Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle

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Edited by:  Edited by Graeme Dunphy and Cristian Bratu

The Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle brings together the latest research in chronicle studies from a variety of disciplines and scholarly traditions. Chronicles are the history books written and read in educated circles throughout Europe and the Middle East in the Middle Ages. For the modern reader, they are important as sources for the history they tell, but equally they open windows on the preoccupations and self-perceptions of those who tell it. Interest in chronicles has grown steadily in recent decades, and the foundation of a Medieval Chronicle Society in 1999 is indicative of this. Indeed, in many ways the Encyclopedia has been inspired by the emergence of this Society as a focus of the interdisciplinary chronicle community.

The online version was updated in 2014 and in 2016.

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Aachener Chronik

(242 words)

Author(s): Dunphy, Graeme
[Cronicon Aquense] late 15th century. Germany. Town chronicle in High German, but with occasional Low German forms in the early sections, which may reflect a source. This anonymous prose text, possibly commissioned by the Aachen town council, runs from 770 to 1482. It is arranged annalistically, with entries for years, though the first four centuries are represented by just 13 brief entries. For the 14th century, some of the entries are out of order, suggesting a compilation of sources. From 1428 the entries become longer narrative units. While the earlier s…
Date: 2016-10-17

Abbo of Fleury

(641 words)

Author(s): Dunphy, Graeme
[Abbon de Fleury, Abbo abbas Floriacensis] 940/50-1004. France. Abbot of theBenedictine monastery at Fleury-sur-Loire (Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire) and prolific writer in various genres. Abbo was born near Orléans, studied in Paris and Reims, and spent two years in England as abbot of Ramsey in Cambridgeshire, at a time of English monastic reform. As abbot of Fleury from 988, he had a central role in national and papal politics, but his attempts to restore discipline to the abbey at La Réole res…
Date: 2017-04-11

Abbo of St. Germain

(254 words)

Author(s): Bate, Keith
9th-10th century. France. Monk of St. Germain in Paris (Benedictine) who studied under Aimon of Fleury (885-6) and was in charge of guests ca 915. By 897 he had finished his Bella Parisiacae urbis, a Latin hexameter poem in three books (660, 618 and 115 lines) prefaced by a prose letter to a fellow monk, Gozlin, and a dactylic verse dedication to Aimon. The first two books cover the period from the Normans' arrival outside Paris (November 885) to the autumn of 896. The third book, written in a complicated, pedantic style, full …
Date: 2016-10-17

Abbreviatio gestorum regum Francorum

(124 words)

Author(s): Rech, Régis
(Short account of the deeds of the kings of the Franks) ca 1150-1215. Latin. A résumé of the history of France written at St. Denis before 1151 under the instigation of Suger. The text is extremely dry, though it contains much fabulous material. Ending in 1137, it constitutes the first attempt at chronicle writing at St Denis. A second version, called Nova gesta Francorum, was composed between 1185 and 1214. The two texts were used by Primat for his Grandes Chroniques. The former is found in Paris, BnF, lat. 14663, the latter in BnF, lat. 4937.Rech, RégisBibliography Text G. Waitz, MGH SS, IX…
Date: 2016-10-17

Ablauff a Rheno, Eberhard

(318 words)

Author(s): Bláhová, Marie
d. 1528. Czech Lands. Author of a Latin history of Franciscan observance, the reform movement within the Franciscan order. Eberhard Ablauff a Rheno (of the Rhineland) studied at the University of Leipzig, then in 1482 entered the Franciscan friary of the Holy Spirit in Leipzig. Later he worked in Meissen (1484-89), Torgau (1489) and Wrocław (Breslau, 1497-1501). After 1501 he converted to the reform group of Franciscan Observants and was incorporated into the Czech Observance province…
Date: 2016-10-17

Abraham bar Hiyya of Barcelona

(388 words)

Author(s): Smidt van Gelder-Fontaine, Resianne
d. ca 1136? Aragon (Iberia). Jewish astronomer, mathematician and philosopher, presumably a functionary at the court of Alfonso I of Aragon. Author of Megillat ha-Megalleh (Scroll of the Revealer). Megillat ha-Megalleh calculates the end of time and the year of the coming of the Messiah in about 6000 lines of prose. While focussing on Messianic computations some of its chapters present surveys of Biblical, Jewish and world history from the creation of the world until the Crusaders' conquest of Jerusalem in 1099. For the most…
Date: 2016-10-17

Abraham ben Solomon of Torrutiel

(442 words)

Author(s): Haverkamp, Eva
b. 1482. North Africa. Jewish Qabbalah scholar. Born in Spain, he settled with his family in Fez (Morocco) after the expulsion of Jews from the peninsula in 1492.He wrote his chronicle Sefer ha-Qabbalah in 1510 as a continuation to the Sefer ha-Qabbalah of Abraham ibn Daud. In the introduction he states his intention "to complete it from the year that the Rabbi [Abraham] died... until the present year, which is the year 5270 [1510 ad], so that the generations which come after us will know that the tradition has continued from teacher to student from the year of the gi…
Date: 2016-10-17

Abraham ibn Daud

(681 words)

Author(s): Targarona, Judit
[Abraham ben David ha-Levi ibn Daʿud; RaBaD I] ca 1110 - ca 1180. Castile (Iberia). Sephardic Jew, physician, Arabic philosopher, Hebrew commentator of the Talmud, halakhist, and Hebrew chronicler. Abraham ibn Daʿud was born in Cordoba to an important Jewish family, and died a martyr in Toledo. He wrote three important works of history.He wrote the Sefer ha-Qabbalah (Book of Tradition) in 1169 to prove that all the teachings of the sages passed through ten generations of prophets—one after another—to the Great Assembly; through the Great Assembly to the tannaim; through five generat…
Date: 2016-10-17

Abū al-Fidāʾ

(290 words)

Author(s): Kreckel, Manuel
[al-Malik al-Muʾayyad ʿImād al-Dīn ʾAbū al-Fidāʾ ʾIsmāʿīl ibn ʿAlī ibn ʾAyyūb] 672-732 ah (1273-1331 ad). Syria. Born in Damascus, was an Ayyūbid prince. He became known as a historian and a geographer. As a young boy, Abū al-Fidāʾ took part in several campaigns against the Crusaders, the first being the capture of Markab (Margat) in 684/1285. This event marks the beginning of his memoirs, which describe his political career until 729/1328, three years before his death at Hama. His memoirs are a valuable source of military campaigns against enemies of the mamluk sultan al-Malik al-Nasir,…
Date: 2016-10-17

Abū Ḥāmid al-Qudsī

(284 words)

Author(s): Sievert, Henning
[ Muḥammad ibn Khalīl ʾAbū Ḥāmid al-Bilbaysī al-Ramlī al-Maqdisī / al-Qudsī al-Shāfiʿī] 819-88 ah (1416-83 ad). Egypt. Arabic-speaking Syro-Egyptian religious scholar of the Circassian Mamluk period. Abū Ḥāmid was born in 1414 or 1416 in the Palestinian town of Ramla, where his father was working as a mosque astronomer ( muwaqqit). After studying in Palestine and Egypt, he spent the rest of his life in Cairo. Not being a gifted scholar, he not only faced difficulty in obtaining a position, but also had to cope with his colleagues' scorn. This i…
Date: 2016-10-17

Abu Mikhnaf

(230 words)

Author(s): Álvarez Alonso, David
[ʾAbū Mikhnāf Lūt ibn Yaḥyā ibn Saʿīd ibn Mikhnāf al-Azdī] d. 157 ah (774 ad). Mesopotamia. A Muslim historian active in Kufa, near Baghdad. Author of the lost work Kitāb Maqtal al-Husayn (History of the Battle of Kerbala). His grandfather was a companion of Ali and this close connection to the prophet's companion and his family background made it possible for this author to gather great amounts of information of the "inner circle". Abu Mikhnaf's principal work, the Kitāb Maqtal al-Husayn, has reached us through the work of his student, Hisham ibn al-Kalbi (d. 204 ah). The work narrates t…
Date: 2016-10-17

Abū Nasr Yaḥyā ibn Jarīr

(98 words)

Author(s): Munt, Harry
d. after 1079. Mesopotamia. Jacobite. A native of Takrīt and a physician, Yaḥyā is credited with having compiled a now lost work of chronological tables in Arabic ( Zīj al-tawārīkh), which dealt with the whole period from Adam to the 11th century. Several citations from a work of his have been preserved by later Arabic historians, all of which deal with Seleucid building projects; these could be from the Zīj al-tawārīkh, or possibly from a separate work on the foundation of cities.Munt, HarryBibliography Literature G. Graf, Geschichte der christlichen arabischen Literatur, 1944-53, 2…
Date: 2016-10-17

ʾAbū Shāma, Shihāb al-Dīn ʿAbd al-Rahmān

(340 words)

Author(s): Hirschler, Konrad
[Shihāb al-Dīn ʾAbū Shāma ʾAbū al-Qāsim ʿAbd al-Rahmān ibn ʾIsmāʿīl al-Maqdisī] 599-665 ah (1203-68 ad). Syria. A Shafi'i scholar of law, tradition and Koran recitation, who held appointments at various institutions in Damascus; author of the Arabic Kitāb al-rawdatayn fī akhbar al-dawlatayn al-Nuriya wa-al-Salahiya (The Book of the Two Gardens on the Reports of the Two Reigns), al-Dhayl 'ala al-Rawdatayn (The Supplement to the Two Gardens) and other historical works.Abu Shama composed his most renowned work, the Rawdatayn, in the late 640s (1240s). It covers the reigns o…
Date: 2016-10-17

Academic Chronicle

(164 words)

Author(s): Gippius, Alexei Alexeevich
[Московско-Академическая летопись] late 15th century. Rus'. Chronicle compilation in Church Slavonic (Russian recension), preserved in the original contemporary manuscript (Moscow, Российская государственная библиотека, ф. 173, собр. МДА, № 236) and consisting of three different parts. Up to 1206 it is based on the same protograph as the Radziwiłł Chronicle and contains one of the five complete copies of the Povest' vremennych lět, with its Vladimir-Suzdal' continuation. The second part (1207-31) corresponds to the St. Sophia First Chronicle in the older redaction. The …
Date: 2016-10-17


(510 words)

Author(s): Dunphy, Graeme
The Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle is the product of the enthusiasm, diligence and professionalism of a very large team of people. Above all the success of this project is to be credited to the nineteen editors, who researched and compiled the lemma lists for their respective disciplines, commissioned authors, received and edited texts, and laboured to integrate these into a consistent and readable reference work. Their great erudition and their dedication over a period of six years has been …
Date: 2016-10-17


(959 words)

Author(s): Dunphy, Graeme
An acrostic is a poetic device in which the initial letters of each line, when read vertically, spell out a word or phrase. Usually acrostics are associated with verse forms, though there are also ways to build an acrostic into a prose text. Acrostics may contain a hidden message, but if the initial letters of these lines are highlighted graphically, for example in a bold lettering or in colour, the message of the acrostic may be very obviously or even ostentatiously displayed. In some genres, f…
Date: 2016-10-17

Acta des Tyrolerkriegs

(342 words)

Author(s): Gutmann, Andre
(Events of the Tyrolian War ) 1499. Switzerland. A German prose chronicle of the Swabian War of 1499, focussing on the area of Tyrol, Graubünden, the Engadin and the lower Rhine valley, completed by 6th December of the year in which the events occurred.The Acta is one of the earliest chronicles of the Swabian War. The text was presumably written in Graubünden (Grisons) by an unknown cleric associated with the bishop of Chur. The detailed and relatively reliable text covers the complete timeline of the war, but its geographical setting con…
Date: 2016-10-17

Acta Murensia

(446 words)

Author(s): Kümper, Hiram
[Acta fundationis monasterii Murensis] 11th century. Switzerland. Latin monastic chronicle from the Benedictine abbey at Muri in the canton of Argau. The credibility of the Acta in terms of its historical depictions remains debated – as does its actual age. On current views, a first version is believed to date already from the mid 11th, its adaptation (as is evident from the catalogue in its ducal genealogy) from the late 13th or early 14th century.This substantial prose text is one of the more prominent examples of a cartulary chronicle from North the Alps. It consis…
Date: 2016-10-17

Acta quedam notatu digna

(150 words)

Author(s): Mrozowicz, Wojciech
(Certain noteworthy deeds) ca 1447. Poland. Probably written in Płock (Masovia), this short Latin annalistic chronicle covers the history of Poland for 966-1409 with supplements relating to 1440, 1447, 1453, 1515-7. It consists mainly of a compilation of excerpts from the Annales S. Crucis Polonici , Chronica Poloniae maioris, unknown annals of Minor Poland, and the Memorabilia Plocensia. Of two known manuscripts (both 15th/16th century) only one survives (Wrocław, BU, IV F 104); the former Königsberg manuscript is lost.Mrozowicz, WojciechBibliography Text A. Lorkiewicz, Zdarz…
Date: 2016-10-17

Adam of Bremen

(509 words)

Author(s): Lazda, Rasma
later 11th century. Northern Germany. One of the foremost historians and early ethnographers of the medieval period, he joined the Archdiocese of Bremen in 1066/67 and led the cathedral school. Author of Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum (Deeds of Bishops of the Hamburg Church).The Gesta, in the genre of the gesta episcoporum, relates in four books the history of the archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen, claiming missionary jurisdiction over the northern and northeastern regions of the Baltic, the North Sea and the North Atlantic. Books 1 and …
Date: 2016-10-17
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