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treason, Amis and Amiloun, medieval romance literature


When the unnamed steward in the medieval romance Amis and Amiloun attempts to join the knights’ brotherhood and prevent Amis from defiling the duke’s daughter, he is simultaneously lauded for his fidelity and reviled as a “fals feloun.” Medieval stewards are defined by their status as assistants to the king’s interests, and yet if the narrative or scholarship remember him at all, it is as the stereotypical “fals steward” who betrays his post. This article considers the implications to the political body when the “traitor” has a superior legal political standing than the protagonist(s). The work legitimizes the traitor by granting him moral and political supremacy while leaving the heroes’ power unconstrained. Amis’s validation and condemnation of multiple avenues for authority inadvertently diversifies the political landscape, which ultimately questions the delineation of the political community. I contend, therefore, that political power occupies a dispersed and conflicted network.