Gesta Romanorum Vol. I (1871)/Of the Illusions of the Devil

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Gesta Romanorum Vol. I  (1871) 
Anonymous, translated by Charles Swan
Of the end of Sinners



Paulus, the historian of the Longobardi (49) relates, that Conan, king of the Hungarians, while besieging a castle in the town of Julius, (50) perceived upon the walls, Rosinella, duchess of that place, a very beautiful and accomplished woman, with her whole family, consisting of four sons and two daughters. He entered into conversation with her, and proposed, that if she would marry him, he would bestow upon her the castle which she was defending. The lady acquiesced; but the sons, indignant at the treacherous conduct of their mother, fled together. Conan, however, adhering to his promise, married the duchess on the following day. But the next morning after the nuptials, he delivered her to twelve Hungarian soldiers to be abused and mocked; and on the third day, he commanded her to be stabbed, and transfixed from the throat downward, observing, "that a wife who betrayed her country to gratify her evil passions, ought to possess such a husband."


My beloved, Conan is the devil, who besieged a castle, that is, the human heart. Rosinella is any woman who wanders from the path of rectitude. The children are those virtues which leave the breast when evil enters; and the Hungarian soldiers are the vices into which it falls.

Note 49.Page 167.

"Paulus the historian of the Longobardi."

"Paulus, that is, Paulus Diaconus, the historian of the Longobards is quoted. He was chancellor of Desiderius, the last king of the Lombards; with whom he was taken captive by Charlemagne. The history here referred to is entitled Gesta Longobardorum[1]."—Warton.

Note 50.Page 167.

"The town of Julius."

Warton calls it "Foro-Juli," because the Latin is "in foro Julii." In all probability the same place is meant as in the following extract from the old play of "Promos and Cassandra" "In the cytie of Julio (sometime under the dominion of Corvinus, king of Hungarie, and Boemia)" &c. 1578.

  1. There are some fine circumstances of distress in Paulus's description of the siege.