For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Walter of Châtillon.

Walter of Châtillon

Walter of Châtillon (Latinized as Gualterus de Castellione) was a 12th-century French writer and theologian who wrote in the Latin language. He studied under Stephen of Beauvais and at the University of Paris. It was probably during his student years that he wrote a number of Latin poems in the Goliardic manner that found their way into the Carmina Burana collection. During his lifetime, however, he was more esteemed for a long Latin epic on the life of Alexander the Great, the Alexandreis, sive Gesta Alexandri Magni, a hexameter epic, full of anachronisms; he depicts the Crucifixion of Jesus as having already taken place during the days of Alexander the Great. The Alexandreis was popular and influential in Walter's own times. Matthew of Vendôme and Alan of Lille borrowed from it and Henry of Settimello imitated it, but it is now seldom read. One line, referring to Virgil's Aeneid, is sometimes quoted:

Incidit in Scyllam cupiens vitare Charybdim("He runs into Scylla, wanting to avoid Charybdis")
Extract from 1558 edition.

Many poems in his style, or borrowing his themes, have been attributed to Walter on insufficient evidence. For example, he was not the author of the satirical Apocalypse of Golias once attributed to him. In addition to his poems, Walter wrote a dialogue refuting Jewish thought and biblical interpretation and a treatise on the Trinity, and he was possibly the author of Moralium dogma philosophorum. He died of bubonic plague early in the 13th century.

David Townsend summarizes one commentary on Walter's life as follows:[1]

Thereafter he entered into the service of Guillaume des Blanches Mains (William of the White Hands), brother-in-law of Louis VII, uncle of Philip Augustus, archbishop of Sens and subsequently of Reims. The Alexandreis is dedicated to William, as the opening of Book One and the close of Books Five and Ten attest. The initial letters of the poem's ten books spell out GUILLERMUS. One thirteenth-century biographical gloss from Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, MS lat. 8358, fol. 91v, suggests that Walter composed the poem to regain William's favor. According to the anecdote, Walter was jealous of William's sexual liaison with a cleric named Berterus; he took his revenge by contriving the recitation of a scurrilous jingle at the papal curia, thus effectively 'outing' the archbishop (and himself) before the Pope....


  1. ^ Townsend, David (1996). The "Alexandreis" of Walter of Chatilon: A Twelfth-Century Epic. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-3347-6. JSTOR j.ctt18crxvp.
{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Walter of Châtillon
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?