1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Partonopeus de Blois

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PARTONOPEUS DE BLOIS, hero of romance. The French romance of Partonopeus de Blois dates from the 13th century, and has been assigned, on the strength of an ambiguous passage in the prologue to his Vie seint Edmund le rei to Denis Piramus. The tale is, in its essence a variation of the legend of Cupid and Psyche. Partonopeus is represented as having lived in the days of Clovis, king of France. He was seized while hunting in the Ardennes, and carried off to a mysterious castle, the inhabitants of which were invisible. Melior, empress of Constantinople, came to him at night, stipulating that he must not attempt to see her for two years and a half. After successful fighting against the “Saracens,” led by Sornegur, king of Denmark, he returned to the castle, armed with an enchanted lantern which broke the speU. The consequent misfortunes have a happy termination. The tale had a continuation giving the adventures of Fursin or Anselet, the nephew of Sornegur. The name of Partonopeus or Partonopex is generally assumed to be a corruption of Parthenopaeus, one of the seven against Thebes. It has been suggested that the word might be derived, from Partenay, a supposition coloured by the points of similarity between this story and the legend of Melusine (see Jean d'Arras) attached to the house of Lusignan, as the lords of these two places were connected.

Bibliography.—The French romance was edited by G. A. Crapelet, with an introduction by A. C. M. Robert, as Partonopeus de Blois (2 vols., 1834); an English Parlonope of Blois, by W. E. Buckley for the Roxburghe Club (London, 1862), and another fragment for the same learned society in 1873; the German Partonopier und Melior of Konrad von Würzburg by K. Bartsch (Vienna, 1871); the Icelandic Partalópa saga by O. Klockhoff in Upsala Universitets Arsskrift for 1887. See also H. L. Ward, Catalogue of Romances, (i. 689, &c.); E. Kolbing, Die versckiedenen Gestaltungen der Parlonopeus-Sage, in German. Stud. (vol. ii., Vienna, 1875), in which the Icelandic version is compared with the Danish poem Persenober and the Spanish prose Historia del conde Partinobles; E. Pfeiffer, “Über die HSS des Part, de Blois” in Stengel's Ausg. in Abh. vom phil. (No. 25, Marburg, 1885).