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Crusader's Gold 'Geoffrey Rudel de Blaye' Ring

Lot 0582
1150-1170 AD. The gold personal seal ring of the famous troubadour Geoffrey Rudel de Blaye (Jaufre Rudel, born circa 1130, died circa 1147, in Tripoli) with D-section hoop and integral elliptical bezel with central carnelian intaglio; to the perimeter of the bezel, the inscription in Lombardic capitals '+RVDEL VON GORS*' in retrograde; the intaglio depicting a clean-shaven male face in profile and most probably of earlier date. [A video of this item is available to view on TimeLine Auctions website.] Cf. Ward, A., Cherry, J., Gere, C. & Cartlidge, B. Rings Through the Ages, Fribourg, 1981, item 134 for type. 2.87 grams, 22 mm, 18mm internal diameter (approximate size British P 1/2, USA 8, Europe 17.75, Japan 16) (1"). Property of a Wiltshire lady; acquired from these rooms 5 October 2012, lot 1284, for £4,329; formerly the property of a European gentleman living in the UK; believed found central Europe in the 1920s. The prince of Blaye, in Aquitaine, South-West France, Geoffrey (or Jaufre) Rudel is most famous as a troubadour and exponent of the tradition of courtly love. He was one of the first poets to develop the theme of ‘love from afar’ (amor de lonh or amour de loin); seven of his works have survived, four with music. According to his semi-fictionalised biography (vida), he fell in love with Countess Hodierna of Tripoli (in modern Lebanon), solely as a result of returning pilgrims’ reports of her beauty. Inspired by these tales, he enlisted in the Second Crusade (1147-49) and travelled to find his beloved. Falling ill en route, he was carried ashore in Tripoli, where, according to the vida, “The countess was told what had happened and she went to his bedside and took him in her arms. He knew that she was the countess and his hearing and breathing recovered, and he praised God for having let him live until he had seen her; and he died thus in her arms. And she had him buried with great honour in the house of the Temple; and afterwards, on the same day, she became a nun due to the sorrow that his death caused her” (tr. Paden, W.D. and Freeman Paden, F"). Geoffrey’s poetic but unlikely story seems to have been developed out of themes within his own poetry, and his presumed death on Crusade. A contemporary song by fellow troubadour Marcabru (fl.1130-50) describes him as ‘oltramar’ – ‘over the sea’ (XV"). His tale was irresistible to nineteenth-century Romantic poets and artists, among them Robert Browning, who wrote ‘Rudel To The Lady Of Tripoli’ (1842"). The inscription 'GORS' (with retrograde 'G') possibly refers to the river port town of Velika Gorica, modern Croatia.


Very fine condition. Unique and very important.

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Crusader's Gold 'Geoffrey Rudel de Blaye' Ring

Estimate £3,000 - £4,000Sep 03