Introduced and translated by W. W. Comfort. Originally written in rhyming eight-syllable couplets, these epic poems date from the twelfth century and served as the original inspiration of what became the Arthurian Cycles - the legends of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, Courtly Love and popular Medieval imagery and life. The first romance tells the story of Erec, who serves as part of Queen Guinevere's retinue, his quest for the hand of princess Enide, and his struggle for honor on the battlefield, and finally their crowning as King and Queen of Nantes. The second romance tells the story of the knight Cliges, the prince regent of Constantinople and also second cousin to King Arthur. While Cliges is growing up in Britain, Constantinople is ruled by his uncle Alis. Upon his return to that city, Cliges falls in love with Alis's wife, Fenice-who, by means of a magic potion, has never consummated her marriage. The drama which ensues is a whirlwind of deception, but ultimate victory for courtly love. The third romance tells the story of Yvain, the Knight with the Lion whose loyal servant is a lion he rescues from a servant - and whose strength in battle saves his life more than once in battle with natural and supernatural foes. The fourth romance tells the story of Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart, and of the love affair between Queen Guinevere and Lancelot, after he rescues her from abduction by Meleagant. It tells of Lancelot's struggles to rescue the queen and of the battle to balance his duties of loyalty to Arthur and his personal love for Guinevere. Chretien de Troyes's works played a major role in helping to shape Arthurian romance-but also, due to his detailed descriptions of everyday court life, provided a fascinating window into early Medieval ruling class lifestyles.