A Problem for Historical Methodology
Although there is not a single description of the battle drawn up by a participant, there are rich sources of documentation that have been left by contemporaries of the warring parties. A list of these descriptions, in chronological order of composition, allows an initial approach to the sources. Only those chronicles from the period itself have been included where the authors may have known specific participants in the battle. Many short commentaries or simple records of the events have been ignored, since they do not present any new facts, merely forming a narrative based on general information. As the sources will be discussed thoroughly below, it is sufficient here merely to note who wrote them and when.
The Battle of the Spurs is reported fully in the following works:
In a chronicle written by a burgher of Arras and, accordingly, referred to as the Chronique artésienne. The account was written as early as the end of 1304.
In a rhymed chronicle of 1306–7 dedicated to the King of France: La Branche des royaus lingnages, written by a burgher of Orléans, Guillaume Guiart.
A Ghentenaar Friar Minor began, in 1308, to compile the Annales Gandenses. Two years later, in 1310, he had finished the account of events for the period 1297–1308 and was later to continue the historical work up to 1310.
Between 1313 and 1316 a Brabantese parson, Lodewijk van Velthem, gave a very lively account of the Battle of the Spurs in his Voortzetting van de Spiegel historiael.
Between 1313 and 1317 a burgher of Paris, Geoffroy de Paris, also gave an account of the events in his Chronique rimée.