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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Jacob of Edessa

(476 words)

Author(s): Tannous, Jack
d. ad 708. West Syria. Miaphysite scholar, and author of a Syriac chronicle. Jacob was one of the greatest polymaths of the entire Syriac tradition; he studied at the renowned monastery of Qenneshre in northern Syria in addition to spending time in Alexandria where he "collected the wisdom of the Greeks".Among Jacob's wide-ranging contributions to Syriac literature was a work entitled Maktbūth zabnē d-bātar hāy de-wsebīwās qesarāyā (The Chronicle which is after that of Eusebius of Caesarea). This text was meant to be a continuation of Eusebius; it only partial…
Date: 2016-10-17

Jacob of Soest

(427 words)

Author(s): Kössinger, Norbert
[Iacobus de Susato] ca 1360 - after 1438. Germany. Dominican, born in Schwefe near Soest (Westfalia). Jacob graduated Baccalaureus biblicus in 1394 in Prague, and Magister theologiae in 1399. Around 1400 he became Praedicator generalis of the Dominicans and was head of the studium generale of the Dominicans at Cologne and contemporarily chair at the theological faculty from 1405. He was Dean 1407-17, and papal inquisitor for the German west and north from 1409. Around 1421 he resigned all official functions and retired to the monastery at…
Date: 2016-10-17

Jacob of Voragine

(831 words)

Author(s): Lindorfer, Bettina
[Iacobus; Iacopo da Varazze] ca 1228/29 - 1298. Italy. Dominican preacher and archbishop of Genoa (from 1292). Best known as the author of the Legenda aurea, he also wrote other hagiographical works, a chronicle of Genoa, and several preaching handbooks and collections of sermons.Compiled between 1262 and 1272, the Legenda aurea (golden legend), originally entitled Vitae sanctorum a praedicatore quodam (lives of saints by a certain preacher, i.e. Dominican) is a collection of 177 saints' lives ordered innovatively according to their feasts in the Christ…
Date: 2016-10-17

Jacobus de Guisia

(362 words)

Author(s): Small, Graeme
[Jacques de Guise] ca 1340-99. Low Countries. Probably born in Chièvres (county of Hainaut), a Franciscan resident in Mons, and confessor of William count of Ostrevant (later William IV, count of Hainaut).Jacobus was the author of the A nnales historiae illustrium principum Hanoniae, composition of which began after 1390. This chronicle recounts the history of the county of Hainaut in three books, the first telling of the Trojan origins of the county and its supposed history in the classical period (a section particularly rich in origin…
Date: 2016-10-17

Jacobus Traiecti

(197 words)

Author(s): Stein, Robert
[Jacob de Voecht] 15th century. Low Countries. Brother and provisor of the "Sint-Gregoriushouse", a house of the brothers of the Common Life in Zwolle. Author of the Narratio de inchoatione status nostri et deinde de fratribus huius domus, a history of his order, which has survived in two different redactions. Its main components are the biographies, vitae, of some of the brothers, among them the founder of the fraternity, Geert Grote. The Narratio is a source of the greatest importance for our knowledge of the fraternity of the Common life; generically it is an exa…
Date: 2016-10-17

Jacob van Maerlant

(982 words)

Author(s): Biesheuvel, Ingrid
ca 1230 - post 1291. Low Countries. Author of Middle Dutch chivalric romances, strophic poems, a saint's life and didactic and historical works. Jacob was born near Bruges (Flanders, present-day Belgium), where he presumably attended the school connected to the chapter of St. Donaas' church. For about ten years (1260-70) he lived on the island of Voorne (county of Holland), where he was sexton of the small church in Maerlant (the village from which he derived his name), in the service of the lords of Voorne. In Maerlant he wrote his first works: Alexanders Geesten (Deeds of Alexander, ca…
Date: 2016-10-17

Jacques d'Esch

(255 words)

Author(s): Noble, Peter S.
[Jaique Dex] 1371-1455. France. A knight belonging to one of the leading families of Metz, who wrote a vernacular chronicle of Metz covering 1308-1431, to relate the deeds of the Emperors and Kings of the House of Luxembourg ( Chronique messine des empereurs et des rois de la maison de Luxembourg). This text is of great importance for the medieval history of Metz.The chronicle starts with Henry VII, Count of Luxembourg, who became King of the Romans in 1308, and his successful defence of his title against the King of Bohemia. It goes on to explain how the …
Date: 2016-10-17

Jacques du Clercq

(297 words)

Author(s): Oschema, Klaus
[Jacques le Clerc] 1420-1501. Northern France. Artesian, citizen of Arras. Lord of Beauvoir-en-Ternois. Son of a councillor of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy. Author of a chronicle in French, the Mémoires. Biographical information is sparse and mostly inferred from the Mémoires. Possibly recently ennobled, du Clercq moved to Arras and married Jeanne de la Lacherie (1446) shortly before beginning his chronicle (1448). The text covers the period 1448-67. Its language presents difficulties, perhaps due to the quality of the extant 16th-century copy. The Mémoires are partially i…
Date: 2016-10-17

James of Acqui

(591 words)

Author(s): Lamboglia, Rosanna
[Iacobus Aquensis] early 14th century. Italy. A Dominican world chronicler, presumably born in Acqui (Piedmont). His possible identification as Iacobinus de Belengeris de Aquis cited in a document drafted in 1289, and long given as certain, appears debatable today in the light of the scarce information we have, all of which derives from the work Cronica ymaginis mundi to which the name of Acqui is linked. Consequently, if there are doubts about his belonging to the illustrious family of Acqui dei Bellingeri, there is no reason for not identifying him …
Date: 2016-10-17

James of Vitry

(211 words)

Author(s): Edgington, Susan B.
[Jacques de Vitry] d.1240. France. Born perhaps in Reims, studied in Paris, regular canon in Liège, crusade preacher, bishop of Acre and finally Dean of the College of Cardinals in Rome. James is important for letters and sermons relating to the recruitment to and progress of the Albigensian Crusade (1209-29), the Fifth Crusade (1217-21), and the Crusade of Frederick II (1227-29). He also wrote a Historia Iherosolimitana in three parts: the first, Historia Occidentalis, dealt with reforms which he felt to be necessary in the West to ensure the success of the Fifth Cr…
Date: 2016-10-17

Jamsin, Aegidius

(168 words)

Author(s): De Grieck, Pieter-Jan
[Giles] d. after 1492. Low Countries. Canon of St. Bartholomew's collegiate church in Liège. Author of a series of personal and historical notes in Latin covering the years 1468-92. Jamsin recorded his personal recollections without the pretension of being a chronicler. He payed as much attention to the weather, to prices of grain, and to the flowering of white roses in his garden on a winter's day as to the political events in Liège. The autograph manuscript is lost. Only fragments survive in two 17th-century compilations, one by canon Van den Berch (Liège, BU, ms. 987), the o…
Date: 2016-10-17

Jan Allertszoon

(182 words)

Author(s): Stein, Robert
d.1489. Low Countries. Secretary of Rotterdam. Author of a town chronicle in Dutch, as well as poetry and other notes. The Rotterdamse kroniek forms part of a handbook for town secretaries. It consists of two parts: the first part covers the period 1315-1427; the second part the period 1462-88; in all probability the second part was written simultaneously with the events. The chronicle is interesting because of the often explicit comments on political events. It reflects the perspective of a civil servant of a modest town on the turbulent history of Holland and Rotterdam. In the early 16th …
Date: 2016-10-17

Janko of Czarnków

(566 words)

Author(s): Derwich, Marek
[Jan, Janek, Janko z Czarnkowa] ca 1320-87. Poland. Son of Bogumił, the alderman of Czarnków (Greater Poland), a country gentleman probably from Ruszków near Opatów (Lesser Poland). His brother Szymon and his nephew Henryk worked in the royal chancellery. Janko of Czarnków was a lawyer who held office as canon of Butzen in Mecklenburg until 1356 and of Poznań, as cantor in Wrocław, as a diplomat in Avignon (1362-66), as archdeacon of Gniezno from 1367, and as crown deputy chancellor of the…
Date: 2016-10-17

Jan of Komorowo

(188 words)

Author(s): Mejor, Mieczyslaw
ca 1470-1536. Poland. Franciscan chronicler and preacher, warden of the friaries in Vilnius, Warsaw and Poznań, minister of the Polish province of the Observants. He was a delegate of the Polish province to the Chapter General in Rome (1517) and Lyon (1518).His Latin chronicle Memoriale ordinis Fratrum Minorum relates to the organisation and pastoral activities of the Polish province of the order and is one of the more interesting monuments of monastic historiography in Poland. It survives in two copies, Kraków, Biblioteka Czartoryskich, ms.…
Date: 2016-10-17

Jans [der] Enikel

(723 words)

Author(s): Dunphy, Graeme
(Jans the Grandson) ca 1240 - post 1302. Austria. A high-ranking member of the Viennese patriciate. Author of Weltchronik (World Chronicle) and Fürstenbuch (Book of Princes) in Middle High German verse.Probably started by 1272, though an alternative view places it in the 1280s, the Weltchronik recounts the history of the world from the creation until 1250 in ca 30,000 lines of verse. Apparently modelled conceptually on the Weltchronik of Rudolf von Ems and the Christherre-Chronik, but not using either directly, and on the Kaiserchronik, which is a major source, it presents fir…
Date: 2016-10-17

Jan van Boendale

(611 words)

Author(s): Stein, Robert
[Jan de Clerc] ca 1280-1351. Low Countries. Town clerk of Antwerp (Brabant, Belgium); closely involved with the Brabantine political elites. Author of historical and didactic works in Middle Dutch, including Brabantsche Yeesten (History of Brabant) and Van den derden Eduwaert (On Edward III).The Brabantsche Yeesten are a rendering in vernacular verse of Brabantine dynastic history from its oldest progenitor, Pippin I (7th century) to Duke John III (reigned 1312-55), paying special attention to the 'Brabant ancestors' who were active during the crusades: C…
Date: 2016-10-17

Jan van Heelu

(349 words)

Author(s): Bijker, Sjoerd
late 13th or early 14th century. Low Countries (Brabant). Author of the Yeeste van den slag van Woeringen. Jan came from Helen near Zoutleeuw, and was probably a commander of the Teutonic Order in Bekkevoort near Diest.The Yeeste van den slag van Woeringen (History of the battle of Worringen) or Rymkronyk was written between 1288 and 1291. It relates in verse the battle between John I, duke of Lower Lorraine and Brabant, and among others Reynold I, count of Guelders, fought in 1288 to the north of Cologne. As victor John I took control of the d…
Date: 2016-10-17

Jan van Naaldwijk

(337 words)

Author(s): Levelt, Sjoerd
fl. 1510-20. Low Countries. Son of a Dutch nobleman, and author of two unpublished prose chronicles of Holland in the Dutch language.When Jan van Naaldwijk wrote his first chronicle of Holland, he lamented that he had not been able to gain access to the most recent scholarship concerning the history of Holland. Therefore, he based his chronicle on the (then unprinted) Dutch version of Johannes de Beke's chronicle, but in addition he listed more than thirty sources available in print, including the chronicles of Hart…
Date: 2016-10-17

Jarloch of Milevsko

(398 words)

Author(s): Bláhová, Marie
[Gerlach von Mühlhausen] ca 1165-1221/34. Germany, then Bohemia. Born probably in the neighbourhood of Würzburg, he was educated in Oberzell near Würzburg (1174-7). About 1177 Gerlach was taken by Gottschalk, abbot of Želiv, to Bohemia, where he naturalised, so that he used also the Czech form of his name, Jarloch. In 1185 he became abbot of the Premonstratensian monastery in Milevsko (southern Bohemia).Between 1214 and 1222 he continued the unfinished Latin Annals of Vincent of Prague in the form of larger annals for the years 1167-98. Even this continuat…
Date: 2016-10-17

Jaume I of Aragon

(299 words)

Author(s): Smith, Damian
1208-76. Aragon/Catalonia (Iberia). King of Aragon 1213-76. Author of the Llibre dels fets (Book of deeds). Written in Catalan prose, dictated by the king, probably during the last five years of his life. About 160,000 words in length, it is a history of Jaume's early life (1208-29), his successful military campaigns in Majorca (1229-35), Valencia (1232-58) and Murcia (1264-6), and his political relations, especially with Navarre, Castile, Urgell and the papacy. As the king's own version of events, it was i…
Date: 2016-10-17
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