It is a well known fact that the ground-work of the story of Saint George as told by Richard Johnson in his Seven Champions of Christendom is represented by the Old French, or better the Early English, story of Sir Beves of Hamtoun. The object of this article is to determine the history of the fusion of the two traditions.
When Saint George had become the champion of the English knights during the third crusade, the official sanction being given at Oxford in 1222, it is not difficult to understand why the story of his life should have passed into a new phase of its development. Before the crusades only the legend of his martyrdom was known in Western Europe. There, however, he had always been represented as a warrior, ‘miles egregius,’ and now during these expeditions he became the battle saint, whose timely aid brings victory to the Christian armies.