Of the many accounts of the Life of Thomas Becket, those recorded and disseminated in the South English Legendary inspire questions concerning generic conventions and rhetorical strategies. Several of the extant witnesses include a prologue to the Life of Thomas detailing the relationship between his parents, Gilbert and Matilda. This micro-legend conforms to the Saracen princess topos common to the romance genre of the Middle Ages. The relationship between the Gilbert and Matilda romance and the life of Thomas, which transcends both the historiographic and hagiographic models of narrative, demands further exploration. This paper will explore the origins of the Gilbert and Matilda legend and its rhetorical strategy as a prologue as it relates to the generic complexity of the Life of Thomas Becket.
While there is a general understanding that medicine has no direct connection to cultural memoria, therefore to medieval literature, traditional medical treatment is firmly placed in the romances of medieval England and in the eastern medieval darussifas. Aristotle and the later memoria theorists mention, memoria involves a recognition of the passage of time and such is the case as audiences recognise past narrative voices as those from times before, but with a curious connection to their present world. In this respect, cultural memoria is mapped onto both Western and Eastern medieval literal journeys, places, and correlative experiences, and this paper will explore the processes of cultural memoria through which the use of medicine is particularly achieved in the romances of medieval England and in the medieval Gevher Nesibe Darussifa.