From the Histoire ancienne to the Roman du roy Meliadus: The Battle in Manuscript Illumination of Angevin Naples
Since the first Angevin age, the wide circulation of chivalry romances, especially of the classic cycle, fostered the rise of a particular illustrative genre in Naples – the battle scene – which had repercussions in the Aragonese period as well. Various types of battle scenes, often realized with the help of pouncing, are found on the bottom margin of the manuscripts. This essay highlights the connection of this illustrative genre with Parisian manuscript illumination in the time of Louis IX and the peculiarity of some ‘inventions’ that can be found only in Neapolitan manuscripts. It also aims at emphasizing the revival of proto-Angevin models during the reign of Joanna of Anjou, when the bloody representation of the battle that emerged in the heroic climate of the crusades gave way to the representation of the war game – the tournament – which is a full expression of the neo-feudal climate of the mid-14th century European courts.