George IV Bridge – celebrating 50 years

'Pontus and Sidonia'– a medieval romance: acquired in 1993

In 1993 the National Library of Scotland acquired a German version of a French medieval romance. It tells the story of 'Pontus et la belle Sidonie' ('Pontus and the lovely Sidonia').

The sumptuous German edition is magnificently illustrated with 44 woodcuts. Entitled 'Von adelischen mannlichen Tugenten', it originated in Frankfurt in 1548. Major motifs of the romance are the repeated separation of the lovers and the regaining of the realm from pagan powers.

Our image shows an engraving of a steward asking Sidonia for forgiveness for having presented an imposter to her instead of Pontus himself.

Eleonora of Austria (1433-1480), daughter of King James I of Scotland, translated the French text into German. Born in Dunfermline, Scotland, she married Sigismund, Archduke of Austria, in 1449. Her translation was very popular, and was circulated widely in print until the end of the 17th century.

<  '50 years' home page