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Rose versus Violet

What’s better – a Rose or a Violet? That is the question written about by Jean Froissart in the 14th century. This debate between plants – each with their own lawyer –  tells us a lot about medieval culture and how writers from this period created allegorical poems.

Jean Froissart is better known for his Chronicles that document the first half of the Hundred Years’ War, but he also wrote poetry under the patronage of some leading figures of 14th century society, including Queen Philippa of Hainault. This work, Plaidorie de la Rose et de la Violette, was probably written in the year 1392.


The translation is by Marion E. Markley in Legends and satires from mediaeval literature, edited by Martha Hale Shackford. You can read it from

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Top Image: A red rose in British Library MS Arundel 66 fol. 179v