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Walter of Compiègne

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Walter of Compiègne was a French poet who lived in the first half of the 12th century and was a monk at Tours. He composed a Latin poem in elegiac couplets whose subject is the life of Mahomet (Muhammad).

The story of Mahomet reached Walter by oral tradition, according to the information he himself provides. Its source was a young Muslim who was brought to France after the First Crusade by a French knight, and who converted to Christianity. He narrated the life of Mahomet to Paganus, the abbot of St Mary at Étampes; Paganus told it to Warner, abbot of the monastery at Tours, and Warner told it to Walter of Compiègne. De Machomete (On Mahomet) may be given as its title. The poem begins:

Quisquis nosse cupis patriam Machomētis et actūs

Otia Walteriī dē Machomēte lege ...

Whoever you are, if you want to know the origin and acts of Mahomet,
Read this work of Walter's leisure On Mahomet ...

Bibliography

  • F. J. E. Raby, A History of Secular Latin Poetry in the Middle Ages (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934. ISBN 0198143257) vol. 2 pp. 82–83.

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