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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Deichsler, Heinrich

(225 words)

Author(s): Paulus, Christof
1430-1506/7. Germany. Born and resident in Nuremberg, the wealthy and educated pierpreu (brewer) and "guardian of the poor", whose daughter was married to the town clerk, collected a large amount of historical material from ca 1463/4 onwards, inspired by his humanistic leanings and interest in the history of his home town. After gathering information auß vil alten puchern (from many old books) he began writing his chronicle in 1469/70, a wide-ranging compilation of texts covering the time between 730 and 17th November 1506. He used a multitude of sources of both local and m…
Date: 2016-10-17

Delapré Chronicle

(202 words)

Author(s): Spence, John
ca 1237. England. Incomplete Anglo-Norman prose chronicle, a possible source for the Latin Vita et Passio Sancti Waldevi, which traces the earls of Huntingdon from Siward, Earl of Northumbria (d. 1055) and recounts events involving the Cluniac nunnery of Delapré (or St. Mary de la Pré), Northampton, of which these earls were patrons. It was probably produced by Delapré Abbey to help secure lands for King Alexander II of Scotland in 1237, a claim connected to the nunnery's own dispute over lands. The lively narra…
Date: 2016-10-17

Del Caccia, Giovanni di Matteo

(302 words)

Author(s): Paolini, Devid
1265/70-c. 1348. Italy. Author of a Dominican order chronicle. Del Caccia was born in Orvieto around 1265-1270. He entered the Dominican Order and, after studying in Pistoia and spending a period of time in the Dominican monastery in Tivoli, he returned to his hometown in 1311. He remained in Orvieto for the rest of his life and died around 1348.His most important work is the Chronica conventus Urbevetani,  written between 1346 and 1348. The only extant manuscript is held in Rome, Archivio Generalizio dell’Ordine Dominicano, AGOP XIV, 28. The chronicle is divid…
Date: 2016-10-17

Delfino, Gentile

(442 words)

Author(s): Guerrieri, Elisabetta
15th century. Italy. The so-called  Diarium Romanum, attributed to Gentile Delfino, is a chronicle of various events that occurred in Rome and Italy between the second half of the 14th century and the early 15th century. The text covers different events, with no apparent order:  news on major Roman families (Caetani, Colonna, Orsini, Savelli, etc.) and on the popes, on the coronation of Francesco Petrarca in Campidoglio (1341), information on the construction of the staircase leading to the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli (…
Date: 2016-10-17

Denscke Kroneke

(281 words)

Author(s): Przybilski, Martin
(Danish Chronicle) late 15th century. Northern Germany. This substantial prose chronicle in Low German is an anonymous translation of the Compendium Saxonis (a late Medieval Latin epitome of Saxo Grammaticus' Gesta Danorum), with an update to about 1350 from the Chronica Jutensis and an original brief expansion up to Christian I (1448-81). It charts Danish history from its beginnings until the death of the Danish king Christian I in the year 1481. It first follows Saxo, highlighting persons and events from the mythical and historical t…
Date: 2016-10-17

De origine gentis Swevorum

(225 words)

Author(s): Plassmann, Alheydis
ca 1250. Germany. The Origo is a very short anonymous account in Latin of the origins of the Swevs in the Nordschwabengau in Saxony, which was written about the mid-13th century, the estimated date of the first manuscript (Vatican, BAV, Codex Palatinus 1357). The tale is strongly influenced by the version of the Saxon Origo to be found in Rudolf of Fulda's Translatio Sancti Alexandri, in Widukind of Corvey and in the Annales Quedlinburgenses as well as in the Lombard Origo of Paul the Deacon. From these the author borrows the conflicts of his heroes with Franks and Thuringi…
Date: 2016-10-17

De origine Taboritarum et de morte Wenceslai IV regis Bohemiae

(177 words)

Author(s): Bláhová, Marie
15th century. Bohemia. An anonymous eyewitness report in Latin, composed between 9 March 1422 and 25 June 1424, probably by a clergyman, perhaps a monk, of Czech nationality. It contains a detailed description of the events of the first eight weeks of the Hussite revolution, from the outbreak of the rebellions in the New Town of Prague on 30 July 1419 to the burial of Václav IV in the Zbraslav abbey. In four manuscript pages, the author expressed his aversion to the Hussites, and even more to the courtiers of Václav. Sole manuscript: Basel, Öffentliche Bibliothek der Universität, A II 34).Bláh…
Date: 2016-10-17

De ortu principum Thuringiae

(322 words)

Author(s): Winkel, Harald
[Historia brevis principum Thuringie] ca 1180 or 1234-54. Germany. Brief Latin prose chronicle written by an unknown monastic author relating, in concentrated form, the history of the Ludowinger dynasty, landgraves of Thuringia from 1131, from its rise (second half of the 11th century) until its departure from the historical stage (1247).Two views hold sway within current research. The first asserts that the text was composed around 1180 by a monk of the ReinhardsbrunnBenedictine monastery, being the family monastery of the Ludowinger. The chro…
Date: 2016-10-17

De primo Saxonum adventu

(276 words)

Author(s): Kennedy, Edward Donald
[Libellus de regibus Saxonici] 12th century. England. A series of histories of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, beginning with the arrival in Britain of the Saxons, Angles, and Jutes, probably compiled at Durham Cathedral and once attributed to Symeon of Durham. The chronicler attempted to clarify the succession of rulers of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and the length of their reigns, to write what Offler describes as a "little Handbook of Chronology" with such added details as the fact that Ceolwulf, the 8th-century Northumbian king and later monk at Lindisfarne, was the first to le…
Date: 2016-10-17

De Ritiis, Alessandro

(576 words)

Author(s): Terenzi, Pierluigi
1434-97/8. Italy. Franciscan born in Collebrincioni, near L'Aquila in central Italy, author of a Chronica civitatis Aquilae (Chronicle of the city of L'Aquila) and of a Chronica Ordinis (Chronicle of the [Franciscan] Order). He entered the Order in 1446, and in 1450 he received the ordination as Friar of the Regular Observance. From 1469 he was more than once Guardian of the monastery of St. Bernardine of Siena, one of the most important religious communities in L'Aquila. In 1479-80, he was vicar of the Observant province…
Date: 2016-10-17

Desclot, Bernat

(301 words)

Author(s): Smith, Damian
late 13th century. Catalonia (Iberia). Possibly to be identified with Bernat Escrivà, who fulfilled various administrative roles, including treasurer, in the royal court of Aragon and died in 1289. Author of the Catalan-language Llibre del rei En Pere, one of the four great chronicles of medieval Catalan literature. The work, of some literary merit, was written in 1280-6 and then probably revised 1286-8. The revision, which gives ever greater focus to the reign of Pere III (1276-85), was left unfinished. It was probably written to influence Alfons III (1285-91).The first part provi…
Date: 2016-10-17

Descoll, Bernat

(588 words)

Author(s): Smith, Damian | Garrido Valls,David
14th century. Catalonia (Iberia). Administrator and chronicler. His family, from Badalona, advanced through a long association with the kings of Aragon, his father rising to the rank of vice-admiral. Bernat spent 60 years in the Crown's service, with a special association with the administration of newly-conquered Sardinia where he was already lieutenant of the Mestre Racional in 1336 from 1339. From 1348 he was a scribe in the royal chancery at Barcelona and a close confidant of Pere IV of Arag…
Date: 2016-10-17

Descriptio Europae Orientalis

(329 words)

Author(s): Grzesik, Ryszard
(Description of Eastern Europe) Spring 1308. France. Geographical treatise in Latin, composed by an unknown monk, probably Dominican, maybe of French origin. According to one hypothesis, its author was an archbishop of Bar (Montenegro), Andreas Hungarus. The narrative was written for Charles of Valois, who planned the expedition against Constantinople and tried to enter into an alliance with Serbia, ruled by king Stephen Uroš II Milutin. Sources include the standard geographical and encyclopedic literature, such as Speculum historiae of Vincent of Beauvais and the Flos historia…
Date: 2016-10-17

Des Grantz Geanz

(402 words)

Author(s): Ruch, Lisa M.
(On the great giants) ca 1333-34. England. Anonymous Anglo-Norman verse account of the early settlement of Britain by Albine (Albina) and her sisters that was adapted as a prologue in many Brut chronicles. An abbreviated version in Anglo-Norman verse was translated into Latin prose and English prose and verse. The earliest surviving version of the Albine narrative, preserved in BL, Cotton Cleopatra ms. D.ix, is an Anglo-Norman verse narrative of 562 lines of rhyming couplets. This version of the tale provided a model for many…
Date: 2016-10-17

Detmar von Lübeck

(324 words)

Author(s): Putzo, Christine
before 1363 - after 1394. Northern Germany. Franciscan monk and priest. Compiler of a Lübeck universal chronicle in Middle Low German. Detmar entered the Franciscan monastery of St Catherine in Lübeck in 1363, where he was a reading master 1368-80, and is attested until 1394.In 1385, two Lübeck judicial functionaries, Thomas Murkerke and Herman Langhe, engaged him to write a continuation of Johannes Rode's Stades-Chronik. Detmar exceeded their expectations. In several phases he revised Rode's chronicle for 1350-86, completed it to 1395, then repeatedly rewor…
Date: 2016-10-17

Deutsche Chronik vom livländischen Orden der Schwertbrüder und der Brüder des Deutschen Hauses zu Jerusalem

(413 words)

Author(s): Fischer, Mary
After 1549. Prussia. Order chronicle in Early Modern (High) German. This text lists each of the Masters of the Sword Brothers and of the Livonian branch of the Teutonic Order from 1235 until 1549. Each Master is described in a short paragraph which variously mentions the wars they fought, the castles they built, their dealings with the local church and how long they held office. The author has not been identified. On the basis of textual evidence it is likely that he was a cleric. …
Date: 2016-10-17

Devastatio Constantinopolitana

(218 words)

Author(s): Tomei, Angela
(The Devastation of Constantinople) 13th century. France/Italy. Brief (five manuscript pages) but detailed Latin eyewitness account of the Fourth Crusade, covering the period from the preaching of Peter Capuano in France in 1198 (misdated in the text as 1202) to the division of the spoils of Constantinople in the spring of 1204. Probably composed from personal notes, the Devastatio is outstanding for its wealth of factual data and for criticizing the Fourth Crusade as a series of broken promises by the rich and powerful, who betrayed the poor of Christ…
Date: 2016-10-17

Dexippus, Publius Herennius

(259 words)

Author(s): Mecella, Laura
ca 200-75. Greece. Born in Athens, Dexippus was an important politician in his home city, ultimately an eponymous archon. In ad 267 he led the Athenian resistance against the invading Heruli. He wrote a chronicle of universal history (Χρονικὴ ἱστορία) in twelve books, which began with mythical times and continued until ad 269/70. The surviving fragments are transmitted in Eunapius of Sardis, the Historia Augusta, Georgios Synkellos, Stephanos of Byzantium, the Suda, the Excerpta Eusebiana and the Etymologicum Magnum. The chronological framework was based on Olympiads, and…
Date: 2016-10-17

Dexter, Nummius Aemilianus

(217 words)

Author(s): Lössl, Josef
4th century. Hispania (Spain). A son of Pacianus, bishop of Barcelona, Dexter was Proconsul of Asia from 379 to 387 and Praefectus Praetorio Italiae in 395, under Emperor Theodosius the Great. In 392 Jerome dedicated to him De viris illustribus, after Dexter had suggested he write biographies of Christian authors following the model of Suetonius. Though Jerome only ever named Pacianus' son by his cognomen, scholarship has identified him as the proconsul Nummius Aemilianus Dexter on the basis of other details in Jerome's texts, Roman officials listings and epigraphy.According to De vi…
Date: 2016-10-17
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