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Medieval and Byzantine History Medieval and Byzantine History Forum - Period of History between classical antiquity and modern times, roughly the 5th through 16th Centuries


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Old June 30th, 2017, 07:44 AM   #1
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First real medieval historians?


Greece gave us Herodotus and Thucydides; Rome had Tacitus; and then? Gregory of Tours has many interesting anecdotes and many miracles proving that the church was always right, but it's not really history. Bede wrote a history of the church in England. Who else is there? When did real historiography recommence?
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Old June 30th, 2017, 08:19 AM   #2

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jauchart View Post
Greece gave us Herodotus and Thucydides; Rome had Tacitus; and then? Gregory of Tours has many interesting anecdotes and many miracles proving that the church was always right, but it's not really history. Bede wrote a history of the church in England. Who else is there? When did real historiography recommence?
I think that the historiography can’t be characterized by a sole character and with the fall of Rome it never really died completely, so it never really recommenced, just changed focus, quality and characteristics. We have biographies, autobiographies, hagiographies, gestae and histories for the Early Medieval Period, some anonymous other with some identified authors: History of the Lombards, by Paul the Deacon, Confessions by Saint Agustine, The Story of My Misfortune by Abelard, The Life of Charlemagne by Einhard… and let us not forget the Epics, like the Chanson de Roland, the Beowulf, the Breton cicle…
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Old June 30th, 2017, 08:23 AM   #3

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Well there are several historians from the Early medieval period or late antiquity, depending on when you decide to start the middle ages. Jordanes' Gothic History technically counts, and there's always the various 5th century chroniclers. Priscus, Procopius, and Ammianus could also count.

But these men were all Romans. And the literary tradition never died in ancient or medieval Rome, much of it is simply lost.
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Old July 12th, 2017, 12:18 AM   #4

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Konstantin VII Porfirogenet
• (DE ADMINISTRANDO IMPERIO)
Kekaumenos
• Strategikon
• he also wrote about his own life (fantastic source for that time period)
Ana Komnena
• she wrote about her father and his decisions ( the only woman writer that I know of)
• Aleksiada (15 books about Normans vs Fenicians, also writes about the Pope)
Gregor from Tours
• he was a bishop who wrote the history of Franks
• DECEM LIBRI HISTORIARUM
Beda
• he wrote the church history of the Anglo peoples
Pavel Diakon
• wrote the history of Langobards (very important source for my countries history)
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Old July 13th, 2017, 06:11 AM   #5

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I don't know much about other countries, but the ANglo-Saxon chronicle lasted from the time of Alfred the Great to Henry II, and detailed the history of Anglo-Saxon, Norman and Angevin England. There is some admitted bias, since it was written by Anglo-Saxons on the English, but it's mostly true, since there is archaeological evidence to support it. Chronicles of the Scots, Welsh, Irish, and the Norse sagas do correlate with it in the most part.

William of Malmesbury was an Anglo-Norman, who wrote a lot about the Anglo-Saxon kings and the Normans, and is considered by many in the UK to be the first modern historian. Or at least a pioneer in historical analysis and techniques.

There were chronicles of the later Angevin kings, but they generally ceased once printing and books became more available. By the Tudor times, documents detailing events could be written and re-printed, so there was less need for one person or a group of people to record events and safekeep it.
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Old July 13th, 2017, 06:31 AM   #6

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From the Germanic side we can mention Paulus Diaconus [Paul Warnefried], who in VIII century wrote the history of the Lombards [Historia Langobardorum] and also a Roman History [Historia Romana].
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Old July 13th, 2017, 06:40 AM   #7

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There is the Chronicle of Fredegar from the 7th century: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronicle_of_Fredegar
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Old July 13th, 2017, 08:12 AM   #8

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I don't know if he can be counted as "first real medieval historian", but you gotta love Hermann of Reichenau.
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Old July 17th, 2017, 03:10 AM   #9

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Archbishop Jimenez de Rada (1170-1247) is pretty famous and was pretty prolific (he actually fought at Las Navas de Tolosa). I think he tried to be fairly objective despite his own crusading mentality of the time and limited access to sources (all one-sided). He tended to write about events right from 711 onward.

Errors can be criticised now but I think for his time he was remarkable.

Luis A Garcia Moreno (who revisited all original sources) argues that he first coined the word 'Guadalete' for the famous 711 battle, but mis-translated or misread a text, which should have translated to 'Battle of the Lake'.

But Guadalete it has remained!
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Old July 17th, 2017, 03:41 AM   #10

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Isidore of Seville in the 6th century
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