“Go, Sirventoys, Swiftly as an Arrow”: The Unbound Transmission of Song in Crusading Contexts

Uri Jacob

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Available documentation of medieval music is almost exclusively limited to bound codices. Against this backdrop, this article explores how musical information was also communicated via more easily transportable, inexpensive material forms during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, with an emphasis on leaflets that circulated independently of codices. I shall focus on three song genres that can be found in the context of the crusading enterprise: the Old French political song; the Latin liturgical prosa; and the Latin secular lament. Transmission across long distances was especially relevant in this crusading context–between the east and west of the Mediterranean as well as within the so-called crusader states. By integrating textual, musical, musico-palaeographical, and codicological methods of analysis, this article assesses the social and political significance of these songs and uncovers the motivations to disseminate them using such patterns of communication among crusader communities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAl-Masaq: Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Society for the Medieval Mediterranean.


  • communication
  • crusades
  • Latin song
  • liturgy
  • manuscript fragments
  • medieval music


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