Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle

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Subject: History

Edited by:  Graeme Dunphy

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.

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(1,023 words)

224-310 ah (839-923 ad). Persia, Mesopotamia. A native of Amol in Tabaristan (modern Iran), whence his name is derived. His academic interests spanned most of the Muslim sciences of his day but he is remembered chiefly for his enormous compendia of early Islamic history and an equally extensive Qurʾan commentary. He travelled from his native town to study in the major centres of learning in Iraq, Syria and Egypt, demonstrating an extraordinary resourcefulness in collecting oral and written material…

Tacitus, Publius Cornelius

(518 words)

ca 55-120 ad. France/Italy. Roman historian. A native of southern Gaul, Tacitus made a career as a senator under the Emperor Domitian. Later, in his works, all written after Domitian's fall in 96 ad, he distanced himself from Domitian's reign. In his


(335 words)

940/41-94 ad. Mesopotamia. A judge, scribe and Arabic man of letters. One of the most entertaining medieval Arab compilers of historical narratives, born in Basra into a family of scholars. He worked as judge and scribe in the civil service of the Būyid dynasty. He wrote three or four compilations of anecdotes, one of which, Nishwār al-Muḥādara (Chit-chat at Gatherings), is generally classified as historiography. However, the attribution to the historical genre is controversial because the text is not organized according to a chronology, but, as the …


(304 words)

ca 160-220. North Africa. Latin Christian writer from Carthage. The endeavour of early Christian thinkers to relate biblical with pagan history and to demonstrate that the biblical "historians" are anterior to the pagan, in particular that Moses is older than Homer, is crucial for the medieval approach to universal history. Tertullian is the first Christian Latin writer to follow this enterprise, especially in chapter 19 of his Apologeticum. He can borrow most of his material from his Greek predecessors Tatian and Theophilus. While those two writers develop a detailed chronology, Tertullian's chronological report is quite short. He is content to give the argument from the antiquity of Moses and to outline how it can be proved - as he explains, an exhaustive proof would lead him too f…

Teuffenbeck, Heinrich

(243 words)

fl. 1378-89. Germany. Wealthy canon at the collegiate church of Schliersee, near Munich; documented by a number of donations to his church. Died 2nd November 1389. Teuffenbeck's Chronicon Schlierseense seu brevis historia de ortu, fundatione, benefactoribus et praediis antiquissimae ecclesiae collegiatae Schlierseensis (Schliersee chronicle or short history of the origin, foundation, patrons and endowments of the ancient collegiate church of Schliersee) gives a short history of the house from early Carolingian times, but quickly moving…

Teutonic Order chronicle tradition

(1,749 words)

1. The Teutonic Knights; 2. Teutonic Order chronicles of the thirteenth century; 3. Teutonic chronicles of the fourteenth century; 4. Teutonic chronicles of the fifteenth century 1. The Teutonic Knights The Teutonic Ord…

Tewkesbury Annals

(417 words)

ca 1200-1263. England, Wales. Latin annals covering 1066-1263, written by several hands at the Benedictine abbey of Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire. These annals were probably influenced by the abbey's patrons, the Clare earls of Gloucester: the history of the Clare family appears throughout but particularly after ca 1200. Like the Annals of Margam , they reflect interest in the borders of Gloucestershire and Wales and provide a perspective on tensions between the Welsh and the earls of Gloucester and between the royalists and rebels during the Bar…