Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle

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Subject: History

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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Radulphus de Marham

(426 words)

Author(s): Friedman, John B.
[Ralph Marham] d. 1389. England. Friar and cellarer of the East Anglian Augustinian house at Norwich. Author of Manipulus Chronicorum ab Mundi initio usque ad sua tempora, surviving in Cambridge, Gonville & Caius, ms. 26/15 (15th century) and Paris, BnF, lat. ms. 4928 (1300-25). The former manuscript begins imperfectly and ends mid-page at Book Five. The latter identifies in its preface the compiler as Radulphus by means of a cipher, or code, made from its first lines. Obviously working presentation copies, these manuscripts are divided into distinctiones and capitula by a hierarch…
Date: 2016-10-17

Radziwiłł Chronicle

(175 words)

Author(s): Tolochko, Oleksiy
[Königsberg Chronicle] 13th century. Rus'. A chronicle on the history of the Rus', preserved in an illuminated manuscript of the late 15th century, written in Church Slavonic (Ruthenian recension). Named after one of its owners, this manuscript (St. Petersburg, Библиотека Российской Академии наук, 34.5.30) is the only extant East European medieval illuminated chronicle. It was produced in 1490s in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (most probably, Volhynia) and features 613 miniatures painted by three to five artists. While generally believed to be a replica of an early 13th-century ori…
Date: 2016-10-17

Rahewin of Freising

(480 words)

Author(s): Finkele, Simone
[Rahwin, Rachwin, Ragewin(us), Radewin(us), Radewic(us)] d. 1170/77. Germany. Author of books 3 and 4 of the Gesta Frederici I imperatoris of Otto of Freising.Rahewin is mentioned first in 1144 as carticularius (writer of legal documents), then, from 1147 on, as capellanus and notarius of Otto of Freising, whose disciple he may have been. Due to his position of trust, Rahewin was in close contact with the politics in the empire and at the imperial court for many years. From 1156 he was canonicus of the Cathedral at Freising. Documents indicate that he was provost of St. Veit …
Date: 2016-10-17

Rainerius episcopus urbivetanus

(649 words)

Author(s): D'Eugenio, Daniela
[Ranieri di Prudenzo of Orvieto]1228–1248. Italy. Bishop of Orvieto. Born into the powerful Prudenti family, Ranieri was educated at the local church of San Costanzo in the early 13th century. He was elected bishop in 1228, after the death of the previous bishop, Capitaneo Ranieri. He was a staunch pro-Ghibelline, which put him at odds with the papacy on a number of matters, such as the restitution of Val di Lago to the pope. In addition to writing the Cronaca, he is remembered for expanding the episcopal palace. After his death in 1248, the episcopal seat remained vacant …
Date: 2016-10-17

Ralph Niger

(383 words)

Author(s): Embree, Dan
ca 1140-99? England. Theologian and author of two Latin chronicles, which, as Krause documents, are often confused. Chronicle I or Chronica Universalis, covers history from the Creation to the 1190s, with one of its last references being variously dated by scholars between 1194 and 1199. Its earlier material is derived from a variety of conventional sources, but for the 12th century, Ralph uses some as yet undocumented sources, including, as he claims "what I heard or saw and received from truthful reporters". It comprises four books, extending respecti…
Date: 2016-10-17

Ralph of Caen

(552 words)

Author(s): Pysiak, Jerzy
[Radulphus Cadomensis, Raoul de Caen] ca 1080 - post-1130. France, Italy, Palestine. Author of a Latin crusading chronicle. Born to a knightly family, Ralph obtained education as a clerk in Rouen. During the First Crusade in which he participated, Ralph entered the service of the South-Italian Norman princely family of Hauteville (Altavilla), becoming chaplain to Bohemond of Taranto, the future prince of Antioch (1098) and serving him until Bohemond's capture by the Turks in 1100. When Boh…
Date: 2016-10-17

Ralph of Coggeshall

(339 words)

Author(s): Freeman, Elizabeth
fl. 1207-26. England. Cistercian abbot of Coggeshall Abbey, Essex, England. Main author of Chronicon Anglicanum, which covers English national history and crusading history of 1066-1224. The Chronicon, which is preceded in its manuscripts by Ralph Niger's Chronica Anglica (Chronicle II), covering the period from the nativity to ca 1178, starts with a short set of annals for 1066-1186, not composed by Ralph. The lengthy section covering 1187-1205 is a true narrative chronicle, and Ralph was the original author. The short final section…
Date: 2016-10-17

Ralph of Diceto

(807 words)

Author(s): Pollock, Melissa
1120/30 - ca 1200. France, England. Works include Abbreviationes Chronicorum [ Abbreviatio de Gestis Normannorum] and Ymagines Historiarum . Ralph was either from Dissai (Dissé) in France or Diss in Norfolk. He studied at Paris in the 1140s and late 1150s. By 1152 he was archdeacon of Middlesex under the patronage of the Belmeis family, to whom he may have been related. He was elected dean of St. Paul's in 1180. Thereafter he was involved with the Angevin court and attended Richard I's coronation in September 118…
Date: 2016-10-17

Ralph of Rivo

(284 words)

Author(s): Lützelschwab, Ralf
[Radulph van der Beeke, Raoul de Tongres, Radulphus de Rivo] ca 1345-1403. Belgium. His family name was probably van der Beeke, with de Rivo used as a learned form, translating Dutch beek (stream) with Latin rivus. Born at Breda in North Brabant, he became dean of the chapter in Tongeren.As continuation of John of Hocsem's work, Ralph's chronicle of the prince-bishops of Liège provides the history of bishops Engelbert de la Marck, Jean d'Arckel and Arnoul de Hornes, covering the years 1347-86. Ralph's main emphasis is on ecclesiastical history…
Date: 2016-10-17

Rambaldis, Benvenuti de'

(476 words)

Author(s): Minardi, Enrico
[Benvenutus de Imola] late 1330s-1387/88. Italy. Rambaldis was a commentator on classical and modern authors, and author of works about Roman history. Official documents and personal letters from the 14th century record his name as Magister Benvenutus quondam Compagni quondam Anchibenis, or simply Benvenutus de Imola. The first historical evidence of the family name, Rambaldi, emerges after his death in an official document found in Bologna and dated 1398. He was born in Imola, probably in the third decade of the 14th century. His father and grandfather were notaries, and Be…
Date: 2016-10-17

Ramírez de Avalos, Mosén Diego

(298 words)

Author(s): Alegria, David
[Ramírez Dávalos de la Piscina] early 16th century. Navarre (Iberia). Doctor and author of the Crónica de los Muy Excelentes Reyes de Navarra in Castilian. Also known as the Crónica de Val de Ilzarbe, this chronicle closes the cycle of late medieval Navarrese chronicles, the spirit of which was left untouched until Padre Moret's Anales in the 17th century. It takes as its model the Crónica de los Reyes de Navarra by Carlos de Viana, and brings it up to 1534. Its aim is to ingratiate the last supporters of an independent Navarre with Carlos V. Its main historical v…
Date: 2016-10-17

Ramusio, Giovanni Battista

(339 words)

Author(s): Lamboglia, Rosanna
[Ramusio Veneziano] 1485-1557. Italy. Son of the Trevisan Paolo Ramusio, magistrate of the Republic of Venice, he embarked on a brilliant political career in the same town which led him to become a confidant of the Doge at the age of only thirty (1505), and from 1515 secretary of the Council of Ten, as well as ambassador of the Serenissima in France. He was noted for his versatility and openness to the most diverse cultural interests; he was a pupil of the philosopher Pietro Pomponazzi (Mantua 1462 - Bologna 1525) and collaborated with the Venetian prin…
Date: 2016-10-17

Ransanus, Pietro

(444 words)

Author(s): Sroka, Stanisław. A.
1428-92. Italy, Hungary. Italian humanist and historian. Author of a universal chronicle with a history of Hungary. Ransanus was born in Palermo and studied in Florence and Perugia. In 1444 he entered the Dominican Order, and from 1455 on he was in charge of the Dominican Province in Sicily. Around 1458 he began to write his Annales omnium temporum, a world history in 60 books which he completed only in the late 1480s. At the end of the 1460s, he offered his services to the king of Naples, Ferdinand I. In 1476 he became Bishop of Lucera. During the yea…
Date: 2016-10-17

Rapperswiler Chronik

(413 words)

Author(s): Viehhauser, Gabriel
[Klingenberger Chronik] ca 1450. Switzerland. Town and world chronicle. This High German prose text, which was falsely ascribed to the noble Klingenberg family of Thurgau, and therefore has frequently been called the Klingenberger Chronik, consists of two parts, each with its own quite different character. The first section, from antiquity to 1442, is mainly a compilation of existing texts, combining two different redactions (A and D) of the Chronik der Stadt Zürich with a Konstanz version of the world-chronicle of Jakob Twinger von Königshofen and, for the times o…
Date: 2016-10-17

Ratpert of St. Gallen

(427 words)

Author(s): Penn, Stephen
d. 890. Switzerland. Ratpert was a monk at the Abbey of St. Gallen, a contemporary of Notker Balbulus, and the original author of the Casus Sancti Galli. His biographer Ekkehard IV, who continued the Casus as far as the late 10th century, describes him as a devout individual, a skilled teacher, and a harsh disciplinarian.The Casus, which begins by describing St Gall's journey from Ireland to Europe with St. Columbanus, takes the form of an extended hagiographical montage detailing the lives and interests of the monks who inhabited and studied at St.…
Date: 2016-10-17

Rauf de Boun

(237 words)

Author(s): Spence, John
fl. 1309. England. Canon of St Paul's cathedral and probably either the son or grandson of Humphrey de Bohun the fifth, Earl of Hereford (d. 1274). At the request, he states, of Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln (1249-1311), he wrote Le Petit Bruit, a history of England in Anglo-Norman prose from Brutus to the death of Edward I. Its notable and unusual rewriting of legendary British history and English history makes it difficult to identify Rauf's sources, although there are similarities with the Livere de Reis de Britannie and Genealogical Chronicles in Anglo-Norman in the "feudal ma…
Date: 2016-10-17

Ravagnani, Benintendi de’

(429 words)

Author(s): Kohl, Benjamin G.
1317-65. Italy. Venetian chancellor. Author of a reworking and continuation of Andrea Dandolo's chronicles and possibly of an account of the siege of Zara in 1346, all in Latin. Born in Chioggia, Ravagnani began government service as a notary in the Venetian chancery, served as chancellor of Zadar in 1346-47, and was promoted to the rank of Grand Chancellor in 1352. Ravagnani established a friendship with Francesco Petrarca on his visit to Venice in January 1354, which he renewed on a…
Date: 2016-10-17


(361 words)

Author(s): Krauss-Sánchez, Heidi R.
[Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī Rāwandī] fl. early 13th century ad (7th century ah). Persia. Historian of the Seljūqs, descended from a family of Rāwand in the province of Isfahan (today Iran), whence his name. Author of the Rāhat al-Sudūr wa-Āyat al-Surūr (The comfort of hearts and the wonder of joys), a history of the dynasty of the Great Seljūqs which also includes chapters on royal behaviour.The Rāhat al-Sudūr is dedicated to the Seljūq Sultan of Rūm, Ghiyāth al-Dīn Kay Kushraw, who reigned 588-92 and 601-7 ah (1192-96 and 1205-11 ad) in west-central Anatolia, with the capital at Konya). The Rāhat al…
Date: 2016-10-17

Raymond of Aguilers

(333 words)

Author(s): Sweetenham, Carol
11th-12th century. France. Author of a Latin chronicle of the First Crusade. Raymond was in a privileged position to observe the Crusade as the chaplain of one of its leaders, Raymond IV of St-Gilles: he was at the heart of the controversy about the Holy Lance of Antioch and claims to have carried it onto the field at the battle of Antioch. His name may suggest an origin near Le Puy (Haute-Loire) and hence a connection with Adhemar, Bishop of Le Puy, who played a dominant role on the Crusade. His Historia Francorum qui ceperunt Jerusalem (History of the Franks who took Jerusalem) was writ…
Date: 2016-10-17


(233 words)

Author(s): Echevarría Arsuaga, Ana
[Isā bin Ahmad bin Muhammad ibn Musā al-Rāzī] ca 284-343 ah (ca 888-955 ad). Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain). An Andalusi scholar of Persian ancestry, born in Cordoba, disciple of Qasim ibn Asbag and a member of the court of the Umayyads of Cordoba. His most important work was the Arabic royal chronicle Akhbar muluk al-Andalus (History of the Kings of al-Andalus). It combined first-hand information, access to the records of the Umayyad chancery, and courtly praise for his patrons. His son Isa ibn Ahmad al-Razi continued his work under caliph al-Hakam II…
Date: 2016-10-17

Readers and listeners

(2,357 words)

Author(s): Bratu, Cristian
Literacy and OralityThe 20th century has brought us a profound awareness of the fundamental role that voice and performance played in the composition, transmission, and reception of ancient and medieval texts. The first impulse for the study of what would later be called "orality" was given by the research of Antoine Meillet (1923) and Milman Parry (1930, 1933, 1971) on the presence of formulae in various ancient texts, most notably Homeric epic. Meillet and Parry argued that Homer's work was "entirely composed of formulae handed down from poet to poet" (Meillet 1923). These formulae…
Date: 2016-12-06

Reading Annals

(280 words)

Author(s): Goetz, Sharon
late 13th century. England. Unedited Latin annals from 1 to 1285, in a single hand, with another hand's corrections, probably produced at Reading Abbey (Benedictine). This text, in BL, Cotton Vespasian ms. E.iv, is called Winchester-Waverley Chronicle by Liebermann and Coates, who sought to highlight its relatives among such related annals as those of Winchester, Waverley, Worcester, Southwark,Bermondsey, Hyde and Tewkesbury. The title Reading Annals is based on the assertions of Ker and Coates that the annals were produced at Reading Abbey or its daughter cell, Leom…
Date: 2016-10-17

Récit d'un ménestrel d'Alphonse de Poitiers

(331 words)

Author(s): Norbye, Marigold Anne
[Chronique des rois de France; Abrégé de l'histoire de France] ca 1260.France.According to the prologue, this Old French chronicle of the kings of France was written for Alphonse de Poitiers (1220-71), brother to LouisIX, by an anonymous "minstrel" who translated and collated from Latin originals. It was a loose translation of a Latin compilation made by a monk of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the early 13th century, the Gesta regum Francorum usque ad annum 1214 which had already served as basis for a free translation by Anonyme de Béthune (ca 1216). The final three chapters drew on the Specul…
Date: 2016-10-17

Récit d'un ménestrel de Reims

(325 words)

Author(s): Grant, Lindy
mid-13th century. France. Anonymous verse chronicle in Old French particularly concerned with Reims and North Eastern France. Known by its modern title only since the 1876 edition, this prose chronicle remains mysterious. It is an excerpt from a longer work, with neither a proper beginning nor ending. Written, or at least written down in the form in which it survives, in 1260/1 - as is clear from the subject-matter, it presents a richly gossipy amalgam of fact and fiction of the preceding 80 yea…
Date: 2016-10-17

Reginald of Wroxham

(102 words)

Author(s): Kennedy, Edward Donald
d.1235? England. Author of lost chronicles ( cronicis) of which only excerpts for the years 1213-16 and 1235 survive as interpolations into one manuscript of Matthew Paris's Flores Historiarum (London, BL, Royal 14.C.6). The interpolations, published as an appendix to the introduction of Luard's edition, were apparently made when the early part of the manuscript (down to 1304) was being written at the Benedictine monastery of St. Benet Hulme in Norfolk.The final entry notes the death of Reginald Cresi, parson of Wroxham in 1235.Kennedy, Edward DonaldBibliography Text H.R. Luard, Flo…
Date: 2016-10-17

Regino of Prüm

(230 words)

Author(s): Penn, Stephen
d. 915. Germany. Regino entered the Benedictine order in his youth, becoming abbot of Prüm in 892 during difficult times for the abbey, largely at the hands of the Normans. His Chronicon was Regino's most ambitious and influential work, and won him a reputation as an historian. He also published a guide to music, the Epistola de Harmonica Institutione. His Chronicon covers the history of Christianity until the beginning of the 10th century, drawing upon a range of existing sources (Bede's influence in the earlier part of the narrative is particularly conspicuous). …
Date: 2016-10-17

Regnal lists of Scotland

(326 words)

Author(s): Kennedy, Edward Donald
13th-16th century. Scotland. Scottish regnal lists were lists of kings that functioned as non-diagrammatic genealogies to indicate the relationship of kings to their predecessors. They were originally recited at Scottish coronations to bolster the belief that Scotland had been independent since antiquity, in contrast to England, which had been ruled by Britons, Romans, Danes, Anglo-Saxons, and Normans. Although at times the lists, like genealogical chronicles, had brief accounts of the kings' re…
Date: 2016-10-17

Reimchronik der Appenzellerkriege

(293 words)

Author(s): Kundert, Ursula
(Verse chronicle of the Appenzell wars) [Appenzeller Reimchronik] 1404/5. Switzerland. An account of part of the Appenzell wars (1400-04) in 4142 lines of not very elaborate Late Middle High German verse, the first rhyming chronicle from Switzerland. Written by an unknown conservative contemporary, it tells of the struggle of the district of Appenzell for independence from St. Gallen Abbey, a conflict which involved also the town of St. Gallen, the League of Swabian Towns and the Confederation, especially Schwyz and Zürich. The first date clearly identifiable is the covenant of 17th …
Date: 2016-10-17

Reimchronik der Bischöfe von Osnabrück

(190 words)

Author(s): Kümper, Hiram
15th century. Germany. Short anonymous episcopal chronicle from Osnabrück in Low German, in 230 lines of rhyming couplets, running from the first bishop Wiho (d. 804/05) to Rudolph of Diepholz (d. 1455). The bishops are treated with varying degrees of detail, ranging from a single line to 18 lines. The bishops' backgrounds and achievements are listed, with no outstanding favourites on the part of the poet. Dietrich Lilie (d. after 1553), the translator of Ertwin Ertman[n], recalls a now lost boa…
Date: 2016-10-17

Reimchronik des Würzburger Städtekrieges

(256 words)

Author(s): Kümper, Hiram
early 15th century. Germany. Elaborate account of the conflict between Bishop Gerhard von Schwarzenburg and the city of Würzburg (1397-1400), written in German vernacular, in 2216 verse couplets. The author's sympathies seem to have been on the bishop's side, as is seen for example in a critique on King Wenzel for granting Würzburg the status of an imperial free city (verses 855-1010), but a group of later manuscripts add a short epilogue in favour of the burgesses.For his edition of the text Rochus von Liliencron could rely on seven manuscripts, all 16th century, but most of these mu…
Date: 2016-10-17

Reimchronik über die Kölner Unruhen

(177 words)

Author(s): Plassmann, Alheydis
(Rhymed chronicle of the disturbances in Cologne) 1483. Germany. Anonymous vernacular verse chronicle of an urban conflict. The text gives an account of the riots in Cologne in the years 1481-82, in which the authority of the town council was threatened by prominent members of some guilds. It was obviously written immediately after the feast of thanks for the end of the riots on 19 February 1483, since some of the participants in the riot are mentioned as still being a threat. The author, who sided with the council, made use of the Weverslaicht as a model for his 877 verses although h…
Date: 2016-10-17

Reiner of St. James

(272 words)

Author(s): Dury, Christian
[Reinerus Leodiensis] 1157-1230. Low Countries. Prior of the Benedictine abbey of St. Jacques at Liège. Born to a knightly family, Reiner became successively subdeacon (1175), deacon (1179), monk (1180), priest (1191) and finally prior (1197). His responsibilities in the abbey required him to travel widely: to the Mosel (1213) and to Rome, where he is attested in 1184, 1186, 1208 and 1215, for the occasion of the Fourth Lateran Council.Among several poetic, geographic and biographical writings his most important work is his Annales sive chronica sancti Iacobi Leodiensis, a continu…
Date: 2016-10-17

Reinier of St. Lawrence

(466 words)

Author(s): De Grieck, Pieter-Jan
1110/20 - ca 1190. Low Countries. Benedictine monk of St. Lawrence's Abbey in Liège (modern Belgium). Author of several historical and hagiographical works in Latin. One of his most remarkable pieces was his De ineptiis cuiusdam idiotae libellus ad amicum (Booklet to a friend on the trifles of an illiterate). Asked by a friend for a list of his works, Reiner wrote this book in which he described not only his own works (part two), but also those of previous authors from St. Lawrence (part one). He composed this "institutional literary…
Date: 2016-10-17

Reise, Nikolaus

(219 words)

Author(s): Mierke, Gesine
ca 1400-1462. Germany. Probable author of the Chronik von alten Dingen der Stadt Mainz (Chronicle of the antiquities of Mainz): the text mentions a certain Clesse, who is traditionally identified with Reise. Reise belonged to the patricians of Mainz, was a member of the city council and became its mayor in 1444. The chronicle, mainly written in 1446, gives a summary of the history of Mainz between 1332 and 1452. It begins with the granting of privileges to the city of Mainz by the archbishop in 1135 and 1229. A primary …
Date: 2016-10-17

Renaissance historiography

(2,458 words)

Author(s): Levelt, Sjoerd
Renaissance humanismIn modern Renaissance scholarship, the term "Renaissance historiography" is often used to refer to historical studies about the Renaissance, in contrast to the use of the word "historiography" by medievalists, who use it most commonly to refer to the historical texts of the time they study and to the constructions, theories and methodologies underlying these writings. In the current context "Renaissance historiography" will be understood to comprise the approaches to the writi…
Date: 2016-12-06

Resurrection Chronicle

(150 words)

Author(s): Guimon, Timofei Valentinovich
[Воскресенская летопись] 16th century. Russia. Church Slavonic (Russian recension). A Moscow annalistic text compiled in 1541. The chronicle was probably compiled for Metropolitan Ioasaph, though an alternative view ascribes it to an unknown partisan of the Šujskij family. The compilation was based on several sources, most important among them being the Carskij manuscript of the St. Sophia First Chronicle, the Svod of 1479 (see Muscovite Chronicle Compilations) and a Rostov chronicle.The compilation reflects the concept of aristocratic (Bojar) rule current in …
Date: 2016-10-17
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