Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 May 2014
Baldric of Bourgueil reached the heights of influence and power in the north-western French Church in the last quarter of the eleventh and first quarter of the twelfth century. He was prior, then abbot of the rich Benedictine monastery of Bourgueil, in the Loire valley between Orléans and Angers, for over thirty years. He was appointed archbishop of Dol in 1107 and died in 1130 at the age of around eighty-four. Alongside this career as a senior churchman he was variously a writer of poems, letters and elegies, a preacher, teacher and sermonizer, a hagiographer and a historian of the First Crusade.
His Latin history of the First Crusade, the Historia Ierosolimitana, originally composed around 1105, was previously edited in 1879 in the fourth volume of the Recueil des historiens des croisades: historiens occidentaux. That edition was based on a collation of seven manuscripts. A new edition, produced by the present author, is derived from twenty-one extant manuscripts, and has identified a further three additional codices containing a version of this text, two in fragmentary form and one which was destroyed by fire. The Recueil edition relied exclusively on manuscripts produced in France in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; in contrast, the new edition reveals a manuscript tradition extending into Anglo-Norman England and Spain, covering four centuries, and encompassing both a translation into Spanish and the transformation of the narrative into a French chanson de geste.