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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Vale, John

(133 words)

Author(s): Peverley, Sarah L.
fl. 1478-84. England. Originally from Bury St Edmunds, Vale was a servant in the household of Sir Thomas Cook (ca 1410-78), Mayor of London, and his wife, Elizabeth (d. 1484). His brief chronicle of English affairs from 1431-71 survives in London, BL, add. ms. 48031A, a miscellany of political manifestos, letters, and tracts transcribed by Vale ca 1478-84. Conceivably an original composition by Vale, it utilizes the language and political viewpoint of other documents in Additional 48031A concerning Henry VI's troubled reign, assigning, for example, England's mischefes (troubles) …
Date: 2016-10-17

Valera, Diego de

(707 words)

Author(s): Conde, Juan-Carlos
1412-88? Castile. Cronista Real (Royal Chronicler) to the Catholic Monarchs. Castilian knighted in 1435, Valera was an active figure in the courts ofJuan II, Enrique IV and the Catholic Monarchs, Isabel and Fernando, whom he served as a diplomat (embassies to Denmark, 1442, and France, 1444 and 1478) and in various political posts. He participated in military actions in the campaigns against the Moorish kingdom of Granada, and also in chivalric jousts and tournaments in several European countries. In the royal service he composed a series of historical works: Crónica abreviada de Es…
Date: 2016-10-17

Valla, Lorenzo

(839 words)

Author(s): Bratu, Cristian
1405/6-57. Italy. Lorenzo Valla was born in Rome into a family with close ties to the papal curia. During his youth, Valla was in contact with humanists and papal secretaries such as Leonardo Bruni and Poggio Bracciolini. In 1431, Valla entered the priesthood with high hopes of becoming a papal secretary himself, but his plans did not materialize immediately. He taught rhetoric in Piacenza, but he had to leave again in 1433 because of a quarrel with local jurists. Two years later, Val…
Date: 2016-10-17

Van die Heerlikye der Lande van Steyn

(162 words)

Author(s): Nip, Renée
(On the great ones of the Lands of Stein) late 15th or early 16th century. Low Countries. Short prose chronicle in Middle Dutch, written at the Emmaus monastery near Gouda, in the Land of Stein. It tells the history of the Lords of Stein and the founding of the monastery of Emmaus in 1436, thanks to a gift of Jan, the bastard of Blois, lord of Stein, explaining the relationship between the regular canons who moved from Gouda to the Land of Stein, with the town of Gouda and the chapter of Oudemunster at Utrec…
Date: 2016-10-17

Vardan Arewelcʿi

(387 words)

Author(s): Boyadjian, Tamar
[Vardan of the East] d. 1271. Armenia. A pupil of Yovhannēs (John) Vanakan, he resided at the hermitage of Saint Andrew and was active at Hałbat, Glajor, and Khor Virap, where he is buried. He was the author of the Armenian chronicle Hawakʿumn Patmutʿean (Historical Compilation), which runs to the year 1267, as well as numerous commentaries on the Old Testament, theological eulogies and hymns, a geography, and a study of grammar. Vardan's significant travels include a pilgrimage to the city of Jerusalem in 1239/40; upon his return he vis…
Date: 2016-10-17

Vatzo, Paltram

(297 words)

Author(s): Wiesinger, Michaela
12th-13th century. Austria. Presumed author of a Latin chronicle known variously as the Chronicon Austriacum or the Chronicon Vatzonis. Vatzo was probably a member of the Viennese city council; he should not be confused (as older scholarship did) with a former mayor of Vienna of the same name, who for political reasons could not have been an author of the chronicle.The identity of Paltram Vatzo as author is the subject of a number of scholarly doubts. The chronicle was partially attributed to him because Georg Leeb, the Augustinian canon regular who copi…
Date: 2016-10-17

Vecerius, Conradus

(276 words)

Author(s): Damian-Grint, Peter
ca 1487–1527. Low Countries, then Italy. A diplomat and author, son of Nikolaus Wecker of Luxemburg. He studied at the University of Leuven where he gained a reputation as a man of letters, and he worked largely as an imperial secretary, most notably to Ettore Pignatelli (d. 1536), viceroy of Sicily, in 1517; he joined the Roman Curia as a protégé of Adrian VI in 1523, but Adrian died shortly afterwards and Conrad returned to imperial service. He died in Rome of the plague.Conrad's two historical works are both described as libelli: "brief essays". The first, De duabus seditionibus (Of the …
Date: 2016-10-17

Veit of Ebersberg

(197 words)

Author(s): Paulus, Christof
ca 1450-1512. Germany. Abbot of the Benedictine monastery in Ebersberg. Author of the Chronicon Bavarorum, a prose-chronicle, written by order of the Bavarian duke Albrecht IV for his son Wilhelm in 1504/6. In four parts it describes the history of Bavarian rulers, not of the Bavarian territory, from Roman times to emperor Maximilian I. Following the imperial history, Veit intends a didactic presentation of bona exempla (models of virtue), also including a historical legitimation of the Wittelsbach dynasty as assumed descendants from the Carolingian emperors.…
Date: 2016-10-17

Velluti, Donato

(410 words)

Author(s): Gros, Colette
1313- 70. Italy. Family chronicler born in Florence on 6th July 1313. Originally from Semifonte, the Velluti lived in Florence, in the Oltrarno from the middle of the 13th century and belonged to the business bourgeoisie. Skillful matrimonial strategies allowed them to ally themselves to the oldest families and, subsequently, to the rich and powerful aristocracy, opening the doors to high communal functions. After studying Law in Bologna (1329-38), Donato di Berto Velluti moved to Florence where, for thirty years, he led p…
Date: 2016-10-17

Ventura, Guglielmo

(286 words)

Author(s): Luongo, Alberto
ca 1250 - ca 1322. Italy. Believed to be an ancestor of Secondino Ventura. Guglielmo Ventura was a citizen of Asti, a merchant of spices, and an active member of the Popolo of Asti who held several important posts for the Commune. He wrote a town chronicle in an often incorrect Latin prose, the last part of which was finished by another hand.The Memoriale, arranged in 114 chapters, covers the years 1261-1325. Ventura bases his work on his memories and the oral reports he heard during his commercial travels. He concentrates his narration on the history of hi…
Date: 2016-10-17

Ventura, Secondino

(258 words)

Author(s): Luongo, Alberto
d. 1469/70. Italy. Traditionally identified as a descendant of Guglielmo Ventura. Notary in Asti, and chronicler of the region. In 1441 he was nominated fiscal agent for the city and the county of Asti by Charles Duke of Orléans. We have a document testifying to his appointment as judge of the urban taxes, and to his death in office.His Memoriale covers the years 1420-57 and is based on the memory and the experiences of the author. Unlike the previous chroniclers of Asti, Secondino does not concentrate his narration on the local events of his hometown.…
Date: 2016-10-17

Vergerio, Pier Paolo

(346 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
1370-1444. Italy. Humanist, educational theorist, and church reformer. Wrote Latin biographies of the first seven lords of the da Carrara family who ruled over Padua in the 14th century. Born in Istria, Vergerio spent his most formative years, from 1390 to 1405, in Padua, where he was a student at the university and tutor to the sons of the ruling lord, Francesco Novello da Carrara. There he wrote his widely circulated treatise on education, De ingenuis moribus et liberalibus studiis adolescentiae (On teaching young people noble habits and the liberal arts), and composed his De principib…
Date: 2016-10-17

Vergil, Polydore

(383 words)

Author(s): Neumaier, Marco
[Virgilio, Polidoro] ca 1470 - 18th April 1555. Italy, England. Humanist and papal official. Vergil was a native of Urbino where he originally served at the ducal court. However, he left this employment to pursue a career in the papal administration. He was sent to England in 1502 as subcollector of Peter's Pence. There, the first Tudor monarch Henry VII entrusted him with the task of writing an extensive national history of the kingdom.Vergil had already received early recognition as an author with De inventoribus rerum (Venice 1499), a compilation of humanities' creative achie…
Date: 2016-10-17

Versão Galaico-portuguesa da Crónica Geral de Espanha

(255 words)

Author(s): Barros Dias, Isabel
1295-1312. Portugal. Chronicle of Iberia in Galician-Portuguese. This text was called Versão Galaico-Portuguesa de uma Crónica Geral de Espanha by Catalán; Tradução Galego-portuguesa da Variante Ampliada by LindleyCintra and finally Traducción Gallega de la Crónica General y de la Crónica de Castilla by Lorenzo, its editor. It consists of two previously independent parts.The first, from Ramiro I to Vermudo III, translates a text similar to that contained in the royal manuscript of the Estoria de Espanna. The second is a translation of the Crónica de Castilla, to which was added …
Date: 2016-10-17

Verse and prose

(2,093 words)

Author(s): Dunphy, Graeme
Modern readers are often surprised to discover that medieval chronicles may sometimes be written in verse. Metrical forms, which some today might regard as a sign of either a reflective poetic muse or of frivolous and entertaining writing, carried no such implications in the Middle Ages. The origins of verse are believed to be far older than writing: in the primary oral cultures of pre-historic Europe, rhyme and rhythm were cultivated not only because they were pleasing, but also because they ai…
Date: 2016-10-17

Verse Chronicle of Early British Kings

(117 words)

Author(s): Radulescu, Raluca
13th century. England. A verse chronicle in Anglo-Norman starting with the Anglo-Saxon and Norman kings and ending with the reign of Henry III. An incipit indicates that the original chronicle began with Brutus and the Britons, but the surviving manuscripts record only the later history. The chronicle consists of 3227 lines of somewhat irregular octosyllabic couplets. Stevenson published the 425 lines preserved in BL, Cotton Cleopatra ms. A.xii; and Michel the final 1246 lines from BL, Cotton Vitellius ms. A.x with variants from the Cleopatra manuscript.Radulescu, RalucaBibliogra…
Date: 2016-10-17

Versus Lubenses

(200 words)

Author(s): Mrozowicz, Wojciech
14th century. Silesia (Poland). A 47-line Latin verse chronicle of the Cistercian monastery in Lubiąż, Silesia, written soon after 1371, the Versus Lubenses depicts the legendary beginning of the town (which it attributes to Julius Cesar) and of the foundations of the Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries, and the transformations of the country under the influence of the Cistercians. The work propagandistically emphasizes the primitive state of Silesia before the appearance of the German settlers. Only one complete manuscript of Versus Lubenses has been preserved: Venice, …
Date: 2016-10-17