chapter  4
22 Pages

Encountering the Turks: The First Crusaders’ Foreknowledge of their Enemy; Some Preliminary Findings

The story of the Swan Knight was originally separate from traditions regarding Godfrey's lineage, and possibly originated as a generic folk tale. It seems that the basic narrative of the Swan Knight story did not alter a great deal throughout the middle Ages. It begins with the arrival of a mysterious knight in a boat drawn by a swan. The knight encounters an endangered noblewoman, whom he rescues and eventually marries. At some point around the middle of the twelfth century, the Swan Knight story was connected to the history of Godfrey's maternal dynasty, the house of Ardennes-Bouillon. Thereafter, Godfrey and his brothers Baldwin and Eustace of Boulogne were sometimes regarded as grandsons of that mythical warrior. It suggests that was this early thirteenth-century development that triggered a shift in perceptions and created an environment in which Godfrey could be remembered as the hero of the First Crusade.