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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(1,019 words)

Author(s): David Waines | Heidi R. Krauss-Sánchez
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…

Tabula Egmundana

(144 words)

Author(s): Jan Burgers
ca 1464. Low Countries. A short Latin chronicle of the history of Holland, Utrecht and the Benedictine abbey of Egmond, 863-1464. It originated as a chronologically organised inventory of the cartulary of Egmond (ca 1420), to which the anonymous author added historical data from other sources, such as a lost Necrologium of the counts of Holland and the Egmond abbots, and the Chronographia of Johannes de Beke. The Tabula was used by later historians, notably by Johannes a Leydis. Jan Burgers Bibliography Text: A. Hulshof, "Egmondsche Annalen uit de veertiende eeuw", Bijdragen en medede…

Tacitus, Publius Cornelius

(517 words)

Author(s): Josef Lössl
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 Agricola he praises his father-in-law, who as governor of Britain achieved good things despite serving a bad emperor. In his Germania he illustrates that contrary to Domitian's propaganda Germania has not been conquered. In his Dialogus de oratoribus he discusses the decline of rhetoric under tyranny. His Historiae, written ca 105-109 ad, c…


(331 words)

Author(s): Maaike van Berkel
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 …

Tatian the Syrian

(389 words)

Author(s): Josef Lössl
2nd century ad. Italy. Born in Syria or Mesopotamia ("Assyria" according to his own account, Oratio 42) Tatian flourished in Rome ca 165-172, before he reportedly returned to the east. He is supposed to have written several exegetical and theological works in Greek, but only his Oratio ad Graecos (Λόγος πρὸς Ἥελληνας, Oration to the Greeks), an apologetic text in form of a polemic against Greek culture and a protreptic in favour of what Tatian calls the "Barbarian" (i.e. Jewish and Christian) tradition, is extant. He is also assumed to be the original editor of the Gospel harmony known as Diat…


(303 words)

Author(s): Tobias Georges
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 d…

Teuffenbeck, Heinrich

(242 words)

Author(s): Hiram Kümper
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

(1,747 words)

Author(s): Graeme Dunphy
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 Order or Deutscher Orden (members may have the letters OT = Ordo Teutonicus after their names) was originally founded in 1190 in the Holy Land by Hanseatic crusaders as a medical brotherhood during the long siege of Acre. In 1198 it was raised to the status of a military order, assigned a rule which combined the Hospitaller ru…

Tewkesbury Annals

(414 words)

Author(s): Melissa Pollock
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…

Text-image relationship

(1,745 words)

Author(s): Amanda Luyster
The manuscripts of many medieval chronicles contain images, often well-developed illustration cycles, which have increasingly drawn the attention of art historians since the mid-20th century. The categories generally applied in text/image studies can be applied equally to the images in medieval chronicles. The functions which images can hold in chronicles, as in any other kind of text, include reinforcing the text's meaning, adding to it, adapting it, or undermining it. Images also function to structure the text and t…