Normandy).[7] It is speculated that he may have been of aristocratic origin, as he was sent to Caen
Caen
to be educated, which would have been virtually impossible for most. His detailed writing on maritime matters may have stemmed from his island upbringing. Around 1130 Wace
Wace
returned to Caen
Caen
and took ecclesiastical work, possibly as a teacher.[8] The date of Wace's death is uncertain. The most recent event described in the Roman de Rou
Roman de Rou
may be dated to 1174. In the Rou, Wace
Wace
also mentions Henry the Young King
Henry the Young King
as living. The latter lived until 1183, which means that Wace
Wace
probably did not revise the Rou after that date. Works[edit] His extant works include the Roman de Brut, a verse history of Britain, the Roman de Rou, and other works in verse, including the Lives of Margaret the Virgin
Margaret the Virgin
and Saint Nicholas. Roman de Brut[edit] Roman de Brut
Roman de Brut
(c. 1155) was based on the Historia Regum Britanniae
Historia Regum Britanniae
of Geoffrey of Monmouth. It cannot be regarded as a history in any modern sense, although Wace
Wace
often distinguishes between what he knows and what he does not know, or has been unable to find out. Wace
Wace
narrates the founding of Britain by Brutus of Troy
Brutus of Troy
to the end of the legendary British history created by Geoffrey of Monmouth. The popularity of this work is explained by the new accessibility to a wider public of the Arthur legend in a vernacular language. In the midst of the Arthurian section of the text, Wace
Wace
was the first to mention the legend of King Arthur's Round Table
Round Table
and the first to ascribe the name Excalibur
Excalibur
to Arthur's sword, although on the whole he adds only minor details to Geoffrey's text. The Roman de Brut
Roman de Brut
became the basis, in turn, for Layamon's Brut, an alliterative Middle English
Middle English
poem, and Peter Langtoft's Chronicle. Historian Matthew Bennett, in an article entitled " Wace
Wace
and warfare," has pointed out that Wace
Wace
clearly had a good understanding of contemporary warfare, and that the details of military operations he invents to flesh out his accounts of pseudo-historical conflicts can therefore be of value in understanding the generalities of warfare in Wace's own time.[9] Roman de Rou[edit] His later work, the Roman de Rou, was, according to Wace, commissioned by Henry II of England. A large part of the Roman de Rou
Roman de Rou
is devoted to William the Conqueror
William the Conqueror
and the Norman conquest of England. Wace's reference to oral tradition within his own family suggests that his account of the preparations for the Conquest and of the Battle of Hastings may have been reliant not only on documentary evidence but also on eyewitness testimony from close relations—though no eyewitnesses would have been still alive when he began work on the text. The Roman de Rou
Roman de Rou
also includes a mention of the appearance of Halley's Comet. The relative lack of popularity of the Roman de Rou may reflect the loss of interest in the history of the Duchy of Normandy
Normandy
following the incorporation of continental Normandy
Normandy
into the kingdom of France in 1204. Language[edit] The Romance language Wace
Wace
wrote in is variously regarded as an Old Norman dialect of the Norman language, a dialect of Old French, or specifically the precursor of Jèrriais. Writers in Jersey
Jersey
have looked on Wace
Wace
as the founder of Jersey
Jersey
literature, and Jèrriais
Jèrriais
is sometimes referred to as the language of Wace
Wace
although the poet himself predated the development of Jèrriais
Jèrriais
as a literary language. Wace
Wace
is the earliest known Jersey
Jersey
writer. Although the name Robert has been ascribed to Wace, this is a tradition resting on little evidence. It is generally believed nowadays that Wace
Wace
only had one name. As a clerc lisant, he was proud of his title of Maistre (master) and is consequently sometimes referred to as Maistre Wace. There is a granite memorial stone to Wace
Wace
built into the side of the States Building in Jersey's Royal Square. This includes a quote from the Roman de Rou
Roman de Rou
that expresses the poet's pride in his place of birth:

Jo di e dirai ke jo sui Wace
Wace
de l’isle de Gersui

Modern Jèrriais:

J'dis et dithai qu'jé sis Wace
Wace
dé l'Île dé Jèrri

Modern French:

Je dis et dirai que je suis Wace
Wace
de l'île de Jersey

English:

I say and will say that I am Wace
Wace
from the Island of Jersey

See also[edit]

Anglo-Norman literature

Notes[edit]

^ Burgess, ed., at xiii ^ Burgess, ed., at xvi ^  Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Robert Wace". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.  ^ René Lepelley, Guillaume le duc, Guillaume le roi : extraits du Roman de Rou
Roman de Rou
de Wace, Centre de publication de l'Université de Caen, Caen, 1987, p. 15. ^ Lepelley 15 ^ Repartition of Vasse in France (according to the number of births) In the south of France, it is probably an unrelated name [1] ^ Repartition of Gasse in France (according to the number of births) [2] ^ Maistre Wace ^ Bennett, " Wace
Wace
and warfare"

References[edit]

Bennett, Matthew (1988). " Wace
Wace
and Warfare". Anglo-Norman Studies. 11: 37–57.  Cristian Bratu, “Translatio, autorité et affirmation de soi chez Gaimar, Wace
Wace
et Benoît de Sainte-Maure.” The Medieval Chronicle 8 (2013): 135–164. Charles Foulon, "Wace" in Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages, Roger S. Loomis (ed.). Clarendon Press: Oxford University. 1959. ISBN 0-19-811588-1 Wace, Roman de Brut, ed. I. Arnold, 2 vols., Paris, 1938–1940. Weiss, Judith, Wace's Roman de Brut. A History of the British. Text and Translation, Exeter, 2006. Arnold, I., and Pelan, M., La partie arthurienne du Roman de Brut, Paris, 1962. Wace, Roman de Rou, ed. J. Holden, 3 vols. Paris, 1970–1973. Wace, Roman de Rou, ed. G. Burgess, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2004.

External links[edit]

Works by Wace
Wace
at Project Gutenberg Works by or about Wace
Wace
at Internet Archive Wace, Chronicle of the Norman Conquest from Roman de Rou
Roman de Rou
translated by Edgar Taylor, 1837.

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 102314637 LCCN: n50019524 ISNI: 0000 0001 2283 6325 GND: 118805827 SELIBR: 200724 SUDOC: 027191060 BNF: cb11928743d (data) NLA: 35769719 NKC: jx20130219001 BNE: XX1485

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