Gesta Romanorum (jĕsˈtə rōˌmənôrˈəm) [key], medieval collection of Latin stories. Although the title means "Deeds of the Romans," the tales have very little to do with actual Roman history. Each tale is characterized by a moral. The earliest manuscript dates from the 14th cent., but it had probably been first collected several centuries earlier. Many of the stories were used later by such authors as Chaucer and Shakespeare.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.